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By Debra Sweet As he gave vague outlines of developing US military strategy while speaking at the West Point commencement last week, President Obama affirmed that he believes “in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” The previous day, he had announced that instead of all U.S. troops leaving in 2014, as had been the mantra, 9,800 would stay at least until 2016. We don't know what they will be doing, but securing the bases they've built from where secret operations — drones? missions into Pakistan? — are launched from is one likely explanation.
By Debra Sweet Memorable moments from the World Can't Wait panels this weekend at the Left Forum, attended by 240, and soon to be available on video:
Keynote address by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, at Sarajevo Peace Event Sarajevo. (6th June, 2014)
We are all aware that this is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo which led to the start of the First World War in l9l4.
What started here in Sarajevo was a century of two global wars, a Cold War, a century of immense, rapid explosion of death and destruction technology, all extremely costly, and extremely risky.
A huge step in the history of war, but also a decisive turning point in the history of peace. The peace movement has never been as strong politically as in the last three decades before the break-out of WWl. It was a factor in political life, literature, organization, and planning, the Hague Peace Conferences, the Hague Peace Palace and the International Court of Arbitration, the bestseller of Bertha von Suttner, ‘Lay Down your Arms’. The optimism was high as to what this ‘new science’ of peace could mean to humankind. Parliaments, Kings, and Emperors, great cultural and business personalities involved themselves. The great strength of the Movement was that it did not limit itself to civilizing and slowing down militarism, it demanded its total abolition.
People were presented with an alternative, and they saw common interest in this alternative road forward for humankind. What happened in Sarajevo a hundred years ago was a devastating blow to these ideas, and we never really recovered. Now, 100 years later, must be the time for a thorough reappraisal of what we had with this vision of disarmament, and what we have done without it, and the need for a recommitment, and a new ambitious start offering new hope to a humanity suffering under the scourge of militarism and wars.
People are tired of armaments and war. They have seen that they release uncontrollable forces of tribalism and nationalism. These are dangerous and murderous forms of identity and above which we need to take steps to transcend, lest we unleash further dreadful violence upon the world. To do this, we need to acknowledge that our common humanity and human dignity is more important than our different traditions. We need to recognize our life and the lives of others are sacred and we can solve our problems without killing each other. We need to accept and celebrate diversity and otherness. We need to work to heal the ‘old’ divisions and misunderstandings, give and accept forgiveness, and choose nonkilling and nonviolence as ways to solve our problems. So too as we disarm our hearts and minds, we can also disarm our countries and our world.
We are also challenged to build structures through which we can co-operate and which reflect our interconnected and interdependent relationships. The vision of the European Union founders to link countries together, economically in order to lessen the likelihood of war amongst the nations, is a worthy endeavour. Unfortunately instead of putting more energy into providing help for EU citizens, we are witnessing the growing Militarization of Europe, its role as a driving force for armaments, and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the USA/NATO, towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The European Union and many of its countries, who used to take initiatives in the UN for peaceful settlements of conflicts, particularly allegedly peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now one of the US/NATO most important war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality. Many nations have been drawn into being complicit in breaking international law through US/UK/NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.,
I believe NATO should be abolished. The United Nations should be reformed and strengthened and we should get rid of the veto in the Security Council so that it is a fair vote and we don’t have one power ruling over us. The UN should actively take up its mandate to save the world from the scourge of war.
But there is hope. People are mobilizing and resisting non-violently. They are saying no to militarism and war and insisting on disarmament. Those of us in the Peace Movement can take inspiration from many who have gone before and worked to prevent war insisting on disarmament and peace. Such a person was Bertha Von Suttner, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in l905, for her activism in the Women’s rights and peace movement. She died in June, l9l4, 100 years ago, just before WWl started. It was Bertha Von Suttner who moved Alfred Nobel to set up the Nobel Peace Prize Award and it was the ideas of the peace movement of the period that Alfred Nobel decided to support in his testament for the Champions of Peace, those who struggled for disarmament and replacing power with law and International relations. That this was the purpose is clearly confirmed by three expressions in the will, creating the fraternity of nations, work for abolition of armies, holding Peace Congresses. It is important the Nobel Committee be faithful to his wishes and that prizes go to the true Champions of Peace that Nobel had in mind.
This 100 year old Programme for Disarmament challenges those of us in the Peace Movement to confront militarism in a fundamental way. We must not be satisfied with improvements and reforms, but rather offer an alternative to militarism, which is an aberration and a system of dysfunction, going completely against the true spirit of men and women, which is to love and be loved and solve our problems through co-operation, dialogue, nonviolence, and conflict resolution.
Thanks to the organizers for bringing us together. In the coming days we shall feel the warmth and strength of being among thousands of friends and enriched by the variety of peace people, and ideas. We shall be inspired and energized to pursue our different projects, be it arms trade, nuclear, nonviolence, culture of peace, drone warfare, etc., Together we can lift the world! But soon we shall be back home, on our own, and we know all too well how we all too often are being met with either indifference or a remote stare. Our problem is not that people do not like what we say, what they understand correctly is that they believe little can be done, as the world is so highly militarized. There is an answer to this problem,- we want a different world and people to believe that peace and disarmament is possible. Can we agree, that diverse as our work is, a common vision of a world without arms, militarism and war, is indispensable for success. Does not our experience confirm that we will never achieve real change if we do not confront and reject militarism entirely, as the aberration/dysfunction it is in human history? Can we agree to work that all countries come together in an Agreement to abolish all weapons and war and to commit to always sort out our differences through International Law and Institutions?
We cannot here in Sarajevo make a common peace program, but we can commit to a common goal. If our common dream is a world without weapons and militarism, why don’t we say so? Why be silent about it? It would make a world of difference if we refused to be ambivalent about the violence of militarism. We should no longer be scattered attempts to modify the military, each one of us would do our thing as part of a global effort. Across all divisions of national borders, religions, races. We must be an alternative, insisting on an end to militarism and violence. This would give us an entirely different chance to be listened to and taken seriously. We must be an alternative insisting on an end to militarism and violence.
Let the Sarajevo where peace ended, be the starting point for the bold beginning of a universal call for peace through the wholesale abolition of militarism.
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, www.peacepeople.com
Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org
(Note: this is an episode clip. The full show will air on Monday, June 9)
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon V. FEC, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle.
In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices on the Roberts court ruled that individuals could buy elections. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”
A unique conference is planned in Charlottesville, Va., featuring the latest technologies for the practice of large-scale killing. The Daily Progress tells us that,
"to allow participants to speak more freely about potentially sensitive topics, the conference is closed to the media and open only to registered participants."
Well I should think so! Registered participants? How does one get registered for such a thing?
"From a local perspective, this industry is really growing in Charlottesville," says one expert, speaking with great objectivity, as if this growth were a matter of complete moral indifference.
Exactly how many people will be there?
"About 225 people are expected to attend the inaugural event, which is attracting government, business and academic leaders, said conference chairwoman and organizer Joan Bienvenue, who is also the director of the UVa Applied Research Institute."
Wait, what? The University of Virginia has an "applied research institute" for applying research to the practice of mass murder?
Is there no shame left in any institution?
"Sen. Timothy M. Kaine and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-4th, are also scheduled to give key speeches at the conference."
I guess that answers my question.
And where exactly will this blood-soaked confab take place?
"Located in Albemarle County, Rivanna Station is a sub-installation of the Army's Fort Belvoir. The local base employs mostly civilians and houses operations of the National Ground Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency."
The National Ground Intelligence Center, previously downtown in what became the SNL Financial building, is now north of Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia has built a "research park" next door, where this conference will be held. The NGIC famously played an utterly shameless role in marketing the war on Iraq that took at least a half a million lives and destroyed that nation.
When the experts at the Department of Energy refused to say that aluminum tubes in Iraq were for nuclear facilities, because they knew they could not possibly be and were almost certainly for rockets, and when the State Department's people also refused to reach the "correct" conclusion, a couple of guys at the NGIC were happy to oblige. Their names were George Norris and Robert Campus, and they received "performance awards" (cash) for the service.
Then Secretary of State Colin Powell used Norris' and Campus' claims in his U.N. speech despite the warning of his own staff that they weren't true. NGIC also hired a company called MZM to assist with war lies for a good chunk of change. MZM then gave a well-paid job to NGIC's deputy director Bill Rich Jr, and for good measure Bill Rich III too. MZM was far and away the top "contributor" to former Congressman Virgil Goode's campaigns, and he got them a big contract in Martinsville before they went down in the Duke Cunningham scandal. Rich then picked up a job with a company called Sparta, which, like MZM, was conveniently located in the UVA Research Park.
Local want ads in Charlottesville offer jobs "researching biological and chemical weapons" at Battelle Memorial Institute (located in the UVA Research Park). As you may know, researching such weapons is rarely if ever done without producing or at least possessing them. Other jobs are available producing all kinds of weaponry for all kinds of governments at Northrop Grumman. Then there's Teksystems, Pragmatics, Wiser, and many others with fat Pentagon contracts.
From 2000 to 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward. The 161 contractors are found in various industries other than higher education, including nautical system and instrument manufacturing; blind and shade manufacturing; printed circuit assembly; real estate appraisers; engineering services; recreational sports centers; research and development in biotechnology; new car dealers; internet publishing; petroleum merchant wholesalers; and a 2006 contract with Pig Daddy's BBQ.
Have we at long last no sense of decency? War has taken 200 million lives in the past 100 years, costs the world $2 trillion a year and the United States half of that. It is the top destroyer of our natural environment and undergirds all the removal of our civil liberties and the creation of mass surveillance. Military spending produces fewer jobs that other government spending or even tax cuts. Numerous top officials say it produces more enemies than it kills.
And who does it kill? Over 90% are civilians of all ages. Over 90% are on one side of conflicts between wealthy and poor countries. These one-sided slaughters leave behind devastated nations: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. A poll of 65 nations found the U.S. most widely viewed as the greatest threat to peace. For 3% of what the United States spends on a program of killing that endangers us, impoverishes us, and erodes our way of life, starvation could be eliminated worldwide. It wouldn't take much to become the most beloved nation rather than the most feared.
And wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where our top public program didn't have to be kept hush-hush to protect "sensitive topics"?
Anybody who thinks the Supreme Court will protect us from the TSA is dreaming. More accurately, he has his head somewhere other than above his shoulders. People keep claiming in comments here at TSA News that (paraphrasing): "We just need a case to make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Then the 4th Amendment can be upheld."
By Norman Solomon
Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.
I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.
Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.
“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week. “It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.”
Hoh describes his record this way: “After over 11 continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009.”
Another former Department of State official, the ex-diplomat and retired Army colonel Ann Wright, who resigned in protest of the Iraq invasion in March 2003, is crossing paths with Hoh on Friday as they do the honors at a ribbon-cutting -- half a block from the State Department headquarters in Washington -- for a billboard with a picture of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Big-lettered words begin by referring to the years he waited before releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
“Don’t do what I did,” Ellsberg says on the billboard. “Don’t wait until a new war has started, don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war’s worth of lives.”
The billboard -- sponsored by the ExposeFacts organization, which launched this week -- will spread to other prominent locations in Washington and beyond. As an organizer for ExposeFacts, I’m glad to report that outreach to potential whistleblowers is just getting started. (For details, visit ExposeFacts.org.) We’re propelled by the kind of hopeful determination that Hoh expressed the day before the billboard ribbon-cutting when he said: “I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”
The journalist Kevin Gosztola, who has astutely covered a range of whistleblower issues for years, pointed this week to the imperative of opening up news media. “There is an important role for ExposeFacts to play in not only forcing more transparency, but also inspiring more media organizations to engage in adversarial journalism,” he wrote. “Such journalism is called for in the face of wars, environmental destruction, escalating poverty, egregious abuses in the justice system, corporate control of government, and national security state secrecy. Perhaps a truly successful organization could inspire U.S. media organizations to play much more of a watchdog role than a lapdog role when covering powerful institutions in government.”
Overall, we desperately need to nurture and propagate a steadfast culture of outspoken whistleblowing. A central motto of the AIDS activist movement dating back to the 1980s -- Silence = Death -- remains urgently relevant in a vast array of realms. Whether the problems involve perpetual war, corporate malfeasance, climate change, institutionalized racism, patterns of sexual assault, toxic pollution or countless other ills, none can be alleviated without bringing grim realities into the light.
“All governments lie,” Ellsberg says in a video statement released for the launch of ExposeFacts, “and they all like to work in the dark as far as the public is concerned, in terms of their own decision-making, their planning -- and to be able to allege, falsely, unanimity in addressing their problems, as if no one who had knowledge of the full facts inside could disagree with the policy the president or the leader of the state is announcing.”
Ellsberg adds: “A country that wants to be a democracy has to be able to penetrate that secrecy, with the help of conscientious individuals who understand in this country that their duty to the Constitution and to the civil liberties and to the welfare of this country definitely surmount their obligation to their bosses, to a given administration, or in some cases to their promise of secrecy.”
Right now, our potential for democracy owes a lot to people like NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Kirk Wiebe, and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. When they spoke at the June 4 news conference in Washington that launched ExposeFacts, their brave clarity was inspiring.
Antidotes to the poisons of cynicism and passive despair can emerge from organizing to help create a better world. The process requires applying a single standard to the real actions of institutions and individuals, no matter how big their budgets or grand their power. What cannot withstand the light of day should not be suffered in silence.
If you see something, say something.
Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which launched ExposeFacts.org in early June. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”
The following interview is reprinted by permission from Inquiring Mind: The Semiannual Journal of the Vipassana Community, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Spring 2014). © 2014 by Inquiring Mind.
We encourage you to order a copy of Inquiring Mind's Spring 2014 “War and Peace” issue, which explores mindfulness and the military, nonviolence, and related themes from a Buddhist perspective. Sample issues and subscriptions are offered on a pay-‐what-‐you-‐can basis at www.inquiringmind.com. Please support Inquiring Mind's work!
KARMA OF DISSENT:
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANN WRIGHT
After many years in the U.S. military followed by the Foreign Service, Ann Wright is now a peace activist whose pivotal resignation from the U.S. State Department was influenced by Buddhist teachings. She is a unique voice on issues of war and peace. Wright served thirteen years in active duty in the U.S. Army and sixteen years in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. After the army, she served sixteen years in the State Department in countries from Uzbekistan to Grenada and as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador) at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In March 2003 she was one of three federal government employees, all State Department officials, who resigned in protest against the war in Iraq. For the past ten years, Wright has courageously spoken out on a wide variety of issues including nuclear power and weapons, Gaza, torture, indefinite incarceration, Guantanamo Prison and assassin drones. Wright’s activism, including talks, international tours and civil disobedience, has been of particular power in the peace movement. Fellow activists bolstered by her advocacy can assert, as she puts it, “Here’s somebody that’s spent a lot of years of her life in the military and the diplomatic corps and is now willing to speak about peace and challenge the rationale that America needs to have war in order to be the dominant power in the world.”
Wright works with organizations such as Veterans for Peace, Code Pink: Women for Peace, and Peace Action. But drawing on her background both in the military and in the U.S. diplomatic corps, she speaks as an independent voice.
Inquiring Mind editors Alan Senauke and Barbara Gates interviewed Ann Wright via Skype in November 2013.
INQUIRING MIND: Your resignation from the U.S. State Department in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War coincided with your beginning study of Buddhism. Tell us about how you got interested in Buddhism and how the study of Buddhism influenced your thinking.
ANN WRIGHT: At the time of my resignation I was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia. I had begun to study Buddhist texts in order to better understand the spiritual underpinnings of Mongolian society. When I arrived in Mongolia, it was ten years after the country had come out of the Soviet sphere. Buddhists
were digging up relics that their families had buried decades earlier when the Soviets destroyed Buddhist temples.
I had not realized before I arrived in Mongolia the extent that Buddhism had been a part of the life of the country prior to the Soviet takeover in 1917. Before the twentieth century, the interchange of Buddhist thought between Mongolia and Tibet was substantial; in fact, the term Dalai Lama is a Mongolian phrase meaning “Ocean of Wisdom.”
While most lamas and nuns were killed during the Soviet era, in the fifteen years since the Soviets loosened their hold on the country, many Mongolians were studying the long-prohibited religion; new temples and strong Buddhist medicine and art schools were established.
Ulan Bator, the capital city and where I lived, was one of the centers for Tibetan medicine. Whenever I had a cold or flu I would go to a temple pharmacy to see what the doctors there would recommend, and in my conversations with the monks and the Mongolian civilians who helped run the pharmacy, I learned about different aspects of Buddhism. I also took an evening class on Buddhism and did the recommended readings. Probably not surprising to most Buddhists, it seemed like every time I would open up a booklet in one series of readings, there would be something that was like, oh, my goodness, how incredible that this particular reading is speaking to me.
IM: What were the teachings that spoke to you?
AW: Various Buddhist tracts had great relevance for me during my internal debate on how to handle my policy disagreements with the Bush administration. One commentary reminded me that all actions have consequences, that nations, like individuals, ultimately are held accountable for their actions.
In particular, the Dalai Lama’s September 2002 remarks in his “Commemoration of the First Anniversary of September 11, 2001” were important in my deliberations on Iraq and even more relevant in our approach to the Global War on Terrorism. The Dalai Lama said, “Conflicts do not arise out of the blue. They occur as a result of causes and conditions, many of which are within the antagonists’ control. This is where leadership is important. Terrorism cannot be overcome by the use of force, because it does not address the complex underlying problems. In fact, the use of force may not only fail to solve the problems, it may exacerbate them; it frequently leaves destruction and suffering in
IM: He was pointing towards teachings on cause
AW: Yes, the cause-and-effect issue that the Bush administration dared not acknowledge. The Dalai Lama identified that the United States must look to the reasons why bin Ladin and his network were bringing violence to America. After Gulf War I, bin Laden had announced to the world why he was angry with America: U.S. military bases left in Saudi Arabia on the “holy land of Islam” and U.S. bias toward Israel in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
These are causes that are still unacknowledged by the U.S. government as reasons why people continue to harm Americans and “U.S. interests.” It is a blind spot in the
American government’s look at the world, and tragically I’m afraid that it’s a blind spot in the psyche of many Americans that we don’t recognize what our government does that causes such anger around the world and causes some people to take violent and lethal action against Americans.
I do believe America had to respond in some manner to the violent methods used by al-Qaeda. The destruction of the World Trade Towers, part of the Pentagon, the bombing of the USS Cole, the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the bombing of the U.S. Air Force Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia could not go without a response. That said, until the U.S. really acknowledges that America’s policies— particularly the invasion and occupation of countries—cause anger in the world, and changes its manner of interacting in the world, I’m afraid that we’re in for a much longer period of reprisals than the twelve years we’ve suffered through already.
IM: As a member of the armed forces and as a diplomat and now as a politically engaged civilian, you’ve indicated that you believe it’s sometimes appropriate to draw on military force. When is that?
AW: I think there are some specific situations in which military force may be the only way to stop violence. In 1994 during the Rwanda genocide, nearly a million people were killed during one year in the fighting between the Tutsis and the Hutus. In my opinion, a very small military force could have gone in and could have stopped the slaughter by machete of hundreds of thousands. President Clinton said his biggest regret as president was not to have intervened to save lives in Rwanda and this terrible failure would haunt him the rest of his life.
IM: Wasn’t there a United Nations force in Rwanda?
AW: Yes, there was a small United Nations force in Rwanda. In fact, the Canadian general who was in charge of that force requested authorization from the UN Security Council to use force to end the genocide but was denied that authorization. He has post- traumatic stress and has attempted suicide because of his regret that he did not go ahead and act decisively, using that small force to attempt at the very beginning to stop the massacre. He now feels that he should have gone ahead and used his small military force anyway and then dealt with the aftermath of possibly getting fired by the UN for not following orders. He is a strong supporter of the Genocide Intervention Network.
I still feel the world is better off when unlawful, brutal actions against civilian populations are stopped, and generally, the fastest, most effective way to end these brutal actions is by military operations—operations which unfortunately also may result in loss of life in the civilian community.
IM: Since your resignation from the State Department in opposition to the Iraq War, as a responsible and sometimes outraged citizen, you have been traveling around the world articulating your views as a critic of the policies of the administrations on various international issues, including the use of assassin drones.
From the point of view of Buddhist commitment to Right Action, to awareness of, and a sense of responsibility for, the consequences of one’s actions, the use of drones is particularly reprehensible.
AW: The issue of assassin drones has been a big focus in my work over the last two years. I’ve made trips to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen talking with the families of victims of drone strikes and speaking about my concerns on U.S. foreign policy. It’s important to travel to those countries to let citizens there know there are millions of Americans that totally disagree with the Obama Administration on the use of assassin drones.
The U.S. now has the ability for a person at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to sit in a very comfortable chair and, with a touch on a computer, assassinate people halfway around the world. Little kids are learning killing technology from the time they are four or five years old. Computer games are teaching our society to kill and to be immune from the emotional and spiritual effects of remote-controlled killing. People on a screen are not human beings, our computer games say.
Every Tuesday, known in Washington as “Terror Tuesday,” the president gets a list of people, generally in countries with which the U.S. is NOT at war, that the seventeen intelligence agencies of the United States have identified as having done something against the United States for which they should die without judicial process. The president looks at brief narratives describing what each person has done and then makes a checkmark beside the name of each person he has decided should be extrajudi- cially killed.
It’s not George Bush, but Barack Obama, a constitutional lawyer no less, who as President of the United States has assumed the role of prosecutor, judge and executioner—an unlawful assumption of powers, in my opinion. Americans, as a society, think we are good and generous and that we respect human rights. And yet we are allowing our government to use this type of assassination technology to destroy people half a world away. That’s why I have felt compelled to try to educate more people in the United States and in other parts of the world about what’s going on, because certainly the technology is going from country to country to country. Over eighty countries now have some kind of military drone. Most of them are not weaponized yet. But it’s just the next step to put weapons on their drones and then perhaps even use them on their own coun- trymen and women as the United States has done. The United States has killed four American citizens who were in Yemen.
IM: Then there’s the blowback, the extent to which this technology, which is immediately accessible to everybody, can easily be used against us by others. That’s cause and effect. Or you might call it karma.
AW: Yes, the whole issue of karma is one of the things that has been a motivating factor for me. What goes around comes around. What we, the United States, are doing to the world is coming back to haunt us. The Buddhist readings I did while in Mongolia certainly helped me see this.
At many talks that I give, one of the questions that I get from the audience is, “Why did it take you so long to resign from the State Department?” I spent virtually all of
my adult life being a part of that system and rationalizing what I did in the government. I didn’t agree with all of the policies of the eight presidential administrations I worked under and I held my nose to plenty of them. I found ways to work in areas where I didn’t feel like I was harming anybody. But the bottom line was, I was still part of a system that was doing bad things to people all over the world. And yet I didn’t have the moral courage to say, “I will resign because I disagree with so many of these policies.” When you really look at how many people ever resigned from our government, there are very few—only three of us who resigned over the Iraq War, and others who resigned over the Vietnam War and the Balkan crisis. I never would have imagined that the readings I did in Buddhism, and particularly on karma, would have had such an influence in making my decision to resign and led me to advocate for peace and justice in the world.
IM: Thank you. It’s important for people to know your journey. Many people come to Buddhism as they grapple with suffering in their lives. But these teachings spoke to you at the exact intersection of your personal life and the urgent issues of society. And you were moved beyond contemplation to action. That’s a valuable lesson for us.
Reprinted by permission from Inquiring Mind: The Semiannual Journal of the Vipassana Community, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Spring 2014). © 2014 by Inquiring Mind. www.inquiringmind.com.
STAR-ADVERTISER "KEEPING FAITH"
KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
A Memorial Day prayer breakfast included a number of faith leaders: Paul Gracie, left, Rabbi Peter Schaktman, Bishop Stephen Randolph Sykes, Rev. Jonipher Kupono Kwong, Robert Cody, and the event’s speaker, retired Army Col. Ann Wright.
Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned from the State Department 11 years ago in protest against the Iraq War, told local faith leaders on Memorial Day that they are not doing enough to fight for world peace.
Six years ago Wright, who had served in the military and in diplomatic service for many years, co-wrote "Dissent: Voices of Conscience," about government insiders and active-duty military personnel who challenged the Bush administration's reasons for invading Iraq in 2003. Since resigning, Wright has traveled extensively as a peace activist and has been arrested 15 times for civil resistance.
On Monday, at a Memorial Day prayer breakfast co-sponsored by the Honolulu Friends Meeting (Quakers) and The Interfaith Alliance Hawai'i, Wright spoke about the increasing militarization of society and her recent trip to Vietnam. Other representatives of various faiths also shared their personal perspectives on war.
Wright said the interfaith event, held at the Quakers' Manoa meeting house, served as an opportunity "to see if these religious communities are doing all they can do to stop this scourge on humanity we call war."
She continued, "Members of our congregations are in the military; we have a huge military community here in Hawaii and particularly Oahu, with the four major military bases here. It takes a lot of chutzpah to stand up to say, 'No, these things are wrong.'
"I appreciate the fact that our nation honors those who sign up and say, 'I agree to do what our political leaders tell me to do.' On the other hand, I think that we should be challenging that concept, too," she said.
"We as American civilians have to be even more vigilant, we have to be pushy and ... to hold accountable those who do cause these wars, who do cause torture, these indefinite detentions, who do cause assassin drones, to hold those administrations accountable. It's not a Democratic or Republican thing; it's a human thing."
Wright has spoken frequently at Quaker events as, in her words, "Quakers are such a strong anti-war group," and she has worked with the American Friends Service Committee to promote social justice. Raised a Methodist, she aligns more with Quaker and Unitarian Universalist views, she added.
The Honolulu Friends Meeting conducts unprogrammed worship in silence, without choirs or sermons. Quakers do not have creed or dogma.
Last month Wright presented her research on restoring a sunken Quaker peace ship, The Golden Rule, at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. The boat played a key role in changing public opinion about nuclear testing more than 50 years ago, Wright said.
In 1958, after the U.S. government announced plans to set off nuclear bomb blasts near the Marshall Islands, Quaker pacifist Capt. Albert Bigelow and three crew members sailed the 30-foot vessel from California, stopping over in Hawaii before pushing on to the Marshall Islands in an attempt to stop the testing.
Renie Lindley, lay leader of the Honolulu Friends, said local Quakers were "very much involved in supporting the crew," whose members were convicted and imprisoned. The sunken ship was discovered in 2010 in Northern California's Humboldt Bay. Veterans for Peace is restoring the ship with the intention of one day launching it on a mission of education for peace.
"Quakers are unequivocal on the question of violence," Lindley said. "We totally oppose all wars, all preparation for war, all use of weapons. But refusal to fight with weapons is not surrender. We are not passive when struggling to remove the causes of conflict, working to address all forms of cultural and economic oppression, which lead to violence."
In her recent trip with the Veterans for Peace to see how Vietnam has recovered from the war that ripped the country apart from the 1950s to '70s, Wright said she was stunned to see ill effects of Agent Orange showing up in fourth-generation Vietnamese residents as well as U.S. veterans who sprayed the defoliant. She also saw civilians crippled by the tons of unexploded ordnance left behind and accidently detonated after the war.
"The U.S. has finally acknowledged there are Agent Orange hot spots and began its first remediation after 50 years to remove dioxin contamination ... and our veterans are finally getting compensated" for 19 different diseases that were manifested from contact with the residual toxin, she said.
Wright said wherever the veterans group went it was met not with reproach, but with forgiveness by the Vietnamese, who lost 4 million people in the war, an overwhelming number of them civilians. She said the Vietnamese people advised Americans, "You need to forgive yourselves, and you need to work so it doesn't happen again."
To contact Bartolo email Peaceloversingle@Gmail.com
Talking with National Climate Assessment Vice Chair Gary Yohe: Telling It Like It Is, Not Like It Will Be, On Climate Change
By Dave Lindorff
Dr. Gary Yohe, Huffington Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, and vice chair of the just-released third National Climate Estimate, talks about this latest report, which instead of looking out at a grim future of flooded coastlines, epic droughts and floods and soaring temperatures, looked at the evidence already confronting Americans in every state of the union.
Dear Colleagues, dear Friends:
First of all, thank you very much for organizing the very interesting and important Peace Event in Sarajevo from June 6th to 9th, which you’ve called “the biggest international peace event 2014.” You have put together a compelling program.
Weeks ago I purchased my flight tickets to Sarajevo. I looked forward to the meetings and discussions with colleagues. I was also grateful for the opportunity to show a film, “The Killing Floor,” and to co-present a workshop about the first Global Action Day against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing on October 4, 2014.
Only very recently did I notice that the donors for Peace Event Sarajevo include not only respected NGOs and foundations, but also the French Foreign Ministry (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
How can this be? What do the governments of France and the United States hope to achieve by financing a peace event in Sarajevo? Have you perhaps heardthis same concern from other conference participants?
After all, the U.S. is by far the most aggressive war power in the world, with annual military spending that dwarfs that of all other countries and with operations all over the planet in violation of the sovereignty of other nations and international law. Among European nations, France is playing a particularly aggressive role, especially in Africa, and is working to persuade its European partners in NATO and the EU to join in more military ventures, often in the guise of “peacemaking” and “humanitarian” intervention.
Since I am a U.S. citizen, in the remainder of this letter I wish to explain more fully why I strongly object to the acceptance of a donation from USAID for a peace conference.
As you must know, USAID was founded at the height of the Cold War in 1961 and has played a controversial role in U.S. government destabilization efforts in various countries ever since, beginning with Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The USAID website sets forth the mission of this agency:
“USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.”
“Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.”
“Further, since 9/11, America’s foreign assistance programs have been more fully integrated into the United States’ National Security Strategy.”
Over the years, many countries have expelled USAID. In 2012 Russia expelled USAID because of “attempts to influence political processes through its grants,” and Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela called on all the Latin American ALBA countries to expel USAID.
It seems that these countries had good grounds to expel USAID. For example, in 2013 Wikileaks exposed how USAID worked in Venezuela to destabilize its government. In April 2014, an investigative article by the Associated Press exposed USAID attempts to destabilize Cuba by setting up a Cuban Twitter service. Some 40,000 Cubans joined the Twitter service, unaware of the U.S. role in setting it up. They also were unaware that the U.S. government was monitoring their private Twitter communications. The U.S. had planned to subsequently intervene in Cuban social networks by sending messages to the Twitter subscribers with the aim of fomenting unrest in Cuba. Reporting on the Cuban Twitter scandal, the well-known U.S. independent news program Democracy Now asked: “Is USAID the New CIA?”
Nearer to Sarajevo, USAID has played a leading role in the U.S. “regime change” effort in the Ukraine. USAID of course supports the coup government in Kiev, which includes acknowledged fascists and has unleashed terror and death on countless Ukrainians. Over the last twenty years, USAID pumped $1.8 billion into various Ukrainian projects, including $1.25 million to subsidize the pro-Kiev media in advance of the May 25th presidential election. In May 2014 USAID brokered a U.S. government loan guarantee of another billion dollars.
And here in Germany, USAID is partnered with AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, which is part of the Pentagon and the central command for all U.S. military ventures in Africa, including intelligence gathering, illegal drone murders, clandestine special forces ventures, and providing training and assistance for African military forces allied with the U.S. The U.S. military activities in Africa are often conducted in close association with those of France, and the U.S. has provided France with Reaper drones for use in Africa. To summarize, USAID provides a “humanitarian” veneer for brutal neo-colonial policies in Africa. USAID is the glove on the massive U.S. military fist.
Acceptance of the USAID donation damages the reputation of Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 and of its participants, and undermines the conference’s credibility.
Acceptance of the donation also helps the nefarious USAID to spruce up its image through association with well-respected peace activists, so that USAID can continue to “talk of peace” while preparing wars.
Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 should immediately return the USAID donation.
If for some reason it is not possible to return the USAID donation, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers should at the beginning of the conference disclose to all conference participants all details concerning the USAID donation, including how it came about, its amount, and any donor letters, contracts or correspondence.
Furthermore, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers must assure conference participants that their contact data and other personal information have not been and will not be made available to USAID for future schemes to influence social networks as was attempted by USAID in the Cuban Twitter project.
This article is a Truthout original.
Author Elsa Rassbach is US citizen, filmmaker and journalist, who often lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She heads the “GIs & US Bases” working group in DFG-VK (the German affiliate of War Resisters International, WRI) and is active in Code Pink, UNAC,No to NATO, and the anti-drone campaign in Germany. Her film short “We Were Soldiers in the ‘War on Terror’” has just been released in the U.S., and “The Killing Floor,” her award-winning film set in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released next year.
Originally posted at PoprularResistance.org
Several activists who were early initiators behind the Occupy movement have formed a new political party, The After Party. Carl Gibson and Radio Raheem are among them and they join Dennis to discuss the launch and future plans.
In the second half of the show, comedian Lee Camp, who performed at several Occupy encampments, talks about his new weekly comedy show, Redacted Tonight, now airing on RT every Friday night at 8:30 and 11PM EST.
About Reacted Tonight with Lee Camp |
On page 40 of the attached PDF report from Citi, RUAD, we read that the public stopped the missiles into Syria and is taking war off the table as an option. And that there may be a silver lining in the replacement of war with diplomacy.
By Dave Lindorff
The most patriotic Fourth of July celebration I've ever been to was not in Washington, D.C., but at a little lake in Virginia. We were picnicking on the shore of the lake along with about 75 not very close friends and family. This was a few years ago. I must have been 8 years old.
The lake was packed with boats almost the way the Beltway gets packed with cars, but this fact wasn't slowing them down. The boats were mostly, if not all, decorated with red, white, and blue, and mostly, if not all, had motors and were using them. Predictably enough, every once in a while two boats would collide. It sounded like the end of a car crash, without the screeching before it.
The first time two boats crashed into each other, my Dad jumped into panic mode, ready to call 911, eager to coordinate a rescue, but my Uncle and some other grownups standing around waved him off. This was normal, they said. Everyone would be all right. "Are you sure?" asked my Dad. He seemed worried, but by about the third crash he didn't even look up.
It was about 90 degrees out in the bright sun of early afternoon when the fireworks started. There was a floating platform out in the lake, and a bunch of kids on it began setting off fireworks that were no doubt smaller than those on the National Mall but really didn't seem it. Some of the boats slowed down to watch, but watched from as close as immediately against the platform.
You should know that my Mom has always been horrified of fireworks. When they began going off in the daytime, she assumed something was wrong. And when it was kids, some of them younger than I, setting them off, she -- in her turn -- went into panic mode. She was quickly reassured by all around her that nothing was amiss. I'll admit I thought this was all pretty cool.
But when a little boy on the fireworks platform began screaming as if in horrible pain, I started to worry. The fireworks continued, uninterrupted, but there was a bunch of hurried movement, and a few minutes later a man carried a boy up the grass away from the lake, blood dripping from his arm, which was wrapped in what looked like an American flag. The kid had "just lost a pinky" everyone said, and had some "minor burns."
Not one to make a public fuss, my Mom spoke quietly to me, but more seriously than I can ever recall: "Don't ever go near fireworks. Do you understand?"
I said that I did, and it was actually true. I did.
Uncles and others were firing up grills when the fireworks finally stopped and the sound of boats motoring and crunching into each other returned. I was actually feeling hungry. Nobody had consumed anything yet, except soda or beer.
As soon as the smoke had all cleared from the sky, the air show began. There was a buzzing noise that drowned out all the boat motors. A shadow passed over our picnic table. A predator drone, flying very low and carrying two very visible Hellfire missiles, circled over the lake. Drunk guys started telling their girlfriends that the drone was going to blow some people up, so that when it turned toward us there was lots of screaming, followed by uproarious laughter.
Luckily, the drone finally left without firing. I wish it hadn't. Left, I mean. As soon as it was gone, all concentration seemed to focus on food preparation. I've never been much of a meat eater, and there appeared to be nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers. I asked one of my cousins if there were any veggie-dogs and he acted like I'd said something rude. "Only other thing is war meat," he said. Whatever that meant.
I found out soon enough. The man at the grill by our table shouted for everyone to listen up. He pulled a metal container, like a large curved lunchbox, out of a freezer. "Are you ready?" he asked. For what, I did not know, but everyone nodded. "One," he said. "Two. One. Two. Three. Four." And our whole table started singing the Star Spangled Banner, and I mean bad enough to make a dog cry in agony, which a couple of them did.
When the song was finally over, the man opened the metal container like he was opening a birthday present. People started asking, "What'd we get? What'd we get?" The man pulled a big red chunk of raw meat out with his hand and said, "Pakistani." And after a pause, "Again." He seemed a bit disappointed, but then quickly seemed overwhelmed with pleasure. "Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" our whole little bunch started shouting. Although how the chunk of flesh had actually been identified or recognized I couldn't tell.
"Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" Other tables were shouting it too. Word was passed up and down the picnic grounds, tables telling each other what they'd received. The tally seemed to include almost entirely Pakistani meat, with one or two Yemeni, a few Afghans, and a Libyan. But then a rumor spread that actually caused a hush. One table at the far end of the area, down around a curve in the lake, had apparently been so fortunate as to pull out a piece of "U.S. troop."
"This is a really sick joke!" my Dad said, turning to our table from my Mom, to whom he had apparently been talking and who was apparently crying. "This needs to end right now," my Dad said quite firmly and impressively. But people didn't respond the way I hoped. They just edged away from me and my parents. "What's the matter with you?" a woman asked. There was a lot of whispering. I heard the words "pacifist" and "socialist."
Then a big commotion in the parking lot up the hill took attention away. There were lights of numerous police cars. A crowd of people clumped closely together began drifting in our general direction, stopping at each picnic table for a moment or two before moving on. As they drew closer they took on the look of a celebrity encircled by body guards and swarmed by paparazzi. Then a strangely familiar voice was saying "Good afternoon! How are you all doing this fine day?"
And there was President Obama, grinning and shaking hands. Our crowd seemed delighted and respectful, but not at all surprised. However, one guy spoke up kind of loudly: "I hear we're not having any more wars next year, Mr. President."
Obama turned on him, not unlike that predator drone turning toward us, and with a somewhat similar reaction. "That's all right," he said. "That's all right. Let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency. Let me be clear. The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it -- when our people are threatened, when our livelihood is at stake, or when the security of our allies is in danger."
The President grinned as though he were in possession of a wonderful secret. "Let me let you in on something," he said, almost whispering. "We've got troops permanently stationed in 175 countries. Our people can be threatened any time we want." He laughed and glanced around appreciating the knowing nods and smiles. "So, how's the meat?"
This is a crosspost from www.news-beacon-ireland.info
published on Shannonwatch 2 June 2014
republished here under the term of Fair Use
On Tuesday May 27th, two members of Shannonwatch appeared in Ennis District Court to answer a charge under the Public Order Act, Section 8. This related to an incident that took place on October 13th 2013.
Renato M. Reyes, Jr. (pictured at right) is secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). He has been with the organization since 2001. He was also the founding chair of the youth group Anakbayan in 1998. He blogs here and was involved in protests when U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited the Philippines. I asked him about it.
Was Obama unwelcomed in the Philippines?
The PH government rolled out the red carpet for Obama. In the streets however, thousands marched to protest Obama’s PH visit. The protests were aimed at the unequal relations between the US and the Philippines, in particular, US military intervention and economic impositions such as the TPPA. The visit also coincided with the signing of a new agreement called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which would bring back US military facilities in the Philippines.
We had a two day protest, the first was a march near the Presidential Palace where we burned a giant effigy of Obama on a chariot and Aquino as his running dog. There were protests in different parts of the country as well. On the second day, we marched near the US embassy where we were met by a phalanx of policemen. The police used their shields and water cannons to disperse the protesters but we stood our ground. It was our indignation regarding the signing of the EDCA.
What agreement have the governments signed?
The EDCA is an agreement that allows US forces to use our PH facilities, to build their own facilities within these facilities and to preposition their equipment in PH territory. These facilities will function as bases where US forces can station troops as well as deploy troops and weapons systems such as armed drones. The EDCA is consistent with the US strategic rebalancing towards Asia, and is in furtherance of US economic and security interests in the region.
What do people of the Philippines think about it?
There are different opinions. Some welcome the EDCA thinking that it would help the Philippines against China’s incursions. They wrongly believe that the EDCA will result in the modernization of the PH armed forces. Those in the mass movement are very critical of the EDCA. Lawmakers from the Senate and Lower House have also raised serious objections. Two petitions have been filed before the PH supreme court questioning the EDCA. Lawyers, academicians, lawmakers, church people and activists have united to oppose the EDCA.
How is a dispute with China over some islands being used here?
The dispute with China is being exploited by the US to justify its permanent military presence in the Philippines. The US gives the false assurance that it would support the Philippines in the event of an armed attack by China. When Obama was confronted with this question during his PH visit, he avoided answering it and instead claimed that the US was interested in cooperating with China. The US is not likely going to war with the US due to the disputed areas in the West PH Sea. The US uses the Philippines as a footstool in Asia but would not come to the aid of the Philippines. The PH government meanwhile shows utter mendicancy and puppetry when it thinks that its sovereignty can be upheld through a foreign power.
I like to think of the Philippines, along with Ecuador, as a success story, a place that told the U.S. military to get out (in 1991) -- how did that happen and what has happened since? How is this connected to U.S. military presence back to 1898?
The Filipino people have a long history of resistance to US colonial occupation and neo-colonial domination. The resistance includes armed struggle against US colonialism and currently, neo-colonialism.
The Filipino people struggled for decades against the presence of US bases and were finally successful in 1991 when the PH senate rejected a new basing treaty. The US basing agreement was so lopsided in favor of the US and constituted an affront to our sovereignty. The treaty rejection was possible only because there was a strong mass movement that campaigned for several decades.
Are you working with people opposed to bases in Okinawa, Jeju Island, elsewhere?
We are in solidarity with the anti-bases groups in Okinawa, Jeju, Australia and Korea. We have joined actions in opposition to the construction of new bases as well as the abuses of the US troops. We are part of the Ban the Bases global network which shares information and conducts campaigns on bases issues.
I'm speaking with the Mayor of Nago City, Okinawaw, who was elected to stop a base and is coming to the United States to try to stop it. What would you like me to say to him?
To the people of Okinawa, we are in solidarity with you. Never give up the struggle to boot out foreign bases. A nation cannot be truly free if foreign troops continue to be stationed on its shores.
What would you like to say to the people of the United States?
To the American people, do not let your taxes be spent for war and occupation, for US bases and intervention. Please support the campaign to shut down these bases and to get the US troops out of Asia and other continents.
Philippines climate chief Naderev Yeb Sano made a plea to the world? Is that effort connected with the effort against bases? Do these movements work together?
I met Yeb Sano when we were in the university during the 90’s. His plea may not be directly related to the bases movement. However, there are many environmental groups campaigning against the bases, including for compensation for the environmental damage wrought by US forces in their former bases in Subic and Clark as well as the recent destruction of a part of the Tubbataha Reef.
You are a musician: How does that fit into your activism?
I’ve been playing music since I was seven. I play the piano, guitar, blues harp or harmonica and the ukulele. Music is another outlet where we can express ourselves and help amplify the message to a broader audience. We did a series of recording two years ago when a friend got arrested in a remote province. We called it Prison Sessions, and we did videos of our sessions. We used the recordings to raise awareness of the plight of political prisoners and imprisoned artists. My friend was eventually released after two years of detention. We now play during events…outside the jail of course.
To contact Bartolo email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil.
The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale
June 3, 2014
Editor Note: The right-wing media is denouncing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a “deserter” who wasn’t worth ransoming from the Taliban, but the real villains are the architects of the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars who frivolously put the many Bergdahls in harm’s way.
By Ray McGovern
For me, the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl affair brings back angry memories of how, in 2009, President Barack Obama caved in to be-medaled and be-ribboned generals like David Petraeus and ordered a modified-limited-hangout-type “surge” of 33,000 troops into Afghanistan. Consequential cowardice at work – trading lives for political advantage – as bad as it gets.
On Thursday, May 29, with 25 meters of signatures, the resounding NO to Italian cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot was taken to Rome City Hall. The 7114 signatures on the petition against the agreement signed between Rome’s water utility ACEA and Mekorot snaked their way through the public square where a delegation of the Committee Against ACEA-Mekorot Cooperation and the Rome Coordination for Public Water delivered a copy to the office of mayor Ignazio Marino. The petition calls on the city of Rome, the majority shareholder in ACEA, thus far silent on the issue, to take the necessary steps to block the agreement signed by the two companies.
Mekorot, Israel's national water company, is responsible for serious violations of international law. The company extracts water illegally from Palestinian water sources, in turn providing the stolen water to Israeli settlements built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, which could not exist without Mekorot. An artificial water shortage that concerns only the Palestinian people has been created by Israeli policies, implemented by Mekorot, while abundant water supplies flow to the swimming pools, lawns and intensive agriculture of the Israeli settlements. The Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq refers to this as "water apartheid," and organizations such as Amnesty International have stated that the purpose of these policies is to expel the Palestinians from their land.
On the Campidoglio Square in front of City Hall, where the movement for the right to housing was also protesting, activists noted that while the ACEA denies the fundamental right to water with cutoffs for those unable to pay their water bill, the company is now looking to go into business with those stealing water in Palestine in order to turn a profit on a common good.
Beyond Rome and Italy, the signatures on the petition also came from more than 60 countries around the world, including Israel. Just days prior, on May 25 a letter from Israeli citizens was sent to the City of Rome and ACEA demanding that all cooperation with Mekorot cease immediately. http://bdsitalia.org/index.
Protests will continue on June 5 at 10:00 am during the ACEA annual shareholders meeting, where activists working to defend the fundamental right to water, from Rome to Palestine, will reaffirm, in addition to the calls for an end to the agreement with Mekorot, that there is no room for profits and private speculation on water and its management must be public.
No Committee Mekorot ACEA Agreement
Coordination Roman Public Water
The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action by Michael Nagler has just been published. We speak with the author. Nagler is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. He cofounded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley, where he is professor emeritus of classics and comparative literature.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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Rutland, MA has passed the Rutland Restoring Constitutional Governance Resolution (RCGR) by a unanimous margin. This resolution provides inhabitants of Rutland their first legal defense against indefinite detentions since passage of the 2012 NDAA.
The overwhelming support for Rutland RCGR once again tells elected officials throughout Worcester County and all of Massachusetts that the citizens here in the cradle of liberty will never give up their cherished civil rights.
To contact Bartolo email email@example.com
Memorial for Civic Activist John Judge Sustains His Legacy
Two hundred admirers of the late civic activist and historical researcher John P. Judge fostered his legacy during a memorial service May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D), a next door neighbor and close friend, described Judge as an extraordinary truth-seeker in the spirit of the ancient Diogenes. And, Kucinich continued, "what better place for it than Washington, DC -- the capital of smoke and mirrors?"