by Carl Herman
published on Washington’s Blog 4 Oct 2014
republished here under the term of Fair Use
Expired respirators? Unsanitary hand sanitizer? Antivirals unaccounted for? No problem! As long as the TSA keeps putting its hands down people's pants, we're safe!
Read the rest at TSA News.
Charles Lewis' book, 935 Lies, would make a fine introduction to reality for anyone who believes the U.S. government usually means well or corporations tend to tell the truth in the free market. And it would make an excellent introduction to the decline and fall of the corporate media. Even if these topics aren't new to you, this book has something to add and retells the familiar quite well.
The familiar topics include the Gulf of Tonkin, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the civil rights movement, U.S. aggression and CIA overthrows, Pinochet, Iran-Contra, lying tobacco companies, and Edward R. Murrow. Lewis brings insight to these and other topics, and if he doesn't document that things were better before the 1960s, he does establish that horrible things have been getting worse since, and are now much more poorly reported on.
The New York Times and Washington Post were afraid not to print the Pentagon Papers. Nowadays a typical decision was that of the New York Times to bury its story on warrentless spying in 2004, with the explanation that printing it might have impacted an election. TV news today would not show you the civil rights movement or the war on Vietnam as it did at the time.
Lewis has hope for new media, including the Center for Public Integrity, which he founded in 1989, and which has produced numerous excellent reports, including on war profiteering, and which Lewis says is the largest nonprofit investigative reporting organization in the world.
Points I quibble with:
1. Human Rights Watch as a model media organization? Really?
2. The New America Foundation as a model media organization? Really?
3. Think tanks as a great hope for integrity in public life? Really?
4. After making 935 of the George W. Bush gang's lies a book title, you aren't sure he "knowingly" lied? Seriously?
This is the guy who wanted an excuse to attack Iraq before he had one. He told Tony Blair they could perhaps paint a U.S. plane in U.N. colors, fly it low, and hope for it to get shot at -- after which conversation the two men spoke to the media about how they were trying to avoid war. This was January 31, 2003, and is quite well documented, but I don't think a single reporter who was lied to that day has taken any offense or asked for an apology. This is the president who rushed the war to prevent completion of inspections. This is the president who made dozens of wild claims about weapons without evidence -- in fact with evidence to the contrary.
Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the former president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: "What's the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger." What's the difference? It's the difference between lying and meaning well. This interview is available on video.
5. Why not bring the trend of lying about wars up to date, I wonder. Since I wrote War Is A Lie we've had all the lies about drone wars, the lies about Gadaffi threatening to slaughter civilians, the lies about Iranian nukes and Iranian terrorism, the lies about Russian invasions and attacks in Ukraine, the lies about chemical weapons use in Syria, the lies about humanitarian and barbaric justifications for attacking Iraq yet again. It's hard to even keep up with the pace of the lies. But we ought to be able to properly identify the mother of all lies, and I don't think it was the Gulf of Tonkin.
6. Lewis's model of integrity is Edward R. Murrow. Among Murrow's independent and heroic credentials, according to Lewis, is that he met with President Roosevelt hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, I take nothing away from Murrow's reporting and the stand he later took for a free press. But why did Lewis bring up this meeting? And once he'd brought it up why did he not mention that Murrow told his wife that night that FDR had given him the "biggest story of my life, but I don't know if it's my duty to tell it or forget it." The Murrow depicted by Lewis would have known what his duty was. Murrow later told John Gunther that the story would put his kid through college if he told it. He never did.
That many people will not immediately know what the story was is testimony to a pattern that Lewis documents. Some lies take many, many years to fall apart. The biggest ones sometimes take the longest.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
by Debra Sweet It was heartbreaking to hear of the suicide of Jacob David George last week. He had been sent to Afghanistan three times with the Marines, from the age of 19-22. We met him in NYC on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, just on the even of OWS. An Arkansan, he rode his bike with the Guitarmy. I last saw him playing his guitar and singing at the Ft. Meade rally for Chelsea Manning.Most significantly, Jacob was one of the veterans who threw their medals toward the NATO meeting in Chicago, at the 2012 antiwar protest in Chicago.
|by Debra Sweet The most frequently asked question I'm hearing, including among people who have been active in opposing U.S. wars, is “but, don't we have to do somethingabout ISIS?” Yes, “we” do. We — people living in this country — do have to send a loud message to the rest of the world that we are completely against the killing, theft of resources, subjugation of women and denial of peoples’ rights in the region by the forces responsible. The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is both a response to U.S. occupation of the region, and also literally, in some cases, was created by torture in U.S. prisons in Iraq; by billions of dollars in U.S.|
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Part 1: (00:59) A dispatch from The People's Climate March featuring interviews with Immortal Technique (Hip Hop legend) Kshama Sawant (Socialist City Council member Jill Stein (for Green Party Presidential candidate), Pat Scanlon (Vets for Peace) Art Shegonee (Federation of United Tribes), Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese (Popular Resistance) and other artists, activist, children, and street revelers!
Part 2: (10:18) A dispatch from the Flood Wall Street day of action, featuring exclusive footage, analysis and interviews with Clayton Thomas-Muller (Idle No More), Tim DeChristopher (Peaceful Uprising), Andy Bichlbaum (The Yes Men), Arun Gupta (Counterpunch), and Flood Wall Street organizer Goldi Guerra.
By Linn Washington
Police carp about college students’ selection of a prison inmate for their commencement speaker. It must have something to do with Mumia Abu-Jamal…the man that cops across America love to hate.
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), issued a statement on October 1 that blasted Goddard College for its failure to block the commencement speech scheduled for Sunday (10/5) by Abu-Jamal, an alum of the small liberal arts institution in Vermont.
Here comes another October 7th, time once again for celebrating the International Day of Wars-Start-Easy-But-They’re-a-Bitch-to-End. That is, if we can spare a few moments away from celebrating the new wars we’re starting.
On this date 13 years ago, the United States attacked Afghanistan, which the U.S. President saw primarily as a step toward attacking Iraq, although — in fairness — God had told him to attack both countries. I asked God about that recently and he said, “You want to see regrets. Oh my God, you should talk to the Nobel Committee about that peace laureate.” I didn’t have to ask which one, and I didn’t ask who his God was, fearing an endless discussion loop.
Way back yonder in 2001 before presidents openly spied on everything, launched wars without a pretense of legality, imprisoned without charge, assassinated at will, and kept enough secrets to have outraged Richard Nixon, the general public wasn’t given quite all the information by its beloved televisions. We weren’t told the Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over to a neutral nation to stand trial. We weren’t told the Taliban was a reluctant tolerator of al Qaeda, and a completely distinct group. We weren’t told the 911 attacks had also been planned in Germany and Maryland and various other places not marked for bombing. We weren’t told that most of the people who would die in Afghanistan, many more than died on 911, not only didn’t support 911 but never heard of it. We weren’t told our government would kill large numbers of civilians, imprison people without trial, hang people by their feet and whip them until they were dead.
We weren’t told how this illegal war would advance the acceptability of illegal wars or how it would make the United States hated in much of the world. We weren’t given the background of how the U.S. interfered in Afghanistan and provoked a Soviet invasion and armed resistance to the Soviets and left the people to the tender mercies of that armed resistance once the Soviets left. We weren’t told that Tony Blair wanted Afghanistan first before he’d get the UK to help destroy Iraq. We certainly weren’t told that bin Laden had been an ally of the U.S. government, that the 911 hijackers were mostly Saudi, or that there might be anything at all amiss with the government of Saudi Arabia. And nobody mentioned the trillions of dollars we’d waste or the civil liberties we’d have to lose at home or the severe damage that would be inflicted on the natural environment. Even birds don’t go to Afghanistan anymore.
The Taliban was very swiftly destroyed in 2001 through a combination of overwhelming killing power and desertion. The U.S. then began hunting for anyone who had once been a member of the Taliban. But these included many of the people now leading the support of the U.S. regime — and many such allied leaders were killed and captured despite not having been Taliban as well, through sheer stupidity and corruption. Dangling $5,000 rewards in front of poor people produced false-accusations that landed their rivals in Bagram or Guantanamo, and the removal of these often key figures devastated communities, and turned communities against the United States that had previously been inclined to support it. Add to this the vicious and insulting abuse of whole families, including women and children captured and harassed by U.S. troops, and the revival of the Taliban under the U.S. occupation begins to become clear. The lie we’ve been told to explain it is that the U.S. became distracted by Iraq, but the Taliban revived precisely where U.S. troops were imposing a rule of violence and not where other internationals were negotiating compromises using, you know, words.
This has been a bumbling oblivious and uncomprehending foreign occupation (as they always are) torturing and murdering a lot of its own strongest allies, shipping some of them off to Gitmo — even shipping to Gitmo young boys whose only offense had been being the sexual assault victims of U.S. allies
When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors, and has been celebrated for ending the war ever since. Five years have been spent discussing the “drawdown.” The U.S. public has been telling pollsters we want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible” for years and years. Endless speeches have bragged about ending wars that Obama supposedly “inherited.” And yet, there are now 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more than when Obama became president. Several NATO allies have wisely departed, but that’s the extent of the “drawdown.” Measured death and destruction or financial cost, Afghanistan is much more President Obama’s war than President Bush’s.
Now, Obama has managed to get a new Afghan president to agree to U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan with immunity from any criminal prosecution, until “2024 and beyond.” Obama claims he’ll reduce troop levels to 9,800 this year, 6,000 next year, and 1,000 the following year — at which point he’ll still be guarding Afghanistan’s new president better than he guards the White House.
This has been Obama’s plan from Day 1. He’s never actually said he would ever end the war; he’s just been given endless credit for doing so. But there’s a bit of rightwing nonsense in the air these days that, combined with the sheer number of U.S. wars, distracts people from the outrageousness of keeping the war on Afghanistan going for another decade “and beyond.” The bit of nonsense is the idea that Iraq has gone to hell because U.S. troops left. In fact, Iraq was a worse hell when U.S. troops were there, and it was the hard work of the U.S. troops and their allies over several years that put Iraq on the path to the hell it now is. Even Obama, who tried desperately to get criminal immunity for U.S. troops in order to leave them in Iraq three years ago, admits that having left them there would have done no good. But surely this bit of counterfactual lunacy — the idea that the troops leaving broke Iraq — helps to stifle our protests and outrage at the latest news from Vietghanistan.
Obama used to be a proud member of the Let’s Stop Killing Iraqis and Kill More Afghans Club. Now he’s back in Iraq plus Syria killing so many civilians that he’s announced that rules for minimizing civilian deaths don’t apply. I’ve got a scheme to help him bamboozle his antiwar supporters back into adoring him. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s an unexpected reversal. And at least half the country already thinks he’s done it anyway: Get the U.S. Military Out of Afghanistan. Now. Entirely. No Strings Attached.
October 3, 2014 — A statement on the current and enduring crisis, by the coordinating committee of WorldBeyondWar.org
The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.
Graphic beheadings and other quite real stories of horrors committed by a new enemy — ISIS — have led to increased support for U.S. involvement. But a war on ISIS will make things worse for all concerned, following, as it does, a pattern of counterproductive action. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise.
Nonviolent alternatives to war are abundant, morally superior, and strategically more effective. Some but not all are: apologies for past actions; arms embargoes; a Marshall Plan of restitution for the Middle East; meaningful diplomacy; appropriate conflict resolution responses to terrorism; addressing the immediate crisis with humanitarian intervention; redirecting our energies at home; supporting peace journalism; working through the United Nations; and de-authorizing the war on terror.
No solution by itself will bring peace to the region. Many solutions together can create a strong web of peacebuilding fabric superior to continued war. We cannot expect to make all of the above happen immediately. But by working toward those ends we can achieve the best results as quickly and as lastingly as possible.
We need teach-ins, communications, and education of all sorts. People should know enough facts to give their positions context. We need demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, town forums, disruptions, and media productions. And if we make this a part of ending the whole institution of war, rather than just a particular war, we may move closer to not having to keep opposing new wars all the time.
WHERE WE ARE
Public opinion on wars in the United States follows a tragic pattern, soaring — sometimes to over a majority — in support of a war when it’s new, and then predictably sinking. During most of the 2003-2011 U.S. war on Iraq, a majority in the U.S. said the war should never have been begun. In 2013, public opinion and pressure played a prominent role in preventing the launching of a new U.S. war on Syria. In February 2014, the U.S. Senate rejected legislation that would have moved the United States closer to war with Iran. On July 25, 2014, with the U.S. public against a new U.S. war in Iraq, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that would have required the President to obtain authorization before launching a war (just as the Constitution already requires) had the Senate passed the resolution too. At that distant date of a few months back, it was still possible to talk about an “antiwar mood,” to applaud the Catholic peace group Pax Christi for its historic decision to reject “just war” theory, to celebrate the state of Connecticut’s creation of a commission to transition to peaceful industries, to point to public support for taxing the rich and cutting the military as the top two solutions whenever the U.S. government and media discussed a debt crisis, and to envision a less-militarized future approaching.
But support for U.S. drone strikes remained relatively high, opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza with U.S. weapons remained weak (and in Congress and the White House virtually nonexistent), the CIA was arming Syrian rebels against the overwhelming preference of the U.S. public, and the proposed missile strikes into Syria had not been replaced with any significant effort to create an arms embargo, negotiate a ceasefire, provide major humanitarian aid, or otherwise reject a war-focused foreign policy and economic agenda that had merely been put on hold. Moreover, public opposition to war was weak and ill-informed. Most Americans lacked even a roughly accurate idea of the destruction their government had caused in Iraq, could not name the nations their government was striking with drones, didn’t study the evidence that their government had lied about chemical weapons attacks in Syria and threats to civilians in Libya, didn’t pay much attention to the human rights abuses or support for terrorism by U.S.-backed kings and dictators, and had been long trained to believe that violence arises out of the irrationality of foreigners and can be cured with greater violence.
Support for a new war was driven by graphic beheadings and other quite real stories of horrors committed by a new enemy: ISIS. This support is as likely to be short-lived as support for other wars has been, barring some dramatic new motivation. And this support has been exaggerated. Pollsters ask whether something should be done and then simply assume that the something is violence. Or they ask whether this type of violence should be employed or that type of violence, never offering any nonviolent alternatives. So, other questions could produce other answers right now; time is likely to change the answers for the better; and education would accelerate that changing.
Opposition to the horrors of ISIS makes perfect sense, but opposition to ISIS as a motivation for war lacks context in every way. U.S. allies in that region, including the Iraqi government and the so-called Syrian rebels, behead people, as do U.S. missiles. And ISIS isn’t such a new enemy after all, including as it does Iraqis thrown out of work by the U.S. disbanding of the Iraqi military, and Iraqis brutalized for years in U.S. prison camps. The United States and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, leaving behind sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere. Even opponents of the Saddam Hussein government (which was also put into power by the United States) say there could have been no ISIS had the United States not attacked and destroyed Iraq.
Additional context is provided by the manner in which the U.S. occupation of Iraq temporarily ended in 2011. President Obama withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq when he couldn’t get the Iraqi government to give them immunity for any crimes they might commit. He has now obtained that immunity and sent troops back in.
ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. That’s how ISIS wants to be seen. U.S. wars have made the United States so hated in that part of the world, that ISIS openly encouraged U.S. attacks in an hour-long film, provoked them with the beheading videos, and has seen huge recruitment gains since the U.S. began attacking it.
ISIS is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and seized from, and even provided by the Iraqi government. At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transferred to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States.
So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you’ve left in chaos. Libya is of course another example of the disasters that U.S. wars leave behind them — a war in which U.S. weapons were used on both sides, and a war launched on the pretext of a claim well documented to have been false that Gadaffi was threatening to massacre civilians.
So, here’s the next thing to do: be very skeptical of humanitarian claims. The U.S. bombing around Erbil to protect Kurdish and U.S. oil interests was initially justified as bombing to protect people on a mountain. But most of those people on the mountain were in no need of rescue, and that justification has now been set aside, just as Benghazi was.
A war on ISIS isn’t a bad idea because the suffering of ISIS’s victims is not our problem. Of course it’s our problem. We are human beings who care about each other. A war on ISIS is a bad idea because it is not only counterproductive, but will make things worse. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. 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. Drone strikes have increased terrorism and anti-Americanism in places like Yemen. The new U.S. attacks on ISIS have already killed many civilians. “For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies,” according to General Stanley McChrystal. The White House has announced that strict standards for avoiding large numbers of civilian deaths do not apply to its latest war.
ISIS is fighting against the government of Syria, the same government that President Obama wanted to bomb last year. The United States is arming close allies of ISIS in Syria, while bombing ISIS and other groups (and civilians) in Syria. But the U.S. State Department has not changed its position on the Syrian government. It is entirely possible that the United States will attack both sides of the Syrian war. Even the fact of already attacking the opposite side from a year ago, and the same side you’re arming ought to be enough to make anyone ask whether the point is largely to bomb somebody for the sake of bombing somebody. Bombing people is one of the best known methods by which the U.S. government convinces the U.S. media that it is “doing something.”
It is tearing down the rule of law, among other things. Without Congressional authorization, President Obama is violating the U.S. Constitution, and his earlier professed belief. “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” said Senator Barack Obama quite accurately.
With a Congressional authorization, this war would still violate the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which are the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. The British Parliament voted to approve assistance in attacking Iraq, but not Syria — the latter being too clearly illegal for their taste.
The White House has refused to estimate the duration or the cost of this war. There is every reason to assume that conditions on the ground will worsen. So only public pressure, not some sort of victory, will end the war. In fact, military victories are almost unheard of in this era. The RAND corporation studied how terrorist groups come to an end, and found that 83% are ended through politics or policing, only 7% through war. This may be why President Obama keeps saying, quite accurately, “There is no military solution,” while pursuing a military solution.
So what should be done and how can we make it happen?
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE
Adopt a new approach toward the world: Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in a prison camp and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there. Apologize for arming the region and its kings and dictators, for past support for the Syrian government, and for the U.S. role in the Syrian war. Cease to support abusive governments in Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Pursue an arms embargo: Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation or ISIS or any other group, and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!) Cut off the 79% of weapons that flow to the Middle East from the United States. Urge Russia, China, European nations, and others to cease shipping any weapons to the Middle East. Open negotiations for a nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons free region, to include the elimination of those weapons by Israel.
Create a Marshall Plan of restitution to the entire Middle East. Deliver aid (not “military aid” but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nations of Iraq and Syria and their neighbors. This can generate sympathy in the population supportive of terrorists. This can be done on a massive scale for less cost than continuing to shoot $2 million missiles at the problem. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies — at much lower cost, of course, than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program. End economic sanctions.
Give real diplomacy a chance: Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms. Open negotiations that include Iran and Russia. Use the mechanisms provided by the United Nations constructively. The political problems in the region require political solutions. Employ peaceful means to pursue representative governments respectful of human rights, regardless of the consequences for U.S. oil corporations or any other influential profiteers. Propose the creation of truth and reconciliation commissions. Allow for citizen diplomacy efforts.
Apply an appropriate conflict resolution response to terrorism by creating a multi-layered policy framework. (1) Prevention by reducing proneness to terrorism; (2) persuasion by reducing motivation and recruitment; (3) denial by reducing vulnerability and defeating hardliners; (4) coordination by maximizing international efforts.
Dissolve terrorism at its roots. It is proven that civilian-based nonviolent forces can produce decisive change in societies, consequently reducing the demand for terrorism as a form of struggle, even driving a wedge between militants and their sympathizers. We need engagement through strategic contact, consultation and dialog rather than military force. Sustainable peacebuilding processes require the engagement of multiple stakeholders from multiple sectors of societies affected by violent conflict. Strengthening the civil society in the conflict zone will diminish the support base for terrorist groups. Responding with more violence is the victory which extremists seek. Deliberative dialogue inclusive of all views assists in understanding the sources of violence; addressing them through nonviolent strategies and creating conditions for sustainable peace will drive a wedge between militants and their sympathizers.
Address the immediate crisis with a firm but caring humanitarian intervention: Send journalists, aid workers, international nonviolent peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.
Redirect our energies at home: Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis. At the same time, make economic transition from war to peace industries in the United States a collective public project of top priority.
Support peace journalism: “Peace journalism is when editors and reporters make choices — about what to report, and how to report it — that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.”
Stop going rogue: Work through the United Nations on all of the above. Adhere to international law, more specifically the UN Charter and Kellogg-Briand Pact. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.
De-authorize the war on terror (Authorization For Use of Military Force) as a “forever war authorization” — The AUMF can be challenged by taking partial but important steps. Those include reining in the drone warfare program and increasing government accountability. These steps have broad support among human rights and legal rights groups.
HOW WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN
We cannot expect to make all of the above happen immediately. But we can move in that direction as quickly as possible. The government will come further toward meeting us the more persuasive and powerful our demand. So, determining Congress members’ current position and asking them for just that or a little better is unlikely to produce better results and could produce worse ones — both in the short and long term. A compromise is usually made between two sides of a debate, so it matters where the side of peace is established. And if we demand a limited war, we eliminate the opportunity to inform anyone about the advantages of avoiding war altogether. Thus, people will lack that information when the next war is proposed. We also cannot expect to organize large numbers of people to demonstrate, protest, or lobby for “a war of no more than 12 months.” It lacks the poetry and the morality of “No War.”
Once a war is well underway and a debate is framed around how many more months it should go on, and the reality on the ground is predictably worsening, and “support the troops” propaganda is insisting that the war go on for the supposed benefit of the troops killing, dying, and committing suicide in it, the problem of how to end it is likely to loom much larger than if the popular position of “No War, Nonviolence Instead” has been well-articulated and defended.
A demand is going to be heard for “no ground troops.” This should not be the focus of a peace movement. For one thing there already are some 1,600 U.S. ground troops in Iraq. They’re labeled “advisors” as are the 26 Canadians who just joined them. But nobody actually believes 1,626 people are giving advice. Another 2,300 troops will be deployed as a Middle East Marine Corps task force. By demanding “No Ground Troops” while accepting the pretense that they aren’t there now, we can actually give our stamp of approval to any ground troop labeled something else. In addition, a war dominated by air strikes is likely to kill more people, not fewer people, than a ground war. This is an opportunity to inform our neighbors who may be unaware that these wars are one-sided slaughters killing mostly people who live where they’re fought, and killing mostly civilians. Once we’ve acknowledged that reality, how can we continue with cries of “No ground troops” rather than “No war”?
We need teach-ins, communications, and education of all sorts. People should know that beheading victim James Foley was opposed to war. People should know that ISIS gives George W. Bush credit in their film for being right about the need for war and pushes for greater warmaking against them by the United States. People should understand that ISIS promotes martyrdom as the highest goal, and that bombing ISIS strengthens it.
We need demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, town forums, disruptions, and media productions.
Our message to people is: get active and engaged in what we’re doing; you’ll be surprised how this can be turned around. And if we make this a part of ending the whole institution of war, rather than just a particular war, we may move closer to not having to keep opposing new wars all the time.
Our message to Congress members is: publicly pressure Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid to get back to work and vote to halt this war, or do not expect our votes to keep you in office for another term.
Our message to the President is: now would be a good time to end the mind-set that gets us into wars, as you said you wanted to do. Is this really what you want to be remembered for?
Our message to the United Nations is: the U.S. government is in blatant violation of the U.N. Charter. You must hold the United States accountable.
Our message to all parties is: war has no justification and no benefit, now or ever. It is immoral, makes us less safe, threatens our environment, erodes liberties, impoverishes us, and takes $2 trillion a year away from where it could do a world of good.
World Beyond War has a bureau of speakers who can address these topics. Find them here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/
 The Kellogg–Briand Pact is a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.” For an in-depth exploration see David Swanson’s When the World Outlawed War (2011).
 Political apologies are considered part of a complex peacebuilding process in conjunction with other conflict transformation techniques. See a summary of Apologia Politica: States and their apologies by proxy.
 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, for example, urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo into Syria.
 As discussed by peace and conflict studies experts John Paul Lederach in Addressing terrorism: a theory of change approach (2011) and David Cortright in Gandhi and Beyond. Nonviolence for a new political age (2009)
By Reese Erlich
Veteran foreign correspondent Reese Erlich was in northern Iraq at the start of the U.S. bombing campaign against Islamic State. He interviewed Kurdish leaders, peshmerga fighters and U.S. officials. He says the reality on the ground is far different from the propaganda coming out of Washington.
By John LaForge
In 2008, the Obama Administration made eye-popping headlines by announcing a 10-year, $80 billion nuclear weapons development program. In 2009, Mr. Obama promised to pursue a “world without nuclear weapons,” but that was then.
By 2010, new warhead plans had grown to an estimated $355 billion, decade-long cash cow that amounts to a cool $1 trillion over 30 years. The colossal expense has already been generally adopted by the House and Senate in military authorization bills -- according to the Sept. 22 New York Times.
One of three new production sites just opened -- a $700 million non-nuclear parts plant run by Honeywell in Kansas City, Missouri. The other factories include a uranium fabrication complex at the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and a plutonium processing works at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. The latter two programs have run up such enormous cost increases that even the White House has blinked.
Plans for LANL’s plutonium production -- originally expected to cost $660 million -- expanded into a $5.8 billon golden goose. The project was suspended in 2012, and engineers went to work at cost cutting. At Oak Ridge, the uranium processing “canyon” rocketed from a $6.5 billion proposal to a $19 billion war contractor’s wet dream. The White House halted the scheme this year, and the lab is reworking plans for fixing its 60-year long nuclear meth habit.
New H-bomb production is advertised as “revitalization”, “modernization”, “refurbishment” and “improvements”. The buzz words are used by corporate weapons contractors and their congressional lapdogs who speak of the “40-year-old submarine warhead” (known as the W-76), or who feign concern over “fires, explosions and workplace injuries” that are “deplorable” because the equipment “breaks down on a daily basis”, the Times reported.
The War System always neglects to mention that 15,000 plutonium warheads are currently maintained at Pantex, Texas and are good for 50 years, according to The Guardian, Sept. 29. The trillion dollar nuclear bomb building plan is to produce up to 80 new warheads every year by 2030.
The military currently deploys almost 5,000 nuclear warheads -- on submarines, land-based missiles, and heavy bombers. This, even though Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel signed a report (before he was appointed to his current job) that found that only 900 nuclear warheads were “necessary.” Hagel’s report recommended abolishing 3,500 warheads now in ready reserve, saying warhead numbers are much larger than required.
Independent observers, watch dogs and think tanks have argued for decades that the arsenal can be drastically reduced and made less dangerous: a) by not replacing retired warheads; b) by taking deployed warheads off “alert”; and c) by separating warheads from missiles and bombs. This separation would lengthen warning-to-launch times, thus easing international tensions and ending the terrifying likelihood of accidental or unauthorized launches.
Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, which bird dogs the Cold War lab, says the reason new H-bomb production is being considered at all is simply private greed. For-profit corporations now run all the government’s nuclear weapons labs, ever since they were privatized in 2006. Mello says, “The nuclear weapons labs are sized for the Cold War, and they need a Cold War to keep that size.”
Further, in a report leaked last year, the Navy itself questioned the need for producing any new warheads. (The Navy controls at least 1,152 warheads spread across its 14 Trident submarines.) And James Doyle, a 17-year veteran scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (who was fired this past July 8 for independently publishing a scholarly article defending nuclear disarmament), told The Guardian, “I’ve never seen the justification articulated for the 50-to-80- pits per year by 2030.”
Jay Coghlan, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, was shocked by the President’s double talk, telling the Guardian, “Obama’s proposed 2015 budget is the highest ever for nuclear weapons research and production. And at the same time, they’re cutting non-proliferation budgets to pay for it.”
The $1 trillion doesn’t include a few hundred billion more for new nuclear war-fighting systems like:
· The $80 billion cost of building 12 new ballistic missile submarines to replace the Navy’s Trident fleet. Sen. Richard Blumenthall, D-CT, told the New London Day Sept. 23, “The essence here is this boat will be the strongest, stealthiest, most sustainable of any in the history of the word.” “Sustainable”? Well yes; like bankruptcy or suicide.
- The Air Force’s $44 billionplans for a new nuclear bombercalled the Long-Range Strike Bomber Program (LRS-B). The Air Force reportedly wants 80-100 of them at roughly $550 apiece. The chilling rationale for these billions was provided by Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Chief of Global Strike Command, who said Sept. 16 at in Washington, DC, “It will be essential as we move forward to have a bomber force that can penetrate any place on the globe and hold any target on the planet at risk.”
- The planned replacement of 450 Minuteman 3 ICBMs known as the “Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent” -- set to be deployed in existing silos after 2030 -- that a RAND study said would cost between $84 and $219 billion.
John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice,is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group—andlives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.
As we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October, the International Day of Nonviolence, we have the chance to reflect on our progress in creating a nonviolent world. Obviously, creating a nonviolent world has many facets and is a long-term work-in-progress. But if we are to regenerate human society in accord with principles of love, nonviolence, justice, equity and sustainability, it is emphatically clear that we need to dramatically recreate much of our culture, particularly in the West, where hatred, violence and injustice are ‘built-in’. How can we do this?
HANCOCK REAPER DRONE PROTESTER, JACK GILROY, 79, SENTENCED TO 3 MONTHS & THREE YEARS PROBATION. IMMEDIATELY INCARCERATED.
October 1, 2014, Syracuse, NY.
John “Jack” Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY and Upstate Drone Action, was sentenced to three months incarceration, three years probation, and $1000 fine by De Witt (NY) Town Judge Robert Jokl.
"It's time for our justice system to identify the real criminals...not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base," said Gilroy in his sentencing statement. Gilroy was convicted by a six-person jury on July 15th of trespass and obstructing government administration after a two day jury trial.
The trial was based on Gilroy’s participation in a solemn funeral procession and die-in outside Hancock’s main gate. The event symbolized the terrorizing and killing of innocent people by MQ9 Reaper drone missiles and bombs piloted by Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing. Hancock, near Syracuse, is one of many drone bases perpetrating US drone attacks in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
"I was proud of the way Jack spoke truth to power, stood for nonviolence instead of war, and brought the reality and names of victims of drones into the court," said Fr. Tim Taugher,Gilroy’s long-time friend and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Binghamton. "Our courts can't allow the truth to be heard. This is one of many ways our country is trying to squelch truth, debate, dialogue, and discussion of the morality of the use of drones.”
Immediately upon sentencing, Gilroy, a military veteran and retired high school teacher, was taken in handcuffs to Jamesville Penitentiary.
On Sunday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. Upstate Drone Action will host (legally permitted) street theatre at Hancock’s front gate, 6000 East Molloy Rd, Town of DeWitt. (Park in BOCES lot on Thompson Rd.) Bicyclists against drone warfare, artists, teachers, medical people, union activists and others against drone warfare will converge at Hancock as part of the world-wide Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing.
Donations for Jack Gilroy's fine and appeal can be sent to:
Syracuse Peace Council
2013 E Genesee St,
Syracuse, NY 13210.
Please note in memo: “Gilroy fine and appeal fund.”
What laws of war? We do what we want!: Obama Admits US Bombing Attacks in Syria Pay Little Heed to Protecting Civilians
By Dave Lindorff
In a perverse way, maybe it's progress that the US is now admitting that it doesn't really care about how many civilians it kills in its efforts to "decapitate" a few suspected terrorist leaders.
PCHR Calls for Full and Immediate Ending of the Closure and Warns of Repercussions of Its Institutionalization and Continuity
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the continuity of the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the eighth consecutive year and dissatisfied by the mechanism of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip that was declared by the UN Middle East Envoy. Moreover, PCHR is concerned that this mechanism would institutionalize the Israeli closure that has been imposed since 2007. PCHR calls for fully and immediately lift the Israeli closure as it constitutes a form of collective punishment that is prohibited under the international humanitarian law. Ending the closure includes eliminating all restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including imports and exports, to and from the Gaza Strip.
According to media sources, the UN Middle East Envoy Robert Serry stated on 16 September 2014 that the United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the war-torn Gaza Strip under international observation of the use of materials. According to Reuters, Serry told the UN Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal 'to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a leading role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose.'
The only right way to end the disastrous impacts of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip is to immediately lift the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip, allow the freedom of movement of persons and goods and make a dramatic change in the Israeli policies in order to put an end to the current crisis under which the Gaza Strip population has been living. The entry of limited types and quantities of goods will never make a real change on the economic and social levels in the Gaza Strip, but will worsen the situation. Therefore, any deal that does not include the entry of basic needs, the freedom of movement of goods, including imports from and exports to the West Bank, Israel and abroad, and the freedom of movement of persons from and to the Gaza Strip, falls within the institutionalization of the Israeli-imposed closure and does not seriously contribute to the reconstruction process or improving the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Institutionalization of the closure means disregarding the principles of the international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the Fourth Geneva convention 1949.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been suffering due to the illegal Israeli closure that has resulted in disastrous impacts on all aspects of life and deterioration of the humanitarian, economic, social and cultural conditions. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons in the Gaza Strip has risen to about 200,000 supporting about 900,000 persons according to the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the number of the poor has increased up to 700,000 persons (38.8% of the total population), 380,000 of whom suffer extreme poverty (21.1%). The latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has left huge destruction, due to which the Gaza Strip needs 5 years to be reconstructed on condition that the border crossings are fully open and 300 tons of cement, 1,600 tons of construction steel and 6,000 tons of aggregate are allowed in the Gaza Strip according to construction companies' estimates.
The international community has failed throughout the past 8 years to support the application of the provisions of the international humanitarian and human rights laws. This has been a shame for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 as they have failed to take actions under their legal obligations to compel the Israeli authorities to respect that Convention and stop all policies that violate the Palestinians' economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.
Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the UN, to oblige the Israeli authorities to fully lift the closure as it is a form of collective punishment that is prohibited under the international humanitarian law, and end the restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods. PCHR believes that the only way to address the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is to admit that such a policy is illegal and falls within the collective punishment policy against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Speaking at the opening plenary of the New York City Global Climate Convergence in the days before the People’s Climate March, Nastaran Mohit told the assembled crowd that the revolution “and this (Climate Convergence) movement is not going to be spawned from the activist white community. It is going to be led front and center by marginalized and the most directly affected communities.”
Mohit, a New York City based labor organizer who was instrumental in the success of Occupy Sandy, went on:
“For these communities, Climate Change is not a far off thing, it is right at their backyard. For these communities it is an issue of survival. Climate organizing is not a privilege for them, it is a life and death matter.”
On 1 October 2014, human rights defender and Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before the High Criminal Court on trumped up charges relating to an alleged assault on a lieutenant and policewoman at the Bahrain International Airport. Read Maryam Al-Khawaja’s testimony below.
Al-Khawaja travelled to Bahrain on 30 August 2014 to visit her father, leading human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who was on hunger strike for a month in the infamous Jaw prison. Maryam Al-Khawaja was stopped and held at the airport as soon as she got off the plane.
Al-Khawaja describes how she was taken into a room in the airport after the lieutenant lied to her guaranteeing that she would not be mistreated. She says that ‘Within seconds Lieutenant Hayat jammed her knee above my right hip and grabbed my right arm.... [and] she started screaming at the three others [policewomen] to attack me and take my phone ... [including the policewoman] who later filed an assault case against me.’
Despite the fact that Maryam Al-Khawaja did not respond to this use of force the four police women attacked and assaulted her, she tells how ‘Lieutenant Hayat Yanked my right arm several times very roughly which I later on found out caused a tear in my shoulder muscle. When it was over, I was pretty roughed up and in pain all over; I had severe pain in my injured knee, right shoulder, neck, above my left hip and right leg where I had skid marks from their shoes.’
After the assault Maryam Al-Khawaja was detained until 18 September 2014, when she was released from prison pending her trial and a travel ban was imposed on her. For further information please see GCHR appeal dated 18 September 2014 (http://gc4hr.org/news/view/750).
Maryam Al-Khawaja is a non-violent human rights defender who is known for courageously promoting human rights through the use of peaceful means. The GCHR believes that the charge of assaulting a police officer is totally fabricated and is solely linked to her human rights activities in defence of people's rights in Bahrain. Al-Khawaja’s lawyer informed the GCHR that due to the unprecedented move of changing Maryam Al-Khawaja’s case from Lower Court to Higher Court, she now faces a sentence between three to seven years in prison.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters;” and to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”
Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights
I arrived at Bahrain airport on Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Bahrain on the 30th of August 2014 and the time was approximately 1am in the morning. As soon as I got off the flight there were two police women in uniform and two men, one of them in a police uniform the other one in a white uniform, who I later found out was a passport control officer, right at the exit of the plane.
I walked past them. I heard them say "excuse me" but I kept walking. When they said Maryam Al- Khawaja I answered yes and it was the man in the white suit who was speaking to me. As soon as I had gotten off the plane and as soon as our conversation started there was another man in civilian clothing who was videotaping everything that was being said; I later came to know that his name is Salman Mohammed Mahmood. The passport control officer told me that my Bahraini citizenship had been revoked and that I was no longer welcome in Bahrain.
I asked him on what basis had my citizenship been revoked to which he responded that he was informing me that it has been revoked and that was all that mattered.
I told him that I could not take his word for it and that I want to see an official paper or document that said that my citizenship has been revoked. They asked me to turn around and get back on the flight and I refused and said I am starting a hunger strike as of right now until you allow me into the country as I am here to see my father, to visit my family and because I have a right to enter the country as I am a Bahraini citizen.
After that they escorted me to the security area for transit flights. As I sat there they were talking to me, there were different security people coming and going. The officer in the white uniform again told me that my citizenship has been revoked and I told him that I know the Bahraini law and I know that if my citizenship was revoked then there would have to be a royal decree announcing it as well as having the decision published in the local newspaper and none of that had happened and thus there was no way that my citizenship had been revoked.
He told me he was telling me verbally now that my citizenship had been revoked and I told him that won’t cut it, that I want an official document saying that my citizenship has been revoked.
Around that time, two women arrived who were in civilian clothing. Later on I found out that they were First Lieutenant Hayat AlHassan, or Hayat AlSalmabadi, and the other was Dana who appeared to be taking orders from the Lieutenant. There were other female police who were in uniform, as well as several male officers, and their captain. He was in a blue suit different from the other police officers, so you could tell that he was higher ranking.
The entire time the guy with the video camera kept recording everything that was happening. I was making phone calls and I notified my family and colleagues that I had started a hunger strike and I spoke to my lawyer and asked him to come to the airport and to inform the Danish embassy and that I had been stopped. I also informed my mother and the police that I already had injuries, one in my right knee which was bandaged and difficult to move; and another in the palm of my left hand which was also bandaged and painful. Both wounds were the result of an accident I had prior to my trip to Bahrain, and both had been infected causing a delay in the healing.
The police threatened to take me back on board the flight to Istanbul by force and I informed them that given my knowledge of the rules of the IAA I know that the flight is unable to take off if I inform the pilot that I refuse to be on board the flight and if I make a fuss about it. After I said that they seemed to have backed off the decision of using force to put me back on the flight. At that point Lieutenant Hayat was on the phone speaking to what appeared to be someone who was her superior given that she kept saying ‘Sidi’; a title used to address superior officers. At one point I heard her say on the phone "what if she uses force on us, what if she attacks us?"
When she got off the phone I told her that I am telling you now and there’s a camera as well as other people listening that even if you use force against me I will not raise a hand. She said no why would we use force against you, we would never use force. I responded "I’m glad to hear that but I am telling you that even if you do I will not use force in response."
I received a call from my lawyer when the police captain as well as the uniformed and civilian clothed police came and stood around me. They waited for me to finish my phone call and then they told me to hand over my phone. I asked them if I was under arrest to which they said no. I told them there is no legal basis for me to hand over my phone and why would they want my phone. They continued to ask me to hand it over and I said no. I told them "if you want me to switch it off and not use it I am fine with that but I will not give you my phone". So they asked me to switch it off and put it in my pocked, and I asked to make one last call to inform my family. The man in civilian clothing who I later came to know was Fawaz AlSameem kept saying no phone call sounding angry, while the police captain insisted I be allowed, and that he will bear the consequences. I called my mother and informed her that I will be switching off my phone, which I then did and placed it in my pocket.
After which they asked me to go into the waiting room in the same security area and I cooperated. They escorted me to the room where there were three other women but as soon as I entered the room the three other women were escorted out of the room and so I followed them. When I walked into the room for the first time I noticed that the three women did had access to their mobile phones contrary to what they were telling me that it was regulations to not allow people in the waiting area to have their mobile phones on them.
Lieutenant Hayat told me you have to go inside and you have to wait there, and I said well why are you escorting the other women out? Adding: "it makes me concerned about what you might do to me if there are no witnesses". She responded saying no of course we won’t do anything to you, there is nothing to worry about and I said well I don’t trust you, I know what the authorities in Bahrain are capable of. She tried to convince me that it was for my own comfort that the other women were taken out of the room. I said I am completely fine with having them in the room with me. That was when the police captain's attitude changed and he threatened me saying that so far he had been treating me well and I would not want that to change.
Lieutenant Hayat then told me that she personally guarantees that my phone will not be taken from me, that they will not use force against me if I go back in the room and that they will allow the three women to stay with me in the room. She also told me that I would be allowed a phone call to my family when I make the request, that I would be allowed to see my lawyer when he comes to the airport and that I would also be allowed to see a representative from the embassy if they come as well.
I told her that I am only agreeing to go to the room because you made all those guarantees not for any other reason and she said yes I personally guarantee it. I walked into the room and sat down, she sat to my right and I noticed that as soon as I sat down the three women were escorted out and the policeman with the video camera immediately switched it off.
Within seconds Lieutenant Hayat jammed her knee above my right hip and grabbed my right arm (I was holding my phone in my right hand). As soon as she grabbed my right arm she started screaming at the three others, Dana, Budour and a police woman they were calling "Manoor" to attack me and take my phone. Budour and "Manoor" were the same two police women in uniform who were waiting outside the airplane when I arrived. When the four of them started assaulted me, I immediately stretched my left hand away in an attempt to keep them from hitting my wound. Lieutenant Hayat yanked my right arm several times very roughly which I later on found out caused a tear in my shoulder muscle. They opened my hand and took the phone. When it was over, I was roughed up and in pain all over; I had severe pain in my injured knee, right shoulder, neck, above my right hip and in my left leg where I had skid marks from their shoes.
After they assaulted me, I told Lieutenant Hayat “You promised that you would not use force but you just did”. She told me to thank god that they did not do worse. She took my travel bag and started throwing everything out from it on the floor. She and Dana then left the room but the two police women in uniform who were involved in the assault remained with me in the room. I was not allowed to leave the room. The room was extremely cold, I was wearing a jumper that I had brought with me from Copenhagen and I was still freezing. They offered me food and water but I told them that I was on hunger strike, which they were already aware of, so they brought me water.
I talked to some of the policewomen. One of them, Budour, was holding her finger so I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she had a scratch on it. Then they sat and they talked to me for some time and I found out that Budour went to the same high school as me. She told me about her family, about her life and the other one told me she was from Hamad Town and told me about the high school she had been to. So basically, we sat there and chatted, and I also asked them a couple of questions like “how can you assault someone that you can talk to normally” and “how are you capable of doing something like that”, and they told me that they do things based on orders because as they put it, they are “slaves to orders”. They have to do what they are told.
I stayed there for several hours, every time I requested to go to the bathroom I was not allowed until they received an order allowing me to go. At one point when it was prayer time in the morning I asked to pray and they told me I was not allowed to pray unless they receive an order to allow me to do so. They delayed my praying for approximately two hours until the order was given and I was finally allowed to pray.
At one point the room started getting a lot colder and I wore my jacket on top of my jumper and I was still freezing and I kept telling them that it was really cold but they told me there was nothing they could do about it. It got so cold that the policewomen were actually sitting outside the room rather than inside.
At around 5:30 am the policewomen were sitting busy talking to each, so I got up and walked outside. As soon as I walked outside they came to me. It was the security area where people were passing through for transit. I was standing on the side and someone who said she was in charge of airport security came to me as well as the uniformed police woman “Manoor” as they called her. They came to me and asked me to go back inside the room. I refused and said “I have been asking for a phone call since I arrived here to let my family know that I’m okay and I’ve been asking for a phone call to my lawyer to see if he has come or not because I want to see him and I’m asking for a phone call to the Danish embassy. I have not been allowed any of those things even though you promised me you would allow it. You also promised me you would not use force and you did and thus there is no reason for me to cooperate anymore.” They kept insisting. The police woman “Manoor” told me “No. Your lawyer didn’t show up. You should cooperate, why are you doing this? You’ll just make it worse for yourself” Then I told her “Everything you promised me you would do, you didn’t. And everything you promised you wouldn’t do, you did, so why should I cooperate?” So she said: “What did we promise we wouldn’t do?” and I said: “You promised you wouldn’t use force with me and then you did. You assaulted me.” She said “No. No. You assaulted us.” So I said: “How did I assault you?” She responded: “You kicked one of the police women in the stomach with your knee.” So I looked at her and said: “You know that one of my knees is injured and I can’t use it. So which knee was it that I hit her with?”
She stopped for a minute and said: “I don’t remember” So I said: “At least you would remember which side of me she was standing on. It shouldn’t be too difficult to remember”. So she said: “No, no, no I don’t remember anymore”. So I told her: “You know that what you’re saying is not true and that you’re making it up” and she told me that she did not want to talk about it anymore. I asked them if I was under arrest, and they said no.
Since my arrival, every policewoman or airport security that I interacted with when I asked them what their name was, they told me that there were superior orders not to tell me their names. The police women and security either did not have name badges on, or had them turned around so that their names were hidden.
After that, the woman who told me she was in charge of airport security promised that if I go back in the room they will allow me a phone call at 7:00 AM. So I told her I will wait will 7 am for that phone call where I was. She kept insisting, saying she was not like “those who had assaulted me” and that she was “from a different department”. I waited in the security area until almost 7:30 or 8:00 AM and I realized that they were not going to give me that phone call. I kept asking over and over again, and they kept telling me to wait for the orders to come in. So I walked towards the people passing through the transit security area and I started saying: “My name is Maryam Al Khawaja. I am a Bahraini Danish citizen. I am being held here against my will. Can someone please call the Danish embassy?” and I kept repeating that sentence over and over again. As soon as I did that there were a number of police officers who came as well as people who looked like they were police but were in civilian clothing. They started gathering in the area where I was. I saw that a few people who were coming through security tried to take pictures but anyone who tried to interact with me were stopped and were asked for their passports by the police. Anyone who so much as looked at me was shouted at and asked to move on. I heard the police talking on the phone about removing me by force so I lied down on the ground and put my hands in my pockets and I told the police woman: “Look. My hands are in my pockets. Even if you use force against me, I will not.” And I kept repeating the previous sentence over and over again. Two policewomen came and picked me up, handcuffed me behind my back and took me to the waiting room again.
I was left handcuffed for a while. I kept falling asleep and waking back up due to the discomfort of the handcuffs and the pain in my shoulder which got worse with my arms being behind my back. I lost track of time, but at one point a policewoman came in and told me “I will take the handcuffs off, but if you try to leave the room I’ll put them back on”. I stayed there for several hours. Again the room was freezing cold to an unbearable degree. Right outside the door from the waiting room where I was they put a police tape blocking the door, and they placed two chairs for policewomen to sit down on. I heard the police outside my room discussing how they had removed the phones from the other women who had been waiting and who had been moved to another area. And one of them was saying, “We always give them their phones. We always allow them to keep their phones, how are we supposed to get someone to book tickets for them if we don’t give them their phones?” The other policeman said: “ Don’t ask these questions right now. We were just told that we should take the phones away from them. These are the orders. After we finish with this case, you’ll give them their phone back.”
During this time two policewomen came into my room, went through my things and took pictures of everything, including personal pictures of my family and bank cards. I informed them that I do not consent to any of what they were doing. They then took both my bags away. I asked them that my things must stay with me, they responded that these were the orders.
At approximately 3:30pm I was finally escorted to an office near the arrival hall. I was escorted by several police officers. One of them was Dana. In the room upstairs I saw the man who was carrying the video camera, Salman Mohamad Mahmoud, and he told me that I was being charged with assaulting two female police and that he wanted to take my testimony. At first I had no idea what he was talking about and I asked him to repeat what he was saying which he did. I told him that I have a right to speak with my lawyer first to which he responded that it was not possible, so I told him I won’t speak then. I waited there for a while, after which they brought Lieutenant Hayat, Dana was there, and there were two or three other police women. Fawaz AlSameem was also there. At that point I asked Lieutenant Hayat for her name, but she refused to tell me. Fawaz AlSameem then informed me that there were two cases of electronic crimes against me and that I was being taken to the Criminal Investigation Department for interrogation.
Again they searched my bags while a different another man with a video camera recorded everything. I was handcuffed, and taken outside the airport from a side door and I was asked to get into a civilian car. I told them I did not trust them and I didn’t want to get into a civilian car, I wouldn’t mind going into a police car but I wouldn’t want to go or trust going into a civilian car. Dana and another policewoman in civilian clothing forced me into the civilian car. There were two male police with us, and one of them videotaped me the entire way.
I sat at the CID for several hours. During the period at the CID, I was not allowed to use the bathroom unless one of the policewomen stands inside the bathroom stall with me and I was not allowed to close the stall door. So I refused to go to the toilet under these conditions.
At around 7:30 or 8:00 PM I was taken to the public prosecution in a MOI minibus with several female police escorting me. When I was taken to the interrogation room, my lawyer Mohammed AlJishi was sitting behind me and I was sitting facing the prosecutor. At the beginning of the session Mohammed AlJishi asked that he speak to me alone as it is my right according to Bahrain law. The prosecutor refused his request. Then Al Jishi asked if he could at least advise me of my rights under the Bahraini law given that I live outside of Bahrain and I might not be completely aware of them, and the prosecutor again said refused the request. The interrogation started with the prosecutor telling me about the accusation of assault that has been brought against me by the two policewomen Lieutenant Hayat and the policewoman Budoor AlOnaizi (this was when I found out what their names are). And then he said there was a scratch on one of her fingers, that I had kicked Lieutenant Hayat in the stomach and hit one of them on the head. He then commenced the interrogation to which I responded to every single question with: “I refuse to respond given that I have not been allowed access to my lawyer beforehand.” At the end of the interrogation, I also refused to sign the papers from the prosecution again stating the reason being that I was not allowed access to my lawyer before the interrogation took place. After that I was taken to the waiting room again where I was allowed to speak to my lawyer for a short period when I informed him that I was going to stop the hunger strike.
I was then informed at around midnight that I was given seven days pending investigation by the public prosecution and I was taken to the Muharraq Airport police station. I was booked into the system and then I was transported to Isa Town women detention centre. By the time I arrived to the detention centre, it was about 3:00 AM.
After I was held in prison (I will not speak of the details of the prison right now, I will discuss these details at a later time but the coming points I found important to mention) I was taken to the public prosecution’s medical examiner. First, the means of transportation used to transport me during my entire stay at the detention center was different from the other women being held with me. I was always transported in a mini bus with at least two or three policewomen and one male police, usually Salman Mohammed Mahmoud whose treatment towards me was good, and one police driver. There was one riot police jeep in front of us and another behind us (sometimes two behind us). Sometimes they even put the sirens on and would not stop at any of the red lights and drove at a very high speed putting themselves and myself at risk. I was taken to a medical examiner who asked me if I had any medical problems related to the incident that had happened to the airport and I told him that I had pain in my stomach as well as pain in my shoulder and neck. He looked at my shoulder from afar and did not examine it. He then commenced to ask questions about my other injuries that I had in my knee and my hand. I told him that I wanted to speak to my lawyer to see if what I would say could have influence on the case. He refused my request so I refused to answer any of his questions. He wanted to take pictures of me which I also refused. He asked me to write down that I refuse which I did, but I refused to sign it. He responded “well we have it in your handwriting so it doesn’t matter if you sign it or not”.
Another issue that is important to mention is that I was taken to the Special Investigation Unit at the Public Prosecution where I was supposed to make a complaint about the assault that I was subjected to by the police. Mohammed Hazza was the person who took my testimony. He gave me very leading questions. While I was telling him my testimony he did not write anything, he just listened, and then he resaid everything that I had said to the person writing down the testimony in his own words. At one point he asked me if I had been assaulted in Arabic and I got a little confused given the terminology because I was translating it to English. So I asked him “What do you mean by “إعتداء”?
Do you mean beating like kicking and punching? Because that did not happen. But if you mean assault then yes I was assaulted.” So he wrote in the paper work that I was not assaulted. The way he framed what I had said was that the police had merely used the necessary force to take my phone from me because I was refusing to give it to them. So I told him that was not what I had said and I wanted him to write what I had said instead of what he was changing my words to sound like. He refused. It took three or four time of my lawyer and I leaving his office to a waiting area and then coming back in order for him to change a few things in the testimony. Despite that he refused to change the main misquotations that would basically not indict the police women and would serve as a testimony against myself, framing me as uncooperative and the policewomen as just doing their job. The lawyer and I told him several times that he should write what I actually said since it was my testimony but he refused. At one point he got angry and told the lawyer that he should not speak. To which the lawyer responded that as per Bahraini law he has the right to advise me during the testimony session. The whole debacle ended with me refusing to sign the papers of the testimony given the misquotations. What’s interesting is that although I am a Human Rights Defender who knows the law and the rules, I was treated this way by the Special Investigation Unit who are supposed to be impartial. It was obvious that he was trying to frame my testimony in a way that would not only acquit the policewomen from my complaint of assault, but also would serve as evidence against me.
Another important note is that during the period of my imprisonment both my lawyer and embassy requested visits. Both visits did not happen. During the first visit with my family, I was the only prisoner in that prison who was taken to a room with a large marble table which prevented any kind of physical contact with them or hug them. It was only after I complained told the prison administration that this act was personal targeting because of my human rights work that they changed my visiting to the regular visitation room that all other regular prisoners or detainees are taken to.
By John Grant
Ain’t no time to wonder why.
Whoopee, we’re all gonna die.
- Country Joe MacDonald
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, sits down with Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV on the eve of the largest Climate march in history to discuss the climate justice. “”If you care about the planet, you care about people, workers, immigrants, and you care about whether we are destroying the planet whether by polluting or by polluting through war, says Benjamin, who went on to describe the founding of Code Pink as a climate Justice group. “We started as a group of women who came together around the environment. We were called Unreasonable Women for the planet.”
Brad Friedman is the investigative blogger, journalist, broadcaster, trouble-maker and muckraker from BradBlog.com. He is a regular contributor to Salon.com and elsewhere; host of KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast and the nationally-syndicated Green News Report with co-host Desi Doyen. We discuss war and peace, the environment and its destruction, and voting and everything done to prevent it. As Michael Moore says: It's a comedy!
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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Originally posted at AcronymTV.com
Howie Hawkins, Green Party Candidate for N.Y. Governor, sits down with Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV on the eve of the largest Climate march in history to discuss his campaign.
The richest 1% own the two major parties. It's time working people had one of our own.
That's why I'm running for Governor. My name is Howie Hawkins. I'm a working Teamster and my running mate, Brian Jones, is a teacher and union member.
Jack Gilroy, 79, member of the Upstate Drone Coalition, will be sentenced by Judge Robert Jokl on Wednesday, October 1st at 4:30 PM at the DeWitt Court House, 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY 13057-8509.
Gilroy was convicted of trespass and obstructing government administration. The maximum penalty is one year and 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary.
Gilroy’s trial was based on participation in a solemn funeral procession and die-in to illustrate the death and destruction of innocent people by drone missiles and bombs fired out of MQ9 Reaper drones piloted from Hancock Air Force Base near Syracuse, NY.
Hancock is one of many drone bases around the United States doing assassinations of Muslim suspects in foreign nations. Gilroy had an opportunity to plead guilty without penalty but noted that “the guilty are not those who carry the message to stop the killing.”
Gilroy and the scores of others arrested at the gates of the 174th Attack Wing all take oaths of non- violence. The Gandhian Wave of nonviolent resisters to drone warfare by the 174th Air National Guard has been ongoing for the past four years.
On Sunday, Oct. 5 at 1 pm, the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars will be hosting a permitted street theatre including bicyclists against drone warfare, artists, teachers, medical people, union activists and all others against drone warfare will be protesting at Hancock Airbase as part of the world wide protests of the Global Days of Action.
Read an interview of Gilroy here.
A serious case has been made repeatedly by unknown scholars and globally celebrated geniuses for well over a century that a likely step toward abolishing war would be instituting some form of global government. Yet the peace movement barely mentions the idea, and its advocates as often as not appear rather naive about Western imperialism; certainly they are not central to or well integrated into the peace movement or even, as far as I can tell, into peace studies academia. (Here's a link to one of the main advocacy groups for world government promoting a U.S. war on ISIS.)
All too often the case for world government is even made in this way: Global government would guarantee peace, while its absence guarantees war. The silliness of such assertions, I suspect, damages what may be an absolutely critical cause. Nobody knows what global government guarantees, because it's never been tried. And if national and local governments and every other large human institution are any guide, global government could bring a million different things depending on how it's done. The serious question should be whether there's a way to do it that would make peace more likely, without serious risk of backfiring, and whether pursuing such a course is a more likely path to peace than others.
Does the absence of world government guarantee war? I haven't seen any proof. Of 200 nations, 199 invest far less in war than the United States. Some have eliminated their militaries entirely. Costa Rica is not attacked because it lacks a military. The United States is attacked because of what its military does. Some nations go centuries without war, while others seemingly can't go more than half an election cycle. In their book One World Democracy, Jerry Tetalman and Byron Belitsos write that nations do not go to war because they are armed or inclined toward violence but because "they are hopelessly frustrated by the fact that they have no legislative or judicial forum in which their grievances can be heard and adjudicated."
Can you, dear reader, recall a time when the U.S. public had a grievance with a foreign country, lamented the absence of a global court to adjudicate it, and demanded that Congress declare and the Pentagon wage a war? How many pro-war marches have you been on, you lover of justice? When the Taliban offered to let a third country put Bin Laden on trial, was it the U.S. public that replied, "No way, we want a war," or was it the President? When the U.S. Vice President met with oil company executives to plan the occupation of Iraq, do you think any of them mentioned their frustration at the weakness of international law and arbitration? When the U.S. President in 2013 could not get Congress or the public to accept a new war on Syria and finally agreed to negotiate the removal of chemical weapons without war, why was war the first choice rather than the second? When advocates of world government claim that democracies don't wage war, or heavily armed nations are not more likely to wage war, or nations with cultures that celebrate war are not more likely to wage war, I think they hurt their cause.
When you start up a campaign to abolish the institution of war, you hear from all kinds of people who have the solution for you. And almost all of them have great ideas, but almost all of them think every other idea but their own is useless. So the solution is world government and nothing else, or a culture of peace and nothing else, or disarmament and nothing else, or ending racism and nothing else, or destroying capitalism and nothing else, or counter-recruitment and nothing else, or media reform and nothing else, or election campaign funding reform and nothing else, or creating peace in our hearts and radiating it outward and nothing else, etc. So those of us who find value in all of the above, have to encourage people to pick their favorite and get busy on it. But we also have to try to prioritize. So, again, the serious question is whether world government should be pursued and whether it should be a top priority or something that waits at the bottom of the list.
There are, of course, serious arguments that world government would make everything worse, that large government is inevitably dysfunctional and an absolutely large government would be dysfunctional absolutely. Serious, if vague, arguments have been made in favor of making our goal "anarcracy" rather than world democracy. These arguments are overwhelmed in volume by paranoid pronouncements like the ones in this typical email I received:
"War is a crime, yes agreed totally, but Man-made Global Warming is a complete scam. I know this to be a fact. Aurelio Peccei, co-founder of the Club of Rome, offered me a job as one of his PAs (my uncle, Sir Harry, later Lord Pilkington went to the first ever Bilderberg Conference in 1954, a year before he came a Director of the Bank of England and was a loyal member of the global corporate elite) and he told me that this was all a scheme to help frighten the world into accepting global governance on their terms. Be very careful, you are unwittingly playing their game.
One of the huge advantages of global government would seem to be that it might globally address global warming. Yet the horror of global government is so great that people believe the droughts and tornados destroying the earth all around them are somehow a secret plot to trick us into setting up a world government.
A half-century ago the idea of world government was acceptable and popular. Now, when we hear about those days it's often in sinister tones focused on the worst motivations of the worst players at the time. Less common are accounts reminding us of a hopeful, well-meant, but unfinished project.
I think advocates for a world federation and global rule of law are onto an important idea that ought to be pursued immediately. Global warming leaves us little time for taking on other projects, but this is a project critical to addressing that crisis. And it's a project that I think can coexist with moving more power to provinces, localities, and individuals.
The bigger the Leviathan, claims Ian Morris, the less war there will be, as long as the Leviathan is the United States and it never stops waging wars. Advocates of world government tend to agree with the first part of that, and I think they're partially right. The rule of law helps to regulate behavior. But so do other factors. I think Scotland could leave the UK or Catalonia leave Spain, Quebec leave Canada, Vermont leave the United States without the chance of war increasing. On the contrary, I think some of these new countries would be advocates for peace. Were Texas to secede, that might be a different story. That is to say, habits of peace and cultures of peace necessary to allow a world federation might render such a federation less necessary -- still perhaps necessary, but less so. If the U.S. public demanded peace and cooperation and participation in the International Criminal Court, it would be ready to demand participation in a world federation, but peace might already have -- at least in great measure -- arrived.
Extreme national exceptionalism, which is not required by nationalism, is clearly a driver of war, hostility, and exploitation. President Obama recently said that he only wakes up in the morning because the United States is the one indispensible nation (don't ask what that makes the others). The theme of his speech was the need to start another war. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was once booed at a primary debate, not for opposing war, but for suggesting that the golden rule be applied to relations with foreign countries. Clearly we need to become world citizens in our minds as well as in written law.
Rudolf Gelsey recently sent me his book, Mending Our Broken World: A Path to Perpetual Peace, which led me on to Tetalman and Belitsos's book. I think these authors would benefit from the wisdom of the 1920s Outlawry movement, but I think they do an excellent job of recognizing the successes and failures of the United Nations, and proposing reforms or replacement. Should we be scared of an international rule of law? Tetalman and Belitsos reply:
"In truth, living under a system of war and anarchy with WMDs readily available for use on the field of battle -- that is the really frightening choice when it is compared with tyranny."
This is the key, I think. Continuing with the war system and with environmental destruction threaten the world. Far better to try a world with a government than to lose the world. Far better a system that tries to punish individual war makers than one that bombs entire nations.
How do we get there? Tetalman and Belitsos recommend abolishing the veto at the United Nations, expanding Security Council membership, creating a tax base for a U.N. that currently receives about 0.5 percent what the world invests in war, and giving up war powers in favor of U.N. policing. They also propose kicking out of the United Nations any nations not holding free elections, or violating international laws. Clearly that would have to be a requirement going forward and not enforced retroactively or you'd lose too many big members and spoil the whole plan.
The authors envision some transition period in which the U.N. uses war to prevent war, before arriving at the golden age of using only police. I'm inclined to believe that imagined step would have to be leapt over for this to work. The U.S./NATO/U.N. have been using war to rid the world of war for three-quarters of a century with a dismal record of failure. I suspect the authors are also wrong to propose expansion of the European Union as one way to get to a global federation. The European Union is the second greatest purveyor of violence on earth right now. Perhaps the BRICS or other non-aligned nations could begin this process better, which after all is going to require the United States either rising or sinking to humility unimaginable today.
Perhaps a federation can be established only on the question of war, or only on the question of nuclear disarmament, or climate preservation. The trouble, of course, is that the willingness of the dominant bullies to engage in one is as unlikely as, and intimately connected to, each of the others. What would make all of this more likely would be if we began talking about it, thinking about it, planning for it, dreaming it, or even just hearing the words when we sing John Lennon songs. The U.S. peace movement is currently drenched in nationalism, uses "we" to mean the U.S. military, and thinks of "global citizen" as a bit of silly childishness. That needs to change. And fast.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)