by Debra Sweet October 2001: the U.S. swept into Afghanistan. October 2014: years after the U.S. promised to leave, the new U.S. – approved Ashraf Ghani government of Afghanistan (which many report has influence as far as the outskirts of Kabul) announced a new agreement to let 10,000 U.S. troops stay in the country for “training and advising,” until at least 2024.
World Can't Wait Hawai`i reports: “Saturday our drone replica was flying above the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu Avenues in Waikiki. About a dozen people held signs and banners or passed out brochures against drone warfare and surveillance. This busy corner in front of the Honolulu Zoo and across from Waikiki Beach is a spot where there residents, tourists and a significant number of military personnel pass by. Trolleys and buses loaded with tourists pass by on their way to popular tourist spots. Responses were tremendously mixed. A number of drivers of tourist trolleys and buses honked their horns. A taxi driver stopped to ask whether there were military drones in Hawai`i (yes!).
Protesters Meet Obama at SF Fundraiser:
No More War on Iraq, Stop Bombing Syria, U.S. Out of the Middle East
Emergency Protest Demonstration
Friday October 10: 3:30 PM into evening
At Obama’s Speech at the Democratic Party Fundraiser
3rd Street at Mission (outside the W HOTEL, 3rd and Howard)
President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak in San Francisco, addressing a Democratic Party fundraiser -- at the very moment that American air strikes are bombing Syria and Iraq.
World Can’t Wait and others (Code Pink, ANSWER Coalition) will demonstrate to denounce U.S. air strikes and other war moves, aggression, and military action in Syria, Iraq, and the entire region. They also demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel in the wake of the latest assault on Gaza this summer.
A replica of a war-fighting drone will fly over the protest.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a renowned homebase of protest against U.S. wars over decades, protesters will gather at the fundraiser site for a rally. They will denounce this current air strike escalation , and all U.S. military action in the Middle East, both for its immediate stated motive and for its long-term impact.
In response to the Obama argument that renewed U.S. war in the region is necessary because of the aggressive moves by ISIS/ISIL/IS, the protesters dispute every citation by the government. World Can’t Wait states: “ISIS is bad, but the U.S. war for empire is even worse.”
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Editor Note: In the Kafkaesque world of Guantanamo, even inmates cleared for release are held indefinitely and – if they try to kill themselves via hunger strikes – are brutally force-fed to keep them alive. Finally, a U.S. court is confronting whether the force-feeding can be done more humanely.
By Ray McGovern
In the first trial weighing the legality of force-feeding methods at the Guantanamo Bay prison, U.S. government lawyers have tried to disparage doctors and refute medical assessments regarding the best practices and ethics for treating inmates who have engaged in hunger strikes to protest their indefinite confinements, often after being cleared for release.
Originally posted at AcronymTV
The murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson set off and wave of protests, the majority of which were non violent. The militarized police response and the violent repression of peaceful protestors will only get worse if the economic conditions of this country do not change radically and quickly, says David DeGraw, author of the new book, The Economics of Revolt. “If you want to change things through non-violent methods, the window of opportunity is closing fast. Very fast,” says DeGraw.
By David Swanson, originally published by Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren't telling people that ISIS might be coming to their neighborhood to behead them. There were other, smaller differences as well: Britain's opposition, Russia's opposition, and the difficulty of explaining to Americans that it now made sense to join a war on the same side as al Qaeda.
But there's another big difference between last year and this year. Last year was not a Congressional election year. With elections coming this November, Congress declared an early vacation in September and fled town in order to avoid voting a new war up or down. It did this while fully aware that the President would proceed with the war illegally. Most Congress members, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Leader Harry Reid, believe that by allowing a war to happen without explicitly voting for or against it they can best win our votes for re-election without offending their funders.
Congress members have good reason to think that way. Numerous organizations and individuals are dumping endless energy and resources into trying to elect either Democrats or Republicans, regardless of their policies. Big groups on the left have told me that they will not have any time for opposing war until the elections are over, at which point they'll be happy to "hold accountable" any of the Democrats they've just reelected. There are organizations who do the same thing for Republicans.
When war was made the top election issue in exit polls in 2006, Democrats took power and their leader in the House, Rahm Emanuel, openly told the Washington Post that they would keep the war in Iraq going in order to campaign against it again in 2008. And so they did. Republicans elected opposing war in 2010 have been more rhetorical than substantive in their "opposition."
The current war, and the endless war it is part of, must be opposed by people across the political spectrum who put peace ahead of party. ISIS has a one-hour video asking for this war. Giving it to them, and boosting their recruitment, is insanity. Ending insane policies is not a left or right position. This is a war that involves bombing the opposite side in Syria from the side we were told we had to bomb a year ago, and simultaneously arming the same side that the U.S. government is bombing. This is madness. To allow this to continue while mumbling the obvious truth that "there is no military solution" is too great an evil to fit into any lesser-evil electoral calculation.
This war is killing civilians in such large numbers that the White House has announced that restrictions on killing civilians will not be followed. This war is being used to strip away our rights at home. It's draining our economy. It's impoverishing us -- primarily by justifying the routine annual spending of roughly $1 trillion on war preparations. It's endangering us by generating further hatred. And all of this destruction, with no up-side to be found, is driven by irrational fear that has people telling pollsters they believe this war will endanger them and they're in favor of it.
According to the Congressional Research Service 79% of weapons shipments to Middle Eastern countries are from the United States, not counting arms given to allies of ISIS or used by the US military. Rather than arming this region to the teeth and joining in wars with US weapons on both sides, the United States could arrange for and lead an arms embargo. It could also provide restitution for what it has done in recent years, including the destruction of Iraq that allowed the creation of ISIS. Making restitution in the form of actual aid (as opposed to "military aid") would cost a lot less than lobbing $2 million missiles at people who view them as recruitment posters and tickets to martyrdom. That shift would also begin to make the United States liked rather than hated.
We won't get there unless people whose souls are un-owned by political parties take over town hall meetings and let Congress members know that they must work to end this war if they want to earn our votes.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org.
By Kathy Kelly
On October 7, 2014, Kathy Kelly and Georgia Walker appeared before Judge Matt Whitworth in Jefferson City, MO, federal court on a charge of criminal trespass to a military facility. The charge was based on their participation, at Whiteman Air Force Base, in a June 1st 2014 rally protesting drone warfare. Kelly and Walker attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the Base Commander, encouraging the commander to stop cooperating with any further usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, (drones) for surveillance and attacks.
The prosecutor, USAF Captain Daniel Saunders, said that if Kelly and Walker would plead guilty to the charge, he would seek a punishment of one month in prison and a $500 fine. Kelly and Walker told the prosecutor that they could accept a “no contest” plea but were not willing to plead guilty. The prosecutor then said he would recommend a three month prison sentence and a $500 fine. The judge refused to accept a “no contest” plea. Kelly and Walker then requested a trial which has been set for December 10, 2014.
Brian Terrell, who also attended the hearing, has previously been tried before Judge Whitworth on the same charge. In October of 2012, Whitworth sentenced him to the maximum penalty of six months in prison. His co-defendant, Ron Faust, also went to trial and was initially sentenced to five years probation which was later reduced to one year. Mark Kenney, also a co-defendant, had pled guilty and received a four month sentence.
Kathy Kelly noted that drone strikes on October 7, 2014 killed seven people in Pakistan and that this is the third day in a row of drone attacks in Pakistan’s Waziristan area. On October 6th, eight people were killed and six wounded. Today also marks the thirteenth year of U.S. war in Afghanistan, a country which was considered, in 2013, to be the epicenter of drone warfare.
“I feel we’re compelled by our conscience, “ Georgia Walker told a gathering of 35 people in Kansas City, the previous evening. “We’re compelled by our own spirituality, to keep speaking up and to keep getting people to know that silence is complicity. We have to speak out to say ‘Not in my Name.’”
"I’m sure that Georgia and I didn’t commit a crime,” said Kathy Kelly. “We tried to send out an alarm about a crime that’s being committed at the base. Innocent people, including children are killed by the drone strikes.”
Kelly and Walker later met with supporters and attorneys to discuss plans for a vigorous defense on December 10th, International Human Rights Day.
Dostoievski once had a character imagine what a head would think if for some seconds it were aware of having been cut off by an executioner's guillotine, or if somehow it were aware for a full minute, or even for five minutes.
I should think such a head would think thoughts entirely dependent on the circumstances and that the type of blade that committed the murder wouldn't affect the thoughts too greatly.
I loved you, it might think, thinking of its loved ones. I did well there, if might think, thinking of its accomplishments. I'm sorry, it might think, dwelling momentarily on its deepest regrets -- as likely as not relatively trivial incidents in which the head together with its body had hurt someone's feelings.
I've died in a war, the head might think, despite opposing wars. I took the risk and enjoyed the thrill, yet the injustice remains. I didn't launch the war. I didn't make millions off it. I didn't win votes from it. I tried to tell people what it was, and here I am no better than a soccer ball about to cease existing as a consciousness.
As the beheaded head's remaining seconds stretched into what seemed to it a long period of time, it might be struck by the absurdity of the situation, and it might be horrified by the barbarism. I was supposed to not be the news, the head might think, and now I am the news. After pretending not to be human, my humanity -- once ended -- will now be used as a reason to escalate the war. No one will ask me. How could they?
But no one ever asked me, did they, even when I was connected to a neck and arms and legs? I reported on this battle or that atrocity. But did anyone ever ask whether the entire enterprise made me ashamed of my species? Did anyone ever ask whether the justifications used were any better than lunacy? My country decided 100 years ago that it would dominate the Middle East for oil -- oil that will destroy the world itself if the wars don't.
In recent years my country destroyed Iraq, killing a half-million to a million-and-a-half people, leaving behind a hell on earth, including a government that both beheads people and bombs them, as well as handing over weaponry to this gang that beheaded my body -- a gang that could only have arisen in the hell on earth that Washington created and which will never match Washington's scale of killing if it keeps beheading and crucifying for decades.
So what does the government of the people who read my reports do? It sends in more weapons to the close allies of ISIS and simultaneously starts bombing ISIS just one year after screaming that it must bomb the Syrian government that ISIS is fighting. And ISIS makes a movie demanding heavier U.S. attacks, and the U.S. obliges and launches heavier attacks. And ISIS recruitment soars, the weapons companies stocks soar, and I get my body cut off.
And because my body is gone from me, and because the war is begun, and because it is guaranteed to get worse rather than better, brave drone pilots will be told that they must continue the war so as not to offend themselves, and as they commit suicide after murdering people with joysticks, still more pilots will be called on so that the first ones will not have killed themselves in vain.
Why when we're alive do we act as if the whole thing isn't insane? Is it a function of our habit of acting as if our existence isn't insane? We puff ourselves up, don't we? We talk solemnly of strategy, energetically ignoring the intentional absurdity of the whole doomed project, just as we eat and eat and eat without ever once wondering what the junk we are eating will do to the worms who will dine on our flesh.
What if the world comes to its senses next week, the head might think as the world grows blurry around it. How will I feel to have missed it by so little? Well, I'll feel nothing of course, and so I do hope that it will happen. I really do. This man who's cut off my body has a loud laugh. He was sad yesterday morning and I could not ask him why. I wonder if people back home know that he thinks Americans can only understand the language of violence, so there's no sense talking to them.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was working towards a guaranteed basic income for all when he was killed. Wealth inequality, neoliberalism, the actions of the Federal Reserve, along with the greed and theft of the global elite have made the call for a guaranteed basic income for all even more urgent in 2014 than in the 1960s.
David DeGraw, interviewed here by Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TVclaims the alternative is a violent revolution.
In his new book, The Economics of Revolution, DeGraw writes:
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Anne Petermann, has been banned from future U.N. Climate Conferances for her vocal activism. Here, she outlines the last decade of U.N. Climate Conference failures and false solutions.
About Anne Petermann |
Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project. She is also the Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees; the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series.
By John Grant
I’m a leftist, but I have a weakness for my brothers and sisters on the right. For some reason, I’m compelled to see what troglodytes like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly are thinking. They’re all quite entertaining as they do their best to un-man Barack Obama and advocate day-in, day-out for a war with Islam. They are masters of malicious fog.
Then there’s a writer like New York Times columnist David Brooks, a man who must sit around observing current events until he figures out a safe, center-right position he can express in the most reasonable, muddled language possible. Reading David Brooks is like trying to get a grip on jello.
by Carol Dudek Iraq was the fertile crescent of antiquity, the vast area that fed the entire Middle East and Mediterranean, and introduced grains to the world. It was Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, that propelled us forward with its invention of writing, domestication of animals and settled life. Now its groundwater and soil store the radioactivity of 630 tons of depleted uranium weapons. The waste that has been thrown onto civilian targets has permanent consequences. It pollutes southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with uranium oxide dust that spreads as far as 26 miles, blowing with sand, weathering into water. Uranium 238, with a half-life of 4 ½ billion yea
Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. He writes columns for Al Jazeera and the Guardian. We discuss the leftward movement of Latin American governments, and the unsuccessful efforts of the U.S. government to overthrow those governments. Read Mark's columns at http://www.cepr.net/index.php/clips/mark-weisbrots-op-eds
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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Originally posted at AcronymTV
About 50 protesters seeking justice for Mike Brown delayed the start of the second act of Brahms requiem on Saturday night at the St. Louis Symphony in a brilliantly executed creative protest captured by Rebecca Rivas of the St. Louis American.
(read more: http://www.popularresistance.org/demonstrators-disrupt-st-louis-symphony-singing-a-requiem-for-mike-brown/)
The Resurrection of Reporter Gary Webb: Will Hollywood Give Him Last Word Against the CIA's Media Apologists?
By Jeff Cohen
It's been almost a decade since once-luminous investigative journalist Gary Webb extinguished his own life.
It's been 18 years since Webb's "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News exploded across a new medium -- the Internet -- and definitively linked crack cocaine in Los Angeles and elsewhere to drug traffickers allied with the CIA's right-wing Contra army in Nicaragua. Webb's revelations sparked anger across the country, especially in black communities.
But the 1996 series (which was accompanied by unprecedented online documentation) also sparked one of the most ferocious media assaults ever on an individual reporter -- a less-than-honest backlash against Webb by elite newspapers that had long ignored or suppressed evidence of CIA/Contra/cocaine connections.
The assault by the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times drove Webb out of the newspaper business, and ultimately to his death.
Beginning this Friday, the ghost of Gary Webb will haunt his tormenters from movie screens across the country, with the opening of the dramatic film Kill the Messenger -- based partly on Webb's 1998 "Dark Alliance" book.
The movie dramatizes Webb's investigation of Contra-allied Nicaraguan cocaine traffickers Norwin Meneses and Danilo Blandon (whose drug activities were apparently protected for reasons of U.S. "national security") and their connection to L.A.'s biggest crack dealer, "Freeway" Ricky Ross.
The original "Dark Alliance" series was powerful in naming names, backed by court documents. Webb added specifics and personalities to the story of Contra drug trafficking first broken by Associated Press in 1985 (ignored by major newspapers) and then expanded in 1989 by John Kerry's Senate subcommittee report which found that Contra drug dealing was tolerated in the U.S. frenzy to overthrow Nicaragua's leftwing Sandinista government. Kerry's work was ignored or attacked in big media -- Newsweek labeled him a "randy conspiracy buff."
There were some flaws and overstatements in the Webb series, mostly in editing and presentation; a controversial graphic had a crack smoker embedded in the CIA seal. But in light of history -- and much smoke has cleared since 1996 -- Webb's series stands up far better as journalism than the hatchet jobs from the three establishment newspapers.
Don't take my word for it. A player in the backlash against Webb was Jesse Katz, one of 17 reporters assigned by L.A. Times editors to produce a three-day, 20,000 word takedown of "Dark Alliance." Last year, Katz referred to what his paper did as "kind of a tawdry exercise" which "ruined that reporter's career" -- explaining during a radio interview: "Most of us who were involved in it, I think, would look back on that and say it was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the L.A. Times and kind of piled onto one lone muckraker up in Northern California."
Katz deserves credit for expressing regrets about the "overkill."
His role in the backlash was to minimize the importance of Ricky Ross, who received large shipments of cocaine from Contra-funder Blandon. In the wake of Webb's series, Katz described Ross as just one of many "interchangeable characters" in the crack deluge, "dwarfed" by other dealers.
But 20 months before Webb's series -- before the public knew of any Contra (or CIA) link to Ross' cocaine supply -- Katz had written quite the opposite in an L.A. Times profile of Ross: "If there was a criminal mastermind behind crack's decade-long reign, if there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles' streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was Freeway Rick." Katz's piece referred to Ross as "South-Central's first millionaire crack lord" and was headlined: "Deposed King of Crack."
One of the more absurd aspects of the backlash against Webb -- prominent in the Washington Post and elsewhere -- was criticism over his labeling of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), a Contra army supported by Blandon and Meneses, as "the CIA's army." As I wrote in an obituary when Webb died: "By all accounts, including those of Contra leaders, the CIA set up the group, selected its leaders and paid their salaries, and directed its day-to-day battlefield strategies." The CIA also supervised the FDN's day-to-day propaganda in U.S. media.
It was as much "the CIA's army" as the force that invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
Just weeks ago, new light was shed on this old puzzle with the release of a remarkable CIA internal report - which shows that "the CIA's army" phrase was one of the Agency's main complaints about Webb's series. As silly as the CIA's complaint was, it received serious echo in friendly newspapers. In fact, the CIA author of the report seemed to marvel at how compliant major newspapers were in attacking the "Dark Alliance" series, which he attributed to "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists."
The CIA's internal report mentioned that soon after the "Dark Alliance" series was published, "one major news affiliate, after speaking with a CIA media spokesperson, decided not to run the story." When the Washington Post attack on Webb appeared, the CIA aggressively circulated it to other journalists and to "former Agency officials, who were themselves representing the Agency in interviews with the media."
A disturbing feature of the triple-barreled (Washington Post/NY Times/LA Times) backlash against Webb was how readily elite journalists accepted the denials from the CIA -- and from unnamed "former senior CIA officials" -- of any knowledge of Contra cocaine trafficking. Media critic Norman Solomon noted that the first New York Times piece on Webb's series lacked "any suggestion that the CIA might be a dubious touchstone for veracity."
It's worth remembering that the New York Times and Washington Post editorially endorsed military aid to the human rights-abusing Contras -- a position almost as embarrassing now as their faulty coverage in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.
The unfolding of history can be helpful in settling disputes -- and it has proved kinder to Webb than eagerly gullible establishment newspapers. "Dark Alliance" and the public uproar over the series in black communities and elsewhere pressured the CIA to order a review of Contra cocaine links by CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz. Although barely covered by the big three dailies, Hitz's final volume (published in October 1998) provided significant vindication of Webb.
Journalist Robert Parry, a Webb supporter who broke the Contra cocaine story in 1985 while at A.P., concluded that Hitz "not only confirmed many of the longstanding allegations about Contra-cocaine trafficking but revealed that the CIA and the Reagan administration knew much more about the criminal activity." In the 1998 volume, "Hitz identified more than 50 Contras and Contra-related entities implicated in the drug trade. He also detailed how the Reagan administration had protected these drug operations and frustrated federal investigations throughout the 1980s."
Thanks to the magic of the silver screen, the specter of Gary Webb (brought to life by actor Jeremy Renner) will now be vexing the media heavyweights who savaged him. The script for Kill the Messenger -- based on Webb's book and Nick Schou's Kill the Messenger -- was written by Peter Landesman, a former investigative writer himself.
In comments last week to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Landesman offered explanations of the triple attack on Webb's series:
"Each one of the papers did it for a different reason. The L.A. Times had an envious, jealous reaction of being scooped in their own territory . . . The Washington Post had a very strong quid pro quo relationship with the CIA . . . The New York Times approach was more professional arrogance."
And there's a unifying factor: All three newspapers had avoided the CIA/Contra/cocaine story in the 1980s -- they seemed to be punishing Webb for reviving it in 1996.
With Kill the Messenger opening in hundreds of theaters, is it possible Gary Webb will get the last word after all?
* * * *
Jeff Cohen is an associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College, cofounder of the online activism group RootsAction.org, and founder of the media watch group FAIR, which defended Gary Webb against the backlash.
Wednesday, Oct 15 at 7:15 p.m. at Naro Cinema in Norfolk, Va.
LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM
Award-winning independent filmmaker Rory Kennedy’s new film chronicles a story few of us have heard before. During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The prospect of an official evacuation of the remaining Americans and their South Vietnamese allies becomes hopelessly delayed by Congressional gridlock and a delusional U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. (98 mins)
David Swanson, RootsAction campaign coordinator and WorldBeyondWar director, will return to speak at the Naro from his home in Charlottesville. He is a nationally renowned journalist, teacher, peace activist, and author of War Is A Lie, When The World Outlawed War, and War No More: The Case For Abolition.
After the historic and inspiring People’s Climate March and Flood Wall Street actions showed the potential of our growing movement, discussion is taking place about how to put that power into action. The power demonstrated on the streets of New York was a signal that we are big enough and strong enough to take our government out of the grip of the fossil fuel industry. Without question we need to step it up and organize campaigns and actions that are at the scale and boldness needed, including multi-day direct action at specific targets.
We are writing to urge participation by as many people as possible in one such initiative: a week-long series of confrontational activities in Washington, D.C. November 1-7—Beyond Extreme Energy.
By taking these actions during election week, we will be sending a message to both parties in Washington that supporting extreme energy extraction is no longer the path of least political resistance. We recognize that party loyalty is incompatible with political power for a social movement, and we have been taken for granted for too long by politicians who are scared to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. It’s time to make it clear that a politician who green lights the fossil fuels industry’s attempts to poison our communities and ruin our climate will not get our votes under any circumstances.
The week will begin on Saturday, November 1, as the Great March for Climate Action concludes its cross-country walk, begun in early March in Los Angeles. These heroic marchers have inspired us with their determined, day-after-day commitment over what will be eight months when they march into DC.
Then, from November 3-7, following a day of meeting, planning and training on November 2, there will be nonviolent direct actions every morning to block the two entrances to FERC. On July 14th 25 people did this and were successful in disrupting business-as-usual for two hours until they were arrested. That experience will inform the bigger and stronger actions being planned for November.
There will also be demonstrations at other locations—perhaps the Energy Department, Dominion Resources, the White House, the American Petroleum Institute, Democratic National Committee headquarters, and neighborhoods in DC impacted by environmental and racial injustices—in the afternoon, challenging the web of denial throughout the government and industry about the seriousness of the emergency we are in.
Our invitation to you is this: Join the Beyond Extreme Energy actions for one or more days in Washington DC, November 1-7. Help sound a call for stepped-up multi-day actions and campaigns commensurate with the scale of escalating fossil fuel extraction, rampant environmental injustices in low-income and people of color communities throughout the world, and the emergencies inherent in climate change. Help model for others what necessary and effective climate action looks like as atmospheric carbon climbs ever faster on its way past 400 parts per million. Help build a movement that is more committed to climate justice than the fossil fuel industry is to profits.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Oh my friends, there are resources in us on which we have not drawn.” Let’s engage those vast resources of people power in our struggle for climate justice so we can keep fossil fuels in the ground. We know we have the power to stop extreme energy extraction, and now is the time to use it.
Tim DeChristopher and Rev Lennox Yearwood
Tim DeChristopher is a co-founder of Peaceful Uprising. His trial and subsequent two year prison sentence for disrupting a 2008 federal auction of oil and gas leases was the subject of the award winning documentary "Bidder 70".
The Reverend Lennox Yearwood is the President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, a national nonprofit organization that equips young people to participate in elections, policy analysis, and service project.
By David Rothauser
Peace activists the world over march, demonstrate, sit-in, write-in, boycott and do civil
disobedience – all to bring about an end to war making and a beginning for peace as a way
of life. How many times have we “marched on Washington,” carried the names of war dead,
interred them in wooden coffins outside the White House, tried to raze the Pentagon, begged,
bled and screamed for the end to senseless killing by our military abroad? And the wars rage on.
Robert McNamara, in his expository book, In Retrospect, admitted that the Kennedy and
Johnson Administrations knew from the start that the war in Vietnam could not have been
won. Still they blundered on, driven by hubris to commit 58,000 US. troops and millions of
Vietnamese to a horrendous death.
Vietnam, followed by the first Gulf War, then Iraq and now Afghanistan – all wars of folly.
All those years all that chanting, singing, “What do we want? PEACE ! When do we want it?
NOW!” “Where have all the flowers gone – long time passing?” Reading the names of the
dead soldiers at Riverside Church in a tiny chapel – “John Daniel Forshey, Jacksonville, Florida,
20 years old – dead in Vietnam...” Flag draped coffins. The Stars and Stripes is alive and well at
the Annin Flag factory in Verona, NJ.
Article 9, A TEMPLATE FOR PEACE, was set 67 years ago, but most of the world either
doesn't know about it, or ignores it. Article 9 is the template that can unite the world in a quest
for real peace. In September of 2012 The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
awarded me a grant to bring a version of Article 9 as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Article 9, A TEMPLATE FOR PEACE, originated at the end of World War II when Baron
Kijuro Shidehara was riding on a train. A young man on the train jumped up and started yelling
that Japan had started WWII without telling the Japanese people and had ended it without telling
them. Agreeing with the man, people surrounding him joined the criticism of the government for
betraying its people.
A peace activist to the core the Baron never forgot the anguish of the young man on the train.
Later in 1945 as Prime Minister of Japan, Shidehara approached General Douglas MacArthur,
Allied Supreme Commander in Southeast Asia to write a peace constitution for Japan. He felt
strongly the need to change Japan, so the government would never make people suffer from wars
they didn’t want in the first place. In his memoirs Shidehara mentions:
...it would be safer not to have even one soldier. This is the way Japan should go.
He also believed that the unity of the people is stronger than military force. The diplomat and
the warrior shook hands. In 1946 U.S. occupation forces re-wrote the constitution in 10 days.
Article 9 of the constitution states unequivocally that Japan will never again make war. Japan
has not made war in 67 years. Shidehara told MacArthur, “The world will laugh and mock us
as impractical visionaries, but a hundred years from now we will be called prophets.” The real
power of the peace constitution is that it is a proven document in action. Not one civilian nor
one military has been lost to war making in 67 years.
A testament to Article 9 is its ability to survive the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”
perpetrated upon it by both the U.S. and Japanese governments. The following timeline will help
to put the power of Article 9 into perspective.
Just four years after its inception, Article 9 meets its first challenge on the world stage.
1950 America becomes embroiled in another war, this time in Korea.
• “Drop Article Nine of the Constitution,” said Uncle Sam. “Create an army of 350,000,
go to war against North Korea.” Japan settles for a 75,000 home defense police.
• Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru says, “You gave Japanese women the right to vote, they
won’t let us go to war.”
1956 National policy has embodied "three non-nuclear principles" — forbidding the nation to
possess, manufacture or to allow nuclear weapons to be introduced into its territories.
1959 U.S. and Japanese governments form a secret pact to bring nuclear weapons to Japanese
harbors – a direct violation of the 3 non-nuclear principles.
1965 Vietnam War
• Japan government provides embarkation bases and maintenance centers on the mainland
and on Okinawa.
• The Japanese rallied, marched, and agitated against American actions in Indochina in the
late 1960s, forming the biggest antiwar movement in their history. Japanese people hold
firm to Article Nine.
1990 1st Gulf War
As Japan was a major consumer of oil from the Persian Gulf, some critics urged Japanese
military participation in the Gulf War, but Japan steadfastly refused to violate their
• Japan's support of NATO-led coalition forces in Afghanistan has been limited to
refueling their ships in the Indian Ocean since 2001.
2003 Iraq War
Japan served as a repair facility for US aircraft, ships, tanks, and artillery.
2009 President Obama calls for a nuclear weapons-free world.
• The challenge is ours to act upon. Our survival is at stake. It is not Japan alone who
needs Article Nine, it is the world.
2013 Together America and Japan, united by the power of Article 9 can form a coalition fully
supporting the United Nation’s mandate to abolish war making as a political/economic
• What then is the meaning of this schism between the Japanese people and their own
• And too, what kind of people are we, the Americans who wrote Article 9 in the first
place? Why do we refuse to grasp this world treasure born out of the sweat and blood of
our own tears? Given life from the handshake of the warrior and the diplomat?
Yet, in the face of it all, Article 9 stands proud. A powerful beacon beckoning the warrior
and the diplomat to spread the grace and beauty of this TEMPLATE FOR PEACE. No
need to re-invent the wheel.
It is then that the beauty of Article Nine may reach it’s full fruition.
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe re-interprets Article 9. The first step to changing the
Constitution so Japan may become a major military power on the world stage.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
by Debra Sweet This seems like a good time to sort out what's true in the public discourse over Iraq and Syria, and what's not. The United States, apparently with some significant level of public support, is embarking on an extremely dangerous and provocative war, possibly with the help of allies in NATO, and certainly with an alliance of countries targeted by protesters during the Islamic Spring. We can't spend enough time understanding the dynamics, in order to better challenge the lies, and lead people to stand up for the interests of humanity.
by Debra Sweet The most frequently asked question I'm hearing, including among people who have been active in opposing U.S.
As the United States’ armchair warriors sit in their comfortable homes and offices and decide on which country it is time to invade, attack or bomb, little consideration is given to those that must carry out their decisions. Sound bites for the evening news are far more important that human suffering.
October 7, 2001, Air War Begins Over Afghanistan
October 7, 2014, Drone Protesters in Court in Missouri
By Brian Terrell
October 6, 2014
On October 7, thirteen years to the day from the beginning of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and Georgia Walker, an activist in Kansas City, will be arraigned in US District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri. They have been summoned to answer charges that they trespassed at Whiteman Air Force Base during a protest against war crimes and assassinations carried out from that base using remotely controlled drone aircraft.
This is the same court that in 2012 sentenced me to six months in prison, Mark Kenney to four months and Ron Faust to five years probation. Judge Whitworth explained our convictions and the severity of these sentences telling us that he was responsible for the security of the B-2 “Spirit” stealth bomber, also based at Whiteman. Until after we were found guilty, the B-2 was never mentioned during our trial and the airmen of the Air Force police brought to witness against us testified that we had posed no danger to the security of the base or to the weapons housed there. As a US Magistrate, Judge Whitworth is sworn to rule by law regardless of his personal devotion to any particular weapons system, but this, he explained, was a deciding factor ruling against us.
From the Wikipedia entry for Whiteman Air Force Base: "Whiteman AFB is the only permanent base for the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Whiteman can launch combat sorties directly from Missouri to any part of the globe, engaging adversaries with nuclear or conventional weapon payloads. The 509th Bomb Wing first flew the B-2 in combat against Serbia in March 1999. Later, Whiteman B-2s led the way for America's military response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. in September 2001. B-2 bombers were the first U.S. aircraft to enter Afghanistan airspace in October 2001, paving the way for other coalition aircraft to engage Taliban and Al Queda forces. During these operations, the aircraft flew round-trip from Missouri, logging combat missions in excess of 40 hours – the longest on record."
The first bombs exploded over Kabul on October 7, 2001, so Kathy and Georgia have a significant date to be in court! The B-2 needs inflight refueling every six hours and it costs $55,000 an hour just to keep it in the air, not to mention the cost of munitions. The flyers who took the first bombs to Afghanistan were in the air for more than 40 hours straight! Today flying drones at computer terminals, airmen from Whiteman can bomb Afghanistan without missing a coffee break; they can sleep in their own beds. The killing in Afghanistan continues from Whiteman on the cheap for the government, but the costs to people on the ground, here as in Afghanistan and in the ever broadening war of terror, is still exorbitant and dire.
Georgia and Kathy are expected to go to trial at a later date set by the court.
Brian Terrell co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence www.vcnv.org
Forced-Feeding is Torture! No Secret Courts!
Emergency Call to Action and Solidarity Fast – Witness Against Torture
Gather at the US Federal District Court (333 Constitution Ave) on October 6 and 7
8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.
On Monday October 6 a trial will begin in which attorneys for Wa-ei Dhiab will seek a stop to the brutal forced-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison. Witness Against Torture is calling for a public presence at the courthouse to demand an end to forced-feeding and the closing of Guantánamo.
Dhiab is a Syrian man held without charge or trial at Guantánamo since 2002 and cleared for release in 2009 by the US government. He has, according to his attorneys, been forcibly extracted from his cell and force-fed as many as three times a day since the start of the most recent Guantanamo hunger strike in the winter/spring 2012.
Dhiab’s lawsuit seeks an end to forced-feeding. Justice Gladys Kessler, who is hearing the case, has described forced-feeding at the prison as “painful, humiliating, and degrading.” The lawsuit is our best chance to have the courts do what President Obama has been unwilling to do — end forced-feeding.
Pack the Court – No Secret Trials Dhiab’s attorneys will present as evidence videotapes showing Dhaib being violently extracted from his cell and/or force-fed. The government has petitioned that the trial be held entirely in secret so that the press and public may not see or otherwise learn about the gruesome reality of forced-feeding. Judge Kessler has denied the request, describing the government’s request of a secret trial as “deeply troubling.” As of today, portions of the trial will be open to the public. We need to pack the courthouse and demonstrate that the torture of forced-feeding is immoral, illegal, and unacceptable. Plan on attending the hearing. The attorneys for Dhiab have requested that there be no signs or anything else that may irritate the judge. Our presence, and gestures of our protest such as orange ribbons on our clothes, will convey our protest. Click here to read more: ------------------------------ Fast for Dhiab and the Hunger Strikers — Fast for Justice Witness Against Torture is calling for an emergency fast in solidarity with Wa-ei Dhiab, other hunger strikers, and all the men at Guantánamo. Please consider fasting on October 6 and/or October 7. If you plan to fast, send an email to email@example.com. Please included in the email where you live and a brief statement as to why you are fasting. Witness Against Torture will report to the media, Dhiab’s attorneys, and the public the numbers of those fasting and convey, through attorneys, your messages to Dhiab and others at Guantánamo. Furthermore, please consider making two phone calls to: 1. Cliff Sloan at the State Department (202-647-4000) to insist he tells the military to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding prisoners on hunger strike and to work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison. 2. U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) to decry the conditions at Guantánamo, especially the force feeding. Example script: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike and being force fed. I am particularly mindful of Wa-ei Dhiab, a prisoner who is being represented by attorneys in Federal District Court October 6th and 7th. His attorneys are seeking a stop to the brutal force-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison I am calling today out of concern for him and for the rest of the prisoners. I am asking you to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding and resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike. The men at Guantánamo have repeatedly expressed how important it is to them to know that people in the United States and the world fast in solidarity with them. Join us on Monday, October 6th at 8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C. ------------------------------ Witness Against Torture on Social Media: ------------------------------ Donate to support our work: Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org
Pack the Court – No Secret Trials
Dhiab’s attorneys will present as evidence videotapes showing Dhaib being violently extracted from his cell and/or force-fed. The government has petitioned that the trial be held entirely in secret so that the press and public may not see or otherwise learn about the gruesome reality of forced-feeding. Judge Kessler has denied the request, describing the government’s request of a secret trial as “deeply troubling.” As of today, portions of the trial will be open to the public.
We need to pack the courthouse and demonstrate that the torture of forced-feeding is immoral, illegal, and unacceptable.
Plan on attending the hearing. The attorneys for Dhiab have requested that there be no signs or anything else that may irritate the judge. Our presence, and gestures of our protest such as orange ribbons on our clothes, will convey our protest.
Click here to read more:
Fast for Dhiab and the Hunger Strikers — Fast for Justice
Witness Against Torture is calling for an emergency fast in solidarity with Wa-ei Dhiab, other hunger strikers, and all the men at Guantánamo. Please consider fasting on October 6 and/or October 7.
If you plan to fast, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please included in the email where you live and a brief statement as to why you are fasting.
Witness Against Torture will report to the media, Dhiab’s attorneys, and the public the numbers of those fasting and convey, through attorneys, your messages to Dhiab and others at Guantánamo.
Furthermore, please consider making two phone calls to:
1. Cliff Sloan at the State Department (202-647-4000) to insist he tells the military to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding prisoners on hunger strike and to work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison.
2. U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) to decry the conditions at Guantánamo, especially the force feeding.
Example script: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike and being force fed. I am particularly mindful of Wa-ei Dhiab, a prisoner who is being represented by attorneys in Federal District Court October 6th and 7th. His attorneys are seeking a stop to the brutal force-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison I am calling today out of concern for him and for the rest of the prisoners. I am asking you to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding and resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike.
The men at Guantánamo have repeatedly expressed how important it is to them to know that people in the United States and the world fast in solidarity with them.
Join us on Monday, October 6th at 8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.
Witness Against Torture on Social Media:
Donate to support our work:
Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org
The phrase "war myths" these days is generally taken to mean such nonsense as that war will make us safe, or civilians won't be killed, or surgical strikes will kill more enemies than they produce, or prosperity and freedom will follow war-making, etc. But I wonder whether "war myths" shouldn't be taken more literally, whether we don't in fact have a bunch of warmakers believing that they are Odysseus.
Remember Odysseus, the great Greek hero who went on lots of thrilling adventures on his way home from Troy and kicked a bunch of interloping suitors of his lonely wife out of his house in Ithaca when he got home?
Well, Odysseus didn't actually kick them out, did he? Do you remember what actually happened? Odysseus could have ordered them out upon his return. He could have announced his approach and had them gone before he arrived. Instead, he disguised himself and entered his house unannounced. He secretly hid all the weapons except those for himself and his son and loyal servants. He secretly blocked every door. The suitors were unarmed and trapped when Odysseus revealed who he was and started murdering them.
The suitors offered to more than repay him for what they had stolen from his house, to apologize, to try to make things right. Odysseus, who had a goddess making sure he succeeded in every detail, declined all offers and murdered every man but those his son said were loyal. He beheaded. He tortured. He dismembered. He cut off faces and cut out organs and fed bits of people to dogs. And then, seeing as how he was on such a glorious killing spree, he asked his wife's head servant whether any of the servant women had been disrespectful or misbehaved in any way. Those who had were quickly identified, and Odysseus murdered them immediately.
And there was a cute reunion scene with his wife, and everyone lived happily ever after, right?
Well, actually, there's a bit of the story we tend to overlook. Odysseus realized that the giant pile of corpses in his house had friends and relatives who would seek revenge exactly as barbarically as he had. So his goddess friend cast a spell of forgiveness on all of them, and by that means there was peace.
Now, in the world of the myth one might well wonder why Athena didn't just cast that spell on Odysseus the day before, let the suitors repay him, and skip the blood bath. But in the world of reality, one must ask whether our masters of war believe Athena is going to help them too.
They revenge themselves with righteous brutality on various dictators who have lapsed in their loyalty or death squads that have lost their utility, and the blowback is predictable, predicted, and tragic. No goddess ever shows up to cast a spell of forgiveness on victims' friends and family.
War supporters know there's no goddess in their fight, but often they begin to imagine that the other side will find forgiveness by seeing the justness of the war against them -- although I don't believe there are any examples of this actually happening.
War propaganda maintains that the other side only speaks the language of violence, so violence will communicate to that other side our grievances, our suffering, our justifiable outrage, and our desire for peace. But of course, violence is not a language, not even when dressed up in Homer's art. A language is a substance that can be thought in. Violence cannot embody thought, only fantasy.
The happy little war that turned Libya into hell three years ago was called Operation Odyssey Dawn.
There have been many admirable suggestions put forward to name Obama's latest war:
Operation Enduring Confusion
Operation Rolling Blunder
Operation Iraqi Liberation
Operation We're Indispensable - Guess What That Makes You
Operation Unchanging Hopelessness
But I think the appropriate tag for a mission based on the idea of special holy goodness and power, the idea that mass killing of civilians is justified by outrage at killing of civilians, and the notion that everyone will forgive it afterwards so it won't just make matters worse, is Operation Odysseus' Butcher Shop.
Three long-time activist women will stand trial on Thursday 9 October, 2014, in US District Court in Baltimore, MD, for protesting National Security Agency surveillance which provides targeting information for US drone attacks around the world.
- Court Interpreter/Translator Manijeh Saba from Somerset, NJ,
- Headstart Case Manager Marilyn Carlisle from Baltimore, MD, and
- US Army veteran and full-time peace activist Ellen Barfield from Baltimore, MD,
each face 3 charges with assessed fines totalling over $1300 for seeking on 3 May, 2014 to present at the NSA gate at Ft Meade, MD a letter requesting a meeting with National Security Agency Director Vice-Admiral Michael Rogers to discuss NSA drone targeting and citizen abhorrence of that practice.
The women will go Pro se, or defend themselves in court, with expert advice from DC Attorney Mark Goldstone. They hope to elicit expert testimony on NSA targeting for murderous US drone attacks from Medea Benjamin, a leader of women's peace group
Code Pink, and Col. (Rtd.) Ann Wright, a former Army officer and diplomat now active with Veterans For Peace and Code Pink.
Supporters are urged to attend the trial at 101 W Lombard St, Baltimore,MD, 21201, in Courtroom 7-C beginning at 10am.