Authorizing the City of Evanston to Establish a Moratorium on the Use of Unregulated Drone Technology
WHEREAS, the implementation of drone (unmanned aerial system) technology in the United States implicates the privacy and constitutional rights of United States residents, including the residents of Evanston, Illinois; and
WHEREAS, the federal government and the State of Illinois have yet to enact reasonable regulation on the use of drones within the United States; and
WHEREAS, police departments in the United States have begun to deploy drone technology absent any regulation on the appropriate use of such technology, although the Evanston Police Department has not.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSTON, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, THAT:
SECTION 1: That the foregoing recitals are hereby found as fact and incorporated herein by reference.
SECTION 2: The City of Evanston establishes a moratorium on the use of drones in the City of Evanston in the absence of reasonable state and federal regulation of the use of drone technology which will expire without further action by the City Council two years from the date of this resolution; with the following exemptions:
1) for Hobby and Model Aircraft, defined as an unmanned aircraft that is— a) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
b) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
c) flown for hobby or recreational purposes; and
2) the Research and Development of "Experimental Aircraft" for non-Department of Defense contracts.
SECTION 3: The City of Evanston establishes a moratorium on the use of drones in the City of Evanston in the absence of reasonable state and federal regulation of the use of drone technology; and
SECTION 4: The City of Evanston supports efforts in the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Senate, and the United States Congress to enact legislation (1) prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a federal or state court, and (2) precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices (meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed- energy), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.
SECTION 5: The City of Evanston jointly resolves, with the Associated Student Government (“ASG”) of Northwestern University, as evidenced by the attached resolution of the ASG (Exhibit 1), to provide that the moratorium on drone use extends to all areas of Northwestern University.
SECTION 6: Copies of this Resolution will be sent to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Illinois State Senators Daniel Biss and Heather Steans, and Illinois State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Kelly Cassidy and Laura Fine.
SECTION 7: This resolution 27-R-13 shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of its passage and approval in the manner provided by law.
David Vine is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University, author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, and of the new article "Where Has All the Money Gone?" He discusses an overseas U.S. military base presence that maintains a million troops in other countries on a permanent basis at a cost of $170 billion per year, and which has funnelled $385 billion to private contractors (most of it to a handful of cronies) since 2001. Learn more at http://davidvine.net
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From Joy First
CAMP DOUGLAS, WI – Five nonviolent activists attempted to deliver an indictment for war crimes to Volk Field Commander Colonel Dave Romuald. They walked peacefully onto the base with the indictment in hand, and asked for a meeting with Colonel Romauld. Instead of a meeting, they were promptly arrested, taken to the Juneau County jail in handcuffs, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were released several hours later after processing.
By Kathy Kelly
A few evenings ago, as the sky began to darken here in Kabul, Afghanistan, a small group of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APVs), gathered for an informal presentation about WikiLeaks, its chief editor Julian Assange, and its most prominent contributor, Bradley Manning. Basir Bita, a regular visitor to the APV household, began the evening’s discussion noting that June 1st will mark the beginning of Bradley Manning’s fourth year in prison. Two days later his trial will begin, a trial which could sadly result in his imprisonment for a life sentence. June 1st also begins an international week of support and solidarity, aimed at thanking Bradley Manning. #ThankManning!
Basir believes that the vast majority of Afghans are among myriads world-wide who have Manning to thank for information they will need in struggles for freedom, security, and peace. He wishes that more people would find the courage to stand up to military and government forces, especially their own, and act as “whistle-blowers.”
I often hear Afghan individuals and groups express longing for a far more democratic process than is allowed them in a country dominated by warlords, the U.S./NATO militaries, and their commanders. In the U.S., a lack of crucial information increasingly threatens democratic processes. How can people make informed choices if their leaders deliberately withhold crucial information from them? Manning’s disclosures have brought desperately needed light to the U.S. and to countries around the world, including struggling countries like Afghanistan.
Hakim, who mentors the Afghan Peace Volunteers, recalled that Bradley Manning passed on documents that record 91,730 “Significant Actions,” or “SIGACTS” undertaken here by the U.S. /ISAF forces, of which 75,000 were released by WikiLeaks.
These SIGACTS include attacks by drones, sometimes invisible drones, and night raids.
Our group turned to discussing the history of WikiLeaks, how it formed and how it now functions. Those most familiar with computers and internet explained the process of disclosing information by anonymously following a computerized route to a “dropbox.”
In fact, the Afghan Peace Volunteers themselves have been communicating with Julian Assange.
Last winter, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire had stayed with them shortly before she traveled to London for a visit to Julian Assange. Through Mairead, they had sent Assange a letter of solidarity.
The APVs heard that Manning has been more isolated than Assange; they all shook their heads when Basir reminded them that Bradley Manning was initially in solitary confinement for eleven months.
Ghulamai thought through the ironic process of how governments designate some documents ‘secret,’ and how he would presume that the person who shares those secrets was a ‘criminal.’ But Ali said that governments chiefly hide ‘secrets’ from the public to maintain power. Hakim asked Abdulhai to imagine himself as the head of a government or of a large family. “If you are working for the good of the family or the state, would you need to do things secretly?” he asked.
“No,” Abdulhai replied. “If I have power, and I am truly working for the best interests of my people, I will not need to do things in secret.”
There was a keen conversation about who Bradley Manning was and what he did. Bradley Manning’s own words, which journalists had to actually smuggle out of his pre-trial hearing, described how Bradley’s mind had largely been made up by watching the secret video that he would come to release under the title “Collateral Murder:”
They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote "dead bastards" unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there’s an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew's lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew-- as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.
Together, the APVs watched the deeply disturbing “Collateral Damage” video itself. They were avid to learn what they could do to support and thank Bradley Manning. Yet they’re aware of the risks faced by people who organize public demonstrations in Afghanistan.
It’s far easier to stand up for Bradley where I live, back in the U.S. I hope many more of us will devote the time and energy we owe this young man for risking everything, as he did, to enlighten us and the world.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers are eager for ways to link with others worldwide to express thanks and concern for a remarkably brave and conscience-driven 25-year old man whose courage and whose light is so acutely needed in this darkening time. I’ve seen the fierce light of these young people and, knowing them, I’m certain that others will be seeing it too in the years ahead. Are we readying signals with which to answer them, are we preparing ways to show people like them, and like Julian Assange, and like Bradley Manning, that they are not alone?
Photo caption: Afghan Peace Volunteers with a sign that thanks Bradley Manning
Photo credit: Hakim
If you’re afraid a TSA agent might bungle your screening when you fly somewhere this summer, maybe you should do what John Klapproth did when he was traveling from Seattle to Anchorage recently.
Read the rest at TSA News.
Lifting the Fake EU Arms Embargo
by Stephen Lendman
On May 27, the so-called one-year EU arms embargo on Syria's opposition ended. Officially it does so on June 1. EU nations agreed to end what never existed.
Since Washington's war on Syria began in early 2011, arms flowed freely. Western-enlisted death squads get them. At issue is replacing Assad with a subservient pro-Western puppet.
Obama: America's Second Teflon President?
by Stephen Lendman
New poll numbers show recent scandals haven't hurt his approval rating.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey, 53% of Americans approve his job as president. Another 45% disapprove.
By Alfredo Lopez
Toward the end of Roman Polanski's masterpiece "Chinatown" an exchange takes place between "hero" Jake Gittes and the super-rich Noah Cross when Gittes finally realizes that Cross has seized control of Los Angeles' water supply.
"I just wanna know what you're worth," Gittes explains. "More than 10 million?
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Doubting Obama’s Resolve to Do Right
Editor Note: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
An article in the Washington Post on July 6, 2010, reported me standing before the White House, announcing a new epithet for President Barack Obama: “Wuss – a person who will not stand up for what he knows is right.”
How Many Years Will It Be?
By Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch
For well over a decade now the United States has been “a nation at war.” Does that war have a name?
It did at the outset. After 9/11, George W. Bush's administration wasted no time in announcing that the U.S. was engaged in a Global War on Terrorism, or GWOT. With few dissenters, the media quickly embraced the term. The GWOT promised to be a gargantuan, transformative enterprise. The conflict begun on 9/11 would define the age. In neoconservative circles, it was known as World War IV.
By Norman Solomon
Darwin observed that conscience is what most distinguishes humans from other animals. If so, grief isn’t far behind. Realms of anguish are deeply personal -- yet prone to expropriation for public use, especially in this era of media hyper-spin. Narratives often thresh personal sorrow into political hay. More than ever, with grief marketed as a civic commodity, the personal is the politicized.
The politicizing of grief exploded in the wake of 9/11. When so much pain, rage and fear set the U.S. cauldron to boil, national leaders promised their alchemy would bring unalloyed security. The fool’s gold standard included degrading civil liberties and pursuing a global war effort that promised to be ceaseless. From the political outset, some of the dead and bereaved were vastly important, others insignificant. Such routine assumptions have remained implicit and intact.
Peace Process Pretense
by Stephen Lendman
Peace process initiatives were stillborn from inception. Decades of futility define them. Palestinians genuinely want peace. They deserve it and much more.
Israeli leaders pretend they care. Doing so conceals their dark agenda. They deplore peaceful conflict resolution. They prioritize violence and instability.
Milliman Medical Index on Obamacare
by Stephen Lendman
Milliman calls itself one of "the world's largest providers of actuarial and related products and services."
It provides independent consulting services. It does so in areas including healthcare among others. It says it maintains "rigorous standards of professional excellence, peer review and objectivity."
Afghan president confirms he received tens of millions of dollars from the CIA in suitcases and sacks 'for access to Karzai's inner circle'
- Headline, The Daily Mail, 29 April 2013
By Peace Blog
We need a movement that is global and grassroots, that will take action, educate and generate an alternative vision for global economic security for all.
By Judith Le Blanc – Field Director, Peace Action
US Tax Day was different than Tax Days of the past. It was also the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS.) Events were organized around the world to make the release of the annual report on military spending by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
In the US and around the world, tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed, street theater, flash mobs, vigils, educational events, visits to parliaments, and marches were organized to draw attention to the impact of militarism on governments’ ability to respond to global problems of equity, justice and a secure future.
In South Korea, a group made an entertaining video using well-known children’s characters, Teletubbies, to make their point.
In the UK, a forum was conducted in the House of Parliament on why military spending should be redirected to meet human needs.
In Chile, actions were organized in nine cities.
See reports on other international actions on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) website.
In 33 states and 86 cities and towns, peace, economic justice, faith based groups used Tax Day and GDAMS to continue grassroots pressure on Congress to change national spending priorities and end the austerity drive to cut jobs and human needs to balance the federal budget. The 86 events were not the total number of Tax Day actions. Other groups like Americans for Tax Fairness held events nationwide as well.
This year, the federal budget struggles gave new impetus to a coalition of groups and networks who traditionally organize Tax Day events to join with economic and racial justice groups to be a part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS.) Find the full list and contact info at the end of this blog.
In some cities, local affiliates of national groups supporting GDAMS worked together. In other towns or cities, new coalitions came together or individuals took action all with the goal of joingan international day of grassroots education on the distorted priorities reflected in 57% of annual US federal discretionary spending going to the Pentagon along side of tax loop holes for the rich and corporations while community services are cut and jobs lost.
Creative use of social media and online materials
The National Priorities Project, AFSC, Coalition on Human Needs, USAction, War Resisters League & Toolbox for Action and Social Action and Peace Action created background materials and online interactive educational tools and leaflets. Sample Tweets were shared for use on Twitter and memes were created for Facebook.
A Thunderclap was organized and reached 233,071 people on Facebook and Twitter with the message, “ “Our Tax $ should go to the programs we need, not to Pentagon waste.”
Tax Day: a day of action, education and reflection.
We were present at countless post offices and town squares to engage our neighbors in conversation and reflect on why we must end the militarization of the federal budget. We used creative efforts to stir up awareness and engage our communities in changing national spending priorities from wars and ever-newer weapons to life!
Below are a few of the creative actions organized across the country. Go to the GDAMS Facebook page to see more pictures and reports.
Some groups focused on the most expensive, wasteful Pentagon budget item, the F35 military aircraft. For example, USAction reported “affiliates from coast to coast reminded America that twenty-six cents of every dollar we pay in taxes goes to the Pentagon – including colossal albatrosses like the F-35 fighter jet, nicknamed the “Fiasco-35.” They mobilized 34,000 calls to Congress to stop the funding in order to provide urgently needed social services.
Others drew attention to what we need for a secure future. The third annual “If I Had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and The National Priorities Project culminated in Washington, DC on April 13-15. Watch the winning video, “Dear Congress Invest in US.” It was nominated for People’s Choice Award, keep your fingers crossed!
At the conclusion of the festival, 65 young people made 24 Congressional visits on Capitol Hill delivering the summary of the GDAMS report and then did an action on the National Mall. A delegation went to meet with the Department of Education. Money for books, not bombs!
In Milwaukee, WI, Tax Day was the first time for lobbying for young people in Peace Action Wisconsin’s Teen Peace Council. They created moving testimonies with photos on the impact of prioritizing the Pentagon over human needs for their families and community. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s staff warmly received them.
In Maryland, just before Tax Day, Montgomery County Peace Action partnered with Progressive Maryland for a Maryland Coalition to Fund Our Communities six-stop “Prosperity Not Austerity” bus tour that began in Baltimore, visited Annapolis, took in the Maryland suburbs and ended up at the US Capitol. Tour stops included a school in Baltimore, a church that helps feed those in need, a community college in Prince George’s County and a public library in Silver Spring. Speakers included the state director of the AFL-CIO, the President of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994, a Memorial AME church minister and USAction Executive Director, Jeff Blum.
In Binghamton, NY, 45 students participated in Peace Action Binghamton University chapter’s Have a Cup of Peace Song competition with cash prizes. After the performance a video created by the students called the Cost of War was shown followed by a discussion.
In Royal Oak, MI, Michigan Citizen Action and Peace Action MI partnered for a “Pull the Pork from the Pentagon” rally. 750 leaflets were handed out calling on US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, chair of the Armed Services Committee, to keep a focus on reining in wasteful Pentagon spending. The Macomb Daily Tribune, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News covered the event.
In Charleston, WVA, West Virginia Citizen Action Group joined West Virginia Patriots for Peace in distributing 500 leaflets at the downtown post office, with the message, ‘Call US Senator Manchin to cut Pentagon Pork.” The event was covered in the state’s largest newspaper, the Charleston Gazette.
In Des Moines, Iowa, a rally was held in front of the Iowa Economic Development Authority organized by American Friends Service Committee and the Catholic Peace Ministry. Speakers included an AFSCME Retiree, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, American Friends Service Committee, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Alliance for Retired Americans, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, Progress Iowa and small business owners.
In Kansas City, MO, a Tax Day demonstration with the theme,” The U.S. Deficit Debate is a Crime” was organized by the American Friends Service Committee and cosponsored by Jobs Now!, Kansas City Federation of Teachers, Occupy KC, PeaceWorks/KC, and Physicians for Social Responsibility/KC. Representatives from endorsing groups testified before the Jackson County Legislature’s Finance and Audit Committee on the Move the Money Campaign that is focused on changing the federal budget priorities.
In MA, due to the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the Tax Day/GDAMS actions were postponed in Boston, Northampton and Fall River. In Boston, American Friends Service Committee and Mass Peace Action working with the Budget for All Coalition are organizing a May 16 the march and rally endorsed by a cross section of labor and community groups: Mass. AFL-CIO, Mass. Jobs with Justice, Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants, Disability Policy Consortium, Sierra Club/Boston, Boston Workers Alliance, ACTUP/Boston, Human Rights City Boston & Beyond, Survivors Inc, SEIU Local 509 Lavender Caucus, American Federation of Government Employees Local 3258 and Local 1164 and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Rallies in Northampton and Fall River will also be held on May 16 & 17. For more information: http://masspeaceaction.org/
For more US reports go to the GDAMS website.
We need a movement that is global and grassroots, that will take action, educate and generate an alternative vision for global economic security for all.
Acting together with our sisters and brothers around the world to highlight the impact of military spending on meeting global human needs is an important step towards a national dialogue on US foreign policy.
To succeed in reordering government priorities and compelling changes for an economy that guarantees decent, union, good paying jobs, requires that we move towards multi-lateral action and stronger, more equitable , diplomatic relationships with countries around the world to solve the urgent political, economic and security issues.
Peace Action was proud to be the Global Day of Action on Military Spending US convener this year. Peace Action affiliates worked with our allies on events in 15 states.
On a national level, it was yet another wonderful opportunity to work closely with organizers who went the extra mile for a successful US GDAMS events: American Friends Service Committee, Coalition for Human Needs, Fellowship of Reconciliation National Priorities Project, New Priorities Network and USAction! Big thanks to Mary Zerkel (AFSC), Angela Evans (CHN) and Barabara Helmick (UASAction) for helping to collect local reports and photos…and OSPG (On the Spot Political Guidance!)
And a hearty thank you to the GDAMS staff: Colin Archer, Secretary General of the International Peace Bureau and Mylene Soto, Program Coordinator, International Peace Bureau and GDAMS 2013.
The US groups supporting Tax Day and the Global Day of Action on MIlitary Spending events:
Foreign Policy in Focus, project of Institute for Policy Studies
By Kathy Kelly
When she was 24 years old, in 1979, Fahima Vorgetts left Afghanistan. By reputation, she had been outspoken, even rebellious, in her opposition to injustice and oppression; and family and friends, concerned for her safety, had urged her to go abroad. Twenty-three years later, returning for the first time to her homeland, she barely recognized war-torn streets in urban areas where she had once lived. She saw and felt the anguish of villagers who couldn’t feed or shelter their families, and no less able to accept such unjust suffering than she’d been half her life before, Fahima decided to make it her task to help alleviate the abysmal conditions faced by ordinary Afghans living at or below the poverty line - by helping to build independent women’s enterprises wherever she could. She trusted in the old adage that if a person is hungry it’s an even greater gift to teach the person how to fish than to only give the person fish.
Last week, our small delegation here in Kabul traveled around the city with her to visit several clinics and “shuras,” or women’s councils that she has opened.
The first clinic we visited has been here since 2006. Two women, a doctor and a midwife, told us that they are part of a staff who work in three shifts to keep the clinic open “24-7.” Not one of their patients has died while being treated at the clinic.
Next we visited two villages, one Pashtun and the other Tajik, on the outskirts of Kabul.
“Why did you pick this village?” asked Jake Donaldson, an M.D. from Ventura, CA who joined us here in Kabul about a week ago. “I didn’t pick them,” Fahima exclaimed. “They picked me.”
A year previously, the villagers had asked her to build a clinic and a literacy center. She had told them that if they would agree to organize a women’s cooperative and pool their resources to hire teachers, midwives and nurses, she herself would build the physical building and help with supplies.
In each village, we visited a newly constructed building which will house a clinic, a women’s cooperative for jewelry-making, tailoring, and canning, a set of literacy classes for children and adults, and even a public shower which families can sign up to use. A young teacher invited us to step inside his classroom where about fifty children, girls and boys, were learning their alphabet in the first week of a literacy class. Several villagers proudly showed us the well they had dug, powered by a generator. The well will help them irrigate their land as well as supply clean drinking water for the village.
Before we left, a male village elder described to Fahima how valuable her work has been for his village. Fahima seemed to blush a bit as she gratefully acknowledged his compliment.
Such appreciative words, along with the children’s eager expressions, seem to be the main compensation for her tireless work. “I and the board members of The Afghan Women’s Fund are 100% volunteers,” Fahima assures me. “Our board members are people of tremendous integrity.”
On the day before our tour, Fahima had come to the Afghan Peace Volunteer home to speak to the seamstresses who run a sewing cooperative here and encourage them to hold on at all costs to their dignity. She urged them never to prefer handouts to hard work in self-sustaining projects. Fahima had helped the seamstresses begin their cooperative effort at the Volunteer house when she purchased sewing machines for them a little over a year ago.
“Not all of the projects I’ve tried to start have worked out,” said Fahima. “Sometimes people are hampered by conservative values and some families don’t want to allow women to leave their homes. Most often, it is war or the security situation that prevents success.”
She firmly believes that war will never solve problems in her country - or anywhere else, for that matter.
Fahima is outspoken, even blunt, as she speaks about warlords and war profiteers. She has good reason to be bitter over the cruelties inflicted on ordinary Afghans by all those interested in filling their own pockets and expanding control of Afghanistan’s resources. She advises the Afghan Peace Volunteers with the voice and love of a mother. “The world is gripped by a class war in which the 1% elite, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity and including the Afghan and U.S./NATO elite, have been ganging up to control, divide, oppress and profit from us, the ordinary 99%. Resist these ‘dark times’, resist war and weapons, educate yourselves, and work together in friendship.”
Fahima’s spirit of youthful rebellion clearly hasn’t been snuffed out by age or experience. Her practical compassion is like a compass for all of us who learn about her work.
For more about the Afghan Women Fund, go to www.Afghanwomensfund.org
Kathy Kelly, (firstname.lastname@example.org), co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). She is living in Kabul for the month of May as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/).
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By Dave Lindorff
(This article was originally written on assignment forwww.counterpunch.org)
By Ann Wright
I am honored to be attending the Nobel Women’s Initiative, “Moving Beyond Militarism and War,” May 28-30, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Six women Nobel Peace Laureates and 80 women from around the world are gathering to discuss the weighty and seeming insolvable problem of getting past the militarism of our world and the financial need of politicians and corporations to wage war. Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Leyamh Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman will attend the conference, as well as women activists from war conflict regions.
The United States balances its endless war of terrorism with the institution of an endless "peace process" for Palestine, a process valuable for its peaceyness and interminability.
Josh Ruebner's new book, Shattered Hopes: The Failure of Obama's Middle East Peace Process, could just as easily have been called "Fulfilled Expectations: The Success of Obama's Middle East Peace Process," depending on one's perspective. Its story could be summarized: Obama's performance in this area has been of a piece with his performance in every other. Some people became very hopeful about his rhetoric and then very dejected about his actions.
In this case, among those getting hopeful were Palestinian negotiators. But they didn't just grow depressed and despondent. They felt no obligation to behave like Democratic voters. They swore off the Hopium and went to work on an international approach through the United Nations that has begun to pay off.
Obama began his "peace process" efforts "naively unprepared for the intensity of the pushback from Israel and its supporters in the United States to its demand that Israel freeze settlements," Ruebner writes. But evidence of Obama's mental state is hard to pin down, and I'm not sure of the relevance. Whether Obama began with naive good intentions or the same cynicism that he was, by all accounts, fully immersed in by his second or third year in office, the important point remains the same. As Ruebner explains, Obama employs an all-carrots / no-sticks approach with Israel that is doomed to failure.
In fact, suggesting that the White House cease providing Israel with ever more weaponry and/or cease providing Israel with ever more protection from justice following its crimes is liable to get Ruebner himself denounced as naive, along with the rest of us who think he's right. Obama's fundamental problem is not one of naiveté, but of "seriousness," of upholding the solemn seriousness of willful belief in a respectable but doomed approach. If Obama was surprised that Palestinian negotiators didn't play along with this the way U.S. "journalists" do, that would suggest he had internalized the official point of view. Whether that is naiveté or deep cynicism may be in the eye of the beholder.
Ruebner provides the chronological play-by-play from Obama's first happy shiny moves in office to his familiar flailing about in search of propaganda that would continue to hold up year after year. And Ruebner includes analysis of what activists were up to along the way.
In fact, Ruebner begins with Obama's campaign promises, which -- upon close inspection -- prove, as with every other issue, to have been much closer to the President's abysmal performance than to the glowing image people recall of his early hope-and-changey self. Obama campaigned placing all blame on Palestinians, supporting Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, backing resolutions and legislation in the Senate imposing sanctions on Palestinians as punishment for having held an open election, and supporting Israel during its wars on Lebanon and Gaza. Obama's speeches and his website made his position clear to those inclined to see it. Boycott campaigns against the Israeli government were, according to him, "bigoted."
As with every other area, on peace in Palestine, Obama's disastrous approach could also have been read clearly from his selection of individuals to run his foreign policy team. During the transition period prior to his inauguration, Obama took positions on many foreign policy matters, but when it came to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, he declared himself unable to speak prior to becoming president.
Watching the sequence of events play out post-inauguration is painful. Obama urges an end to Israel's expansion of settlements. Netanyahu suggests that Obama, with all due respect, stick his proposals where the sun don't shine. But Netanyahu backs "statehood" (someday, with no rights or power or independence or actual -- you know -- statehood) for Palestinians, but proceeds to rapidly expand settlements, effectively eliminating territory on which to create any state. Obama announces that victory has come and help is on the way!
Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave up on freezing settlements and announced that slowing the pace of the expansion would be an "unprecedented" accomplishment -- a claim that was less credible to people who had lived and suffered through many such claims before. As reward for the same lawless abuses as always, Israel received from the Obama administration more weaponry than ever, and a veto of a resolution at the United Nations opposing more Israeli settlements.
Ruebner rightly concludes:
"Obama's failure to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace resulted not only from his unwillingness to go to the mat with the Israel lobby over the issue of fully freezing Israeli settlements, not only from the scattershot, frenetic lurching of his policy initiatives thereafter. Obama also foundered because his approach relied solely on providing Israel with carrots. With the trivial exceptions of denying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu photo-ops at the White House on a few occasions and reportedly forcing him to wait for several hours before a meeting, Obama never brandished the proverbial stick. But these personal insults did nothing to create incentives for Israel to cease openly and brazenly defying U.S. policy objectives."
Hope is so much more popular than reality. But Ruebner is full of hope. He holds it out there in front of us. All that's required is a little actually useful action:
"[I]f the United States were to pull its backing for Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, then Israeli intransigence would melt away in the historical blink of an eye, as it did when President Dwight Eisenhower terminated all U.S. aid programs to Israel after it invaded and occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in 1956."
How do we get there? Part of the answer, Ruebner persuasively suggests is Boycott-Divestment-and-Sanctions (BDS), a movement that is making great strides, including in changing the public discourse, altering the sorts of things that even U.S. politicians can get away with claiming with a straight face.
I'm standing on a sidewalk
In Pleasantville, New York. It’s1959,
And I’m holding the American flag in my hand.
It’s really hot in the bright sunshine,
But I stand at attention, like a good soldier,
And salute my father, who smiles and waves
In this home of the free, this land of the brave.
Dad’s with the World War Two veterans. They’re marching to the beat
Of the fire department band sweeping down the street:
The horns blare, the drums pound, the cymbals crash -
And my consciousness cracks like shattered glass.
The band's overtaken by soaring boys on bikes.
Their spokes are woven with red white and blue crepe paper,
And the fluttering streamers on their handle bars
Make them look like firecrackers on wheels.
It’s so damn dazzling I have to look away,
Down at my feet, and I'm starting to sway
From the glare reflecting off the concrete.
I squint, and swoon, and look up at the sky
Where the light on the leaves of the sugar maple trees
Reflects off the chrome of the cars on the street.
I'm breathless, and dizzy, and overdone.
The one thing I know, this isn't fun.
"Don't you ever let that flag touch the ground!"
Snaps a mean old man, twisting my arm up so it hurts.
Disapproving town folk stare.
I feel their looks in the depths of my soul.
What else can a ten year old boy do but slink away
And chuck that fucking flag over the first privet hedge?
It was there and then that I knew that being
A good citizen was too much responsibility
For anyone as weak and as young as me.
To this day my favorite part of the Memorial Day Parade
Is the sound of the street cleaner
Pushing the star spangled flakes of confetti
Into his pan and pouring them,
With a soft sweet swoosh, into his pail.
Host: Lila Garrett
Guests: Farah Almousani of Courage to Resist
David Swanson (Rootsaction.org)
Tim Carpenter (PDA)
Good Monday morning. Welcome to Connect the Dots. I’m your host Lila Garrett and, as always, I long to wake up on Memorial Day to find our country at peace with the world. Instead of mourning the young men and women who think they died fighting to protect their country, let us mourn the truth. Let us mourn the fact that most of the time our beautiful youth died to keep our permanent war economy alive. They died for what Eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial complex. They died for the power and profit of strangers. Had they thought of the expression “die for your country” as a public relations con job would they have risked their lives in such massive numbers? Of course not. But profiteers & presidents are so good at selling war…and most of us are so bad at knowing when we’re being manipulated, it hurts us to recognize that practically since its inception our country has been in a state of perpetual war. This is a cause not for celebration, but for shame.
You feel I’m being disrespectful of our fallen perhaps? I am not taking into consideration the sacrifice and “glory” of Memorial Day? You feel perhaps this should be a day of prayer and other religious rituals? Very well….How about this?
What if God actually was an old guy with a white beard, rather than an abstraction. And he stood on top a mountain holding out his arms and roared to the millions of armed service people below him, about to be shipped off to war. What would he say??? I don’t know about your God, but my god would cry out…..
“Stop! You think you’re going off to save democracy, to protect your country, to create freedom and equality? Know that you are fighting to maintain not your country but your country’s permanent war economy. Know that you are about to kill strangers and very possibly get killed yourselves for the power and profit of Lockhead Martin, Boeing, Northrup-Grummon. Are you ready to die for General Dynamics, Chevron, British Petroleum, and the drone makers? Are you willing to lose a leg or an arm or your mind for Raytheon, BAE and the Koch Brothers? Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life in a wheel chair for Bechtel SAIC, General Electric…and rest corporate America including the military.
Perhaps you don’t think in those terms. Perhaps you think you’re going to protect the helpless, feed the hungry? Know that what you are going to create is more helpless, and you will primarily feed the fat-cats that profit by these war.
You’re prepared to go to war to protect your country from attack you say? Know that your country is in less danger of attack from the outside than the outside that is from your country.
“But there are terrorist”, you say. They do have to be stopped. Yes they do and the first place to stop them is right here. At home. The most lethal terrorist technology ever invented is the drone. The instigator and the leader of Drone development is the United States. Drones that kill recklessly, randomly, turning everything and everyone in their path to rubble. Unmanned murderers capable of wiping out hundreds, thousands, potentially millions in a plane without a pilot that looks like a toy….or even a bug. Drones that create instant enemies for the US…..that cause not fewer terrorists around the world, but more. After all, what have potential victims of drones got to lose?. They see the collateral damage drones cause. They know there’s no place to hide. We’re going to get killed anyway, they think. It’s all done by remote control from some safe office building cozily tucked away in American towns by military people who play the drone like a video game. Fun for the sender; death for the unsuspecting receiver. Drones are an exciting new game for the Masters of War.
Insert: Keaton Simons sings Bob Dillons Masters of War.
What happens when sweet, well meaning young people equate patriotism with blindly obeying their country’s orders them to kill strangers? What happens when public relations campaigns convince young people that their slogans are real….“mess with the best, die like the rest,” the Marines tell us. “cocked locked ready to rock” they brag. They make you feel good when they call themselves…..the Marines. the few, .the proud. It makes you want to be one of them.
One the young people who confused that public relations slogan with the truth was Bradley Manning. When he was 18 he joined the Army to fight for his country in Iraq. What he discovered was the reality of war. Destabilization, confusion, the anonymity of the killers and their victims. Killing for its own sake, killing for kicks, the obsessive, compulsive need to kill that takes over what once were decent, sane young people.
One day Bradley Manning witnessed one of these mass killings for sport by American marines in Iraq. They wouldn’t stop. Horrified, Manning reported this to his superior officer. He was told to keep his mouth shut. He didn’t. He gave the video of the killings to Wikileaks so the world would know the truth about war. And now, 3 years later a military court is about to decide if he will pay for his honesty with his life. After 3 years of confinement and torture in military prison, he’s finally getting a trial, and that’s because a million protesting Americans refused to allow him to be hidden away any longer. Is justice possible for Bradley Manning? So far he has been refused the right to speak publicly about what he saw or what he has suffered. In other words he is not allowed to speak in his own defense. How’s that for honoring our first amendment?
Farah Almousani, Campaign organizer for the great organization Courage to Resist, was present at his last hearing. What is in store for this genuine hero for peace and sanity? What’s in store for the rest of us who believe in his cause?
(to listen to this interview and the other interviews with David Swanson and Tim Carpenter, follow the instructions below.)
Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)
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Obama at Annapolis
by Stephen Lendman
Obama represents the worst of rogue leadership. He's a war criminal multiple times over. He's guilty of numerous other crimes. He belongs in prison, not high office.
On May 24, he addressed Naval Academy graduates. Why any showed up they'll have to explain. So does why those doing so didn't diss him.
Hezbollah's Nasrallah: Syria's the "Linchpin of Resistance"
by Stephen Lendman
Speaking on the 13th anniversary of Lebanon's Resistance and Liberation Day, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed grave regional dangers.
The US war on terror is in fact the most massive terror campaign ever, and the invasion of Iraq was the worst crime in recent history, prominent liberal thinker Noam Chomsky told RT, adding that he wants to see Bush, Blair and Obama tried at the ICC.
The ‘father of modern linguistics,’ Chomsky reflects on the language of the war on terror, coming to the conclusion that the freer the society, the more sophisticated its propaganda.
RT: As someone who was living in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the chaos, what did you think of the police and media response to them?
Noam Chomsky: I hate to second guess police tactics, but my impression was that it was kind of overdone. There didn’t have to be that degree of militarization of the area. Maybe there did, maybe not. It is kind of striking that the suspect they were looking for was found by a civilian after they lifted the curfew. They just noticed some blood on the street. But I have nothing to say about police tactics. As far as media was concerned, there was 24 hour coverage on television on all the channels.
What have we done to our daughters and sons,
What secret sent them to find?
Something written on a stone, we could not find on our own,
Our eyes open but blind.
They were husbands and wives when they laid down their lives,
They took a number and gave up a name.
They fought to the end for their families and friends,
For country, not fortune or fame.
Someone told a lie and they volunteered to die,
To lay down body and bone,
They left a family crying when they stumbled on a mine,
Now they're wrapped in a flag, flying home.
Why must they pay the price, can we share the sacrifice?
Is there courage we might find?
It's time to tell the truth, we envy them their youth,
Their future is all we leave behind.
From dust unto dust, in God we put our trust.
There is a lesson we must learn.
From the moment of our birth, we are children of this Earth,
To this Earth we shall return.
Craig Baumberger, aka, Banjohova Witness,
June 2013 War Criminal Appearances
George Bush 6/13-13 - Lakeside CA - protest