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The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is joining with a national coalition of religious and human rights groups in a National Week of Action Against Torture, Guantanamo and the NDAA. Co-sponsoring organizations are listed below.
Share this promotional video to encourage others to join us in June.
Friday, June 22: National Call-in Day to the White House & Congress
Saturday, June 23: National Tweet-in Day to the White House & Congress
Sunday, June 24: DC March Against Torture, Guantanamo & NDAA - Coalition Demonstration
- 1:00PM – 2:30PM
- Sign-up to join us for the march - We'll send exact event details closer to June 24.
- Download the flier here
- Use this sample message to invite your contacts to join us on June 24
- Facebook event page for June 24 event in DC
- If your organization or congregation would like to co-sponsor, please contact John Humphries
Solidarity events being planned for Chicago and San Francisco (details TBA)
- Day of Vigils across the USA - Register a vigil in your community
- Download a toolkit for local organizers
- View a list of events currently registered
List of co-sponsoring organizations (as of 5/25/12):
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Witness Against Torture
America Come Home
American Civil Liberties Union
Bellevue/NYU Center for Survivors of Torture
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Council on American Islamic Relations
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
Midwest Antiwar Mobilization
NC Stop Torture Now
Pax Christi USA
PEN American Center
Physicians for Human Rights
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Refuge Media Project
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
United Nations Association - USA East Bay Chapter
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
War Criminals Watch
World Can't Wait
This Memorial Day Let’s Start Caring for Our Nation’s Veterans: No More Ducking the Real Cost of US Wars!
By Dave Lindorff
Whether he ever said it or not, I’m going to borrow from a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln and alter it a bit to say: “American politicians must love war veterans -- they keep making so many more of them.”
What did thousands of people accomplish by protesting in Chicago this week during the NATO Summit? If you have thoughts on that, please write me. Mine: "NATO = Peace & Security," as banners across the Loop said? No, NATO = Protest, in Chicago, from here on out. The words "NATO Summit" were always accompanied by the word "protest" in Chicago media. This began to get people asking what we were protesting. When World Can't Wait went out to neighborhoods with our multi-language "Humanity & the Planet Come First," people asked, "are you the protesters? You're here!" Some of the most economically crushed, riding the bus from work, gave us small donations to support the protests. People opened their homes and hearts.
Thank you to all; CANG8 (Coalition Against NATO/G8), UNAC (United National Antiwar Coalition), Occupy Chicago, and all others that made this all rally and march against NATO/G8 possible. There are so many other groups, but I can't list them all here. And thank you to all who participated from seasoned veteran activists to the youth who were exercising their right to direct or participatory democracy for the first time. While so many others labored so long and so hard, my own part was almost infinitesimal. Andy, Joe and Pat of CANG8 were everywhere during the long months of organizing and this great march would have been much the lesser without them.
Yesterday was pretty intense. We arrived at Grant Park to a heavy police presence. Some of us had not slept well the night before after hearing the news of that the police had raided the homes of NATO protesters and then falsely charged them of “plotting terrorism". The police had also driven a car into a crowd of non-violent NATO protesters that same night.
National Lawyers Guild releases photo of alleged police infiltrator
The National Lawyer's Guild attorney for the three men charged with a major terrorist plot at the NATO summit in Chicago says they are being subjected to severe sensory deprivation. On the same day, the prosecution requested, and was granted, a delay of a preliminary hearing until June 12, in order, the Chicago Tribune reports, "to give prosecutors more time to assemble the case against them."
By Dave Lindorff
It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.
I enjoy reading histories of past activism, including memoirs by long-time activists, such as Lawrence Wittner's new book, Working for Peace and Justice.
Almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which a government has been spying on and infiltrating activist groups.
And almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which government officials were influenced by activist groups even while pretending to ignore popular pressure.
These revelations can be found in the memoirs of the government officials as well, such as in George W. Bush's recollection of how seriously the Republican Senate Majority Leader was taking public pressure against the war on Iraq in 2006.
By Coleen Rowley
Audio from this week's Talk Nation Radio:
In the course of his recent talk on human rights after 9-11, David Cole, a Georgetown Law Professor and constitutional law expert, speaking about human rights and civil liberties after 9-11 with former Vice President Walter Mondale and Lawrence Jacobs at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis, opined that all three branches of US government have failed in major ways to correct recent abuses and that the main hope for our country now resides in actions by American civil society.
That inspired me to compile the following top ten list of what citizens can and should do instead of just sitting on our hands hoping for change, distracted by the naïve belief that voting is the only thing citizens need to do, that voting for politicians will end the wars or solve the country's serious problems.
1. Write op-eds and letters to the editor.
Many good activist writers have ceased trying to get their writings published in mainstream press. But you can increase your chances of being published by following some vital tips (peg your letter or op-ed to an existing news article and stay within the word limit) as well as working in small writing groups that include editor-types who can proofread other’s work.
It’s best to try first to get your piece published in mainstream or sites with an opposing bias instead of preaching to the choir but if that doesn’t work, your time is not wasted as you can still usually publish your writing on an online alternative news/opinion site.
Undermine the emotional buttons (fear, hate, greed, false pride, blind loyalty) type propaganda used to effectively manipulate the masses by pushing their opposites: courage, love, generosity, humility and critical thinking.
2. Paint a sign or make a t-shirt, grab a friend and get in the street, outside key locations and/or newsworthy events. Showing up and visibility count for a lot! Contact your Congressperson and Senators as often as possible; personal visits are worth more than telephone calls.
(When we tried showing up in October 2007, our banner ended up the next day on the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper! We were able to help reverse a bad decision: Coleen Rowley: Banning Desmond Tutu is NOT Minnesota Nice. It's .. and Tutu Decision Reversed -- University Mission ... Of course this inspired us to make hundreds of other banners to display during weekly peace vigils at busy intersections. For a time we even covered pedestrian footbridges with colorful anti-war banners.
3. There is a remarkable “Freeway Blogger” who singlehandedly made and put up thousands and thousands of important messages during these last years in key spots seen by millions of California drivers. So one person can do a lot! But if you’re not quite that outgoing or creative on your own, you can still step out of the silent majority and its bystanderism by joining a group.
Consider joining a non-partisan group like "Come Home America" that transcends partisanship by combining varying political ideologies, i.e. conservatives, libertarians, progressives, and greens who don’t agree on everything but are in substantial agreement (just as the “anti-Imperialists” counted members as diverse as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie) in opposition to runaway militarism.
Some of the “Freeway Blogger’s” recent messages:
4. Resurrect the League of Women Voters and their true democracy building strategy of debating the real issues instead of voting based on someone’s $400 haircut geared to looking good in a TV ad. Organizing real debates with two opposing views potentially draws larger and more diverse audiences and can potentially change minds which is a big advantage over the typical church basement panel preaching to the choir.
The best real debate that I’ve seen in recent months is: National Security and Civil Liberties - Luncheon Debate (at SMU between torture-legalizer John Yoo and former Amnesty Int’l President Chip Pitts. Guess who won the debate?)
5. As we all know, art shows, theatre, comedy-satire and music all make the medicine (harsh reality) go down a lot easier.
Photo below is from our “Canvassing Against Torture” art show held during “June is Torture Awareness Month” last year.
6. Connect the dots! Explain to Occupy Youth how the costs of war and Empire's accompanying corruption are to blame for much of the current domestic miseries (foreclosures, lack of affordable health care, student debt, lack of jobs, price of gas, cuts to social safety net, environmental and climate change degradation etc.) Both parties’ politicians try to sell a "have your cake and eat it too" American dream whereby war costs and the Empire's rot from within are ignored. When people don't understand the "sorrows of empire" and the fact that there IS a big trade-off, there is little incentive to reign in military spending.
What would you do with $37 billion for Minnesota? (by the Minnesota ASAP project)
7. Paint your clothes and shoes and ditch the high fashion. Wear these messages to the grocery store, kids' sporting events, biking etc.
For example, when I do my triathlons, I always multi-task with this t-shirt logo:
First we painted them, then we threw them, then we mailed them. And now we wear them, even out in public to the grocery store! Send your Peace Shoes to the President!
8. Quickly click 5000 new Facebook "friends" and start "sharing" everything you’re doing. Maybe they’ll take the cue.
9. Carve a pumpkin, fly a kite or make papier mache for peace!
Carved by Bill Habedank for his annual Red Wing Pumpkin Show
(Peace Kites by Roger Cuthbertson)
Join the Avatars for Peace! Say No to Empire!
10. Make a FOIA request. File a lawsuit, like Chris Hedges, Naomi Wolf and Daniel Ellsberg have done to get the National Defense Authorization Act and its provision allowing military arrest and due-process free detention of American citizens held unconstitutional. FOIA requests and FOIA lawsuits can and are often prosecuted by ordinary requesters “pro se” without need of expensive lawyers. Nearly everything the public has learned of the terrible civil liberties abuses in recent years of “Top Secret America” has come from the FOIA process.
So these are my top ten but I just thought of an 11th! Send the list off to Letterman and see if he can do better!
Coleen Rowley was Chief Division Counsel in the FBI's Minneapolis office who exposed pre-911 failings and testified to Congress. Her memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee's Inquiry led to a two year long Department of Justice Inspector General investigation. Rowley was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine. In April 2003, following an unsuccessful attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her legal position to go back to being a Special Agent. She retired from the FBI at the end of 2004 and now speaks, writes, and takes action for peace.
By Joshua Brollier
I feel compelled to comment on a few things I have heard in the past week during the lead up to and duration of NATO protests here in Chicago. Mainly, I feel disheartened by the way the media and consumerism have shaped national opinion and attitude when it comes to these specific anti-NATO demonstrations. Two friends of mine, whom I highly respect in other aspects both personally and professionally, have made comments that seem to echo too much of the hysteria and general misunderstanding as to why people are protesting and what being a participant in a social movement entails.
Yesterday in Chicago we took to the streets for humanity and the planet! Watch video. As Obama met with Afghan president Karzai and told the world that "hard days are ahead in Afghanistan" we gathered with thousands in downtown Chicago in opposition to the war criminals meeting. Watch unedited video from the livestream of Friday's event: International Voices for Humanity and the Planet.
Protesters, Clergy, Community to Remember Victims of U.S. / NATO Wars
Monday, May 21 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Trinity Episcopal Church 125 E. 26th St., Chicago
A huge crowd gathered for several hours and marched for over two miles in the hot sun to oppose NATO and U.S. wars on Sunday in Chicago. Finishing the march outside the NATO meeting, numerous U.S. veterans of current wars denounced their previous "service" and threw their medals over the fence, a scene not witnessed since the U.S. war on Vietnam.
This event, with massive turnout and tremendous energy, saw the participation of numerous groups from Chicago and the surrounding area, including students, teachers, and activists on a variety of issues, as well as anti-war activists and Occupiers from around the country and the world. No one can have been disappointed with the turnout, but it might have been bigger if not for the fear that was spread prior to Sunday. In the face of that fear, Sunday's action was remarkable.
MAY 20, 2012, MILITARIZED CHICAGO -- Next month in Baltimore they're going to celebrate the War of 1812. That's what we do with wars. We say they're the last resort. We say they're hell. We say they're for the purpose of eliminating themselves: we fight wars for peace. Although we never keep peace for wars. We claim to wage only wars we have been forced into despite all possible effort to find a better way. And then we celebrate the wars. We keep the wars going for their own sake after all the excuses we used to get them started have expired. The WMDs have not been found. Osama bin Laden's been killed. Al Qaeda is gone from the country where we're fighting it. Nobody's threatening Benghazi anymore. But the wars must go on! And then we'll celebrate them. And we'll celebrate the old ones too, the ones that were fought here, the ones that were in their day not quite so heavily painted as last resorts or humanitarian missions.
Last year Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee persuaded Congress to create an Iraq-Afghanistan Wars holiday. It's on our calendars now along with Loyalty Day (formerly May Day), Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day), Memorial Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Patriots Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and of course September 11th, among many others. Last week there was an Armed Forces Spouses Appreciation Day. The military holiday calendar is like the Catholic saints' days now: there's something every day of the year.
But there's no celebration of the times we avoided war. We claim to prefer peace to war, but we don't make heroes of those presidents or Congresses who most avoided war. In fact, we erase them. Our history books jump from war to war as if nothing happened in between. Nobody celebrates 1811, only 1812. Even the peace movement doesn't celebrate the past decade's prevention, thus far, of a war on Iran.
Three activists in Chicago for the NATO Summit protests — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — are being charged with a major terrorist plot and "material support for terrorism" after they posted a video of police threatening the three with violence during the NATO summit. The terror attacks were to include numerous Chicago police stations, Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building, and Rahm Emanuel’s home in Ravenswood. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) contends the charges are fabricated and that the arrests are retaliation.
Now here's a book that's meant to be used: "Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution" edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell. The subtitle should be "Try this at home -- but innovate!" Instead it's "From the people who brought you the Yes Men, Billionaires Against Bush, etc."
Beautiful Trouble is a terrific addition to Gene Sharp's catalog of nonviolent tactics, less comprehensive, more up-to-date, more U.S.-centric, and focused on the artistic and the entertaining. When someone whines about what they can possibly do if it's really true that voting won't fix everything, hand them this book. When someone proposes violence as the only serious option available, hand them this book.
Here is a guide to activism that focuses on the serious moral case for fundamental change and on making it fun as hell. Here is a sophisticated tool for shaping strategies that are both uncompromising and welcoming of newcomers.
The book is divided into five sections: Tactics, Principles, Theories, Case Studies, and Practitioners. The section on Tactics is far and away the best, with some of the inspiring tactics further developed in the case studies. While the book looks like a reference designed to be searched as needed like an encyclopedia (tons of pull quotes and text in cute little boxes, as if laid out for someone with a four-second attention span) it actually reads very well as a book if you focus on the largest font size and just read it straight through.
Long time activists may find more and more of the material to be familiar as the book progresses, but it is a book that practices what it preaches. It is open to brand new participants in government of, by, and for the people as well as to those who've been trying to get it right for many years. For the most part, even the familiar is so well presented and contextualized that people are likely to find new insights in what they thought they already knew.
We always wonder how to welcome war criminals and robber barons to town. Do we protest? Do we try to participate in their public events in an approved manner? Do we hold up posters silently without interrupting? "Beautiful Trouble" is packed with great approaches to this and other common scenarios. For example, in 2006, Rainforest Action greeted the CEO of General Motors at the Los Angeles Auto Show by pretending to be emcees, thanking the man for the speech he'd just given about GM's commitment to the environment, and unfurling a giant pledge for him to sign putting his promises in writing. He then had two bad choices. He chose to refuse to sign, and the media ran with that story.
Other great tactics explored include "nonviolent search and seizure," or the theatrical attempt to liberate secret documents to which the public has a right. Governments are presented with the option of looking secretive and suspicious or exposing what they're up to and revealing themselves as corrupt and destructive. Successful uses of this tactic are recounted.
Then there's the case of families setting up a childcare center in the office of a public housing official until provided with other means of childcare. With each such idea, others will appear in the reader's mind. Why not move a school into the office of a weapons profiteer? Why not move a library into the office of a war-funding, banker-bailing-out Congress member? Such variations gain and lose various advantages that this book can help an organizer sort through.
Or there's the case of the teddy bear catapult. When officials lock themselves inside a fortress (at Camp David, or in Chicago, or anywhere else), a catapult can be a means of sending them a message in which the main message is in fact the medium.
Other tactics, such as the general strike, are extremely difficult, or -- as with a "debt strike" -- have yet to be successfully pulled off.
"Beautiful Trouble" is not just a list of colorful actions. It analyzes the pros and cons, principles involved, potential dangers, and insidious tendencies. It gives detailed advice on how a tactic should be used most effectively. It can build your movement more, for example, to not just shout people down but to do so very politely under the banner of a Public Filibuster, insisting on upholding their rights as well as your own.
"Beautiful Trouble" includes an excellent rejection of "diversity of tactics" -- which can become "code for 'anything goes'," as well as an explanation of the power and superior success rate of disciplined strategic nonviolence.
Rather than pretending to list all available types of approaches, the authors (dozens of them, activists all) seek to guide the reader toward a model for inventing and generating new approaches. Part of theatrical activism, of course, involves tricking the corporate media into covering positions toward which its owners are fundamentally opposed or -- at best -- indifferent. Even the best of tactics can lose that power simply by having been used before.
The Theories section of the book may be the weakest, as a lot of it amounts to Cliff's Notes versions of well-known intellectuals. And the Practitioners section at the end, which really is just a list of activist groups, leaves much to be desired.
It's also stunning that an up-to-the-minute book drawing heavily on the Occupy movement and other events of recent years and months contains so many examples of opposing George W. Bush, while Barack Obama gets a single mention -- which comes in an account of the Tar Sands protests in which the wisdom of not polarizing against Obama is explained to us. Oh, and there's one other mention praising Obama's campaign messaging.
"Beautiful Trouble" discusses the Overton Window and the benefit of pushing for what you really want or even more. It even offers the example of pushing for single payer if what you want is a "public option." But groups that did that are missing from the book, while praise goes repeatedly to organizations that blatantly violated that specific advice. "Beautiful Trouble" even declares the healthcare legislation that failed to include the "public option" a victory.
An account of "Billionaires for Bush" is followed by an account of misguided (by the book's own advice) healthcare groups "succeeding" in finding some target other than the Democrats in power in Washington to protest, which is followed by another account of random protesters of Bush. I was a big fan and participant in Billionaires for Bush, but when -- in 2008 -- I asked them why in the world they were shutting down rather than evolving into Oligarchs for Obama they never gave me a straight answer.
Oddly missing from the book's advice for activist organizing is any warning about the corrupting influence of large, well-funded groups or of partisan politics.
Note that this is a book that dares to go after capitalism and many basic assumptions in our society, a society in which most people already condemn elected officials of both major political parties, so it would be at least a challenge to make a case that criticizing Obama's corruption would have somehow closed the book off to many of its potential readers.
I would also quibble with the happiness of the book's introduction which says:
"The realization is rippling through the ranks that, if deployed thoughtfully, our pranks, stunts, flash mobs and encampments can bring about real shifts in the balance of power."
But the same introduction also says:
"Through the last decade, though we've lost ground on climate, civil liberties, labor rights, and so many other fronts, we've also seen incredible flourishing of creativity and tactical innovation in our movements, both in the streets and online."
That is an extremely odd sentence. Logically, it could be rewritten:
"Through the last decade, though we've seen incredible flourishing of creativity and tactical innovation in our movements, both in the streets and online, we've also lost ground on climate, civil liberties, labor rights, and so many other fronts."
We are losing. We are losing badly and we're pretty darn close to Game Over. And yet we have seen small victories and hints at the possibility of larger ones. We have learned what tactics work better than others. In my view, there's not much more useful that anyone could do than to learn from this book, and with independent analysis, as the authors themselves would recommend, go forth and do likewise.
As I traveled this day to Chicago to bear witness to and against an organization wholly culpable for the murder of countless and uncounted persons in the name of war, undaunted power and greed, I recalled words which Bobby Kennedy spoke to the world moments before he too was murdered. Within moments of his death, then presidential candidate Robert Kennedy gave an interview in which he gave extraordinary voice to ordinary people whom the United States was killing in Viet Nam, without cause or reason or care.
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. - John 2:15
Eight buses of folks from Occupy Wall Street groups across the country began rolling into Chicago last night, while 17 buses with National Nurses United members should start to arrive today. The 99% Spring coalition of labor unions, faith groups, and community organizations has also organized bus trips from several major US cities and national peace and justice groups are also sending delegations. Last night, during a talk about the Bradley Manning trial by a Firedoglake blogger at a local Revolution bookstore, I met people who had driven into Chicago from North Carolina and New York, and there's no telling how many folks are driving in cars, taking public buses or trains, or flying commercial to get here.
The influx of thousands of out of town demonstrators arriving in Chicago should correlate into an increase in the size of street demonstrations Thursday, but the National Nurses United rally for a financial speculation tax on Friday will be the first real test of movement strength that could gauge if the G8/NATO summit protest mobilizations will meet or exceed turnout expectations, or underperform. Friday's nurses' march needs to turn out at least 2,000 people to meet expectations, and if that happens, then things look good for a strong showing at Sunday's coalition march, which could turn out between 10-20,000 people. Those kind of numbers would be enough to carry significant momentum into Monday, the second day of the summit, when a large-scale civil disobedience action is being organized to shutdown Boeing's national corporate headquarters.
War Opponents to Protest Honoring of John Brennan, Principal US Advocate of Drone Killings, at Fordham University Commencement Saturday 5/19
Fordham University’s commencement will attract advocates of justice this weekend, as Fordham awards an honorary doctorate to controversial commencement speaker, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security.
Brennan, an alumnus of Fordham and former senior CIA official, recently defended the US program of “targeted killing” by drone as consistent with international law, despite repeated evidence that such strikes kill civilians and would-be rescuers. Brennan "is widely know for his advocacy of kidnapping-for-torture (aka 'extraordinary rendition') and killing 'militants' (including US citizens) with 'Hellfire' missiles fired by 'Predator' and 'Reaper' drone aircraft," wrote former CIA agent Ray McGovern, also a Fordham graduate.
"What Have We Been Doing?": Decorated Veteran Aaron Hughes to Return War Medals at Anti-NATO Protest
Urges Building an Inclusive, Democratized Economy from Bottom Up
Consistent with the Earth’s Resources and People’s Needs
Frederick, MD: On Friday, May 18th at the Frederick Public Library (110 E. Patrick Street) an Occupy G8 People’s Summit will be held from 10 am to 2 pm as part of a weekend of protest and community events. The summit will feature experts (see list below) on a wide range of economic issues. The economic proposals will stand in stark contrast to what the G8 will propose, including:
- How to build an economy from the bottom up that is inclusive of all countries and allows a role for civil society;
We protest the G-8 and NATO, but not Bilderberg. Why?
Do you have to be xenophobic, paranoid, isolationist, or libertarian to protest a secretive gathering of over 100 billionaires, industrialists, media barons, and politicians working to shape our public sphere, or has the left dropped the ball? Is it time for Occupy to step in?
From May 31 to June 3, 2012, at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles Hotel, in Chantilly, Va., the Bilderberg Group is expected to gather behind closed doors. This exclusive club will rent the entire hotel, encircle it with armed guards, and keep everyone far away, including the media -- except for those special members of the media who will take part but never report a word of what goes on.
Wikipedia calls Bilderberg: "an annual, unofficial, invitation-only conference of approximately 120 to 140 guests from North America and Western Europe, most of whom are people of influence. About one-third are from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labour, education and communications. Meetings are closed to the public."
Bilderberg calls itself: "leading citizens on both sides of the Atlantic that Western Europe and North America" who hold "regular, off-the-record discussions" of "common problems - from trade to jobs, from monetary policy to investment, from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security. . . . There usually are about 120 participants of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labour, education and communications."
Does this group of "leading citizens" look representative of the people's interests?
Bilderberg says this was its agenda four years ago:
* A Nuclear-Free World
* Managing Financial Turbulence
* US Foreign Policy Without Change
* How Serious Are the Threats on Our Economies
* Islam in Europe
* Afghanistan, Challenge for the West
* A Look at the Future
* The Mounting Threat of Protectionism
* After Bush: The Future of US-EU Relations
* Current Affairs: US Elections
Scholars have credited Bilderberg with significant influence in all sorts of disastrous policies from NAFTA to the current push for war with Iran.
One analysis comes from Andrew Kakabadse, a management professor at the UK's Cranfield University:
"There is no conspiracy in Kakabadse's eyes, as Bilderberg has no formal influence whatsoever. 'On the other hand, it has the most tremendous influence since it shapes opinions at the highest levels. Bilderberg is for leaders what the annual medical conference is for doctors. In the latter, certain delegates are more active than others and at some stage the prevailing medical thinking is driven in one particular direction. These regular meetings shape the way the dominant medical theory and practice develops, to the point that the way things are going feels normal and nobody asks for the alternative to the dominant medical paradigms anymore.' The same can be said for world leadership, Kakabadse argues.
"British journalist Jon Ronson, who was invited to a conference by Bilderberg organisers, described the relationship between conference organisers and aspiring political leaders in attendance: 'They'll get an up-and-coming politician who they think may be president or prime minister one day, and as globalist industrialist leaders who believe that politics shouldn't be in the hands of politicians, they try and influence them with wise words in the corridors outside sessions.' Kakabadse calls this process 'smart power'. The shaping of the prevailing opinions amongst the world's leading decision-makers is 'so smart that people don't even know that they are being led', he says. 'In the end, they don't even realise that there are alternative questions to be asked.'"
Is this healthy for democracy?
Or is there a desperate need here for somebody to be mic checked?
We’re putting the focus on the victims of the US/NATO wars all week! Let's keep up the momentum: Spread the word and invite your friends to come along, learn about the crimes of NATO and get involved in the movement to put them to a stop. We are inviting people everywhere to contribute the names of victims of NATO violence, using the hashtag #NATOvictims. We will recite the names as part of a Memorial for the Victims of US/NATO Wars on May 21, the second day of the NATO Summit. Stay tuned for more details of the event -- to be released shortly.
Location-Obama Campaign Headquarters, 130 E. Randolph, Prudential 1 Plaza, moving to the Canadian Consulate (Prudential Plaza 2 ), United Kingdom Consulate (400 N. Michigan Suite 1300), and German Consulate (676 N. Michigan, Suite 3200 )
Noon, Thursday, March 17, 2012
Chicago, IL— On Thursday at noon, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, The World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace and other groups associated with the NATO protests will attempt to present letters expressing our outrage about NATO operations and our demand an end to military operations, particularly drone operations, to four NATO countries: the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK. They will also bring visual representations of the civilians killed by NATO forces. "We are outraged by the numbers of innocents killed in NATO/US wars, and will we focus on their stories," says Debra Sweet of The World Can't Wait.
"As NATO meets in Chicago, it is important to remind member states of NATO of the extraordinary violence of NATO and their responsibility for these civilian deaths," says retired Colonel Ann Wright. Of the 28 NATO countries, 18 have consulates in Chicago (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom). The peace activists have chosen to visit the Consulates of Canada, the UK and Germany since all three nations still have troops in Afghanistan and have been key US allies in initiating and continuing the Afghan war.
In the past ten years, NATO and US military operations have caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Both the British and US militaries have caused numerous civilian deaths by drone attack, and under President Obama, the CIA has killed over 3000 persons in the undeclared war on Pakistan, 65 persons in the undeclared war on Yemen, including the targeted assassinations of four American citizens. Additionally, a NATO helicopter attack on a Pakistani Army border unit killed Pakistani 24 soldiers in September, 2011.