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What a bizarre circumstance this is. The irrational Iranians are behaving too reasonably.
The unmovable Iranians seem to be compromising too readily.
This past weekend, the United States and other major nations finally spoke with Iran. In 10 hours of talks (or 5 with translations), minus a lunch break, Iran agreed to a framework for ensuring that its nuclear program is only used for civilian purposes.
If this keeps up, the whole basis for war could be lost. And it's all the result of having finally spent a few hours talking with Iran. The obvious solution is to cut off the talks, issue ultimatums, lower the threshold for what justifies war, and impose more deadly sanctions than ever. And that's just what some of our misrepresentatives in Congress are about to try.
Although, the last time Iran tried to agree to ship its uranium out of the country for refinement, talks were conveniently sabotaged by an explosion in Iran. So, there are a variety of methods for sabotaging paths to peace.
But is this really so bizarre? Or does peace often threaten to get in the way of the best laid plans to pretend to be reluctantly forced into war as a "last resort"?
Let's not forget that the inspections in Iraq were working in 2003, the inspectors believed they could give more conclusive findings if allowed a little more time, and President Bush pulled the inspectors out in order to begin the shocking and awing. Bush and his subordinates then frequently falsely claimed that Iraq had kicked out the inspectors.
And let's not forget -- or let's learn now, if we never did -- that the Taliban offered after 9/11 to turn bin Laden over to a third country to be put on trial. Instead, our government chose a decade of war in Afghanistan, followed by an assassination, followed by the continuation of the war for additional years.
In fact, as documented in War Is A Lie, peace offers and offers to talk have been rejected and hushed up prior to or during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and many other wars stretching back in U.S. history to countless broken treaties with Native Americans. During the U.S. war on Vietnam, peace settlements were proposed by the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French, but rejected or sabotaged by the United States. The last thing you want when you're trying to start or continue a war -- and when trying to sell it as a reluctant action of last resort -- is for word to leak out that the other side is proposing peace talks.
It is to the credit of our society that even proponents of war, even those who argue for its humanitarian benefits to its victims, must always maintain that it is a last resort. It is to our credit that some in our government at least partially favor using diplomacy. But others fear giving diplomacy the slightest chance, knowing it is very likely to succeed in many cases.
Some proponents of waging war on Iran admit that they do not fear Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and using it; they fear Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and doing the same thing every other nation does with them: not use it. It would then be harder to overthrow Iran's government. But those who want quick "regime change" clearly fear Iran agreeing to severe restrictions and inspections, which would eliminate all possibility of pretending that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.
This past weekend's talks clearly suggested that an alternative to war is possible. This prospect for peace was immediately denounced by right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and other members of Congress – who may try to block further talks as early as this week. A Senate effort to prevent the talks from even beginning had been blocked by Sen. Rand Paul. Now Congress is coming back with more deadly sanctions, ultimatums, and resolutions requiring war.
But Congresswoman Barbara Lee has a bill with 21 cosponsors that would allow and require talks, end the Obama Administration's policy that forbids U.S. diplomats to have direct contact with Iranian government officials without express prior authorization from the Secretary of State, and prevent any war not legally authorized by Congress.
Now, who would be threatened by such a reasonable proposal, as long as war truly is the last resort?
Join us as we celebrate the local peace community’s work over the past
year at a delicious luncheon catered by Lebanese Taverna. Vegetarian
options available. Suggested donation: $25.
- Keynote speaker, David Swanson, author, activist and truth teller
- Presentation of annual Peace Awards to local activists
- Appearance by members of the awesome MoCo Peace Players
Proceeds benefit the Afghan Women's Fund, providing literacy, medical, and other services for women and girls in Afghanistan, and Peace Action, the nation’s oldest peace organization.
RSVP required: email@example.com
Sponsors: Peace Action Montgomery, Pax Christi, and the UUCR Social Justice Committee.
City Council Members Dave Norris and Dede Smith will be present, and we will thank them and their colleagues for having passed a resolution urging reductions in military spending and opposing any attack on Iran.
7 p.m. Thursday, May 3, 2012
Albemarle County Office Building - Fifth Street Extended
( Ridge Street becomes 5th Street SW. Continue on 5th Street and pass over I-64. Turn Left into the parking lot for COB-5th Street located at corner of Old Lynchburg Road and 5th Street.)
This past weekend, the United States and other major nations finally spoke with Iran. In the space of 10 hours (or 5 with language translation), Iran was able to do what it has attempted in the past: agree to a framework for ensuring that its nuclear program is only used for peaceful means. This prospect for peace was immediately denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, and other members of the United States Congress, who may try to block further talks as early as this week. War is the only option ever considered by many in Washington, but it is always presented to the public as a last resort. Nothing is more dangerous to such fraud than the supposedly irrational enemy rationally agreeing to peace. A Senate effort to prevent the talks that have just been held had been blocked by Senator Rand Paul. Now Congress is coming back with more deadly sanctions, ultimatums, and resolutions requiring war.
Now is the time to raise our voices in support of peace. Who better than Ann Wright to point us in the right direction?
Wright has repeatedly gone to jail for justice. She has repeatedly interrupted Congressional hearings. Wright served as one of five judges at the January 2006 sessions of the International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration. She was also one of three recipients of the first annual Truthout Freedom and Democracy Awards. She testified at an Article 32 hearing on behalf of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada who refused to deploy to Iraq.
She was one of 38 arrested in 2007 at the Nevada Test Site protesting U.S. development of nuclear weapons. She was one of the Hancock 38 arrested in New York State in 2011 protesting the U.S. development and use of killer drones and was arrested for protesting the deplorable conditions in which alleged whistle blower Bradley Manning was held in Virginia. She has been a leading organizer of the Gaza Freedom March and other efforts to break the blockade of Gaza. She was on the Gaza Flotilla in 2010 and was an organizer for the 2011 Gaza Flotilla and the US Boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope.
Wright is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience, subtitled Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq, which includes a forward by Daniel Ellsberg.
Ann will sign copies of her book.
Middle Eastern Leadership Council.
Protest the Chicago NATO meetings May 12-21,2012- sign up now! Visible Protest Needed! The US-led NATO military machine is carrying out illegitimate, unjust, and immoral wars on six countries. When we visibly protest in Chicago at the NATO meeting, we will show the world that people here do not accept the crimes carried out in our names by the principal NATO countries. International media must see thousands of us demanding that our governments stop committing these war crimes. Humanity and the planet come first.
Trolling for Kids: The Empire is Using Hard Times to Help it Recruit More Imperial Troops and Cannon Fodder
By Dave Lindorff
In the militarist society in which we live in these latter days of American Empire, all soldiers are “noble heroes” who have signed up at “great personal sacrifice” to “defend our freedoms,” and we are all expected to pay homage and a great deal of our hard-earned money to support them, both in their brutal efforts to subjugate people in desperately poor parts of the world, and (when they leave the service, either to take jobs in the private sector or to live out broken lives if they were wounded) as veterans.
But let’s be honest about all this.
Something rather unusual is happening today: all around the country, people are getting trained to do nonviolent direct action. The 99% Spring — see Jake Olzen’s recent report for background — is an effort put on by a wide range of left and progressive and issue-based groups, from SEIU to the Ruckus Society and more, to train 100,000 people this week in the tactics of protest. Meanwhile, however, there’s a lot of anxiety running around the Occupy movement’s organizer email lists and in articles being published about the trainings in Occupy-friendly outlets, from CounerPunch to Adbusters. The fear is of course that the movement and its “99%” meme are being co-opted.
FROM: MAIREAD MAGUIRE
I write to let you know that I have decided not to attend the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates on 23rd-25th April, 2012, in Chicago, USA.
On 10th April, Sec. of State H. Clinton appeared on video in US State Department Web announcing plans for the forthcoming Nobel Peace Laureates Summit and said ‘The US Department of State is proud to be an active partner in this event’.
Sec. Clinton gave details of how the US State Dept. is working with US embassies around the world, to bring twenty students and 4 teachers from 4 countries to Chicago and explained that video conferences and portals for live streaming of events, will be managed by US State department.
I have now decided, with some sadness, not to be associated in this Partnership as I do not agree with many of the Policies of the US State Department. Indeed I have, as a Nobel Peace Laureate, (and in the spirit of Alfred Nobel) often called for disbandment of NATO, end of militarism and war, and for Disarmament and demilitarization. I cannot therefore, in good conscience, be part of a Partnership with the US State Government (NATO). I also believe that my participation in such a partnership would compromise my position and put in jeopardy my work in the Middle East and other countries.
I am very disappointed that what is a great opportunity for young people, the Nobel Laureates and organizations to listen, learn, and exchange friendships and experiences, has been, I believe, seriously compromised in such a Partnership.
However, I hope it will be an enjoyable and educational summit particularly for all the young people, and I am deeply saddened not to be with you all.
Peace People, Northern Ireland
By Charles M. Young
With hindsight gained by googling “MoveOn” and “co-opt” after the fact, I can’t claim that nobody tried to warn me. Many websites with left and even liberal politics had said in so many words, “Be wary of this organization called The 99% Spring. It is a Trojan horse for the Democrats.” I just didn’t read that anywhere in a timely fashion. I’ve had a lot of stuff on my plate lately. That’s my excuse. And in my ignorance, I responded to some spam about “nonviolent direct action training” organized by MoveOn and got invited to this 99% Spring thing on April 10 at the Goddard Riverside Community Center in Manhattan. Somebody even called me all the way from San Francisco to make sure I was a sincere seeker on the left and would be attending, along with 120,000 others in training sessions around the country.
As Iran talks begin, CODEPINK Delivers Petitions to State Dept and Project Compelling WE LOVE IRANIANS images on State Dept Building
WHAT: Large Projections of “Iranians We Love You” images on the State Department Building and delivery of 20,000 signature calling for Diplomacy Not War
WHEN: 10am, Friday, April 13
WHERE: State Department entrance at 22nd and C Streets, NW, Washington DC
On Friday, April 13, while G-8 global powers meet with Iranian representatives in Istanbul, activists with CODEPINK will deliver to the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a petition against war on Iran that was signed by prominent women, including Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, and Eve Ensler, and over 20,000 American women and allies.
The petition implores three powerful American female politicians—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice and First Lady Michelle Obama—to use their influence to push for diplomacy, not war. The petitions were hand-delivered to the First Lady Michelle Obama at an event in San Francisco on March 30.
CODEPINK will also project images of Israeli and American activists sending a message of love to Iranians – images that have become an icon of sentiments against war on Iran, making recent headlines around the globe. “The pictures of American and Israeli families holding up signs aren’t just a cute cliché, they are emblematic of the disconnect between the people and governments that are moving dangerously towards war,” says CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. This photo meme, which has gone viral on the Internet, shows the great desire of ordinary people in Israel, Iran and the United States to live together in peace.” Working with the Israeli group that originated this campaign, CODEPINK launchedwww.weloveiran.org - an online tool for people to create their own photos and messages and share the message widely on facebook, twitter, and flickr.
Consider the story of Leah Bolger, the latest American hero up on trial:
She is a young female artist in the Midwest. She joins the Navy at 22, is made Commander and serves two decades as an anti-submarine warfare specialist. After retiring she joins Veterans for Peace and becomes the organization’s first female president. Then, in October of 2011, she commits the crime of interrupting a public congressional hearing of the Super Committee to deliver a message from the 99%: Ends the wars and tax the rich to fix the deficit.
Because of her 45-second transgression, retired Naval Commander Bolger now faces a court trial beginning this Thursday morning, April 12, where she could receive a maximum jail sentence of six months. Bolger, 54, intends to plead guilty and instead use her court appearance to draw the connection between America’s false deficit debacle and the three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar defense budget we, as voting taxpayers, spend as the base-mark for failed and unending military ventures overseas.
Bolger, speaking by phone over the weekend, listed four concrete reasons to oppose America’s wars.
A surprising coalition of unions, social justice organizations, Occupy Atlanta, the Tea Party Patriots, and others beat back what was meant to be an easy test case for repressive legislation. This is how we did it.
1. We paid attention. The alert about SB 469 came from the unions first…but people in Occupy Atlanta and other groups immediately started reading the text of the bill, researching its origins, looking at ALEC connections, looking at who was sponsoring it in the legislature, and generally learning as much as we could. For some of us, it was our first close look at how the Georgia General Assembly functions. We learned fast and shared knowledge.
The shout of the Occupy movement, at least in D.C., has been "End the Wars, Tax the Rich!" in that order and in combination. Over half of federal discretionary spending goes to the war machine. We ought to fix that problem first, and then fix the problem that our overlords aren't actually paying their fair share of the taxes. My friend Leah Bolger is about to face a possible sentence of months in prison for having taken this message to the Super Committee. Remember them?
By Dave Lindorff
I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.
Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.
As we mark the 100-year anniversary of the unsinkable Titanic sinking, we should recall both the good and bad of that long-forgotten world of 1912. Were an unbelievably expensive means of luxury travel between the United States and Europe invented today, there would be no reason to expect peace activists to be found among the passengers. But it is not at all surprising that among the first-class passengers on the world's largest ship in 1912 was a well-known advocate of peace. This is what Wikipedia has to say about him:
"William Thomas Stead (5 July 1849 – 15 April 1912) was an English journalist and editor who, as one of the early pioneers of investigative journalism, became one of the most controversial figures of the Victorian era. . . .
By John Grant
Founded and preserved by acts of aggression, characterized by a continuing tradition of self-righteous violence against suspected subversion and by a vigorous sense of personal freedom, usually involving the widespread possession of firearms, the United States has evidenced a unique tolerance for homicide.
-David Brion Davis
Homicide in American Fiction 1798-1860
The Trayvon Martin story is not going to go away. It was a narrative event waiting to happen, and the story only gets richer with meaning as time goes on. There are the obvious racial aspects, but the most important elements are about police power versus citizen power -- and who can get away with shooting whom?
- Please join with us from April 12-14 in Brooklyn to speak to our neighbors while a model drone is displayed and informational materials are distributed. This is being done in the Congressional district of Edolphus Towns, who is on the Drone Caucus. For more information, visit KnowDrones. An informative panal on Drones is happening on April 14.
- April 12
10 am – 2pm, Borough Hall Farmers Market, Joralemon and Court.
- April 13
10 am – 2 pm, Trader Joe’s, Atlantic and Court.
- April 14
John Yoo is speaking at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council at the Lowes Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monicom. We will picket on sidewalk outside hotel at 6 p.m.. Bring signs stating what you think about John Yoo and Torture. Wear orange jumpsuits and/or black hoods (black t-shirt works well) to represent the thousands that are tortured and still held in prison. The protest is called by World Can't Wait.
The 2012 Know Drones Tour, a public education campaign focusing on legal, ethical and civil liberties concerns raised by the surge in drone warfare and drone surveillance, begins in Brooklyn, New York on April 12, 2012 with sidewalk displays of large-scale replicas of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the workhorse of drone warfare.
The main event of the Brooklyn tour visit will be a forumon Saturday, April 14, at 3:30 pm at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 S. Oxford Street, featuring: Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink and author of the forthcoming “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”; Glen Ford, Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report; Debra Sweet, Director of WorldCan’t Wait; Zohra Ahmed of the Pakistan Solidarity Network; and David Tykulsker of Brooklyn for Peace.
The tour is visiting Brooklyn because Congressman Edolphus Towns D - NY- 10, is a member of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, also known as the drone caucus, formed to lobby within Congress on behalf of the drone industry. Over the course of the year, the tour will visit the home districts of 17 of the 55 members of the drone caucus, traveling to southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, northern Maryland, Ohio and southern California.
The unique feature of the tour is the use of the drone replicas, which are eight feet long and have a wingspan of 11 feet, to engage people in conversations about drones. This video shows a replica being used for sidewalk education in front of New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2011.
The drone replicas will be set up as time permits in communities in between scheduled tour stops.
“The goals of this tour are an end to US drone warfare and US wars and to achieve an international ban on weaponized drones and drone surveillance,” said Nick Mottern, director of the tour.
The tour is endorsed by Code Pink, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), War Resisters League, Occupy Wall Street – Anti-War, World Can’t Wait, the International Action Center, Brooklyn For Peace, Peace Action New York, the WESPAC Foundation, Pax Christi – Greensburg, PA, Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars, Veterans for Peace - Chapter #128 (Buffalo, NY), Interfaith PeaceNetwork of Western New York, Western New York Peace Center.
For more specifics on the tour and for basic information on drones, go to www.knowdrones.com