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Sunday night, our permit expired for occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. So, we threw a dance party, and when we could dance no more, we went to sleep in Freedom Plaza.
We have until 2 p.m. today to remove our possessions. We do not intend to do so. We suspect that if the police want to remove us by force they will wait until evening. So we're throwing a dinner party, and 99% of the country is invited.
Our permit is now the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Social Justice Protests Head Everywhere - by Stephen Lendman
Ordinary people across the Middle East, Europe and America are fed up and want long denied social justice.
Londoners are enraged about growing social pain, government in the pockets of monied interests, and endless imperial wars they want ended - NOW!
Dominant Finance Capital Institutions - by Stephen Lendman
Most people know about the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan.
Few ever heard of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank for central bankers. Based in Basle, Switzerland, it's a banking boss of bosses accountable to no government.
Bill Hughes' Slideshow of 25 Photos from the Veterans for Peace Demand "Beer Summit" with President Obama at White House Rally
Making Sense of Syria - by Stephen Lendman
Last March, Syria's externally generated uprisings began. Despite legitimate grievances, Washington orchestrated change there like elsewhere in the region.
It's part of its imperial "New Middle East" project to control North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to Russia's borders.
NATO Brussels Summit Claims Successful Afghan and Libyan Campaigns - by Stephen Lendman
Despite NATO claims, Libyans heroically keep resisting overwhelming genocidal slaughter. NATO perhaps measures success by body count.
It far exceeds 100,000 and multiples more injured, some life threatening, others debilitating. In a country of six million people, the catastrophic numbers are horrific.
NO DRONES - END AFGHAN WAR
Pepper-Sprayed for Peace
By David Swanson
I've been coughing and vomiting, and my head aches from pepper spray. I'll post videos and photos of why at the link above.
We intended to hold signs and sing inside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, protesting its promotion of unmanned drones, missiles, and bombs, including its sponsorship by and promotion of weapons corporations. We don't have any museums promoting health coverage or education or retirement security.
We had marched from the Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square occupations, taking over the streets of DC. The museum knew we were coming. Some of our group got in and dropped a banner. Hundreds of us did not. Instead, we were greeted at the door with cans of pepper spray.
There were three sets of entrance doors. I was among the first to open the third set of doors. A guard shook a can of pepper spray in front of me and demanded that we back out. But a dozen feet away at the second set of doors, people were staggering out and collapsing in pain, having been pepper sprayed in the face. I started to go toward them, but began coughing and vomiting. A lot of people were effected, directly or -- like me -- indirectly by the pepper spray.
It is not true that we assaulted the police. Nobody was accused of or charged with that. I didn't hear about it until later from the media. A young woman named Thi Le was told she'd be charged with assaulting a police officer after she was pepper sprayed and handcuffed, but they switched the charge to disorderly conduct and released her a few hours later.
It is not true that they only pepper sprayed one person. Many people were pepper sprayed.
It is not true that the crowd dispersed. The guards locked the doors and closed the museum. We had not planned to close the museum but to demonstrate and leave. With the museum closed and one of our own in custody, we held a rally on the steps as more people made their way over from Freedom Plaza to join us. We were there for hours.
We will be here for as long as it takes.
Congress comes back to this town on Tuesday.
We're not scared.
We're not discouraged.
We're not fooled.
We've got demands as clear as a blue sky:
Occupy Wall Street
Occupy K Street
And Never Give it Back!
Veterans For Peace issues the following statement from Freedom Plaza, Washington D.C., 6pm Saturday October 8.
Approximately 50 members of Veterans For Peace participated in a march this afternoon from Freedom Plaza to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. The museum was featuring an exhibit on unmanned drone bombers that a group of about 250 people from the October2011.org encampment at Freedom Plaza intended to protest.
The marchers ascended the museum steps, chanting, “When drones fly, children die.”
They opened the doors at one of the three entrances, and when that entryway became full, they went to the second and third entrances.
VFP Acting Director Mike Ferner said, “I was at the first entranceway, holding the door open for people to enter. I saw a police or security officer in a white shirt hold his hands up, telling people to stop. The marchers continued and the officer began pepper-spraying everyone. From everything I saw until that moment, there was no reason for the pepper-spraying. The door of the museum clearly said “free admission.” It did not say “Free admission if you are quiet” or “Free admission unless you have opinions contrary to government policy.’
“This was a clear abuse of authority and a use of force far beyond what was called for. Our members are consulting with National Lawyers Guild attorneys who are working with the october2011.org encampment.”
“We are aware that one of the marchers shoved aside one of the officers. We do not condone this behavior.”
Veterans For Peace is one of several groups organizing the October2011.org encampment. VFP is an organization composed of U.S. military veterans from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars and every period in between.
Another blog on this is here.
And here's a report from an American Spectator reporter who infiltrated our movement in order to mock it and then got pepper sprayed by museum guards.
Stop The Machine Occupies Washington - by Stephen Lendman
On October 6, thousands massed in Washington on the 10th anniversary of America's illegal Afghan war against a nonbelligerent country.
Years ago it was lost. Nonetheless, it continues without end. The business of America is war, permanent wars, multiple ones. One nation after another is plundered for wealth and power while homeland needs go begging.
Anti-Defamation League Assails Palestinian UN Membership - by Stephen Lendman
For nearly a century, ADL falsely called itself "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency (fighting) anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry...."
Friday was a good day for waking up in Freedom Plaza and for occupying the headquarters of the drone manufacturers. Fast forward to minute 44 on this video http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17729809 Their intelligence about which way we were coming from was no better at keeping us out of their building than the CIA's intelligence is at making sure the "right" people are murdered with the drones.
Friday was a good day for marching to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and talking about his opposition to militarism, racism, and consumerism.
And finally Friday night, the people of Freedom Plaza hesitantly found their democratic voice. Nobody despises touchy-feely process discussions more than I do. I prefer majority rule to pseudo-consensus any day, and I only wiggle my fingers when the air gets below zero and I need to keep them warm. But after enough process had been processed, our crowd began to hold informative discussions and make informed decisions.
What helped a lot was the requirement that the microphone be turned off late at night and our adaptation of OccupyWallStreet's human microphone, in which statements are repeated by the crowd. Only very rarely did anyone need statements repeated in order to hear them, but the repeating of them cut down on side conversations and kept speakers to concise statements.
We decided on activities for Saturday through a process that allowed people to feel ownership over their occupation of Washington, D.C. We'll be headed over to the National Mall in the afternoon, but starting at 11 a.m. we'll be reaching out to tens of thousands of visitors to a street festival called The Taste of D.C. Here's the content of flyers we'll be using, prepared ahead of time by Catarina Correia and others:
A Taste of DemoCracy
Are you craving a little peace with your pinot?
Some justice with that jasmine tea?
Then come by FREEDOM PLAZA, just a few steps from where you are, for ORGANIC and SUSTAINABLE solutions to the problems we face.
Join us in demanding that the PEOPLE get a seat at the table.
Nothing tastes sweeter than democracy in action.
"A newcomer to the DC market, A New World serves authentic American fare with a twist.
You won't be disappointed."—Jane Doe
"It was so good, I didn't want to leave."—John Doe
Sample menu on reverse side
A NEW WORLD
A fresh dining experience where no one is turned away and all items are available 24 hours a day, every day
ORGANIC FREE-RANGE ELECTIONS
Served with a paper trail, instant run-off voting and garnished with public financing
SAUTEED SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE
A heaping portion of healthcare served free of charge, accompanied by mental, dental, and vision benefits and drizzled with free prescription drugs
Fresh-picked world peace, sustainably grown, accompanied by a weapons reduction and war-crime accountability
JUNIPER BERRY JOBS
Perfectly seasoned jobs package served with paid leave, worker rights and safe and dignified working conditions
Marinated for centuries in democratic principles and prepared without lobbyists
POMEGRANATE PUBLIC EDUCATION
Sprinkled with well-paid teachers and completely NCLB-free
PUBLIC MEDIA TORTE
Layered with facts and served with our famous "truth" sauce
Afghanistan has been engaged with more than 30 years of war with thousands of civilians killed or injured since 2001.
It is under these conditions that children are at extreme risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
The children of Afghanistan are growing up in one of the least developed countries in the world. Six percent of babies die at birth and 25 percent before their 5th birthday. Conflict and political violence force millions of children and their families to flee their homes and as a result displaced families spend years in situations of uncertainty and insecurity.
Girls face multiple gender discrimination from the earliest stages of their life and throughout childhood. 70 percent of school-age girls do not attend school. Ninety-four percent of births are not registered.
A child's basic right to life and development is seriously compromised for the children growing up amid the conflict in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of children continue to die as a result of attacks and air strikes by insurgent groups, international military and armed forces and the Afghan National Army (ANA). During 2009, the UN confirmed that a total of 346 children were killed, of which 131 were killed as a result of air strikes and 22 in night raid operations by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Not only do children die, they can also be recruited and used to fight in armed forces and groups.
Children, especially boys, continue to be sexual abused by armed forces and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict notes that little has been done to prevent and punish sexual violence.
Around 1.6 million children are left orphaned in Afghanistan mainly due to conflict, depriving these children of family life. The destroyed education infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, and, in the face of growing armed attacks to schools, demand for education needs to be bolstered.
A quarter of the world's refugees have come from Afghanistan during this or the preceding wars. Children's rights are compromised primarily by the psychological consequences of the war and violence and their health and nutritional status is a major cause of concern. Hunger, sickness, and deprivation are aggravated, as well as fundamentally caused by, the violence of the war. We need to recognise the children's rights violations in Afghanistan. We need to break the silence and recognise the injustice.
The violations of children's rights documented in this report will shock and outrage most people throughout the world. There are a lot of categories of abuse and a lot of statistics here, but the story they tell is a simple one.
Afghan children are suffering terribly. Afghan children are not a side issue, not collateral damage. The majority of the people in Afghanistan are children. After the first decade of the US-NATO occupation, Afghanistan has become the very worst place on earth to give birth to or raise a child.
Hunger, sickness, and deprivation are aggravated, as well as fundamentally caused by, the violence of the war. A quarter of the world's refugees have come from Afghanistan during this or the preceding wars. Refugee children and the children of refugees have been deprived of a home. But those back home tend to be worse off.
In too many cases, they are deprived of the right to life and development by death rained down from above or kicking in doors at night. In willful or accidental ignorance of the information reported here, commentators justify this war as being fought in the name of human rights by discussing only the sorts of rights that are a top concern to people who are not being bombed or shot or struggling to find food.
Ignorance is a key issue raised by this report. Not only do too many Afghan children lack education, but we lack any knowledge of too many Afghan children.
Ninety-four percent of births are not registered. Twenty-five percent of children born die before their fifth birthday.
There is not a tree-falling-in-the-woods-unheard philosophical enigma here. These children really do exist. They just don't enjoy it very much, and it doesn't last very long.
On August 6, 2011, numerous US media outlets reported "the deadliest day of the war" because 38 soldiers, including 30 U.S. troops, had been killed when their helicopter was shot down.
But compare that with the day of May 4, 2009, discussed in this report, on which 140 people, including 93 children, were killed in U.S. airstrikes. We are denying to each other through silence and misdirection every day that the children of Afghanistan exist. But their deaths are rising.
Their access to hospitals is diminishing. And we believe we are continuing to occupy their country, launch drone strikes, perform night raids, and disappear prisoners for their own good.
What if we're wrong? What if the world outside our little cocoon, the world that recognizes the rights of children, condemns our behavior? What if the option of ceasing to occupy Afghanistan only seems unavailable because, like Afghanistan's children, we refuse to look at it?
The Children of Afghanistan: an analysis of children's rights. Report by Lisa Davis Download...
New York Times Bashes Outspoken World Leaders - by Stephen Lendman
Few world leaders challenge US and Israeli crimes. Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan often assails Israel, including at a Pretoria, South Africa Turkish foreign policy conference.