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By Michael Collins
It's official. The crazies have arrived for the 2012 presidential race, florid in their deviant and repulsive rhetoric. Andrew B. Adler, editor of The Atlanta Jewish Times, called on Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu to "Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence." This reference to President Barack Obama appeared in the print edition of the paper on January 13 and was first published online by Gawker on the 20th (alternate links here and here).
Right wing Republican Mike O'Neal, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, forwarded an email referring to the president that quoted (approximately) Psalm 109.8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him." The Lawrence Journal World noted that the very next verse, 109.9, indicates how the president should be replaced: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." (Image SND)
The First Amendment is ignored when reactionary mayors want to stop the free speech and assemblies of Occupy Wall Street. However, free speech is expanded beyond the limits of the law when religious extremists in Atlanta and Kansas step well outside of the boundaries of U.S. Code.
By John Grant
Hugo Chavez is at it again, sticking his thumb into the eye of the overbearing United States of America. And, true to imperial historical form, the US is playing the outraged hemispherical nanny and blustering back.
Chavez is currently playing a round of the game my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend and is hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Caracas. The Iranian president is on a tour of friendly leftist regimes in Latin America, while the leaders of our great nation whistle and look at the ceiling when Israeli agents murder Iranian scientists in broad daylight.
By Charles M. Young
On Thursday, January 5, I was waiting for the elevator in the lobby of my building when I was joined by a woman who lives up the hall from me. She was carrying a grocery bag with The New York Times poking out the top. “Why did you buy it?” I asked. “They just raised the price to $2.50. Who can afford that for a daily newspaper?”
“I have a very large birdcage,” she said. “It’s the only newspaper that fits the bottom of my birdcage.”
My neighbor is a classical musician who makes a living at it. She pays attention to politics and votes. She buys things. She’s a little older than the actors playing obedient yuppies in the NYT commercials that beg for subscriptions, but is otherwise their ideal reader.
White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
By Dave Lindorff
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
By Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin
In an age when U.S. power can be projected through private mercenary armies and unmanned Predator drones, the U.S. military need no longer rely on massive, conventional ground forces to pursue its imperial agenda, a fact President Barack Obama is now acknowledging. But make no mistake: while the tactics may be changing, the U.S. taxpayer – and poor foreigners abroad – will still be saddled with overblown military budgets and militaristic policies.
Speaking January 5 alongside his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the president announced a shift in strategy for the American military, one that emphasizes aerial campaigns and proxy wars as opposed to “long-term nation-building with large military footprints.” This, to some pundits and politicians, is considered a tectonic shift.
In yesterday's speech, President Obama publicly unveiled elements of the strategy that his administration has quietly been pursuing for some time:
- Shifting its #1 priority to threatening China, including a major naval build-up (the Navy got the lion's share of extra procurement funds in recent years) and new bases;
- JSOC's global "targeted killing" program (under JSOC command in Afghanistan and Somalia, and CIA command in at least 13 more countries);
Here's the new plan that was announced today. Check out the play by play on my twitter feed.
This is from Common Dreams using Institute for Public Accuracy:
US stoking fears for public to support "the next wild burgeoning arms race in the Pacific."
At a news briefing at the Pentagon today, President Obama revealed today his strategy for a new defense strategy.
In the preamble to the new plan, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, Obama writes:
As we end today's wars and reshape our Armed Forces, we will ensure that our miltary is agile, flexible, and ready for the full range of contingencies. In particular, we will continue to invest in the capabilities critical to future success, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; counterterrorism; countering weapons of mass destruction; operating in anti-access environments; and prevailing in all domains, including cyber.
While media has focused on fiscal tightening creating defense budget cuts, some experts question whether austerity measures have really hit the military.
Catherine Lutz, chair of the department of anthropology at Brown University, stated:
[T]he new proposal for Department of Defense base budget reductions over the next five years represents only a 4 percent decline in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms, according to the Project on Defense Alternatives. And the Pentagon’s budget will remain far larger than it was ten years ago. On top of this, all of these calculations exclude, as they should not, billions in funding for the current wars.
The new defense plan also calls for an increased presence in Asia/Pacific region. From the plan:
U.S. economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia, creating a mix of evolving challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Alice Slater, the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and member of the coordinating committee of Abolition 2000, a disarmament coalition, stated today:
On a recent trip to Australia, Obama opened a new military base there that will grow to 2,500 troops and promised that ‘we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.’ A Pentagon report warned Congress that China was increasing its naval power and investing in high-tech weaponry to extend its reach in the Pacific and beyond. What did we expect? And now having provoked China to beef up its military assets the warmongers in the U.S. can frighten the public into supporting the next wild burgeoning arms race in the Pacific and what appears to be the threat of endless war.
The strategy outlined also entails an increase in the use of drones. “This ‘slimmed down’ plan continues the trend to rely increasingly on fighting the two wars with technology (drones) and ‘precision’ strategic bombing," stated Beau Grosscup, professor of international relations at California State University in Chico.
Slater also stated:
It seems that we are moving to a more mechanized war-fighting posture cutting out military forces below the previously planned cuts from 570,000 to 520,000 to an Army of 490,000 troops. However we will be increasing our reliance on drone attacks, that have now been used by Obama in several countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina writing for the Arms Control Association note that the strategy says nothing about the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. They write:
Panetta said that the plan will maintain a “safe and effective nuclear deterrent,” but did not explain how many nuclear weapons will be required for deterrence or how much we can afford to keep spending to maintain and modernize that force.
However, the strategy document “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense” clearly says that “It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.”
From Robert Scheer:
Not only has Obama been a savior of the banking conglomerates that so generously financed his campaign, but he also has proved to be equally as solicitous of the needs of the military-industrial complex. He entered his re-election year by signing a $662 billion defense authorization bill that strips away some of our most fundamental liberties and keeps military spending at Cold War levels, and by approving a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Actually higher than Cold War levels.
By Dave Lindorff
According to news reports, 15-year-old eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez, who was shot and killed yesterday by police in his middle school in Brownsville, TX, was hit three times: twice in the chest and once “from the back of the head.”
Police say they were called by school authorities because Gonzalez was carrying a gun, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, a weapon that uses compressed air to fire a metal pellet which, while perhaps a threat to the eye, does not pose a serious threat to life.
By John Grant
Ever since George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 souls and was selected President by a right-leaning Supreme Court, the United States has seemed to me devoted to a twisted fate of slow-motion Armageddon.
What seems to guarantee this is one of our most characteristic American traits: We don’t learn from the past; instead, we choose to officially forget embarrassing history so we can move on from our debacles without losing an ounce of glory. We all know how it goes: Sure, mistakes were made, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and move forward. The costs are paid in slow motion and out of sight.
Let me be clear.
Obama has always claimed the power to wage war on anyone anywhere, to search, seize, imprison, rendition, torture, or murder anyone. He has in fact openly murdered US citizens, among many other human beings.
Obama asked Congress to legislate the power for U.S. presidents to imprison anyone without any trial or any legal-looking process whatsoever, and to not make an exception for U.S. citizens.
Obama came close to getting what he wanted.
He got the power to imprison without trial.
Obama then engaged for the umpteenth time in an abuse as dangerous in itself as any other. He rewrote the law as he signed it. In doing so, Obama gave himself the power to imprison without even military kangaroo courts and without even the formality of pretended "status review hearings."
And the vast majority of organizations and individuals who would have raised hell and resisted this had Obama been a Republican, did not do a god damned thing about it.
Of course, for most of them, the opposition they would have exercised had Obama been a Republican, would have been shallow and phony and motivated by an immediate interest in generating negative press. Any actual concern over Republican presidents possessing these outrageous powers would, of course, have led to opposition to Obama seizing them, since what Obama seizes will remain for each of his successors.
For details on what was going on during the football games and drinking of New Year's Eve go here.
Hell of a way to start a year, people.
Let's step it up a bit, huh?
OK, she's talking about Wilson, but it's the same thing:
If, after the declaration of his foreign policy, it seemed to our group that desire and achievement were united in one able protagonist, the philosopher become king, so to speak, this state of mind was destined to be short lived, for almost immediately the persistent tendency of the President to divorce his theory from the actual conduct of state affairs threw us into a state of absolute bewilderment. During a speaking tour in January, 1917, he called attention to the need of a greater army, and in St. Louis openly declared that the United States should have the biggest navy in the world.
These were among the complaints registered the last time this nation had a king:
"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
"He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
"He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
"He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
"For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
"For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
"For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
"He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."
To prevent the U.S. government from behaving like a king, the drafters of the U.S. Constitution empowered an elected legislature to write every law, to declare every war, and to remove its executive from office. To further prevent the abuse of individuals' rights, those authors wrote into the Constitution, even prior to the Bill of Rights, the right to habeas corpus and the right never to be punished for treason unless convicted in an open court on the testimony of at least two witnesses to an overt act of war or assistance of an enemy.
President Barack Obama waited until New Year's Eve to take an action that I suspect he wanted his willfully deluded followers to have a good excuse not to notice. On that day, Obama issued an unconstitutional signing statement rewriting a law as he signed it into law, a practice that candidate Obama had rightly condemned. The law that Obama was signing was the most direct assault yet seen on the basic structure of self-governance and human rights that once made all the endless U.S. shouting of "We're number one!" significantly less ludicrous. The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police-and-war state.
President Obama has claimed the power to imprison people without a trial since his earliest months in office. He spoke in front of the Constitution in the National Archives while gutting our founding document in 2009. President Obama has claimed the power to torture "if needed," issued an executive order claiming the power of imprisonment without trial, exercised that power on a massive scale at Bagram, and claimed and exercised the power to assassinate U.S. citizens. Obama routinely kills people with unmanned drones.
The bill just signed into law, as sent to the President, said this:
"Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force."
In other words, Congress was giving its stamp of approval to the unconstitutional outrages already claimed by the President. But then, why create a new law at all? Well, because some outrages are more equal than others, and Congress had chosen to specify some of those and in fact to expand some of them. For example:
"Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war."
"The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following: (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force."
Jon Stewart explained when those detained without trial under the law might be released: "So when the war on terror ends, and terror surrenders and is no longer available as a human emotion, you are free to go."
An exception for U.S. legal residents and citizens was kept out of the bill at President Obama's request.
So why did Obama threaten to veto the bill initially and again after it passed the Senate? Well, one change made by the conference committee was this (note the crossed-through text):
Secretary of DefensePresident may , in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence,waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the SecretaryPresident submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States."
The reference here is to military tribunals. The President — that is, the current one and future ones — need not hand someone over even to a military tribunal if . . . well, if he (or she) chooses not to.
That was the most power Obama could have transferred to the White House in this bill. But it was not absolute power, and was therefore not good enough. Hence the signing statement, the relevant portion of which begins:
"Moving forward, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded."
This is Bush-Cheneyspeak for "I will not comply with the following sections of this law despite signing it into law."
After having persuaded the Congress to remove an exception for U.S. legal residents, Obama has the nerve in the signing statement to assert, not that the law makes any such exception, but that he personally will choose to do so, at least for U.S. citizens. Future presidents may lock U.S. citizens up without trials, but Obama won't do so. He promises:
"I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
The first two sentences above are highly unusual if not unprecedented. Most, if not all, of Bush and Obama's law-altering signing statements up to this point have not sought to clarify what a particular administration would choose to do. Rather, they have focused on declaring parts of the laws invalid. Usually this is done in a manner misleadingly similar to the third sentence above. By claiming the power to interpret a law in line with the Constitution, Bush and Obama have each on numerous occasions asserted the view that the Constitution grants presidents far-reaching powers that cannot be restricted by legislation. If Obama had wanted to deny that this law could be applied to U.S. citizens (or legal residents), the above paragraph would look very different, although equally unusual in that it would then be rejecting power rather than claiming it.
Also note, as Marcy Wheeler has already pointed out, Section 1021 applies to any detention, and Obama promises only not to subject U.S. citizens to indefinite military detention. While locked away forever without a trial you'll be able to take comfort that yours is a non-military imprisonment.
Also, remember that Obama claims and exercises the power to kill U.S. citizens or anyone else (arguably at least as serious a violation of rights as imprisonment!), and for that he will use the military if he sees fit, or even allow the military to operate freely.
Also notice that legal residents are not included in the category of citizens.
Next, Obama declares Section 1022 on military custody "ill-conceived." His personal right to a waiver, won through the conference committee, was not enough. Obama insists on also erasing this section of law: "I reject," he writes,
"any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat. While section 1022 is unnecessary and has the potential to create uncertainty, I have signed the bill because I believe that this section can be interpreted and applied in a manner that avoids undue harm to our current operations. I have concluded that section 1022 provides the minimally acceptable amount of flexibility to protect national security. Specifically, I have signed this bill on the understanding that section 1022 provides the executive branch with broad authority to determine how best to implement it, and with the full and unencumbered ability to waive any military custody requirement, including the option of waiving appropriate categories of cases when doing so is in the national security interests of the United States. … I will therefore interpret and implement section 1022 in the manner that best preserves the same flexible approach that has served us so well for the past 3 years and that protects the ability of law enforcement professionals to obtain the evidence and cooperation they need to protect the Nation."
Obama goes on to reject several other sections of the law, including restrictions on his unlimited power to rendition prisoners to other countries. Among the notable rejections is this:
"Sections 1023-1025 needlessly interfere with the executive branch's processes for reviewing the status of detainees. Going forward, consistent with congressional intent as detailed in the Conference Report, my Administration will interpret section 1024 as granting the Secretary of Defense broad discretion to determine what detainee status determinations in Afghanistan are subject to the requirements of this section."
In other words, U.S. prisoners held in Afghanistan will not be given even any formal pretense of a legalistic review of their status unless Obama and his Secretary of "Defense" see fit.
I've just been editing a forthcoming book in which one of the contributors writes:
"In 1971, Congress passed the Anti-Detention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a), which states that "no person shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress." Fred Koramatsu, who had brought the unsuccessful case before the Supreme Court, was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor. Congress apologized and provided for limited reparations for this heinous act."
The author is referring to the unconstitutional indefinite detention of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during World War II. This type of criminal abuse for which Congress had to apologize and pay reparations, and for which there is a misleadingly pro-war-looking memorial hidden between the U.S. Capitol and Union Station, has now been effectively sanctioned by our Constitutional Scholar in Chief.
My chief regret is that we have not seen the major resistance we could have, and without any doubt would have, seen to this if only Obama were a Republican.
From The Atlantic:
The enormous expansion of drone operations has been a success in the narrowest sense of killing some bad guys. But it has come at an enormous cost: to our reputation, to our morals, to our relationship and status with countries we need to work with to contain and defuse terrorism, and in the lives of the many innocent people we've killed through either sloppiness or ignorance. Rather than asking the difficult questions of whether the success of the drone program has been worth it, though, President Obama has chosen instead to amplify its operations and thus claim victory in killing bad guys, even while he distances himself from the knowledge and personal responsibility for who these dead people are and what crimes they may have committed.
Selective Sympathy: War’s Mayhem and Murder is Somehow Less Hard to Bear than the Humane Termination of an Injured Animal
By Dave Lindorff
The officer rested his arm holding the stock of the assault rifle on the top of a log pile, and aimed directly between the target’s eyes. She was looking directly at him, unblinking, from 30 feet away, and exhibited no fear. “I hate doing this,” he muttered, before finally pulling the trigger.
A sharp “bang!” rang out, her head jerked up and then her whole body sagged to the ground, followed by some muscle jerks, and it was over.
The officer went over and checked the body, decided no second shot was needed to finish the job, and then walked back to his squad car, took out his phone, and called in the serial number of his rifle, reporting his firing of one round, as required by regulations.
By Dave Lindorff
It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.
As you know if you've been awake the past several years, Bush began the unconstitutional practice of rewriting laws with signing statements, there was a little scandal when people found out, candidate Obama promised not to do it, Obama did it, Obama declared it OK in an executive order, and now it's all perfectly fine.
As you know if you give a damn about the future of this country, it isn't really perfectly fine. Here's Obama's latest. This is from a signing statement on a spending bill, not the "Defense" Authorization Act which is yet to come (perhaps on Christmas just to rub it in):
By Dan DeWalt
Predator Odrona is about to sign a military authorization bill [Carl Levin's S-1867] that puts every one of us at risk of being detained by our own military. If the government decides that you are a terrorist threat, the military will be able to kidnap you and deny you the right to a trial or even the right to know why you're being held.
The war is over, sort of, but the Big Lie marches on: that democracy is flowering in Iraq, that America is stronger and more secure than ever, that doing what’s right is the prime motivator of all our military action.
And the troops will be home for Christmas. Hurrah! Hurrah!
(The men will cheer, the boys will shout, and we’ll all feel gay, except maybe Rick Perry.)
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore -- Ever since 9/11 and the subsequent 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Pakistan’s world has been in turmoil.
Eight people affiliated with Occupy Des Moines were arrested this afternoon at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines.
The eight, whose hands were zip-tied behind their backs, were placed in a police wagon and transported to the Des Moines police station, where they were cited and released.
Each was to be charged with criminal trespassing, which is a misdemeanor. They did not resist arrest and were escorted out of the headquarters at 5661 Fleur Drive without incident.
Was the Attack on Pakistani Outposts Deliberate?: How Far Will the US Go to Target Pakistan's Military?
By Shaukat Qadir
This past June I posted an article by Anatol Lieven on Facebook. For those who are not familiar with his name, Anatol is from the UK and numbers among the few journalists whom I always enjoy reading. I have met Anatol a few times and he is the kind of person who likes to get acquainted with the psycho-social environment of the people he writes about. Written in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s execution, Anatol’s article was critical of the US approach to the region, particularly Pakistan.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Occupy protesters in Des Moines were joined by members of Veterans for Peace outside of President Barack Obama's Iowa re-election campaign headquarters Saturday, calling on the president to end all foreign wars and cut the U.S. military budget in half.
Using the people-powered megaphone the Occupy movement calls a "mic check," some 35 protesters spoke with a unified voice.
"To fulfill the Occupy Wall Street movement's call to return our country's economic and political life back to the 99%, we will need a president who will make the dismantling of the U.S. military empire their number one foreign policy priority," they said.
Protesters had planned to commit an act of civil disobedience, by entering Obama's headquarters and staying put, but were thwarted because the campaign office was closed.
Rather than be discouraged, however, they said the closed office was a victory.
"We know this office is open on Saturdays ... they knew we were coming, and President Obama is afraid to deal with us," said Frank Cordaro, a protester.
A call to the main number at the Des Moines office was not answered on Saturday.
As the Iowa Caucus heats up, so too will the protests in and around Des Moines. The local Occupy movement says it expects hundreds of people from across the country to join its protests in what is being dubbed "Occupy the Caucuses."
By John Grant
Ft. Meade -- Saturday, December 17th was Bradley Manning’s 24th birthday, and at least 300 supporters gathered outside Fort Meade, Maryland, where the military was in its second day of a preliminary hearing process that’s expected to take about a week. Manning worked in military intelligence and is alleged to have released military secrets to WikiLeaks, which released the material publicly.
Chicago Rally to Thank Obama for Supposedly Ending War in Iraq Turns Up 30 Speakers and 10 Audience Members
Obama promised to make ending the war in Iraq his first act in office. Then he did what he could to avoid ending it. Forced by Bush and Maliki and the Iraqis to remove troops, he's keeping troops nearby and filling bases with mercenaries, while expanding ground and drone wars around the region and claiming the power to make war anywhere he likes, including having already done so in Libya. Nonetheless a hearty band of Obama-Right-Or-Wrongers planned a rally in Chicago to praise the president for . . . well, for something or other.
The rally was sponsored by Marilyn Katz and Carl Davidson and "Chicagoans Against War in Iraq," and was promoted as a big national event. I heard about the planning here in Virginia. Among the 30 speakers were the president of the Cook County Board Toni Preckwinkle, Alderman Joe Moore, and Tom Hayden. But an email report I've just been forwarded says the audience was "5-10," and "Dozens and dozens of prepared placards that said 'yes we can' were in a box, untouched."
Meanwhile, "In opposition, holding placards, were some 15 or more from March 19th Anti-War Coalition, Occupy Chicago, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice, and others. The placards included slogans "The U.S. War on Iraq is NOT Over" "Obama Does Mot Deserve Praise," "Obama is Continuing Illegal & Unjust Wars," "Obama Is Threatening Iran and Syria," "Free Bradley Manning," "No War on Iran," "Orambo," "There Is Nothing to Celebrate" and others. Hundreds of leaflets from the March 19th Anti-War Coalition entitled "The Government is NOT bringing all U.S. troops home or ending its wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or its threats against Iran and Syria and elsewhere" were distributed to passersby as well as those at the rally."
UPDATE: Story and Photo Here.
UPDATE 2: Hayden, Davidson, and Katz tell me this was no rally at all, just a press conference. None of them can explain the placards. They gave NBC the impression it was a rally. They gave In These Times the impression it was a rally. I'm not aware of any other press, of any press that did not think it was a rally.
NEWS ALERT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Activists From Across the Nation to Gather in Chicago at
2002 Rally Site to Mark Iraq War End
“Determination of a few can change the world”
(CHICAGO—December 15, 2011) Nine years and two months after the first large protest against the then impending war in Iraq, organizers of the now-famous rally will return there with anti-war leaders from throughout the nation to mark the end of what they predicted to be and has turned out to be an ill-conceived and costly war.
“On October 2, 2002,” said Marilyn Katz, “to the surprise of themselves and a nation still reeling from the events of 9/11, thousands of people gathered in Federal Plaza to voice our opposition to an impending war that we felt was built on lies and would cost both the people of Iraq and America thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Among the speakers that day was a relatively unknown state senator – Barack Obama, who added a strong voice in opposition when it was not yet a popular position.
“What began as a few thousand people in Federal Plaza and places like it grew to a movement of millions who opposed a war and became a critical force in electing a president who promised to end the war he had long opposed. That movement has continued. The promise has been kept. We return to Federal Plaza to mourn the losses all have endured and to celebrate the difference that citizen action can make in creating and changing history – and to honor those whose word is their promise.”
Among those joining Among those joining Bettylu Saltzman, Marilyn Katz and others who founded Chicagoans Against War and Injustice (CAWI), the group that called the demonstration, will be Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Alderman Joe Moore, president of Cities for Peace; labor leader Tom Balanoff, SEIU; anti-war stalwart Tom Hayden, Progressive Democrats of America; Chuy Garcia, commissioner, Cook County Board; Bill Zimmerman, media consultant to MoveOn.org and author of Troublemaker, a memoir of the Vietnam antiwar movement; Ryan Canney, Move On.org; Juan Andrade, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute; Julie Hamos, director, state of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services; David Cortright, Win Without War; Bill MacInary, Lynda Deforge, William McNary, Citizen Action; Carl Davidson, Progressive Democrats for America; Adele Simmons, former president the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; representatives from VetVotes; and Ilya Sheyman, candidate for U.S. Congress.
The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police state. The doomsday clock of our republic just got noticeably closer to midnight, and the fact that almost nobody knows it, simply moves that fatal minute-hand a bit further still.
I'm not referring to the “doomsday” predicted by Leon Panetta should military spending be scaled back to the obscenely inflated levels of 2007. I'm talking about the complete failure to keep the republic that Benjamin Franklin warned we might not. Practices that were avoided, outsourced, or kept secret when Bill Clinton was president were directly engaged in on such a scale under president George W. Bush that they became common knowledge. Under President Obama they are becoming formal law and acceptable policy.
By Dave Lindorff