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By John Grant
All we are saying is give peace a chance
- John Lennon
Whether war or cooperation is the more dominant trait of humanity is one of the oldest questions in human discourse. There are no satisfying answers for either side exclusively, which seems to suggest the answer is in the eternal nature of the debate itself.
Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now? If history is any guide, the answer is yes. And if history is any guide, three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why.
After decades US still has huge poison gas stash: Washington Demands Syria Destroy Chemical Weapons Lickety-Split
By Dave Lindorff
The US is demanding, in negotiations at the UN, that all Syrian chemical weapons, stocks and production facilities be eliminated by June 30 of next year. This has an element of hypocrisy, because the US itself has been incredibly slow about eliminating its own stocks of chemical weapons.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to Syria as having one of the largest chemical stockpiles in the world. But the US and Russia both still have stocks of chemicals many times as large. Syria’s neighbor Israel, which refuses to admit it has the weapons and has yet to ratify the treaty banning them, is suspected of also having a large arsenal.
In 2003 a 25 year old activist Malalai Joy stood up to the domination of warlords in her country Afghanistan. She began to work tirelessly on behalf Afghan women and ending the occupation of her country. In 2005, she became the youngest member of the Afghan parliament. She was suspended from Parliament in 2007 because she spoke out against warlords and war criminals. Meet Malalai October 4, 2013 @ 6:30pm Community Church of New York. 40 E. 35th St. NYC
By Dr. Hakim
The daylight of a global awakening
We, the Afghan Peace Volunteers, are finding strength amidst our dark nights because, in the daylight of a global awakening, we see people throughout the world refusing to comply with oppressive systems. We see that we aren’t alone in rejecting governments and militant groups that wage wars and make deals at the expense of ordinary people.
Artificial borders may attempt to divide us, but through connections with ordinary people worldwide, we are affirmed as free human beings, free to nurture ways of living that aren’t monopolized by a few.
Daylight, in our hearts and everywhere, is laying bare the abusive, authoritarian power and wealth amassed by elitist hoarders who control governments and militaries. These elite secure the interests of the privileged and neglect the interests of commoners who need food, water, education, decent shelter and employment, and peaceful relationships.
“The leaders of the world, like Assad, Obama and others, should not involve the people in their wars,” said Ghulamai, age 16, as we talked together last night “We people are very tired of the games that politicians play, killing the people while they profit. They are killing us.”
We regret our complicity
With our superficial “Hollywooding” of elected or non-elected officials, we regret having too often tolerated public policies that aggravate grossly unequal and unfair socio-economic, environmental, education and healthcare conditions for the 99%.
Abdulhai in Kabul
“We’re excited, in our nights, that daylight is here.” Afghan Peace Volunteers
“I don’t feel like going to school as I hardly learn anything useful,” says Abdulhai, age 17. “ And even if education is just so that I can earn money in the future, it is connections and bribes that get us jobs, not what we’re qualified to do. Look at the numbers of unemployed people in the streets of Kabul!”
We regret our complicity in extracting minerals and material from Mother Earth, just to satisfy our materialistic consumerism, stressing and exhausting our natural environment to a critical ‘5 minutes to midnight’.
“A mine collapse, yesterday, in northern Afghanistan killed at least twenty seven Afghan coal miners," lamented 17 year old Ali. “Who will care about them?” he asked. “Who will take care of their families?”
We also regret our complicity in the militarization of everything, from toys to science to jobs. Even the United Nations, with her ‘security’ council, hassometimes been a tool of war.
Raz Mohammad, whose brother-in-law was killed by a NATO drone in Afghanistan years ago, said, “Ordinary people are cornered by guns and bombs from all sides. The United States and Russia have chemical weapons, so it’s hypocritical for Putin or Obama to demand the surrender of chemical weapons from Syria when they are not surrendering theirs.”
In our small ways, we’ll live as free people in the daylight
So, in our individual and community activism and lifestyles, we’ll work across borders towards a composed, calm, clear and compassionate solidarity with the rest of an awakening human family:
No further consent to the decisions of the wealthy and authoritarian 1%.
No more extraction and heating of our blue-green planet.
No more wars.
In an old world order, kings ruled over their subjects, forcing subservience. President Obama and his allies, President Putin and his allies, Al Qaeda and the Taliban with their allies, operate in the old world, and we’re certain that they are worried about the global sea of awakening that is beyond their control. Edward Snowdensaid in a Guardian interview on 17th June, “All I can say right now is the U.S. Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
Though still relatively separate, there are many non-violent, direct actions by ordinary people all over the world, building real alternatives to our destructive socio-economic inequalities, global warming businesses and lifestyles, and wars.
As Afghan Peace Volunteers, we have been living as a multi-ethnic community for the past year and a half, educating ourselves to become engaged members of the human family who wish to build a fair economy in which the basic human needs of all, and not just the 1%, are decently met. As part of this effort, we are trying to establish a viable Afghan women’s tailoring co-operative, including implementing a duvet project last winter.
We have stepped out into the streets of Kabul to protest war and to reject all forms of killing and violence, and are learning ways of resolving conflicts non-violently, through global friendship, listening, and reconciliatory justice.
We want to reach beyond false borders and boundaries and work together, building a strong 99%, to create a better world. We wish to live without wars.
We’re excited, in our nights, that daylight is almost here.
Dr. Teck Young Wee, a Singaporean medical doctor, has been involved in health and development work in Afghanistan since 2004. The name he uses, Hakim, was given to him by Afghans he served in refugee camps. In the Dari language, "Hakim" means "local healer.” He now lives and works in Kabul establishing small social enterprise and is a friend-mentor of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. (ourjourneytosmile.com)
By Dave Lindorff
Syrian civilians and children should count themselves lucky that mass opposition in the US, the UK and much of the rest of the world to the idea of a US bombing blitz aimed at punishing the Syrian government for allegedly using Sarin gas in an attack on a Damascus neighborhood forced the US to back off and accept a Russian deal to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Nobel Laureate president defends unprovoked war against Syria: Obama Offers No Evidence Assad Ordered Syria Poison Gas Attack
By Dave Lindorff
In what NPR called “perhaps President Obama’s last best chance” to make his case for launching a war against Syria, the president tellingly didn’t make a single effort to present hard, compelling evidence to prove that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had been behind the alleged Sarin Aug. 21 attack on residents of a suburb of Damascus.
Not one piece of evidence.
Cross-Posted from FireDogLake
On September 9, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus -- who also formerly headed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistance Force for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and co-wrote the Counterinsurgency Field Manual -- began a new job as an adjunct professor at City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College.
A people’s victory over Syrian attack plan: In Historic First, American Empire is Blocked at the Starting Line
By Dave Lindorff
Let’s be clear here. The people of the US and the world have won a huge victory over a war-obsessed US government and an administration that was hell-bent on yet again launching a criminal war of aggression against a country that poses no threat to the US or its neighbors. Overwhelming public opposition in the US and the nations of Europe, as well as most of the rest of the world to a US strike on Syria have forced the US to falter and to accept the idea of a compromise deal offered by Russia.
The execution of six Afghan development workers by the Taliban last month who were doing work for the NSP, the Afghan National Solidarity Program, may be a sign that after 11 years, development may be starting to work. The attack signaled an escalation in the violence previously aimed at foreign non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross, and western corporations and their employees. The NSP is an indigenous program which, until now, insurgents have pretty much left alone.
Hopeful and disturbing signs in an unscientific neighborhood survey: Anti-War Conservatives and War-Monger Liberals
By Dave Lindorff
I just had two discussions with neighbors in my suburb of Philadelphia that offer both a hope that the Republican-run House may block President Obama’s war on Syria, and a warning that liberal Democrats could hand him the narrow majority he needs to claim Congressional backing for his war.
By Dave Lindorff
The document released on the White House web site to “prove” to the American people that the Syrian government had used poison gas -- allegedly the neurotoxin Sarin -- to kill hundreds of civilians, is so flawed and lacking in real proof that if it were being used to make a case against a terrorist group it would be too weak to justify an indictment.
By John Grant
Here we go again.
Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our escapade in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria.
“We can’t do a third war in 12 years!"
Afghan child: 'What did I do wrong to Sergeant Bales that he shot my father?'
For the first time, Afghan survivors of the March 2012 Panjwai massacre stood in the same room with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pled guilty to the unprompted onslaught that left 16 Afghan civilians dead—9 of them children, and 11 of them from the same family—and 6 wounded, and told what it was like to stand on the other side of Bales' gun.
"I thought I was dreaming but when I woke up I heard screaming," said 12-year-old Sadiquallah, who was shot in the ear and neck by Bales, addressing a panel of military officers. He explained that he still has nightmares from the incident.
Sadiquallah's father, Mohammed Haji Naeem, burst into tears in the courtroom as he described watching his other son die, AFP reports. "This bastard stood right in front of me, I wanted to ask him what I had done, why would you shoot me?" he said, indicating towards the man who shot him in the head and neck. "I have nerve damage and stutter since I was shot," he added later. "I wasn't weak but since this bastard shot at me I'm almost like nothing now."
15 year-old Rafiulla, who was shot in both legs, describes being awoken by the murderous rampage: "We were sleeping, we heard some noise. He [Bales] ran into the room and pointed his handgun at my sister's head." Speaking of his sister, who survived a gunshot wound to her head, he stated, "She was a very bright girl, everybody loved her. Now we're all sad for her."
Rafiulla's mother, Samiullua, explained her son has never been the same. "He wakes up at night with nightmares thinking Americans are chasing him," she said.
Khan, a child, described his father's death. "My father was lying down and we were all watching him," he said. "What did I do wrong to sergeant Bales that he shot my father?"
As the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan—now the longest official war in U.S. history—stretches through its 12th summer, over 60,000 U.S. troops remain, in addition to vast webs of U.S. private contractors and U.S. appointed Afghan military generals. Despite a war-weary Afghan public, U.S. officials say troops are likely to stay far beyond the alleged 2014 pullout date. Meanwhile, attacks on Afghan children are skyrocketing, the UN reports.
The Kandahar massacre, notable for its high media profile while countless U.S. military acts of atrocity go unreported, had a very real and pervasive impact across an Afghanistan that has suffered under the constant reality of war and an occupying military force.
"Afghans are always dehumanized in the U.S. public, and I have to question how much value and weight the voices of these victims will have in court,"Suraia Sahar of Afghans United for Justice told Common Dreams.
Despite calls for Bales to be tried in Afghanistan, the U.S. instead whisked him away to stand trial in U.S. military courts.
"Bradley Manning's sentence today is evidence of the failure of the justice system in the U.S.," says Sahar. "It's all the more reason for Bales to be put on trial on Afghan soil."
By Dave Lindorff
Right now I’m thinking about William Laws Calley.
By John Grant
Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.
By Dave Lindorff
The New York Times, in an editorial published the day after a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” -- a charge that would have locked him up for life without possibility of parole and could have carried the death penalty -- but also found him guilty on multiple counts of “espionage,” called the verdict “Mixed.” Not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage.
His 'Crime' is Patriotism, not Betrayal Like Hale's Philip Nolan, Snowden has Become a 'Man Without a Country'
By Dave Lindorff
In Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man Without a Country," US Army Lt. Philip Nolan, following a court-martial, is exiled from his country, his citizenship snatched away, leaving him doomed to sail the seven seas confined to a Navy vessel, unable to make any country his home. His crime: being seduced by a treacherous leader to betray the US of A, the country of his birth.
By John Grant
We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."
Ft. Hood command still plan to deploy private to Afghanistan despite CO claim
Killeen, Texas - A soldier seeking a discharge from the Army based on a conscientious objection to war has been told by the command at Fort Hood that it still intends to deploy him to Afghanistan sometime in the coming weeks.
Private Second Class Christopher Munoz, 22, applied for a C.O. (conscientious objector) discharge on June 25, 2013. He has also asked for his deployment to be delayed until request for discharge would be given a fair hearing.
Servicemembers are eligible for C.O. status if they can prove to military authorities that they are opposed to all wars, and that the opposition is grounded in religious belief or moral conviction that is sincere and occurred at some point after enlistment. PV2 Munoz's application asserts that he qualified for this status according to the provisions of Army Regulation 600-43.
As a C.O applicant, PV2 Munoz cannot be made to carry weapons or munitions if deployed.
“If deployed, PV2 Munoz will be at significant risk for harassment by his fellow soldiers since he will effectively be a 'dead weight' on the unit. Despite these very real risks, PV2 Munoz's command has said that a delay of his deployment will not be considered,” said James M. Branum, an attorney who represents PV2 Munoz.
Click Read More to learn more about the case and see how you can help.
This one looks at yet another revelation that the military-industrial-spying 50+% of the federal government doesn't operate with the kind of oversight and accountability rules everyone else has to play by.
I was flabbergasted when the the Congressional Research Service reported on May 17 that the Pentagon didn’t have a clue what the 108,000 contractors the Department of Defense (DOD) has in Afghanistan were actually doing--let alone how well they were doing it.
Washington’s options in Syria are dwindling - and dwindling fast.
Trumped up chemical weapons charges against the Syrian government this month failed to produce evidence to convince a skeptical global community of any direct linkage. And the US’s follow-up pledge to arm rebels served only to immediately underline the difficulty of such a task, given the fungibility of weapons-flow among increasingly extremist militias.
By Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers
Thank you for your encouragement after the glass-shattering bomb explosion last week. We are grateful for your friendship and the daily actions you take for peace.
Last Friday, we wore our blue scarves and cleaned the streets around the bomb site area.
“We didn’t intend to go to the bomb site. But as we had already planned a day to clean the neighborhood streets, it became quite natural to clean around that area and along the street.We recognize the pain caused by the bombing, both the loss of lives and injuries, and also the damage to the environment. We ask for healing. We want the place to be healed. ” The Afghan Peace Volunteers ( APVs ) during the Global Days of Listening conversation on June 21st, 2013
( Watch the APVs cleaning around the bomb site in this video :
By Dave Lindorff
Just for the sake of argument, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend (I know it's a stretch) that the Obama administration and the apologists for the nation's spy apparatus in Congress, Democratic and Republican, are telling us the gods' honest truth.
From Dr. Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers
Recognition that 95 million human beings were killed in World War I and II has helped the people of the world understand that the method of war is not cost-effective. An awakened world hoped the United Nations could, as determined in the UN Charter, eventually ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.
The scourge of war in Afghanistan continues, with the United Nations reporting that more than 3,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded in the first five months of this year, a fifth of whom were Afghan children. So, ordinary people should seize opportunities to tell the truth about war.
The 75,000 Afghan War Logs, which Bradley Manning gave Wikileaks to ‘help document the true cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’, can help all of us evaluate whether the Afghan war is cost-effective. Bradley Manning had also handed Wikileaks a video of the Farah/Granai massacre which occurred in May of 2009, in which 86 to 147 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in an airstrike. We can read about the Farah/Granai massacre here and here .
The Afghan Peace Volunteers ask for the Farah/Granai massacre video to be released.
These records report the truths about war, and reveal an obsession among those few people in power to use war in achieving their goals. Bradley Manning said, “In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists…”
How many more documents revealing loss of innocent life are needed to determine that war should be banned, that it should not even be a last resort of ‘defence’?
All weapons, not only nuclear weapons, should be banned. A safe life and secure work environment without weapons is very possible even in Afghanistan. Consider, for instance, that the Emergency Surgical Centres in Afghanistan operate all their health facilities without armed protection and that Dr. Ramazon Bashardost, the third-placed candidate in Afghanistan’s 2009 Presidential elections, has no armed bodyguards.
We human beings are capable of living together without war. Billions of human beings all over the world live daily without killing one another, even when dealing with the most troubled or difficult of family members.
We are capable of an impossible love.
We can establish global norms of resolving all our problems through understanding and dialogue, and exclude war from the negotiation table. To do so, we should exclude from the UN charter the use of war as a last resort. We should disband the UN ‘Security’ Council.
Of course, accomplishing these actions hinges on us, on climate change citizens, Arab Spring citizens, Occupy citizens and the ‘awakening’ citizens of every country to free ourselves from the unequal dominance of corporate governments with their laws and weapons of self-interest.
They won’t free Bradley Manning. We need to free Bradley Manning.
They won’t support Edward Snowden. We need to support Edward Snowden.
They won’t free us. We need to free ourselves.
In Bradley Manning’s internal and better world, he is free! He testified, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan every day.”
Please take some time to listen to these ‘everyday’ tragedies in Afghanistan.
Please take some time to read and watch the thoughts of the Afghan Peace Volunteers below. Rather than chant the dirges of death, we want to sing out life-giving messages.
Then, without any trace of force, join us in asking for release of the ‘Farah/Granai massacre’ video.
From Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers thank Bradley Manning
I wish to share the pain of those killed in the Farah massacre, so I request Wikileaks to release the video. Thank you, Bradley, for your courage and sense of human responsibility in passing on this video. I support you!
As a human being and an Afghan citizen, I want to know the truth so that such violent tragedies will never be repeated again. It will show us how much we need the way of non-violence.
We need to learn that killing, whether by the Taliban or the US/NATO forces, is not acceptable and cannot solve any problem. At this time, Bradley Manning needs us, and we need one another.
It should be clear to the people how, for profit and power, groups like the Taliban and the US/NATO forces, kill without accountability. We want the voices of the people, like that of Bradley Manning, to be heard. We especially want the voices of children to be heard, including the voices of children who have been killed. We want their voices to haunt us. We should give a prize of conscience to Bradley Manning.
The transparency and conscience that Bradley Manning and Wikileaks seek is so desperately needed in Afghanistan, in the context of governments and power-mongers openly and secretly betraying the people every day.
We ask for the video of the Farah strike to be published so that the world will know how governments and all warring groups involved in the Afghan conflict have strategies and policies which go against the people, which kill the people. We want the governments and warring groups to be ashamed of their actions. Why should the world or any court of justice condemn and punish those who reveal truths?
Bradley has delivered truths which the world needs. We are against violence and killing by the Taliban and other Afghan war groups. We are also against violence and killing by the Afghan and U.S./NATO governments. Human beings were not born to abuse, betray or kill one another, but to learn to live together. We were not born to live selfishly, but to live for one another. If human beings want, we can live without war.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers in the video: “Thank you Bradley Manning”
Our sleeping conscience, awake!
Truth is not subject to the baton of the courts.
We are the Afghan Peace Volunteers.
According to the 19th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states the right to freedom of expression, we want Bradley Manning to be free!
Truth is like the sun that cannot always be hidden by the clouds.
Thank you Bradley Manning!
A Cure for War – With Limitations.
by Erin Niemela
Earlier this week I wrote an editorial proposing a 28th constitutional amendment to abolish war. The NSA scandal, I argue, is tied to the more pervasive problem of violent foreign (and domestic) policy, and we’ll continue to see government abuses so long as war and inter-state military violence are the acceptable choices for conflict management. David Swanson, author of the brilliant history, “When the World Outlawed War,” thoughtfully responded to my plea by urging us to recall and reignite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, an existing international pact renouncing war signed and ratified by the US president and Senate.
I agree with Mr. Swanson that any efforts to end war should point to existing law, and we agree that abolishing war is possible and necessary. However, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is not without its limitations, and a fresh, people-driven constitutional amendment could both address those limitations and offer current, culturally relevant and legally dispositive reinforcement.
Richard Rowley, director of the new film Dirty Wars, describes its making and the crimes it reveals. Over the course of fifteen years, Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow. For more on Dirty Wars see http://DirtyWars.org
To sign a petition to free the Yemeni journalist imprisoned at President Obama's instruction, as discussed in this program, go here.
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The number of contractors working in Afghanistan now vastly outnumbers American troops stationed there, according to a Congressional Research Service report. CRS, along with the Government Accountability Office, also determined that the Pentagon is unable to properly document the work these contractors are doing. And the information DOD is receiving is often unreliable and inaccurate.
According to CRS, there are now 108,000 private workers in Afghanistan, a workforce that dwarfs the 65,700 American troops still stationed there. That means there are 1.6 contractors for every American soldier in Afghanistan. This is an increase from last month, when The Fiscal Times reported that there were 1.4 contractors per American soldier.
Given the size of the private forces, it’s not surprising that CRS found that in recent years, the Defense Department spent more than any other agency to support contractor work.