You are hereEurope
UK Has Submitted Its Entry in the Stupidest Move of the Year Contest: Hiring Haliburton to Run the Police
Yes, the competition will be stiff this year. But who would swear this entry was out of the running?
From Andy Worthington:
Let's protest NATO on May 20th in Chicago but celebrate France!
After his election to the French presidency on Sunday, Francois Hollande wasted no time in following through on one of his highest-profile campaign pledges.
Hollande's communications director, Manuel Valls, confirmed to the Telegraph on Monday that France will "announce the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan between now and the end of the year." The announcement will take place at the NATO summit being held in Chicago on May 20 and 21.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No. 1243 03 May 2012 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7561 9311 Web: http://www.stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) NO TO NATO: PROTEST MAY 19 2) LONDON ACTIVISTS MEETING: MAY 10 3) STRENGTHEN STOP THE WAR 4) NO MISSILES IN EAST LONDON ************************************* 1) NO TO NATO: PROTEST MAY 19 Protest: Troops out of Afghanistan - Don't Attack Iran - No intervention in the
1. The United States has lost the moral authority and destroyed the legal authority to oppose threats of preemptive strikes
2. Unlike U.S. threats of preemptive strikes against Iraq or Libya or Iran, this is a threat to preempt something that does actually pose a danger to Russia
3. So-called missile defense does not work as and is not intended as defense, but as part of a first-strike assault
4. Antagonizing Russia (part of why the G8 has fled to Camp David) serves NATO's interest in finding a reason to exist, and serves the financial interests of weapons makers, but does not serve the interests of the United States or humanity
5. When the U.S. threatened Russia over missiles in Cuba, Russia took them out. Now the tables are turned. We're putting missiles on Russia's borders. Russia is asking us to take them out. --DS
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's top military officer has threatened to carry out a pre-emptive strike on U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe if Washington goes ahead with its controversial plan to build a missile shield.
President Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia will retaliate militarily if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and NATO on the missile defense system.
Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov went even further Thursday. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," he said at an international conference attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also warned on Thursday that talks between Moscow and Washington on the topic are "close to a dead end."
Institutions rarely vote themselves out of existence. Not if they still have money in their budgets. Large institutions in particular have an almost genetic propensity to cling to life even after their reasons for being have vanished.
“It is we who win”
Tens of thousands of Norwegians marched beneath pouring rain in Oslo today, converging at Central Square to sing together a Norwegian version of American folk music singer Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Race" in a moving protest against mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 Norwegians last year in the name of eliminating "multiculturalism" and leftist ideologies.
The song -- the Norwegian version translates as "Children of the Rainbow" -- extols the type of multicultural society Breivik has said he despised and one that he specifically mentioned during his trial last week as "Marxist propaganda", triggering a Facebook initiative for today's protest.
Norwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen guided the song with his ukulele as the rose-carrying and umbrella-laden crowd of an estimated 40,000 sang along.
"Shocked by Breivik's lack of remorse for his massacre," writes the Associated Press, "Norwegians by and large have decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes. Instead of raging against the gunman, they have manifested their support for tolerance and democracy."
One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.
Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.
* * *
Agence France-Presse: Thousands of Norwegians gather to sing song Breivik hates
Protesters ranging from elderly in wheelchairs to young school children streamed into Youngstorget Square wearing colorful raincoats and carrying Norwegian flags and roses, which have come to represent Norway's peaceful response to the horrifying attacks.
The culture ministers of the Nordic countries were also at the square to participate, while other similar events were to take place across Norway.
Norwegian Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt admitted she had wept as Nilsen led the chorus and the crowd sang along, waving roses in the air.
Afterwards they walked slowly together, still singing the song, to the courthouse to add their roses to the piles of flowers already lining the security barriers outside in memory of Breivik's victims.
* * *
Christian Science Monitor: Breivik slam on 'Rainbow' song an insult too far for Norwegians
The man behind last summer’s twin terror attacks said in court testimony last week that the Norwegian song by Lillebjørn Nilsen, based on US folksinger Pete Seeger’s original version “My Rainbow Race” in 1967, was an example of how Norwegian schools function as an “indoctrination camp” for “cultural Marxism and multiculturalism.”
“We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”
Mr. Breivik, a self-described militant nationalist, blames his bombing of government buildings in Oslo and shooting rampage at Utøya island on the ruling Labor party for promoting multiculturalism with its lenient immigration policies and allowing mass immigration to undermine Norwegian society.
“The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik told his defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera on April 20. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers,” he added, referring to the US television series Roots depicting the history of African-American slaves.
Breivik’s comments prompted Norwegians Christine Bar and Lill Hjønnevåg to organize via Facebook a gathering at Youngstorget, the square in front of the Labor party headquarters. It is adjacent to Breivik's bombing target and just blocks from Oslo District Court, where Breivik is currently on trial for killing 77 people total in the two July 2011 attacks.
'How the world SHOULD be'
“Let us stand together,” the two initiators wrote on the event’s Facebook page, which listed more than a dozen parallel events around the country. “We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”
The text in the Norwegian version of the song begins with “A sky full of stars, blue ocean far as you see, an earth where flowers grow. Can you wish for more? Together we shall live, every sister, every brother. Small children of the rainbow, and a fertile soil.”
“It is we who win,” said Nilsen, after singing with his ukelele in both Norwegian and English for rain-drenched supporters, which included five cultural ministers from Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands.
# # #
The Emergence of a Truly Worldwide Military Alliance
The military leaders of 50 nations, more than a quarter of those in the world, opened a two-day conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on April 25 to discuss, as the Pentagon’s website described it, “the present and future of the effort in Afghanistan” and other topics.
Afghanistan being the main subject of discussion, the military chiefs of NATO’s 28 member states, collectively the Military Committee, presumably met with the chiefs of defense staff of the 22 non-NATO nations supplying the alliance with troops for the war in Afghanistan.
In January top military leaders of 67 countries, over a third of those in the world, met at NATO Headquarters to discuss operations in Afghanistan in what is the largest-ever meeting of chiefs of defense staff in history.
The recently concluded expanded meeting of the NATO Military Committee was the last before next month’s summit in Chicago and was largely focused on that impending event.
Participants in the conference included General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; General John R. Allen (in teleconference), commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, in charge of the largest foreign military force ever to be stationed in that nation; NATO’s two top military commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stéphane Abrial; U.S. military chief Dempsey’s equivalents from 49 nations in Europe, North America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Northeast Asia, South East Asia and the South Pacific supplying troops for NATO’s Afghan War. (Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Tonga, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.)
In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.
On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment.
NATO added, “DJF HQ serves as an example of a Joint HQ for non-NATO nations to contribute to the Alliance’s missions.”
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1242 23 April 2012 Email email@example.com Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE 2) MESSAGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN MP & LINDSEY GERMAN 3) NO TO NATO PROTEST US EMBASSY 19 MAY 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN CULTURAL EVENT 25 MAY ************************************* 1) HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE The astonishing comments by two UK army majors serving in
"Self-purification through suffering is easier, I tell you: easier -- than that destiny which you are paving for many of them by wholesale acquittals in court. You are merely planting cynicism in their souls." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The United States Congress is outraged. Russia, it seems, may have wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and murdered a whistleblower. In the land of the free, our good representatives are outraged, I tell you. And not just I. NPR will tell you. This calls for action. There's a bill in the Senate and a bill in the House. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.
Who wouldn't support the rule of law and accountability?
Well, let me think.
Oh, I know. The United States Congress.
Bush and Cheney are selling books confessing to the crime of war and all that comes with it, including lawless imprisonment and torture. They have openly confessed in their books and on television, repeatedly, to a form of torture that the current Attorney General of the United States admits is torture. Bush's torture program tortured numerous people to death. And what has Congress wrought?
No enforcement of subpoenas.
No defunding of operations.
No criminalizing of secrecy.
No protection of whistleblowers.
No mandating of diplomacy, reparations, foreign aid, or commitments to international standards.
In other words, we have no Congress with the right to talk about the Rule of Law or Accountability without being mocked.
But keep hope alive.
Change is on the way.
Up in the sky!
It's Captain Peace Prize!
Obama launches wars without bothering to lie to Congress or the United Nations, has formalized the powers of lawless imprisonment, rendition, and murder, and places the protection of Bush and Cheney above almost anything else -- certainly above the rule of law or accountability.
Obama has badgered Spain, Italy, Germany, and the U.K. to leave the Bush gang in peace, publicly instructed the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute, and expanded claims of "State Secrets" beyond anything previously imagined in order to shut down legal accountability. Italy has convicted CIA agents in absentia, and Obama has not shipped them over to do their time. Poland is prosecuting its bit players in U.S. crimes. Former top British official Jack Straw is being hauled into court for his tangential role. But Obama has chosen a path to success in Washington, or thinks he has, and that path is immunity for anyone with power.
The trouble is that Obama now wants to apply that same standard to Russia, and Congress won't stand for it. Obama is opposed to the Hold Russia Accountable Act because he prefers to kiss up to the government of Russia. It's a policy that has worked beautifully for him at home. Why not apply it abroad?
Of course, the United States has no moral standing to speak against imprisonment, torture, or murder. The United States imprisons more of its people than any other country, keeps hundreds of thousands of them in supermaxes or long-term isolation, tolerates prison rape and violence, openly treats torture as a policy option, facilitates torture in what may be the two countries torturing the greatest number of people today: Iraq and Afghanistan, and kills with capital punishment, special forces, and drones.
The United States has no moral standing to speak against the punishment of whistleblowers, Obama having prosecuted seven of them under the Espionage Act of 1917, fittingly enough for the offense of having made U.S. war-making look bad by revealing facts about it.
But the answer cannot be to support Russian crimes just because there are U.S. crimes. Congress, revolting as it is to say, is right: the Russian government should be held to a decent rule of law. And it should be held to it through the language that speaks louder than words: action. U.S. immunity for torturers is one of the greatest factors in the current spread of acceptability for torture around the world.
Congress should impeach Bush and Obama, enforce its subpoenas, ship convicted CIA criminals to Italy, strengthen the War Powers Act, criminalize war profiteering, ban private mercenaries, ban unconstitutional detentions, ban secret budgets and laws and agencies, ban rendition, and ratify and enforce the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Congress should also cease encircling Russia with missiles, and end its wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.
Or, short of moving in a useful direction, sad to say, the best thing the United States Congress could do for the rule of law in Russia at the moment would be to shut the hell up.
Jack Straw Faces Legal Action for Playing Bit Part in U.S. Torture Program, the Architects of Which Have Books to Sell You
A Libyan military commander is taking legal action against Jack Straw, to find out if the ex-foreign secretary signed papers allowing his rendition.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj claims CIA agents took him from Thailand to Gaddafi-led Libya, via UK-controlled Diego Garcia.
His lawyers have served papers on Mr Straw after the Sunday Times reported claims that he allowed this to happen.
UK ministers have denied any complicity in rendition or torture and Mr Straw did not comment further.
He said he could not do so because of the ongoing police investigation into the UK's alleged role in illegal rendition.
Earlier this month, the BBC revealed that the UK government had approved the rendition of Mr Belhadj and his wife - Fatima Bouchar - to Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime, though it was unclear at what level.
On 15 April, the Sunday Times published an article, which quoted sources as alleging Mr Straw had personally authorised Mr Belhadj's rendition to Libya.
On Tuesday, Mr Belhadj's lawyers - Leigh Day & Co - served papers on Mr Straw, referencing the article and seeking his response to allegations that he was complicit in torture and misfeasance in public office.
The civil action is against Mr Straw personally - Mr Belhadj's lawyers believe it is the first time legal action of this kind has been taken against a former foreign secretary.
Mr Belhadj and his wife allege Mr Straw was complicit in the "torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, batteries and assaults" which they say were perpetrated on them by Thai and US agents, as well as the Libyan authorities.
They are seeking damages from Mr Straw for the trauma involved.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1241 13 April 2012 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) MAKE YOUR MP WORK TO STOP IRAN WAR 2) REPLY TO CALL FOR NATO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA 3) PROTEST NO TO NATO: US EMBASSY 19 MAY 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN - A NIGHT TO REMEMBER 5) THREE VIDEOS RECOMMENDED BY STOP THE WAR ******************************** 1) MAKE YOUR MP WORK TO STOP IRAN WAR We are asking all our supporters to lobby MPs to help stop another war. Today
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 Rick Rozoff
On April 7 Fox News Chicago reported on Occupy Chicago’s march through the city’s downtown, the Loop, recording that hundreds of protesters chanted “End the war, tax the rich” during part of the group’s Chicago Spring actions throughout the city “as the movement prepares for NATO.”
U.S. Military Bases in Germany and a Brief History of Protests Against Them
By Elsa Rassbach
On September 25, 2009, U.S. and NATO commanders emblematically chose Ramstein Air Base
in Germany to announce the request of General Stanley McChrystal for 40,000 or more
additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan -- even before they presented this request to lawmakers in Washington. Roughly halfway between Washington and General McChrystal’s headquarters in Kabul, Ramstein is the largest U.S. overseas military airbase and also a NATO installation. The war in Afghanistan is partly a NATO war, but if NATO partners such as Germany were to oppose escalation, the U.S. could still use Ramstein and other bases in Europe for waging a functionally unilateral war , not unlike the Iraq war.
FINALLY Someone's Prosecuted (and not in absentia) for U.S. Torture -- And It's Poland That Comes Through
Poland Charges Ex-Spy Chief over Involvement in Bush Torture Program
From ALL GOV .COM
Obama Justice Dept. Refuses to Help Polish Torture Probe (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1240 3 April 2012 Email email@example.com Tel: 0207 561 9311 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST NATO 2) CONGRATULATIONS TO GEORGE GALLOWAY MP 3) IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS 4) DON'T IRAQ IRAN MERCHANDISE ************ 1) DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST NATO Saturday May 19th Troops out of Afghanistan, Don't Attack Iran, no intervention in the Middle East The occupation of Afghanistan has passed crisis point. Afghan soldiers are
1 April 2012. Around 2am 800 peace activists from more than ten European countries gathered near NATO headquarters in Evere, Brussels. 500 people tried nonviolently to enter the NATO compound. About 20 activists succeeded to enter the military site, 483 people were arrested. At the main entrance of the NATO headquarters 300 supporters cheered the intervention teams.
When peace is at stake, nonviolent intervention is necessary. NATO is a select club of countries that globally wages war, deploys nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them in a first strike. This military alliance is a danger for world peace. On May 20th and 21st, the heads of government of NATO member states will gather in Chicago. Today’s nonviolent intervention sends them a clear message: NATO creates more problems than it solves.
NATO Game Over – international action of civil disobedience
NATO GAME OVER is an action of civil disobedience. Nonviolent intervention teams tried to enter the NATO area in order to prevent a more serious crime, the preparation of war crimes.
Delegations from Germany, the Netherlands, France, UK, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Spain participated in the action alongside Belgian activists.
They all have a clear message for the government leaders who are meeting in Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20th and 21st: “We do not want a missile defence shield, We do not want NATO soldiers in Libya or Afghanistan, We do not want dangerous, useless and illegal nuclear weapons”.
Remove nuclear weapons
NATO's deterrence and defense strategy will prove to be a difficult issue. Since the last NATO summit in November 2010, the alliance has been looking for “the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense forces”, under the NATO Deterrence and Defence Posture Review. NATO member states will need to agree on the future role of the approximately 200 American tactical nuclear weapons that are still deployed in five European countries. NATO bureaucracy is keen on maintaining the status quo.
However, nuclear weapons cannot be used without violating international humanitarian law and their deployment is a preparation of war crimes. These weapons do not serve any military purpose, and a majority of European citizens want them removed. NATO must overcome Cold War thinking, re-adjust its nuclear policy and withdraw these nuclear weapons. A failure to do so will be an obstacle for further nuclear disarmament.
Stop military intervention
In Chicago, NATO-secretary general Rasmussen wants to decide on the priorities for the further expansion of NATO’s military intervention apparatus. The war in Afghanistan proves the failure of military intervention. Under the pretext of ‘Responsibility to Protect’, NATO attacked Libya to force a profitable regime change. The war left Libya a fragmented country, where armed militias struggle for power.
Press contact: Hans Lammerant, +32 479 682 443
(AFP) BRUSSELS — Hundreds of peace activists on Sunday tried in vain to break into the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels, with 483 of them arrested by police.
The demonstration, organised by the Belgian association Action for Peace two months before a NATO summit in Chicago, was called to protest the alliance's intervention in Afghanistan and Libya, and nuclear arming.
"No demonstrator was able to enter NATO headquarters," spokesman for Brussels police, Christian De Coninck, told AFP. "We detained 483 people for questioning and all of them should be free in the evening."
De Coninck said no one was hurt and no damage was reported.
A Russia-NATO summit, which was scheduled in May, is cancelled. According to the official version, the summit was cancelled over “an intensive domestic political calendar in Russia.” However, the experts believe that this step is caused by disagreements of the parties concerned over the European missile defence system.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1239 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) DAY OF PROTEST, SAT 24TH MARCH 2) ONLINE PETITION 3) NEW MATERIALS *************** 1) DAY OF PROTEST, SAT 24TH MARCH: DON'T IRAQ IRAN, TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN The unravelling of the war in Afghanistan has been apparent in recent weeks. The shooting of 16 Afghans, mostly women and children, by a US soldier, surely marked a turning point in the war as Afghans reacted with anger to the latest in a long line of outrages by demanding the soldier was put on trial in their country. The Americans responded by flying him to Kansas. This week both their ally President Karzai and their enemy the Taliban have underlined just how much the western powers are losing the war. Karzai demanded that ISAF troops should be confined to barracks while the Taliban broke off talks. You would hardly know this from the summit in Washington last week which saw Cameron and Obama feting each other in the White House. Instead they said the war was on course and would continue till 2014 (although they are privately bringing the dates forward as they know it is unlikely to hold for that long). Even worse they made clear their determination to attack Iran. The recent visit by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to the US piled on the pressure to back an attack. This week the Israeli deputy prime minister is visiting London to drum up support for an attack on Iran and is clearly confident of winning the backing of the US and British governments. We have held successful protests and meetings over both issues in recent weeks, particularly attracting young people. This Saturday we have a national day of protest based around 'Don't Iraq Iran' - see http://bit.ly/x67PUk. On the 9th anniversary of the attack on Iraq, and the first anniversary of the bombing of Libya, the interest in anti war activity is being heightened. Protests can bring in these issues, plus the threats to Syria. This is the chance to get out on the streets and build a campaign against the next main threat. See http://bit.ly/x67PUk for more details on the day of protest. *************** 2) ONLINE PETITION Our letter to the Guardian against an attack on Iran, which was signed by a number of celebrities, will go live in the next few days as an online petition. We want as many signatories on it as possible. Check the website and add your name. *************** 3) NEW MATERIALS We have a range of new materials available now or soon, to spread the message about the don't attack Iran campaign: '10 reasons' leaflets, 'don't Iraq Iran' badges, special tote bags, 'Who's threatening who' maps of the region and posters. Contact 0207 561 9311 or firstname.lastname@example.org to order or for more information.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Urgent Stop the War Bulletin http://stopwar.org.uk Vigil 6-7 pm, Monday 12 March, Trafalgar Square, London SW1 Called by Afghans for Peace, supported by Stop the War. The cold blooded killing of fifteen Afghan civilians, including young children, by a US soldier in Kandahar Province earlier today is an outrage that encapsulates the brutality of the occupation of Afghanistan. It comes at a time of widespread anger against NATO forces, and growing calls for the occupation to end. The Stop the War Coalition is supporting a vigil called tomorrow night, Monday 12th, by Afghans for Peace in Trafalgar Square at 6pm. We are urging anyone who can to attend the event to protest at today's atrocity and to demand all NATO troops are withdrawn from the country immediately.
Virginia's Fifth Congressional District had been long disgraced by the racist buffoon Democrat turned Republican Virgil Goode when Tom Perriello was elected as a non-racist buffoon Democrat in 2008. For partisans, just getting elected and doing what President Obama told him was all Perriello needed to do. For national "progressives" he was a star, which was usually explained to me in terms of how awful his district was relative to how limitedly awful he was.
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) Not one more death in Afghanistan 2) 'Don't Iraq Iran' day of protest Saturday March 24 3) Report from Stop the War's national conference 4) Students pledge mass protests *************** 1) NOT ONE MORE DEATH IN AFGHANISTAN - BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW The death of six British soldiers in an explosion in Helmand was a tragedy that never should have happened. That over 400 British troops have now died there underlines the fact that the occupation has been a disaster bringing nothing but misery and destruction to the Afghan people. But it is also now widely recognised as a failed operation, and it is a scandal that troops are still being asked to kill and be killed there. Local groups are organising vigils, namings of the dead and protests this weekend to mark the death of the 400th soldier. Please go to
The beautiful thing about the internet is that whenever you write an essay on a topic you imagine is new, some wonderful person contacts you within about an hour who's written a whole book about it. This is different from writing a book about something new (or old) like the Kellogg-Briand Pact (everybody still thinks it must be a breakfast cereal).
Fredrik Heffermehl's book "The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted," is a wonderful thing to discover. I understand if you just can't stomach discovering that Norway and the committee that hands out the peace prizes have become as corrupted as a Congressman. But if awardees like George Marshall, Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat, and Barack Obama already had you scratching your head a little bit, you may appreciate learning the details of where the prize bestowers ran off the rails and how they might manage to climb back aboard the peace train.
Alfred Nobel left behind a legally binding will that required giving a prize to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Like the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, the Nobel Committee has largely abandoned its original mission. Carnegie and Nobel are dead and none the wiser, but those of us who like the idea of a well-funded peace movement are painfully aware.
The Nobel prize for peace was not designed as merely an honor, but as a significant source of funding for "work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Yet, with each annual prize, as with each year's operation of the Carnegie Endowment, the peace movement is none the better funded. Warmongers take the funding, or admirable and heroic humanitarians take the funding, but these are not people working toward or even believing in the desirability of the aims for which the prize was created and legally established in Nobel's will.
Heffermehl examines the language of the will in the original Swedish, the thinking and influences that went into it, the reasons why Nobel chose the Norwegian parliament to appoint the committee for the administration of the prize, and the activities and the worldviews of what Nobel termed in the will "champions of peace." Legally, Heffermehl argues, it is the will that counts, not each and every opinion Nobel might have held at some point in his life. While peace congresses are still held, work is still done to abolish standing armies, and many working on these projects also work for what Heffermehl translates as confraternity among nations, much of this work is little known in the media and unknown to the prize committee, which has lost touch with its mission.
Heffermehl argues persuasively that no Nobel prize for peace has been awarded with appropriate justification since 2001. In fact, in his analysis, 50 of the 120 prizes given between 1901 and 2009 were not justified. Heffermehl bases that judgment primarily on the case made for each laureate by the committee awarding the prize. Were he to examine the laureates and those passed over, the number of unjustified prizes might increase.
Heffermehl also looks at the justification for the prizes awarded under each of the 12 committee chairs and six committee secretaries that have ever held those posts. The two chairs who have served since 2003 receive far and away the worst scores, while the two who served up through 1941 score dramatically better than the others. Similarly, the two secretaries who held that position up through 1945 receive high marks, while the one, Geir Lundestad, who has been Secretary since 1990 has, in Heffermehl's scoring, performed miserably.
World War II shifted thinking in Norway and elsewhere toward militarism and the notion of the inevitability of war. While France and Germany have ceased attacking each other, there hasn't been a war between wealthy powers in 70 years, and the only wars we have now are against poor countries, somehow common wisdom holds that the abolition of war is a silly idea. But is legally complying with a dead man's will a silly idea too?
After World War II it wasn't just thinking that changed, but procedure as well. No longer does the Norwegian parliament choose the most qualified peace leaders to serve on the committee. Instead, each political party picks committee members in proportion to the party's strength in the parliament, even if the party is pro-war.
Yet it was not until 1990 that the real corruption began to eat away at Nobel's legacy. Lundestad has created more pompous ceremonies, an annual concert, and a permanent Nobel Peace Center in Oslo filled with cutting edge technology. While the five-member committee in Norway used to have no need for funding, the prizes simply being awarded directly to the laureates, now funding became critical, and much of that funding became corporate. Are images of the fancy new DC building belonging to the "United States Institute of Peace (unless there's a war)" flashing through your mind? Lundestad is a professional fundraiser now who finds time for Bilderberg conferences but not peace congresses.
Heffermehl made his case in Norwegian pre-Obama, and was oh-so-predictably-and-depressingly hopeful when the committee absurdly bestowed its prize on the new U.S. President in 2009. It was Obama's pro-war acceptance speech that led Heffermehl to unhesitatingly add him to the list of undeserving laureates. But there were other reasons. Heffermehl claims to have a source who knows that promotion of Oslo as a tourist destination weighed in the selection of Obama. Alfred Nobel had, of course, not mentioned that motivation in his will at all.
Heffermehl proposes that Nobel's will be followed, that the commercial activities of the Nobel Foundation be dropped, and that the combination of the roles of committee secretary and commercial director be ended. I think he has a point.
Here's a video of Lundestad disingenuously defending the selection of Barack Obama.
Lundestad is scheduled to speak on Saturday, March 3rd, in Minnesota, where Coleen Rowley will be asking him pertinent questions about faithfulness to Nobel's will. If you can't make it to Minnesota, you can sign this petition Rowley has set up.
If this thing gets turned around and Nobel peace prizes are awarded for a number of years to real champions of peace, then it should almost go without saying that Fredrik Heffermehl, who has created a formal investigation of the matter in Sweden, will have earned himself the prize as well.
The Italian Coalition Stop That Train celebrates the news that the City Council of Naples, Italy has approved a motion condemning Pizzarotti for its involvement in a project in blatant violation of international law, the Israeli high-speed train cutting through the occupied Palestinian territories. The decision of the Naples City Council, which follows that of Rho (Milan) on November 30, 2011, is a strong sign for responsible action by local authorities, in this case one of Italy’s largest cities.
Stop That Train congratulates the Committee "For a Pizzarotti-Free Naples!" for the work done to mobilize citizens in support of the Campaign and in establishing dialog with the local administration in order to encourage it to take a stand on the issue.