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By John Grant
The United States is finding the occupation of other nations more and more challenging. Consider the burning of Korans in Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the bombing deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers and a host of other recent disasters. Economic challenges at home only add to the difficulty.
In such a frustrating quandary, Washington and Pentagon leaders are falling back on what they feel the US does best: Secret killing.
By John Grant
I could have been a vicious raving monster who killed and killed and left towers of rotting flesh in my wake. Instead, here I was on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Still a monster, of course, but I cleaned up nicely afterward, and I was OUR monster, dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue.
Dearly Devoted Dexter
I teach creative writing in a maximum security prison in Philadelphia. During the week I scour two thrift shops for 35-cent paperbacks that I haul in to stock a small lending library I created for inmates. Amazingly, the prison had no library.
By Dave Lindorff
The attacks and attempted attacks this week on Israeli embassy personnel in Georgia, India and Thailand should serve as a serious warning to the people of both Israel and the US that there will be an increasingly heavy price to pay for the kind of government-sponsored terror that both countries have long practiced, and that too many Americans and Israelis have mindlessly cheered on.
The technology of terror has become so wide-spread, and the materials needed to construct magnetically-attached car bombs, cell-phone detonators, armor-piercing IEDs, diesel/fertilizer bombs and the like, so accessable at consumer shops, hardware stores and local junkyards, that any government, and even any relatively savvy non-government group, can assemble and employ them.
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.
The United States needs to get serious about its new threat to stop providing over a billion dollars in weapons per year to Egypt. This so called aid is clearly not sufficient to protect civil and human rights, if that's even a concern in Washington, and not even sufficient to protect the influence of disreputable U.S. Governmental Non-Governmental Organizations.
It's also not necessary, as the people of Egypt will produce their own civil society. We can help, but not with organizations tied to the CIA and with records of having sought to influence electoral outcomes around the world.
It's also damaging, as US weapons are used against Egyptian people. They could also conceivably be used in war, as the United States arms Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, etc., and threatens Iran. Why not take this opportunity to end the madness of arming Israel and Egypt to the teeth on condition that they not destroy each other?
Why not look to our own house to begin protecting civil liberties and establishing credible elections?
We ask Occupy and all U.S. social justice activists to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters by immediately organizing mass convergences on Egyptian embassies, missions, consulates, and at U.S. government offices, to demand:
'Cancel all US aid and shipment of military and police materiel to Egypt!
'Stop the murders, tortures and detentions!
'Release all detainees and political prisoners!
'Immediate end to military rule in Egypt!
'Issued by (list in formation) (Individual endorsers below):
Ad Hoc Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Al-Nakba Awareness Project
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Canadian Peace Alliance
Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR)
Circle of the Living Earth – AIWP
Sandy Davies tells me, regarding the WWI Christmas truce on Christmas Day:
"When I was growing up, my godmother had a German helmet that was given to her father by a German officer after a soccer match in no-man's land that day. I also knew a South African former soldier who was on the front line in the desert near Cairo in 1942. He and his buddies became good friends with the Germans in the line across from them and used to pick up booze, hashish and other goodies for them whenever they went into Cairo. There was a sort of truce for a few months at that point, so they weren't shooting at each other. When a British Spitfire flew over and did start shooting at the Germans, Tony claimed it was the South Africans who shot it down!"
Does anybody know about this or have similar stories?
Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who was sentenced to two years' imprisonment by a military court on 14 December 2011 following a re-trial, escalated his hunger strike on 18 December after more than 115 days. Previously, he had been drinking fruit juice with dairy, but since 18 December, he is only drinking water. With his hunger strike, he is demanding his release from prison.
By Dave Lindorff
eorge W. Bush should be arrested for his role in waterboarding, Amnesty International says, and his trip to Africa presents an opportunity for that. “International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed,” the human rights organization said. (It's not the first time.)
Bush is in Africa to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS as well as breast and cervical cancer. While Amnesty applauds that goal, “this cannot lessen the damage to the fight against torture caused by allowing someone who has admitted to authorizing waterboarding to travel without facing the consequences prescribed by law,” the statement said. Bush's trip coincides with World AIDS Day today, and he has been receiving much praise for the global AIDS initiative he launched as president.
Above is the headquarters of Combined Systems. Not so far from Cleveland.
Here's what this company is up to:
A group of customs employees at the Suez seaport have revealed that the Egyptian Ministry of Interior is in the process of receiving 21 tons of tear gas from the US.
The claim was supported by Medhat Eissa, an activist in the coastal city of Suez, who provided documents he says he obtained from a group of employees at the Suez Canal customs. The employees have been subjected to questioning for their refusal to allow an initial seven ton shipment of the US-made tear gas canisters enter the port.
A group of employees at the Adabiya Seaport in Suez have confirmed, with the documents to prove it, that a three-stage shipment of in total 21 tons of tear gas canisters is on course for the port from the American port of Wilmington.
Employees say the container ship Danica, carrying seven tons of tear-gas canisters made by the American company Combined Systems, has already arrived at the port, with two similar shipments from the same company expected to arrive within the week.
By Ann Wright
We arrived from Gaza into Cairo at 1am this Friday morning.
Egyptian American Journalist Sexually Assaulted and Arm and Hand Broken by Police in Police Headquarters
After quickly checking into the hotel, I went on line and immediately was faced with an article that described Egyptian American journalist Mona Eltahawy’s assault by the Cairo police. Police sexually assaulted Mona and broke one of her arms and broke the hand on her other arm when they dragged her from the area around Tahrir Square where she was reporting on the clashes between protesters and police on Wednesday night.
By Ann Wright
It’s midnight Monday in the Middle East. The streets of Cairo are hopping. Egyptians are angry with the lack of change and the heavy handiness of the Egyptian military and police. I just arrived in Gaza after being in Cairo yesterday.
People Calm until Police Arrived at Tahrir Square
The Pentagon’s shadow war in Africa could have a new front, if reports coming out of Nigeria are accurate. U.S. troops are headed to Nigeria to help local forces do battle with Boko Haram, an Islamic terror group that has killed up to 400 people this year in an escalating campaign of bombings and shootings. At least that’s what Nigerian military sources tell Scott Morgan, a journalist based in Washington, D.C. who writes under the pseudonym “Confused Eagle.” The Guardian also has the story.
The LRA, whose horrific deeds have been have been well-documented by scores of human rights reports and the documentary film, Invisible Children, can best be described as a Christian cult militia engaged in violent armed rebellion against the Ugandan government, located primarily in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. An arrest warrant was issued in 2005 by the International Criminal Court against the LRA leadership for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kony, the LRA ringleader, possibly has over 80 wives (i.e. sex slaves), according to a 2009 story by the Guardian, and has fathered over 40 children.
Call for Real Democracy, End of U.S. Empire, Equitable and
Sustainable Economies and Human Rights
Today, the October 2011 Movement and the Egyptian Revolutionary Movement published “A Statement of Solidarity between Egyptian Revolutionaries and the October2011.org Movement”
signed by 21 members of the two movements. The movements recognize that they face many common problems and that their successes are intertwined.
The movements united on four issues including (details on each point are contained in the letter below):
1. Both the people of the United States and Egypt require real democracy so that the views of the people are represented.
2. End US foreign policy positions which undermine the Egyptian democracy movement as well as the character and reputation of the United States.
By Michael Schwartz, New Labor Forum
As the Arab Spring became an Arab Summer, the failure of other uprisings to replicate the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt has raised important questions about these increasingly impressive successes.
With this in mind, I want to scrutinize Egypt carefully, looking for the points of leverage that allowed and impelled the movement to oust Hosni Mubarak in only 18 days of protest with low mortality counts, particularly in light of the much longer and far more lethal and less successful uprisings in other countries.
The outcome in Egypt was in large part a conjunction of several visible, but rarely scrutinized, aspects of the Egyptian political economy:
- Egypt is the poster child of neo-liberal reform in the Middle East Its rapid integration into globalized capitalism since 1990 has made it vulnerable to a savvy mass movement that can exploit the pressure points in current world system.
- Egypt’s recent history produced a legacy of working class militance and organization that provided a tangible foundation for the Tahrir Square movement.
- This combination of political-economic vulnerability and a savvy mass movement created a strategic bind for Egyptian and global capitalism in which abandoning Hosni Mubarak was the least dangerous exit from an intractable crisis.
What is notably absent from this list of key factors is the most visible feature of Egypt’s almost-peaceful regime change. The Egyptian armed forces, unlike their Libyan and Syrian counterparts, decided not to attempt to crush the rebellion; this forbearance may have been a key factor in enabling the protest to succeed.
Multiple Wars are Symptoms of the Need to Escape the Quagmire of Empire
By Kevin Zeese
I can't remember a time when the U.S. military has been stuck in so many war quagmires at once. Libya seems destined to fail unless the U.S. gets a lucky shot and kills Gaddafi. U.S. militarists are openly maneuvering to stay in Iraq -- the war Obama told us was over. Relations with nuclear-armed Pakistan are at their lowest levels ever. And, Afghanistan is getting worse with Obama’s minimal, slow withdrawal looking more like staying than leaving.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The African Union found the spine to reject execution of an arrest warrant against Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi issued by the International Criminal Court, which appears to have an “Africans only” indictment policy. The AU’s chairman calls the court’s prosecutions “discriminatory” because they ignore the West’s crimes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. China has hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, another ICC arrest target.
African Union Says 'Up Yours' to International Criminal Court
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The AU decided, finally, that it can stand up to the International Criminal Court.”
The African Union is asking all of its 53 members not to buckle under to the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The International Criminal Court, or ICC, has never indicted anyone but Africans, and many consider it to be a tool of the United States. The Obama administration gives constant lip service to the Court, even though the U.S. is not a member of the ICC and has refused to make its own policies and military answerable to any outside authority.
By Kevin Zeese
A new anti-war movement that can really challenge U.S. militarism is being born. People from across the political spectrum joined together opposing U.S. war and empire. In a letter organized by, Come Home America, they cite a combination of events that present a “historic opportunity to redirect U.S. foreign policy down the pathways of peace, liberty, justice, respect for community, obedience to the rule of law and fiscal responsibility.”
For too long Americans who oppose wars have felt powerless to stop the war machine. Not since the early part of the 20th Century has there been a strong anti-war movement that Americans from across the political spectrum could participate in. The Come Home America letter shows the beginning of such a broad-based movement.
Charlottesville Friends Meeting invites you to a discussion with
(former columnist on global affairs, The Christian Science Monitor,
and owner, Just World Books)
(Edward R. Stettinius Professor of Politics, University of Virginia)
... about their recent trip to Cairo and Gaza,
and the 'Arab Spring' of 2011.
When: Monday, July 11, at 7 p.m.
Where: Charlottesville Friends Meeting meetinghouse, 1104 Forest St., Charlottesville (opp. Murray High School.) Parking for mobility-impaired to right of meetinghouse. Others park in Murray H.S. lot.
And least we not forget the millions of refugee's created in our names, the U.S., over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as area's of Pakistan!