You are hereGeneral Discussion
Email conversation with Thomas Nephew about the Million Doors for Peace effort got me to pull together some thoughts I've only let myself reflect on briefly over the last few months.
There's been a divide among antiwar activists -- between those who are serious about ending the occupation of Iraq and those who’d like to do that but only if it doesn’t cost Democrats politically. Depending on the size of the Democratic majorities in Congress, and assuming an Obama administration, that divide might be less important in 2009 than it's been for the last two years.
Political activists and legal groups are preparing to file multiple lawsuits against the cities and police departments of Denver and St. Paul because of their treatment of convention protesters.
The groups say protesters demonstrating against the war in Iraq and other issues in both cities were mistreated and their civil rights were violated.
The National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota is preparing multiple suits against authorities in St. Paul on behalf of protesters, according to the group. They say protesters were illegally detained and their First Amendment rights were violated.
Zinn: US 'In Need of Rebellion'
Al Jazeera speaks to Howard Zinn, the author, American historian, social critic and activist, about how the Iraq war damaged attitudes towards the US and why the US "empire" is close to collapse.
Q: Where is the United States heading in terms of world power and influence?
HZ: America has been heading - for some time, and is heading right now - toward less and less world power, less and less influence.
Obviously, since the war in Iraq, the rest of the world has fallen away from the United States, and if American foreign policy continues in the way it has been - that is aggressive and violent and uncaring about the feelings and thoughts of other people - then the influence of the United States is going to decline more and more.
This is an empire which is on the one hand the most powerful empire that ever existed; on the other hand an empire that is crumbling - an empire that has no future ... because the rest of the world is alienated and simply because this empire is top-heavy with military commitments, with bases around the world, with the exhaustion of its own resources at home.
The US military provided combat training to 80 Georgian special forces commandos only months prior to Georgia's army assault in South Ossetia in August.
The revelation, based on recruitment documents and interviews with US military trainers obtained by the Financial Times, could add fuel to accusations by Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, last month that the US had "orchestrated" the war in the Georgian enclave.
The training was provided by senior US soldiers and two military contractors. There is no evidence that the contractors or the Pentagon, which hired them, knew that the commandos they were training were likely be used in the assault on South Ossetia.
Gold Star Families Protest Bush - McCain Event
in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008
Three Gold Star parents will protest President George W. Bush's visit to Oklahoma City on Friday, September 12. The event is being held to raise money for Republican candidate John McCain and the Republican National Committee.
Warren Henthorn, of Choctaw, Kay Henthorn, of Oklahoma City and John Scripsick of Wayne, OK. consider it their patriotic responsibility to show up to ask questions of President Bush about his mishandling of the war that cost their son's lives. In desperate economic times, many people, who do not have family members or friends serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, are paying little attention to the killing and suffering that is taking place on a daily basis so far across the world.
By Dave Lindorff
Sarah Palin stated again, most recently in her interview yesterday by ABC’s Charlie Gibson, that she has foreign policy experience because as governor of Alaska she has been in charge of that state’s National Guard, and because Alaska is, doggone it, “right next” to Russia.
This made me feel pretty good, because it made me realize that I have a whole lot of skills and experience which I hadn’t really appreciated before and that I could perhaps use to get myself out of this freelance journalism profession, which is not all that great from a financial perspective.
President Bush authorized U.S. special forces to conduct ground assaults inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad's permission first, a senior American intelligence official said Thursday.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said better U.S.-Pakistan cooperation is needed to fight terror.
"We have had the president's OK for months," said the official, who declined to be identified because the order is classified. "It is my understanding that the Pakistanis are well-aware of the change."
"The events of the past seven years," Andrew Bacevich begins in his new piece at TomDispatch.com, "have yielded a definitive judgment on the strategy that the Bush administration conceived in the wake of 9/11 to wage its so-called Global War on Terror. That strategy has failed, massively and irrevocably. To acknowledge that failure is to confront an urgent national priority: to scrap the Bush approach in favor of a new national security strategy that is realistic and sustainable -- a task that, alas, neither of the presidential candidates seems able to recognize or willing to take up."
This post represents a powerful analysis from an important critic of the Bush administration's Global War on Terror -- of just how a small group of Washington officials, dreaming of "transforming" the political and military map of the Middle East and deeply convinced of their own perspicacity, led us into disaster. They were, Bacevich writes, believers in the deepest sense. "They worshipped in the Church of the Indispensable Nation, a small but intensely devout Washington-based sect formed in the immediate wake of the Cold War. Members of this church shared an exalted appreciation for the efficacy of American power, especially hard power. Their strategy of transformation emerged as a direct expression of their faith."
From the introduction to: "Report in Support of Articles of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney for Making False and Fraudulent Statements to Congress and or Conspiring to Defraud Congress Regarding the Most Notorious of the Grounds for the War in Iraq: the Grounds that Iraq Had Sought Uranium for a Nuclear Weapon, And Articles of Impeachment" by Francis T. Mandanici.
In his recent book entitled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan describes the White House’s deceptive campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people.1
A 2-page flyer/media alert is now available to print and fax to your local media outlets and elected officials for the Justice Robert Jackson Conference on the Planning for Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals this weekend.
The event will be live-streamed over the internet and will be available by recorded video post-event. Viewers need to pre-register, so allow a few minutes to do that.
What will British foreign secretary David Miliband say in his speech to Labour's annual conference in Manchester? It's all too predictable. 'We' are 'winning' in Iraq, making 'progress' in Afghanistan, defending 'democracy' in Georgia, confronting Iran to protect world 'security' and waging endless war against 'global terrorism'. 'We' stand "shoulder to shoulder" with George Bush and whoever his successor may be in following slavishly wherever US foreign policy takes 'us'.
For your quick reading, I've listed key statistics about the Iraq War, taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources. Data is presented as of August 27, 2008, except as indicated.
U.S. SPENDING IN IRAQ
Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds. In June 2008, President Bush signed a bill approving about 200 billion more for 2008, which brings the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.
U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008
U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)
On August 15, 2008, Russia dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas in the neighboring country of Georgia, killing at least 14 civilians and wounding dozens more. This weekend, the Georgian government admitted to having dropped cluster bombs in certain locations between the Roki tunnel and Dzara road. This area links Georgia's South Ossetia with North Ossetia, which is Russian territory. Georgia claims not to have dropped any cluster bombs in civilian areas.
On August 7, 2008, Russia began an armed offensive against Georgia over South Ossetia, a region long recognized as part of Georgia but home to an ethnic minority with close ties to Russia.
Keti Javakhishvili, a twenty-five year-old woman in Gori, Georgia, barely survived a cluster bomb attack. She was walking with neighbors to get bread when the cluster bombs fell. “I heard an explosion and dropped to the ground,” she told Human Rights Watch researchers from her hospital bed.
Reflections on 9-11
Cindy Sheehan | www.CindyforCongress.org
The 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is approaching and it seems like a good time to reflect on what our nation has lost since that tragic day and what we can do to go forward.
I do not think that anyone alive on that day will forget the shock that struck our nation when the symbols of US capitalism and militarism were struck out of the clear blue sky. I was in panic mode for a few days, because I did not hear from Casey who was stationed at Ft. Hood on that day and his base went into lock-down and he was too busy to call. Even though we mourn with our fellow Americans, the loss of over 3000 innocent people and the pain their families have had to deal with, the attacks of 9-11 have touched every American.
There are several ways to look at 9-11:
- 9-11 was planned and executed by the US government.
Iran’s Road Less Traveled to Nukes
By Ray McGovern
Thomas Fingar, the U.S. government’s top intelligence analyst, in a public speech on Sept. 4, repeated the intelligence community’s key judgment that Iran’s work on the “weaponization portion” of its nuclear development program “was suspended” in 2003.
Not that the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) has exactly trumpeted this important conclusion. One has to read down to paragraph 16 of an article titled “Reduced Dominance Is Predicted for the U.S.”, but there it is, right there on an inside page of September 10’s Washington Post. The New York Times did not consider Fingar’s remarks fit to print.
Pakistan's army chief lashed out angrily today at what he portrayed as increased U.S. aggression, just hours before a U.S. news report suggested that President Bush approved orders for military troops to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government.
In Pakistan the news may inflame the already high-pitched criticism of the U.S. role here.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) says he won't cease his efforts to hold the president and his administration accountable for their alleged abuses of power just because George W. Bush will be returning to his Texas ranch come January.
Kucinich says he wants Congress to create a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" to examine what really went on within the Bush White House in the aftermath of 9/11 and the lead up to the Iraq war. He says only an independent body with truth-seeking as its goal -- rather than "fake political unity" -- can repair divisions that have emerged in an increasingly polarized nation.
Kucinich Announces New Effort
Grassroots Leaders, 2 Million Supporters, Rally Behind Impeachment
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 10, 2008) -- On the day before the observance of 9/11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who has led Impeachment efforts in Congress over the past two years, will announce a new effort toward establishing a process of national truth and reconciliation.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1:00 -1:30 P.M
WHERE: Room 2456 of the Rayburn House Office Building
"Before the Congress adjourns, I will bring forth a new proposal for the establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth-seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation.
Kennebunk, ME: This year, for the first time ever, the United Nations International Day of Peace has been printed on hundreds of millions of calendars all over the world. We will reach a billion people. These are the 2009 calendars, which are in stores now. Yet, in 2007, before the International Day of Peace was even listed on any calendars, there were over 3,500 events in every country on the planet involving an estimated 200 million people. This year's observances of the International Day of Peace will be even more widespread and prominent.
The United Nations International Day of Peace is observed worldwide on Sept. 21st. Now in its 27th year, the observance of the International Day of Peace has grown exponentially over the years, and there are thousands of opportunities for people and organizations everywhere to participate in this event.
US Military Combat & Non-Combat Casualty Report for Week Ending Sept. 9, 2008
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.michaelmunk.com
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered 68 combat casualties casualties in the week ending September 9 as the official casualty total climbed to at least 68,321. It includes 34,011 dead and wounded by what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 34,310 dead and medically evacuated (as of August 2) because of "non-hostile" causes. The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesdays) by the Pentagon.
The actual total is over 88,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the approximately 20,000 casualties reported only after they returned from Iraq - mainly brain trauma from explosions.
Veterans groups and Sen. Barack Obama say government officials are obscuring the actual number of wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by leaving out of some public documents troops who suffer non-combat injuries.
From the Pentagon Web site to press materials handed out at the opening of an amputee center in Texas last week, the number of wounded in the wars often circulated publicly is around 23,000.
That number only accounts for those wounded in combat. When troops from those wars who were wounded in other ways are counted, the number more than doubles, to about 53,000.
By Dave Lindorff
I got an urgent email from an uncle of mine yesterday evening. A sweet man, retired career military and very religious, he was genuinely worried about an email he had received purporting to convey an article said to have been written by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and published on June 29, 2008 alleging that much of the Obama campaign's "small donations" over the Internet had actually come from several Arab sources overseas.
Peter Jemley is unique among the growing ranks of war resisters who have sought refuge in Canada.
For one thing, he's old by military standards. The only reason the army considered the 38-year-old recruit three years ago was because the age cap had been raised to fill the U.S. military's growing void.
The Tacoma, Wash., father of two young children also bucks the soldier stereotype. Jemley is a college history major, both quiet and fervently independent. If describing a bad situation he's likely to say it "sucked," then apologize for his profanity.
A military operation said to target al-Qaeda has ended up targeting Sunni Muslims instead, creating new sectarian tensions.
A U.S.-backed security operation launched last month has only targeted cities with majority Sunni populations such as Buhriz, Tahreer, Qatoon, Mafraq, and Hay in Diyala province, north of Baghdad. The operation has drawn more than 50,000 Iraqi soldiers.
The deputy governor of Diyala, Awf Rahoomi, has demanded in a public speech in Baquba that "the new security plan should also include Shia cities like Hwaider, Khirnabat and Abara."
Recently, Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has shown striking signs of wanting to be his own man in Baghdad, not Washington's (as has Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul). What happens when parrots suddenly speak and puppets squawk on their own? The answer, it seems, is simple enough: You listen in; so, at least, the lastest revelations of journalist Bob Woodward seem to indicate. "The Bush administration," reports the Washington Post, "has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. 'We know everything [Maliki] says,' according to one of multiple sources Woodward cites about the practice." This is perhaps what is meant when it's claimed that President Bush and Maliki have a "close working relationship."
By Dave Lindorff
Okay, I have to vent here. We all get a little crazy sitting alone at our keyboards in this business, and it's finally gotten to me.
I know there are serious signs of a complete mental breakdown in the US, with polls reporting that millions of people are actually excited at having a low-rent religious fanatic who consistently mispronounces pundit as "pundint" (shades of Dubya!), pilfers state funds for her family's personal use, lies about her alleged opposition to Washington pork, claims the bloody war in Iraq is "God's will," forces her 17-year-old daughter to make a momentary mistake into a lifetime one by marrying the kid who got her pregnant, and refers to blacks as "sambo" and to Alaska's indigenous people as "arctic arabs," running for vice president on the ticket with a man who is a walking medical disaster waiting to happen.
The National Intelligence Council, the U.S. intelligence community's focal point for estimating future developments, warned the George W. Bush administration last month that a decision to launch commando raids by U.S. troops against al Qaeda-related targets in Pakistan's North-West Frontier region would carry a high risk of further destabilising the Pakistani military and government, according to sources familiar with the intelligence community's response to the issue.
That blunt warning was conveyed to the White House in an oral briefing by a top official of the NIC two or three weeks ago, according to Philip Giraldi, former operations officer and counter-terrorist specialist in the CIA Directorate of Operations, who maintains contacts with the intelligence community.
The bodies of at least 10 children and many more adults covered in blankets and white shrouds appear in videos obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, lending weight to Afghan and U.N. allegations that a U.S.-led raid last month killed more civilians than the U.S. reported.
The sounds of wailing women mixed with the voices of men shouting inside a white-walled mosque in the western village of Azizabad, where an Afghan government commission and U.N. report said some 90 civilians - including 60 children and 15 women - were killed.
The two grainy videos, apparently taken by cell phones, showed bodies lying side-by-side on the mosque floor, covered by floral-patterned blankets and black-and-white checkered shawls. One young boy lay curled in a fetal position; others looked as though they were asleep. One child had half its head blown off.
Turbaned men walked around, gently lifting the blankets covering the faces of the dead. At least two elderly men were among the dead. There appeared to be several dozen bodies lying on the mosque floor, though a precise count was difficult because of the poor quality of the images.