Tag Archives: Iraq War

Who are you calling anti-soldier?

The pro-death contingent appear to have targeted Tribe as “anti-soldier”, imagine that if you will.  Just can’t BUY better publicity, but they’re giving it free of charge. They keep regurgitating the same vomit they’ve spewed last month, and the month before and the months before, ad infinitum, but they can’t be Pro-Death AND Pro-Life, be it of soldiers or the unborn. One of the most remarkable journalistic “oopsie” moments of the Operation Iraqi Freedom Removal was the admission live on camera, about two hours before the bombs started dropping and six hours before the official deadline, that the ONLY businesses open in Baghdad were gun stores and obstetricians.  Striking a triple whammy to Extremist Dogma.  

One point was that Saddam had kept women ignorant, like “our” allies in Saudi and Kuwait.  While insisting that a WOMAN epidemiologist (I’m terrible with names lately) nicknamed “Lady Germ” and, like Tariq Aziz, a christian, was doing advanced bio-terror… as advanced as, say, the US does.  Hmm… and all the OB-GYN DOCTORS, mostly women, just appeared out of nowhere, or were sent to US and British medical schools and returned voluntarily to the bad ol’ Islamist slavery…

The gun shops even EXISTING, far less being open at all…  kind of screams “LIARS!” at the NRA and fellow travelers.  They insist that tyranny can only be accomplished with an unarmed public.  The insistent and strident shrieks that “only the Ba’ath minority were armed!” should long ago have been drowned out by the sound of Shi’ite, Kurdish, and other non-Sunni gunfire.

Then there’s the reason all the OB-GYN DOCTORS were kept so busy… the knowledge gained from Luftwaffe, RAF and USAF statistics about the “spontaneous abortions” dramatically increasing during and after bombing attacks on civilian population centers.

Now, the Standard Warmonger Answer is that, clearly, Saddam was a “coward hiding behind civilians”, which begs the question, Were the USAF and RAF bases, and the airmen therein, “cowards, using the citizens of London and other cities as Human Shields”?

More pointedly, I was raised in the looming shadow of US (and RAF) based, some of the largest or most dangerous targets: Mendenhal RAFB, the Lackland-Fort Sam Houston-Laughlin and ten other major US bases in Texas’ complex, Carswell USAFB in Fort Worth which was the largest SAC base in terms of B-52 “nuclear umbrella” long range bombers, and the Fort Bliss-White Sands- Los Alamos_Holloman AFB complex in far West Texas and Southern New Mexico.

Were they “cowards, hiding behind 20 million human shields”?

The Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo corridor host dozens of military bases, along with most of the population of Colorado, like Peterson AFB.

My Mom, my niece, her husband and their 4 kids, lived right at the end of the flight line, off base.  The planes on takeoff or landing would be maybe 200 yards up.  The front gate was across the highway, about a half mile “as the crow flies”, or a mile “as the dog trots”.  Across the street and down a couple blocks is Christa McCauliffe Elementary School and a day care center.  Were they, like the kids both born and unborn, of Baghdad, “held hostage, human shields for a brutal regime which invades other nations at will”?  Anti-soldier, or not?  

The reader will draw whatever conclusion the reader desires.

The Soldier him/herself is forbidden to hold or express questions of conscience.  As Bush and the Penta Goons said, the soldiers chose to enlist, right?  And any talk of an “economic draft” where they’re given but one choice, join of live in poverty… dismissed as Lefty Loon talk.

Except, of course, in the con job commercials where they tell impressionable youth, recruiters even showing up at Kindergarten and Sunday Schools functions, telling them repeatedly from potty training until their 18th birthdays (17 if their parents sign a waiver to enlist) that they have no chance.  That they are worthless on their own and the only way to rise above that is by selling their souls to the Recruiter.

Anti-American, Anti-Soldier propaganda?  Sure is, but it’s coming from the Penta Goon’s own badly boldly lying mouths, and echoed here, minus the sugar-coating.

The reader may decide and even utter Anti-American slur, shrill voices whining and sniveling, against any American who dares to resent and oppose being treated as a disposable and stupid dupe.

You might want to lay off the threats though.  Aside from badly Meth-ed up lunatics like Adkisson, Von Brumm, Roeder, Rudolf, Jared Laughner, the Warmonger Extremists are content to shriek their childish threats from behind lines of heavily armed Police-state Goon Squads… While seeking to deny a similar right to any Americans who happen to disagree. 

As to the references to Iraq, which many consider to be a closed book, well..

The Iraqi Army and Puppet Police are committing the same atrocities ascribed to Saddam, and Gaddafi, and the Ayatollahs and Syria, only backed by American money, troops and a guarantee of veto for any Security Council sanctions against their crimes.  In Iraq, as well as America, the protesters are branded Traitors and Insurgents, hustled away to Torture Chambers, shot, gassed and clubbed in the streets maimed or killed in the streets (like the IVAW guy who had his skull popped by the police-state “non-lethal” weapons”), punishments the Anti-Peace protesters have demanded for Eric and Jonah and Ed and Tony and Patty and Rita and anybody who DARED point out the Endless War as being propagated by LIES, at public expense and for purely the private gain of the Elitist 1%.

The same LIES about WMDs now being propagated against Iran, combined with one or two sentence sound bites from a very few Iranian clerics, their version of bitter toothless Extremists like the ones who infest City Hall, or Pat Robertson or Michelle Malkin or “Gunny Bob”, anti-American fanatics who demand, in the name of God and Freedom that we be punished, even KILLED, for using those rights, which they insist we were given by them.

Ant-Soldier, really?  Those who placed American soldiers into the range of Iranian or Indian or Chinese missile strikes, to threaten those nations into submission, are the Anti Soldier, Anti-Freedom, Anti-Americans.  Turn your wrath on the REAL enemy within.  The REAL murders of our military husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter.

We’re not the ones who lied to start the war, the meat grinder into which thousands of American Soldiers have marched to their deaths, and the literally countless soldiers wounded, and literally countless foreign soldiers and civilians killed or maimed.  Countless because the Warmongers don’t consider them worthy of being counted.

The WMDs were known by the Bu’ush Regime to be a lie, long before the first bomb fell on Baghdad.

And the same perverters of all things Holy or good, like the rabid dogs “Gunny” Bob and Malkin, Limbaugh and O’Reilly, Lamborn, the list is long…

These same wild-eyed fanatics said then, just as now, that we were “Anti-Soldier” for daring to oppose and expose their lies.

They have, once more in the name of the Prince of Peace, preached war and threaten to kick open the gates of Hell for friend and foe alike on holy days of Christians, Muslim and Jews.  Passover, Easter and the Hajj, all at one fell swoop.  American soldiers included, for the same agenda of greed and using the same pathetic lies.

Anti-Soldier, indeed.

Wikileaked: US soldiers are babykillers

A document released last week by Wikileaks tells of a 2006 raid by US troops on a farmhouse near Balad, Iraq, where the American soldiers handcuffed a household of ten, and executed them with gunshots to the head. Killed: one male adult, three female relatives, an elderly woman, four children aged 3-5, and a 5 month-old infant. Then the raiding party called in an airstrike to cover the crime. Perhaps cross referenced with the Iraq War Logs, reporters will identify which outfit committed the murders, because that’s the only way light is being shed on US war crimes, via Wikileaks. Incidentally, the Ishaqi Incident was reported on in 2006 with the Pentagon dismissing accusations that its actions were anything but appropriate. But this recent cable reveals that the USG knew what they’d done. You’d think the Department of Defense would have an interest in cooperating, because until the killers of zip-tied babies are fingered, all American soldiers are babykillers.

Capital is a Treasonous offense.

So now Britain got “Shell”ed in their own territory waters and the once-proud Royal Navy is facing the same kind of humiliation handed to the once-proud U.S. Navy in OUR territorial waters. Our navy got bitch-slapped by the British, told to scurry off and mind their own affairs and let the Grown Ups handle the mess.
Turnabout being fair play, as Shakespeare said, but damn it the oceans don’t belong to any nation any more than they do to any group of arrogant oil company scheiss-kopfen. They don’t rightfully belong to the Human species either. As if the Big Pigs were going to Shell out any of the dividends to the rest of the world in the first second or last place.
I bet the Murdoch puke-meister is breathing a sigh of relief that something came along to divert attention from his manipulations.
No sense of even a little bit of gravedancing joy over it, though. The oceans provide the life of the planet, and destroying the food, water and air supply that supports the rest of us will destroy the Rich as well… but then, it’ll destroy the rest of us along with them.

John Pilger – The War You Don’t See

We call it the Iraq War, as we did the Vietnam War, but America’s wars aren’t so-named in the host countries. It’s the Iraq Invasion, not War, and Afghanistan Invasion really, now Occupation, Decimation and Holocaust. Journalist filmmaker John Pilger subscribes to the theory that if a public is let to see the horrors of war, it will refuse to participate. His new documentary THE WAR YOU DON’T SEE traces US and UK efforts since WWI to propagandize war. Amid interviews with news bureau chiefs who he holds culpable for hyping war, Pilger shows censored footage which could have turned public opinion. I have to wonder if a simple sequence of an Iraqi home subjected to a US raid, in particular the focus on a young daughter’s anxiety, would not have broken just enough American hearts.

In Iraq, “willful killing, torture and enforced disappearance” is a crime

Former Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to death by the US Iraqi puppet regime. Pending an automatic appeal, the internationally popular diplomat will hang with other henchmen/assistants of Saddam Hussein for the crimes of “willful killing, torture and enforced disappearance of persons.” Do they have the wrong man? Men? Nation? Expeditionary Force? How many consecutive sentences of hangings must the Bush-Obama Team America Junta receive, justice being proportional?

Wikileaks has crippled US warmaking, now, what you can do for Wikileaks

Wikileaks has blood on its hands, says the US military, red-handed. No kidding. Wikileaks killed the war in Afghanistan is what it did, and all those who informed on the resistance or might have been thinking to collaborate with the US/NATO occupiers. 15,000 of the records were held back pending redaction, but Wikileaks informs us that even their full content will eventually be unveiled at a later, less sensitive date. In France there’s still contention about identifying those who betrayed the resistance during WWII. Wikileaks has struck a mortal blow to US war-making, as much as the media are trying to drum against it. Here’s what you can do to INSURE this great equalizing tool alive.

Wikileaks creator Julian Assange has stashed a “if anything should happen to me” file to be opened in the event of US obstruction. Not even Senator Lieberman’s effort to impose online Marshal Law will preempt the “insurance” this file offers, because things work differently on the interwebs. The file’s already out there, encrypted. You can grab a copy for yourself. If anything untoward befalls Assange, Wikileaks releases the key. Your taking a piece of the action assures that the number of copies out there will defy containment.

Right now you can go to wikileaks.org and download the insurance.aes256 file directly, or you can use P2P with a torrent link, in the process helping to disseminate the file. Next simply burn the file to a DVD and stash it away.

By the way, Assange has prefaced the mysterious contents of the file thus: it’s less about insuring his safety, than insuring that historical records aren’t usurped from mankind’s shared legacy.

With Obama reversing Iraq withdrawal, Obamapologists put sissy in Sisyphus

Whose war?Was it news to you? The Iraq withdrawal is off. The war that launched America’s first black president GOES ON. Didn’t the new Dissembler in Chief campaign to end the Iraq War, sort of, or uh, eventually? Skeptics were ostracized and accused of not stepping up, hope-wise. What’s next, Obama’s Tink dies if we all don’t clap our hands in obeisance, chanting “we believe”? If American voters were upset about Guantanamo, Endless War on Terror, torture, rendition, corporations indemnified of their abuses –take your pick– you wouldn’t know it now. Were you hoping to see Bush and Co prosecuted? What did you think of the President standing by as his SCOTUS nominee gushed about the preeminence of the rule of law.

Imperialism, a tomb for humanity

OSPAAAL posterEarlier this year we passed the 4,000 mark for US troop casualties in Iraq, and we’re within a week of hitting the 1,000th US soldier death in Afghan- Pakistan. It seems as good a time as any to rediscover this Vietnam War era poster.
 
Western imperialism didn’t meet its match in Indochina. Few could probably have imagined the voracious E Pluribus Empire would collapse instead into an intractable doomsday machine.

On the subject of remote kontrol killing

I occasionally raise this extremely bad example from its Undead Crypt. There is, to paraphrase the Tee Shirts, A Ranch in Texas that’s missing its ass-kicking, and I really should go back down there and help them find it. It was a mini-storm on the internet about the time of the Bush Cartel starting the Iraq War.  A Texas “game” ranch was promoting a point and click kill a deer game online.

Very simple, they had a remote-control rifle pointing in the general direction of where the TAME deer or antelope played errr  would go to collect their regularly scheduled food ration. With a camera-scope and a robotic mechanism the online “Hunter” could control with his mouse, joystick or paddles, whatever input device, animal would come to the bait and the Wannabee Great White Hunter would lock on to the Target,  get the crosshairs close enough to a quick kill and the software would lock on, a little red light would appear on your screen signifying to click or press enter or what-the-Hell-ever input action you chose, and you would blow the deers brains out.

Impressive, huh? The “game” ranch owner defended it by saying that it was probably the only way a Handicapped person would be able to enjoy the “sport” of hunting.

Two concepts there, the first is that in order for it to be a Sport or a Game both parties to the Game have to realize that it’s a game.

And speaking as a disabled person, I find the (pardon my French even though it’s English) entire concept of using “those poor cripples have to have a chance at Killing for Fun too” to be really Fucking Offensive.

Keep your condescending attitude to yourself. If I find myself in a wheelchair again and you try that Pat the Poor Cripple on the Head routine with me, literally or figuratively, I swear by the Lord Jehovah who made me that I’ll pull your arm off and beat you to death with your own arm.

Why not make the “game” really exciting, put the robot rifle on wheels or tracks and give me or whoever else a chance to go after the ranch owner or staff instead?

Why not have the Robotic Drones the Air Force is using to “cleanly” kill a nameless faceless Enemy and, just incidentally, the “enemy’s” kids along with him, all from the air-conditioned comfort of some office chair where the “enemy” is reduced to a non-human computer-generated representation of a “target”….  with a built in device that would enable the Target to turn the drone around and have the Drone go home and kill its master?

Which the Morally Crippled guys in the office chairs laughing and probably celebrating and giving each other high-fives every time they “score a point” in this sick video game, should realize is going to happen.

You can’t keep the genie in the bottle, Technology wise. Just like the Atomic Bomb, how long did that Top Secret project last? Of course it didn’t help the Los Alamos crew trying to keep the secret of How To Do it to themselves, that the entire principle behind an Atomic Explosion was  laid out in scientific research dating back more than 30 years before they popped the first one. Research that wasn’t done in America or funded by America either.

How long do you Cosmic Cowboys playing your sick demented version of Galaga hope to keep the controlling technology of your drones from falling into “enemy” hands? How smug are you going to be about push-button Murder when it gets turned back onto you?

US journalists! Visit scenic Kurdistan!

Sulaimania Sulaimaniya Kurdistan Iraq Irak
US media correspondents, reporters, tv anchors and news directors, get yourselves to scenic Kurdistan asap, visit the mountains of Sulaimania, the waterfalls of Ahmed Awa are apparently recommended. Embeds, lead the way! It may be the only way all you war propagandists will reap what you so justly deserve.

I can’t imagine there’s a single corporate media journalist who wouldn’t be hard pressed to defend the pro-war filter he or she puts on the news for US domestic consumption. Corporate tools? They’re military industrial pitchmen. Advocating death and dismemberment without restraint. Let them plead ignorance. Bullshit. I’d love to see Bill Clinton make a case for all of them.

Antiwar voices are split on whether to charge MSM collaborators for war crimes, for selling the Anglo world on patently illegal wars. But how else are we to be rid of them? America remains locked in a Vulcan mind meld with these impudent, immoral careerists. Perhaps apprehension by the Iranians, and a trial by revolutionary council, is the only justice they might ever meet. Dispatch them to Kurdistan: Assignment Iran! Let the Persians teach Americans the only way to deal with poisonous snakes.

The media song now, to spin the recent errant three in the best light, is that Kurdistan was not an unthinkable destination for tourists such as they, and perfectly safe too. Unless you venture toward the Iran border, where US commandos have been raiding Iranian infrastructure, while the US Navy taunts the Iranian coast in full force. Alas, Kurdistan, quite happy with its undeclared sovereignty from Iraq, has proven to be a safe haven for Anglos.

I remember a most heartbreaking scene from the first month of the war, recorded by an independent American photographer as he worked his way through Kurdistan. Perhaps you recall it.

Do I mean the friendly fire, or accidental, I’m not sure which to put in quotes, bombing which killed coalition troops, but also took out a Kurd ally who may have turned out to rival a more favored ally? No, not that one.

Our photographer was making his second entry into Iraq as I recall, and documented a personal incident thus. He was traveling with a Kurd escort, when an Iraqi combatant broke through with a grenade, determined to blow himself up next to the American.

And I should clarify, I was not rooting against the photographer, but– here’s what happened.

The Iraqi was being held off by a Kurd fighter, but he had pulled the pin on the grenade, and leaned against his opponent, dooming both of them if the Kurd dared to shoot him. The scene unfolded in the progression of stills the photographer snapped as he hastened away. The Iraqi was chest to chest with the Kurd, pleading to be let to get the American. I interpreted his entreaties to say: Brother let me pass, I must reach the American, I have no quarrel with you, let me die with the infidel. The Kurd seemed for a moment to consider the words of his Iraqi brother. American deaths counts many hundred fold, we are brothers fighting the American aggressors, I have committed to die for this act, help me, please let me just reach him.

I could be wrong, he may have been cursing the filthy Kurd for blocking his way. But his locked eyes and sweated brow reflected an earnest human being.

I cannot be sure how long this went on, but the Kurd kept the desperate man at bay, and as soon as the Kurd had wrestled control of the grenade, he shot the would-be assassin point black. The Iraqi fell unceremoniously into the tall weeds. The last image showed his body collapsed in the ditch beside the road. The photographer and his Kurd entourage moved on.

There were honest, unembedded journalists in the early stages of the war. A record number were killed by the US military until none report independently anymore. Journalists working for foreign news agencies are detained in secret US prisons, under the same pretext that we protest of Iran or North Korea.

If we do not have the resolve to string up these blood-thirsty yellow journalists, promulgating lies to justify the continued slaughter of countless innocents, let the Iranians have at them.

National Assembly is antiwar exclusively

unite-against-the-warReports are emerging from July’s National Assembly, the vital effort to unite antiwar forces into a common movement. Delegates from the major peace organizations hammered out a strategy to address Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine. Missing from the consensus? Nonviolence, and good riddance. It goes without saying that humanitarian activists are peaceful. To legislate a dogma of non-confrontation plays right into the hands of the authoritarians. Here’s the official report:

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE FIRST YEAR OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO END THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WARS AND OCCUPATIONS

Address given by Marilyn Levin, member, National Assembly Administrative Body, and Planning Committee, Greater Boston United for Justice with Peace Coalition, to the National Antiwar Conference held July 10-12, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

July 10-12, 2009, 255 people representing diverse organizations and constituencies from all over the country came together in Pittsburgh:

1) To look at where we are today,

2) To articulate our long range goals to rejuvenate the antiwar movement towards building a massive movement capable of forcing an end to their wars and occupations, to take our money back from the war machine to meet pressing social needs, and to save our planet for our children, and

3) To develop and vote for action plans as steps to realize these objectives.

All of our major objectives were accomplished and we leave today with a comprehensive action agenda to carry us through to next spring. Everyone had a chance to speak and differences were aired without rancor or splits to achieve unity in action.

Friday night’s speakers, along with many conference participants, grappled with how to unify and broaden the movement. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, we presented a great roster of workshops covering the major issues we face today. Saturday night’s rally was dynamic and inspiring.

There were two highlights of the conference for me. First was the international component where activist comrades joined us from Canada and courageous labor leaders of powerful mass movements in Haiti and Guadaloupe reminded us that imperialism and the struggle against it are global. There was a statement by members of the Viva Palestina aid convoy detained in Egypt. We passed motions in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Haiti, Honduras, and Palestine.

The second highlight was the discussion on Iran, where, in spite of strong passions stirred up by the rapidly evolving events there, we were able to illuminate the issues and debate our differences. Finally, we were able to agree on a unity position that all could embrace, as well as meeting the foremost call of the Iranians – US Hands off! No Sanctions! No interventions! Self-determination for the Iranian people! A wonderful example of a united front –- as inclusive as possible and taking principled positions that most will accept and act on.

So what is the National Assembly? What you saw this weekend explains who we are and how we function.

Democracy. All were invited and all perspectives welcomed. There was acceptance of the will of the conference even when it diverged from the proposals put forward by the leadership body. We were especially gratified that representatives from all the major antiwar coalitions came and addressed our conference.

Our willingness to struggle for unity and compromise when needed in order to move forward, as evidenced by a leadership that did not impose personal political views on others in service to unity.

An organization that admits to and learns from its mistakes and accepts its limitations when the unity we seek can’t yet be achieved.

An organization that has built a growing cadre of leaders that has developed trust, a structure that works, and a strong working relationship.

And finally, confidence, vision, and optimism. Confidence that we can provide leadership in rebooting our movement. A vision regarding how to accomplish that and an understanding of the necessity for these kinds of conferences leading to action. Optimism that masses of people will move in opposition to these horrendous policies that bring death and destruction and that they will have the power to change the world.

I’ve been asked to give an assessment of the first year since our initiation as an ongoing network with a mission, from our first conference in June, 2008 until today. Last year, we weren’t sure anyone would come and lo and behold 400 people came together in Cleveland to inaugurate a year of activities and set up a structure to maintain our work. A lot has transpired in that year and the National Assembly is well on its way as an established organization recognized throughout the movement as providing leadership and promoting a direction towards growth.

I need to start a little earlier and go back to why the National Assembly was called into existence in the first place.

What we saw, in the spring of 2008, was a movement at a low ebb – one that was shrinking rather than growing in spite of the war dragging on — this while the antiwar sentiment couldn’t be higher, and the disapproval rating for the Bush Administration couldn’t have been lower. From the high point of the largest action against the Iraq War in September, 2005 which drew 700,000 people, there was a pulling away from mass action by significant sections of the movement which supported electoral politics as the central strategy, in spite of a recurring pattern of disappointment when Democratic “antiwar” candidates voted again and again for war and war funding, and a split between the two major national coalitions, UFPJ and ANSWER, one that continues to this day. For the first time in five years, there was not enough unity or mass action perspective for any national demonstrations to take place marking the 5th year of the occupation of Iraq. Fundamentally, there was a vacuum of leadership.

Some far-sighted people like Jerry Gordon and Jeff Mackler, with experience gained from leadership in the last powerful antiwar movement that ended the Vietnam War, felt impelled to act. They began to organize a base of diverse but like-minded activists committed to building and expanding an effective antiwar movement in this country. The vehicle to accomplish this was the first national assembly, a national conference to pull activists together, to analyze the present state of the movement, to discuss where we needed to go and the actions that were needed to get us there.

We developed a unity statement with five basic principles that we hold today as the basis for where we stand:

1) Unity – all sections of the movement working together for common goals and actions;

2) Political Independence – no affiliations or support to any political party;

3) Democracy – decision-making at conferences with one person, one vote;

4) Mass Action – as the central strategy for organizing while embracing other forms of
outreach and protest; and

5) Out Now – the central demand to withdraw all military forces, contractors, and bases
from the countries where the U.S. was waging war on the people.

It seems simple but no one else saw it that way. Our conference was unique in the history of the present movement.

The organizers didn’t know what the mood and composition or strength of the conference would be, so we were cautious and minimal in the program we posed to the conference. We focused on Out Now from Iraq and modest action proposals, not being strong enough to initiate national actions on our own. The conference participants were ahead of us and ready to tackle the larger issues. Proposals were passed to add “Out Now from Afghanistan”, “End U.S. Support for the Occupation of Palestine”, and “Hands off Iran” to our set of demands, and given what has transpired in these areas, we were well prepared to take on a major role.

October 10th actions held in 20 cities were endorsed as well as a call for December actions building towards what we hoped would be unified, nationally coordinated bicoastal mass actions in the spring of 2009, the 6th year of the Iraq occupation. When Gaza was brutally assaulted, we joined with ANSWER and others to march in Washington and to demonstrate in the streets all over the country, and we’re still working under Palestinian leadership to bring justice and relief to a beleaguered population.

We made a concerted effort to find a common date for spring bi-coastal mobilizations. As you know, ANSWER chose March 21st as a day of united protests which we endorsed, while UFPJ called for a national march on Wall St. on April 4th. A number of National Assembly supporters who were also delegates to the UFPJ conference in December formed a mass action unity caucus and went to the conference with a resolution to allow delegates to vote for one or both actions but this was rejected. We’ll keep trying for 2010. The National Assembly endorsed and built both actions and marched behind our signs with our demands. The demonstrations were small (but spirited) and still of major importance.

For us, it’s quality, not quantity, as we position ourselves to be in the forefront as the pendulum swings in our direction once again.

Some take the position that mass demonstrations are not effective, unless we can pull 100,000 protestors into the streets. This is short-sighted and does not address how we get from small to large. Any successful movement for change doesn’t start with 100,000 people, and there has never been significant social change without mass actions. I remember my first anti-Vietnam war demonstration was in 1963 in Detroit and we had 15 people. In 1965, SDS called the first national march against the war in Washington. 25,000 people turned out and we thought it was huge!

Everyone talks about reaching out to the thousands of young people who mobilized to elect Obama. We agree, but we say the way to do this is by offering education and action. Action beyond calling, and emailing, and faxing the politicians they placed in office.

Why are mass demonstrations so important to building a powerful movement? It is because they accomplish so much in the process of building them. They provide:

Continuity. You can’t build anything by starting anew each time. Each action should lead to the next action or open national conference, with success building upon success. We need a continuity of leadership that builds trust and a reputation for integrity, and that learns lessons to improve. We need a continuity of organization and structure that can implement the tasks before us.

Visibility. Actions in the street give heart to the people the U.S. is attacking and occupying, letting them know that they are not alone. Mass actions create solidarity, offering support to anti-war soldiers, vets and their families, and a counter-force to the economic draft facing our youth, and they strengthen and deepen the antiwar sentiment of the people.

Inspiration. New people are brought into the movement, especially the youth, through activism. Have you ever talked to young people coming to a mass demonstration for the first time? They are inspired and thrilled to hear powerful speakers who are leaders of social justice movements and soldiers resisting the wars. They see they are not alone and get a taste of the power of large numbers of people marching together. They are energized to go home and join with others to continue to organize opposition to brutal U.S. wars and occupations. This is the way to reach out to the Obama supporters.

Explanation. An analysis of what is going on is offered along with tying together what seem at first to be disparate elements, i.e., war is tied to the economy, the war budget, bail-outs of the rich, the lack of basic needs being met, justice denied, and the impoverishment of the people.

Pressure on Government. People in this country are taught to be quiet. We’re told that our job is to elect officials whom we agree with periodically and then go home and wait while they fix things. This conveniently maintains the status quo but it sure doesn’t put pressure on them, or scare them, or force social change. Mass actions provide the most effective way to make significant change happen.

Let’s look at the present period. Obama’s election was based in large part on the hopes and aspirations of Americans for peace and a better life based on the promises and assumed promises that were made of peace, justice, and prosperity, which have not and will not be met.

Contrary to expectations, the previous administration’s policies are continued with a more handsome and articulate face. We all know that rather than winding down, wars and interventions are escalating and the rapacious greed of this immoral system knows no bounds.

Simultaneously, the economic crisis is causing terrible hardship for working people and for people who are no longer able to find work and their families. They are using this self-created financial disaster to further cut the standard of living and eliminate a secure future for older people and the young.

It was very moving and yet appalling to see this visually demonstrated when Robin Alexander of the United Electrical Workers Union asked people in the audience to stand who were unemployed, personally knew of soldier casualties, lived in communities where services were being cut, or who were otherwise negatively impacted by the wars and the failing economy. Nearly the entire room, a microcosm of the wider society, was standing by the end of that exercise.

It is inevitable that the present period of quiescence and hanging on to the hope that Obama and the new Congress will save us will come to a crashing end. People will not sit idly by forever while the world around them collapses. We are already seeing the beginnings of stirring. There is a greater willingness to go out in the streets to protest. There is more organizing taking place on campuses, more young people joining the movement. The many proposals for October actions are an indication that there is a widespread awareness of the need for actions this fall and the conviction that the movement must find common dates.

Brian Becker, National Coordinator of ANSWER, urged that we all work together to mount nationally coordinated actions next spring. Michael McPhearson, Co-Chair of UFPJ and Executive Director of Veterans for Peace, announced his support for October 17 and his willingness to do what he could to spur unified actions in the spring of 2010. We must have the faith and confidence that the people have the power to end the atrocities resulting from U.S. wars and occupations, and that they will recognize and utilize this power. As this happens, we must build a stronger antiwar movement that is able to provide leadership and the optimism to forge ahead no matter what the opposition throws at us.

The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations is helping to provide that leadership and the vision that is needed. Although young and small, in one short year, we are now a force to be taken seriously and negotiated with, and by our persistent call for unity and mass action, our demonstrated ability to organize, and our coordinated strategy for revitalizing the movement, we are having an impact larger than our forces would indicate. In some ways, we too are a product of (and some say an antidote to) the 2008 election. To counter the malaise of the movement, we have quietly been building a solid core of activists and leaders around the country that understand the importance of a united front organized around principled demands and mass actions, not just calling Washington politicians when bills come up and crises happen.

At this conference, we have laid out an ambitious program of action that will take us through the spring of 2010. We are proud that we could provide the kick off for national organizing to bring a massive turnout to Pittsburgh for the G-20 protests September 25. Homeland Security is already making preparations to keep protesters hidden and stifle our right to speak out, but we won’t be silenced.

Following that, are a series of October building actions, culminating in large local and regional demonstrations on October 17 marking dates of significance related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations and remembering the legacy of the anti-Vietnam war movement. Throughout the year, we will organize educational programs, support various forms of protest and organize around the inevitable emergencies caused by our government’s unholy interventions and threats to other nations.

We have initiated a Free Palestine Working Committee to ensure this work, which includes the growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns and the efforts to break the siege of Gaza, continues to be in the forefront and fully integrated in our work until justice and self-determination and return is in the hands of the Palestinians.

And lastly, we will continue to advocate for unity of the movement and once again bring thousands to Washington and the West Coast in the spring, to let our government and the world know that the U.S. movement against wars and occupations is alive and will not be quiet.

We will march and continue to march until all U.S. forces come home, bases are dismantled, and the sovereign people of the world have the right to control their own resources and determine their own futures, and the war budget becomes the peace budget.

Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch history being made. We urge all organizations to join the National Assembly and to play your part in building and shaping the powerful movement that is coming.

All out for the September 25 G-20 march in Pittsburgh! All out for the actions in early October! All out October 17!

Why does this sound familiar?

Village President John Deschane, 60, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said many people in town believe it’s disrespectful to fly the flag upside down.

“If he wants to protest, let him protest but find a different way to do it,” Deschane said

Translation from Right Wing Bullshit to Real English:
“You have the right to free speech unless we dislike what you say or how you say it”
“We’re Fighting For Your Freedom, How DARE you go ahead and actually use that Freedom?”

Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village
AP

By ROBERT IMRIE, Associated Press Writer Robert Imrie, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jul 10, 2:44 pm ET

WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property.

A day after the parade, police returned the flag and the man’s protest — over a liquor license — continued.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is considering legal action against the village of Crivitz for violating Vito Congine Jr.’s’ First Amendment rights, Executive Director Chris Ahmuty said.

“It is not often that you see something this blatant,” Ahmuty said.

In mid-June, Congine, 46, began flying the flag upside down — an accepted way to signal distress — outside the restaurant he wants to open in Crivitz, a village of about 1,000 people some 65 miles north of Green Bay.

He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.

Congine’s upside-down-flag represents distress to him; to others in town, it represents disrespect of the flag.

Hours before a Fourth of July parade, four police officers went to Congine’s property and removed the flag under the advice of Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey.

Neighbor Steven Klein watched in disbelief.

“I said, ‘What are you doing?’ Klein said. “They said, ‘It is none of your business.'”

The next day, police returned the flag.

Brey declined comment Friday.

Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.

“It is illegal to cause a disruption,” he said.

The parade went on without any problems, Kanikula said.

Village President John Deschane, 60, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said many people in town believe it’s disrespectful to fly the flag upside down.

“If he wants to protest, let him protest but find a different way to do it,” Deschane said.

Congine, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq in 2004, said he intends to keep flying the flag upside down.

“It is pretty bad when I go and fight a tyrannical government somewhere else,” Congine said, “and then I come home to find it right here at my front door.”

At least they didn’t beat up any elderly and disabled people…

This time…

Hugo Chavez has message for Obama

Eduardo Galeano- Open veins of Latin America, 1998Hugo Chavez met Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas, and presented this gift to the American president: “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. At the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, Chavez held aloft Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” encouraging everyone to read it. Is there a common theme to the dark-skinned Chavez’s book recommendations? Chavez’ critics from the Venezuelan upper middle class think he’s no brighter than a monkey. His message, educate yourselves.

Eduardo GaleanoEduardo Galeano was interviewed by Amy Goodman on the day Barack Obama learned he had won the election. Galeano had this hope for the first US President of color: that he never forget that the White House, his new home, had been built by black slaves.

By the way, Galeano’s classic, with which Hugo Chavez hopes to bring Obama up to speed, was published in 1971.

When Obama won the 2008 election, Eduardo Galeano wrote this essay: I HOPE.

10 November 2008

Will Obama prove, at the helm of government, that his threats of war against Iran and Pakistan were only words, broadcast to seduce difficult ears during the election campaign?

I hope. And I hope he will not fall, even for a moment, for the temptation to repeat the exploits of George W. Bush. After all, Obama had the dignity to vote against the Iraq war, while the Democratic and Republican parties were applauding the announcement of this carnage.

In his campaign, the word most often repeated in his speeches was leadership. In his administration, will he continue to believe that his country has been chosen to save the world, a toxic idea that he shares with almost all his colleagues? Will he insist on the United States’ global leadership and its messianic mission to take command?

I hope the current crisis, which is shaking the imperial foundations, will serve at least to give the new administration a bath of realism and humility.

Will Obama accept that racism is normal when it is used against the countries that his country invades? Isn’t it racism to count the deaths of invaders in Iraq, one by one, and arrogantly ignore the many dead among the invaded population? Isn’t this world racist, where there are first-, second-, and third-class citizens, and the first-. second-, and third-class dead?

Obama’s victory was universally hailed as a battle won against racism. I hope he will assume, in his acts of government, this great responsibility.

Will the Obama government confirm, once again, that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are two names of the same party?

I hope the desire for change, which these elections have established, will be more than a promise and more than a hope. I hope the new government has the courage to break with the tradition of the one and only party, disguised as two parties which at the moment of truth do more or less the same thing while simulating a fight.

Will Obama fulfill his promise to shut down the evil Guantánamo prison?

I hope, and I hope he will end the evil blockade of Cuba.

Will Obama continue to believe that it is great to have a wall that prevents Mexicans from crossing the border, while money moves without anyone asking for its passport?

During the election campaign, Obama never honestly confronted the subject of immigration. I hope, now that he is no longer in danger of scaring voters away, he can and wants to break down this wall, much longer and more embarrassing than the Berlin Wall, and all the walls that violate people’s right to free movement.

Will Obama, who so enthusiastically supported the recent little gift of 750 billion dollars to bankers, govern, as usual, to socialize losses and privatize profits?

I’m afraid so, but I hope not.

Will Obama sign and comply with the Kyoto Protocol, or will he continue to give the privilege of impunity to the nation that is poisoning the planet the most? Will he govern for cars or for people? Can he change the murderous course of the lifestyle of the few who are risking the fate of all?

I’m afraid not, but I hope so.

Will Obama, the first black president in the history of the United States, realize the dream of Martin Luther King or the nightmare of Condoleezza Rice?

The White House, which is now his house, was built by black slaves. I hope he won’t forget it, ever.

Israeli ‘Hasbara’ spam alert

HasbaraRemember when the defense department was paying public relations companies and Iraqi newspapers to insert articles praising the Iraq war? The companies also attempted to plant coverage favorable to the US military in US newspapers. There rightly was a media uproar about the manipulation. We’ll see whether the same happens over this (Hasbara spamming of blogs?)

The (Israeli) foreign ministry shouldn’t get a pass on this one. It may view such hasbara as maximising its efforts to “explain” Israel’s position in the world media. I view it as a cynical attempt to flood the web and news media with favorable flackery in a vain attempt to tilt public opinion toward Israel. Not only does it do Israel a disservice, it stains every legitimate effort that the ministry might make to explain Israel to the world, since no one will believe a word it says knowing it engages in such outright propaganda.

Not to mention that this is such cheap pennyante stuff. What do they gain by this? How effective can it be and how many can be convinced? By the way, I’ve even noticed the hasbaraniks in my own blog. You can see them a mile away because they’ve never published a comment before yet write something like: “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, but anyone with a brain in their head knows that Hamas is out to destroy Israel blah, blah blah.” Pretty formulaic stuff. Also, you can Google a few phrases of the comment and if you find it appears elsewhere on the web you know you either have a hasbaranik or someone who has repetition compulsion….

Full article about Israeli military spamming of antiZionist blogs can be read at Hasbara spam alert …See wikipedia for more about hasbara, otherwise known as Israeli military propaganda spamming.

As one can see by the fake ‘discussion’ by Israeli military spammers here on Not My Tribe, this Israeli suppression of free speech and discussion is a very real problem. We have to spend inordinate amounts of our own time just discussing with these spammers about what they actually are doing rather than talking about anything more political than that. They are extremely boring for us, and extremely boring to others, too. Quite simply they clutter up blogs with their gang graffiti, and that is really about all they are actually about.

And be sure to visit the REPORTING AND CREATING THE MESSAGE art of political ‘Jewish State’ spamming page of the Israel Hasbara Committee to get it from the horse’s mouth. See how dishonest all these spammers really are when they claim to be mere concerned citizens all alone by themselves, rather than a concentrated and coordinated Israeli governmental effort in support of the Israeli war machine. They are lying when they pretend that we are making it all up. They are lying for Israel and in support of its racist policies. They are lying in support of the murder of more Arab peoples. They are lying to steal yet more Palestinian land.

When Bush and his Terrorist Corporate Empire started the Iraq War…

…the date chosen for beginning the invasion and occupation was in commemoration of the date in 1988 when the Iraqi Army, with full cooperation and collaboration from the United States, gassed a Kurdish town as part of the continuing war between Iraq and Iran.

It should be noted too, that the U.S. Air Force and other military have supplied various countries, Turkey, Iraq, Russia Soviet and post-Soviet… with tactical, logistical and materiel support for their Extermination Campaigns against the Kurds.

When a Bu’ush Regime supporter starts with the sob stories about how the Kurds were abused by Saddam, remember that.

The Bushi’ites have no concern for any ethnic group, any human rights or freedoms.

In fact there are pictures of U.S. state and defense department officials shaking hands and yukking it up with Saddam in the days following the March 19th attack.

And official statements that the gas attack had been done by the Iranian troops.

This is old news, certainly, but the Propaganda Campaign is being ramped up to “justify” the Murder Campaign begun in Iraq 6 years ago this evening.

Ari Fleischer went on record saying that Saddam Hussein had orchestrated 9/11.

He said this not 6 years ago but 6 DAYS ago.

So, what’s a Truth Activist to do?

All we can do, keep plugging along and correct the Lies of the war-pigs, keep exposing them for the murdering lying thieves they truly are.

Now the same people who told us about Iraq having a million pounds of WMDs are telling us about the New, Scary Boogie-Man State, Iran, having Weapons of Mass Destruction and saying that we need to destroy Iran.

This, too, is old news, but again, the Manipulative Ones keep putting out their same old tired lies, so we have to keep reminding them, sometimes gently and sometimes angrily and in a manner quite cross…

Of the fact that they Lie through their teeth.

Coloradans For Peace and Freedom: in Ireland and occupied lands everywhere

shamrock-exclamationUPDATE FROM COLORADANS FOR PEACE
about March 14 St Patrick’s Day Parade:
Drummers, Hats, Flags, Kazoos, and a great St Patrick’s theme! Come wave international flags for PEACE and FREEDOM!

Join COLORADANS FOR PEACE to represent the local peace community in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. Saturday, March 14, on Tejon Avenue downtown. The parade starts at 12noon, and staging begins at 10am.

Peace participants are welcome to park in the TOONS parking lot, at 802 N. Nevada Ave, at the intersection of Nevada and Dale St. We’ll have food and drink as early as 9am for those who want to come early. We’ll have a canopy there where parade accessories will be distributed.

Bring your green peace shirts, if you have them. We’ll have fresh shirts available too. The green peace flags from last year are welcome as well.

No need to bring any other banners or posters, as parade signs are being limited. Our single, unified message will be pre-vetted. This year’s peace theme will tie into the St. Patrick’s celebration of Irish independence.

Irish Americans celebrate no longer being occupied by Great Britain. Given the current direction of US policy, COLORADANS FOR PEACE want to take this opportunity to call for a stop to all ongoing occupations, in which the US is complicit.

Our message is the national DC protest theme marking the 6th year of the Iraq War : OCCUPATION IS A CRIME.

More specifically:
(FROM IRELAND) TO IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND PALESTINE,
OCCUPATION IS A CRIME!

Behind our main banner, marchers will wave the flags of these four nations. PLUS, as a reminder to parade watchers, of America’s own struggle against British occupation, we will also feature the American Revolutionary War era flags which read “Don’t Tread On Me!”

This year our parade entry will be spearheaded by the superlative Manitou Drummers. The drummers have percussion instruments to share with any participant who wants to accompany them. We will also have a multitude of green kazoos and pipes. The kazoos are decorated with peace symbols.

Kevin Johnson of Elope Hats has donated a marching-band-sized portion of super tall leprechaun hats, which will be emblazoned with peace symbols. These hats will be worn by all the musical participants.

Other marchers are requested to wear the green peace shirts, or to wave the matching green peace flags.

International flag wavers will wear their traditional national costumes. Please contact us if you can lend any suitable apparel.

Wearing Kuffiyeh scarves would certainly be appropriate. White bandanas can do in a pinch. These will also be available beforehand.

We are also interested in any and all participants who would like to ride their bikes, or walk beside them. Bringing bikes serves as a not unsubtle ecological reminder, to counter the parade’s usual multitude of fossil-fuel guzzling vehicles.

For the latest updates, please check coloradansforpeace.org

Things to do in March

MAR 2009
2- Edward Prescott: Economic Integration of Sovereign States, Gaylord Hall, CC, 7:30pm
4- Russell Hittinger: the Modern State: Devolution or Subsidiary, Gaylord Hall, CC, 3:30pm
5- Bill Ayres, Derrick Jensen FORBIDDEN EDUCATION, Glenn Miller Ballroom, Boulder, 7pm
6- PARADE SFPJ/Backbone Campaign, CU Boulder, 3-4:30pm
8- (International Women’s Strike)
9- Ward Churchill vs CU, Denver State Court, Courtroom 6, 9:30am
13-19 –GENERAL STRIKE Stop bankers from plundering treasury
14- St Patricks Day Parade, Tejon Ave, 12noon
15- Day Against Police Brutality
20- UFPJ Iraq War Moratorium
21- A.N.S.W.E.R. antiwar demonstrations
26- Poet XJ Kennedy, Gates Common Room, CC, 7pm
30- PROTEST 25th Annual Space Symposium, Broadmoor Hotel (thru April 2)
31- Robin Bell: Antartica’s Hidden Mountains, Armstrong Theatre, CC, 7:30pm

You can’t spill the beans about Afghan War lies without going to jail!

shoe-thrower-free-zaidi.jpg
British officer held over Afghan casualties leak …And where is that Iraqi shoe thrower, Barack? You still have him in jail for throwing shoes at Bush while you are busy reappointing collegues of Bush into positions under your new Adminsttration? Free him now and hands off this British whistle blower, too!

Israel’s use of White Phosphorus in Gaza

gaza white phosferrous
An Italian director has a film about military use of White Phosphorus called The Hidden Massacre on youtube well worth watching to get an idea of what Israel’s use in Gaza of this chemical weapon is likely producing now. The US used this weapon against Fallujah in Iraq and Israel has used it already previously in Lebanon. Israel Using White Phosphorus In Gaza Nothing much in our country has changed since US use of napalm against the Vietnamese.

UNDO THE COUP begins at home

COLORADO SPRINGS- Rita wants to remind local Democrats about which way to push Barack Obama, come January 20 after the inauguration, and before then, at the local Democratic Party precinct meetings. Whether we have expectations of Obama or not, if he doesn’t know what we want, how’s he supposed to deliver?

Here’s the full text of her latest communique:

CHANGE AND MORE CHANGE
by Rita Walpole Ague

With the Obama inauguration about to happen, may we all come to rest and live in peace and justice and true democracy. Recent comments made by Obama coordinator Bob Nemanich re. the anti-democratic stance certain of his old friends, do not surprise me in the least. Failures of our democracy to function as a democracy are not new, and have been around for awhile – some say since 1947. I recall when the FBI was doing warrantless wiretapping of the Kennedys and MLK, plus countless of their supporters and followers. Such blatant anti-democracy tactics have now reached new levels of power lust and greed under the oh so fascist, manipulative Neocons.

Consider Neocon “spook” surveillance and infiltration into so many organizations and efforts, certainly including numerous peace, and justice, and political and governmental organizations and operations The first such governmental operation that comes to my mind is the democratic and fundamental act of voting and having that vote count. No big secret – vote fraud’s gone broad based and high tech.

Here’s reality, as painful as it may be to face – we’ve lost democracy. And the “change” our almost president Obama has promised to render must first and foremost address this loss of democracy, and all the constitutional violations that go and have gone unchallenged and all too often hide and have been hidden under the guise of “security against terrorism.” In the words of the head of Grandmothers for Peace International, we must become our own media, a job Bob Nemanich did so well following the Democratic assembly when he, acting in his co-ordinator position with the Obama campaign, sent out an email far and wide with a request for info. on the intimidation and disenfranchisement that occurred at the Democratic county assembly in February, 2007.

Bob wanted identified who it was who had stood at the door and turned away countless elected delegates and alternates, many of whom had dangerously been kept standing outside in the bitter cold for hours. How tragic it is that question even had to be asked by Bob and the party vice chair Jay Ferguson, since the Democratic party chair, John Morris, was most certainly aware who this person at the door was – former NSA operative and then current chair of the local A.C.L.U., and now chair of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, William Durland. Certainly Morris knew who Durland was and what he’d been assigned to do, just as Morris knew and knows who Durland is and what he does when Morris recently authorized that complaints re. voting “irregularities” be sent to Durland.

And how tragic it was and is that Morris, supposedly a staunch Democrat and chair of the local party, praises people such as El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink, the same official who ousted me from his office in Oct. of 2006 as I attempted to cast an early vote and refused to take off my small “Grandmothers for Peace” button. Very recently and far more outrageously, Balink attempted to disenfranchise Colorado College students and keep them from voting, attempting to intimidate their parents with a threat of IRS involvement. Disenfranchisement and intimidation. Isn’t there a pattern?

And what role has and does Colorado Springs being a major “fusion center” play in these and all the other totally undemocratic and unconscionable incidents we’ve experienced here in Colorado Springs – for example, the tear gassing of peaceful demonstrators as they gathered prior to our entry into the Iraq war? Similar tear gassing occurred at that time only in one other city on earth – Athens, Greece. Then there was the brutalizing of the peace demonstrators during the 2007 St. Patrick’s Day Parade – their offense was wearing a uniform of sorts, green shirts with peace signs. They peacefully marched and rode under permit in the parade, and suddenly were brutalized beyond belief. Guess what? No national press coverage, even though one of the top stories of the year happened that day – the dragging in the street by a cop of Elizabeth Fineron, a physically disabled former nun, until she was raw and bleeding on her thigh and stomach, an act of torture still available for view on the internet and in photos which appeared in the Independent. Talk about terror!

Cursed until the day of her death with post traumatic stress disorder following her being so brutalized, Elizabeth died a year and a month later, the victim of a fully “infused” Colorado Springs Police Department. Next came the arrest, handcuffing and removal of two peace demonstrators at the 2008 Democratic State Convention, along with the destruction by police of the support poles for the banner. Their true offense was standing outside police lines, holding up a banner that asked: “Dems, please stop funding the war in Iraq.” Waiting to enter the arena to take part in the convention, elected delegates and alternates cheered the demonstrators, as simultaneously, unidentified persons, standing on a nearby hotel roof with a hyperbolic dish, surveilled and recorded the entire arrest incident. The official offense the police initially charged the peace demonstrators with was “obstruction,” but that charge was almost immediately abandoned and replaced with the charge of “trespass.” Guess who would be the party to bring and pursue such a complaint of trespass? You guessed it – the leaseholder of the convention site, the Colorado state Democratic party!

And then came the request by the head of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, at that time but no longer located behind the Independent in a building which the Indy owns, for police to appear and question and possible place under arrest four individuals, myself included, who sat in folding chairs in a streetside parkway outside the J&P office for an hour one spring evening and discussed the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver. We considered what “infusion” style police tactics might be (and unfortunately were) used on peace demonstrators. Once again, it’s difficult to miss the pattern of disenfranchisement and intimidation.

Rather than standing watch on the constitution and democracy and asking the hard but vital questions that are the basis of all good critical thinking, the U.S. has allowed itself to be spun by the greed and power mongers and their corporate controlled mass media into a state of “La La Land.” Not only was Elizabeth Fineron a victim of a fully “infused” Colorado Springs Police Department, but the peaceful older disabled woman, an Obama supporter, a teacher who dedicated herself to peace and justice for all, was a victim also of a naive, consumption preoccupied, unquestioning and not sufficiently concerned U.S. populace.

It’s increasingly apparent that what all this spells: COUP! Certainly we all, under the leadership of our man Obama, need to address the Neocon-insurged “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID” peril we find ourselves in. But until we place as our number one priority the return of true vs. token democracy, and do what it takes to “UNDO THE COUP,” we’ll continue to be at the mercy of the military/industrial/corporate power and greed mongers who, like Bob’s old school friends, think we Americans are stupid, should not be able to vote, and believe democracy is a quaint, antiquated, naive institution. Our democracy, which has been tortured, waterboarded, and all but done away with over the years, will be beyond resuscitation if we don’t clearly concentrate on the root of the problems underlying the economic and total undemocratic mess we’re in today.

Let’s keep the faith, and Obama-style hope. Let’s honor of all our U.S. brothers and sisters who, along with Elizabeth Fineron, have donned a uniform and fought and died for their country – for democracy and the constitution, for lasting peace and fundamental justice. Let’s rejoice in the not so minor miracle that’s happened – the election of Barak Obama. Let’s celebrate his inauguration. Let’s push hard and fight peacefully but firmly for the change we so desperately need. And let’s never stop reminding our soon to be President Obama that we’re counting on him to bring about the change he’s promised – the change we so need and long for.

President Obama, congratulations, and never forget – we want to help you and your appointees to UNDO THE COUP!

Rita Ague

Harold Pinter on drama and US banditry

“What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?”
-Harold Pinter (1930-2008)

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who asked “You know what PTSD is? It’s a bad conscience.”

An outspoken critic of the Iraq War, Harold Pinter died Christmas Eve. Here is the address he prerecorded for his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 2005, when he had become too infirm to attend in person.

Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics

In 1958 I wrote the following:

‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.

I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.

Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image. I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me.

The plays are The Homecoming and Old Times. The first line of The Homecoming is ‘What have you done with the scissors?’ The first line of Old Times is ‘Dark.’

In each case I had no further information.

In the first case someone was obviously looking for a pair of scissors and was demanding their whereabouts of someone else he suspected had probably stolen them. But I somehow knew that the person addressed didn’t give a damn about the scissors or about the questioner either, for that matter.

‘Dark’ I took to be a description of someone’s hair, the hair of a woman, and was the answer to a question. In each case I found myself compelled to pursue the matter. This happened visually, a very slow fade, through shadow into light.

I always start a play by calling the characters A, B and C.

In the play that became The Homecoming I saw a man enter a stark room and ask his question of a younger man sitting on an ugly sofa reading a racing paper. I somehow suspected that A was a father and that B was his son, but I had no proof. This was however confirmed a short time later when B (later to become Lenny) says to A (later to become Max), ‘Dad, do you mind if I change the subject? I want to ask you something. The dinner we had before, what was the name of it? What do you call it? Why don’t you buy a dog? You’re a dog cook. Honest. You think you’re cooking for a lot of dogs.’ So since B calls A ‘Dad’ it seemed to me reasonable to assume that they were father and son. A was also clearly the cook and his cooking did not seem to be held in high regard. Did this mean that there was no mother? I didn’t know. But, as I told myself at the time, our beginnings never know our ends.

‘Dark.’ A large window. Evening sky. A man, A (later to become Deeley), and a woman, B (later to become Kate), sitting with drinks. ‘Fat or thin?’ the man asks. Who are they talking about? But I then see, standing at the window, a woman, C (later to become Anna), in another condition of light, her back to them, her hair dark.

It’s a strange moment, the moment of creating characters who up to that moment have had no existence. What follows is fitful, uncertain, even hallucinatory, although sometimes it can be an unstoppable avalanche. The author’s position is an odd one. In a sense he is not welcomed by the characters. The characters resist him, they are not easy to live with, they are impossible to define. You certainly can’t dictate to them. To a certain extent you play a never-ending game with them, cat and mouse, blind man’s buff, hide and seek. But finally you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort.

So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.

But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.

Political theatre presents an entirely different set of problems. Sermonising has to be avoided at all cost. Objectivity is essential. The characters must be allowed to breathe their own air. The author cannot confine and constrict them to satisfy his own taste or disposition or prejudice. He must be prepared to approach them from a variety of angles, from a full and uninhibited range of perspectives, take them by surprise, perhaps, occasionally, but nevertheless give them the freedom to go which way they will. This does not always work. And political satire, of course, adheres to none of these precepts, in fact does precisely the opposite, which is its proper function.

In my play The Birthday Party I think I allow a whole range of options to operate in a dense forest of possibility before finally focussing on an act of subjugation.

Mountain Language pretends to no such range of operation. It remains brutal, short and ugly. But the soldiers in the play do get some fun out of it. One sometimes forgets that torturers become easily bored. They need a bit of a laugh to keep their spirits up. This has been confirmed of course by the events at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. Mountain Language lasts only 20 minutes, but it could go on for hour after hour, on and on and on, the same pattern repeated over and over again, on and on, hour after hour.

Ashes to Ashes, on the other hand, seems to me to be taking place under water. A drowning woman, her hand reaching up through the waves, dropping down out of sight, reaching for others, but finding nobody there, either above or under the water, finding only shadows, reflections, floating; the woman a lost figure in a drowning landscape, a woman unable to escape the doom that seemed to belong only to others.

But as they died, she must die too.

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.

But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.

Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.

Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.

The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America’s view of its role in the world, both then and now.

I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.

The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: ‘Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.’

Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.’ There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.

Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.

Finally somebody said: ‘But in this case “innocent people” were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?’

Seitz was imperturbable. ‘I don’t agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,’ he said.

As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.

I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: ‘The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.’

The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.

The Sandinistas weren’t perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.

The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.

I spoke earlier about ‘a tapestry of lies’ which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a ‘totalitarian dungeon’. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.

Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.

The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. ‘Democracy’ had prevailed.

But this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.

The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’

It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.

What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what’s called the ‘international community’. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be ‘the leader of the free world’. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally – a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man’s land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You’re either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they’re interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.

Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don’t exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. ‘We don’t do body counts,’ said the American general Tommy Franks.

Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. ‘A grateful child,’ said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. ‘When do I get my arms back?’ he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn’t holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you’re making a sincere speech on television.

The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm’s way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.

Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, ‘I’m Explaining a Few Things’:

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate.

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives.

Treacherous
generals:
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain:
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.

And you will ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land.

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!

Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda’s poem I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry have I read such a powerful visceral description of the bombing of civilians.

I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’. That is not my term, it is theirs. ‘Full spectrum dominance’ means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.

The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity – the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons – is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.

Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force – yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.

I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man’s man.

‘God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden’s God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam’s God was bad, except he didn’t have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don’t chop people’s heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don’t you forget it.’

A writer’s life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don’t have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection – unless you lie – in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.

I have referred to death quite a few times this evening. I shall now quote a poem of my own called ‘Death’.

Where was the dead body found?
Who found the dead body?
Was the dead body dead when found?
How was the dead body found?

Who was the dead body?

Who was the father or daughter or brother
Or uncle or sister or mother or son
Of the dead and abandoned body?

Was the body dead when abandoned?
Was the body abandoned?
By whom had it been abandoned?

Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?

What made you declare the dead body dead?
Did you declare the dead body dead?
How well did you know the dead body?
How did you know the dead body was dead?

Did you wash the dead body
Did you close both its eyes
Did you bury the body
Did you leave it abandoned
Did you kiss the dead body

When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror – for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.

Bush Iraq press conference hits the fan

Bush ducks as journalist al-Zaydi throws his shoes
“THIS IS A FAREWELL KISS, YOU DOG!” –yelled al-Baghdadia news journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, as he hurled his first shoe. Finally someone brave enough to have at our obscene Reprobate-in-Chief! What does this say about reporters, officials and celebrities who have access to President Bush but take their shoes off only to show fealty? Homeland Security has all of us removing our shoes, but it took an Iraqi to know what to do with them. If the world needed a sign of hope, that someone would at last stand up to America’s miserable criminality, new-detainee al-Zaidi is the one.

Bush makes a last visit to a nation he destroyed, and gets: “THIS IS A FAREWELL KISS, YOU DOG!” Our news outlets initially censored the “you dog” bit. Al-Zaidi’s threw his second shoe yelling “THIS IS FROM THE WIDOWS, THE ORPHANS AND THOSE WHO WERE KILLED IN IRAQ.” Prompting a local Iraqi to write:

“Yes, you dirty motherfuckers, NO VICTORY for you in IRAQ. No victory as long as people like Muntather exist…

The Barack Plan to re-brand and re-market US occupation of Iraq

toys-r-usObama Doesn’t Plan to End the Iraq Occupation There in the title to his commentary, Jeremy Scahill puts it quite simple for people to understand. Of course, there are plenty of people who simply do not want to understand The Barack Plan at all, because those people invested a lot of themselves in justifying their vote for Barack Obama. They prefer to be pretend ‘counsellors’ for the President instead of actually admitting what his true plan for Iraq actually is, a re-marketing of the occupation of that country to the American people.

This re-branding and re-marketing of the war has already been done time and time again. It is the Republican agenda, too. Barack Obama and his Democratic Party war machine hope that with this rebranding of war for the more liberal minded out there in the American community, that the war and occupation of Iraq PLUS all the other warmaking of the Pentagon can simply continue on track.

Once an unrepentant soldier, always a…

Iraq liberatorA bumper sticker ahead of me read ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE. Next to it was LESS MEAN, LESS LEAN, STILL A MARINE. It got me thinking about the soldiers who come back from war, in light of later revelations of their true brutality. A suppressed investigation in the Mekong Delta 1968-1969, resurfaced in this month’s Nation: “A My Lai a Month.” Operation Speedy Express produced a casualty ration of 40:1, with Vietnamese civilians accounting for an estimated 92%. In view of atrocities which turn out to have been pervasive, what are we to conclude about our veterans? These men are still what? are always what?

The preponderance of our dehumanized ex-soldiers are not in the street committing serial murder and rape, at least not in American streets. The Vietnam vets who suffered are now antiwar. The others unrepentant have been perpetrating the wars that followed –should we be surprised– with the same ferocity and collateral damage? Suppressing the crimes committed in Vietnam, out of concern for the fragile consciences of our vets, has only served to grant license to the war-fueled sadists who still command our inhuman arsenal.

Yesterday, a memorial was held in Missouri for William Doyle, of the infamous Tiger Force unit of the 101st Airborne, who went to his grave bragging about the civilians he’d killed, wishing he’d killed more. The 1965-67 atrocities of the Tiger Force were only revealed in 2004. They were not aberrations but results of the orders the soldiers had been given. This was true about the Free Fire Zones of Operation Speedy Express of the 9th Infantry Division, and for the My Lai raid by the Charlie Company. Few were prosecuted, and fewer punished. Lieutenant Calley served only four months for presiding over the murder of 400 Vietnamese villagers in 1968.

To be fair, each of these examples involved the US Army. The Marines have their own rap-sheet of war crimes that span more engagements than just America’s declared wars, especially in Central and South America. Already Iraq War veterans are trying to confess their deeds in Operation Iraqi Freedom. How many years before journalists are able to report the true crimes of the battle of Fallujah?