Monday, October 27, 2008

Criminals and their bombings

Consortium News is taking up the case of the war crimes committed by US "journalists" in 2002 and 2003 where they promoted the war of aggression on Iraq:

The failure of influential American journalists, such as the New York Times’ Judith Miller, to test the accuracy of information played a critical role in the Bush administration’s successful effort to incite the American public to attack a country which was not threatening us. Though she was far from alone in selling the case for war, Miller -- through her seemingly uncritical reliance on dodgy informants -- was probably responsible to a larger degree than any other American journalist for spreading the fear of nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As such she and other influential journalists who failed in this way bear a share of moral, if not legal, responsibility for hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees and all the other carnage, devastation and human suffering of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Some prominent American media figures, however, went considerably further than simple failure to check sources. Some actively and passionately encouraged Americans to commit and/or approve of war crimes, before and during Operation Iraqi Freedom. ~ Peter Dyer, “US Journalists & War-Crime Guilt
Yes, they share in the legal and moral responsibility for all these deaths in Iraq, and I hope some day they face justice, along with the criminal politicians who started it all, or enabled it to continue. That would be a whole lot of people. I also think Americans are responsible for all of this, but their guilt is not as much as the journalists and politicians. They do have some guilt from staying stupid on purpose.

Meanwhile, the US military is busy bombing and killing people in four countries now: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan. (There actually may be more that we don't know about yet.) Syria is condemning the killing of civilians inside Syria. They got four children with that one. The Syrian Foreign Minister had this to say:
"We consider this criminal and terrorist aggression. We put the responsibility on the American government," he told reporters ...

He added: "All of them [the victims] are civilians, Syrian, unarmed and they are on the Syrian territories. "Killing civilians in international law means a terrorist aggression."

And he is correct. There is no excuse for this act of terrorism. NONE! Above is a picture from BBC website showing some Syrians grieving. There is a video there of the Syrian Foreign Minister.

But it is not only the country of Syria that we are invading and killing off children, without declaring war - we are doing it in Pakistan too. Only one ground invasion so far, but lots of bombings by drones and gunships. As a matter of fact, we are doing it repeatedly this year - and have bombed schools, homes, and God Knows What else. This is terrorism too, and it amazes me that the American people do not rise up and condemn these actions. I guess they are too stupid, or too immoral. I don't know what they are really. But I do know that Americans should look upon war in the same way they look upon cannibalism - something that is abhorrent, but on rare occasions needed for survival. Instead, they look about it as something that is glory-filled, and the reasons for our freedoms (funny how our freedoms get more and more restricted during war times). They look upon our military as 'doing no wrong' even when it is clear our military is just as racist and sexist as our society. They think our bombs are dropped with loving kindness and only kill bad guys. Yes, they are stupid, and they are this way on purpose.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Upcoming events this week

The WNC Peace Coalition blog has listed events in the area this week. Not a lot going on, but there are some things. Last week, UU church showed the move "The Power of Forgiveness". One interesting thing that happened is that more than half the people watching the movie left the instant the movie was over. It was an emotional piece to watch, and certainly thought-provoking.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Picture from La'Onf


College of Education for Girls in Najaf on October 14th. (Photo courtesy La'Onf)

Najaf, October 14: The Najaf branch of La'Onf at the College of Education for Girls. Organizers hung the La'Onf banner and pasted posters on billboards. The La'Onf table was surrounded by students who asked about the organization. The group talked with the students about elections. Around 250 students gathered around the table. The group presented special materials on La'Onf and its goal of the nonviolence campaign to the Dean of the Education College and to staff and professors and heads of departments and didn't face any problem or opposition. Iraqi media was there. Events were also held at Najaf's schools of management, economics and engineering

This was just one of many events that La'Onf planned this past month. Here is a bit from an article from 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows:

LaOnf has called for:

    * the elections to consist of an open list of individual candidates rather than having political parties as the only voting options, as was the case in the last election.

    * polls to be guarded by Iraqi police, with the Iraqi Army as back-up, to maintain neutrality at the polls and allow everyone to vote regardless of sectarian, ethnic, or religious affiliation or gender.

    * Iraqi militias and US troops to be kept away from polling places, to ensure fair and open elections.

LaOnf is also calling on the candidates to explain fully their programs for rebuilding the country's infrastructure, their plans for creating employment, as well as explaining their positions on the rights of women, the right of free speech, and how a culture of nonviolence can be promoted in Iraq.

In all governorates of Iraq, LaOnf has organized myriad activities: conferences and workshops, youth soccer games, radio and television programs, community meetings, some aimed specifically at youth and women, cultural festivals, distribution of posters and literature, art exhibitions, visits to religious figures, meetings with provincial governors and other officials, and visits with party officials and clan chiefs. Others are symbolic: in Kirkuk and Erbil, community participants released flocks of doves to signal their hopes for a peaceful future.

A peaceful way

This video was made by 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. It is about the program of La'Onf in Iraq, and their efforts to create a free and peaceful Iraq. They are promoting non-violence to fight terrorism and occupation. I posted it once before, but here it is again:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Truly American nutcases

“Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.” – US Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Since when is violations of the law NOT a crime? This statement was made in August 2008. HOW is it that our elected lawmakers put up with this?

Rice, meanwhile, defends bush’s Middle East legacy. She has this to say:

She insisted that what she called a US-inspired "freedom agenda" had taken hold in the Middle East. Ms Rice also said Iraq had become a "good Arab friend" of America. "The Middle East is a different place and a better place," Ms Rice told BBC Arabic TV. Iraq, far from being destroyed, was fully integrated into the Arab world, she said.

And she said the above just two days after massive protests by Iraqis who burned her and bush in effigy. There are pictures of that protest on the Faces of Grief blog. And a story on the Global Report.

And, while the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Iraq is getting kicked around and getting nowhere, Adm Mullen said that if the SOFA is not passed, then Iraq risks security losses of “significant consequence”. Well, it seems to me that the place has been destroyed since the US military showed up, and probably a million have been killed, and over four million have lost their homes, so I don’t know what “significant consequence” the poor Iraqis could further face! As would be expected if these American nutcases could actually THINK, the Iraqis did not respond well to his threat:

Reacting to Tuesday's warning from the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mr Dabbagh said in a strongly worded statement that the "Iraqi government is deeply concerned by the statement of Adm Michael Mullen. Such a statement is not welcomed by Iraq. All Iraqis and their political entities are aware of their responsibilities and are assessing whether to sign the deal or not in a way that it is suitable to them. It is not correct to force Iraqis into making a choice and it is not appropriate to talk with the Iraqis in this way."

These American nutcases are out of touch with reality.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Commentary on another blog

From the blog Washington Notes (last month):

Last evening, I attended the moving wedding of my friend Mark Brzezinski and his beautiful new wife Natalia Lopatniuk. …..Mark Brzezinski is a national security adviser in the Obama camp -- and of course his dad is former National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski. His brother and best man Ian was a close adviser to Donald Rumsfeld who is now supporting John McCain, and his sister Mika Brzezinski is a news star at MSNBC. But Mark's mom, Emilie Benes Brzezinski, was the real standout at the party last night. Emilie is a great sculptor at and 76 years old was the best dancer on the floor last night. And I was floored by what a great dancer Zbigniew Brzezinski is -- far better than his sons who are good. ….I complimented him on the dance floor last night and said, "Zbig, you are a really great dancer." His predictable response, "Well of course I am -- I've been working at it a long time."
My comment, automatically rejected as “posting too often” when I have not posted anything in weeks:

I read a part of one article that Mark Brzezinski wrote back in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq. It includes this: "First, coalition forces must quickly and publicly gain control of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." Oh, boy, he’s not too smart. He apparently believed the lies about WMDs against all common sense and available evidence. It bothers me that he is in the Obama camp, while formerly at the White House (under Bush, it appears). And it bothers me that his brother supports McCain and sister is a part of the corporate media. It reinforces my beliefs that there really is not much difference between the Democratic wing and the Republican wing of the CORPORATE PARTY.

We are going to have a country of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations for a very long time. And as the above quote noted above, the Katrina response and the economic mess shows – these corporate lackeys are none too smart.

Glad they are good dancers.

Now take a look at another advisor to McCain: Randy Scheunemann. And catch the load of bullsh*t at the end from John McCain – saying that Russia invaded a democratic neighbor to control oil supplies, without a mention of how Georgia started the fighting.

Protests in Iraq last week

There was a massive protest in Baghdad against the SOFA agreement. I don't think the SOFA will ever get passed - and it is likely that the UN will issue another 'agreement' for the US troops to stay in Iraq. Here is one photo of the protests, there are more on Faces of Grief blog.


Demonstrators carry banners and Iraqi national flags during a protest march in Baghdad's Sadr City October 18, 2008. Thousands of followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against a pact that would allow U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for three more years.

REUTERS/Kareem Raheem (IRAQ)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Judith Miller

Years ago, I had a “Judith Miller goes to jail for the wrong reasons” party. She was jailed for not revealing her sources, when she should have been jailed for helping to promote war crimes on Iraq.

But people like her, and the corporate news industry, have no shame and no morals. Today I heard (via Danny Schechter, the news dissector) that Judith is now going to work for FAUX News. She is going to write some more propaganda for their website and be an on-air analyst. Most likely, she is going to help promote more wars, more deaths of innocents, more destruction of our world and environment. This is, of course, typical for the corporate news media.

Judith Miller is a scum bag who is not worthy of the lowest of menial jobs. On top of that, she is stupid. She helps promote criminal activities and she helps protect the criminals that do those actions – like bush, cheney, rumsfeld, powell.

She is a shame to our country, but her hiring by FAUX News goes to show once again what is wrong with our corporate news media. They provide Americans with a lot of trivial nonsense, like who is zooming whom, celebrity crime, and missing white women or girls. They rarely cover anything of substance, and when they do, they put on someone like Judith Miller who is nothing but a common criminal who is stupid besides.

I guess the best we can hope for is that all these corporate news media FAIL, and FAIL BIG, in the upcoming economic downturn. No one is going to arrest these criminals, or the politicians they promote, and give them a fair trial and then jail time.

In the meantime, THROW AWAY YOUR TV. It is only for entertainment and will make you stupid! And to Judith Miller – you are not worthy of a job of shoveling horse manure out of a barn – and you never will be worthy of such a worthwhile job. You are the scum of the earth.

And I recommend getting news from Information Clearing House and Democracy Now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Backwards day on local radio

I think today must be backwards day. I listen to Glenn Beck on that horrible station WWNC (I call them ‘the tumor of the mountains’) at 570 AM and to the Revolution at 880 AM (they are supposed to be the progressive talk radio – they often fail at that goal). Glenn Beck was actually making sense – Stephanie Miller, who was on 880 was not. Beck was saying that we are going to face severe economic times, and that another stimulus package is not going to help since we cannot spend our way out of this. He then went on to say that we can do without a lot of the junk we have today, and that he started a garden and was teaching his kids to garden. He got on this topic because Biden had said that whoever the next president is, he will face a severe international crisis within six months of taking office. Beck agreed with this assessment, and the only time he was failing to make sense was when he talked about 9/12/01 and how that was one of our finest hours because Americans all pulled together. I personally think Americans generally lost their minds after 9/11, and a lot of them have yet to regain their minds (although they may have been lost all along).

Meanwhile, Stephanie Miller was talking about Biden’s statement and going on and on about how the Republicans are only predicting this for an Obama presidency, and claiming it will not happen if McCain is elected. It did not make a lot of sense, and was an example of the left-wing sprouting talking points to knock down the other side. Sometimes I wonder if the elites in this country really try to make these elections into sporting events with “our” team playing “their” team. I know for sure that the elites cover their bases by making sure candidates from both major parties will tow the corporate line, and that happens long before they get to this point in time.

I don’t know if an international crisis is going to happen, other than the economy tanking. That means hundreds of millions will go hungry and homeless – but most of them will not be in the USA. It could lead to more fascist developments, both inside and outside the USA.

I am certain that Obama will get elected, and I am fairly certain that the people elected this time will manage things better here at home, while ramping up the war going on in Afghanistan and spread it to Pakistan. And I strongly suspect that this time, we will get hurt pretty badly by the Pakistanis. I am also pretty certain that (just like going into Cambodia) this will start up a civil war and genocide in Pakistan.

Yes, we can stay stupid!

Yes, we can make war on Pakistan!

Apparently, we cannot think clearly, use critical thinking skills to see what is going on and where it will lead, or have any moral background to guide us. Your typical pig has more Christianity in them than the masses of American people.

Voting for Kay Hagen

I sent this email to the Kay Hagen campaign:

I briefly spoke with Kay Hagen last Saturday at the Buncombe County Big Tent event (in August). I asked her if she wants to withdraw our troops from Iraq - and she said that she wants to "drawdown" troops in Iraq and send them to Afghanistan to fight the terrorists. I am assuming this means that she does not want to leave Iraq, just have less US troops there. I pointed out to her that our policies are creating more terrorists, including in Afghanistan. She turned away. Here is a link to a short story and a video on Afghanistan that was recently released - it shows exactly WHY our policies are creating more terrorists rather than reducing the number of terrorists. Please make sure she sees this short video.

Unless she changes her position, I will not be able to vote for her in November. I for sure will not vote for Dole.

This was the response from the campaign:

Thank you for contacting Kay’s campaign. I apologize for it taking so long for the campaign to get back to you. There is so much excitement about Kay’s campaign that it is at times both amazing and overwhelming.

Kay opposes the United States’ involvement in Iraq and is committed to ending the war in a responsible manner. She supports a responsible withdrawal so that we can re-focus our national security efforts on defeating al Qaeda, especially in Afghanistan, improving our country’s reputation around the world, and rebuilding our military strength.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, our intelligence agencies have reported, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 have regained their strength and safe haven, the Taliban has rebounded, and our military is stretched dangerously thin and unable to adequately respond to needs in Afghanistan and other threats. We need to insist on accountability from the Iraqi people and push for more diplomacy with other countries in the region and around the world. America needs cooperation to defeat terrorism, keep nuclear weapons out of our enemies’ hands, and combat other security threats.

Again, thank you for contacting the campaign. Please let us know if you have any more questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

And here is my response to that email:

The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are quite dead. They died in the attack. The people who backed them were on friendly terms with the Taliban, but they were NOT the Taliban. A sizable number of them are Saudis, and supposedly "friends" of the Bushes and the USA. Our country's reputation is in tatters around the world. This is due to the fact that we have destroyed countries and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and ruined the lives of millions (who were also innocents). Continuing this policy will continue to deteriorate our standing in the world, with good cause.

Saying "we need to insist on accountability from the Iraqi people" is repulsive. We have destroyed their country, and have caused half the population to be killed, internally displaced, wounded, sick from stress, and refugees in foreign countries. We need to beg their forgiveness for this hideous evil.

Ramping up the war in Afghanistan, or spreading it to Pakistan, will never stop terrorism in the world. It will only make it grow. I am really distressed to see how immoral, how very evil, our country has become over the last eight years and I realize that it would not have happened without the Democrats cooperation. We will pay a price for this.

[Overall, more 'change we can believe in' all right! Hah!]

More reports from La'Onf

"Nonviolence brings you gifts and games. Violence brings terrorism and murder. -Message of La'Onf members in Kirkuk when distributing gifts to children (October 13, 2008)

Many parents would prefer to avoid having difficult discussions about death and tragedy until their children are older and better equipped to manage their fears and anxieties. However, for Iraqi children growing up in the midst of military occupation, assassinations and road side bombs, the reality of violence and death is all around them. LaOnf organizers strive to create safe spaces for children where frank discussions about violence can take place, and alternatives to violence can be imagined.

La'Onf Iraqi nonviolence groups engage young people as an important constituency and stakeholder in the community. Members describe youth and students as "the future of Iraq" (La'Onf organizer, Najaf) and capable of "building peace and changing the reality" (La'Onf organizer, Babil). One example of La'Onf efforts to apply nonviolent principles in practical ways in the interests of children is the campaign against war toys. In too many instances soldiers shot and killed children who were carrying toy guns that looked like real guns. The campaign began with programs in which children could trade in their toy guns for soccer balls. It then expanded into lobbying efforts. La'Onf's campaign has now resulted in legislation banning the sale of war toys in the province of Muthanna. La'Onf activists hope to see national legislation passed in the near future.

During the third annual Week of Nonviolence, La'Onf members have planned activities for young people of all ages, from kindergarteners to university students. They provide fun opportunities for children such as athletic events and releasing of doves, as well as venues for creative expression in art exhibitions and musical performances. And for older students they have facilitated workshops and discussions on the theory and practice of nonviolence in the Iraqi context. Young people are responding with great curiosity and involvement.

Highlights of some of these activities include:

In cooperation with the National Center for the Rehabilitation of Young People and the Youth Section of the Organization of Bint (Girls) Iraq, La'Onf hosted a youth-organized festival. In addition to presentations on nonviolence, the Festival featured youth poetry readings and operettas, magicians, and a children's drawing competition. (October 14)

On the Faculty of Education campus, the Association of the Iraqi Student and Artists Without Chains hosted an Art Exhibition about refusing violence and calling for peace. (October 13-15)

La'Onf visited Mama Suna Kindergarten to talk about how to choose "nice toys and games" and how to solve problems without fighting. They discouraged the children from playing with toy weapons and gave them gifts of alternative toys. La'Onf organizers made plans to return for a nonviolence workshop with the children in the future.

Al-Mesalla Center and the Youth Cultural Center organized a workshop of 20 young men and women on the meaning of nonviolence and how to promote a culture of peace in Iraq. Also, Al-Taleaa Kurdistan Children and IKNN organized a public party with Kurdish dance and circus performers, ending in the release of balloons to express the hope for peace and nonviolence.

At the Thaqleen Primary School for Boys in the Khather district, La'Onf representatives spoke to a crowd of 150 students gathered on the playground. They spoke about rejecting violence and spreading the language of dialogue among the students. Students received posters and balloons at the end of the rally. (October 14)

In coordination with the Presidency of the University of Kufa, La'Onf organizers spent four days in different colleges and departments providing information on nonviolence and facilitating discussions with literally hundreds of students as well as faculty and department heads and deans. These campuses have included: College of Education for Girls, Faculty of Arts, School of Management, and Economics and Engineering College. (October 13-16)

La'Onf organized a youth soccer match in which nonviolent slogans were printed on team uniforms. Sports fans and families were joined by several dignitaries from the Aalam district who attended the game and the ensuing discussion focused on the teams' nonviolent messages and La'Onf's work in the province. (October 11)

More information
Updates in Arabic, Kurdish and English are on the La'Onf website.

Photographs from Iraq (as well as from people across the United States who support nonviolence in Iraq) can be seen on the La'Onf Solidarity Flickr Photo Gallery.

Photos, video and media updates can also be found at the Peaceful Tomorrows website.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Upcoming Events in the area this week

Photo is from a concert by Donna the Buffalo, which I saw at LEAF this past Friday. They were fantastic. I have been doing LEAF all weekend, and last night I found out my water heater is leaking! I guess I will be dealing with that the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, upcoming events are listed on the WNC Peace Coalition blog.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Words of wisdom from MLK

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases the hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo is of the Swannanoa River besides Azalea Road in Asheville. I took a walk there recently and snapped some photos.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The real story of America

Code Pink is raising funds for this women - go here to help out.

Women and the right to vote

I got this photo, and the information below, from an email sent by a friend. It was a forwarded email, sent around to various folks in the area.

I have to admit - I did not know that these women suffered so much to get the right to vote for all women.

And, I have to admit - I fail to understand why people DON'T VOTE. It is an easy, simple, almost painless thing to do (unless you really don't like any of your choices) and it is one way of peacefully changing things. I can understand not knowing about every candidate or every issue - like the Judges and such - but every adult should know enough to be able to vote for SOMEONE on the ballot. And really, it is so easy to do. Today is the first day of early voting in North Carolina..... so go to one of the 14 locations and VOTE. If you are not registered, you can register on the spot. If you have moved and did not re-register, you can register on the spot. Just bring some identification and some proof of your address - like an electric bill. Early voting ends on November 1, 2008.

Here is the story of the women who worked, and suffered, to get the right to vote to women:

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago. Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining? Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update from La'Onf

This came from an email sent by

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

The La'Onf Iraqi Nonviolence Group initiated its third annual Week of Nonviolence on Saturday, October 11, 2008. This network of more than 100 Iraqi civil society organizations has come together to call for the rebuilding of Iraq through nonviolence. This year, La'Onf is focusing on the power of the electoral process. La'Onf's members are working to eliminate violence during the upcoming provincial elections, scheduled to take place before the end of January 2009.
Photo is of La'Onf distributing a Dove & Ballot Box poster to women and students at Kufa University.

Below is a summary of the highlights from the first few days of the Week of Nonviolence.


In Al-Sadr City, Ard Al-Rafeden and Women Rights convened a conference attended by Baghdad human rights activists with a particular emphasis on the participation of women. Conference organizers introduced La'Onf to the community and focused dialogue on preventing electoral violence. One conference attendee stated that al-Sadr City is completely forgotten; that no one thinks about their reality of increasing violence and deteriorating security. Attendees thanked La'Onf's Baghdad group for expressing commitment and interest in al-Sadr and for the introduction to nonviolence.

As a result of the assassination on Thursday (October 9) of Saleh al-Ugaili, an Iraqi member of Parliament from Moktada al-Sadr's political movement, La'Onf organizers in Baghdad met with Sadr City leaders to discuss ways to prevent an escalation of the violence and further bloodshed. They have called for a prompt and impartial investigation to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of Saleh al-Ugaili's murder.

BABIL (Babylon)

Babil's La'Onf members, in cooperation with the National Center for the Rehabilitation of Young People and the Office of International Aid in Babylon, conducted a festival in the Cultivating Peace Hall (Shatt al-Hilla). The festival was organized with the significant leadership of young people and included arts projects for children and the reading of poetry with one of the poets being only 10 years old. La'Onf presenters talked about the role of civil society in partnership with government agencies, religious institutions, and cultural, social and educational organizations to spread nonviolence throughout the governorate. Two sixth graders performed an operetta telling the story of how Iraqis can face violence and maintain the unity of their country. La'Onf members also distributed posters in Jabla in Northern Babil.


La'Onf participants distributed and hung posters in Albdir, approximately 30 miles away from the city center.


La'Onf member organizations, including the Relief and Development Organization and Defense of Iraqi Deportees Association, distributed posters on nonviolence in the city of Jalula, including public areas, schools, government offices, and residential neighborhoods.


Azadi radio station interviewed La'Onf representatives who discussed the principles of nonviolence and described activities planned across Iraq during the 2008 Week of Nonviolence.


La'Onf members convened a conference attended by representatives of civil society, academia and political parties. The conference opened with a song of peace and love, and rejection of all violence in Iraq, performed by the Cultural Knowledge Foundation. The La'Onf coordinator in Karbala then introduced the goals and activities of La'Onf followed by a courageous presentation by Mr. Yahya Najjar, a journalist in Karbala. Mr. Najjar appealed to the media to exercise strict neutrality in reporting on the elections and candidates. He asked the community to reject violence, sectarianism and all forms of terrorism, marginalization, racial discrimination, and political and social oppression. He added that the road in front of journalists is "planted with brambles," recognizing that they are being targeted and that "journalism has become a profession of martyrs." However he emphasized the journalists' "love for life and for painting hope with their free writings."

Mr. Hussein Amery of the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq also spoke about the need for civil society, government institutions and the media to work together to ensure the appropriate level of integrity, transparency and impartiality of the electoral process. He concluded his remarks by thanking the conference participants and La'Onf for promoting a culture of nonviolence as a path to political, social and economic change in Iraq. At the end of the conference, participants formed a board to send letters to the political parties in support of the government's role in conducting the provincial elections. And they also appealed to the Iraqi army and police to maintain their professionalism in protecting all citizens' free and equal participation in the elections.


La'Onf participants hung posters in public areas, schools and government service and administrative offices. They also met with 40 organizations from Iraqi civil society. In Haweja, Iraqi police interfered with attempts to hang the posters, and two participants were arrested for two hours before being released. Unknown armed forces also interfered with participants in Reyad but members of Al-Sahwa Men were able to de-escalate tensions at the location, and no one was hurt.


La'Onf participants focused on engaging political parties by distributing booklets on preventing electoral violence and introducing nonviolence principles to party offices. Among the parties that were contacted are: National Democratic Congress, WEFAQ National Democratic Movement, Islamic Call Movement, Iraqi Communist Party, Islamic Higher Board, and Kurdistan Democratic Party.


La'Onf participants began the week by distributing posters in every district in the province.


La'Onf organized a youth soccer match whose players wore uniforms with the slogan: "Nonviolence is our Choice." Along with sports fans, those in attendance included: the Aalam District Director, Red Crescent Director of Salahuddin, and Aalam District Police Chief, as well as members of the Aalam Club Administrative Board and civil society organizations. The match prompted discussions among the attendees about the meaning of nonviolence and La'Onf's planned activities in the area. Participants expressed their appreciation for La'Onf's work and several new people volunteered to work for La'Onf.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What kind of Amazing Grace?

This short video points out how we always seem to have money for war, but little for helping our fellow humans. It does not mention the $1 TILLION PLUS we have spent to bail out our investment banks, while we cannot find $35 BILLION to insure health care for our nation's children for five years. On top of that, we spend millions on these stupid policial ads that inform us of nothing! It is beyond stupid. I heard today that the TRILLION dollars of debt for the Wall Street criminals will cost us $12 Million every three hours in interest...... and then there is the interest on the debt we are running up on the wars of aggression that we are pursuing that are totally immoral and illegal. I also heard today that a few years back, bush vetoed a bill that would investigate where bin Laden's money came from..... bush said the $12 price tag was too high for American taxpayers. Yeah, right - he didn't want them to trace the money back to his family and friends. All those relatives of bin Laden got out of the USA in September 2001 when no other planes were flying for a reason, don'tca know?

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Mas! No More!

Yesterday, I went to an Immigrants Rights rally in downtown Asheville. The group originally started at the Mills Manufacturing plant and walked five miles to City-County Plaza. The announcement the group sent out said this:

National Day of Action AGAINST RAIDS & DEPORTATIONS *Please wear white*

October 12, 2008
STOP racist attacks used by I.C.E.
Today, the US & European governments are legislating an assortment of laws to criminalizeundocumented immigrant workers. Immigrant workers that after all were FORCED out of their home countries by the neoliberal economic policies of globalization and Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA CAFTA). These policies were imposed on Latin America by the US & European governments.

STOP Raids & Deportations NOW! No to break up of immigrant families!
Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the first 100 days of the new federal governments. A DAY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

When they arrived at the steps of the County Courthouse, one of the speakers (a man, pictured below) commented on how it was illegal for some members of society to do things like drink from a water fountain, sit at a lunch counter, or ride in the front of a bus not so long ago in the USA. And he clearly pointed out how such "illegal" activities for some members of our country, but not others, was clearly a result of racism. And the same is holding true today when some members of our community are arrested for simple things like driving a car or working a job to provide for their families. It is all based on racism, and put into place by immigration policies that insure cheap and scared and cowed labor force. In short, the federal actors in this immigration drama are doing it on purpose, just like the Jim Crow politicians in the south of the USA did it on purpose a few decades back.

And, as I have often pointed out - the fact that the Buncombe County Sheriff's office is helping to enforce these laws set by man also means they are violating the laws of God. And that sentiment is clearly seen in some of the signs present at this Immigrant Rights rally - drawn straight from the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus.

So, the main speaker said today, we are going to march to Buncombe County Sheriff's office and teach him some Spanish: NO MAS! This means no more to the inhuman and dreadful enforcement of the very bad laws and policies on our books.

And, if they want to stop 'illegal' immigrant to this country, we need to change those laws and start arresting the employers. We need to have working permits for people who want to come to our country and work. And, since we are a nation of immigrants, we should welcome with open arms anyone who wants to work and contribute to our society..... since this is what built our country. These are all pictures I took on a fabulous fall day in Asheville.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Upcoming Events in the area this week

There is a list of upcoming events in the area on the WNC Peace Coalition blog. There is also information on the March for Human Rights, which will be held in Asheville and Hendersonville today. I will be attending the Asheville march, and will have photos and a report later today.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Anti-war poem: Pray for me, Father

Pray for me, Father, mine is the sin of cowardice For I do not set myself on fire
at the White House gate
To protest murder.
I am a glutton for God’s blue sky.

Pray for me, Father, for my tax dollars set a banquet for Death
With napalm and daisy cutters and snakelike missiles
That blow apart other men, and their wives and children
While I walk secure along the shore of the tranquil sea.
Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.

I will pray for a church that does not decry an Inquisition
Where men are broken and driven mad in the dungeons
Of Bagram, Kabul, Gitmo, and Abu Ghraib
A church of priests who recall Golgotha
As if Jesus and Jesus and Jesus by the thousands
Are not being crucified now by the Masters of War
Are not shuffling home on artificial legs
Are not staring sightless from wheelchairs
In VA hospitals into God’s blue sky.
Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.

~ Sherwood Ross

Photo: Rusul in August 2008 at a park in Greenville, SC. She lost her right foot to a US missile in November 2006, near Fallujah.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Talk to an Iraqi

This guy made two You Tube videos (below) about his experiences talking to US citizens about the war in Iraq. He lives in NYC right now, going to graduate school.

Part 1

Part 2

Isn't this just dandy?

The US military is trying to propagandize Iraq! Without Murdock and those conservative CEOs of the major media companies (like we have here in the USA), I don't know how this could possibly work. But hey, we are throwing away lots of money on other things, so why not on media lies in Iraq. Here's a bit of the article:

The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to "engage and inspire" the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.

The new contracts -- awarded last week to four companies -- will expand and consolidate what the U.S. military calls "information/psychological operations" in Iraq far into the future, even as violence appears to be abating and U.S. troops have begun drawing down.
Of course, troops levels in Iraq are still much higher than they were two years ago, so that last part is basically a lie, but then, maybe they are working on propagandizing the homeland too! Here's another clip from the report:

One official described how part of the program works: "There's a video piece produced by a contractor . . . showing a family being attacked by a group of bad guys, and their daughter being taken off. The message is: You've got to stand up against the enemy." The professionally produced vignette, he said, "is offered for airing on various [television] stations in Iraq. . . . They don't know that the originator of the content is the U.S. government. If they did, they would never run anything."

"If you asked most Iraqis," he said, "they would say, 'It came from the government, our own government.' "

Well, at least they are consistent - they use fear to try and reign in the Americans too..... except it is fear of the ISLAMOTERRORISTS that are presumably hiding under the bed, along with the imaginary WMDs. Now, some of us recall back when the Lincoln Group were accused of promoting propaganda in Iraq a few years back, but the Pentagon investigated itself and found that what they did was okay. Now the Lincoln Group has a new contract! Surprise!

Pretty soon, Americans are going to have some REAL SERIOUS problems to worry about, and they won't be coming from overseas - they will be coming from our own economy, the environment, and energy problems. That bailout for the bankers they pushed last week? It will never work, since they are trying to prop up a ponzi scheme. One hope - after we go broke, like really, really broke..... maybe we will stop invading and bombing other countries.
The rest of the article on the military propaganda agenda in Iraq is here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Amy Goodman wins “Alternative Nobel”

Kudos to Amy and her amazing staff at Democracy Now! Amy is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, which is the world’s premier award for personal courage and social transformation. This prize is also known as the ‘alternative nobel’. She will receive this award in December. It comes from the Swedish Parliament. Amy Goodman and her staff at Democracy Now are all heroes of mine.

It is a great thing for her to be given this award, and she and her staff really do deserve it! Congratulations to Democracy Now!

Well, gotta go and finish listening to today's program on Democracy Now - I listen to them every day of the week - sometimes catching up on weekends. It is easier to do now that I have an Ipod and can download their podcasts.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Color of Change - lying or stupid?

I think Color of Change and Credo mobile is a scam.

From Color of Change:

EMAIL TITLE: If you are in North Carolina, it's your last chance

Color of Change sent out this on October 6th, from James Rucker.

If you're not already registered to vote, this is your last week to do so--and to make sure your friends and family are registered as well. And, as you probably realize, this may be the most important election of our lifetimes. Register now, then tell your friends to do the same:

Think about it. Over the last 8 years this country has been led by a White House that ignores the Constitution, could care less about low-income folks, and has done nothing to work on any level towards racial and social justice. The Republican candidates McCain and Palin represent more of the same, but they're trying to trick people into believing they're different. And in the process, they've shown that they lack integrity--they're running one of the most dishonorable campaigns in memory, trying to lie and smear their way to victory.

We're being blunt because the stakes are that high. The possibility of change depends on all of us voting. It's that simple.

Friday, October 10 is the deadline to register in North Carolina. If you're not sure about your registration status or if you've moved, play it safe and register again (there's no harm in re-registering). You can register here, with our simple online tool:

Then share this email your friends and family and ask them to do the same.

If you care about this country, our safety, our position in the world, racial justice, or just the idea that the highest office in the country should operate with some sense of decency and integrity, the best way you can show it is by voting.

The Republican party has a history of trying to win elections by preventing people from voting--especially Black people. We already know that this election will be no different. To overcome their massive efforts to attack peoples' voting rights, we'll need maximum participation.

A lot is at stake, and it could come down to just a few votes. In the next few weeks, we'll give you ways to fight Republican voter suppression efforts by making sure that every eligible voter is able to vote and that all votes are counted.

But first, we want to make sure you're able to participate in creating much needed change in this country. Register to vote, or if you're already registered, forward this email to your friends and family to make sure they're registered as well:

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, Kai, and the rest of the PAC team

My Response:

People in NC who are not registered to vote in NC can register and vote during early voting -- which goes from Oct 16 to Nov 1.

What you have written above is FALSE.... so, are you lying or not?

Or are you some scam trying to collect people's addresses, date of birth, etc, for criminal purposes?

I think you should send out a correction IMMEDIATELY.

[End of message]

Now, take a look at the website where you supposedly register to vote.

It is not a secured website. They want your address, date of birth, ethnicity, political party, phone number and driver’s license number. What they do with this information I don’t know, but I do know it could be easily hacked.

UPDATE: Email from Color of Change
Thank you for emailing us. We sent this email to our North Carolina members using the voter registration deadline of 25 days prior to election day (from the North Carolina Board of Elections), unfortunately we made a mistake and did not include information about the early voting period. It is not our intention to misinform or mislead voters and we apologize for the miscommunication.

With regards to the security of the website-- the widget we use transfers all data securely over an https connection that is separate from the page it's embedded in, so it can live on a non-secure page and still be secure. The developer who worked on this project has a background in bank security, so he was extremely vigilant about security/privacy issues when building this tool.

Our goal is to provide our members with the most accurate information and encourage them to register to vote and participate in this important election. We will send another email out to our North Carolina members letting them know about the registration and early voting period.

Once again, please accept our sincere apologies and know that we are taking steps to correct our mistake.

Clarissa Goodlett

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Information on upcoming events in the area, and online actions that a peace activist can take, are posted on the WNC Peace Coalition blog. There is also information on candidate Obama's visit to Asheville, and I will be protesting along McDowell Street. I hear he will be in town until Monday night. I got an email today that had a picture from Hendersonville, NC. The picture said:
Not American
Not Welcome

Now, that is pretty sick. I will not be voting for Obama in the early voting later this month, but I still think it is only fair to give him a chance (and if he comes out with a peace oriented platform, I will vote for him). Saying that he is a terrorist or not American is racist and stupid.

I have not written anything about this stupid bailout for the rich that the US Congress passed this week - but I will say that it will not work. They have about 55 TRILLION dollars in debt on the books of various financial institutions in the US, and a mere 700 BILLION dollars will hardly touch that. It is a ponzi scheme, and they should let it fall.

Keep in mind, that they could not find $35 billion to fund health care for children in the US for five years, and last spring, could not fund a proposal for $20 billion to help homeowners who are being foreclosed on..... and you can bet this bill will not help those home owners either. We will be facing some very tough economic times in the near future, and they will try some more bailout bills for the rich. It is stupid, but then a lot of the population in the US is stupid. I found out yesterday that the reading level for adults in the US has been going down for the last few decades. This does not bode well for the future.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sing a sad song, my country

Sing a sad song, my country, sing a sad song.

Sing a song of lament – that your posturing of goodness has been shown to only be posturing.

Sing a song of lament – that your posturing of decency has been shown to only be posturing.

Sing a song of lament – that your posturing of fairness has been shown to only be posturing.

Sing a sad song for those you have killed, tortured, raped, and disappeared.

Sing a sad song for those you have killed, tortured, raped, and disappeared – whose names you will never know.

Sing a wail of grief for your own children, and their futures, and their health, - that you have sacrificed.

Sing a plea of innocence, for an innocence you never possessed, but only pretended to.

Sing a sigh for the dreary future you have a created for yourself.

Sing the funeral song for the babies and toddlers and small children who no longer can sing their own song, for their voices were forever silenced.

Sing a song for all those songs that will never be heard, due to your policies.

Sing a song of blindness, because you are truly blind.

Sing a sad song, my country, a song of unremitting sadness.

Written by dancewater