Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten years of shame

From Witness Against Torture:

This January 11, the prison at Guantanamo will enter its 10th year of operation. The prison is both a site and symbol of a legacy that includes rendition, extralegal detention, and torture. This legacy endures, despite the promise of President Obama to close Guantanamo and break with Bush-era policies. With President Obama's continued betrayal of his promise and with the Republican gains in Congress, the nightmare draws closer: that the prison at Guantanamo will become permanent. We can't let this happen! We demand that Guantanamo be closed immediately and that those who designed and carried out torture policies be held to account.

On January 11, 2011 we will gather at the White House for an 11am press conference with a coalition of human rights and grassroots groups and then proceed in a "prisoner procession" to the Department of Justice, where we will engage in nonviolent direct action. There are 174 men still imprisoned at Guantanamo, and we hope to have at least that many people as part of our procession (sign up here). From January 11-22, we will remain in DC and fast, (sign up here) holding daily vigils and demonstrations throughout Washington, haunting the sites of power with the specter of Guantanamo and the stories of the men who remain there.

We invite you to come to Washington and participate, or else join or plan an event in your own community.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Poem by Langston Huges

What happens to a dream deferred?
            Does it dry up
            Like a raisin in the sun?
            Or fester like a sore-
            And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?     

Explode it will – and like I and my friends used to say three decades ago:  PAYBACK IS A BITCH!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Letter from Father Louis Vitale, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience

Two weeks have passed since David Omondi and I began our sojourn here at Irwin County Detention Center in southern Georgia. Some may say, "Vitale has protested himself back into the pokey below the Mason-Dixon line" and "He has been jailed again in an effort to bring peace and social justice." SF Chronicle 11/28

LouieMany ask, "Why do you keep doing this?" We try to respond: "Because the oppression goes on and our nation is a major participant in that oppression of the poor and of all creation." Specifically this manifestation of mourning focuses on the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where U.S. military have taught counter-insurgency techniques, including torture and disappearance, to Latin American military. It still goes on, as recently observed with the outrageous coup in Honduras carried out by graduates of the School of the Americas. In fact, our involvement in oppressive militarism extends throughout the world!
But why so many times at Ft. Benning (my fourth arrest and incarceration, and so far from my home base)? The School of the Americas is an icon of our intrusion into developing countries over many years and the source of horrific massacres including religious leaders and thousands of peasants. Also Ft. Benning is a major military base feeding vast numbers into the war machine. Thousands gather annually to mourn the victims and to call for an end to our war machine that continues to grow into more bases, nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities, even into space war (and the new X-37B militarized version of the space shuttle).

Are we ready to declare peace and act in its presence? Let's call - with all our energy - for nonviolent solutions now, transforming many peoples' lives and our world. Our work is cut out for us as we must be vigilant and active with nonviolent resistance. May we move towards peace in the new year.

[Louie, serving a 6 month sentence for trespass at Ft. Benning, was moved from the Irwin County Detention Center on December 15, and is currently in transit. We will let you know as soon as he reaches his final destination.]

Write the the Prisoners of Conscience To write to Louis, please direct correspondence to: Fr. Louis Vitale, c/o The Nuclear Resister, P.O. Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733
To write to Michael David Omondi, also sentenced to six months for trespass at Ft. Benning, please direct your correspondence to: David Omondi, c/o The Los Angeles Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033

Who would Jesus bomb - by David Rovics

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Couple more pictures of 12-16-10 protest

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 16:  Anti-war protesters march to the White House December 16, 2010 in Washington, DC. The protest was organized by the group Veterans for Peace in opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) 

If it had been 131 teabaggers protesting and getting arrested at the White House, then it would have been big news on the corporate media for days.

Friday, December 24, 2010


We need peace, we need an end to violence of all kinds in this world.  We need to prosecute those who torture or kill humans like we prosecute those who torture and kill pets.

No Christmas for Iraqi Christians

Iraqi police guard the entrance to a Church in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec 25, 2009 (File Photo - AP)

Due to the violence directed towards Iraq's Christians, there will be no evening services and no celebrations of the birth of Jesus.  Record numbers of Iraq's Christians have been fleeing the country, or fleeing to Kurdish region, in the last few months.

And all of this came about because of the Americans who invaded and occupied this country and destroyed it.  And a large number of those Americans are now celebrating Christmas.

It is just sickening.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The last salute to Bush

Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi signs his first book entitled 'The Last Salute to President Bush,' at a book fair in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010. Al-Zeidi who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush in Baghdad in 2008, says he is suing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in a Swiss court for his detention and alleged torture during the nine months he spent in custody.
(AP Photo/Grace Kassab)

Emily Henochowicz's song for Palestine

She was shot by the IDF with a tear gas cylinder and lost her left eye.  She's still got lots of heart and brains, however!  Here is her song for Palestine, recorded shortly after she got back home in the USA.

Cablegate: the truth is out there

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Letter to President Obama - about Afghanistan

Mr. President,

We have been engaged and working inside Afghanistan, some of us for decades, as academics, experts and members of non-governmental organizations. Today we are deeply worried about the current course of the war and the lack of credible scenarios for the future. The cost of the war is now over $120 billion per year for the United States alone. This is unsustainable in the long run. In addition, human losses are increasing. Over 680 soldiers from the international coalition – along with hundreds of Afghans – have died this year in Afghanistan, and the year is not yet over. We appeal to you to use the unparalleled resources and influence which the United States now brings to bear in Afghanistan to achieve that longed-for peace.

Despite these huge costs, the situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taliban insurgency has made progress across the country. It is now very difficult to work outside the cities or even move around Afghanistan by road. The insurgents have built momentum, exploiting the shortcomings of the Afghan government and the mistakes of the coalition. The Taliban today are now a national movement with a serious presence in the north and the west of the country. Foreign bases are completely isolated from their local environment and unable to protect the population. Foreign forces have by now been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Red Army.

Politically, the settlement resulting from the 2001 intervention is unsustainable because the constituencies of whom the Taliban are the most violent expression are not represented, and because the highly centralized constitution goes against the grain of Afghan tradition, for example in specifying national elections in fourteen of the next twenty years.

The operations in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar and in Helmand provinces are not going well. What was supposed to be a population-centred strategy is now a full-scale military campaign causing civilian casualties and destruction of property. Night raids have become the main weapon to eliminate suspected Taliban, but much of the Afghan population sees these methods as illegitimate. Due to the violence of the military operations, we are losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Pashtun countryside, with a direct effect on the sustainability of the war. These measures, beyond their debatable military results, foster grievance. With Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution. Drone strikes in Pakistan have a marginal effect on the insurgency but are destabilizing Pakistan. The losses of the insurgency are compensated by new recruits who are often more radical than their predecessors.
The military campaign is suppressing, locally and temporarily, the symptoms of the disease, but fails to offer a cure. Military action may produce local and temporary improvements in security, but those improvements are neither going to last nor be replicable in the vast areas not garrisoned by Western forces without a political settlement.

The 2014 deadline to put the Afghan National Army in command of security is not realistic. Considering the quick disappearance of the state structure at a district level, it is difficult to envision a strong army standing alone without any other state institutions around. Like it or not, the Taliban are a long-term part of the Afghan political landscape, and we need to try and negotiate with them in order to reach a diplomatic settlement. The Taliban’s leadership has indicated its willingness to negotiate, and it is in our interests to talk to them. In fact, the Taliban are primarily concerned about the future of Afghanistan and not – contrary to what some may think -- a broader global Islamic jihad. Their links with Al-Qaeda – which is not, in any case, in Afghanistan any more -- are weak. We need to at least try to seriously explore the possibility of a political settlement in which the Taliban are part of the Afghan political system. The negotiations with the insurgents could be extended to all groups in Afghanistan and regional powers.

The current contacts between the Karzai government and the Taliban are not enough. The United States must take the initiative to start negotiations with the insurgents and frame the discussion in such a way that American security interests are taken into account. In addition, from the point of view of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations – women and ethnic minorities, for instance – as well as with respect to the limited but real gains made since 2001, it is better to negotiate now rather than later, since the Taliban will likely be stronger next year. This is why we ask you to sanction and support a direct dialogue and negotiation with the Afghan Taliban leadership residing in Pakistan. A ceasefire and the return of the insurgency leadership in Afghanistan could be part of a de-escalation process leading to a coalition government. Without any chance for a military victory, the current policy will put the United States in a very difficult position.
For a process of political negotiation to have a chance of addressing the significant core grievances and political inequalities it must occur on multiple levels – among the countries that neighbour Afghanistan as well as down to the provincial and sub-district.  These various tables around which negotiations need to be held are important to reinforce the message -- and the reality -- that discussions about Afghanistan’s political future must include all parties and not just be a quick-fix deal with members of the insurgency.

We believe that mediation can help achieve a settlement which brings peace to Afghanistan, enables the Taliban to become a responsible actor in the Afghan political order, ensures that Afghanistan cannot be used as a base for international terrorism, protects the Afghan people’s hard-won freedoms, helps stabilize the region, renders the large scale presence of international troops in Afghanistan unnecessary and provides the basis of an enduring relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. All the political and diplomatic ingenuity that the United States can muster will be required to achieve this positive outcome. It is time to implement an alternative strategy that would allow the United States to exit Afghanistan while safeguarding its legitimate security interests.

Mariam Abou Zahab
Researcher and humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan in the 1980s-early 1990s
Matthieu Aikins
Gregg Albo
Political Science Faculty, York University, Toronto, Canada
Scott Atran
Anthropologist (University of Michigan) and author of Talking to the Enemy
Bayram Balci
Researcher in CNRS and former Director of Institut Français d’Etudes sur l'Asie Centrale, IFEAC
Scott Bohlinger
Political and Security Analyst
Rony Brauman
Former head of Médecins Sans Frontières
Rupert Talbot Chetwynd
Author of Yesterday’s Enemy - Freedom Fighters or Terrorists?
Carlo Cristofori
Secretary, International Committee for Solidarity with the Afghan Resistance(established 1980)
Michael Cohen
Senior Fellow, American Security Project
Robert Crews
Associate Professor, Dept of History, Stanford University and co-editor of The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan

Robert Abdul Hayy Darr
Author of The Spy of the Heart and humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Rob Densmore
US Navy Afghanistan veteran and journalist
Gilles Dorronsoro
Visiting Scholar (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and author of Revolution Unending
Bernard Dupaigne
Professor, Musée de l’Homme, Paris; author of several books about Afghanistan; humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan, 1980-2010.
David B. Edwards
Anthropologist (Williams College) and author of Before Taliban
Jason Elliot
Author of An Unexpected Light
Christine Fair
Assistant Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University
Nick Fielding
Journalist and writer
Bernard Finel
Associate Professor of National Security Strategy, National War College (USA)
Joshua Foust
Military analyst and author of Afghanistan Journal
Martin Gerner
Journalist, author and filmmaker (Generation Kunduz: the war of the others)
Antonio Giustozzi
Author of Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop and editor of Decoding the New Taliban
Ali Gohar
Freelance consultant, Just Peace International
Edward Grazda
Photographer, author of Afghanistan 1980-1989 and Afghanistan Diary 1992-2000
Prof. Dr. Eva Gross
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit (Brussels)
Shah Mahmoud Hanifi
Associate Professor, James Madison University
Emilie Jelinek
Senior Researcher, The Liaison Office (TLO), Afghanistan
Muhammad Ajmal Khan Karimi
Kabul-based freelance journalist and research analyst
Jerome Klassen
Visiting Research Fellow, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
Daniel Korski
Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Felix Kuehn
Kandahar-based writer/researcher, co-editor of My Life With the Taliban
Musa Khan Jalalzai
Analyst and author of Taliban and Post-Taliban Afghanistan
Minna Jarvenpaa
Former Head of Analysis and Policy Planning, UNAMA
Colonel Robert C. Jones
U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.), Director of Strategic Understanding, Center for Advanced Defense Studies (USA)
Dr. Leonard Lewisohn
Senior Lecturer in Persian, University of Exeter (UK)
Anatol Lieven
Professor, War Studies Department of King’s College London and author of Pakistan: A Hard Country
Bob McKerrow
Author of Mountains of our Minds – Afghanistan
Shaheryar Mirza
Reporter for ‘Express 24/7’ (Pakistan)
Nick Miszak
Sociologist, Senior Research Officer, TLO, Kabul
Alessandro Monsutti
Research Director, Transnational Studies/Development Studies at The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Janan Mosazai
Kabul-based Freelance Journalist
Naheed Mustafa
Freelance Journalist
Jean Pfeiffer
Japan Assistant to ACAF
Gareth Porter
Ahmed Rashid
Journalist and author of Taliban and Descent into Chaos
Amandine Roche
Afghanistan consultant and author of The Flight of the Afghan Doves
Nir Rosen
Fellow, New York University Center on Law and Security, and author of Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World
Gerard Russell
Research Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University
Prof. Justin Rudelson
Senior Lecturer, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, Dartmouth College and author of Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebook and Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism along China’s Silk Road
Lisa Schirch
Consultant and Professor of Peacebuilding, Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University (USA)
Emrys Schoemaker
Consultant and media advisor
Abdulkader H. Sinno
Associate Professor, Indiana University and author of Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond
Alex Strick van Linschoten
Kandahar-based writer/researcher, co-editor of My Life With the Taliban
Astri Surkhe
Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
Yama Torabi
Co-Director, Integrity Watch Afghanistan
Matt Waldman
Afghanistan Analyst
Mosharraf Zaidi
Independent Analyst & Columnist for The News
* * *

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two local Veterans for Peace in this video

They are waiting for their arrests to be processed in DC.

Total eclipse of the moon

This is the last total eclipse of the moon that is visible from North America until 2014.  This picture came from Wikipedia of a prior eclipse.  The moon starts moving into the earth's shadow at 1:32 AM on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, which is also the Winter Solstice.  Should be good and cold out there......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Message from Afghan youth

Global day of listening to Afghans

You can go and listen to this call at this website.

I am listening right now, there is a bit of problem with the audio.  Here is some more information on this project:
An experiment in bypassing governments and listening to people, this GLOBAL DAY of LISTENING will allow everyone to listen live to stories told by Afghans of what it is like to live in Afghanistan.

Organized by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, starting at 9:30PM EST tonight and ending at 7PM tomorrow.

To listen go to the Livestream connection here.

Alternatively, you can join the conference call by dialing in at 213-289-5065.  Access code: 493-2566.

Please keep your phone line muted, press: *6 to unmute and mute.

The last 15-minutes of each hour is available for listeners to speak with the Afghans participating from Kabul and Bamiyan.  To request a time slot to speak please email

Veterans for Peace activist Josh Stieber will be dialing in to speak at 1PM EST tomorrow (Sunday.)
Link to full article on this event.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Innocent man kidnapped and tortured by CIA

And cannot find any degree of justice in the US, while the US blocked his home country from pressing charges against the CIA.

Meanwhile, a real mass murderer goes free..... and brags about using torture.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Report on the protest at the White House yesterday

One year anniversary of US bombing in Yemen

On December 17, 2009, an alleged al-Qaeda training camp in Abyan, Yemen was hit by a cruise missile killing 41 people. According to an investigation by the Yemeni parliament, 14 women and 21 children were among the dead, along with 14 alleged al-Qaeda fighters. A week later another airstrike hit a separate village in Yemen.

Amnesty International released photographs from one of the strikes revealing remnants of US cluster munitions and the Tomahawk cruise missiles used to deliver them. At the time, the Pentagon refused to comment, directing all inquiries to Yemen's government, which released a statement on December 24 taking credit for both airstrikes, saying in a press release, "Yemeni fighter jets launched an aerial assault" and "carried out simultaneous raids killing and detaining militants."

US diplomatic cables now reveal that both strikes were conducted by the US military. In a meeting with General Petraeus in early January 2010 President Saleh reportedly told Petraeus: "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours." Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister Alimi then boasted that he had just "lied" by telling the Yemeni Parliament "that the bombs… were American-made but deployed by" Yemen. In that meeting, Petraeus and Saleh also discussed the US using "aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs" with Saleh saying his government would continue to publicly take responsibility for US military attacks. It is clear that we have only seen the beginning of the shadow US war in Yemen and Congress must demand accountability and examine the full extent of the lethal actions currently underway in Yemen.
The above came from Jeremy Scahill's testimony to the US Congress earlier this month.

Here is a link to his testimony.
These ongoing shadow wars confirm an open secret that few in Congress are willing to discuss publicly--particularly Democrats: When it comes to US counterterrorism policy, there has been almost no substantive change from the Bush to the Obama administration. In fact, my sources within the CIA and the Special Operations community tell me that if there is any change it is that President Obama is hitting harder and in more countries that President Bush. The Obama administration is expanding covert actions of the military and the number of countries where US Special Forces are operating. The administration has taken the Bush era doctrine that the "world is a battlefield" and run with it and widened its scope. Under the Bush administration, US Special Forces were operating in 60 countries. Under President Obama, they are now in 75 nations.
Unbelievably hideous.  Unbelievably evil.  And it will come back to us......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

UPDATE: 135 arrested in DC

That's 135 brave Americans standing up and speaking out for what is morally right.  I wish I could have been there.

And Assange is released on bail - he has not been charged with anything yet, Sweden wants him for questioning.

Veteran for Peace Rally in DC today

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Local Veterans going to DC for civil disobediance

Subject: Local Veterans Join Largest US Veteran-led Civil Resistance to War on December 16, 2010 in DC

News from Veterans for Peace Chapter 99 (    


Local Contacts: Ken Ashe and Kim Carlyle

[Asheville, North Carolina]  — This will be the largest veteran-led civil resistance to the wars in recent history.  On December 16, 2010, Veterans for Peace and other supporters will rally at Lafayette Park, then march in solidarity to the White House.  They will refuse to leave the White House, demanding an immediate end to U.S. wars, whether conducted by occupation troops, drones, or proxy, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. 

Two local veterans of Veterans for Peace Chapter 99 will be joining them in Washington, DC.  Ken Ashe and Kim Carlyle intend to participate in this action of nonviolently refusing to leave the White House until arrested or dragged away. 

Veterans for Peace and other peace activists will carry forward a flame of resistance to the war machine, and will put themselves as Mario Savio said, "upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus" with the intention of making it stop.

“When a government is unjust and no longer serves the people it governs, it is the duty of the governed to resist the entrenched powers and change the course of the society.  I can not stand by idly while my government, in my name, continues killing innocents abroad who have done no harm to us.  When my government spends unlimited amounts of treasure on our war making machine and the supporting industries but neglects the needs of the governed, it is imperative that the people give voice to their concerns and try by all non-violent means possible to change the course of their government.  This is why I will be in front of the White House December 16th demanding an end to the wars in the Middle East and the looting of our economy by the rich and powerful.” – Ken Ashe, Veterans For Peace Chapter 99

“Besides causing untold suffering and destruction, our futile and unending wars distract us from addressing unprecedented humanitarian and planetary crises. To allow war to even exist dishonors the teachers of peace who came before us. To fail to oppose war is to submit to those who make war. I choose to honor the peace teachers; I choose to oppose and resist the warmakers.”—Kim Carlyle, Veterans For Peace and War Crimes Times

Who:   Veterans for Peace, Chapter 099
What:   Civil Disobedience at the White House
When:   December 16, 2010
Where:  White House, Washington DC

More information on this action is available at Veterans for Peace website: and 

Media contacts who would like to interview either Ken Ashe or Kim Carlyle should contact them directly.  
# # #

Protest against possible war in Korea

This picture was taken on 11-27-10 at the White House.  According to ANSWER, there were protests from coast to coast.  Meanwhile, the US run war games continue.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Amnesty International Letters

Every December, Amnesty International asks supporters to write letters about prisoners of conscience and other human rights abuses.  I sent out seven emails, eleven letters to Mexico, twelve letters to people in the USA, and fourteen letters to other foreign countries.  I will have to make a run to a post office to get the stamps.
And I did holiday cards! 

Who will tame the giant vampire squid?


"Information has never been so free. Even in authoritarian countries information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable." - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, January 21, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anna Ardin talks to CIA contact

One of the more interesting aspects of this story (rape charges against Julian Assange) is that one of the "victims" did work for the CIA at one point.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths

[The following is written by Julian Assange, and was published in The Australian on December 8, 2010.]

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks. 
IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat" and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

► The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.
► King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.
► Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by any means available.
► Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".
► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.
► The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government". The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

15 year old Brit tells it like it is.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Where to go from Wikileaks? Peace Movement Responds

Oakland, Ca: While only a tiny fraction of the U.S. diplomatic cables scheduled for publication by Wikileaks have thus far been made available, some conclusions can already be drawn. These cables and the Iraq and Afghan War Diaries provide an opportunity for Americans to see our government for what it is.

Our government is seen here as controlling a global military and espionage empire that impacts every region of the globe and deceives its own population. Secrecy, spying, and hostility have infected our entire government, turning the diplomatic corps into an arm of the CIA and the military, just as the civilian efforts in Afghanistan are described by Richard Holbrooke, who heads them up, as "support for the military." Secret war planning, secret wars, and lies about wars have become routine. The United States is secretly and illegally engaged in a war in Yemen and has persuaded that nation's government to lie about it. The United States has supported a coup in Honduras and lied about it.

We have long known that the war on terrorism was increasing, rather than diminishing, terrorism. These leaks show Saudi Arabia to be the greatest sponsor of terrorism, and show that nation's dictator, King Abdullah, to be very close to our own government in its treatment of prisoners. He has urged the United States to implant microchips in prisoners released from Guantanamo. And he has urged the United States to illegally and aggressively attack Iran. Congress should immediately block what would be the largest weapons sale in U.S. history, selling this country $60 billion in weapons. And Congress should drop any idea of "updating" the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force to permit presidents to unconstitutionally launch more wars. We see what sort of wars our allies urge on our presidents.

We learn that while dictators urge war, other branches of the same governments, the people, and the evidence weigh against it. We learn from a cable from last February that Russia has refuted U.S. claims that Iran has missiles that could target Europe. We learn from September 2009 that the United States and Britain planned to pressure Yukiya Amano, the then incoming head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to produce reports suggesting Iranian nuclear developments, whether or not merited by the facts, and that National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones proposed the propaganda strategy of baselessly tying Iran's nuclear program to North Korea's.

Much of the pressure for war appears to come from within the United States, whose representatives treat the entire world as a hostile enemy to be spied on, lied to, and exploited. The secrecy that permits this behavior must be broken if the United States' approach to the world is to change. Those who have helped to fulfill President Obama's campaign promise of transparency must be protected from his vengeance, while those who have abused positions of diplomatic trust to advance agendas of espionage and war planning must be held accountable.

While other countries may offer residency and protection to Wikileaks' Julian Assange, it is the United States that has most benefitted from his work. We encourage U.S. cities to offer him sanctuary.

Our Department of Justice has granted immunity for aggressive war, kidnapping, torture, assassination, and warrantless spying, while pursuing the criminal prosecution of Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking materials to Wikileaks. Were our government to indict Assange or support the extradition or rendition of Assange from anywhere in the world to Sweden, while maintaining that his work and not the Pentagon's has endangered us, our nation's moral standing would reach a new low.

Our government should cease any actions it is taking to prosecute Julian Assange for absurd criminal charges, to pressure Sweden to do so, or to sabotage Wikileaks' servers.Coverups of leaks have a history in Washington of backfiring in the form of larger leaks and scandals. Our State Department should focus on diplomacy and mutually beneficial partnerships with the world community.

The undersigned express our gratitude to those doing the job a representative government and an independent media are each supposed to do. We demand an end to all overt and covert wars, a ban on the use of State Department employees and contractors in spying or warfare, and a full investigation of the facts revealed in the Wikileaks cables.

Cindy Sheehan Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
Medea Benjamin CODEPINK
Leslie Cagan
Tim Carpenter Progressive Democrats of America
Gael Murphy United for Peace and Justice
David Swanson
Debra Sweet World Can't Wait
Kevin Zeese Voters for Peace
Ann Wright Veterans for Peace

Link to original here.

Human Rights Day

Today is Human Rights Day. 

There are human rights abuses all around the world, and the United States is one of many countries who violate human rights.  I am busy this week with writing letters for Amnesty International.  They pick 12 causes or individuals whose rights are being violated, and then hundreds of people write letters about this individuals or causes.

Another abuser of human rights is the country of Israel.  I generally work on abuses by the US government, but in this case it is the US government who is enabling the abuses by the country of Israel.
One group working on this issue is “End the Occupation”.  Today, they sent this information:
Last month, I testified in London before the Russell Tribunal on Palestine about U.S. government complicity in providing the Israeli military with Caterpillar bulldozers, which it misuses to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians--demolishing homes, uprooting olive trees, and injuring and killing civilians.  At the tribunal, I had the honor of meeting Stéphane Hessel--French resistance hero, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--who served as a distinguished juror.  
The absence of meaningful action from governments to hold Israel accountable to international law leaves open one path for citizens of conscience: to take this responsibility upon themselves, as done against apartheid South Africa. Non-violent citizen-led initiatives, exemplified by the Flotilla and the various boycott and divestment campaigns around the world, present the most promising way to overcome the failure of world governments to stand up to Israel's intransigence and lawless behavior. By flagrantly attacking the aid ship, Israel has inadvertently brought unprecedented awareness and condemnation not only of its fatal siege of Gaza but also of the wider context of Israel's occupation practices in the Palestinian Territories, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights, and its apartheid policies against the indigenous, "non-Jewish" citizens of Israel.
Every year, I make a small contribution to Amnesty International (who work on human rights issues) and the ACLU (who work on civil rights and human rights issues).  I also join in on actions whenever I can.  Now – I have to get back to finishing up the letters for Amnesty International.  Five are done, seven to go.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Statement by Rep. Ron Paul

“In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth,” Paul said. “In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.”
He is talking about WikiLeaks.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Letter to Representative Shuler's office

Thought I would share some articles that were interesting, and spoke to how our "war on terror" is going.

A Pakistani man whose son and brother were killed by what he claims was a US drone strike is seeking $500 million in compensation from the US government over the incident.  Kareem Khan said that a CIA-operated drone fired missiles at his house in Pakistan's North Waziristan on New Year's Eve in 2009, killing his son 18-year old son Zaenullah and his brother Asif Iqbal.   In a legal notice to US officials, including the heads of the Pentagon and the CIA, Khan's lawyer has demanded a staggering $500m in compensation.  "We say to them that these drone attacks you are carrying out are killing innocent people," Khan told the Reuters news agency, describing the message he wanted to convey to the Americans.

[People do not forget and forgive when we kill their innocent loved ones.  Never have, never will.]

The U.S. media paid scant attention in June when Amnesty International released a report charging that U.S. cruise missiles carrying cluster bombs had struck the village of al Majalah in southern Yemen on Dec. 17, 2009, killing 41 civilians, including 14 women and 21 children.  Pentagon officials declined to discuss the matter at the time. But accusations of direct U.S. participation in that bombing and others in Yemen that reportedly caused civilian casualties quickly became a principal theme of al-Qaida propaganda. That theme is now likely to get even more traction as a result of the disclosure by WikiLeaks of an unusually revealing State Department cable in which Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his top ministers appear to agree to cover up the extent of the U.S. military role in disputed air strikes in Yemen.

[The US media and US government can ignore what is happening to the people under the US bombs dropped on them, but that does not mean it will go away.  It means the local people will want to retaliate, and possibly join up with al Qaeda or other violent groups.]

Oxfam Report:  Security for the vast majority of Afghans is rapidly deteriorating. As 29 aid organizations working in Afghanistan, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the escalating conflict on civilians. It is likely that in-creased violence in 2011 will lead to more civilian casualties, continue to fuel displacement, cut off access to basic services and reduce the ability of aid agencies to reach those who need assistance most.

[Things are getting worse for the ordinary people of Afghanistan.  And the next article underlines a reason why.]

Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has also urged his fighters to try to avoid killing innocent civilians. Many of the crude roadside bombs the insurgents rely on to target NATO or Afghan forces kill ordinary citizens instead.  "Pay attention to the life and property of civilians so that ... your jihad activities will not become a cause for destruction of property and loss of life of people," Omar said in a message e-mailed to the media last week.

The Marines have tried to sway public opinion by increasing the number of development projects in Sangin. But they have discovered that better roads and new flood walls may do little good if locals believe the Marines are killing civilians.  "The people say we don't need any help, just stop injuring and killing our civilians," Mira Jan Aka, a village elder from central Sangin, said during a recent meeting with the Marines.  Aka was one of several elders who spent most of the weekly session complaining about Marines killing civilians.  "It's clear the Marines can kill Taliban, so why are they making mistakes and killing civilians by dropping bombs on their compounds?" said Haji Gul Mohammad, an elder from northern Sangin.

The Marines dismissed the cries of the elders, many of whom they believe are sent by the Taliban to deliver a message the insurgents hope will hinder military operations. As proof, they point out that none of the elders have been targeted by the Taliban for meeting with the Marines even though the insurgents threaten locals with death if they go near the base.  But locals who don't show up at the base have also complained about Marines killing civilians. Tuma Khan, a landowner from central Sangin, complained to Marines during a recent patrol that they shot and killed one of his farmers who was working in the field. The Marines said the man was planting a homemade bomb in the ground.  Mullah Abdul Wali, another landowner from Sangin who recently fled with his family to Helmand's provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, complained that aggressive attacks by the Marines have killed dozens of civilians.

[The US Marines are just dismissing the complaints from the elders, instead of listening to them.  Time and time again I have seen local populations complain about the killing of civilians, the US military claim they were not civilians, and then further investigation show the locals were right.  Meanwhile, most of the US does not seem to notice.  This is an excellent strategy if the goal is to grow more terrorists and make this into a forever war.  I am opposed to this plan because it is highly immoral, however, there is also the problem of not being able to afford to keep sinking money into this immoral behavior.  This last point is especially true when we are funding both sides of the conflict.]

It’s not as bad as you thought over there. It’s unimaginably worse. Imagine a war in which, if you didn’t pay the enemy to let you play, you couldn’t have the war. For all the talk about fighting terrorists and those Taliban, this is what we have been doing in Afghanistan. Command knows it. Congress knows it. Even Hillary Clinton knows it. Yet now they are talking about dumping another $450 billion into the Graveyard of Empires, in pursuit of a fugitive who isn’t there, to prevent attacks which were planned in Hamburg.  This is the firm conclusion of a committee report released from Congress this summer which should qualify as the most underplayed story of the year, both by the media and by politicians of both parties who should care. American dollars are buying arms, explosives, and paying for fighters which are killing brave American soldiers who are being betrayed by their leaders at all levels.

[This is not only immoral, it is vastly stupid - and insane.]

Women may hold 25 percent of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but one in five in the 15-49 age group has suffered physical violence at the hands of her husband. Anecdotal evidence alleges that “many women are being kidnapped and sold into prostitution”, and female genital mutilation is still common in the north, the report notes.“The situation many Iraqi women and girls face is beyond words,” journalist Eman Khammas told IRIN in a telephone interview. “Before, I was a journalist, a professional; now, I am nothing.”

Khammas noted an underlying social climate of intolerance that has become increasingly poisonous for women. She was forced to flee Iraq after receiving death threats that effectively stopped her - like thousands of other Iraqi women - from working. She now lives in Spain.  
Women’s participation in the labour force has fallen sharply since 2003. Before the invasion, 40 percent of public sector workers were women, according to a report by the Brussels Tribunal, an anti-war movement. Some sectors, such as the teaching profession, were almost entirely staffed by women, Khammas said.

[This article underlines the after-effects of an invasion and occupation.  What makes this so hideously evil is the fact that Iraq did not attack or even threaten us, and we invaded and destroyed the place anyway, against the wishes of nearly the entire world.  I also think the Afghanistan war is wasteful and immoral, but there was the backing of a large part of the world for that action.  If, after nine years, we have no achieved our objectives, then we probably never will. 

I used to hear the argument back in 2003 and 2004 that the US military has to stay in Iraq to "fix it" - well, we all see how well that worked out.  We destroyed the place and ruined the lives of tens of millions of innocent people. 

And this is why the US military needs to get out of Afghanistan too - we are not helping the people there, we cannot achieve our objectives, and it is unfair to ask young American men and women to go thousands of miles to die by explosives paid for by US taxpayers.  And that is exactly what we are doing.  I would like to ask Representative Shuler to stop funding both the Taliban and the US military operations in Afghanistan.  All this dying and killing is not worth it.  Thanks for reading.  I am going to put this on my blog too.]

Monday, December 06, 2010

A little tune for Wikileaks.....

Oh, the financial situation is frightful
And the bank bonuses are NOT delightful,
But as long as everything’s bleak,
Let it leak, let it leak, let it leak!

The wars don’t show signs of stopping
And you really got the media hopping
And so to our favorite geek,
Let it leak, let it leak, let it leak!

While the diplomats kiss goodnight
Their memos kick up a shit storm
But if Wikileaks holds on tight
Honesty might become the new norm!

While empire is slowing dying
The politicians will just go on lying
But as long as everything reeks,
Let it leak, let it leak, let it leak!


Where on earth did people in America get this idea, that we only have a system of justice when it happens to be convenient? Maybe they got it from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and from a nation that looks at a president who invaded another country on bogus, trumped up pretenses and ordered illegal acts of torture - and sends him on a cross-country book tour with a multi-million-dollar reward? Actions have consequences, but so does inaction, and for all the right-wing clucking, the reality is that the failure of this country to hold a president and his aides accountable for things that were not "policy differences" but serious violations of the law is making America weaker, not stronger, as our moral fiber and our standing in the world slowly erodes.
Link here.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Hope is about doing something

Chris Hedges writes about the upcoming action on December 16 in DC.
"I cannot promise you fine weather or an easy time. I cannot assure you that thousands will converge on Lafayette Park in solidarity. I cannot pretend that being handcuffed is pleasant. I cannot say that anyone in Congress or the White House, anyone in the boardrooms of the corporations that cannibalize our nation, will be moved by pity to act for the common good. I cannot tell you these wars will end or the hungry will be fed. I cannot say that justice will roll down like a mighty wave and restore our nation to sanity. But I can say this: If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war, that he or she is not alone, our resistance will be successful.  Hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen."
Hat tip to Kim C for forwarding this to me via email.

Don't give up.....

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Stop these wars or we'll fill your jails!

The Veterans for Peace are leading an action in Washington DC on December 16, 2010.  They are going to have a protest and civil disobedience at the White House that day.   Here is an email they sent out recently about this:
Brothers and Sisters,

The Empire has met the resistance.  And it is US!

Here's how you can be part of that resistance.

Your comrades from VFP and your brothers and sisters from many organizations are coming to Washington, Dec. 16 for what will be the largest veteran-led act of civil resistance in opposition to ongoing U.S. wars and occupations.
The Empire has laid waste to Iraq and has occupied Afghanistan longer than did the Russians.  On December 16, VFP has created a rare opportunity to resist in a CAPITOL way that will be heard in every corner of the peace movement.

Listen to what our members are saying-- our members who waited for no one to organize this historic action; who determined now is the time to make another entry in the annals of human resistance to war and Empire.

Tarak Kauff: "We have grown so used to the state of war being a constant that people no longer see it as an emergency the way they did when millions of us turned out worldwide in 2003. I want us return to seeing it as an emergency, a fire that must be put out...a fire we will put our bodies on the line to extinguish.  There is no glory, no heroism, no good wars, no justification whatsoever, it is all, all of it, based on lies."

Ellen Barfield:
"In this season of supposed peace on earth, we who previously carried out U.S. foreign policy with our bodies must speak out to say, ‘NO MORE! Bring the troops home NOW!’”

Mike Hearington:
"I will not be silent!"

VFP members are coming to Washington from literally every corner of the nation.  If you can come, join us.  If you can't, join us by helping others get there and helping pay for the significant cost of putting on this action. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

US still killing Iraqi civilians

Residents mourn as they wait to claim bodies of bomb attack victims outside a morgue in Baghdad August 17, 2010.   REUTERS/Saad Shalash 

I guess this should come as no surprise – the US troops are still running around Iraq and still killing civilians.  This time it was an unlucky guy headed to work.

And, as usual, the US troops blame the Iraqi for getting himself killed for driving to work in his own country.

US troops killed an Iraqi airport employee today as he drove near a military convoy on his way to work.  US and Iraqi security officials asserted that the driver, identified by colleagues as Baghdad International Airport worker Karim Obaid Bardan, failed to heed repeated signals to slow down or turn on his headlights as he neared the military convoy. 

US army Colonel Barry Johnson said: "The vehicle was perceived as a threat and a decision was made to engage it with small-arms fire in order to stop it and to protect the convoy from a possible attack.  "Iraqi drivers know that they must use caution and avoid threatening behaviour when approaching military vehicles," Col Johnson added. 

I think it is bad enough they killed a guy for nothing, but to put the blame on the dead guy is truly disgusting.  I think Colonel Barry Johnson is a world class prick.

This incident happened on November 28, 2010.

One more unnoticed death in Iraq of an innocent civilian - among hundreds of thousands - from US violence.

His co-workers at the Baghdad Airport decided to shut down the airport for two hours in protest.  They said the killing happened near an American run checkpoint, not a convoy. 

Airport Closed After US troops kill engineer

An official at Iraqi Airways, speaking on condition of anonymity, said outraged airport personnel closed down the airport for two hours in protest. "Why such killing?" the Iraqi official demanded. "Where is the security agreement between the government and the U.S.? Was this the democracy they brought to us? Democracy of killing?"

He added of the victim, "He was an official going to his job."

I said many years ago that the US was bringing Iraq the democracy of death and the freedom of the grave.

The continuing effects....

All of a sudden the Christian woman broke down crying making it more difficult to understand what she was saying other than “kaneesa... kaneesa” or “church... church”. But there was no need for words to explain how she was feeling.

The October 31st siege of the Sayidat al-Najat Church in Baghdad, the worst attack on Iraq’s Christian minority in the past seven years,  was a  horrific hours-long hostage ordeal that left 53 Christians dead. This attack and others that have  followed have left many in the dwindling community paralyzed by fear.

The Muslim woman, all teary eyed, put her hand on the Christian’s and looked up at me  “See what they have done to our country? ... They have separated the Iraqis... The Christians are good people and now look what they are doing to them”

For these two women there are memories of better days in Iraq;  days of less freedoms, but more security.  Days that many of Iraq’s older generation reminisce over as they repeatedly tell you about how all Iraqis Shiite, Sunni and Christian coexisted in harmony.

It is a massive, massive, hideous evil that we have done to Iraq.  And now the US is going to go on and do it to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What I learned from Wikileaks recently

Here is what I learned from them so far:

  1. Nearly all Arab governments in the Middle East are telling the US that they are afraid of Iran getting a nuclear bomb.  They are afraid of Iran having too much power in the region.  Of course, that increased power came about because of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In light of the fact that Iran has not acted aggressively in living memory, this is bizarre. Maybe the Arab governments want more war toys?   Or are US cable writers just promoting more war by making shit up?  Would not be the first time…..

  1. Egypt knew about the upcoming attack on Gaza in June 2008.   So did Abbas and his Fatah party.  The attack happened in December 2008 and January 2009.  Egypt did nothing to stop it.  Abbas did nothing to stop it. 1400 Palestinian civilians were killed, about 1/3 children.
Yeah, Hamas are assholes, so it Fatah and the Egyptian government.

  1. While Gates and other US officials were publicly claiming that Iran is giving weapons and funding to the Taliban in Afghanistan, in private, they said this was bullshit.
Just trying to promote more war …..

  1. Iran is reportedly using the Red Crescent to get weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah.    No verification, just claims. 
Not Nice, if this is true.  Evil, actually.

  1. The US knew the coup in Honduras was a military coup, and they knew they were supposed to (under US law) stop payments to the country.  They choose not to do so.  No definite proof that the US was behind the coup in Honduras in 2009.
But they probably were.

  1. The former vice president of the US-puppet government in Afghanistan left the country with $52 MILLION in a suitcase!  He was allowed to keep it.
Our “friends” are criminals.

  1. Yemen is taking the fall for US drone bombings in that country. 
That will help make Yemen even more unstable and violent.  Good plan!! NOT.

  1. Secretary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on the UN Security Council.
She is a creep.

  1. The US is paying off foreign countries to accept former GITMO prisoners.  Or trading prisoners for access to President Obama.

  1. The US is trying to remove nuclear fuel from Pakistan.  They failed.  Pakistan won’t let them do it.  Meanwhile, the US Senate has not ratified START, which is to secure and account for lose nukes in Russia.

  1.  Qatar told Senator Kerry that they want a dialogue with Iran and a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  The Amir said that Israel is causing the US to lose the “hearts and minds” of Muslims.
I don’t know – seems like the US is doing a fine job of that without any help from Israel.

  1.  Iran is trying to get rockets from North Korea.
Iran is going to get more and more interested in defensive weapons as the ugly rhetoric heats up towards their country.

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."  - Dresden James

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photos from the November Vigil at Fort Benning

The last photo is very moving.  More information and photos of the SOA Watch protest in November 2010 can be found at this link.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Yes, it’s BOMBS AWAY in Pakistan, especially in Northern Waziristan, part of the semiautonomous tribal region.  According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration has carried out more than 100 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010; witch is about twice the number of the bombs they dropped there in 2009.  Not that they will admit that they are doing this – even though they claim they have killed militants now and then.

Pakistani officials often criticize the U.S. drone strikes, calling them a violation of the country's sovereignty. But the Pakistani government allows the drones to take off from bases within the country and is widely believed to provide intelligence necessary for the attacks.

Here are a few drone bombings from earlier this month:

Pakistani intelligence officials said a suspected US missile strike killed four alleged militants in the country’s northwest.  It’s the latest in a barrage of attacks by unmanned drones on the stronghold of Taliban fighters targeting American and Nato forces in Afghanistan.  The officials said a pair of missiles hit a moving vehicle in Pir Kali village in North Waziristan.

A suspected US drone has fired two missiles at a car and a motorcycle in a militant-infested area of northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing five people in the fourth such attack this week, Pakistani intelligence officials say.

Four suspected U.S. missiles slammed into a house in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing six people in an area near the Afghan border teeming with local and foreign militants, intelligence officials said.

The dead included three militants and three local tribesmen who were harboring them, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

A non-UN-sanctioned US drone attack has killed at least three people in the troubled northwestern Pakistan, security officials say.  The aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle in North Waziristan. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the attack.

The above are just samples – with more than 100 drone bombings this year, there are plenty more out there.  But, who are they killing?  Opinions differ to some extent, but an American based group claimed that about one out of three killed is a civilian. 

The report by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann found that 32 per cent of those killed in drone attacks since 2004 were civilians.  Their report, The Year of the Drone, studied 114 drone raids in which more than 1200 people were killed. Of those, between 549 and 849 were reliably reported to be militant fighters, while the rest were civilians.  "The true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 per cent," the foundation reported.  The number of drone attacks has increased dramatically since Barack Obama replaced George W Bush as US president early last year. 

Yes, you read that correctly – Obama is much more into playing the BOMBS AWAY GAME in Pakistan than Bush ever was.   The Bush administration had a total of 45 drone bombings in Pakistan, and the Obama administration had 51 the first year in office.  This year – his second year in office – has seen over 100 drone bombings.  I think we should start calling him O’BOMBER.

And the O’BOMBER administration wants to expand the BOMBS AWAY GAME!  They are putting pressure on Pakistan to expand the areas where the CIA can do their drone bombings, since the insurgents keep on moving.  If the insurgents move to a more populated area, then the number of civilians dead will increase greatly.  But this does not seem to matter to the ones playing the BOMBS AWAY GAME.

The U.S. appeal has focused on the area surrounding the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban leadership is thought to be based. But the request also seeks to expand the boundaries for drone strikes in the tribal areas, which have been targeted in 101 attacks this year, the officials said.

The BOMBS AWAY GAME is likely going to expand in Pakistan.  God help the poor victims of the bombs, because the US is not going to help them, and neither is Pakistan. 

Over the past year, CIVIC conducted interviews with Pakistani and US policymakers, humanitarians and officials from international organizations, and over 160 Pakistani civilians suffering direct losses from the conflict. After nearly a decade of conflict and billions of aid channeled into Pakistan, more can and should be done to address the civilian cost of the conflict. CIVIC proposes concrete, specific measures to warring parties and their partners toward finally acknowledging and making amends for civilian harm.

Also, NATO helicopters have violated Pakistani airspace again, and fired at people on the ground.  This time three people were wounded.  Were they combatants?  Who knows?  The USA BOMBERS certainly don't care. 

On Dec. 16, 2010, Veterans for Peace, IVAW, and other anti-war groups will hold an action at the White House against these wars, occupations and BOMBS AWAY GAMES.  This will be a civil disobedience action, and will show us the few Americans who have morals and are willing to stand against this evil.  Join them if you care.

Drone bombings in Pakistan
According to this video, about 98% of people killed in drone strikes are innocent. 
And there is no accountability in this BOMBS AWAY GAME.