Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, mark the August 31st partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq with the following evaluation and recommendations:
  • The U.S. occupation of Iraq continues and the reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq can at best be called only a rebranded occupation. While the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will be reduced from a high of 165,000, there will still be 50,000 troops left behind, some 75,000 contractors, five huge “enduring bases” and an Embassy the size of Vatican City.
  • The U.S. military’s overthrow of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein did not lead to a better life for Iraqis—just the opposite. It resulted in the further destruction of basic infrastructure—electricity, water, sewage—that continues to this day. The U.S. dropped more tons of bombs on Iraq than in all of WWII, destroying Iraq’s electrical, water and sewage systems. Iraq’s health care and higher education systems, once the best in the entire region, have been decimated. The U.S. war on Iraq unleashed a wave of violence that has left over one million Iraqis dead and four million displaced, as well as ethnic rivalries that continue to plague the nation. We have seriously wounded millions of Iraqis, creating a lifetime of suffering and economic hardship for them, their communities and the entire nation as it struggles to rebuild.
  •  Life expectancy for Iraqis fell from 71 years in 1996 to 67 years in 2007 due to the war and destruction of the healthcare system. The U.S. use of weapons such as depleted uranium and white phosphorous has taken a severe toll, with the cancer rate in Fallujah, for example, now worse than that of Hiroshima.
  • The majority of the refugees and internally displaced persons created by the US intervention have been abandoned. Of the nearly 4 million refugees, many are now living in increasingly desperate circumstances in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and around the world. As undocumented refugees, most are not allowed to work and are forced to take extremely low paying, illegal jobs ($3/day) or rely on the UN and charity to survive. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has documented a spike in the sex trafficking of Iraqi women.
  • Iraq still does not have a functioning government. Many months after the March 7 elections, there is still a political vacuum and violence that is killing roughly 300 civilians a month. There is no functioning democracy in place and little sign there will be one in the near future.
  • The Iraq War has left a terrible toll on the U.S. troops. More than one million American service members have deployed in the Iraq War effort. Over 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed and tens of thousands severely injured. More than one in four U.S. troops have come home from the Iraq war with health problems that require medical or mental health treatment. PTSD rates in the military have skyrocketed. In 2009, a record number of 245 soldiers committed suicide.
  • The war has drained our treasury. As of August 2010, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $750 billion on the Iraq War effort. Counting the cost of lifetime care of wounded vets and the interest payments on the money we borrowed to pay for this war, the real cost will be in the trillions. This misappropriation of funds has contributed to the economic crises we are experiencing, including the lack of funds for our schools, healthcare, infrastructure and investments in clean, green jobs.
  • The U.S. officials who got us into this disastrous war on the basis of lies have not been held accountable. Not George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld. No one. Neither have the Bush administration lawyers who authorized torture, including Jay Bybee and John Yoo. The “think tanks,” journalists and pundits who perpetuated the lies have not been fired—most are today cheerleading for the war in Afghanistan.
  • The war has led to the pillaging of Iraqi resources. The U.S. Department of Defense has been unable to account for $8.7 billion of Iraqi oil and gas money meant for humanitarian needs and reconstruction after the 2003 invasion. The invasion has also led to the dismantling of Iraqi government control over the nation’s oil. In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force, which included executives of America’s largest energy companies, recommended opening up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment. The resulting Iraq Oil Law has led to the global grab for Iraq’s resources.
  • The war has not made us more secure. The US policy of torture, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, violent and deadly raids on civilian homes, gunning down innocent civilians in the streets and absence of habeas corpus has fueled the fires of hatred and extremism toward Americans. The very presence of our troops in Iraq and other Muslim nations has become a recruiting tool.
Given the above, we, the undersigned individuals and organizations, mark the occasion of this partial troop withdrawal by calling on the Administration and Congress to take the following actions:

    * Withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq and the closing of all U.S. bases;
    * Reparations to help the Iraqis repair their basic infrastructure and increased funds for the millions of internally and externally displaced Iraqis;
    * Full support for the U.S. troops who suffer from the internal and external wounds of war;
    * Prosecution of those officials responsible for dragging our country into this disaster;
    * Transfer of funds from war into resources to rebuild America, with a focus on green jobs.
    * The lessons of this disastrous intervention should also be an impetus for Congress and the administration to end the war in Afghanistan. It’s time to focus on creating real security here at home and rebuilding America.

* Veterans For Peace
* Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
* CODEPINK: Women for Peace
* Community Organizing Center
* Courage to Resist
* Fellowship of Reconciliation
* Global Exchange
* Institute for Policy Studies' New Internationalism Project
* Iraq Veterans Against the War
* Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
* Just Foreign Policy
*  Mid-Missouri Peaceworks
* Military Families Speak Out
* Pax Christi - USA
* Under the Hood
* US Labor Against the War
* Voices for Creative Nonviolence
* Voters for Peace
* War Is a Crime

Non-violent protests in Palestine

"This week, an Israeli military court convicted Abdallah Abu Rahmah, whom progressive Zionists have called a "Palestinian Gandhi," of "incitement" and "organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations" for organizing protests against the confiscation of Palestinian land by the "Apartheid Wall" in the village of Bilin in the West Bank, following an eight month trial, during which he was kept in prison.The European Union issued a protest. But as far as I am aware, no U.S. official has said anything and no U.S. newspaper columnist has denounced this act of repression; indeed, the U.S. press hasn't even reported the news."

"Palestinian Gandhi" Convicted for Protesting; U.S. Silent

There are regular non-violent protests in the West Bank, which are regularly ignored by the US corporate media.  Also not reported is the stopping of rocket attacks by Palestinians, and when Israelis kill Palestinians, it is mostly ignored.  When Palestinians kill Israels, it is reported, and any prior provocation is just ignored. The conditions that Palestinians are living under is also mainly ignored.  

And then these same media folks wonder why there is no Palestinian "Gandhi".  Well, there is.  As a matter of fact, there are several of them.  They are all in Israeli prisons.

And a recent aid ship to Gaza made it to Gaza without Israeli involvement.  I hope that trend continues.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bean counters for the Holocaust

People often tell me that pacifism will NEVER work, because of people like Hitler.  But what if NO ONE in the US had funded, armed or helped Hitler?  Would Hitler have been able to do what he did, if NO ONE in the US had helped him out?

Here is one US corporation that did help Hitler.  Apparently, they did it through out the entire war.  They did it for money, as always.  And their greedy ways resulted in the deaths of millions of Jews.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goombay 2010!

To a little twit (Poem)

To a little twit
(June 2010)

To a little twit
Without a wit
You are a hit
In the pit

You do your bit
To be a zit
But you’re not fit
To be a nit

So get your mitt
And go get lit
I will not sit
With a little twit

Photo is of kudzu.  It is a weed. So are some people.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pictures from Friends potluck on 8-28-10

LOST? you betcha....

Several of these signs have turned up around my town of Asheville.  I think it is so ridiculous - this Billy Graham library is over 125 miles away!  Any one who is lost would have a hard time finding the place, I would think.  Also, there is THE COVE just outside of Asheville, and this is a Billy Graham training center - yet, no one is allowed to visit the place, or take a walk there (I tried).  If you want to go there, you have to sign up for a 'course' that costs hundreds of dollars.

I think they are the ones who are LOST.

Waterfall fun

These kids, especially the little girl, are so cool......

Friday, August 27, 2010

Clebrating Nuclear Resistance

Celebrating Nuclear Resistance from the Nuclear Resister on Vimeo.
A slide show with music prepared for the Resistance for a Nuclear Free Future gathering, July 3-5, 2010, at Maryville College, Tennessee, and the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex.  Celebrating 30 years of the Nuclear Resister, Nukewatch, and the Plowshares Movement.  [I was there - it was an impressive event!]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friends without Borders

I really like this idea in the video, and I hope to get something going locally:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A very good idea....

This is a picture of a building being restored in Asheville.  It is proposed that this building become a train depot for passenger travel.  I hope that happens!

A very stupid idea....

Recycling bottles and cans = good idea.
Helping veterans = good idea.

Doing this with a machine that uses electricity 24/7 = REALLY STUPID IDEA!
Clearly, this could be done with simple collection bins.  No need to have a machine run by a computer, that talks to people, and is using electricity all day and all night, every day.  These machines have gone up at Rite Aid drugstores around the city of Asheville.  Here is a picture of one of them.  This is not a 'dream' it is a nightmare of stupidity!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two messages from James Madison

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretense of defending, have enslaved the people.  - James Madison, speech at the Constitutional Convention, June 29, 1787

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.  The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.   - James Madison, "Political Observations" April 20, 1795

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From Iraq Veterans Against the War

It's Not Really Over

Mainstream television news yesterday made a big show of the withdrawal of America's "last combat troops" from Iraq, but the painful saga continues for our service members.  Many returning home to their tearful and joyous families in the coming days will ultimately be sent to serve more tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, members of two different units heading to Iraq and Afghanistan are calling on their commanders right now to halt their deployments because they are not physically or mentally ready to deploy.

Will you stand with them?
President Obama makes it sound like the troops remaining in Iraq will be serving largely administrative and 'advisory' functions. But in reality, 50,000 "combat capable" troops will remain in Iraq to:
  • Train the Iraqi military, including accompanying them on dangerous patrols;
  • Support special forces operations in their continued hunt for terrorists; and
  • Provide air support to the Iraqi military (a.k.a overhead artillery and bombing).
In an Iraq which grows increasingly violent each month, does this sound like desk duty?

The 3rd ACR at Fort Hood

This Sunday, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) at Fort Hood will be shipped out to Iraq.  The military wives and family members of 3rd ACR soldiers say that hundreds of the 5,000 about to go to Iraq are suffering from PTSD and other ailments, and are not fit to deploy.  This week they demanded that those wounded warriors stay home.

IVAW's Fort Hood chapter and Fort Hood's military families are asking the civilian community to join their calls for the military to stop deploying traumatized troops.

Call 3rd ACR Commanders and tell them not to deploy soldiers who have PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.

3rd ACR Commanders:
Regimental Commander - Col. Allen (254) 553-3526
Command Sgt. Major Jonathan J. Hunt (254) 287-0598
Call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and ask for whatever commander you're ringing by name. If they won't speak to you, leave them a message or call back. If you get anyone else's ear, tell them to stop deploying soldiers who are medically unfit.  After you've made your call, send us an email at feedback@ivaw.org to let us know you've called.

The 656th Transportation Company

The 656th is an Army Reserve unit based in Indiana, made up of reservists from several midwestern states.  Due to deploy this weekend for Afghanistan, members within the unit have cited lack of training and mental health problems among the reasons they are not fit to go.  IVAW member, Alejandro Villatoro, a Sergeant in the Company, has raised concerns that they have not been trained on the weapons they will be using, and do not know how to operate the vehicles they will have to drive, once in Afghanistan.  There are also serious mental health issues among some of the troops set to deploy.

After Alejandro first exposed this crisis, others in the unit also came forward.  They are now pushing for a Congressional inquiry into their unit's readiness.  We will keep you posted next week with steps you can take to support their efforts.  For a full explanation of the situation facing the 656th, click here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Plants on my front steps.....

I got six Petunia plants in one tray.  I put three plants each into two identical pots, and used the same potting soil.  I watered them both at the same time.  One is blooming away and one is dying.  I cannot explain it.

Everybody knows - by Leonard Cohen

Friday, August 20, 2010

Protest at Bi'lin on 8-20-10

These folks are BRAVE:

Top Five Myths about Social Security

This came from Moveon.org:

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke.
Reality: There is no Social Security crisis.  By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T').  It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago.2  Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.
Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.
Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut. 
Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. 
Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share.  If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.5 Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income.6  But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.
Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs
Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.7 The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.
Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit
Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible!  By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.8
Defeating these myths is the first step to stopping Social Security cuts.  Can you share this list now?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Riverlink Raft Race

Above are some photos of the Vets for Peace entrance into the Riverlink Raft Race on August 14, 2010.  Ron, Clare and I took this canoe - a flat water canoe with a keel - down the river yesterday.  We overturned at one point when we entered the current from river left - Ron and Clare wanted to stop to watch some of the other entries.  Our banners fell off, and we did not put them back up.  Everyone had fun and got off the river safely!

Oh, the lies we were told - and a great many Americans

were dumb enough to believe them!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

UFPJ call for nuclear disarmament

At 8:15 am, August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped a uranium bomb over the city of Hiroshima and in the blink of an eye vaporized thousands of women, men and children.  By the end of the year 140,000 were dead. At 11.02 a.m. on August 9, the U.S. dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 60,000 - 80,000.  Many thousands more continue to die or suffer from psychological trauma and illnesses caused by the prolonged effects of radiation exposure.  This must never be allowed to happen again!
August 6th and 9th will mark the 65th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the threatened use of nuclear weapons remains at the heart of U.S. "national security" policy.  Despite hopes for a dramatic change of course, the new Nuclear Posture Review reveals no substantial changes in U.S. nuclear force structure, retaining all three legs of the strategic triad - heavy bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic submarines, and declaring: "These nuclear forces will continue to play an essential role in deterring potential adversaries and reassuring allies and partners around the world."

We think that 65 years of nuclear terror is enough; it's time to retire nuclear weapons.
Join UFPJ in the global call to abolish nuclear weapons in our lifetime!  Support these initiatives and organize Disarmament Summer in your community!

Think Outside the Bomb, a national youth-led antinuclear network is organizing an exciting series of "Disarmament Summer" events to amplify the voices of communities directly impacted by the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industry. In New Mexico, despite a Navajo Nation ban, there are renewed efforts to restart uranium mining. At the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab, a new plutonium pit manufacturing facility is being proposed. ("Pits" are the cores of thermonuclear weapons.) Disarmament Summer includes a permaculture encampment July 30th - Aug 9th near Los Alamos Lab. There, a new generation of youth activists will organize creative nonviolent actions at Los Alamos on August 6th.  Support Think Outside the Bomb!
Organize an event or find one in your community to remember the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and war, and redirection of resources to meet human needs and protect the environment.  Peace Action has created an interactive website for this purpose.  Please register your event or find one in your area here.  The UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security working group has created a downloadable brochure, No Nukes! No Wars! No Warming!  for your use.
Countdown to Zero  is a new movie, from the producers of "An Inconvenient Truth," that warns of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons today and calls for their global abolition. The film, which opens at selected theaters around the country on July 23, is controversial among some UFPJ member groups because of its heavy emphasis on fear of a speculative nuclear terrorist attack on a US city, its limited treatment of the dangers posed by the nuclear weapons arsenals and postures of the US and the other nuclear weapon states, and its failure to acknowledge the heroic nuclear abolition efforts that have been underway by international grassroots networks for decades.  Nonetheless, the film showings offer an opportunity for public education and engagement, and we have prepared a downloadable flier, Countdown to Zero? Or Fight for a Nuclear Free Future, which we encourage you to use to leaflet outside movie theaters where the film is showing. You can see a trailer and find the dates and locations of film openings at the official Countdown to Zero website.
Support Mayors for Peace! Led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mayors for Peace has grown to 4,037 members in 144 countries and regions, with 159 U.S. cities. Mayors for Peace, through its 2020 Vision Campaign, is leading the global movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020.  Help Mayors for Peace reach its goal of 5000 members by the end of this year.  Enroll your mayor, or, if your mayor is already a member, encourage him/her to take leadership on nuclear abolition in your community.  In June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the association of cities with populations over 30,000, unanimously adopted a Mayors for Peace resolution supporting U.S. participation in the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020 and calling on Congress to slash nuclear weapons spending well below Cold War levels and redirect funding to meet the urgent needs of cities.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Palestinian boy upset that father is taken away

The child is five years old and he is crying "baba, baba" which is "daddy" in Arabic.  The Israeli Border Police claim the child was instructed to act this way - and that is clearly horseshit.  The child is very sincere, and doing what any heart broken child would do in the situation, if they could.  This happened on August 2, 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Have you heard the response to WikiLeaks documents?

Have you heard the response of ordinary Afghans to the Wikileaks Afghan War Logs, especially since the 92210 leaked documents are about them?

Your answer will most likely be ‘No’ ; that’s how dominantly the elite dictate our world views.

The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers have already responded twice to date. The first letter is “The 92210 pieces of my broken Afghan heart’. The 2nd was sent to Iraq veteran Josh Stieber with the hope that it would be read somewhere, entitled “Our ordinary hell.”

‘No’ is normal. Nameless people have been killed for the sake of many different Names for centuries, without any mention or notice. What is scary is that in the rare instance when an individual ‘no-body’ is mentioned, it doesn’t move us and it doesn’t change us.

Whatever our politics or religion, we all recognize that killing doesn’t improve our situation. And that mass killing doesn’t make us kinder.

Killing haunts. Better to be hunted for truth than to be haunted for lies.

So, Assange, Manning, stand in the wind.

Stand as a free Men.

Stand freely for love because you are obeying the higher order of conscience rather than the dusty order of power.

And we, the nobodies, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, will stand with you, believing that truth will protect itself and that the structures of violent power must soon be transformed.

And love is how.

Hakim and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

The above came in an email from the Journey to Smile people.  Here is their video:

92,219 pieces of a broken Afghan heart

92219 pieces of my broken Afghan heart

Dear friend ( including those who would remotely consider me an ‘enemy’ ),

The 92, 210 Wikileak Afghan War Logs were recorded between my 9th and 14th year of life among fellow Afghans.

I have disappointed myself and have been disappointed by Mankind more intensely than numbers can define. But I’m trying not to lose hold of the unseen virtues that can give some remnant meaning to my existence.

We have a global family that is disconnected, unequal and disappearing and even though we recognize that bullets and bombs cannot heal our souls, we are still cheering our own suicides. Even after being presented with 92,210 instances of a failed solution, we would still un-scientifically and un-sustainably support it.

Look how militant we have all become, how angry and how dis-empowered!

In Afghanistan, we spend more money and energies with the intention of killing people than helping them.

Globally, we never listen to others, not even to our friends. We submit only to elitist noise.

We hardly really know anyone else or their needs. We revolve only around ourselves and our needs. We hover emptily around praise, wealth and power.

I know this sounds cynical for a 15-year-old boy, but we are all continuing our fantasy of the ‘good’ war in Afghanistan. The elite will ‘demonize’ Assange and the likes of ordinary Man and fuel an in-humane fear with the ‘magic mask’ of ‘national security’ while endangering our world with fancy weapons.

Nothing worthwhile is working in Afghanistan.

To me, we have been losing our hope ever since forever, and that’s hell.

You want to know who killed my father and the ‘sorry’ state of my grieving mother, so I would hate his killer and you could feel justified about the daily Afghan fight against ‘insurgents’. But I will not perpetuate Man’s vengeful history even if the President orders me to.

More than losing our war on life, we are losing humanity. Brothers are hurting brothers, Man is killing Man, and we are not doing enough to stop this blood spill.

I humbly say to all the leaders of the 43 plus-country coalition, the leaders of our neighbouring countries, and the leaders of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, that your systems and strategies are fatally flawed. We all wish, like human beings ‘religiously’ do, that there was some salvation in our present predicament, but there is no comfort to be found in our present violent approach.

Like sensible people, we, the ordinary people of the world, should all sit down to listen to one another and endeavour to be friends and if ‘ridiculously’ necessary, to let the children of the world bring us together. That’s how desperately engaging we should be about building tangible peaceful relations.

To our factional, god-pretending leaders: start serving like real Men and Women, by envisioning a kinder, non-violent, demilitarized world.

To every soldier ; this carnage under orders is  not making you a gentler person nor bringing your families a safer life, so leave this cold system today before it consumes you tomorrow.

To every concerned citizen of the world, request to have your war tax money back, because even though that wouldn’t bring back the murdered international soldier or Afghan back to life, you would be demanding the return of your conscience.

What is breaking my Afghan heart is our pride, our greed and our selfishness. We are deceiving ourselves to our own lonely destruction.

The media and self-aggrandizing adults ask silly questions like ‘What do these leaked Afghan War Logs show?’. I almost want to boycott ALL media.

We’re drowning in the shallow shadow cast by an opaque corruption, which renders us incapable of insight, but worse, which robs us of love and makes war our star.

You may unwittingly forget that Afghans like myself wish to love and be loved. You may believe the normalized propaganda which imply that Afghans are ‘savages’ and the coalition elite ‘saints’. You may sincerely think that Afghans had asked for and are taking delight in this war.

If this is how you think, I wish to lay claim to our common, more creative selves by countering with a plea ‘Why not love?’ ( We will begin our ‘Why not love? Vigil at Bamiyan Peace Park this Saturday the 31st of July, during which you could call us at +93-799371354 ). That’s what we should counter, not ‘insurgencies’ that rightly seek freedom, but powers which erroneously seek more power.

I would persist in asking ‘Why not love?’ even if there was nothing my oppressed silence could say nor anything the 92,210 pieces of humanity’s hurting heart could shatter to persuade you that war stinks of death.

We need to deliberately change.

And love is how.

Your small friends,
Hakim in Afghanistan
Though the vision of Abdulai ( and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers )
Grade 7 Student, farmer, shop-keeper
Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Monday, August 09, 2010

Protest for Manning and for truth

On Sunday, August 8th, a group of Americans gathered to protest the jailing of Pfc. Bradley Manning.  He is reportedly the one behind the WikiLeaks video released earlier this year, that shows what really happened on day in Baghdad in 2007.  The US troops had fired on a group of Iraqi men, two of whom worked for Reuters, because they thought the men were insurgents.  They killed one man who was only trying to help the wounded.  They seriously wounded two children of the man who tried to help.   It is speculated that he was behind the release of the 90,000+ documents about the occupation of Afghanistan.

Neither the video or the documents were news to me, because I have been paying attention to what was happening.  But the documents and video were news to lots of Americans.  Because I believe in transparency and honesty, I support the release of information about what is happening in our wars and occupations.  I wish I could have been there for the protest in support of Bradley Manning.

Photo:  Demonstrators in Quantico, Va., expressed their support for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking government secrets and is being held there. Astrid Riecken/European Pressphoto Agency

08/09/45 Bombing of Nagasaki - 65 years ago today

From American Friends Service Committee

Declaration of the International Meeting
We Call for Action with the Hibakusha for a World without Nuclear Weapons

   Sixty-five years ago, two bombs dropped by the US forces instantly ruined Hiroshima and Nagasaki and claimed the lives of over 200,000 people.  Their after-effects are still tormenting the Hibakusha, the surviving victims, in their minds and bodies.  The Hibakusha, beyond their agonies, have kept warning that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity, and have appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons.  Their voices have now developed into an unshakable worldwide movement.

    We appeal to the people around the world to take action in solidarity with the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to attain a world without nuclear weapons.

    Public opinion and anti-nuclear peace movements are bringing changes in international politics.  And wide-ranging sectors of people, including senior political and military figures, are voicing their support to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

    Marking a historic turn for the abolition of nuclear weapons with the 2010 NPT Review Conference, we developed international actions demanding the start of negotiations on a convention to totally ban nuclear weapons.

    The Final Document agreed upon by the Review Conference reaffirmed the "unequivocal undertaking" on the elimination of nuclear weapons, which the nuclear weapons states accepted in 2000, and resolved to achieve "peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."  It urged all nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states to make "special efforts to establish the necessary framework" to reach this goal, noting the proposal of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the start of negotiations of a nuclear weapons convention.  It was also agreed upon that a conference on establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, a core of international tension, be convened in 2012, with all parties in the region invited.

    Given that "a world without nuclear weapons" is now an established goal of international politics, what is needed next are concrete actions to attain the objective.  We call for negotiations and early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention for a total ban on nuclear weapons.  We propose to plan and develop actions everywhere in the world to demand the start of negotiations without delay.  Focusing on the session of the UN General Assembly, let us rally public support internationally.

    The ratification and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the start of negotiations of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, the entry into force of the new START between Russia and the US and deeper reduction in their nuclear arsenals, and a ban on use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states should also be achieved without any further delay.

    In the Review Conference, it was deeply disappointing that nuclear powers forced the removal from the Final Document of wording which would have established a road map of the elimination of nuclear weapons, the start of negotiations itself, and establishing a timeline for the implementation of total nuclear disarmament.  Underlying this was the "nuclear deterrence" doctrine and the belief that they could ensure their influence by means of nuclear blackmail.  By giving ground for justification of nuclear weapons, this attitude induces possession of nuclear weapons by others, thus encouraging further proliferation of nuclear weapons.  The "nuclear deterrence" doctrine is a major obstacle to creating a "nuclear weapon-free world".

    To root out the danger of nuclear weapons, the only possible way is to achieve "peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons", breaking away from the notion of "security by nuclear weapons".  We must develop a full-fledged movement and build public opinion to force the nuclear weapons states and their allies who have opted for "nuclear umbrellas" to overcome the nuclear deterrence doctrine.  In each of our countries, let us develop our actions involving broader sectors of society, support each other's efforts and defeat the "nuclear deterrence" doctrine by building massive public pressure.

    We demand the renunciation of the doctrine of the first use of nuclear weapons, and further a ban on use of nuclear weapons.  We oppose the build-up and modernization of the nuclear arsenals, as well as the Missile Defense programs, which are designed to reinforce preparations for first strike.  We further demand the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from foreign territories or from high seas.  We support the creation and expansion of nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East and in other areas.  The problem of North Korea's nuclear development should be resolved by peaceful means through dialogue, including the six party talks on the de-nuclearization of Korean Peninsula.

    Japan's dependence on the U.S. "nuclear umbrella" is a serious obstacle to peace and security in Asia and for achieving a "nuclear weapon-free world".  We express solidarity to the movement in Japan in its effort to make Japan nuclear weapon-free by defending Article 9 of the Constitution, repealing the "secret agreements" with the U.S. on the bringing-in of US nuclear weapons into Japan's territory, and by strict implementation of the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles".  We also stand in solidarity with the movement opposing the realignment and consolidation of the US bases at Futenma, Okinawa and other places in Japan, and demanding their withdrawal.

    We oppose war, aggression, or the threat or use of force.  We oppose occupation of Iraq and military operations in Afghanistan.  We call for the respect for national sovereignty and the withdrawal of all foreign troops.  We stand in solidarity with Palestinian people for their national rights.  We extend our solidarity to all movements that oppose foreign military bases and demand their removal.  We refuse military alliances that presuppose potential enemies, such as NATO and Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and support a new world order of peace based on the U.N. Charter.

    It is no longer the time when a handful of big powers can rule the world.  We are at the threshold of a new world where all countries respect international law, play their roles equally, and are supported by active contribution of the society.  The movements waged by citizens -- against war and for peace; for the relief of victims of war, including those of Agent Orange; for protection of global environment; for the rights and status of women; for overcoming hunger, poverty and unemployment and for drastic reduction of military spending to fund these essential human needs -- are playing vital roles in creating a new world.  Let us join hands with these movements, with the U.N. and with national and local governments in creating a "nuclear weapon-free world."

    On this 65th year of the atomic bombing, we call for increased support to the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and nuclear victims of the world.  Let us inherit and carry forward the experiences and struggles of the Hibakusha as the "undertaking of humanity."  Let us rise in action now with the Hibakusha and with young generation of people who bear the future of humanity.
                                                           August 4, 2010
                                                           International Meeting,
                                                           2010 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Resisting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace

This report, and the picture above, came from an email from the School of the Americas Watch:

In the shadow of Venezuela´s emerald green Andes Mountains, activists from 19 countries of the Americas gathered in June to share experiences and strategies in resisting militarization and promoting a culture of peace.

Among them were those who had witnessed the disappearance of their family members at the hands of the SOA as well as an SOA graduate now committed to the closing of the school. They were joined by those who had gone to jail in the U.S. to protest the SOA, and those who had been jailed and tortured in Latin America by SOA graduates. The group, spanning 50 years of age and thousands of miles of distance, was united in their commitment to work together bring peace to "Una Sola America".

SOA Watch activists from Toronto to Florida, and California to Maine shared their multiple efforts to bring the doors of the SOA to a close. Their partners from the South brought awareness of U.S. militarization in their countries, such as 7 military bases occupied by the U.S. in Colombia, an SOA-engineered repressive regime in Honduras, U.S. troops and ships headed to Costa Rica, the military occupation of Haiti and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, among other concerns. The Southern partners expressed their gratitude for the efforts of their northern partners in trying to close the SOA, but encouraged them to broaden their focus to these new expressions of the SOA that pose even greater threats to their people.

On the final evening of the gathering, in the cool mountain air, participants gathered around a map of "America" from Alaska to Patagonia, with no borders delineated. At the center was a clay pot containing a mixture of the soil brought from 19 lands. One by one the participants passed some of the mixed soil to one another to take back with them, saying, "Somos una Sola America" (We are one America). Hours earlier, ten agreements had been reached, such as the organization of simultaneous actions throughout the Americas in coordination with the November vigil. However, it was clear that even more than written agreements, it was the connections and the vision of being Una Sola America that would truly move peace forward in the continent. As one participant said on the last evening, "this Encuentro has not ended. It has just begun."

Representatives of diverse social organizations of the Americas, from 19 countries of our continent, met in Sanare Venezuela between June 21 and 25 2010, and agreed to the following:

1. We express our solidarity with the people of Honduras through a document drafted at the Encuentro and made public that reflects our position and support for the Resistance. In addition, we call for actions in each of our countries in support of the Resistance movement in Honduras.

2. We support the vigil organized by SOA Watch in Georgia each November, and propose the organization of simultaneous vigils between November 19-21 2010 in front of foreign military bases in Colombia and Honduras, at ILEA in El Salvador, in front of U.S. embassies, as well as other identified locations in each of our countries.

3. We call for the promotion of coalitions of organizations in our countries to support the re-launching of the Continental Campaign against Foreign Military Bases, beginning with the Social Forum of the Americas that will take place in Paraguay from August 11-15, 2010, as well as the promotion of popular consultations against the bases.

4. We call upon SOA Watch to participate at the Social Forum of the Americas in Paraguay, in panels and in other spaces of participation in order to promote these agreements.

5. We call for actions in our countries in support of the Resistance in Colombia, focused on the struggle against the foreign military bases in that country, and encourage the participation of SOA Watch in the women's march against the foreign military base in Palanquero, Colombia on August 23, 2010.

6. We suggest that participation of activists from Honduras, Colombia, Haití and México at the 2010 SOA Watch vigil in Georgia be facilitated.

7. We suggest that the 2010 SOA Watch vigil in Georgia emphasize the situations in Honduras, Colombia and México, in the workshops and focus of the event.

8. We call for joint actions in support of the Resistance in Haiti, in conjunction with the vigil against militarization in Haiti that will take place on January 12, 2011.

9. We agree to organize a media workgroup to facilitate the establishment of communication networks suggested by this Encuentro.

10. We call for the promotion of "encuentros" in our countries to promote the culture of peace and to promote awareness of the danger that U.S. militarization poses for our continent.

Friday, August 06, 2010

"Let us realize our dream"

"Let us realize our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons, so our children and all succeeding generations can live in freedom, security and peace."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, August 6, 2010, marking the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the bombing of the city.

And let us avoid the nightmare of a nuclear war, nuclear bombing, nuclear accident, and the horrible reality of nuclear waste.

In memory of Hiroshima... 65 years ago today