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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Targeted assassinations, death squads, tanks demolishing homes and entire neighborhoods, burning up fields or other wise destroying them – just some tactics in the BOMBS AWAY GAME now going on in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reports that the US military are blowing up empty homes and farm buildings in Afghanistan.  They are claiming that these buildings are booby-trapped.  No reports of civilian casualties. 

In recent weeks, using armored bulldozers, high explosives, missiles and even airstrikes, American troops have taken to destroying hundreds of them, by a conservative estimate, with some estimates running into the thousands.  “We don’t know the accurate number of homes destroyed, but it’s huge,” said Zalmai Ayubi, the spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, Tooryalai Wesa, and who with the governor visited on Oct. 21.

In some areas, the American forces have routinely destroyed almost every unoccupied home.  As an Afghan district governor said “We had to destroy them to make them safe.”  That sounds just like the Vietnam era slogan of “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” except that was said by someone in the US military. 

American troops are using an impressive array of tools not only to demolish homes, but also to eliminate tree lines where insurgents could hide, blow up outbuildings, flatten agricultural walls, and carve new “military roads,” because existing ones are so heavily mined, according to journalists embedded in the area recently. 

One of the most fearsome tools is the Miclic, the M58 Mine-Clearing Line Charge, a chain of explosives tied to a rocket, which upon impact destroys everything in a swath 30 feet wide and 325 feet long. The Himars missile system, a pod of 13-foot rockets carrying 200-pound warheads, has also been used frequently for demolition work.  Often, new military roads go right through farms and compounds, cutting a route that will keep soldiers safe from roadside bombs.

So, the locals are getting compensation for their humble mud houses, and some of them also get an exciting (and free!) vacation at a refugee camp with no water, sanitation, food, safety, etc.  Here is what one local tribal elder had to say about the destruction:

Abdul Rahim Khan, 50, a tribal elder from Spirwan in Panjwai District, claimed that in many cases the American troops had been destroying empty homes, even when there were not any explosives inside. However, military officers pointed out, searching empty homes was often too dangerous.  “People are not happy with the compensation,” said a tribal elder in Zhare, who said he was afraid to give his name for publication.  “Compensation is just kicking dirt in our eyes.”

I guess he is not too impressed with the BOMBS AWAY GAME now going on in his family’s hometown.  I guess he would rather have his simple mud home and safety for his family.  I guess he is not into the BOMBS AWAY GAME, even though the US military and the Obama administration sure are into it.

The New York Times title for the article is pretty straight forward – NATO Destroys Booby-Trapped Homes in Afghanistan.  However, several other newspaper printed the article with a new title:  “To Save Lives, NATO Is Razing Booby-Trapped Homes.”  This is, of course, total bullshit.  We are not bombing homes and villages and killing people “To Save Lives.”  That is not the point of the BOMBS AWAY GAME at all!  As the NYT article shows, sometimes they bomb the homes because it is safer for US TROOPS to not have to search them.  In one village, they destroyed all 40 homes in a village, and this happened in other villages also.  It’s all part of the BOMBS AWAY GAME and this game is certainly not done to benefit the locals.  It is done to destroy them.

Violence is on the rise in Afghanistan, and the Taliban seem to be mostly in control.

Violence in Afghanistan has reached an all-time high, with clashes up fourfold since 2007, the Pentagon has said.

The next article to document the bombings and destruction of Afghanistan comes from the Washington Post.  In this article, the author clearly and calmly lays out the facts of what is happening there, and what the US military is doing.  He clearly and calmly shows the world that what the US military is doing is massively and vastly evil. 

The U.S. military is sending a contingent of heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, defense officials said, a shift that signals a further escalation in the aggressive tactics that have been employed by American forces this fall to attack the Taliban.

Yeah, that is something the Bush administration never tried – TANKS! 

The 68-ton tanks are propelled by a jet engine and equipped with a 120mm main gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away.

And in this version of the BOMBS AWAY GAME, we have US tanks killing off civilians, and maybe some combatants, from a mile away.  There is no way a human eye can tell if the humans inside those homes a mile off are civilians or not, but they don’t give a shit anyway.  The article goes on to describe night raids, but I am not coving that here, since it is a different evil than the BOMBS AWAY GAME.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss specific tactics, said the combination of the raids, the airstrikes and the use of explosives on the ground have been instrumental in improving security in areas around Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold that has been the focus of coalition operations this fall.  "We've taken the gloves off, and it has had huge impact," one of the senior officials said. 

Oddly though, the Taliban are winning and have been for quite a while.  But under Obama we don’t get “shock and awe” instead we get this:

"The tanks bring awe, shock and firepower," the officer said. "It's pretty significant."

Oddly though, the Taliban don’t seem to be awed, shocked or anything except violent and determined, just like the Iraqi insurgents and the various Iraqi fractions that melted down into a civil war.  I am sure that is the plan in Afghanistan too – get them to kill one another, along with the US and NATO doing some killing.
Oh, the games people play!  They are so evil.  One cannot say that they are non-productive though – these BOMBS AWAY GAMES are making some people a shitload of money.  And these folks don’t give a shit how much blood is on their money.

And it is clear that “winning hearts and minds” would not include tank or air bombings.  But the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before him, does not give a shit about that stuff. 

Although Petraeus is widely regarded as the father of the military's modern counterinsurgency doctrine, which emphasizes the role of governance, development and other forms of soft power in stabilization missions, he also believes in the use of intense force, at times, to wipe out opponents and create conditions for population-centric operations. A less-recognized aspect of the troop surge he commanded in Iraq in 2007 involved a significant increase in raids and airstrikes.  "Petraeus believes counterinsurgency does not mean just handing out sacks of wheat seed," said a senior officer in Afghanistan.  Counterinsurgency "doesn't mean you don't blow up stuff or kill people who need to be killed." 

So, counterinsurgency means killing people and blowing up their shit.  Actually, that is exactly what our military is for – killing our enemy and blowing up their shit.  They are not nation-builders, humanitarian workers, or international developers.  They are killers and destroyers (which would be a handy thing if some government was attacking our country, or invading our country – but that is not what is happening today).
And about half of the people the US military kills will be children!  Tough shit for them in the BOMBS AWAY GAME!  And despite Karzai’s criticism of their tactics, the senior officer in Afghanistan (not clear who that is, since the name is not mentioned) believes the locals are supporting the destruction of homes and fields in the tenth year of this war.  However, when a journalist actually TALKS to the locals, they don’t make that claim at all. 

 Here is what one local farmer said:

 "Why do you have to blow up so many of our fields and homes?" a farmer from the Arghandab district asked a top NATO general at a recent community meeting.

And while our military officials are apologetic in public, they go right ahead and do it again and again and again.  There seems to be no stopping the evil BOMBS AWAY GAME.  And to show that it is deeply, deeply evil, the anonymous senior official had this to say:

By making people travel to the district governor's office to submit a claim for damaged property, "in effect, you're connecting the government to the people," the senior officer said.

What a piece of human garbage!  I sure hope when he comes back to the USA, he gets lots of opportunity to connect with his government by being homeless, a drug addict, and sick as a dog, for all the days of his life.  I hope he has seventy eight visits to the VA just to get an aspirin.  I hope he spends time in prison, and REALLY connects with his government.

Of course, just the fact that he would say this shows the overall evilness of the BOMBS AWAY GAME that Obama is playing.

For those who have escaped Afghanistan’s worst violence, some things are hard to forget: the sight of a woman's hair entangled in the mulberry branches, her legs strewn far away in the dirt. Or the sounds they heard as they hid in an underground hole, counting the bombs to pass the time, praying the American troops would leave.

Some of those Afghans have tiptoed in the footsteps of neighbors to avoid the mines. They've been hit with shrapnel and tied with flex cuffs, threatened by the Taliban and frightened by the coalition, seen relatives shot and homes destroyed. And so they left Helmand province and made their way to this dirt lot on the outskirts of Kabul, where month by month the settlement expands with those who have come to wait out the war.

Yes, they are suffering horrible and will carry the scars for the rest of their lives (if they even survive).  And they are not grateful for being “connected to their government” at all.  They just want the Americans to leave and to have their lives back.

And recent news has shown that the US does not even know who they are talking to in Afghanistan, and it is also clear that they don’t know what they are doing – or, if they do know, just don’t care.  The question boils down to – are they stupid or sociopaths or both? 

But that question is not asked in the BOMBS AWAY GAME!

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.

A report on the Afghanistan WikiLeaks documents:

Saturday, November 27, 2010


With no debate or vote in Congress, Obama has ordered Special Forces (they are so *special* that they get to hang around in 75+ different foreign countries!) and drone bombings into Yemen.  He is going after the “al Qaeda” in Yemen group, although I cannot tell if they are associated with the original 2001 version of al Qaeda or knock off wantabees.  I do know that some folks from Yemen have tried to bomb us, but they are apparently totally incompetent.  This is a good thing, because the US authorities are totally incompetent at stopping them. 

But hey, they got that BOMBS AWAY thing down!  They DO know how to BOMB AND BOMB AND BOMB!

Under the Bush administration, there was one drone bombing of Yemen.  The CIA shot down a car with six people (one an American) inside it.  They claim there was a terrorist inside the car, but I don’t know how they could even get a DNA sample after blowing the car to bits.  Hardly any one in the US seemed to care about this blatantly illegal and immoral act.   No one seemed to notice that bombing this terrorist was far more stupid than arresting him and seeing what he knew – or even if he was innocent or guilty.  The whole idea of doing stuff like arresting people before execution or even the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is so passé here in the USA these days. 

But Obama really has outstripped Bush in the BOMBS AWAY GAME in Yemen.  

* Dec. 17, 2009: Dozens of people are killed after missiles hit settlements in the Abyan area in the south of Yemen. Citing a Yemeni parliamentary investigation, Amnesty International later says that 55 people were killed, of which 41 were civilians, including 14 women and 21 children. 14 of the 55 were suspected Al Qaeda members, though an Amnesty official tells Salon that only one was ever named.  The strike is initially reported as being conducted by "Yemeni security forces." But ABC reports a few days later that U.S. missiles were involved. Amnesty releases a report several months later with photos of an unexploded cluster bomblet and parts of a Tomahawk cruise missile that the group says could only have come from the U.S. military, possibly launched from a submarine or warship.

May 25, 2010: An air strike kills four people including Jaber al-Shabwani, the deputy governor of Ma’rib, a mistake for which the Yemeni government apologizes. There are reports that the strike was carried out by a U.S. drone, not the Yemeni military, but those are not confirmed.

Of course, Amnesty International claims there was more bombings than this – and I strongly suspect they are correct – but we don’t have the information yet.  We do know that far more people are killed than the number of people targeted, and that they are mainly non-combatants.  As a matter of fact, a large number of them are children.

Too bad about the dead children, not that many Americans would notice or give a shit.  Obama sure doesn’t.  He is planning some more drone bombings in Yemen, and more “cooperation” with the Yemen government. 

"These are serious human rights violations," Luther says. "The killing of criminal suspects -- who should be brought to justice -- in circumstances in which they aren't posing an immediate threat to life are, from a human rights perspective, extrajudicial killings."

Think anyone in the Obama administration will notice or care?  I seriously doubt it.  This administration is too fucking evil to care, along with most Americans.  They are only going to escalate the BOMBS AWAY GAME.

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.

Friday, November 26, 2010


The USA is certainly doing a lot of bombing in various places around the world.  This includes air bombing, ground bombing, and god-only-knows-what-else.  Of course, the USA is not doing this totally alone – NATO is there to help!

In Afghanistan, in October 2010 ALONE, there have been over a 1,000 bombs – that is air bombs – dropped in this poor country.  This is a rate of bombing not seen since 2001. 

Oh, and guess what?  Civilians casualties are on the rise, no surprise there.  While folks at home are worrying about being fondled at the airport, folks in Afghanistan are worrying that the US or NATO will drop a 2,000 pound bomb on them. 

NATO officials say the increase in air attacks is simply a natural outgrowth of a more aggressive campaign to push militants out of their strongholds in southern Afghanistan. “Simply put, our air strikes have increased because our operations have increased. We’ve made a concentrated effort in the south to clear out the insurgency and therefore have increased our number of troops on the ground and aircraft to support them in this effort,” Lt. Nicole Schwegman, a NATO spokesperson, tells Danger Room.

On the other hand, some outside observers believe the strikes are part of an attempt to soften up the insurgency before negotiations with them begin in earnest. But one thing is clear: it’s a strategy Petraeus has used before. Once he took over the Iraq war effort, air strikes jumped nearly sevenfold.

Yes, it BOMBS AWAY for Petraeus!  No matter that our so-called enemies have long since fled Afghanistan, and no matter that we did not have any enemies in Iraq before we started our evil ways there – Petraeus does not let any little thing like morality get in his way!  And neither does the Commander in Chief!  It’s just BOMBS AWAY for both of them.

Along with the BOMBS AWAY part, our Special Forces are running around paying night visits and destroying property and killing people, who they claim are insurgents or something.  Of course, there is no effort to inform the American public what they are up too, and every effort extended to cover up or ignore deaths of non-combatants.  That’s how they play the BOMBS AWAY game. 

And the Taliban join in by killing even more combatants!

But Afghanistan is not the only country where it is BOMBS AWAY time!  Tomorrow, an update on Yemen and the BOMBS AWAY game there.

In the meantime, you can be sure that more innocent children will see their parents without their heads, and listen to sound of water running away from their fatally wounded siblings.  Only it won’t be water – it will be blood flowing from their siblings.  In war, the dead are the lucky ones. 

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.

This You Tube video is from Iraq, but it also hold true for Afghanistan.  A guy just walking down a street – clearly with no weapon – get blown away because the US military is shooting bombs into a building. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


On this Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for the friends in my life, with whom I am sharing part of the day.  I am grateful for my health, and I am grateful for living in such an amazingly beautiful part of the world.  I am grateful for my job, and grateful for my home. I am grateful that I am warm, well fed, and have a purpose in life. 

So, what are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Back in 1976 and 1977, my father loved this very sad song. He was dying of cancer at the time, so I guess the sadness and hopelessness resonated with him. He died on 11-24-77.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rest in Peace, Chalmers Johnson

Your books were awesome, and I believe spoke the truth.  Here is a quote:

“The United States today is like a cruise ship on the Niagara River upstream of the most spectacular falls in North America," Johnson warned. "A few people on board have begun to pick up a slight hiss in the background, to observe a faint haze of mist in the air on their glasses, to note that the river current seems to be running slightly faster. But no one yet seems to have realized that it is almost too late to head for shore. Like the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, imperial German, Nazi, imperial Japanese, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Soviet empires in the last century, we are approaching the edge of a huge waterfall and are about to plunge over it.” -  Chalmers Johnson

Some photos of the "We Agree" campaign - payback to Chevron

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Vietnam War - a hideous American evil

Update from the arrests at the SOA Watch

From an email they sent:

We're rolling live from the Muscogee County Jailhouse, down by the waters of the lovely Chattahoochee River!

Of the 26 arrestees from Saturday, there are still many being arraigned at the courthouse, with the Columbus police trying hard to make an example out of the defendants, in the hope of intimidating them and preventing us from speaking truth to power. The arrested peace activists and bystanders have been brought into the courtroom in orange prison-issued clothing, some visibly shocked and frightened, others arguing calmly in their defense.

We have verified that the Columbus police had at least five undercover law enforcement officers, who attended the direct action meetings, held signs at the rally, and were even arrested and kept in jail with the other activists in a clear attempt to learn names and fabricate stories.

However, we have an excellent legal team who are fighting hard against the lies and keeping our spirits up. For years, our movement has refused to be silent, and we continue to refuse to be silent now. We don't want to leave anyone behind!

This is a moment for us to come together and fight impunity. Our fight for the truth here in the cases against our sisters and brothers here in Columbus is part of the fight against militarization, threats and impunity in Latin America, represented by the School of the Americas. The threats and repression taught at the School of Assassins in Ft. Benning are being reproduced in the Columbus courthouse.

We also can't win this without you at your home, office, public library or school. We ask you to continue to step forward and send us your donations. Since we started the online plea, we have raised over $18,000... but we need more. We encourage you to petition your community networks, friends and family to raise more money for the legal defense fund.

You can make online donations to the Legal Defense Fund here.


Background on the arrests and the annual Vigil to Close the SOA:

On Saturday, thousands converged at the gates of Ft. Benning, in the annual vigil and rally to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC. Over the years since 9/11, under the pretext of "terrorism", it has become increasingly more difficult for activists to engage in non-violent civil disobedience, which has been a cornerstone of our movement. Through fences, increased police presence, FBI pre-rally consulation with local police forces, security cameras, searches and in the past, metal detectors at vigil entrances, those who wish to cross the line into the base have been prevented in doing so.

This year, some within our movement decided to accompany federal line crossers to their place of crossing at a different entrance. When activists tried to leave the "free speech zone", they were blocked by police and only allowed to leave via the sidewalk. Many were simply leaving to return to their hotels or homes. When the Puppetistas followed the sidewalk towards the intersection of Victory Drive and Ft. Benning Road, the Columbus police moved in to arrest the Puppetistas, and began to arrest anyone, while also targeting various journalists who were filming the repression. One local man was arrested while taking pictures of the unfolding events.

Bail was initially set at up to $5,500 per person, with many people being charged with several misdemeanors. This is still hindering a quick release from jail, and was intended to intimidate activists.

Today, Sunday, we remembered the martyrs from across Latin America with our traditional solemn funeral procession, chanting "Presente!" after the names of SOA victims, including recent killings and disappearances in Honduras and Mexico.

Two more young people joined the growing list of Prisoners of Conscience, risking extended federal prison time and fines. David Omandi of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and Christopher Spicer of the White Rose Catholic Worker of Chicago took their witness to the School of the Americas, after jumping over the first set of barbed-wire fencing at the entrance to the base, and were immediately detained by military police amidst cheers from supporters.

Yesterday, Father Louis Vitale (California) and Nancy Smith (New York) delivered their message of solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Latin America after entering the base from the highway ramp. This is the first time crossing the line for Nancy, Christopher and David, and the fourth time for Fr. Louis. They continue to keep the light of truth alive for the history books, so we can look back and see the flowers that grow from the seeds of resistance we plant today.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Crash This Train" by Joshua James

Song Title: Crash This Train
Artist: Joshua James
Album: Crash This Train / The Garden EP

[I] hope you find what you're lookin' for
when it all comes runnin' down.
[I] hope you find it painted black on your window,
or the lips of your lover's frown.
'Cause if it dies in cold, when the clouds start to roll,
is it then that your soul, starts to bleed?

Have you ever seen the President
who killed your wounded child?
Or the man that crashed your sister's plane
claimin' he was sent of God?
And when she died in your arms,
late that night in the dark,
did you pray to your God to come home?
'Cause it ain't fair to say, that these tracks are the same.

So God if you can hear me, crash this train.
I said, God if you can hear me, crash this train.

Now a note to the President, and the Government,
and the judges of this place.
We're still waitin' for you to bring our troops home,
[and] clean up that mess you made.
'Cause it smells of blood, money and oil across the Iraqi land.
But it seems so easy here to blind us with your "United We Stand".

And it ain't hard to see that this Country ain't free.

So God if you can hear me, crash this train.
I said, God if you can hear me, crash this train.

To the mothers and to the fathers who done the best they could.
'Cause raisin' youngins in a messed up world, it ain't so understood.
So I'll cover my ears, and my eyes, pretend [that] love's the same.
'Cause with one court's signature, it all becomes erased.

It ain't hard to tell,
when it's love that we sell.

So God if you can hear me, crash this train.
I said, God if you can hear me, crash this train.
I said, God if you can hear me, crash this train.
I said, my God, if you can hear me, crash this train.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"A Kidnapping in Milan"

The number of men rendered to torture by the United States under George W. Bush is still not known.  Reporters on the beat have guessed from one hundred to several hundred; a few outliers think more than a thousand.  Many decent Americans believed that when Bush left office their long national nightmare would be over.  They were apparently under the impression that Democrats had not connived in the outsourcing of torture.  Two days after Obama became president, he issued an executive order banning the United States from torturing people directly but not – contrary to many confused reports – from sending captives elsewhere to be tortured.  What created the confusion (intentionally, I suspect) was that Obama ordered a task force to
study extraordinary rendition with the goal of ensuring that the United States did not send people to be tortured.  The task force, of course, had no power to ensure the goal was met, but hopeful reporters read what they wanted into the order.  Later Obama’s CIA director, Leon Panetta, explained that the CIA would still extraordinarily render people.  He added, as a kind of balm, “If we render someone, we are obviously going to seek assurances from that country that their human rights are protected and they are not mistreated.”  It was precisely what the Bush administration had said.

Toward the end of 2009 the president’s task force recommended that the United States protect the victims of its renditions by visiting them in the dungeons it had rendered them to.

Simultaneously Obama’s Justice Department was arguing in federal court, again exactly as Bush’s had, that lawsuits against the government by victims of rendition must be dismissed because they would reveal secrets vital to the nation’s security.  The lead plaintiff in the most important suit, Binyam Mohamed, had been rendered by the CIA to Morocco, where his genitals had been sliced open dozens of times and caustic liquid poured in the wounds.

As for Abu Omar’s kidnappers, Obama’s people said off the record that should Italy request their extradition, the president would not comply.  Bush’s people had at least had the courage to say so on the record.
The above came from “A Kidnapping in Milan” by Steve Hendricks.  It is the ending of the book.  The photos came from an email from IndictBushNow.org at a protest at Bush's lie-brary.   Seems to me that Obama needs to be arrested too. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Budrus Trailer

This is so fucking stupid....

a child gets "pat down" by TSA at the airport.  I swear I will not fly anywhere in the USA as long as this stupidity remains in our system! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A couple of good quotes

"A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity."
Jimmy Carter

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Disruption of Netanyahu's Speech

From Jewish Voice for Peace email:   Two days ago at 11:30 in the morning in New Orleans, more than 12 young, proud Jews with Jewish Voice for Peace gave voice to the disillusionment of a generation. They loudly named the unnameable in the Jewish community-Israel’s immoral violations of human rights of Palestinians and much of the Jewish institutional world’s active support of those violations.

This happened on November 8, 2010.

Message from the activists:

Let Them Know

Today let them feel both our bitterness and our love, for both are our tools.

Let them know our faces and hear our truths.

May they stop pretending that we are invisible, that they can provide us with pre-recorded talking points for us to simply playback.

Do not allow them to forget our anger and disappointment at the way they have failed us, because they must know.

Let them know about the young Israelis who speak fluent Arabic so that they might hear Palestinians, with whom they march every week, in their own words.

Remind them that the soft skin burned and melted because of the white phosphorous thrown on purpose is also our skin.

Remind them that each slab of concrete in the apartheid wall separates them from us.

When they feel our anger and disappointment, may they also feel our electric faith- our thrill at the prospect for a truly just future.

We are not their bastard delegitimate children, but the beautiful future.

May they someday realize that we have saved them and hold their legacy so dear that we could not let go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships - so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people - so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war - so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world - so that you can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.  Amen.

[Photo was taken in September 2010 up in the Black Balsam Mountains.  I was on a bridge looking down at the river - I forget which river - and noticed the circle of rocks that some humans had placed there.]

Thursday, November 11, 2010


November 11 is a cause for mixed emotions among those former members of the military who wish to permanently halt the horror of war.

A holiday in our name is indeed an honor, as was our service itself, but “Armistice” somehow still sounds more suitable.  That word refers to the end of a conflict, the end of the killing, the maiming, the destruction, the inhumanity, the erosion of civilized personal behaviors that have taken centuries to mold.  While “Armistice” does not connote lasting peace, at least it does connote a chance for societies to grasp hold of themselves and, if able, to pull back from the abyss.

Veterans For Peace, while grateful for the parades recognizing our duty and the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen comrades, would prefer a time of reexamination of the jaded justifications and obscene outcomes of the military causes we served.  All too frequently those justifications have been morally insufficient to vindicate the malevolent international conflicts to which they gave such ignoble birth.

For these reasons Veterans For Peace gratefully acknowledges the heartfelt recognition which our nation solemnly offers us today.  But we fervently urge that tomorrow our great nation devote its equally heartfelt and solemn attention and talents to the cessation of existing wars and to the prevention of similar calamities in the decades to come.

Kurt Vonnegut, the internationally acclaimed author from our country and a POW in Dresden during the Allied firebombing of that city in WWII, gives us something to think about on this day of remembrance.

"…November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy all the people of all the nations which fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I've talked to old men who were on the battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veteran's Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veteran's Day is not…Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things."

Honor the Consciences of our Veterans


Someone tried to point out all the postive things that Obama has done in the last two years.... and I asked myself "What has Obama done?"

1. Escalated the occupation of Afghanistan TWICE
2. Escalated the drone bombing of Pakistan to TEN TIMES the Bush level
3. Continued rendition
4. Continued torture
5. Continued secret prisons
6. Escalated the drone bombings of Yemen to THREE TIMES the Bush level
7. Followed the Bush SOFA to remove troops from occupied Iraq instead
of following his campaign promise to BRING THEM HOME a brigade a month
8. Increased the military budget
9. Continues selling arms around the world
10. No progress on Israel-Palestine issues
11. No closing of foreign military bases without opening new ones
12. No improvement in human rights records
13. Goes after the whistle blowers and leakers, while leaving the
war-mongers and torture enablers alone
14. Further deteriorated civil rights in the homeland
15. Expanded the number of foreign countries with special forces in
them from 60 (under Bush) to over 75.
16. Failed to correct the sources for the financial meltdown, and
failed to hold anyone accountable.
17. Made the financial crisis worse by kicking the can down the road,
while allowing the corrupt policies to continue.
18. Kept Guantanamo open
19. Started extra judicial assassinations, including Americans (so far, only in foreign countries, but just wait…..)
Not change I can believe in.

Yes, he has done a lot of nothing, and it is not looking good at all.....

Now Bush has a new book out, and he thinks that torturing people helped keep Americans safe.  I imagine one day Obama will justify his extra judicial assassinations in the same manner.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justice for Fallujah fundraiser in Boston

Song:  La Lucha de Fallujah

Quote from Percy Shelley

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew.
Which in sleep has fallen on you.
Ye are many – they are few.  

–from THE MASK OF ANARCHY by Percy Shelley

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rachel - Official Trailer

The film is an inquiry into the death of Rachel Corrie, a young American peace activist, crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in March 2003, while she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. It is also a cinematographic meditation on youth, idealism and political utopia.

Quote from Cindy Sheehan

“When I was growing up, it was 'Communists'. Now it's 'Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.”

Monday, November 08, 2010

Reflection on the run up to the war on Iraq

David Michael Green points out the most basic of logical questions that should have convinced every thinking person that there was NO WMDs in Iraq in March 2003, and that our politicians were LYING:

Why Iraq, if it had nothing to do with 9/11? Why Iraq if several dozen other countries in the world also had WMD? Why Iraq if it was neither attacking the US nor threatening to do so, nor molesting its neighbors? Why the unrelenting urgency to invade, especially since the weapons inspectors were asking for only another month or two to determine whether the country had WMD? 

Why, since they were assuring us beyond all doubt that Saddam did possess such weapons, didn’t the Bush administration tell the inspectors where to find the WMD? [My personal favorite.  I often asked this one.  I knew when the US troops invaded that they would not find any WMDs in Iraq.]

Why wouldn’t the deterrence doctrine of mutually assured destruction, which had worked for four decades against the Soviet Union, not also prevent puny Iraq from committing suicide by attacking the US? And, if Iraq surely had WMD and was anxious to use them against America, what was sure to be the outcome if the US attacked the regime, with the stated purpose of liquidating it entirely? What could be the only possible outcome of backing a WMD-possessing “madman” against the wall, with nothing left for him to lose?

Any one of these questions of basic logic alone individually called the premise of the invasion deeply into question, without the necessity of Joe Sixpack possessing classified national security estimates on the WMD threat. Together, all of them made the case for going to war against Iraq an obvious and massively overdetermined lie.

All the above from this article.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Broder goes off the deep end .......

“What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.  Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.”
 There you have it – he is seriously proposing war to pump up the economy…. specifically, World War III.  


“Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”
Yes, he thinks killing innocent people (who have not hurt us) is the way to improve the economy.  The man is a sicko to an extreme degree.  He goes on to claim that Iran is “the greatest threat to the world” at this time.  This is beyond ridiculous.  Boder himself is a far more dangerous nutcase than anyone in Iran.  Boder also thinks that bombing the shit out of Iran will make Obama a successful president…. just like Bush, I suppose.

I am not linking to his article, but you can find it in the WaPo. 

He wrote this horseshit on 10-31-10.  Damn, I hope he did not reproduce.

Friday, November 05, 2010

From Color of Change email

As a candidate, Barack Obama talked about "changing business as usual" in Washington. The reality is that not much has changed. Rather than truly challenging the entrenched corporate interests that have dominated our politics for so long, President Obama has often tried to negotiate and work with them. During the campaign, Obama often said that change "comes from the bottom up" — but once in office, he hasn't, in any major way, invited ordinary people to pressure the political system, or engaged them in the process of creating change. The movement built around getting Obama elected was largely ignored after he took office. The President's greatest asset — his millions of supporters — were basically abandoned and implicitly told "we got this," when that simply wasn't the case.
Moving forward, Republicans are likely to pose even more of an obstacle to the changes Democrats promised, and many in the media are arguing that the only way forward for Democrats is to move to the right, chart an even tamer course, and compromise further with Republicans and the large corporate interests they represent. We believe the truth is exactly the opposite. Black Americans and everyone else who turned out in 2008 looking for change need to see Democrats fighting harder to deliver that change and taking true leadership to engage all of us in helping create that change. It's what Democrats need to do if they want our votes in the future, and it's the right thing to do if they really want to move this country forward.


WHY would Yemen want to send us boxes with bombs instead of boxes of chocolates?

Maybe because we bombed them first – from Amnesty International

“US-manufactured cruise missile that carried cluster munitions, apparently taken following an attack on an alleged al-Qa’ida training camp in Yemen that killed 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children.  The 17 December 2009 attack on the community of al-Ma'jalah in the Abyan area in the south of Yemen killed 55 people including 14 alleged members of al-Qa’ida.

“A military strike of this kind against alleged militants without an attempt to detain them is at the very least unlawful. The fact that so many of the victims were actually women and children indicates that the attack was in fact grossly irresponsible, particularly given the likely use of cluster munitions,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.”

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Students protest IDF soldiers visit to their campus

Truth is on the side of the oppressed. - Malcolm X

On October 20,2010, the University of Michigan campus was visited by two IDF soldiers in an event sponsored by "Stand With Us." One of the soldiers served in the Givati infantry brigade, which bombed a house full of civilians during the Gaza war, killing 21 members of the same family [http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/what-led-to-idf-bombing-house-full-of-civilians-during-gaza-war-1.320816.] About fifty protesters attended the event and revealed shirts bearing the names of Gaza children killed during the Israeli invasion.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Grieving angel

"When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies. When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they're uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we're upholding civilized values. When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror".  Norman Solomon

“Did you say it? Did you mean it?
Did you lay it on the line? Did you make it count?
Did you look ‘em in the eye and did they feel it?
Did you say it in time? Did you say it out loud?
’cause if you did hon, than you’ve lived some.
That feelin’ inside, that’s called ‘satisfied.’”
~ Jewel (“Satisfied” on Sweet & Wild)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Our Ordinary Hell in Iraq and Afghanistan, read by Josh Stieber

This is what Josh read:

Our ordinary hell

Dear America and the world,
If these 92210 war records had occurred in the States and even just one American civilian killed, there would have been ample, loud threats for justice and retaliation. But no, these happened in Afghanistan and ordinary war-tired Afghans know that the expected global response is ‘Who cares?’

Most people on the ground in Afghanistan would recognize how unsustainable, factional, corrupt and violent this Great Game has become. 

But none would say it.

Not the President of USA. Not the President of Afghanistan. Not the leaders of the 43 plus coalition countries. Not the UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan. And not the Taliban.

But the 92210 entries say it all.

And they can no longer be refuted by history or the future. Any record of actual events can only benefit those struggling for truth.

Admiral Mullen and Mr Robert Gates went on to suggest that Assange may have blood on his hands. Afghans are not fooled. We have eyes and we have seen much blood. Whoever’s hands have blood, we have an Afghan saying that ‘Blood cannot wash away blood.’

We ask fellow human beings to stop this childish blood-throwing and inhumane blood-shedding, whoever they may be. To shock your cynical ears, we, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, would like to suggest
that love is how the world should ask for peace.

We plead with the leaders of our broken world to sit down like real visionary men and women, to reconcile deeply, to listen deeply, to think deeply and to build deep relations of peace.

We urge our world to return to this love, for at worst, that can only bring everyone some dignity and meaning.

Otherwise, these long wars will continue into our Afghan horizon, and remain your special interest and our ordinary hell.

Sincerely, be at peace and God protect you!
The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

Monday, November 01, 2010

Open Letter on the Needed Response to WikiLeaks Report

Written by Josh Stieber

Dear members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other willing parties,
This is an anticipatory letter aimed to advise you on your response and responsibility for the coming Wikileaks release, expected on October 23rd. Based on the White House's response to the last leak about Afghanistan, the temptation seems strong to once again divert attention away from accountability.

I write as a young veteran who once fully embraced the concept of a preemptive war to keep my fellow citizens safe and, as President Bush declared, because "America is a friend to the people of Iraq." I now hope to preempt your response to the information regarding that war in which I fought. When I learned in school about the design of the American system of government and all the noble qualities it represented, invading Iraq seemed to me, at the time, to be a surefire way to make the world a better place.

On the front-lines, however, I saw those very values that had so inspired me seldom put into practice. Despite claims of goodwill, infantry training left my comrades and I desensitized; how could we scream "Kill them all, let God sort them out" on a regular basis and still believe that we were caring for the oppressed people of Iraq? The glorious history I'd been taught--where colonists could no longer tolerate harsh British rule and revolted over taxes, lack of representation, quartering of homes, and other offenses--was turned on its head when we displaced Iraqi families from their homes to build an outpost. The will of the people--what a democracy is supposed to rest on--was brushed aside as we stormed past a peaceful protest where Iraqi men, women, and children had gathered, asking us not to occupy their neighborhood.

Though many of those ideals have fallen, one American ideal that can still be shown, depending on how you react, is that of accountability. Our founding fathers established a system of checks and balances to keep decision makers accountable. However, there has been little accountability in the wars that my friends and I once thought represented everything that was noble about our country. Of course it highlights some of those qualities when investigations find soldiers who kill Afghans for sport; but if legislators, the media, and the American public had been paying attention to the testimonies of veterans, instances like these would be understood as systemic, perhaps extreme, but certainly not exceptional.

While government statements may be able to divert the attention of U.S. media and public opinion, our national reputation continues to fade in the eyes of people who have been at both ends of the gun. Do you think an Afghan whose loved one was killed by mistake--perhaps the families of the seven children mistakenly killed by Task Force 373 on June 17, 2007 in the Khelof province(1) cares what Bradley Manning, accused leaker, said to a hacker? Do you think a soldier who was asked to betray his or her beliefs and conscience cares if Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, has a fierce temper?

The coming leak about Iraq is your chance, your obligation to make up for what was largely ignored last time. For every question you ask of Manning and Assange and their characters, the much greater question needs to be asked of where the accountability in U.S. foreign policy has gone. Pentagon officials said there was blood on Assange's hands over the last leak; can you back those claims? And how do you respond to the blood that has been needlessly spilled throughout the war? Just as you demand accountability for leakers, you owe accountability to those whose names these wars are carried out in. While you focus on only questioning the messengers, it seems highly likely that allies of the U.S. will question our priorities and honor, while our adversaries will be further assured that our noble claims of caring for humanity and wanting to save their countries is cheap rhetoric.

Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, griped that he "was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town." (2)
I write on behalf of those around the world who are ashamed to have to listen to the President, along with military and political officials, express their great angst over leaks while seeming to ignore the realities of what those leaks reveal about the very nature of these wars. When you fail to take account for what has been done in our names, funded by our taxes, and fought by those who believe that the U.S. should represent something noble, we will search for and tell the truth; if you are ashamed by citizens practicing the accountability that our country was designed to demand, then that says more about you than about us.

Please do something different; take accountability for these wars and the full truth about them. More specifically, please take account for what is detailed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan leaks by running the needed investigations, addressing the policies and practices that have gone unchecked, and beginning a much needed reconciliation process. If you need soldiers who are willing to collaborate what is detailed in the reports, I will be the first to step forward for this round of leaks.

Veterans have been stepping forward, partnered with civilian allies, to tell the truth that the "official story" chases away: Civilian Soldier Alliance. We have taken part in campaigns to prevent the deployment of troops traumatized by what they've been asked to do: Operation Recovery; we have partnered with organizations delivering aid on the ground in Iraq: Iraqi Health Now and have begun to repair some of the damage that these leaks expose: IVAW Reparations. We are living out the care for humanity and personal responsibility that this nation prides itself on; we have a long way to go, and your participation, rather than dismissal, is highly needed.

Thank you for your consideration,
Josh Stieber
SPC, 2-16 Infantry Battalion, Combat Veteran

[This man is, in my eyes, a true hero.  He stood up against the violence in Iraq while he was still in Iraq.  He saw, right away, that it was wrong.  I hope he is successful in getting some accountability for this evil hideous war, and I will do what I can to help him achieve that end.]

Link to original article.