Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 3 March 2014
Neocon Shit storm in Urkraine and around the globe
Mood:  smelly
Now Playing: Ukraine and the neocon agenda - (repost)
Topic: WAR
Published on Monday, March 3, 2014 by Consortium News

What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/03/03-2  (original post) 

President Barack Obama has been trying, mostly in secret, to craft a new foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tamp down confrontations in hotspots such as Iran and Syria. But Obama’s timidity about publicly explaining this strategy has left it open to attack from powerful elements of Official Washington, including well-placed neocons and people in his own administration.

The gravest threat to this Obama-Putin collaboration has now emerged in Ukraine, where a coalition of U.S. neocon operatives and neocon holdovers within the State Department fanned the flames of unrest in Ukraine, contributing to the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and now to a military intervention by Russian troops in the Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine that historically was part of Russia.resident Barack Obama discusses the crisis in Ukraine for 90 minutes on March 1, 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

Though I’m told the Ukraine crisis caught Obama and Putin by surprise, the neocon determination to drive a wedge between the two leaders has been apparent for months, especially after Putin brokered a deal to head off U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer and helped get Iran to negotiate concessions on its nuclear program, both moves upsetting the neocons who had favored heightened confrontations.

Putin also is reported to have verbally dressed down Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan over what Putin considered their provocative actions regarding the Syrian civil war. So, by disrupting neocon plans and offending Netanyahu and Bandar, the Russian president found himself squarely in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.

If not for Putin, the neocons – along with Israel and Saudi Arabia – had hoped that Obama would launch military strikes on Syria and Iran that could open the door to more “regime change” across the Middle East, a dream at the center of neocon geopolitical strategy since the 1990s. This neocon strategy took shape after the display of U.S. high-tech warfare against Iraq in 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union later that year. U.S. neocons began believing in a new paradigm of a uni-polar world where U.S. edicts were law.

The neocons felt this paradigm shift also meant that Israel would no longer need to put up with frustrating negotiations with the Palestinians. Rather than haggling over a two-state solution, U.S. neocons simply pressed for “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries that were assisting the Palestinians or Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Iraq was first on the neocon hit list, but next came Syria and Iran. The overriding idea was that once the regimes assisting the Palestinians and Hezbollah were removed or neutralized, then Israel could dictate peace terms to the Palestinians who would have no choice but to accept what was on the table.

U.S. neocons working on Netanyahu’s campaign team in 1996, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, even formalized their bold new plan, which they outlined in a strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The paper argued that only “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries could achieve the necessary “clean break” from the diplomatic standoffs that had followed inconclusive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In 1998, the neocon Project for the New American Century called for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but President Bill Clinton refused to go along. The situation changed, however, when President George W. Bush took office and after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, the neocons had a Commander in Chief who agreed with the need to eliminate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — and a stunned and angry U.S. public could be easily persuaded. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

So, Bush invaded Iraq, ousting Hussein but failing to subdue the country. The U.S. death toll of nearly 4,500 soldiers and the staggering costs, estimated to exceed $1 trillion, made the American people and even Bush unwilling to fulfill the full-scale neocon vision, which was expressed in one of their favorite jokes of 2003 about where to attack next, Iran or Syria, with the punch line: “Real men go to Tehran!”

Though hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney pushed the neocon/Israeli case for having the U.S. military bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities – with the hope that the attacks also might spark a “regime change” in Tehran – Bush decided that he couldn’t risk the move, especially after the U.S. intelligence community assessed in 2007 that Iran had stopped work on a bomb four years earlier.

The Rise of Obama

The neocons were dealt another setback in 2008 when Barack Obama defeated a neocon favorite, Sen. John McCain. But Obama then made one of the fateful decisions of his presidency, deciding to staff key foreign-policy positions with “a team of rivals,” i.e. keeping Republican operative Robert Gates at the Defense Department and recruiting Hillary Clinton, a neocon-lite, to head the State Department.

Obama also retained Bush’s high command, most significantly the media-darling Gen. David Petraeus. That meant that Obama didn’t take control over his own foreign policy.

Gates and Petraeus were themselves deeply influenced by the neocons, particularly Frederick Kagan, who had been a major advocate for the 2007 “surge” escalation in Iraq, which was hailed by the U.S. mainstream media as a great “success” but never achieved its principal goal of a unified Iraq. At the cost of nearly 1,000 U.S. dead, it only bought time for an orderly withdrawal that spared Bush and the neocons the embarrassment of an obvious defeat.

So, instead of a major personnel shakeup in the wake of the catastrophic Iraq War, Obama presided over what looked more like continuity with the Bush war policies, albeit with a firmer commitment to draw down troops in Iraq and eventually in Afghanistan.

From the start, however, Obama was opposed by key elements of his own administration, especially at State and Defense, and by the still-influential neocons of Official Washington. According to various accounts, including Gates’s new memoir Duty, Obama was maneuvered into supporting a troop “surge” in Afghanistan, as advocated by neocon Frederick Kagan and pushed by Gates, Petraeus and Clinton.

Gates wrote that Kagan persuaded him to recommend the Afghan “surge” and that Obama grudgingly went along although Gates concluded that Obama didn’t believe in the “mission” and wanted to reverse course more quickly than Gates, Petraeus and their side wanted.

Faced with this resistance from his own bureaucracy, Obama began to rely on a small inner circle built around Vice President Joe Biden and a few White House advisers with the analytical support of some CIA officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Obama also found a surprising ally in Putin after he regained the Russian presidency in 2012. A Putin adviser told me that the Russian president personally liked Obama and genuinely wanted to help him resolve dangerous disputes, especially crises with Iran and Syria.

In other words, what evolved out of Obama’s early “team of rivals” misjudgment was an extraordinary presidential foreign policy style, in which Obama developed and implemented much of his approach to the world outside the view of his secretaries of State and Defense (except when Panetta moved briefly to the Pentagon).

Even after the eventual departures of Gates in 2011, Petraeus as CIA director after a sex scandal in late 2012, and Clinton in early 2013, Obama’s peculiar approach didn’t particularly change. I’m told that he has a distant relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry, who never joined Obama’s inner foreign policy circle.

Though Obama’s taciturn protectiveness of his “real” foreign policy may be understandable given the continued neocon “tough-guy-ism” that dominates Official Washington, Obama’s freelancing approach gave space to hawkish elements of his own administration.

For instance, Secretary of State Kerry came close to announcing a U.S. war against Syria in a bellicose speech on Aug. 30, 2013, only to see Obama pull the rug out from under him as the President worked with Putin to defuse the crisis sparked by a disputed chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How War on Syria Lost Its Way.”]

Similarly, Obama and Putin hammered out the structure for an interim deal with Iran on how to constrain its nuclear program. But when Kerry was sent to seal that agreement in Geneva, he instead inserted new demands from the French (who were carrying water for the Saudis) and nearly screwed it all up. After getting called on the carpet by the White House, Kerry returned to Geneva and finalized the arrangements.[See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Saudi-Israel Defeat on Iran Deal.”]

Unorthodox Foreign Policy

Obama’s unorthodox foreign policy – essentially working in tandem with the Russian president and sometimes at odds with his own foreign policy bureaucracy – has forced Obama into faux outrage when he’s faced with some perceived affront from Russia, such as its agreement to give temporary asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

For the record, Obama had to express strong disapproval of Snowden’s asylum, though in many ways Putin was doing Obama a favor by sparing Obama from having to prosecute Snowden with the attendant complications for U.S. national security and the damaging political repercussions from Obama’s liberal base.

Putin’s unforced errors also complicated the relationship, such as when he defended Russian hostility toward gays and cracked down on dissent before the Sochi Olympics. Putin became an easy target for U.S. commentators and comedians.

But Obama’s hesitancy to explain the degree of his strategic cooperation with Putin has enabled Official Washington’s still influential neocons, including holdovers within the State Department bureaucracy, to drive more substantive wedges between Obama and Putin. The neocons came to recognize that the Obama-Putin tandem had become a major impediment to their strategic vision.

Without doubt, the neocons’ most dramatic – and potentially most dangerous – counter-move has been Ukraine, where they have lent their political and financial support to opposition forces who sought to break Ukraine away from its Russian neighbor.

Though this crisis also stems from the historical division of Ukraine – between its more European-oriented west and the Russian-ethnic east and south – neocon operatives, with financing from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. sources, played key roles in destabilizing and overthrowing the democratically elected president.

NED, a $100 million-a-year agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states, lists 65 projects that it supports financially inside Ukraine, including training activists, supporting “journalists” and promoting business groups, effectively creating a full-service structure primed and ready to destabilize a government in the name of promoting “democracy.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Shadow US Foreign Policy.”]

State Department neocons also put their shoulders into shoving Ukraine away from Russia. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan and the sister-in-law of the Gates-Petraeus adviser Frederick Kagan, advocated strenuously for Ukraine’s reorientation toward Europe.

Last December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S. goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves,” by which she meant into the West’s orbit and away from Russia’s.

But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine’s economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych’s decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country’s western and more pro-European region.

Nuland was soon at work planning for “regime change,” encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn’t seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.

“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. “He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know.” By “Yats,” Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister — and who was committed to harsh austerity.

As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera’s anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.

With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives.

With these neo-Nazis providing “security,” the remaining parliamentarians agreed in a series of unanimous or near unanimous votes to establish a new government and seek Yanukovych’s arrest for mass murder. Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as interim prime minister.

Yet, the violent ouster of Yanukovych provoked popular resistance to the coup from the Russian-ethnic south and east. After seeking refuge in Russia, Yanukovych appealed to Putin for help. Putin then dispatched Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea. [For more on this history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine.”]

Separating Obama from Putin

The Ukraine crisis has given Official Washington’s neocons another wedge to drive between Obama and Putin. For instance, the neocon flagship Washington Post editorialized on Saturday that Obama was responding “with phone calls” when something much more threatening than “condemnation” was needed.

It’s always stunning when the Post, which so energetically lobbied for the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the false pretense of eliminating its (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, gets its ire up about another country acting in response to a genuine security threat on its own borders, not half a world away.

But the Post’s editors have never been deterred by their own hypocrisy. They wrote, “Mr. Putin’s likely objective was not difficult to figure. He appears to be responding to Ukraine’s overthrow of a pro-Kremlin government last week with an old and ugly Russian tactic: provoking a separatist rebellion in a neighboring state, using its own troops when necessary.”

The reality, however, appears to have been that neocon elements from within the U.S. government encouraged the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine via a coup spearheaded by neo-Nazi storm troopers who then terrorized lawmakers as the parliament passed draconian laws, including some intended to punish the Russian-oriented regions which favor Yanukovych.

Yet, besides baiting Obama over his tempered words about the crisis, the Post declared that “Mr. Obama and European leaders must act quickly to prevent Ukraine’s dismemberment. Missing from the president’s statement was a necessary first step: a demand that all Russian forces – regular and irregular – be withdrawn … and that Moscow recognize the authority of the new Kiev government. … If Mr. Putin does not comply, Western leaders should make clear that Russia will pay a heavy price.”

The Post editors are fond of calling for ultimatums against various countries, especially Syria and Iran, with the implication that if they don’t comply with some U.S. demand that harsh actions, including military reprisals, will follow.

But now the neocons, in their single-minded pursuit of endless “regime change” in countries that get in their way, have taken their ambitions to a dangerous new level, confronting nuclear-armed Russia with ultimatums.

By Sunday, the Post’s neocon editors were “spelling out the consequences” for Putin and Russia, essentially proposing a new Cold War. The Post mocked Obama for alleged softness toward Russia and suggested that the next “regime change” must come in Moscow.

“Many in the West did not believe Mr. Putin would dare attempt a military intervention in Ukraine because of the steep potential consequences,” the Post wrote. “That the Russian ruler plunged ahead shows that he doubts Western leaders will respond forcefully. If he does not quickly retreat, the United States must prove him wrong.”

The madness of the neocons has long been indicated by their extraordinary arrogance and their contempt for other nations’ interests. They assume that U.S. military might and other coercive means must be brought to bear on any nation that doesn’t bow before U.S. ultimatums or that resists U.S.-orchestrated coups.

Whenever the neocons meet resistance, they don’t rethink their strategy; they simply take it to the next level. Angered by Russia’s role in heading off U.S. military attacks against Syria and Iran, the neocons escalated their geopolitical conflict by taking it to Russia’s own border, by egging on the violent ouster of Ukraine’s elected president.

The idea was to give Putin an embarrassing black eye as punishment for his interference in the neocons’ dream of “regime change” across the Middle East. Now, with Putin’s countermove, his dispatch of Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea, the neocons want Obama to further escalate the crisis by going after Putin.

Some leading neocons even see ousting Putin as a crucial step toward reestablishing the preeminence of their agenda. NED president Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.  … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

At minimum, the neocons hope that they can neutralize Putin as Obama’s ally in trying to tamp down tensions with Syria and Iran – and thus put American military strikes against those two countries back under active consideration.

As events spin out of control, it appears way past time for President Obama to explain to the American people why he has collaborated with President Putin in trying to resolve some of the world’s thorniest problems.

That, however, would require him to belatedly take control of his own administration, to purge the neocon holdovers who have worked to sabotage his actual foreign policy, and to put an end to neocon-controlled organizations, like the National Endowment for Democracy, that use U.S. taxpayers’ money to stir up trouble abroad. That would require real political courage.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:34 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 3 March 2014 11:35 PM PST
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Living with DRONES
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: DRONES
Topic: WAR

Imagine you awake to the sound of a machine noisily buzzing over your house, and another machine nearby in the sky, and another.  These machines and others like them have been around for months.  They never leave.  While you live in the United States, the machines belong to the government of Pakistan.  The machines are unmanned drones armed with missiles.  Every once in a while they blow up a house or a car or a couple of kids playing soccer or a grandmother walking to the store, sometimes a McDonald's or a shopping center.

Imagine that you've learned to live with this.  The popularity of homeschooling has skyrocketed, as nobody wants to send their kids outside.  Telecommuting is now the norm for those able to maintain employment.  But there's no getting used to the change.  Your kids wake up screaming and refuse to sleep.  Your rage makes you physically ill.  Antidepressants are on everybody's shopping lists, bu t shopping is a life-and-death proposition.  Canada is facing an immigration crisis.  So is Mexico.

Now, Pakistan claims to be targeting evil criminals with surgical precision.  And some in the U.S. government go along with this.  But others object.  The U.S. Supreme Court declares the drone deaths to be murder or war -- murder being illegal under U.S. law, and war being illegal under the U.N. Charter via Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. 

The U.S. Congress insists that criminals must be indicted and prosecuted, that negotiations with hostile groups cannot succeed while drones tear the negotiators limb from limb, and that Pakistan has no right to put its robots in our skies no matter what its good intentions.  Statements agreeing with this opposition to the drones are signed by everybody who's anybody.  Popular demonstrations against the drones, and -- bravely -- in the face of the drones, dwarf anything seen before.  In fact, the world joins in, and people protest Pakistan's murder spree all over the globe.  Human rights groups in various countries denounce it as criminal.  The Pakistani prime minister reportedly checks off men, women, and children to kill on a list at regular Tuesday meetings.  He's burned in effigy across the United States.

But Pakistani human rights groups take a different tack.  In their view, some of the drone murders in the United States are illegal and some are not.  It depends on the knowledge and intentions of the Pakistani officials -- did they know those kids were just playing soccer or did they believe their soccer ball was an imminent threat to the nation of Pakistan?  Was blowing up those kids necessary, discrete, and proportionate?  Were they militants or civilians?  Was blowing them up part of an armed conflict or an act of law enforcement, and what type of armed conflict or what law was being enforced?  Paki stan, these groups argue, must not blow people up without identifying them, without verifying that they cannot be captured, and without taking care not to kill too many civilians in the process.  Further, Pakistan must reveal the details of its legal reasoning and decision making, so that the process has transparency.  Indeed, Pakistan must begin running its proposed drone killings by a judge who must sign off on them -- a Pakistani judge, but a judge nonetheless.

The Pakistani human rights groups are not made up of evil people.  They very much mean well.  They want to reduce the number of Americans killed by drones.  And they are not permitted to declare all drone killing illegal, because these killings might be part of a war, and these groups have adopted as a matter of strict principle the position that wars must never be opposed, only tactics within wars.  They believe this makes them "objective" and "credible," and it certainly does do that with certain people.  These Pakistani human rights groups are not pulling the trigger, they're trying to stop it being pulled as often.  Lumping them together with the Pakistani military would be Bushian (with us or against us) thinking.  But it's harder to see that from under the drones here in the United States with the kids wailing and Uncle Joe's brains still staining the side of the Pizza Hut, than it would be perhaps in Pakistan or at the United Nations Headquarters in Islamabad.

From here in the United States, the cries are for justice.  Many want the prime minister of Pakistan prosecuted for murder. Many are beginning to view the absence of such legal justice as grounds for violence.  I'm growing worried over what my neighbors and even myself might unleash on the rest of the world.  I'm beginning to fall in love with the feeling of hatred.

##

Read more about drones.

Watch the Wounds of Waziristan video.

Do a die-in like this one.

Watch this video of an event on drones and militarization at NYU.

Watch this video of drone survivors visiting Congress.

Watch Unmanned: America's Drone Wars.

Sign the petition at BanWeaponizedDrones.org

Get your city or state to oppose drones.

Ask your Congress member and senators to introduce legislation banning weaponized drones.  Ask state legislators to do same.

Ask the ICC to prosecute drone murders.

Join in anti-drone actions everywhere.

November 9 at CIA Headquarters, join in the First Anniversary of Monthly Protests of Drone Murders at the CIA.

Come to the Drone Summit in Washington DC, November 16-17

The day before the Summit, November 15th, join us for a march from the White House to the headquarters of drone maker General Atomics. After the Summit, on November 18th, we will lobby members of Congress to push for legislation regulating the use of killer drones and domestic spy drones.

Every Tuesday: Stop the Killing

March 14-16, 2014, Santa Barbara, Global Network's 22nd Annual Conference

June 6-9, 2014, Sarajevo Peace Event

July 26-27, 2014, Third National UNAC Conference, Purchase, NY

July 28, 2014, 100 Years Since Launch of War to End All Wars That Created More Wars

August 27, 2014, 86 Years Since Signing of the Kellogg Briand Pact

Small Actions, Big Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence - International Conference of WRI co-hosted by Ceasefire Campaign 4 Jul 2014 - 8 Jul 2014, Cape Town, South Africa


Posted by Joe Anybody at 9:52 PM PST
Monday, 3 December 2012
Slaves to the IMF - Iraq and the slave labor laws
Mood:  down
Now Playing: Iraq Labor Laws and the IMF
Topic: WAR

 

 http://www.marxist.com/new-iraqi-labour-law-a-law-for-a-new-slavery.htm

 {original article found here}

 

The new Iraqi labour law, a law for a new slavery

We received this request for international protests against the new labour Law being introduced in Iraq under the pressure of the IMF. It is clearly against the interests of workers in Iraq and openly defends the right of capitalists to brutally exploit the workers.

“Dear Sister and Brothers in working class organizations around the World,

“We are sending out this report by Falah Alwan, president of the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq, concerning the new labour law in Iraq. We are calling on all trade unions and leaders around the world to support our struggle against it. Please speak out loudly to stand with us in solidarity. Send your letter to the government of Iraq to respect workers’ rights now. Send us copies of your letters please as we want to publish them among the workers in Iraq. Your support is very important to us always.

“Hand to hand and shoulder to shoulder in working class struggle for freedom and Equality.

“Akram Nadir,

Union Organizer in Iraq and Kurdistan and International Representative of Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI).”

[email: akram_nadir_1999@yahoo.com, www.fwcui.org]

---

More than one hundred serious notes and objections, to the 156 articles which are the components of the draft of the new labour law, were set out. Such issue means that it is an objectionable draft. And these objections are undermining it.

Since 2004 there have been five drafts of the new labour law in Iraq, none of them were presented publicly or to the workers' unions. The Ministry of Labour, coordinating with the government controlled trade union federation, composed the latest draft of the labour law surreptitiously in a conspiratorial manner. The other unions in Iraq received copies of the latest draft, via the Solidarity Centre, only one year ago.

The recent draft of the labour law is not merely the result of a normal development of the economic necessities, or a kind of cure to the economic crisis. It is the direct result of the IMF policies which have been imposed by the US occupation in collaboration with their loyal government, so the struggle against it is part of the struggle against the occupation policies and the neo-liberal agenda.

The spirit of the draft is to legitimize the capitalist interests, and to defend them within an officially authorized framework. The notes are so numerous, that we cannot list them all in detail; here we focus only on the main key points.

The new labour law confirms the laws of the former regime, which consider the workers in the public sector as officials, depriving them of the most basic rights and guarantees, denying them the right to organize and the right to strike.

Most of the articles of the new labour law are to guarantee the interests of the capitalists. More than one article gives the full right to the capitalists to lay off workers for no reason. The dismissals of the workers are up to the owners of the factories or the projects.

In 2004 the Iraqi government had accepted the 6 demands of the IMF as conditions for a compulsory loan of about US$436million. All those conditions are undoubtedly expressions of the neo-liberal policies.

The new labour law reflects clearly and overtly the class interests of the capitalists before the workers' interests. It gives legitimacy to exploitation, while justifying the greed of the capitalists. In a word, the new labour law is a framework within which to intensify and justify the exploitation and the suppression of the workers and to enable the neo-liberal model to control the economy in Iraq.

The preamble of the draft is to facilitate the investment conditions for the capitalists. There is no real confirmation of the rights to strike, to sit-in, to assemble or to demonstrate. There are no guarantees for the workers' rights, such as,
1. Protection against dismissal,
2. Assurances against unemployment,
3. The safety insurance and benefits to the workers.

Finally, we realise it is impossible to end exploitation or to acquire full rights of the working class by simply changing or reforming the labour law. In addition, the implementing of the new labour law will not change the system of property relations or implement a new social state, i.e. socialism.

Actually, our criticism of the new labour law is aimed at implementing many reforms, such as; the right to strike, the right to sit in, unemployment insurance and the full right to organize and join unions, in a word, to strengthen the ability of the working class to struggle against the exploiters, and the whole of capitalism.

Falah Alwan

November 2012

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Monday, 19 March 2012
No Child Left Behind - War Machine Recruiter Farce continues in 2012
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Military recruiters dirty bloody claws in our school system
Topic: WAR
As many of you know, under No Child Left Behind, schools receiving federal funding MUST release students' personal information to military recruiters if they are to continue to receive funding.  Students (and their families) may "opt-out" of this provision of the No Child Left Behind Act during their annual fall high school registration.  While Opt-Out is an important first step, there are other insidious ways in which the military can gain access to student information.

Please read the petition below and "sign on" as you feel appropriate by clicking on the link.

Just some explanation of terms:
NNOMY:  National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth
ASVAB:  Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (test)

For more information on the "issues,"  please see:
http://www.themmob.org/lmca ("Leave My Child Alone!"), which has information on Opt-Out, JAMRS (the Pentagon consumer database) and ASVAB
http://www.asvabtest.org/optout1.htm

An excellent article appeared in MOTHER JONES in September, 2009, entitled, "A Few Good Kids?  How the No Child Left Behind Act allowed military recruiters to collect info on millions of unsuspecting teens."
http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/few-good-kids

Thanks very much for supporting students' rights to privacy.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Military Freak - killing soldiers is his job
Mood:  on fire
Now Playing: To put it politely as best as I can = Fuk This Guy
Topic: WAR

Meet an officer who has been
killing soldiers at Ft. Lewis


March Forward logo

 

PTSD misdiagnosis scandal leads to firings

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 It's all smiles for Col. Homas; he's got a sweet job, with no accountability for his actions—even if dozens of wounded soldiers die on his watch.

BY KEVIN BAKER

The author is a former infantry Staff Sergeantwith 28 months in Iraqwho was stationed at Ft. Lewis and went through the medical discharge process at Madigan Healthcare System.

Col. Dallas Homas was administratively removed from his position as head of the Army’s Madigan Healthcare System near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Army officials announced Feb. 20. Col. Homas, a West Point graduate, had headed the medical center since March 2011.

Col. Homas was removed during an Army inquiry into the practice of intentionally not diagnosing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers. Such a diagnosis entitles one to certain rights, benefits and compensation.

Col. Homas, the commander in charge of making sure soldiers on base are being cared for, denied soldiers their right to medical treatment and other rights to “save taxpayer money”—an absurd statement considering the multi-million dollar defense budget that has unlimited funds for corporate defense contractors, but suddenly “not enough money” when we’re entitled to compensation for legitimate psychological wounds.

Just weeks earlier, two top doctors in charge of PTSD at Ft. Lewis were also fired.

Already, as a result of the inquiry, 14 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD after having been being previously misdiagnosed. There is no telling how many more received a bogus diagnosis and are now in Afghanistan, not receiving the treatment they need, and not being awarded the disability and compensation they deserve.

And with record suicides in the Army over the past 3 years—many of which occurred among Ft. Lewis soldiers—it is undeniable that Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in this process have blood on their hands.

Changes a result of public pressure for soldiers, military families, vets

Col. Homas has been removed not because the Army cares about our lives, but because of external pressure. Over the past two years, March Forward! has launched campaign after campaign against the inadequate treatment of soldiers suffering from PTSD. We have exposed several egregious cases to the media, built nationwide pressure through public campaigns, circulated petitions nationwide that garnered thousands of signatures, organized thousands to call and email the Ft. Lewis command, and worked with military family members and soldiers to bring real heat to the officers at Ft. Lewis. In conjunction with our efforts, Ft. Lewis also has at its gates the G.I. coffeehouse Coffee Strong, helping soldiers on base learn about their rights and speak out about mistreatment.

It is no coincidence that the target of so much organizing is now the focus of an Army inquiry and firings.

Col. Homas is typical, not just a bad apple

There is nothing unique about the way Colonial Dallas Homas dealt with soldiers suffering from PTSD who were seeking help. Ft. Lewis is one of the most troubled bases in the U.S. military in regards to suicide.

I remember his predecessor, an officer by the name of Col. Edwards at Madigan hospital when I was just starting my medical discharge process. He interviewed me for roughly thirty seconds before he told the doctors I was fit for duty and had to deploy again. This is what is considered adequate for these officers to make a diagnosis that will impact the rest of our lives—or a diagnosis that will be responsible for soldiers losing them.

They excuse their behavior by accusing us of just faking our symptoms because we are lazy—or, “malingering”. The behavior of officers who accuse service members of “malingering” is not uncommon. What strikes me as odd is that the same officers who will put our lives at risk—but don’t deploy themselves—are so untrusting of enlisted soldiers who have been in combat. They call us “fakers” when we come home from a world they will never see.  

The suicides that have taken place at Ft. Lewis are a direct result of the failure of the base and its head officer corps to do anything meaningful to address the crisis of PTSD, as if our lives mean nothing to them.  

No accountability for ruining countless lives

Col. Homas has been relieved of his duties and will most likely take a position else where continuing his dishonest work. The Army just needed a cosmetic change—Homas will continue working in a plush office, until he retires with a fat pension. That’s “punishment” for an officer who has been directly responsible for soldier suicides and destroyed families.

Let’s just look at this in comparison for a moment.

If an enlisted soldier loses a pair of night vision goggles, they face a dock in pay, extra duty, restriction to the barracks and demotion in rank. We as enlisted face the harshest punishment even for situations completely out of our control (this was shown during our recent successful campaign against the ridiculous lockdown of B Co., 4/9 Infantry).

But when the head of the mental health department on a base that is on the brink of disaster, continues to refuse to diagnose PTSD, calls soldiers “malingerers” and denies them the right to heal which results in the highest suicide rates among all of the CONUS bases, he is simply relieved of his position and sent somewhere else. Col. Homas's allegiance, like that of the incoming officer, are not to serve the soldiers but to serve the interests of the Pentagon and protect the funds allotted to the Army.

For the countless lives that have been needlessly lost to suicide at Ft. Lewis, and the families who are suffering, Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in the practice of denying PTSD claims should be brought up on criminal charges.

The Pentagon won’t change things—but we can

Col. Mike Heimall, Homas' replacement, has no allegiance to enlisted personnel and will continue to function as did Col. Homas and other officers in charge before them. They will continue to attempt to sweep the suicide epidemic under the rug. We can expect no meaningful change from the change of command, except what they are forced to do. The officer corps at Ft. Lewis, Madigan and the crony-healthcare system has not only helped facilitate soldiers' suicides but they have stolen husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones from our lives.

Real change within the military never has nor will it ever come from the top. This change of command is a direct result of our actions as enlisted service members, vets and family and friends to organize and beat the drums of truth. The lies this base spews will continue to kill soldiers who are suffering from untreated PTSD. Ft. Lewis and all those in charge of medical practice who have cheated service members out of their lives should be tried in court and held accountable for their dishonesty that has led to a massive suicide epidemic.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Is a US war with Iran Inevitable - USA is bound and determined
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: From: The Daily Reckoning
Topic: WAR

________________________________________ From: The Daily Reckoning [mailto:dr@dailyreckoning.com] Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:37 PM 

Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? The Daily Reckoning U.S. Edition Home . Archives . Unsubscribe The Daily Reckoning | Thursday, February 16, 2012 • Doug Casey gives us his odds on an all-out military conflict with Iran, • What would be the consequences should war eventuate? And how do you prepare? • Plus, Bill Bonner on Facebook’s IPO, Mr. Government Fixer in Europe and plenty more...

 Checking in from Buenos Aires, Argentina... Joel Bowman We have in stall for you today, Fellow Reckoner, an interview with Mr. Douglas Casey. You’ll shortly discover that the topic, Iran and the possibility — says Doug, “probability” — of war with that sovereign nation, demands the discussion run a little longer than our usual feature piece. As such, our preamble will be correspondingly shorter than usual. Please enjoy Doug’s characteristically thought-provoking insights. Should you wish to opine on this important topic, feel free to direct your email to us here: joel@dailyreckoning.com. We will feature a selection of your emails in future reckonings. World oil production is about to be shaken to its core... You won’t believe which nation analysts at Wall Street’s biggest banks expect to become the world’s biggest energy producer by 2017 — or the effect it will have on America... our economy... our future... Click here to see who is set to become the new king of oil — and how you can use the news to go for big profits as early as this MAY! The Daily Reckoning Presents Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? An Interview with Doug Casey, conducted by Louis James Doug Casey US-Iranian saber-rattling or impending shoot-out? In his usual, candid manner, contrarian investor Doug Casey talks about why he believes it’s serious this time... why the US is the greatest threat to peace today... why Iran might move towards a gold standard... and what smart investors should do. L: Doug, I’ve heard you say you think the US is setting Iran up to be the next fall guy in the wag-the-dog show — do you think it could really come to open warfare? Doug: Yes, I do. It could just be saber rattling during an election year, but Western powers have been provoking Iran for years now — two decades, really. I just saw another report proclaiming that Iran is likely to attack the US, which is about as absurd as the allegations Bush made about Iraq bombing the US, when he fomented that invasion. It’s starting to look rather serious at this point, so I do think the odds favor actual fighting in the not-too-distant future. L: Could they really be so stupid? Doug: You know the answer to that one. We’re dealing with criminal personalities on both sides, and criminals are basically very stupid — meaning they have an unwitting tendency to self-destruction. One thing to remember is that most of those in power in the West still believe the old economic fallacy that war is good for the economy. L: The old broken-window fallacy. Paraphrasing Arlo Guthrie, it’s hard to believe anyone could get away with making a mistake that dumb for that long. Doug: People like those in power still suffer the delusion that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression for the US. Actually, it was only after the end of the war that the depression ended, in 1946. In his book World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond, Herman Kahn documented long-term growth throughout the 20th century. Between 1914 to 1946 — a very tough time, with WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII — the world economy still grew at something like 1.8%. I believe real growth would have been several times as great, were it not for the state and its products. But people still believe that spending money on things that explode and kill and destroy is somehow good for the economy. L: I suppose they think it’s okay if it creates jobs here and destroys lives and livelihoods “over there.” But aside from the fact that it’s not safe to assume today’s enemies are not capable of bringing the battle onto US soil, it still ignores the fact that you’re spending money on stuff that gets destroyed — like broken windows — and that impoverishes us all. Worse, the cost is not just economic. Doug: That’s right. This coming war with Iran has the potential to turn into something resembling WWIII, with enormous consequences. Now, it’s hard to speak with any certainty on such matters, because most of what we have to go on are press reports. Governments keep most really critical facts on their doings to themselves, and what you read in the press is as likely as not just a warmed-over government press release — in other words, propaganda. Meaningless, if not actively deceptive. It is correctly said that in war, truth is the first casualty. L: But we do have the Internet these days, with indie reporters offering coverage ignored by the talking heads in the mainstream media. Doug: True; it doesn’t keep the chattering classes honest, but it does provide some diversity of spin, from which we can try to infer what’s really going on. And from all the various sources — mainstream and alternative, Western and from within the Muslim world — I have to say that it appears to me that the Iranians are not actually developing nuclear weapons. L: Then why do they act in such aggressive and bombastic ways? Doug: Western powers are pushing them around, telling them what they can and cannot do, and treating them like children or mental incompetents with no right of self-determination. How else would you expect them to react? They may have a collectivist theocratic regime, but it’s also a proud and ancient culture. Now, as you know, I don’t think there should be any countries at all — not in the sense of the modern nation-state, and I’m certainly no fan of the Tehran regime, but Iran is a sovereign state. The Iranians resent people from other countries assuming the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their uranium enrichment program, just as people in the US would if Iranians told them what to do with... well, anything. L: Do you have specific data to substantiate your view that Iran is not focused on creating nuclear weapons? Doug: I was just reading about an official report that says that Iran is still not able to enrich uranium to the level needed to make nuclear weapons. Uranium occurs in two isotopes with half-lives long enough to make it possible to find reasonable amounts of them in the earth’s crust: U235 and U238. Most of it is U238 — 99.3% — but it’s the U235 that’s fissile, meaning, it’s the one you want for making nuclear reactors and weapons. So you have to enrich your uranium — to about 20%-30% U235 to make reactor fuel and 90% or better to make weapons. L: That’s why the Russians are able to sell “downblended” uranium from decommissioned nuclear weapons for use as reactor fuel. So, you’re saying the reports indicate that Iran is not capable of enriching uranium beyond the level needed for reactors? Doug: Yes. But again, I have to stress that reliable information is very hard to come by. Remember when the US accused Iraq of having a program to develop so-called weapons of mass destruction? Apart from the fact that, except for nuclear weapons, that term is a complete misnomer, they had no such thing. It was either lousy intelligence or outright fabrication — and I suspect the latter. So how can we trust what they tell us today? Only a fool would be so naïve. L: Indeed. Doug: In any event, why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons? I wish none of these countries had them, but they do. No one stopped China, no one stopped North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, India, France, nor any of the others in the disreputable club that have them. L: Wasn’t it too late to intervene by the time those countries announced their nuclear capabilities? Doug: I don’t think so. Israel was friendly, so Western powers looked the other way. North Korea was too rabid, so they were left alone. The other countries are too big. The cat’s out of the bag at this point; any country can develop nuclear weapons, if it really wants to. But it’s easier and cheaper to bribe a general — or maybe just a supply sergeant — in India, Pakistan, or Russia to get what you want. Moreover, with the US on the rampage, prosecuting its counterproductive and unwinnable War on Terror, a lot of governments, especially ones unpopular in the West, have got to be thinking about acquiring nuclear capabilities. If Saddam had actually had nukes, the US would have left him alone, just as they’ve left the Kims to rot in the workers’ paradise they’ve made out of North Korea. It makes sense for a country stricken from the US’s official “nice” list and moved over to the “naughty” category to have some nukes. Everyone needs and wants a slingshot to keep the bully of the block at bay. If you oppose nuclear proliferation, your first target should be US foreign policy, which is the biggest impetus behind the scramble to arms. L: What about the argument that Iran would use nuclear weapons on Israel, if it had them? Doug: That’s ridiculous. It’s true that just one or two nukes would turn most of Israel to glass, but it’s a matter of mutually assured destruction (MAD), just as the détente between the US and USSR was. Israel is reported to have about 200 nuclear weapons, and the Iranians know it. Even if they launched a successful first strike against Israel, they would get wiped off the face of the earth in response. The regime in Iran is repressive and borderline lunatic, but they aren’t that stupid. No way are they going to attack Israel with nukes. They not only cannot, but should not, be singled out for exclusion from the nuclear club. L: But they’re part of the axis of evil, don’t you know? Doug: Speaking of evil, it’s evil to initiate the use of force or fraud. If Iran enriches uranium or even builds tools for war, that’s not evil per se. But using force to stop them from doing something that is not in itself wrong is wrong, and that would make Iran’s attackers the axis of evil. In my mind, the US is the biggest threat to peace in the world today. I can easily imagine those in power in the US starting a war over any silly pretext, real or imagined. It could easily happen by accident at this point. Things go wrong. Maybe some young hotheads in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard decide to take a boat out and attack a US frigate — launch a few RPGs at it before they’re blown out of the water. Then the US feels it needs to mete out some punishment and launches a strike against the base the boat came from — which would be attacking the Iranian mainland — and the thing spins completely out of control. Could happen at the drop of a hat. Maybe the commander of a US ship has a streak of General Jack D. Ripper from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove in him. Maybe the Russians or the Chinese — who are aiding the Iranians — mount a false-flag incident, because they want to see the US get involved in another tar baby. L: So... another case of not just doing the wrong thing, but the exact opposite of the right thing, with economic, political, and ultimately physical world consequences. Doug: That’s right. Just look at what they’re doing now, trying to isolate Iran from the world with an embargo. That could be seen as an act of war. L: Well, wait a minute. A blockade is regarded as an act of war, but if Western countries decide to harm their own economies by not trading with Iran, that’s unfriendly, but not force or fraud. Doug: Well, it would be forcing citizens in those Western countries to pay higher prices for things, denying them the choice of buying oil from Iran if they wanted to. But I agree; that’s more a matter of criminal tyranny and stupidity than an act of war. Still it sure is prodding Iran, throwing rocks at the hornets’ nest, as the US did with Japan before WWII. The Japanese basically have no domestic oil production and were getting their oil from the US and the Dutch East Indies. The US cut off both supplies, backing them into a corner, leaving them little choice but an aggressive response. At any rate, I think all of this could backfire on the US. Since the Iranians apparently can’t clear deposits through New York, where international dollar trades clear, they’ve made a very commonsense move to cut the US out of the middle and sell their oil directly to India, without using dollars. I think other countries will follow — and then what? Iran isn’t going to want bushels and bushels of rupiah or yen or whatever. I think the odds favor them turning to gold. It’s said that’s one of the means of payment the Indians will be using. Gold is the logical choice and the next step in the demise of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. There’s a lot of demand for the dollar to buy and sell oil. If countries stop using it, demand for the dollar would fall, at the very time the US is greatly increasing the supply of dollars. The day is coming when trillions of dollars outside the US will only be spendable inside the US. At that point it’s game over for the dollar. L: You’ve talked about the world going back onto a gold standard before. What do you say to the people who say that gold is a barbaric relic from the past that doesn’t work in a modern economy — they can’t go around with pockets full of doubloons to buy cars or chests full of treasure to buy houses... Doug: Such people are not thinking rationally and are economically ignorant. As always, we should start with a definition: what is money? The short answer is that it’s a store of wealth and medium of exchange. For reasons we’ve discussed and as Aristotle outlined over 2,000 years ago, gold is simply the best form of money ever adopted. And in our modern world, you don’t have to physically cart the stuff around. You can, but you can also transfer ownership of physical gold electronically, through services like GoldMoney.com. L: Note: We do endorse GoldMoney.com as a convenient and reliable way to own, trade, and transfer gold, but readers should be advised that Doug is an investor in it. Doug: Right. I like to put my money where my mouth is. L: Okay, so you see this trend being bullish for gold, clear enough. But most of the gold ever produced in the world still exists in purified form in various vaults around the planet. Gold doesn’t get used up like silver does, so there’s plenty of supply. So, would the physical need for gold as money really impact the price of gold and related equities, or would that be more a function of governments further debasing their currencies? Doug: Well, it’s estimated that there are some six billion ounces of refined gold in human possession around the world, or, somewhat less than one ounce per person. Global gold production is said to be about 80 million ounces a year, or about a 1.3% annual increase in the supply of gold. That would be the steady, “natural” rate of inflation if we were on a gold standard. The amount of various currency units in the world is increasing at a much, much faster pace than 1.3%. Nobody really knows, not even the Fed, but depending on how you define the money supply, it would take $10,000 to $50,000 — or more — per ounce to back all of the dollars in existence with gold. Whatever the correct number is, I expect gold’s price in dollars to increase dramatically as the world moves closer to and eventually adopts a gold standard. L: So, any investment implications beyond the obvious? Buy gold and silver for prudence and protection, buy gold stocks for speculative leverage? Doug: That’s the basic recipe. And diversify your holdings internationally. You can never tell when the government of your home country will have a psychotic break. L: What do you say to the people afraid that in a world so traumatized as to go back onto a gold standard, the risk of owning any paper asset, including gold stocks, would be too high? No one will trade gold stocks for a can of dog food in a Mad Max world... Doug: That’s a valid concern. You can’t eat paper, and even owning shares in a gold mine may not be of much use in a real economic cataclysm — the US government shut down gold mining during WWII as a nonessential industry. It could happen again. But that’s why, as you said, we own gold for prudence, and the stocks are strictly speculative vehicles. But let’s have some perspective. The security of your stock portfolio may become the least of your concerns if the US starts a war with Iran that touches off WWIII. If that happens, the US government and population will both turn hysterical, and the whole country will be locked down like a prison. What was once America will become even more of a police state than it is now. Who knows where that would end? So, one of the most intelligent things you can do is as I’ve been saying for years: diversify your assets and your physical presence internationally. Having some place you like to spend time off the beaten track, where you can ride the storm out, should be top priority for everyone who can afford it. Preparing for the worst at home should be top priority for those who can’t. L: Would you care to put odds on open war between the US and Iran? Doug: I’d say it’s highly probable within the next two to four years — say, between 50% and 75% — that an actual shooting war will break out. L: Not much time to prepare. I sure hope all our readers are doing what they can. Doug: Me too. L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts and guidance, Doug. Doug: You’re welcome. We’ll talk again soon. P.S. To get an even better sense of how badly a US-Iran war could hurt the American economy, readers can view our free report here. It’s the first step to take to prepare yourself and your investments for what lies ahead. Regards, Doug Casey and Louis James, for The Daily Reckoning Joel’s Note: Predictions vary widely on where the price of oil might go should (another) war break out in the Gulf. We’ve seen forecasts of $300 per barrel batted about, which doesn’t feel like a huge stretch to us. Iran contributes significantly more to current global supply than did Iraq before it, and few doubt that a strangulation of the all-important Strait of Hormuz would rocket prices higher...wherever “higher” might be. Needless to say, this further underscores the need for energy independence at home. And Byron King, Agora’s resident geologist, reckons he’s found out how to make that a reality. He reveals all in his “Re-made in America” presentation. Give it a look here. Now here is a stimulus plan that CAN work Ordinary people all across the nation have quietly started rebuilding their wealth — and returning their life to normal — with a very unusual and unexpected stimulus plan of their own... A flurry of new jobs... $75,000-a-year salaries... explosive growth in personal bank accounts... cash payments of up to $35,000 a month — people from all walks of life are starting to cash in on it in one way or another. Click here now to get full details on what is happening and how YOU can be one of the people who profits from it too. Bill Bonner A Greek Debt Crisis Recap Bill Bonner Reckoning from Rancho Santana, Nicaragua... The Dow down 97 points yesterday. And the Greek story nears its conclusion... The Germans agree to bail out the country...at least for a while... ..and the Greeks agree to act more like Germans...at least while everyone is looking... But now everybody agrees that the farce has gone on long enough. Let’s recap: The big banks lent the Greeks money. Then, the bankers paid themselves big bonuses, rewards for having booked so much business. The Greeks spent it like they stole it...which they practically did. With the help of Goldman Sachs, they rigged their accounts so as to appear to be better credit risks than they really were. Then, of course, the Greeks could not repay. Since they gained independence from the Ottoman Turks in 1828, the Greeks never, ever repaid a loan as promised. Instead, they were in default about half the time. But rather than let Mr. Market sort it out...as he had every other time, Mr. Government Fixer stepped in. He promised to manage the situation so that the careless lenders wouldn’t have to take the losses they deserved. How? By lending the borrower more money! So, the Greeks were given more money...and told to straighten up. And the Greeks made an effort. Rather than spend money as freely as before, they cut back. Thousands of government employees were laid off, budgets trimmed...belts tightened. This, naturally, led to an economic slump. GDP fell at a 5% rate in the 3rd quarter of last year. In the 4th quarter it was falling even faster, at a 7% annual rate. The New York Times reports: By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. ... The situation at the macro level is, if anything, even more transformational. The Chinese have largely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s main port, with an eye to make it a conduit for shipping goods into Europe. ... The latest austerity plan meant to satisfy Greece’s creditors and allow for new infusions of financial aid may have averted involuntary default — and a global economic downturn — but will nonetheless make life for ordinary Greeks even more difficult. The plan reduces the minimum wage by more than 20 percent, mandates thousands of layoffs and reduces some pensions, probably ensuring that strikes and demonstrations will continue to be a feature of the Greek landscape. As in Argentina 10 years ago, the Greek middle class is being hit hard. The upper classes are protected. They own stocks. They have bank accounts in foreign countries. And the lower classes had nothing before the crisis. They haven’t lost a penny. But the middle classes lose jobs, income...and benefits. That is what is happening in America too. Middle class wealth, built up between 1980 and 2007, was largely an illusion. It was money borrowed from the future... Now, it must be paid back. And there’s not much Mr. Government Fixer can do about it. The problem is too much debt. Adding more debt doesn’t help. And more thoughts... “But Bill, aren’t you being a little simplistic,” asks a Dear Reader. “The idea is not to add debt for its own sake. The idea is just to try to mediate the social consequences of private sector de- leveraging while giving the economy time to get back on its feet. Why won’t that work?” Why won’t it work? We repeat the question to give us time to think... ..oh yes...it won’t work because it ignores the reason the economy was knocked on its derriere in the first place. If the cause of the setback had been interest rates that were too high...or a natural disaster...the strategy might work. Just as an ancient Pharaoh made Bible fame by saving grain in the fat years and then releasing it when the harvests failed, so might a sage government today draw on its own surpluses to help soften the blow of a bad winter or an earthquake. But the government has no surpluses. Only deficits. And you can’t mitigate the damage of an earthquake by setting off a nuclear explosion. Neither can you solve the problem of too much debt by adding to it. When an economy has too much debt, there’s only one solution. Debt delenda est. Debt must be eliminated. It can be done in the old fashioned way — by Mr. Market. Or it can be done by Mr. Government Fixer. Mr. Market will do it quickly...efficiently...and brutally. Mr. Government Fixer will hesitate...equivocate...vacillate...prevaricate...and generally fornicate everything up. He will protect the guilty insiders...at the expense of the innocent taxpayers and general public. And in the end, he will let the debtor default, too, for he will have no other choice. *** We warned you about buying Facebook. Here, another colleague, Dan Ferris, elaborates: Buying the Facebook IPO at its rumored valuation level would be a big mistake. Buying the other social networking companies at current valuations is also a mistake. Dan thinks the whole market has been infected by a bullishness. If you’re eating, sleeping, and breathing in lots of news, it’s virtually impossible not to get infected. For example, check out the American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey. Every week, they ask investors if they’re bullish, neutral, or bearish on stocks for the next six months. In the most recent survey 43.l8% of those surveyed were bullish...and just 25.1% were bearish. (The average level of bullishness is 39% and the average bearish reading is 31%, so the latest survey is showing extreme bullishness.) Dan thinks that investors — most of them — routinely buy the wrong investments at the wrong time: A famous study shows how investors ruin their results by letting the market’s ups and downs rule their decisions. Market research firm Dalbar runs an ongoing study comparing stock market returns (the S&P Index) with real investors’ returns. As of the 20-year period ended December 31, 2010, stocks returned 9.14% per year, on average, but investors earned just 3.27% per year during the period.” Investors got slighted because they got scared at the bottom and sold, and bought back in only after a rising market fueled their confidence. Plenty of professionals make money following the market’s trends, but their methods are highly technical and unemotional. That’s the opposite of the hysteria that sinks so many investors. Getting caught up in bullishness gives many investors another reason to fool themselves in thinking they are smarter than they really are. Regards, Bill Bonner, for The Daily Reckoning ---------------------------------------- Here at The Daily Reckoning, we value your questions and comments. If you would like to send us a few thoughts of your own, please address them to your managing editor at joel@dailyreckoning.com Where to Wait Out the Great Correction How Warren Buffett Looks at Stocks vs. Gold Investing How to Ruin Your Economy and Influence People Greece Negotiations Drag On Eurozone Economy Contracts Making Sense of Rising US Gas Prices ________________________________________ The Daily Reckoning: Now in its 11th year, The Daily Reckoning is the flagship e-letter of Baltimore-based financial research firm and publishing group Agora Financial, a subsidiary of Agora Inc. The Daily Reckoning provides over half a million subscribers with literary economic perspective, global market analysis, and contrarian investment ideas. Published daily in six countries and three languages, each issue delivers a feature-length article by a senior member of our team and a guest essay from one of many leading thinkers and nationally acclaimed columnists. 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All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of a printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation.Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2012 2:33 PM PST
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
one-million-dead -- US out of Iraq
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Iraq - Killing Fields - USA leaves over 1 million dead
Topic: WAR
This Article can be found at this original link:
http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

One million dead

Danny Lucia http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

January 30, 2012

OVER A million Iraqis are dead from America's war.

That sentence is a cognitive litmus test. Some people's immediate reaction is, "That can't be right," because the United States couldn't do that. Or because crimes on that scale don't still happen. Or because they do happen, but only in horrible places that the United States hasn't rescued.

One million is a "Grandpa, what did you do to stop it?" number. It's a number that undeniably puts the American state among history's villains. Those who are not willing or able to accept this are physically unable to retain the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead. Their brains expel it like a foreign germ.

Noam Chomsky once wrote [1] that the "sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of 'Fuck You,' so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response."

That pretty much sums up the how the media reacted to the one million figure in 2007 when it was announced by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB). (In fact, the firm estimated 1,220,580 Iraqis had died [2], confirming and updating a separate study done the year before by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the Lancet medical journal.)

Take Kevin O'Brien, deputy editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer [3]. Upon receiving a media advisory about the findings from ORB, whose clients include the British Conservative Party and Morgan Stanley, this was his response: "Please remove me from your mailing list and spare me your transparent propaganda."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"WE DON'T do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks once famously answered a reporter's question about civilian casualties. He's not alone.

Amid all the somber reflections last month about the end of the Iraq War, a specific number of how many Iraqis had died was rarely given. Reporters often described the tally of Iraqi casualties as an "untold number," a somber-sounding phrase that reflects the same level of journalistic effort used for finding the death toll of squirrels in a forest fire.

This line from Reuter's Mary Milliken was typical: "[T]oday was about remembering the untold number of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 Americans who died in the war."

How many Americans died, Mary? Nearly 4,500. And how many Iraqis? Oh, you know, lots. A whole bunch.

"Untold number" implies that there are no available estimates of just how many Iraqis died. In fact there are two: an organization called Iraq Body Count [4] (IBC) has tallied about 110,000 deaths, based on media accounts and health ministry records. IBC admits that its total is surely too low since occupying armies and sectarian civil wars are not known for meticulous bookkeeping, but it disputes the higher figures from ORB and Johns Hopkins.

Methodology debates aside, there are numbers on hand to describe the Iraqi death toll. They are "untold" only by reporters like Kevin O'Brien and Mary Milliken.

The silence around numbers is not so much a conspiracy as a reflection of the fact that some information is simply incompatible with the American imperial mindset.

Consider a different grisly number from a previous decade: According to the United Nations Children Fund, 500,000 Iraqi children died in the 1990s due to United Nations sanctions [5] (rammed through by the U.S.) that barred medicines and other basic necessities from entering the country.

In 2000, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator resigned to protest the sanctions [6], two years after his predecessor had done the same [7]. Both of these life-long diplomats later used the word "genocide" to describe the American policy.

If you are ignorant of or forgot this information, you are not alone. So did the people who planned the Iraq War. There is no other way to explain the fact that America's war and occupation strategy rested on the expectation that its soldiers would be greeted as liberators by the parents of half a million dead children. (The sanctions, by the way, weren't imposed in the Kurdish north, the only part in Iraq that did not offer massive resistance to the U.S. occupation.)

It's not by chance that many of the most committed antiwar activists are revolutionaries of one stripe or another. We are able to process and comprehend the staggering evil been done to Iraq because we are radicals. And vice versa.

Revolutionaries face the ironic conventional wisdom that because we want to see society radically transformed, we are ends-justifies-the-means fanatics who think nothing of how much blood might be spilled in the process.

But it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who said of the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children [8] that "the price is worth it." And it is current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who used the exact same phrase recently [9] regarding the second invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Those are the words of a fanatical order that anyone should be proud to oppose with all of their being.

  1. [1] http://www.chomsky.info/letters/19900301.htm
  2. [2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/uk-poll-consistent-with-1_b_64475.html
  3. [3] http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3321
  4. [4] http://www.iraqbodycount.org
  5. [5] http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072100-03.htm
  6. [6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/642189.stm
  7. [7] http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/99/9.30.99/Halliday_talk.html
  8. [8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4
  9. [9] http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66515
  10. [10] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:04 PM PST
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
US Drones and the secret world that revolves around them
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: Al Jazeera Drones: A deeply unsettling future
Topic: WAR


Drones: A deeply unsettling future

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/12/201112774824829807.html

 



The rapid expansion of a drone arms race has emerged both domestically and abroad, leaving everyone vulnerable.
 
 
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2011 11:54
Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker
At least 50 countries already have unmanned aerial fleets - and that number is rising every month [EPA]

San Francisco, California - On Sunday, Iran claimed to have taken down a US drone in Iranian airspace - not by shooting it out the sky, but with its cyber warfare team.

Reports confirm that the US believes Iran is now in possession of "one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA's fleet", but deny Iran's involvement. Of course, Iran’s claim of overtaking the drone with its cyber warfare team should be tempered with a serious dose of scepticism, as cyber security experts say the facts may not add up. But this is just the latest story in a series of incidents that raises worrying questions about security problems caused by drones. And given the coming proliferation of drone technology both domestically and abroad, this should be a concern to citizens all over the world.

 
 Pakistan angry with US over deadly NATO air strike

Two years ago the Wall Street Journal reported Iran-funded militants in Iraq were able to hack into drones' live-video feeds with "$26 off-the-shelf software". In another unnerving incident, Wired reported in October that a fleet of the Air Force's drones was infected with a computer virus that captured all of drones' key strokes. Technicians continually deleted the virus to no avail. How did the drones get infected? The military is "not quite sure". Worse, the Air Force's cyber security team didn't even know about the virus until they read about it in Wired.

Wired reported in a separate story that an upcoming Congressional report will detail how hackers broke into the US satellite system. With one satellite, hackers "achieved all steps required to command" it, "but never actually exercised control".

Last summer, a drone caused a scene in the nation's capital, when, as New York Times wrote, "fighter jets were almost scrambled after a rogue Fire Scout drone, the size of a small helicopter, wandered into Washington's restricted airspace". A similar incident took place in Afghanistan where military planes had to shoot down a "runaway drone" when pilots lost control.

The US, of course, leads the world in drone use for both surveillance and combat missions. Attacks are carried out in Pakistan every four days on average. Many times, the US isn't even sure exactly who they are killing. Despite the fact that the location of vast majority of drone bases are classified, journalist Nick Turse pieced together a startling picture of the massive US fleet. He determined that the US has at least 60 drone bases operated by either the US military or the CIA around the world, and "most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous - until now".

But drone use is not just relegated to US military. Drone manufacturers already command a $94bn market, according to some estimates, and the drone arms race is in full swing. As the Washington Post reported, the constant buzz of drones and threats of attack now dominates the lives of civilians in Gaza. And Turkey plans to have Predator drones in operation by June 2012.

Meanwhile, Chinese contractors unveiled 25 types of unmanned aircraft last year. In all, at least 50 countries now have some sort of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the New York Times reports that "the number is rising every month". That number also includes Iran, which is seeking to upgrade its fleet. Even the Libyan rebels had their own surveillance drone - provided to them by Canadian defence contractors - before they were in full control of their own country.

The technology itself is also developing at an alarmingly rapid pace. The New York Times reports that researchers in the US are working on "shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects", along with oversized drones that can capture video of an entire city. There are birdlike drones, underwater drones, drones within drones, facial recognition drones, and perhaps most terrifying, completely autonomous drones - currently being tested in Georgia - which will require no human control at all.

As Micah Zenko, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me last month, "It's a very impressive and responsive tool that should be used sparingly. Even if we’re responsible now, we might not be forever."

But in the US, drones will become yet another way authorities can compromise the privacy of ordinary citizens, as the FAA plans to propose new rules for their domestic flight. As Newsweek reported, police forces and border patrols in the US are buying the technology from defence contractors, and one has already been spotted flying over Houston. Police departments are already using GPS and cell phone tracking without warrants, this will another powerful surveillance weapon in their arsenal. As privacy advocates warn, "drones can easily be equipped with facial recognition cameras, infrared cameras, or open Wi-Fi sniffers". And while these drones will be used for many surveillance purposes (a scary thought in and of itself), contractors admit they are equipped to carry weapons, such as Tasers.

Whether they are being used for surveillance or all-out combat, drones will soon pose serious risks for all of the world's citizens. They can offer governments, police departments, or private citizens unprecedented capabilities for spying, and given their security vulnerabilities, the potential consequences could be endless.

Trevor Timm is an activist and blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He specialises in free speech issues and government transparency.

Follow Trevor Timm on Twitter: @WLLegal

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
VETERANS FOR PEACE NATIONIAL CONVENTION
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: Thurs - Fri - Sat - Sun - Come One Come All
Topic: WAR

PORTLAND OREGON

VETERANS FOR PEACE NATIONIAL CONVENTION

 

ALL MY VIDEOS ARE BEING POSTED

ON INDYMEDIA FROM THIS EVENT

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/08/409645.shtml

 

Veterans For Peace annual convention - 2011 - at Portland State Univ, Portland, OR. Opening Reception tonight, 5 pm - 7 pm (Wednesday, Aug 3) at Poolside, University Place Hotel, 310 SW Lincoln St. Opening Plenary Thursday, 10:30 am -12:30 pm, Lincoln Hall Auditorium, 1620 SW Park Ave betw Market & Mill & hear radical prof Robt Jensen, "Notes on revolution, revelation and redemption." Come one, Come all. Help support VFP

 

http://www.vfpnationalconvention.org/

 

 

============================================

 

JOE ANYBODY VETERAN RELATED VIDEO ARCHIVE

==============================================
 

 

 

http://www.joe-anybody.com/id123.html

 

Veterans For Peace

=======================================

 

http://www.joe-anybody.com/id117.html

 

IVAW Seattle

=======================================

 

http://www.joe-anybody.com/id122.html

 

IVAW Portland

=======================================

 

http://www.joe-anybody.com/id79.html

 

War resisting page

========================================


Posted by Joe Anybody at 2:42 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2011 8:48 PM PDT
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
So is the US nearing the Anti - War tipping point ?
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: The DC location: Freedom Plaza, is on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., within marching distance of the Capitol and other federal offic
Topic: WAR

  Nearing the tipping point in the United States?



COMMENTARY | June 08, 2011

http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=00550

Demonstrators with the Military Families Speak Out group in an anti-war march to mark the 6,000th death in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tuesday April 26, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

With Tahrir Square in mind, activist groups and individuals, some of them well known, are planning ongoing, nonviolent protests in Washington, D.C., starting in October. Their goal is to end the war in Afghanistan and work for sharp change in domestic policies. The mainstream media are not seen as friends, exactly.


One in a Nieman Watchdog series, 'Reporting the Endgame'

By John Hanrahan
hanrahan@niemanwatchdog.org


A plaza two blocks from the White House is being envisioned as a Tahrir Square or Madison, Wisconsin – a place for ongoing, nonviolent citizen protest – under plans by a coalition of activist organizations and prominent individuals. Their demand: withdrawal of all “U.S. troops, contractors or mercenaries” from Afghanistan. 

Organizers have begun an online campaign to solicit endorsements from groups and pledges from at least 50,000 individuals to say they would be willing to come to the nation’s capital beginning Oct. 6 – a Thursday and the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan. 

One of the organizers, single-payer healthcare advocate and pediatrician Dr. Margaret Flowers, told Nieman Watchdog that the group hopes for “a sustained occupation of the square beginning on the 6th of October.” The location, Freedom Plaza, is on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., within marching distance of the Capitol and other federal offices.

“This will not be another rally and march on a Saturday, make home movies, pat ourselves on the back, and go home,” said best-selling author (“War Is a Lie”) and activist David Swanson, another of the organizers. “We are coming to Washington to stay.” Swanson said the organizers would get permits, “but not for the length of time we will probably be there.”

As it expands, Flowers said, the coalition will add to its demands beyond ending the Afghanistan war to include other issues relating to peace, and to social, economic and environmental justice. For now, though, “we are still early in the process and have not worked out our demand process,” she said. “We want broad input into this and to use a decentralized, bottom-up consensus model of decision-making.”

On the first day of the posting for the October action, she said, hundreds of people signed up. The number of organizations endorsing the event stands at 25 as of this writing, with many more expected as these groups go through their endorsement processes.

In announcing the call for the action, organizers said they believed a tipping point has been reached in the American people’s disgust with “the atrocities of U.S. foreign and military policy” and “a U.S. domestic policy that steals from the people to add to the already hideously bursting pockets of the wealthy.” The time is ripe, they said, for a Tahrir Square-style outpouring.

“When the tipping point is reached, it seems at once both unexpected and completely obvious. We are nearing that tipping point in the United States. We have witnessed the Arab Spring and the blossoming of the European Summer. We ask ourselves if now we will experience the American Autumn,” wrote organizers Flowers, Kevin Zeese (head of Come Home America and ItsOurEconomy.us), Tarak Kauff (Veterans for Peace) and Elaine Brower (a military mother and a leader of the antiwar group World Can’t Wait) in announcing the action.

Swanson told Nieman Watchdog he expected the mainstream media to continue to ignore antiwar activities until “we significantly prevent business as usual by nonviolently blocking doors, buildings, offices and streets. Then and only then will we rapidly transition from the ‘first they ignore you stage’, to the ‘then they mock you stage’, to be followed by the ‘then they attack you stage – only if and when some major success appears likely.”

Swanson said he would “be delighted to be proved wrong” about the mainstream media, but he said “the majority positions of Americans on ending wars, taxing corporations and billionaires, providing healthcare and safe retirement, investing in education and jobs and clean energy, and so forth, are routinely ignored and belittled” by major news organizations.

Kevin Zeese echoed Swanson’s critique, indicating activists’ general distrust of major news organizations and increasing reliance on online alternative media to spread and report their message.

“We have so little faith in the corporate media that we did not even emphasize sending an announcement of our plans to them,” Zeese told Nieman Watchdog. “We know they will either ignore or denigrate us, so why bother.”

Major news organizations do indeed ignore antiwar events. It’s understandable that the big media outlets can’t cover every protest, especially in Washington, D.C., where there are so many – but by ignoring antiwar protests almost totally, editors are treating opposition to the war much as they handled the run-up to the war in Iraq: they are missing an important story and contributing to the perception that there is no visible opposition to the Afghanistan war – even as polls show overwhelming support for a U.S. military withdrawal.

Exhibit A: Last Dec. 16, in a demonstration organized by Veterans for Peace, 500 or more people gathered outside the White House, as snow was falling, to protest the war and to support Wikileaks and accused leaker PFC Bradley Manning. There were 131 arrests – including a sizable number of veterans – for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience. One of the arrestees had chained himself to the White House fence and another to a lamppost. Additional newsworthy factors: Among those arrested were the nation’s most famous whistleblower (Daniel Ellsberg); a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter (Chris Hedges); a much-praised FBI whistleblower (Coleen Rowley); a former CIA analyst who used to prepare daily presidential briefings (Ray McGovern), among others. Additionally, the demonstration seemed newsworthy because it coincided with both the release of the Pentagon’s latest progress report on Afghanistan to President Obama and, as blogger David Lindorff noted, the results of a new ABC/Washington Post poll in which 60 percent of Americans responded that the Afghanistan war had not been “worth fighting.”

Our own research confirmed what Lindorff wrote at the time: “It was blacked out of the New York Times...the Philadelphia Inquirer...the Los Angeles Times..the Wall Street Journal...and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post.” NPR gave it 143 words, and USA Today 74 words. Using videos and text, the protest – including the arrests, interviews of veterans as to why they were planning to be arrested, as well as excerpts from speeches by participants – was covered by nontraditional media: The Huffington Post , the Socialist Worker, OpEd News, Salem-News.com in Oregon, and...the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald.

The Washington Post ran a wire service photo of Daniel Ellsberg inside the Metro section with the cutline that he and “several others” were arrested for not dispersing. When some readers complained to Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander about the lack of coverage, he checked with the U.S. Park Service and learned that the 131 arrests was the biggest mass arrest of the year for park police – another newsworthy factor. Alexander allowed as how 131 arrests “warrant more than an inaccurate cutline” but also revealingly stated what would seem to be a common newsroom attitude: “Staged events with mass arrests don’t necessarily have high news value.”  As if other large rallies just break out spontaneously without any planning.

“Happily,” Zeese continued, “more and more Americans do not trust the media” and rely instead for news on “independent media sources telling the truth,” detracting from what he called “the corporate media’s credibility.” There is also the possibility that a successful action at Freedom Plaza could attract overseas media attention.

Flowers, a congressional fellow with Physicians for a National Health Program, told Nieman Watchdog that the October nonviolent action is “a very important project in furthering the cause about which I am so passionate – truly universal health care, a single payer health system in the United States, and creating a healthier society and environment.”

Flowers said that even given the “corporate domination of the political process and the media message...Our strength is in our numbers. The majority of people want to end corporate control, end the wars, have single payer health care, better jobs and education, stable climate.” The only chance to achieve this, she said, “is to unite and engage in nonviolent resistance to wrest this corporate control away and create a functional situation.”

The online pledge to attend the Freedom Plaza protest reads, in part: “I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that criminal occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will nonviolently resist the corporate machine until our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation...” President Obama has indicated a goal of a 2014 full withdrawal date, if Afghan security forces are ready to take over from U.S. and NATO troops then.

Among the other initial signers in support of the pledge are Cornel West (author and professor of African American studies and religion, Princeton University); radio and television political show host Thom Hartmann; Rabbi Michael Lerner (editor, Tikkun Magazine); Glen Ford (executive editor, Black Agenda Report); former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley (a Time magazine co-person-of-the-year in 2002); noted civil rights and civil liberties attorney Bill Quigley; former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges; retired colonel, State Department diplomat and activist Ann Wright; Matthew Rothschild (editor, The Progressive magazine); former CIA analyst Ray McGovern; the antiwar group Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin; longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly (co-founder, Voices for Creative Nonviolence); military mother Elaine Brower (a leader of the antiwar group World Can’t Wait); and prominent Washington, D.C. activist and religious leader, the Rev. Graylan Hagler (Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ).

Initial organizations supporting the action include the major antiwar group the ANSWER Coalition, Veterans for Peace, United National Antiwar Committee, Single Payer Action, Code Pink, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the Green Party, firedoglake, World Can’t Wait, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Black Agenda Report, War Is A Crime, Network of Spiritual Progressives, Tikkun, and Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, among others.
 

 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:00 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 June 2011 8:12 AM PDT

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