The lies, propaganda and rank hypocrisy emanating from Washington, and echoed by the US corporate media regarding events in Ukraine are stunning and would be laughable, but for the fact that they appear to be aimed at conditioning the US public for increasing confrontation with Russia – confrontation which could easily tip over the edge into direct military conflict, with consequences that are too dreadful to contemplate. It would be beyond ironic if, a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of nearly half a century of Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction, during all of which time US and Russian soldiers never fought against each other, we now ended up with soldiers from our two countries actually doing battle with each other, instead of just fighting proxy wars.
Hundreds of students and community members protested a speech by Condoleezza Rice at the University of Minnesota. Coleen Rowley explains why: “Not even a year after 9-11, Rice began giving fear-mongering speeches that falsely alluded to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of and intent to use nuclear bombs. Rice knew there was no evidence for her “mushroom cloud” speeches but numerous firsthand accounts and memoirs, along with the “Downing Street Memo,” provide evidence that she, along with other key Administration figures, signed onto “fixing the intelligence around the policy” of their previously agreed-upon goal: Launching war on Iraq.”
Global Days of Listening is active listening to people around the globe conversing about each others paths of action toward a peaceful world. It is inspired by the Afghan Peace Volunteers who invite everyone to listen to the ordinary voices of those whose homeland is occupied with violence. The regularly scheduled Days of Listening are on the 21st of each month – from 6:30 – 10:30 pm Afghanistan time,planning calls by collaborators are on or about the 10th of the month – email us for info. Next GDoL: Monday April 21, 2014 (click to see the schedule) You can listen & type into the conversation on the livestream page, or listen to previous Days of Listening!
International lawyers and activists converged at a conference titled The Iraq Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, April 16 and 17, with the primary aim of bringing to justice government officials who are guilty of war crimes in Iraq. “Within a few days of this, a lawless atmosphere developed within my unit,” Ross Caputi, a former marine who took part in the brutal November 2004 siege of Fallujah told the Iraq Commission. “There was a lot of looting going on. I saw people searching the pockets of the dead resistance fighters for money. Some people were mutilating corpses.” The conference represents the most powerful and most current organized attempt in the world to bring justice to those responsible for the catastrophe in Iraq, and included powerful international lawyers like International Court of Justice lawyer Curtis Doebbler and Louie Roberto Zamora Bolanos, a lawyer from Costa Rica who successfully sued the government of his country for supporting the war in Iraq.
The big news is all about the Ukraine. And it’s about the events that happened in the shootings on February 20. Late last week, the German television program ARD Monitor, which is sort of their version of 60 Minutes here, had an investigative report of the shootings in Maidan, and what they found out is that contrary to what President Obama is saying, contrary to what the U.S. authorities are saying, that the shooting was done by the U.S.-backed Svoboda Party and the protesters themselves, the snipers and the bullets all came from the Hotel Ukrayina, which was the center of where the protests were going, and the snipers on the hotel were shooting not only at the demonstrators, but also were shooting at their own–at the police and the demonstrators to try to create chaos. They’ve spoken to the doctors, who said that all of the bullets and all of the wounded people came from the same set of guns. They’ve talked to reporters who were embedded with the demonstrators, the anti-Russian forces, and they all say yes. All the witnesses are in agreement: the shots came from the Hotel Ukrayina. The hotel was completely under the control of the protesters, and it was the government that did it.
Representatives of the Fund Our Communities Maryland coalition “flew” an F-35 in Bethesda on April 16 to celebrate tax day. The plane fell apart—exhibiting the absurdity of using our taxes on a plane that doesn’t work and isn’t useful for our defense but that will end up costing us $1.5 trillion, more than the cost of the Korean and Vietnam wars combined (in inflation-adjusted dollars). For the cost of this one weapons system, we could give every unemployed American a $50,000/year job for the next four years. Activists distributed a satiric newspaper to passers-by, with these headlines: “Bethesda-Based Lockheed Martin Acknowledges Role as Stealth Peace Group,” “Lockheed Martin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize,” “Peace Action Salutes the F-35: The Jet That Ate the Pentagon,” and “Lockheed Martin Absolved of Corporate Welfare Charge.”
Judge Kim Schaefer asked the defendant if she had created a disturbance that day. Van Poolen proudly said, “Yes, I stood up and spoke in front of several hundred people, and I said, ‘General David Petraeus you are a war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. I am a graduate of Calvin College and a follower of Jesus Christ and I am here to speak out.’” Judge Schaefer interrupted and asked what the effect was. Van Poolen responded, “Petraeus stopped speaking and then two men brought me outside.” Next Van Poolen’s lawyer David LeGrande spoke in her defense, saying, “It was an intentional act of civil disobedience. The tradition sees it as appropriate to break laws and deal with the consequences…to right injustice.” . . . Van Poolen responded, “I was practicing free speech in a non-violent way. I did so with the sincere belief that, to call attention to the outrageous and immoral acts of U.S. leaders, civil disobedience is required. I hope my actions followed in the footsteps of other great and inspiring leaders.”
Our society has lost a great activist today with the death of John Judge. No one spoke more clearly, strongly, and informedly on political power, militarism, and activism for positive change. While John lived nextdoor to Dennis Kucinich — and with one of the best views and one of the best collections of political books and documents — in Washington, D.C., it was as staff person for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney that he advanced numerous causes of peace and justice and accountability for the powerful on Capitol Hill. On impeaching Bush and Cheney he was there first. John’s expertise reached back into history and across continents. From the Kennedy assassination to conscientious objection to how-a-bill-becomes-a-law, he was a person to turn to for information and wisdom who was never anything but helpful, friendly, cheerful, and energetic. He could describe the hiring of Nazis in Operation Paperclip and the creation of the Cold War and then suggest that perhaps the Nazis actually won World War II. He could explain the creation of standing armies in such a manner that you knew without a doubt that either our society was insane or you were. He could get you thinking and get you active. And always with complete humility and good will. He will be missed.
Dozens of people of all ages showed up to the “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event in an effort to raise awareness towards U.S. foreign policy practices as well as fly kites with a message. Kite flying is a popular tradition in Afghanistan, but the pastime was banned during the Taliban reign. “The Kites show us there’s a way to do it peacefully,” Howard Traxmor, who participated in the event said. “We can use drones for agriculture and other needs.” Organizers said the drones are a major part of foreign policy that people need to understand the impact of better. The United States has been using drone attacks in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. However, nationwide controversy has erupted after many believe drone attacks killed innocent civilians and children.
The Drones Quilt Project is currently on tour across the USA. The exhibit consists of 3 to 5 quilts of 36 blocks, each measuring 66″ x 66″, four information panels measuring 20″ x 30″ each, and a resource/take action handout. We hope to have the exhibit travel the country, so if you are interested in hosting the exhibit in your town, please contact us. Check the website to see when the exhibit is coming to a town near you. The idea for a Drones Quilt came from some women in the UK who started the project as a way to memorialize the victims of U.S. combat drones. We believed that there were lots of anti-drone activists in the U.S. who would like to make our own version of a Drones Quilt, and so the idea traveled across the Atlantic. The idea is to collectively create a piece of artwork which connects the names of activists with those killed. The names humanize the victims and point out the connectivity between human beings. Plans for the American version of the quilt include creating educational materials, photographs and information which together with the quilts will create an exhibit which will travel the country, informing and educating the American public.
On the occasion of Spring Days of Action against the killer drones the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance issues this call to action: The National Security Agency is not only violating the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution by taking away the privacy rights of Americans and others around the world, but contributing to the deaths and the maiming of innocents, including children, in the NSA’s role supporting the US CIA and US Military drone strikes. The NSA is culpable, and we must nonviolently express our First Amendment rights and responsibilities under international law to oppose the US Government and the Obama Administration’s extrajudicial killings carried out in our name and with our tax money. On Saturday, May 3, 2014 we will gather and peacefully assemble at the National Security Agency to hold a public witness against the its role in violations of international law, war crimes, and crimes against peace.
CREECH AFB, Nevada – After a week of protests, seven anti-drone activists from throughout the country were arrested here early Friday at Creech Air Force Base front gate as they attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander asking for an end to drones. The seven women also had strings of small paper drone replicas, each representing – by name – innocent victims, including children, of the Obama drone warfare program. Other protests during the week included a simulated “Drone Attack on a Wedding Party”; “A Funeral Procession,” with white masks, coffins and a giant Mourning Mother puppet; “ONE NATION UNDER SURVEILLANCE” (illegal spying, domestic & foreign); “Call Congress Day for Drone Transparency,” and “Celebrate Whistleblowers.”
Four acclaimed journalists will speak at Ithaca College on Monday, April 28, as they accept national honors. Glenn Greenwald will appear via a pre-taped video, while Jeremy Scahill, John Carlos Frey andNick Turse will appear in person. The Izzy Award and I.F. Stone Hall of Fame ceremony, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Park Hall Auditorium. Sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM), both the award and the hall of fame are named in memory of legendary journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone, who published “I.F. Stone’s Weekly” from 1953 to 1971 and exposed official deception while championing civil liberties. Also participating in the ceremony will be Izzy Stone’s son Jeremy Stone and biographer Myra MacPherson, author of “All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone.”
Manufacturers of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as drones, visited members of Congress today on Capitol Hill. Corporate members of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) put on a drone expo for representatives from the House Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus. Protestors from CODEPINK were on hand to greet AUVSI representatives as they entered the Rayburn Building. CODEPINK’s co-founder Medea Benjamin has been an outspoken critic of the Obama’s administration’s use of drones. She recently wrote a book on the subject called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
The Catholic Agitator has published a special edition about Sister Megan Rice, the 83 year old nun, who is currently serving time in prison for the actions that she and other Ploughshares Activists, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed took to stop nuclear weapons. They splashed blood against the walls, put up banners and beat hammers “into plowshares” — a biblical reference to Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Thee Catholic Agitator describes Sister Rice as “The Terrorist Nun” who serves in prison for “crimes of peace.” Breaking into a sensitive nuclear facility to stage a protest, the three activists were prepared for the worst. “We were very aware that we could have died,” Rice said. They were not killed but found themselves incarcerated.