Note: Breaking Through Power: four days of civic mobilization at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 24, 25 and 26, 2016. The theme of this citizen mobilization will be elaborating ways to break through power to secure long-overdue democratic solutions made possible by a new muscular civic nexus between local communities and Washington, D.C. Breaking Through Conference graphicOn these four days, speakers will present innovative ideas and strategies designed to take existing civic groups to higher levels of effectiveness. The participants will be asked to support the creation of several new organizations. One such group will work to open up the commercial media, which use the public airwaves free of charge, to serious content. Another will facilitate action by retired military, national security and diplomatic officials who want to deter unconstitutional and unlawful plunges into wars that lead to calamitous and costly blowbacks.
By Peter Linebaugh of Roar Magazine. The Soviet government paraded missiles and marched soldiers on May Day. The American government has called May 1 “Loyalty Day” and associates it with militarism. The real meaning of this day has been obscured by the designing propaganda of both governments. The truth of May Day is totally different. To the history of May Day there is a Green side and there is a Red side. Under the rainbow, our methodology must be colorful. Green is a relationship to the earth and what grows there-from. Red is a relationship to other people and the blood spilt there among. Green designates life with only necessary labor; Red designates death with surplus labor. Green is natural appropriation; Red is social expropriation. Green is husbandry and nurturance; Red is proletarianization and prostitution. Green is useful activity; Red is useless toil. Green is creation of desire; Red is class struggle. May Day is both.
By Derek Royden for Nation of Change. In the lead up to the first Gulf War in 1991, the world was shocked by congressional testimony from a young woman named Nayirah, who said she was in a Kuwait Hospital when Iraqi troops arrived. She broke down describing the looting she said followed, claiming the soldiers had killed premature newborns by taking them out of their incubators and leaving them on the cold floor. There was just one problem with this testimony that wasn’t discovered until later: it wasn’t true. The tearful story was given by the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, who later admitted she hadn’t been at the hospital at all. The spectacle was planned by PR firm Hill and Knowlton, who earned over $10 million to sell the citizens of the US and allied countries on a campaign to “liberate” the despotic (but oil rich) monarchy.
By Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance. Graham believes that if people understood the role the Saudis played in 9/11 — essentially as co-conspirators — it would change the relationship with Saudi Arabia. In a 2015 press conference Graham said “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” The 28 pages can be declassified. The most direct means is for the president to declassify them himself. There is, however, a little-known alternative method by which either the House or Senate can declassify the 28 pages—even over the president’s objection. Some in Congress are pushing to have the pages declassified through H.Res.14 which urges the President to declassify the report. In the Senate, Senate Bill 1471, introduced by Senator Rand Paul and cosponsored by Ron Wyden and Kirsten Gillibrand directs the president to release the pages, rather than urging him to.
By Malik Jalal for The Independent. Waziristan – I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List’. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive. I don’t want to end up a “Bugsplat” – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized. I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead.
By Andre Vltchek for Dissident Voice. Lebanon cannot stand on its feet, anymore. It is overwhelmed, frightened and broke. It stands on the frontline, facing the ISIS in the east and north, a hostile Israel in the south and the deep blue sea to the west. 1.5 million (mostly Syrian) refugees are dispersed all over its tiny territory. Its economy is collapsing and infrastructure crumbling. The ISIS is right at the border with Syria, literally next door, or even with one foot inside Lebanon, periodically invading, and setting up countless “dormant cells” in all Lebanese cities and all over its countryside. Hezbollah is fighting the ISIS, but the West and Saudi Arabia apparently consider Hezbollah, not the ISIS, to be the major menace to their geopolitical interests.
By Liz Merrow for Global Zero. Washington, DC – Global Zero activists from all over the United States gathered in Washington, DC to protest at the Nuclear Security Summit. What happened next was nothing short of the Best. Day. Ever. Convened by President Obama, this summit of world leaders aims to secure nuclear materials all over the globe — which is a great idea in principle, until you find out that nuclear weapons aren’t even on the agenda. And as long as there are 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence, nuclear security is impossible. Participants from Global Zero’s 2016 Action Lab organizer training joined us in downtown DC to call on Summit participants to address the threat posed by nukes and to see our lifesize inflatable nuclear missile. Over a hundred activists turned out to send a clear message: 15,000 does not equal security.
By Global Zero. Washington, DC – On March 31, world leaders will gather for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. to take steps to prevent an act of nuclear terrorism. Their approach is focused solely on securing nuclear material. The world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons — which pose far greater risk of catastrophe — aren’t even on the agenda. There can be no such thing as “nuclear security” so long as nuclear weapons exist. If we’re serious about preventing a nuclear catastrophe, what we need now is a Nuclear Weapons Summit that brings the key countries together to discuss real, time-bound, actionable plans to eliminate nuclear weapons. Join us as we tell these leaders it’s time to put this at the top of the international agenda!
By William Boardman in Reader Supported News. The US-Saudi-led war on Yemen started on March 26, 2015, with the Saudi coalition’s aerial blitz, using both high-explosive and outlawed cluster bombs, against a population with no air force or other effective air defense. US-supported year of carnage has killed more than 6,000 people (no one knows for sure), most of them civilians. The US-Saudi criminal intervention in the Yemeni civil war was supposed to be quick and efficient. From the start, the US has helped plan the attacks, provided intelligence, re-fueled attacking planes, and participated in the naval blockade (an act of war) that has pushed Yemen’s 26 million people to the brink of mass starvation. The American-Saudi genocidal war has continued without significant protest around the world – no “Yemeni Lives Matter” movement – and with almost no attention from any of those who will likely inherit this illegal war as the next commander in chief.
By Reiji Yoshida for Japan Times. In a surprise about-face, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday agreed to an out-of-court settlement for three lawsuits filed over the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The settlement requires Tokyo to suspend land reclamation off the Henoko coast in Okinawa Prefecture, and Abe complied by ordering a halt. Later in the day, the Okinawa Prefectural Government accepted Abe’s offer. It had indicated earlier that it would be willing to do so. Acceptance of the settlement is a big compromise for Abe, who had insisted that Tokyo would continue construction work regardless of the battle in the courts. During a news conference later Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga admitted that the relocation of Futenma will be delayed beyond the target year of 2020, even if everything goes well from now on. Okinawa saw fierce ground battles during World War II, and anti-military sentiment remains strong in the region.
By the Center for Constitutional Rights. NEW YORK, PARIS – Retired U.S. General Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantánamo prison chief, was a no-show in a French court Tuesday. Miller had been summoned to answer questions stemming from accusations that he oversaw the torture of three French nationals at Guantánamo prison. The Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, who submitted expert reports and other submissions in the proceedings, issued the following statement. Miller’s absence speaks volumes about the Obama administration’s continued unwillingness to confront America’s torture legacy. The administration not only refuses to investigate U.S. officials like Miller for torture, it apparently remains unwilling to cooperate with international torture investigations like the one in France.
By Matthew W. Daloisio for Witness Against Torture, President Obama’s plan to close the prison at Guantanamo is finally here. But it’s as useless as the Executive Order he signed almost eight years ago. Obama’s plan proposes to close the facility but not end the legal and moral abomination it represents. Indefinitely detaining men without charge or trial in the continental United States — in supermax prisons no less — is as unacceptable as indefinite detention at Guantanamo. The Military Commissions are unworkable and unfair, and cannot be tweaked into legitimacy. Saving money by changing the zip code of an unjust system does nothing to lessen its moral cost. Any talk of expenses should be about how to offer compensation to the men the United States abused and provide proper resources for their resettlement.
By Joy First of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. Juneau County, WI – On Friday February 19 Phil Runkel was found guilty of trespassing in Juneau County, WI by Judge Paul Curran after a 22 minute trial. Phil had joined nine other activists in attempting to walk onto the Volk Field Air National Guard base and meet with the commander to share our concerns about the training of drone pilots that takes place there. District Attorney Mike Solovey followed his standard procedure of calling Sheriff Brent Oleson and Deputy Thomas Mueller to the stand and identifying Phil as one of the people who walked onto the base on August 25, 2015 and refused to leave.
By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy. The new book This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century by Mark Engler and Paul Engler is a terrific survey of direct action strategies, bringing out many of the strengths and weaknesses of activist efforts to effect major change in the United States and around the world since well before the twenty-first century. It should be taught in every level of our schools. This book makes the case that disruptive mass movements are responsible for more positive social change than is the ordinary legislative “endgame” that follows. The authors examine the problem of well-meaning activist institutions becoming too well established and shying away from the most effective tools available.
By Fran Quigley for Popular Resistance. Jessica Reznicek, 34, an Iowa peace activist, was arraigned Monday and charged with two felonies for breaking three windows with a sledgehammer at the Northrup Grumman facility outside the Omaha Nebraska Strategic Air Command at Offut Air Force base. Writing from her jail cell, Reznicek, who has lived and worked at the Des Moines Catholic Worker for years, said she broke the windows as an act of conscience “in an effort to expose the details of the defense contracts currently held by Northrup Grumman with U.S. Strategic Air Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base. Over the years, billions of taxpayer dollars are pouring into the hands of these money-hungry, bomb-building, and computer geek space war criminals.” Jessica is facing up to 20 years. Her trial is schedule for May 24th. She is currently incarcerated, refusing to pay bond.