Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?
But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying...
Zombie, by the Cranberries
Calling the release of about a half a million documents regarding despicable crimes in the USA’s illegal and immoral occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan by WikiLeaks.org “leaks” is like calling the oil that gushed (and may still be gushing) from BP’s Deepwater Horizon, well, a “leak.”
The info that came from the WikiLeaks’ gusher is disturbing enough—but as much as I hate to agree with the World Wide War Machine (WWWM)—the WikiLeaks.org info is not anything new to those of us who pay attention.
I am grateful, though, that there are still a few people out there who have courage and integrity and sorry that someone like Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking the Wikileaks.org Collateral Murder video will have to be doing some very hard time (up to 52 years), if he is convicted---because in reality, very few people care about these leaks and they are not altering the trajectory of the Empire in any measurable way.
Let’s face it—there was very little outcry when we learned of the Abu Ghraib scandal in early 2004, although we had full proof in living color that the most horrid of crimes were occurring in that hellhole. A few low ranking scum (as opposed to the high ranking scum) were convicted and literally given slaps on the wrist for their crimes against humanity. The torture and human degradation that went on in Abu Ghraib, though, was nothing compared to the intense blowback to our soldiers when the Iraqi people responded to that. The Empire’s response to the Iraqi response was a couple of sieges of Fallujah and an unconscionable increase in the slaughter of Iraqis.
It’s Hypocrisy in the First Degree when the president of the U.S. and Pentagon officials pretend to get upset over the Wikileaks.org info saying that the spillage will “harm” our soldiers in the field! Our Empire (indeed, many Empires before it) couldn’t care a whit about our soldiers in the field. The rich men always send the young working class off to die in their wars and pay other unspeakable prices as they are massacring the enemy du jour. Unless their deaths are being exploited for imperial glory, even our needlessly killed soldiers get short shrift in this nation. For all intents and purposes, the War on Terror only registers in public opinion if someone with an Arab sounding last name decides to make an incendiary device out of his own underpants.
So, if the sacrifice of our troops is practically invisible in the US psyche, then the innocent people of Iraq don’t even have the relevancy, of say, an ant infestation. Few people that aren’t Buddhists have qualms about killing ants, like few people here have any qualms about killing Native Americans, Japanese, Filipinos, Latin Americans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, or any other groups of people that the Empire tells us are not worthy of having breath. The Empire needs “enemy agreement” with us to be able use up its rapidly expiring gunpowder on.
Pictures of bloodied and battered babies at U.S. checkpoints have been seared into my brain for years and I have been reading the words of unembedded journalists like the courageous Dahr Jamail for years now, also—so the “revelation” that civilians were being targeted is not new info—and just because documents get leaked from the Mordor of War Departments don’t give them any more legitimacy than the testimonies of the Iraqis and the eye-witness accounts by Dahr.
Again, the introduction of this information, although not new, was sensational and it was greeted by the zombies of the U.S. with a colossal yawn and by the Empire with pretend indignation, because, and here is the kicker: Most of us just don’t give a frig about human life, unless its unborn human life. The Empire only wants us to be born so they can either exploit our labor or have cannon fodder for their wars: otherwise we have been trained from the top down to a have cavalier approach to life and human suffering. Even if it is our own suffering, we are taught that it is our fault if we are suffering, not the fault of the rotting system we exist for.
I have two problems with the Wikileaks’ info, though—the first problem is that the semi-official count for the Iraqis is about 1/5 of the count that credible studies from the Lancet (which was given the same respect as the National Enquirer here in the states) last reported in 2006 that over 650,000 excess Iraqi deaths had occurred since the U.S. invasion in 2003! The documents procured by Wikileaks gives that number to be just over 100,000. Of course, one Iraqi death was one too many, but the horror cannot be exaggerated, nor the carnage be minimized in this way.
The other problem I have with the current info dump, that shows me that perhaps WikiLeaks is doing the job of psyops, as was the case in the dump of the Afghan leaks, where Pakistan was implicated in assisting al Qaeda (US drone bombing dramatically increased after that), Iran is highlighted as a major player in this U.S. war of terror.
Is Iran supporting the resistance against the U.S in Iraq? The documents say so, but I need to know who supplied that information to Wikileaks. Was it a controlled leak? Was it a partial controlled leak? Was there an unwitting “middleman” that uploaded the docs to Wikileaks?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know that the Empire has been ginning up a case against Iran for years, now.
Every piece of info that came out is earth shattering to someone: a child was killed, a brother tortured, a husband disappeared; but sadly there was nothing there that shattered the earth.
If I were President Obama, I would use the opportunity that the revelation of these crimes presented to me! I would, as gracefully, speedily, and humbly as possible remove our troops from that region. Instead, the regime is condemning the leakers and WikiLeaks, but not the criminals portrayed therein.
Shameful, to say the least!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Since being the defendant in about six trials after I was arrested for protesting the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations, it’s my experience that the police lie. Period.
However the lies don’t stop at street law enforcement level. From lies about WMD and connections to "al Qaeda," almost every institution of so-called authority - the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, FBI, all the way up to the Oval Office and back down - lie. Not white lies, but big, Mother of all BS (MOAB) lies that lead to the destruction of innocent lives. I.F Stone was most definitely on the ball when he proclaimed, "Governments lie".
Having clarified that, I would now like to examine a case that should be enshrined in the travesty of the US Justice Hall of Shame.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
October 12, 2010
To: Nancy Pelosi
From Cindy Sheehan
How’s that “liberal agenda” going for you these days?
You have had quite a run as the first female Speaker of the House, haven’t you?
In that almost four years now, you have fully funded the wars; rammed through the bankster bailouts and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Modernization Act; refused to hold the criminals of the Bush administration accountable; supported the torture policies of George Bush and wanted even stricter measures against suspected terrorists; obediently supported and defended the murderous Israeli oppression of Palestine; presided over the worst jobs’ hemorrhage since the Great Depression (can you see all the jobless and homeless from your mansion on the hill in Pac Heights?) and the only “victory” that you can claim is a feeble health care “reform” bill that you admit you had no idea what it contained, when in reality, it was just a massive welfare program for your corporate buddies in the industry.
You are going to become a lame duck Speaker early next month when your party loses its majority—now don’t think I am thrilled that the Republicans are returning to a majority, at least in your House, because I think your party and the GOP are just different sides of the same coin—but you can’t say I didn’t warn you back in 2006 that if you and your party didn’t end the wars and hold BushCo accountable that your euphoria would be short-lived.
I literally brought that warning home to you in 2008 when I stood for election against you as an Independent in your district. I again tried to send you the gift of a wake up call through my platform and candidacy that ending the wars;, increasing jobs here in the US; fully funding education; protecting people’s homes from eviction and foreclosure; protecting the environment from destruction; and justice for war crimes were what the people wanted. Nancy, your party’s impending defeat proves that if you ever were in touch with “the people,” that time passed long before you assumed the Speaker’s gavel and when you relinquish the gavel, you will be just another empty lavender pants suit—an obscenely expensive lavender pants suit, but empty all the same.
So you can’t say that I didn’t warn you and your colleagues that the people shouldn’t be ignored. I now realize that the warning fell on deaf ears and was futile, but also that the political game your party and the other party play are far more important to you than the people of this world are, anyway.
With the elections rapidly approaching on November 2, you once again are up for re-election yourself and the people of San Francisco will dutifully obey their Democratic impulses and send you back to DC one more time, no matter how atrocious you have been, (The question of the day, though, Nan, is when you lose your Speakership will you resign your seat? Hey, I know! Maybe you and your good buddy, George Bush, can have play dates in your mutual retirements?) but you do have opponents. I know of two for sure, the firmly antiwar Republican, John Dennis and the firmly antiwar and anti-Capitalist Peace and Freedom Candidate Gloria La Riva.
My good friend, SF politico and former VP Candidate, Matt Gonzalez, has endorsed John Dennis because, as is your custom, you gutlessly refused to debate him. I am also encouraging you (once again, futilely) to not only debate John Dennis, but Gloria La Riva, too.
I like and admire both John and Gloria and support them as human beings who both have the two things that you lack but would have made you a much better person: courage and integrity.
As someone who got a kick in the teeth from the political school of elitism two years ago, I can’t endorse anyone for Federal elections which I believe are only a huge sham and scandal at any rate, but I am convinced that either John or Gloria would represent district 8 in California far better than you have on your best day.
I did warn you many times and I would childishly like to say: “I told ya so,” but there is so much at stake here on proverbial Main Street that I don’t feel like your defeat is going to be a victory (frankly, your party's unlikely victory would also be a defeat for Main Street) for anybody except the non-partisan ruling class that pulls the levers to propagate their agenda and pad their bank accounts at our expense.
In never-ending struggle against everything you represent,
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” - Albert Camus
Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) raided the homes of at least eight anti-war/social justice activists here in the US.
I happen to be a prominent anti-war activist myself, and have joked that I am a “little hurt” that I was not raided and perhaps I should try harder. Even though, we have the urge to try and be light-hearted in this time of an increasing police state, with civil liberties on the retreat, it really isn't funny considering that the activists could face some serious charges stemming from these raids.
I have felt this harassment on a smaller scale myself and I know that defending oneself against a police state that has unlimited resources, time and cruelty, can be quite expensive, time consuming and annoying.
There is nothing noble about an agency that has reduced itself to being jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state, no matter how much the FBI has been romanticised in movies, television and books.
For example, in one instance, early in the morning of September 24, at the home of Mick Kelly of Minneapolis, the door was battered in and flung across the room when his partner audaciously asked to see the FBI’s warrant through the door’s peephole. At Jessica Sundin’s home, she walked downstairs to find seven agents ransacking her home while her partner and child looked on in shock.
These raids have terrifying implications for dissent here in the US.
First of all, these US citizens have been long-time and devoted anti-war activists who organised an anti-war rally that was violently suppressed by the US police state in Minneapolis-St. Paul, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Because the Minneapolis activists have integrity, they had already announced that they would do the same if the Democrats hold their convention there in 2012.
I have observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.
I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands of people in the streets to protest. This is one of the reasons an escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under Obama - even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who should be adamantly opposed to such policies.
Secondly, I believe because the raids happened to basically ‘unsung’ and unknown, but very active workers in the movement, that the coordinated, early morning home invasions were designed to intimidate and frighten those of us who are still doing the work. The Obama regime would like nothing better than for us to shut up or go underground and to quit embarrassing it by pointing out its abject failures and highlighting its obvious crimes.
Just look at how the Democrats are demonising activists who are trying to point out the inconvenient truth that the country (under a near Democratic tyranny) is sliding further into economic collapse, environmental decay and perpetual war for enormous profit.
Barack and Joe, the commandantes of this police state, say that those who have the temerity to be critical are “asleep” and just need to “buck up". White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, recently stated that we on the “professional left” need to be “drug tested” if we are not addicted to the regimes’ own drug: the Hopium of the Obama propaganda response team.
It seems like, even though some of those that have been nailed to the cross of national security do activism around South America, most of the activism is anti-war and pro-Palestinian rights. Being supportive of any Arab or Muslim, no matter how benign or courageous is a very dangerous activity here in post-9/11 America.
The Supreme Court just decided (Wilner v. National Security Agency) that the National Security Agency (NSA) did not have to disclose if it was using warrantless wiretapping to spy on attorneys representing the extra-legal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obtaining warrants, with cause, and attorney-client privilege were important principles of the US justice system, but even the neo-fascist Supreme Court is undermining the law - talk about “activist” judges!
Not only have activists been targeted here in the States, but Obama has ominously declared himself judge, jury and executioner of anyone that he deems a national security “threat". These are the actions of a tyrant and another assault against our rights and against the rule of law from a person who promised “complete transparency” from his administration.
We have learned that Obama’s first victim under his presidential execution programme is Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Muslim who is now in Yemen. Without showing proof of al-Awlaki’s so-called executionable offenses and without a trial in a court of law, Obama has unloosed his hit squads on Awlaki. Is there anyone out there reading this who does not believe, or fear, that this programme could quickly descend into summary executions within the borders of the US?
Al-Awlaki’s father has filed a motion in federal court to stay the execution of his son until he gets his constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process, but Obama’s justice department has refused to cooperate stating that to do so would ‘undermine’ that fabled, exploited and ephemeral ‘national security'.
When Obama behaves like Bush, only on steroids, he amply demonstrates why other people hate our country so much. Persons in other countries are not nearly as blind as Americans. They know that even though Obama went to Cairo to blather about building understanding between the US and the Muslim world, actions speak louder than words and Obama’s actions drip with carnage and pain.
Obviously, the suppression of dissent here in the US, while outrageous and inexcusable, has not reached the level of the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s - yet.
The longer we Americans remain silent in the face of these injustices, the more they will continue to occur and escalate.
Make your voice heard!
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Specialist Casey A. Sheehan who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Since then, she has been a tireless activist for peace and human rights; has published five books, has her own Internet radio show: Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, and has been nominated in the past for the Noble Peace Prize. Cindy lives in Oakland, Ca and loves to spend time with her three grandbabies in her spare time.
You can learn more about Cindy's activism and events at Peace of the Action.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Monday, October 4, 2010
MORE BS CHARGES AGAINST ME
In November 2009, I joined a caravan of peace activists that gathered at Travis AFB in Fairfield, Ca to head to Creech AFB in Nevada where many of the drone strikes in Afghanistan are coordinated and controlled from.
We were scheduled to stop at several AFBs along the way to protest this particularly inhumane practice, but I have to say that our Travis AFB stop started us off with a bang.
There were about 12 of us on the caravan and as we got out of our cars at the main gate of Travis, we were loudly and aggressively accosted by an old man wearing a very tight military uniform. Of course, he screamed all of the clichés like: “traitors,” “cowards,” and the ubiquitous, “why don’t you get a job.” However, usually the war-niks don’t physically cross-over to the peace side, but this one did.
We formed our small protest holding banners and we did the dance with the Military Police of where we could stand, where we couldn’t stand, etc—and we were just getting ready to get back in our cars when the Veteran approached me and started yelling in my ear as I was giving a statement to the local press that were gathered.
I turned around to him to tell him to get out of my space, when he put his face directly into my bullhorn, while still screaming his inanities and insanities. At that time he violently slapped my bullhorn and threateningly stepped towards me, then some of the other ladies there stepped between us.
We tried to get the Fairfield PD, who were there to make sure our contingent of women (many who had to be physically helped in and out of our rented van) didn’t get out of hand, to arrest the man, but they said they would have to arrest us, too—because it was a “he-said, she-said” thing. (Yeah, right—they were right there and the video shows them placidly looking on while I was being accosted).
After some arguing with the police, we decided to leave and head to the next base, and we were rolling out of the parking lot when the Fairfield PD pulled ME over and gave me a ticket for “obstructing traffic.” That would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable. The officer that pulled me over had on a US Marines headband—hmmm?
To make a long story short, after 10 months of pre-lims, etc, I have to go to another hearing for a citation. It’s not a life and death situation, but it’s the “death of 1000 cuts” that steals our time and resources to try and wear us down.
The hearing is this Wednesday in Fairfield at the court at 8:30am, but from 7am to 8am, many of us will go back to Travis AFB to protest the usage of drones that has dramatically increased in the last ten months since the incident that I have described.
For example, just in Pakistan, during the entire eight-year war crime, more commonly known as the Bush Administration, there were 42 drone strikes. Just in the first 21 months of the current War Crime Administration, there have been 132—that’s an increase in raw numbers of over 300% in far less time. If Obama is president for eight-years, like Bush, his totals will surpass 600 strikes killing thousands more innocent people.
As the people of the Pakistani regions that are being targeted by these strikes correctly deduce, the Pakistani military, or government, or both are collaborating with the CIA in these strikes, the prediction that we made almost a year ago that these continuous strikes will further destabilize Pakistan are coming true.
Yes, of course, I have a hundred better things to do than go to Fairfield and protest the drone bombings and sit in a courtroom for a BS citation, but we have to keep standing up against our government for peace as they keep standing up for war.
Demo at the Main Gate of Travis AFB
7am to 8am
Travis AFB CA, 94535
Take Air Base Parkway off of Interstate 80 and go south to the end of the road to the Main Gate.
Court for me
Solano County Superior Court
600 Union Ave.
Fairfield, Ca 94533