Peace Movement Strategies
how to stop World War - refocus on root causes
Peak Oil awareness, 9/11 truth (the truthful parts), permaculture solutions, economic boycotts, relocalization of economies - a few pieces of the puzzle
Unity: peace, environment, voting rights, and 9/11 truth movements -- we all need each other
Discussing the core reasons for the wars, 9/11 complicity, and the "road map" for future oil wars are important for shifting public consciousness if we want a more peaceful world with different operating paradigms.
No president has lost his job for committing mass murder of people in other countries, but if people face the truth about Bush's complicity in the murder of three thousand people on 9/11, Bush would be at 3% in the polls, not 30%. The only change avoiding this will lead to is renaming our “No War On Iraq” protest signs to “No War On Iran.”
On September 11, 2003, a 9/11 anniversary commemoration
was held at Riverside Church in New York City that joined together peace
activists, the 9/11 Truth movement, and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
Read more about this amazing event at:
Public exposure of the deeper aspects of 9/11 that the Bush administration had extensive foreknowledge and let it happen -- could remove the pretext for the fascistic USA "Patriot"Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, and other components of the planned totalitarian surveillance society.
9/11 and "terrorism" provide a better excuse for invading the Mid East oil fields than the real reason we are near, or at, the historic peak of world oil production, and the US empire wants to control depleting oil supplies. The peak of oil is the core motivation for US foreign policy.
9/11 is a core part of the trance cast over the American people to support permanent war.
Maybe for the next war, the peace movement will talk about the relevance of "peak oil" and the Bush strategy of intentional deceptions to prepare the public for war. (The fake claim that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction is a much smaller deception than 9/11.)
The most difficult part of any liberation struggle and the longest is to raise the consciousness and self- confidence of the oppressed to confront their oppressors
June 4, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
When you see the Earth from space, you don't see any divisions of nation-states there. This may be the symbol of the new mythology to come; this is the country we will celebrate, and these are the people we are one with.
-- Joseph Campbell, 1904 - 1987
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
-- J. Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, pp. 51-52
Activists Collapse Radome at ECHELON Intercept Facility in New Zealand
April 30th, 2008
Most—not all—political activism, focuses on symbols, abstractions, while the relevant and painful points remain behind the scenes. Guys, look at the underlying economic relationships between corrupt politicians and the corporations. That’s the smelly, messy stuff. Getting people to think differently about economic assumptions is the way to free New Zealand from the foreign entanglements that are becoming increasingly costly for our country.
note: these approaches work for the citizens of any country, including the USA.
"As darkness settled over Europe on the evening of August 31, 1939, and a million and a half German troops began moving forward toward their final positions on the Polish border for the jump-off at dawn, all that remained for Hitler to do was to perpretrate some propaganda trickery to prepare the German people for the shock of aggressive war.
"The people were in need of the treatment which Hitler, abetted by Goebbels and Himmler, had become so expert in applying. I had been about in the streets of Berlin, talking with the ordinary people, and that morning noted in my diary: "Everybody against the war. People talking openly. How can a country go into a major war with a population so dead against it?" Despite all my experience in the Third Reich I asked such a naive question! Hitler knew the answer very well. Had he not the week before on his Bavarian mountaintop promised the generals that he would "give a propagandist reason for starting the war" and admonished them not to "mind whether it was plausible or not"? "The victor," he had told them, "will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth or not. In starting a waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory.
-- William Shirer, Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich (p593)
The Ten Rules of Community Organizing
By David Beckwith
The Principles of Community Organizing
By David Beckwith
Organizing to Win
August 31, 2007
It's Time to Stop Messing Around
Why I Am Not Going to the Protest
By JEFF GIBBS
I am not going to the protest. I am tired of protests: they don't stop wars. Not protests that are mostly about sign waving and hooking up with friends and strangers and feeling the solidarity and then going back to work or school on Monday. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Sure it FEELS rebellious, these government-permitted, media-ignored, totally predictable rituals-but come on, going to an anti-war protest hasn't been rebellious since Abbie Hoffman coughed up a fur ball at one in 1968. And in the context of the war on our civil liberties envisioned by Clinton/Reno and executed by your nemesis George W. Bush, they are very, very happy to have you protest and take your name and number. Or force you into a field, or a waiting pen to be locked away until they decide to let you out.
Personally I am tired of marching alongside people wearing masks and carrying signs about stupid Bush when we and everyone we know put together have not been smart enough to stop him. And the Bush bashing only makes the whole parade, err, protest look juvenile to the rest of the world.
Here is what I propose: let's stop messing around. No more anti-war. Let's stop the war. No more protest, unless it is part of some huge thing that doesn't involve business as usual the next day. How do you stop the war? Shut 'er down. No more business as usual. The target audience: the Democrats, and the presidential candidates who can't fall over each other fast enough rattling their little Democrat saberettes. ("Bomb Iran? I can top that, let's bomb PAKISTAN! Take THAT, cowboy!")
Being anti-war is a fashion statement, a political position, not a movement.
here's a great article from Jeff Wells of "Rigorous Intuition."
it's also interesting that "United for Peace and Justice" has the "Communist Party" on its board but doesn't ever mention the energy issues behind the Peak Oil Wars.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2005
Is that your final A.N.S.W.E.R.?
And he just walked along, alone, with his guilt so well concealed.
And muttered underneath his breath, "Nothing is revealed." - Bob Dylan
Another march on Washington, and more grumbling about A.N.S.W.E.R.'s performance.
Much of the noise comes from embarrassed moderates, who are new to the demonstration game and are simply not that demonstrative. Others suggest A.N.S.W.E.R. engages in bait and switch: draw mass numbers with the cause of Iraq and then use the platform to catapult the propaganda, including wedge issues bound to alienate sizeable contingents of the crowd, and serves to categorize a generalized anti-war movement in the terms of Stalinist caricature.
Now I don't have a problem with radical politics. Those are my politics. And I do believe that mass events are good occasions to wisely shed light upon the interconnections of injustice. What I have a problem with is Ramsey Clark. I don't trust him. And so, I must have a problem with A.N.S.W.E.R. I don't trust it, either.
A.N.S.W.E.R., established by Clark's International Action Center, shows a national, organizational savvy in securing police permits and outclasses and outspends all popular opposition groups in America. (Though there's no transparency regarding the source of its funds.) While the Iraq War is its rallying cause, A.N.S.W.E.R. was founded, presciently, on September 14, 2001, even before the "War on Terror" was officially launched, even rhetorically.
Why don't I trust Clark? If LBJ's former Attorney General was ever going to win my trust, he would have repudiated his handpicked Clark Panel, its medical professionals linked to the intelligence community, and its findings a whitewash of John F Kennedy's incomplete and adulterated autopsy records. He would have apologized to history and America's thwarted justice for stating just days after the murder of Dr King, and even before a suspect was in custody, that "all of our evidence at this time indicates that it was a single person who committed this criminal act." Years later in The Nation, after his radical makeover, Clark said James Earl Ray should not be given a new trial, but rather his case ought to be studied by a government panel. As Lisa Pease asks in The Assassinations, "Did Clark really think the government, which produced the Warren Commission and the HSCA and failed to reveal the truth about either the Martin Luther King case or the Kennedy assassination, should have been given a chance to bamboozle us yet again?"
The American Left of Chomsky and Cockburn and The Nation will never touch these matters of conspiracy. So Clark is largely untouched by his legacy of abetting three of the most egregious miscarriages of modern justice - John, Martin and Bobby - which, uncorrected, have brought America to this point of low comedy and great horror.
If your intent is generational warfare, you had better give some forethought to the stage management of your opposition. As you turn up the pressure, you need to ensure people can vent some steam. It makes them feel better. Like they've done something.
from Britain's largest ever peace rally, February 15,
2003 (2 million, maybe more - in central London)
British tabloid view of the situation
iridescent cuttlefish said...
.... It is good to know what the bad guys are up to: thanks, Jeff, for doing what you do and for presenting it in such a witty, readable manner. But there's a danger involved here as well. If we focus on the dark shenanigans in high places to the exclusion of all else (specifically, working to envision an alternative to the slideshow of "history" to which we have been passive spectators), then we become trapped in what is fundamentally their game, which we cannot win.
The Democrats can't save us. Conventional means can't save us. Violent revolution will only strengthen the already entrenched powers by providing a lovely pretext for imposing martial law. And yet...there is reason to hope. If a viable alternative to the status quo can be presented alongside a succinct revelation of sufficient magnitude, then the curtain can be ripped aside and the solution can be presented simultaneously--then the necessary (that is, very widespread) change in consciousness can occur in an undeniable, undivertible fashion. Then we will be able to all say "Bullshit!" and turn our collective backs on the captivating circus. So, keep investigating, keep working on those viable alternatives: ripeness is all (and things are getting pretty rotten.)
December 5, 2005
James Howard Kunstler
When people of any political persuasion cry for America to pull out of Iraq, what do they suppose will be the result? That America will go back to being the same nation of easy-motoring, McMansion-buying consumpto-trons we were in 1999? Things have changed. ....
There is really only one condition that will allow us to pull out of Iraq. That is if we make an enormous collective effort to change our behavior here in North America; if we break free from an economy pegged to suburban sprawl, reform the way we do agriculture and retail trade, make substantial investments in public transit and railroads in particular, and practice fiscal restraint at every scale, including an end to the reckless creation of mortgages. Unless we face these facts and the tasks associated with them, then we will find ourselves at the center of that geopolitical struggle.
Right now, nobody from any political stance is talking about these facts and these tasks. Those in the anti-war movement are by-and-large people who enjoy the same suburban "entitlements" as the war-hawks. The anti-war leadership is even worse than the pro-war leadership, because the war-hawks don't even pretend to be interested in reforming the way we live -- they've declared it "non-negotiable."
If the anti-war movement has a different idea, they sure haven't expressed it. If the Democratic party were to take the lead in the anti-war movement, they would have to start negotiations for changing the way we live in this country. To evade the responsibility for this would simply be cowardice. Leading sometimes means taking public opinion into territory it hasn't been to before.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
The Anti-War Institution
... Protesting the war isn't "mindless," unless it's nothing but an unconsidered reflex. But when it's institutional, it becomes another form of social control. It's a way to let the dissident faction "blow off steam." No harm done to the ruling interests, no change to government policy, and the protesters leave thinking they've made their "voices heard," even though nobody's listening.
Part of the problem, perhaps, is too many people are trying to fight parapolitics with politics. Even after Florida, the Supreme Court, Wellstone, Diebold and Ohio, they don't recognize that, so far as America is concerned, politics is finished. And parapolitical power nodes, which have come well out of the shadows since 2000, are neither accountable to voters, nor terribly responsive to chants of "Hey Hey! Ho Ho!" ....
A march on Washington could be a million strong, but if everyone goes home at the end of the day, nothing changes. But if 1,000 camp on the Capitol grounds, and 10,000 join them the following night, nothing would be the same.
This is what democracy used to look like.
A Post-Election Wrap-Up:
Iraq, 9/11, Drugs, Cheney, and Watergate Two
by Peter Dale Scott
27 November 2004
• Possible Issues for Indictment
• 9/11 as an Issue for Impeachment
• The FBI's Suppression of Yousef's 1994 Plane Hijacking Plot (Bojinka Two)
• The 9/11 Commission's Prolongation of Earlier Cover-Ups
• What Happened on September 11, 2001?
• The Challenge of Watergate Two
Is the Achilles Heel of the Bush Regime and Its Perpetual War
by Jack Riddler, www.osamaskidneys.com (no longer on-line)
Was it "the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century" or the American Reichstag Fire? Though we still don't know what really happened, the massacre of Sept. 11, 2001 became casus belli for an endless global war. At home, the Bush regime, illegitimate and unelected, seized on the attacks as the enabling event for a new system of total power and total surveillance. Yet for fourteen months, the regime has constantly blocked public investigation into 9/11 and its background. Why?
We may not know what happened, but we do know that the official story is a farce. Seekers of the "9/11 Truth" have established at least that much in their volumes of research. The kindest explanation for the oddities and impossible coincidences of Sept. 11 is that the regime is criminally negligent, an active danger to its own citizens - how dare they plead incompetence for 9/11 and then embark on an insanely aggressive war policy against countries that had nothing to do with it? It almost seems designed to provoke half the world into attacking America. By far the likelier explanation is that elements within the government knowingly allowed the Qaeda attacks to happen on purpose, so that the regime could save itself from the laughter of the American majority, shred the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and implement longstanding plans for "homeland security" and world domination. This is not just about getting a pipeline through Afghanistan, this is about the whole planetary pie: mobilizing the U.S. population to fight an endless crusade, in a time of imminent economic meltdown.
Not a week passes without dire warnings that new attacks are coming soon. Cheney and his ilk, the same people who have blocked a real investigation into 9/11, have repeatedly guaranteed that even more horrible terror hits could come anywhere, at any time, in any form, in America, Europe or Asia. With the whole planet at stake, can we afford anything less than full disclosure of the 9/11 Truth? From the lengths that the regime has so far taken to enshroud everything about that day in secrecy, we can certainly tell that they cannot afford to have the truth see the light of day.
Be patriotic; remember the victims of that day and honor them by demanding the truth! 9/11 Truth is the key to the doors of perception for the majority of the American public. Its disclosure can stop the war, reverse the police state, bring down the regime, and set us sailing for a different world
Will the Peace Movement Pursue the Truth About 9/11?
Opinion by Mark A. Dunlea
Posted December 06, 2004.
It is time for the peace movement in New York State to take up the demand to find truth about the three thousand people murdered in New York City on 9/11.
With the apparent election of George Bush as President, the likelihood that we will ever find the truth about 9/11 becomes even more remote. It is certainly not going to come from the federal government, where Bush, Congress, Republicans and Democrats, CIA, FBI and the foreign policy establishment all clearly share in some of the culpability for the deaths.
For a variety of reasons, the 2004 elections were unsuccessful in shaking Bush loose from the White House. This would be a good time to revisit two other approaches to removing Bush from office: the 9/11 truth movement, and impeachment. This article focuses on 9/11.
A poll released by Zogby International this fall found that half of the New York City residents - and more than 40% statewide - believed that the Bush administration knew about the 9/11 terrorist threats beforehand but failed to take action to prevent it. This is also largely the conclusion drawn from the work of federal 9/11 Commission - though they avoided stating it so bluntly out of their bipartisan effort to avoid "disrupting" the presidential campaign.
There are a number of approaches that New York could pursue (e.g., investigations by NYC City Council; State Legislature; criminal prosecution by the Manhattan DA or federal courts).
1. Who financed the 9/11 attacks and murders?
The 9/11 Commission reported that while "the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks, ultimately the question if of little practical significance." (9/11 report, p. 172). The Commission felt that their estimate of $500,000 to pull off the 9/11 attacks was merely petty cash for al-Qaeda.
I believe most New Yorker would be interested in determining that issue. The most likely culprits would be various Saudi businessmen and members of the ruling family. The commission concluded that most of Al Qaeda's annual $30 million budget came "primarily from the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia." (9/11 Report, p. 170). The commission acknowledges that "some of the donors surely knew...their ultimate destination" - financing terrorism. Congress' own investigation into 9/11 included thirty pages of information about the apparent role of the Saudi kingdom that has yet to be released. Family members and Cantor Fitzgerald, who lost hundreds of employees at the WTC, have sued to identify and hold accountable the financiers.
Both the Clinton and Bush administration impeded FBI investigations into Saudi Arabia. No President has ever had such a close relation with a foreign government as the Bushes have with Saudi Arabia. More than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts went from the House of Saud over the past two decades to companies associated with the Bush family.
As John O'Neill, the FBI's former top bin Laden investigator, said shortly before his death in the World Trade Center, "all the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia." O'Neill also said that America's failure to stop bin Laden could be traced to one word - oil.
Saudi Arabian Abu Zubaydah was allegedly one of al-Qaeda's top operatives. After his capture by Pakistan in March of 2002, Zubaydah allegedly reported that the Saudi ruling family was actively supporting al-Qaeda and had advance knowledge of 9/11. The three high ranking Saudi contacts identified by Zubaydah all died a few months later in an eight-day period under mysterious circumstances (p. 78, New Pearl Harbor)
The other widespread allegation concerning the financing of the 9/11 plot is Pakistan. Mahmood Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) - sort of its own rogue government - reportedly ordered that $100,000 be wired to the head 9/11 hijacker the day before the attacks. (See the New Pearl Harbor, pp. 109-113). Ahmed reportedly met with the heads of the US Senate and House Intelligence Committees on 9/11 - apparently they didn't bother quizzing him about this. The individual who implemented Ahmed's order to send the money is now to be executed by the Pakistani government - allegedly for murdering Wall Street Journal report Daniel Pearl, who apparently happened to be investigating ISI.
2. Who were the 9/11 hijackers and who aided them?
The identity of these mass murderers needs to be conclusively established for history. And the culprits held criminally responsible.
The federal government quickly released the names of the 19 alleged hijackers shortly after the attacks. 15 were allegedly from Saudi Arabia. They also produced the passport of the alleged mastermind, Mohammed Atta (an Egyptian), whose passport they claimed miraculously survived from crashing into the WTC and floated down a few blocks away.
However, it appears that at least five of the alleged hijackers are still alive. (NY Times, 9/21/01). It is certainly not surprising the terrorists would steal or copy other individuals' identity papers to make it easier for them to enter the US.
So the question remains, who were the actual 9/11 hijackers? Why has the federal government been unwilling to conclusively establish the hijackers' identities?
If you read the actual 9/11 Commission report about the recruitment of the 9/11 hijackers, it reads like a bad Saturday Night Live parody. We are told that two of the main hijackers, with no prior experience in terrorism, were planning to fight in Chechnya when someone approached them on a train "because they were Arabs with beards" (page 165, 9/11 report) and "struck up a conversation about jihad." Before you know it, they're off to Afghanistan to learn how to fight, bringing along two of their student friends. One of the students - Mohammed Atta - after a few meetings with bin Laden, is selected by him to be the "9/11 mastermind" - even though up to this point the Commissions had reported that someone other than bin Laden was the one who conceived of the attacks. Even the Commission concedes that "in respect, the speed with which (they)... become core members of the plot...is remarkable." (P. 166).
And who aided the 9/11 hijackers within the US? Shortly after 9/11 the media was full of reports of their extensive system of support within the US. They carried out one of the most complicated terrorist acts in history, so they needed lots of assistance. Yet despite the arrest of 5,000 foreigners by the federal government, not a single one of them have yet been shown to have a connection to the 9/11 attacks. So where is the support network?
3. Why did the US government ignore the warnings about the pending 9/11 attack?
Even the official 9/11 report provides plenty of evidence that the Bush administration received abundant warnings about the attacks. The Commission avoids blaming anyone for the failure to act; instead, we are to believe that the federal intelligence operations were so disorganized that the ample warnings were lost in a maze of bureaucracy and information overload. The Commission notes that "we detailed various missed opportunities to thwart the 9/11 plot. Information was not shared, sometimes inadvertently or because of legal misunderstandings. Analysis was not pooled. Effective operations were not launched...information were lost." (9/11 report, p. 353; see also Chapter 8, "The System was Blinking Red," pp. 254-60).
In addition to the myriad of warnings generated by our own intelligence services that the Commission documented, several foreign governments also issued warnings. In August, Russian President Putin said "I ordered my intelligence to warn President Bush in the strongest terms that 25 terrorists were getting ready to attack the US, including important government buildings like the Pentagon." In late July 2001 the Taliban's foreign minister informed US officials that bin laden was planning a huge attack within the US that was imminent. Other warnings were also allegedly given by Jordan, Egypt and Israel. A warning from Great Britain that al-Qaeda was planning an attack on the US with multiple hijacked airplanes was allegedly included in the infamous August 6, 2001 memo to the President. (The New Pearl Harbor, pp. 70-71).
The question is whether the federal government ignored the warnings out of incompetency or out of a decision to allow the attacks to proceed.
Criminal negligence "which will render killing a person manslaughter is the (failure)... to do some act which a... prudent man who do under like circumstances." In response to the numerous warnings they received, did the federal government take prudent steps in response? If not, who is guilty of manslaughter?
In criminal cases, one looks for motive. Most Americans know by now that the Bush was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq - to implement the drive for the neocon's global American empire, to control Middle East oil, to finish up the job that the first Bush administration had failed to complete. 9/11 was the perfect excuse. There is also significant evidence that the Bush administration had been planning to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 - over a natural gas pipeline - and had delivered such a warning to the Taliban that summer. Not surprisingly, the American military bases established in Afghanistan followed the proposed route of the pipeline.
It is certainly possible that the Bush administration were guilty of more than being asleep at the wheel. There were several instances where warnings by local FBI agents about suspicious activities at flight training schools by middle eastern men were suppressed. Other investigations into terrorists activities, including the role of Saudi Arabia, were halted or blocked. And the Bush administration acted in undue haste in enabling Saudis and members of the bin Laden family to depart the US right after 9/11 with only cursory exit interviews.
The Bush administration and Congress have worked diligently to block an independent investigation into 9/11.Both political parties and the foreign policy establishment are all implicated in the failure to prevent 9/11 and thus have no incentive to find the truth. The 9/11 Commission, established only after protests over foot dragging by family members of the victims, was a bipartisan effort in damage control. The Commission accomplished its mission so well that Bush rushed to embrace its findings.
It is time for the peace movement, starting in New York, to devote its considerable energy and grassroots membership to pursuing the truth about 9/11 and demanding that the guilty be criminally prosecuted. Ironically, it was 9/11 that ultimately convinced many voters to stick with Bush, not wanting to change the Commander in Chief in the middle of a "war." Yet 9/11 is also Bush's Achilles heel.
Mark Dunlea is a member of the Green Party of New York State and is the author of Madame President: The Unauthorized Biography of the First Green Party President (http://nys.greens.org/rachel).
This article is the work of the author(s) only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Green Party of the United States.
Marching in Circles:
The Tactics of Dizziness and Despair
BY PATTRICE JONES
On the occasional weekend in Washington, DC, peace activists from all over the USA gather to give speeches to people who already agree with them. After applauding each other for their fine political insights, they set off on a circular march through empty streets. At no point does this parade without spectators impede the war machine. At best, the purely symbolic protest will merit a few paragraphs in one or more national newspapers or even a mention on the national television news. Most local media will not mention it at all. No one knows if the event has any impact at all on public opinion. Nonetheless, the activists go home feeling as though they have done something and that the vast expenditure of time, funds, and energy has been worthwhile.
This pattern persists despite the fact that the tactic of rallying and then marching in circles has not prevented or in any way mitigated past attacks on Iraq, Kosovo, or Afghanistan (or anywhere else since Vietnam). The pattern persists despite the fact that the demonstrations do little but supply fuel for the pro-war propaganda machine by helping to maintain the fiction of American democracy. ....
Habit is the nemesis of effective activism. It's easy, so easy, to jump up and go, to act without thinking, to slip into comfortable routines ("you paint the banner, I'll write the chants"). With so much to be done, who has time to stop and think? But think we must if we want to make a difference rather than simply demonstrating our dissent.
We do hope to create change. Implicit in every march is the (often unrealistic) wish that this time will be different, that this time our walking will not be in vain. For some, this hope is rooted in memories of the days when rallies and marches did provoke change. For others, the hope springs from vague ideas about successful movements of the past. In both instances, marches are remembered out of context, as isolated actions, when in fact the successful marches of the past were usually well thought-out elements of larger strategies for social change. ....
It's necessary, even critical, for activists to stop and celebrate themselves and their victories every once in a while. Marches also can help to do that. However, again, everyone must understand what is happening and why. Encouragement easily can contribute to denial. When people feel as though they have won or are in the process of winning when the opposite is true, they are unlikely to engage in the sober assessments and revisions of strategies that are needed in the course of a protracted struggle.
Is the Anti-War Movement a Dying Shark?
Commentary, Hassina Leelarathna,
Sri Lanka Express, Jan 30, 2006
Nov 3 - Nov 9, 2005
Where Are the Activists?
More Protests Don't Mean Better Protests
BY SCOTT MOORE
Think back to three years ago, when an estimated 30,000 residents flooded the streets downtown to protest against President George W. Bush and his planned military attack on Iraq. Today, that vision seems distant—not only because more than 2,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have died—but because the antiwar movement has scattered. Instead of massive, coordinated protests in Portland, the activism now seems to primarily consist of numerous, small demonstrations that have failed to draw much attention from the public.
The lackluster response is made all the more odd considering the number of black eyes the Republican leadership has sustained recently, which should be giving progressive groups ample inspiration to take to the streets en masse. Over the past several weeks, the Bush Administration has suffered several watershed moments—the 2,000th GI dying, the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and FEMA's paltry response to Hurricane Katrina (just to name a few).
Yes, those recent disgraces to Bush's White House have inspired a few more Portland residents to return to the streets. However, this momentary uptick has only raised more questions about the future of the antiwar movement in Portland. For example, what is the goal of local antiwar leaders, and do they even have the organizational skills to pull off anything besides pleasant little protests? And, perhaps more importantly, can they respond with a unified front, or will the antiwar movement continue to be fractured and, consequently, ineffective?
Recent and upcoming events give a partial answer. Last Wednesday, October 26, for instance, the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition (PPRC) joined with a handful of groups at Terry Schrunk Plaza to mark the death of the 2,000th American soldier in Iraq. According to PPRC organizer William Seaman, the event brought in a few hundred protestors—not an overwhelming number or particularly media grabbing.
Even so, that number is much more substantial than the paltry groups which have attended PPRC's weekly Friday night demonstrations. Seaman tried to argue that former activists are coming out of hibernation and giving a resurgence to the antiwar movement.
"There's been a reactivation of people who have been involved in the past who are now becoming more involved," Seaman said.
Meanwhile, a few days after the demonstration at Schrunk Plaza, Code Pink staged its own protest—a post-Halloween "Day of the Dead" themed demonstration in front of the Bagdad Theater, where they donned masks in the likeness of Bush Administration officials to terrorize the Hawthorne neighborhood. The event elicited a few honks from cars passing by.
Elsewhere, multiple groups—including Code Pink, PPRC, and the Catholic Worker—have begun staking out the army recruitment center on NE Broadway. There, activists have staged "counter-recruiting" events. They hope to bring attention to the Bush Administration's intense recruitment efforts in high schools and poor neighborhoods. But those events have yet to earn a whisper on the evening news or in the Oregonian.
(One event that might best gauge the health of the protest movement was scheduled to happen just after press time on Wednesday, November 2. The World Can't Wait Organization is holding demonstrations across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of Bush's reelection. The Portland event was scheduled for noon at Pioneer Square but, at press time, there was little information available and no clear idea of who was organizing it locally. The national campaign promises mass walkouts by students and workers—but so far, at least on the local level, uncertainty has trumped unified action.)
Considering how much Republican blood is in the water (indictments, incompetent disaster management, mounting Iraq deaths), it should be disconcerting that the antiwar (or, at least anti-Bush) movement is not even bigger. Leaders should be asking: If not now, when? And, what can we do to draw in more participation and attention?
Instead, Portland's activist community seems to be content to stage small protests for their own benefit.
How to Unseat the War Criminals
and Reverse the Tide of War?
Expose the Links between Al Qaeda and the Bush Administration
by Michel Chossudovsky, author of international best seller War and Globalization, The Truth behind September 11
When people across the US find out that Al Qaeda is not linked to Saddam but is in fact a creation of the CIA and that the terrorist warnings are fabricated, the legitimacy of the Bush Administration will tumble like a deck of cards. The perceived enemy will no longer be Saddam, it will be Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, et al. Why is this important for the antiwar movement? This relationship of the Bush Administration to international terrorism, which is a matter of public record, indelibly points to the criminalisation of the upper echelons of US State apparatus.
Let's use this information to dismantle the Bush Administration's war plans. Sensitize our fellow citizens. Expose the "dubious links." Because when the truth trickles down, the leaders' war plans will not have a shred of legitimacy in the eyes of millions of Americans who believe that Al Qaeda is "A Threat to America" and that their president is committed to their security.
At this crucial juncture in our history, we must understand that antiwar sentiment in itself does not undermine the war agenda. The same applies to the diplomatic deadlock at the UN Security Council: The Bush Administration is intent upon waging war with or without UN approval. The only way to prevent this war from happening in the weeks ahead is to unseat the rulers, who are war criminals. A precondition for breaking the legitimacy of the Bush Administration is to fully reveal its links to international terrorism and its complicity in the tragic event of 9/11. This objective can only be achieved by effectively curbing its propaganda campaign and spreading the truth through a grassroots citizen's information campaign.
Moreover, while mobilizing millions of people around the World, the antiwar protest movement remains profoundly divided. Many of the civil society and trade union organizations which have taken a stance against the invasion of Iraq, were nonetheless supportive of the Bush administration’s invasion of Afghanistan in retaliation to the September 11 attacks. While integrating the anti-war movement, they remain convinced that Al Qaeda is "a threat to America" and global security. They firmly believe in the so-called "war on terrorism’ against the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 and are broadly supportive of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorist agenda: "We are against the invasion of Iraq, but we should go after Al Qaeda." "We believe that Iraq is not a threat against World peace, but we support the Administration’s "war on terrorism". In turn, many prominent progressive intellectuals and foreign policy analysts have not only dismissed the links of the Bush Administration to Al Qaeda, they have upheld the Administration's "War on terrorism".....
This ambivalence weakens the antiwar movement because it ultimately serves to uphold the legitimacy of "the anti-terrorist" agenda at home and around the world. Under an anti-terrorist banner, the Administration launched "Operation Enduring Freedom" which consists in sending US Special Forces to collaborate with foreign governments in the "war on terrorism". In the US, it launched the Patriot Act, which repeals fundamental civil rights in the name of the "war on terrorism".
The war on terrorism is an integral part of Bush’s National Security Doctrine . It is is being used as a pretext for waging war on Iraq. Many antiwar activists are unaware that successive US administrations have over the last 20 years supported Islamic terrorism including Al Qaeda. The latter is a creation of the CIA. It is a key instrument of US foreign policy.
By Glenn Scherer
Saturday 22 January 2005.
"The most important long-term issue before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the lower courts, is New Constitutionalism," says Sugameli. This extreme anti-regulatory philosophy, also called New Federalism, has been refined by corporations, right-wing think tanks, and the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Born in the Reagan era, New Federalism opposes big government, and especially the intrusion of the federal government into state and local public services and economic and regulatory matters, according to the Cato Institute web site.
New Federalism would repudiate a broad interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause, upon which much of federal environmental law is based. Until the 1930s, this clause was used primarily to regulate trade between states. But from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal era to the present day, judges have interpreted the clause as granting Congress the power to regulate business with regard to wage and hour limitations, health and safety and the environment.
Some Bush nominees, however, say Congress has no authority to enact such measures. William G. Myers, for example, has argued in amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court that federal clean-water and endangered-species safeguards are unconstitutional. The Cato Institute's Roger Pilon agrees: "The Endangered Species Act is utterly unconstitutional," and so are the Clean Air and Water acts "for the most part," he asserts. "The commerce power was written to ensure the free flow of commerce among the states," period.
Destroy that constitutional foundation and you deny Congress the authority to provide most environmental protections, thereby causing the entire federal environmental regulatory structure as it exists today to collapse. It is a radical strategy that, if successful, would shred the safety net of federal laws that has safeguarded the environment for more than 30 years, and which Americans have come to take for granted. Pilon urges that this safety net be replaced with a patchwork of state environmental laws, an approach whose utter failure helped prompt the creation of the federal EPA by Richard Nixon in 1970.
New Federalism doesn't stop there. Anti-regulatory judges - led by right-wing Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - also want to severely limit public access to the courts. In particular, they would like to outlaw most citizen lawsuits, thereby barring nonprofit environmental groups from launching cases against polluting industry, uncontrolled development, and unresponsive government.
Pilon contends, along with many Bush nominees, that environmental groups do not have "standing" - that is, they are not directly harmed (as an individual might be) by environmental damage, so they have no right to sue. Conservatives also say that neither environmental groups nor individuals have a right to sue when private industry damages the commons - public lands or waters owned by all of us. If a polluter harms the commons, they say, only the government has the right to sue. And if the government fails to act, the public's only recourse would be to vote out the unresponsive officials.
Barring access to courts is antithetical to democracy, says Sugameli. It biases the system against nonprofit citizen's groups and in favor of businesses. It is also prejudicial. "There is no question that corporations will continue to be able to go to court whenever they don't like an environmental protection," he says. "But there is a serious question as to how much citizens will continue to be able to go to court when they feel that environmental laws are protecting corporations and not people."
Bush conservatives have hit upon still another strategy for attacking the environment: property rights. If Scalia and Thomas were to be joined on the Supreme Court by like-minded Bush-appointed justices, they would have the majority needed to set precedents giving industry privileged private-property rights. "For at least 25 years, since President Reagan, the property-rights movement has asserted that property ownership is absolute and enshrined in the Constitution," says Jay Feinman, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law and author of Un-Making Law. That movement sees property rights as a core value of democracy, trumping the authority of Congress to make laws reducing pollution or preserving natural resources. When the government wants to protect air quality, wildlife, or wetlands, the movement contends, it must pay for all profits lost in the forsaking of economic activity, which industry leaders have cleverly - if erroneously - labeled "takings."
This very broad definition of property rights, based loosely on the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, has been repeatedly asserted by conservative Republican judges on the federal bench, and especially by Bush appointees. Myers has taken the extreme view that property rights should receive the same level of constitutional scrutiny as free speech. "What we've seen in the Bush administration is appointees who come out of this property-rights movement and have ties to industry, and who we can expect to advance the cause to undermine government regulation," says Feinman.
Bush's lifetime appointments to the federal courts - most of whom seem to be intentionally selected because of their youth - will shape and dominate environmental jurisprudence for many decades to come.
Right Young Things
Parenteau believes that the right-wing judicial strategies being pressed by the Bush administration amount to a corporate coup d'etat in which private special interests trump the public good and democracy. "It is probably not hysterical to characterize our situation as a constitutional crisis, because I feel that the majority values of this country are still strongly in support of strong laws protecting the environment. But what is happening is that those laws are being picked apart, dismantled, and deceptively, stealthily, slyly undermined. I think that our government's checks and balances are breaking down," as corporations gain a death grip on all three branches of government.
Sitting Supreme Court Justice David Souter has long warned against the judicial use of constitutional arguments to invalidate Congress's authority to regulate commerce - a tactic that could negate environmental, public-health, labor, minority, and women's civil-rights protections in one massive strike. New Federalism is not new, he contends, but will march America back to the Lochner era of the courts, which lasted from the post-Civil War period until Roosevelt's New Deal.
Joseph Lochner was a New York baker whose corporate right to force employees to work 60-hour weeks was upheld by the Supreme Court. For seven decades, the courts maintained a laissez-faire attitude about business practices, ruling that the economic sphere was off-limits to congressional regulation, and that private property, especially corporate private property, was sacrosanct. That era's policies spurred political and corporate corruption, spawning the Robber Baron industrialists, a yawning gap between rich and poor, civil unrest, labor strikes and riots, bomb-throwing anarchists, two presidential assassinations, fierce government repression, genocide against the American Indians, and the near extinction of the American buffalo. It was an era whose gross human injustices were only reversed by New Deal reforms.
In the face of a kind of Lochner-era redux, environmental groups have little recourse, Feinman fears. "Other than opposing judicial nominations, we have a real problem here. We can't just wait for the next election, or defeat a bill in Congress. With the judiciary, we are dealing with a matter of constitutional law. Once high courts rule in an area, there is nothing that can be done by executive action, or by legislation, to change things. That's the end of the story. We could see a rollback of environmental law as part of a much broader rollback of government protection of the public interest. Once again, what is good for General Motors is good for the U.S.A."
"Maybe the Cuyahoga River has to burst into flame again," concludes Parenteau, referring to a pivotal outrage in 1969 that helped launch the environmental movement in the following years. The United States may need to see drastic climate shocks, or Bhopal-scale tragedies, before the public becomes determined enough to reverse the Bush administration's judicial excesses. The political and social shape that such a rebellion might take - and how long it might take to emerge - is anyone's guess
Why we need non-linear, exponential, quantum leap solutions
by Ken Jenkins
Non-linear events - fast or sudden change: Kennedy, MLK and other assassinations, Berlin wall, end of Cold War, stolen 2000 election, 9/11.
What are non-linear solutions?
We have multiple major crisis’s simultaneously. Practically every major system is in crisis: Healthcare, transportation, energy, education, foreign policy (war), economy, etc.
There is not enough time for linear solutions, even if they do work, which increasingly they do not.
We need to work smarter, not harder. That requires long term strategy. We need faster, non-linear strategies. We need to discover, imagine and create new kinds of solutions.
9-11: An Unprecedented Opportunity
The truth of 9-11 offers an unprecedented opportunity - to bust the war game once and for all, to usher in a new era of lasting peace, where war is no longer an option.
Peace and Justice Movement: Wake Up!
Monday, May 05 2003 @ 03:22 AM EDT
"The dots start with the powerful Israeli Lobby, and ideologues
and Neocons, like Richard Perle, and extend to politicos, such as Sen.
Joseph I. Lieberman .."
By William Hughes,
It is time for the Peace and Justice Movement to wake up! It couldn’t stop the U.S.-led war against Iraq. And, it won’t stop any U.S.-led war against Syria, or against any other Arab country, either. In order to do so, it must change its orientation. The Peace and Justice Movement must learn to connect the dots.
Blair and Friends Staring Into War's Political Abyss By Paul Daley
Sidney Morning Herald Saturday 05 April 2003 http://truthout.org/docs_03/040703H.shtml
The most recent poll, by his state's official pollsters, showed that 91 per cent of Spanish voters were opposed to their country's support for the war. The Aznar Government's popularity has slumped massively in recent months.
This Is What History Feels Like
by Tom Hayden
This is the text of a speech given by Tom Hayden in Los Angeles on March 15, 2003.
Repeat after me: This is what democracy looks like!
Repeat after me: This is what history feels like!
A movement the think tanks thought unthinkable.
A movement that corporations cannot brand.
That the entertainers cannot distract.
And the politicians cannot avoid.
Empire versus democracy is the choice. What's left of the empire meets tomorrow in the isolated Azores while democracy meets in the streets. Think of it--the pretenders to empire cannot meet on the European continent. Only an island protects them from the humiliating opposition of millions of citizens of Europe.
George Bush is more isolated than we realize. Six recent surveys show that support for his re-election is below 50 percent, and this month for the first time a national poll shows him trailing a Democratic alternative by 48-44 percent.
I have a short sentence from President John Quincy Adams. In the 1820s, he was asked, would the United States join with some European powers in getting the Turks to free the Greeks. He said no. And the reason he gave is -- one of the colonels asked me, "Where is this guy coming from?" when I said I was against the war.
This is President Adams: "The United States goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is a well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. If the United States took up all foreign affairs, it would become entangled in all the wars of interest and intrigue, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own soul."
article Posted March 27, 2003
The Other Superpower
by Jonathan Schell
[A] s the war began, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promised a "campaign unlike any other in history." What he did not plan or expect, however, was that the peoples of earth--what some are calling "the other superpower"--would launch an opposing campaign destined to be even less like any other in history. Indeed, Rumsfeld's campaign, a military attack, was in all its essential elements as old as history. The other campaign--the one opposing the war--meanwhile, was authentically novel. In the pages that follow, The Nation gives a snapshot of it in fourteen countries. If news has anything to do with what is new, then this campaign's birth and activity are the real news. What emerges is a portrait of a world in resistance.
Although there is an abyss of difference between the means of the two campaigns, there are also a few notable similarities. Both are creatures of the Information Age, which underlies the so-called "smart" technology on display in the war as well as the Internet, which has become the peace movement's principal organizing tool. Both are global--the United States seeks to demonstrate its self-avowed aim of global military supremacy, and the peace movement is equally determined to reject this. Not only is the whole world watching, as people used to say, the whole world is defending itself. Yet both campaigns are at the same time surprisingly agile, able to change their tactics and timing in response to events. Most interesting, perhaps, both conceive of power at least as much in terms of will as of force.
The first days of the war, for example, produced a surprise when the United States, instead of immediately showering missiles and bombs on Baghdad to produce "shock and awe," as predicted, instead carried out a limited strike aimed at killing Saddam Hussein and perhaps his sons. The goal, in the hideous phrase that now trips off so many tongues, was "decapitation" of the regime. Rumsfeld made clear the larger purpose in his briefing. He entertained the hope that the regime would collapse without a fight. "We continue to feel that there's no need for a broader conflict if the Iraqi leaders act to save themselves and to prevent such further conflict," he said, and proceeded to give these leaders a set of explicit instructions, as if he were already running Iraq: Do not destroy oil wells, do not blow up bridges, etc.
The unexpected twist in strategy generated a spate of admiring commentary. National Public Radio's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Gjelten, marveled that the new Administration policy was heavily "psychological." "The clear hope here was that somehow this regime will just collapse," he commented. "Maybe the war won't even be entirely necessary." And in an article called "A War of Subtle Strategy," the military analyst William Arkin called the new way of proceeding a "thinking man's war." In truth, however, the policy was less novel than the commentators were suggesting. History is filled with episodes of great armies drawing up before the gates of cities and demanding their surrender on pain of annihilation. (In Shakespeare's Henry V, for example, Henry menaces the inhabitants of Harfleur with plunder, rape and massacre if they do not yield up their town, and they do yield.) To have one's way without a fight is indeed the dream of every empire. Such is the strategy, for that matter, every time someone points a gun at someone else and orders "Hands up!" Far from being what Arkin calls a "middle ground--militarily and politically," such a tactic brings to perfection the policy of brute force--of shock and awe. The devastation threatened is so irresistible and crushing that its mere approach is meant to make the enemy surrender out of sheer terror. It aims to crush the will before the body is crushed.
Within a few days, however, the strategy of bloodless terror seemed to be foundering, as Iraqi forces proved willing to fight, and American and British forces were lured into cities where guerrilla operations against them began. A few early (and admittedly inadequate) indications suggest that the suffering people of Iraq, asked to choose between a dictator and a conqueror, wanted neither. In the words of one Iraqi opponent of the Hussein regime to the New York Times in the city of Nasiriya, "No Iraqi will support what the Americans are doing here. If they want to go to Baghdad, that's one thing, but now they have come into our cities, and all Iraqis will fight them."
The global peace movement, too, makes its appeal to the will, but in a diametrically opposite spirit. It encourages people not to give up their beliefs in obedience to the dictates of force but to act on those beliefs in the face of force. The war, we are told, is being fought for freedom. But who, we may ask, are the free ones--those who knuckle under to violence or those who defy it? The new superpower possesses immense power, but it is a different kind of power: not the will of one man wielding the 21,000-pound MOAB but the hearts and wills of the majority of the world's people. Its victories have been triumphs of civil courage, like the vote of the Turkish Parliament to turn down a multibillion-dollar bribe and, in keeping with public opinion, refuse the United States the use of Turkish bases in the war, or like the refusal of the six small, nonpermanent members of the United Nations Security Council to succumb to great-power browbeating and support its resolution for war. The question everywhere was which superpower to obey--the single nation claiming that title, or the will of the people of the earth. Outside the imperial counsels, the people of the earth were prevailing.
Never, in fact, had this will been expressed more clearly than in the moments leading up to the US assault. On the brink of the war no public but the Israeli one supported it under the conditions in which it was being launched--that is, without UN support. Public-opinion polls showed that in most countries opposition to the war was closer to unanimity than to a mere majority. A Gallup poll showed that in "neutral" (and normally pro-American) Switzerland the figure was 90 percent, in Argentina 87 percent, in Nigeria 86 percent, in Bosnia (recently the beneficiary of NATO intervention on its behalf) 91 percent. In all of the countries whose governments supported the war except Israel's, the public opposed it. The "coalition of the willing" was a coalition of governments alone.
A new phenomenon of rolling demonstrations circled the world--not only in the great capitals but also in provincial cities and even small towns. (There was a demonstration in Afghanistan, the last scene of "regime change.") Most newspapers outside the United States opposed the war. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed his chagrin. The Pope said the war "threatens the destiny of humanity." For once, the majority of the world's governments spoke up unequivocally for the majorities of their peoples.
The candles in windows did not stop the cruise missiles. The demonstrators did not block the tanks rolling north to Baghdad. Pope John Paul II did not stop President George W. Bush. Yet against all expectation, a global contest whose consequence far transcends the war in Iraq had arisen. Dr. Robert Muller of Costa Rica, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, caught the mood of the new peace movement when, at age 80, he received an award for his service to the UN. He startled his discouraged audience by saying, "I'm so honored to be here. I'm so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I'm so moved by what's going on in our world today." For "never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war." This was what it looked like, he said, to be "waging peace." It was "a miracle." Shock and awe has found its riposte in courage and wonder.
Add UK, Spain and Coalition of the Willing to the USA.
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 12:47:04 +0200
English: If the USA finally goes ahead with a unilateral attack, which they
did, contravening the decisions of the UN Security Council, let's boycott
all American products (hamburgers, cigarettes, soft drinks, films, petrol
-SHELL, ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL and GULF- etc., etc.,). This letter has been
sent to 30 persons. If everybody sends it to another 10 (30 x 10 = 300), it
will have reached over 300 million people in a week. Let's act together
to put the pressure on.
Turkce: Eger ABD , birlesmis milletler kararina ragmen hala atak yaparsa -ki
yapti-, yababilecegimiz eylemlerden birtanesi de onlarin butun urunlerine
boykot baslatmak. Hamburger, sigara, coca cola, pepsi, filmler, petrol :
ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL, SHELL, etc. Bu e-maili 30 kisiye gonderilmistir, her
alan 10 kisiye gonderirse (30x10=300), bir haftada 300 milyondan fazla
kisiye ulasir. Hadi hep birlikte bu baskiyi surdurelim.
Italian: Se, alla fine, gli Stati Uniti sferreranno un attacco unilaterale a
dispetto degli accordi del Consiglio di Sicurezza dell'ONU, boicottiamone i
prodotti (hamburger, sigarette, bibite, film, benzina -SHELL, ESSO, EXXON,
MOBIL, GULF- ecc., ecc.). Questa lettera è stata inviata a 30 persone. Se
ognuno la spedirà ad altre 10 persone (30x10=300), in 8 gg. ne avremo
sensibilizzato oltre 300 milioni. Passiamo all'azione tutti insieme per
Spanish: Si finalmente se produce el ataque unilateral de EE.UU. ignorando los
acuerdos del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, boicoteemos sus productos
hamburguesas, tabaco, bebidas, películas, gasolina -SHELL, ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL
y GULF- etc., etc.,) Esta carta ha sido transmitida a 30 personas,
sicada una se la envía a 10 más (30x10=300), en 8 días habremos
sensibilizado más de 300 millones de personas. ¡Actuemos todos a una para
hacer la fuerza!
French: Si l'attaque unilatérale des États-Unis a finalement lieu, ignorant
les accords du Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU, boycottons leurs produits
(hamburgers, tabac, boissons, films, essence -SHELL, ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL
et GULF- etc., etc.) Cette lettre a été transmise à 30 personnes, si chacune
l'envoie à 10 autres personnes (30x10=300), en 8 jours nous aurons
ensibilisé plus de 300 millions de personnes. Agissons tous pour faire force!
German: Sollte es schließlich doch zu einem einseitigen Angriff der USA
entgegen den Vereinbarungen des UN- icherheitsrates kommen, dann besteht
Handlungsbedarf: Boykottiert Erzeugnisse aus den USA (wie Hamburger,
Zigaretten, Getränke, Filme, Benzin - SHELL, ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL und
GULF -, usw). Dies ist ein Kettenbrief, der an 30 Adressaten versendet worden
ist. Wenn jeder davon 10 weitere Mails verschickt (30x30=300), wären in 8
Tagen über 300 Mio. Verbraucher sensibilisiert. Alle zusammen haben wir
Kraft genug, um Druck zu machen.
Portuguese: Se finalmente se realizar o ataque unilateral dos Estados Unidos,
ignorando os acordos do Conselho de Segurança da ONU, boicoteemos os
produtos deles (hambúrgueres, tabaco, bebidas, filmes, gasolina -SHELL,
ESSO, EXXON, MOBIL e GULF- etc., etc.,) Esta carta foi transmitida a 30
pessoas, se cada uma enviar a mesma a mais 10 (30x10=300), em 8 dias
teremos sensibilizado mais de 300 milhões de pessoas. Actuemos todos juntos
para fazer a força!
Ideology is Used to DIVIDE AND CONQUER
people of good will
Not all supporters of peace are "liberals"
"True conservatives and liberals unite! Bring your issues and your
opinions to our young people, and create a new expectation that they will
get involved, get informed, and form a view of themselves as problem-solving
citizens of a democracy. Our differences from the left or right are nothing
compared to the differences between the politically awake and the hypnotized
drones of the new colonialism that now stalks and shreds our civilization."
-- Granny D. "Takeover Artists," a speech at Boston, 9/27/2002
Americans Against World Empire
"A Conservative/Libertarian coalition for Peace, opposed to the bombing & hypocrisy which brings retaliation from enemies that we ourselves create, turning our free Republic into a military empire."
another conservative / libertarian site, not the usual analysis of war and peace in the oil empire
March 7, 2003
THIS WAR IS TREASON by Justin Raimondo
FBI whistleblower: 'We can't stop terrorism unleashed by Iraq war.' So why are they going ahead with it?
Anyone who believes the attack on Iraq is about defending the U.S. against terrorism should listen to veteran FBI agent Coleen Rowley. Rowley, you'll recall, caused a sensation when her testimony in front of Congress fingered higher-ups in the Bureau who inexplicably obstructed and effectively derailed the anti-terrorist effort in the crucial days prior to 9/11: she wrote a letter to the FBI's top brass that exposed the near-criminal incompetence of her superiors and set off a firestorm of recriminations that has yet to abate. Now she has written another letter, pointing out that the problems she identified back then have gotten worse:
"In June, 2002, on the eve of my testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, you told me that you appreciate constructive criticism and that FBI agents should feel free to voice serious concerns they may have about senior-level FBI actions. Since then I have availed myself twice of your stated openness.
"At this critical point in our country's history I have decided to try once again, on an issue of even more consequence for the internal security posture of our country. That posture has been weakened by the diversion of attention from al-Qaeda to our government's plan to invade Iraq, a step that will, in all likelihood, bring an exponential increase in the terrorist threat to the U.S., both at home and abroad."
The capture (by Pakistan) of Bin Laden's reputed second in command has led some to argue that the U.S. government can walk and chew gum at the same time, but the sudden elevation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed from number 22 to number 2 in the terrorist hierarchy strikes many as suspicious. In any event, Rowley's accusations, this time around, are devastating, not only to the FBI high command but to the War Party. She writes:
"What is the FBI's evidence with respect to a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Polls show that Americans are completely confused about who was responsible for the suicidal attacks on 9-11 with many blaming Iraq. And it is clear that this impression has been fostered by many in the Administration."
The government's war propaganda is actively undermining the FBI's effort to identify and root out terrorism in this country. Rowley points to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's contention that the Saddam-Osama connection is certain, counterposing it to Brent Scowcroft's skepticism, and asks: which is it?
"The answer to this is of key importance in determining whether war against Iraq makes any sense from the FBI's internal security point of view. If the FBI does have independent data verifying such a connection, it would seem such information should be shared, at least internally within the FBI."
Could it be because such a connection doesn't exist?
Americans ought to be shocked by Rowley's revelation that the FBI has yet to interview Zacarias Moussaoui, the man she was prevented from investigating, who has since been shown to have a direct connection to the events of 9/11. The "shoe bomber" Richard Reid has also, somehow, escaped extensive interrogation. What's up with that? It's a matter of priorities, says Rowley: and apparently the chief priority of the U.S. government is not preventing future terrorist attacks on American soil, but prosecuting a diversionary war against the wrong enemy.
Rowley shows that the break with our longtime closest allies hurts the war on terrorism, since the great majority of Al Qaeda operatives are based in Europe, and makes the cogent point that it was the French, after all, who fingered Moussaoui. She also exposes the mass round-up and detention of thousands of Arabs as largely a political ploy:
"After 9/11, Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seem to be essentially PR purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for statements on our progress in fighting terrorism."
Particularly striking is Rowley's analogy likening the attack on Iraq to the FBI's assault on the Branch Davidians at Waco. Like Saddam Hussein, David Koresh was demonized by government officials and the media in preparation for the strike: like Iraq, the Davidian "compound" was said to be the source of a weapons cache; like the Iraqi dictator, the Davidian guru was said to be abusing his own people (according to Janet Reno, he was sexually abusing the cult's children). Much of the case against Koresh and his followers was debunked after the siege incinerated those children, and the FBI, says Rowley, has learned its lesson from the Waco disaster – but the U.S. government has failed to apply this lesson to the foreign policy realm:
"We learned some lessons from this unfortunate episode and quickly explored better ways to deal with such challenges. As a direct result of that exploration, many subsequent criminal/terrorist 'standoffs' in which the FBI has been involved have been resolved peacefully and effectively. I would suggest that present circumstances vis-a-vis Iraq are very analagous, and that you consider sharing with senior administration officials the important lessons learned by the FBI at Waco."
The Janet Reno school of foreign policy has potentially deadly consequences for the U.S. and the security of its citizens, and the real shocker of Rowley's letter is her contention that we are all made much less safe by the War Party's Iraqi adventure:
"Such an attack, though, may have grave consequences for your ability to discharge your responsibility to protect Americans, and it is altogether likely that you will find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s. The bottom line is this: We should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI, despite the various improvements you are implementing, will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq. What troubles me most is that I have no assurance that you have made that clear to the president."
For months we have been told, again and again, that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is "inevitable." Now a veteran of 22 years in the FBI has come forward to testify that we don't have the power to stop it – because our government is dragging its feet in the anti-terrorist investigation while going all out to prosecute a war abroad. The "flood of terrorism" that is about to engulf us is seemingly of little concern to U.S. government officials at the highest level. But how could that be?
"A rash of 9/11s?" Could a more horrific possibility be imagined? Yet our government is willing to risk it in order to "democratize" the Middle East and make the world safe for Israel.
That opponents of this war are being called "traitors" and denounced as the ideological equivalent of "enemy combatants" is surely one of the cruelest ironies ever witnessed by history. Yet patriots like Ms. Rowley are speaking out because they sense that a very real danger to our country is being ignored – and, I believe, tacitly encouraged.
This is either a case of the most incredible incompetence on the part of the FBI tops and other high officials, or else it is nothing less than treason. It won't matter much, in the end, since the consequences will be the same.
Think, for a moment, how this administration would react to "a rash of 9/11s." Attorney General John Ashcroft denies the administration has any plans for a Patriot Act II, but the reality is that Patriot Acts II, III, IV, and V would be rammed through a cowed Congress before the smoke cleared.
The rhetoric of the President, who invents an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection without evidence, and then conjures up a fearsome picture of another 9/11, is echoed and amplified by the War Party and its pet pundits, who, at times, seem to yearn for another devastating attack on the U.S. – if only to silence the growing antiwar chorus.
As terrible and irrational as it seems, it's almost as if they want to see another terrorist attack on this country. I get letters every day from war-maddened idiots who write:
"Just wait until a nuclear 'dirty bomb' goes off in this country. Then maybe people like you will wake up. I hope it explodes near you!"
The alienation of our allies, the wrecking of the American economy, the increased risk of another 9/11 – all this and more the Bushites are willing to pay in order to carry out their monomaniacal Middle East policy. What's another 3,000, or 6,000, or 10,000 American lives – as long as we "liberate" Iraq? No price is too high. That is their attitude, and if it isn't treasonous, in the technical sense, it is pretty damned close.
Never mind the "liberation" of Baghdad: we won't be safe until and unless we liberate Washington, D.C. from officials who don't seem to realize that their one and only legitimate function is to protect Americans on American soil.
Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates
How many children, in how many classrooms, over how many centuries, have hang-glided through the past, transported on the wings of these words? And now the bombs are falling, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilisation
Wednesday April 2, 2003
On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawl colourful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse. A building goes down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loves a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles.
On March 21, the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private AJ said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11."
To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded" he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11 attacks. Private AJ stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well that stuff's way over my head," he said.
According to a New York Times/CBS News survey, 42 per cent of the American public believes that Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll says that 55 per cent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein directly supports al-Qaida. What percentage of America's armed forces believe these fabrications is anybody's guess.
It is unlikely that British and American troops fighting in Iraq are aware that their governments supported Saddam Hussein both politically and financially through his worst excesses.
But why should poor AJ and his fellow soldiers be burdened with these details? It does not matter any more, does it? Hundreds of thousands of men, tanks, ships, choppers, bombs, ammunition, gas masks, high-protein food, whole aircrafts ferrying toilet paper, insect repellent, vitamins and bottled mineral water, are on the move. The phenomenal logistics of Operation Iraqi Freedom make it a universe unto itself. It doesn't need to justify its existence any more. It exists. It is.
President George W Bush, commander in chief of the US army, navy, airforce and marines has issued clear instructions: "Iraq. Will. Be. Liberated." (Perhaps he means that even if Iraqi people's bodies are killed, their souls will be liberated.) American and British citizens owe it to the supreme commander to forsake thought and rally behind their troops. Their countries are at war. And what a war it is.
After using the "good offices" of UN diplomacy (economic sanctions and weapons inspections) to ensure that Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged, after making sure that most of its weapons have been destroyed, in an act of cowardice that must surely be unrivalled in history, the "Allies"/"Coalition of the Willing"(better known as the Coalition of the Bullied and Bought) - sent in an invading army!
Operation Iraqi Freedom? I don't think so. It's more like Operation Let's Run a Race, but First Let Me Break Your Knees.
So far the Iraqi army, with its hungry, ill-equipped soldiers, its old guns and ageing tanks, has somehow managed to temporarily confound and occasionally even outmanoeuvre the "Allies". Faced with the richest, best-equipped, most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen, Iraq has shown spectacular courage and has even managed to put up what actually amounts to a defence. A defence which the Bush/Blair Pair have immediately denounced as deceitful and cowardly. (But then deceit is an old tradition with us natives. When we are invaded/ colonised/occupied and stripped of all dignity, we turn to guile and opportunism.)
Even allowing for the fact that Iraq and the "Allies" are at war, the extent to which the "Allies" and their media cohorts are prepared to go is astounding to the point of being counterproductive to their own objectives. When Saddam Hussein appeared on national TV to address the Iraqi people after the failure of the most elaborate assassination attempt in history - "Operation Decapitation" - we had Geoff Hoon, the British defence secretary, deriding him for not having the courage to stand up and be killed, calling him a coward who hides in trenches. We then had a flurry of Coalition speculation - Was it really Saddam, was it his double? Or was it Osama with a shave? Was it pre-recorded? Was it a speech? Was it black magic? Will it turn into a pumpkin if we really, really want it to?
After dropping not hundreds, but thousands of bombs on Baghdad, when a marketplace was mistakenly blown up and civilians killed - a US army spokesman implied that the Iraqis were blowing themselves up! "They're using very old stock. Their missiles go up and come down."
If so, may we ask how this squares with the accusation that the Iraqi regime is a paid-up member of the Axis of Evil and a threat to world peace?
When the Arab TV station al-Jazeera shows civilian casualties it's denounced as "emotive" Arab propaganda aimed at orchestrating hostility towards the "Allies", as though Iraqis are dying only in order to make the "Allies" look bad. Even French television has come in for some stick for similar reasons. But the awed, breathless footage of aircraft carriers, stealth bombers and cruise missiles arcing across the desert sky on American and British TV is described as the "terrible beauty" of war.
When invading American soldiers (from the army "that's only here to help") are taken prisoner and shown on Iraqi TV, George Bush says it violates the Geneva convention and "exposes the evil at the heart of the regime". But it is entirely acceptable for US television stations to show the hundreds of prisoners being held by the US government in Guantanamo Bay, kneeling on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs, blinded with opaque goggles and with earphones clamped on their ears, to ensure complete visual and aural deprivation. When questioned about the treatment of these prisoners, US Government officials don't deny that they're being being ill-treated. They deny that they're "prisoners of war"! They call them "unlawful combatants", implying that their ill-treatment is legitimate! (So what's the party line on the massacre of prisoners in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan? Forgive and forget? And what of the prisoner tortured to death by the special forces at the Bagram airforce base? Doctors have formally called it homicide.)
When the "Allies" bombed the Iraqi television station (also, incidentally, a contravention of the Geneva convention), there was vulgar jubilation in the American media. In fact Fox TV had been lobbying for the attack for a while. It was seen as a righteous blow against Arab propaganda. But mainstream American and British TV continue to advertise themselves as "balanced" when their propaganda has achieved hallucinatory levels.
Why should propaganda be the exclusive preserve of the western media? Just because they do it better? Western journalists "embedded" with troops are given the status of heroes reporting from the frontlines of war. Non-"embedded" journalists (such as the BBC's Rageh Omaar, reporting from besieged and bombed Baghdad, witnessing, and clearly affected by the sight of bodies of burned children and wounded people) are undermined even before they begin their reportage: "We have to tell you that he is being monitored by the Iraqi authorities."
Increasingly, on British and American TV, Iraqi soldiers are being referred to as "militia" (ie: rabble). One BBC correspondent portentously referred to them as "quasi-terrorists". Iraqi defence is "resistance" or worse still, "pockets of resistance", Iraqi military strategy is deceit. (The US government bugging the phone lines of UN security council delegates, reported by the Observer, is hard-headed pragmatism.) Clearly for the "Allies", the only morally acceptable strategy the Iraqi army can pursue is to march out into the desert and be bombed by B-52s or be mowed down by machine-gun fire. Anything short of that is cheating.
And now we have the siege of Basra. About a million and a half people, 40 per cent of them children. Without clean water, and with very little food. We're still waiting for the legendary Shia "uprising", for the happy hordes to stream out of the city and rain roses and hosannahs on the "liberating" army. Where are the hordes? Don't they know that television productions work to tight schedules? (It may well be that if Saddam's regime falls there will be dancing on the streets of Basra. But then, if the Bush regime were to fall, there would be dancing on the streets the world over.)
After days of enforcing hunger and thirst on the citizens of Basra, the "Allies" have brought in a few trucks of food and water and positioned them tantalisingly on the outskirts of the city. Desperate people flock to the trucks and fight each other for food. (The water we hear, is being sold. To revitalise the dying economy, you understand.) On top of the trucks, desperate photographers fought each other to get pictures of desperate people fighting each other for food. Those pictures will go out through photo agencies to newspapers and glossy magazines that pay extremely well. Their message: The messiahs are at hand, distributing fishes and loaves.
As of July last year the delivery of $5.4bn worth of supplies to Iraq was blocked by the Bush/Blair Pair. It didn't really make the news. But now under the loving caress of live TV, 450 tonnes of humanitarian aid - a minuscule fraction of what's actually needed (call it a script prop) - arrived on a British ship, the "Sir Galahad". Its arrival in the port of Umm Qasr merited a whole day of live TV broadcasts. Barf bag, anyone?
Nick Guttmann, head of emergencies for Christian Aid, writing for the Independent on Sunday said that it would take 32 Sir Galahad's a day to match the amount of food Iraq was receiving before the bombing began. We oughtn't to be surprised though. It's old tactics. They've been at it for years. Consider this moderate proposal by John McNaughton from the Pentagon Papers, published during the Vietnam war: "Strikes at population targets (per se) are likely not only to create a counterproductive wave of revulsion abroad and at home, but greatly to increase the risk of enlarging the war with China or the Soviet Union. Destruction of locks and dams, however - if handled right - might ... offer promise. It should be studied. Such destruction does not kill or drown people. By shallow-flooding the rice, it leads after time to widespread starvation (more than a million?) unless food is provided - which we could offer to do 'at the conference table'."
Times haven't changed very much. The technique has evolved into a doctrine. It's called "Winning Hearts and Minds".
So, here's the moral maths as it stands: 200,000 Iraqis estimated to have been killed in the first Gulf war. Hundreds of thousands dead because of the economic sanctions. (At least that lot has been saved from Saddam Hussein.) More being killed every day. Tens of thousands of US soldiers who fought the 1991 war officially declared "disabled" by a disease called the Gulf war syndrome, believed in part to be caused by exposure to depleted uranium. It hasn't stopped the "Allies" from continuing to use depleted uranium.
And now this talk of bringing the UN back into the picture. But that old UN girl - it turns out that she just ain't what she was cracked up to be. She's been demoted (although she retains her high salary). Now she's the world's janitor. She's the Philippino cleaning lady, the Indian jamadarni, the postal bride from Thailand, the Mexican household help, the Jamaican au pair. She's employed to clean other peoples' shit. She's used and abused at will.
Despite Blair's earnest submissions, and all his fawning, Bush has made it clear that the UN will play no independent part in the administration of postwar Iraq. The US will decide who gets those juicy "reconstruction" contracts. But Bush has appealed to the international community not to "politicise" the issue of humanitarian aid. On the March 28, after Bush called for the immediate resumption of the UN's oil for food programme, the UN security council voted unanimously for the resolution. This means that everybody agrees that Iraqi money (from the sale of Iraqi oil) should be used to feed Iraqi people who are starving because of US led sanctions and the illegal US-led war.
Contracts for the "reconstruction" of Iraq we're told, in discussions on the business news, could jump-start the world economy. It's funny how the interests of American corporations are so often, so successfully and so deliberately confused with the interests of the world economy. While the American people will end up paying for the war, oil companies, weapons manufacturers, arms dealers, and corporations involved in "reconstruction" work will make direct gains from the war. Many of them are old friends and former employers of the Bush/ Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice cabal. Bush has already asked Congress for $75bn. Contracts for "re-construction" are already being negotiated. The news doesn't hit the stands because much of the US corporate media is owned and managed by the same interests.
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Tony Blair assures us is about returning Iraqi oil to the Iraqi people. That is, returning Iraqi oil to the Iraqi people via corporate multinationals. Like Shell, like Chevron, like Halliburton. Or are we missing the plot here? Perhaps Halliburton is actually an Iraqi company? Perhaps US vice-president Dick Cheney (who is a former director of Halliburton) is a closet Iraqi?
As the rift between Europe and America deepens, there are signs that the world could be entering a new era of economic boycotts. CNN reported that Americans are emptying French wine into gutters, chanting, "We don't want your stinking wine." We've heard about the re-baptism of French fries. Freedom fries they're called now. There's news trickling in about Americans boycotting German goods.
The thing is that if the fallout of the war takes this turn, it is the US who will suffer the most. Its homeland may be defended by border patrols and nuclear weapons, but its economy is strung out across the globe. Its economic outposts are exposed and vulnerable to attack in every direction. Already the internet is buzzing with elaborate lists of American and British government products and companies that should be boycotted. Apart from the usual targets, Coke, Pepsi and McDonald's - government agencies such as USAID, the British department for international development, British and American banks, Arthur Anderson, Merrill Lynch, American Express, corporations such as Bechtel, General Electric, and companies such as Reebok, Nike and Gap - could find themselves under siege.
These lists are being honed and re fined by activists across the world. They could become a practical guide that directs and channels the amorphous, but growing fury in the world. Suddenly, the "inevitability" of the project of corporate globalisation is beginning to seem more than a little evitable.
It's become clear that the war against terror is not really about terror, and the war on Iraq not only about oil. It's about a superpower's self-destructive impulse towards supremacy, stranglehold, global hegemony. The argument is being made that the people of Argentina and Iraq have both been decimated by the same process. Only the weapons used against them differ: In one case it's an IMF chequebook. In the other, cruise missiles.
Finally, there's the matter of Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. (Oops, nearly forgot about those!)
In the fog of war - one thing's for sure - if Saddam 's regime indeed has weapons of mass destruction, it is showing an astonishing degree of responsibility and restraint in the teeth of extreme provocation. Under similar circumstances, (say if Iraqi troops were bombing New York and laying siege to Washington DC) could we expect the same of the Bush regime? Would it keep its thousands of nuclear warheads in their wrapping paper? What about its chemical and biological weapons? Its stocks of anthrax, smallpox and nerve gas? Would it? Excuse me while I laugh.
In the fog of war we're forced to speculate: Either Saddam is an extremely responsible tyrant. Or - he simply does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Either way, regardless of what happens next, Iraq comes out of the argument smelling sweeter than the US government.
So here's Iraq - rogue state, grave threat to world peace, paid-up member of the Axis of Evil. Here's Iraq, invaded, bombed, besieged, bullied, its sovereignty shat upon, its children killed by cancers, its people blown up on the streets. And here's all of us watching. CNN-BBC, BBC-CNN late into the night. Here's all of us, enduring the horror of the war, enduring the horror of the propaganda and enduring the slaughter of language as we know and understand it. Freedom now means mass murder (or, in the US, fried potatoes). When someone says "humanitarian aid" we automatically go looking for induced starvation. "Embedded" I have to admit, is a great find. It's what it sounds like. And what about "arsenal of tactics?" Nice!
In most parts of the world, the invasion of Iraq is being seen as a racist war. The real danger of a racist war unleashed by racist regimes is that it engenders racism in everybody - perpetrators, victims, spectators. It sets the parameters for the debate, it lays out a grid for a particular way of thinking. There is a tidal wave of hatred for the US rising from the ancient heart of the world. In Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, Australia. I encounter it every day.
Sometimes it comes from the most unlikely sources. Bankers, businessmen, yuppie students, and they bring to it all the crassness of their conservative, illiberal politics. That absurd inability to separate governments from people: America is a nation of morons, a nation of murderers, they say, (with the same carelessness with which they say, "All Muslims are terrorists"). Even in the grotesque universe of racist insult, the British make their entry as add-ons. Arse-lickers, they're called.
Suddenly, I, who have been vilified for being "anti-American" and "anti-west", find myself in the extraordinary position of defending the people of America. And Britain.
Those who descend so easily into the pit of racist abuse would do well to remember the hundreds of thousands of American and British citizens who protested against their country's stockpile of nuclear weapons. And the thousands of American war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam. They should know that the most scholarly, scathing, hilarious critiques of the US government and the "American way of life" comes from American citizens. And that the funniest, most bitter condemnation of their prime minister comes from the British media. Finally they should remember that right now, hundreds of thousands of British and American citizens are on the streets protesting the war. The Coalition of the Bullied and Bought consists of governments, not people. More than one third of America's citizens have survived the relentless propaganda they've been subjected to, and many thousands are actively fighting their own government. In the ultra-patriotic climate that prevails in the US, that's as brave as any Iraqi fighting for his or her homeland.
While the "Allies" wait in the desert for an uprising of Shia Muslims on the streets of Basra, the real uprising is taking place in hundreds of cities across the world. It has been the most spectacular display of public morality ever seen. Most courageous of all, are the hundreds of thousands of American people on the streets of America's great cities - Washington, New York, Chicago, San Francisco. The fact is that the only institution in the world today that is more powerful than the American government, is American civil society. American citizens have a huge responsibility riding on their shoulders. How can we not salute and support those who not only acknowledge but act upon that responsibility? They are our allies, our friends.
At the end of it all, it remains to be said that dictators like Saddam Hussein, and all the other despots in the Middle East, in the central Asian republics, in Africa and Latin America, many of them installed, supported and financed by the US government, are a menace to their own people. Other than strengthening the hand of civil society (instead of weakening it as has been done in the case of Iraq), there is no easy, pristine way of dealing with them. (It's odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian, don't hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and most entertainingly, to "rid the world of evil-doers".)
Regardless of what the propaganda machine tells us, these tin-pot dictators are not the greatest threat to the world. The real and pressing danger, the greatest threat of all is the locomotive force that drives the political and economic engine of the US government, currently piloted by George Bush. Bush-bashing is fun, because he makes such an easy, sumptuous target. It's true that he is a dangerous, almost suicidal pilot, but the machine he handles is far more dangerous than the man himself.
Despite the pall of gloom that hangs over us today, I'd like to file a cautious plea for hope: in times of war, one wants one's weakest enemy at the helm of his forces. And President George W Bush is certainly that. Any other even averagely intelligent US president would have probably done the very same things, but would have managed to smoke-up the glass and confuse the opposition. Perhaps even carry the UN with him. Bush's tactless imprudence and his brazen belief that he can run the world with his riot squad, has done the opposite. He has achieved what writers, activists and scholars have striven to achieve for decades. He has exposed the ducts. He has placed on full public view the working parts, the nuts and bolts of the apocalyptic apparatus of the American empire. Now that the blueprint (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire) has been put into mass circulation, it could be disabled quicker than the pundits predicted.
Bring on the spanners.
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