Archive for August, 2009

October to be END THE WAR(s) Month, Peace Groups Meet

August 31, 2009

Friends, coming to a town near you, the Peace Movement is awakening once again. We all have just HOPED for the war(s) to end in the Mid-East and Central Asia after the election of President Obama, but there is an escalation of the war(s) going on, even with a “stated” downsizing of the forces in Iraq. Today, the Generals will be presenting a “New Plan for Afghanistan” to the President. Word is that more troops will be asked for. So today’s New York Times has a good story by James Dao on the plans of the Anti-War groups.

Bitter anniversary … anti-war protesters march down 42nd Street in New York. Photo AFP

Bitter anniversary … anti-war protesters march down 42nd Street in New York.


Friends, the time is coming again. We must show our strength to members of Congress and to our Senators Contact and send them an EMAIL NOW from here.

Some bits of information from James Dao’s story:

…Tom Andrews, national director for an antiwar coalition, Win Without War, said most liberals “want this guy to succeed.” But he said the antiwar movement would try to convince liberals that a prolonged war would undermine Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda. Afghanistan, he said, “could be a devastating albatross around the president’s neck.”

…The October protest schedule is expected to include marches in Washington and elsewhere. But organizers acknowledge that it may be difficult to recruit large numbers of demonstrators. So groups like United for Peace and Justice are also planning smaller events in communities around the country, including teach-ins with veterans and families of deployed troops, lobbying sessions with members of Congress, film screenings and ad hoc memorials featuring the boots of deceased soldiers and Marines.

…And some groups, including Moveon.org, have yet to take a clear position on Afghanistan beyond warning that war drains resources from domestic programs.

“There is not the passion around Afghanistan that we saw around Iraq,” said Ilyse Hogue, Moveon.org’s spokeswoman. “But there are questions.”

…Code Pink is trying to build opposition to the war among women’s groups, some of which argue that women will suffer if the Taliban returns. In September, a group of Code Pink organizers will visit Kabul to encourage Afghan women to speak out against the American military presence there.

And Iraq Veterans Against the War is using the Web to circulate episodes of a documentary, “This Is Where We Take Our Stand,” filmed in 2008 at its Winter Soldier conference, at which veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan testified about civilian casualties, combat stress and other tolls of the wars.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, reporter and shoe thrower to be released early

August 30, 2009

al-Zeidi in the act of throwing the shoes

al-Zeidi in the act of throwing the shoes

The Shoe heard around the world

President Bush sees it coming, and veers to the left, shoe misses

President Bush sees it coming, and veers to the left, shoe misses

Muntadhar al-Zeidi was originally sentenced to three years in prison, then the sentence was reduced to one year, now he is being released three months early.

Many Iraqis protested the verdict, saying al-Zeidi is a national hero who was expressing his right to free speech with the intent to insult Bush, not assault him.

“It was an act of throwing a shoe and not a rocket. It was meant an an insult to the occupation,” said chief defense lawyer Dhiya al-Saadi. “He was only expressing his feelings.”

Throwing shoes is a major insult in Arab culture.

“What he could see was the blood of Iraqis at his feet when he watched the U.S. president speaking about his achievements in Iraq,” his lawyer said.

Iraqis packed the Iraq Central Criminal Court in Baghdad’s Green Zone for the verdict – including al-Zeidi’s family and a team of two dozen defense lawyers.

“This is a political court,” said al-Zeidi’s brother, Uday. “Muntadhar is being treated like a prisoner of war.”

His defense team said they would appeal the sentence, which was the minimum. Al-Zeidi faced up to 15 years for assaulting a foreign leader.

A poll released Thursday showed that 62% of Iraqis think al-Zeidi is a national hero for his actions.

“Al-Zeidi should have been honored and not sent to prison,” said Salam Omar, a mobile phone shop owner in east Baghdad.

The media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders called the sentence “cynical in a country where so many of the people who kill journalists are never brought to justice.”

Al-Zeidi was jailed on Dec. 14 after hurling both of his shoes at Bush’s head as he stood next to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during his last visit to the country as president.

Gen. McChrystal Seeks 20,000 More Troops for Afghanistan

August 29, 2009

Arlington, the final resting place

Arlington, the final resting place

Plan Will Test War-Weary Public, Over-Stretched Military
by Jason Ditz, August 28, 2009

Over 200,000 U.S. soldiers will be in the war zone if these 20,000 troops are approved for deployment. The American public is now polling to be against the war. 59% Against the war and 29% in favor of the buildup The Administration is caught inbetween a rock and a hard place. More deaths will occur. What for?

Use this link to call or email your Congress Member and Senators and tell them “No More Troops to Afghanistan or anywhere else in Central Asia or the Mid-East”. Only you can stop this, take some action now, email today, call on Monday.

Cindy Sheehan; Holbrooke vs. Karazi; Hakeemulla Mehsud’s first attack; A Q Khan Can Travel

August 28, 2009

Our Tax Dollars At Work

50 U.S. Bases in the Middle East

50 U.S. Bases in the Middle East

Today, you can read four stories here. I’m leaving up as the first story, Cindy Sheehan’s Call For Peace at Martha’s Vineyard story of yesterday. Please, don’t forget people are AGAINST THE WAR(s) and want them to END NOW.

Holbrooke and Karazi get Ugly Here, Holbrooke is calling for a second ballot to make it look better as people think this election was rigged. Karazi explodes. Can you imagine if someone comes to the U.S. and says “Redo Al Gore and W.’s election because people think it is rigged. Big trouble here for Karazi.

Third story, just a few days ago, Robert Gates was saying that killing Baitullah Mehsud was a severe blow to the Pakistan Taliban (Make you feel good for a few days? Make you feel like a DRONE strike killing innocent people was worth it?) Bill Roggio reports: Suicide bomber kills 22 border guards at Torkham crossing in Pakistan Hakeemullah Mehsud makes good on hison yesterday’s threat to retaliate for the death of the group’s former leader, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S.airstrike on Aug. 5. Hakeemullah says he will take revenge on the U.S. for the DRONE attack that killed Baitullah Mehsud.

And finally, Remember Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan, the man that showed other nations how to build a bomb? He’s now free from house arrest and can travel anywhere he wants. Our good friends, the Pakistan government, can they be trusted?

Video of Cindy Sheehan on Martha’s Vineyard here.

Cindy Sheehan: “Come to Martha’s Vineyard, End the Wars”

August 27, 2009

Cindy Sheehan has dedicated her life in the memory of her son to stop the wars and stop the killings

Cindy Sheehan has dedicated her life in the memory of her son to stop the wars and stop the killings

If  W. were still in the White House and sending more troops to Afghanistan, you better believe that many people would be joining Cindy Sheehan in her protest at Martha’s Vineyard.  But who will show up to protest with her against President Obama?  In today’sCounterPunch by John V. Walsh, he tries to answer the question and reasons for the Anti-War movement to have disappeared. Read some of John Walsh’s article below:

Cindy Sheehan will be at Martha’s Vineyard beginning August 25 a short way from Obama’s vacation paradise of the celebrity elite but very far from the Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq where the body bags and cemeteries fill up each day as Obama’s wars rage on. She will remain there from August 25 through August 29 and has issued a call for all peace activists to join her there. For those of us close by in the New England states and in New York City, there would seem to be a special obligation to get to Martha’s Vineyard as soon as we can.

A funny thing has happened on Cindy Sheehan’s long road from Crawford, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard. Many of those who claim to lead the peace movement and who so volubly praised her actions in Crawford, TX, are not to be seen. Nor heard. The silence in fact is deafening, or as Cindy put it in an email to this writer, “crashingly deafening.” Where are the email appeals to join Cindy from The Nation or from AFSC or Peace Action or “Progressive” Democrats of America (PDA) or even Code Pink? Or United for Peace and Justice. (No wonder UFPJ is essentially closing shop, bereft of most of their contributions and shriveling up following the thinly veiled protest behind the “retirement” of Leslie Cagan.) And what about MoveOn although it was long ago thoroughly discredited as principled opponents of war or principled in any way shape or form except slavish loyalty to the “other” War Party. And of course sundry “socialist” organizations are also missing in action since their particular dogma will not be front and center. These worthies and many others have vanished into the fog of Obama’s wars.

Just to be sure, this writer contacted several of the “leaders” of the “official” peace movement in the Boston area – AFSC, Peace Action, Green Party of MA (aka Green Rainbow Party) and some others. Not so much as the courtesy of a reply resulted from this effort – although the GRP at least posted a notice of the action. (It is entirely possible that some of these organizations might mention Cindy’s action late enough and quickly enough so as to cover their derrieres while ensuring that Obama will not be embarrassed by protesting crowds.) We here in the vicinity of Beantown are but a hop, skip and cheap ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard. Same for NYC. So we have a special obligation to respond to Cindy’s call.

…Obama is an enormous gift to the Empire. Just as he has silenced most of the single-payer movement, an effort characterized by its superb scholarship exceeded only by its timidity, Obama has shut down the antiwar movement, completely in thrall as it is to the Democrat Party and Identity Politics. Why exactly the peace movement has caved to Obama is not entirely clear. Like the single-payer movement, it is wracked by spinelessness, brimming with reverence for authority and a near insatiable appetite to be “part of the crowd.” Those taken in by Obama’s arguments that the increasingly bloody and brutal AfPak war is actually a “war of necessity,” should read Steven Walt’s easy demolition of that “argument.” (2) Basically Obama’s logic is the same as Bush’s moronic rationale that “We are fighting them over there so we do not have to fight them over here.” There is a potential for “safe havens for terrorists,” as the Obamalogues and neocons like to call them, all over the world; and no one can possibly believe the US can invade them all. However, the ones which Israel detests or which allow control of oil pipelines or permit encirclement of China and Russia will see US troops sooner or later.

United States of Islamic Central Asia, Buy Afghanistan and Iraq for Cash

August 26, 2009

It has been said “Buy them”

Ok, let the United States buy them all, one-by-one.  Cheaper than 10 years of war.  We’ve got a history of buying lands that became States.  We also have a history of getting territories after we win wars.  We’ve all ready spent over 900,000,000,000 (  NINE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS  ) (647,000,000,000 in Iraq; and 224,000,000,000 in Afghanistan from http://costofwar.com) since 2001. 

Let’s split it in half:  $450,000,000,000 for each.  Yes, One-Half a TRILLION for each, just buy the whole country outright.  Stop the War(s) and just buy them outright.   First you need an appraisal.

Just a pile of paper, buy them now, save lives and money

Just a pile of paper, buy them now, save lives and money

For Iraq, that would be easy.  Lots of oil, so maybe that would be a good buy.  But Afghanistan?  174th poorest nation out of 180?  We’d be overpaying for it, but maybe it could come in handy sometime.  Now Pakistan, that’s another question.

Big U.S. Land Purchases:

1. Louisiana Purchase   http://www.answers.com/topic/louisiana-purchase    The acquisition, for $15 million, of the vast territory (approximately 900, 000 square miles, or 2.3 million square km) by the United States from France in 1803, during Thomas Jefferson‘s first administration. The territory extended from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico north to the Canadian border. Eventually, all or part of fifteen states were formed within that region.

2. Alaska Purchase     

 Acquisition in 1867 by the U.S. from Russia of 586,412 sq mi (1.5 million sq km) at the northwestern tip of North America, comprising the current U.S. state of Alaska. The territory, held by Russia since 1741, was considered an economic liability, and in 1866 it was offered for sale. Pres. Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, William Seward, negotiated its purchase for $7.2 million, or about two cents per acre.

Land Added by Winning a War:

1. California,  New Mexico, given up after the Spanish-American wars, Texas was given the lands north of the Rio Grande.  Just win the war and get the land.

2. Hawaii, just make it a State, no cost to us. The United States annexed Hawaii and it became a U.S. territory in 1900. Following the war’s end in 1945, the state took a long journey toward statehood. On August 21, 1959, Hawaii was admitted to the union as our 50th state.

3. Puerto Rico: In 1898, during the Spanish–American war, Puerto Rico was invaded and subsequently became a possession of the United States. The Foraker Act of 1900, which established a civil government, and the Jones Act of 1917, which granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship.

4. Guam Island: Guam was formally claimed by Spain in 1565 and remained Spanish until it was ceded to the U.S. in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. In 1950 it was made a U.S. territory and placed under the Department of the Interior.

We are the best business negotiators in the world.  Let’s set up a team to buy Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by other lands around them.  We put in the contract that any minerals discovered will be shared 25% by the U.S. and 75% by the countries that on which the  minerals are located. We add clauses to benefit lands that only host pipelines.  Be fair, there’s plenty to share. Stop the killing of innocent civilians.

BUY AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ NOW.  SAVE MONEY AND LIVES. THE UNITED STATES OF ISLAMIC CENTRAL ASIA IS READY TO BE FORMED.

Senator Russ Feingold: “Set Timetable for Afghanistan Troop Withdrawl Now”

August 25, 2009

Photo from Senator Feingold's Facebook Page

Photo from Senator Feingold's Facebook Page

A Hero is Born

Yesterday, Senator Russ Feingold made a policy statement to the editorial board of the Appleton Post-crescent. It is our duty to join his efforts in any way we can to not only set a TIMETABLE FOR WITHDRAWL, but to cut off the funding for the wars NOW.

“So something I have not said before which I want to say here in Appleton is that I think it is time we ought to start discussing a flexible timetable when people in America and Afghanistan and around the world can see where we intend and when we intend to bring our troops out. This isn’t something that can’t be adjusted. It isn’t something that can’t be thought out. But I think what you do is increase the view that we are occupying the country, we don’t have a strategy, if you don’t say look, this is basically what we think we’ll do.

I know the argument will be, well they’ll know when we’re leaving. Well you can say the same thing about Iraq right now. And those who claim we’re succeeding in Iraq aren’t saying that now. There’s a timetable out there and people claim it’s succeeding. I think showing the people there and here that we have a sense about when it’s time to leave is going to be one of the best things we can do to succeed in Afghanistan. Join Senator Feingold, Read his full press release here

Malalai Joya: “Don’t be fooled by this democratic façade – the people are betrayed”

August 24, 2009
Malalai Joya, the bravest woman in Afghanistan speaks out   AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Malalai Joya, the bravest woman in Afghanistan speaks out AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In hiding and in fear of her life, the Afghan MP and women’s rights campaigner says the warlords have already won

Today, at Malalai Joya’website is her statement given to the Independent. Her opening remarks:

  • Like millions of Afghans, I have no hope in the results of today’s election. In a country ruled by warlords, occupation forces, Taliban terrorists, drug money and guns, no one can expect a legitimate or fair vote. Even international observers have been speaking about widespread fraud and intimidation and, among the people on the street, there is a common refrain: the real winner has already been picked by the White House.

    President Hamid Karzai has cemented alliances with brutal warlords and fundamentalists in order to maintain his position. Although our constitution forbids war criminals from running for office, the incumbent has named two notorious militia commanders as his vice-presidential running mates – Karim Khalili and Mohammad Qasim Fahim, both of whom stand accused of brutalities against our people.

    Deals have also been made with countless fundamentalists. This week saw the return from exile of the dreaded warlord Rashid Dostum. And the pro-Iranian extremist Mohammad Mohaqiq, who has been accused of war crimes, has been promised five cabinet positions for his party in exchange for supporting Mr Karzai.

    Rather than democracy, what we have in Afghanistan are back-room deals among discredited warlords who are sworn enemies of democracy and justice.

    The President has also continued to absolutely betray the women of Afghanistan.

  • Read the rest of the story

    (Ed. Note: In celebration of Women’s Equality Day (August 26), please go and buy a copy of Malalai’s book Raising My Voice at your local bookstore)

    Gen. Petraeus: “I don’t know if Iraq war helps stop terror”

    August 24, 2009
    Map of Gen. Petraeus, Daily News 2007

    Map of Gen. Petraeus, Daily News 2007

    It was September 11, 2007, General Petraeus was testifying at the Senate Armed Services Committee, when asked by Senator Warner on whether pressing ahead on the war “is making America safer”, the General answered, “Sir, I don’t know, actually”.

    Read the full story at The Daily News

    From the article:

  • In a prime-time national address tomorrow, Bush was expected to accept Petraeus’ recommendation to withdraw 30,000 troops by next July.

    Despite the expected troop reductions, Republicans continued to back away from the Bush policy. Rep. James Walsh (R-Syracuse), who nearly lost his seat over his support of the war last year, said, “I believe it is time to start bringing our troops home.”

  • Ed. Note: Isn’t it about time to bring the troops home? It’s been two years since making this statement. OUT NOW.

    Pakistan Taliban Issue Assassinaton Orders

    August 23, 2009

    The Pakistan Military have conducted military actions in areas of Pakistan that have been left to local rule since the beginning of “Pakistan”.  These tribal leaders and “Taliban” (resisters, terrorists, patriots, you pick one) have been the target for elimination, to be killed.  During the Pakistan military actions, large parts of these areas have been destroyed by cannon fire, airplane bombs, and helicopter attacks, and a few DRONES thrown in.

    Now the Leaders of Pakistan have become the targets.  The change of power has been at the barrel of a gun for a long time.  Over the next months, expect to see Chief Ministers, Provincial Assembly members, other government leaders assassinated.

    Due to a coding problem, the remaining text has been removed.

    Go to Times of India for Full Story


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