Archive for June, 2010

United National Antiwar Conference (UNAC) Join us in Albany, New York!; Stop the $33 Billion for More War

June 30, 2010

Call to Action! United National Antiwar Conference (UNAC) Join us in Albany, New York!
July 23-25, 2010

Voters for Peace is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the conference along with 28 other organizations. I’ll be participating in a discussion about whether a right-left alliance against war and empire is necessary and useful. The key note speaker for the conference is Noam Chomsky. internationally renowned political activist, author, and critic of U.S. foreign and domestic policies; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Emeritus of Linguistics. You can see more about the conference at nationalpeaceconference.org. Read the Flyer to the conference here. There’s a registration form on page two.

The following is from the National Peace Conference home page (click here to see more)

National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now! July 23–25, 2010 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Albany, New York

    In these troubled times, Washington’s wars and occupations rage, resulting in an ever increasing number of dead and wounded and the destruction of countries posing no threat to the U.S. Trillions are spent on seemingly endless conflicts in pursuit of profits and global domination, while trillions more are lost by working people in loss of jobs, homes, pensions, health care, and cuts to social programs and public services. The U.S. goes to war to plunder the world’s fossil fuel resources, the unrestrained use of which threatens the future of our planet.

    We must demand the immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. military forces, mercenaries and contractors from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the end to drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries and call for self-determination for the people of all countries. Moreover, we recognize that the Middle East cauldron today also encompasses Iran, Yemen, Palestine, and Israel, while countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa are targeted for intervention by a militarized U.S. foreign policy.

    The urgency of the current world situation DEMANDS UNITY OF ACTION and purpose to generate the broad social movement we must create to not only end wars and occupations, but to fundamentally change the aggressive policies that inevitably lead our country to militarism, racism, and war. Our cry must be “Money for Human Needs; Not for Wars, Occupations, and Bail-Outs.”

    Come to a conference where peace, social justice and environmental activists will come together to discuss the major concerns we face and to hammer out an ambitious program of action. The time is long overdue for such a gathering.

    SCHEDULE

    Friday evening, July 23: Panel discussion on “Strategies & Tactics in the Struggle to End the Empire’s Wars and Occupations”; Presentation of Action Proposal

    Saturday, July 24: Keynote Speakers; Workshops; Lunch panel on Government Repression, Defense of Political Prisoners, and Guantanamo Detainees; Plenary Discussion of Action Proposal, Amendments & Resolutions

    Saturday evening, July 24: Public Gathering with speakers & cultural performances

    Sunday, July 25: Plenary Discussion and Vote on Action Proposal; Workshops

    CO-SPONSORS

    After Downing Street, Arab American Union Members Council, Bail Out the People Movement, Black Agenda Report, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Campus Antiwar Network, Citizen Soldier, Code Pink, Fellowship of Reconciliation, International Action Center, Grandmothers Against the War, Granny Peace Brigade, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition, National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, National Lawyers Guild, Office of the Americas, Peace Action, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Project Salam, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Voters For Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World Can’t Wait.

Read the United National Antiwar Conference Action Proposal Submitted by Conference Co-Sponsors, click here.
Stop the Madness, it is up to YOU:

ACTION: Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard. Tell your Representatives, No More War Funding. End the Wars NOW.

Our Friend, Leon Panetta gives us Reason 29, why we are in Afghanistan; Ray McGovern Analysis, must read; Holbrooke’s head to roll?; Who trusts the Pakistan ISI, not our CIA; End the Wars, NO 33 Billion more in funding

June 27, 2010

Well we now have Reason #29 for being in Afghanistan. My dear friend, and former Congress Member, now CIA Chief Leon Panetta says “Winning in Afghanistan is having a country that is stable enough to ensure that there is no safe haven for al Qaeda or for a militant Taliban that welcomes al Qaeda. Read the full story as reported by CNN newswire here.

Leon Panetta, CIA Chief

    Panetta also made clear that the threat from al Qaeda remains the nation’s main concern, noting the group’s use of people who lack any terrorism record — such as the suspect in the botched bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner on Christmas day — as a way to infiltrate U.S. safeguards. He also mentioned sleeper agents already in the country, and people who “self-radicalize” such as Maj. Nidal Hasan, the suspect in the Ft. Hood, Texas, shootings.

    “Those kinds of threats represent I think the most serious threat to the United States right now,” Panetta said.

Ed. Note: So Leon, why are we still in Afghanistan? There are over 30 “terrorist groups” on the CIA list, are we going to all these places next?

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Read Ray McGovern’s “Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp”, click here.

    Has it occurred to President Barack Obama that Gen. Stanley McChrystal might actually have wanted to be fired — and thus rescued from the current March of Folly in Afghanistan, a mess much of his own making?

    McChrystal leaves behind a long trail of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations. For example, there is no real security, at least during the night, in the area of Marja, which McChrystal devoted enormous resources to pacify this spring. Remember his boast that he would then bring to Marja a “government-in-a-box” and thereby offer an object lesson regarding what was in store for those pesky Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city?

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Changing “The Team”:

Holbrooke ready to go? According to the Los Angeles Times, the prospects of Mr Holbrooke’s ouster were raised after the White House sidelined him during months of crucial talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

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Further Light on the Subject:

    American officials have told Pakistan that there is mistrust between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Read it all here at Dawn.com.

    “John Tierney (the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee of the US Congress) told a Pakistani delegation that there is mistrust between the CIA and ISI,” according to a report of the Senate’s standing committee on defence about a visit by its members to the US last month.

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Stop the Madness, it is up to YOU:

ACTION: Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard. Tell your Representatives, No More War Funding. End the Wars NOW.

Bowe Robert Bergdahl, U.S. Soldier’s plea “Bring me home”, Bring them all Home, No more war funding, deny the $33 Billion NOW

June 20, 2010

Release me, Bring Me Home April 2010 video of U.S. soldier, Bowe Robert Bergdahl captured in Afghanistan in June 2009. His words should be heard by all.

ACTION: Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard. Tell your Representatives, bring Bowe Robert Bergdahl home now, No More War Funding. End the Wars NOW. OR enter your zip code here to get Senator or House of Representatives phone numbers, don’t put this off, do it Now, Please.

Drones over Manhattan, London, Your City Next, Why?; How about 12 Drones over the Oil Rupture in the Gulf of Mexico, let’s see what is going on in real time; Say “NO” to $33 Billion More, End the Wars Now

June 17, 2010

FAA Pressured to Open US Skies to Drones June 14, 2010 Associated Press Read it all at Miltary.com.

Drones over Manhattan, Coming Soon

Drones over London, England, Coming Soon

    WASHINGTON — Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure’s on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act. Officials are worried that they might plow into airliners, cargo planes and corporate jets that zoom around at high altitudes, or helicopters and hot air balloons that fly as low as a few hundred feet off the ground.

    On top of that, these pilotless aircraft come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small airliner, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window.

Put 12 Drones over the Gulf of Mexico oil Rupture NOW. Let’s see the whales, dolphins, and other large fish swimming through the oil slicks. Show us, use the technology in a Positive Manner instead of using them as Assassination Drones.

Defense secretary Robert Gates Comments: “The Pentagon has requested an additional $33 billion to support the added financial costs of President Barack Obama’s new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, now the longest conflict in U.S. history. Gates told senators that if there is no passage of the funding by the July 4 congressional recess, “We will have to begin planning to curtail defense operations.” THAT’S RIGHT, NO MORE WAR FUNDING, TAKE ACTION:

ACTION: Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard. Tell your Representatives, No More War Funding. End the Wars NOW.

Assassination Drones and the “Wired for War” future is here; Sherwood Ross and Bill Roggio Assassination Drone Stories also

June 12, 2010

At the beginning of the Iraq war, the U.S. had a handful of Assassination Drones at its disposal for the beginning of the “Unmanned” ariel assassination weapon, now the U.S. has over 7,000 Assassination Drones and over 40 countries are manufacturing their own or are working on doing so. The “FACE” of war is changing. Ed. Note:See our story “UN expert criticizes “illegal” targeted killing policies and calls on the US to halt CIA drone killings” click here. To see the full 29 page report, “Study on targeted killings”**Read full Report, click here.

Grim-Reaper with 4 Hellfire Missiles, 2 sidewinder air to air missiles, and 2 GBU 12 Paveway Laser guided bombs

Brookings scholar and, author of “Wired for War”, PW Singer interviewed by Ibrahim Sajid Malick is a Pakistani-American writer, technologist, and social entrepreneur on January 22, 2010. Read Mr. Malick’s latest story from Dawn.com entitled “Civilian Murders: Those condoning illegal Drone Bombings are complicit in War Crimes”, click here

“USA: Acronym for United States of Assassinations?” written by Sherwood Ross, read it here. Sherwood reports “…So far,” says international legal authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois at Champaign, “all CIA drone attacks have been murders, assassinations, and extrajudicial executions – a grave violation of international human rights law, the laws of the countries where the attacks took place, and of US domestic law.” Boyle added, “All CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are criminal and a grave violation of international human rights law.”

US kills 14 in 2 strikes in North Waziristan by Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal :Background on US strikes in Pakistan

    The latest two strikes are the second and third reported inside Pakistan this month. All three strikes have taken place over the past 24 hours. Yesterday, the US hit a Taliban compound in the town of Norak in North Waziristan, killing three terrorists.

    So far this year, the US has carried out 41 strikes in Pakistan; all but two of them have taken place in North Waziristan. The US is well on its way to exceeding last year’s strike total in Pakistan. In 2009, the US carried out 53 strikes in Pakistan; and in 2008, the US carried out 36 strikes in the country. [For up-to-date charts on the US air campaign in Pakistan, see LWJ Special Report, "Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2010."]

ACTION: Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard. Tell your Representatives, No More War Funding. End the Wars NOW.

Editor’s Note: We at Out of Central Asia Now have been calling the U.S. use of Assasination Drones illegal for some time. We have many Assassination Drone posts at this site. Over 40 Nations have Drones now and when one of them uses the Assassination Drone and claims that the U.S. used the Assassination Drones just like we are using them “…In self-defense”, what action will the United Nations be able to take? The Genie (Assassination Drones) is out of the Lamp. Who started this? The United States of America. End the Wars NOW.

Kucinich Calls for the End of America’s Longest War; Rethink Afghanistan and Daniel Ellsberg say End the War by Dec. 2011, see video

June 8, 2010

Congress Member Dennis Kucinich says: Today, the War in Afghanistan is officially the longest war Americans have ever been asked to endure. In observance, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement:

    “The War in Afghanistan has now surpassed the number of years we spent in Vietnam, making it the longest war in U.S. history. This grim landmark must serve as an awakening for the human and financial costs of the war. Our continued presence in Afghanistan foments resentment toward us, undermines the human rights of the Afghan people, and places our troops in harm’s way. Prior to the Memorial Day break, the House passed a bill authorizing $159.3 billion for the continuation of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the so-called “war on terror” with little-to-no discussion of the cost our constituents must bear to keep the wars going. The war is creating a new generation of Americans who will experience the trauma of war, like Vietnam veterans before them. Billions of dollars go toward our supposed nation-building in Afghanistan. Yet millions of Americans struggle as funds for essential social services get cut.

    “The greatest casualties of this long war are the children of the world for whom war becomes as ordinary as the sunrise. Children, who go to bed hungry each night, who are denied the fullness of health, who are ill-housed, ill-clothed, who do not have a chance for a decent education, whose opportunities in life are limited because the resources of nations are squandered in unnecessary wars based on lies. What a terrible legacy this generation of leaders will leave for the children of the world unless we finally come to an understanding of the utter futility f war, unless we challenge the underlying thinking that leads to war, unless we firmly explore the science of human relations which leads away from war and towards understanding and human unity. This is the surge the world is waiting for.

    “In the coming weeks, Congress is expected to be asked to give another $33 billion for war efforts. Congress must stop funding this misguided war. We need to bring the troops home now.” said Kucinich. Visit Congress Member Kucinich’s website, click here.

Thank you all the hard-working staff at Brave New Foundation and Rethink Afghanistan. Please view this video and contact your Congress Member and ask them to End the Funding NOW.

YOUR ACTION NOW: Email: Urge your Members of Congress to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones Bill, click here.

Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

UN expert criticizes “illegal” targeted killing policies and calls on the US to halt CIA drone killings

June 3, 2010

Professor Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions UN Human Rights Council


News Release (Read more here)
2 June 2010
UN expert criticizes “illegal” targeted killing policies and calls on the US to halt CIA drone killings

GENEVA – “Targeted killings pose a rapidly growing challenge to the international rule of law, as they are increasingly used in circumstances which violate the relevant rules of international law,” warned on Wednesday Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, launching his report* to the Human Rights Council on legal issues raised by targeted killing.

“The result is that the rules being set today are going to govern the conduct of many States tomorrow,” Mr. Alston said. “The international community needs to be more forceful in demanding accountability.”
“The most prolific user of targeted killings today is the United States, which primarily uses drones for attacks,” said the independent expert noting that “some 40 states already possess drone technology, and some already have, or are seeking, the capacity to fire missiles from them.”

“I’m particularly concerned that the United States seems oblivious to this fact when it asserts an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe. But this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other States can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions.”

Legality and accountability

The report identifies two major problems: the excessively broad circumstances in which targeted killings are alleged to be legal, and the absence of essential accountability mechanisms in situations where they are used.

“In terms of the first problem, there are indeed circumstances in which targeted killings may be legal. Targeted killings are permitted in armed conflict situations when used against combatants or fighters, or civilians who directly engage in combat-like activities,” Mr. Alston noted, “but they are increasingly being used far from any battle zone.”

According to the UN Special Rapporteur, the United States, in particular, has put forward a novel theory that there is a ‘law of 9/11’ that enables it to legally use force in the territory of other States as part of its inherent right to self-defence on the basis that it is in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ‘associated forces’, although the latter group is fluid and undefined.

“This expansive and open-ended interpretation of the right to self-defence goes a long way towards destroying the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in the UN Charter. If invoked by other States, in pursuit of those they deem to be terrorists and to have attacked them, it would cause chaos,” he said.

Mr. Alston emphasised that “I do not for a moment question the seriousness of the challenges posed by terrorism. I condemn wholeheartedly the actions of al-Qaeda and all other groups that kill innocent civilians, as well as any groups that increase the danger of attacks on civilians by hiding in their midst. These actions unequivocally violate international law. But the fact that such enemies do not play by the rules does not mean that a Government can cast those rules aside or unilaterally re-interpret them. The credibility of any Government’s claim that it is fighting to uphold the rule of law depends on its willingness to disclose how it interprets and applies the law – and the actions it takes when the law is broken.”

In terms of the second problem – accountability – Mr. Alston observed that “it is an essential requirement of international law that States using targeted killings demonstrate that they are complying with the various rules governing their use in situations of armed conflict.”

The clearest challenge to this principal today, according to the independent expert, comes from the program operated by the US Central Intelligence Agency in which targeted killings are carried out from unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. “It is clear that many hundreds of people have been killed, and that this number includes some innocent civilians. Because the program remains shrouded in official secrecy, the international community does not know when and where the CIA is authorized to kill, the criteria for individuals who may be killed, how it ensures killings are legal, and what follow-up there is when civilians are illegally killed.”

The UN Special Rapporteur stressed that “in a situation in which there is no disclosure of who has been killed, for what reason, and whether innocent civilians have died, the legal principle of international accountability is, by definition, comprehensively violated.”

Mr. Alston noted that “the easiest contrast to draw is with the well-established practice of the US Department of Defense. While it is by no means perfect, the US military has a relatively public accountability process, as demonstrated earlier this week by its report on the incident in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, in which at least 23 civilians were killed based on erroneous intelligence from surveillance drone operators. Intelligence agencies, which by definition are determined to remain unaccountable except to their own paymasters, have no place in running programs that kill people in other countries.”

Among the issues addressed in Mr. Alston’s report (A/HRC/14/24/Add.6) are: the legality of targeted killings under the laws of war, international human rights law, and the law applicable when States invoke their right to self-defence; the definition and scope of armed conflicts in which the laws of war apply; the definition of who may be targeted and killed, when, and by whom, in the context of armed conflict; the rules governing the amount of force that may be used; the legality of drone killings in particular, and the international law requirements of transparency and accountability.

(*) Check Mr. Alston’s full report to the UN Human Rights Council on legal issues raised by targeted killing: Study on targeted killings**Read full Report, click here.

ENDS
Philip Alston is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law and co-Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law. He was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions in 2004 and reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. He has had extensive experience in the human rights field, including eight years as Chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, principal legal adviser to UNICEF in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More information about the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is at http://www.extrajudicialexecutions.org For further information or press inquiries, please contact Philip Alston through Ms. Hina Shamsi at hina.shamsi@nyu.edu, or tel: +1 212 992 8860.
* * *

We at Out of Central Asia Now have been calling the U.S. use of Assasination Drones illegal for some time. We have many Assassination Drone posts at this site. Over 40 Nations have Drones now and when one of them uses the Assassination Drone and claims that the U.S. used the Assassination Drones just like we are using them “…In self-defense”, what action will the United Nations be able to take? The Genie (Assassination Drones) is out of the Lamp. Who started this? The United States of America. End the Wars NOW.

18 Senators vote in favor of Afghanistan Timetable for withdrawl, Senator Feingold speaks

June 2, 2010

18 Senators (18% of the Senate) wants a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan. 82 Senators (82% of the Senate) don’t want a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan. Are they out of touch with their constituents? End the Wars NOW. One Trillion, Two Trillion, millions of lives disrupted permanently, ENOUGH !

After Senator Feingold’s Amendment to set a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan FAILED, the Senator put out this statement on his Afghanistan Timetable Amendment. We at Out of Central Asia Now applaud his attempt and thank those Senators that voted in FAVOR of the amendment (see below Action). If your Senator is not on this list, call them and tell them you are disappointed in their vote and will not work or conribute to their campaign again. Here’s the list of the 18 senators voting in favor were Boxer (CA), Durbin (IL), Merkley (OR), Sanders (VT), Harkin (IA), Udall (NM), Feingold (WI), Cantwell (WA), Wyden (OR), Brown (OH), Leahy (VT), Murray (WA), Specter (PA), Dorgan (ND), Schumer (NY), Baucus (MT), Gillibrand (NY), and Tester (MT).

    Senator Feingold said, “While I am disappointed it did not pass, I am encouraged by the support my Afghanistan timetable amendment received, particularly by most of the Senate Democratic leadership. This amendment would have given the American people the information they deserve on when our massive, open-ended military operation in Afghanistan will end. Now, however, this supplemental will add some $30 billion more to the nearly $300 billion we’ve already spent in Afghanistan, with no end in sight. This cannot go on and is yet another reason why a flexible timetable for drawing down our troops in Afghanistan is necessary and appropriate.

    “This amendment is the first attempt in the Senate to get an idea of when this nine-year war in Afghanistan will end. Only 13 senators supported my original attempt to require a timetable for Iraq, and today, a timetable is exactly what is in place in Iraq. I am confident that, over time, more and more members will listen to their constituents and support my efforts to require a flexible timeline for ending the Afghan war.”

Take Action NOW:

If your senators voted in favor of an exit strategy, please thank them. If they opposed it, please express your disappointment.

Click Here to Find telephone numbers for your two U.S. senators (thanks to the Friends Committee for this link).

A special thanks to the Fellowship of Reconciliation for their email alert on this issue. For more information about the Fellowship, click here.


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