Archive for the 'Sand, oil, blood, and tears.' Category

Occupy .* : National Day of Action

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Denial, anger, and bargaining1over the loss of Our Beloved OccuSink to the urge to march. @arieloshin met up with the carpenters and continued on to the #99unity rally in Copley Square.

Meeting up with a picket line of carpenters! #99unity on Twitpic    At least 400 people are here at coply for #99unity rally! Joi... on Twitpic

There is a broad range of social justice issues on the agenda for today, including the mother of all social justice issues – abrupt global climate change/climate justice.

1No one is in acceptance. We are confident that the court will realize that it was an unreasonable seizure.

Occupy Boston: You Can’t Evict an Idea

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Occupy Boston goes to court tomorrow. A Temporary Restraining Order prevents the Boston Police from removing the tents from Dewey Square Park. Superior Court Judge Francis Mcintyre ruled that tents constitute symbolic free speech. The hearing will determine if the TRO will be replaced by a Preliminary Injunction or simply expire leaving the BPD to do their will. The National Lawyers Guild lawyer representing us is optimistic. Another member of the Guild told me, “the case will be over.”  Folks went out tonight to rally public support. @gvmiii tweeted using a photohost with a less than obvious “intellectual property” regime.

You Can’t Evict an Idea

@LejlaOWS  Boston University ’15 tweeted.

Current police presence at #OccupyBoston on Twitpic    #OccupyBoston march on Twitpic    So many people at the #OccupyBoston march! #ows on Twitpic
#OccupyBoston march. Join us! on Twitpic    Share this widely. This is what patriotism looks like! #occup... on Twitpic    #OccupyBoston marching on Boylston on Twitpic

This is what alternative media looks like.

 

Occupy Harvard: History in and out of the Yard

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A number of folks from Occupy Boston went down to Plymouth to join with the Native American community in their Day of Mourning. I didn’t go with them. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to sleep late.  Rather,  I felt my place was at Harvard1

Selamat datang, Sat sri akaal

Flickr tells me that this how to greet people in Malaysian and Punjabi respectively.  The thumbnail pictures are links to  larger images hosted on Flickr.

"The world holds enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed." Grandi by the entrance to Occupy Harvard. A floral wreath was added for Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning The population of Occupy Harvard was swelled by the arrival of Romance Language faculty, family, and friends.

The world holds enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.

Folks at Occupy Boston gave Ghandi a floral wreath for the Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning holiday. The ranks of Occupy Harvard were swelled by the arrival of Romance Language faculty, family, and friends.

Population of Occupy Harvard was swelled by Romance Language faculty, family and friends.    The spread on Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning brought by occupiers and supporters. There was more than one flavor of occu-pie.

A small sample of Romance Language faculty. They were quite good at mingling. I’m glad to see Harvard hasn’t squashed the romance out of their spirits. The spread on Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning brought by occupiers and supporters. There was more than one flavor of occu-pie.

 My apology to Dr. Allen Counter and family. They showed up with a heap of provisions. When Dr. Allen said smoked turkey, I kind of forgot to take pictures. It was greatly appreciated throughout the day and into the next day.  We clearly heard him say it was from the administration. Some folks thought they had heard the President mentioned. I think we should assume the best and thank her. As John Miller, CEO of Intermetrics, Inc.2 pointed out, “Thank you’s are cheap.”

Occupy Harvard encampment with the skeleton of the geodesic dome in the center. Massachusetts Hall is in the backgound.    Occupy Harvard encampment with the skeleton of the geodesic dome in the center. Harvard Hall is in the background.

Occupy Harvard encampment with the skeleton of the geodesic dome in the center. On the left Massachusetts Hall is in the backgound and on the right Harvard Hall.

 

1At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
2Intermetrics was a spinoff of the MIT Instrumentation Lab which specialized in missle guidance. I*2’s claim to fame was that they wrote the compiler for the Space Shuttle. I*2 is no longer in business. The Instrumentation Lab is now known as the Draper Lab.

Withdraw thy savings from ye olde school bank!

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There are two parties urging you to do this.

Jerry Stiller

One of the parties is Jerry Stiller:

Jerry Stiller in New York City for a book reading for Festivus

Jerry Stiller in New York City for a book reading for Festivus.
[Photo: Daniel Krieger via Wikimedia Foundation]

I could not navigate the copyright quagmire well enough to show you the actual ad.  But Jerry is a paid spokesman for the 1%.

Capital None

We, the 99%, urge you to move your money  out of any for-profit  bank and deposit it in a not-for-profit credit union.  It is not a radical idea, but is does fall within the scope of direct action broadly understood. I heard it proposed by two time gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross1.  There was one earlier attempt by Occupy_Boston.2  I was told that the banks simply refused to give them their money.  The current effort appears to be nationwide. Like many things associated with Occupy .*3, leadership is “dynamic and evolving.”  The Facebook incarnation lists Kristen Christian from LA as originator and it is called Bank Transfer Day.  Occupy Boston lists  Move Your Money.

The Move Your Money Project describes itself on the bottom of it’s home page as  Another Stadia Studio ProjectIt appears to be a for-profit venture from St. Louis MO. I’ll reserve judgement about whether that is a problem for what I hope will qualify as an anti-capitalist movement. Occupy Wall Street was started by Adbusters Magazine. A reporter from the Wall Street Journal  took that to be proof that we are at heart a capitalist movement. Wikipedia paints a picture of Kalle Lasn at the very least opposed to corporatocracy. And my new friend Liam tells me that Lasn is “the real deal.”

The project has produced a video which has very high productions values.  Footage from “It’s a Wonderful Life” is intercut with footage from CNN and CSPAN from 2008.  It is well done, but I’m concerned that folks will buy into the idea that banks are the only way to aggregate capital but had strayed just a bit in Frank Capra’s time. By 1946, the New Deal and/or World War II had mitigated the worst of the Depression. But in the early days of the Depression a lot of folks were more with Woody Guthrie in The Ballad of Pretty Boy  Floyd:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Despite it’s fairly moderate approach, I do think Move Your Money Day is worth doing for those that have some4. It is a way to support Occupy .* It is not radical, but it may help. And perhaps it will inspire more dramatic efforts.

We, at Dewey Square and others sites around the nation and around the world would not still be in place were it not for the outpouring of community support. Thank you. I hope, fairly soon, to discuss what I have learned about Consensus, Contradiction, and Community.

To add some energy to this movement, some friends from Occupy Boston will leave Dewey Square on a tour of the Financial District Saturday morning Nov. 5 at 10:30 AM.

I will be at Harvard guarding the library.

 

1Grace ran once on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket. It was the Massachusetts branch of the national Green Party. Green-Rainbow still exists, but is has been demoted to a ‘political designation’ due to low vote count. She ran again as a Democrat.  She gave an excellent talk at Community Church of Boston.

2If you want to appear hipper than you really are, you can follow @Occupy_Boston on Twitter.

3I have used the language of regular expressions in the title of a previous post. I repeat the explanation. Regular expressions are a part of the Chomsky Hierarchy – Class 3 according to Wikipedia. I had used them for thirty years. In all that time, I never heard Chomsky’s name connected with them even though I heard his name at anti-war rallies all the time. The dot is the symbol for any single character in the alphabet of the language. The asterisk indicates “zero or more occurences”. Combined, they match any number of anythings i.e. all possible sentences of the language. Occupy is growing.

4I’m not penniless, but close to it thanks to the recalcitrance of Mr. Leo Godwin of the Quincy office of the United States of Blackwater Revenue Service. Even without Leo, Harvard’s campaign to reduce the standard of living of it’s low wage workers would have me homeless as I am. But what money I do have is in the Harvard University Employees Credit Union.

4:30 AM in Cairo: Heavy Gunfire in Tahrir Square

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Richard Engel of NBC reporting on the Rachel Maddow Show, says ProDemocracy demonstrators have been concentrated in the middle of Tahrir Square. Pro Mubarik forces fired on them from the Northeast. Some Pro Mubarik   have thrown Molotov cocktails at the Pro Democracy protestors.  The Mubarik supporters have been driven out of Tahrir Square.

Armistice! War to End All Wars is Over!

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On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918…

an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany.

Armistice train 11/11/1918 Compeign Forest essentially ending WWI.

It was the end of fighting on the Western Front of The Great War. The War to end All Wars was essentially over. The following year President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11, Armistice Day. But there was another great war in Europe. In it’s wake, the first one became World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower, ‘repurposed’ the holiday into Veteran’s Day.

I have never served in the military, but I have spent most of my adult life marching. This year, Pat Scanlon, speaking and performing his music at the Community Church of Boston, invited us to march with the Veterans for Peace, Boston Chapter proudly known as the Smedley D. Butler Brigade.

Pat Scanlan being inverview on camera 11/11/2010

Pat said, “We’re marching behind the street sweepers again.”

Emergency Medical Special Operations unit followed by the Smedley Butler Brigade

All the other veterans were in front of the Emergency Medical Special Operations Unit. One veteran from Community Church[below right] is recovering from recent heart surgery. He said he might not go the full route.

Ken Pfarr and John Casteris staging for the parade 11/11/2010

We followed the rest of the parade past the State House.

Veterans for Peace passing the State House 11/11/2010

Some of the Veterans for Peace are also members of Code Pink and the Raging Grannies.

Code Pink and the Raging Grannies near Park St 11/11/2010

We then split off to go the Sam Adams Park.  I have pictures from there too. Come back later. But for now:

John Casteris at Sam Adams Park 11/11/2010

John C went the distance.

More on an antiwar vet Mime, poetry from Langston Hughes, Paul Atwood from the Joiner Center at Umass Mandela.

WikiLeaks releases 391,832 Iraq SIGACT reports

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SIGACT:  Contraction of  SIGnificant ACTion – military report of field operations.

The main Wikileaks webpage reports the release. However, the links to ‘Diary Dig’ and ‘War Logs’ often give an “Overload” Message.  ‘War Logs’ recommends creating a login account, but it seems to be unable to process my request at the moment. The Twitter Feed, however, is working.

A Creative Commons licensed analyis of the logs appears at Iraq War Logs.

As with the 90,000+ documents about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan released in July, Wikileaks gave advance access to the documents to The New York Times, the German magazine Der Spiegel, and the british newspaper The Guardian.  The French newspaper Le MondeSwedish Television, and  Al Jazeera have coverage.

Harvard’s Nieman Foundation has a  look at the War Against Wikileaks resulting from the Afghan documents. They have links to pieces of the story with the most complete account from Nadim Kobeissi

Update 10/24 from Wikileaks Twitter Feed: FULL WikiLeaks press conference now available (video) http://cs.pn/b8Ee3n

.

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

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Andrew Bacevish at MIT  Sept. '10

I went to MIT to hear former U.S. Army Colonel and BU Professor Andrew Bacevich talk about his new book. I read his last book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. It was somewhat encouraging to hear a man with a military background acknowledging the cost of empire. Wasington Rules, however, seemed much harder hitting. More as I ponder.

G8, G20, or the World? Shout Out for Global Justice

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As finance ministers and heads of state of the world’s “richest” nations gathered for first the G8 and later the G20 meeting, the Council of Canadians held a ‘Shout Out for Global Justice’  featuring an abundance of resourceful people from the left. If you follow Democracy Now!, you can hear Amy Goodman’s talk, “Drilling, Spilling and Killing: From Oil Spills to Oil Wars.”  DN! sent out a Tweet pointing to a Canadian news outlet, I had not heard of rabble.ca. You can see the whole ‘Shout Out’ streamed on a loop from RabbleTV.  You can also see how the Canadian government spent more than $1 Billion fortifying Toronto for the G20 meeting and some of the demonstrations that have occurred.

Included in the ‘Shout Out’ are a bunch of people with interesting and resourceful responses to NeoLiberal globalization.

Dr. Vandana Shiva has been successful in thwarting the attempt by U.S. chemical giant Monsanto to monopolize the seed stock of Indian agriculture. I have a woman friend from India who is not particularly left politically. She has completed her medical training.  She acknowledges that, “It was a good thing she [Shiva] did with the seeds.”  My friend understands biology, I hope she will grow in political economy as well.

Pablo Solon, Bolivian UN Ambassador, discusses the struggle to resist privatization of resources in Bolivian. Many losses preceded the eventual success in resisting the privatization of water.

Naomi Klein, remarks on the security surrounding the G20 meeting.

Maude Barlow, Chairman of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Gold.

More  to come…

Time to guard the library.

Fourty Years Ago Today: Four Dead in Ohio

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"Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller"Pulitzer Prize wining photo of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller. Taken by Kent State photojournalism student John Filo. Used in the same manner as used by Wikipedia.  The picture is Lanczos upsized 80% and sharpend 20% with XnView.

Immortalized by Neil Young and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young [YouTube].

Alison, Jeffrey, William and Sandra were not executed by old men in suits. They were shot by young men of about the same age. Why? Was it their own wish?  Or was it to curry favor with old men in suits?

Retrospective by Democracy Now!

The take away message for student activists:  Power is very reluctant to show it’s face to you. That’s why the Corporation1 hides in Loeb House2 and sends the President out3. Power is a lie.4 Your weapon is to expose it.  But be careful out there.

I have a very long illustrated post of the Bread and Roses demonstration by Slam5. It is started. I also owe Collette et al an apology, but I need to know more to do it right. I’m an ass what?  All this must wait while I have yet another highly protracted argument with the Cambridge Housing Authority.

1I assume most Colleges and Universities are governed by a corporation. If you know of exceptions tell me about it. the dot guy dot by dot the dot door at gmail dot com. The Great and General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts originally vested governing power of Harvard in the Board of Overseers. It still exists and is elected by the Alumni Association. But in 1650, the GGCoCoM vested power in the Corporation. The BoO was busted back to an advisory role, whatever that actually means.

2At Harvard, Loeb House once housed the Presidents, but is now known, as the Board of Overseers house.  The Corporation meets in the second floor dining room. Mortals may enter under certain circumstances.

3At Harvard, the President hides in Massachusetts Hall. President Drew, to her credit, seems to marginally more accessible than the Late Larry Summers was. For the Late Larry, Mass Hall was the Fortress of Solitude.

4Izzy Stone used to say, “All governments lie …”.  Universities are chartered by governments, but are operated by governance. We have to update Izzy. “What governs lies.” I think Noam would agree with my extension to power itself. I do have a nit with him. At one point he allows that there may be cases in parent child relations where authoritarian behaviour is justified. Here’s the thing. Power always says about what it’s doing, “it’s for their own good.” Sometimes it’s not well honed. Take My LaiA. One officer was quoted as saying, “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

5The SLAM website is beautifully done. More importantly it uses DruPal a project of the Free Software movement.

AIt would have been better if “we” hadn’t.

Rites of Spring: Justice and Peace

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United for Justice with Peace has a full calendar of justice and peace events in the Greater Boston Area.

Today Friday,  April 2.

The main lecture hall is ‘sold out’ but they have 5 overflow rooms planned. While it will be webcast, it might be a good show of strength to fill all the overflow rooms. I’ll try to get pictures from them all and post them here.

Not on the UJP calendar, but well worth attending, Amy Goodman and former Harvard Crimson President Bill McKibben1 at Tufts University in Medford. It’s part of new series called Inside the Activist’s Study. I caught the first episode with Amy and her brother Dan.

1This is NOT an April Fool’s joke. Bill McKibben really was President of the Harvard Crimson, but you may know him better as the environmental activist who in addition to being gassed by the WTO, wrote Deep Economy and co-founded 350.org.

Howard Zinn Memorial Today!

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From United for Peace with Justice

Howard Zinn Memorial Event

When: Saturday, March 27, 2010, 2:00 pm
Where: Boston University • 735 Commonwealth Ave • Marsh Chapel • Boston

Howard Zinn

2010 Mar 27 – 2:00pm

The Boston University community will hold a memorial event for Howard Zinn.

This memorial will be addressed by family and friends of Howard including Frances Fox Piven, Jim Carroll, Noam Chomsky, Betty Zisk and others. Members of Howard’s family will participate.

The Code Pink way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

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The bread was good.  A touch of sweet and cinnamon.

——-

Friends,

Sunday, March 7th 2010  1 – 3 PM
Boston, MA

Theme: “Bread and Peace: Women Say NO to War.” Bring signs,  banners.(for example, “Universal healthcare, not global warfare,”  “Bring our troops and war $ home,” “Bread not drones”… We will raise our voices for peace and justice, form a symbolic bridge  reaching out to our international sisters and brothers, join in a ring of peace, march through the heart of downtown to the Park Street T station for final vigil and call to action.

Location:
Copley Square Boston
Copley Square
Boston, MA

Contact:

Sarah Roche-Mahdi

Sponsored By:
initiated by Code Pink Greater Boston, endorsed by Raging Grannies,
Women’s Fightback Network

———

Thanks to David Fillingham of Veterans for Peace for pointing this out. More on the varieties of  Women’s Day Politics after the rally. See ya’.

New England Antiwar Conference – SATURDAY!

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neawc

When: Saturday, January 30, 2010, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
Where: MIT Campus • 50 Vassar St. • Room 34-101 • Cambridge

Explaining the Drive Towards Empire and Endless War

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report and Black is Back
Saadia Toor, Action for a Progressive Pakistan
Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
Michael Schwartz, author of War Without End: The Iraq War in Context

Debunking the War on Terror

Salma Abu Ayysh, Palestinian activist
Pardiss Kebriaei, Guantanamo Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
Danny Schechter, journalist and Executive Editor of mediachannel.org
Peter Dale ScottThe Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America

Click here to see speaker bios

Workshops

Haiti’s Unnatural Disaster: Send Doctors, Not Troops with Jacques-Antoine Jean, Josue Renaud. and Ashley Smith
War at Home led by Jon Flanders of Troy NY Labor Council and Nellie Bailey of Harlem Tenants Council
International Struggle for World Free of Nuclear Weapons led by Joe Gerson of AFSC
Cutting War Spending 25%: Funding Jobs and Neighborhoods by Mike Prokosch
Global Warming and War led by Ted Glick and Maggie Zhou
Student Organizing led by Wes Strong, Marissa Blaszko and others
Veterans led by Priscilla Loundes from March Forward!, IVAW & VfP
Covert & False Flag Operations and 9/11 led by Peter Dale Scott, Paul Zarembka and Barry Zwicker
Israel as an Apartheid State with Nancy Murray & Sarah Roche-Mahdi
War in Latin America by Omar Sierra, Venezuelan Consulate, Antoine del Castro Rio from Colombia Polo Democrático, & Tito Meza, Proyecto Hondureño

Plenary

Organize regional campaigns to build the March 20 antiwar march on DC, to redirect military spending to meet human needs, and to end the siege of Gaza.

Veterans Day

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aerialflag

To make meaning of our losses, we diminish the losses of others. This makes future losses more likely.  If you believe that war is a Law of Nature1, our children’s future ceases to exist.

It was a week before the legal Veteran’s Day. It was, in fact, during the new abridged incarnation of a proud Cambridge tradition – The Count. The last hand count in 1995 took  four days to hand count the 19183  Proportional Representation ballots.  Since then, it is usually done the same day as the balloting. This time, because of the first truly significant write-in campaign in Cambridge history,  it took two days.

The Veteran’s gathering centered on World War II – “The Big One” as Dobie Gillis’ father used to say.  Other wars were mentioned but discussion kept coming back to WWII. It was the Best of Wars. It was the Worst of Wars.  It was the Morally Unquestionable War. They were the worst of monsters. We were the noblest of heroes. Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? Perhaps regrettable, but justifiable.  Really?

Meet A Veteran for Peace: Tonight @ the Brattle Theater

David Fillingham of the Smedley Butler Brigade

David Fillingham of the Smedley Butler Brigade*

I met David Fillingham at the School of Government formerly known as John F. Kennedy. He was not invited when General Petreus was. Nor for that matter on any other day. He dropped in on Halloween. But he was invited to the Brattle Theater. You are too. Here’s your invite:

Friends,

I have been asked to do a Q&A for a showing of The Good Soldier at the
Brattle Theatre in Harvard Sq on Veterans Day Nov 11 Weds at 7:30 PM.
Go to www.thegoodsoldier.com for a trailer.

It is being billed as a national day of conversation,(20+ States) and
is being promoted by Bill Moyers on PBS. Please come if you are
available and interested.


Peace and Peach Pie,
David Fillingham

dfillingham at earthlink dot com

—————

I have to guard the library, but if you go, please tell David I sent you – that ‘saving face’ thing.

1Danny Greenberger, a physicist of the General Relativity flavor at CCNY, believes that there aren’t really any Laws of Physics. He has two universes that illustrate the point. Iwill elaborate them at some point and add to it Sidney Coleman’s observation about progress in field theory. I am more serious about it than Sidney and simultaneously more tentative and more general about it than Danny. Then there is the question to what extent a Theory of Human Affairs can be said to be analogous to The Laws of Physics.  To appear.

*Smedley Butler, at the time of his death, the most decorated U.S. Marine in history, wrote “War is a Racket”.  The Boston chapter of Veterans for Peace took his name.

Happy ‘What should we call it?’ Day

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Columbus discovered America – tcwmits1

Discovered America? How can you discover something that’s already in use? See that BMW over there? Let’s discover it.                                   —-Dick Gregory

What if “Columbus Day” was given the more accurate name “Celebrate Genocide Day”?
—-The Professor who dares to ask what if2

PWDAWI, makes several citations to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

Democracy Now! today [after headlines] {large raster BitTorrent download} is an interview with Canadian Cree singer/songwriter Buffy St-Marie. Included is a performance of ‘Universal Soldier’. In Buffy’s view, for a Native American to ‘make it’ requires a lucky accident. She spends her money on education from the Native American point of view.

1The Common White Man In The Street.

2I don’t know where she teaches. I would say definitely not Harvard, but that would be snarky. I’ll just say definitely not in Harvard economics or government. Jack Womack has been emeritized by Harvard history, but there are still some folks around who question.
That said, I still reserve the right to question whether Harvard’s pair of world historical jacks question enough.

Beyond Vietnam, Beyond Iraq, Beyond Afghanistan.

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Martin Luther King [Library of Congress] Barack Obama [U.S. Government]

Martin Luther King 1964 [Lib of Cong] Barack Obama 2008 [U.S. Government]

It’s the day after Martin died 41 years ago. In October I echoed the warning Martin sounded a year to the day before he died. It has gone unheeded.

Seventeen days ago marked the sixth year since the onslaught of “shock and awe” in Iraq. Harvard’s Legal Left commemorated the day with a talk by Pakistani-British journalist and activist Tariq Ali. He had some positive notes about very recent events reported in the Harvard Law Record.

But most of his remarks were sobering and echoed remarks made on Democracy Now! and in his book The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.

Duncan Kennedy introducing Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali

Tariq was erudite, knowledgable about ‘facts on the ground’ and eloquent. But no less eloquent was a security guard from Nigeria with considerable anger at the arrogance and ignorance of Americans, “Afghanistan is a giant killer! You should look to history!”

Semper Fi

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Peace march leaving the Common, Oct 11, 2008.

The Arredondos – Alex, Melida, and Carlos – of Uphams Corner, MA leading the march Oct. 11, 2008.

Beyond Vietnam, Beyond Iraq.

2

Martin King

A year to the day before he was assassinated, Martin King1 delivered the broadest critique of American foreign policy and political economy of his career. Not only was it accurate to the time, it was remarkably prescient. Read/listen to the speach and you will understand why electing Obama is nowhere near enough. We must do more – much, much more.

Among them…

Background from Stop the Wars Coalition

or outside the Boston area.

This is not, “Get out of Iraq in a decade rather than a century.” It is not, “Deploy over the horizon” or “Move the war back to Afghanistan.”

It is beyond Iraq, beyond Oil, beyond the continual war for primitive extraction of resources which Martin warned us about -most likely at the cost of his life.

1I don’t doubt the value of his doctorate. Being named for the catalyst of the Protestant Reformation is not lost on me. But he was a man like me. I cannot evade responsibility by pretending he was of a higher order of being.

It was seven years ago today.

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Gustavo at Tanner Fountain, North Yard.

Harvard alum and employee Gustavo at Tanner Fountain, North Yard.

Despite all the posturing, do we really know what happened? Who was responsible? Was the U.S. response justified? Has it been useful?

I still remember, Sabrina Daniel, daughter of fallen NYC firefighter Vernon Cherry, on the day of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan1.

It don’t make me feel no better, because I know that somewhere halfway around the world there is a daughter just like me, who just lost her father.

1Firefighter Cherry was still missing at the time. Sabrina’s mother, Joanne Cherry, would not hear of the idea that he was lost. In early January 2009 his turnout coat was found at ground zero as well as the bodies of three other firefighters from the Brooklyn based Ladder 118 = “fire under the bridge.”

Ladder 118 enroute to WTC

Ladder 118 enroute to the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001

Ongoing inquiries:

911truth.org

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Rand Corporation: ‘War on Terror’ works only 7% of the time.

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How Terrorist Groups End

Of the 648 groups that were active at some point between 1968 and 2006, a total of 268 ended during that period. Another 136 groups splintered, and 244 remained active. As depicted in the figure, the authors found that most ended for one of two reasons: They were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40 percent), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43 percent). Most terrorist groups that ended because of politics sought narrow policy goals. The narrower the goals, the more likely the group was to achieve them through political accommodation — and thus the more likely the government and terrorists were to reach a negotiated settlement.

More…

Will Iran be the 9/11 of this election?

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Still trying to get caught up on the news. Seymour Hersch, in the New Yorker, reports newly uncovered information about the Presidential Finding1 to sponsor covert activities in Iran. Because of secrecy, the Finding actually occurred at about the time of and in direct contradiction to the National Intelligence Estimate that discounted the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Andrew Cockburn2 made a brief report in Counter Punch in early May. [He makes a not entirely whimsical quip about Harvard Fellow3 Robert Rubin’s efforts to keep Citigroup afloat amid the subprime mortgage debacle, by borrowing yet more billions from Abu Dhabi [Wikipedia logo].

Most of the people of the world, including the U.S. Joint Chiefs think invading Iran is a bad idea. But you have Dick Cheney, arguably diminished in power, but is he still a big enough tail to wag the American dog? He still seems to be able to wag the Bush. What if Israeli hardliners launch a pre-emptive attack knowing they can’t win a war by themselves. Will this smaller tail try to wag the Cheney tail in a direction it already wants to go.

The folks at Middle East Strategy at Harvard, more specifically, Chuck Freilich, seem to think the consequences of invading Iran would be small.4 Sounds a lot like the runup to Iraq – flowers and chocolates, it’ll pay for itself, shock and awe will eliminate resistance. How’s that worked out? Chuck Freilich, by the way, was Israel’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Foreign Affairs. So there’s that ‘vested interest’ thing again. It’s not about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. For Israeli hardliners it’s about losing, some years from now, the nuclear monopoly in the region. For Bush-Cheney-Haliburton it’s about control of oil.

I hope to tell you about Bradford Little, highly eccentric but correct. Who’s “entitled” to nuclear weapons?

a) Iran.

b)Israel.

c)United States of America.

d)All of the above.

e)None of the above.

f)Nobody anywhere.

It’s (f). I will show all work, but it will be necessary to attach additional sheets.

1Yet another way of dunning Congress for money, but because National Security is involved only a handful of “select” Congresspersons need to know the details.

2I’m slowly coming to appreciate the Cockburn clan. I did, like everybody in my generation, read Alexander when he wrote with James Ridgeway in the Village Voice. Just recently, I discovered that Harvard’s Legal Left has it’s very own member of the clan. My only hope is that the Federalists don’t squeeze the rainbow out of her.

3There are Harvard Fellows and there are Harvard Fellows. There are Junior Fellows who are top shelf post docs. There are faculty members who are Senior Fellows. But a Fellow, is a member of The Corporation. Rubin was the Fellow who lent the rest of the Fellows the subprime President recently departed.

4Not known for dovishness, former National Security Advisor Zbignew Brezinski in testimony before Congress [English with French subtitles] disagrees with Freilich’s assessment.

Today! Live! Winter Soldiers testify before Congress!

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troops scramble for helicopter.

On May 15th, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) begin the process of righting this imbalance with Winter Soldier on the Hill. Nine members of IVAW will testify before the CPC about rules of engagement, the killing and abuse of civilians, the use of drop weapons, and the true consequences of the “surge.”

The original Winter Soldier investigation during the Vietnam War, ultimately led to Congressional hearings and the recognition of mainstream politicians that the American people were not going to tolerate an endless war in Southeast Asia. Is this event part of a similar chain of events? Will mainstream politicians recognize that the American people will not tolerate an endless war in the Middle East?

Watch It Live! [Hearings begin at 9:30 AM, Pacifica coverage starts at 9:00 AM] Details on the IVAW website.

Meanwhile, on the floor on the floor of the House, $170 Billion of addition funding for the Iraq war is being considered. The IVAW website has good resources for contacting your congresspersons. And while you’re doing that you can help stop future war in Iran that Bush, Inc. has been warming up for, for many long times now. From the Dorchester People for Peace newsletter:

Dorchester People for Peace marching in the Dorchester Day Parade June 1, 2005.

Oppose IRAN “DIVESTMENT” BILL (House 4270) at State House—

Please contact your representatives! H.4270 has now been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means: Rep. Bob DeLeo is the chairman- Telephone: 617-722-2990 E-Mail: Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us; House members (includes St.Fleur of Dorchester and Mallia of JP), Senate members (includes Wilkerson, Joyce) Let them know you are opposed to measures aimed at raising tensions in the region and promoting the slide toward war with Iran — and would cost the system $5million and increase annual administrative expenses by up to $40,000.

You can read the innocuous-seeming text of the House 4270 here. DPP member Jeff Klein testified against the measure at a hearing April 10 (read the testimony here) and wrote an article published in this week’s Dorchester Reporter, April 24, 2008, page 10

Many useful resources on Iran, the nuclear issue and US-Iran relations available at these sites:

http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/, http://irannuclearwatch.blogspot.com, http://www.newiranpolicy.org/

All of this raises some interesting questions. Should we, as my young friend from Pakistan suggests, frame oppostion to the ‘war1‘ in Iraq as opposition to empire? Is capitalism the inescapable cause of imperial excesses? Or is it merely the current mode d’emploi? [Scroll down.]

1Forumgal of Dorchester People for Peace says that it should more properly called an occupation. I don’t know who she thinks she is, but I think she is correct.

The Real News: Did Petraeus part with the Neocons?

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Paul Jay, senior news editor for the alternative media startup The Real Network, finds a split between General Petreus and Iran hawks. [The picture is not an embed. It’s a screen capture over a link. Sorry 🙁 ]

General Petreus testifying before congress. The surge worked, but not well enough to withdraw.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ COMMANDER: And Iran has fueled the violence, as I noted, in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support to the special groups.

But later describing how the conflagration in Basra was brought to an end:

PETRAEUS: Iran, at the end of the day, clearly played a role as an arbiter, if you will, for talks among all of the different parties to that particular action.

Jay interviews, Sabah al Nasseri is Professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics) at York University, Toronto.

SABEH AL NASSERI, PROF., POLITICAL SCIENCE, YORK UNIVERSITY: I think because there are two interests. One is in the short term. The other one is the long run. In the short term, the United States is interested in securing a security agreement with the Iraqi government, because the Iraqi Parliament decided last year that there will be no extension of the international troops in Iraq beyond December 2008. So since last August, the United States is trying to convince the Iraqi executive to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States to keep the US troops and military bases in Iraq.

JAY: So the very legal basis of the American occupation could be in jeopardy if they’re too aggressive towards Iran.

AL NASSERI: Exactly. On the other hand, the whole report of Petraeus and the Iraq ambassador was in the long run to say we need the US troops, we need the US troop presence in Iraq, we need the military bases in Iraq, because Iran is the most dangerous place now, because they have affiliation to al-Qaeda, they support these so-called special groups, they create a lot of instabilities in Iraq, etcetera.

JAY: There’s certainly no evidence that Iran has any connection with al-Qaeda.

AL NASSERI: Exactly. So in the long run, this is the message of the neocons. Iran is an issue. But now–not now.

Because a Winter Soldier should be heard.

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The subject of a previous post has said there are factual inaccuracies. I’ll post a correction as soon as I have a chance to talk to him.

I’ve found a video clip of James Gilligan’s testimony at Winter Soldier1. First off, I missed that he was promoted to sergeant while on inactive duty. During his testimony, the IVAW A/V personnel had trouble with his slides. Between that and other inaccuracies I’ve committed, Sargeant Gilligan has had a hard time being heard. I will be talking to him soon. You can read the transcript of the incident mentioned in my earlier post. Then watch the video again.

Striking to me was James’ struggle to be precise as he retold events which he clearly feels should not have happened. Obviously some of the other soldiers felt that same way and wondered whether he was to blame:

Later that night they called me over to their tent and they asked me if i was qualified to call for fire. and i told them i was not qualified, however i was asked and i gave the responses needed to … to quickly assess the danger and proceed forward with the mission. My sargeant came over and luckily intervened before anything got hostile. There was no repercussion.

His last remark on this incident was clearly delimited as hearsay2:

… this is again what I was told… that our unit had informed the Afghanis of the village that if the Taliban does it again, you let us know.

I don’t know what the IVAW plans in the way of corroborating the testimony of the Winter Soldiers, but they might be able to use some help. Maybe some law students?

Because a Winter Soldier should be heard.

1All the clips are on the IVAW site, but their software is too recent for the computers in the Harvard Science Center 😛

2Those of us not in the law school who once watched “Law and Order” believe that ‘hearsay’ has limited probative value. I would be grateful to hear a professional opinion on this. Gratitude is beyond any monetary value.