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The bombing war of Syria is not inevitable September 5, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Foreign Policy, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
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By Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition

The bombing war of Syria is not inevitable.

Obama, Kerry and the mass media are working overtime to conjure up the image of “inevitability” in order to demoralize and paralyze the anti-war opposition that clearly represents the sentiment of the vast majority of the people in the United States.

We reject the concept of the inevitability of this attack.

All power does not rest in the hands of the war makers. The people oppose this next war. We must organize and organize and organize.

Right now there are deep divisions within the summits of the political and economic establishment about the reckless act of aggression being planned against a country in the heart of the Middle East. Such opposition is not based on principle but rather fear that once the war starts it is impossible to know what regional and possibly global chaos could follow.

Under such political circumstances, a mass opposition can have a decisive impact even inside the centers of world imperialism.

John Kerry has adopted all the rhetoric of Bush and the neo-conservatives. “America is the indispensable nation” he tells the world. This is the language of the neo-con criminals who took the lives of a million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. service members. The hubris of Kerry is indistinguishable from that of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz — the grouping that put Syria on their “hit list” back in 2001.

In 2008, tens of millions of people campaigned for Barack Obama and against John McCain. They did so with enormous passion and the belief that the era of endless war in the Middle East would finally come to an end. Today, Obama and McCain are like brothers as they try to dragoon the country into the next war. McCain is always for imperial war. He has never met a war that he didn’t like. He has made a political career as cheerleader-in-chief for the death and destruction of people in weaker and more vulnerable countries. Today, he is Obama’s most important ally in Congress.

The Middle East contains two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. The U.S. policy has been to destroy all independent, nationalist regimes whose origin was in the anti-colonial revolutions of the post-World War II era. The U.S. government wants only puppets and proxies in this resource-rich region.

The people of this country can rise and take their place as a major factor in the calculations of the war makers who speak in their name. This is not the time for hand wringing or passivity. The die has NOT been cast. We must all do everything in our power everyday in the coming days to mobilize opposition and spread the word to say “No War Against Syria!”

This Saturday, September 7 (initiated by the ANSWER Coalition) and Monday, September 9 (initiated by the Syrian American Forum) there will be major marches from the White House to the Capitol Building to tell Congress “Vote NO on war against Syria!” On Saturday, September 7, assemble at the White House at 12 Noon and on Monday, September 9, assemble at the White House at 10:00 a.m., both followed by a march to Congress. Click here for details about the D.C. demonstrations and here for a list of demonstrations taking place nationwide.

Obama Speech: Same Policies, Slightly New Package May 24, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Pakistan, War on Terror.
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Roger’s note: “Further, the president made several statements that seem to be contradicted by his actions.”  This is a genteel way of saying the president is a liar.


ANSWER responds to President Obama’s speech at the National Defense
University

May 23, 2013

President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University today was another
exercise in misdirection and illusion regarding the administration’s
unprecedented use of drone military strikes that have killed more than 5,000
people, the majority of whom were civilians, including a large number of
children.

Under pressure from a growing international grassroots protest movement
demanding the end of drone strikes and the closure of the Guantanamo torture
center, Obama’s speech was crafted to address both issues.

He acknowledged that civilians were killed by his drone strikes and said that
he would be “haunted” by their deaths, but he made it clear that the strikes
would continue.

Although he spoke far more eloquently than George W. Bush, the president used
the Bush-created legal architecture to permit the president to kill anyone,
anywhere if he labeled them as a terrorist. Obama said that his previously
secret “legal basis” for targeted killings was actually the Authorization of
Military Use Force (AMUF) that Bush rammed through Congress shortly after the
September 11, 2001 attacks.

Demagogically he called again for the closure of Guantanamo, which has been
labeled a torture center by the United Nations. He said that the failure to
close the facility was seen by the whole world as a “flouting [of] the rule of
law” by the United States. But he neglected to say that he has refused to use
the vast authority of the presidency to actually close Guantanamo. Rather he is
placing the blame on Congress rather than acting.

In addition to refusing to take immediate action to close Guantanamo,
President Obama stated that he would not end the policy of indefinite detention.
He in fact stated that he has tasked an official to find a place in the United
States where people can be held indefinitely without charges. He further
referenced America’s “supermax” prisons. These brutal facilities, in which
prisoners are kept in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, also meet most definitions
of torture, a practice Obama claims to have “banned.”

Old wine in a new bottle

For almost the entirety of his presidency, Obama has sought to shield his
“War on Terror” policies from even some of the most basic scrutiny. In fact,
information on many of these programs has only been released after significant
criticism has been raised. More than anything, President Obama’s May 23, 2013,
speech must be seen as a direct response to the individuals and organizations
who have consistently been challenging the actions of the administration on
these issues. It is unavoidably clear that the firestorm of criticism around
drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the extent of domestic surveillance
created a climate in which Obama was forced to defend his policies.

The president outlined a number of policies, many of which had already been
revealed in their broad outlines, and attempted to give them a new gloss.
Further, the president made several statements that seem to be contradicted by
his actions. In other words, despite all the hype, the president is attempting
to codify many of the “war-time” measures that erode our civil liberties and
perpetuate imperialist brutality abroad.

For instance, President Obama claimed that his administration has “banned
torture” despite the fact the force feedings being carried out by individuals
directly under his purview have been classified by the American Medical
Association as torture. The president also made several interesting admissions,
one being that in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater the U.S. government
reportedly only attacks leaders of Al-Qaeda. Whether that is true or not, it is
a clear admission that in Pakistan and Afghanistan, “signature strikes” – which
have been responsible for thousands of deaths, including many civilians – will
continue.

“Only 55 known militant leaders have been killed in Pakistan, representing
just 2 percent of the total deaths” caused by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan,
according to the New American Foundation.

President Obama, in response to major criticism, did state the need to close
Guantanamo; the president also stated that he wants to find a way to eliminate
the Authorization of the Use of Military Force as a justification for terror
policies. This is after he used the AUMF to conduct a mostly secret worldwide
conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. It seems highly convenient
that, after such a huge amount of damage and suffering were caused, in
retrospect the president criticizes the AUMF.

While there is much to dissect in his speech, the bottom line is that
President Obama is attempting to respond to criticism of his war on terror
policies while creating a new framework to institutionalize many of these same
policies.

U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere! February 28, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in War.
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Be part of the action on Saturday, April 13 at the White House

U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere!

Dear roger,

National and local organizations are coming together for a major protest on April 13 at the White House to Say NO to U.S. Drone attacks in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere.

The Coalition sponsoring the demonstration is growing rapidly as new organizations join the effort.

Endorsers include:

ANSWER Coalition; Cynthia McKinney, former Congressperson; Akbar Muhammad, International Rep. of Nation of Islam; Revival of Pan Africanism Forum; African Diaspora for Democracy and Development; CRI-Panafricain; Democratic Union of Gambian Activists – D.C.; Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general; Veterans for Peace; Col. Ann Wright; CODEPINK; CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations); CAIR-MD; Nisa Muhammad, writer, Final Call newspaper; Jared Ball, radio host, WPFW (Pacifica); Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Imam Mahdi Bray, Freedom Coalition; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; Zaki Baruti, Universal African Peoples Organization; American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC); Peta Lindsay, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Haiti Liberte; Political Education and Action Committee-Howard University; Students for Justice in Palestine-Temple U.; Conflict Free Campus Initiative–Temple U.; and many more.

Add your name or the name of your organization to the endorser’s list now.

Join the rising tide of support for the April 13 demonstration and start mobilizing from your area to be at the White House on as we take our message straight to the war makers!

Buses, vans and car caravans will be coming from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities.

Background:

As U.S. forces have begun to deploy to Niger to expand the deadly drone warfare program, now more than ever the importance of the April 13 demonstration is becoming clear. 100 armed U.S. troops are heading to Niger to set up a drone base aimed at assisting the French-led intervention in that country. This is on top of the 4,000 troops currently training in various war-fighting tactics to serve as a fast-response and “training” force for Africom. On every level and in a number of countries, the United States is expanding its drone program and deepening its military presence on the African continent.

On April 13 at the White House a growing coalition of groups and individuals will be coming together to say NO to this expansion of imperialist military power with drones at the tip of the spear. Endless war and hostility to the peoples of Africa and around the world is a policy that is totally contrary to the interests of the broad mass of American people. On the eve of the massive budget cuts of the so-called sequester, and despite all the hype about “Pentagon cuts,” the machine of war still rolls on in the African continent and across the world, as working and poor people in America will be made to suffer more hardship.

The message from the Obama administration, Congress, the Pentagon and the entire elite establishment is more war, less for people’s needs, here and across the globe. Add your name to the growing list of endorsers. Organize from your cities and towns to be in Washington, D.C., on April 13 to demand U.S. Imperialist Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!

Please help us cover the many costs of the April 13 mobilization by making an urgently needed donation right now.

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The irony and extreme hypocrisy of the U.S. stance toward North Korea What the people of the United States have not been told February 13, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Asia, North/South Korea.
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64481

http://www2.answercoalition.org/site/R?i=2qIicEhjoBid-9fyyblLXg

Want to know more?

Video: North Korea not a threat
RT interview with Brian Becker

Audio: North Korea in the crosshairs
Liberation Radio interview with Brian Becker

Putting the squeeze on North Korea
By Gregory Elich
Originally published by the Centre for Research on Globalization

If you listen to the Obama administration and corporate media propaganda campaign, you’ll learn that North Korea is acting provocatively and aggressively by conducting a nuclear weapons test — but the new propaganda blitz against North Korea is as contrived as Bush and Clinton’s campaign of regime change against Iraq.

It is the United States that is provoking a new crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The United States possesses the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world and has been staging massive war exercises along with the South Korean military close to North Korea’s territory in recent days, simulating the invasion and bombing of North Korea. The United States and South Korea have been staging such exercises every few months.

The U.S. government has imposed draconian economic sanctions designed to undermine North Korea’s ability to live.

North Korea was invaded by the United States in 1950 and millions of Koreans died.

Having learned the lesson of the Iraq invasion, the North Korean government decided to resume its nuclear weapons program and prepare for war. But what North Korea really wants is a peace treaty ending the Korean War of 1950-53, an end to economic sanctions and a normalization of relations with the United States.

To learn the truth about the U.S.-North Korean conflict we are providing three important resources in this email:

Please help us expose the lies and distortions spread by the White House, the Pentagon and the corporate media by sharing this via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Anaheim fights back against outrageous police killing July 24, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in California, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice.
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Roger’s note: watch the video from beginning to end (the link is in the second paragraph).  Among other things you will see the police unleash a vicious police dog, who attacks a babe in arms.  Unfortunately, what we are seeing here is not atypical.  Police forces around the nation have been brutalizing peaceful demonstrators with unprecedented degrees of violence since the beginning of the Occupy movement.  Repression against Americans and Canadians who are exercising their right to demonstrate against racism, war, social injustice, etc. has become the unofficial policy in our so-called democracies.

On Saturday, July 21, Anaheim police shot and killed Manuel Diaz. According to the OC Register, “A 17-year-old who lives in the neighborhood said she saw the shooting from about 20 feet away. She said Diaz had his back to the officer and was shot in the buttocks area. Diaz went down on his knees, and she said he was struck by another bullet in the head. The other officer handcuffed Diaz, who by then was on the ground and not moving, she added.’They searched his pockets, and there was a hole in his head, and I saw blood on his face,’ she said.”

Witnesses say Manuel Diaz was simply hanging out when police began harassing him. In response to the killing, friends and neighbors began gathering in their front lawns. Then, without warning, Anaheim police began firing rubber bullets, beanbag shotguns, and pepper-spray bullets indiscriminately into the crowd which included children–even unleashing a police attack dog on a woman holding a child. In the harrowing video, you can clearly see baby strollers and toddlers in the line of fire.

In response to the killing, people immediately came from the area to protest. On Sunday, a large group picketed outside the Anaheim Police Station where the police were holding a press conference about the killing. As the protest grew, demonstrators, who were led by victims of police abuse (including young children), held a protest inside the police station.

As the community continued to mobilize, the Anaheim police then killed another resident on Sunday night. Witnesses say the victim was already handcuffed when he was shot. Another spontaneous demonstration continued until about 4am.

As the situation develops, the ANSWER Coalition will continue to be on the ground supporting the community in their struggle for justice. History shows us that there is no accountability or justice unless the people fight for it. The community will continue to mobilize in order to hold the killer cops and police department accountable.

How you can help:

ANSWER LA has been organizing against police brutality in southern California for years in response to the scourge of police violence directed at working-class communities.

 

 

 

Haditha massacre: Covering up war crimes in a criminal war January 27, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Imperialism, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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Falsifying history in the service of Empire

The Pentagon has decided that U.S. Marines who killed 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005, will serve no jail time.

By Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition

If only Private Bradley Manning had slaughtered innocent Iraqi civilians he would have been set free by the Pentagon. The Pentagon brass has kept Manning locked up for 21 months. They say that he leaked the 2007 video of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacring Iraqi civilians and journalists. Manning is facing life in prison for allegedly releasing classified documents and information to WikiLeaks that revealed U.S. war crimes.

In contrast, the Pentagon decided on Jan. 23, 2012, that there will be no jail time for any of the U.S. Marines who systematically and deliberately slaughtered 24 Iraqi civilians in their homes in Haditha, Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005. This was not a battle. They entered the homes of unarmed civilians at night and murdered children and their moms, dads and grandparents. The murdered were in their pajamas.

The superior officers of the rampaging Marines in Haditha lied and covered up the crime. The Pentagon brass, then under the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld, knew about the massacre and covered it up as well. A Pentagon statement issued just after the Haditha massacre described the incident as an insurgent ambush on a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol that left insurgents, civilians and U.S. troops dead.

If only Private Bradley Manning had slaughtered innocent Iraqi civilians he would have been set free by the Pentagon.

That the Pentagon lied about this war crime should be understood as the norm and not an exception. All Iraqis were seen as the enemy or potential enemy. Indeed, Iraqis from across the political and religious spectrum opposed the occupation of their country. As in the Vietnam War, rampant racism allowed occupying forces to treat the occupied people as less than human. For those involved it was just one more war crime in a criminal war.

The truth about the massacre came out when investigative journalist Tim McGirk broke the story in Time Magazine in March 2006. McGirk had been in contact with an Iraqi human rights organization that provided a video of the aftermath of the massacre. The evidence revealed the bodies of bloodied children in their pajamas, killed in their homes by grenades and direct gunfire.

The trial of the Marine unit’s leader, Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who was facing life in prison for the massacre, came to an abrupt end this week when he accepted the Pentagon prosecutor’s plea offer. In return for pleading guilty to negligent dereliction of duty, Wuterich was demoted in rank and will have his pay level reduced. Earlier, six other Marines had their charges for their roles in the massacre dropped, and one was acquitted. Those who carried out this known and documented war crime will suffer no real punishment at all.

Even if these individual Marines had been convicted, however, the big shot war criminals—both in and out of uniform—who ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, who authorized and institutionalized torture, secret prisons and targeted assassinations, have never been charged for their crimes.

This is part of an unspoken bipartisan agreement between the two parties of imperialism. Both Republican and Democratic administrations are unofficially immunized for any crime committed in the service of the U.S. global empire.

Exposing Pentagon lies

Iraq was torn apart by the U.S. war of aggression. No one knows for certain how many Iraqis perished, but it is minimally in the hundreds of thousands, and probably well over 1 million. Many more suffered grievous wounds. More than 5 million became internal and external refugees. A whole generation of Iraqi children suffered the trauma of living through a decade of war. Every family faced the fear and terror of simply driving up to a U.S.-staffed checkpoint in their own city or town. The rules of engagement for nervous U.S. soldiers was “shoot first, ask questions later.” After all, U.S. casualties inflamed anti-war sentiment at home, while Iraqi casualties were not even a brief media blip.

U.S. crimes in Iraq are being whitewashed inside the United States. Not only were Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld shielded from prosecution by the Obama administration, but the semi-official narrative of the war can only be described as an example of falsification and national chauvinism.

When President Obama spoke to announce the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq in December 2011, he chose to speak at the military base in Fort Bragg to thousands of assembled soldiers. The speech was widely publicized and his version of history was designed to reach into homes throughout the United States.

He paid tribute to the suffering of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but did not say anything about the Haditha massacre, the destruction of the city of Fallujah, the torture and humiliation at Abu Ghraib prison, or the multiple other episodes that are permanently imprinted on the consciousness of the Iraqi people. That comes as no surprise. But President Obama’s speech did not include even one word about the suffering of Iraqis from the war.

He said, “We know too well the heavy cost of this war. More than 1.5 million Americans have served in Iraq—1.5 million. Over 30,000 Americans have been wounded, and those are only the wounds that show. Nearly 4,500 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice—including 202 fallen heroes from here at Fort Bragg—202. So today, we pause to say a prayer for all those families who have lost their loved ones, for they are part of our broader American family. We grieve with them.”

The attempt to omit from history the pain and suffering—as well as the heroic resistance—of the Iraqi people must be challenged and contested. This falsified history is a prescription for promoting national chauvinism in the broader population. Such consciousness is useful for the Pentagon and the Military-Industrial Complex as they continue the era of endless imperialist war. We need to tell the truth about Iraq and expose the lies of the Pentagon.

Instead of endless war and occupation on behalf of capitalism and imperialism, we promote a program of international solidarity. Millions of people in the United States recognize that the war and occupation are great crimes. They support the demand that Iraq be paid reparations by the U.S. government for the wanton acts of death and destruction inflicted by the invading forces.

Also read: The Logic of War Crimes in a Criminal War, written by Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard in 2006.

The ANSWER Coalition is organizing every day all over the country against war, racism and economic injustice. Please make an urgently needed donation now to support this critical work.

 

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Soldiers Speak Our on Memorial Day: Remember Sgt. Kirkland! May 30, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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No

more deaths from Wall Street’s wars!’

In
their own words
SSG
Kevin Baker

Our
lives do not matter to the officers and politicians in charge. Those who mocked
Kirkland, and the doctors who neglected him still go unpunished. They are going
on with their lives while Kirkland’s family is without their loved one. But
Kirkland’s case is not isolated. The abusive behavior that is thrown onto us is
organic to the military; it is organic because this military fights for a lie.
We in March Forward! will fight for justice for Kirkland and all other soldiers
with PTSD, but we will also fight to make sure no more of us are traumatized in
the first place by being sent to these wars based on lies. I demand justice for
Kirkland and an immediate end to these wars for profit.

SPC
Joseph Chroniger

My
good friend Derrick Kirkland was deployed to Iraq and was going through more
than just a difficult time. He was found in his room in Iraq with a shotgun in
his mouth about to pull the trigger. Derrick was sent home, and attempted
suicide on that day as well. Upon reaching Fort Lewis he was hospitalized, and
almost immediately cleared for active duty. When he reported to rear detachment
he was met with more hatred than malcontent. There where numerous people in the
room when he was humiliated and basically beat down emotionally. Not three days
later Derrick hung himself in the barracks room that he was given by himself.
Let me repeat: my suicidal friend was give a room in the barracks to himself.
There are many more instances of what I would call more that misconduct that I
have witnessed while in the service of this Battalion, and want to speak out. I
demand justice for Kirkland and his family.

SPC
Andrew Bussy

There
is a serious problem with the US Army medical care system. The problem is not
with financial coverage, as most any visit to the doctor is paid for, but with
the quality of care and of the many stigmas which are attached to seeking
treatment. Physicians prescribe medicines which only mask the symptoms, but if a
condition is not immediately life-threatening it goes unaddressed until it
worsens. Sadly, when a suicidal soldier’s situation “worsens,” he is dead; When
a soldier with a spinal injury “worsens,” he is irrevocably paralyzed. These are
the end results when our only goal for wounded soldiers is to get them back to
work. I demand justice for Kirkland and all wounded soldiers.

SPC
Cary Ellis

Our
Chain of Command made fun of Kirkland in front of everyone, saying “he can’t
take it” and was “a horrible soldier.” They never cared or attempted to help,
they put him in a room by himself. Regulation states that if a soldier attempts
suicide he should have a roommate, but they said it was just him “wanting
attention” and “there’s nothing wrong.” They wanted to clear him and send him
back to duty. I demand justice for Kirkland and accountability for those
responsible for his death.

Anonymous
Staff Sergeant

I’ve
been deployed to Iraq three times, once with Kirkland. Shortly after I came back
from my first tour I was diagnosed with PTSD, sleeping disorder and night
horrors. All the doctor did was give me three different medications, one for
each symptom. After more deployments, all they did was gave me pills of all
colors. I demand justice for Kirkland, and I demand that nobody else be put
through what we’ve been through.

The following is a statement from veterans and
active-duty troops in the organization March
Forward!
, an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition.

On Memorial Day, we are asked to remember those who
have died in Washington’s wars. Of course, we’re only asked to remember the
lives of U.S. troops; the lives of civilians killed in the current wars are
supposed to not exist. As veterans, we know the human toll all too well, and
cannot forget the more than one million innocent Iraqis, and the tens of
thousands of Afghans, including an entire home just obliterated yesterday by
NATO that killed ten children–cut from life before it had even begun.

In the United States, there are many families who
will be mourning a loved one this Memorial Day: over 6,000 U.S. troops have been
killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past ten years. That number is climbing by
the day as casualties hit record numbers in the hopeless Afghanistan war, and
troops continue to be killed in the “ended” Iraq war.

Donate
today to March Forward! Support a movement of anti-war veterans and service
members.

But what this government doesn’t want us to remember
is the record number of troops who have lost their lives to suicide. They, too,
are victims of the U.S. military’s wars. Over the past two years, more
active-duty troops have killed themselves than have been killed in combat.
Outside the military, veterans commit suicide at a rate of 18 per day.

This epidemic is the result of criminally negligent
mental health care from the U.S. military and Veterans Affairs—but no matter how
much the mental health care system is improved, it doesn’t stop the constant
flow of thousands of young people who are sent to be traumatized in the first
place in two imperial wars. A recent study found that now 80 percent of soldiers
and Marines have witnessed a friend killed or wounded in combat. Morale is down
the drain.

Under these conditions, the wave of suicides can only
get worse.

Active-duty troops are standing up and fighting back.
This Memorial Day, let’s remember those killed by the U.S. government’s actions,
and honor those who are memorializing a fellow soldier by speaking out and
fighting to punish those responsible for his death.

Sgt. Derrick Kirkland, from 4-9 Infantry at Fort
Lewis, Wash., deployed to Iraq twice. He was rated a “low risk” for suicide
after three consecutive suicide attempts, was publicly ridiculed for seeking
help by his superiors, then placed in a barracks room alone in violation of Army
regulations. Days later he killed himself, on March 19, 2010.

Kirkland’s mother, Mary Corkhill, told March
Forward!: “the Army has massively failed him … I am very angry at the Army and I
feel they killed my son.”

Click
here to read the powerful interview with Sgt. Kirkland’s mother.

March Forward! members in 4-9 Infantry immediately
sprung into action upon his death to expose those responsible. They have been
heroically organizing and speaking out. They are still working today to expose
Sgt. Kirkland’s case and the criminal treatment given to all troops, and to
organize against the wars.

You can help their voices be heard by signing their
petition and circulating their statements widely.

Click
here to sign the petition demanding justice for Sgt. Kirkland.

Help build the campaign to win justice for Sgt.
Kirkland, to hold the government accountable for their mistreatment of
traumatised soldiers, and to end the wars!

For more on the Kirkland
campaign:

Click
to read the original statement March Forward! members circulated in the barracks
after Kirkland’s death.

Click
to read a speech given on the anniversary of Kirkland’s death.

Click
to read the interview with Kirkland’s mother.

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No New Korean War! November 29, 2010

Posted by rogerhollander in Asia, War, Foreign Policy, North/South Korea.
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Answer Coalition, November 26, 2010

The Obama administration and its South Korean client government led by the rabidly anti-communist President Kim Myung-bak are blaming the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) for the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

But in reality the crisis there is the result of a policy of deliberate provocation by the U.S. and South Korea over the past several months. These provocations are targeting both the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China, countries where the often-concealed but very real aim of U.S. leaders — Democrats and Republicans alike – is “regime change.” They could also lead to a new Korean war, one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.

While hypocritically calling for “calm” in words, Washington is escalating the crisis by its actions. A U.S. naval group led by the nuclear “super-carrier” USS George Washington is on its way to carry out joint military maneuvers with South Korean warships in the Yellow Sea, menacing both China and the DPRK. By moving this huge aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea the Pentagon and White House are sending a direct, threatening message of escalation since China considers these waters to be part of its sovereign territory.

On November 24, an unnamed “senior administration official” confirmed that the U.S. is escalating pressure on China: “China clearly does not like to see U.S aircraft carriers, for example, in the Yellow Sea.” (NY Times, Nov. 25, 2010)

What’s needed to resolve the crisis

The DPRK wants direct talks with the United States, a formal Peace Treaty ending the Korean War, and a normalization of relations with the United States. This seemed like a realizable goal in the last months of the Bill Clinton administration in 1999 and 2000. George W. Bush scuttled these efforts shortly after taking office in 2001. The Obama administration continued this policy with new sanctions and endless war games simulating the invasion and bombing of North Korea.

The anti-war movement and all progressive people and organizations should stand against any new war, and demand an end to the U.S.-South Korean provocations.

In the latest incident, the North and South Korean armies exchanged artillery fire on November 23. Two South Korean soldiers and two civilians were reported killed and others wounded. Casualties on the North Korean side have not been reported. As in all such previous incidents, U.S. and South Korean leaders condemned the DPRK. But, as even a close reading of the universally anti-North corporate media here reveals, the first shells were fired by the South during military exercises staged in a disputed sea area close to the west coast of North Korea.

The North Korean government stated that it was “reacting to the military provocation of the puppet group with a prompt powerful physical strike,” and accused Seoul of starting the skirmish with its “reckless military provocation as firing dozens of shells inside the territorial waters of the” North.

The roots of the crisis

The western sea border between the North and South is not recognized as legitimate by the DPRK. It was unilaterally created by the United States, using the mantle of the United Nations as a fig leaf and cover for its actions, at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.S. and allied forces fought the DPRK under the UN flag, slaughtering millions of Korean people and leveling the northern half of the country by massive bombing. That war further divided a historically unified society into competing states. While an armistice was signed in July 1953, the U.S. has refused the demands of the DPRK to sign a Peace Treaty formally bringing the war to an end.U.S.

“War Games” = Preparation for Real War

In recent years there have been at least three clashes in the same area as the November 23 incident. The DPRK had repeatedly warned South Korea against carrying out the latest “war games” the area. In fact, the term “war games” is a misnomer — these maneuvers should correctly be called dress rehearsals for war. No one knows, moreover, whether any particular military exercises is practice or the real thing, until it is over and done with. This is especially true when the “war games” take place in extremely close proximity to an enemy state.

The U.S. and South Korea annually stage such exercises close to both China and the DPRK. The latest and largest joint drills were held this past summer despite strong protests from both the PRC and DPRK. Those “games,” labeled “Invincible Spirit,” included a simulated invasion of the North.

China’s defense ministry especially objected to the presence of a U.S. aircraft carrier close to its coast. In typical arrogant fashion, a U.S. Defense Department spokesperson responded: “Where we exercise, when we exercise, with whom and how, using what assets and so forth, are determinations made by the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, by the United States government.” (Agence France Presse, July 15, 2010)

Imagine for a moment the reaction in Washington if the Chinese navy announced that it was planning to hold similar maneuvers right off-shore of New York or Los Angeles.

The Number 1 Provocation – U.S. Military Presence

The biggest provocation of all is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons in the region. In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. The U.S. has provided high tech weaponry of all kinds to Taiwan. Trident submarines, each of which can launch hundreds of nuclear warheads, and nuclear-armed aircraft carriers prowl the eastern Pacific round-the-clock.

This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country. It and the tens of billions of dollars it burns up every year is justified to the people here as being for “defensive purposes.” But that is just another Big Lie.

The real purpose of this monstrous military machine is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.

Pentagon blows up thousands of homes in Afghanistan November 19, 2010

Posted by rogerhollander in Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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Repeating the horrors of the Vietnam War

By Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition National Coordinator

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Father and child in Afghanistan near soldier

Borrowing a page from its infamous “pacification” effort in South Vietnam, where peasant villages were napalmed and burned to the ground to “save them from the communists,” the Obama-ordered surge in Afghanistan has been secretly blowing up thousands of homes and leveling portions of the Afghan countryside.

As tens of thousands of U.S. troops have surged into southern Afghanistan, villagers have fled. Then the Petraeus-led occupation forces have determined which homes will be destroyed.

“In Arghandab District, for instance, every one of the 40 homes in the village of Khosrow was flattened by a salvo of 25 missiles, according to the district governor, Shah Muhammed Ahmadi, who estimated that 120 to 130 houses had been demolished in his district,” reported the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2010.

The Pentagon asserts that they must destroy the homes because some of them may have explosive devices inside.

The Pentagon’s murderous rampage and terror campaign 40 years ago against South Vietnamese villages, in areas that were considered sympathetic to the resistance forces, used much of the same kind of explanation. In fact, the New York Times in a throw back to Vietnam quotes the Arghandab District Governor, who is working with the occupation forces: “We had to destroy them to make them safe.”

That this tactic is part of a high-tech terror campaign against Afghan villages and the people who inhabit them is evident even by the descriptions and accounts of western media outlets that are supporting the war.

Again, from the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2010, which describes weapons as tools:

“American troops are using an impressive array of tools not only to demolish homes, but also to eliminate tree lines where insurgents could hide, blow up outbuildings, flatten agricultural walls, and carve new “military roads,” because existing ones are so heavily mined, according to journalists embedded in the area recently.

“One of the most fearsome tools is the Miclic, the M58 Mine-Clearing Line Charge, a chain of explosives tied to a rocket, which upon impact destroys everything in a swath 30 feet wide and 325 feet long. The Himars missile system, a pod of 13-foot rockets carrying 200-pound warheads, has also been used frequently for demolition work.

“Often, new military roads go right through farms and compounds, cutting a route that will keep soldiers safe from roadside bombs. In Zhare District alone, the 101st Airborne’s Second Brigade has lost 30 soldiers since last June, mostly to such bombs.”

Activists at the organization Afghanistan Rights Monitor described the destroyed homes. “These are all mud houses, quite humble houses.”

When Gen. David Petraeus describes his counter-insurgency strategy, he always puts in a few diplomatic words about the need of surging troops to win the “hearts and minds” of the people in Afghanistan’s poverty stricken villages. That is purely for public consumption—a message echoed endlessly by the complicit corporate-owned media and the politicians of both parties that serves as a mask for the Pentagon’s campaign of systematic terror employed to subdue an occupied people.

On Dec. 16, 2010, anti-war veterans and people of conscience will stand up in a dramatic action in opposition to the terror campaign waged from the White House and Pentagon. Join us in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16 and be part of history.


Join the U.S. veteran-led civil resistance to the wars
Take a Stand for Peace
December 16 ● Washington, D.C. ● The White House
Gather at Lafayette Park at 10am

Peace on Earth flyer 300In 1932, during the depths of the Depression, WWI veterans descended on Washington, D.C., to demand their promised bonuses. General Douglas MacArthur and his sidekick Dwight Eisenhower burned their encampment down and drove the vets out of town at bayonet point.

We are today’s bonus marchers, and we’ve come to claim our bonus—PEACE. Join activist veterans marching in solidarity to the White House, refusing to move, demanding an end to U.S. wars, whether waged by occupation troops, drones, or proxy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Palestine.

Not Another Day! Not Another Dollar! Not Another Life!

Mr. Obama: End These Wars!
Not tomorrow. Not next year. Now!

Endorsed by: Veterans For Peace, ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Fellowship of Reconciliation, March Forward!, Peace of the Action, United National Antiwar Committee, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World Can’t Wait

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A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
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ANSWER Coalition responds to President Obama’s speech on Iraq September 1, 2010

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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It is necessary to separate fact from fiction regarding the announcement by the Obama administration that it is removing “combat brigades” from Iraq.

This is not the time for progressive people to pat themselves on the back, claim “victory” and pretend that the U.S. government is pursuing a different policy than that which was carried out by the previous administration.

Today’s announcement that renames the 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is nothing more than the rebranding of the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq that began with the criminal invasion of the country by hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces on March 20, 2003. Let’s remember, the goal of the Bush administration, too, was not to keep a certain number of U.S. troops in Iraq forever, but instead to exercise U.S. domination over the country and the region.

The Obama administration has maintained the principal military and civilian leaders from the Bush administration. The withdrawal of some combat brigades from Iraq is essentially a redeployment exercise so that tens of thousands more U.S. troops can be sent to Afghanistan.

Since Bush left office, and contrary to the deep desire of the masses of people who constituted the electoral base for President Obama’s November 2008 victory, the U.S. military machine has grown, not diminished. The U.S. military budget has actually increased, not decreased.

The ongoing occupation of Iraq, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, the increasing threats against Iran, and the enduring U.S.-Israeli war directed against the Palestinian people are all clear indicators that U.S. foreign policy and its military strategy are premised on the pursuit and maintenance of Empire regardless of whether the Democrats or the Republicans occupy the White House.

When he delivered his major address in Cairo on June 4, 2009, President Obama described the war in Iraq as a “war of choice.” That is simply popular vernacular for a war of aggression. The reality of his position, however, was revealed today when President Obama actually called George W. Bush to confer with him in advance of tonight’s address on Iraq. Tonight, President Obama took the occasion to salute Bush as a “patriot” with “love of country and commitment to our security.” George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials in the Bush administration should be indicted and prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq has shredded Iraqi sovereignty and “succeeded” in killing as many as 1 million Iraqis. The invasion and ongoing occupation has succeeded in ripping apart a once-united country. It is the U.S. invasion that stoked a sectarian civil war. It was a deliberate and conscious policy by the U.S. occupation forces to organize, finance and arm Iraqis along ethno-sectarian lines in order to weaken the nationwide resistance of the people against foreign occupation.

The thousands of organizers and volunteers who have worked with the ANSWER Coalition in organizing mass protests and nearly daily activities in cities throughout the country for the past nine years believe that the U.S. should end all of its foreign occupations, and that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan must have the right of self determination.

The struggle for jobs, social justice, equality and freedom at home cannot be separated from the international struggle against empire, colonialism and war. Last Saturday, Glenn Beck and the forces of right-wing racism tried to hijack the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the millions of people who fought, organized—including for some going to jail and giving their life—in the struggle against racism at home and war abroad. We must take note of the fact that the forces of right-wing racism and militarism are mobilizing throughout the country. Their demagogic attacks against the Obama administration are nothing more than a cover for their real agenda.

We in the ANSWER Coalition believe that it is imperative that all those in the anti-war movement, labor and civil rights movements and others come together in a massive mobilization on Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C., for jobs, peace and justice. Only the mobilization of the people, and not the politicians, can radically change the political climate. When we march together on Oct. 2, we must raise high the banners of “U.S. out of Iraq now,” “End the occupation of Afghanistan Now” and “Money for jobs, schools, health care and housing, not war and occupation.”

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