Archive for February, 2009

Action on March 19 in NYC and Around the Country

February 27, 2009

I plan to take action on  March 19th to end US aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I will be joining others and the World Can’t Wait on March 19th, the 6th anniversary of the US “shock & awe” assault on Iraq which led to the illegitimate, unjust, immoral occupation, has killed a million people, and destroyed a country in one of the oldest inhabited areas of the world, destroying not only its infrastructure, but priceless human treasures.

We will meet at 1pm at Union Square, all who can come are urged to leave work or school to join in this demonstration. 

Then at 5:00 PM, we converge at Times Square Recruitment Center, 43rd and Broadway for the afterwork rush hour. 

Obama is keeping his promises to escalate the war in Afghanistan and to leave US military presence in Iraq indefinitely.  He continues the Bush regime double speak that has left many Americans feeling that he has broken his promise, but actually he always did promise to do exactly what he is doing. 

These actions on March 19th are part of a nation wide effort to stop US aggression.  There are probably peace actions in your area as well.  I urge you to join with others on this dreadful annivesary and to demand the end of US aggression. 

One place to find information is at worldcantwait.org which is one organization planning actions in several major cities. 

There is a big organization meeting in New York on March 5th, 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Community Church, 40 East 35th Street (between Park and Madison). 

There is also a plan for a march on the Pentagon on the 21st.  I will not be there personally, but information for people who can be is at the worldcantwait.org site. 

US Weapons Used in Attack On Gaza

February 25, 2009

Barbara sent this:

“Amnesty International researchers came across many US made white phosphorus artillery carrier shells, and fragments of other US produced weapons, throughout Gaza. We consider the repeated use of white phosphorus in densely-populated civilian areas a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime. Since 2001, the USA has been by far the major supplier of conventional arms to Israel, including government to government as well as private commercial sales. In addition to this trade, the USA has provided large funding each year for Israel to procure arms despite US legislation that restricts such aid to consistently gross human rights violators. Call for a US government investigation into Israel’s potential misuse of US made weapons in Gaza.”  Read more here.  There is also a form for requesting action from Clinton.

US_shells.jpg   White Phosphorous carrier shells

Much US foreign aid, through the Merida and Colombia projects as well as to Israel, is really our tax money spent on weapons and military structure.  Obama voted for Merida.  Clinton gets a lot of support from US arms dealers.  What can we do to stop this use of our tax money?  I signed the Amnesty International petition, but if anyone has other ideas, please let us all know.

International Commission of Jurists: US has led in serious erosion of human rights.

February 17, 2009

On the front page of Le Monde on Monday, February 16, 2009, I found this account.

The International Commission of Jurists, a non governmental organization based in Geneva that includes a number of well known professionals in international law, published on Monday, January 16, 2009, a critique of the breaches of human rights and of the important international texts on human rights committed by various nations in the fight against terrorist.  During a three year inquiry, nine judges, including Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and ex-commissioner for human rights at the United Nations, met victims of anti-terrorism as well as representatives of associations and governments in more than forty countries.

The result is alarming.  According to the report, several measures adopted by various countries since the attacks of September 11, 2001 “are illegal as well as counter productive” with regard to international law, and the “breaches of human rights are much more serious than had been imagined.”   The committee asserts that the juridical procedures that existed before that date were sufficient to counter terrorism.  According to the committee, several states, including some in the West, did not hesitate to renounce “the responsibilities they had taken on in the context of international treaties,” notably in overturning “the interdiction against torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, forced disappearance, and the guarantee of due process.”

The United States are, in this regard, widely criticized for the prison at Guatanamo and the use of torture.  But the committee underlines the contradictions among the democratic nations which “participate today in the erosion of international law (…) by making themselves complicit in violations perpetrated by other states or in displaying tolerance in their regard.”  Basing their arguments on several historic examples such as that of Northern Ireland, the committee tried to show that the implementation of specific judicial and police procedures, in spite of international law, is often a bad solution because it heightens “community tensions” and “the recruitment of armed groups.”

Read the report here.
For myself, I have started writing to Obama every day.  I wish I though it were going to have some effect, but at least it is something I can do.  I will also participate in events on March 19th, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Torture and Wars Go On

February 7, 2009

Here is a link to an article in the Guardian about the continuing torture in Guantanamo.  It says in part:

Lieutenant-Colonel Yvonne Bradley, an American military lawyer, will step through the grand entrance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London tomorrow and demand the release of her client – a British resident who claims he was repeatedly tortured at the behest of US intelligence officials – from Guantánamo Bay. Bradley will also request the disclosure of 42 secret documents that allegedly chronicle not only how Binyam Mohamed was tortured, but may also corroborate claims that Britain was complicit in his treatment.

But first, Bradley, a US military attorney for 20 years, will reveal that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a “critical list”, according to Bradley.

Mohamed, who is suffering dramatic weight loss after a month-long hunger strike, has told Bradley, 45, that he is “very scared” of being attacked by guards, after witnessing a savage beating for a detainee who refused to be strapped down and have a feeding tube forced into his mouth. It is the first account Bradley has personally received of a detainee being physically assaulted in Guantánamo.

Read the rest here.

The bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan go on with more civilian deaths, many of them women and children.  John Pilger reports:

On 22 January, the day he described Afghanistan and Pakistan as “the central front in our enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism”, 22 Afghan civilians died beneath Obama’s bombs in a hamlet populated mainly by shepherds and which, by all accounts, had not laid eyes on the Taliban. Women and children were among the dead, which is normal.   Read the rest here.

I have stood on the street and cried, “No more torture, no more war.”  They go on.  What can those of us who are horrified of this do that we have not done?  Who has ideas that work about how to stop this?

What Can We Do Now To Stop US Aggression?

February 1, 2009

The name of this blog is Dance for Peace.  Peace is the focus.  The change of regime in the US has not meant, nor did the new leader say he intended, peace.  Since being installed, Obama has ordered bombings that have killed innocent civilians.

syrian_civiliandeaths.jpg

Civilian deaths from US bombing in Syria

Here is a part of what Robert Fisk says about us in the Independent in an article titled When Did We Stop Caring About Civilian Deaths During Wartime?:

“I’m not sure where all this started. No one doubts that the Second World War was a bloodbath of titanic proportions, but after that conflict we put in place all kinds of laws to protect human beings. The International Red Cross protocols, the United Nations – along with the all-powerful Security Council and the much ridiculed General Assembly – and the European Union were created to end large-scale conflict. And yes, I know there was Korea (under a UN flag!) and then there was Vietnam, but after the US withdrawal from Saigon, there was a sense that “we” didn’t do wars any more. Foreigners could commit atrocities en masse – Cambodia comes to mind – but we superior Westerners were exempt. We didn’t behave like that. Low-intensity warfare in Northern Ireland, perhaps. And the Israeli-Arab conflict would grind away. But there was a feeling that My Lai had been put behind us. Civilians were once again sacred in the West.

“I’m not sure when the change came. Was it Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the Sabra and Chatila massacre by Israel’s allies of 1,700 Palestinian civilians? (Gaza just missed that record.) Israel claimed (as usual) to be fighting “our” “war against terror” but the Israeli army is not what it’s cracked up to be and massacres (Qana comes to mind in 1996 and the children of Marwahine in 2006) seem to come attached to it. And of course, there’s the little matter of the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988 which we enthusiastically supported with weapons to both sides, and the Syrian slaughter of thousands of civilians at Hama and…

No, I rather think it was the 1991 Gulf War. Our television lads and lasses played it for all it was worth – it was the first war that had “theme” music to go with the pictures – and when US troops simply smothered alive thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches, we learned about it later and didn’t care much, and even when the Americans ignored Red Cross rules to mark mass graves, they got away with it. There were women in some of these graves – I saw British soldiers burying them. And I remember driving up to Mutla ridge to show a Red Cross delegate where I had seen a mass grave dug by the Americans, and he looked at the plastic poppy an American had presumably left there and said: ‘Something has happened.'”

Read the rest of Fisk’s remarks here.

civilian_damage.jpg

Gaza, death and destruction paid for in part by US

Some of us do care about civilian deaths, and combatants’ deaths in useless wars of aggression as well.  Some of us will continue to resist aggression regardless of who sits in the US White House.

What ideas do you have for how to stop US aggression now?