Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Manning Guilty; War Criminals on the Loose" by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times

THE ROVING EYE by Pepe Escobar

In a show trial/kangaroo court with an American twist, worthy of the Cultural Revolution in 1960s China, Bradley Manning was predictably found guilty of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act. 

If only Walter Benjamin were alive to see the Angel of History once again throwing one of his trademark lightning bolts of irony; Manning was pronounced guilty of being a spy - by a Pentagon judge - just next door to Spy Central, the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. 

The prosecution, applying the full force of the US government, derided Manning as a "traitor" - not a whistleblower. Manning indeed betrayed the Pentagon's Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine - detailing how the imperial industrial-military-surveillance complex kills civilians with impunity (as in the "Collateral Murder" video); how the imperial wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were being (mis)conducted; what goes on in the Guantanamo gulag; and how the State Department bullies US satrapies. 

He betrayed the Imperial Masters of the Universe, and as this is not a Marvel Comics summer blockbuster he had to go down. 

US corporate media went on overdrive emphasizing a "balance" narrative - as in imperial benevolence - because Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy. According to the circular logic of the US government, hammered over and over again during the show trial, to publish sensitive information on the Internet means spying (and Manning was found guilty of that). 

So if the enemy accesses this information on the Internet, you are enabling the enemy. Manning being found not guilty of aiding the enemy but mostly guilty of everything else still delivers the chilling message - translated into decades of (military) jail time, possibly well into the 22nd century. As if 11 months in solitary confinement - often kept naked and sleepless - in a 6 x 12 foot windowless cell at Quantico, Virginia, was not torture enough. Ah yes; the United States does not do torture. 

Al-Qaeda wins, on all fronts
The US government went no holds barred to prove that Manning had helped al-Qaeda. Reality - not spin - shows it's the US government that has actually enabled al-Qaeda. 

With Shock and Awe and the invasion, occupation and destruction of the social fabric of Iraq, George W Bush, Dick Cheney and their goodfellas handed out a new base to al-Qaeda on a (bloody) plate. First it was al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by the monster psychopath Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Then somebody had to fight them; thus the Petraeus surge, which consisted of suitcases full of cash for Sunni tribal sheikhs who until then were fighting the Americans. The sheikhs took the money and waited; al-Qaeda dissolved, regrouped and is back in full force. 

And this is where we are now. This Monday the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - the regional al-Qaeda spin-off - killed at least 60 people in 17 bombings all across Iraq. The "carefully selected" targets were all Shi'ites. More than 4,000 people - mostly civilians - have been killed since early 2013, over 900 in July alone. The Interior Ministry in Baghdad correctly describes it as an "open war" unleashed by sectarian jihadis. 

The key point is why this horror cannot possibly be the object of imperial condemnation. For Washington's purposes, a weak, bloody, sectarian-divided Iraq is as useful as a weak, bloody, sectarian-divided Syria; that opens the way to possible (double) balkanization, a not-so-secret wet dream of imperial factions since the first Bush administration. 

Even without (or before) balkanization, Washington does not want a Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad and a mostly Alawite-led government in Damascus; it all reverts to the perennial supreme paranoia of cutting all links to Tehran. So why not leave jihadis to do most of the dirty work? 

A jihadi spokesman even advanced that the so-called "Breaking the Walls" offensive, launched a year ago by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Iraqi branch, was over after the recent notorious jailbreak in Abu Ghraib; now it's time for "the Harvest of the Soldiers", as in enrolling even more jihadis for a Holy War against Baghdad. 

Obviously this new wave of fanatics will cross the (non-existent) desert border from the current Jihad Central in Syria, where mercenaries from at least 60 countries are already wreaking havoc against Syrian civilians via the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and Ansar al-Khalifa. 

Their latest exploit was in Khan al-Assal, in Aleppo province. They slaughtered 150 people, mostly civilians - many executed with a shot in the head and later mutilated and burned. In mid-June, in Hatlah, in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, they killed more than 60 mostly Shi'ite villagers, including women and children. 

Just like in Iraq, none of these massacres were condemned by the US or that bunch of poodles dubbed "the international community". Moreover, for Western corporate/stenography media, this is all about "rebels" fighting an "evil dictator" in the name of "democracy". The House of Saud is busy advancing "democracy" by buying at least US$50 million of heavy weapons from Israel for its own factions; experienced jihadis will certainly lay their hands on them. And more weaponizing (for "good" rebels only) is coming, courtesy of the CIA. 

So who's helping the enemy? The US government destroyed Iraq and enabled al-Qaeda. The US government is enabling al-Qaeda in Syria. Manning may die behind bars. Meanwhile Dubya, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfie - certifiable war criminals - remain at large. If karma applies, the Angel of History may grant them a future in some realm of sub-zoology. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surgeHe has also written Obama does Globalistan
 (Nimble Books, 2009). 

A Million Foreclosure Stories -- Here is one in Seattle.

My partner Doug says my crowd estimate was way off.  He says there were 40 people there.  I stand corrected!  

A few of the 20 or so folks who showed up to defend Jeremy's house from eviction today (7/31/13), on very short notice.

Lauren, Josh and Dorli explain the "surreal" circumstances surrounding their arrest by the king county sheriff.  They had tried to keep him from locking Jeremy out of his house.

Jeremy and people from Safe in Seattle (Josh, Dorli, Lauren & Kshama) who got arrested (and released shortly thereafter) defending his house.  Also included is David Griffith, reporter from KBCS.

Jeremy's house was locked up by the sheriff, after a months-long struggle.   Jeremy got his stuff and has a place to stay, but he has lost his home of eight years.  His story, which includes him trying everything to give the bank his payments, is here:

Safe in Seattle info is here:

Remember, we are all in this together.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

For Helen -- by Paul Lojeski / July 21st, 2013 -- Helen Thomas, the Indomitable One

Like bad news
in a war telegram
word of your
death spread.
The powerful,
the “chosen”
you pissed
off rejoiced,
spitting vile
scorn upon
your indomitable
spirit, a spirit
that defied
their hate
and lies
for decades.
You stood
up to the nationalist
bullies and their
fake histories
and they banished
you for it. No
matter, though:
you knew the truth
of your interior life,
the morality of it.
You will be
in the history
of voices who
cannot be silenced,
recounted by the
future, where truth
shall still live.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"USACBI Commends Mira Nair for Her Support of BDS and Cultural Boycott"

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel salutes Mira Nair for her strong and clear stand with the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, refusing an invitation to the Haifa International Film Festival in line with the cultural boycott of Israel.
Nair Tweeted:
I was just invited to Israel as a guest of honor at the Haifa International Film Festival with “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” (1/5)
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) July 19, 2013
I will not be going to Israel at this time. I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone. (2/5)
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) July 19, 2013

I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when Apartheid is over. (3/5)
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) July 19, 2013
I will go to Israel, soon. (4/5)
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) July 19, 2013

I stand w/ Palestine for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) & the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Mov't. (5/5)
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) July 19, 2013

Mira Nair's strong position comes alongside that of other cultural producers, artists, filmmakers and musicians, including Alice Walker, Ken Loach, John Greyson, Roger Waters, and many others who have proudly honoured the Palestinian call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel until it complies with international law by respecting Palestinian rights, including ending the occupation, the right of return, and full equality for all.
Nair is the director of the new film The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Her films include Salaam Bombay!, The Namesake, Vanity Fair, Monsoon Wedding, and Mississippi Masala. She is the winner of a National Film Award and an Academy Award nominee.
With her declaration of support for BDS and Palestinian rights, Nair is a true award winner for human rights and social justice.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Former Homeland Security Boss's Installation as head of Cal University System Gets Disrupted. Yay!

Vigil for a FREE PALESTINE! Tomorrow (Saturday 7/20), Noon-2pm, West Side of 4th & Pine, Seattle

Join us this Saturday to call for an END to the ISRAELI OCCUPATION of PALESTINE!  
Come join us to demand Justice for the Palestinian People. 
 Where: Westlake 4th & Pine
When: Saturday July 20, 12-2pm
Amin Odeh
"Stand up for what is right,even if you are standing alone"

Seattle Nat'l Lawyers Guild and Other Local Groups Demand Freedom for Lynne Stewart, Ailing Peoples Attorney

For more info on Lynne Stewart's valiant struggle to live on in a prison denying her much-needed medical care, please go here and sign petition for her release:


Australian Anti-war Protesters Arrested Blocking Troop Movements of U.S./Australian Combined War Practice

FOUR protesters who laid down on the road in front of military supply vehicles have been arrested in Rockhampton.


Anti-war protesters briefly blocked the entrance to Camp Rocky as Exercise Talisman Sabre ramps up. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Chris Ison
FOUR peace activists have been arrested blockading the Caroona Street gate of Western Street Barracks, Rockhampton.
Their intention was to disrupt the Talisman Saber war rehearsals by putting their bodies on the road in front of military supply vehicles, activist Graeme Dunstan said.
He said those arrested are Andy Paine, Jim Dowling, David Sprigg  and Robin Taubenfeld, all of Brisbane.
The peace activists planned this morning block the gates of the Rockhampton barracks as a response to the Talisman Saber military training exercises.
Jim Dowling being arrested outside Western Street Barracks in Rockhampton during Talisman Saber 2013.
Jim Dowling being arrested outside Western Street Barracks in Rockhampton during Talisman Saber 2013. Contributed

The Talisman Saber exercises, which involve 18,000 American and 9,000 Australian troops, are a key part of the Australian -US alliance.
The protesters laid down on the road, stopping traffic from moving in and out of the barracks and holding up the military training.
Activist Andy Paine says that the activists are attempting to disrupt the war games, to be active and public in our pursuit of peace.
"Our governments are spending billions of dollars preparing for the next war in this continual cycle, and the American government continues to abuse human rights and crush those who dare to speak up.  Those who believe in peace need to confront the violence of the war machine."
He said while American troops train in Australia for war, former soldier and whistleblower Bradley Manning, is in court facing life in prison for leaking documents that showed American atrocities in Iraq.
Mr Paine said the American government also continues to pursue Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency employee who leaked details of American intelligence activities that include the PRISM program, which enables the NSA to spy on the internet activity of anybody in the world.
He said in Guantanamo Bay, the infamous American offshore military prison, detainees have been on hunger strike for over 160 days.
Mr Paine said over 100 detainees have been on hunger strike, with 45 being medically force-fed. Many of the inmates have been held there for over 10 years without  being charged with any crime.  86 of the 166 prisoners have been cleared for release but are still detained.
The Australian government has been silent about these issues, as it was silent about the torture of Australian citizens David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib inGuantanamo Bay, both of whom were wrongfully imprisoned there.
Mr Paine said the Talisman Saber exercises are a symbol of Australia's unwavering support for America's military endeavours.
Activist Graham Dunstan faces court on August 19 for his role in the disarming of an attack helicopter during Talisman Saber 2011.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rally for Justice for Trayvon Martin, TODAY (Sunday) Westlake Park, Seattle, 6 PM

Today at 6:00 p.m. at Westlake (4th & Pine) there will be a rally for Justice forTrayvon Martin.  At 4:00 p.m. at 24th and Cherry (Horace Mann Building) there will be a 'meeting of the minds' for anyone who would like to help plan and organize the 6:00 p.m. rally or other responses.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Obama Supporters Sign Petition to Repeal the BILL OF RIGHTS

Maybe they think that it is some kind of tax "bill"?!  Stupid Stupid Stupid!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Supporters for Palestine and Edward Snowden Share Streets of Seattle Today #FreePalestine #FreeSnowden

 Set up for Edward Snowden Rally

Educating the public about Palestine and the rotten U.S. gov't support for Israel

Friday, July 05, 2013

WHISTLEBLOWER - feat. Edward Snowden [RAP NEWS 19]

Refusnik -- [New Hope for Us Inadequates]

Reminder: Vigil for a free Palestine! Saturday July 6th, noon-2PM @ Westlake

Please join us this Saturday to call for an END to the ISRAELI OCCUPATION of PALESTINE!  
Come join us to demand Justice and Equal rights for the Palestinian People. 
 Where: Westlake 4th&Pine
When: Saturday July 6, 12-2pm
Amin Odeh
"Stand up for what is right,even if you are standing alone"

Thursday, July 04, 2013 = See Our Drones and the People They Kill

Dronestream from Josh Begley on Vimeo.

Prisoner Support Rally, Monday, July 8, Noon -1 pm, 5th & James, Seattle

What:   Picket and noise demonstration at King County Jail in Seattle. Bring signs, pots, pans, banners, cameras, and friends.  Hundreds of postcards will be on hand for a mail avalanche to the Green Hill  superintendent.

Where:  King County Jail,  500 5th Ave.  at 5th and James, Seattle.  (Metro #3,4 is easiest bus to the site)

When:  Monday, July 8, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm 

Why:   To show solidarity with prisoners in California, Guantanamo, and elsewhere around the country, but especially with the juvenile prison at Chehalis, WA. The noise & the message will be heard by inmates in the Seattle jail. The group photo taken will be circulated to prisoners in Washington, showing them they have outside support. The postcards collected will go to the warden at Green Hill.  Please come help and create the beginning of the end of inhumane incarceration.


1. BAN THE BOX: Stop branding felons as criminals for life. Stop discrimination against felons for Pell Grants, food stamps, welfare, public housing, or job applications. If the box on job applications denies
 us real work, how can we make money legally?

2. TREATMENT PROGRAMS: Bring sex offender treatment back to JRA/DOC beyond the ART/DBT programs. Make a reduction to sex offender treatment payments on parole to affordable prices. This applies as well to drug and alcohol treatment payments.

3. EDUCATION: Provide relevant and specialized educational programs to all residents even after they have graduated from High School. These could include cosmetology, music/multimedia production, library access, law training, culinary arts, and more. There are plenty of rooms that are currently not being used for anything but storage. They should be used.

4. LEGAL ACCESS: Access to updated legal material, updated each yer. This should include: A well-stocked law library in the school available to all, updated regularly. Books and resources available at anytime. Access to
internet sites with relevant legal material available at all times. Access to resources detailing available legal counsel. Copies of JRA/DOC employee policy handbooks in every single wing for residents to read. These must be updated each year.

5. WAGES: All residents must be paid minimum wage for all positions. Residents should be free to organize their jobs without punishment. New jobs should be created that provide real technical training. Change the
13th amendment allowing prison slaery!

5. TRANSITIONAL HELP: Provide free clothing upon exiting any facility (DOC/JRA). These clothes must be brand new. We need guaranteed housing 3 months before leaving a facility. JRA and DOC need to help provide jobs or
 training to every exiting resident and help provide treatment programs.
This needs to extend to parolees.

6. PHONE CALLS & VISITATION: Increase time limit for calls to 15 minutes. These phones must be fixed and functional. Visitation and phone calls should be available for more than just family and mentors.

7. HEALTH: Surgeries must be provided by JRA and DOC immediately even if not an emergency situation. If a surgery is needed, it must be provided in at most 3 months time. Showers must be available each day. If parents can provide aids such as glasses they should be allowed inside instead of relying on state supplies.

8. FOOD: Residents should have input on the menu within reason. Current portions need to be doubled as they are currently too small. Religious and vegetarian/vegan diets must be respected.

9. SPENDING PRIVILEGES: Food and hygiene materials must be more readily available from outside of the facility. The current limits on how much we can spend are too small, and should be expanded to over $40.

10. FREEDOM OF SPEECH: The 1st amendment must be respected in JRA/DOC facilities. We have a right to speak our mind and express ourselves with whatever language we choose as long it does not threaten others. We must also be free to organize without punishment.