Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Call for Emergency "Day After" Protest if US Attacks Syria

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism

On the day after an attack, gather at Westlake (4th and Pine) at 5 pm.

Confirm date by visiting the upcoming events page or call 206-568-1661

Washington is on the march toward yet another war of aggression in the Middle East, this time targeting Syria. In the event of U.S. military strikes against Syria, the ANSWER Coalition is calling on organizations and individuals to take to the streets in opposition to what would be a destructive and criminal war by the U.S. government.Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the American people are clearly opposed to U.S. intervention, the signs all point to war. In a recent Reuters poll, only 9 percent favored direct U.S. military intervention, and 89 percent opposed arming the Syrian opposition. But the tiny elite clique who really run the country are completely discounting the will of the people, making a mockery of their so-called "democracy."
The U.S. 6th Fleet has deployed war ships to the eastern Mediterranean and is threatening to launch missile and air strikes against Syria. Not only are the White House and Pentagon openly threatening direct intervention, they are also moving to further arm the Syrian opposition. A U.S./NATO attack on Syria could well lead to a wider, regional war with grave and unpredictable consequences.
A staged provocation: a pretext for war
The pretext for attacking Syria is the allegation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons last week in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, just after a UN team had arrived in the country to investigate an earlier alleged use of chemical weapons. President Obama declared over a year ago that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would cross a "red line," triggering U.S. military action.
The idea that the Syrian government would launch a chemical weapons attack exactly at the moment when the UN team was in the country investigating chemical weapons defies all logic.
In a sign of their total disregard for the truth, the United States government has declared, in advance of any actual investigation, that the Syrian government is guilty of using chemical weapons. U.S. officials have stated that the United Nations weapons inspection team, which is today at the site near Damascus where hundreds of people died last week, is "too late." In other words, the United States, along with Britain and France - the former colonizers of the region - have decided to use chemical weapons as an excuse to go to war.
We must remember the Iraq War in 2003, where "overwhelming evidence of weapons of mass destruction" was used as the pretext for a war that killed hundreds of thousands and tore Iraq apart. No such weapons were ever found.
If in fact chemical weapons were used in Syria last week, the far greater likelihood is that it was a staged provocation by the opposition to invite U.S./NATO intervention in order to save their weakening military position in the conflict. We have no reason to trust the U.S. government's version of what happened. This is the same government that has routinely lied and deceived the American people on many issues, as was recently revealed by Edward Snowden's leaks related to NSA spying.
U.S. foreign policy is not one of benign humanitarian concern, but one of Empire. Washington's goal is control of the entire oil-rich and strategic Middle East region. To achieve this aim, U.S. leaders - Democrats and Republicans alike - have worked to destroy independent governments and popular movements in the region for more than six decades.
For the people of the United States, fighting against a U.S. intervention in Syria is of paramount importance to prevent the spread of war and destruction. The ANSWER Coalition is calling on all those opposed to this brutal war drive to take action against any U.S. attack on Syria! A broad coalition of organizations worked together in June and July 2013 for days of action opposing the U.S. role in Syria. We expect that the actions in the coming days and weeks will be of a similar unified character.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Obama Set for Holy Tomahawk War" -- Pepe Escobar


The prospects remain grim. Damn another coalition of the willing; Washington already has the British and French poodles in the bag, and full support - in air-con safety - from the democratic Gulf Cooperation Council petro-monarchies, minion Jordan and nuclear power Israel. This is what passes for ''international community'' in the newspeak age. 

The Brits are already heavily spinning that no UN Security Council resolution is needed; who cares if we do Iraq 2.0? For the War Party, the fact that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said Syrian ''rebels'' could not promote US interests seems to be irrelevant. 

Washington already has what it takes for the Holy Tomahawks to start flying; 384 of them are already positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean. B-1 bombers can be deployed from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. And bunker-busting bombs will certainly be part of the picture. 

What happens next requires concentric crystal balls - from Tomahawks to a barrage of air strikes to Special Ops commandos on the ground to a sustained air campaign lasting months. In his long interview to Izvestia, Assad gives the impression he thinks Obama is bluffing. 

What's certain is that Syria won't be a ''piece of cake'' like Libya; even depleted on all fronts, Gaddafi resisted for eight long months after NATO started its humanitarian bombing. Syria has a weary but still strong army of 200,000; loads of Soviet and Russian weapons; very good antiaircraft systems; and full support from asymmetrical warfare experts Iran and Hezbollah. Not to mention Russia, which just needs to forward a few S-300 air defense batteries and relay solid intelligence. 

So get used to how international relations work in the age of newspeak. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's army in Egypt can kill hundreds of his own people who were protesting against a military coup. Washington couldn't care less - as in the coup that is not a coup and the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath. 

No one knows for sure what exactly happened in the chemical weapons saga near Damascus. But that's the pretext for yet another American war - just a few days before a Group of 20 summit hosted by Putin in St Petersburg. Holy Tomahawk! R2A, here we go. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Israel, Anti-Semitism, and Negotiations Without End -- Real News' Paul Jay Interviews Max Blumenthal

More at The Real News

All four videos are good, but this last one is excellent on what is currently underway with the Kerry talks, etc.  Max is also very good in answering Paul Jay's question about anti-semitism (or as Max points out, the lack thereof) in the Palestinian solidarity movement.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Michael Munk's Blog of Movement to Free Bradley Manning

A movement has begun to persuade Obama to pardon or commute. Manning’s sentence to time served (Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence before he went to jail) The 
Center for Constitutional Rights says:
We must channel our outrage and continue building political pressure for Manning’s freedom. President Obama should pardon Bradley Manning, and if he refuses, a presidential pardon must be an election issue in 2016.

'Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society'

Common Dreams, August 21, 2013
The following is a rush transcript by Common Dreams of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday following the announcement of his 35-year prison sentence by a military court:
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war.  We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on aManning invoked that late Howard Zinn, quoting, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."ny traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country.  It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing.  It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity.  We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians.  Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture.  We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government.  And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power.  When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few.  I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States.  It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people.  When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.  I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Visit my website

Seattle Marks Beginning of Campaign to Pardon Hero Bradley Manning, 8/21/13

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rally for Bradley Manning Pardon -- Seattle, Westlake Park, 5 pm, Wednesday, August 21

Seattle:  Supporters of Bradley Manning to Protest Prison Sentence5 pm Westlake Park on Wednesday, August 21
Supporters of Army whistle-blower Pfc. Bradley Manning will rally in downtown Seattle on Wednesdaythe day of his sentencing by a military judge at Fort Meade, Maryland.  Judge Col. Denise Lind has announced that she will read his sentence on Wednesday, probably in the morning. The 5 pm rally at Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in downtown Seattle, is being organized by Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace.  It will be followed by a march to Capitol Hill.
While a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq in 2009-10, Pfc. Manning witnessed war crimes, rampant corruption, and covert abuse.  He exposed what he saw by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic files to the transparency website WikiLeaks.
Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row. Last week more than 100,000 signatures in support of his 2013 nomination were delivered to the Nobel committee in Norway.

The US Army has held Bradley Manning in prison for over three years prior to his court martial, including over nine months in solitary confinement.  The abusive conditions of his confinement have been condemned by Amnesty International and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. 
This week Army prosecutors asked the military judge, Col. Denise Lind, to sentence Pfc. Manning to 60 years in prison.  Col. Lind has found Manning to be guilty of 20 of the 22 counts with which he was charged, including violations of the 1917 Espionage Act.

“Bradley Manning stands convicted of doing his duty under the plain wording of international law: to report war crimes that he had knowledge of,” said Anton Black, Bradley Manning Support Coordinator for Veterans For Peace #92 in Seattle.  “His chain of command refused to investigate the 'war porn' contained in records they possessed when he pointed this out.”

In early 2010, Manning gave Wikileaks a copy of an Army video that showed US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians in Baghdad from an Apache helicopter.  The video, dubbed “Collateral Murder” by Wikileaks, has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
“The U.S. government has a proven track record of not reporting or prosecuting war crimes it orders and its forces carry out,” said Anton Black of Veterans For Peace.  “Cover-up and minimal prosecution after being reported by whistle blowers is the norm.  No one has been prosecuted for officially ordered torture.  The fact that the invasion of Iraq was based upon bald-faced lies and is therefor illegal has never been officially addressed.  No one has been prosecuted for the crimes Bradley revealed.  Instead, the whistle-blower is being prosecuted.”

"This has not been a trial - this has been a witch hunt,” said Devin McDonnell, a young Seattle activist.  “I am outraged that the Army wants to put someone in prison for 60 years for obeying their own code of conduct and reporting war crimes.  We must stand up for Bradley Manning, for freedom of the press, and for the value of what he did for the world by showing us the truth."
Gerry Condon, a member of the national Board of Directors of Veterans For Peace who attended Bradley Manning's court martial, will speak at the 5 pm rally at Westlake Park.  “The government wants to know everything about us – they have stolen our privacy,” said Condon.  “But they don't want us to know what they are doing in our name and with our tax dollars.  Bradley Manning should be freed immediately.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network is calling for President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning.

For more information, go to  and

Monday, August 19, 2013

Roger Waters Writes to His Colleagues in Rock and Roll about BDS for Palestine

To My Colleagues in Rock and Roll
Nigel Kennedy the virtuoso British violinist and violist, at The Recent Promenade Concerts at The Albert Hall in London, mentioned that Israel is apartheid. Nothing unusual there you might think, then one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement. Baroness Deech produced not one shred of evidence to support her claim and yet the BBC, non political, supposedly, acting solely on Baroness Deech’s say so, suddenly went all 1984 on us. Well!! Time to stick my head above the parapet again, alongside my brother, Nigel Kennedy, where it belongs. And by the way, Nigel, great respect man. So here follows a letter last re-drafted in July.
25th July 2013 To My Colleagues in Rock and Roll.
In the wake of the tragic shooting to death of un-armed teenager Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer Zimmerman, yesterday, Stevie Wonder spoke at a gig declaring that he will not perform in the State of Florida until that State repeals its “Stand your ground” Law. In effect he has declared a boycott on grounds of conscience. I applaud his position, and stand with him, it has brought back to me a statement I made in a letter I wrote last February 14th, to which I have referred but have never published.
The time has come, so here it is.
This letter has been simmering on the back burner of my conscience and consciousness for some time.
It is seven years since I joined BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) a non violent movement to oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. The aim of BDS is to bring international attention to these Israeli policies, and hopefully, to help bring them to an end. All the people of the region deserve better than this.
To cut to the chase, Israel has been found guilty, independently, by international human rights organizations, UN officials, and the International Court of Justice, of serious breaches of international law. These include, and I will name only two;
  1. The Crime of Apartheid: The systematic oppression of one ethnic group by another. On 9 March 2012, for instance, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to end its racist policies and laws that contravene the prohibition against racial segregation and apartheid.
  2. The Crime of Ethnic Cleansing: The forcible removable of indigenous peoples from their rightful land in order to settle an occupying population. For example, in East Jerusalem non Jewish families are routinely physically evicted from their homes to make way for Jewish occupants.
There are others.
Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments, or the United Nations Security Council to put pressure on Israel to cease these violations, and make reparations to the victims, it falls to civil society and conscientious citizens of the world, to dust off our consciences, shoulder our responsibilities, and act. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel, to shed light on these problems and also to support all our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end all forms of Israeli oppression and who wish to live in peace, justice, equality and freedom.
I am writing to you all now because of two recent events.
1) Stevie Wonder. Word came to me, the first week of last December that Stevie Wonder had been booked to headline at a gala dinner for the Friends of The Israeli Defence Force in LA on 6th December 2012. An event to raise money for the Israeli armed forces, as if the $4,300,000,000 that we the US tax payers give them each year were not enough? This came right after The Israeli defence Force had concluded yet another war on Gaza, (Operation Pillar of Defence), according to human rights watch, committing war crimes against the besieged 1.6 million Palestinians there.
Anyway, I wrote to Stevie to try to persuade him to cancel. My letter ran along these lines, “Would you have felt OK performing at the Policeman’s Ball in Johannesburg the night after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 or in Birmingham Alabama, to raise money for the Law Enforcement officers, who clubbed, tear gassed and water cannoned those children trying to integrate in 1963?” Archbishop Desmond Tutu also wrote an impassioned plea to Stevie, and 3,000 others appended their names to a petition. Stevie, to his great credit, cancelled!
2) Earlier that week I delivered a speech at The United Nations. If you are interested you can find this speech on you tube.
The interesting thing about these two stories is that there was NOT ONE mention of either story in the mainstream media in the United States.
The clear inference would be that the media in the USA is not interested in the predicament of the Palestinian people, or for that matter the predicament of the Israeli people. We can only hope they may become interested as they eventually did in the politics of apartheid South Africa.
Back in the days of Apartheid South Africa at first it was a trickle of artists that refused to play there, a trickle that exercised a cultural boycott, then it became a stream, then a river then a torrent and then a flood. (Remember Steve van Zant, Bruce and all the others? “We will not Play in Sun City?”) Why? Because, like the UN and the International Courts of Justice they understood that Apartheid is wrong.
The sports community joined the battle, no one would go and play cricket or rugby in South Africa, and eventually the political community joined in as well. We all as a global, musical, sporting and political community raised our voices as one and the apartheid regime in South Africa fell.
Maybe we are at the tipping point now with Israel and Palestine. These are good people both and they deserve a just solution to their predicament. Each and every one of them deserves freedom, justice and equal rights. Just recently the ANC, the ruling party of South Africa, has endorsed BDS. We are nearly there. Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.
Roger Waters

Sunday, August 18, 2013

#StandbyGraemeD -- Graeme Dunstan on Trial for Disarming Helicopter Gunship, Rockhampton, Australia

How to support Graeme Dunstan, who disarmed a helicopter in Australia when U.S. was having war games there:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reminder: Vigil for a FREE PALESTINE! Saturday August 17, 12-2PM, Near Westlake Park, 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 August 17, Noon-2pm
Amin Odeh
"Stand up for what is right,even if you are standing alone"

Friday, August 09, 2013

Free Leonard, Say the Irish!

Today, Gael Force Art placed a gigantic display of protest on Black Mountain in Belfast for long time activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Well done !  LPDOC (Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Bolivians Rally in Support of Bradley Manning! I am in awe!

Reminder: Vigil for a FREE PALESTINE! Saturday August 3, 12-2PM @ Westlake Park, 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 August 3, Noon-2pm
Amin Odeh
"Stand up for what is right,even if you are standing alone"