Because election fraud only happens overseas or because the New York Times can only see it that way, Steven Lee Myers and C.J. Chivers offer up "Protesters Charge Fraud in Belarus Presidential Vote" in today's paper:
An expected landslide for President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko drew several thousand Belarussians into the streets on Sunday, as protesters ignored swirling snow and official threats of arrest to denounce the election as a clumsily orchestrated sham.
With nearly all votes counted, Mr. Lukashenko, a former collective farm boss who has been in office 12 years, won 82.6 percent of the total, the chief of the Central Election Commission, Lidiya Yermoshina, said Monday morning, according to The Associated Press. That figure exceeded even the state's own surveys of voters leaving the polls.
Early indications that Mr. Lukashenko would be the easy winner had, though, already hardened his opponents' assertions that the results were fraudulent.
Brandon notes Peter Lems' "Three Years of Failed US Policy in Iraq" (Common Dreams):
Three years of war and occupation have failed to bring stability, freedom or sovereignty to Iraq. Instead, they have brought violence, poverty and despair.
More war will not change this stark reality. The city of Baghdad remains a deadly battlefield. Huge U.S. military bases and concrete blast walls have turned roads into twisting and archaic tunnels. An evening curfew remains in effect, and people are terrified of car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations. It is a pattern played out in cities and towns across Iraq.
Promises of security have evaporated with a military occupation unable to restore the most basic of services to pre-war levels, including the delivery of clean water, electricity and heating oil. The chaos threatens Iraq’s historic ethnic and religious mosaic and has forced Iraqis to seek safety in homogenous communities.
As fear of civil war grows, the voices calling for negotiation, compromise, and diplomacy must be heard.
The path to peace in Iraq rests on fulfilling the needs and hopes of the Iraqi people. Personal safety, access to education and jobs are what give stability to a community. Stability and peace will require generous long-term economic aid, compensation for damages caused by this war, and support for genuine Iraqi voices and institutions.
The first steps are removing U.S. troops and bases, and giving up American control of administrative, economic, political, and military structures. While many around the world may see the violence in Iraq as fundamental and inherent, rooted in history or simply incomprehensible, this is not the case. The current violence in Iraq is a direct result of the U.S. invasion and hostile military occupation.
Peace concert today (noted by Rachel):
MARKING 3rd ANNIVERSARY OF INVASION OF IRAQ,
MICHAEL STIPE, RUFUS WAINWRIGHT & CINDY SHEEHAN
TO HEADLINE "BRING 'EM HOME NOW!" CONCERT IN NYC MARCH 20
Bright Eyes, Fischerspooner, Peaches, Chuck D, and Devendra Banhart
Join Stellar Line-Up for Historic Benefit Concert at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom
New York, NY (February 22, 2006) -- A stellar line-up of today's most acclaimed, provocative, and outspoken musicians, including Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, and Bright Eyes will join leading peace activist Cindy Sheehan for an historic New York City concert marking the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on March 20th, concert organizers announced today.
Giving voice to the majority of Americans who now support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, the "Bring ‘Em Home Now! Concert" will also showcase Fischerspooner, Peaches, Chuck D, Steve Earle, and Devendra Banhart, and more artists to be announced in the coming weeks.
The most recent Gallup poll revealed that a majority of Americans oppose the war and believe it was a mistake. At least 2,267 American soldiers have died since the war began three years ago, and more than 16,600 troops have been injured. It is estimated that more than 30,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed.
"From coast to coast, the polls now show that a majority of Americans believe this war was wrong to begin with and even more wrong now," said concert organizer Chris Wangro, co-founder of The Imagine Festival, which presented more than 200 events during the 2004 Republican Convention. "Americans have had enough and are ready for a change. We are proud to have such a great coalition of artists working together to give voice to this new majority and to bring this great country back to a course of sanity."
"It is impossible not to react to the current state of affairs through personal action and artistic production," said Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner. "We are living in volatile times with a constant and vague sense of imminent disaster. We have been at war for 3 years. One desperately feels the need for someone to speak some sort of truth, either poetic or factual."
A who's who of America's leading artists, activists, and thought leaders have also signed on as the concert's "Home Team" Host Committee including Jane Fonda, Tony Kushner, Margaret Cho, Matthew Barney, David LaChapelle, Alec Baldwin, Janeane Garafolo, Gore Vidal, Eve Ensler, Studs Terkel, Ross Bleckner, and Howard Zinn.
In addition to the musical performances, a highlight of the concert will be remarks delivered by Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star Mom who re-ignited efforts to end the war last summer when she held a month-long protest outside of President George W. Bush's ranch. Sheehan's son, Casey, was a U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Organizers said the concert will serve as the kick-off for a national "Bring 'Em Home Now!" speaking tour, sponsored by New Press, which will bring Cindy Sheehan and noted authors to 15 U.S. cities in April, including Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Benefiting Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, two leading national organizations working to end the war in Iraq, the landmark concert will take place at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or 212-307-7171. Ticket prices are $28.00 and $35.00.There is also a special VIP reception hosted by Cindy Sheehan for $150. Doors open at 7pm and the concert kicks-off at 8pm.
Air America Radio will broadcast The Majority Report live from the Hammerstein Ballroom to all of its 46 affiliates nationwide. The show will feature interviews with concert performers and guests.
Bring 'Em Home Now! is produced by Josh Wood and Chris Wangro, in conjunction with NY America (www.nyamerica.org), an organization of artists and producers committed to engaging the public in civic discourse through events that unite the arts, sciences, and humanities. The concert is co-produced by Ina Howard of New Press (www.newpress.org), a not-for-profit publishing house operated editorially in the public interest.
About NY, America: NY, America is an organization of artists and producers committed to engaging the public in civic discourse through events that unite the arts, sciences, and humanities. Our goal is to educate and empower audiences by presenting current issues and ideas through concerts, performances, screenings, forums, exhibits, town meetings and other cultural activities (www.nyamerica.org).
About New Press Established in 1990 as a major alternative to the large, commercial publishers, The New Press is a not-for-profit publishing house operated editorially in the public interest. It is committed to publishing in innovative ways works of educational, cultural, and community value that, despite their intellectual merits, may be deemed insufficiently profitable by commercial publishers. Like the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio as they were originally conceived, The New Press aims to provide ideas and viewpoints under-represented in the mass media. (www.thenewpress.com).
About Iraq Veterans Against the War:
Iraq Veterans Against the War is a group of veterans who have served since September 11th, 2001 including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces. We also believe that the governments that sponsored these wars are indebted to the men and women who were forced to fight them and must give their Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen the benefits that are owed to them upon their return home (www.ivaw.org)
About Veterans For Peace
Veterans for Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, other conflicts and "peacetime" veterans. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary (www.veteransforpeace.org).
Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.
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the new york times
steven lee myers