Sunday, May 02, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

At Peace of the Action, Jon has a post that we're including here in full to help get the word out.

For the first week: July 5th to July 9th we will be concentrating on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle issue around the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and drone manufacturers. Obama has dramatically escalated the use of these weapons since he has been president.

July 12th-16th we will be focusing on counter-recruitment efforts.

July 19th-23rd we will focus our energies on Congress before it recesses for summer break and going back to their home districts to campaign for November elections.

We do have some good POTA news to report. We have a fundraiser on board: Teri Perticone from Berkeley, who is fundraising for no compensation to herself, but for “love,” so let’s give Teri lots of love! Teri can be reached at TeriPerticone@noliesradio.org

We are also wading through many offers from activists who want to volunteer to be our Webmaster.

POTA will continue whether we have Summer Camp OUT NOW, or not. Peace of the Action is an organization dedicated to ending the empire through direct action. We are not interested in symbolic actions or Federal electoral politics.

Even though we are encouraging activist to do actions locally, we must have a strong presence in Washington, DC, too.

We are organizing for Summer Camp, but we need to have a certain number of people signed up to be able to go ahead with Camp.

If you are planning on coming to Summer Camp, please send an email to Cindy Sheehan: Cindy@PeaceoftheAction.org with the dates that you are planning on attending.

If you are planning on scheduling actions in your community, please also email Cindy.

If you would like to donate to help us work for peace, please click on the link.

Please RSVP for Summer Camp by May 10th.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

1) WE NEED YOU TO RSVP BY MAY 10TH–IF WE DON’T GET ENOUGH PEOPLE TO SIGN-UP BY MAY 10TH–WE WILL NOT HOLD SUMMER CAMP.

2) THERE WILL BE NO CAMPING AT CAMP. WE ARE TRYING TO GET PERMITS TO HAVE A CONVERGENCE CAMP, THOUGH–HOUSING WILL PROBABLY BE AVAILABLE AT ST. STEPHEN’S AGAIN.

3) NO ACTIONS ON THE WEEKENDS, UNLESS SOMETHING INTERESTING AND UNEXPECTED COMES UP TO PROTEST.

http://peaceoftheaction.org/give/

Love & Peace
Cindy Sheehan and POTA Team

Cindy@PeaceoftheAction.org


If you're planning on attending, RSVP. They need to know how many people they can count on. Cindy Sheehan continues speaking out against the illegal wars and Project Empire. This Saturday, she'll be taking part in the Socialism Conference at Seattle University (starts at 10:30 a.m. and lasts through six thirty p.m.) and Ralph Nader's 2008 running mate Matt Gonzalez will also be among those participating. The day's events will include a debate between Tea Party activist Keli Carender and Socialist Alternative's Ramy Khalil. If you're able to donate $10, the organizers will happily accept it and use the money to fight the illegal wars; however, they also note that this is a public event and that they will not turn anyone away due to lack of funds.

It's these events that will end the wars. It's not electing Democrats. The Democratic Party proved what a lie 'Elections End Wars!' was. Campaigning during the 2006 mid-terms, they promised if you gave them one house of Congress, control of just one house, they would end the Iraq War. The American people gave them control of both houses of Congress and the Iraq War did not end. They lied to the American people again. They claimed they didn't have enough people in both houses and that they didn't have the White House. But, by golly, if they did, they'd end the Iraq War. They were given all of that in the November 2008 elections and yet still the war continues.

Politicians don't end wars, citizens end wars.


They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4393. Tonight? 4394. is what they say but it's 4395 and yet again ICCC's caught sleeping. As we noted at Third, it does matter. It especially matters when a month ends and a little more people do check to see the figures. If ICCC had it's act together yesterday, it would have updated. In which case, maybe it would be noted in some 'monthly wrap stories' that April saw an increase in the number of US service members killed in Iraq (up one to 9 -- not news? They sure thought it was news when it fell to five).

In Iraq today, the big news is a n attack on college students -- predominantly Christian ones, just outside of Mosul. Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports that at least 1 person died in the bombings and at least seventy were injured and Dagher quotes Jamil Slahuddin Jamil stating, "We were going for our education and they presented us with bombs. I still do not know what they want from Christians." Jamal al-Badrani and Matthew Jones (Reuters) note 10 wounded (citing police sources) and quote Hamdaniya mayor Nissan Karoumi stating, "All of them were Christian students. They go in buses like that to Mosul's university after the troubled times when Christians were targeted in the past."

Thursday, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom issued their [PDF format warning] "Eleventh Annual Report on Religious Freedom in the World" which is 356 pages of text. The report examines religious freedoms in 28 countries and the timeline for the report is April 2009 to March 2010. Iraq falls under the category of "Countries of Particular Concern." From page 76:
FINDINGS: Systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations continue in Iraq. Members of the country's smallest religious minorities still suffer from targeted violence, threats, and intimidation, against which they receive insufficient government protection. Perpetrators of such attacks are rarely identified, investigated, or punished, creating a climate of impunity. The small communities also experience a pattern of official discrimination, marginalization, and neglect. In addition, there continue to be sectarian attacks, often with impunity, and tense relations between Shi'a and Sunni Iraiqs, and other egregious, religiously-motivated violence also continues.
Based on these concerns, USCIRF again recommends in 2010 that Iraq be designated as a "country of particular concern," or CPC.* The Commission recommended that Iraq be designated as a CPC in 2008 and 2009, and placed Iraq on its Watch List in 2007.
The religious freedom situation in Iraq remains grave, particularly for the country's smallest, most vulnerable religious minorities. The violence, forced displacement, discrimination, marginalization, and neglect suffered by members of these groups threaten these ancient communities' very existence in Iraq. These minorities, which include Chaldo-Assyrians and other Christians, Sabean Mandaeans, and Yazidis, continue to experience targeted violence, receive inadequate official protection or justice, and suffer discrimination. Since 2003, many have fled to neighboring countries, where they represent a disproportionately high percentage of registered Iraqi refugees. The diminished numbers remaining in the country are now concentrated in areas in the highly dangerous Nineveh governorate over which the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is seeking to extend its control, and they suffer abuses and discrimination as a result. Although the Iraqi government has publicly condemned violence against these groups, it continues to fall short in investigating the continuing attacks and bringing perpetrators to justice, and its efforts to increase security to minority areas are not adequate. In addition, though greatly reduced from 2006-07 levels, violence between Shi'a and Sunni Iraqis continues. Significant tensions between these groups remain, including tensions due to the ongoing government formation process. Finally, other religiously-motivated violence and abuse continues.
PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS: For Iraq to become a secure, diverse, and stable democracy, the United States must pay greater attention to helping ensure that the human rights of all Iraqis are guaranteed and enforced both in law and practice. With U.S. forces drawing down and a new Iraqi government being formed in the wake of the March 7 elections, the United States should emphasize, with both the new Iraqi government and the KRG, the urgent need to protect vulnerable religious minority communities and ensure them justice. USCIRF also recommends that the U.S. government appoint a special envoy for human rights in Iraq, create an inter-agency task force on Iraqi minority issues, and prioritize funding for projects that foster religious tolerance. [. . .]
IRF offered three pages more of recommendations. We'll focus on what IRF recommended the US government do:
The U.S. goverment should:
* increase assistance, and encourage the Iraqi government and U.S. allies to do likewise, to the UN, humanitarian organizations, host nations, and host communities providing necessary aid to vulnerable Iraqi displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, including funding programs to provide medical care, psychological care, educational opportunities, direct financial assistance, basic needs packages, and information campaigns;
* fund capacity-building programs for the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration to ensure that it can adequately provide assistance and protection to IDPs;
* clearly state that the U.S. government does not encourage the return of Iraqi refugees to Iraq until necessary conditions are met, including security, assistance, legal frameworks, and integration programs;
* encourage and fund information campaigns, including "go and see visits" by religious and/or community leaders selected by the refugees/IDPs themselves, to ensure that displaced Iraqis considering return have the information needed to make informed decisions;
* work with the government of Iraq and international organizations to help the Iraqi government develop a cohesive plan to assist voluntarily returning refugees and IDPs, including addressing property disputes, assistance upon return, livelihood opportunities, and lingering security problems;
* continue to process a significant number of Iraqi refugees for resettlement to the United States, taking into account the continued targeted violence against members of Iraq's smallest, most vulnerable religious minorities and the P2 designation in the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007; and
* ensure that members of Iraq's smallest, most vulnerable religious minorities scheduled to be resettled to the United States are not delayed unnecessarily by providing adequate personnel to conduct background screening procedures and by enforcing proper application of the existing waiver of the material support bar to those forced to provide support to terrorists under duress.
We covered the report in Thursday's snapshot. Margo e-mailed yesterday and noted that there was no link to the report. My apologies. We'll note the report in a snapshot this week and include a link. Ideally, we'll note it in tomorrow's snapshot but, if not, we'll pick it up Tuesday.



New content at Third:


Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes Charlie Kimber's "Greek crisis could be Britain's future" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Greek workers are at the centre of the global battle to decide which class will pay for the economic crisis – workers in Britain would do well to watch the outcome with care

Greek workers are at the centre of the global battle to decide which class will pay for the economic crisis.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) are moving in to police another massive wave of cuts. That is their price for arranging a loan so that the Greek government can fend off the bailiffs for another few months.

And the Greek ruling class is eagerly enforcing the move. Britain is not at the same pitch of crisis yet—but do not rule it out after the election.

Figures last week showed rises in unemployment and inflation in Britain—and anaemic economic growth. Despite this, the main political parties are acting like medieval doctors by prescribing further bloodletting for the ashen patient.

A Financial Times analysis suggested that implementing the cuts implied by both Tory and Labour policies would mean utter devastation for many services (see box below).

Strategies

Greece is an example of such strategies. Its government has to offer interest rates up to 10 percent more than those of other European countries in order to borrow money. This drains money from public services towards the bankers.

If the belief grows that the Greeks will not be able to pay back £6 billion of loans that are due on 19 May, then the instability will become even worse.

It will put at risk several German and French banks that hold large portions of Greek debt. The disease will also spread to Portugal, which has massive debts, and perhaps to Spain.

Financial Times columnist Wolfgang M√ľnchau wrote this week that this “is Europe’s equivalent of the US subprime crisis. Unless we hear some implausibly good news from Athens by Friday, it will soon blow up.”

So most European leaders are prepared to see the EU and IMF advance emergency funds to Greece, although sections oppose the move.

All the leading politicians agree that the assault on wages, jobs and pensions that has already provoked a series of general strikes did not satisfy the bankers. They demand Greek workers must accept still greater cuts.

The IMF’s medicine of “structural adjustment”—loans with conditions such as cuts and privatisation—is spreading from the world’s poorest to the next tier of the poor.

The policies inflicted mainly on the Global South in the 1980s have recently been enforced, disastrously, in Lithuania and Hungary. Now they are to be imposed at the centre of Europe.

But there is also resistance.

Thousands of workers and students marched on the Greek parliament on Thursday of last week beating drums and chanting: “No more illusions, war against the rich.” The protest was part of a strike by public sector workers.

Pensioner Aspasia Aretaki said, “The rich and the corrupt politicians should pay for the crisis, not me.”

On Monday shipping workers struck for 24 hours and on Tuesday Athens public transport workers brought the city to a standstill.

Trade union leaders are half expressing the popular anger, and half holding it back. They are calling strikes, but not on a scale that can match the crisis.

The ADEDY and GSEE union federations have called another general strike for Wednesday of next week. Teachers and media workers will strike for two days next week.

“Opposition to the cuts is increasing since the IMF announcement,” said Panos Garganas of Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Greece. “It is significant that more sections of workers are striking on their own initiative.”

Greek and British workers are engaged in the same process, even if they are at different points along it. We need to organise for the fightback—urgently.

The following should be read alongside this article:
» Bosses' paper reveals what the cuts would mean
» Workers hit by falling pay and rising prices



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sam dagher
the socialist worker