In Washington, a rally was held at Lafayette Park on the north side of the White House. The rally was followed by a march that made stops at Halliburton, the Washington Post, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Veterans Administration.
Organizers said it was the largest demonstration to date opposing the Barack Obama administration’s decision to expand the war in Afghanistan with tens of thousands more U.S. occupation troops.
AP quotes Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan spoke, wondering if "the honeymoon was over with that war criminal in the White House," while Ralph Nader felt the only difference demonstrated between Bush and Barack was "Obama's speeches are better." Narayan Lakshman (The Hindu) adds, "While the protest drew a smaller crowd than the tens of thousands who marched during the final years of the Bush administration, the ANSWER coalition, the main organiser, said momentum was building due to disenchantment with President Obama's troop surge decision for Afghanistan. Other participating groups included Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the National Council of Arab Americans and activists such as Ralph Nader and Cindy Sheehan." Russia Today offers video of the DC protests. David Rosenberg (The KPFA Evening News) reported, "At least eight people, including activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested by US Park Police at the end of the march after laying coffins at the fence outside the White House." Yesterday this press release was issued:
Joshua Smith: 817 751 5890 (National Operation’s Director, Peace of the Action)
Cindy Sheehan: 707 301 6177
March 20th, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Monday, March 15th, Camp OUT NOW, a Peace Camp erected by US Citizens on the lawn of the Washington Monument, was denied by the National Park Service its legal rights (based on National Park Service regulation 7.96) to erect temporary tents.
According to case law, tents are able to be erected as long as there is no sleeping—the Park Service forced the campers to take down the tents Monday afternoon immediately after they were set-up.
“On the 7th anniversary of an illegal war that has killed over a million people and in the shadow of the government that commits crimes on a daily basis, we will claim our legal rights to establishment an anti-war camp, and we expect to do so unmolested by law enforcement,” said Cindy Sheehan, National Director of Peace of the Action.
Peace of the Action is inviting all concerned citizens to join us at Camp this evening to help us fight the arbitrary enforcement of national law.
The action will take place Saturday night, March 20th beginning at 8pm.
CINDY SHEEHAN IS THE MOTHER OF SPC. CASEY SHEEHAN WHO WAS KILLED IN IRAQ ON 04 APRIL 2004. SHE IS THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF PEACE OF THE ACTION AND THE AUTHOR OF FIVE BOOKS AND HOST OF HER OWN RADIO SHOW: CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX.
In San Francisco, the protest I attended, you could follow the pink road, follow the pink road. I'm referring to a large ground banner which was pink and asked: "Where is our change? Where is our hope?" People began gathering for the rally a little before 11:30 in the morning (you could tell it was about to start as about 20 visible police officers were joined by 16 additional visible police officers just arriving) and, approximately an hour later, the march began ending a little after two o'clock. Chants included "Hey, hey, hey, ho/ The occupation has got to go!" and "Money for jobs and education! Not for wars and occupations!" Signs called out the occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and drew links to where the US money went and where it didn't. I saw no signs regarding Columbia but I probably missed them. A speaker, Cristina Gutierrez, spoke on the issue and "even under the so-called liberal Obama administration, they still call our freedom fighters 'terrorists' regardless of whether they are in Columbia or Palestine." She gave a powerful speech on how change has not come, with a wide range of supporting evidence including that it is Barack's administration that continues to imprison Lynne Stewart and has "taken over 7 of the 12 military bases in Columbia."
Cristina Gutierrez: We are hear to ask you to stop your government from destroying the aspirations of the people of the world for justice and freedom. We are hear not to ask you not to raise money for us not to commit solidarity with our people but we are here to ask you stop the military budget, to stop the wars and to demand that the money be spent on education, creating jobs, housing and health care of all in this country.
It was a large group -- especially considering that there were demonstrations all over California (Los Angeles and San Diego being only two others). The people were diverse -- in terms of race and ethnicity, economic classification and age. Among the speakers were Daniel Ellsberg.
Daniel Ellsberg: . . . 40 years ago, 41 years ago, in 1969, there was a group and a movement called the moratorium. And they called it the moratorium rather than call it a "general strike" because that seemed too inflamatory. But what it was was, like today, demonstrations all over the country being counted not just in one city. There was 75,000 in indeed in San Francisco, 100,000 in New York. But here were ten here, twenty there, a thousand there, all over the country adding up to 2 million. And the difference was that it was on a weekday. They took off for the day for this so it really was a general strike. They thought it had no effect. They were wrong, the people who ran that and the people who took part in it. Nixon had threatened the North, through Russia and China, that he was going to escalate on November 3, 1969. He was threatening and planning to use nuclear weapons. And, also, as well, to invade Laos and Cambodia, North Vietnam, hit the dikes, hit Hai Phong, All the things that he did do later in the invasion of North Vietnam.
Ellsberg called for more actions like the ones today across the US and a general strike to send the message to DC that we can't "afford one or two trillion dollars away from our infrastructure, our education and our health to kill people".
KPFA's Evening News' report features some of A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Richard Becker's speech. Some of it may be included in the Monday snapshot but, for the above, I thought it was better to offer things that were not covered by their broadcast.
Violence continued in Iraq today. Reuters notes a Baghdad minibus bombing left five people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing injured five Iraqi soliders, a second Mosul roadside bombing injured two Iraqi soldiers and a Mosul grenade attack injured one police officer.
Intifada Palestine is back up and Dr. Alan Saborsky has just concluded a multi-part series there. And we'll close with this from Ludwig Watzal's "Destroying World Order"(Australia.to):
The so-called "war on terror" in Afghanistan and the controversial invasion of Iraq under international law for the Americans brought a surprising result: the world sees the U.S. as one of the greatest threats to world peace, as the EU and the BBC polls . demonstrate The intervention of the United States has brought the region of the Near and Middle East has been no peace, only chaos, misery and instability. Iraq was a playground for international terrorism. But what seems more serious, is the questioning of established international law and destabilize the international system as a whole. Despite the platitude that since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 "has changed everything," said Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law at the University of Illinois in Champaign, that the imperialist orientation of U.S. foreign policy since the founding of the United States has remained the same.
After reading the book, one wonders whether the list of "rogue states" do not need to be supplemented. For the author, the U.S. is the "rogue elephant of International Relations." Boyle argued in the nine chapters of the book entirely legalistic, in the tradition of his country, is ranked in the "Rule of Law" on a par with "God, motherhood and apple pie." His arguments against the various U.S. administrations are legally convincing, although there are many counter-arguments to all his assertions. The author vigorously defends all minorities and their human rights. He served on the board of Amnesty International and others was legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating delegation, Haidar Abdel-Shafi in 1991 to 1993 in Washington. His commitment to the rights of the Palestinians is particularly pronounced, which has significantly contributed to his "outsider" within the scientific community in the U.S.. However, this is understood not as a flaw, but as a distinction.
The intention of the author is to demonstrate that violate the U.S. government under Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George WH Bush Sr., Bill Clinton and especially George W. Bush Jr., the law and human rights of smaller states at will. So the U.S. had interpreted their "right to self defense" always very excessive. The Reagan administration tried to "Caroline Case" of 1837 to justify their retaliation in the Gulf region, Lebanon, Libya, and against international terrorism. At that time, Secretary of State Daniel Webster argued that the self-defense measures should be applied only in extreme emergencies when no other means were available to more and no possibility of negotiating more be given. This definition was also the War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg in 1945 net as it passes judgment Nazi criminals.
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