KATHY KELLY: Pakistan needs help on a much larger scale. The U.S. has pledged 100 million dollars toward relief efforts. Two other disclosures about money budgeted for Pakistan should be considered in light of the unbearable burdens borne by close to two million new refugees.
Category: July 2009
DeFazio Explains Why He Voted for More War Funds
CONGRESSMAN PETER DEFAZIO: Thank you for contacting me about the 2009 Iraq/Afghanistan Defense Supplemental Appropriations bill. This bill provides $96.7 billion, 87% of which would be to cover costs relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the rest of this fiscal year. I voted for these funds because I chose to give President Obama time to implement his Afghanistan strategy and withdraw troops from Iraq. But it was not an easy decision.
Response to DeFazio on the Supplemental
REBECCA GRIFFIN: Here in Oregon, it’s instructive to look at Rep. Peter DeFazio’s letter to his constituents explaining his decision to vote in favor of more than $90 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. DeFazio is reliably progressive on foreign policy, and is likely to be an ally if we can address the concerns he and other members of Congress have about Afghanistan policy.
Are We Facing a Worse Economic Hit?
PETER BERGEL: In the past half year we have come to realize that our economic system is a lot more vulnerable than we thought, and that economic threats can come from directions most of us had never considered. While our government obsesses about terrorists of the Al Qaeda variety, we have recently been shown that an economic terrorist can attack us right where we live without firing a shot or awakening the retaliatory frenzy that 9-11 unleashed. Once again, we see that, as a nation, we are incapable of recognizing the real threats to our national security. Only threats that can be met by military force are deemed worthy of our attention. When a threat does get our attention, we respond with a “War on”Â something â€” drugs, terror, poverty, hunger â€” although that military approach has been shown over and over to be ineffective and even counter-productive.
Afghanistan: the March of Folly Continues
NORMAN SOLOMON: To understand what’s up with President Obama as he escalates the war in Afghanistan, there may be no better place to look than a book published 25 years ago.
What are our Fireworks Celebrating?
KEN McCORMACK: The Fourth of July is when “We, the people,Ã¢â‚¬Â light up the sky with conspicuous consumption â€” blowing up millions of dollars because it’s pretty. Sometimes, it seems as though we are indeed only killer apes, as the anthropologist said, whose salient feature is a love of things that go “bang.”Â But the founders thought differently. They aimed their fireworks at bad government, at the “system” that enslaves the rest of us. So what are we celebrating? The trillions of our dollars transferred to the Power Elite in order to save their country?
President Obama: Change Your Afghanistan Plans
CHARLES BUSCH: The purpose of this letter is to ask you to change the plans you have announced for increasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
Army Chief of Staff Wants to Keep U.S. Combat Troops in Iraq for 10 More Years
TOM ANDREWS: Comments on May 27th by Army Chief of Staff General George Casey that the Pentagon needs to begin planning to leave U.S. combat troops in Iraq for another decade stand in direct conflict with the current Status of Forces Agreement between our two countries, the stated policy of President Obama and the wishes of an overwhelming majority of American and Iraqi citizens.
Why Would Anyone Oppose Torture?
DAVID SWANSON: Someone recently asked if I could please explain to him why anybody would oppose torture. After all, we defend killing in wars, so why not defend torture? Wouldn’t I torture to save my kidnapped child?
Wexler: We’re on the Road to Stopping Torture
CONGRESSMAN ROBERT WEXLER: On May 14th, I participated in Judiciary Committee hearings where Attorney General Eric Holder said definitively: “If somebody was tortured to death, clearly a crime would have occurred.” My confidence in our Justice Department and American justice system was redeemed today while watching and listening to Attorney General Holder. There is now no doubt we are on the proper road toward re-establishing a nation that protects our citizens and respects human rights.
Response to Senator Merkley
PETER BERGEL: I am deeply distressed to see no mention at all of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor any explanation as to why you supported the supplemental request for still more war funding.
Global Military Spending
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, http://www.sipri.org/, (SIPRI) has issued its annual report on global military spending. Worldwide, governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on their armed forces in 2008. The United States accounted for 42 percent of the global arms spending. When will we realize that’s simply too much?
Profile in Courage: Afghanistan’s Malalai Joya
HELAY SAFI: A brave young woman came in the political scenario of Afghanistan. Her speeches about peoples’ basic rights were broadcasted throughout the country. Her passion about helping people and standing for truth was very courageous. Her name was Malalai Joya. Joya was one of the candidates for the National Assembly. She grew up during the Soviet-Afghan war. She was well aware of the problems the country was experiencing at the time.
West Plots to Supplant United Nations with Global NATO
RICK ROZOFF: Ten years ago it first became evident to the world that moves were afoot in major Western capitals to circumvent, subvert and ultimately supplant the United Nations, as the U.N. could not always be counted on to act in strict accordance with the dictates of the United States and its NATO allies. At that time in 1999 the NATO alliance was waging what would become a 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in flagrant contravention of the United Nations and of international law in general.
Native Council Wins Right to Intervene in Yucca Mountain License Application
IAN ZABARTE: NCAC raised three “contentions” in opposition to the licensing of the facility. First, NCAC demonstrated that the lands on which the facility is proposed to be built, remain Shoshone lands. The judges agreed that this is a “viable” legal claim, and this contention is admitted. Decision, page 130. (The judges accepted our argument that the Shoshone claim to the lands is a “cloud” on the United States assertion of title. They did not accept the argument that the Shoshone title is reserved by the Treaty of Ruby Valley. We will continue, therefore, to fight about this with legal arguments.)
The Beltway Bulletin
PHIL CARVER: A good summary of legislation proposed in Congress this year.
How I Want to Discuss Israel/Palestine
PETER MILLER: I don’t subscribe to the notion that “Zionism doesn’t announce itself. It’s a stealth war, on our minds.” I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theory. The opponents of Palestinian rights are well established and out in the open. I don’t want to become like AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and folks on the right who demonize “Islamo-fascists” and look for closet Muslims and anti-Semitism to explain people’s opposition to Israel’s policies. I also don’t want to take the “either you’re with us or you’re against us” approach of the last 8 years. I find that many people respond positively when presented with the human rights argument and information about Israel’s behavior. I want to expose as many people as possible to this discussion without introducing conspiratorial thinking that is a turn off for most people.
Dare We “Dictate” the Terms of Middle East Peace?
MARIAH LEUNG: Regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, we often hear the well-worn statement: “We can’t, and shouldn’t, dictate the terms of peace we don’t live there.” I challenge this assumption.
Pakistan Must Build a Peaceful and Just Social Order
PRITAM K. ROHILA: After years of dilly-dallying, the Pakistan government and the Army have launched an offensive against the extremists in Swat, Buner and Dir. In retaliation, extremists have carried out brazen and well-planned suicide and car-bombing attacks in different parts of Pakistan. They have targeted police and military personnel and installations, prestigious hotels, crowded markets and even religious scholars and mosques.
Afghanistan: Where Empires Go to Die
TOM ENGELHARDT: Excerpt: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦had they not been so blinded by triumphalism, Bush’s people really wouldn’t have needed to know much to avoid catastrophe. This wasn’t atomic science or brain surgery. They needn’t have been experts on Central Asia, or mastered Pashto or Dari, or recalled the history of the anti-Soviet War that had ended barely a decade earlier, or even read the prophetic November 2001 essay in Foreign Affairs magazine, “Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires,” by former CIA station chief in Pakistan Milton Bearden, which concluded: “The United States must proceed with caution — or end up on the ash heap of Afghan history.”
“I’m Pro-Israel and I’m Pro-Palestinian, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Hoping for a Just Peace There”
The title says it all. Excellent short video.
Action: Petition Obama to Halt West Bank Settlements
Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/35Z96. The petition signatures will be published in major Israeli newspapers.
Israeli Palestinian Conflict 101
Find answers to many frequently asked questions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from Jewish Voice for Peace.
Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance Leaders on Trial in Israeli Military Court
An Israeli military court is trying a leader of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance for organizing just that; nonviolent resistance to occupation.
Palestinians File 936 War Crimes Suits in Spanish Court
Palestinian lawyers have prepared 936 lawsuits against Israel over alleged war crimes committed during its three-week offensive against Hamas in Gaza, the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel has reported.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza has recorded the cases, the magazine said, which include alleged incidents of children shot at close range, women burned by white phosphorus shells and entire families buried under their houses.
Illegal Arrests: Getting Beyond Rights
SARAH K. LOOSE: What’s to be done when people’s basic constitutional and human rights are violated by the very folks whose job it is to protect them?
“Civil Liberties Under Obama: Are We Still At Risk?”Â Draws Overflow Crowd
MARK KRAMER: On June 17, an overflow crowd of 100 attended a forum titled “Civil Liberties Under Obama: Are We Still At Risk?” at Portland State University. The event was sponsored by the Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the ACLU of Oregon, Peace and Justice Works, the American Constitution Society, and others. Participants included Steve Wilker (ACLU cooperating attorney), Tom Nelson (NLG attorney litigating against the NSA for warrantless wiretapping), Jo Ann Bowman (Executive Director of Oregon Action and former State Rep, co-host of KBOO FM community radio), Steven Wax (Federal Public Defender – author of Kafka Comes to America, Fighting for Justice in the War on TerrorÃ¢â‚¬Â), Ashlee Albies (NLG attorney litigating against the government over warrantless surveillance) and David Fidanque (Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon).
Charges Against Suu Kyi Spark Outrage
Charges levied by the Myanmar military junta against Aung San Suu Kyi after an uninvited visit by an American man who swam to her house has unleashed a storm of international criticism from human-rights advocates, governments and dignitaries.
Confronting the Bomb Now Available
A new book, Confronting the Bomb — A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement by frequent PeaceWorker contributor Dr. Lawrence S. Wittner is now available from Stanford University Press as part of its Stanford Nuclear Age series.
Baucus Commits Medical Malpractice — Arrests Doctors
Baucus has single-payer advocates arrested and removed, including doctors and nurses.
Activists Protest Drone Warfare
VALERIE SATUREN: Fourteen peace activists were arrested on April 10 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, during a 10-day vigil protesting unmanned aircraft strikes along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Obama Administration Defends Recruiting Children
California voters passed measures F and J last November prohibiting military recruiters from initiating contact with minors. Now the Obama administration is demanding that the law be overturned.
Study Exposes Transport’s Hidden Impact on the Environment
A new study by researchers at the University of California looks beyond the exhaust pipe at the impact of transport on the environment.
Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: Opportunities and Roadblocks
SUSI SNYDER: The final preparatory committee meeting of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended on May 15 with adoption of an agenda for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. This is a positive step towards nuclear weapons abolition. However, the road to a world free of nuclear weapons still has many bumps to overcome, including ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), successful conclusions of a Fissile Materials Treaty (FMT), bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and Russia on a follow-up to the START treaty, regional security arrangements that include nuclear weapons sharing agreements and more.
The News on Nukes
FRIDA BERRIGAN: It’s not on the front pages of what is left of U.S. newspapers. The headlines are dominated by violence in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, by Miss America’s semi-nude photo scandal, and by cyber war-games and coal-fires power plans in China. But just about everyone who is anyone is talking about nuclear weapons this week. (Written May 11, 2009.)
The New Nuclear Math
JOHN LORETZ: Pick a number. Any number. How about 1,500? That’s how many nuclear weapons General Nikolai Solovtsov wants to keep in the Russian arsenal at the conclusion of the next round of START negotiations with the U.S.
ElBaradei: Warning Words on Nuclear Proliferation, Oversight
Outgoing International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed ElBaradei said the current international nuclear regime risked falling apart because of the recent uptick in nuclear proliferation, with new nations developing or threatening to develop nuclear technology. Though
Garten Services Launches Zero Waste Events Project in Salem
Garten Services has begun a new project that will help all your gatherings and events be more sustainable. It’s called Garten’s Zero Waste Events. Formally launched on June 15th with seed grant funding from the Oregon DEQ, Garten’s Zero Waste Events can now help you put sustainability into action by assisting in the reduction of your event’s solid waste impacts to the greatest extent possible.
Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era
JAMES TRIMARCO: A new book by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos, is essential reading for anyone who wants to use new media to organize political activism.
Changes Underway at OPW
The OPW Board has decided to continue to produce a printed PeaceWorker for at least two more quarterly issues (Sept and Dec/Jan), but it will only be available to those willing to pay for it, either by subscribing at $15/year or by making a donation of $15 or more to Oregon PeaceWorks. However, both subscribers and non-subscriber can access every issue (monthly, except August and January) on this website, which will continue to improve over the next few months.
To offer calendar items, post them at www.oregonprogressivenetwork.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org before the 12th of the month for following month’s issue.