Monday, May 2, 2011
Almost ten years later, a chapter in US, indeed, global history, has been closed with the killing of Osama bin Laden. But as the intense protests against the building of a Muslim community centre near Ground Zero last year indicate, the legacy of the attacks will haunt society in the US for years to come.
It's hard to fault President Obama for his remarks announcing bin Laden's killing. There was no smugness or cockiness, as President Bush was wont to display whenever he boasted of successes real or imagined. But the thousands of people who gathered outside the White House and around Ground Zero in New York had a much more Bush-like mood; one that indicates just how removed so many of us have become from the realities of not only the original attacks, but all that has happened since.
Network coverage showed people driving around with US flags on their cars, the way sports fans do on the day of the big game. People were chanting "USA! USA!" like they did when the US beat the Soviet Union in that famous hockey game at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. In New York, scores of young people, most too young to have experienced 9/11 in any meaningful way, sang the words to 1969 hit "Na Na Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye," which has also become ubiquitous at sporting events whenever victory for the home team is near.
Commentators and celebrants alike were comparing the festive gathering of citizens to the end of conflict in World War Two, which produced such memorable celebrations on the streets of New York. But victory in the "War on Terror" is not near, not least because the war was never primarily about terrorism.
Instead, the Bush administration used the excuse of al-Qaeda's attacks to radically reshape the political economy of the United States towards the kind of military-petroleum-finance-led system that Obama has found almost impossible to challenge - much to the detriment of the transformative agenda with which he entered office.
As damaging as both the erosion of our constitutional freedoms, which in many cases the president has actually affirmed since taking office - and as Obama alluded to during his speech - the erosion of the sense of unity that every country needs to prosper in good times, and to rebuild a sense of purpose and vision in the wake of tragedy and violence.
Here is - as per usual - some great coverage from Al Jazeera.
If you don't already get your news here, you should.
I don't think bin Laden's death is going to do anything to end - or slow down - the War on Terror. It's a war on a CONCEPT, not a person. The wars won't end just because this one figurehead died - there will always be someone for us to hate and fight against. Al Qaeda's a different animal now than it was in 2001, and I don't think the cheering crowds on Sunday night quite realize that.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
PayPal Backs Down, Reinstates Account for Supporters of Bradley Manning(Courtesy of www.bradleymanning.org)
Apparently reacting to enormous backlash from supporters and criticism from the media, PayPal has reinstated the account of Courage to Resist, an organization which has partnered with the Bradley Manning Support Network to raise funds for the defense of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. The change in account status came only hours after the nonprofit organization published a press release drawing attention to the matter. Over 10,000 people signed the petition hosted by Firedoglake today urging PayPal to reinstate the charitable account, while many more supporters called PayPal directly to voice their criticisms.
Within hours, PayPal responded — reinstating the account so that Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network can continue their work.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Judge Dismisses Cases Against Military Veterans and Anti-war Activists Following December 16th Washington, D.C. Arrests
For more information, contact: Ann Wilcox (202-441-3265)
Tarak Kauff (845-249-9489)
Washington, D.C. – January 4, 2011: Anti-war military veterans and other activists celebrated a breakthrough victory today in DC Superior Court, when charges were dropped, following arrests in front of the White House, on December 16, 2010. Over 131 people were arrested in a major veteran-led protest while participating in non-violent civil resistance in a driving snowstorm. US Park Police charged all 131 protesters with “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” when they refused to move. All remained fixed to the White House fence demanding an end to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further US aggression in the region.
Among those arrested were members of the leadership of the national organizationVeterans for Peace , Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dr. Daniel Ellsberg; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges; former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern; and, Dr. Margaret Flowers, advocate for single-payer health care.
Forty-Two arrested opted to appear in court and go to trial with the first group appearing in DC Superior Court on January 4, 2011. Prosecutors from the DC Attorney General’s office stated that the Government “declined to file charges due to missing or incomplete police paperwork.” Presiding Magistrate Judge Richard Ringell confirmed that the cases were dropped and defendants were free to leave.
Those who participated in this action make this statement:
“This is clearly a victory for opposition to undeclared wars which are illegal under international law, have led to the destruction of societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, bled the US Treasury in a time of recession, and caused human rights violations against civilians and combatants. Many of us will return to Washington, DC, to support an action on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 to protest the continued use of Guantanamo detention facility, including torture of detainees in violation of international law.”
The defendants were represented by co-counsels Ann Wilcox, Esq. and Mark Goldstone, Esq. Ms. Wilcox stated: “clearly the Government and Police felt that these veterans and their supporters acted with the courage of their convictions, and did not wish to spend the time and funds necessary for a trial proceeding. This is a major victory for the peace movement.”
For more information visit www.stopthesewars.org or on facebook.