Monday, May 2, 2011

President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden

Again, analysts see bin Laden's death as the ending of a chapter, not the war.

The death of Osama and the return to reality - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The following passage I thought was particularly well articulated:

The war on terror as sport:

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.

AJ op-ed: bin Laden's death kills the alibi

Analysis: Killing the alibi - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

"But for the Muslim world, bin Laden has already been made irrelevant by the Arab Spring that underlined the meaning of peoples power through peaceful means. "

All this does is remove the face of terror, not the war on terror. Thank you Al Jazeera for speaking for me when corporate news doesn't!

What next after bin Laden death? - In Depth - Al Jazeera English

What next after bin Laden death? - In Depth - Al Jazeera English

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 28, 2011

April 9th Anti-War Rally

Dear Peace Activists,

Please help spread the word! The major national Antiwar Rally in NYC at Union Square, on Saturday, April 9 is less than 2 weeks away. Momentum is building based on the urgency of responding to the new attacks in Libya, no end to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more attacks and threats to Gaza, ugly attacks on Muslims, new attacks on unions and collective bargaining and a new rounds of cutbacks of every possible social program, particularly hitting the Black and immigrant communities and the unemployed.

Back to the Streets!
Rally Against the Wars at Home and Abroad on April 9th (New York City) and April 10th (San Francisco)

Call to Action

And Request for Endorsement

April 9, 2011

New York & San Francisco

from the

United National Antiwar Committee


THEY are the government, corporate, and financial powers that wage war, ravage the environment and the economy and trample on our democratic rights and liberties.


WE are the vast majority of humanity who want peace, a healthy planet and a society that prioritizes human needs, democracy and civil liberties for all.

The Warmakers spend trillions of dollars yearly on endless wars in pursuit of global domination and profit while murdering millions of innocent people, installing corrupt and hated governments and funding occupations that displace millions from their homelands – trampling on the right of oppressed people to self-determination.

THEY send our youth – victims of the economic draft – to fight over the very fossil fuels whose unrestrained use threatens the future of the planet while corrupt and virtually unregulated oil giants dump billions of gallons of death into our rivers and oceans.

THEY wage a fake “war on terrorism” at home – the new McCarthyism – that promotes racism and Islamophobia aimed at destroying civil liberties and democratic rights.

THEY grant repeated and untold trillions in bailouts to banks, corporations and financial institutions while breaking unions, robbing pensions, destroying jobs, foreclosing homes, de-funding education and vital social services and are once again threatening Social Security andMedicare.

THEY offer no solutions to the current crises other than more of the same.

THE PEACEMAKERS DEMAND a better world. Only a massive, united, inclusive and independent movement has the power to bring it into being.

WE DEMAND Bring U.S. Troops, Mercenaries and War Contractors Home Now: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan! End the sanctions and stop the threats of war against the people of Iran, North Korea and Yemen. No to war and plunder of the people of Latin America, the Caribbean,Africa! End U.S. Aid to Israel! End U.S. Support to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and the Siege of Gaza!

WE DEMAND trillions for jobs, education, social services, an end to all foreclosures, quality single-payer healthcare for all, a massive conversion to sustainable and planet-saving energy systems and public transportation and reparations to the victims of U.S. terror at home and abroad.

WE DEMAND an end to FBI raids on antiwar, social justice, and international solidarity activists, an end to the racist persecution and prosecutions that ravage Muslim communities, an end to police terror in Black, Latino and Native American communities, full rights and legality for immigrants and an end to all efforts to repress and punish Wikileaks and its contributors and founders.

WE DEMAND the immediate end to torture, rendition, secret trials, drone bombings and death squads.



All Out April 9, 2011

For more information, go to

Monday, March 21, 2011

So, this weekend VP Nicole and I have been in D.C. for FCNL's Spring Lobby Weekend, hosted by my good friend Matt Southworth, who I met at the Veterans For Peace convention in August.

After 18 exhausting hours of traveling, we dropped our stuff off at Matt's and went straight back out into the streets to protest the war in Afghanistan on the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

Here are some links to coverage of our protests:

Then yesterday, Nicole joined the Code Pinkers for the FREE BRADLEY MANNING rally at Quantico . . . . and she got on CNN!!!!

And then it came out that Col. Ann Wright and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg (two heroes of mine) were victims of police brutality. Here's some awesome footage from No Excuse For

Makes me angry at a few of the policemen's conduct, happy to see a few of them helping Daniel Ellsberg to his feet, proud of my friends and allies, and grateful no-one on either side was seriously hurt.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just a little rant about the media

In preparing for a trip to D.C. to protest the ongoing war in Iraq with FCNL for their Spring Lobby Weekend, my friend and I were talking about it and he mentioned that he was in NYC in 2003 when the Valentine's Day Weekend protests took place there and all over the world.

"Wasn't that the largest worldwide protest of all time?" he asked, looking it up online as he spoke.

"I have no idea," I responded, remembering that I had still been in England when those protests were taking place, and only 13 years old: there was no way I remembered the news coverage of the protests from that time.

And there's the kicker. The American and British media barely covered the protests. What a surprise.

Here's an eloquent summary of the situation from Wilson's Blogmanac: "Grimly determined to invade Iraq and thus secure fossil fuels to drive Western consumerism, the leaders of the 'Free World' plugged their ears when global protests against war on Iraq occurred in more than 600 cities worldwide. Estimates from 10 million - 15 million made this the largest day of protest in the history of humankind ..."

Why is it that these record-breaking protests, clearly a sign of our discontent, are swept away under the carpet, and the media coverage is filled with weapons technology and military analysts talking tactics and strategy as the build-up went on without pause?

Why is it that we have the right to free speech negated by the fact that our own leaders refuse to listen?

I am angry. But I'll be there on March 19, making my voice heard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

About friggin' time!

PayPal Backs Down, Reinstates Account for Supporters of Bradley Manning

(Courtesy of

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

Call for Action in Egypt and UMF Amnesty folks will be tabling in the UMF OLSEN STUDENT CENTER from 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. and in Roberts outside Lincoln Auditorium from 10:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. while a faculty panel takes place.

We will also be at a table in the Student Center from 1:30 - 3 p.m. to get signatures on a petition to the Egyptian authorities calling for them to rein in their security forces and allow for peaceful demonstrations of the Egyptian people, as well as not using disproportionate violence against the demonstrators.


The Honors Program is sponsoring a Faculty Panel to discuss the evolving situation in Egypt.

Panelists include:

Scott Erb, Professor of Political Science

Anne Marie Wolf, Assistant Professor of History

Jonathan Cohen, Professor of Philosophy

Waleck Dalpour, Chair and Professor of Business

Doug Rawlings, Director of Institutional Research and Founding Member, Veterans for Peace

Sarah Maline, Chair and Associate Professor, Art History

Moderated by Mellisa Clawson, Honors Director


Feel free to bring your lunch, and attend all or part of the time. This should be an informative and interesting discussion.

Hope to see you there!



The Prez

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh, the charges were dropped? How shocking. Not.

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 or on facebook.