Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pentagon's Plan For Dirty War
Hideous Kinky

By Chris Floyd

04/28/06 "Moscow Times"

Imagine growing up in a family where every day, father raped daughter, mother tortured son, brother abused brother, sister stole from sister and the whole family murdered neighbors, friends and passing strangers.

Imagine the underlying assumptions about life that you would adopt without question in such an atmosphere, how normal the most hideous depravity would seem.

If some outsider chanced to ask you about your family's latest activities, you would spew out perversions as calmly and unthinkingly as a man giving directions to the post office.

This state of unwitting confession to monstrous crime has been the default mode of the U.S. establishment for many years now. Government officials routinely detail policies that in a healthy atmosphere would shake the nation to its core, stand out like a gaping wound, a rank betrayal of every hope, ideal and sacrifice of generations past. Yet in the degraded sensibility of these times, such confessions go unnoticed, their evil unrecognized -- or even lauded as savvy ploys or noble endeavors.

Inured to moral horror by half a century of outrages committed by the "National Security" complex, the establishment, along with the media and vast swathes of the population, can no longer discern the poison in the air they breathe.

It just seems normal.

And so it was again this week when The Washington Post outlined the Pentagon's plan to put dirty war -- by death squad, snatch squad, secret armies, subversion, torture and terrorism -- at the very heart of America's military philosophy.

Not defense against declared enemies, not deterrence of potential foes, but conducting "continuous" covert military operations in countries "where the United States is not at war" is now the Pentagon's "highest priority," according to the new "campaign plan for the global war on terror" issued by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

What's more, the plan makes it clear that Rumsfeld, far from being politically vulnerable, has in fact been exalted above every other institution and official of the U.S. government, with the exception of the twin tyrants in the White House, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Pentagon warlord has been given carte blanche to send the 53,000 secret soldiers of the Special Operations Command into any nation he pleases, to undertake any mission he pleases, without congressional approval, legal restraint or the authority of the target nation's U.S. ambassador.

Thus America's diplomats, the ostensible representatives of the nation abroad, have been reduced to mere frontmen, pathetic beards for black ops savaging the laws, sovereignty and citizens of their hosts.

The plan is the culmination and codification of an ad hoc array of progams and powers that Bush has doled out to Rumsfeld over the years, including a series of executive orders signed after the 2004 election that essentially turned the world into a "global free-fire zone" for the Pentagon's secret armies and proxy foreign militias, as a top Pentagon official told The New Yorker.

"We're going to be riding with the bad boys," another Bush insider said.

Yet another courtier compared it to the glory days of the Reagan-Bush years: "Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador? We founded them and we financed them. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it."

The overriding ethos of the plan is brutally simple:

"The rules are, 'Grab whom you must. Do what you want,'" an intelligence official told The New Yorker.

Perhaps most ominously, the plan makes copious preparations for expanding the range of the war on terror even further. The trigger for these new actions is another terrorist strike on U.S. soil.

Oddly enough, the Bush faction views such an unspeakable horror as an "opportunity", Pentagon officials told the Post; it would provide a "justification," they said, for hitting already-targeted individuals, groups and states that for various political reasons have not yet been subjected to what Bush likes to call, in his bloodthirsty parlance, "the path of action."

But perhaps this is not so odd. In November 2002, we wrote here of another "opportunistic" endeavor: the Pentagon's plan to foment terrorism by infiltrating terrorist groups and militias and goading them into action -- i.e., committing acts of murder and destruction -- in order to "flush them out" for counterattacks or use them to advance U.S. policy in targeted states, including "justification" for military intervention or occupation.

Perhaps some of Rumsfeld's infiltrators were "riding with the bad boys" who struck in Dahab, Egypt, this week. With unrestricted black ops now ascendant, we can never know for sure. But we do know that each act of terror only enhances the power of the ever-expanding national security complex, entwining it in a mutually beneficial embrace with violent extremists everywhere.

Rumsfeld's "campaign plan" is itself a blueprint for state terrorism, an open license to break any and every law on earth and inflict human suffering on a global scale.

Yet the only controversial aspect of this sinister program noted by the Post was the potential turf battles it might spark within the national security bureaucracy.

Not a single question was raised about the morality or legality of the undertaking; the Pentagon's assertion that only "bad guys" would be hit was simply swallowed whole -- despite the glaring fact that tens of thousands of innocent people have already been killed or falsely imprisoned in the so-called "war on terror."

But this depravity passes without comment, without recognition.
It's just normal, you see.

It's the way we were raised.

Chris Floyd Is an American Journalist -
Visit his website
www.chris-floyd.com

Article found at:
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12867.htm
" The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the "conscience" of the civilized world."

-James Baldwin -
Source: page 489 of COLLECTED ESSAYS (1998), from chapter one of "The Devil Finds Work" (orig. pub. 1976)
Why Europe should reject U.S. market capitalism

By William Pfaff

In the United States, the new model of corporate business has evolved toward a form of crony capitalism, in which business and government interests are often corruptly intermingled, the system resistant to reform because of the financial dependence of both major political parties on contributed money.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/28/opinion/edpfaff.php
Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela
Reject U.S. Trade

Bolivia's president signed a pact with Cuba and Venezuela on Saturday rejecting U.S.-backed free trade and promising a socialist version of regional commerce and cooperation.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1905711


Bolivia Ready to Recover National Resources, Says Evo Morales

In a keynote address, the Bolivian leader noted it is important to free the country's natural resources from foreign domination, assuring that his government is organized and prepared to recover those resources from the oil companies, which have caused great damage to Bolivia.
http://www.periodico26.cu/english/news_cuba/evom042906.htm


April 1965 and the unfinished Dominican Revolution

On April 28, 1965, 42,000 U.S. troops poured into the Dominican Republic to put down the beginnings of a democratic revolution in the Caribbean country. That invasion and the repression that followed continue to shape the Dominican people’s struggle for true sovereignty.
http://tinyurl.com/hp7h8
Failed States:
The US Has the Characteristics of A "Failed State"

By Stephen Lendman

Having laid out his premises, Chomsky believes the US today exhibits the very features we cite as characteristics of "failed states" - a term we use for nations seen as potential threats to our security which may require our intervention against in self-defense.

Click here to read this excellent and timely book review:
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12889.htm
IAEA Finds No Proof of Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program

By Juan Cole
Here is its conclusion, which others will not quote for you at such length. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12877.htm


Turkey Refuses U.S. Request To Allow Attack On Iran From Turkish Base

By YNetNews

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday that his country refused a request from the United States to attack Iran from its Air Force base in Incirlik, despite the U.S. offer of a nuclear reactor, according to a report in Al Biyan. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12887.htm


The Security Council deadline myth

By Gordon Prather

Under a Safeguards Agreement concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency – as required by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – Iran agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to "verify" that no "source or special nuclear materials" are being used in furtherance of a nuclear weapons program.

During the past three years, every report Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has made to the IAEA Board concluded that – as best he can determine – no proscribed materials have been so used. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12879.htm
JOURNOSPEAK . . .
Introducing the first edition of a new
internet mini-newpaper JOURNOSPEAK.

The general theme is the state of society, national and global, light and heavy.

Stories are:
HUNGER AND AIDS (in Africa), based on the first of Canadian Stephen Lewis's Massey Lectures Race Against Time;
ON THE BUSES in Brisbane;
WHAT ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY NOW?
AND ANOTHER THING ... cheeky thoughts on television female supersleuths.


Authors are Ellen Carpenter, former print, radio and television journalist, who has lived in Australia, Japan, Spain, and Portugal and speaks these languages; and Harry Throssell, former social worker in Britain, university lecturer in Brisbane, print journalist and author of Levellers Essays 1998 - 2004.


JOURNOSPEAK can be accessed by logging on to
www.whitepage.com.au/journospeak/

Have a good read,
Harry Throssell
UNHCR VISITS VIETNAM CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

Assistant High Commissioner cautiously optimistic over Montagnard returnee situation in Viet Nam's Central Highlands

PLEIKU, Central Highlands, Viet Nam, Apr 27 (UNHCR)


Running barefoot across peppercorns spread to dry on the baked red earth courtyard of their two-storied wooden house, Siu Hue dashed into the fields to find her father and tell him of unexpected visitors. Minutes later she arrived on a motorbike with her father.

With her baby, the last of six children, slung in a locally-woven piece of material and wrapped to her body, his wife Siu E welcomed the visitors from UNHCR into their home. Her husband spread out extra mats on the spacious floor. Patiently, and in the absence of officials, Roan Juan explained why he had left his home in Viet Nam's Central Highlands and headed to Cambodia.


"I just wanted to go ... but I was very sad in the camps in Cambodia and I missed my family," he told UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Erika Feller. "I came back to take care of my children because no one was taking care of them while I was away."


While he was in Cambodia, his wife looked after their pepper plants and cows on their 0.8-hectare plot of land as well as their five children. "I'm happy he came back," she said.


Roan Juan said he had not suffered any ill-treatment on return and was bemused to hear there had been allegations he had been arrested. "That's not true. I've never heard about that," he said, adding that the local authorities had given him assistance of rice to help him reintegrate.

His comments echoed those of the five other returnees Feller met on her two-day visit criss-crossing Gai Lai district as she assessed first-hand how they were faring, visiting most in their homes, while meeting two others together at a local administration building.


"I asked for, and met a cross-section of returnees – those who voluntarily decided to return, and those who were deported. I also asked to see some cases about which we had received some allegations of mistreatment," said Feller.


"Obviously, I couldn't see everybody, but UNHCR has had 10 monitoring visits to the Central Highlands since the voluntary repatriation of Montagnards started in March last year and we've visited over 64 percent of the returnees and our visits have found nothing that has raised a serious alarm. I also have a positive impression of how things are working on the ground within the framework of the agreement," she added.


Some 190 Montagnards have returned from Cambodia – including 96 voluntary returnees and 94 rejected asylum seekers – after an agreement was signed between Viet Nam, Cambodia and UNHCR in Hanoi in January 2005 to manage the situation of about 750 Montagnards in Cambodia at that time.


Under the agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, the Montagnards could either be resettled or return to Viet Nam. So far 605 have been resettled, mainly to the United States where many have strong ties, while a further 204 Montagnards remain in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

The Montagnards started arriving in Cambodia after April 2004 claiming religious reasons and land grievances as their reason for leaving their country.


However, the returnees visited by Feller all told her they left because they had been promised by outsiders to the village they would get money if they went to Cambodia and that they were looking for a better life.


"I was told I'd have money if I went to Cambodia. I heard that in the village," said one man who was deported back from Cambodia on 20 July 2005. "I went because other people said I'd have a better life in Cambodia. I didn't know what that would be, but just that it would be better," he added. He, like the other Montagnards Feller spoke to, all said they'd left without telling their wives or husbands.


Most of those who returned came back to their families, but Rohlan H'Ri, a deportee, said while she was in Cambodia for several months, her husband divorced her and when she returned, she had to live with her family.

Sitting on a wooden bench, inside her family home, Rohlan looks rather regretful of her decision to leave with her young son who is now in third grade at school.


"People asked me to go to Cambodia where I would get money. They said I would get money but wouldn't have to work," she said. Now Rohlan is working on her family pepper, coffee and cashew nut plot but is hoping to work again in the surrounding state rubber plantations where she worked previously and would be paid around US$120 a month.


After her series of visits, Feller met with the People's Committee Chairman of Gai Lai Province, Pham The Dung, who told her that the agreement had provided a useful framework to manage the situation of returning Montagnards. However, he added that if Montagnards wanted to leave and go to the United States they could do that without any problems and could get travel documents quickly.

On Friday, Feller is scheduled to meet senior officials in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi to discuss the agreement to deal with Montagnards who arrive in Cambodia.


By Jennifer Pagonis
In Pleiku


FROM: Embassy of Vietnam in the United States
1233 20th St NW,
Suite 400Washington,
DC 20036
info@vietnamembassy.us

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."
John F. Kennedy

Sir! No Sir!

In the 1960’s, an anti-war movement emerged that altered the course of history. This movement didn't take place on college campuses, but in barracks and on aircraft carriers, in army stockades, navy brigs, and in the dingy towns that surround military bases. And it spread throughout the battlefields of Vietnam. Hundreds went to prison and thousands into exile.

Yet today few people know about the GI movement against the war in Vietnam.

Click here: This film will change all that.

It does four things:
1) Brings to life the GI movement through the stories of those who were part of it;
2) Reveals the defiance that the movement gave birth to with never seen material;
3) Explores the profound impact that movement had on the military and the war itself; and
4) Tells the story of how and why the GI Movement has been erased from the public memory.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Real First Casualty of War
By John Pilger

During the 1970s, I filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. The dissident novelist Zdenek Urbánek told me, "In one respect, we are more fortunate than you in the west. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive."

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12798.htm
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

"The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not an isolated episode.
It was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew 14 governments that displeased them for various ideological, political, and economic reasons."

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12805.htm
A Path to Peace with Iran
By Scott Ritter

The problems that plague Washington DC on the issue of Iran are the same problems that haunt America overall regarding Iraq -- no clear understanding of why we as a nation are doing what we are doing where we are doing it, and absolutely no system of accountability for those who are implicated, directly through their actions or indirectly through abrogation of duties and responsibilities, in embroiling America in such senseless conflict.

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12803.htm
America’s Terror-war in Iraq
By Mike Whitney

What’s really taking place is that American armed and trained death squads are attacking Sunnis and Shiite alike to facilitate a break-up of Iraq which Pentagon planners and right wing ideologues have sought from the very beginning.
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12802.htm
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem."

-- Howard Zinn, "Failure to Quit", p. 45
APPEAL OF THE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF
AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN VICTIMS
Hanoi, 28-29 March 2006


We, victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals, together with supporters and scientists from the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, and Vietnam participating in the International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin held in Hanoi, Vietnam on March 28th and 29th 2006, make the following appeal to the international community:


We have discussed the effects of Agent Orange contaminated with dioxin and other toxic chemicals on human life and health, and the sufferings of those affected. Based on this exchange of views, we unanimously confirm the following:

1. During the war waged in Vietnam, the US chemical companies manufactured and supplied millions of litres of toxic chemicals disguised as defoliants or herbicides. Those chemicals contained high levels of dioxin. They were an utterly lethal substance.


2. Those toxic chemicals destroyed the environment, millions of acres of forests, leading to an imbalanced ecology, great loss of timber resources and the disappearance of several animal species as well as precious forest vegetation.


As a consequence, natural disasters such as flood, erosion and drought have become more common and impacted severely on agriculture, the main source of subsistence for South Vietnamese residents.

3. However, the worst effect of those toxic chemicals is the harm to human life and health of those exposed to them.
Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals consist of:

(a) Millions of Vietnamese living in their homes and members of the liberation armed forces, and those working for the former Saigon regime and armed forces, an ally of the US at that time.

Various investigations and scientific studies (frequently with participation of foreign and American scientists) have demonstrated that Vietnamese victims have suffered a variety of serious diseases – even far more and worse than the dioxin-related diseases listed by the US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine between 1994 and 1995.


In addition, many female victims have experienced reproductive problems. Many of them have been deprived of the ability to bear children and to experience the joy of being a mother.

The most painful effect, however, is that Agent Orange/dioxin has already harmed the next generation of children and will do the same to the following ones.

Many children have been born without the experience of war but have deformed bodies and can never enjoy the simplest experience of happiness – that is to live as an ordinary human being.

For the above-said reasons, victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and their families are among the poorest and most unhappy of the society. Many thousands of victims have died without justice for themselves and their families.


The fact that there are large numbers of Vietnamese victims suffering from various kinds of serious diseases, is understandable for they have been living in areas sprayed by Agent Orange/dioxin.


(b) Many thousands of soldiers and officers from the United States, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand were also contaminated by Agent Orange/dioxin while involved in the Vietnam War. They have consequently suffered many serious diseases, which caused enormous sufferings to their loved ones.

Several countries have recognized the health effects of Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals and paid for medical and other treatments for affected veterans. Nevertheless, many others do not have those entitlements and still have to fight for recognition, compensation and justice.

(c) Apart from those affected by Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam, many in Gagetown, Canada and other countries also connect their illnesses with the use of Agent Orange/dioxin. Their conditions are similar to those of the Vietnamese and other victims and they have therefore participated in this international conference of victims of Agent Orange/dioxin so as to express their solidarity with the affected people and their struggle for justice.

The contamination by Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals has led to the poor physical health and death of many, loss of family happiness, a life of poverty and deprivation for deformed children, and absence of support in times of sickness and old age.

The manufacture and use of those toxic chemicals are in violation of international laws.

4. We utterly dispute the conclusion reached by Judge Jack Weinstein who dismissed the Vietnamese victims’ lawsuit without paying respect to justice and the obvious realities in Vietnam.

5. We, victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, and our supporters affirm our commitment to working in solidarity, regardless of race or political belief, and demand that the US chemical companies pay compensation equal to their liability, as stipulated by law.

6. We strongly support the lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin victims till their final victory in their fight for justice.

We congratulate the initial success of the Republic of Korean victims and will continue to support them until their final victory. We support the fight for justice of the Vietnam veterans of the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

We also support the victims of Agent Orange/ dioxin in Canada and other countries in their struggle for their legitimate rights.

7. We demand that the United States Government be held responsible for making contributions to overcoming the consequences of toxic chemicals.

8. We call upon governments of the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United States to adopt appropriate policies towards victims of their respective countries and also support the victims in Vietnam.

9. We call upon governments, international and national organisations, and non-governmental organisations to provide material and spiritual support for victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam and help the country overcome the heavy aftermath of the toxic chemicals.

The pain and sufferings are not a single individual’s.

This struggle for justice is for the entire world, for future generations, and for our peaceful and healthy Planet Earth.

Support for
Malcolm Kendall-Smith

There have been a number of requests for information about how to support Flight-Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, the RAF doctor who refused to return to Iraq because he considers the invasion of Iraq contravened international law, the Nuremberg principles and the law of armed conflict.

As a consequence, he was court-martialed and sentenced to eight months in prison on 13 April 2006.

Most of the support for Malcolm is being coordinated by Military Families Against the War, Britain.

More information is also available online at
http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/mks06.htm
and a printable formatted version is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/mks06.pdf

* A message from the family of
Malcolm Kendall-Smith

It is astounding to think that in 2006, in a democratic society, an Assistant Judge Advocate - Jack Bayliss - could have the arrogance to deprive a person of the right to a fair trial. The gagging order brought down prior to the GCM disallowed the defendant's honestly held belief, and deeply researched defence, to be heard.


The severity of the sentence was disproportionate to the action taken by the defendant, and in the fullness of time may well prove to be the undoing of both the representatives of the tribunal and of the persons responsible for taking your country into Iraq without the necessary mandate from the UN.


The revealed documents relating to the original advice from the Attorney General at the time of the invasion, had every relevance to the defence, and yet were seen to be irrelevant by the same Jack Bayliss.

Throughout the entire proceeding he demonstrated a bullying attitude which seemed to come from a fear of being challenged in any way. It is questionable whether this person was appropriate to facilitate such a court.

As families of those serving in the Armed Forces we all understand the risks associated with their work. This we can accept. However, there are times when it becomes apparent that these people are placed in situations not in accordance with international law.


The real humanitarians are those who challenge such situations in order to save unnecessary loss. Our family joins in thanking all those who are showing their support for Malcolm. It is greatly appreciated.

Our best wishes to you all,

Margaret and Ian Kendall-Smith.


* The Independent article:

'Justice never had a hearing in this case - how could a military court try a case that would, were the defendant to win, bring down the military?'
By Matthew Norman
is at http://www.globalecho.org/print_view.php?aid=7168

* Letters of support to Malcolm should be posted to
Flt Lt Kendall-Smith,
c/o Mr Justin Hugheston-Roberts,
Rose Williams and Partners,
Waterloo House,
4 Waterloo Road,
Wolverhampton, WV1 4BL,
England.

* The online petition of support can be signed at http://www.petitiononline.com/MKSApril/petition.html

The petition reads:

To John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence -

We the undersigned condemn the prison sentence passed on Flight Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith and offer our full solidarity and support. The sentence of eight months passed on him for refusing to serve in Basra is an outrage, we demand his immediate release.

He acted on his conscience in refusing to serve in an illegal war. In doing so, he acted on behalf of many people in this country. The judge’s remarks that orders have to be obeyed also give cause for concern. The Nuremberg trials after the 2nd World War established that obeying illegal orders was no defence against charges of war crimes.

It is even more unjust that Kendall-Smith has been jailed while the advocates and perpetrators of this war have never been held to account.


* The online form to send a letter to John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence, is at
http://www.mfaw.org.uk/reid.html

The letter says:

"I would like to register my protest at the imprisonment of Flight Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith. The sentence of eight months passed on him for refusing to serve in Basra is an outrage and he should be released without delay. He acted on his conscience in refusing to serve in an illegal war. In doing so, he acted on behalf of many people in this country. The judge’s remarks that orders have to be obeyed also give cause for concern. The Nuremberg trials after the 2nd World War established that obeying illegal orders was no defence against charges of war crimes. Malcolm Kendall-Smith is a prisoner of conscience, release him now."

* Details of how you can make a donation to assist with Malcolm's legal costs and where to send an email message of support are on the front page of Military Families Against the War's web site at
http://www.mfaw.org.uk

You can read the messages of support at http://www.mfaw.org.uk/mks.html

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sir! No Sir!
The Suppressed Story of the
GI Movement to End the War
in Vietnam

From: GI Special:
thomasfbarton@earthlink.net
4.21.06

April 21, 2006

Review by Michael Hoffman, Socialist Worker

Sir! No Sir!

The Suppressed Story of the GI Movement to End the War in Vietnam
Produced, directed and written by David Zeigler.

THERE IS a myth of the “spat upon Vet.” The tale goes that the soldiers of Vietnam came home to a radical fringe movement that spat on them as they unloaded onto the tarmac. This myth has served to all but erase the real history of the Vietnam antiwar movement from U.S. consciousness.


David Zeigler’s film Sir! No Sir! - The Suppressed Story of the GI Movement to End the War In Vietnam lays this myth completely to rest by telling the inspiring story of a movement that shook the very foundations of U.S. military power.


Through interviews and stock footage, this powerful documentary tells the story of how thousands of U.S. soldiers, through their first-hand experience on the ground, came to realize that the war in Vietnam was an unjust travesty.


The film opens with soldiers who joined the Army ready to “serve their country” but later came to actively oppose the U.S. military endeavor.

Starting in 1965, just a few years after the start of the ground assault in Vietnam, a handful of soldiers began refusing orders and seeking conscientious objector status. The response of GIs to the military’s repressive treatment of these early objectors helped to reveal the widespread discontent within the military, foreshadowing the tremendous upsurge to follow.


The glaring hypocrisy of U.S. policy in Vietnam became increasingly apparent as the war escalated.


By 1968, there were dozens of underground newspapers, antiwar coffeehouses for active GIs, and a variety of antiwar organizations founded specifically for soldiers and veterans.

The incident that puts the GI movement into the national spotlight is the emergence of the “Nine for Peace,” nine active-duty officers who released a pamphlet announcing their opposition to the war and their resignation from the military.

In mid-July of 1968, the nine staged a 48-hour protest where they chained themselves to priests and marched to several churches in San Francisco.
They were eventually arrested and sent to different military prisons around the country. In San Francisco, one of the Nine for Peace, Bill Mather, was sent to the Presidio Stockade where he faced intensely overcrowded, degrading and unsanitary conditions, laying the basis for the next major upturn in the GI movement.

On October 14, 1968, prison guards shot and killed a young mentally disturbed soldier while he was trying to escape. Outrage swept the prison and the next day 27 prisoners broke ranks and staged a sit-in on the yard.

They were afterward dubbed the “Pentagon 27,” and hundreds of protesters showed up in solidarity.

This, the first major act of organized resistance inside the military, launched a new wave of GI protest where active and AWOL soldiers began to feel their power and take the lead in a movement to end the war.

The naked hypocrisy of the U.S. government is a theme that runs throughout the entire film and is given repeatedly as the reason why the GI movement spread to all branches and ranks of the military.

The racism rampant in U.S. society and the confident lead of the Black Power movement gave way to an especially powerful resistance on the part of Black soldiers.

As one Black soldier says to a crowd of his comrades, “The only place where a Black man should fight is where he is oppressed.” In another scene we hear a Black veteran describing how he felt when he realized that the word “gook,” used profusely in the military, was actually a racial slur for the Vietnamese--much like the slurs used against Blacks in the U.S.

The disintegration of military discipline on the part of combat troops is exposed in the film as a major cause of the policy shifts taken by the U.S.

“Vietnamization” is seen as a result of this; the U.S. was forced to rely on brutal air strikes to maintain its grip on the region.

This only served to deepen the resistance of enlisted personnel as Naval crews and Air Force intelligence officers refused to be a part of the bloodshed.

As the crisis for the U.S. deepened, the desperation of their military tactics and the brazenness of their lies was reciprocated by the men and women ordered to carry out the warfare with an increasingly bold resistance.

At the opening night of Sir No Sir! in San Francisco, two vets featured in the film addressed the crowd of some 200 people with a call for solidarity. “We want this film to be seen all over the U.S. and we need your support to make this happen,” said Michael Wong.

It’s a must that every person seeking social change go out and see this film.

Its success in its initial showings will determine the length and breadth of its time in theaters.

Go to www.sirnosir.com to find local show times.
Posters and T-shirts are also available to support the cause.

Anyone currently in the military can receive a free DVD from the organization Courage to Resist.
So, spread the word.

It is the job of everyone against the current U.S. war in Iraq to help build a movement that embraces GI resisters and takes a stand against U.S. aggression.

Do you have a friend or relative in the service?

Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.

Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top.

Sir! No Sir! OPENS for one week on
Wednesday April 19th at the
IFC Center:
322 Sixth Avenue, at West Third Street,
New York City

Advance tickets on sale NOW through the IFC box office
Recording: 212-924-7771
Live box office: 212-924-5246
Online at www.ifccenter.com

Check out the trailer at www.sirnosir.com

Please contact
max@riseup.net
or
celia@riseup.net
for posters, postcards and flyers to help promote this event!

“‘Sir! No Sir!’ has become the Trojan Horse of the Iraq War”

[Robert Sharlet, brother of Jeff Sharlet, Editor, Vietnam GI]


Friday, April 14, 2006

The Real News is coming to TV!

From Independent World television


We have exciting news.
After a great deal of thought and consultation, we have decided on a new name that communicates our vision for our independent TV news network... The Real News.

We think The Real News better reflects our mission: to broadcast world news that cuts through the bull. The Real News is about reporting on the world as it is, without compromising... No corporate dollars. No government funding. No commercials. No strings.

We are preparing to launch a massive public support and membership campaign this September to bring The Real News to television and the web. The campaign launch will include a new website, TheRealNews.com, where we will be showcasing specially-produced sample video content that communicates the depth and daring of what The Real News will be all about.

This weekly video content will feature short docs, comedy media satire spots and a taste of what's to come with our flagship news show, The Real News Daily.

We will take on current TV news coverage of important stories and ask: did they get the story right or wrong? What's the real story and how would The Real News cover it?

Get more details on how we are going to make The Real News a reality by downloading our new and comprehensive business plan. This bold road map is the product of more than two years of study, testing, consultation and relationship- building. It lays out a concrete vision for how we will launch The Real News Daily in 2007.

Visit http://click.iwtnews.com/t?ctl=1195E14:3E114FA and see a preview of our new look!

Read our plan and tell us what you think.
We need your help NOW to make The Real News a reality.

New Video Interview: David Suzuki. In this interview he sounds the alarm saying that climate change is a slow motion catastrophe.
Dr. Suzuki calls on the media to take responsibility for the fact that the issue of climate change is still seen as controversial, even though the vast majority of climatologists in the world call for urgent action now.

Witness the perilous times we live in:
* The intensification of the global struggle for control of oil
* The undermining of democracies, human rights and international law
* The waging of illegal wars and occupations
* A majority of people suffering in dire poverty
* Impending irreversible environmental damage
* Millions dying globally from inaction on AIDS
* Massive state and corporate corruption
* The threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
* Powerful forces driven by apocalyptic visions and dreams of empire


Democracy depends on an informed public and a courageous media.

Yet on television, where most people get their news, propaganda and spin are reported as reality and facts are treated as just a matter of opinion.

In-depth investigative journalism and real debate are seldom heard.

Timidity and a reluctance to challenge the official version of events permeate television newsrooms.

We must not sleepwalk into war or tyranny.

The world situation is too dangerous not to know the complexity of things.

We need television journalism that dares to seek truth and does not bow to pressure.

We need The Real News.

Click to read The Real News business plan.
We need your help to make The Real News a reality.
The Left Needs More Socialism
By Ronald Aronson

Published on Friday, March 31, 2006 by The Nation

It's time to break a taboo and place the word "socialism" across the top of the page...


The reigning economic system will continue to generate opposition as long as it speaks of equality (which it must) yet continues to be unequal and undemocratic (which it must); as long as it incites dreams of a better life (which it must) but deforms social, cultural and political life according to its bottom line (which it must); as long as its rampant abuse of the environment and pillage of natural resources continue (also inevitable). ...

What will individuals and groups demanding equality, democracy, respect for the environment and freedom from the market call themselves as they try to coalesce around increasingly global demands and on behalf of increasingly global alternatives? We need not be timid about naming this "socialism." What else is it? What a new progressive movement needs can be simply stated: more socialism. ...

Whatever language people use, socialist ideas, experience, models, aspirations and analyses will help form the heart and soul of the alternative-in-the-making, or there will be no alternative. ...

On the road to shaping an alternative, the left might respond with a time-honored socialist insight, namely that "I" only exists within a "we," and that unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure.

To say this confidently means accepting that we stand for a clear alternative and embody decisively different values and traditions than those on the right. This means getting friendly again with socialism.

Ronald Aronson is the author of
The Dialectics of Disaster, After Marxism and, most recently, Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel That Ended It. He teaches at Wayne State University.

For the complete article, click here:
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0331-22.htm