Thursday, October 28, 2010

Civil Liberties, Health Care, Food Policies

Agent Orange Victims Aren’t Enough for Monsanto; Now GM Food


March 11, 2010


Veterans Today
- I have written about the evils of the company called Monsanto several times now.
For those of you who do not know, Monsanto was not only the largest producer of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, but the components of Agent Orange that they produced consisted of the highest concentration of dioxin
– which is one of the deadliest poisons known to man.


Monsanto is the maker of Round-up. Monsanto was the maker of Aspartame. Monsanto is now the world’s largest producers of GM (Genetically Modified) seeds in the world.

Aside from trying to play God and manipulating life at its very core, Monsanto strong-arms farmers to buy their seeds, and if they do not, the farmers are sued, taken to court, caused to file bankruptcy – and in the case of India, hundreds have committed suicide as a result.

The crop yields promised by Monsanto is NOT what is resulting. The reduction in use of the herbicide Round-up is NOT what is resulting.

We now have several cases pending at the Federal level that could indeed put this company out of business for good, but we need your help. Remember friends, this is the company that killed and maimed so many of us and other innocent victims -- and now, three generations later, the terrible affects are no where near gone.

How would anyone use their products, eat food from the crops of their seeds, is beyond me. But even worse, the gene manipulation that is taking place could indeed cause such calamity in the human race as well as our environment -- unknown horrors will indeed occur.

Our fellow activist and colleague, Mr. Len Aldis, is a man who has done more for Agent Orange Victims here in Vietnam than anyone else I know.

Please take a few minutes and visit the below link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAi-kAn9yWg&feature=player_embedded


Read the article (see next story). Post a comment showing your support.

It is this kind of grass roots movement that we MUST have to end the insanity known as Monsanto.



Agent Orange Victims Aren't Enough for Monsanto; Now GM Food

Pressure On Monsanto needs to keep increasing, to avoid more deadly consequences from the folks who brought the world Agent Orange; this time is it genetically modified food.

March 10, 2010

Salem-News.com - It is to be hoped that the ruling of the court will be in favour of common sense; in short the safety of our food, so essential to every man, woman and child on this planet. It is nothing short of a crime that one company, namely Monsanto, has control of 95% of the seeds being planted for food.

Scientists in many countries are divided on the issue of whether GM is good for us. Yet with all the arguments for or against, how is the parent wanting to feed their family to make an assessment of what product on the shelf is safe to buy?

The answer for me is avoid any food, seed, or a product made with an ingredient from Monsanto. I, like many of you readers, would have read of the thousands of Indian Farmers that have committed suicide due to being forced to purchase Monsanto seeds. Whereas before farmers saved the seeds from their crops to plant for the following year, this is now not allowed, indeed it is against the law, Monsanto’s Law, enforced by Monsanto’s pack of lawyers.

Such practices cannot be allowed to continue; while there has been some success in the courts against Monsanto, the overwhelming rulings have been in favour of the company, spelling disaster for the farmer and his family, leading many to bankruptcy, hence the rash of suicides in India.

How has Monsanto become so powerful? Anyone who has followed the history of the company will know of the ‘Revolving Door policy’. Countless numbers of Monsanto ‘employees’ have gone on to to be government ‘employees’. And countless government ‘employees’ have, on leaving government, been taken on by Monsanto. It is tragic that within the present Obama administration, this policy has continued.

One year ago the US Supreme Court denied the appeal by lawyers for over 4 million Vietnamese seriously affected by Agent Orange. They also denied the appeal by US Veterans suffering from Agent Orange. The victors of that disgraceful ruling were the 37 chemical companies that manufactured Agent Orange -- no prizes for guessing that the leading company of the 37 was Monsanto.

But even more scandalous was that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Stevens declined to take part in the case, a case that involved over 4 million plaintiffs. No reason was given for them declining, nor was any reason given why another Justice namely Clarence Thomas, did not decline to take part. For two years he worked as a corporate lawyer in the pesticide and agriculture division of Monsanto.

Whatever the ruling by the court, the campaign for safe food has to continue as does the campaign seeking justice for the victims of Agent Orange... to win, Monsanto has to be stopped….


http://www.lambslain.com/2010/03/civil-liberties-health-care-food_13.html



High Time Progressives Support the Insurgency and End this War
As Ground is Laid for Resource Plunder

By Younus Abdullah Muhammad

It is the latest attempt to implement the neoliberal economic policies that are the norms of 'globalization' as America, on behalf of the corporations and international elite it serves, tries to turn a profit and sustain control of the corporatist world order. Continue


America Has Sown Chaos Across The Globe: President Assad

By The Associated Press

"Is Afghanistan stable? Is Somalia stable? Did they bring stability to Lebanon in 1983?" Assad asked, referring to U.S. intervention in Lebanon's 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Continue


War Should Be an Election Issue

By Amy Goodman

The WikiLeaks release, dubbed “The Iraq War Logs,” has been topping the headlines in Europe. But in the U.S., it barely warranted a mention on the agenda-setting Sunday talk shows. Continue


Senate Report Concludes
Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan Fueling the Taliban

By Scott Horton

To meet their security concerns, the contractors have turned to “warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping [and] bribery.” The report also documents incidents in which contractors have tendered payments to the Taliban. Continue


Mikhail Gorbachev: Victory in Afghanistan is 'Impossible'

By The Telegraph

Mr Gorbachev, who pulled Russian troops out of Afghanistan in 1989 after a 10-year war, said the US had no alternative but to withdraw troops. Continue


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq: "1,366,350"


Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq: 4,744


Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan: 2,168


Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan: $1,096,573,151,587
For more details, click here.

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THANK YOU, WIKILEAKS!!!

Iraq War Logs:
Secret Files Show How US Ignored Torture

By Nick Davies, Jonathan Steele and David Leigh


A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

Continue


The Secret Iraq Files: The Human Cost
Left to Die in Jail

By Andrew Wander

How a secret order given by the Pentagon could have led to the death of a detainee who the US knew was being tortured.

Continue


Iraq war logs:
Apache Crew Killed Insurgents Who Tried to Surrender

By David Leigh


A US gunship crew was cleared to kill two insurgents on the ground even though the pilots had reported that the men were trying to surrender, the leaked Iraq war logs reveal.

Continue


Civilians in the Crossfire

By Gregg Carlstrom

680 civilians, including pregnant women and the mentally ill, killed for coming too close to checkpoints and patrols.

Continue


Death at a Checkpoint

By Andrew Wander

The tragic story of Nabiha Jassim, a pregnant woman who was killed by US troops as she rushed to hospital to give birth.

Continue


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Pakistani Foreign Minister Suggests U.S. To Blame For Taliban, Al-Qaeda

By Heather Maher


"When the Soviets were defeated and left Afghanistan, the United States quickly packed its bags, leaving us to deal with networks that all of us had jointly created," Qureshi said. "This was the beginning of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda."

Continue


It's the Occupation, Stupid

By Robert A. Pape


Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn't to blame -- the root of the problem is foreign military occupations. Continue


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Howard Zinn News

HowardZinn.org logo

howardzinn.org News

October 2010

Dear friends of HowardZinn.org,

Below is some news on developments connected to Howard Zinn's vital work and legacy.

Please help us share these important resources with friends, coworkers, and family.


Special screening of THE PEOPLE SPEAK in Brooklyn
THE PEOPLE SPEAK in the UK!
"Democracy is not a spectator sport" fundraising t-shirt
A People's History of the United States: Modern Classic Edition
Marx in Soho: A Play on History -- audiobook, with a new introduction by Howard Zinn
New art book by Eleanor Rubin, Dreams of Repair, with foreword by Howard Zinn
The Bomb, by Howard Zinn
And from the howardzinn.org website


Special screening of THE PEOPLE SPEAK in Brooklyn, NY

THE PEOPLE SPEAK comes to Howard Zinn's hometown: Brooklyn, New York. The Brooklyn Academy of Music (http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=2721) is hosting a special one-night only screening of THE PEOPLE SPEAK on Thursday, November 4 at 7PM followed by a discussion with cast members including Josh Brolin, Staceyann Chin, Allison Moorer, and David Strathairn, and others to be announced.

This screening is sure to sell out so please purchase tickets in advance and spread the word with the announcement below.

(Not in Brooklyn? Organize your own community screening at your school, neighborhood, local theater, conference, or university: http://shop.thepeoplespeak.com/collections/dvd-cd/products/community-screening-kit.)

THE PEOPLE SPEAK (2009) Directed by Howard Zinn, Chris Moore and Anthony Arnove.

Special screening with Josh Brolin, Staceyann Chin, Allison Moorer, and David Strathairn, and other special guests.

November 4, 2010
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn, NY
7 pm screening. Q&A to follow.


























Tickets on sale now at:
http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=2721

Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday people, this documentary gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout US history. Narrated by acclaimed historian Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History of the United States, THE PEOPLE SPEAK features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris and Rich Robinson, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, Danny Glover, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, P!nk, Sean Penn, Staceyann Chin, and more.

Q&A with actor and producer Josh Brolin, Staceyann Chin, Allison Moorer, David Strathairn, and other special guests.

Getting to BAM
http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=245

Online tickets available now at
http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=2721

Box office and ticketing information
http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=8



THE PEOPLE SPEAK in the UK!

THE PEOPLE SPEAK has gone global. The first international production is in the United Kingdom with a unique version of the film bringing to life the history of dissent and protest in the UK, performed by celebrated British actors, musicians and artists (and some from the former empire...).

Filmed in HD before a live audience at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on September 19, the documentary will have its television premiere on October 31 in the UK and later this year and in early 2011 throughout much of the rest of Europe as well as in the Middle East and parts of Africa.

Narrated and directed by Colin Firth, with Anthony Arnove, other cast members include Keira Knightley, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, Kelly Macdonald, Laura Marling, Mark Strong, Juliet Stevenson, Saffron Burrows, Joss Stone, Arundhati Roy, and many others.

Some may recall that Voices put on our first live performance in London two years ago this month, in Brixton, with Colin Firth also narrating and directing. Both Juilet Stevenson and Kelly Macdonald were involved in that reading, which raised funds for Amnesty International. We hope Voices continues to help create new productions around the world.

Learn more about THE PEOPLE SPEAK UK television premiere at Sky TV:
http://tv.sky.com/the-people-speak
and at HISTORY UK:
http://www.history.co.uk/the-people-speak.html.


"Democracy is not a spectator sport" fundraising t-shirt



For those of you geared up for November elections, why not dress the part and support Voices of a People's History of the United States (http://www.peopleshistory.us) at the same time? Step out with a "Democracy is not a spectator sport" t-shirt from THE PEOPLE SPEAK -- in very soft organic cotton with terrific design.


If you purchase a t-shirt through this link: http://wig.bz/32?product=collections/t-shirts-totes/products/shopify-t-shirt (and only through that link) a portion of the proceeds come back to Voices.







Any purchase of the DVD of The People Speak (the extended version, with behind-the scenes footage and a making-of short) through this link:
(and only through that link) provides even more support to Voices of a People's History. It's never too early to think about holiday gifts...

Any organization or intrepid individual can apply to become an affiliate of The People Speak and raise money for their organization. It's simple and TPS does all the ordering, fulfillment and shipping. Details here: http://shop.thepeoplespeak. com/pages/become-an-affiliate



A People's History of the United States: Modern Classic Edition

Available on November 2, 2010

Howard Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles -- the fights for fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality -- were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through the 2000 election and the "War on Terrorism", A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.

Now, A People's History of the United States is available in a beautiful gift edition, with a deluxe cover featuring a photograph of Zinn and printed on rich uncoated stock with French flaps.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Peoples-History-United-States-Howard-Zinn/?isbn=9780061965586


Marx in Soho: A Play on History -- audiobook, with a new introduction by Howard Zinn

By Howard Zinn, performed by Brian Jones



On sale now -- with a special 25% discount for HowardZinn.org readers! Just use discount code "MIS25" at checkout when you buy from the publisher:

http://www.haymarketbooks.org/cd/Marx-in-Soho

"Don't you wonder: why is it necessary to declare me dead again and again?"

Marx is back! The premise of this witty and insightful "play on history" is that Karl Marx has agitated with the authorities of the afterlife for a chance to clear his name. Through a bureaucratic error, though, Marx is sent to Soho in New York, rather than his old stomping ground in London, to make his case.

Howard Zinn, best known for his book, A People's History of the United States, introduces us to Marx's wife, Jenny, his children, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, and a host of other characters.

Brian Jones, an African American actor, teacher, and activist, has been performing this engaging one-man show across the country since 1999.

Marx in Soho is a brilliant introduction to Marx's life, his analysis of society, and his passion for radical change. Zinn also shows how Marx's ideas are relevant in today's world.

http://www.haymarketbooks.org/cd/Marx-in-Soho


New art book by Eleanor Rubin, Dreams of Repair, with foreword by Howard Zinn

On sale now

"If the role of art is to join beauty to a deep caring for people in trouble, for a world in trouble, if it is to transcend the artificial boundaries that keep us apart, if it is to join us in solidarity with other sentient beings and with the natural world, then Eleanor Rubin fulfills the most profound responsibilities of the artist."
--Howard Zinn

For more details visit:
http://www.chartaartbooks.it/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=charta_flypage&product_id=895&category_id=18&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=42

The Bomb, by Howard Zinn

On sale now

As an active WWII bombardier returning from the end of the war in Europe and preparing for combat in Japan, Howard Zinn read the headline "Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan" and was glad-the war would be over. "Like other Americans," writes Zinn, "I had no idea what was going on at the higher levels, and had no idea what that 'atomic bomb' had done to men, women, children in Hiroshima, any more than I ever really understood what the bombs I dropped on European cities were doing to human flesh and blood." During the war, Zinn had taken part in the aerial bombing of Royan, France, and in 1966, he went to Hiroshima, where he was invited to a "house of rest" where survivors of the bombing gathered. In this short and powerful book, the backstory of the making and use of the bomb, Zinn offers his deep personal reflections and political analysis of these events, and the profound influence they had in transforming him from an order-taking combat soldier to one of our greatest anti-authoritarian, anti-war historians.

http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100167600

And from the howardzinn.org website:

... for more on these items, visit our web site (http://www.howardzinn.org/):

* The Howard Zinn Lecture Series at Boston University, featuring Bill Moyers -- Register online for this year's Howard Zinn Lecture Series featuring Bill Moyers. The lecture will be held Friday, October 29 at 7 p.m. in the Metcalf Ballroom in the George Sherman Union.

* Stories from the Zinn Education project on using Howard Zinn's work in the classroom

* Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request leads to release of 423-page Howard Zinn FBI file

* Delta Spirit's new album "History From Below" inspired by Howard Zinn

* Allison Moorer song from "The People Speak" featured on new benefit album, "Dear New Orleans"

* Howard Zinn to appear in upcoming documentary, Hit and Stay, on the "Cantonville Nine"


Thanks for reading,


The howardzinn.org team.

P.S. We post frequently to social networking sites, so please find us here as well:
http://www.facebook.com/howardzinn



howardzinn.org | 45 Main Street | Suite 727 | Brooklyn | NY | 11201



Report Shows Drones Strikes Based on Scant Evidence

By Gareth Porter

New information on the Central Intelligence Agency's campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan directly contradicts the image the Barack Obama administration and the CIA have sought to establish in the news media of a programme based on highly accurate targeting that is effective in disrupting al Qaeda's terrorist plots against the United States.
Continue


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Obama's Robot Wars Endanger Us All


By Johann Hari


Imagine if, an hour from now, a robot-plane swooped over your house and blasted it to pieces. The plane has no pilot. It is controlled with a joystick from 7,000 miles away. . . It blows up all the houses in your street, and so barbecues your family and your neighbours until there is nothing left to bury but a few charred slops. Continue

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A World Made by War
How Old Will You Be When the American War State Goes Down?

By Tom Engelhardt

Are you sure that you want your tax dollars to go, above all, into building pyramid-equivalents in Iraq or Afghanistan instead of tunnels at home, or into fighting a multigenerational war on terror planet-wide, instead of into putting the unemployed to work here? Continue


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The Choice is Ours


By Sheila Samples

Is it possible that a majority of Americans can be lured again into the tent of horror to support yet another bloody war? Have we learned nothing from history -- the blatant lies that catapulted us into Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan? It's amazing how easily our handlers control us; enrage us; shape our beliefs, our opinions. Continue


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The War On Terror


By Paul Craig Roberts

The “war on terror” is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides “security from terrorists,” Continue

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David Hicks says Guantanamo was 'Six Years of Hell'


By Madeleine Coorey

Australia's former long-serving Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks Saturday broke his silence on life inside the US-run prison, saying he endured deprivation and witnessed brutality in "six years of hell". Continue


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pakistan President Believed
'US Behind Taliban Attacks in Pak' to Gain Access to its Nukes

By ANI

....Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's claim, that the US was 'arranging' the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside his country.... Continue


The Three-Decade US-Mujahideen Partnership Still Going Strong

By Sibel Edmonds

During the 80s our ‘real’ foreign policymakers couldn’t care less about adjectives such as extremists, terrorists, fanatics, anti-west…They were the beloved enemies of our enemies, and we’d do anything to support and use them. Continue


PLO Chief: We Will Recognize Israel in Return for 1967 Borders


By Avi Issacharoff

Yasser Abed Rabbo says that in exchange for accepting Palestinian territorial claims, it will recognize Israel as 'whatever it wants.' Continue


Groundwork Laid for Media Narrative of Failed Peace Talks
"It’s the Palestinians’ Fault"
- but in reality it is Israel's fault

By Alex Kane'

Predictably, it will be, and already is, a narrative of Palestinian rejectionism versus Israeli generosity. Continue


Democracy is Coming...to the USA


By Tim Gatto

When are the workers in this country going to realize that the Democrats and the Republicans are running the same game? Continue


They Hate Us For Our Occupations


By Glenn Greenwald

Isn't Muslim culture just so bizarre, primitive, and inscrutable? As strange as it is, they actually seem to dislike it when foreign militaries bomb, invade and occupy their countries. Continue


Collapsing Empire Watch


By Glenn Greenwal

It's easy to say and easy to document, but quite difficult to really internalize, that the United States is in the process of imperial collapse. Every now and then, however, one encounters certain facts which compellingly and viscerally highlight how real that is. Continue


Washington at Work--for the Wealthy

Uncle Sam is concentrating America's wealth, not sharing it.

By Sam Pizzigati

We don't need to start redistributing our nation's wealth. We're already redistributing. We just need to reverse the flow. Continue


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery

By Eric Kasum

Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?

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US Rescue Team Killed British Aid Worker?


By The Independent

An investigation was launched today into the death of a British aid worker in Afghanistan after it emerged that she may have been killed by a grenade thrown by US special forces trying to rescue her. Continue

“Cover-up” alleged over U.K. aid worker's death: American security forces in Afghanistan were on Monday facing accusations of a “cover-up” after it emerged that a young woman British aid worker who was earlier alleged to have been killed by her Taliban captors may have “accidentally” died in a grenade attack by U.S. forces during a botched rescue operation.

How the official story of Linda Norgrove's death unravelled: Kim Sengupta on the footage that gave the lie to initial accounts of how the activist died

Just tell truth begs family tragic aid worker killed rescue mission Afghanistan: The family of the British aid worker killed in Afghanistan during a rescue attempt by American special forces last night demanded to know the 'full facts' about the failed mission to save her.

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Obama's enthusiasm for drone strikes takes heavy toll on Pakistan's tribesmen: So far Barack Obama has signed off on over 125 strikes – twice the number authorised by George Bush during the last five years of his presidency. Manufacturers are scrambling to keep up with demand from the CIA.

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Who Needs Terrorists?

By Allen L. Jasson

If someone carries a bomb into a public place and detonates it killing themselves and a hundred people this is terrorism, but if someone drops a bomb from an aircraft flying at 35,000 feet and kills a hundred people in a village below, this is not terrorism? Continue

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Surprise -- The Very Dark Side of U.S. History

By Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry, Consortium News

When the United States inflicts unnecessary death and destruction, it's viewed as a mistake or an aberration. In the following article Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry examine the long history of these acts of brutality, a record that suggests they are neither a "mistake" nor an "aberration".
Continue


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New Face, Same Imperialism

By Tariq Ali

Digital image: Matt Davidson

Digital image: Matt Davidson

October 06, 2010 "The Age" --

After all the hope and hype, Obama's foreign policy mirrors the ugliness of the Bush years.

The election to the presidency of a mixed-race Democrat, vowing to heal America's wounds at home and restore its reputation abroad, was greeted with a wave of ideological euphoria not seen since the days of Kennedy. The shameful interlude of Republican swagger and criminality was over. George Bush and Dick Cheney had broken the continuity of a multilateral American leadership that had served the country well throughout the Cold War and after. Barack Obama would now restore it.

Rarely has self-interested mythology - or well-meaning gullibility - been more quickly exposed. There was no fundamental break in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama regimes. The strategic goals and imperatives of the US imperium remain the same, as do its principal theatres and means of operation.

Obama's line towards Israel would be manifest even before he took office. On December 27, 2008, the Israeli Defence Forces launched an all-out air and ground assault on the population of Gaza. Bombing, burning, killing continued without interruption for 22 days, during which time the president-elect uttered not a syllable of reproof. By pre-arrangement, Tel Aviv called off its blitz a few hours before his inauguration on January 20, 2009, not to spoil the party.

Once installed, Obama called, like every US president, for peace between the two suffering peoples of the Holy Land, and again, like every predecessor, for Palestinians to recognise Israel and for Israel to stop its settlements in the territories it seized in 1967. Within a week of the President's speech in Cairo pledging opposition to further settlements, the governing Netanyahu coalition was extending Jewish properties in East Jerusalem with impunity.

However, war-zones further east have the first call on imperial attention. In 2002, on his way up the political ladder as a low-profile state senator in Illinois, Obama opposed the attack on Iraq; it was politically inexpensive to do so. By the time he was elected President, his first act was to maintain Bush's Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, long-time CIA functionary and veteran of the Iran-Contra affair, in the Pentagon. A cruder and more demonstrative signal of political continuity could hardly have been conceived.

Before his election, Obama promised a withdrawal of all US ''combat'' troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office, that is, by May 2010 - with a safety clause that the pledge could be ''refined'' in the light of events. It promptly was.

There persists the uneasy thought that the Iraqi resistance, capable of inflicting such damage on the US military machine only yesterday, might just be biding its time after its heavy losses and the defection of an important segment, and could still visit havoc on the collaborators tomorrow, should the US pull out altogether. To ensure against any such danger, Washington has put down markers in the modern equivalents - vastly larger and more hideous - of the Crusader fortresses of old.

As for Iran, schemes for a grand reconciliation between the two states had to be set aside. The calculation was upset by political polarisation in Iran itself. For Obama, the opportunity for ideological posturing was too great to resist. In a peerless display of sanctimony, he lamented with moist-eyed grief the death of a demonstrator killed in Tehran on the same day his drones wiped out 60 villagers, most of them women and children, in Pakistan.

The Democratic administration has now reverted to the line of its predecessor, attempting to corral Russia and China - European acquiescence can be taken for granted - into an economic blockade of Iran, in the hope of so strangling the country that the Supreme Leader will either be overthrown or obliged to come to terms.

From Palestine through Iraq to Iran, Obama has acted as just another steward of the US empire, pursuing the same aims as his predecessors, with the same means but with a more emollient rhetoric. In Afghanistan, he has gone further, widening the front of imperial aggression with a major escalation of violence, both technological and territorial.

When he took office, Afghanistan had already been occupied by US and satellite forces for more than seven years. During his election campaign, Obama - determined to outdo Bush in prosecuting a ''just war'' - pledged more troops and fire-power to crush the Afghan resistance, and more ground intrusions and drone attacks in Pakistan to burn out support for it across the border. This is one promise he has kept.

In what The New York Times delicately described as a ''statistic that the White House has not advertised'', it has informed its readers that ''since Mr Obama came to office, the Central Intelligence Agency has mounted more Predator drone strikes into Pakistan than during Mr Bush's eight years in office''.

Desperate to claim victory in a self-chosen ''just war'', Obama has dispatched a still larger expeditionary force, expanding the war to a neighbouring country where the enemy is suspected of finding succour. It was announced that Pakistan and Afghanistan would henceforward be treated as an integrated war-zone: ''Afpak''.

If a textbook illustration were needed of the continuity of American foreign policy across administrations, and the futility of so many softheaded attempts to treat the Bush-Cheney years as exceptional rather than essentially conventional, Obama's conduct has provided it. From one end of the Middle East to the other, the only significant material change he has brought is a further escalation of the War on Terror - or ''Evil'', as he prefers to call it - with Yemen now being seen as the next target.

Still, it would be a mistake to think that nothing has changed. No administration is exactly like any other, and each president leaves a stamp on his own. Substantively, vanishingly little of US imperial dominion has altered under Obama. But propagandistically, there has been a significant upgrade. In Cairo, at West Point, at Oslo, the world has been treated to one uplifting homily after another, to describe America's glowing mission in the world, and modest avowal of awe and sense of responsibility in carrying it forward.

Cant still goes a long way to satisfy those who yearn for it.


Tariq Ali is a London-based historian, writer and political campaigner who is in Australia to deliver the 2010 Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Adelaide University.


Comment on this article - posted by Dr Gideon Polya:

An excellent article by the great Tariq Ali summarized by his key statement "Obama has acted as just another steward of the US empire, pursuing the same aims as his predecessors, with the same means but with a more emollient rhetoric."

Tariq Ali points out that robot drone attacks on Pakistan under Obama exceed those under Bush. However what utterly appalls is the pure evil of US robot drone attacks on Pakistan continuing in the midst the flood devastation that has made 24 million Pakistanis homeless.

From Occupied Somalia to robot-bombed Pakistan Obama is operating as a warmonger, war maker and war criminal as adjudged from the following medical literature- and UN-derived data for the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories:

post-invasion violent deaths and non-violent deaths from deprivation total 0.3 million, 2.5 million and 4.5 million, respectively;

post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million, 0.8 million and 2.4 million, respectively;

refugees total 7.5 million, 5-6 million and 3-4 million, respectively, plus a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan by civilian-targeting US bombing

- a Palestinian Holocaust, Iraqi Holocaust and Afghan Holocaust, a Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention and horrendous, Geneva Convention-violating, genocidal, WW2 Nazi-scale war crimes.


Thou shalt not kill children.

Yet the answer under Obama to the Vietnam War-era anti-war chant

"Hey, hey, USA, how many kids did you kill today?" is 1,000 (for details simply Google the phrase).


Australia must completely dissociate itself from the continuing, unforgivable, mass paedocidal crimes of the US Empire and its cowardly Lib-Lab lackeys.

Dr Gideon Polya | Macleod - October 06, 2010, 7:44AM


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dissent in the Age of Obama

By Cindy Sheehan

October 05, 2010 "Al Jazeera" --

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) raided the homes of at least eight anti-war/social justice activists here in the US.

I happen to be a prominent anti-war activist myself, and have joked that I am a “little hurt” that I was not raided and perhaps I should try harder. Even though, we have the urge to try and be light-hearted in this time of an increasing police state, with civil liberties on the retreat, it really isn't funny considering that the activists could face some serious charges stemming from these raids.

I have felt this harassment on a smaller scale myself and I know that defending oneself against a police state that has unlimited resources, time and cruelty, can be quite expensive, time consuming and annoying.

There is nothing noble about an agency that has reduced itself to being jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state, no matter how much the FBI has been romanticised in movies, television and books.

For example, in one instance, early in the morning of September 24, at the home of Mick Kelly of Minneapolis, the door was battered in and flung across the room when his partner audaciously asked to see the FBI’s warrant through the door’s peephole. At Jessica Sundin’s home, she walked downstairs to find seven agents ransacking her home while her partner and child looked on in shock.

These raids have terrifying implications for dissent here in the US.

First of all, these US citizens have been long-time and devoted anti-war activists who organised an anti-war rally that was violently suppressed by the US police state in Minneapolis-St. Paul, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Because the Minneapolis activists have integrity, they had already announced that they would do the same if the Democrats hold their convention there in 2012.

I have observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.

I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands of people in the streets to protest.

This is one of the reasons an escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under Obama - even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who should be adamantly opposed to such policies.

Secondly, I believe because the raids happened to basically ‘unsung’ and unknown, but very active workers in the movement, that the coordinated, early morning home invasions were designed to intimidate and frighten those of us who are still doing the work. The Obama regime would like nothing better than for us to shut up or go underground and to quit embarrassing it by pointing out its abject failures and highlighting its obvious crimes.

Just look at how the Democrats are demonising activists who are trying to point out the inconvenient truth that the country (under a near Democratic tyranny) is sliding further into economic collapse, environmental decay and perpetual war for enormous profit.

Barack and Joe, the commandantes of this police state, say that those who have the temerity to be critical are “asleep” and just need to “buck up". White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, recently stated that we on the “professional left” need to be “drug tested” if we are not addicted to the regimes’ own drug: the Hopium of the Obama propaganda response team.

It seems like, even though some of those that have been nailed to the cross of national security do activism around South America, most of the activism is anti-war and pro-Palestinian rights. Being supportive of any Arab or Muslim, no matter how benign or courageous is a very dangerous activity here in post-9/11 America.

The Supreme Court just decided (Wilner v. National Security Agency) that the National Security Agency (NSA) did not have to disclose if it was using warrantless wiretapping to spy on attorneys representing the extra-legal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obtaining warrants, with cause, and attorney-client privilege were important principles of the US justice system, but even the neo-fascist Supreme Court is undermining the law - talk about “activist” judges!

Not only have activists been targeted here in the States, but Obama has ominously declared himself judge, jury and executioner of anyone that he deems a national security “threat".

These are the actions of a tyrant and another assault against our rights and against the rule of law from a person who promised “complete transparency” from his administration.

We have learned that Obama’s first victim under his presidential execution programme is Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Muslim who is now in Yemen. Without showing proof of al-Awlaki’s so-called executionable offenses and without a trial in a court of law, Obama has unloosed his hit squads on Awlaki.

Is there anyone out there reading this who does not believe, or fear, that this programme could quickly descend into summary executions within the borders of the US?

Al-Awlaki’s father has filed a motion in federal court to stay the execution of his son until he gets his constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process, but Obama’s justice department has refused to cooperate stating that to do so would ‘undermine’ that fabled, exploited and ephemeral ‘national security'.

When Obama behaves like Bush, only on steroids, he amply demonstrates why other people hate our country so much. Persons in other countries are not nearly as blind as Americans. They know that even though Obama went to Cairo to blather about building understanding between the US and the Muslim world, actions speak louder than words and Obama’s actions drip with carnage and pain.

Obviously, the suppression of dissent here in the US, while outrageous and inexcusable, has not reached the level of the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s - yet.

The longer we Americans remain silent in the face of these injustices, the more they will continue to occur and escalate.

Make your voice heard.


Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Specialist Casey A. Sheehan who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Since then, she has been a tireless activist for peace and human rights; has published five books, has her own Internet radio show: Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, and has been nominated in the past for the Noble Peace Prize. Cindy lives in Oakland, Ca and loves to spend time with her three grandbabies in her spare time.

You can learn more about Cindy's activism and events at Peace of the Action.