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Veterans to Stand Firm as Afghan War Enters Year 12

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Day 12 Occupy Wall Street September 28 2011 Shankbone 32

(Photo: David Shankbone/flickr)

Dedicated and disciplined nonviolent activists, and in particular military veterans, are being openly invited to join members of Veterans For Peace in a peaceful vigil in New York City that will as likely as not result in their wrongful arrest and prosecution.

The time will be 6 p.m. on October 7, 2012, as the United States and NATO complete the eleventh year of the current occupation of Afghanistan and launch the twelfth.  The crowd at the Republican National Convention cheered for complete immediate withdrawal, but the nominee’s plans don’t include it.  The crowds at rallies for President Obama’s reelection cheer for both the continuation of the war and its supposed status as “ending,” even though the timetable for that “ending” is longer than most past wars, and a massive occupation is supposed to remain after the occupation “ends.”  Veterans For Peace, an organization dedicated to the abolition of war, is hoping to inject a discordant note into this happy discourse — something that the ongoing reports of deaths just don’t seem to manage.

The place will be Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, 55 Water Street, New York City.  It was there that some of the same veterans gathering this October were arrested last May First.  The memorial is normally open around the clock, but on that day the New York Police Department decided to close it at 10 p.m. in order to evict the Occupy Movement’s nonviolent general assembly.  Eight members of the Veterans Peace Team and two members of Occupy Faith were arrested for refusing to leave.  Since that day, a small metal sign has been posted at the park stating that it closes at 10 p.m.  This October 7th, the veterans have a permit for sound equipment lasting until 10 p.m., but they intend to remain overnight.

Vietnam vet Paul Appell says, “War veterans, loved ones of the fallen, and certainly those living in war zones do not have the option of closing down their memories at 10 p.m. There is a good reason why suicide is an attractive option for many. It is truly the only sure way of ending the memories. For a memorial to shut down at some convenient time for the city is an insult to all those who do not have the luxury of shutting down their war memories at a specific time. I know that many want us war vets to go out of sight and not bother them, except when we are needed for some parade. Some of us are not going away at 10 p.m. or any other time. If they do not like it, maybe they should have thought of that before they sent us to war.

Tarak Kauff, U.S. Army, 1959-1962, and one of the organizers of VFP’s Veterans Peace Team, says, “We will be there standing together and getting arrested again if necessary for our right to remember the fallen, to oppose and ‘abolish war as an instrument of national policy’ and to affirm our right to do so in a public place of remembrance that has great meaning for all veterans.”

The plan is not for a mass demonstration.  In fact, many are explicitly not invited.  Non-veterans are enthusiastically welcome, including associate members of Veterans For Peace and anyone else dedicated to ending violence in the world.  But “diversity of tactics” is unapologetically rejected.  Anyone inclined toward violence, provocation, or threats, including violence to inanimate objects, is kindly asked on this day, to respect the Memorial, the veterans, and the commitment to nonviolence.  This event will involve hundreds of activists who intend to peacefully vigil all night, and who will not respond to police violence with any violence of their own.

Speakers at the vigil will oppose a single additional day of U.S. warmaking in Afghanistan.  Speakers will include Leah Bolger, Margaret Flowers, Glen Ford, Mike Hastie, Chris Hedges, George Packard, Donna Schaper, Kevin Zeese, and Michael Zweig. Dr. Cornel West has also been invited.  At 9:30 p.m. participants will lay flowers for the fallen.

The purpose of this action, which will succeed whether the police interfere or not, is well expressed by several vets planning to take part.  Mike Ferner, Navy Corpsman 1969-1973, and past president of Veterans For Peace, says, “I’m coming to NYC October 7th because I need to do more for myself and the world than just get angry at the misery and suffering.  Being with my comrades again and standing up for peace uplifts my spirit.”
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New York City Tuesday Night: David Swanson, John Horgan, Jackson Lears, Mark Crispin Miller: Peace in Age of Empire

4:14 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

News from Underground: “Imagining Peace in an Age of Empire”

WHEN: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince St, New York, N.Y. 10012-3309
Free and Open to Public and Media

David Swanson (When the World Outlawed War), John Horgan (The End of War), and Jackson Lears (Rebirth of a Nation) will talk about war and the need to stop it. The conversation will be moderated by Mark Crispin Miller.

Miller, a professor at NYU and author of many books on politics and cultural history, hosts News from Underground, a monthly series at McNally Jackson. In these tense times, there are many topics of extreme importance that the corporate media tends to ignore or misreport; the panel discussions of News from Underground are here to deal honestly with these forbidden issues.

To the NYPD Officers Reading My Emails

3:50 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

On Thursday I was on a train to New York and received an email announcing a protest at the offices of New York’s two U.S. Senators over their cosponsorship of an AIPAC-driven bill that would move the United States closer to war on Iran.  I wrote back, saying, hey, I happen to be on my way to New York and will try to get there.

When I got there, there was a very small gathering of protesters, divided into two groups, those choosing to comply with police requests to stand inside a free-speech-cage that they had set up, and those refusing.  I joined the latter.  Two days later, one of the protesters who had been making his point from within the metal barricades told me that a police officer had approached him with this question:

“So, are you bringing people up here by train?”

Assuming the most likely explanation for that question, let me say this to those of New York’s finest with nothing better to do than read my emails:

You are not going to find in my emails any planning of any violence or cruelty.  If you want to know what I’m planning, you can ask me.  I’ll be glad to tell you.  I plan to protest the bankers whom you guard while they defund your future and erode your rights, the war profiteers who now arm you while they destroy our economy and our environment and our government, and the elected misrepresentatives who tolerate your lawless law enforcement while doing the bidding of the bankers and the war profiteers.

Have you sworn an oath to defended the Constitution with or without the Fourth Amendment? Have you sworn the law enforcement oath of honor? It reads:

On my honor, I will never betray

my badge, my integrity, my

character or the public trust.  I

will always have the courage to

hold myself and others

accountable for our actions.  I will

always uphold the Constitution,

my community, and the agency I

serve.

Do you mean that?  Then who read my email? Why? Justified by what Constitution? Do you have the courage to hold yourself and/or others accountable for your actions?

What community are you upholding? Are you and I in the same community? It doesn’t feel like it.

Bloomberg Ties Terror Plot to Lex Luthor

6:26 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Conveniently Packaged Super action Figures! (Photo: roadkillbuddha, flickr)

Conveniently Packaged Super Action Figures! (Photo: roadkillbuddha, flickr)

In a hastily thrown together press conference Sunday afternoon, several months in the planning, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his efforts to spread freedom beyond New York City had included the deployment of 1,000 NYPD officers to Schenectady, where they have just apprehended a young man inspired by Al Qaeda and Occupy Wall Street propaganda provided to him by the NYPD on a regular basis since September.

The arrest could not await an opportunity to persuade the FBI of the seriousness or sanity of the matter, Bloomberg said, as the evildoer had apparently packed a marijuana bong with Christmas lights and was prepared to attempt unspeakable acts imminently. Although the materials were intentionally defective, having been provided to the terrorist on Saturday by the NYPD, a careful analysis identified a greater than one percent likelihood of an attack on a local Home Depot store with which the terrorist had previously quarreled over malfunctioning plumbing materials and staff he accused of “not knowing their elbow pipes from their assigned aisles.”

Bloomberg revealed a plot that included packing Christmas Bombs with nails in hopes of nailing returning U.S. troops to crosses. The Mayor said he would be making public the records of attempted communications between the bomber and Muslim cleric Lex Luthor, who may or may not have ever reciprocated the attempted communications. Asked what motivated the terrorist to act in this moment, Bloomberg indicated that a video may have been the catalyst. In what the Mayor referred to as a “super fast moving investigation” it was apparently not yet clear what this video consisted of. The District Attorney has subpoenaed Netflix records from October and all but promised an “October surprise”.

Bloomberg responded to a series of questions on the significance of the Lex Luthor connection, explaining repeatedly that no fewer than 36 blogs have tied Luther to funding from George Soros, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a plan to publicly ask His Royal Highness Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia his views on beheading hippies and Socialists. Furthermore, Bloomberg explained, one of the top Mercedes diesel mechanics in Tribeca, an expert who has also blown up automobiles for NYPD film productions in preparation for hastily thrown together press conferences, has agreed to testify that Iran could develop nuclear weapons if left no clear alternative for actual survival. Read the rest of this entry →