|Progressive Calendar 03.17.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 06:05:36 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.17.07 1. StPat/Irish v war 3.17 11:30am 2. Urban goddess 3.17 7pm 3. Sami/Iraq 3.18 9:30am 4. Anti-war march/WAMM 3.18 1pm 5. Anti-war march/GP 3.18 1pm 6. Anti-war march/YAWR 3.18 12noon 7. Anti-war march/AWC 3.18 1pm 8. Anti-war march/DFL? 3.18 2pm 9. Stillwater vigil 3.18 1pm 10. Secular coalition 3.18 1:15pm 11. Anti-war march 3.18 2pm Duluth MN 12. Amnesty Intl 3.18 3pm 13. PC Roberts - The last days of constitutional rule 14. Joshua Frank - Obama's Israel problem 15. Philip Agee - The descent of the US; the rise of Latin America 16. Sunsara Taylor - The Democrats and Iran --------1 of 16-------- From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: StPat/Irish v war 3.17 11:30am Happy St. Patrick's Day! We are hoping to have a large number marching with us in the parade. We will meet in front of The Lab bar at 4th and Sibley after 11:30, and the parade starts at noon. Anywone willing to help transport banners should show up to 951 Iglehart at 11:00 a.m. For direction phone (651)312-0191. See you there! --------2 of 16-------- From: K. Michele Smith <kmichelesmith [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Urban goddess 3.17 7pm K. Michele Smith, in partnership with Old Arizona Theatre, presents... Urban Goddess Monologues: A Celebration of Women's History March 16 - 25, 2007 Old Arizona Theatre 2821 Nicollet Avenue South Show times: Fridays & Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sunday, 3 p.m. Tickets: $10/Advance; $12/Door For more tickets, call 612.604.4717 For more information visit us www.oldarizona.com or on myspace --------3 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sami/Iraq 3.18 9:30am Sunday, 3/18, 9:30 am, just returned from Iraq, Najaf resident (and former Mpls restauranteur) Sami Rasouli speaks at First Unitarian Society, Lower Auditorium, 900 Mt Curve Ave, Mpls. http://firstunitariansociety.org Sunday, 3/18, 1 pm gather, then Sami Rasouli speaks 1:30 march to Loring Park, global day of protest to mark the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq: "US Out of Iraq NOW," Hennepin & Lagoon Aves, Uptown Mpls. www.worldwidewamm.org --------4 of 16-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Anti-war march/WAMM 3.18 1pm U.S. OUT OF IRAQ NOW! Anti-War Protest and March 4th Anniversary of the U.S. Attack on Iraq SUNDAY, MARCH 18 Minneapolis 1:00 PM Gather: Hennepin & Lagoon Avenues 1:30 PM March to Concluding Rally: Loring Park GLOBAL DAY OF PROTEST TO MARK THE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. WAR ON IRAQ. Stop the War! Stop U.S. threats against Iran! Stop funding the war! Funds for housing, schools, health care, veterans' benefits and other human needs, not war! Initiated by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition. Peacekeepers needed: Come to Lagoon and Hennepin Avenues at 12:15 p.m. Training will be provided and first-time peacekeepers will be paired up with experienced peacekeepers. WAMM members: Gather at the Black Dog Cafe (308 Prince Street, St. Paul) at 11:30 a.m. or at the Urban Bean Coffee Shop (3255 Bryant Avenue South, Minneapolis) at noon. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. Youth/student groups: gather with "Books, Not Bombs" contingent outside the Lyndale and Lake recruiting station, Minneapolis at noon and then again following the rally. FFI: Call Youth, Against War and Racism (Brandon), 952-465-5307 or <againstwar [at] gmail.com>. Minneapolis Anti-war Protest: Sunday, March 18, 2007 Gathering: 1 pm at Hennepin & Lagoon Avenues in Uptown Sunday anti-war protest in Minneapolis to mark the 4th anniversary of the U.S war against Iraq with the demand: "Bring the Troops Home Now!" As part of a nationally coordinated effort to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the U.S. war in Iraq, an anti-war protest will be held in Minneapolis on Sunday, March 18. The protest will call for an immediate end to U.S. military intervention in Iraq and demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. The protest will assemble at 1 pm on Sunday at the Library Plaza and Mall Area near Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. At 1:30 pm, a march will move from Uptown to Loring Park near downtown Minneapolis. The U.S. war against Iraq began with the bombing of Baghdad in March 2003. The war has now cost billions of dollars, the lives of thousands of Iraqis and over 3,000 U.S. war dead. The protest is being organized under the call: Out of Iraq Now! Stop the War! Bring the Troops Home Now! Stop Funding the War! No Escalation - Stop U.S. Threats Against Iran! Funds for housing, schools, health care, veterans benefits and other human needs, not war! Speakers at the protest will include Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis City Council member Cam Gordon and others. The three major national U.S. anti-war coalitions, United for Peace and Justice, the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition and the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC) are working together to build the Global Days of Protest. They plan to bring together as many people as possible to express their opposition to the continuing war in Iraq. Each coalition lists dozens of events in cities large and small on their websites. UFPJ reports over 1,000 events are planned across the U.S. on March 17 and 18. The ANSWER Coalition is also sponsoring a national march in Washington, DC that will include an anti-war protest at the Pentagon on Saturday. Among the groups helping to build the March 18 event in Minneapolis are Women Against Military Madness, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Anti-War Committee, Youth Against War and Racism and Military Families Speak Out. For more information, call 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364. -- --------5 of 16-------- From: Wyn Douglas <wyn_douglas [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Anti-war march/GP 3.18 1pm The Green Party of the Minnesota invites you to join us in marking the anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq by joining the statewide protest and march against the war this Sunday, March 18th in Minneapolis. The rally will begin at 1 pm in the Uptown neighborhood at the corner of Hennepin and Lagoon. Get there before 1pm and look for the Green Party/Peace Party flags to join with other Greens. The march will then proceed down Hennepin Ave winding up in Loring Park will Minneapolis Green city councilor Cam Gordon will address the crowd followed by other speakers. As there is expected to be a very large turnout, we encourage people who can to park and ride the bus when possible and or carpool to the event. The Green Party of Minnesota has officially endorsed this event and would like to thank the Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Youth Against War and Racism http://www.yawr.org/, The Anti-War Committee http:// www.antiwarcommittee.org, Women Against Military Madness http:// www.worldwidewamm.org/home.html, Twin Cities Peace Action/Focus on Iraq, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out for organizing this event. We also encourage high school students who are interested to support the youth rally to protest military recruiting tactics. The rally will be held in front of the military recruiting station at Lake and Lyndale at noon followed by a march to Hennepin and Lagoon to join the larger march. For more info on YAWR see http://www.yawr.org/ To contact the GPMN please visit http://www.mngreens.org/ --------6 of 16-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Anti-war march/YAWR 3.18 12noon There will be a PRESS CONFERENCE at the Books Not Bombs! antiwar protest March 18, 12:00 PM Lyndale Ave. & Lake St. *** see press release below *** The event will allow youth voices to be heard more widely, highlighting the widespread youth antiwar activism for the mainstream and alternative media. * Correction from previous e-mail: YAWR and Yo! the Movement are working collaboratively on the press conference and the evening hip-hop show. In accordance with its 501(c)3 tax status, however, Yo! the Movement does not formally endorse all of the demands or activities of the Books Not Bombs Youth Bloc. -- The March 18th Day of Action looks like this... March 18 - A Day of Action 12:00 PM: BOOKS NOT BOMBS Youth Bloc Lyndale Ave & Lake St -- Minneapolis Gather at the military recruitment station on the corner of Lake & Lyndale in Minneapolis for a Press Conference, short rally, and youth march to the community-wide demonstration at... 1:00 PM: Mass Antiwar Demonstration Hennepin & Lagoon -- Uptown Minneapolis Gather at Hennepin & Lagoon in Uptown, then march to Loring Park for a rally organized by Iraq Peace Action Coalition. 4:30 PM: Youth Antiwar Action Meeting Loring Park Dunn Bros -- 329 W 15th St (*** FREE BOWL OF SOUP FOR FIRST 60 YOUTH ***) Join with YAWR to start organizing our next major actions. Meet at the Dunn Bros across the street from Loring Park. 6:30 PM: Hip-Hop Show The Dinkytowner -- 412 1/2 14th Ave SE Hosted by Yo! the Movement. All ages - $5 with student ID. --- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE to the PRESS Friday, March 16, 2007 Contact: Mattie Weiss 612.964.7461 _mattiemartha [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:mattiemartha [at] gmail.com) Metro Area High School Students Call for an End to the War in Iraq Students to Hold Demonstration and Press Conference at Military Recruitment Center on Sunday March 18 Students from over a dozen area schools are coming together this Sunday to protest the war in Iraq and its impact on their generation. The press conference will take place at the military recruitment center on Lake St and Lyndale Ave, in Minneapolis, and will begin promptly at 12:15pm. Students will then join the general anti-war march along Hennepin Avenue. The youth press conference has been organized by YAWR (Youth Against War and Racism), a student organization that opposes the presence of military recruiters in schools, and YO! The Movement, a youth leadership organization focused on arts and education. Student spokespeople will offer statements about the impact of the war on themselves and their peers, and be available to answer questions. "It was wild - in last week's meeting of our youth group, we asked how many students had been approached by recruiters," said Simi Murumba, a youth organizer with YO! The Movement, "The entire group raised their hands. We had no idea how widespread this was. Kids who have never talked to a college recruiter have been solicited by the military multiple times." [Kill for the ruling class. Or die for them. Either is OK with them. -ed] The students are less surprised. "They cut money for our schools, so we feel less ready for good jobs and less hopeful about our future," said Laura Madsen, from Bloomington Kennedy High School, "Then the recruiters show up and take advantage of this hopelessness. It's a vicious cycle." The cost of one day of war in Iraq could cover the full cost of attendance for one year at a public college for more than 17,100 students, or employ 4,269 elementary school teachers or 4,027 secondary school teachers for one year, according statistics from the National College Board and US Department of Labor. Students hope to communicate what they see as the long-term effects of this war. "This war is going to have a long-tem impact on our generation," said Denzel Kingsbury, from Sheridan Middle School. "It's like we've become desensitized to death and violence, we get hopeless about getting good jobs, and we just expect politicians to lie to us. And of course, this is nothing compared to what the war has done to Iraqi teenagers." Books Not Bombs! antiwar protest March 18th, 12:00pm Lyndale Ave. & Lake St. --------7 of 16-------- From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org> Subject: Anti-war march/AWC 3.18 1pm Minneapolis Protest Against the War in Iraq Sunday 3/18 @ 1:00PM: Gather Hennepin & Lagoon Aves. 1:30PM: March A concluding rally will be held near Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. Stop the War! OUT OF IRAQ Bring the Troops Home Now! No Escalation! Stop U.S. threats against Iran! Click here for flyer. Sponsored by IPAC. AWC VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: If you can volunteer at the protest to help the AWC with distributing flyers, selling tshirts, signing people up on our list, or carrying our signs and banners, please come early. Gather at 12:15 @ William's Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar (right across from the Library, where the rally will start). --------8 of 16-------- From: Pam Rykken-Scheie <prykken [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Anti-war march/DFL? 3.18 2pm [Oops! Not so. The DFL has scheduled a DFL history event right in the middle of the big anti-war march. -ed] MINNESOTA'S DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR PARTY: A TWENTIETH CENTURY RETROSPECTIVE The first in a series on the history of the DFL Party in Minnesota Sunday, March 18, 2007 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. WHERE DOES THE 'FL' IN DFL COME FROM? [And where did it disappear to? I'll bet the FL would have been at the anti-war march. -ed] Featuring: AL EISELE the man on the cover of this month's Law & Politics Mr. Eisele is the newly retired editor of 'The Hill', Washington's newspaper about Capitol Hill and Politics. A native of Minnesota he is the winner of the 1971 American Political Science Association Award for distinguished reporting of public affairs. He has worked for both Senators Gene McCarthy and Walter Mondale and is the author of 'Almost To The Presidency: A Biography of Two American Politicians' - Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy. Mr. Eisele currently resides in Great Falls, Virginia Ukrainian Event Center 301 Main Street NE* Minneapolis (Parking is available adjacent to the building) FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC --------9 of 16-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.18 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. --------10 of 16-------- From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com> Subject: Secular coalition 3.18 1:15pm Director of the Secular Coalition for America to speak in Minnesota U.S. Rep. Fortney H. "Pete" Stark, a Democrat from California, has been identified as the first openly nontheistic member of the U.S. Congress. This makes him the highest ranking elected official in the country, and the first member of Congress, to go on record as not holding a god-belief. Rep. Pete Stark, a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America (secular.org). The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) lobbies Congress on issues of separation of church and state on behalf of atheists, humanists, and freethinkers. SCA has a Congressional Scorecard to let people know how national legislators voted on issues of separation of state and church. SCA is made up of eight coalition members: American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance International, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Institute for Humanist Studies, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Web / Internet Infidels, and Society for Humanistic Judaism. Secular Coalition for America director and lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown will make five appearances in Minnesota from March 18 to 24. She will discuss her lobbying for separation of church and state at the nation's capital. Here is her schedule. All but the last event is free and open to the public. Please contact August Berkshire of Minnesota Atheists (612-588-7031, pr [at] mnatheists.org) if you would like Lori to speak to your group (free) while she's in town or if you would like to interview her for publication/broadcast. Sun., Mar. 18, 1:15 p.m., Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville. Sponsored by Minnesota Atheists, (612) 588-7031, MinnesotaAtheists.org. Mon., Mar. 19, 7 p.m., Brown Hall auditorium, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud. Sponsored by Friends Free of Theism, (320) 529-0146. Thur., Mar. 22, 7:30 p.m., 130 Murphy Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Sponsored by Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists (CASH), cashumn.org. Sat., Mar. 24, 10 a.m., Nokomis Recreation Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy., Minneapolis Sponsored by Humanists of Minnesota, (651) 335-3800, HumanistsOfMN.org. Sat., Mar. 24, 6 p.m. Private gathering. Sponsored by Or Emet, the Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, OrEmet.org. --------11 of 16--------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Anti-war march 3.18 2pm Duluth MN Sunday, 3/18, 2 pm, Duluth march and rally against the Iraq war, starting at MN Power Plaza on Lake Ave & Superior St, marching to Duluth Civic Center at 515 W 1st St for a rally at Priley Fountain, Duluth. anathoth [at] lakeland.ws --------12 of 16-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 3.18 3pm GROUP 37 MARCH MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, MARCH 18TH - 3 TO 5 P.M. Join Group 37 for our regular meeting on Sunday, March 18th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. This month the Philippines will be our focus. Labor and human rights activists are being increasingly threatened and killed, in most cases by agents linked to police or the military. In January, Group 37 decided to form a dedicated sub-group to focus on the country. Our discussion, led by Gary King, will focus on the worsening situation in the Philippines; the work of local citizens, Amnesty International, and other human rights groups in the country; and how our new Philippines sub-group should move forward. We will begin promptly at 3:00. In our second hour, we will catch up with the work of our various sub-groups and other Amnesty International news and campaigns. Everyone is welcome, and refreshments will be provided. Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis (corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn). A map and directions are available on-line: http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/meetings.html. --------13 of 16-------- Government Without Restraint The Last Days of Constitutional Rule By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch March 16, 2007 The Bush administration's greatest success is its ability to escape accountability for its numerous impeachable offenses. The administration's offenses against US law, the US Constitution, civil liberties, human rights, and the Geneva Conventions, its lies to Congress and the American people, its vote-rigging scandals, its sweetheart no-bid contracts to favored firms, its political firing of Republican US Attorneys, its practice of kidnapping and torturing people in foreign hellholes, and its persecution of whistle blowers are altogether so vast that it is a major undertaking just to list them all. Bush admits that he violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spied on US citizens without warrants, a felony under the Act. Bush has shown total disrespect for civil liberty and the Constitution and has suffered rebukes from the Supreme Count. The evidence is overwhelming that the Bush administration manufactured false "intelligence" to justify military aggression against Iraq. The Halliburton contract scandals are notorious, as is the use of electronic voting machines programmed to miscount the actual vote. The chief-of-staff to Vice President Cheney has been convicted for obstructing justice in the outing of a covert CIA officer. Proof of torture is overwhelming, and the Bush administration has even had the temerity to have permissive legislation passed after the fact that permits it to continue to torture "detainees." The Sibel Edmonds and other whistle blower cases are well known. The Senate Judiciary Committee has just issued subpoenas to Justice (sic) Dept. officials involved in the scandalous removal of US Attorneys who refused to be politicized. Yet the Democrats have taken impeachment "off the table." Many Democrats and Republicans and a great many Christians can contemplate illegal military aggression against Iran, but not the impeachment of the greatest criminal administration in US history. Far from being scandalized by what the entire world views as an unjust invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US, leading Democratic and Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination rushed to inform the Israel Lobby, AIPAC, that they, if elected, will keep US troops in Iraq. The previous occupant of the White House could not escape being impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about a consensual Oval Office sexual affair. President Nixon and his vice president, a saintly pair compared to Bush-Cheney, were both driven from office for offenses that are inconsequential by comparison. Liberals branded Ronald Reagan the "Teflon President," but the neoconservatives' Iran-Contra scandal was a mere dress rehearsal for their machinations in the Bush regime. What explains Bush-Cheney invulnerability to accountability? Perhaps the answer is that Bush has desensitized us. Like kids desensitized to violence by violent video games and movies and pornography addicts desensitized to sex, we have become desensitized by the avalanche of Bush-Cheney crimes, lies, and disdain for Congress, courts, and public opinion. Our elected representatives, if not the American people, now regard as normal such heinous actions as war crimes, the rape of the Constitution, self-serving use of government office, and the constant stream of lies and propaganda from the highest offices of the executive branch. Perhaps that is what disillusioned foreigners, who once looked with hope to America, mean when they say that America does not exist anymore. If the notion has departed that the highest political offices in the land are supposed to be occupied by people who are honest and faithful to their oath to the Constitution, then we are far advanced on the road to tyranny. In future history books, will Bush-Cheney mark the transition of the United States from constitutional rule to the unaccountable rule of the unitary executive who cancels out Congress with signing statements and silences critics with the police state means that are now part of the US legal code? Paul Craig Roberts held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University and was Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------14 of 16-------- Palestinians Suffer More Than Israelis ... And Will Continue to Do So Obama's Israel Problem By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch March 16, 2007 Sen. Barack Obama isn't quite sure how he feels about the lopsided situation between Israel and Palestine. Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart..." The truth hurts indeed, and Obama has been feeling the wrath of the pro-Israel activists since his statement last week. Nonetheless, Obama shouldn't be trusted on the issue. While Rep. Dennis Kucinich hired avid pro-Palestine advocate Noura Erakat to sit on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Obama has been backpedaling - assuring AIPAC and others that he is unwavering in his support for Israel's continued bullying of Iran and occupation of Palestine. "[Iran] is a genuine threat" to the United States and Israel, expressed Obama at a forum sponsored by AIPAC on March 12 in Washington D.C., only one day after his lucid remarks in Iowa. At the event Obama also reiterated that he would not rule out the use of force in disarming Iran, a position shared by the other leading Democratic presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Earlier this month on March 2, Obama spoke at an AIPAC Policy Forum in Chicago where he clearly laid out his full stance on Israel, promising he would not alter the U.S./Israeli relationship. "[W]e must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs," he said. "This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza." So while Obama admits that Palestinians suffer more than Israelis, he still won't do a damn thing to balance out the asymmetrical relationship. In fact, Obama has made it clear that U.S. tax payers will continue to foot the bill for Israel's ever-growing arsenal of weapons and missiles if he is indeed elected president in 2008. In Obama's March 2 speech, he even had the audacity to declare that "we have to press for enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which demands the cessation of arms shipments to Hezbollah, a resolution which Syria and Iran continue to disregard. Their support and shipment of weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which threatens the peace and security in the region, must end." If Obama is truly interested in invoking U.N. Resolutions to prop up his case for a military assault on Iran, we may as well note the some 65 Resolutions the senator has blatantly ignored that condemn Israel's actions - past and present - including Resolution 242 which calls for the withdraw of "Israeli armed forces from territories occupied" during the Six-Day War of 1967. Sen. Obama, despite his acknowledgment of Palestinian suffering, has little to offer those who recognize that lasting peace in the Middle East will only begin when the U.S. radically alters its relationship with Israel. Continued funding of Israel's illegal occupation won't end the violence - it'll only continue it. Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits www.BrickBurner.org. --------15 of 16-------- A Stunning Contrast The Descent of the US; the Rise of Latin America By PHILIP AGEE CounterPunch March 14, 2007 Havana. Anyone following the news in recent times cannot be unaware of the wave of progressive change sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean. For many lonely years Cuba held high the torch through its exemplary programs to provide universal health care and education, both gratis, along with world class cultural, sports and scientific achievements. Although you won't find a Cuban today who says things are perfect, far from it, probably all would agree that compared with pre-revolutionary Cuba there is a world of improvement. All this they did against every effort by the United States to isolate them as an unacceptable example of independence and self-determination, using every dirty method including infiltration, sabotage, terrorism, assassination, economic and biological warfare and incessant lies in the cooperating media of many countries. I know these methods too well, having been a CIA officer in Latin America in the 1960s. Altogether nearly 3500 Cubans have died from terrorist acts, and more than 2000 are permanently disabled. No country has suffered terrorism as long and consistently as Cuba. All through the years, beginning even before taking power in 1959, the Cuban revolution has needed to have intelligence collection capabilities in the U.S. for defensive purposes. Such was the fully justified mission of the Cuban Five, jailed since 1998 with long sentences after conviction for various crimes in Miami where they had no chance for a fair trial. Convictions were for conspiracy to commit espionage to murder. Nevertheless their sights were exclusively set on criminal terrorist planning in Miami for operations against Cuba, activities ignored by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. They neither sought nor received any classified U.S. government information. Their cases are still on appeal, and will be for years to come, but their completely biased convictions rank with the legal lynching in the 1920's of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the anarchist immigrants, as among the most shameful injustices in U.S. history. Freedom for the Cuban Five should be the cause of everyone for whom fairness, human rights and justice are important, both in the United States and around the world, joining in the activities of the 300 Free the Five solidarity committees in 90 countries. Current U.S. policy with its means and goals can be found in the nearly 500-page 2004 report of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba together with an update published in 2006 that has a secret annex. A fundamental goal, the same in 2007 as I remember it was in 1959, is isolation of Cuba to keep this bad example from spreading, and the current policy if successful, would mean no less than Cuban annexation to the U.S. and complete dependence, in fact if not in law, as Cubans rightfully claim. Other fundamental goals from 1959 are still, nearly 50 years later, to foment an internal political opposition and to cause economic hardship in Cuba leading to desperation, hunger and despair. It is no exaggeration to call these goals genocidal. Yet, U.S. economic warfare of nearly 50 years against Cuba hasn't worked even though the Cubans who keep book estimate its cost at more than $80 billion. After the Cuban economy's free fall in the early 1990's, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it began to recover in 1995. By 2005 growth was 11.8% and in 2006 it was 12.5%, the highest in Latin America. Some sectors have surpassed their development levels of the late 80's, before the collapse, and others are nearly back. Cuba's exports of services, nickel, pharmaceutical and other products are booming, and try as it may, the U.S. has not been able to stop this. In the end U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba have also totally failed. In September 2006 Cuba was elected, for the second time, to lead the Non-Aligned Movement of 118 countries, and two months later, for the 15th consecutive year, the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba, this time 183 to 4. In 2007 Cuba has diplomatic or consular relations with 182 countries. Havana meanwhile is the site of seemingly endless international conferences on every imaginable theme with thousands of people from around the world attending. And not least, Cuba in recent years has been hosting more than 2 million foreign tourists annually at its world-class resorts. Far from isolating Cuba, the U.S. has isolated itself. More than 30,000 Cuban doctors and health workers are saving lives and preventing disease in 69 countries, many in the most remote and difficult areas where few or no local doctors will go. Meanwhile 30,000 young foreigners from dozens of countries are studying medicine in Cuba on full scholarships. All were selected from areas lacking doctors, and all are committed to return to these areas in their home countries to practice. In education the Cuban literacy program known as "Yes I can" has been adopted in nearly 30 countries on five continents where thousands more Cuban volunteers are teaching. Through this program, in Spanish, Portuguese, English, Creole, Quechua and Aymara, some 2 million people have learned to read and write, most of whom continue their education afterwards through a variety of other programs. Thanks to these international assistance programs, Cuban prestige and influence, and international solidarity with Cuba, have never been greater. It was to defend these worthy programs that the five Cubans, unjustly convicted, went to Miami in the 1990's. Then in 1999 came Hugo Chavez, the U.S.'s latest worst nightmare in the region, admittedly following the Cuban example in Venezuela, with its enormous income from petroleum, to establish what he calls a Socialism for the 21st Century with a foreign policy of regional integration under his innovative Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA, excluding the United States altogether. The program is already underway through institutions such as Mercosur in trade, Petrocaribe, Petroandino and Petrosur in the energy sector, the Banco del Sur in finance, and Telesur in electronic media. Another program under ALBA is Operacin Milagro (Operation Miracle) for offering free eye surgery to people unable to afford it for cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and other vision problems. It began in 2004 as a joint Cuban-Venezuelan effort to bring Venezuelans by air to Cuba cost free for operations. Within two years 28 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean were participating, and operations restoring sight numbered 485,000 of whom 290,000 were Venezuelans. Jet liners loaded with patients come and go from Havana everyday, but by early 2007 thirteen modern eye clinics were being built in Venezuela, and several had already performed thousands of operations there. Other clinics were being established in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti, all with Cuban planning and staffing. The ten-year goal of Operacin Milagro is to restore sight to 6 million people of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the program is expanding to Africa. The Cuban example of so many years, and now Venezuela, have also recently inspired the peoples of Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Nicaragua to elect progressive leaders. Most have rejected the 1990s "Washington Consensus" and the neo-liberal model along with determined U.S. efforts to establish a hemispheric free trade zone. All are developing grassroots social and economic programs, each in its own way, aimed at improving the quality of life for all, especially the long-excluded majorities of their populations where this injustice prevailed. Although achievements in Cuba continue to shine, the torch of revolution in the region has effectively passed from the towering figure of Fidel, ailing at eighty, to Chavez, a military man and teacher inspired by Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti. Reflecting on these new hopes for hundreds of millions in such a vast region, one cannot avoid recalling the old professor, Prospero, addressing his class for the last time in Ariel, the classic essay by Jose Enrique Rod, still read by students in Latin America. In borrowing from The Tempest, and urging his students to follow the soaring spirit of virtue and good, represented by Ariel, and to reject the crass materialism of the U.S. personified by Caliban, Prospero drew a contrast between Latin American idealism and the United States that is as valid today as in 1900 when the essay first appeared. While Latin America is fast moving in progressive directions, almost unimaginable less than ten years ago, in contrast the United States, at least since the Reagan era, has been moving step by step toward a Fascism for the 21st Century. And the pace has quickened in the last six years of Republican government under George W. Bush with passage of the Patriot Act under emergency circumstances just after the attacks on the Twin Towers in September 2001, and then adoption in 2006 of the Military Commissions Act, both with substantial support from Congressional Democrats. Other legislation supports this trend. The U.S. Federal Government now has legal powers to secretly monitor ones communications, whether by telephone, ordinary mail, e-mail, or fax, plus your bank accounts, credit cards, the web sites you visit, and the books you buy or read in libraries. Torture, secret prisons, kidnapping, and jailing indefinitely without trial or recourse to courts through habeas corpus - all are now legal. So is "extraordinary rendition" whereby U.S. captives are delivered to other governments where they will likely be tortured and possibly assassinated. Investigations by the European Parliament have identified around 1200 secret CIA flights carrying these people through European airports to secret prisons. To qualify for this treatment, anyone in the world, U.S. citizens and any others, only need be designated by the government as an "illegal enemy combatant" whose only definition is someone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Hostilities or a hostile act can be interpreted as almost anything that opposes U.S. policies, from a speech expressing solidarity with Cuba to a picket line protesting the war in Iraq. If an "enemy combatant" ever gets a trial, it will not be by a jury of peers but by a U.S. military court that can use hearsay and evidence obtained under torture. These powers reminiscent of the Nazi regime are not just a global U.S Sword of Damocles waiting to fall on perceived enemies. The full range of repression has been going on since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 with plenty of evidence coming from the prisons and concentration camps of Bagram, Abu Graibe and Guantanamo as well as from testimony of various released innocents swept up in the process. It is an on-going worldwide application of fascist power in a non-defined, nebulous "war on terrorism" that has no end or geographical limits. Since September 2001 the Bush government has given one specious reason after another for what it believes are the motives of Islamic terrorism, never admitting that it is a reaction and resistance to U.S. imperial policies, starting with U.S. support for Israel's continued occupation and colonization of Arab lands and Israel's refusal to return to its borders before the Six-Day War in 1967. By 2006 the U.S. had designated some 17,000 people around the world as "enemy combatants," according to press reports. Combine this repression with gargantuan contracts to private U.S. firms, as in Iraqi security and "reconstruction," along with forcing the Iraqi government, always with eyes on the prize, to contract highly prejudicial 30-year "production sharing agreements" to American and British oil majors, excluded from Iraq before the invasion, plus historic lows in trade union power, and you have the marriage of government and corporate power that Mussolini, who invented the word in 1919, described as the essence of fascism. The one bright spot are the recent indictments of 13 CIA people in Germany and 26 others in Italy for kidnapping and other violations of their laws. They will never be brought to trial, of course, but the indictments are refreshing developments. Protection of terrorists who serve U.S. interests is still another feature of American Fascism of the 21st Century. There are many examples, especially among Cuban exiles, but two stand out from the others: Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. Both have long, well-documented pedigrees as international terrorists, but one of their joint crimes was historic: the first bombing in flight of a civilian airliner in the Western Hemisphere. It was Cubana flight 455 that on October 6th, 1976 exploded just after takeoff from Barbados killing all 73 people on board. Bosch and Carriles, both of whose CIA careers began around 1960, planned the bombing in Caracas and provided the explosives to two Venezuelans recruited by Posada. These two were discovered, convicted, and sentenced to long prison terms. Not so with Bosch and Posada who were protected by then-Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez who has his own history of working with the CIA. Although they were both arrested and tried separately in Venezuelan courts as the intellectual authors of the crime, neither was convicted. Bosch was found not guilty and released in 1988, returned to Miami but was arrested for an old parole violation. The Justice Department then ordered his deportation as an "undesirable" and as "the most dangerous terrorist" of the Western Hemisphere. But Jeb Bush, son of then-President Bush, persuaded his father in 1990 to quash Bosch's deportation order. Since then Bosch has lived freely in Miami where he gives television interviews in which he makes every effort to justify terrorism against Cuba. For his part Posada's trial in Venezuela never ended because in 1985 he escaped from prison, fled the country, and soon turned up in El Salvador working in the CIAs Contra terrorist operation against Nicaragua. When this ended he stayed underground in Central America and from the early 1990s organized more terrorist operations against Cuba. In 2005 he was arrested in Miami for illegal entry to the U.S., and although he admitted to the New York Times to terrorist bombings of hotels and other tourist facilities in Cuba, in one of which an Italian tourist died, he has only been indicted for lying to the FBI and in his request for naturalization. The Bush administration refuses to certify him as a terrorist so that he can be tried as such, at the same time ignoring Venezuela's extradition request as a fugitive from justice, alleging absurdly that he might be tortured there. His treatment suggests that he will eventually be pardoned by Bush, perhaps on Christmas Eve of 2008 just before leaving the White House, just as his father on Christmas Eve of 1992 pardoned former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger and various CIA officers for crimes in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, thus precluding their trials scheduled to begin the following month. One need not dwell on the obvious. The conviction of the Miami Cuban Five for their anti-terrorist efforts, in contrast with the official protection of terrorists like Bosch and Posada, speaks volumes on the U.S. as the pre-eminent state sponsor of international terrorism. The major disguise used to cloak this U.S. program of worldwide aggression from the 1980s to the present has been "promotion of democracy," a hypocritical claim used ad nauseum by Presidents, Secretaries of State and others that has never fooled anyone. It has always been clear that the "democracy promotion" programs of the National Endowment for Democracy, the State Department, the Agency for International Development and associated foundations and agencies are nothing more that attempts to foment and strengthen internal political forces in countries around the world that will be under U.S. control and will protect and cater to U.S. interests. Their origins are in the CIA's political operations starting in the 1940s, and they have included the overthrow of democratically elected governments and the institution of unspeakable repression as in Brazil in 1964 and Chile in 1973 to name only two of many examples. To be sure there has been, and is, important and worthy resistance in the U.S. to this developing fascism both within Congress and among private organizations and individuals. But it has been mostly isolated attempts of a defensive and rear-guard nature, with little mention in the corporate media. Bills have been introduced in Congress to ease or end the economic blockade of Cuba, to amend the worst of the repressive laws, even to impeach Bush and Cheney, but they seem unlikely ever to prevail or become law. The two parties, actually competing branches of a one-party state, have simply adopted ever more extreme measures to maintain their monopoly of power. Even the judicial system, once perhaps the last hope for enforcing the Constitution, has been riddled with neo-conservatives who ignore it. Take only the appeal of the Miami conviction by the Cuban Five. The original three appellate judges of Atlanta's 11th Circuit issued a compelling 93-page unanimous decision upholding the defense position that no fair trial of self-admitted Cuban agents was possible in Miami's prevailing anti-Cuban atmosphere and that the trial venue should have been moved. Nevertheless the other 10 judges of the Circuit voted to hear another appeal en banc and then unanimously overturned the first decision with only two of the original three judges voting against (the third had retired). That 10 of the 13 Circuit Court judges would uphold Miami as a place where Cuban agents could get a fair trial is a good example of how morally and intellectually corrupt the federal judiciary has become. So these are grim days indeed for the United States and by extension for its allies, starting with its junior partner, the U.K., and extending through NATO. There have been other periods of shameful repression in the U.S., like the years following World War I, but never with a global reach like this. Predictably U.S. prestige around the world, what there ever was of it, has disappeared, replaced by contempt and scorn. Testimony to this is the repudiation of Bush and what he stands for expressed by so many thousands in the streets protesting his presence as he traveled around Latin America attempting to lure five countries away from regional integration. What a contrast with the enlightened, idealistic, and progressive social and political movements now flowering in Latin America! Philip Agee, 72, was a CIA secret operations officer in Latin American from 1960 to 1969. He is the author of the best-selling Inside the Company: CIA Diary (Penguin Books, 1975) plus other books and articles. Deported in 1977 by the U.K and four other NATO countries, he has lived since 1978 with his wife in Hamburg, Germany. He travels frequently to Cuba and South America for solidarity and business activities, and in 2000 he started an online travel service to Cuba: www.cubalinda.com. --------16 of 16-------- Red Light, Green Light The Democrats and Iran By SUNSARA TAYLOR CounterPunch March 14, 2007 "Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran...The measure provides nearly $100 billion to pay for fighting in two wars, and includes more money than the president requested for operations in Afghanistan and what Democrats called training and equipment shortages." -- AP, March 13, 2007 "For all the criticism on the left, Democratic strategists say they are counting on most of the antiwar lawmakers to realize that this current spending bill is the best they can get." -- New York Times, March 14 You could close your eyes and pretend it isn't happening. Pretend that the new Democratic Congress - after four years of torture, mass murder and war crimes against the people of Iraq - didn't just promise the War-Criminal-In-Chief that they would do nothing to stop a new and even more dangerous war against Iran. Pretend that these same Democrats - who have sold you out so many times and at the cost of so many lives - didn't just promise to give the president more money than he even asked for to fight his current wars! Pretend that somehow history - and the people of the Middle East - will forgive you for meeting this news with passivity, silence or at best "protest as usual." Or you could open your eyes and confront the nightmares engulfing millions of people in the Middle East and endangering people around the world that only people living in this country can bring to a halt. You can get on a bus, hop on a train, purchase an airline ticket, or pile into a van and get your butt to Washington DC on March 17th to march across the bridge and encircle the Pentagon, on March 17th before the eyes of the world! Forty years ago, a generation who refused to accept an unjust and murderous war on Vietnam descended on the Pentagon. They looked out at the villages being razed, the children burning alive by napalm, and the blood that would be on their hands if they didn't bring this to a halt and they declared it was time to go "from protest to resistance." Now, at a time when the Bush regime, with the silence and complicity of the Democrats, are escalating their assault on Iraq and aggressively preparing a new war against Iran, it is wrong not to be at the Pentagon. It is wrong to hide behind the lie and excuse that "protest doesn't make a difference." It is wrong to despair because "they're not listening to us." And it is wrong to dismiss the real danger of a new war against Iran simply because Bush is having so much trouble in Iraq. The problem has never been that "protest doesn't work." The problem is that there haven't been nearly enough protests and they haven't been nearly demanding enough. The campuses across the country have not yet been shut down in massive student strikes demanding an immediate end to the war. The Oscars weren't filled with movie stars and directors giving heart to millions around the world by demanding impeachment right now. The anti-war vets - while way ahead of most of the movement and of where the Vietnam vets were at this far into the war then - haven't yet staged their equivalent of the Winter Soldiers testimonials about the war crimes they witnessed or Dewey Canyon protest where the Vietnam Vets threw back their medals. We haven't yet seen this war's Daniel Ellsberg - someone willing to risk 150 years in prison or more to disclose and disrupt the administration's ability to lie their way into more war. Hundreds of thousands haven't yet, in the words of Cindy Sheehan, "turn[ed] off your TV and carri[ied] a sign or a banner and descend[ed] on the White House as oppressed peasants descending on the castle of the lord of the realm with pitchforks and torches?" These are things I know we are more than capable of! The problem is not that millions don't hate the Bush program, the problem is that that anger has not been transformed into active, ongoing, determined resistance - not to merely express our unhappiness - but to bring all this to a halt. That has to begin to change on March 17. In a time of legalized torture, of expanding war, of war crimes and of crimes against humanity - all of us are accountable! Lets just be honest: none of us can claim in good conscience we've done all that we can and none of us should sleep soundly at night until we do. Protest and resistance and refusal to go along are needed MOST when those in power "aren't listening." Too many people are in denial about the growing likelihood of a us attack on Iran as detailed by Seymour Hersh and others. As Larry Everest, has recently written, "The U.S.'s quagmire in Iraq has weakened the U.S. influence, fueled the spread of Islamist trends, and bolstered Iran's regional influence. All this has made the situation in the Middle East even more unacceptable to the U.S. imperialists, and the Bush regime has resolved on a course to become even more aggressive in reversing all this - with the escalation of the war in Iraq and now the serious threats against Iran. And meanwhile the Democrats have proved incapable and unwilling to stop Bush's troop 'surge' to Iraq and have mounted no significant opposition at all - and in some cases significant support - to the real threats to launch a U.S. attack against Iran." Right now, it is more clear now than ever that there "will be no savior from the Democratic Party." [Locally, however, there will be classes on DFL history, eg, on where the "FL" came from, and where the FL it went. See item #8 above. If we can't have peace, we can at least have party history. -ed] It is more clear than ever that the war on Iraq is not going to stop until we act in ways that make it stop. It is more clear than ever that a war in Iran will not be prevented unless we act in ways that prevent it. And it is more clear than ever that Bush won't stop unless we drive him out. It is time to march on the Pentagon. It is time for us to go from protest to society-wide resistance. Sunsara Taylor writes for Revolution Newspaper and sits on the Advisory Board of The World Can't Wait Drive Out the Bush Regime. She can be reached at: sunsarasworld [at] yahoo.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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