|Progressive Calendar 03.21.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 06:44:12 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.21.08 1. No burner! 3.21 9:15am 2. Palestine/DVD 3.22 9:30am 3. Free girl school 3.22 10:30am 4. NWN4P Mtka 3.22 11am 5. Oil $ markets 3.22 1pm 6. Northtown vigil 3.22 2pm 7. CD training 3.22 3:30pm 8. Dreams of peace 3.22 7pm 9. Palestine/CTV 3.22 9pm 10. Laurie Stone - Down, out, and Democrat 11. Millet/Toussaint - Banks: the daylight robbery of borrowers 12. Joseph Gerson - Resisting the empire 13. ed - Imperialist omelet (poem) --------1 of 13-------- From: Juliet Thompson and Jullonne Glad <mpls.residentsforcleanair [at] gmail.com> Subject: No burner! 3.21 9:15am Urgent** City Council Vote on Midtown Burner TOMORROW Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air Action Alert #1 Hello again! Recently, you expressed concerns around the proposed Midtown Burner and so we're letting you know of another opportunity to communicate your concerns. Kandiyohi Development Partners (the project developers) are asking the Minneapolis City Council for an extension on their option to purchase the land. The option to purchase expires March 30th, but a vote could happen as soon as tomorrow! (For further information on this meeting, click the link to Wednesday's Star Tribune article:http://www.startribune.com/local/16799751.html) As concerned citizens, we need to make it clear to Minneapolis City Council members that concern for this facility extends well beyond Ward 9. Given the potential environmental and health effects this proposed burner could have, there may be significant financial implications for not just 9th ward residents, but for the entire city. Therefore, we are encouraging Minneapolis residents from all wards to attend the next City Council meeting tomorrow (Friday, March 21) at 9:15 AM at City Hall. Like many of the other public-input opportunities associated with the Midtown Burner, urgency and confusion prevail. Council action on the developer's extension request may occur at tomorrow's City Council meeting, but if request does not show up on tomorrow's agenda it will likely show up on future Council agendas. In either case, tomorrow is a great opportunity to show City Council that there are strong concerns from constituents from each of the City's 13 wards. We have identified the following City Council Members as those most likely to withdraw burner support given enough constituent opposition: Paul Ostrow (Ward 1), Diane Hofstede (Ward 3), Don Samuels (Ward 5), Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) and Sandy Colvin-Roy (Ward 12). If you can't attend tomorrow's City Council meeting, please send an email or make calls to your Councilperson and Mayor Rybak. A sample message can be found below; feel free to cut and paste, modify or write your own message - the important thing is to communicate your concerns to the decision-makers as soon as possible. Finally, please forward this email to your family, friends, colleagues or anyone else you think may be interested in this issue. Thank you for your involvement in this issue. With each article, public hearing, community meeting and City Council contact, we are making a difference! It will truly take all of us to ensure that environmental justice is realized! If you are able to attend tomorrow's Council meetting, please RSVP to this email address: mpls.residentsforcleanair [at] gmail.com [mailto:mpls.residentsforcleanair [at] gmail.com] Sample letter to Mayor and Councilmember below: To find your Ward and City Councilperson, just click on the link: http://apps.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/AddressApp/SearchByAddress.aspx?AppID=WardFinderApp [http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001QnJIH1TjUv2ZDaFdChswBfibe8PmNMTZEkRPi-QYCO1XEpeX8vJLM5vNeCclGVsbKawu-tw_HK6eqCTHh0QaxPJ2LTUf7b2JkfsIZp1KQdVF2tqoAE46qEDbfg-OLefyFHBrqwOG9XIM7ZEggNeIbYvDs2qB2IK8kxN1sDT7kx5ZtDLv3lmUb6Cw1v7y6RlzmlHzIHc1MN8=] Dear Mayor Rybak, I am in favor of energy derived from renewable, "green" sources -- but NOT if it comes at the expense of public health and environmental justice. Therefore, I urge you to act now to withdraw all public support of the Midtown Eco-Energy power plant, proposed to be built in south Minneapolis. Sincerely, Name Address City, State Zip Email Thank you, Juliet Thompson and Jullonne Glad, Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air Join Our Mailing List [http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1102026477454] Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air | 2820 17th Ave S | Minneapolis | MN | 55407 [Also, the devil is asking for an extension on the souls of the Kandiyohi Development Partners. "They're not worth much, but I'm a tad short of cash at the moment. What I like is even more burners in hell! He he he (cackle snarf)!"] --------2 of 13-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine/DVD 3.22 9:30am "Life in Occupied Palestine" Saturday, March 22, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments) 10:00 a.m. to noon (Program and Discussion) Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001 York Avenue South, Edina. We will show Anna Baltzer's 59 minute DVD on the large screen. Anna is the granddaughter of a Holocaust refugee. This is her powerful eye witness account of the current occupation. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now. FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642 --------3 of 13-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Free girl school 3.22 10:30am Saturday, March 22: Laura Jeffrey Academy. Parent/Family Information Session on this new TC tuition free charter school offering a unique year round, girl-focused educational experience for grades 5 through 8 (Grades 5-6 in Fall 08). 10:30-Noon. Rondo Community Outreach Library, St. Paul. --------4 of 13-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 3.22 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available. --------5 of 13-------- From: Lynne Mayo <lynnne [at] usfamily.net> Subject: Oil $ markets 3.22 1pm Peak oil & the Future Oil, money, and markets ~ A short class for Citizens Money is energy ~ with Jon Freise How to Read the Financial Pages ~ Karen Redleaf The Basics: Hedge funds, Futures, Derivative, Options, Etc. Market Mechanics of the Mortgage collapse: how unsound mortgages were packaged and sold as bonds Bring questions. And answers. March 22 ~~ 1-3pm Lynne Mayo¹s house ~ 2420 17th Ave South, Minneapolis, Mn. 55404 612-722-7356 CALL AHEAD TO SAVE YOUR SPACE in the class!! - LIMITED ENROLLMENT --------6 of 13-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.22 2pm peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.), every Saturday 2:00 -- 3:00 PM. --------7 of 13-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: CD training 3.22 3:30pm Seventy percent of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq yet the U.S. occupation continues. We've signed petitions, called our representatives, and attended vigils. We've rallied and marched locally and nationally. Yet after 5 years, the war is still on. A coalition of Twin Cities activists believe it's time to raise the level of protest in response to an unjust war, military recruiters who prey on our young people, and politicians who aren't doing enough to stop it. Civil Disobedience Training and Organizing Meeting Saturday March 22 at 3:30 p.m. at Mayday Books. 301 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis. (Located below Midwest Mountaineering and The Hub Bike Co-op, near the West Bank side of the University of MN campus) Women suffragists, trade unionists, civil rights and peace activists have all used civil disobedience thoughout our nation's history to win many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. Come to the training to learn more about this important tactic. Bring your questions and concerns. Activists who have organized and participated in CD multiple times will lead the training. A potential action is planned for Thursday, March 27. More details will be available at the training. If you can't make it but would like more info, respond to this email. A permitted student rally and march is already scheduled for March 27 at noon at Coffman Union (University of MN) --------8 of 13-------- From: Larry Johnson <elent7 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Dreams of peace 3.22 7pm DREAMS OF PEACE THRU POWERFUL NON-VIOLENCE World Storytelling Day Celebration at Dunn Bros. by Loring Park 7 p.m. on March 22 Larry Johnson and Elaine Wynne, KEY OF SEE STORYTELLERS, will tell stories of times that violence was averted by someone's powerful words and presence or imagination. Larry, a conscientious objector medic during Vietnam, will tell the story of Hugh Thompson, the helicopter pilot who stopped the continuation of the My Lai Massacre by his brave understanding of the Geneva Convention. Elaine will undoubtedly tell Jane Yolen's SILENT BIANCA, as well as the story of Vaclev Havel. Woven throughout these and other stories will be an invitation for listeners to tell their own stories and memories of potential violence diverted to peaceful resolution. AN EVENING OF WISDOM WILL EMERGE FROM ALL. Dunn Bros is at 329 West 15th St. in Mpls, East of Hennepin and South Across the Street from Loring Park. There is no charge for the evening, but large and small donations accepted for VETERANS FOR PEACE. More information available at 612-747-3904. --------9 of 13-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine/CTV 3.22 9pm Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!. Households with basic cable may watch. Sat, 3/22, 9pm and Tues, 3/25, 8am "Anna Baltzer: Life in Occupied Palestine" (Part 1). Presentation by Jewish American author given at U of St. Thomas in January. --------10 of 13-------- Down, out, and Democrat By Laurie Stone Online Journal Contributing Writer Mar 20, 2008, 01:09 As a Democrat, I'm totally depressed. Another election is coming; another chance to put this country back on track, to right our wrongs, to finally let the people be heard. We're the party of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt. We have a president in office that makes Richard Nixon looked beloved. So what are our choices? Barack or Hillary. Pepsi or Pepsi Light. Pepsi anyone? Does anyone else get that creepy feeling we're all meant to be here, like it's a weird Twilight Zone episode? That our three choices for president are exactly what the powers that be had in mind? As the Cowardly Lion cried in the witch's castle, "We're trapped, trapped like rats". There's nowhere to turn. Whatever door we walk through leads right back to where we started, like an M.C. Escher painting. Here we have a war that will cost $3 trillion dollars, according to latest estimates. That's so much money that I get a headache thinking about it, especially when I imagine the health care, education, infrastructure, and research that would buy. If this administration has its way, this war (and others in the future) will suck every last penny from our country's treasury, robbing us of our future, leaving a poor, empty husk in its place. There will be nothing left for our children and grandchildren. So what are Obama and Hillary proposing to do about it? I don't know. They're too busy squabbling over who's a Muslim and Hillary's tax returns. It's like watching two sailors fighting over a dollar as the Titanic goes down. Yes, they both claim to be against the war, but both continue to fund it. Obama says he would not have voted for it, but has shown no stomach for going against the power majority in on anything. His main luck is timing. We'll never know what he would've done in 2002. Hillary voted for it and I get the feeling she'd do it again tomorrow if it would keep her in the boy's club. Obama's been hailed as the new JFK, but I don't get his message of keeping politics safe and sane and squeaky-clean. After three years in the Senate, in a country beset with war, scandal, economic crisis, corruption . . . that's your big solution, Obama? We should get out our Emily Post book? In my small town, putting up a new stop sign can bring on two years of near-violent debate, but he's going to run one of the most powerful countries in the world like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood? And isn't debate healthy? Isn't that what a democracy is about? I thought the other extreme was dictatorship. The Kennedy comparison is ironic since JFK encouraged robust discussion, an exchange of ideas, hearing all sides. We've had a Democratic majority in Congress for over a year practically falling over each other, capitulating to Bush's demands. Does Obama want more of that? Does he think this Congress has been too obstructive? Too impolite? I'm sorry Obama. You're losing me on this one. Another problem I have with Obama is the John Kerry disease of lawyer-speak. The other day I heard him say, "The Bush administration has mis-served this nation". Mis-served? How about destroyed? Smashed? Ruined? Driven to the edge of a cliff? Mis-served sounds like a bad meal at I-Hop. That's what worries me about this guy. He seems afraid or unable to really connect, to appeal to that boiling rage simmering under the surface, to deliver that knock-out blow. If he becomes the Democratic Party's nominee, how is he going to fare when the next Karl Rove pulls him into a dark alley. "Now see here, my good man!" is all I can hear as the punches fly. Then there's Hillary, the woman who doesn't know she's a woman, or is afraid to admit it. Yes, I know she's a warrior, a fighter, down in the trenches with the boys. I know it's a big, cruel world and bad guys lurk everywhere, ready to get that phone ringing at 3 a.m. Hey Hillary, haven't you had enough of this macho crap? As a female, would you ever consider standing up for the wives, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers of this world who are sick to death of this brutal, male-dominated planet? No, I didn't think so. You know why so many women don't like Hillary? Not because she's a woman and we're all these non-liberated weaklings who want to return to Donna Reed and June Cleaver. It's because she doesn't represent female values - compassion, diplomacy, non-violence. Here we finally have a female running for leader of the free world, a chance to better this planet, a chance to do this mess over with a woman's sensitive, wise touch . . . and guess what? She's more militant than the men. Honestly, I don't think John McCain could be much worse. Yes, I can hear the gasps now, but think about it. He'll keep us in Iraq for one hundred years and the other two will only keep us in for 20, just long enough for the oil companies, defense contractors, and special interests to vacuum up every last dollar from that poor, traumatized nation. Those groups are the real puppeteers and don't think it's any coincidence the people left running seem more than willing to serve them a long, long time. What have they done to prove otherwise? Any candidate with more backbone was shown the exit long ago. The election process is like a reality show. It seems unscripted and spontaneous, but it's all premeditated. The reality is manufactured. Our choices are presented to us. Sadly, whichever way we choose, I don't feel much will change. It was all decided long ago, and for that I feel mis-served. --------11 of 13-------- The Daylight Robbery of Borrowers The Triple Failing of the Big Private Banks By DAMIEN MILLET and ERIC TOUSSAINT CounterPunch March 20, 2008 Since August 2007, US and European banks have constantly made headline news concerning the deep crisis they are going through and its knock-on effect on the neoliberal economic system as a whole. Asset depreciation for these banks currently stands at over 200 billion dollars. Several banking research services and seasoned economists estimate that the final damage will exceed 1,000 billion dollars. How did the banks manage to build such an irrational lending system? Eager for profit, mortgage companies made loans to a sector of the population that was already heavily indebted. The conditions attached to these mortgages - highly profitable for the lender - amounted to daylight robbery for the borrower: the interest rate was fixed and reasonable for the first two years but thereafter rose sharply. Lenders assured borrowers that the property they were buying would quickly appreciate thanks to the boom in the real estate sector. The problem was that the real estate bubble burst in 2007 and house prices started to go steadily down. The number of defaults on payment soared and mortgage brokers had trouble repaying their own loans. To protect themselves, the big banks either refused extra credit to the mortgage lenders or agreed to new loans at far higher interest rates. But the spiral did not stop there, since the big banks had bought up a large number of the original loans as off-balance sheet operations by creating specific companies called Structured Investment Vehicles (SIV), which finance the purchase of high yield mortgages converted into bonds (CDOs, or Collateralised Debt Obligations). As from August 2007, investors stopped buying the unguaranteed commercial papers issued by SIVs, which no longer looked like a safe or credible option. Consequently, the SIVs lacked the liquidity needed to buy up mortgages and the crisis worsened. The big banks who had created the SIVs therefore had to bail them out to stop them going bankrupt. Up to then, SIV operations had not appeared in the banks' accounts (thus allowing them to conceal the risks involved), but now the SIV debts had to come out of the closet and onto the books. The result was general panic. In the US, 84 mortgage companies either went bankrupt or partially stopped doing business between 1 January and 17 August 2007, as opposed to only 17 similar cases for the whole of 2006. In Germany, the IKB BANK and SachsenLB were saved by the skin of their teeth. Recently, in England, the bankrupt Northern Rock has had to be nationalised. On 13 March 2008, the Carlyle Capital Corporation (CCC) fund, known to be close to the Bush clan, collapsed with debts 32 times its capital. The following day, the prestigious US bank Bear Stearns (5th US investment bank) called on the US Federal Reserve to provide an emergency credit line. Bear Stearns is being snapped up by JPMorgan Chase for a mere pittance. Several branches of the lending market are shaky constructions on the point of collapse. They drag into their misadventures the powerful banks, hedge funds or investment funds through which they were created. The salvage of these private financial institutions requires massive intervention on the part of the public authorities. And thus once again, profits accrue to the private sector, and losses to the public purse. Which brings us to a key question: how is it that banks can readily waive bad debts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars yet have constantly refused to cancel the debts of developing countries? Why should the one be feasible and the other impossible? It should be remembered that the debts claimed today from these countries go back in the past to criminal dictatorships, corrupt regimes and leaders pandering to major powers and investors. The big banks lavished loans on such notorious regimes as that of Mobutu in Zaire, Suharto in Indonesia, the Latin-American dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, not to mention the apartheid regime in South Africa. How can the banks persist in inflicting the burden of debt on people who have suffered the consequences of despotic regimes funded by the banks themselves? From a legal standpoint, many of the debts appearing in their accounts are odious and as such should not be repaid. But the banks continue to demand their pound of flesh. We should also remember that the Third World debt crisis was caused by the drastic unilateral hike in interest rates imposed by the Fed in 1982. Up to then the private banks had been happily handing out variable rate loans to countries that were already over-indebted. The crash came when these countries could no longer sustain repayments. Today history is repeating itself, this time in the North: overindebted households in the US are faced with mortgages that they can never repay as they watch the value of their properties plummet. The recent waiving of debts by banks can only justify the claims of those who, like the CADTM, demand the cancellation of Third World debt. Why? Because the long-term debt of Third World public authorities towards international banks reached 181.9 billion dollars in 2006 . Since August 2007, the banks have had to cancel a far greater amount, with more still to come. It is clear that the big private banks have failed in three ways: * they have built up catastrophic private lending structures that have led to the present disaster; * they have lent to despotic regimes and forced the democratic governments that replaced them to repay this odious debt down to the last cent; * they refuse to cancel the debts of developing countries, for whom repayment means ever-worsening living conditions for their people. For all these reasons, the banks must be held to account for their actions over the last decades. The governments of the countries of the South must make a full audit of their debts, as Ecuador is doing today, and repudiate all debts that are odious and illegitimate. The bankers have shown them that such a step is perfectly feasible. It would also be the first step towards restoring the true role of finance, which is to be of service to men and women. Everywhere, without exception. Damien Millet, spokesman for CADTM France (Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt), coauthor with Eric Toussaint of Who Owes Who?, Zedbooks, 2004. Eric Toussaint, president of CADTM Belgium, author of The World Bank: A Critical Primer, Pluto, London, 2008. Translated by Judith Harris. --------12 of 13-------- Resisting the Empire by Joseph Gerson Published on Thursday, March 20, 2008 by Foreign Policy in Focus Common Dreams Victories are within sight for people in a growing number of nations where communities that host U.S. foreign military bases have long fought to get rid of them. Ecuador's decision not to renew the U.S. lease for the forward operating base at Manta is the culmination of just one of many long-term and recently initiated community-based and national struggles to remove these military installations that are often sources of crime and demeaning human rights violations. A growing alliance among anti-bases movements in countries around the world, including the United States, is preventing the creation of new foreign military bases, restricting the expansion of others, and in some cases may win the withdrawal of the military bases, installations and troops that are essential to U.S. wars of intervention and its preparations for first-strike nuclear attacks. The Challenge Of course, there is still plenty of bad news. The Bush Administration is currently negotiating what is, in essence, a security treaty with the Maliki puppet government in Baghdad to secure one of the principle Bush-Cheney war aims: permanent military bases for tens of thousands of U.S. troops. The goal is to transform Iraq into an U.S. unsinkable aircraft carrier in the heart of the oil-rich Middle East. Unfortunately, the plan for Iraq is only one part of the vast and expanding U.S. infrastructure of nearly 1,000 military bases and installations strategically scattered around the world. Across Asia, in Japan, another Marine has raped an Okinawan school girl, traumatizing yet another life and temporarily shaking the foundations of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Under the guise of a "Visiting Force Agreement," U.S. troops have returned to the Philippines where they are deployed from "temporary" and unconstitutional military bases. In the Indian Ocean, Chagossian people were removed from Diego Garcia to make way for massive U.S. military bases; they have won all of their legal appeals but still can't return home. In Central Europe, the Bush Administration is pressing deployment of first strike-related "missile defense" bases in the Czech Republic and Poland. Russia has countered by threatening to target the bases with nuclear weapons, and opposition to "missile defense". In response to this renewed Cold War, opposition to "missile defense" weaponry is building in public squares and in parliaments throughout the region. And, as he recently traveled across Africa, President George W. Bush was met with near universal opposition to his plans for further military colonization of the continent in the form of moving the Pentagon's Africa Command headquarters from Europe to the oil and resource-rich continent. The Bush Administration and Pentagon are "reconfiguring" the U.S. global network of more than 750 foreign military bases to impose what Vice President Dick Cheney termed in a New Yorker interview as "the arrangement for the 21st century". This imperial "arrangement" is increasingly being met with opposition in "host" nations and the United States alike, and victories by allied movements are within reach. How We Got Here For more than a century, the United States has been building an unrivaled global structure of nearly foreign fortresses. Located on every continent and at sea, these military bases and installations provide an infrastructure from which invasions and nuclear wars can be launched. They enforce an unjust and often violent status quo, influence the politics and diplomacy of "host" nations, secure privileged access to oil and other natural resources, encircle enemies, "show the flag," and more recently have served as prisons operating outside the restrictions of U.S. and international law. These bases violate democratic values in other ways. When the United States was founded, the Declaration of Independence decried the "abuses and usurpations" caused by King George having "kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies". Since then, "abuses and usurpations" inherent in the presence of foreign "Standing Armies" have become far more dangerous. Their demeaning and disruptive impacts include: Undermining the sovereignty of "host" nations Militarizing and colonizing the "host" nation's culture Assaulting democracy and human rights Seizing people's private property and damaging their homes Violently abusing and dehumanizing women and girls Causing life-endangering military accidents and crimes that are rarely punished Terrorizing low-altitude training flights and night-landing exercises Polluting with military toxics Since the Cold War ended, U.S. presidents and the Pentagon have worked to "reconfigure" the architecture of this military infrastructure to address changing geopolitical realities, technological "advances," and growing resistance to the presence of foreign bases. With agility, flexibility and speed being given priority in U.S. military operations, bases are being transformed into hubs, forward operating bases, and "lily pads" for invasions and foreign military interventions. The other axis of reconfiguration is geographic. As U.S. forces have been forced out of Saudi Arabia, and with U.S. geostrategic priorities turning away from Europe and toward China, Washington has concentrated its military build up elsewhere in the Persian Gulf nations, Asia and the Pacific. Tipping Points In a number of countries, the reconfiguration has not proceeded as smoothly as anticipated: Iraq As Major General Robert Pollman explained in 2004, "It ma[de] a lot of sense" to "swap" U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia for new ones in Iraq. U.S. command and air bases located near the holy cities of Mecca and Medina incensed many Muslims and were among Osama Bin Laden's professed reasons for the 9-11 attacks. In the lead up to the 2003 invasion, many of the functions of these bases were moved to Qatar and Kuwait, and after the conquest, 110 bases were established across Iraq. To limit their political and military vulnerability, the Pentagon has been spending more than a $1 billion a year to consolidate them into 14 "enduring" and massive Air Force, Army and Marine bases in Baghdad and other strategic locations, In addition to helping secure U.S. control over Iraq, these bases contribute to encircling Iran, and they can be used for attacks across the Persian Gulf region and into oil-rich Central Asia. The Bush administration's plans to saddle its successor with these bases and the continuing occupation by negotiating an agreement with the Maliki government hit unexpected road block. In addition to popular Iraqi opposition, U.S. peace movement organizations joined Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) to prevent the unconstitutional imposition of what is essentially a treaty. The Delahunt hearings about the proposed commitment to defend the Baghdad government from internal and external enemies, the bases which are permanent in all but name, and privileged access to investment opportunities (read oil) for U.S. corporations forced Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to rhetorically back away from the open-ended security commitment to Baghdad. But his promises that the bases are "not permanent" are less credible. Nothing is officially "permanent," of course. Not even the bases in Japan and Korea, which have been there for more than six decades, and not the Great Wall of China, or the pyramids of Egypt, which are slowly decaying. With opposition to the treaty and the permanent military bases now a defining issue between Democrats and Republicans, the U.S. peace movement has an important opening to press its demands for the immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq. AFRICOM U.S. planners anticipate that by 2015 Africa will provide the U.S. with 25% of its imported oil. With Islamist political forces operating across northern Africa, the continent is also seen as an important front in the misconceived "war on terrorism". So, to "promote peace and stability on the continent" the Bush Administration and the Pentagon want to augment the U.S. military presence in Africa, beginning with the transfer of the Africa Command, AFRICOM, from remote Germany to an accommodating African nation. As President Bush learned during his recent ill-fated African tour, the continent's leaders are understandably reluctant to accept renewed military colonization. Ghana's President John Kufuour put it bluntly when he met with Bush, saying, "You're not going to build any bases in Ghana". Africa is not free of bases. France and Britain still have bases scattered there. The U.S. has bases in Djibouti and Algeria, access agreements with Morocco and Egypt, and is in the process of creating a "family" of military bases in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sao Tome, Senegal and Uganda.) And, although Bush responded to African fears about AFRICOM's possible relocation by saying that such rumors were "baloney" and "bull," he also conceded that: "We haven't made our minds up". With a growing No AFRICOM movement in the United States that is allied with anti-colonialist forces in Africa, this is one U.S. threat that can be contained. Diego Garcia In the mid-1960s, in a quintessential act of European colonialism, all of Diego Garcia's 2,000 inhabitants were forcefully removed from their homeland by British authorities to make way for massive U.S. air and naval bases. In an act of legal fiction, the island was separated from Mauritius on the eve of that island nation's independence. Located in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia's two-mile long runways have since been used to launch B-1 and B-52 attacks against Iraq and Afghanistan. Its stealth bomber hangars have recently been upgraded for possible strikes against Iran, and its submarine base is being refitted to serve Ohio-class submarines that can be used for both missile attacks and to secretly deploy Navy SEALS in Iran and other Persian Gulf nations. The Chagos people of Diego Garcia want to return home, ending their exile in Mauritius' slums, where up to 90% are unemployed and live desperate lives. The base rests on colonial constructions. With the help of allies in London and around the world they attempted to return, but have been halted on the high seas. But their plight and struggle has wide and sympathetic media attention, especially as they have won one challenge after another in the British courts. The British House of Lords is to make a "final ruling," but an end run in which Diego Garcia would be returned to Mauritius" authority and the "rented" to Washington remains possible. Education about the plight and struggle of the people of Diego Garcia, beginning with the spring speaking tour of Chagos leader Olivier Bancoult, is the best way to prepare for the next round of this compelling struggle. Okinawa Since its 1945 bloody conquest in 1945, Okinawa has served as the principle bastion of U.S. military power in East Asia - even after its 1972 reversion to Japan. Sixty years after the end of World War II, nearly 45,000 U.S. troops, civilian staff, and their families are based on Air Force, Navy, Marine and Army bases that occupy 27% of the island prefecture. Okinawans have suffered nearly every imaginable military abuse: One quarter of its people were killed during the 1945 battle, many by Japanese soldiers. U.S. nuclear weapons have fallen off ships and into coastal fishing grounds. Shells and bullets from live fire exercises have slammed into people's homes. Children, their grandmothers, base and service workers have suffered rapes that are too numerous to count. Land has been seized, and military accidents - including helicopters and their parts falling into students' schools - are not uncommon. To pacify the nationwide outrage that followed the 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan school girl in 1995, Washington and Tokyo agreed to reduce, not remove, the size of the U.S. footprint on Okinawa. With the U.S.-Japan alliance hanging in the balance, the Status of Forces Agreement was revised to accord the Japanese courts greater authority over crimes by G.I.s, and a plan was developed to move half of the 16,000 Marines - the greatest source of G.I. crime - to Guam largely at Japan's expense. Several bases were consolidated and Washington agreed to move the Futemna Air Base, in Ginowan's city center, to a more remote part of the island. This leaves the massive Air Force, Naval and Marine bases still occupying a quarter of the prefecture. Inspired by respected elders, the people of Henoko, the coastal site to which Futnema's functions were to be transferred, have put up a stiff resistance. To prevent the militarization of their community and the destruction of the reef on which the new air base is to be built, they have built alliances with peace activists and environmentalists around the world. Their focus has been to prevent destruction feeding grounds for dugongs (large, gentle sea mammals similar to manatees) that became the symbol of their movement. They have also conducted months-long sit-ins and taken their case to court. A California appeal court recently confirmed their environmental claims, and the relocation process stalled. Within weeks of this court victory, Marines raped a 14-year-old Okinawan school girl and a Filipina woman sparking renewed outrage across Okinawa and Japan. In the "Message from the Women of Okinawa" that followed, the U.S. military and the world were notified that the days when "so many rape victims...told no one and wept silently in their beds...are now over". Their message is clear, "Go back to America. Now". With Washington and Tokyo focused on "containing" China, it will be years before the last G.I. returns from Okinawa. In the meantime, we can provide critical support to women and men who are courageously and nonviolently campaigning to defend their lives, their families, their communities, and nature itself. The base at Henoko must not be built. The base in Futenma must be closed. It is past time to bring all the Marines home. Guam Guam is not home. Located in the South Pacific and conquered by the United States from Spain in 1898, it has long served as a U.S. stepping stone to Asia. Nominally it is not a U.S. colony, but an "unincorporated territory" with a nonvoting delegate in Congress. Throughout the Cold War, U.S. air and naval bases occupied the island's best agricultural lands, water sources and fishing grounds. Now the abuses and usurpations are becoming much worse. Since the nonviolent 1995 Okinawan uprising, the Pentagon has been preparing for the day when it is finally forced to withdraw from Okinawa and Japan. Thus Guam is being transformed in to a military "hub". Already large enough to accommodate B-52 and stealth bombers, Andersen Air Force Base is being expanded to serve as "the most significant U.S. Air Force base in the Pacific region for this century". More submarines are being homeported in its harbor, and the Navy is considering homeporting an aircraft carrier strike force there is well. Then, there are those Marines from Okinawa. Understandably, Guam's tiny Chamorro population feels besieged. In the traditions of U.S., Israeli and South African settler colonialism, it is "cowboys and Indians all over again". We have a responsibility to prevent this cultural genocide. Europe The Cold War never really ended in Europe. An estimated 380 U.S. nuclear weapons are still based in seven European nations, and most of the 100,000 troops deployed across Western Europe remain there. But Pentagon campaigns to deploy misnamed "missile defenses" in the Czech Republic and Poland and to expand the Aviano Air Base in Italy are leading hundreds of thousands of Europeans into the streets. The missile defense system is ostensibly modest. A missile tracking radar is to be installed in the Czech Republic, and ten interceptor missiles are to be sited in Poland, reportedly to defend Europe from Iranian missiles that have not been deployed. In fact, this is the tip of the iceberg. Russia properly fears that, once deployed, the missile defense system will be greatly expanded with the goal of neutralizing Moscow's missile forces, leaving Russia vulnerable to U.S. first strike attacks. In response, President Vladimir Putin has menacingly threatened to target nuclear weapons against the Czechs and Poles. Opinion polls indicate that most Czechs oppose the missile defense deployments and want to hold a referendum to block them. Many NATO leaders are angry that the U.S. circumvented the European Union's decision-making process, and protests spearheaded by the U.S. Campaign for Peace and Democracy greeted Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek when he recently visited the United States. With many leading congressional Democrats also opposed to these dangerous deployments, missile defenses can be stopped. Finally, there is Italy where, unexpectedly, hundreds of thousands of citizens turned out to protest the expansion of the U.S. Air Base at Aviano (which also hosts U.S. nuclear weapons.) Dissent over the base expansion nearly toppled the Prodi government in 2007, and it will remain the focus of European and U.S. anti-bases campaigns. Resistance In response to popularly based movements to win the withdrawal of unwanted U.S. foreign military bases, an incipient U.S. anti-bases movement is emerging. It includes organizations as diverse as the American Friends Service Committee, and the Southwest Workers Union, the United for Peace and Justice coalition, and scholars who are moving from studying military bases to working for their withdrawal. Four increasingly integrated U.S. anti-bases networks have developed in recent years, spurred in part by the development of the global "No Military Bases Network" in World Social Forums and the global Network's formal inauguration in Quito, Ecuador at a conference last year that brought together four hundred activists from forty nations. The U.S. networks are currently organizing April speaking tours featuring Olivier Bancoult from Diego Garcia, Terri Keko-olani from Hawaii, Jan Tamas and the Czech Republic, and Andreas Licata from Italy. And a national U.S. "No Foreign Military Bases" conference is in its early planning stages. Joseph Gerson, a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org), is director of programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England. His books include The Sun Never Sets.Confronting the Network of U.S. Foreign Military Bases, (South End Press, 1991) and Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (Pluto Press, 2007). Copyright 2008 Institute for Policy Studies --------13 of 13-------- You cannot make an imperialist omelet without breaking the world egg ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 Up yours, W!
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