Progressive Calendar 09.02.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 17:18:13 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.02.10

1. Global 350.org       9.02 7pm

2. Ffunch strikes again 9.03 11:30am
3. Palestine vigil      9.03 4:15pm

4. Peace walk           9.04 9am Cambridge MN
5. Flyer IPAC           9.04 10am
6. CUAPB                9.04 1:30pm
7. Northtown vigil      9.04 2pm

8. Stillwater vigil     9.05 1pm
9. Rally v ICE          9.05 2:30pm

10. D Provencher   - Let Pentel debate!
11. Chris Floyd    - Speech defect: emissions of evil from the Oval Office
12. Normon Solomon - The business of killing/ a speech for endless war
13. Andrew Bacevich- Obama wants us to forget the lessons of Iraq
14. Quigley/Raymond- Contracting out the occupation/ another false ending
15. Paul Street    - Our sacrifice for Iraq: Obama & the memory hole
16. ed             - Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/09.02.10
17. ed             - Evil oval  (haiku)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
From: Paul Thompson
Subject: Global 350.org 9.02 7pm

MN RPCVs and family members,
Planning meeting for 350.org's Global Work Party on 10/10/10. This
Thursday Sept 2, Common Roots Cafe 26th and Lyndale Ave in South Mpls. 7
pm

Come and be a part of making this event large, diverse and successful. The
focus will be on what local communities are doing to create sustainable
solutions to the climate crisis.

Sat the 9th and Sunday morning is devoted to neighbors doing projects in
their neighborhoods, in the afternoon we will rally and elebrate together
at a central location that we will determine this Thursday.

The theme for the day is "let's get to work" with the underlying message
to our elected officials that it is time for them to 'get to work' while
we still have time.

Call me with ideas/ questions. 952-920-1547
Paul Thompson Borneo 71-73 www.350solutionsrevolution.org


--------2 of 17--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Ffunch strikes again 9.03 11:30am

Ffunch 12.05 11:30am

Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH!
11:30am-1pm
First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for progressives.
Informal political talk and hanging out.

Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul.
Meet on the far south side.

Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and waist-line-dangerous apple
pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines


--------3 of 17--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 9.03 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs
available.
[Or maybe at Snelling & University, closer to the Fair - as last week. ed]


--------4 of 17--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 9.04 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


--------5 of 17--------

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Flyer IPAC 9.04 10am

Please help us HAND OUT FLYERS this Saturday, Sept. 4th from 10 am to noon
(or whatever time you have) about upcoming IPAC events as well as getting
people to sign postcards to be sent to Senators Klobuchar and Franken at
the Midtown Farmers Market (at Lake and 22nd Street).  We'll meet at the
driveway to the parking lot to the south of the farmer's market which is
right across 22nd street between the Market and the YMCA.


--------6 of 17--------


From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: CUAPB 9.05 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue
South http://www.CUAPB.org

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


--------7 of s--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 9.04 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------8 of 17--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 9.05 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.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------9 of 17--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Rally v ICE 9.05 2:30pm

Rally Against Detention of Immigrants
Sunday, September 5, 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. Ramsey County Adult Detention
Center, 425 Grove Street, St. Paul.

Join community members of all faiths and others who advocate for
immigrants and immigration reform as we gather to show support to those
detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Ramsey County
Detention Center. Help call attention to our nation's broken immigration
system and the need for Immigration Reform now. The September vigil will
be led by the WAMM Immigration Committee and will focus on our country's
increased militarization of the border. Sponsored by: the Interfaith
Coalition on Immigration, Advocates for Human Rights, the WAMM Immigration
Committee, and others. FFI: Call 612-827-5364.


-------10 of 17--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Let Pentel debate!

LET KEN DEBATE!

Ken Pentel for Governor, with the Ecology Democracy Party, has been making
a great presence at the MN State Fair this year.  On Friday, 11am at the
fair carousel, the gubernatorial candidates will debate.  Unfortunately,
MPR who is hosting the debate, won't allow Ken to sit at the same lunch
counter as Emmer, Horner or Dayton.  Ken has worked tirelessly for decades
to bring forth issues we hold dear and has been totally blacked out from
the media (aside from KFAI and Staples newspaper) just as the system wants
it.

This election cycle, and Ken's fourth run for governor, is a paradigm
shift from a usual campaign.  Instead of pounding away at the issues every
election cycle and not feeling that our voices are heard, the Ken Pentel
for Governor campaign is focusing on structural change.  The analogy we
use is:  why worrying about changing the wallpaper if the foundation of
your house is crumbling.  Through a system with proportional
representative for the MN House, a shift towards an ecological based
accounting where whole cost is factored in and heaven knows, until we get
the corporate money and influence out of our government, our voices will
be drowned by the money.

If you feel it is an injustice that Ken will be excluded from the State
Fair gubernatorial debate on Friday, please call MRP and tell them to LET
KEN DEBATE!

MPR contact information
_smeyers [at] mpr.org_ (mailto:smeyers [at] mpr.org)   Sara Meyers, MPR  Program
Director)
651-290-1424 (newsroom)


--------11 of 17--------

Speech Defect: Emissions of Evil From the Oval Office
[Speech Defect: Emissions of Oval From the Evil Office -ed]
Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 01 September 2010

On Tuesday night, Barack Obama gave a speech from the Oval Office on Iraq
that was almost as full of hideous, murderous lies as the speech on Iraq
his predecessor gave in the same location more than seven years ago.

After mendaciously declaring an "end to the combat mission in Iraq" -
where almost 50,000 regular troops and a similar number of mercenaries
still remain, carrying out the same missions they have been doing for
years - Obama delivered what was perhaps the most egregious, bitterly
painful lie of the night:

"Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and
Iraq, we have met our responsibility."

"We have met our responsibility!" No, Mister President, we have not. Not
until many Americans of high degree stand in the dock for war crimes. Not
until the United States pays hundreds of billions of dollars in
unrestricted reparations to the people of Iraq for the rape of their
country and the mass murder of their people. Not until the United States
opens its borders to accept all those who have been and will be driven
from Iraq by the savage ruin we have inflicted upon them, or in flight
from the vicious thugs and sectarians we have loosed - and empowered -
in the land. Not until you, Mister President, go down on your knees, in
sackcloth and ashes, and proclaim a National of Day of Shame to be marked
each year by lamentations, reparations and confessions of blood guilt for
our crime against humanity in Iraq.

Then and only then, Mister President, can you say that America has begun
- in even the most limited, pathetic way - to "meet its responsibility"
for what it has done to Iraq. And unless you do this, Mister President -
and you never will - you are just a lying, bloodsoaked apologist,
accomplice and perpetrator of monstrous evil, like your predecessor and
his minions - many of whom, of course, are now your minions.

I really don't have anything else to say about this sickening spectacle -
which is being compounded in Britain, where I live, by the sight today of
Tony Blair's murder-tainted mug plastered on the front of the main
newspapers, as he makes the rounds pushing his new book, doling out
"exclusive interviews" full of crocodile tears for the soldiers he had
murdered in the war crime he committed and the "great suffering" of the
Iraqi people which, goodness gracious, he never foresaw and feels, gosh,
really bad about. All this laced with venomous comments about his former
colleagues - those who, like Gordon Brown, sold their souls to advance
Blair's vision of aggressive war abroad and corporate rapine at home -
along with, of course, earnest protestations of his God-directed good
intentions, and his unwavering belief that killing a million innocent
human beings in Iraq was "the right thing to do." Pol Pot could not have
been more blindly self-righteous than this wretched moral cretin.

I will say again what I have said here many, many times before: What
quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?

Words might fail me, but wise man William Blum has a few that put the "end
of combat operations in Iraq" in their proper perspective. Let's give him
the last word here [the ellipses are in the original text]:

No American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the
society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The
Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or
another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed
wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost
everything - their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean
water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their
archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their
state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their
health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious
tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents,
their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half
the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally
displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes
drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ...
unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... an
army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders;
they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the
Middle East, Europe and Central Asia ... a river of blood runs alongside
the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back
together again.

http://www.chris-floyd.com/articles/1-latest-news/2016-speech-defect-emissions-of-evil-from-the-oval-office.html


--------12 of 17--------

The Business of Killing
A Speech for Endless War
By NORMAN SOLOMON
September 1, 2010
CounterPunch

On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to
boost a policy of perpetual war.

Hours later, the New York Times front page offered a credulous gloss for
the end of "the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq". The first
sentence of the coverage described the speech as saying "that it is now
time to turn to pressing problems at home". The story went on to assert
that Obama "used the moment to emphasize that he sees his primary job as
addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues - and to make clear
that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next
summer".

But the speech gave no real indication of a shift in priorities from
making war to creating jobs. And the oratory "made clear" only the
repetition of vague vows to "begin" disengaging from the Afghanistan war
next summer. In fact, top administration officials have been signaling
that only token military withdrawals are apt to occur in mid-2011, and
Obama said nothing to the contrary.

While now trumpeting the nobility of an Iraq war effort that he'd
initially disparaged as "dumb," Barack Obama is polishing a halo over the
Afghanistan war, which he touts as very smart. In the process, the Oval
Office speech declared that every U.S. war - no matter how mendacious or
horrific - is worthy of veneration.

Obama closed the speech with a tribute to "an unbroken line of heroes"
stretching "from Khe Sanh to Kandahar - Americans who have fought to see
that the lives of our children are better than our own". His reference to
the famous U.S. military outpost in South Vietnam was a chilling
expression of affinity for another march of folly.

With his commitment to war in Afghanistan, President Obama is not only on
the wrong side of history. He is also now propagating an exculpatory view
of any and all U.S. war efforts - as if the immoral can become the
magnificent by virtue of patriotic alchemy.

A century ago, William Dean Howells wrote: "What a thing it is to have a
country that can't be wrong, but if it is, is right, anyway!"

During the presidency of George W. Bush, "the war on terror" served as a
rationale for establishing warfare as a perennial necessity. The Obama
administration may have shelved the phrase, but the basic underlying
rationales are firmly in place. With American troop levels in Afghanistan
near 100,000, top U.S. officials are ramping up rhetoric about "taking the
fight to" the evildoers.

The day before the Oval Office speech, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs
talked to reporters about "what this drawdown means to our national
security efforts in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia and around the world as
we take the fight to Al Qaeda".

The next morning, Obama declared at Fort Bliss: "A lot of families are now
being touched in Afghanistan. We've seen casualties go up because we're
taking the fight to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and their allies". And, for
good measure, Obama added that "now, under the command of General
Petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a position to start taking
the fight to the terrorists".

If, nine years after 9/11, we are supposed to believe that U.S. forces can
now "start" taking the fight to "the terrorists," this is truly war
without end. And that's the idea.

Nearly eight years ago, in November 2002, retired U.S. Army Gen. William
Odom appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program and told viewers:
"Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's
about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're
going to win that war. We're not going to win the war on terrorism."

With his Aug. 31 speech, Obama became explicit about the relationship
between reduced troop levels in Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan. "We
will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan
from again serving as a base for terrorists," he said. "And because of our
drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go
on offense". This is the approach of endless war.

While Obama was declaring that "our most urgent task is to restore our
economy and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to
work," I went to a National Priorities Project webpage and looked at
cost-of-war counters spinning like odometers in manic overdrive. The
figures for the "Cost of War in Afghanistan" - already above $329 billion
- are now spinning much faster than the ones for war in Iraq.

One day in March 1969, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist spoke at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Our government has become
preoccupied with death," George Wald said, "with the business of killing
and being killed". More than four decades later, how much has really
changed?

Norman Solomon is the author of Made Love, Got War.


--------13 of 17-------

Obama Wants Us To Forget the Lessons of Iraq
by Andrew Bacevich
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The New Republic
Common Dreams

The Iraq war? Fuggedaboudit. "Now, it is time to turn the page." So
advises the commander-in-chief at least. "[T]he bottom line is this,"
President Obama remarked last Saturday, "the war is ending." Alas, it's
not. Instead, the conflict is simply entering a new phase. And before we
hasten to turn the page - something that the great majority of Americans
are keen to do - common decency demands that we reflect on all that has
occurred in bringing us to this moment. Absent reflection, learning
becomes an impossibility.

For those Americans still persuaded that everything changed the moment
Obama entered the Oval Office, let's provide a little context. The event
that historians will enshrine as the Iraq war actually began back in 1990
when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Iraq's unloved and unlovable neighbor.
Through much of the previous decade, the United States had viewed Saddam
as an ally of sorts, a secular bulwark against the looming threat of
Islamic radicalism then seemingly centered in Tehran. Saddam's war of
aggression against Iran, launched in 1980, did not much discomfit
Washington, which offered the Iraqi dictator a helping hand when his
legions faced apparent defeat.

Yet when Saddam subsequently turned on Kuwait, he overstepped. President
George H.W. Bush drew a line in the sand, likened the Iraqi dictator to
Hitler, and dispatched 500,000 American troops to the Persian Gulf. The
plan was to give Saddam a good spanking, make sure all concerned knew who
was boss, and go home.

Operation Desert Storm didn't turn out that way. An ostensibly great
victory gave way to even greater complications. Although, in evicting the
Iraqi army from Kuwait, U.S. and coalition forces did what they had been
sent to do, Washington became seized with the notion merely turning back
aggression wasn't enough: In Baghdad, Bush's nemesis survived and remained
defiant. So what began as a war to liberate Kuwait morphed into an
obsession with deposing Saddam himself. In the form of air strikes and
missile attacks, feints and demonstrations, CIA plots and crushing
sanctions, America's war against Iraq persisted throughout the 1990s,
finally reaching a climax with George W. Bush's decision after September
11, 2001, to put Saddam ahead of Osama bin Laden in the line of evildoers
requiring elimination.

The U.S.-led assault on Baghdad in 2003 finally finished the work left
undone in 1991 - so it appeared at least. Here was decisive victory,
sealed by the capture of Saddam Hussein himself in December 2003. "Ladies
and gentlemen," announced L. Paul Bremer, the beaming American viceroy to
Baghdad, "we got him."

Yet by the time Bremer spoke, it - Iraq - had gotten us. Saddam's capture
(and subsequent execution) signaled next to nothing. Round two of the Iraq
war had commenced, the war against Saddam (1990-2003) giving way to the
American Occupation (2003-2010). Round two began the War to Reinvent Iraq
in America's Image.

With officials such as Bremer in the vanguard, the United States set out
to transform Iraq into a Persian Gulf "city upon a hill," a beacon of
Western-oriented liberal democracy enlightening and inspiring the rest of
the Arab and Islamic world. When this effort met with resistance, American
troops, accustomed to employing overwhelming force, responded with
indiscriminate harshness. President Bush called the approach "kicking
ass." Heavy-handedness backfired, however, and succeeded only in plunging
Iraq into chaos. One result, on the home front, was to produce a sharp
backlash against what had become Bush's War.

Unable to win, unwilling to accept defeat, the Bush administration sought
to create conditions allowing for a graceful exit. Marketed for domestic
political purposes as "a new way forward," more commonly known as "the
surge," this modified approach was the strategic equivalent of a dog's
breakfast. President Bush steeled himself to expend more American blood
and treasure while simultaneously lowering expectations about what U.S.
forces might actually accomplish. New tactics designed to suppress the
Iraqi insurgency won Bush's approval; so too did the novel practice of
bribing insurgents to put down their arms.

Yet as a consequence the daily violence that had made Iraq a hellhole
subsided - although it did not disappear.

Meanwhile, once hallowed verities fell by the wayside. U.S. officials
stopped promising that Saddam's downfall would trigger a wave of
liberalizing reforms throughout the Islamic world. Op-eds testifying to
America's enduring commitment to the rights of Iraqi women ceased to
appear in the nation's leading newspapers.
==
Respected American generals-by 2007, about the only figures retaining a
shred of credibility on Iraq-disavowed the very possibility of victory. In
military circles, to declare that "there is no military solution" became
the very height of fashion.

By the time Barack Obama had ascended to the presidency, this second phase
of the Iraq war-its purpose now inverted from occupation to
extrication-was already well-advanced. Since taking office, Obama has kept
faith with the process that his predecessor set in motion, building upon
President Bush's success. (When applied to Iraq, "success" has become a
notably elastic term, easily accommodating bombs that detonate in Iraqi
cities and insurgent assaults directed at Iraqi forces and government
installations.)

Which brings us to the present. After seven-plus years, Operation Iraqi
Freedom has concluded. Operation New Dawn, its name suggesting a skin
cream or dishwashing liquid, now begins. (What ever happened to the
practice of using terms like Torch or Overlord or Dragoon to describe
military campaigns?) Although something like 50,000 U.S. troops remain in
Iraq, their mission is not to fight, but simply to advise and assist their
Iraqi counterparts. In another year, if all goes well, even this last
remnant of an American military presence will disappear.

So the Americans are bowing out, having achieved few of the ambitious
goals articulated in the heady aftermath of Baghdad's fall. The surge, now
remembered as an epic feat of arms, functions chiefly as a smokescreen,
obscuring a vast panorama of recklessness, miscalculation, and waste that
politicians, generals, and sundry warmongers are keen to forget.

Back in Iraq, meanwhile, nothing has been resolved and nothing settled.
Round one of the Iraq war produced a great upheaval that round two served
only to exacerbate. As the convoys of U.S. armored vehicles trundle south
toward Kuwait and then home, they leave the stage set for round three.

Call this the War of Iraqi Self-Determination (2010-?). As the United
States removes itself from the scene, Iraqis will avail themselves of the
opportunity to decide their own fate, a process almost certain to be rife
with ethnic, sectarian, and tribal bloodletting. What the outcome will be,
no one can say with certainty, but it won't be pretty.

One thing alone we can say with assurance:As far as Americans are
concerned, Iraqis now own their war. "Like any sovereign, independent
nation," President Obama recently remarked, "Iraq is free to chart its own
course." The place may be a mess, but it's their mess not ours. In this
sense alone is the Iraq war "over."

As U.S. forces have withdrawn, they have done so in an orderly fashion. In
their own eyes, they remain unbeaten and unbeatable. As the troops pull
out, the American people are already moving on: Even now, Afghans have
displaced Iraqis as the beneficiaries of Washington's care and
ministrations. Oddly, even disturbingly, most of us-our memories short,
our innocence intact-seem content with the outcome. The United States
leaves Iraq having learned nothing.

2010 The New Republic
Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations
at Boston University.  His new book, Washington Rules: America.s Path to
Permanent War, has just been published.  His other books include, The New
American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, The Limits of
Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project), and
The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World
War II.


--------14 of 17--------

Contracting Out the Occupation
Another False Ending
By BILL QUIGLEY and LAURA RAYMOND
September 1, 2010
cp

Another false ending to the Iraq war is being declared.  Nearly seven
years after George Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on the
USS Abraham Lincoln, President Obama has just given a major address to
mark the withdrawal of all but 50,000 combat troops from Iraq.  But, while
thousands of US troops are marching out, thousands of additional private
military contractors (PMCs)  are marching in.  The number of armed
security contractors in Iraq will more than double in the coming months.

While the mainstream media is debating whether Iraq can be declared a
victory or not there is virtually no discussion regarding this surge in
contractors.  Meanwhile, serious questions about the accountability of
private military contractors remain.

In the past decade the United States has dramatically shifted the way in
which it wages war - fewer soldiers and more contractors.

Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that the
Department of Defense (DoD) workforce has 19% more contractors (207,600)
than uniformed personnel (175,000) in Iraq and Afghanistan, making the
wars in these two countries the most outsourced and privatized in U.S.
history.

According to a recent State Department briefing to Congress's Commission
on Wartime Contracting, from now on, instead of soldiers, private military
contractors will be disposing of improvised explosive devices, recovering
killed and wounded personnel, downed aircraft and damaged vehicles,
policing Baghdad's International Zone, providing convoy security, and
clearing travel routes, among other security-related duties.

Worse, the oversight of contractors will rest with other contractors.  As
has been the case in Afghanistan, contractors will be sought to provide
"operations-center monitoring of private security contractors (PSCs)" as
well as "PSC inspection and accountability services".

The Commission on Wartime Contracting, a body established by Congress to
study the trends in war contracting, raised fundamental questions in a
July 12, 2010 "special report" about the troop drawdown and the increased
use of contractors:

"An additional concern is presented by the nature of the functions that
contractors might be supplying in place of U.S. military personnel. What
if an aircraft-recovery team or a supply convoy comes under fire? Who
determines whether contract guards engage the assailants and whether a
quick-reaction force is sent to assist them? What if the assailants are
firing from an inhabited village or a hospital? Who weighs the risks of
innocent casualties, directs the action, and applies the rules for the use
of force?

"Apart from raising questions about inherently governmental functions,
such scenarios could require decisions related to the risk of innocent
casualties, frayed relations with the Iraqi government and populace, and
broad undermining of U.S. objectives".

We'd like to pose an additional question to the ones listed above: when
human rights abuses by private military contractors occur in the next
phase of the occupation of Iraq, which certainly will happen, what is the
plan for justice and accountability?

This massive buildup of contractors in Iraq takes place at a time when the
question of contractor immunity - or impunity - is at a critical point.

In one example, since 2004 our organization, the Center for Constitutional
Rights, has been demanding - in US courts and through advocacy - that
private military contractors who commit grave human rights abuses be held
accountable.  Contractors have responded by claiming something known as
the "government contractor defense," arguing that because they were
contracted by the US government to perform a duty they shouldn't be able
to be held liable for any alleged violations that occured while
purportedly performing those duties - even when the alleged violations are
war crimes. Contractors also argue that the cases CCR has brought raise
"political questions" that are inappropriate for the courts to consider.
These technical legal arguments have been the focus of human rights
lawsuits for years - and so far the question of the contractors' actual
actions have not been reviewed by the federal courts.

One case that should be watched closely this fall is Saleh v. Titan, a
case brought by CCR and private attorneys against CACI and L-3 Services
(formerly Titan), two private military contractors who military
investigations implicated as having played a part in the torture at Abu
Ghraib and other detention centers throughout Iraq.

Saleh v. Titan was filed six years ago on behalf of Iraqis who were
tortured and otherwise seriously abused while detained and currently
includes hundreds of plaintiffs, including many individuals who were
detained at the notorious "hard site" at Abu Ghraib.  The plaintiffs in
Saleh v. Titan, many of whom still suffer from physical and psychological
harm, are simply seeking their day in court, to tell an American jury what
happened to them.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the case last
September and the Supreme Court will be deciding whether or not to take
the case this fall.  This and a handful of other cases will signal how
civil lawsuits on behalf of those injured or killed by contractors will be
handled in US courts - and decide whether victims of egregious human
rights violations will obtain some form of redress and whether contractors
who violate the law will be held accountable or be granted impunity.

And how will human rights abuse by contractors be handled by criminal
prosecutors in the coming years?  Given its track record, it is safe to
say that Iraqi civilians cannot count on the Department of Justice (DOJ)
to prosecute many contractor abuse cases. The DOJ was given an "F" by
Human Rights First in their 2008 report Ending Private Contractor
Impunity: Report Cards on the U.S.  Government Response since Nisoor
Square. The DOJ has never pursued criminal prosecutions for contractor
involvement in the crimes of Abu Ghraib; something CCR still demands
today.

Iraq's Parliament signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in 2008
which gave it the power to prosecute some US contractors who commit crimes
against Iraqi civilians.  We can all hope Iraq's justice system will be
able to overcome the political challenges involved in prosecuting US
companies or US contractors and other foreigners in Iraq's courts. But
even that will not stop the common practice of contractor companies simply
pulling their employees out of the country when a crime happens.

With these fundamental questions left unanswered and legal loopholes left
open, thousands more armed contractors will soon be filing into Iraq, onto
the streets where Iraqis work, study and go about their everyday lives.

As Senator, Obama called for less dependence on private military
contractors and for accountability when they committed human rights
abuses.  He told Defense News in 2008 that he was "troubled by the use of
private contractors when it comes to potential armed engagements". Senator
Clinton co-sponsored legislation to phase out the use of security
contractors in war zones.

As President, Obama pretends the occupation of Iraq is ending with the
withdrawal of combat troops while he and Secretary of State Clinton
quietly hire a shadow army to replace them.

For more information about Saleh v. Titan, please see:
http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/saleh-v-titan

Bill Quilgley and Laura Raymond work at the Center for
Constitutional Rights. Contact Bill at quigley77 [at] gmail.com and Laura at
lauraraymond21 [at] gmail.com


--------15 of 17--------

Our Sacrifice for Iraq: The Memory Hole and Obama's Iraq Address
By Paul Street
Thursday, September 02, 2010
ZNet

                    PREDICTABLE MIND TORTURE

The rhetoric of the imperial governing class is so predictable once you
know the doctrinal codes. Here's my forecast - issued on Facebook at
around 6:00 pm central time - on Obama's "end of combat operations" speech
from the oval office, delivered with folded presidential hands in a
cardboard cutout delivery at 7 pm last night:

"Get ready for some serious imperial bullshit from the Oval Office on your
Telescreen in one hour. Make your content predictions now. Here's mine:
there'll be lots of rhetoric about how the U.S. 'sacrificed' out of good
and noble intentions; reference to war perhaps as a mistake but of course
no mention of it as a monumentally mass murderous petro-imperial CRIME. A
main thing missing - will be the degree of Iraqi death and crippling; the
remarkable extent to which the U.S. murdered Iraq, the scale of the
U.S.-imposed devastation. The millions of Iraqis killed and maimed. It'll
be all about "our sacrifice" for them".

"Obama's address will be an exercise in Orwellian mind torture and
reality-inversion. 2+2=5. This one-sided imperial "war" was worse than the
Mongols sacking Baghdad in the 13th century. It was sheer sociopathic
butchery. Fallujah 2004, for example. Tommy Frank's computer program name
for likely Iraqi civilian casualties on the eve of the invasion?  It was
called "BUGSPLAT". Yes, "bugsplat"..

"These and other little inconvenient facts are of course doctrinally
unmentionable. They didn't happen. All down the 1984 memory hole".

                   OUR "SACRIFICE" FOR THEM

So how did I do? I get marked down for incomplete and being too kind but I
did pretty good on the whole. I was completely correct on the "our
sacrifice for them" theme and on the total, intimately related deletion of
the devastation the U.S. imposed.  Here are some telling and predictable/
predicted passages from Obama's address last night (I am writing on the
morning of Wednesday September 1, 2010):

"A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency.  Terrorism
and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart.  Thousands of
Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded.  Our
relations abroad were strained.  Our unity at home was tested".

"And like all Americans, I'm awed by [the troops'] sacrifice, and by the
sacrifices of their families". "The Americans who have served in Iraq
completed every mission they were given.  They defeated a regime that had
terrorized its people.  Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who
made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to
help Iraq seize the chance for a better future.  They shifted tactics to
protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi Security Forces, and took out
terrorist leaders.  Because of our troops and civilians -- and because of
the resilience of the Iraqi people -- Iraq has the opportunity to embrace
a new destiny, even though many challenges remain".

"Iraqis are a proud people.  They have rejected sectarian war, and they
have no interest in endless destruction.  They understand that, in the
end, only Iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets.
Only Iraqis can build a democracy within their borders.  What America can
do, and will do, is provide support for the Iraqi people as both a friend
and a partner".

"Ending this war is not only in Iraq's interest -- it's in our own.  The
United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands
of its people.  We have sent our young men and women to make enormous
sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight
budgets at home.  We've persevered because of a belief we share with the
Iraqi people -- a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning
could be born in this cradle of civilization.  Through this remarkable
chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our
responsibility".

"Most painfully, since the war began, 55 members of the Fourth Stryker
Brigade made the ultimate sacrifice -- part of over 4,400 Americans who
have given their lives in Iraq... .Those Americans gave their lives for
the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two
centuries. .Along with nearly 1.5 million Americans who have served in
Iraq, they fought in a faraway place for people they never knew.  They
stared into the darkest of human creations -- war -- and helped the Iraqi
people seek the light of peace".

                       INVISIBLE HOLOCAUST

How grotesque these words must sound to Iraqi survivors of the latest
American imperial assault (following in the wake of a previous invasion
and decade-plus U.S.-imposed "sanctions" regime that killed more than a
million Iraqis) on their country. There was nothing of course in Obama's
comments about: the 1.5 million or is it now 2 million or more Iraqis "we"
(Washington) killed; the Iraqi technical and social infrastructure "we"
leveled; the professional class exodus "we" caused, the water and air "we"
poisoned, the cancer rates "we" pushed sky high (higher than what the
Hiroshima bomb did) in Fallujah.

The Iraqi people - reduced to the moral status of insects by the Pentagon
in the spring of 2003 - have experienced what has amounted to a
U.S.-imposed Holocaust.  As "Iraq" was increasingly pushed to the margins
of the U.S. presidential campaign (and of mainstream news) in January of
2008, the intrepid antiwar writer Tom Engelhardt observed the following:

"Whether civilian dead between the invasion of 2003 and mid-2006 (before
the  worst year of civil-war level violence even hit) was in the range of
600,000 as a study in the British medical journal, The Lancet reported, or
150,000 as a recent World Health Organization study suggests, whether two
million or 2.5 million Iraqis have fled the country, whether 1.1 million
or more than two million have been displaced internally, whether
electricity blackouts and water shortages have marginally increased or
decreased, whether the country's health-care system is beyond
resuscitation or could still be revived, whether Iraqi oil production has
nearly crept back to the low point of the Saddam Hussein-era or not,
whether fields of opium poppies are, for the first time, spreading across
the country's agricultural lands or still relatively localized, Iraq is a
continuing disaster zone on a catastrophic scale hard to match in recent
memory".

According to the respected journalist Nir Rosen in the December 2007
edition of the mainstream journal Current History, "Iraq has been killed,
never to rise again.  The American occupation has been more disastrous
than that of the Mongols who sacked Baghdad in the thirteenth century.
Only fools talk of solutions now.  There is no solution.  The only hope is
that perhaps the damage can be contained".

The damage included untold thousands tortured in U.S. military prisons and
thousands more butchered in Fallujah, site for colossal U.S. war atrocity
(the crimes included the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the
targeting even of ambulances and hospitals, and the practical leveling of
an entire city) by the ever-"sacrificing" U.S. military in April and
November of 2004. The town was designated for destruction as an example of
the awesome state terror promised to those who dared to resist U.S. power.
Also part of the devastation was the sacking and devastation of much of
Mesopotamia's precious cultural history (the looting of many original
artifacts from what Obama acknowledged was "the cradle of civilization") -
this permitted by Superpower's unmatched military while Washington's
imperial gendarmes maintained full security and lockdown at Iraq's
critical Oil Ministry.

The monumental suffering imposed on the Iraqis by the warlords in
Washington was of course unmentionable/invisible in Obama's address - and
in the obedient dominant war media coverage of his address, which focused
on among other things his wooden "body language". It was at best weakly
half-suggested in Obama's horrifying insinuation that the U.S. had granted
Iraq "new [democratic] beginning" through "the ashes of war" (didn't
candidate/author Obama criticize [in his reactionary book The Audacity of
Hope] what he claimed was Bush's desire to export democracy through the
barrel of a gun?) It does not square with the doctrinal, so-called
American exceptionalist truism that We Are Good, with the deeply embedded
idea that - as Obama has himself said on repeated occasions (explaining
why Washington must never apologize for its actions) - the U.S. never
really commits crimes because it is "overwhelmingly a force for good in
the world".

The propaganda system has an interesting way of dealing with the U.S.
infliction of mass agony in Iraq: deletion/erasure/airbrushing.  The crime
didn't happen. It goes down Orwell's "memory hole" even as it
occurs/doesn't occur.

Suffering and the sacrifice? As with the Vietnam "war" (really what Noam
Chomsky in the late 1960s called "the [imperial U.S.] crucifixion of
Southeast Asia") it's all about supposedly noble and benevolent Americans.
So what if the U.S. killed 3 million Indochinese between 1962 and 1975 and
millions of Iraqis between 1990 and the present?  The real victims are the
selfless American people, who died and suffered in much smaller numbers.
They are supposedly part of a virtuous democratic "nation at war" even
though the "wars" in question are bloody colonial operations fought in
profoundly one-sided ways by the Empire in distant and impoverished
nations and even as the military establishment has learned never to repeat
the critical Vietnam mistake of trying to enlist the broad civilian
populace in such ugly imperial operations. Where's the war? Not over here.

                      NOBLE INTENTIONS

Equally unmentionable by The Empire's New Clothes (Barack Obama) last
night or by the dominant media today was/is the reason for the epic
destruction imposed by Superpower on a weak and defenseless population in
Iraq.  As most Iraqis and indeed most world citizens anyone with a few
functioning gray cells and elementary information knew very well, the U.S.
"war" (invasion and occupation) initiated in March of 2003 had nothing to
do with the official and quickly adjusted pretexts. Operation Iraqi
Liberation (OIL - the original acronym was too darkly accurate and the
invasion had to be re-christened with "Freedom"/F at the end) was about
clamping the imperial boot down on the hyper-strategic Middle Eastern oil
spigot, consistent with the State Department's 1945 reference to that
region's unmatched fossil fuel reserves as "a stupendous source of
strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in history".
(Control of the "prize," leading Cold War planner George Kennan observed,
granted the U.S. "veto power" over leading industrial rivals.)  If Iraq
were not oil-rich, it would not have been invaded under the false
post-9/11 (or any other) pretexts, which moved quickly and transparently
from taking down Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) to the even
more laughable claim of a desire to promote democracy once it became
overly obvious that the Iraqi dictator (sustained in power by the U.S.
sanctions regime) had (as numerous informed observers and inspectors had
been saying) no such munitions.

How sad and yet, yes predictable it was last night to hear Obama's talking
head regurgitate the imperial nonsense about pretexts.  He said without
irony or criticism that Bush launched "a war to disarm a state" and then
moved effortlessly into the idea that America has been trying to help Iraq
"build a democracy" - the essence of "the new beginning" we supposedly
granted it through "the ashes of war" in "its own borders".  "We" are of
course doing no such thing and never have been given the fundamental
contradiction between the beliefs and aspirations of the Iraqi people and
the reality of American occupation - an occupation that continues, by the
way, with a continuing large scale U.S. military (including a large scale
"private" military contractor presence) within Iraq and just "over the
horizon" beneath all the blather about "the end of combat operations".

                    TO MOVE BEYOND DIFFERENCE

How sad and predictable is was also to hear the Great Imperial Re-Brander
(Obama) seek to silence domestic dissent and division - to quell
democratic ferment in the imperial homeland - with nationalistic rhetoric
confusing popular rule with patriotic unity and with post 9/11
fear-mongering inherited from Cheney and Dubya:

"This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush.  It's well
known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset.  Yet no one
can doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country
and commitment to our security.  As I've said, there were patriots who
supported this war, and patriots who opposed it.  And all of us are united
in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis'
future".

"The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond
our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many
challenges ahead.  And no challenge is more essential to our security than
our fight against al Qaeda".

Beware of "charismatic" (that term seems less and less applicable to the
current, ever-more cardboard like president) imperial officials who
connect democracy to the suppression of difference and who cite "love of
country" and enemies (real and/or concocted) abroad as justification for
the suppression of difference. "The fetters imposed on liberty at home,"
James Madison once noted, "have ever been forged out of the weapons for
defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad".

Postscript. It is perhaps worth recalling here that Obama's habit of
Orwellian whitewash when it comes to American imperial atrocity long
predates his arrival to the White House.  It was strongly evident in his
speeches and writings from 2004 through his presidential campaign and
inauguration.  I gave very many examples of this in Chapter 4 ("How
Antiwar? Barack Obama, Iraq, and the Audacity of Empire") of my book
Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (and Chapter 6 ("We Were
Warned") of my new book The Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real
World of Power
(http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=243410).
See also Paul Street, "The Audacity of Imperial Airbrushing: Barack
Obama's Whitewashed History of U.S. Foreign Policy and Why it Matters,"
ZNet (July 5, 2008) at
http://www.zcommunications.org/the-audacity-of-imperial-airbrushing-barack-obama-s-whitewashed-history-of-u-s-foreign-policy-and-why-it-matters-by-paul-street
and Paul Street, .Keynote Reflections,.. ZNet (July 29, 2010) at
http://www.zcommunications.org/keynote-reflections-by-paul-street.

Paul Street (www.paulstreet.org)is the author of many books, including
(just out) The Empire.s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of
Power
(http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=243410).
Street will discuss his new book and the current political situation
during a book salon at FiredogLake (FDL). Go to www.fdlbooksalon.com/ on
Saturday September 4, 2010 5 to 7 pm eastern time (4 to 6 central);
readers without an FDL log-in ID should go online at least 15 minutes
before to obtain one. Paul can be reached at paulstreet99 [at] yahoo.com and
through his new Web site (above).


--------16 of 17--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/09.02.10

[Here, after a 3 month rest, is your chance to pledge no vote for Obama in
2012. Each month, week, day, gives more reasons for the pledge. -ds]

Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama

Some of Barack Obama's bad actions:
 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan
 record high military budget
 bombing by unmanned drones in Pakistan
 continued Iraq war
 rejection of landmine treaty
 continued torture and coverup of past torture
 support for Honduras coup
 support for Israeli occupation of Palestine
 suppression of Goldstone Gaza war report
 bank bailout
 no prosecution or even investigation of Bush & Co
 reaffirmation of Patriot Act
 for insurance companies & vs single payer
 support for expanded nuclear power

For these, and many other bad actions,

 We the undersigned publicly pledge not to vote for Barack Obama for
 US president in 2012.

 Robert Halfhill
 Amber Garlan
 Tom Cleland
 David Weisberg
 Dave Bicking
 Andy Hamerlinck
 Doug Mann
 Ted Dooley
 Melissa Hill
 Dori Ullman
 Ryan Carey
 Jan McGee
 Bill Oldfather
 Carol Mellom
 Michelle Gross
 Mike Whelan
 Robert Palmer
 Tom Dooley
 Tim Nolan
 Johnny Hazard
 Suzanne Linton
 Michael Cavlan
 Steven Boyer
 John Simcox
 Louise Bouta
 Vanessa Vogl
 Lisa Grant
 M J Schoen
 Clinton Dietrich
 Lydia Howell
 Farheen Hakeem
 Jan Nye
 Margaret Beegle
 Dave Berger
 Brandy Baker (MD)
 Myles Hoenig (MD)
 Danene Provencher
 Donald L Maxwell
 Neil Lageson
 Molly Reiter
 Mustafa Adam
 Bob Schmitz
 Mary Metchnek
 Dan Dittman
 James Benthall [Rochester MN]
 Maria Balla
 Alan Maki
 Judy Bjorke
 Kenny Kalligher
 Diane Williams
 Paul Busch
 David Shove

 [room for YOUR name]


==end of pledge

To sign this pledge, send to shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu an email from your
standard personal email address, with your name, and the words: No Obama
2012 vote.

The above will be published regularly on the Progressive Calendar, Green
Party lists, etc. Continuing chances for additional people to sign.

 If you need to research any topic raised here, go to eg:
  CounterPunch    http://counterpunch.org
  Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org
  Common Dreams   http://commondreams.org
 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones

MD = Maryland


--------17 of 17--------

 US presidents
 run the Death Empire from
 the Evil Office.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg
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 do a find on
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 Research almost any topic raised here at:
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 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones


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