Citizens' Global Defence|
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|Monday, September 22nd, 2008|
Stop the Troy Davis Execution Before Tuesday!
Sign Amnesty International's petition here! Send the sample email, or write an original to the Board of Paroles and Pardons:http://www.protectthehuman.com/actions/stop-the-execution-of-troy-davis/main
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the NAACP said Saturday they are planning another rally at 11 a.m. Monday in front of the State Capitol to urge the parole board to reconsider or the state Supreme Court to stay the execution of Davis while his case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
GFADP also plans a vigil outside the Jackson jail, as well as a protest on the Capitol steps, both to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
On Saturday, Scheree Lipscomb, spokeswoman for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, stated Saturday that there will be no grant of clemency for Troy Anthony Davis, convicted in 1991 for the murder of Officer Mark Macphail, despite new witness testimonies that have revealed the witnesses' accounts to be unreliable. If clemency is not granted, Troy Davis will be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday, September 23rd.
7/9 witnesses have recanted or changed their testimonies since the original trial. Some of the witnesses have even admitted that they lied under police pressure.
Protests have already been organized several times, and thousands of petitions have been signed, but the spokeswoman maintains, “The board members have considered clemency on two occasions,” Lipscomb said. “They stand firm in the decision that they have made."
There is no physical evidence against Troy Davis-- no murder weapon, no DNA, and no fingerprints. He was convicted soley on the basis of the witnesses' original accounts.
Amnesty International has produced a comprehensive report on the case: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/023/2007/en/dom-AMR510232007en.html
, and is one of the most prominent defenders of the convict, among others such as Rev. Al Sharpton, who visited Troy Davis on Saturday for prayer, former president Jimmy Carter, who wrote that the case, “illustrates the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country,” Pope Benedict XVI and nobel-prize winner Desmond Tutu-- both issued calls asking the Board to stop the execution.
|Sunday, September 21st, 2008|
|Friday, May 11th, 2007|
Why invade Iraq?
The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating because the Afghanistan project was always held hostage to Iraq. The Bush administration after 9-11 used Afghanistan as a casus belli to get to Iraq. And you can see this written in the lackluster way in which the administration embraced the project in Afghanistan.
First, they used the war in Afghanistan as an advertisement for Rumsfeld’s theory of lightning fast, high-tech war. Where there wouldn’t be that many casualties; special forces, air traffic controllers embedded with local forces, bomb people from the sky, then Taliban get scared and run away, and finally you call in the Europeans whose NGOs can rebuild Afghanistan, and the inner American in every Afghan will start to blossom. Then you can quickly move onto Iraq, and that’s what they did.
There are several fundamental reasons why the US went to Iraq. ( Read more...Collapse )
|Monday, November 13th, 2006|
Amnesty holiday invitation!
Letting everyone know that I'm hosting an Amnesty International Write-A-Thon in my ladycatherina
journal, and you're all invited!
The Write-A-Thon is a free event where we write letters to governments on behalf of nonviolent political prisoners around the world, beginning November 28th and continuing through December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Around the 28th a list of actions will be available on the Amnesty webpage (http://www.amnestyusa.org
), and I'll download them and post the addresses and information in my journal. Whoever's interested can let me know via comments and we can split the actions up as we go.
I did this last year with a friend and got through the entire list of appeals, Holiday Card actions, etc. To make it more fun, we can all take breaks where we post jokes, stories, recipes, etc as comments to the Writeathon post.
|Monday, October 23rd, 2006|
Nuclear Proliferation and North Korea
Part of what we claim is that North Korea getting nuclear weapons would threaten the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Lets look back to 1993, when the World Health Organization voted to request that the World Court consider the legality of the use of nuclear weapons, and issue an opinion on it.
As soon as they heard about this the United States and Britain went totally berserk: remember, just the fact that the World Court might hear a case on the legality of nuclear weapons is already a contribution to nuclear non-proliferation..
One must also, not forget that we benefit from proliferation, since we're the main producer, seller, and possessor of nuclear weapons.
I mean, it's not as if anybody would listen to the World Court if it said that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal (which means by implication that possession of them is illegal too) - but it would certainly be a big publicity coup for the disarmament movement if it did.
So for the big nuclear powers, this was a major issue.
Actually, it's of particular significance for Britain, because one of Britain's last claims to being a country, instead of like a country of the United States, is that they have nuclear weapons - so for them it's important on a symbolic level.
And nuclear weapons are important to the United States because they're part of the way we intimidate everyone - we intervene around the world under what's called a "nuclear umbrella," which serves as kind of a cover to back up our conventional intervention forces.
Ok, so that year (1993) Indonesia was serving as the head of the Non-Aligned Movement at the U.N. [a coalition of Third World nations in the General Assembly], and the 110 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement decided to introduce a resolution endorsing this request for an opinion - that's all that was up, endorsement of a request for an opinion from the World Court. The U.S., Britain and France immediately threatened trade and aid sanctions against Indonesia if, in their role as head of the Non-Aligned Movement for that year, they submitted this resolution at the General Assembly. So Indonesia instantly withdrew it, of course - when they get orders from the boss, they stop. And they stop fast.
Well, that just shows you that there are some atrocities that go too far for the Western powers: genocide in East Timor we can support, but endorsement of a request for an opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons is an atrocity we simply cannot tolerate. It also shows you what we can do to Indonesia if we feel like it.
Anyway, back to North Korea... if we're so concerned with non-proliferation, obviously nothing would be more of a shot in the arm for it than this World Court decision we tried so desperately to block. Okay, that tells you something about our motives in all this. But actually, I think the problem with North Korea is in fact what they're saying: the wrong guys are getting possible power, nuclear weapons.
Look, nobody in their right mind would want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But on the other hand, there's nothing much that they would do with nuclear weapons if they had them, except maybe defend themselves from attack. They're certainly not going to invade anybody, that's not even imaginable: if they ever made a move, the country gets destroyed tomorrow... so the only role that nuclear weapons play for them is a deterrent to attack - and that's not totally unrealistic.
North Korea is a pretty crazy country, and there's not very much good and there's nothing good you can say about the government. But no matter who they were, if they were Mahatma Gandhi they would be worried about a possible attack. The United States was threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons at least as late as the 1960s. And after all, just remember what we did to that country - it was absolutely flattened. Here people may not be aware of what we did to them, but they certainly know it well enough.
Towards the end of what we called the "Korean War" - which was really just one phase in a much longer struggle [beginning when the U.S. destroyed the indigenous nationalist movement in Korea in the late 1940s] - the United States ran out of good bombing targets. We had total command of the air of course, but there was nothing good left to bomb - because everything had already been flattened. So we started going after things like dikes. Okay, that's a major war crime. In fact, if you take a look at the official U.S. Air Force history of the Korean War, it's absolutely mind boggling, it's like something straight out of the Nazi archives. I mean, these guys don't conceal their glee at all, it's just this account of all their terrific feelings: we bombed these dikes, and a huge flow of water went through the valleys and carved out huge paths of destruction and slaughterd people! I really can't duplicate, you have to read the original. And the Koreans lived on the other end of that.
Our treatment of North Korean prisoners of war also was absolutely grotesque - again, it was kind of like the Nazis. This is all documented in the West by now, and of course they certainly know about it. So there are plenty of things for the North Koreans to remember, and plenty of things for them to be afraid of - which is not to justify their getting nuclear weapons, but it's part of the background we should keep in mind.
The other thing is, North Korea is in a desperate situation right now: they're hemmed in politically, and they're struggling very hard to break out of their total isolation - they've tried setting up free trade zones, and are desperately trying to integrate themselves into the international economic system, other things like that. Well, this is apparently one of their ways of attempting to do it. It's neither intelligent nor justifiable, but that's a part of what's motivating them, and we should at least try to understand that.
|Monday, October 2nd, 2006|
Sorry if this is not allowed in the community, I can remove it if asked - but I thought some of you might be interested in this new community.
I'm a board member of ugandacalling
, and we exist to raise awareness of and work for the end of the civil war in Northern Uganda, which has victimized many innocent civilians, particularly children, and left many homeless and desperately poor. We're trying to provide resources for local groups working on this issue - collecting petitions for groups to circulate, providing ideas for fundraisers for worthy projects, posting news articles and bulletins about Uganda, and letting activists and interested people get together to learn more and network with each other. And we still need lots of people to help us carry on all these functions and get us off the ground as a nonprofit - as well as community leaders who'd like to start something for Uganda!
If you're interested in learning more or helping out, please check out the community - everyone's very nice and positive, we'd love to see you!
|Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006|
Understanding the Middle East Conflict
Israel is having more and more trouble putting down this popular revolution over the Occupied Territories. The repression of the Palestinians and the Lebanese is not qualitatively different right now from what it was 40 years ago -- it's just that it's escalated in scale sincee the Palestinians and the Lebanese started fighting back. For the Palestinians it started during the Intifada. So the brutality you see occasionally on television has in fact been going on for the last 40 years, and it's just the nature of a military occupation: military occupations are harsh and brutal, there is no other kind [Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, and has controlled them ever since]. There's been home-destruction, kidnappings, torture, collective punishments, expulsion, plenty of humiliation, censorship -- you'd have do go back to the days of the American South to know what it's been like for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. They are not supposed to raise their heads -- that's what they say in Israel, "They're raising their heads, we've got to do something about it." And that's the way the Palestinians have been living.
Well, the United States has been quite happy supporting that -- so long as it worked. But in the past few years, it hasn't worked. See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence. If violence is effective, everything's okay; but if violence loses its effectiveness, then they start worrying and have to try something else. In fact, the occupation's beginning to be rather harmful for Israel. So it's entirely possible that there could be some tactical changes coming with respect to how Israel goes about controlling the Territories.
Outside the United States, everybody knows what the solution for resolving the conflict in the region would be. For years there's been a very broad consensus in the world over the basic framework of a solution in the Middle East, with the exception of two countries: the United States and Israel. It's going to be some variety of two-state settlement.
Look, there are two groups claiming the right of national self-determination in the same territory; they both have a claim, they're competing claims. There are various ways in which such competing claims could be reconciled -- you could do it through a federation, one thing or another -- but given the present state of conflict, it's just going to have to be about the modalities -- should it be a confederation, how do you deal with economic integration, and so on -- but the principle's quite clear: there has to be some settlement that recognizes the right of self-determination of Jews in something like the state of Israel, and the right of self-determination of Palestinians in something like a Palestinian State. And everybody knows where that Palestinian state would be -- in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along roughly the borders that exsisted before the Six Day War in 1967.
All of this has been obvious for years -- why hasn't it happened? Well, of course Israel's opposed to it. But the main reason it hasn't happened is because the United States has blocked it: the United states has been blocking the peace process in the Middle East for the last twenty years -- WE'RE the leaders of the rejectionist camp, not the Arabs or anybody else. See, the United States supports a policy which Henry Kissinger called "stalemate"; that was his word for it back in 1970. At that time, there was kind of a split in the American government as to whether we should join the broad international consensus on a political settlement, or block a political settlement. And in that internal struggle, the hard-liners prevailed; Kissinger was the main spokesman. The policy that won out was what he called "stalemate": keep things the way they are, maintain the system of Israeli oppression. And there was a good reason for that, it wasn't just out of the blue: having an embattled, militaristic Israel is an important part of how we rule the world.( Read more...Collapse )
|Sunday, August 20th, 2006|
Peoples Democratic Socialist Republics
One of the issues which has devastated a substantial portion of the left in recent years, and caused enormous triumphalism elsewhere, is the alleged fact that there's been this great battle between socialism and capitalism in the twentieth century, and in the end capitalism won and socialism lost-and the reason we know that socialism lost is because the Soviet Union disintegrated. So you have big cover stories in The Nation about "The End of Socialism," and you have socialists who all their lives considered themselves anti-Stalin saying, "Yes, it's true, socialism has lost because Russia failed." To even raise questions about this is something you're not supposed to do in our culture, but let's try it. Suppose you ask a simple question: namely, why do people like the editors at The Nation say that "socialism" failed, why don't they say that "democracy" failed?--and the proof that "democracy" failed is, look what happened to Eastern Europe. After all, those countries also called themselves "democratic"--in fact, they called themselves "People's Democracies," real advanced forms of democracy. So why don't we conclude that "democracy" failed, not just that "socialism" failed? Well, I haven't seen any articles anywhere saying, "Look, democracy failed, let's forget about democracy." Ant it's obvious why: the fact that they called themselves democratic doesn't mean that they were democratic. Pretty obvious right?
Okay, then in what sense did social fail? I mean, it's true that the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe called themselves "socialist"--but they also called themselves "democratic." Were they socialist? Well, you can argue about what Socialism is, but there are some ideas that are sort of at the core of it, like workers' control over production, elimination of wage labor, things like that. Did those countries have any of those things? They weren't even a thought there. In the pre-Bolshevik part of the Russian Revolution, there were socialist initiatives--but they were crushed instantly after the Bolsheviks took power, like within months. In fact, just as the moves towards democracy in Russia were instantly destroyed, the moves towards socialism were equally instantly destroyed. The Bolshevik takeover was a coup--and that was perfectly well understood at the time, in fact. So if you look in the mainstream of the Marxist movement, Lenin's takeover was regarded as counter-revolutionary; if you look at independent leftists like Bertrand Russell, it was instantly obvious to them; to the libertarian left, it was a truism.
But that truism has been driven out of people's heads over the years, as part of a whole prolonged effort to discredit the very idea of socialism by associating it with Soviet totalitarianism. And obviously that effort has been extremely successful--that's why people can tell themselves that socialism failed when they look at what happened to the Soviet Union, and not even see the slightest thing odd about it. And that's been a very valuable propaganda triumph for elites in the West--because it's made it very easy to undercut moves towards real changes in the social system here by saying, "Well, that's socialism--and look what it leads to."
Okay, hopefully with the fall of the Soviet Union we can at least begin to get past that barrier, and start recovering an understanding of what socialism could really stand for.
|Wednesday, July 19th, 2006|
Despite what you hear, U.S. interventionism has nothing to do with resisting the spread of " Terrorism," or "Communism," it's INDEPENDENCE we've always been opposed to everywhere... and for quite a good reason. If a country begins to pay attention to its own population, it's not going to be paying adequate attention to the overriding needs of U.S. investors. Well, those are unacceptable priorities, so that government's just going to have to go.
And the effects of this commitment throughout the Third World are dramatically clear: it takes only a moment's thought to realize that the areas that have been the most under U.S. control are some of the most horrible regions in the world. For instance, why is Central America such a horror-chamber? I mean, if a peasant in Guatemala woke up in Poland [i.e. under Soviet occupation], he'd think he was in heaven by comparison... and Guatemala's an area where we've had a hundred years of influence. Well, that tells you something. Or look at Brazil: potentially an extremely rich country with tremendous resources, except it had the curse of being part of the Western system of subordination. So in northeast Brazil, for example, which is rather fertile area with plenty of rich land, just it's all owned by plantations, Brazilian medical researchers now identify the population as a new species with about 40 percent the brain size of human beings, as a result of generations of profound malnutrition and neglect... and this may be unremediable except after generations, because of lingering effects of malnutrition on one's offspring. Alright, that's a good example of the legacy of our commitments, and the same kind of pattern runs throughout the former Western colonies.
In fact, if you look at the countries that have developed in the world, there's a little simple fact which should be obvious to anyone on five minutes' observation, but which you never find anyone saying in the United States: the countries that have developed economically are those which were not colonized by the west; every country that was colonized by the West is a TOTAL WRECK. I mean, Japan was the one country that managed to resist European colonization, and it's the one part of the traditional Third World that developed. What does that tell you? Historians of Africa have actually pointed out that if you look at Japan when it began its industrialization process [in the 1870's], it was about the same developmental level as the Asante kingdom in West Africa in terms of resources available, level of state formation, degree of technological development, and so on. Well, just compare those two areas today. It's true there were a number of differences between them historically, but the crucial one is that Japan wasn't conquered by the West and the Asante kingdom was, by the British-so now West Africa is West Africa economically, and Japan is Japan.
Japan had its own colonial system too, incidentally- but its colonies developed, and they developed because Japan didn't treat them the way the Western powers treated their colonies. The Japanese were very brutal colonizers. they weren't nice guys, but they nonetheless developed their colonies economically; the West just robbed theirs. So if you look at the growth rate through the early part of this century-they were getting industrialized, developing infrastructure, educational levels were going up, agricultural production was increasing. In fact, by the 1930s, Formosa (now Taiwan) was one of the commercial centers of Asia. Well, just compare Taiwan with the Philippines, an American colony right next door: the Philippines is a total basket-case, a Latin American-style basket-case. Again, that tells you something.
With World War 2, the Japanese colonial system got smashed up. But by the 1960s, Korea and Taiwan were again developing at their former growth rate-and that's because in the post-war period, they've been able to follow the Japanese model of development: they're pretty closed off to foreign exploitation, quite egalitarian by international standards, they devote pretty extensive resources to things like education and health care. Okay, that's a successful model for development. I mean, these Asian countries aren't pretty; I can't stand them myself-they're extremely authoritarian, the role of women you can't even talk about, and so on, so there are plenty of unpleasant things about them. But they have been able to pursue economic development measures that are successful: the state coordinates industrial policies that are IMPOSSIBLE in Latin America, because the U.S. insists that those governments keep their economies open to international markets-so capital from Latin America is constantly flowing to the West. Alright, that's not a problem in South Korea: they have the death penalty for capital export. Solves that difficulty pretty fast.
But the point is, the Japanese-style development model works-in fact, it's how every country in the world that's developed has done it: by imposing high levels of protectionism, and by extracting its economy from free market discipline. And that's precisely what the Western powers have been preventing the Third World from doing, right up to this moment.
|Thursday, August 25th, 2005|
Please sign this petition to protect the National Forests of the United States. You must be a US citizen to sign. The petition reads:
To: U.S. Congress
Dear members of Congress:
Please introduce the Forever Wild Act, as supported by the Native Forest Council, to the 109th session of Congress. Our public lands, now owned and hereafter acquired, deserve complete and total protection from extractive industries. Do everything in your power to eliminate all logging, road building, grazing, mining, and drilling on every acre of Federal public lands, including but not limited to: National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas, BLM lands, and National Monuments.
The Undersigned http://www.petitiononline.com/ZEROCUT/petition.html
thanks for your support!
xposted all over the place
|Friday, April 1st, 2005|
Save Ancient Scottish Woodland
This is a public petition to the Scottish Parliament. Overseas signatures are encouraged.
The Woodland Trust Scotland is calling on the Scottish Executive to demonstrate how seriously they take the new duty to further the conservation of biodiversity and their signature to the UK Forest Partnership for Action and give absolute protection for all Ancient Woodland on the Inventory of Ancient and Long-established and Semi-natural Woodland held by Scottish Natural Heritage.
The Woodland Trust's Ancient Woodland Petition is now online.
Please sign it at:http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/viewtopic.asp?TopicID=51
See also: www.ukforestpartnership.org.uk
|Friday, October 8th, 2004|
|Tuesday, July 6th, 2004|
Things seem kind of quiet around here, but the bio sounds good. I'm planning a trip to Sudan next week and invite all to join me in my LJ as I document the trip.
|Monday, March 15th, 2004|
|Friday, March 12th, 2004|
Environmental Victory Project (X-Posted)
I just found this "volunteer wizard" that, in about 3 minutes, tells you the best way to help beat Bush. It asks you some questions -- like where you live and what issues are important to you -- and tells you how you can get involved. Just go to the Environmental Victory Project Web site: http://action.envirovictory.org/wizard/
Eilan Current Mood: determined
|Friday, January 9th, 2004|
|Wednesday, December 17th, 2003|
I'm somewhat annoyed because now that Saddam is captured, suddenly everyone is praising Bush for the accomplishment, as though he personally did it (or did anything positive to others in his life)... At this point, the most erudite Texan might have a chance of getting re-elected. He certainly doesn't lack money for the campain... Current Mood: pessimistic
|Friday, November 14th, 2003|
|Tuesday, November 11th, 2003|
Trade war looms as US defies WTO
US rejects final ruling from the World Trade Organisation that its protectionist tariffs on foreign steel are illegal.
As the WTO has long been considered "part of the problem" with respect to globalization and fair trade, as well as being driven primarily by US interests, this marks an interesting change.
The US response, however, is rather less surprising.
U.S. Air Strike in the Middle East imminent?
From Scottish CND, 03.11.2003 23:47
Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been
witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes on Libyai in the1980’s as well as the first Gulf War.
At the weekend warplanes were flying over at a rate of roughly one every 15 minutes. As well as watching them from the ground the plane spotters have also been able to overhear pilots talking by listening to their radio frequencies.
It is thought that the planes have flown on a route from the US over the north pole to bases in Europe and the Mediterranean. The size and scale of the movement suggests that the US may be preparing to strike at a country in the Middle East in the next week to ten days.
Please pass this information on as widely as possible- the US may be planning to use the pretext of "foreign" terrorist attacks on US personnel in Iraq to attack Iran or Syria.
Please alert any sympathetic elected representatives, media
representatives and other sympathetic organisations. Publicising this military movement may prevent the air-strikes.
SCOTTISH CND, 15 Barrland Street, Glasgow, G41 1QH. Tel: 0141 4231222
scnd ATt banthebomb.org www.banthebomb.org