Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eva Golinger, The Empire's Web


The Author

Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is an Attorney and Writer from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”, “La Mirada del Imperio sobre el 4F: Los Documentos Desclasificados de Washington sobre la rebelión militar del 4 de febrero de 1992” and "La Agresión Permanente: USAID, NED y CIA". Since 2003, Eva, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and CUNY Law School in New York, has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about US Government efforts to undermine progressive movements in Latin America. Her first book, The Chávez Code, has been translated and published in 8 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Farsi & Turkish) and is presently being made into a feature film.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The Empire’s Web: An Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion is a tool essential to understand the deep and complex mechanisms of U.S. interventionism that has plagued people’s movements around the world during the last two centuries. In this book, the autors demonstrate the connections and relationships between different actors, institutions, government agencies, NGOs, think tanks and political parties around the world, such as the Rockefellers, CIA, Human Rights Watch, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Bilderberg Club, USAID, the Military Industrial Complex, and many others, and how they form part of a massive network seeking world domination and imposition of the capitalist-consumerist model. The Empire’s Web is not your typical book. Use it as a reference manual, a guide to imperialism, a political tool that can help you understand the intricacies of the relationships between actores and entities that act against the will of sovereign peoples. There is not one entry in this book – person, institution, multinational, agency, NGO, think tank or strategy – that is more important than the others. This is The Empire’s Web; get to know it well, because if you don’t, you could get trapped in its fatal grasp.


About the Authors

Eva Golinger: Venezuelan-American lawyer, writer and investigator dedicated to investigating and denouncing U.S. intervention in Venezuela and other Latin American nations during the last decade. Author of the books The Chávez Code: Cracking United States Intervention in Venezuela (Olive Branch Press 2006) and Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela (Monthly Review Press 2007), amongst other publications and articles. Her books have been translated to English, French, German and Italian. She has won two National Book Awards (Venezuela 2006) and the Municipal Book Award (Caracas 2007) for her first book, The Chávez Code. She is currently and investigador with the Centrol Internacional Miranda (CIM) and co-founder and General Director of the Center for Strategic Studies “CESE” in Caracas, Venezuela.

Romain Migus: Investigator and French sociologist residing in Venezuela since 2004. Author of various publications and articles in French, English and Spanish about the Bolivarian Revolution and the Media War against Venezuela. During 2006-2007 he was an investigator with the Centro Internacional Miranda. He is co-founder and Communications Director of the Center for Strategic Studies “CESE” in Caracas, Venezuela.
Eva Golinger

Review of Cindy Sheehan's Revolution, A Love Story

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Voice of Truth in the Belly of the Beast

Foreword to Revolution, A Love Story
(ordering info below)

A Voice of Truth in the Belly of the Beast

By Eva Golinger

I first met Cindy Sheehan when she came to Caracas in January 2006 for the World Social Forum. An event of that size and stature had never taken place in Venezuela before as Caracas became the host to tens of thousands of international guests immersed in a frenzy of politics, activism, debate, dissent, and revolution. Of all the distinguished, admired, and well known attendees, Cindy was at the top of the list.

President Hugo Chávez had spoken highly and often about Cindy Sheehan, praising her brave fight against the Bush administration and her fervent opposition to the war in Iraq, which had caused the death of her son, Casey. Before Cindy Sheehan ever came to Venezuela, the people of this South American nation had heard her name many times. We knew of her political transformation after Casey died and her unwavering commitment to peace and justice. We’d heard of her valiantly defying President George W. Bush by setting up “Camp Casey” outside his Texas ranch, demanding the United States president answer for his crimes, and advocating for an end to war. President Chávez invoked Cindy Sheehan as a symbol of good-hearted, honest people in the United States willing to risk their lives to fight injustice, despite the arrogance and hostility emanating from the US government.

So when Cindy first came to Caracas, she was in high demand by Venezuelan media. The host of one of the country’s most watched morning programs, Ernesto Villegas, contacted me about interviewing Cindy during her stay in Venezuela. While I had never met the Peace Mom personally, I figured the world of revolutionaries from the United States isunfortunatelysmall enough, so I must know someone close to her. I was right and Cindy kindly agreed to do the live interview.

Since I had helped arrange the interview, I accompanied Cindy to the special television studio, which had been set up outside the main venue of the World Social Forum. The program host was ecstatic with Cindy’s presence, particularly after conducting many shows on Washington’s illegal war against Iraq, and referring often to the US peace movement and Cindy’s own battle against Bush. One minor logistical detail had gone overlooked: Cindy did not speak Spanish and the show’s host did not speak English.

While I am not a translator by profession, I have found myself serving in such a capacity numerous times over the past decade, especially when it comes to Venezuela. I have spontaneously been whisked into the role of translator to interpret discussions and interviews for President Hugo Chávez during his many trips to New York or when visitors have come to Venezuela from the United States. And, I have also now had the unexpected honor of translating for Cindy Sheehan during her various visits to Venezuela.

So, I was Cindy Sheehan’s translator during her first live television interview in Venezuela. As I translated her responses to questions about the war against Iraq, Bush administration policies and violations of the US Constitution, and issues relating to social justice, I felt as though the answers were coming from me. (Don’t worry Cindy, I really did translate you). The words flowed from her with a sincerity, honesty, and frankness in a way that I hadn’t heard from a US person in a long time.

That same sincere, honest, and direct tone shines throughout her dialogue with readers in this book, Revolution: A Love Story. Cindy’s honesty is what sets her apart from many others in the United States who, while disagreeing with Bush’s and now Obama’spolicies, dare not to raise their voices or speak their minds for fear of reprisal. And Cindy’s fearlessness is what terrified President George W. Bush, and Washington defenders, and turned her into a role model for justice and peace seekers around the world.

Four years after my first job as translator for Cindy Sheehan, I was surprised into the role again, but this time it wasn’t for live television, it was with President Chávez.

When Cindy decided she wanted to make a documentary film and write a book on Venezuela’s Revolution and she contacted me for advice, I was more than eager to help. Cindy Sheehan has been a solid, powerful ally for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and President Chávez for many years, despite the attacks, threats, and criticisms she has had to bear.

Cindy’s voice, as it flows throughout the following pages, serenades readers with her stories and experiences inside Venezuela as a witness to the vibrant process of transformation taking place. The greatest value in Cindy’s words is precisely that they come from her own personal experiences. Instead of believing what media said about Venezuela and President Chávez, Cindy came to find out for herself. She met with different people and heard their stories and testimonies. She went into their communities and witnessed their lives, seeing with her own eyes whether things were better or worse. Cindy has seen, touched, and breathed the Bolivarian Revolution. She speaks truth from experience.

I didn’t hesitate to help when Cindy requested an interview with President Chávez for this important project. Arrangements were made and Cindy soon set foot once again in the land of Simón Bolívar. I accompanied Cindy during her brief stay in Caracas (where I reside) in late February 2010, and we visited some of the amazing achievements of the Revolution. Despite her fear of heights, she rode in the newly inaugurated MetroCable in the San Agustin neighborhood of Caracas.

The cable car was the first of a series being built by the Chávez administration throughout the Caracas metropolitan area, which is flanked by steep hills and mountain ranges covered in hard-to-reach makeshift homes, primarily occupied by the poor and working class. The MetroCable was a lifesaver to many in San Agustin, which is one of Caracas’ oldest and primarily Afro-Venezuelan neighborhoods. Built and run by workers from the community and paid for by the state, it services thousands who previously had to walk miles up steep and dangerous roads and steps built in the hillsides, or take shoddy jeeps and vans posing as “public transport” up the mountain, until they could go no further and the only way to proceed was on foot. The elderly and disabled rarely left their homes before the MetroCable was installed.

Cindy bore witness to this transformative project created by the Bolivarian Revolution, seeing and hearing how it changed community members’ lives dramatically. Not only were their daily lives made easier by the new and innovative transport system, but it also brought dignity and pride to their community. They built it, they run it, and they are no longer overlooked or ignored by those in power or those with more money. The MetroCable of San Agustin is emblematic of the way President Hugo Chávez’s leadership and the Bolivarian Revolution have changed Venezuela forever.

The millions of invisible people in Venezuela are now visible. The millions silenced before now have a voice, and they speak loud and clear. Participatory democracy is a wonderful thing.

When it came time for Cindy to interview President Chávez, he invited her to accompany him on a trip to Montevideo, Uruguay, for the historical inauguration of newly-elected President José “Pepe” Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter and political prisoner who had been tortured, imprisoned, and shot over a dozen times in the 1970s.

Chávez is known for preferring to do interviews with foreign press while flying or during an international trip. He’s so overly-dedicated to his work for the Venezuelan people and the future of Venezuela that he feels there is no time to spare for any other activities while in-country. So he squeezes in the interviews on long plane trips, or during brief moments between events while in another country, where often he has less control over his own agenda.

I happened to attend an event where President Chávez was speaking on the day of Cindy’s arrival to Caracas, and at the end of his intervention, I caught up with him and reminded him Cindy would be in town for a few days before the Uruguay trip. I told him she was doing a documentary on the Revolution and so I’d be taking her around to several communities to meet with different grassroots organizations and dialogue with community activists. “Tell her: Welcome to Venezuela! for me.” he responded. “Oh, and then you should come with us, too, to Uruguay”, he quickly added as an aside.

It wasn’t until we were on the presidential aircraft two days later heading to Montevideo that I realized I would once again be translator for Cindy and President Chávez. Even more surprisingly, I ended up being Bolivian President Evo Morales’ translator too after he appeared unexpectedly in the middle of Cindy’s interview with Chávez!

And even though translating is not my profession, I have been more than honored to be Cindy Sheehan’s interpreter, however many times are necessary.

Revolution: A Love Story provides readers with an easy-to-read background of Washington’s interventionist policies in Latin America and the rise of Revolution south of the border. Cindy’s words flow as though she’s talking right to you, sharing this tale over strong black Venezuelan coffee, or a delicious glass of Argentine Malbec. She provides a brief, but necessary, summary of Venezuela’s contemporary history and explains how and why the Bolivarian Revolution exists, and who the charismatic and soulful man who leads it really is.

Cindy weaves in testimonies, quotes, and excerpts of interviews with a range of important and knowledgeable voices that not only provide insight into Venezuela’s reality, but also help deconstruct US foreign and domestic policy.

I know why this book is called Revolution: A Love Story.

While you, the reader, may have only heard about Venezuela and President Chávez through international media, which tells high tales of dictatorships, human rights violations, tyrants, political prisoners, censorship, violent crime, narco-traffickers, and terrorists, I have lived in the dynamic, inclusive, open, participatory democracy in Venezuela. I have had the privilege of participating in the numerous transparent, efficient, and free electoral processes over the past decade, the majority of which Chávez and his party have won by landslide victories. I have been a face amongst the crowds of millions that frequently rally, march, and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution and the policies enacted by President Hugo Chávez. Yes, Venezuelans don’t just protest when they are unhappy, they also take to the streets to show support for positive advances and gains, evidencing the people’s ongoing and important role in government.

While mass media portray President Hugo Chávez as a dictator, or an enraged demon, or a clown or a terrorist, I know the man with the largest heart I’ve ever seen. I know the man who listens to the older woman who grabs his arm and pulls him close, telling him of her woes; the man who hugs a young pregnant woman, gently cradling her belly, promising to ensure her the best care possible; the man who orders his caravan to stop on the side of the road while he rescues a stray, limping dog; the man who has given his life, his heart, and his soul to his people and his homeland and pledged to do everything in his power to help build a proud, sovereign, grandiose, and dignified nation.

And while most media ignore the millions of Venezuelans struggling to free themselves from centuries of cultural, economic, and political colonization, fighting to rescue their own identity and self-respect and to transform their country into a prosperous and flourishing nation, I know this kind, humble people that are the backbone of one of the greatest and most inspiring revolutions of our time.

During the Washington-backed coup d’etat in April 2002 that briefly and violently ousted President Chávez from powerdemolishing the country’s democratic institutions and plummetting the nation into a repressive dictatorship installed by the old school eliteit wasn’t anger that drove millions into the streets to fight back, it was love. It was love for the true freedom that had just began to blossom with the onset of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1999. It was love for the vibrant, active, and inclusive democracy being built by, for, and of the people. It was love for the dream of an independent, sovereign, and socially prosperous Patria Grande that was being attained. And it was love for the person who had given everything of himself to forge this path that in turn made the people risk their lives to rescue him from the hands of death.

As Uncle Sam sneered, President Hugo Chávez was saved by the millions of Venezuelans who poured into the streets on April 13, 2002 to fight back against the US-funded and supported coup. His life was rescued from the point of assassination by the humble, noble majority of Venezuelans who fought against the world’s most powerful empire, armed with nothing but dignity and love. And they won. We won.

That love, as cheesy as it may sound, has been the guiding force of the Bolivarian Revolution throughout the past decade. It’s the same force that has created a government of People’s Power, where social justice reigns and people’s needs are prioritized over profits. It’s not perfectthere are many problems and goals yet to be achieved. There have been many mistakes along the way, and there are many more errors to be made. Building a better world is not an easy thing.

Venezuela’s Revolution does not pretend to copy or be like any other, nor does it pretend to have all the answers already drawn up. We are building block upon block, and sometimes on circles or triangles. It is a patient, human process that accepts its errors, learns from them, and continues moving forward.

As powerful as love is, the threats against Venezuela and President Chávez are numerous and scary. Washington has been waging an aggressive campaignwhich could be considered a form of warfareagainst the Chávez administration for over a decade. The Obama administration has intensified hostility against Venezuela, channeling even more millions of US taxpayer dollars to the anti-Chávez opposition and attempting to include Venezuela on its “state sponsors of terrorism” list in order to justify military intervention. Sanctions have been imposed against Venezuela by the White House and countless statements have been made by State Department spokespeople intending to intimidate and pressure the Venezuelan government so it succumbs to Washington’s agenda.

There are critical presidential elections in Venezuela in October 2012. President Chávez is a candidate for reelection. In addition to confronting the external threats from Washington and the internal destabilization attempts executed by opposition forces, Chávez is battling the most powerful enemy he’s ever had: Cancer. While the Venezuelan President has recovered impressively from a cancerous tumor extracted from his pelvic region in June 2011, his health will continue to be a battleground.

Revolution: A Love Story is a critical book to read for people around the world, but especially those in the United States. Deconstructing the dangerous myths about Venezuela is essential to preserving not only the integrity of a nation and a political process, but also the lives of millions of people. We all saw how fast a leader was demonized in mass media, stories of atrocities were spun, bombs began, thousands were killed, a nation was destroyed, and its leader assassinated in the case of Libya.

It horrifies me to remember that, just months before the war against Libya began, I had accompanied President Chávez on a trip to Tripoli, where we met with Muammar al-Gaddafi. We walked the streets of a peaceful nation and saw children playing in parks, people going shopping, families taking walks. It’s sickening to realize just days later, they were killed and maimed by US bombs, in the name of freedom.

It terrifies me to think the same thing could happen in Venezuela. The same thing could happen anywhere.

Voices of truth, voices like Cindy Sheehan’s, are essential to prevent these barbaric acts from reoccurring.  Thank you, Cindy, for your fearlessness, for your honesty, and for your love.

Eva Golinger
Caracas, Venezuela

Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is an Attorney and Writer from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”, “La Mirada del Imperio sobre el 4F: Los Documentos Desclasificados de Washington sobre la rebelión militar del 4 de febrero de 1992” and "La Agresión Permanente: USAID, NED y CIA". Since 2003, Eva, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and CUNY Law School in New York, has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about US Government efforts to undermine progressive movements in Latin America. Her first book, The Chávez Code, has been translated and published in 8 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Farsi & Turkish) and is presently being made into a feature film.

Cindy Sheehan's New Book, Revolution a Love Story, Review by Eva Golinger

Sunday, January 29, 2012

U.S. War Crimes: Support the Troops?

“The US Military: A Global Force, But Not For Good”
From Veterans for Peace.   Posted by: "david sladky" spotshere@hotmail.com
Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:59 am (PST)
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 02:04 — Bruce A. Dixon
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In official folklore, the US armed forces are the virtuous repositories of honor, probity and moral virtue. But the real history and culture of the US military, from invading Spanish Florida to prevent its being a refuge for escaped slaves, to Wounded Knee, to massacres in Haiti and Central America, to Fallujah and marines pissing on Afghan corpses, are something else altogether.
The US Military: A Global Force, But Not For Good
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
“On November 19, 2005 a squad of US Marines murdered 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians including 9 children...”
No State of the Union address is complete without multiple standing-ovation references to the steadfast courage, self-sacrifice and honor of the men and women serving in the uniform of these United States. But while some or all of these characteristics can doubtless be found among active duty members of the US military, they are notably absent among its military and civilian leaders, and consistently contradicted by the military's own longstanding traditions.
[Haditha Massacre-D]  On November 19, 2005 a squad of US Marines murdered 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians including 9 children, in cold blood, not with shrapnel or random crossfire, but mostly with well-aimed rifle shots to the head and chest indoors and at close range. Three officers received written reprimands for actions after the incident, and charges were filed, then dropped against seven of eight marines. On January 24 staff sergeant Frank Wuteridge, the only remaining marine charged in the case accepted a plea deal that lets him off with a reduction in rank to private.
At the same time that killers are released with perfunctory wrist slaps, US army private Bradley Manning, a genuine hero, endures persecution and solitary confinement for releasing documentary evidence of numerous diplomatic and military atrocities, including actual film of a US helicopter gunship mowing down unarmed Iraqi civilians including two Reuters cameramen and the children of a man who stopped his family car to help the people he saw bleeding in the street.
“That's what he gets,” oinks a self-righteous American military voice on the tape, “for bringing his kids...” to a firefight.”
“The navy currently runs an ad campaign branding itself “a global force for good.” Few claims could be more deceitful”
Lying, justifying and covering up, not honor and self-sacrifice, seem to be guiding principles of US military and political leadership, the sure and certain paths to a successful career. When up-and-coming army Major Colin Powell was detailed to look into reports of atrocities committed by the Americal Division, he knew what was expected of him. Powell minimized and dismissed the reports, overlooking among other things the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians at a place called My Lai. Twenty years later, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the US invasion of Panama, Powell ordered the bombing from the air of an undefended, largely black civilian neighborhood of Panama City in which hundreds were killed, in order to prevent them from coming into the streets to support Panamanian president Noriega.
Since Wounded Knee, since the slave and Indian-hunting expeditions of Andrew Jackson, these have been the real traditions of the US military. The navy currently runs an ad campaign branding itself “a global force for good.” Few claims could be more deceitful. The military has plenty of doctors, engineers and even chaplains. But its main jobs aren't building things, healing people or telling the truth. The core job descriptions of the US military and their civilian leaders are breaking things, killing people, and lying about it. They are indeed a global force. But not an honorable one. And not for good.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and lives and works in Marietta GA, where he's on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guantanamo Newsletter #3

OMNI GUANTANAMO NEWSLETTER #3,  January 21, 2012.   Compiled by Dick Bennett, for a Culture of Peace.   Guantanamo: A Disaster from the War on Terror and the US Culture of War.  (#1 March 3, 2011; #2 Dec. 11, 2011)
Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:

See Torture, War on Terrorism and other related newsletters.

Contents of #1 March 3, 2011
Film: Worthington, Stories from Guantanamo
Books: Kurnaz; Mayer; Worthington
Transferring Prisoners for Trial
CCR Close Guantanamo Statement
Return Guantanamo to Cuba
No End Soon
Investigative Reporters: Andy Worthington, Carol Rosenberg
Chinese Torture Techniques
Violation of Due Process
Wendell Griffin on Habeas Corpus

Contents of #2 Dec. 11, 2011
WikiLeaks on Guantanamo
NYT Criticism
False Imprisonment
Awal Gul, 7th to Die
Close Guantanamo Statement
Witness Against Torture
What Obama Should Have Said and Done
Books: Hansen, Guantanamo; Smith, Eight O’Clock Ferry

Contents of #3

Bush, Congress, Courts, Obama, Public Lawlessness

Kurnaz, Gitmo Survivor After 5 Years

Obama Signs “Battlefield Bill” for Indefinite Detention

January 11 Resistance Coalition

Witess Against Torture and Catholic Worker:   January 11, 2012

Witness Against Torture and War Resisters League

In Addition to Gitmo:   US Terrorism Prison Complex

Greenwald Book on Bush/Obama

Bush, Congress, Courts, Obama
NPR Partner content from:

Guantanamo, 10 Years And Counting” by David Cole

Related NPR Stories

Notes From a Guantanamo Survivor
 Murat Kurnaz, The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2012, RSN
Kurnaz begins: "I left Guantanamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier - shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers."
READ MORE   http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/304-justice/9331-notes-from-a-guantanamo-survivor

Obama Signs Homeland Battlefield Bill Into Law Sara Sorcher, National Journal , Dec. 31, 2011, RSNPresident Obama today signed the highly controversial War Spending Bill. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with its so-called Homeland Battlefield provisions, allows the unconstitutional indefinite detention of US citizens by the US military.

JANUARY 11 IS THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GUANTANAMO BAY PRISON for U.S. ILLEGALLY IMPRISONED AND TORTURED “DETAINEES” FROM AROUND THE WORLD.  A coalition of groups including Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Catholic Worker, and War Resisters League are planning events.  Contact www.amnestyusa.org/; www.witnesstorture.org; www.nrcat.org

The Oct.-Nov. 2011 no. of THE CATHOLIC WORKER announced:
TEN YEARS TOO MANY: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION TO SHUT DOWN GUANTANAMO AND END TORTURE.   In D. C. a human chain representing the people still detained without charge or fair trial at Guantanamo and Bagram to stretch from the White House to the Capitol.    For more info. read the article in the above no. of CW or visit the website www.witnesstorture.org or write to Witness Against Torture care of Catholic Worker,
55 E. 3rd St.
, NY, N 10003.


10 Years of detention and torture: Witness Against Torture January actions .    January 2-12 Witness Against Torture will spend two weeks in Washington D.C. leading up to the 10 year commemoration of the Guantanamo prison and along with it a system of indefinite detention and torture that  targets Arab, South Asian, and Muslim men and necessitates the spread of  rampant Islamophobia that we have seen escalating over the last decade. January 3rd marks the beginning of a jury trial of 14 WAT activists who disrupted a session of Congress to demand that they stop permanent funding for Guantanamo prison. On January 11th, the date that marks 10 years of detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay, activists will gather for a demonstration against U.S. detention policies and form a human chain from the White House to Congress. Sign-up to join the protests and/or the fast that begins on January 2nd at www.2012.witnesstorture.org

 Beyond Guantanamo, a Web of US Prisons for Terrorism Inmates “

 Scott Shane, The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2011, RSN

The report begins: "It is the other Guantanamo, an archipelago of federal prisons that stretches across the country, hidden away on back roads. Today, it houses far more men convicted in terrorism cases than the shrunken population of the prison in Cuba that has generated so much debate. An aggressive prosecution strategy, aimed at prevention as much as punishment, has sent away scores of people. They serve long sentences, often in restrictive, Muslim-majority units, under intensive monitoring by prison officers. Their world is spare."

READ MORE http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/345-justice/8855-beyond-guantanamo-a-web-of-us-prisons-for-terrorism-inmates

See Greenwald, With Liberty and Justice for Some for full appraisal of BushObama including Guantanamo.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Afghan/Pakistan Newsletter #15

OMNI NEWSLETTER ON AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN #15,  January 18, 2011, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace  (#8 April 15, 2011; #9 June 10, 2011; #10 July 3, 2011; #11 July 13, 2011;  #12 Sept. 5, 2011; #13 Oct. 2, 2011; #14 Oct. 15, 2011)

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.

How understand this catastrophic invasion and occupation?
Instead of Defense Department, Say War Department.
Instead of Taliban, Say Afghan Resistance.

Contents of #15
Taliban Peace Talks
McChrystal, Petraeus
Chomsky: World Militarism
Voices for Creative Nonviolence:  Women and Children
PBS Film: We Take Our Stand
Merkley Afghan Withdrawal Amendment Passes Senate
Cortright, Ending Obama’s War
Pakistan After NATO Attack
Protest New Military Budget
Afghans Hungry This Winter
US Torture (3)
IED Soldiers’ Deaths

Dear Dick,
Tell your representatives to support peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan.

Take Action  The Obama Administration has been working to initiate peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. Such talks could be critical to ending the war in Afghanistan, which is what the majority of Americans want. But Mitt Romney and some in Congress are trying to undermine the prospects of peace talks to end the war.

Will you join us in pressing Congress not to sabotage the peace talks?

A key element of the Administration's plans to initiate peace talks is a proposal to transfer Afghan Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo to another country, probably Qatar. But Reuters recently reported that some in Congress have attacked the idea of transferring the prisoners out of Guantanamo, and threatened to try to block the transfer. [1] Meanwhile, Romney has attacked the Administration for talking to the Taliban, even though, as David Ignatius noted in the Washington Post, two of Romney's key foreign policy advisers have long advocated for exactly the policy of talks that the Obama Administration says it is pursuing. [2]

Romney's attack might be mostly campaign posturing, but because it is so prominent, it can still have an effect on Members of Congress, especially if they aren't hearing from anyone that they support peace talks to end the war. The longer peace talks are delayed, the more American soldiers and Afghan civilians will die needless deaths.

Join us in pressing Congress to back peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan by using the link below.


Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Sarah Burns, Chelsea Mozen, Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman   Just Foreign Policy


1. "Lawmakers may seek to block Taliban transfer," Mark Hosenball and Missy Ryan, Reuters, Fri, Jan 6 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-usa-afghanistan-transfer-idUSTRE80524I20120106
2. "Romney's misfired zinger on Taliban talks," David Ignatius, Washington Post, 01:01 PM ET, 01/17/2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/romneys-misfired-zinger-on-taliban-talks/2012/01/17/gIQAgYpq5P_blog.html

“McChrystal, Petraeus and Afghanistan, the Inside Story” by Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone, January 8, 2012, RSN
Intro: "In April 2010, Rolling Stone contributing editor Michael Hastings spent a month with Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Europe and Afghanistan, reporting on a profile of the supreme commander of all NATO forces in what had become America's longest-running war. To Hastings' astonishment, McChrystal and staff had plenty to say about the White House and its handling of the war - none of it complimentary, much of it contemptuous, and almost all of it on the record."

Noam Chomsky, “A Global Program of World Militarization”
 Noam Chomsky, Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, RSN, Dec. 16, 2011
Intro: "This is a transcript of a conversation between members of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Noam Chomsky, which took place on September 21, 2011. Each question was asked in Dari and translated by Hakim."

“All wars, whether just or unjust, disastrous or victorious, are waged against the child.” Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, 1919.
In Kabul, the children are everywhere. You see them scrounging through trash. You see them doing manual labor in the auto body shops, the butchers, and the construction sites. They carry teapots and glasses from shop to shop. You see them moving through the snarled traffic swirling small pots of pungent incense, warding off evil spirits and trying to collect small change. They can be found sleeping in doorways or in the rubble of destroyed buildings. It is estimated that 70,000 children live on the streets of Kabul.
The big news story on CNN this morning [October 16, 2011] is the excitement generated as hundreds of people line up to buy the newest iphone. I can’t stop thinking of the children sitting in the dirt of the refugee camp, or running down the path pushing old bicycle tires, or the young boy sitting next to his overflowing sacks of collected detritus. He has a deep infection on the corner of his mouth that looks terribly infected. These images contrast with an image of an old grandfather, dressed in a spotless all white shalwar kameez squatting on the sidewalk outside a huge iron gate, embracing his beautiful young grand daughter in a huge hug, each smiling broadly, one of the few moments of joy I have witnessed on the streets of Kabul.
In Afghanistan, one in five children die before their 5th birthday, (41% of the deaths occur in the first month of life). For the children who make it past the first month, many perish due to preventable and highly treatable conditions including diarrhea and pneumonia. Malnourishment affects 39% of the children, compared to 25% at the start of the U.S. invasion. 52% don’t have access to clean water. 94% of births are not registered. The children are afforded very little legal protection, especially girls, who are stilled banned from schools in many regions, used as collateral to settle debts, and married through arranged marriages as young as 10 years old. Though not currently an issue, HIV/AIDS looms as a catastrophic possibility as drug addiction increases significantly, even among women and children. Only 16% of women use modern contraception, and children on the streets are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. This is why the “State of the World’s Mothers” report issued in May 2011 by Save the Children ranked Afghanistan last, with only Somalia providing worse outcomes for their children.
Retired Army Col. John Agoglia said, “A key to America’s long-term national security and one of the best ways for our nation to make friends around the world is by promoting the health of women and children in fragile and emerging nations”–in Afghanistan, this strategy is failing. Not a single public hospital has been built since the invasion. It is not an impossibility; it is a matter of will. Emergency, an Italian NGO, runs 3 hospitals and 30 clinics throughout Afghanistan on a budget of 7 million dollars per year. This is ISAF’s (NATO’s International Security Assistance Force) monthly budget for air-conditioning.
Polls have consistently shown that over 90 percent of Americans believe saving children should be a national priority. Children comprise 65% of the Afghan population. Afghanistan was named the worst place on earth to be a child. In Afghanistan children have been sacrificed by the United States, collateral damage in our “war on terror”.
The mothers of these at risk children are not faring any better. Most are illiterate. Most are chronically malnourished. 1 woman in 11 dies in pregnancy or childbirth, this compares to 1 in 2,100 in the US (the highest of any industrialized nation). In Italy and Ireland, the risk of maternal death is less than 1 in 15,000 and in Greece it’s 1 in 31,800. Skilled health professionals attend only 14% of childbirths. A woman’s life expectancy is barely 45 years of age.
Women are still viewed as property. A law has been passed by the Karzai regime that legalizes marital rape, and requires a woman to get the permission of her husband to leave the house. Domestic violence is a chronic problem. A women who runs away from home (even if escaping violence) is imprisoned. Upon completion of her sentence she is returned to the husband. Self-immolation is still common as desperate women try to get out of impossible situations.
Shortly after the U.S. invasion, Laura Bush said, “The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control.” President Bush said, “Our coalition has liberated Afghanistan and restored fundamental human rights and freedoms to Afghan women, and all the people of Afghanistan.” Actually, the former warlords responsible for the destruction, pillage, and rape of Afghanistan were ushered back into power  by the United States. In 2007, these very same warlords, now Parliamentarians, passed a bill that granted amnesty for any killings during the civil war. A local journalist said, “The killers are the ones holding the pens, writing the law and continuing their crimes.”
When Malalai Joya addressed the Peace Loya Jirga convened in December, 2003, she boldly asked, “Why are we allowing criminals to be present here?” She was thrown out of the assembly. Undeterred, she ran for Parliament, winning in a landslide. She began her maiden speech in Parliament by saying, “My condolences to the people of Afghanistan…” As she continued speaking, the warlord sitting behind her threatened to rape and kill her. The MP’s voted her out of Parliament and Karzai upheld her ouster. In hiding, she continues to champion women’s rights. She has stated that the only people who can liberate Afghan women are the women themselves. When we spoke briefly to her by phone, she stated that she was surprised to still be alive, and needed to cancel our meeting, as it was too dangerous in the current security situation. The Red Cross states that the security situation is the worst it has been in 30 years.
In America, as our total defense budget balloons to 667 billion dollars per year, women and children are faring worse as well. In the “State of the World’s Mothers” report, America has dropped from 11th in 2003 to 31st of the developed countries today. We currently rank behind such luminaries as Estonia, Croatia, and Slovakia. We fall even farther in regards to our children, going from the 4th ranked country to the 34th. Poverty is on the increase with an estimated 1 child in 5 living in poverty. More than 20 million children rely on school lunch programs to keep from going hungry. The number of people living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months.
Dear reader, I hesitate to bother you with so many statistics, I eliminated the pie charts and graphs, and this report is still dull. After all, the new iphone has Siri, a personal assistant that understands you when you speak. You can verbally instruct it to send a text message, and it does! Now that’s excitement! CNN states there is no need to panic; the Atlanta store has plenty of phones to fill the demand.
Looking only at numbers it is easy to avoid the truth of the enormous amount of human suffering they envelop. Drive through the streets of any American city and these statistics come alive in the swollen ranks of the homeless. Drive through the streets of Kabul and these statistics come alive in the forms of hungry children begging for change.
It is difficult to ascertain what benefit America is deriving from our continued military presence in Afghanistan, though exploitation of natural resources certainly plays a role. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent in a military strategy that is failing by all indicators. Yet the politicians in this country continue to back this strategy. Arms dealers and contractors, like G.E. and Boeing, all with lobbyists on Capitol Hill, continue to reap big financial rewards and in turn reward politicians with financial support. Our politicians claim to be “tough on terror” and profess we are “winning”. But by what measure do they ascertain this? The only Afghan people benefiting from our presence are the people supporting the occupation forces, the warlords, and the drug lords. As the poppy fields produce record yields “poppy palaces” are springing up all over Kabul, ostentatious signs that someone is benefiting from our interference.
One measure to judge the success of a nation is its ability to protect its most vulnerable populations. America is not succeeding. The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is still a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control. When will our politicians hear the desperate cry of the street children of Afghanistan, who, with all the incense in the world, simply can’t ward off the evil of our occupation?
To support the vital work of Voices for Creative Non-Violence please see  http://www.vcnv.org

PBS broadcast of This is Where We Take Our Stand
Dwayne Knox via uark.edu 12-12-11    dwayne@ritternet.com 
 Dear Friends,

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that This is Where We Take Our Stand, the film about the Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier/Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation, has now been distributed to every PBS station in the country for broadcast in January and February. Funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and distributed by the National Educational Television Association (NETA), the film finally has the chance to be seen by people all across the country.

The bad news is that every individual PBS station can choose whether or not they will air the film. And in today's political climate, we know that many, even most stations will not want to touch this compelling, vital film about the reality of America's wars in the Middle East. We need your help to convince them that they must show this film.

Also, please forward this email to your list and to everyone you know.

As we wrote in a letter to PBS programmers,

These aren't political or theoretical arguments, but the eyewitness accounts of men and women who thought they were fighting for their country and learned that, as Jason Washburn, a Marine veteran with three tours in Iraq put it,  "We were on the bully's team, and that's not what I signed up for." It is a wrenching, painful, and necessary story.

This film reminds us that nothing is over. And it asks us to question what has changed. Certainly not the war in Afghanistan, which has expanded in the past three years, and not the killing and misery in Iraq, unleashed by 8 years of military occupation.

This is Where We Take Our Stand is the story of hundreds of Iraq War veterans who risked everything to publicly tell their stories of killings of civilians, torture, and the widespread degradation and destruction of Iraq that was brought on by the policies of their government. And it is a story that needs to be told especially today. These brave soldiers and veterans are challenging a complacency that runs very deep underscoring a willingness to accept unspeakable horrors committed in our name-as long as we don't know about them.

Go to http://www.thisiswherewetakeourstand.com to watch episodes of the web series that the film is based on, and http://ivaw.org for information about Winter Soldier.

Thank you for your help. In the coming weeks we will send out announcements of where and when This is Where We Take Our Stand will be broadcast.

David Zeiger and Bestor Cram

Merkley Amendment Passes Senate by Voice Vote
In a stunning development, the Senate today approved the Merkley Amendment to the NDAA, calling for an expedited military withdrawal from Afghanistan, by voice vote. Previously, 27 was the high water mark of Senators urging a speedier withdrawal.   JustForeignPolicy 11-30-11
On a voice vote.  How did Pryor and Boozman vote?

Washington Frets Over Pakistan Response to Soldiers’ Deaths
Jim Lobe, News Report, NationofChange, Nov. 29, 2011: “As the Pentagon scrambled Monday to satisfy Pakistani demands for a full accounting of Saturday's lethal air attack on two border posts, official Washington expressed hope that Islamabad's retaliation will be limited in both time and scope. Whatever actually took place, however, the attack appears to have brought relations between Washington and Islamabad – already badly battered by a series of incidents earlier this year – to a new low.” READ  |  DISCUSS  |  SHARE   http://www.nationofchange.org/washington-frets-over-pakistan-response-soldiers-deaths-1322582891

Cortright, David.  Ending Obama’s War.  Paradigm, 2011.
Home ›› Research ›› Faculty Books ›› Ending Obama's War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Ending Obama's War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

From Paradigm Publishers (2011)

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly criticized the Bush administration’s policy of invading and occupying Iraq, but he was equally firm in declaring his support for the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.
In his widely quoted speech at a Chicago antiwar rally, Obama declared, “I’m not opposed to all wars. I am opposed to dumb wars.” It was thus no surprise that President Obama expanded the U.S. military commitment in March and then again in December 2009. And now, smart or not, Afghanistan is Obama’s war.
When Obama announced his intention to begin military withdrawals from Afghanistan just 18 months after sending more troops to the country, the reactions ranged from ridicule to disbelief. Why send tens of thousands of additional troops only to remove them soon afterward? To many critics, the announcement seemed to continue the folly of Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq.
In these pages, David Cortright offers a critical analysis of U.S./NATO military policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and examines alternative strategies for preventing terrorist insurgency and advancing development and human rights. He critiques the strategic and political assumptions undergirding military surge policies and illuminates the worsening security situation and growing influence of the Taliban.
Cortright pays particular attention to the status of women and shows how responsible military withdrawal enhances their chances instead of risking them as often disingenuous critics contend.
Cortright’s goal is not only to hold Obama to his stated intention to withdraw from Afghanistan beginning in July of 2011, but to do so in a way that yields true human security—better political leaders, more aid workers, and many more educated Afghans, women as well as men. As a longtime peace activist and advocate of diplomatic alternatives, Cortright speaks with a moral authority unrivalled among the chorus of commentators castigating Obama’s policies.
"In his new book, David Cortright makes a compelling case for a comprehensive calibrated strategy of military disengagement that offers the U.S. and its partners the most realistic chance of achieving their objectives in Afghanistan and the region in a cost effective and timely manner.”  Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense  
"A balanced, well-documented critique of the war in Afghanistan combined with a thoughtful plan for reducing our military footprint responsibly. Essential reading for those seeking a new way forward in Afghanistan." — Lt. General (USA, Ret.) Robert G. Gard, Jr., Ph.D.

Pakistan Stops Supplies After Deadly NATO Attack
Shams Momand, Reuters, Nov. 26, 2011, RSN
Momand reports: "NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging US-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis. Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in almost half of the alliance's non-lethal material."

Not Thankful for the 2012 Defense Budget! Call Your Senators Today !   11-21-11   From Historians Against the War
While the “Super” Committee works on the federal budget for FY 2013 and beyond, under the radar the Congress is moving forward with another huge Defense budget for FY 2012. When it returns from Thanksgiving break, the Senate will be voting on a $682.5 billion Defense Authorization bill.
This continues the war in Afghanistan and wastes unconscionable amounts of money at a time when there are massive cutbacks in domestic programs at the federal, state and local levels.

Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) has just introduced Amendment No. 1174, requiring the President to present a plan “for an expedited withdrawal from Afghanistan prior to 2014.” Co-sponsors are Senators Brown, Durbin, Gillibrand, Harkin, Lee, and Udall. For complete text

If your Senators are not on this list, please call them today and ask them to co-sponsor Amendment No. 1174 to the 2012 Defense Authorization bill. Remind them squandering billions of dollars on a failed war is against the best interest of American and Afghan people. Use the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) toll free number 1-877-429-0678 to call the congressional switchboard and ask to be connected to your Senators

While on the phone, it would be great if you could also urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee’s excellent bill: HR 780 Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act, which specifies that funding for US armed forces in Afghanistan shall be limited to the “safe and orderly withdrawal” of all US troops and Defense Department contractors. List of co-sponsors (65):

Please send any helpful feedback to hiscze@aol.com .
Carolyn Eisenberg on behalf of Historians Against War Steering Committee

The Next Wars to End
Petitions for Diplomacy Now!

"This may definitely not be over, and it may not be over for a long time. Nine-and-a-half years later, it is most definitely not over. So, what we have to do is I think demonstrate the strategic patience that is necessary to win a long war." 
~US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker on the Long War (September 5, 2011)

While monitoring possible deception during the Iraq pullout, it is important for the peace movement to engage in the effort to end the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Experience shows that a vibrant anti-war movement is a necessary element in ending these wars. Here are some steps:

1. Out of Afghanistan: 33,000 US troops by next year, the rest by 2014. Demand the end of torture, and advocate peace diplomacy now. Sign and circulate this petition:  Prevent Afghan Torture, Enforce Leahy Law. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/prevent-afghan-torture-enforce-leahy-law.html

2. Pakistan, where the immediate issue is to block a further US escalation of ground troops, as well as the rising number of drone attacks. Please sign and circulate this petition: No US Escalation in Pakistan. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-u-s-escalation-in-pakistan.html

“2 Million Afghans Face Hungry Winter.”  ADG (11-19-11).  The UN is trying to raise $142 million for them.  The peace movement might reply with a statement and a question:   End the war and convert the killing money to food money.  The famine is mainly in Tajik north Afghanistan.  What about the Pashtuns, the main ethnic group and source of the Taliban?

“The UN Torture Report
Stirring Pressure for Congressional Response”
Ten years after promising that human rights would be protected in Afghanistan, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has verified "systemic torture" by Afghan security forces trained and funded by the United States.
The UN report, described in a lead New York Times story on October 10, is triggering calls once again for enforcement of the so-called Leahy Law, passed in the 1990s, which prohibits any US funding, weapons or training to security force units in other countries committing gross human rights violations. A loophole in the Leahy Law, however, allows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to waive the ban by issuing a finding that the Afghan government is taking remedial measures, including bringing responsible members of the torture units "to justice," and that "all necessary corrective steps have been taken."
 Continue reading...
Sign the petition against torture in Afghanistan...
(See: Tom Hayden, Peace Exchange Bulletin, October 21, 2011

Prevent Afghan Torture:  Enforce the Leahy Law
A recent United Nations report suggests that the United States and NATO allies are outsourcing torture and human rights violations in Afghanistan. The report concludes that there is a continuing pattern and practice of "systematic" torture in spite of repeated efforts at reform. (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, October 2011)

Current US policy violates the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Appropriations Act and Defense Appropriations Act (Sec. 563, P.L. 106-429 and Sec. 8092, P.L. 106-259, 2001).
To Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Patrick Leahy:
We, the undersigned, call on you to immediately invoke the Leahy Amendment to end funding or training for units of the Afghanistan National Security Directorate, armed forces, and police engaged in torture or gross violations of human rights until all necessary corrective steps have been taken, including steps to bring those responsible to justice.
Sign the petition against torture in Afghanistan...
From Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin, Oct. 21, 2011

“UN Finds 'Systematic' Torture in Afghanistan
Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times October 10, 2011   RSN
Alissa J. Rubin reports: "Detainees are hung by their hands and beaten with cables, and in some cases their genitals are twisted until the prisoners lose consciousness at sites run by the Afghan intelligence service and the Afghan National Police, according to a United Nations report released here on Monday."

IED Improvised Explosive Device Weapon of Iraq and Afghan RESISTANCE
       Cockburn, Andrew.   “Search and Destroy: The Pentagon’s Losing Battle Against IEDs.”   Harper’s Magazine (Nov. 2011).   The Pentagon by 2008 had spent “at least $60 billion to combat IEDs” and in 2012 it “plans to spend at least $10.1 billion” more—and the results have been “dismal.”    By May 2007 “nearly 70,000” IEDs had been planted in Iraq by an enemy consisting of “’multiple small independent groups” able to adapt rapidly to changed tactics.  And many of these groups “were bitterly antagonistic—Shia, Sunni, Al Qaeda, and so forth”—yet they shared information about  IED techniques within “days or even hours.”      What does work technically is the skill of low-tech bomb specialists,     Much of the article is about Master Sergeant Tano Chavez, a brilliant specialist in disarming IEDs.  But the attacks continue, and Sergeant Chavez, who suffered several severe concussions and other wounds, returned home suffering from many maladies (traumatic brain injury TBI, PTSD, hearing loss), and now “non-deployable.”     Assassinations of High Value Targets, “the ultimate objective of our entire counter-IED strategy,” also have not worked against IEDs, but have even increased them.  After assassinations, “IED attacks did not go down” in the vicinity; rather, “They went up—by a lot.”   This article damns indirectly the occupation and directly “the techno-war that keeps the money flowing.”