Imperialist Feminism: A Historic Review with Deepa Kumar
August 2, 2013

The West has often used the liberation of brown women as an excuse for empire. This talk reviews a few examples and offers some analysis. It begins with the Afghan war but goes back to 19th century colonial narratives in regard to Muslim women.

Source

Noam Chomsky: Is Edward J. Snowden aboard this plane?
August 1, 2013

On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

Morales was flying home from a Moscow summit on July 3. In an interview there he had said he was open to offering political asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former U.S. spy-agency contractor wanted by Washington on espionage charges, who was in the Moscow airport.

The OAS expressed its solidarity with Morales, condemned “actions that violate the basic rules and principles of international law such as the inviolability of Heads of State,” and “firmly” called on the European governments - France, Italy, Portugal and Spain - to explain their actions and issue apologies.

An emergency meeting of UNASUR - the Union of South American Nations - denounced “the flagrant violation of international treaties” by European powers.

Latin American heads of state weighed in, too. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil expressed the country’s “indignation and condemnation of the situation imposed on President Evo Morales by some European countries” and warned that this “serious lack of respect for the law . compromises dialogue between the two continents and possible negotiations between them.”

Commentators were less reserved. Argentine political scientist Atilio Boron dismissed Europe as “the whore of Babylon,” cringing before power.

With virtually identical reservations, two states refused to sign the OAS resolution: the United States and Canada. Their growing isolation in the hemisphere as Latin America frees itself from the imperial yoke after 500 years is of historic significance.

Morales’ plane, reporting technical problems, was permitted to land in Austria. Bolivia charges that the plane was searched to discover whether Snowden was on board. Austria responds that “there was no formal inspection.” Whatever happened followed warnings delivered from Washington. Beyond that the story is murky.

Washington has made clear that any country that refuses to extradite Snowden will face harsh punishment. The United States will “chase him to the ends of the earth,” Sen. Lindsey Graham warned.

But U.S. government spokespersons assured the world that Snowden will be granted the full protection of American law - referring to those same laws that have kept U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning (who released a vast archive of U.S. military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks) in prison for three years, much of it in solitary confinement under humiliating conditions. Long gone is the archaic notion of a speedy trial before a jury of peers. On July 30 a military judge found Manning guilty of charges that could lead to a maximum sentence of 136 years.

Like Snowden, Manning committed the crime of revealing to Americans - and others - what their government is doing. That is a severe breach of “security” in the operative meaning of the term, familiar to anyone who has pored over declassified documents. Typically “security” means security of government officials from the prying eyes of the public to whom they are answerable - in theory.

Governments always plead security as an excuse - in the Snowden case, security from terrorist attack. This pretext comes from an administration carrying out a grand international terrorist campaign with drones and special operations forces that is generating potential terrorists at every step.

Their indignation knows no bounds at the thought that someone wanted by the United States should receive asylum in Bolivia, which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. Oddly missing from the tumult is the fact that extradition works both ways - again, in theory.

Last September, the United States rejected Bolivia’s 2008 petition to extradite former president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada - “Goni” - to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. It would, however, be an error to compare Bolivia’s request for extradition with Washington’s, even if we were to suppose that the cases have comparable merit.

The reason was provided by St. Augustine in his tale about the pirate asked by Alexander the Great, “How dare you molest the sea?” The pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor.”

St. Augustine calls the pirate’s answer “elegant and excellent.” But the ancient philosopher, a bishop in Roman Africa, is only a voice from the global South, easily dismissed. Modern sophisticates comprehend that the Emperor has rights that little folk like Bolivians cannot aspire to.

Goni is only one of many that the Emperor chooses not to extradite. Another case is that of Luis Posada Carriles, described by Peter Kornbluh, an analyst of Latin American terror, as “one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history.”

Posada is wanted by Venezuela and Cuba for his role in the 1976 bombing of a Cubana commercial airliner, killing 73 people. The CIA and FBI identified him as a suspect. But Cubans and Venezuelans also lack the prerogatives of the Emperor, who organized and backed the reign of terror to which Cubans have been subjected since liberation.

The late Orlando Bosch, Posada’s partner in terrorism, also benefited from the Emperor’s benevolence. The Justice Department and FBI requested that he be deported as a threat to U.S. security, charging him with dozens of terrorist acts. In 1990, after President George H.W. Bush overturned the deportation order, Bosch lived the rest of his life happily in Miami, undisturbed by calls for extradition by Cuba and Costa Rica, two mere pirates.

Another insignificant pirate is Italy, now seeking the extradition of 23 CIA operatives indicted for kidnapping Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian cleric in Milan, whom they rendered to Egypt for torture (he was later found to be innocent). Good luck, Italy.

There are other cases, but the crime of rendition returns us to the matter of Latin American independence. The Open Society Institute recently released a study called “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.” It reviewed global participation in the crime, which was very broad, including among European countries.

Latin American scholar Greg Grandin pointed out that one region was absent from the list of shame: Latin America. That is doubly remarkable. Latin America had long been the reliable “backyard” for the United States. If any of the locals sought to raise their heads, they would be decapitated by terror or military coup. And as it was under U.S. control throughout the latter half of the last century, Latin America was one of the torture capitals of the world.

That’s no longer the case, as the United States and Canada are being virtually expelled from the hemisphere.

Source

U.S. ‘accidentally’ bombs the Great Barrier Reef in disastrous military-exercise
July 21, 2013

Two American fighter jets dropped four unarmed bombs into Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park last week, when a training exercise went wrong, the US Navy said, angering environmentalists.

The two AV-8B Harrier jets, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard, each jettisoned an inert practice bomb and an unarmed laser-guided explosive bomb into the World Heritage-listed marine park off the coast of Queensland state on Tuesday, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday. The four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped into more than 50 meters (164ft) of water, away from coral, to minimize possible damage to the reef, the statement said. None exploded.

The jets, from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, had intended to drop the ordnances on the Townshend Island bombing range, but aborted the mission when controllers reported the area was not clear of hazards. The pilots conducted the emergency jettison because they were low on fuel and could not land with their bomb load, the Navy said.

The emergency happened on the second day of the biennial joint training exercise Talisman Saber, which brings together 28,000 US and Australian military personnel over three weeks. The US Navy and Marine Corps were working with Australian authorities to investigate the incident, the Navy said.

A 7th Fleet spokesman did not immediately respond on Sunday, when asked by email whether the dumping posed any environmental risk.

Australian Senator Larissa Waters, the influential Greens spokeswoman on the Great Barrier Reef, described the dumping of bombs in such an environmentally sensitive area as “outrageous” and said it should not be allowed.

"Have we gone completely mad?" she told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"

Graeme Dunstan, who is among the environmentalists and anti-war activists demonstrating against the joint exercises, said the mishap proved that the US military could not be trusted to protect the environment.

"How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real," Dunstan said from the Queensland coastal town of Yeppoon, near where the war games are taking place.

Source

Journalist Barrett Brown spent his 300th day behind bars this week on a range of charges filed after he used information obtained by the hacker group Anonymous to report on the operations of private intelligence firms. Brown faces 17 charges ranging from threatening an FBI agent to credit card fraud for posting a link online to a document that contained stolen credit card data. But according to his supporters, Brown is being unfairly targeted for daring to investigate the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. Using information Anonymous took from the firm HBGary Federal, Brown helped discover a secret plan to tarnish the reputations of WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. Brown similarly analyzed and wrote about the millions of internal company emails from Stratfor Global Intelligence that were leaked in 2011. We speak to Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, whose article “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown” recently appeared in The Nation. “Considering that the person who carried out the actual Stratfor hack had several priors and is facing a maximum of 10 years, the inescapable conclusion is that the problem is not with the hack itself but with Brown’s journalism,” Ludlow argues. He adds that the case against Brown could suggest criminality “to even link to something or share a link with someone.”

Source

A retired federal judge who served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approves government surveillance is calling for reform of the court’s duties. The FISA court has come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s disclosures for essentially crafting a secret, separate body of law that abets wholesale spying. The New York Times reported over the weekend the FISA court has become a “parallel Supreme Court,” issuing over a dozen classified rulings that allow the government to seize mass phone records and Internet data. The Wall Street Journal reports that in a series of orders dating back to the mid 2000s, the FISA court, or FISC, endorsed an expansion of the word “relevant” to mean “an entire database of records on millions of people.” On Tuesday, a former member of the FISA court broke ranks to say the secretive judicial body should be stopped from settling matters of policy. Speaking at a public hearing, former D.C. Circuit Judge James Robertson said: “Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case. … This process needs an adversary.”
Source

A retired federal judge who served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approves government surveillance is calling for reform of the court’s duties. The FISA court has come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s disclosures for essentially crafting a secret, separate body of law that abets wholesale spying. The New York Times reported over the weekend the FISA court has become a “parallel Supreme Court,” issuing over a dozen classified rulings that allow the government to seize mass phone records and Internet data. The Wall Street Journal reports that in a series of orders dating back to the mid 2000s, the FISA court, or FISC, endorsed an expansion of the word “relevant” to mean “an entire database of records on millions of people.” On Tuesday, a former member of the FISA court broke ranks to say the secretive judicial body should be stopped from settling matters of policy. Speaking at a public hearing, former D.C. Circuit Judge James Robertson said: “Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case. … This process needs an adversary.”

Source

When I first started working on citizenship, older people would say to me, “How can you even take the state seriously? The state is a monster of imperialism.” And I said, “I’m on the side of people’s survival, and if people’s optimism is attached to things like the state, I want to know what the state stands in for.” If we start seeing our objects of ambition and desire as stand-ins, as things that organize our attachment to life, we have a totally different understanding and a kind of generosity toward those objects. That’s why I started working on citizenship in the first place, not because I loved it, but because I saw that people saw it as a state where they could imagine being collective, and being willing to be collective in ways that were also inconvenient for them. So when LGBTQ people want what lots of people want - which is a relief from their loneliness and a social world that would be welcoming and not shaming - I can’t disrespect their objects, I just have to say, “is that all there is?” For me, it’s never about shaming people’s objects, it’s always about creating better and better objects. It’s always about creating better worlds, making it possible for us to think in more and different kinds of ways about how we relationally can move through life.

Lauren Berlant, Interview

Submitted by afieryflyingroule.

U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’May 14, 2013
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.
The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled“Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
Click here to read the new rule
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” and says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”
A defense official who declined to be named takes a different view of the rule, claiming, “The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy.” Moreover, he insists the Pentagon doesn’t “want to get involved in civilian law enforcement. It’s one of those red lines that the military hasn’t signed up for.” Nevertheless, he says, “every person in the military swears an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States to defend that Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”
One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”
As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”
“These phrases don’t have any legal meaning,” says Afran. “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”
Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.”
“Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”
The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.
Together, these laws limit executive authority over domestic military action. Yet Monday’s official regulatory changes issued unilaterally by the Department of Defense is a game-changer.
Source
Submitted by: http://dashielsheen.tumblr.com/

U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’
May 14, 2013

The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.

The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled“Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

Click here to read the new rule

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” and says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”

A defense official who declined to be named takes a different view of the rule, claiming, “The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy.” Moreover, he insists the Pentagon doesn’t “want to get involved in civilian law enforcement. It’s one of those red lines that the military hasn’t signed up for.” Nevertheless, he says, “every person in the military swears an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States to defend that Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”

As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”

“These phrases don’t have any legal meaning,” says Afran. “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”

Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.”

“Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”

The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.

Together, these laws limit executive authority over domestic military action. Yet Monday’s official regulatory changes issued unilaterally by the Department of Defense is a game-changer.

Source

Submitted by: http://dashielsheen.tumblr.com/

active-rva asked:

Efforts to abolish arbitrary discriminatory laws should be publicized through your venue, even if they don't address underlying systems of oppression- but in this case, it would be against your anti-imperialist, anti-militarist politics to actually spend a lot of time and effort on the campaign. Share the effort, with commentary regarding your stance on enlisting in the US armed services. Don't become organizers for the campaign or necessarily endorse it, even.

That’s a helpful, thoughtful way to approach it. Thanks!

robert-cunningham

The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication

We wholeheartedly endorse Democracy Now!’s choice of their Memorial Day special. So along with this video, we would like to acknowledge and congratulate this Memorial Day, all those veterans who threw off their medals as an act against the United States’ imperialist wars during the NATO protests.

Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.

— — — — —

From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

Middlebury students stage checkpoint, Call on college to divest from Israeli apartheid

Submitted by Jay Saper
May 19, 2013

On May 15, students at Middlebury College in Vermont staged a checkpoint outside their dining hall during the busiest meal of the year to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the state of Israel.

As the Middlebury divestment campaign from arms and fossil fuels gains national attention, a coalition that included Palestinian, Israeli, and American Jewish students staged the act of political theater in solidarity with Nakba Day demonstrations around the globe as a call to add apartheid to the students’ divestment demands.

At a midnight breakfast event during finals week, students were greeted in the dark with barricades blocking the entrance to the dining hall and flashlights from full uniformed soldiers asking for identification cards.

Alex Jackman, a junior from New York City, described the checkpoint as “one of the coolest pieces of theater I have seen on Middlebury Campus. Performed during the time when all students are wrapped up in stress about exams and schoolwork, the piece served as a reminder that there are greater battles to fight beyond our campus.”

A gate was lifted for students who had received Israeli documentation. They could pass freely to prepare themselves a plate of pancakes. Those with Palestinian IDs were directed around the checkpoint.

Some students voiced their frustration with being held up, “This is not cool, I am trying to get to midnight breakfast.” One shouted, “I have to study for finals.”

Jackman contended it was important for students to confront the checkpoint. She explained, “Middlebury College students tend to abstract issues of social injustice, a method that allows us to remove ourselves from these issues. But by being confronted, quite literally, with this piece of theater, we were not able to remove ourselves from our privileges—even if only for a moment.

The performance, developed by students as part of a course on Theater and Social Change and members of the organization Justice for Palestine, was broken up by campus public safety.

“This is not theater, we can tell it is political,” one officer voiced. “Everything that is political has to be approved by the College.”

For Palestinians, checkpoints are not a momentary interruption, but one persistent piece of a dehumanizing system of apartheid. Between 2000 and 2005 there were 67 Palestinian mothers who were forced to give birth at Israeli military checkpoints and 36 of those babies died.

Apartheid is not enabled through merely subjecting a people to oppressive conditions, but rather through creating separate realities whereby a group of people is not forced to confront their implication in the domination of another group.

Middlebury College itself is a settlement on stolen Abenaki land. With its pristine limestone buildings and perfectly manicured grass, Middlebury manufactures an environment seemingly separate from the oppressions it perpetuates, which is itself a political act.

Students at Middlebury are stepping up and refusing to allow a separation of conscience that tolerates inaction in face of the school profiting from Israeli apartheid. Justice for Palestine has one message for administrators, particularly fitting of a midnight action, “We will not rest, until you divest.”   

Jay Saper is a student organizer with Justice for Palestine at Middlebury College.

Feature: Our veterans – the elephant in the room?
May 7, 2013

Apart from when the occasional veteran makes the headlines and is arrested (perhaps for carrying out a training run fully kitted up and armed; or by posting borderline material on facebook and being detained and sectioned under Section 922(g)(4) of the US Code) once our marines have stepped down from active duty, very little is heard of them and that seems to be the way the government likes it.

They must be feeling uneasy to say the least at the growing movement of veterans who are standing up and voicing their concerns about the way in which our country is governed and the Constitution being undermined by successive rafts of legislation, some of which is pushed through without adequate consultation or proper procedure. The government would have us believe that these few “voices in the wilderness” belong to misfits, miscreants and malcontents – that most veterans are happily adjusted to everyday society and living out their lives in the bosom of their family as productive citizens.

Myth versus reality

Truth is there is a huge gulf between the myth foisted upon us by the government and the reality. Many of these veterans start out their career in the US forces with high ideals and a vision of serving their country and protecting their family and others like it; young men and women with a clear conscience, a deep sense of moral duty and strong loyalty to their government. By the time they have done a tour or three they come back as different people with a totally changed perspective. We are fed images and news reports by the media of spouses and little children welcoming back the homecoming heroes and heroines, smiling faces, happy tears and a good helping of the American dream, complete with cream and sugar. We aren’t shown the rows of flag draped coffins; we aren’t told about the conditioning imposed on these service men and women to psychologically prepare them for the battlefront or about the drugs which are forced on them to make sure they remain emotionally stable during their tour of duty. In 2012 more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in the war zone. In fact, 6,500 veterans killed themselves that year alone – that equates to 1 every hour and 20 minutes.

The harsh reality is that these men and women come home, having seen things they won’t talk of to anyone other than another veteran, tired, disillusioned, often traumatized and diagnosed with PTSD, unable to easily step back into their old lives. It is no wonder that so many isolate themselves from others in the community, very often becoming reliant on alcohol or drugs (prescription or illegal) to make it through each day. It is telling that the US government has stepped up their Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, providing support for former service members at an ever growing number of drug and alcohol detox centers across the States. For drug and alcohol detox in Massachusetts, as an example, there are centers in almost every town and city across the state – something like 64 all in all. Those that make it through the transition back into civilian life and survive or avoid addiction have gone on to become some of the harshest critics of our government.

People like Adam Khokesh, who served in the US Marine Corps Reserves in Iraq, have become vocal opponents of the very government they swore to obey when they joined the forces. They have seen through the illusion that government and media have fed to communities everywhere and are joining together to voice their opposition to today’s politics specifically and to war across the board. These highly trained personnel of yesterday have become today’s conscience of the nation, highlighting injustice, false flag events and illegal or immoral activities, including wars against other sovereign states. Groups like Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans against the War now actively oppose government and governmental policy, standing against the very things they previously stood for before the veil was torn from their eyes. The treatment many of them receive only serves to underline the government’s self interest and it is telling that the government considers veterans to be a danger, with Homeland Security classifying returning US veterans as a potential terrorist threat.

With something like 20 states wanting to secede from the United States, it may be that those same veterans who no longer support the corrupt political structure will be the vanguard of our changing world. When a country as large as the United States, with the influences it has across the globe, undergoes radical change it will surely impact us all.

-Written & submitted for The People’s Record by Evelyn Roberts

Lovely submission from Evelyn Roberts. Thank you so much. Veterans are part of the story, and they are, complicated victims of the system in their own way. Of course, the communities they are trained & instructed to destroy are also a big part of the conversation – they are victims of the system and are subjected to a whole different kind of horror because it. We would be remiss to not feature stories about both.

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Regarding “Jonathan Lash’s” false flag (pun intended) e-mail
May 7, 2013

On April 26th, the Hampshire College community received an email from its president, former president of the World Resources Institute Jonathan Lash, that announced his decision to flip the campus American flag upside-down and lower it to half mast.  The email articulated that this action was meant as “a two-fold statement: … a reclamation of mourning, and … an act of resistance against the symbolic violence of the American flag.”  He went on to make powerful assertions about the coercive ways in which the state mobilizes the flag in order to create a culture in which the state violence of the police and military is condoned, in which mourning over events such as the Boston bombing and 9/11 are channeled into a racist and bloodthirsty patriotism, and in which dissent and alternative reactions to tragedy are repressed and silenced.

Throughout the day, the email spread rapidly over social media and through word of mouth.  Dozens of people thanked President Lash for his words of solidarity with those oppressed by state violence.  Others marveled that such a statement would come from an administration with a “decades-long streak of complacence with neoliberalism”. A friend of mine who is of Arab descent was thrilled at the statement and sent President Lash a personal letter of thanks saying that she was “more proud than ever to be at Hampshire”.

Halfway through the day, this same friend received a response from the president.  It said that he had not written the email.  This was accompanied by a campus-wide response that read, “This afternoon someone falsely sent out a message under my name regarding the flag.  It was not written by me.  Hampshire welcomes discussion and dissent, but not by misrepresentation.”  Apparently, student(s) had written the original statement and hacked his account to send it under his name.

The majority of the criticism of the action accused the students responsible for assuming that all in the community shared their sentiments.  A subsequent email from the campus IT director asserted that the action had “blatantly trampled the community’s right to debate and arrive at a common position”.

Such a forum for administration-approved “discussion and dissent” was created a few weeks earlier when students facilitated an open dialogue about the campus flag.  Numerous international students, some of whose home countries have long histories of colonialist oppression at the hands of U.S. imperialism, expressed outrage and personal discomfort over the flag’s presence on campus.  In this discussion, the administration promised to at least partially acknowledge these concerns by putting up an earth flag on earth day and leaving it up permanently. The earth flag flew for one day and was removed.

The argument that all differing opinions concerning the American flag are valid and must be given institutional weight completely misunderstands mechanisms of oppression and destroys the prospect of solidarity.  It is the responsibility of the institution and  all those who benefit from U.S colonialism (via white privilege, class privilege, settler status…etc) to support those oppressed by this legacy of violence. The personal patriotism of some individuals should not obscure the real violence committed on the world and members of our community under the symbol of the flag.

Those arguing in favor of the American flag have significant power over those opposed.  They have the power of the state, the power of a long history of colonial genocide, and the power of the continued legacy of white supremacy.  They also have the power of the administration which continues flying the flag without the consent of the community.  Advocating for a “common position” in this regard would inevitably involve compromise on the part of the oppressed.  This is not solidarity.  This is the perpetuation of racist and colonialist dominance and oppression in the tradition of liberal “democracy”.

Sending the email was a powerful act of resistance used to expose the oppressive nature of institutional power at Hampshire.  The students responsible rejected the channels of resistance established for them by the administration and claimed the authority of the president in order to subvert that very authority.  By releasing a statement that spoke forcefully and directly against state violence, the students exposed the administration for being complicit with that violence by espousing an empty rhetoric of commitment to some vague notion of “diversity” and “social justice”.  The email challenged the administration and the campus to transcend the tradition of mere lip-service (http://www.hampshire.edu/shared_files/INSIDE_Spring_2013_5.2.1.pdf) and work instead toward a tradition of true solidarity with those oppressed by the state.

President Lash failed this challenge.  His response did not engage with the argument of the forged email whatsoever, and the American flag continues to proudly fly over the center of Hampshire’s campus.

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slothtanic
whitehouse:

Share the news: Our economy added 176,000 private-sector jobs last month, while unemployment dipped to its lowest rate since December 2008. http://at.wh.gov/kGdc9

Share the news - Barack Obama is a war criminal.
Share the news - poor people don’t know what you’re talking about, we’re still jobless or over-worked & underpaid and yes, poor. 
Share the news - we want a private-sector DEATH. We want private-sector abolition!
Share the news - it was a really bad idea for the White House to get a Tumblr. You are not welcome here. 
Share the news!

whitehouse:

Share the news: Our economy added 176,000 private-sector jobs last month, while unemployment dipped to its lowest rate since December 2008. http://at.wh.gov/kGdc9

Share the news - Barack Obama is a war criminal.

Share the news - poor people don’t know what you’re talking about, we’re still jobless or over-worked & underpaid and yes, poor. 

Share the news - we want a private-sector DEATH. We want private-sector abolition!

Share the news - it was a really bad idea for the White House to get a Tumblr. You are not welcome here. 

Share the news!

TW: Suicide: Guantanamo attorney found dead in apparent suicide
May 1, 2013

An attorney who represented prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay was found dead last week in what sources said was a suicide.

Andy P. Hart, 38, a federal public defender in Toledo, Ohio, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hart left behind a suicide note and a thumb drive, believed to contain his case files. It is unknown where Hart died, what the suicide note said or whether an autopsy was performed.

Hart’s death comes amid escalating chaos that has engulfed Guantanamo over the past three months—from a mass hunger strike to military commissions and renewed pressure on the White House to shut down the prison facility. Hart was one of three-dozen Guantanamo attorneys who signed a letter in March urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to take immediate action and bring about an end to the hunger strike.

Because Hart was a federal employee working on sensitive legal issues the FBI was contacted about his death. It is unknown if the agency has been investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

Neither the FBI nor local law enforcement officials in Toledo, Ohio returned calls for comment. A phone number listed for Hart was disconnected Wednesday.

Truthout learned about the details of Hart’s death Wednesday from an investigator who has been tapped by attorneys to work on a number of cases involving Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions. The investigator requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Dennis Terez, the top federal public defender in the Northern District of Ohio, where Hart worked, declined to comment on his colleague’s death.

"At this time and out of respect for Mr. Hart’s family and friends, we have no comment," Terez said.

Hart’s name has since been removed from the federal public defender’s website.

Hart worked closely with attorney Carlos Warner, who was based out of the federal public defender’s Akron, Ohio office. Warner referred requests for comment about Hart to Terez.

With Warner, Hart was assigned by the government to defend Mohammed Rahim al-Afghani, who was detained by the CIA and allegedly subjected to torture methods until his transfer to Guantanamo in March 2008. The government maintained that al-Afghani was Osama bin Laden’s translator and a top al-Qaida official.

Hart also represented Saudi Khalid Saad Mohammed, who was transferred back to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo in 2009. He was also the attorney for Adel Hakeemy, a Tunisian who has been detained at Guantanamo for 11 years.

The Guantanamo prisoners he represents have not yet been notified about Hart’s death, according to the investigator.

In addition to defending Guantanamo prisoners, Hart also was the defense attorney for Richard Schmidt, an alleged white supremacist and convicted felon who was under federal investigation over allegations he amassed high-powered weapons and ammunition.

In 2011, Hart was assigned to represent Jeff Boyd Levenderis, 54, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on suspicion of concealing a biological toxin, ricin, and making false statements to federal investigators. An 11-year-old daughter survives Hart.

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