Tag Archives: afghanistan

No Escalation! Protests

A small group of people braved the bitter cold in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 3, 2009 to protest the surge of troops to Afghanistan, joining 100 cities across the nation last week in the common message: No Escalation!

Afghanistan Escalation

The peace community around the nation is outraged at Obama’s announcement of the deployment of 35,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But should we be surprised? Obama promised the reduction of forces in Iraq and further escalation in Afghanistan during his presidential campaign.

Regardless, not only are more lives going to be lost in an escalation that shouldn’t happen, but billions of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent on this escalation, further impacting domestic programs that provide essential services to human beings in the U.S.

This is an outrage.

There are numerous actions being held around the country this week in reaction to Obama’s announcement. Here in Salt Lake City I hope people will come out to the event listed below to raise their voices:

Afghanistan: No Escalation Vigil – December 3, 5:30pm

Afghanistan: No Escalation!

Vigil, 5:30 – 6:30pm
100 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT

War Supplemental Vote Early Next Week

Here is status of the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan war supplemental bill for the remainder of 2009.

According to a report I received from a constituent who talked with Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree’s Military Legislative Assistant, Eric Hansen, the bill is in the House Appropriations Committee now and that it would likely be voted on in the House of Representatives as early as next week.

President Obama had requested $83 billion for the war supplemental but House Democrats have added $9.3 billion to that request to bring the supplemental to now stand at $94.2 billion.

According to Hansen Rep. Pingree would vote on the supplemental and he said that she wants to first "see what form the bill takes" before deciding on her vote. He said that the Congresswoman was wanting to see if bench marks and timelines were included in the bill. So far Obama has not submitted any timelines on ending the Afghanistan occupation.

Hansen said that the war supplemental will also include funds for economic assistance to the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He talked about "soft power" options being important like moving some Pakistan funds from the Pentagon to the State Department’s control for diplomatic purposes and for expansion of counter-insurgency capabilities.

Hansen also said that Rep. Pingree was seriously considering signing on as a co-sponsor to a bill presented by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) that would "require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom."

As of today the cost of the war in Afghanistan to American taxpayers has been more than $172 billion and the Iraq war has cost more than $656 billion.

It is important to remember that Obama has also already requested $130 billion for war funding for fiscal year 2010.

Please make a call immediately to your member of your state Congressional delegation. Urge them to vote against any more war funding.

“Happy” Veterans Day

Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Join The Homeless


Ethan Kreutzer joined the Army at the age of 17 and fought with the 19th Airborne in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. When he retuned home, he had no money, no education and no civilian job experience. He soon became homeless. He slept in an alley off Haight Street, behind two trash cans.

June Moss drove from Kuwait to Iraq as an Army engineer in a truck convoy. When she returned to the United States, she lost her home, and drove her two young children from hotel to hotel across Northern California.

Sean McKeen, a hardy, broad-shouldered 21-year-old with a wide smile, went to Iraq to clear land mines, and to get money for college. When he returned home, he became homeless in less than a week. He found himself sleeping in a cot in a crowded homeless shelter in San Francisco.

They are all part of a growing trend of homelessness among returning war on terrorism veterans.

Read More


It’s the wars, silly

Tonight at our weekly sidewalk peace vigil (ongoing weekly since 2001), a bus driver stopped in front of us, opened the door, and said "Obama won, so why are you still out here?".  I answered:  "Because there are still wars going on."  He nodded his head in agreement and then stated, "I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better."

Although people are really happy that Obama has won the presidential race in an historic presidential election, and that the Bush cronies will no longer be in office, I do feel that there is cautious optimism….

Cynthia McKinney’s Debate Reponse to Obama on sending troops into Afghanistan

On The Seventh Anniversary of 9/11

This came across my email desk from the group Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of families of victims in the World Trade Center Bombings on September 11, 2001, that formed just after that horrific tragedy to turn their grief into action.  Here is there message today on teh 7th anniversary of that incident:

September 11, 2008

Dear Members, Friends and Supporters of Peaceful Tomorrows,

The experience of yet another anniversary of 9/11 provides an occasion to reflect upon the hopes and beliefs that brought the members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows together. In response to the terrorist attacks that killed our family members, we never wanted wars of retaliation that would cause the deaths of innocent civilians in other nations. We never wanted hunger for revenge to lead America to violate international law, abandon Constitutional rights, or engage in torture.

We united to turn our grief into action for peace, believing that it is possible to break the cycles of violence caused by terrorism and war.  And over the past months, from Capitol Hill to Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond we have raised our voices in support of nonviolence, human rights and the rule of law.

Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

In July, Peaceful Tomorrows members traveled to DC to lobby Congress about the need to end the abuses at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and rededicate the U.S. to principles of international justice. We are currently working with human rights allies at Witness Against Torture and Center for Constitutional Rights to craft a multi-faceted campaign to shut down Guantánamo within the first 100 days of the new administration.  We believe it can be done!

Perhaps the most hopeful work we are doing is our campaign to support the courageous and inspiring Iraqi peace and nonviolence activists of LaOnf.  LaOnf (which roughly translates as "nonviolence" in Arabic) is a network of over 100 Iraqi civil society organizations working to promote "nonviolence as the most effective way to struggle for an independent, democratic, and peaceful Iraq."

In August Peaceful Tomorrows members Terry Rockefeller and Adele Welty met with LaOnf members in Erbil, Kurdistan as they planned activities for their 2008 Week of Nonviolence.  In support of LaOnf’s efforts, Peaceful Tomorrows has launched a public education campaign to inform American citizens and policymakers about these Iraqi women and men who have endured repression, invasion and occupation yet remain committed to nonviolence. In October, Peaceful Tomorrows will help communities across the U.S. to show solidarity with the LaOnf activists.  You can find out more at www.peacefultomorrows.org, where you can sign up to organize or attend a screening of a documentary about LaOnf in your area.

Military Commissions

Peaceful Tomorrows members have been featured in news stories about the controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s prosecution of 9/11 suspects in military tribunals. As a partner in the American Civil Liberties Union’s John Adams Project, Peaceful Tomorrows supports fair trials for all people, regardless of the charges they face. We will continue to speak out against the military commissions, making clear how they embody a legal process that has been compromised by political interference and stripped of the minimum of defendants’ rights and protections that define fair trials.

As support for war in Iraq decreases, there are disturbing calls to increase U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Peaceful Tomorrows is categorically opposed to the idea that we can win a "War on Terror." War IS terror. We need instead to invest in programs that address the root causes of violence and terrorism. Peaceful Tomorrows has been actively working to bring Afghanistan to the forefront of the U.S. peace movement. With our allies at United for Peace and Justice, we are developing web-based materials that will prepare U.S. peace activists to effectively challenge the calls for increased military engagement in Afghanistan.

As we prepare ourselves for the work ahead, we are grateful for your loyal support.  Please help us to continue our work by making a generous donation to Peaceful Tomorrows today.  You can donate online at this link.

And please, go to our website at http://www.peacefultomorrows.org where you will find more information about the projects of  Peaceful Tomorrows and our members, including a link to the newly launched website of the International Network for Peace, a global network of victims of terrorism, genocide, atomic weapons, occupation and war who have chosen to work for nonviolent solutions to conflict.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In peace and hope,

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Memorial Day: How the U.S. treats its veterans

Memorial Day

by: Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, truthout

We honor our war dead this Memorial Day weekend. The greatest respect we could pay them would be to pledge no more wars for erroneous and misleading reasons; no more killing and wounding except for the defense of our country and our freedoms.

    We also could honor our dead by caring for the living, and do better at it than we are right now.

There has been a flurry of allegations concerning neglect, malpractice and corner-cutting at the Veterans Administration, especially for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – or major depression, brought on by combat.

    A report released by the Rand Corporation last month indicates that approximately 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer PTSD or major depression. That’s one of every five military men and women who have served over there.

Read more….

Winter Soldier Hearings March 13 – 16: Watch/Listen to the broadcast

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan

Winter Soldier will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground. The four-day event, March 13-16, will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan — and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support.

How to Access Winter Soldier Broadcasts


(1) Free Speech TV: March 14 and 15, 9:00am – 9:00pm EST

  • On the DishNetwork: Channel 9415

Free Speech TV is a full-time national satellite channel that reaches over 20 million homes in the United States via satellite broadcast on the DishNetwork. They will carry two full days of Winter Soldier.

(2) Link TV: March 14th and/or 15th (times to be announced)

  • On the DishNetwork: Channel 9411
  • On DirectTV: Channel 375

Link TV has yet to determine how much of Winter Soldier they will broadcast and at what times. Check the IVAW website for exact times.

(3) Your local public access channel via Free Speech TV
Public access television stations across the the country have been supplied with consumer DishNetwork satellite dishes and setup units that enable them to receive Free Speech TV programming. Already there are over 150 cities that downlink DishNetwork satellite broadcasts and rebroadcast the programming on their cable channels. All cable systems — Time Warner, Comcast, Adelphia, etc. — are required by franchise agreements to provide public access channels to local communities as part of their basic package. Contact your local public access cable channel and ask them to carry all or part of Free Speech TV’s Winter Soldier broadcast. If your local public access channel has not acquired a DishNetwork satellite system yet, they can easily and inexpensively do so by ordering an installation of the system from the DishNetwork.

(4) Direct from Satellite
Many colleges and universities, public access cable stations and media centers have KU Band digital satellite dishes. They can tune their satellite dish to the following coordinates and bring in the signal live from Washington, DC. Local news channels can also pick up the broadcast by tuning their satellite dishes to the following coordinates:

Satellite: HORIZONS 2 (Ku) Dig
Transponder: 16 – Ch C
Orbital Slot: 74° WL
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Downlink Freq: 11984.5 (H)
Carrier Access: Intelsat America (800)631-3562
Satellite Time: 9:00-21:00 ET



KPFA, the Pacifica Radio Network’s station in the Bay Area, will be broadcasting live coverage of the hearings on this schedule (all times times are east coast):

Friday, March 14 from 10 am to 7 pm
Saturday, March 15 from 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday, March 16 from 10 am to 4 pm

Pacifica will also be uploading the broadcast to their KU satellite, so any radio station that has access to the KU satellite or a KU webstream mirror should also be able to download that live broadcast. Radio stations that are part of the Pacifica affiliate program should all have access to the KU satellite. If your local station does not have access, or if they are not sure, please contact us at organizing@unitedforpeace.org so we can help them make the necessary links.


(1) Streaming video will be accessible at ivaw.org from Thursday, March 13, through Sunday, March 16.

(2) Streaming audio will be accessible at KPFA.org from Friday, March 14, through Sunday, March 16


9/11 – “Safe” vs. “Dominated”

Today is the 6th anniversary of the assault on the World Trade Center in New York City which killed thousands of people.  It was a day that will be remembered throughout history no doubt.  But not JUST for the incident itself.  It was a day that began a dark chapter in U.S. history.

Normon Solomon, author of the newly released Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State”, has written the piece Six Years of 9/11 as a License to Kill

It evokes a tragedy that marks an epoch. From the outset, the warfare state has exploited “9/11,” a label at once too facile and too laden with historic weight — giving further power to the tacit political axiom that perception is reality.

“Sept. 11 changed everything” became a sudden cliche in news media. Words are supposed to mean something, and those words were — and are — preposterous. They speak of a USA enthralled with itself while reducing the rest of the world (its oceans and valleys and mountains and peoples) to little more than an extensive mirror to help us reflect on our centrality to the world. In an individual, we call that narcissism. In the nexus of media and politics, all too often, it’s called “patriotism.”

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, was extraordinary and horrible by any measure. And certainly a crime against humanity. At the same time, it was a grisly addition to a history of human experience that has often included many thousands killed, en masse, by inhuman human choice. It is simply and complexly a factual matter that the U.S. government has participated in outright mass murders directly — in, for example, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq — and less directly, through aid to armies terrorizing civilians in Nicaragua, Angola, East Timor and many other countries.

Today should serve as a reminder that our world is not any safer than before September 11, 2001.  The U.S. government has seen to that.  “Safer” isn’t the word.  “Dominated”, yes.