Hundreds of NYC youth engage with the "We Are Not Your Soldiers" anti-recruiter tour!
Tour now extended a second week in NYC
There has been intense discussion, about the war, the military and what can be done. In one school several students asked for passes so they could attend it again.
This leg of the tour has featured two GI resisters:
Carl Dix -- one of the "Fort Lewis 6" - Black soldiers who refused orders to go to Vietnam (listen/view Carl's talk at City College) and
Matthis Chiroux who served 5 years in the Army, was honorably discharged, and then was called up again to go to Iraq, and has publicly refused those orders.
An example of what happened in the classrooms: One high school student raised her hand after hearing their testimony and angrily declared, "but those are human beings over there [in Iraq and Afghanistan] just like us!", leading to some deep interplay between the students and the visiting speakers.
Arrangements have been made for the tour to continue next week in NYC area. Already they are scheduled for five more classes.
If you are a student or teacher and want to have the tour come to your school, contact us immediately.
If you are a student, and want to get involved in the tour and in organizing protests to stop these recruiters from spewing their poisonous lies unapposed, contact us.
If you are a parent or anyone else who wants to support this tour, with a generous donation, or your time, contact us. Donate on line.
email@example.com or 347-678-5905 or 866-973-4463
For more detail news and on-line discussion of the progress of the tour nationally: www.wearenotyoursoldiers.org
Coming to NYC Area
Contact us NOW to help make this happen!
Barack Obama says he will increase the US military by 92,000. Where will all these troops come from? The military recruiters have a huge budget to recruit youth who are in high school now. They roam the hallways and lunch-rooms, call students at home, and set up at malls where kids hang out. The military cannot fight and cannot expand the "war on terror" in Afghanistan without this fresh infusion of cannon fodder. Military recruiters now have almost unlimited access to reach high school students because the "No Child Left Behind" law ties funding for schools to whether recruiters can get access to all the students. The tour will bring to students the desperately-missing truth of what the "war on terror" is all about, no matter who is president. The military is already selling the idea that Obama will "end the war in Iraq, so people who join now won't be sent to war at all." This is a lie! Many people don't know that Obama has plans to expand the unjust war on the people of Afghanistan, and also to attack Pakistan, and perhaps, Iran. The tour will explain, through the words of veterans themselves, how the US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed over a million people; displaced more than four million, and destroyed the infrastructure of both countries. When recruiters come into their schools, students need to know exactly what they are being recruited for. Not "freedom," not "democracy" and not better "career options." Most people dying in Iraq are civilians, not combatants. The US forces have detained tens of thousands in their own countries. Women in the US military report widespread sexual assault by their own peers. Speakers on the tour will give students reasons not to go into the military, and will help organize collective resistance to recruiters' lies. We think we can help create a situation where students and teachers are stepping out of their silent hatred for recruiters, and spreading visible mass resistance to joining this military as a big part of stopping this war of terror for empire. A short presentation by a World Can't Wait youth organizer and either an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran or a military family member; Matthis Chiroux. Matthis is an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran, honorably discharged after 5 years in the army. Subsequently, he received forced reactivation orders for Iraq, and has publicly refused those orders. Thus, he is now a military resister. Matthis organized the anti-war veterans' protest at the last presidential debate at Hofstra University and is a student at Brooklyn College. Carl Dix. Carl was one of the "Fort Lewis 6", Black GI's who refused to go to Vietnam in 1970, and he did time at Fort Leavenworth Military Penitentiary for this "crime." A lifelong revolutionary, Carl is a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Elaine Brower. Elaine is a leader of World Can't Wait and outspoken activist against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her son is currently stationed in Iraq. Contact us as soon as possible to arrange for the tour to come to your school, for more information and to help organize:
Barack Obama says he will increase the US military by 92,000. Where will all these troops come from? The military recruiters have a huge budget to recruit youth who are in high school now. They roam the hallways and lunch-rooms, call students at home, and set up at malls where kids hang out.
The military cannot fight and cannot expand the "war on terror" in Afghanistan without this fresh infusion of cannon fodder. Military recruiters now have almost unlimited access to reach high school students because the "No Child Left Behind" law ties funding for schools to whether recruiters can get access to all the students.
The tour will bring to students the desperately-missing truth of what the "war on terror" is all about, no matter who is president. The military is already selling the idea that Obama will "end the war in Iraq, so people who join now won't be sent to war at all." This is a lie! Many people don't know that Obama has plans to expand the unjust war on the people of Afghanistan, and also to attack Pakistan, and perhaps, Iran.
The tour will explain, through the words of veterans themselves, how the US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed over a million people; displaced more than four million, and destroyed the infrastructure of both countries.
When recruiters come into their schools, students need to know exactly what they are being recruited for. Not "freedom," not "democracy" and not better "career options." Most people dying in Iraq are civilians, not combatants. The US forces have detained tens of thousands in their own countries. Women in the US military report widespread sexual assault by their own peers.
Speakers on the tour will give students reasons not to go into the military, and will help organize collective resistance to recruiters' lies. We think we can help create a situation where students and teachers are stepping out of their silent hatred for recruiters, and spreading visible mass resistance to joining this military as a big part of stopping this war of terror for empire.
A short presentation by a World Can't Wait youth organizer and either an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran or a military family member;
Matthis Chiroux. Matthis is an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran, honorably discharged after 5 years in the army. Subsequently, he received forced reactivation orders for Iraq, and has publicly refused those orders. Thus, he is now a military resister. Matthis organized the anti-war veterans' protest at the last presidential debate at Hofstra University and is a student at Brooklyn College.
Carl Dix. Carl was one of the "Fort Lewis 6", Black GI's who refused to go to Vietnam in 1970, and he did time at Fort Leavenworth Military Penitentiary for this "crime." A lifelong revolutionary, Carl is a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Elaine Brower. Elaine is a leader of World Can't Wait and outspoken activist against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her son is currently stationed in Iraq.
Contact us as soon as possible to arrange for the tour to come to your school, for more information and to help organize:
Come to next World Can't Wait meeting
- Make plans for the "We Are Not Your Soldiers" tour (see above)
- Report back from national conference of World Can't Wait
- Make plans for "STOP Endless Wars for Empire" action in mid-December
Almost 200 people attended this event, organized only one week after the election, and the speakers- Scott Ritter, Larry Everest and Elaine Brower- delivered critical, powerful and thought-provoking presentations, documenting the crimes now being committed by our government in our names, as well as Barack Obama's position on all this.
That so many attended and engaged in this intense discussion drove home the message that people don't think we should "wait and see" what Obama does, but rather see the need to act immediately to stop crimes committed in our name.
In building for this event, it was striking how both the flyer and press release spoke to a deeply-felt urgency not to wait, but to act now, particularly against the escalating war in Afghanistan. As that flyer, which was updated the day after the elections, put it:
"While people in the U.S. were voting for President Obama, a U.S. air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 34 civilians. On November 5th, another killed 7 civilians. U.S. drones daily cross the border into Pakistan, where scores of civilians have been bombed. Obama, the 'anti-war' candidate wants to leave 50 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, and move more combat brigades to Afghanistan. He promises to increase the U.S. military by 92,000…"
One of several indications that the statements in this flyer spoke to what a lot of people are thinking in the aftermath of the election was the front-page news story in the Metro, a widely-distributed newspaper, on Friday November 7: The article noted that, "One anti-war group has already protested against Obama - three months before he assumes control" and then extensively quoted Elaine Brower, speaking on behalf of World Can't Wait.
Some highlights from among the speakers many important points:
- Larry Everest spoke extensively about why the war in Afghanistan is not a "good war", but --like the war in Iraq-- is an unjust war for empire. "There's nothing good about this so-called 'war on terror.'" Everest said. "It's a war for greater empire." Everest added: "Those who, through their conscience and beliefs find these wars intolerable, need to be coming together."
- As part of exposing the lies and preparations for a U.S. attack on Iran, Scott Ritter responded to Obama's recent statement on Iran, saying Obama made the same unsubstantiated charges that Bush & Company have been making for several years. "What evidence does Obama have that Iran has nukes? There is no evidence that Iran is pursuing nukes."
- Elaine Brower spoke from the heart on her conflicting emotions on election night - happiness that a Black person had finally become president, yet dismayed and depressed at the recognition that what Obama had been chosen for was commander-in-chief of the U.S. empire.
The program did not sufficiently address one of its stated objectives, to "begin making plans immediately to build a movement" of powerful resistance that is urgently needed. But these will be addressed this week: WCW has a national meeting planned for Nov 22-23 in Chicago (click here for more information and to register) to further analyze this new political situation we're in and to decide what role WCW needs to play within that. Some plans are in the process of being developed and others must be made, including:
- The "We Are Not Your Soldiers" national tour with Iraq war vets to high school students in their classrooms, to get on MTV, creating an atmosphere in the national culture, which would effect youth not to join the military. The tour is coming to NYC in January.
- Proposals for creative protest action in early December against the wars.
We urge all those who came on Tuesday, and many more, to come Monday to this meeting and to work together to make this all happen. The future is unwritten. Join us. Forward this email to your e-lists.
Three separate crews video taped the event, one for public access in NYC, one for NYU, and one for anti-recruiter organizing in New Jersey, and we hope to have the presentations available on the internet for those who missed it.
Tuesday November 11 (Veterans’ Day), 7:00 pm
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC
Scott Ritter, former US weapons inspector, author of Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement and Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change
Larry Everest, writer for Revolution newspaper, author of Oil, Power and Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Agenda
Jeremy Scahill, correspondent for Democracy Now, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army
Elaine Brower, military family member and leader of The World Can’t WaitWhile people in the US were voting for President Obama, a US air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 34 civilians. On November 5, another killed 7 civilians. US drones daily cross the border into Pakistan, where scores of civilians have been bombed.
Obama, the “anti-war” candidate wants to leave 50 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, and move more combat brigades to Afghanistan. He promises to increase the US military by 92,000, ready to project American empire further on the lives of kids in high school now. Obama proposed sending drones and special forces into Pakistan - a sovereign country - and the Bush regime secretly began attacks on Pakistan in July, which have killed scores of civilians, as part of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war.
Participate in an intensive look at what to expect under Obama, what must be yet stopped under Bush, and begin making plans immediately to build a movement to stop the crimes done by our government in our name.
Tickets: $10 / $5 students/low-income / $60 sustainer (includes 5:30 reception & front-row seating, information below). To ensure a seat, purchase in advance.
Purchase tickets on line.
Those who prefer to pay via check or cash can call 866-973-4463 to arrange in-person purchase/pick-up of tickets.
Time is short. Download the flyer and spread the word.
Please Join us at a special "Meet the Speakers" Reception:
17 Waverly Place, across Washington Sqare Park from Judson Church
$60 per person includes front row seat at Judson, reception at , and gift bag
Purchase tickets online
Those wanting to purchase tickets in advance but who would prefer to pay by check or cash, call .
IF you cannot attend, please make a donation to World to cover the expenses of immediate organizing in the wake of the election.
It is up to us. People of conscience take responsibility for what their own governments do. People of conscience should not allow themselves to be demobilized by the political and moral terms of an election that calls for “national unity” while carrying out and expanding unjust wars for empire.
Will there be a pole of opposition that inspires with its moral clarity and fearless truth-telling that people can join with until this whole criminal program is brought to a halt? Join us.
Join Iraq Veterans Against the War, World Can’t Wait, Long Island Alliance & more:
Demonstrate at final debate:
Wednesday, October 15 Hempstead, Long Island
2:00 PM Rally at Hempstead LIRR, 4:30 proceed to Hofstra University, followed by actions there. (See http://nyc.worldcantwait.org or call 866-973-4463 for directions and details. )
Also demonstrate when Obama & McCain will speak at the Al Smith Dinner, a fundraiser for the Catholic Charities, at Waldorf Astoria. Thursday, Oct. 16, 5:00 - 7:00 PM, Park Ave & 49th St.
4:15 PM: Proceed in mass to protest along Hempstead Turnpike located by Hofstra University (bring your signs, whistles, flashlights for later).
5:15 – 6:30 PM: Join protests sponsored by Long Island Alliance inside campus of Hofstra University authorized "free speech" zone.
6:30 PM to 10:00 PM – There will be continued "Speak Outs" in "free speech" area by protesters
7:00 PM -- Action by Iraq Veterans Against the War & designated allies (further information on this below)
Organizers tell us that there will be a shuttle bus and/or escorts to assist people in getting back to the Hempstead LIRR station after the protests.
World Can't Wait, Code-PINK, Workplace Project, UFPJ, Peace Action NYS, and a number of other organizations support and are participating in these actions.
There has been some confusion about the details of the protest at Hempstead and Hofstra. To clarify matters and to answer questions, we are printing here sections of a letter from Long Island Iraq Veterans Against the War member Kris Goldsmith. Parts in quotation marks are taken exactly from Kris' letter. Other parts are summary for brevity. Hope this is helpful and many will come out!
-- NYC World Can't Wait.
"We the People, will have our voices be heard!"
"We the People, Do Not Want War!!"
Rally Starting at 2:00 PM:
Rally sponsored by Iraqi Veterans Against the War and the "We the People movement" (coalition formed in Long Island). The permitted area will be a parking lot close to the Hempstead Train/Bus Station off the Long Island Rail Road.
After rally "we will walk- un-permitted and on the sidewalk (completely legal here) to the debate. We remain committed to non-violence, and non-aggression during this walk. Notice I'm not calling it a 'march' because we aren't taking over the streets at this point."
"Walking approximately 1.2 miles east of the Hempstead train station along Hempstead Turnpike, we will arrive at the Hofstra University Campus. There we will converge with the main body of the Long Island Alliance. We expect at least 500 people to be waiting for us there.
At this location/time there will be a multitude of groups there... including those outside of the Long Island Alliance like the Gathering of Eagles [reactionary pro-war grouping], so be mentally prepared for idiots screaming- and remain non-violent! "
"At 6:30pm the Long Island Alliance led action is scheduled to come to a close, and this is the time when IVAW will announce it's intent to change the tone a bit- and prepare for Civil Disobedience and a possibly arrestable action." [see separate entry below for details on their possible civil disobedience action]
Should IVAW's demands not be met in full by 7 p.m., members of the organization are willing to risk arrest by entering the debate to have their voices heard by the candidates.
IVAW intends to "force the issue" that service members and veterans are not being heard or cared for by our leaders. The next president should make caring for our wounded military a top domestic priority, in addition to ending the war in Iraq.
"Right now there are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan going homeless, hungry, into debt and contemplating suicide," said Matthis Chiroux, an IVAW member from Brooklyn. "But the government says we don't have the money to care for those war heroes, so the V.A. continues its mission underfunded and understaffed. But now we've found almost a trillion to bail out banks? Where's the humanity in this?"
IVAW is currently working to contact debate moderator Bob Schieffer to make its demands known.
"I watched the first debate the other night, for which the topic was supposed to be 'foreign policy', yet it took 34 minutes before the words 'Iraq' or 'Veteran' left either candidates' mouths," said Kris Goldsmith, an IVAW member from Long Island. "I'm not convinced that either Obama or McCain care about what is most important to today's military and veterans. IVAW is committed to changing that."
Participants should begin assembling at the Hempstead Long Island Railroad station at 2:30 p.m. At five, we will "walk" to Hempstead University for further demonstrations.
IVAW was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 to allow servicemen and women from all branches of the military a chance to come together and speak out against an unjust, unwinnable and illegal occupation. Today, IVAW has over 1,300 members in 49 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada, and on military bases in the U.S. and overseas, including Iraq.
A discussion sponsored by World Can't Wait with writers who dig deeply into Christian fundamentalism, reproductive rights and sex education.
Esther Kaplan, author of With God on Their Side: George Bush and the Christian Right.
Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution, currently on national speaking tour on Away with All Gods; Unchaining the Mind & Radically Changing the World
Monday October 20
250 Mercer Street
@ 3rd Street NYC$5.00 donation
This is an extremely timely event. Volunteers are urgently needed to help organize and publicize this event: Call 866-973-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Spread the word, download 4-to-a-page flyer
With no regard for human cost or conscience the Bush regime pushes expanding endless war, spies on people here, and tortures abroad. Only you – and not your government – can bring this all to a halt. The World Can’t Wait.
Yet George Bush remains unrelenting and self-assured that he can drive the savageness of his agenda into the next administration. U.S. military moves and diplomatic maneuvering have not let up. A campaign of lies similar to those leading to the attack on Iraq are being put out to justify an attack on Iran. Bush, McCain and Obama have all refused to rule out the use of NUCLEAR weapons in an attack on Iran. All three call for an escalation - more troops and more money – for the war in Afghanistan. Last Friday’s Presidential debate became a contest of who can call for the more aggressive policy – now expanding the war with attacks into Pakistan is “on the table”. Who will speak up? Who will stop this?
It is up to us. People of conscience take responsibility for what their own governments do. People of conscience should not allow themselves to be demobilized by the political and moral terms of an election that calls for “national unity” while carrying out and expanding unjust wars for empire.
Will there be a pole of opposition that inspires with its moral clarity and fearless truth-telling? An increasingly visible independent political force of resistance, protest, and acts of conscience that people can join with and persevere with until this whole criminal program is brought to a halt? Join us.
Tuesday morning, September 23rd:
War Criminal George W. Bush
will be speaking at the U.N.
Rally & other creative actions (PINK POLICE SQUAD ON HAND TO ARREST THE WORLD'S #1 WAR CRIMINAL, and ORANGE JUMPSUIT contingent and Water Boarding demonstration anti-torture actions, and more) -- all to tell the world that we demand:
U.S. Out of Iraq & Afghanistan!
NO ATTACK ON IRAN!
Bush & Cheney must be held
accountable for their crimes!
Bush & Cheney should be indicted, arrested and tried before U.S. and international courts for their crimes, including: Wars of aggression, torture!
Converge at: 8:30 AM
Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
(E. 47th St,, between 1st and 2nd Ave.)
Further details & plans will be posted at
Sponsors include: World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime, Code Pink-NYC, Troops Out Now Coalition, Grandmothers Against the War, International Action Center and Military Families Speak Out-NYC, MDS-SI, and Granny Peace Brigade [Additional organizations: email us to add your name to final press release.]
Grito de Lares - A cry for justice!
Bush's speaks to the U.N. on "Grito de Lares", exactly three years after FBI stormtroopers in Puerto Rico, on orders from Washington, surrounded and fired into the home of Puerto Rican activist, Filiberto Ojeda Rios. Despite the cries for help from his wife, the FBI prevented access by medical team for several hours, causing Filiberto to bleed to death. For this cold-blooded political assassination, the Bush regime must also be held accountable. There will be a gathering marking Grito de Lares and exposing the FBI assassination of Filiberto on Tuesday evening, Sept. 23 at 6:30 PM, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 521 West 126th Street (between Amsterdam & Broadway). For more information, http://wcw-nyc.blogspot.com/2008/09/grito-de-lares-cry-for-justice.html.
For years he has been known to his supporters through tape-recorded speeches played at rallies and gatherings on the island. In fact, the very same afternoon that federal sharpshooters were closing in, Filiberto Ojeda’s recorded speech was echoing through the nearby town of Lares --where hundreds of people had rallied for the anniversary of the “Grito de Lares,” the 1868 uprising celebrated as a symbol of Puerto Rican nationhood and independence.
Despite the cries for help from his wife, the FBI prevented access by medical team for several hours, causing Filiberto to bleed to death. For this cold-blooded political assassination, the Bush regime must also be held accountable.
There will be a gathering marking Grito de Lares and exposing the FBI assassination of Filiberto on Tuesday evening, Sept. 23 at 6:30 PM, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 521 West 126th Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway). For more information on the event, contact Luis Barrios at (212) 237-8747 or email@example.com.
Below is reprinted the announcement for the event:
LARES EN CONTEXTO INTERNACIONAL:
EN CONTRA DE LA CRIMINALIZACIÓN DE LA SOLIDARIDAD INTERNACIONAL CON LOS MOVIMIENTOS SOCIALES EN NUESTRA AMERICA
El Grito de Lares como grito por la libertad, la dignidad y contra la exclusión, la esclavitud y el colonialismo, mantiene su vigencia continental y en ese grito libertario se ver reflejados todos los pueblos de Nuestra América. Esa misma noche del 23 de septiembre se cumple el tercer aniversario del asesinato de Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, símbolo de la resistencia descolonizadora e independentista puertorriqueña, a quien se le rinderá tributo.Lares en el contexto internacional será una noche de arte, música y pensamiento para la solidaridad. En ella se dará a conocer un manifiesto de respaldo hacia la española Remedio García Abert; los dominicanos Narciso Isa Conde y Alfredo Pierre; el italiano Ramón Montaveani y Carlos Cosolo; el venezolano Amilcar Figueroa; las/os colombianas/os Piedad Córdoba, Gloria Inés Ramírez, Carlos Lozano, Wilson Borja y William Parra; el chileno Victor Toro; los/as puertorriqueños/as Carlos Alberto Torres, Haydee Beltrán Torres, Oscar López Rivera, Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, Tania Frontera, Christopher Torres y Elliot Monteverde; los cubanos Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González; los estadounidenses Leonard Peltier y Mumia Abu-Jamal; entre muchos/as otros/as. Asimismo Lares en este contexto también es un rechazo y condena a todo lo que atenta contra la paz con justicia: clasismo, sexismo, homofobia/heterosexismo, xenofobia, racismo, etnocentrismo, brutalidad/corrupción policía, adultocentrismo, etc.
Criminalizando las acciones de solidaridad se estarían acertando un duro golpe a los diversos procesos de cambio que están en marcha en nuestra América y a escala internacional, por constituir esta una de las claves fundamentales para su consolidación y avances; por eso una celebración del Grito de Lares no puede ser indiferente a estas realidades, como de igual manera la vive el movimiento independentista puertorriqueño, cuya hostigamiento y persecución se ha acrecentado desde el asesinato de Feliberto Ojeda Ríos.
Este evento de unidad y solidaridad latinoamerica se llevará a cabo el próximo martes, 23 de septiembre, a partir de la 6:30 PM, en la Iglesia Episcopal Santa Maria, ubicada en el 521 al oeste de la calle 126, entre las avenida Amsterdam y Broadway, en Manhattan.
En el programa de la noche el Abogado Salvador Tio, de la Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana-PR, disertará sobre el 140 aniversario de la gesta patriótica del Grito de Lares y del 3er. Aniversario del asesinato de Filiberto Ojeda Ríos; el Abogado Álvaro Tobón, de la Universidad Libre de Colombia, hablará sobre la persecución política en Colombia y el Padre Luis Barrios, de la Iglesia Episcopal Santa María, reflexionará sobre la construcción social del crimen en el contexto del libro Crimen y poder: Reinado de la impunidad (de Narciso Isa Conde, 2008). También habrá un reconocimiento al incansable luchador chileno Víctor Toro, quien con una gran trayectoria de servicio comunitario actualmente esta enjuiciado con amenaza de deportación por su enérgica oposición a las leyes inmigratorias. Además estará abierta la Exhibición Fotográfica de Isaías Amaro, Imágenes de la Frontera Dominicano-Haitiana, junto con otras participaciones artísticas.
La música estará a cargo del grupo de hip-hop Rebel Diaz y de plena el Grupo Quenepas (con la participación de Luisito Ayala, Sammy Tanco y Franky Vélez, entre otras/os).
Este evento es un producto solidario organizado por la Iglesia Episcopal de Santa María, el proyecto Nueva Izquierda-Círculos Campañistas y la Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana-Capítulo Puerto Rico, y cuenta con el auspicio solidario de La Campaña ProLibertad, El Proyecto de Educación Popular para Liberar los Cinco Cubanos, El Frente Socialista de Puerto Rico-Comité de Nueva York, Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico-Junta de Nueva York, Fuerza de la Revolución, Fundación Minerva Mirabal, Movimiento Revolucionario Nueva Patria, Nueva Alternativa, PTD (ML), Iglesia San Romero de Las Américas y La Red 27 de Octubre.
Amidst reports of U.S. military massacre of civilians in Afghanistan, what are both Obama and McCain calling for?
– An ESCALATION of war in Afghanistan! (see facts below)
We must say: No to the atrocities, no to the massacres!
End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Now!
Meet up at 5:00 PM at 116th and Broadway
Today, on September 11, Barack Obama and John McCain are speaking at Columbia about “service” in a “Post -9/11 world”. The outrage of 9-11 has often been twisted in “service” of justifying endless and expanding U.S. wars for empire. Our grief is NOT a cry for war!
• On August 22nd, according to the United Nations and even the U.S.-installed Afghanistan government, U.S. airstrikes on the village of Azizabad in Afghanistan killed 90 civilians, including 60 children. The New York Times later reported: “Accounts from survivors, including three people wounded in the bombing, described repeated strikes on houses where dozens of children were sleeping, grandparents and uncles and aunts huddled inside with them.”
• George W. Bush’s response? He has announced sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan in the next several months! McCain chimed in: “It is clear that we need additional forces in Afghanistan, and I support the new deployments.” Obama expressed being “glad that the president is moving in the direction of the policy that I have advocated for years.” Obama criticized Bush for not being harsh enough: “His plan comes up short -- it is not enough troops, and not enough resources, with not enough urgency.”
If you are opposed to our government launching immoral and illegal wars, killing innocent civilians for oil and empire, it is time to realize: neither Barack Obama nor John McCain wants what you want.
It is up to us. The only chance of stopping these atrocities and these wars is a movement of mass independent political action demanding these atrocities and wars stop! Join us.
NYC Debut screening:
IRAN (Is Not the Problem)
Thursday, Sept. 4th @ 6:30 PM
MLK Labor Center/1199,
310 West 43rd Street
(between 8th and 9th)
IRAN (is not the problem) is a new feature film responding to the failure of the American mass media to provide the public with accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as happened before with the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. We have heard that Iran is a nuclear menace in defiance of the international community, bent on "wiping Israel off the map", supporting terrorism, and unwilling to negotiate. This documentary disputes these claims and puts them in the context of present and historical US imperialism and hypocrisy with respect to Iran.
IRAN (is not the problem) is a new feature film responding to the failure of the American mass media to provide the public with accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as happened before with the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.
We have heard that Iran is a nuclear menace in defiance of the international community, bent on "wiping Israel off the map", supporting terrorism, and unwilling to negotiate. This documentary disputes these claims and puts them in the context of present and historical US imperialism and hypocrisy with respect to Iran.
After the screening, people are encouraged to stay for discussion, inclouding organizing many more screenings around the NYC-NJ-Long Island-Westchester County area, future "Freeze" actions, and other ideas about mobilizing to stop a U.S. attack on Iran.
Copies of the DVD will also be available for $15.00. Teachers and students, especially, should know that the DVD also contains a 20-minute preview version, ideal for showings in classrooms. Please contact us about organizing shows in high schools and colleges around the area.
2) Waterboarding is NOT “simulated drowning.” It IS drowning. Water is forced into the lungs and breathing made impossible in a controlled manner, producing a slow motion suffocation. That is not simulation. News media that perpetuate the description “simu-lated drowning” are accomplices after the fact.
3) Waterboarding IS illegal under U.S. and international law, and no quantity of Presidential signing statements or memoranda from the Office of Legal Counsel can change that fact. Following World War II the United States prosecuted as war criminals the Japanese officers responsible for waterboarding captured U.S. servicemen.
4) Waterboarding has the “advantage” of leaving no physical scars. It is part of an arsenal of U.S. psychological torture methods that include sensory deprivation, stress positions, extreme cold, loud incessant music, sleep deprivation, and disorientation through the manipulation of meal times, light, and lack of human contact.
5) The excuse has been offered that if Judge Mukasey were to admit that waterboarding is torture, then U.S. operatives might be subject to criminal or civil penalties. If U.S. operatives have committed acts of torture, then they SHOULD be subject to criminal and civil penalties. After World War II, were war criminals granted retroactive immunity?
6) All students at the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego are required to undergo waterboarding and become completely familiar with this technique. This school is used by Navy SEALS and other special forces.
WHAT IS WATERBOARDING?
Waterboarding is a form of torture that our government has admitted authorizing for use on military detainees. The practice involves tying a person down to a board, covering their face with a cloth, and pouring water into their nose and mouth, causing suffocation as the victim’s lungs fill with water. It leaves no physical scars, which is one reason why governments and militaries throughout history –including ours—have employed it.
Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy instructor who witnessed, supervised, and led waterboarding hundreds of times as part of a naval training program, has said:
“In the media, waterboarding is called ‘simulated drowning,’ but that's a misnomer. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning….Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.”
[NY DAILY NEWS, Oct 31, 2007] http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/10/31/2007-10-31_i_know_waterboarding_is_torture__because.html
WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF WATERBOARDING?
The history of waterboarding is long and brutal. University of Pennsylvania historian Ed Peters has said the practice was used to extract confessions as far back as the 1300s. In any event, over the centuries, the use of waterboarding has been documented: Against accused “heretics” during the Spanish Inquisition ; at the turn of the 19th century, by the U.S. military in its war against the Phillipines; in the 1960s, again by the U.S. military, this time during the Vietnam War; under the Pinochet Regime in Chile; and in 1983, by Texas Sheriff James Parker, who sought to force confessions from prisoners.
Following World War II, the United States filed war crimes charges against a Japanese officer, accusing him of waterboarding a U.S. civilian. The officer, Yukio Asano, was convicted and received a 15-year-sentence.
THE BUSH REGIME HAS ADMITTED TO AUTHORIZING WATERBOARDING-- AND THEREFORE TO COMMITTING WAR CRIMES
While the use of waterboarding dates back centuries, a government openly acknowledging authorizing it is a new phenomenon. But that is exactly what the Bush Regime has done.
*On February 5, 2008, CIA Director Michael Hayden stood before Congress and admitted CIA officers waterboarded three detainees: Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri.
*On April 9, 2008, ABC News reported that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, and George Tenet met regularly in the White House to discuss and approve various forms of torture—including waterboarding—for use on detainees.
*On April 11, 2008, President George W. Bush himself admitted approving these meetings, saying: “And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”
Under international law, waterboarding is torture – and thus a war crime:
*Article 1 of The United Nations Convention Against Torture –which the United States ratified in 1994- defines torture as: “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
There is zero doubt that waterboarding carried out by our government constitutes excruciating mental and physical pain intentionally inflicted in order to intimidate and gain information. Therefore, it is clearly torture.
The Convention Against Torture also makes clear that there are no exceptions – “whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency” in which a country may practice torture (Article 2) and that it is illegal for an individual nation to pass laws legalizing torture (Article 4).
*But if there were somehow any doubt… On February 7, 2008 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour officially declared that waterboarding is torture. She added that those who violate the UN Convention Against Torture should be prosecuted as war criminals.
WE WILL NOT LIVE IN A TORTURE STATE: DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME!
While a particularly brutal and sickening practice, waterboarding is only one part of an entire package of torture and illegal detention polices approved at the highest levels of our government, and carried out systematically:
*As of December 2007, the U.S. was known to be holding 275 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, (“Gitmo” )Cuba. All but a handful of these detainees have never been charged, and have never received trial. The vast majority of these detainees were turned over to the U.S. by warlords – not captured in battlefield.
The U.S. military only characterizes 8 percent of these detainees as Al-Qaeda fighters.
*As shown in the Oscar-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side”, detainees at Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan are routinely subjected to forms of torture including extreme sensory deprivation, isolation, attacks with dogs, and vicious physical and sexual abuse. All of which is sanctioned by the highest levels of our government.
Waterboarding is torture.
Torture is a war crime and crime against humanity.
It must be brought to a halt, and those responsible held accountable as war criminals.
We won’t live in a torture state.
"FREEZE" action at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal:
"No Attack on Iran!"
Part of nation-wide "freeze" actions on "Hiroshima Day":
Wednesday, August 6th
Meet at 5:00 PM lower Manhattan, under Staten Island Ferry blue sign outside terminal. Take #1 Train to South Ferry. "Freeze" at precisely 5:30.
U.S. military moves and diplomatic maneuvering have not let up. A campaign of charges and lies reminiscent of the run-up to Iraq war continues. Lies similar to those leading to the attack on Iraq are being put out to convince people in this country that an attack on Iran would be justified.
Why should proven liars on Iraq now be trusted around Iran? Massive new crimes against humanity are in preparation, all as the carnage continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must act now to stop it.
"Freeze" actions at Grand Central and Penn Station drew the creativity of 100-200 participants, and was seen directly by thousands, and on You-Tube throughout the world, including Iran. Building on that, on Hiroshima Day - August 6th, we will be part of a national day of "freeze" actions around the country, at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Manhattan.
On the anniversary of the U.S. dropping the atom bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing over a hundred thousand civilians -- we will hold another freeze action - against a possible attack on Iran. Bush, McCain and Obama have all refused to rule out the use of NUCLEAR weapons in such an attack.
Our plan for "freeze" action at
Staten Island Ferry terminal:
We cannot carry signs in the terminal, but your shirts will be carrying the message of "No Attack on Iran!" and passersby will see it and witness you standing frozen. The point is to act as if you are a mannequin. This is not an illegal action, and will only be 5 minutes, but we will make an impact. Afterwards, gather nearby at Battery Park. Join us!
We don't want to lose the effect of the "silent protest" - key is all of us acting together with precision. That is why we need to gather outside 30 minutes before the action, to prepare and "synchronize our watches" so that at exactly 5:30 PM inside, everyone will stop exactly where they are and freeze what they were doing and hold that pose for 5 MINUTES. To participate, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you can make it! This will be determined, but fun.
[photos courtesy of Garry Rissman]
Join World Can't Wait Saturday, August 2nd
March & Rally: No Attack On Iran
beginning at 12:00 pm at Times Square, 43rd Street & Broadway
Volunteers are needed to help make all this happen, as well for organizing "premier" showings throughout the area of the new film "Iran is not the problem" (dates and times to be announced soon) and developing a rapid response textmail network to swifly respond to any major moves towards an attack on Iran. Interested volunteers should email email@example.com, and please include your telephone or cell number with your message so we can quickly pull organizing teams together.
Over the last decade, millions of votes have disappeared. A nation can be stolen without guns or tanks. A nation can be stolen vote by vote.
Direct Cinema Limited presents a Concentric Media Film:
"Compelling, meticulously accurate, poignant"
First-person stories from the election trenches paint a chilling picture of problems affecting election outcomes, "glitches" and "irregularities" which cannot be explained away as random errors.
Next freeze action: Monday, July 21st - Penn Station
(details and other plans below)
At 5:00 pm on Thursday, July 10th, people started to gather on the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. We each put a sign or large sticker saying, "No Attack on Iran!" on our clothing, even if we were already wearing T-shirts calling for impeachment or an end to the war in Iraq. Excitement mounted as more and more people arrived and passersby looked, stopped, asked questions and, in some cases, joined in to go inside to freeze. At 5:25, we entered Grand Central Station. Over 175 of us walked around the main concourse. Then at exactly 5:40, as marked by the clocks in the center of the station, we froze, like statues, wherever we were. We stayed that way, completely frozen, until 5:45. People in the station stopped and stared and took pictures. Some tried to talk to us. At exactly 5:45 we broke into a loud, echoing, and long chant of "No Attack on Iran!" A significant number of the commuters clapped and joined in the chant. We left with a surge of enthusiasm that many agreed hadn't been felt at a demonstration for a long time.
This successful action, initiated by World Can't Wait, became a joint effort of many organizations with Activist Response Team (ART), United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, Brooklyn For Peace, and members of Peace Action joined, playing important roles in mobilizing for this. Granny Peace Brigade, StopWarOnIran.org and Theater Against War were there. In fact, we are still learning of groups that spread the word to their email lists and came.
Laura Flanders sent her GRIT TV crew who interviewed several people, and will be airing the footage on her show on www.airamerica.com this weekend.
For most who came, this was their first taste of such creative "theatrical" political action, but won't be their last. Many expressed hope that this action would spark many more types of creative and determined actions against a possible attack on Iran. In that spirit, plans were announced at the end of the action to do this creative and thrilling action again:
Another "FREEZE" Action: No Attack on Iran
Monday, July 21st at Penn Station (and more)
Meet up at 5:00 PM at 32nd and 7th Avenue, "Freeze" at 5:30 pm.
Those who want to participate should email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Volunteers are needed to help make this happen, as well for organizing "premier" showings throughout the area of the new film "Iran is not the problem", mobilizing for "No Attack on Iran" contingents at demonstrations on August 2nd, and developing a rapid response textmail network to swifly respond to any major moves towards an attack on Iran. Interested volunteers should email email@example.com, and please include your telephone or cell number with your message so we can quickly pull organizing teams together.
download flyer for July 21 action
Be there to make your sentiments loud and visible:
If you think no government should be allowed to do what the Bush regime has done the past 7 years, come to Denver and join others building a movement to that end.
If you are sickened by your government waging an endless, illegitimate, immoral war and occupation in Iraq, with ominous and immediate threats on Iran, and demand that U.S. aggression in the Middle East be stopped now, come to Denver and say it loudly to the world press.
If you don't buy the justification of your government spying on private calls and mail, no matter which party makes it, come to Denver to repudiate the new FISA law. . If you're tired of politics as usual selling “change”; while Obama refines the Bush program from “faith-based” initiatives to 80,000 troops “stabilizing” Iraq, and refuse to settle for less and less, come to Denver make a moral and political declaration.
If you know it's up to the people to take responsibility for the future we want,
Then join with all of us in Denver to politically fight for it.
World Can't Wait, other national organizations, and thousands of Denver activists will march against the war & torture, attacks on immigrants & women's rights; gather in parks with permits, drop banners, and be in front of DNC delegates and world press with our demand to bring the Bush program to a halt, no matter who is president.
Sign up & coordinate: firstname.lastname@example.org / 866-973-4463.
Bush May Be on His Way Out, But the Nightmare is Not Over!
We Need a Movement to Bring All This to A Halt!
The Warped Tour is bringing alternative and rebel music, all across the country. [go to warpedtour.com for more information on bands and details.] Be part of World Can't Wait team at each stop in our area:
July 26th- Uniondale NY
July 27th- Scranton PA
July 28th -Englishtown NJ
To volunteer, call: Sharon at 866-973-4463 or email: email@example.com
June 26: Emergency Forum: The danger of a U.S. attack on Iran is real and growing - We must act now!
The danger of a U.S. attack on Iran is real and growing –
6:30 pm Thursday June 26
1199/MLK Labor Center Auditorium, 310 West 43rd Street
(between 8th & 9th Avenue) (A,E, C to 42nd St. / 1,2,3, N, R, Q to Times Sq.)
U.S. military moves and diplomatic maneuvering are escalating. A campaign of charges and lies reminiscent of the run-up to Iraq is being ramped up. Leading political figures – from President Bush to John McCain and Barack Obama – threaten Iran that “all options are on the table.” Israel threatens to attack Iran and its Deputy Prime Minister Mofaz calls war “unavoidable”.
Why should proven liars on Iraq now be trusted around Iran? Massive new crimes against humanity are in preparation, all as the carnage continues in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If you are outraged by all this, and NOT willing to accept it, then join with us on June 26. This emergency meeting aims to raise awareness of the rapidly escalating danger of a possible U.S. attack on Iran – perhaps before Bush leaves office – and to organize mass opposition to any U.S. military action against Iran.
Come hear deep, cutting-edge analysis. Speakers will detail the escalation of military and diplomatic moves and the campaign of charges and lies about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and role in Iraq. They’ll challenge notions that U.S. threats have been simply “sabre-rattling” or that an attack can’t happen because Bush is a “lame duck” and/or the U.S. is too bogged down in Iraq.
Speakers will stress our urgent responsibility to act. World Can’t Wait and others will detail plans to step up resistance. A short preview of forthcoming movie Iran is not the problem will be shown.
Speakers will include:
Distinguished Prof. of History at CUNY and author of many books on Iran including A Modern History of Iran.
Revolution newspaper correspondent and author of Oil, Power & Empire -- Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda.
Author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam who has written extensively on Iraq and Iran for Inter Press Service, The American Prospect, The Nation¸ The Huffington Post and Salon.com.
National Director, World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime
Suggested donation: $10 (plus fund-raising refreshments will be available)
Sponsored by World Can’t Wait.
Co-sponsored by Peace Action – NYS, Grandmothers Against the War and Granny Peace Brigade [List of co-sponsors in formation].
Time is short and the word must spread very broadly. Volunteers needed: for publicity, fundraising, phone banking, spreading the word at the Human Rights Film Festival and Hudson River Clearwater Revival, and much more. To pick up flyers or volunteer, or for more information, contact 347-678-5905 or 866-973-4463, firstname.lastname@example.org
Download flyers and widely distribute them:
Full page, one sided flyer with bi-lingual English/Farsi headline for posting and use in areas where there will be significant Iranian and/or Afghani people.
Growing-Danger-of-Attack-on-Iran Factsheet (adaptation of previous flyer) for giving people further information. Can be printed on back of flyer.
Begin at 11:00 am in front of United Nations,
First Avenue between 42nd & 43rd.
Noon- march to Times Square
Sudden new suspicious “evidence”
It was reminiscent of the build-up to the war on Iraq. This week, the New York Times and other major U.S. media outlets have pounced on references in a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to 18 alleged secret documents, which the Times suggests shows that Iran had made significant advances towards developing a nuclear weapon before its program was ended in 2003.
Enboldened by this IAEA report, Tuesday, Condoleeza Rice accused Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons and opposed diplomatic talks with Iran. As Associated Press noted: “The Bush administration long claimed Iran was hiding a bomb program, a view shared by Israel and presumably the rationale for any military attack either country might launch against Iran. Rice’s words were striking because U.S. officials have backed off pointed accusations since the publication in December of a declassified intelligence report that concluded Iran once had an active warhead program but had shelved it in 2003.”
The primary source of these alleged secret documents is the United States. Why should proven liars on Iraq now be trusted around Iran? Bush’s longtime former Press Secretary Scott McLellan’s memoir charges Bush with using a “political propaganda campaign” and “manipulating sources of public opinion” to prepare for Iraq war. The Center for Public Integrity documents 935 false statements by Bush and his seven top administration officials leading up to the Iraq war.
Who’s the real nuclear threat?
Not quoted in the major media is El Baradei’s statement last week: “We haven’t seen indications or any concrete evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and I’ve been saying that consistently for the last five years.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter said last week that the U.S. has more than 12,000 nukes and Israel has 150 or more. The U.S. is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons.
The New York Times on June 2 expressed alarm about possible future capabilities of Iran’s missile program. Yet nothing is said about the intercontinental ballistic weapons that the U.S. already has, poised and ready to deliver nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton threatened to use them to “obliterate Iran” and the remaining presidential candidates refuse to take the option of use of nuclear weapons against Iran “off the table”.
The danger of a U.S. attack on Iran is real and growing – we must act now!
There are numerous other recent reports pointing to a growing danger of an U.S. attack on Iran.
Go to http://nyc.worldcantwait.org and www.worldcantwait.org for more information, mobilization plans & source material - it will be posted over the next few days.
Mobilize and come to the Press Conference/Rally/March on Friday, June 6th.
Download, print and distribute widely the flyer for it.
and the night before...
Come World Can't Wait Meeting
Thursday, June 5th
6:30 PM, @1199/MLK Labor Center, 310 West 43rd Street, 7th Floor
Our main topic will be:
Mobilizating to STOP an attack on Iran
Our work began two weeks ago. Out of that meeting and some followup discussions the following action plan has developed which would include:
- Organize educational events in your school, community or a “house party”, to discuss this growing danger, and make plans to respond.
World Can’t Wait is assembling a kit for teachers and organizers for this, including a 10-minute preview version of excellent forthcoming movie: Iran is Not the Problem.
- Be part of emergency response network
With every step towards an attack, we must be immediately in the streets. Join with World Can’t Wait in creating a text-message alert network. In the event of any new incident, escalation, etc., when news is received, we will send you a text message:
Set up a “group” and forward the text message to 10+ friends, call others, and come to protest.
(In the event of news of an escalation/attack coming in the evening, our protest would be on the following afternoon.)
- Join in efforts to organize major town hall meeting, and a city-wide coalition, against an attack on Iran.
We urgently need to move forward will all of these plans (and more). That will be the focus of this meeting.
A 10-minute preview of forth-coming documentary movie: Iran is NOT the Problem will be shown. (This was supposed to have been shown at our last meeting, but we ran into technical difficulties, which have now been resolved.)
Come, bring your friends, if you are part of an organization, bring representatives to be part of building this from the ground up and fast. Every person's action and every day counts!
Rumors of War: Is Bush Gearing Up to Attack Iran?
By Conn Hallinan, Portside
Posted on June 5, 2008, Printed on June 5, 2008
The May 8 letter from U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to George W. Bush received virtually no media coverage, in spite of the fact that it warned the president that an attack on Iran without Congressional approval would be grounds for impeachment. Rumor has it several senators have been briefed about the possibility of war with Iran.
Something is afoot.
Just what is not clear, but over the past several months, several moves by the White House strongly suggest that the Bush administration will attack Iran sometime in the near future. According to the Asia Times, "a former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community" said an air attack will target the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force garrisons. Not even the White House is bonkers enough to put troops on the ground amid 65 million Iranians.
There is a certain disconnect to all this, particularly given December's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluding that Iran had abandoned its program to build a nuclear weapon. The NIE is the consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence services. At the time, the report seemed to shelve any possibility of war with Iran.
However, shortly after the intelligence estimate on Iran was released, the old "into Iraq gang" went to work undermining it.
According to Newsweek, during his Middle East tour in January, Bush "all but disowned the document" to. A "senior administration official" told the magazine, "He [Bush] told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says but that [the NIE's] conclusions don't reflect his own views."
Neither do they reflect the views ofor .
In an interview with ABC during his recent 10-day visit to the region, Cheney downplayed the NIE: "We don't know whether or not they've [the Iranians have] restarted." Cheney also said Iran was seeking to build missiles capable of reaching the United States sometime in the next decade.
On April 21, Gates said that Iran was "hell-bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, and that, while he was not advocating war with Iran, the military option should be kept on the table.
A month before Gates' comment, the White House quietly extended an executive order stating that Iran represented an "ongoing threat" to U.S. national security. The Bush administration claims that the 2002 resolution that led to thegives it the right to strike at "terrorists" wherever they are. Last September, the Kyl-Lieberman Sense of the Senate resolution designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist organization."
The administration has sharply increased its rhetorical attacks on Iran in a way that is disquietingly similar to the campaign that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Take the current charge that the Quds Force is arming anti-American groups inand providing them with high-tech roadside bombs and sophisticated rockets.
, the new head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services that "special groups" are "funded, trained, armed and directed by Iran's Quds Force. … It was these groups that launched Iranian rockets and mortar rounds at Iraq's seat of government" in the Green Zone.
Patraeus replaced Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, who had openly opposed a military confrontation with Iran.
But the United States has never presented any evidence to back up those charges. U.S. officials say the rockets pounding the Green Zone have Iranian markings on them, but they have yet to show any evidence to that effect. And, as for the special roadside bombs, or the explosively formed penetrators (EFP), the evidence is entirely deductive.
The United States argues that the copper cores used in these bombs requires using a heavy machine press and that Iraq has no such presses. But before the invasion, Iraq was the most industrialized Arab country, with a sophisticated machine tool industry, and a study by Time magazine says the cities of Basra, Karbala and Najaf "may indeed have such presses."
The Time article, "Doubting the Evidence Against Iran," concludes, "No concrete evidence has emerged in public that Iran was behind the weapons [EFPs]. U.S. officials have revealed no captured shipments of such devices and offered no other proof."
The lack of evidence has hardly cooled down the rhetoric. Bush said in a speech at the White House that "two of the greatest threats to America" were Iran and al-Qaeda.
U.S. preparations for war, however, have been more than rhetorical.
According to the Israeli website DEBKAfile, Cheney's trip to the Middle East in March was seen in the region as a possible harbinger of war. "The vice president's choice of capitals for his tour is a pointer to the fact that the military option, off since December, may be on again," DEBKA concluded. "America will need the cooperation of all four [countries he visited] -- Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey."
There has also been a steady buildup of naval and air power in the region. A new aircraft carrier battle group has been assigned to the area, Patriot anti-missile missiles have been deployed, and U.S. Naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean have been beefed up.
What would likely happen if the United States did elect to attack?
Militarily, there is little Tehran could do in response.
Iran's army is smaller than it was during the, and in a recent "show of force," its air force mustered a total of 140 out-of-date fighters. It navy is mostly small craft, and while it has anti-ship missiles, Tehran would probably think twice about trying to shut down the Gulf. The current regime depends on the sale of oil and gas to shore up its fragile economy.
While the White House portrays the militias in Iraq andas Tehran's cat's-paw, that is nonsense. The militias in both countries will act on the basis of what is in their own interests, not Iran's.
There is talk thatmight target Israel, but the Israelis have made it clear that any such attack would be met with a massive retaliation, probably nuclear. "An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel," National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned, "which would destroy the Iranian nation."
In any case, it is far more likely that Israel would attack Iran than vice versa.
Any U.S. attack would further isolate the United States in the Middle East. Ethan Chorin, of the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies, says U.S. threats against Iran are running cross-current to efforts by other nations in the Gulf region to establish a détente with Tehran. "The U.S. seeks to defend the Arabs from Iran, but they are increasingly trying to defend themselves from the U.S. efforts to defend them against Iran," he wrote in a recent commentary in the Financial Times.
All the war talk, says Chorin, "is translating into increasing open sympathy on the part of many Gulf Arabs for Iran and increasing skepticism about U.S. efforts to isolate the country."
A U.S. war would deeply divide Europe as well, and might lead to a German withdrawal from Afghanistan. What Russia's, China's and India's responses would be is not clear. China and India are major clients for Iranian natural gas.
Domestically, the Bush administration may see this as its only opportunity to hold on to the White House. The Republicans know they are going to lose seats in the House and the Senate, but at this point the race for the presidency is still tight. Might a new war against the demonized Iranians make voters stick with "war hero" John McCain? It's a long shot, but this administration has always had a major streak of riverboat gambler about it.
All this talk of war, of course, could be sound and fury signifying nothing. But it might also be the run-up to a limited conflict, maybe one set off by a manufactured incident.
Once unleashed, however, no one controls the dogs of war. As hard as it is to imagine, war with Iran might top theas a foreign policy disaster.
Conn Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus.© 2008 Portside All rights reserved.
with music by THE RICK PARKER COLLECTIVE
@ The Bowery Poetry Club 308 Bowery @ Bleecker st.
F train to Second Ave / 6 train to Bleecker / 212-614-0505
($8 each) by emailing email@example.com