Saturday, September 13, 2014

Free The Remaining Cuban Five-Ahora!

Attorney Bill Norris on Yellowstone Public Radio
An exceptional interview on the case of the Cuban Five with Ramón Labañino's attorney
 Click to listen:

To Nadine Gordimer
Homage from the Five to South Africa's Nobel Prize Laureate
July 16, 2014
She fought against the hateful South African Apartheid together with Cubans, siding with the victims when the complicity of the powerful nations of the time favored their assailants. She supported Cuba when the forecasters bet on our defeat and favored the victory of infamy. She joined the line of good people when a sense of shame brought them to fight for the freedom of the Five. She challenged the cruelty of the empire in times of elated revenge. She accompanied us and was always ready to add her name to the increasing list of those who call to end the torment imposed on us and our families by a corrupt legal system.
She was fair. She was humane. She was great. That is why she has the respect and admiration of the Five, our loved ones and the entire Cuban people.
Nadine Gordimer has passed away. She shall live forever with the peace of these who are just. Immortal and tireless.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Ramón Labañino Salazar
Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez
Fernando González llort
René González Sehwerert
July 15th, 2014.
Para Nadine Gordimer
Homenaje de los Cinco a la Premio Nobel sudafricana
16 de julio de 2014
Tomado de CubaDebate
Junto a los cubanos luchó contra el odioso Apartheid sudafricano, poniéndose al lado de las víctimas cuando la complicidad de las potencias de la época se inclinaba hacia los victimarios. Supo estar al lado de Cuba cuando los augures apostaban por nuestro abatimiento y las apuestas se inclinaban por el triunfo de la infamia. Se puso en la fila de los buenos cuando la vergüenza los convocó a luchar por la libertad de los Cinco, retando al imperio cruel en tiempos de exultada venganza. Nos acompañó y estuvo siempre presta a poner su nombre en la lista creciente de los que reclaman fin al calvario impuesto a noso­tros y a nuestros familiares por un sistema legal viciado por el oprobio.
Fue justa. Fue humana. Fue grande. Por eso fue digna del respeto y la admiración de los Cinco, de nuestros seres queridos y del pueblo cubano.
Nadine Gordimer ha muerto. Que en la paz de los justos viva para siempre. Inmortal e incansable.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Ramón Labañino Salazar
Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez
Fernando González Llort
René González Sehwerert
15 de julio de 2014

Another Of Duke Ellington's Boys Be-Bop Jazz Man Gerald Wilson Passes-

Be-bop, brother, be-bop

UFPJ Urgent UPDATE: Bombing Iraq and Syria – A Delusion, Not A Solution


President Obama may prefer the term “counter-terrorism,” but it is clear from last night’s speech that he is taking the United States into another war.
His long-term plan for bombing Iraq and Syria, for placing U.S. troops on the ground as “trainers,” and for assistance to allied fighters, is opening another tragic chapter in the failed “war on terrorism,” initiated by President Bush and rejected by the voters in 2008.  
We deplore the brutality and violence of ISIS, but we do not believe that U.S. air strikes will solve the problem, even if there are short-term military gains. Despite the President’s many references to “a coalition,” in reality the United States will be intervening unilaterally in two civil wars, each of which has multiple factions and complex roots.
Time to learn from experience:
The U.S. invasion of Iraq tore the lid off of a Pandora’s box that has wreaked havoc with the lives of millions of people over the past dozen years. It is that invasion, which gave rise to ISIS and “terrorism,” in places where it had not existed.
U.S. air-strikes –whether in Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan- have never had the precision that is claimed. Thousands of civilians have been killed, with the result that America’s enemies multiplied.  
The “new strategy” the President just unveiled isn’t new. It was tried by President George W. Bush in Afghanistan, where it failed, creating a Washington demand for tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops. These troops have added to the instability of the country, while failing to defeat the Taliban.
We believe there are better choices:
*Make diplomacy and humanitarian assistance the priority
*Seek improved relations with Iran to end the fighting in the region
*Work through United Nations to halt the flow of financing and weapons to ISIS
*Re-start UN-directed negotiations to end the civil war in Syria
*Mobilize to solve the real problems in the region- poverty, hunger, drought, joblessness
Our Voices are Needed Now…The White House and Members of Congress are Paying Close Attention to Public Opinion.
  Call the White House
  Comments: 202.456.1111; Switchboard: 202-456-1414
Call your Senators and Congressional Representatives
Capitol Switchboard: 202- 224-3121
Let them know, you strongly oppose perpetual war in the Middle East. Emphasize that U.S. bombing of two countries will bring more suffering and violence, and that there is no realistic alternative to diplomacy and humanitarian aid.
Ask your member of Congress to speak out now in opposition to US military intervention in Iraq and Syria.
Please make a donation to UFPJ so that we can continue to keep our member groups and dedicated activists linked together for effective action and impact.
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.

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“Workers of The World Unite, You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains”-The Struggle For Trotsky's Fourth (Communist) International-From The Archives-Founding Conference of the Fourth International-1938


Markin comment (repost from September 2010 slightly edited):

Several years ago, when the question of an international, a new workers international, a fifth international, was broached by the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), faintly echoing the call issued during the presidency of the late Venezuelan caudillo, Hugo Chavez, I got to thinking a little bit more on the subject. Moreover, it must have been something in the air at the time (maybe caused by these global climatic changes that are hazarding our collective future) because I had  also seen a spade of then recent commentary on the need to go back to something that looked very much like Karl Marx’s one-size-fits-all First International. Of course in the 21st century, after over one hundred and fifty years of attempts to create adequate international working-class organizations, just what the doctor by all means, be my guest, but only if the shades of Proudhon and Bakunin can join. Boys and girls that First International was disbanded in the wake of the demise of the Paris Commune for a reason, okay. Mixing political banners (Marxism and fifty-seven varieties of anarchism) was appropriate to a united front, not a hell-bent revolutionary International fighting, and fighting hard, for our communist future. Forward

The Second International, for those six, no seven, people who might care, is still alive and well (at least for periodic international conferences) as a mail-drop for homeless social democrats who want to maintain a fig leaf of internationalism without having to do much about it. Needless to say, one Joseph Stalin and his cohorts liquidated the Communist (Third) International in 1943, long after it turned from a revolutionary headquarters into an outpost of Soviet foreign policy. By then no revolutionary missed its demise, nor shed a tear goodbye. And of course there are always a million commentaries by groups, cults, leagues, tendencies, etc. claiming to stand in the tradition (although, rarely, the program) of the Leon Trotsky-inspired Fourth International that, logically and programmatically, is the starting point of any discussion of the modern struggle for a new communist international.

With that caveat in mind this month, the September American Labor Day month, but more importantly the month in 1938 that the ill-fated Fourth International was founded I am posting some documents around the history of that formation, and its program, the program known by the shorthand, Transitional Program. If you want to call for a fifth, sixth, seventh, what have you, revolutionary international, and you are serious about it beyond the "mail-drop" potential, then you have to look seriously into that organization's origins, and the world-class Bolshevik revolutionary who inspired it. Forward. 

Founding Conference of the

Fourth International


On Unification Of The British Section

For a long time the adherents of the Fourth International in Great Britain have been divided into small separate groups. The importance and necessity of organizational unity of all militants standing on a common platform of principle were sadly underestimated. This light minded attitude on the organizational question led not only to ill considered splits over tactical differences but even to splits over purely personal disputes having no discernible political basis (the Lee group). In this latter manifestation the warning signals of political degeneration were clearly to be seen. If the International Secretariat erred in delaying too long before calling a halt to this untenable situation, its decisive intervention on the eve of the world conference became all the more imperatively necessary.
It must be quite obvious to all genuine adherents of the Fourth International in all parts of the world that the present representative world conference, summoned together in spite of the greatest and most unprecedented difficulties and obstacles, and participated in by delegates from many countries and from great distances, must be the occasion for a definite roll call of our forces. This roll call puts an end to all ambiguity of relations between our international organization and those who hitherto have maintained, or professed to maintain, a loyalty to its principles, its methods, and its discipline.
The present conference signifies a conclusive delimitation between those who are really in the Fourth International and fighting every day under its revolutionary banner, and those who are merely ”for” the Fourth International, i. e., the dubious elements who have sought to keep one foot in our camp and one foot in the camp of our enemies.
The unification of the British groups (as that of the hitherto divided Greek groups) of the Fourth International on the eve of the world conference coincides with the final departure of such alien elements as Sneevliet and Vereecken. Both these occurrences, each in its own way, are equally symbolic of a great progressive step forward in the reorganization of the revolutionary vanguard on the tested foundations of Bolshevism. They signify at one and the same time the unification of the genuine and sincere adherents of the Fourth International and their organizational separation from pretenders, saboteurs, and hidden enemies.
The British and Greek groups came to the conference with unification programs drawn up with the assistance of the International Secretariat because they had a firm determination to be enrolled under the banner of the Fourth International. Sneevliet and Vereecken, who over too long a period of time utilized their formal membership in the movement of the Fourth International to flout its principles, sabotage its discipline, and give aid and comfort to its enemies, lacked the courage at the last moment even to appear at the International Conference. That is only because they realized that the time had arrived for a showdown. They feared to give an account of their policies and actions before an international tribunal.
The world conference considers the unity agreement entered into between the three previously separated British groups as an adequate basis for the development of the work of the united British organization in the ensuing period. It endorses the unity agreement and recognizes the organization based on it as the only British section of the Fourth International. All Bolshevik-Leninists, all revolutionary workers in Great Britain who desire to be enrolled under the banner of the Fourth International, are invited and urged to join the British section the Revolutionary Socialist League.
The conference notes with great satisfaction that the leaders of a new group of revolutionary workers in Scotland, not previously connected with our international organization the Revolutionary Socialist Party have signed the unification agreement, and the RSP has been represented at the world conference by its own delegate. The approach of this organization to the Fourth International is a matter of great and symptomatic significance. Serious workers who seek the truth and want to fight for socialism cannot and will not find any other way than the way of Bolshevism, nor any other organization than the Fourth International. The world conference extends a hearty welcome to the Revolutionary Socialist Party and expresses the confidence that the recommendation of its leading committee for organizational fusion with the British section of the Fourth International will be adopted in the pending party referendum.
As far as the Lee group is concerned, it is necessary to point out:
(1) This group came into existence some months ago as the result of purely personal grievances which impelled Lee and his friends to an organizational split. There was not then, and there is not now, any justifiable political basis for the separate maintenance of this group.
(2) The leaders of this group resisted all attempts of the delegation of the International Secretariat to include it in the general unification.
(3) The invitation of the IS delegation to this group to be represented and present its point of view at the world conference, either by delegate or letter, was disregarded; all we have is a statement, apparently addressed to the world at large, rejecting in advance any decision of the world conference not in accord with their untenable demands.
Under these circumstances it is necessary to warn the comrades associated with the Lee group that they are being led on a path of unprincipled clique politics which can only land them in the mire. It is possible to maintain and develop a revolutionary political grouping of serious importance only on the basis of great principles. The Fourth International alone embodies and represents these principles. It is possible for a national group to maintain a constant revolutionary course only if it is firmly connected in one organization with co-thinkers throughout the world and maintains a constant political and theoretical collaboration with them. The Fourth International alone is such an organization. All purely national groupings, all those who reject international organization, control, and discipline, are in their essence reactionary.
All adherents of the Fourth International in a single country must be united in a single section of the Fourth International. Those who reject this elementary organizational rule of the Fourth International put themselves in the position of irresponsible splitters and clique fighters.
The members of the Lee group are invited by the world conference to reconsider their decisions, to come into the unified British section and consequently into the Fourth International, and to take their place in the common work, with fair representation in its leading bodies and without reprisals of any kind. The unified British section is assured by the conference of the full support and collaboration of the international organization in its historic revolutionary task.



Free Chelsea Manning Now!


Our new whistle and dogtags logo!

August 28, 2014.
The Chelsea Manning Support Network is pleased to announce our new campaign logo. Supporters submitted over a dozen great designs, and we received great feedback via our Facebook page on the final designs.
Please feel free to download the PDF via our Graphic Resources page and use it to print your own banners, shirts, etc. You can also use the PDF to print one-of-a-kind items via on-demand online printers, such as CafePress and Zazzle (you have our permission).
We are also having union labor silk-screen quality USA-made, sweatshop-free, black shirts (basic and women’s styles) that are now available for pre-order. We have a few stickers in the works as well.
These small vector PDF files scale well from a small sticker up to billboard size!

As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues ... Some Remembrances-Poet’s Corner-German Poets   

Here's some German war poetry in German. These are not the verse of polished poets, that is to say "poets turned soldiers", these poems are the work of front line soldiers, "soldiers turned poets". There's quite a difference between the two art forms. These poems were the soldier's way of coping by expressing their feelings about such topics as fallen comrades and the homeland, which in once sense was so close, but in another, was a million miles away. They may be considered rough by some and lacking in form or content by others, but they do manage to capture the everyday thoughts of the soldier and the mood of the trenches. If anyone out there is more comfortable in their mastery of the German language than I am and would like to translate any of these works, I would be more than happy to create an English language version of this page.

Argonnerwald, um Mitternacht Pionierlied aus dem Weltkrieg, 1915
Argonnerwald, um Mitternacht, Ein Pionier stand auf der Wacht. Ein Sternlein hoch am Himmel stand, Bringt Grüße ihm aus fernem Heimatland. Und mit dem Spaten in der Hand, Er vorne in der Sappe stand. Mit Sehnsucht denkt er an sein Lieb, Ob er es wohl noch einmal wiedersieht. Und donnernd dröhnt die Artill'rie, Wir stehen vor der Infant'rie, Granaten schlagen bei uns ein, Der Franzmann will in uns're Stellung 'rein. Und droht der Feind uns noch so mehr, Wir Deutschen fürchten ihn nicht mehr. Und ob er auch so stark mag sein, In uns're Stellung kommt er doch nocht 'rein. Der Sturm bricht los! Die Mine kracht! Der Pionier gleich vorwärts macht. Bis an den Feind macht er sich ran Und zündet dann die Handgranate an. Die Infant'rie steht auf der Wacht, Bis daß die Handgranate kracht, Geht dann mit Sturm bis an den Feind, Mit Hurra bricht sie in die Stellung ein. Argonnerwald, Argonnerwald, Ein stiller Friedhof wirst du bald. In deiner kühlen Erde ruht So manches tapfere Soldatenblut.

From The Labor History Archives -In The 80th Anniversary Year Of The Great San Francisco, Minneapolis And Toledo General Strikes- Lessons In The History Of Class Struggle 

From The Archives Of The Socialist Workers Party (America)- Some Lessons of the Toledo Strike

Frank Jackman comment:

Marxism, no less than other political traditions, and perhaps more than most, places great emphasis on roots, the building blocks of current society and its political organizations. Nowhere is the notion of roots more prevalent in the Marxist movement that in the tracing of organizational and political links back to the founders, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the Communist Manifesto, and the Communist League. A recent example of that linkage in this space was when I argued in this space that, for those who stand in the Trotskyist tradition, one must examine closely the fate of Marx’s First International, the generic socialist Second International, Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolshevik Revolution-inspired Communist International, and Trotsky’s revolutionary successor, the Fourth International before one looks elsewhere for a centralized international working class organization that codifies the principle –“workers of the world unite.”

On the national terrain in the Trotskyist movement, and here I am speaking of America where the Marxist roots are much more attenuated than elsewhere, we look to Daniel DeLeon’s Socialist Labor League, Deb’s Socialist Party( mainly its left-wing, not its socialism for dentists wing), the Wobblies (IWW, Industrial Workers Of The World), the early Bolshevik-influenced Communist Party and the various formations that made up the organization under review, the James P. Cannon-led Socialist Workers Party, the section that Leon Trotsky’s relied on most while he was alive. Beyond that there are several directions to go in but these are the bedrock of revolutionary Marxist continuity, at least through the 1960s. If I am asked, and I have been, this is the material that I suggest young militants should start of studying to learn about our common political forbears. And that premise underlines the point of the entries that will posted under this headline in further exploration of the early days, “the dog days” of the Socialist Workers Party.

Note: I can just now almost hear some very nice and proper socialists (descendants of those socialism for dentist-types) just now, screaming in the night, yelling what about Max Shachtman (and, I presume, his henchman, Albert Glotzer, as well) and his various organizational formations starting with the Workers party when he split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1940? Well, what about old Max and his “third camp” tradition? I said the Trotskyist tradition not the State Department socialist tradition. If you want to trace Marxist continuity that way, go to it. That, in any case, is not my sense of continuity, although old Max knew how to “speak” Marxism early in his career under Jim Cannon’s prodding. Moreover at the name Max Shachtman I can hear some moaning, some serious moaning about blackguards and turncoats, from the revolutionary pantheon by Messrs. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. I rest my case.


Memorial to celebrate Toledo Auto-Lite Strike of 1934

May 21, 2001

On May 12, the city of Toledo, Ohio dedicated a new memorial designed to commemorate the strike at the Toledo Auto-Lite company in 1934.
The memorial itself refers to this strike as "one of the three most important strikes in American history." Not only was it a victory during a very difficult period for all U.S. workers, it was a victory that paved the way for the subsequent building of the United Auto Workers and the CIO, in which the UAW played a key role. The largest single delegation at the founding convention of the auto workers union in 1935 were Auto-Lite workers.
The strike had among its leaders a number of revolutionaries who worked with the American Workers Party of A. J. Muste. The memorial just built does not mention Muste, nor any of the revolutionary militants like Art Preis, Ted Selander and Art Pollack, without whose leadership the strike would have gone down to defeat, like so many others of that time. Nor does the UAW itself want to remember not only these but the many other revolutionary militants whose battles brought it into existence.
Art Preis covered the labor movement in articles for "The Militant," the newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party. He used many of these articles as the basis for a book he published in 1964 on the real history of the CIO: Labor's Giant Step –Twenty Years of the CIO.
(This book is available from Pathfinder bookstores, sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party in many cities, or from Pathfinder Publishers, 167 Charles St. New York, NY 10014.)

The following selection on the Toledo Auto-Lite strike is taken from this book.
"The wave of strikes following the enactment of NRA in June 1933 was ending in a series of defeats. Where the union leaders themselves did not rush the workers back on the job without gains -not even union recognition –the strikes were smashed by court injunctions and armed violence. Behind the legal restraining orders and the shotguns, rifles and machine guns of police, deputies and National Guardsmen, the scabs and strikebreakers were being herded into struck plants almost at will....
"One out of every three persons in Toledo was thrown on relief, standing in lines for food handouts at a central commissary. In 1933, the Unemployed League, led by followers of A. J. Muste, head of the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (later the American Workers Party), had organized militant mass actions of the unemployed and won cash relief. The League made it a policy to call for unity of the unemployed and employed workers; it mobilized the unemployed not to scab, but to aid all strikes.
"On February 23, 1934, the Toledo Auto Lite workers, newly organized in AFL Federal Local 18384, went on strike. This was quickly ended by the AFL leaders with a truce agreement for negotiations through the Regional Labor Board of the National Labor Board, which had been set up under the NRA.
"Refusing to be stalled further by the labor board or to submit to the special Auto Labor Board..., the AutoLite workers went on the picket lines again on April 13.
"The company followed the usual first gambit in such a contest. It went to a friendly judge and got him to issue an injunction limiting picketing. The strike had begun to die on its feet when a committee of Auto Lite workers came to the Unemployed League and asked for aid....
"The Lucas County Unemployed League, also enjoined, refused however to let the fight go in that way. Two of its officers, Ted Selander and Sam Pollock, and several auto local members wrote Judge R. R. Stuart, advising him that they would violate the injunction by encouraging mass picketing. They went out and did so. They were arrested, tried and released - the court warning them to picket no more. They answered by going directly from court, with all the strikers and unemployed league members who had been present, to the picket line. Through the mass trials, Selander and Pollock got a message as to the nature of the capitalist courts. The picket line grew.
"By May 23, there were more than 10,000 on the picket lines. County deputies with tear gas guns were lined up on the plant roof. A strike picket, Miss Alma Hahn, had been struck on the head by a bolt hurled from a plant window and had been taken to the hospital. By the time 100 more cops arrived, the workers were tremendously incensed. Police began roughing up individual pickets pulled from the line....
"The police charged and swung their clubs trying to clear a path for the scabs. The workers held their ground and fought back. Choked by the tear gas fired from inside the plant, it was the police who finally gave up the battle. Then the thousands of pickets laid siege to the plant, determined to maintain their picket line. The workers improvised giant slingshots from inner tubes. They hurled whole bricks through the plant windows. The plant soon was without lights. The scabs cowered in the dark. The frightened deputies set up machine guns inside every entranceway. It was not until the arrival of 900 National Guardsmen, 15 hours later, that the scabs were finally released, looking a sorry sight, as the press reported it.
"Then followed one of the most amazing battles in U. S. labor history.... With their bare fists and rocks, the workers fought a sixday pitched battle with the National Guard. They fought from rooftops, from behind billboards and came through alleys to flank the guardsmen. `The men in the mob shouted vile epithets at the troopers,' complained the Associated Press, and the women jeered them with suggestions that they `go home to mama and their paper dolls.'
"But the strikers and their thousands of sympathizers did more than shame the young National Guardsmen. They educated them and tried to win them over. Speakers stood on boxes in front of the troops and explained what the strike was about and the role the troops were playing as strikebreakers. World War I veterans put on their medals and spoke to the boys in uniform like Dutch uncles. The women explained what the strike meant to their families. The press reported that some of the guardsmen just quit and went home. Others voiced sympathy with the workers. (A year later, when Toledo unionists went to Defiance, Ohio, to aid the Pressed Steel Company strike, they found that eight% of the strikers had been National Guardsmen serving in uniform in the AutoLite strike. That was where they learned the lesson of unionism.)
"On May 24, the guardsmen fired pointblank into the Auto Lite strikers' ranks, killing two and wounding 25. But 6,000 workers returned at dusk to renew the battle. In the dark, they closed in on groups of guardsmen in the sixblock martial law zone. The fury of the onslaught twice drove the troops back into the plant. At one stage, a group of troops threw their last tear gas and vomit gas bombs, then quickly picked up rocks to hurl at the strikers; the strikers recovered the last gas bombs thrown before they exploded, flinging them back at the troops.
"On Friday, May 31, the troops were speedily ordered withdrawn from the strike area when the company agreed to keep the plant closed. This had not been the usual oneway battle with the workers getting shot down and unable to defend themselves. Scores of guardsmen had been sent to the hospitals. They had become demoralized. By June 1, 98 out of 99 AFL local unions had voted for a general strike.
"A monster rally on the evening of June 1 mobilized some 40,000 workers in the Lucas County Courthouse Square. There, however, the AFL leaders, frightened by this tremendous popular uprising, were silent about the general strike and instead assured the workers that Roosevelt would aid them.
"By June 4, with the whole community seething with anger, the company capitulated and signed a sixmonth contract, including a 5% wage increase with a 5% minimum above the auto industry code, naming Local 18384 as the exclusive bargaining agent in the struck plants.
"The path was opened for organization of the entire automobile industry. With the Auto Lite victory under their belts, the Toledo autoworkers were to organize 19 plants before the year was out and, before another 12 months, were to lead the first successful strike in a GM plant, the real beginning of the conquest of General Motors."

Thu, Sep 11, 2014 09:01 AM
Massachusetts Peace Action

Take Action!

NO SIGNThe message: “Stop the bombing in Iraq, no new Iraq war, and no to U.S. war in Syria!”

President Obama last night committed the U.S. to a dangerous course of war and escalation in Iraq and Syria. 
Come to a protest rally Saturday, September 13, 1pm at Park Street Station!
We agree with the president that there is no military solution to the problems posed by ISIS. And yet his proposed "strategy" relies primarily on the use of military force. It's time to stop the bombing, escalation and military aid and use the other tools of U.S. foreign policy.
Tell Congress and the President we don't want another U.S. war in Iraq and Syria!  
We should pull out the over 1,000 U.S. troops now deployed in Iraq.  We should cut off weapons shipments and funding to the belligerent parties. We should stop supporting one side in a sectarian war.
No U.S. War in Iraq and SyriaAccording to Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard's Linda Bilmes, the first "war on terror" in Iraq cost the United States $4-$6 billion. Cost was only one of the factors left unmentioned by President Obama last night.  Others include:
  • the requirement in U.S. law that Congress authorize military action (restated by the Congressional Progressive Caucus last night)
  • the requirement under the U.N. charter that the U.N. security council, not an ad hoc coalition, authorize military action
  • collateral damage, mission creep, and blowback that will surely be caused by this reckless adventure, just as our 2003-2011 war on Iraq caused the emergence of ISIS
Join us in a protest rally! Saturday, September 13, 1pm -- Park Street Station, downtown Boston!
U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria is incoherent. We are fighting ISIS in Iraq, while in Syria we are helping ISIS by organizing the overthrow of its most effective opponent, the Assad government. Is U.S. policy designed to stoke the fires of conflict in the Middle East, or to resolve them?
Where are the Congressional "doves"?  They must take action now to vote against authorization for war in Iraq and Syria!
History shows that US arms tend to fall into the wrong hands as they did in Afghanistan. ISIS is largely armed with weapons the US supplied to other parties, including huge amounts of U.S.-supplied weapons that they captured from Iraqi forces. More weapons in the Mideast is not the solution and amounts to pouring fuel on a fire.
Shelagh Foreman Standing together with you for peace and justice,
Shelagh Foreman
Program Director

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Fight The Obama War Machine Rally At Park Street, Boston Saturday September 13- I PM- The Anti-War Struggle Begins-Again 
NEW WARS / OLD WARS – Are You Feeling Safer Now?

Amid the obsessive mainstream media chatter about whether Obama’s war is legal without Congressional approval – probably not, though most members of Congress are not anxious for a vote anytime soon – there is almost no mention that bombing Syria without the agreement of its sovereign government is clearly a violation of international law.  This applies to unilateral actions by the US or NATO, or any “collation of the willing” Obama can cobble together in the Middle East.  The likely US “allies” in this enterprise are themselves dictatorships via fake elections (Egypt, Jordan) or absolute Gulf Monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc.).  Only the UN Security Council is legally empowered to apply military force across borders, except in the case of immediate defense against foreign attack.


Saturday, September 13

No U.S. War on Iraq and Syria!

1pm, Park St. MBTA Station


President Obama plans to launch a new war on Iraq and Syria, using US air strikes, arms, money, and training, and over 1,500 U.S. ground troops. The U.S. war on Iraq in 2003-2011 caused this crisis.
We can't let this happen again. Join together to protest another US war in Iraq and Syria. It’s time once again to stand up for peace and justice and against this insanity.
Sponsored by United for Justice with Peace, Massachusetts Peace Action and the Committtee for Peace & Human Rights (list in formation). Facebook: 


PHYLLIS BENNIS: Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS

The bottom line is there is no immediate action that will make ISIS disappear, even if U.S. airstrikes manage to get the right target somewhere and take out an APC or a truckload of guys with RPGs or whatever… As horrifying as the beheading of the two U.S. journalists was, revenge is never a good basis for foreign policy. We should keep in mind that Matthew Olson, the outgoing head of the National Counterterrorism Center, said last week that “there is no credible information that [ISIS] is planning to attack the United States,” and there is “no indication at this point of a cell of foreign fighters operating in the United States—full stop.”  … We have to recognize that military attacks are not only wrong in a host of ways (illegal in international law, immoral because of civilian casualties, a distraction from vitally needed diplomacy) but also that those strikes are making real solutions impossible… weakening ISIS requires eroding the support it relies on from tribal leaders, military figures, and ordinary Iraqi Sunnis.  More




After Media Assault Americans Believe ISIS Threat To US

After a continual barrage of media hype surrounding a group of Islamist fighters in Iraq and Syria the American people are scared that the homeland is in jeopardy. According to a CNN/ORC Poll, 45% of Americans see that ISIS is a “very serious threat to the US.” That number parallels what Americans thought of Al Qaeda in 2003. 90% of Americans, according to the poll, believe ISIS is some level of threat to the US. Despite ISIS being a regional group trying to establish an caliphate in the Middle East and zero evidence to back up the claim, 70% of Americans also think ISIS has agents in the US ready to strike. While media distortions are a large part of why the public has become hysterical on ISIS, part of the response is also due to a game ISIS itself has been playing… The US intervening may be exactly what ISIS wants at this point. That like the killings in Iraq by Al Qaeda that led to US blunders in Fallujah, ISIS is setting the US up for a similar overreaction.  More


Of course, the “threat” to the US is a lie. . .

Some News Organizations Finally Realize Obama’s War Message is Misleading

President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State counts on pretty much everything going right in a region of the world where pretty much anything the U.S. does always goes wrong. Our newspapers of record today finally remembered it’s their job to point stuff like that out. The New York Times… [points out] the essential but often overlooked fact that “American intelligence agencies have concluded that [the Islamic State] poses no immediate threat to the United States.” “Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, said the public discussion about the ISIS threat has been a “farce,” with “members of the cabinet and top military officers all over the place describing the threat in lurid terms that are not justified.” “It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic…  More


Since 9/11, Fewer Americans Say Terrorism Top Problem

Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., terrorism is far less top-of-mind for Americans than it was immediately after those attacks. Mentions of terrorism did increase slightly this month as terrorist groups such as ISIS took actions that directly affect the U.S., prompting calls for U.S. action from many politicians and some journalists. While terrorism may be less top-of-mind to Americans -- and less likely to register as the most important problem facing the nation -- many still see it as important when asked about it specifically. In January polling, 72% of Americans said they felt terrorism was an important issue for Congress and the president to deal with this year. In February, 77% said international terrorism was a critical threat to the U.S. The economy or dissatisfaction with government may trump terrorism as the most important problem at the moment, but many Americans still see terrorism as a threat that must be dealt with, even 13 years after 9/11.  More The Latest Evil Force, Since the Last Evil Force

Resurrection, reinvention and linguistics. Barack Obama did the lot. And now he’s taking America to war in Syria as well as Iraq. Oh yes, and he’s going to defeat Isis, its “barbarism”, “genocide”, its “warped ideology” – until the bad guys are “vanquished from the earth”. What happened to George W Bush?  … One can see, of course, how difficult these lessons in Middle East history must be for the average American. All these forces of evil being vanquished over and over again, and then – bingo – there’s another force of evil to vanquish. So Obama produces words that are easy to swallow. “genocide”, “barbarism”, “cancer”.   More


BASEVICH: Obama’s Plans Ignore the Lessons of the ME Wars

For the 20 years between 1991 and 2011 — the interval between Operation Desert Storm and the final withdrawal of U.S. forces after a lengthy occupation of Iraq — Washington policymakers, Republican and Democratic, relied on various forms of coercion to align Iraq with American expectations of how a country ought to run. The effort failed abysmally… Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt. It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists. It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy. It won’t end the Syrian civil war.  It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen. It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan. It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan. It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All the military power in the world won’t solve those problems.  More


If you want to bomb a country every time an evil group murders people in a gruesome manner, you’ll have to bomb a lot of countries including our own.  ISIS draws its strength in Iraq from resentment of the Iraqi government, which bombs its own cities using U.S. weapons, and which beheads people, albeit in grainier footage with lower production values.  Allies in the region, including allies that support ISIS, including allies armed by the United States(some of which arms end up in the hands of ISIS), themselves behead people regularly. But is that worse than other types of killing? When President Barack Obama blew up a 16 year old American boy whom nobody had ever accused of so much as jaywalking, and blew up six other kids who were too close to him at the time, do you imagine his head remained on his body? …The fact that it’s Obama doesn’t make it OK. A majority of you supported attacking Afghanistan and within a couple of years a majority of you said Afghanistan should not have been attacked. Why not? Not because there weren’t evil people in Afghanistan, but because bombing the country made everything worse, not better.  More


Since 9-11 America's Insane Foreign Policy Has Killed a Million and Created ISIS

A month after September 11, Donald Rumsfeld stood at a podium in front of a $2 billion B-2 bomber at Whiteman AFB in Missouri and addressed the aircrews of the 509th Bomber Wing [4], before they took off across the world to wreak misdirected vengeance on the people of Afghanistan. Rumsfeld told them, "We have two choices. Either we change the way we live, or we must change the way they live. We choose the latter. And you are the ones who will help achieve that goal."  Since then, the United States has launched more than 94,000 air strikes [5], mostly on Afghanistan and Iraq, but also on Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Rumsfeld's plan has undoubtedly achieved his goal of changing the way people live in those countries, killing a million of them [6] and reducing tens of millions more to lives of disability, disfigurement, dislocation, grief and poverty. More


OUR SAUDI “ALLIES” AT WORK: The Missing Twenty-Eight Pages of the 9/11 Report

“There’s nothing in it about national security,” Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina who has read the missing pages, contends. “It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.” Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.” Now, in a rare example of bipartisanship, Jones and Lynch have co-sponsored a resolution requesting that the Obama Administration declassify the pages.  More


PATRICK COCKBURN: Isis 'cannot be beaten' as long as there is civil war in Syria

There is a bizarre section in Mr Obama’s speech in which he says “we must strengthen the [Syrian] opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like Isil [Isis]”. The only way that this could be done would be to raise a mercenary army and pretend it is the Free Syrian Army reborn or, something that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have done in the past, pretend that jihadi groups whose ideology is the same as that of Isis nevertheless belong to the moderate camp. The missing element in the Obama plan is the creation of the framework for new peace negotiations between Mr Assad’s government and the moderate opposition such as it is. The Geneva 11 talks got nowhere because Washington insisted that the only topic of negotiations should be the departure of Mr Assad. Since he controlled most of Syria this was not going to happen, so in practice US and British policy was a recipe for an endless war… In Iraq the political and military reach of Isis is limited by the fact that the Sunni Arabs are only a fifth of the population, but in Syria they are three-fifths. Their natural constituency is much greater than in Iraq.  More Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Dubious Alliances

After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. “You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights and that is waiting and ready because they don’t exist,” said Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace... Analysts who track the rebel movement say that the concept of the Free Syrian Army as a unified force with an effective command structure is a myth… Even as they line up to support Mr. Obama’s strategy against ISIS, some European allies remain skeptical about the efficacy of arming the Syrian rebels. Germany, for instance, has been arming and training Kurdish pesh merga forces in Iraq, but has resisted doing the same for any groups in Syria — partly out of fear that the weapons could end up in the hands of ISIS or other radical groups.  More



Sotloff Family Spokesman: Syria’s ‘So-Called Moderate Rebels’ Sold Sotloff To ISIS

A spokesman for the family of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff claimed Monday night that Sotloff was sold to the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by Syria’s “so-called moderate rebels.” …“We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS and that was the reason he was captured,” Barfi said.  More


Report: Islamic State got anti-tank weapons from “moderate” Syrian rebels

Anti-tank weapons that were likely once owned by moderate Syrian rebels have landed in the hands of Islamic State militants, according to a newly released field investigation conducted in both northern Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State has also captured “significant quantities” of U.S.-manufactured small arms and has employed them on the battlefield, researchers found… The most powerful weapons documented were the two 90mm Yugoslav anti-tank rocket launchers, known as “Osas,” which resembled rockets that were transferred to moderate Syrian rebels, reportedly by Saudi Arabia last year. It is purportedly shown in this video in the hands of a Free Syrian Army rebel last year: The 25-pound rocket launchers have appeared in numerous battlefield videos shot in Syria and Iraq and were believed to be in Islamic State hands. But the new research marks the first time they have been physically documented.  More


In Congress, Islamic State takes pressure off Iran

Remember Iran? The dominant foreign policy issue of the past year has fallen by the wayside as Congress focuses on the rise of the Islamic State (IS). Republicans who just months ago vowed to use every tool at their disposal to force a vote on new sanctions in the Senate have shelved those plans, and even the GOP-controlled House isn't scheduled to hold a single hearing before the midterm elections. The shift in focus has given President Barack Obama's negotiating team welcome breathing room as it pursues a nuclear deal in Vienna, even as congressional skeptics fret that Iran will take advantage of the lull in attention. "The negotiators need the room to work," said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel on the Near East. "And I think maybe a little bit less pushing and pulling from this angle may help that work be done."

Republicans aren't nearly as sanguine.  More


Israel concerned ISIS threat may distract Obama from Iran

A senior political source told Ynet on Thursday night there was concern over the possibility that the US will moderate its pressure on Iran in the talks. A senior minister familiar with the issue said that "we are actually concerned about that possibility."  Sources in Israel said that the US has attempted to alleviate Jerusalem's concerns in recent months, promising that their policy towards Iran will not change. But Jerusalem is not convinced, especially given that only this week Obama cited the Islamic State as the biggest threat to the Middle East – and not Iran. More


Friday, September 12, 2014

Free The Remaining Cuban Five -Ahora

Gerardo Hernández cumple años: Desde su celda, él nos envía un mensaje
3 de junio de 2014
Tomado de CubaDebate

Gerardo Hernández cumple 49 años hoy. En días pasados, publicamos en Cubadebate la convocatoria para que le hicieran llegar mensajes de felicitación a través de nuestra página o escribiendo directamente al programa radial que conduce Tanya Torres, en California. Él lleva 15 años preso, víctima de un juicio preñado de irregularidades en Miami, que le impuso una larguísima e injusta condena que cumple en la prisión de Victorville, California -dos cadenas perpetuas más 15 años.
En su celda de Victorville, puede escuchar el programa de Tanya, “Canto sin fronteras”. El pasado sábado 31 de mayo se transmitió la primera emisión -la próxima será el 7 de junio- y después de escucharla, esta fue su reacción, que conocemos a través de una carta que le envió a Alicia Jrapko, coordinadora del Comité Internacional por la Libertad de Los Cinco:
Mi hermana:

Quiero manifestarte mi alegría y el agradecimiento a Tanya en este idioma, que es el que mejor expresa nuestras emociones… Te confieso que todos los años, cuando llega el 4 de Junio y Tanya me da alguna sorpresa, al terminar de escuchar su programa me digo lo mismo: “¡Si no sueltan a Los Cinco antes, a Tanya y su equipo no les será fácil dedicarme un programa mejor que este en el próximo cumpleaños!”

Pero siempre me equivoco, siempre me sorprenden, y cada año la sorpresa es mayor. Me emocioné mucho escuchando el programa de hoy con el concierto dedicado a Fernando en la Universidad de La Habana. Escuchar las palabras de mi hermano, la música, las improvisaciones, las palabras del querido Juan Formell, recientemente desaparecido… ¡Todo! Me parecía que estaba soñando.

Sé que hay muchas manos (¡y muchos corazones!) detrás de una sorpresa así, y además sé que habrá una segunda parte el próximo sábado, por lo que me gustaría hacer llegar mi enorme agradecimiento a Tanya y su equipo de “Canto sin Fronteras”, al colectivo de KPFK, a las compañeras y compañeros que enviaron y seguirán enviando sus mensajes de felicitación, y en general a todos los que han hecho posible este y los demás regalos que a través del éter me entregan en mi misma celda año tras año, y que no dejan de sorprenderme.

Se los agradezco de corazón en nombre de Los Cinco, y les aseguro -es más, me comprometo con Tanya- que algún día seremos nosotros quienes, disfrutando ya de la libertad por la que ustedes tanto han luchado y seguirán luchando, los sorprenderemos por esas mismas ondas radiales con un saludo desde nuestra querida patria. Como solíamos decir en tierras africanas, en aquellos años en los que cubanos y angolanos compartíamos trincheras: “La lucha continua. ¡La victoria es cierta!”.

Un fuerte abrazo a todos,
Mayo 31. 8:42pm