Michael Ratner: Supreme Court Rules on Telecom Immunity
Bush Politicians Accepted Donations from Terrorist Group M.E.K.
Veterans and Allies Arrested in New York as Afghanistan War Enters Year 12
Anti-Drone Action: CODEPINK Delegation to Pakistan
Two weeks ago a delegation of 40 members from CODEPINK traveled to Pakistan protesting US drone strikes. The group is also visiting families of those injured or killed by drones and to encourage relations amid the broader Muslim world. The delegation is made up of students, doctors, veterans, retirees and artists. Recently the group set out on a massive anti-drone march in Waziristan where drones have killed many civilians. According to one statistic, within two years more than 90 drone attacks have killed 5,000 innocent Pakistanis. We get an update on the delegation from CODEPINK member Rae Abileah. Rae is the co-director of CODEPINK Women for Peace. She is also a founding member of Young, Jewish and Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace. Rae has visited Israel and the West Bank several times, and has traveled to Gaza and Iran.
- I’m the co-director of CODEPINK nationally. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, has been doing work on drones for the past year and a half. She recently wrote a book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
- She partnered with PTI, the Pakistani Political Party, and their leader, and a well-known lawyer for drone victims.
- They got this delegation rolling and ended up with 35 Americans in Islamabad setting out on this caravan to march to a place where really in the past decade, no Americans have gone to.
- They put their bodies on the line and joined these Pakistanis going on this march.
- People in Waziristan are living with drones overhead, they don’t know when the next attack is going to come.
- It started out as a car caravan with more than 100 vehicles; they drove for hours.
- The goal was to get to south Waziristan, the epicenter of the US drone attacks.
- President Obama has declared all young men in Pakistan to be potential militants. It gives the green light to shooting civilians.
- These soldiers are sitting there all day looking at the screen as if it’s a video game.
- These military pilots are going to work all day, pressing buttons that kill people thousands of miles away and going home to their dinner table in Vegas at night.
- It’s a primary tool for attracting militants to join the Taliban.
- We’re continuing to build grassroots support to oppose Obama’s drone program.
- During the delegation we were actually able to deliver thousands of signatures collected on a Stop Drones petition directly to Obama at one of his fundraisers in San Francisco.
- In Congress there’s also a Drones Caucus; the leaders, such as Bill Buck McKeon, are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from drone manufacturers.
Guest – Rae Abileah, co-director of CODEPINK Women for Peace and a co-organizer of Occupy AIPAC, the Stolen Beauty boycott of Ahava cosmetics, and Women Occupy. Rae is a contributing author to 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military; Sisters Singing: Incantations, Blessings, Chants, Prayers, Art and Sacred Stories by Women; Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Stories of Jewish Peace Activists; and Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution. She lives in San Francisco, CA.
11 Years of War in Afghanistan
This month marks 11 years since the war in Afghanistan was launched. Operation Enduring Freedom coalition forces include the United States, the UK, Australia and the Afghan United Front. We’ve talked with past guests about how multi-national corporations are involved in trying to integrate Afghanistan into the global system by building schools and infrastructure. We’ve also talked about the strategic energy alliances forming between Russia and China on one side and how three Caspian Sea oil companies continue to lock the US in to the war.
This is already the longest war in US history.
We hear from President Obama that within the year 2014 combat troops will be withdrawn.
We’re hearing new calls from different forces including, most recently, the Secretary General of NATO, indicating there was a possibility that NATO may pull out its troops earlier then the end of 2014 because of the insider killings.
The only figures we have for civilian deaths began in 2007; they began counting some confirmed deaths. About 13,000 Afghan civilians killed since 2007.
The US is there in two ways: the US has a commander who happens to be the NATO commander. Other US troops are there separately. The US has almost 70,000 troops there now, NATO has 40,000 other troops and there are about 90,000 US-paid contractors.
US troop casualties: Even that now is unclear.
Last week a number of press outlets reported the 2,000th US military casualty.
Young people in Afghanistan join the military for the same reasons young people in the United States join the military, because they’re desperate for a job.
A couple of weeks ago, 9 Afghan women and little girls were killed gathering wood before dawn to build a fire, to make breakfast.
The Pentagon said, “oh sorry,” and somehow think that its going to make it ok.
Add to that the lack of cultural sensitivity, the lack of language training so there’s no sense from soldiers on the ground that they have any idea what this culture is about, who these people are.
Afghanistan is about 25 million people; the vast majority don’t live in the cities. They live in tiny hamlets and small towns, small villages, very scattered.
What we’re seeing is an expansion of the global war on terror.
There is an anti-war movement; it’s just not as visible as we’ve seen in earlier times.
That’s the hardest part of our work is not just building an anti-war movement; it’s making our government take into account the opinions of not only a movement but the American people.
Guest – Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. In 2001, she helped found and remains on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. She works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, co-chairs the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement. She continues to serve as an adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.