Posted on December 13, 2012 b y Democracy Now!
The Pentagon has quietly confirmed plans to replenish the U.S.-made munitions used by Israel in its recent assault on the Gaza Strip. The website Common Dreams reports that Congress has been notified of a $647 million deal to resupply the Israeli Air Force with the bombs and missiles that rained on Gaza over the course of the eight-day siege. The U.S.-backed Israeli attack killed more than 180 Palestinians, including many children. Congress is expected to approve the deal this week.
Posted on December 13, 2012 by OpEdNews
By David Swanson (about the author)
Veterans For Peace urgently calls on the United States and NATO to cease all military activity in Syria, halt all U.S. and NATO shipments of weapons, and abandon all threats to further escalate the violence under which the people of Syriaare suffering.
NATO troops and missiles should be withdrawn from Turkey and other surrounding nations. U.S. ships should exit the Mediterranean.
Veterans For Peace is an organization of veterans who draw upon their military experiences in working for the abolition of war. We have not entered into this work without consideration of many situations similar to the current one in Syria.
Peace negotiations, while very difficult, will be easier now, and will do more good now, than after greater violence. Those negotiations must come, and delaying them will cost many men, women, and children their lives.
No good can come from U.S. military intervention in Syria. The people of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan,Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and dozens of other nations in Latin America and around the world have not been made better off by U.S. military intervention.
While experts have great doubt that the Syrian government will use chemical weapons, while accounts of past use are dishonest, and while claims that such use is imminent are unsubstantiated and highly suspicious, the most likely way to provoke such use is the threat of an escalated foreign intervention. Required now by practicality, morality, and the law is de-escalation.
The possession or use of one kind of weapon cannot justify the use of another. Were the Syrian government to use chemical weapons against Syrians, the United States would not be justified in using other kinds of weapons against Syrians. The United States possesses chemical and biological weapons, as well as nuclear weapons, and possesses and uses cluster bombs, white phosphorus, depleted uranium weapons, mines, and weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles — none of which justifies military attacks on the U.S. government.
The United States’ own military actions kill far more civilians than combatants. The United Statesfacilitates and tolerates governments’ abuses of their own people in nations around the world and around Western Asia, notably in Bahrain – not to mention in Syria, to which the United States has in recent years sent victims to have them tortured. The world does not believe U.S. motivations for intervention in Syria are humanitarian. The motivation has been too openly advertised as the overthrow of a government too friendly with the government of Iran and insufficiently subservient to NATO. Syria has been on a Pentagon list for regime change since at least 2001.
The threat of war, like the use of war, is a violation of the U.N. Charter, to which both the United Statesand Syria are parties. War without Congressional declaration is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Another U.S. war will not only breed hostility. It will directly arm and supply those already hostile to the U.S. government.
How many times must we watch the same mistakes repeated?
The options are not limited to doing nothing or escalating warfare. Nonviolent resistance to tyranny has proven far more likely to succeed, and the successes far longer lasting. Nations and individuals outside of Syria should do what they can to facilitate the nonviolent pursuit of justice.
But Syria’s struggles should be controlled by the Syrian people without military intervention. The first step is a cease-fire and de-escalation. The U.S. military and NATO can assist only by departing.
Posted on December 8, 2012 by FightBack! News
Jess Sundin at Human Rights Day rally (FightBack! News)
Minneapolis, MN – About 75 people rallied here Dec. 8, the weekend before International Human Rights Day, to say no to the U.S. using human rights to justify wars and sanctions.
Jess Sundin, of the Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee told the crowd, “With war or sanctions, the U.S. is not looking to liberate the peoples of Iran and Syria, any more than it was doing this in Viet Nam and Iraq. These countries are targets because they assert their independence from the will of Washington. Just as human rights are founded on respect for human dignity and equality, the anti-war movement must found itself on respecting the dignity and equality of nations, upholding the right to self-determination.”
Sundin emphasized, “The U.S. government can never be a champion of human rights.”
Sarah Martin, of the Women Against Military Madness Middle East Committee stated, “The objective of the U.S.-NATO alliance is to ultimately replace the independent secular Syrian state with a complaint regime. Syria has fiercely supported self-determination for Palestine. It is a strong ally of Hezbollah and Iran. It does not do the bidding of Israel or the U.S. Thrusting Syria into helpless chaos is part of the preparation of an eventual war against Iran.”
Sundin and Martin are among the Twin Cities anti-war activists who were raided by the FBI and called before a Chicago grand jury investigating “material support of terrorism.” Mick Kelly, who was also raided by the FBI, denounced the federal investigation into anti-war and international solitary activities as violation of human rights and an attempt to criminalize solidarity.
Misty Rowan, of Anti-War Committee speaking at Human Rights Day protest (FightBack! News)
The event, which included a ten-block march thought the surrounding neighborhood, was organized by the Anti-War Committee. Endorsers included the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Communities United Against Police Brutality, the Joe Callahan Support Committee, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, National Lawyers Guild (MN Chapter), U of MN Students for a Democratic Society, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and Women Against Military Madness.
Published on November 22, 2012 by The New York Times
By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER
An Israeli missile is launched from a battery. Officials said their antimissile system shot down 88 percent of all assigned targets. (NY TImes)
WASHINGTON — The conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel seemed like the latest episode in a periodic showdown. But there was a second, strategic agenda unfolding, according to American and Israeli officials: The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to counter them.
It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
And one key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran’s ability to slip next-generation missiles into the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran’s surrogates, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis over sanctions or an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a military historian, likened the insertion of Iranian missiles into Gaza to the Cuban missile crisis.
“In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union,” Mr. Oren said Wednesday, as the cease-fire was declared. “In Operation Pillar of Defense,” the name the Israel Defense Forces gave the Gaza operation, “Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran.”
It is an imprecise analogy. What the Soviet Union was slipping into Cuba 50 years ago was a nuclear arsenal. In Gaza, the rockets and parts that came from Iran were conventional, and, as the Israelis learned, still have significant accuracy problems. But from one point of view, Israel was using the Gaza battle to learn the capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad — the group that has the closest ties to Iran — as well as to disrupt those links.
Indeed, the first strike in the eight-day conflict between Hamas and Israel arguably took place nearly a month before the fighting began — in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, as another mysterious explosion in the shadow war with Iran.
A factory said to be producing light arms blew up in spectacular fashion on Oct. 22, and within two days the Sudanese charged that it had been hit by four Israeli warplanes that easily penetrated the country’s airspace. Israelis will not talk about it. But Israeli and American officials maintain that Sudan has long been a prime transit point for smuggling Iranian Fajr rockets, the kind that Hamas launched against Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over recent days.
The missile defense campaign that ensued over Israeli territory is being described as the most intense yet in real combat anywhere — and as having the potential to change warfare in the same way that novel applications of air power in the Spanish Civil War shaped combat in the skies ever since.
Of course, a conflict with Iran, if a last-ditch effort to restart negotiations fails, would look different than what has just occurred. Just weeks before the outbreak in Gaza, the United States and European and Persian Gulf Arab allies were practicing at sea, working on clearing mines that might be dropped in shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz.
But in the Israeli and American contingency planning, Israel would face three tiers of threat in a conflict with Iran: the short-range missiles that have been lobbed in this campaign, medium-range rockets fielded by Hezbollah in Lebanon and long-range missiles from Iran.
The last of those three could include the Shahab-3, the missile Israeli and American intelligence believe could someday be fitted with a nuclear weapon if Iran ever succeeded in developing one and — the harder task — shrinking it to fit a warhead.
A United States Army air defense officer said that the American and Israeli militaries were “absolutely learning a lot” from this campaign that may contribute to a more effective “integration of all those tiered systems into a layered approach.”
The goal, and the challenge, is to link short-, medium- and long-range missile defense radar systems and interceptors against the different types of threats that may emerge in the next conflict.
Even so, a historic battle of missile versus missile defense has played out in the skies over Israel, with Israeli officials saying their Iron Dome system shot down 350 incoming rockets — 88 percent of all targets assigned to the missile defense interceptors. Israeli officials declined to specify the number of interceptors on hand to reload their missile-defense batteries.
Before the conflict began, Hamas was estimated to have amassed an arsenal of 10,000 to 12,000 rockets. Israeli officials say their pre-emptive strikes on Hamas rocket depots severely reduced the arsenal of missiles, both those provided by Iran and some built in Gaza on a Syrian design.
But Israeli military officials emphasize that most of the approximately 1,500 rockets fired by Hamas in this conflict were on trajectories toward unpopulated areas. The radar tracking systems of Iron Dome are intended to quickly discriminate between those that are hurtling toward a populated area and strays not worth expending a costly interceptor to knock down.
“This discrimination is a very important part of all missile defense systems,” said the United States Army expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe current military assessments. “You want to ensure that you’re going to engage a target missile that is heading toward a defended footprint, like a populated area. This clearly has been a validation of the Iron Dome system’s capability.”
The officer and other experts said that Iran also was certain to be studying the apparent inability of the rockets it supplied to Hamas to effectively strike targets in Israel, and could be expected to re-examine the design of that weapon for improvements.
Israel currently fields five Iron Dome missile defense batteries, each costing about $50 million, and wants to more than double the number of batteries. In the past two fiscal years, the United States has given about $275 million in financial assistance to the Iron Dome program. Replacement interceptors cost tens of thousands of dollars each.
Just three weeks ago, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited an Iron Dome site as a guest of his Israeli counterpart during the largest American-Israeli joint military exercise ever. For the three-week exercise, called Austere Challenge, American military personnel operated Patriot land-based missile defense batteries on temporary deployment to Israel as well as Aegis missile defense ships, which carry tracking radars and interceptors.
Despite its performance during the current crisis, though, Iron Dome has its limits.
It is specifically designed to counter only short-range rockets, those capable of reaching targets at a distance of no more than 50 miles. Israel is developing a medium-range missile defense system, called David’s Sling, which was tested in computer simulations during the recent American-Israeli exercise, and has fielded a long-range system called Arrow. “Nobody has really had to manage this kind of a battle before,” said Jeffrey White, a defense fellow for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “There are lots of rockets coming in all over half the country, and there are all different kinds of rockets being fired.”
Posted by the ANSWER Coalition on November 14, 2012
After getting the go-ahead from the Obama administration in a meeting at the White House on Monday, Israel has launched another major assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Israeli troops have been assembled at the border and are poised to invade Gaza again.
Click here to send a letter to President Obama and elected officials to stop funding Israeli war crimes!
Omar jihad Mashrawi, a Palestinian from Al Zeitoun, holding his one-year-old son who just died from his injuries at Al Shifahospital, city of Gaza, on November 14, 2012.
(Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
In an act designed to provoke a wider war, missiles from Israel assassinated a top Hamas official and killed and wounded many others as its planes and warships have struck more than 20 targets in an ongoing assault. Reports of the bombardment of Gaza are continuing as bodies, including those of children, are being brought to the hospital and morgue.
The ANSWER Coalition joins with people all over the world to condemn this act of wanton aggression and murder, and has issued the following statement:
“All U.S. aid to Israel should be ended once and for all. The people of the United States stand against the government that speaks in our name and sends $3 billion of our tax dollars every year so that Israel can kill and colonize the people of Palestine. The fact that the Obama administration was briefed on Monday prior to the attack shows that these latest crimes are a joint U.S.-Israeli operation. The Pentagon immediately announced after the first wave of murderous assaults today that Israel was its ‘partner.’ Israel may be a partner of U.S. imperialism as it acts as an extension of Pentagon and CIA power in the Middle East. But it is absolutely not the partner of the people of this country who are horrified by its policy of endless war against the Palestinian people and all the peoples of the region.”
Click here to send a letter to President Obama and elected officials to stop funding Israeli war crimes!
The ANSWER Coalition urges everyone to go into the streets and join and organize a demonstration in your area. Let us know about a protest near you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of actions:
Friday, Nov. 16, 5pm
UNM bookstore (Central and Cornell)
Contact: 505-268-2488 or email@example.com
Saturday, Nov. 17, 12noon
Contact: 443-759-9968 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Boca Raton, FL
Thursday, Nov. 15, 9am-2pm
FAU Breezeway: 777 Glades Rd.
Thursday, Nov. 15, 4:30pm
Thursday, Nov. 15, 4pm
Obama Headquarters, 130 E. Randolph St.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2pm
Broward Federal Courthouse
299 East Broward Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Nov. 15, 4pm
Israeli Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Blvd.
Contact: 213-251-1025 or email@example.com
New Haven, CT
Saturday, Nov. 17, 12 noon
141 Church St. (opposite the Green)
Contact: 203-903-4480 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY
Thursday, Nov. 15, 5pm
In front of the Israeli Consulate (42nd St. and 2nd Ave.)
Friday, Nov. 16, 12 noon
Israeli Consulate: 1880 JFK Blvd.
San Francisco, CA
Thursday, Nov. 15, 5:15pm
Consulate General of Israel
456 Montgomery St Ste 1500, San Francisco
Friday, Nov. 16, 12 noon
Corner of Fayette St. and Clinton St.
Contact: 315-491-6987 or Syracuse@answercoalition.org
Friday, Nov. 16, 6pm
Rally at the State Department (2201 C Street Northwest),
Followed by March to the White House
Contact: 202-265-1948 or email@example.com
Posted on November 4, 2012 by FightBack! News
Thunder Bay, ON – On Nov. 1, Joe Callahan’s trial on immigration charges here in the Ontario Court of Justice ended in victory for Callahan and the movement. During the two-day trial, 30 members of the Joe Callahan Support Committee from Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota and Thunder Bay, along with Callahan’s family members, packed the court room.
In July 2011 Joe Callahan was arrested at the Pigeon River border crossing into Canada. The crossing is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. A backpack containing El Salvadoran passports and maps of the area were found in his trunk. At the same time, a couple from El Salvador seeking refugee status was picked up in the area. Callahan was arrested and spent the next 30 days in a Thunder Bay jail in deplorable conditions. The most serious charge was ‘human trafficking and smuggling,’ which carries a sentence of very large fines and years in jail. He was released on $75,000 bail and returned to Minneapolis while he awaited trial.
After many months, these serious charges were finally dropped. On Oct. 31, Callahan pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting under Canada’s Immigration and Protection Act. The charge of providing misleading information was dropped. However, the Crown continued to play hardball. The prosecutor asked for a three to six month prison sentence, arguing that bringing people in illegally put the country in danger. He also admitted he’d never seen such a level of support for a defendant in the courtroom.
Francis Thatcher, Callahan’s lawyer, made a powerful case that Joe is a humanitarian and that what he did was in keeping with his lifelong commitment to immigrant rights. In his statement to the court, Callahan said, “I lived in Arizona and saw how ‘coyotes’ exploited and endangered undocumented immigrants. I would never do this. I find it abhorrent.”
The judge sentenced Callahan with a $5000 fine and no prison time. She also referred to the number of Callahan’s supporters in the courtroom and the 23 letters written on his behalf.
Callahan has returned to his home. He will continue to organize against U.S.-led wars, for immigrant rights and against repression – including the 23 people under investigation by a federal grand jury in Chicago for their international solidarity work in Palestine and Colombia – for the Cuban 5, for the two Somali women from Rochester, Minnesota who have been convicted of material support and for many other political prisoners.
The favorable outcome for Callahan comes after the victory of Carlos Montes against political repression.
A victory party will be held Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. at 4200 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis.
Posted on October 20, 2012 by Fight Back! News
Minneapolis, MN – More than 175 people came to the event “Iran in the Crosshairs” on Oct. 19 to hear from anti-war activists and Congressman Keith Ellison (Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota) about how to stop the U.S. march to war.
Representative Keith Ellison speaking at October 19 forum on Iran. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Margaret Sarfehjooy with Women Against Military Madness laid out the context of U.S. war threats and sanctions on Iran. “Our crippling sanctions on Iran have already resulted in deaths caused by lack of medicine, according to an official from the Tehran Thalassemia Association. The Iranian Hemophilia Society announced in August that ‘the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs caused by international economic sanctions.’”
Representative Keith Ellison spoke about the atmosphere of war in the U.S. Congress and about the pressure he is under to support war. He explained that anyone who proposes a sanctions bill gets a hearing and that everyone in Congress is pressured to vote for any kind of sanctions.
Ellison has voted against sanctions on Iran twice and he explained his votes. He didn’t promise to vote against sanctions on Iran in the future, but he did say, “It’s easier to vote no if you know you have the backing of your community.” He did promise, “I’m not going to vote for sanctions that will make it harder for the U.S. to talk.”
Ellison concluded that he thinks the U.S. is on a path to war with Iran and that he sees pushing sanctions as leading the U.S. to war.
Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee concluded the event with an impassioned appeal for action, “We need to be a voice for peace and justice. We cannot be passive. We cannot assume that our leaders will do the right thing. The threat of war and the impact of sanctions already in place on Iran are very real. When we are silent we send a message that the status quo is acceptable and we know that there is a real possibility of war and we can’t be quiet about this. We need to raise the demand of no war with Iran on the national and state level.”
The Minnesota Peace Project, the Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness sponsored the event.
We broadcast from Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s six-decade history. On Sunday, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as members of Afghans for Peace, led a peace march of thousands of people. Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers’ voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. “I’m here to return my Global War on Terror Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan,” said Jason Hurd, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. “I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe.” [includes rush transcript]
Carlos Montes, Los Angeles activist targeted by FBI repression, at Chicago anti-NATO protest. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Posted on May 21, 2012 by FightBack! News
By Tom Burke
Chicago, IL – In the largest anti-war protest ever held in Chicago, 15,000 people took to the streets marching against the NATO military summit. Inside McCormick Convention Center, politicians, generals and bankers discussed the faltering U.S./NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan. They also forged agreements that set the stage for destabilizing and overthrowing independent governments in places like Syria and Iran.
Outside, in the streets of Chicago’s South Loop however, waves of protesters marched in contingents with a message against NATO and G8, opposing war and poverty. Protesters were chanting and singing, surrounded by police on all sides. They were in high spirits and feeling their power, knowing their message of opposing war and poverty was reaching across the world to people suffering from NATO wars and occupations.
The day began with music and poetry at Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park, a park famous for 1960s protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Rebel Diaz, Tom Morello, David Rovics and hip-hop poets performed, with an appearance by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). As the crowd began to grow, many taking shelter in the shade of nearby trees, protesters listened to speakers from scores of groups and movements that built for the protest against NATO.
The audience listened closely when Chicano leader and anti-war activist Carlos Montes took the stage. Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) held a big banner reading “Justice for Carlos Montes” behind him. Montes said, “I am here in solidarity with you today, despite being on trial in Los Angeles as part of an FBI frame up. I am being persecuted because of my anti-war, immigrant rights and labor activism. I organized protests against the U.S. War in Vietnam in the ‘60s and I organize against NATO and the U.S. war in Afghanistan today. We were in solidarity with and inspired by the people of Vietnam in their struggle against U.S. imperialism and we act in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Colombia, the Philippines and Mexico today. I call for the U.S. out of Afghanistan and to no U.S. or NATO intervention in Syria and Iran.”
Hatem Abudayyeh, a Palestinian-American, who is one of 23 Midwest anti-war activists subpoenaed to a grand jury investigation and had his home raided by the FBI because of his solidarity work, also spoke: “We are organizing toward the day when Palestine will be a free and sovereign nation, with the right to return for refugees. We call for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and for people here to join us in demanding Palestinian liberation!” A big roar went up from the entire crowd.
Meredith Aby from the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee spoke about the need to get NATO out of Afghanistan and prevent future U.S. wars for oil and Empire. Aby is also one of the 23 who the FBI raided and she asserted, “Being anti-war is not a crime!’
The Reverend Jesse Jackson, from Chicago’s Operation PUSH and a former presidential candidate, called for an end to spending billions on war. He demanded the money be used to fund social services and end poverty. Jackson educated the crowd about poverty in this country, often portrayed in the media as only affecting African-Americans and other oppressed peoples. Reverend Jackson said, “The largest single category of poor people is white women who are single parents with children.” Reverend Jackson used the African-American call and response tradition in his speech, much to the amazement of Occupy Wall Street activists who use a similar technique.
All in all there were more than 40 speakers from students, labor, immigrant rights, war veteran, environmental, housing and healthcare groups. Speakers included Leah Bolger, the President of Vets for Peace, Larry Holmes of the International Action Center and Lisa Grab with Students for a Democratic Society. Many were interested to hear from the Afghan women for peace, and the International League of People’s Struggle representing many international movements for freedom.
There were dozens of international guests who came to the protest, particularly anti-NATO organizations from European NATO countries. The importance of this is not to be underestimated, as NATO is fragile and some countries have already pulled troops out of Afghanistan.
The afternoon march began with a group of Afghan women for peace joined by a large contingent of Iraq and Afghan war veterans marching together. The Coalition Against NATO and G8 (CANG8), the organizers of the march, held the lead banner, with the United National Antiwar Coalition F(UNAC) as a part of that.
A river of protesters stretched across four lanes of traffic and for nearly a mile on Michigan Avenue. Onlookers and whole families came out on apartment balconies and onto sidewalks to film and take photos.
When the march came to within a few blocks of McCormick Place, it was time for the war veterans to take command. In one of the most moving moments of any anti-war protest in a generation, U.S. military veterans made declarations against U.S. and NATO wars and occupations, throwing their medals off the stage and into the street. One war veteran describing his combat experience began choking back tears and saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” to which thousands in the streets began chanting, “It’s not your fault! It’s not your fault!”
Other veterans gave impassioned speeches against wars for oil and U.S. imperialism, denouncing the 1% and the U.S. government, while throwing their combat service awards and other medals as far as possible down the street towards the NATO summit. Jacob Flom of IVAW dedicated his medals to Carlos Montes and the Anti-War 23.
The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) ended the day with an announcement for people to exit to the west, taking note that there was a tremendous build-up of police in riot gear and military-type uniforms. The official show of force was intimidating to people and clearly planned and funded months ahead of time.
The crowds of protesters were so large, however, that it appeared impossible for everyone to exit in time for the end of the permitted Veterans rally. It soon became a scene of police encircling and pushing and shoving a much smaller crowd of people, some who responded in kind and were beaten and arrested. Others were simply singled out for arrest or beaten at random, including a few journalists. The big business media took up this story and these images to attempt to quickly bury the largest and most successful anti-war protest ever held in the city of Chicago.
While the greatest purveyors of violence in the world were meeting inside the NATO summit, the anti-war protesters outside sent a message heard round the world: “Say no to NATO! Troops out now!”
Posted on May 16, 2012 by The Star Tribune
About 100 antiwar protesters wiil be climbing on buses in Minneapolis on Saturday night and heading to Chicago to participate in a large march on Sunday to express opposition to NATO which is holding a summit meeting there next week. Chicago authorities say the demonstrations in the coming week could be massive and police are girding up for what they say could be major confrontations.
Local protesters say they plan to participate in a peaceful, legal march, for which parade permits have been obtained, Thousands of demonstratiors are expected to descend on Chicago from the midwest and the east coast. “Chicago police, who have a reputation for dealing toughly with protesters, will be prepared for the worst,” Reuters reports.
Representatives from 50 countries and many world leaders are expected to attend the NATO summit.
Sarah Martin, a member of the board of Women Against Military Madness in Minneapolis, said the local buses are sponsored by her group and the locally based Anti-War Committee. “Many other people are driving themselves,” said Coleen Rowley, the former FBI agent and whistleblower, who became active in the antiwar movement after her retirement. Rowley will be one of the speakers at a Friday news conference to talk about about the participation of Twin Cities activists in the Chicago protest.
There is some talk among law enforcement authorities that demonstrations in Chicago could become a repeat of the1999 protest in Seattle in which there were major confrontations during demonstrations over an international meeting of the World Trade Organization.
Martin, however, said local protesters going by bus are not intending to get arrested. They will climb aboard buses at 10 p.m. on Saturday at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis and then get back on the buses for their return trip at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, she said.
Martin said the purpose of the demonstration is “to voice our opposition to NATO, the war in Afghanistan, the bombing in Libya and talk of the missile shield” in Europe. Asked about President Obama’s announced plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, Martin said, “We want to make sure they get out sooner rather than later.” Rowley said NATO should been disbanded when the Cold War ended. She contends it went from “a defensive alliance to wars of aggression,” such as the NATO intervention in Libya.
Not everyone is pleased by the protesters’ plans. ”Protesters, anarchists, rogues, and dunces will descend on Chicago from all over the globe this week,” writes Peter Bella, a retired Chicago police officer, in the Washington Times. “They will create mayhem, consternation and enormous inconvenience in celebration of the NATO summit that will be held here this weekend.”