Link: A Policy of Cold-Blooded Murder

A Policy of Cold-Blooded Murder  by Nicolas J S Davies

President Obama has halted the macabre parade of hooded, shackled suspects in orange jump-suits stumbling off American planes into the tropical sunshine at Guantanamo. But he has not done so by restoring the rule of law. Instead, he has replaced Bush’s policy of kidnapping, torture and indefinite detention with a global campaign to kill terrorism suspects in cold blood.

U.S. officials have been formally prohibited from ordering assassinations since 1976 under President Ford’s executive order 11905. But just as Bush’s lawyers claimed that torture was not torture, Obama’s lawyers claim that assassination is not assassination but a new form of self-defense.

As John Bellinger, the Bush administration’s State Department Legal Adviser, explained to the Washington Post in June 2010, most of the people the Obama administration is targeting had nothing to do with September 11th, so there is no basis in U.S. law for these operations.

Tolerance for a Diversity of Tactics

I am posting to supplement discussion about tolerance for diversity of tactics secondary to discussion taking place on the listserv.

Nihilo0 has a pretty good critique of Mr. Hedges’ criticism of the black bloc tactic. Keep in mind that if everything you know about the black bloc exists from your reading in mainstream media that you are working seriously skewed knowledge. The political resistance to neocolonialist, globalist politics is dangerous. It’s worse than precinct political battles where feelings get hurt and harsh things are sometimes uttered. Heads get cracked. Non-violent protestors engaging in peaceful demonstrations are physically assaulted by heavily armed and armored riot police. This happens over and over. Pepper spraying sit-in demonstrators? Why not just get the dogs and water cannons out that were used against civil rights actiBlack bloc demonstrators at Malcolm X Park during the January 20, 2005 counter-inaugural protest. Photo taken January 20, 2005 by Ben Schum, courtesy Wiki Commonsvists 50 years ago? I guess that image has become historically linked to a bygone era, to rabid, violent politics of racial oppression. The imagery has to change, but the content remains the same. Physically assault and punish demonstrators who move beyond standing at certain street corners, waving signs.

Free speech zones? does that make sense when the first amendment demands that the country is a free speech zone?

If you decide to step off the sidewalk and block the street to stop the movement of military hardware through our communities or engage in other active, yet non-violent means to impede the dominant society you will end up going eyeball to eyeball with some heavily armed folks who are really enthusiastic about swinging batons, pepper spray, and tear gas. Their counterparts at the jails will enjoy the sexual humiliation of strip searching the unlucky souls who get scooped up in the dragnet. This is the real situation on the street that gives rise to a diversity of tactics that includes folks standing ready to deploy themselves in a black bloc tactic to put bodies between the heavily armed and armored riot police and peaceful demonstrators who have decided that sign-waving at certain street corners is not creating change. If you want to demonstrate in a way that is not inconvenient or harms the profitability of global militarist exploitation, you don’t need the black bloc. Many of us question if convenient, proscribed demonstration will ever create change.

Here is what nihilo0 has to say at Info Shop

The Folly of Christopher Hedges

Often, when describing the inevitable scenes of major protests in the United States, I evoke the image of a person who has lost a brother in Iraq, a person who has also lost a sister to the trumped up drug war, whose father had his job outsourced, whose mother had her pension gambled away by speculators, whose grandmother lost her home of 50 years because she missed a mortgage payment, and whose grandfather died of industrial poisoning and couldn’t afford health care. And make no mistake… variants of such individuals readily exist. So when such a person understandably shows up to protest the corporate oligarchy at a G8 meeting (or the national conventions of the corporate parties), they aren’t there to sing kumbaya, march along a permitted path, or have their head cracked by the brutal police. And if they get so angry that they throw a brick through a bank window… I will be the last person to condemn them.

I’m not giving the condescending approval of a social worker who understands some flawed psychology behind such actions… I’m suggesting that such rowdiness is perfectly human, rational, and even inspiring. I’m not suggesting that any particular individual at any particular event engage in such actions, but I fully understand some of the motivation behind such actions and wouldn’t condemn an individual engaging in them. And I don’t feel that condemnation or further punishment of such individuals is beneficial to society. On the contrary, such individuals may likely prove to be on the cutting edge of actual change in this country.

Enter Chris Hedges and the privileged leftist elite trying to pacify and reign in the righteous indignation of many abused Americans. As in his latest article, they primarily prescribe as a method for social change… accepting more punishment and self-sacrifice. But that’s easier to suggest for some than others. And why must they so often be quick to condemn those who aren’t willing to take anymore punishment? I’d suggest this reflects a shallow understanding of the true pain already administered to so many people and the sacrifices they’ve already made.

Such a stance also often belies a hypocritical stance in regard to revolutionary self-defense and aggression when it occurs in their own backyards. For example… Chris Hedges in an earlier article about Greece wrote:

“Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.”

But what has changed now that radicals in Oakland California have called a general strike, incited to riot, attempted to shut down city centers, and talked the language of class warfare? Why now condemn them as “the cancer of the occupy movement,” as Hedges has done? Why are such actions in the U.S. “a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state,” according to Hedges? To me, such conflicting sentiments smack of the hypocrisy that comes about when one changes their opinions with the shifting of political winds. Hedges is not sticking to his proverbial guns, he is merely going with the flow to appease the leftist sycophants who comprise his cult of personality. It’s sad, disgusting, and shameful.

read more?     “Human beings are the most domesticated of all the animals.” Ouch

Devastating account of waste, mismangement, and lies concerning the war in Iraq

AlterNet published an article by Peter Van Buren, I Had to Tell the Truth About Iraq–Even Though it Cost Me My Career.

The author, who worked for the State Department at a forward operating base in Iraq, says, “the space between what we were doing (the eye-watering waste and mismanagement), and what we were saying (the endless claims of success and progress), was filled with numb soldiers and devastated Iraqis….. the United States wasted more than $44 billion in the reconstruction/deconstruction of Iraq.”

The US Military prepared for a summit held in Iraq.

If you deploy enough police and soldiers — for the summit, Baghdad was shut down for a week, the cell phone network turned off, and a “public holiday” proclaimed to keep the streets free of humanity — you can temporarily tame any place, at least within camera view. More than $500 million was spent, in part planting flowers along the route dignitaries took in and out of the heavily fortified International Zone at the heart of the capital (known in my day as the Green Zone).

In response to his candor, Van Buren was harassed by his employers, tracked by security agents, and is about to be terminated. He met with other whistleblowers. “What we really have in common is that, in the course of just doing our jobs, we stumbled into colossal government wrongdoing (systematized torture, warrantless wiretapping, fraud, and waste), stood up for what is right in the American spirit, and found ourselves paying surprising personal prices for acts that seemed obvious and necessary. ”

The injustice of all this is compounded by the fact that the massive costs will be born not by the 1% who profited from the wars but by the rest of us, in the form of slashing of education and social programs.

Black Bloc 201

Courstey Wiki Commons: Steve KaiserFor folks who have not been present at non-violent demonstrations it may be helpful to understand that the original black block is the riot police who come out and assault non-violent demonstrators in a wholesale fashion.

Some pretty peaceful and peace-loving folks have been assaulted by the police.

Some of you may know Dorli Rainey from Seattle who was pepper sprayed during Occupy events.

Dorli Rainey courtesy blog.ardes.com

Dorli was 82 years old when she got pepper sprayed. She is spry and spunky, but I think it’s a hard sell to convince a reasonable person that Dorli could look dangerous to a heavily armored police officer.

So this is the backdrop for the tactic known as the black bloc. There are a lot of reasonable critiques of the black bloc. The most persuasive to me is the potential for police infiltration, for agent provocateurs to join the black bloc and to then commit an act of property destruction that will trigger a violent police riot. There is also the opportunity for a genuine black bloc participant to choose unnecessary violence and/or property destruction that will trigger a violent street riot.

I will be facilitating a round table discussion regarding the Occupy movement and the domestic armies at the Olympia Occupy Social Forum this coming weekend. Maybe I will see you there?

Anyway that I look at this situation, I see it as a complicated scenario. But I am reluctant to speak about either black bloc or the riot police and use the term nazis. I think that’s not a useful term to throw in the mix.

Click me please

Black Bloc 101

Chris Hedges made a few waves with his recent piece describing the black bloc as the cancer in occupy.

click me pleaseI believe in diversity. I think diversity is a fundamental natural law of the universe. But I understand that human beings have a tidiness gene that makes us think that we can organize and be more efficient through suppression of diversity, by rejection of the natural order and diversity that constantly arises and evaporates back in to the order of chaos. Chaos is not merely disorder. There may be a level of order benefit and diversity in chaos that is not easily observed and is under-appreciated.

The black bloc tactic is something that arises from police violence toward non-violent protest and the willingness of society to choose order over the bedrock right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievance.

Diversity of tactics and tolerance of the diversity of tactics is something that I embrace whole-heartedly. Things can go wrong. I have seen that. Things can go right. I have seen that as well. I am usually pleased to see a black bloc tactical option in a crowd of protesters. I believe Hedges could not be more wrong about the black bloc tactic.

Here is an interesting and informative piece in response to Hedges cancer article. I recommend that you read the piece if you don’t understand and appreciate the black bloc tactic or if you read the Hedges article and thought what he said made a lot of sense.

After you read the piece, you might want to look through the n + 1 zine that is carrying the piece. Looks like a pretty informative vehicle. A weapon of mass instruction. I am down with that. Thanks to my friend Elliot Stoller for bringing this piece to my attention.

Vets & Soldiers Speak Out against War: Friday in Seattle

On the 10th anniversary of the Afghan invasion
Vets & Soldiers Speak Out against War

Friday, October 7, 7:30pm
Doors open at 6:30pm

Three generations of veterans and soldiers will examine the human and economic costs of the endless U.S. occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the rise of anti-war sentiment and suicide rates among the troops.

Speakers
LeAnna Waldbauer – First Lieutenant in the Army Reserve who served in Iraq and is an outspoken anti-war feminist.
Warren Davis – African American conscientious objector who served a year in a Navy prison for refusing to deploy during the Gulf War.
Steve Hoffman – Navy veteran and submarine electrician, currently a Martin Luther King County Labor Council delegate.

$3 door donation requested. Hearty snack plates served for a $7 donation.

New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98118

On the #7 busline or a short walk east from the Columbia City light rail station. Wheelchair accessible.

Sponsored by Freedom Socialist Party
For more information: call 206-722-2453,
visit www.socialism.com/seattle or
email FSPseattle@mindspring.com.

To reserve childcare or arrange work exchanges, please call three days in advance.

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SeattleProtest and Die-In
Fri., Oct. 7, 4:30pm
Seattle Central Community College
Broadway and Pine
March to Westlake
for 5:30pm die-in and program