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It's a game of "Chicken!" Demand the drone memos!!
BREAKING: CODEPINK Attempts Citizen's Arrest Of Kissinger
CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL VIDEO OF HEARING
Washington, DC –– On Thursday, January 29, CODEPINK protesters spoke out during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing attempting to perform a citizens’ arrest on Henry Kissinger. Holding handcuffs and large signs that read: KISSINGER: WAR CRIMINAL and ARREST KISSINGER FOR WAR CRIMES, activists read aloud a citizens’ arrest [pasted below]. In response, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Committee, called the human rights activists “lowlife scum” and said it was “the most disgraceful and despicable demonstration he had ever seen.”
“CODEPINK is really proud of our action in the Senate today, speaking out on behalf of the people of Indochina, China, East Timor and peace-loving people everywhere,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, “Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions. He’s a murderer, a liar, a crook, and a thug, and should be tried at the Hague.”
“I chose to speak out during the Senate Arms Committee because I’m appalled that the Senate would bring in a war criminal to testify about ‘American leadership’ when the only things Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright have shown leadership in is wreaking destruction upon other countries and murdering countless innocent civilians,” said 26-year-old CODEPINK National Coordinator Alli McCracken. “Is that the leadership we want to uphold as a nation and use to determine our current and future foreign policies? We need to stop rehashing these tired old war criminals and come up with a new foreign policy based on diplomacy and compassion –– two things Kissinger knows nothing about.”
“Henry Kissinger is one of many representatives of the culture of impunity which still dominates American leaders’ approach to foreign policy. While he has been continually criticized by activists for his orchestration of or support for egregious crimes, he is regarded as a bulwark for global diplomacy by those who walk the hallowed halls of congress. His true legacy is that of destruction. He is the great American villain, Kissinger’s agent orange in Vietnam is Bush’s Depleted Uranium in Iraq, the time to end impunity is now,” said Anna Kaminski, a CODEPINK organizer.
The Citizens’ Arrest warrant denounced Henry Kissinger for complicity in the bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. “Democracies should hold their officials accountable for their acts. That’s why we demand that Kissinger be arrested for crimes against humanity and tried at the Hague,” the warrant concluded.
CITIZENS’ ARREST WARRANT:
CODEPINK calls for the arrest of Henry Kissinger for War Crimes
Vietnam: From 1969 through 1973, Kissinger, working for Richard Nixon, oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which led to the deaths of millions of people. Many thousands more died from the affects of massive doses of Agent Orange and from unexploded US bombs that cover the countryside.
Chile: Henry Kissinger was one of the principle architects of the coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, a coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. Sixteen years of repression, torture and death followed under the rule of Kissinger’s friend, the fascist Augusto Pinochet.
East Timor: In 1975, while working for President Gerald Ford, Kissinger pre-approved the Indonesian dictator Suharto’s bloody invasion of the small island of East Timor. This illegal act of aggression was carried out with weapons furnished by the US. By the time the Indonesian occupation finally ended in 1999, 200,000 Timorese – 30 percent of the population – had been wiped out.
This is Kissinger’s legacy. Death. Destruction. Suffering. Misery. Dictatorships. His is a murderer, a liar, a crook, a thug.
Democracies should hold their officials accountable for their acts. That’s why we demand that Kissinger be arrested for crimes against humanity and tried at the Hague.
Coordinated by Code Pink
You can use your computer and your phone!
First Ever Peace and Goodwill
Delegation to Pakistan
by Trudy Cooper
The US is not at war with Pakistan. Yet US drones hover overhead in the tribal regions of North and South Waziristan. Almost daily, there are strikes. Since 2004, these drones have killed as many as 3,000 people in Pakistan. Hundreds more are wounded. Nearly all of them are civilians.
These victims and survivors are mostly non-combatants.
These human beings, like most of us, are simply trying to live their lives. They are working the fields, cooking r meals, and educating their children. The strikes have destabilized their communities. These people are traumatized, both physically and psychologically, from fear and grief. The buzz overhead is never-ending. May people are chronically ill from the continuous stress: women in these areas give birth prematurely and children are unable to sleep at night because they fear death at any moment from the skies. These communities are helpless to protect themselves. The residents are unable to move from the area because they do not have the necessary skills or education to survive elsewhere.
What is a drone?
A drone is an “unmanned aerial vehicle.” Drones have been in use for the last thirty years, though few among us have been aware of them until recently. Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, most drones were for peaceful or surveillance use. The more recently developed “Predator” and “Reaper” models are weaponized drones, armed with Hellfire missiles. The drones that strike in Pakistan are primarily the Reapers, operated remotely from Creech air force base in Nevada.
Who are the victims?
The US government and the CIA list the majority of the dead and wounded as “enemy combatants.” Headlines from CNN will report, “20 militants killed in North Waziristan.” The method the government uses to define a “militant” is “all military-aged males.” The presumption is that any male in an area of terrorist activity who is old enough to have facial hair is “probably up to no good.”
In other words, they are “combatants until proven otherwise.” There are vast discrepancies between the number of dead the US military acknowledges as civilians and the numbers that families from these regions have reported as civilian dead. Local people and Pakistani research organizations estimate that 95% of the victims have been civilians.
Why is the US bombing its ally?
This is the question we all need to ask. So far, the question has been posed from sources throughout the world.
In 2008, after four years of strikes in Pakistan, a UN report declared these strikes illegal. Former assistant to the UN secretary-general, Dennis Halliday, called the use of drones “a total violation of international law, the UN charter and…the Geneva conventions.” At the last session of the the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June, many states called for an investigation into the use of drones.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, says that Pakistan has never at any point agreed to the drone strikes.
The Pakistani government has demanded repeatedly that the strikes stop.
A Pakistani attorney is suing the CIA for violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and for compensation to the victims.
There is a lawsuit by the Civil Liberties Union and several other organizations within the UK, Pakistan, and the United States.
But these strikes continue.
Not only do the strikes continue, the US has aggressive plans to increase their use. Rapidly, over the past few years, they have become the most common means to fight “the war on terror.” The justification for these drones is that they protect us. But Wiki leaks cables have revealed the US government is well-aware of increased terrorism that has resulted directly from backlash in Pakistan and elsewhere.
So why does this warfare on an ally continue to escalate? Many believe there are four principal reasons: first, the US can suppress and subdue those countries who want to plot their own course, whether toward democracy or toward other forms of rule. Second, by increasing the backlash, radicalization and terrorism within the bombed countries, the US can justify continued occupation of these areas. With a US military presence, pressure for conditions that are favorable to US hegemony can continue. Third, drone use continues to expand because this is a technology that meets with almost no resistance or objection from the US public.
Why does the US public support the use of drones?
A poll conducted by Pew in 2012 shows that most of the international community condemns the strikes as “barbaric.” But in both the US and the UK, the poll shows that the public overwhelmingly believes the drones are a great advancement toward a “clean and precise” weapon of war. More recently, the drones were described at a conference of the American Security Project in Washington, D.C. “the least horrible choice.” But we have to ask, “For whom?”
A First Hand Account of The “double Tap”
“I heard a massive noise from an attack and all the glass in the house broke…I saw people crying 'Help us, help us’, there was a huge fire. Since everyone in the [damaged] house was dead or injured, the only people who could help were other villagers…
Many people were badly burned. We put three in my pick-up truck and took them to Miranshah town – doctors there told us they were unlikely to live, each having 90 per cent burns to his body. Back in Danda Darpakhel more people had come to the attack site to help with the rescue, thinking that the danger had now passed after 30 minutes. But the drones returned and fired again. If I had been there I would have been caught in that explosion. People there were killed, including two of my friends. They were good people. One was a student; the other ran a stall at the local bazaar.”
~Samiullah Khan, Waziristan journalist
It certainly is the case that with drone technology, there are no US casualties. The “pilots” of the drones are thousands of miles from their targets. They don’t return to a bunker; they drive to their own homes at the end of the day and have meals with their families. The military recruits their drone operators from high schools. These young people are from a generation that grew up with and excelled at video games.
In fact, piloting a drone takes little more than video game skills. The makers of the consoles designed them deliberately to mimic every aspect of video gaming. At Creech air force base in Nevada, 19 and 20 year old pilots view surveillance data and live video. They steer the planes and deploy the weapons through use of a joystick. They engage a strike when they see what they think is “suspicious behavior.” One pilot interviewed by Medea Benjamin, author of “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control,” described his job as “boring.” Many hours go by before they spot a target. He described it as becoming exciting at the moment when they do, as they are finally able to make a kill.
The strike policy is to “double tap,” aiming a second strike at what they term the “squirters,” who survived the first strike, and are trying to go back and rescue any at the bomb site who may have survived the first strike. The “pilots” refer to the first-strike victims as the “bug splats.”
To most of us, the term “first responder” would apply to those who go in to rescue the wounded. Instead of “bug splats,” most of us would use the words, “men, women and children.” In fact, according to sources in Pakistan, 95% of the victims were people who were in or outside their homes or in their fields, or perhaps gathered for a wedding or a funeral. One of the larger of the “bug splats” was a gathering in which 60 people died. They were burying the dead from an earlier strike, days before, when they were hit by a missile fired at them from a Reaper Drone. At least ten children and four tribal leaders were among the dead.
A well known, key feature of objectification is “distance from the consequences of one’s actions against the object.” The young people operating the joysticks in the Nevada desert are 7,000 miles from their victims. They cannot hear their cries or smell their burning flesh.
Do drones produce more terrorists than they kill?
Former top CIA terrorism official Robert Grenier says the US has created “a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing.” This reality seems to have been understood by the majority of Pakistanis since the beginning of the drone strikes, in 2004. According to a prominent political figure in Pakistan, Imran Kahn, most of the militants are fighting now not because of ideology, “but because of the collateral damage caused by this war."
Who Opposes the Use of Drones in Pakistan?
Join us at the Peace House Fundraiser for the Delegation to Pakistan
Saturday, September 15,
at 2116 NE 18th Ave, Portland, OR 97212
Food, Music, Program, Snacks and socializing. Drone slide show & discussion. Music! Maeve Z!
“General Strike!” (‘fanning the flames of discontent”) http://www.generalstrikeband.com/
We are fundraising for travel expenses for delegate Trudy Cooper.
International resistance to the drones is growing. Asrecently as 2011, there was little discussion of drones, but a few months into 2012, activists and human rights attorneys from several nations are coordinating their resistance actions.
Within Pakistan, the most prominent figure to organize publicly and loudly against the drones is Imran Kahn, the founder and chair of the Pakistan Movement for Justice Party. This spring, Kahn has organized an international rally and "peace caravan." Kahn expects to attract 100,000 people, most of them from the region that are hit by the drones strikes, the Federally Administered Territories (FATA).
The international participants will arrive in Islamabad, and the plan is to march to North Waziristan. Political figures and human rights activists from the UK are expected, as well as a wide range of international media.
What can we do?
Perhaps the most visible international support that Kahn has attracted is from within the US. The activists from Code Pink, an anti-war organization based in DC, plan to join the rally and march. This group of approximately fifty is led by Code Pink’s co-founder Medea Benjamin. Many within the delegation are women and men who have children who have served in Afghanistan.
Medea and Code Pink were invited directly by the Pakistani organization, the Foundation for Fundamental Rights. Facilitated by human rights attorney Shahzad Akbar, the two delegations will meet with political figures, attorneys representing survivors, and the tribal elders of the communities that are the targets of the strikes.
Pakistani’s believe that Pakistan has little power to stop the strikes other than through public opinion: ‘We cannot take on the only superpower, which is all-powerful in the world at the moment. You can’t take them on. We are a small country, we are ill-equipped.’ ~High Commissioner to the UK Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Portland’s Delegation—Trudy Cooper & Karen Boyer
From Portland, Karen Boyer and I are attending. On October 3, we will arrive with about fifty others, and will return October 10.
I am honored to have been accepted to represent the concerned people of Portland.
I hope you will be able to come to the fundraiser that the Peace House is holding to help with airfare and other expenses for the trip.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Lisa firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 503-757-1737.
If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute to this effort, you may make a donation at this WePay site: https://www.wepay.com/donations/send-trudy-to-join-the-code-pink-peace-delegation-to-pakistan
They know that their only hope (and ours) is to build direct relationships with the people of other countries. They need us to bring their stories to the world.
Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man Portal at The Portland Alliance