Sunday, May 31, 2009
video from : Synthetic Knowledge
From 2009 War Tax Boycott
The costs of war keep adding up, in dollars and in lives.
For over six years peace activists have voted, lobbied, marched, and taken direct action to first prevent and then end the illegal war and occupation in Iraq. Courageous soldiers have refused to fight the war. In Iraq and around the world peace-loving people have called for an end to the violence. But the Bush administration and Congress continue to authorize over $8 billion a month for the war on terror while the U.S. economy is in a tailspin and budget cuts are hitting services across the country. Politicians cannot be trusted with our money.
The War Tax Boycott campaign unites taxpayers who oppose this war in a powerful act of nonviolent civil disobedience — saying NO! to war with our money. Thousands of individuals in the U.S. take this stand despite the risks. Uniting our voices and actions through the War Tax Boycott strengthens our demand that Congress cut off the funds for this war and redirect resources to the pressing needs of people.
The War Tax Boycott was initiated in September 2007 by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) and is endorsed by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League, and the Maine WTR Resource Center. The War Tax Boycott campaign is also supported by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Veterans for Peace, Nonviolent Direct Action Working Group of United for Peace and Justice.
Over 500 people around the U.S. joined the War Tax Boycott during the 2008 tax season, ending April 15, 2008. They redirected over $300,000 to humanitarian programs, including medical aid for Katrina survivors, support for Iraqi refugees in Jordan, food banks, programs for the homeless, books for prisoners, environmental projects, peace groups, and hundreds of other nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
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GENEVA (AP) — An independent U.N. human rights investigator said Thursday that the United States is failing to properly investigate alleged war crimes committed by its soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Although some cases are investigated and lead to prosecutions, others aren't or result in lenient sentences, said Philip Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.
"There have been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practices and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings — including possible war crimes — in the United States' international operations," Alston said in a report dated May 26 and published on a U.N. Web site.
A spokesman for the U.S. mission in Geneva, Dick Wilbur, said Alston's conclusions and recommendations would be reviewed closely.
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It seems timely to remind us of this report from a year ago:
In 2002, as evidence of prisoner mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay began to mount, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at the base created a "war crimes file" to document accusations against American military personnel, but were eventually ordered to close down the file, a Justice Department report [large pdf file] revealed Tuesday. -- NYT May 2008The report also covers Iraq and Afghanistan: See tables of Interrogation Techniques Observed, Tables 8.1, 9.1, and 10.1 (the pdf document is searchable).
from the report:
One SSA who served two rotations as OSC at GTMO told us that he initially told the agents to write up detainee abuse allegations to a "war crimes" file so the FBI could retrieve the information if it was needed for further investigation.~ more... ~
Learn more at timothylearyarchives.org.
When: May 30, 2009
Place: 33 Revolutions
Address: 10086 San Pablo Ave
El Cerrito CA 94530
Here's a google map link
Take the Central Ave Exit of Highway 80, then go east five minutes to San Pablo Avenue.
It's just two blocks from El Cerrito Plaza Bart.
Phone: (510) 898-1836
You are cordially invited to a little celebration of a big day in Tim's life.
That's right, it's been 13 years since Tim left this dimension of space and time :-)
Have a drink and an organic nibble on us as we celebrate Tim's 13th year as a spirit (or however you identify the post-life experience :) !!
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Von NotHaus, 64, says he once was friends with psychedelic drug proponent Timothy Leary. But he's best known on the radical right for creating "American Liberty currency" certificates in denominations of $1, $5 and $10, starting in 1998. The certificates were backed by stocks of silver and gold stored in Idaho, von NotHaus said. The currency has been popular with extreme-right tax protesters and members of the radical "sovereign citizens" movement, who maintain that the federal government has no right to tax or otherwise regulate them, as well as those who believe that the Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is run by a private body for personal profit.
In 2007, federal agents raided the company's Evansville, Ind., headquarters, and seized two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and 500 pounds of silver from a Liberty Dollars warehouse. The raids followed the U.S. Mint's issuance of a public warning to consumers and businesses that using Liberty Dollars in lieu of U.S. currency was a crime.
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Growing repression, racism, violence tied to global recession, Amnesty International says in 2009 annual report
...Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said that while world leaders are focused on attempts to revive the global economy, they are neglecting deadly conflicts that are spawning massive human rights abuses. "Ignoring one crisis to focus on another is a recipe for aggravating both. Economic recovery will be neither sustainable nor equitable if governments fail to tackle human rights abuses that drive and deepen poverty, or armed conflicts that generate new violations."
Khan said there are growing signs of unrest and political violence raising the risk that recession will lead to even greater repression, citing the harsh reactions of governments to protests against economic, social and political conditions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Cameroon and other African countries. Impunity of police and security forces was widespread.
Khan said billions of people are suffering from insecurity, injustice and indignity and the economic downturn is aggravating the abuses and has created new problems. "This crisis is about shortages of food, jobs, clean water, land and housing, and also about deprivation and discrimination, growing inequality, xenophobia and racism, violence and repression across the world.
"In the name of security, human rights were trampled on. Now, in the name of economic recovery, they are being relegated to the back seat," she said.
Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director, noted that the organization welcomed President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo and reject torture. He called on the president to take another critical step to putting to rest the harmful national security policies of the Bush administration.
"Now, the president must ensure that those responsible for the abuses are brought to justice. The United States can only strengthen -- not weaken -- its moral authority and global security overall through accountability," Cox said. "U.S. leadership could be critical in addressing the myriad human rights abuses causing suffering for millions. But the United States' credibility is still tarnished by the unjust policies of the previous administration. President Obama's own domestic and international agenda will be enhanced when the U.S. policies more closely match the president's opinion of adhering to long-standing American ideals," he said. ...
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The history of Weimar Germany illustrates how the social, political, and cultural destruction caused by hyperinflation so easily leads to the loss of liberty
In the wake of President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget and a series of bank and industry bailouts by the Federal Reserve, the specter of hyperinflation haunts the United States United States. There are plenty of historical examples of what hyperinflation can do to an economy. One need not necessarily look to 1920s Weimar Germany for an example; present-day Zimbabwe provides the most recent version of the economic wreckage caused by government planning that devalues a national currency. But Weimar Germany is instructive in that it illustrates the social, political, and cultural destruction caused by hyperinflation that leads to the loss of liberty; for it was Weimar Republic Germany that gave birth to the political success of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement.
Social and political revolutions often follow defeat on the battlefield, and so was the case with Germany in the wake of World War I. By the summer of 1918, it was apparent that Germany had lost the war. Even the absurdly optimistic reports from the High Command could not hide the fact that the German Army would not prevail on the field of battle. Five years of warfare in which soldiers from both sides were sacrificed in meat-grinder-like assaults on entrenched positions bad nearly wiped out an entire generation of German men. Since arriving in France in 1917, American troops had tilted the balance of power in favor of the Allies, and it was only a matter of time before the Yanks would turn the tide.
Choked by an Allied blockade that threatened starvation at home, and battling a loss of confidence in Kaiser Wilhelm II, the army readied itself for defeat. In order to deflect responsibility for defeat, army leaders handed over power to a civilian government under Prince Max yon Baden in October 1918. The beginning of the end came when the German naval command, as part of a last-ditch effort, ordered the fleet at Wilhelmshaven to engage the British fleet--a ludicrous command that compelled the majority of sailors to mutiny. Demonstrations at Kiel, Germany, on November 3, 1918, ignited a larger mutiny and soon soldiers, sailors, and workers from all over Germany were organizing local "soviets" in order to take control of local governments. Senior Prussian officers no longer controlled the army, but in what became a characteristic of the "1918 revolution," mutineers and erstwhile revolutionaries generally maintained order in their ranks. In many cases, junior and non-commissioned officers were elected to lead defeated or mutinous units back home. It was, in the end, perhaps the most ordered military collapse in the history of warfare. Carl Zuckmayer, a young German officer commenting on the scene, wrote, "Starving, beaten, but with our weapons, we marched back home."
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...In the postwar years in Australia, education expenditure as a proportion of GDP nearly trebled, from 1.6 per cent in 1950-51 to 4.3 per cent in 1970-71; and primary, secondary and tertiary enrolments grew by 11 per cent, 45 per cent and 89 per cent respectively, in a single decade after 1964-65. Consequently, the number of Australian universities grew from nine in 1958 to sixteen in 1971, with four new universities established in 1964-66 alone. This increased the proportion of people aged seventeen to twenty-two attending university by 48 per cent between 1960 and 1972, with many coming from families and social classes that had had little or no previous association with universities, often relying on teaching studentships, which gave impecunious students an opportunity to attend university but required them to study in specific fields, and then work in often isolated or undesirable government schools. Overall, between 1955 and 1970 university student numbers increased 300 per cent, from 30,000 to 120,000, while full-time academic staff increased 250 per cent, from 2000 to 7000.
Such rapid periods of expansion have occurred before and the results have been the same--the politicisation of students, teachers and academics, and the emergence of a radical cadre that impacted on their societies for decades to come. As James Billington remarks in Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (1999): there is a "recurring problem of satisfying a rapidly increasing educated population with expectations that run far ahead of vocational opportunities", and this first became manifest on a mass scale around the 1840s, when "the rise of revolutionary movements ... was directly related to the development of a new class of intellectuals in continental Europe [which] created original ... ideologies, and eventually developed a new sense of identity" as an intelligentsia committed to radical social and political change. During the European revolutions of 1848, it was the intelligentsia that "bore the contagion from their studies into the streets, from banquets to barricades, and across national borders. They popularized, legitimized, and internationalized the revolutionary impulse."
The situation intensified through the nineteenth century, as education became compulsory and public expenditure multiplied dramatically across Europe, with Germany alone increasing primary school funding 3000 per cent over the three decades up to 1901. Students of various ages and teachers at various levels became ubiquitous, with the latter forming "a kind of officer's corps [with] a strong corporate esprit", and commitment to pursuing their own interests (Carlton Hayes, A Generation of Materialism, 1963).
Developments were particularly dramatic in Russia, where the composition of the student population in secondary schools changed radically as vast numbers of commoners entered the system, quickly transforming the educated class from "a small band of rich youths with troubled consciences and patriotic aspirations, [into] a large pool of people of all estates" antagonistic to the Tsarist regime. Consequently, throughout "the last half century of its existence, the old regime was in a state of permanent war with the student population" (Richard Pipes, Russia under the Old Regime, 1977). In the period from 1905 to 1914 alone, the number of higher institutions and their students doubled, to reach 100 and 150,000 respectively, making Russian higher education "a battleground for a reactionary government and a revolutionary movement bent upon the government's destruction" (Oron Hale, The Great Illusion, 1971).
In such periods (then and now), the dominant political ideologies and commitments of academics, teacher educators, tertiary students, teachers and school students became vital political factors. The key ideologies throughout Europe and Russia were various forms of nationalism, liberalism and socialism, and increasingly radical versions of the sociology of Henri de Saint-Simon, and the Idealist philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, especially in the radical versions devised by Mikhail Bakunin or Karl Marx, which retained their influence into the period under consideration here. While all of these differed on the question of whether it should be the nation, the people, an ethnic group, a social class, or a conspiratorial vanguard that led the revolution, all envisaged an elite position for the intelligentsia, while the latter also had the added advantage that this was done as part of a universal--indeed, "scientific"--scheme of history, providing, as Billington puts it, "intellectual security and strategic guidance for revolutionaries", and becoming "the principal sources of modern revolutionary ideology, [spreading] across national and cultural boundaries to attain nearly universal appeal". ...
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theater in East Jerusalem on Thursday, forcing foreign writers taking part in an international literature festival to move elsewhere for the second time in a week.
The police action was the latest in recent weeks against what Israel sees as attempts by the Palestinian Authority to host political activities in the city, where both sides in the conflict have staked claims to have their national capital.
Organizers and guests voiced disappointment at the treatment of what they said was a cultural, not a political, event.
"All cultural events which take place in areas of contention have political undertones," British writer Jeremy Harding said at the theater after police moved in. "Talking about what literature is and what it means in a fraught political situation is the most honest thing we can do. They didn't like that."
On the same day, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was meeting Barack Obama at the White House, seeking support from the U.S. president for Palestinian demands that the new Israeli government change policies that Abbas says will block a resumption of peace negotiations.
Police ordered the assembled authors and the audience for the closing event of the 6-day Palestine Festival of Literature to leave before a reading at the Palestinian National Theater. It lies in the city's east, which was captured by Israeli forces in 1967 and occupied along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Saturday's opening event at the theater was also shut down.
A police notice declared a closure on the orders of Israel's internal security minister on the grounds of a breach of interim peace accords from the 1990s. These laid the framework for talks on establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but left the status of Jerusalem to be determined by further negotiation.
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War crime defendant Bosnian Serb leader on Monday filed a 140-page motion charges against him should be dropped because he secretly dealed with a top U.S. official in 1996 for 'immunity' over war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.
Radovan Karadzic, arrested and brought to the tribunal for former Yugoslavia last year after 11 years on the run, has said since his arrival that former U.S. peace mediator Richard Holbrooke promised him to be freed from any court case over his war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Karadzic said that Holbrooke said him the secret deal provided him immunity if he disappeared from public life.
"If the Trial Chamber finds that the Holbrooke agreement is binding on the Tribunal, it should order that the indictment be dismissed," Karadzic and his lawyer said in the motion filed on Monday.
Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, faces two charges of genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.
Holbrooke has repeatedly denied the existence of a secret deal, describing Karadzic's claim as "no more than another lie from the most evil man in Europe".
The tribunal has said that even if one exists, it would not give Karadzic immunity from prosecution.
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More than 2,000 Muslim immigrants and leftist Greeks marched peacefully through Athens Friday to protest alleged mutilation of a copy of the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam, by police.
It was the second demonstration after the Greek police hurled a Koran belong and Iraqi immigrant and mutilated it.
Immigrant groups, anti-racist groups and human rights organizations scheduled the rally in central Omonia Square for Friday evening.
Dozens of police deployed to prevent possible clashes with neo-Nazis protesters gathering nearby for a separate demonstration to mark the May 29, 1453, fall of Constantinople -- modern-day Istanbul and then the capital of the Byzantine Empire -- to the Ottomans. Far-right protesters shouted anti-immigrant slogans.
"We want this officer put on trial, and we ask the government to protect our prayer sites in Athens," said Zuri, a Moroccan protester.
The Muslim Union of Greece says that during police checks at a Syrian-owned coffee shop, an officer took a customer's Koran, tore it up, threw it on the floor and stomped on it. Police have launched an investigation.
The Muslim Union, representing thousands of immigrants in Athens, said it had filed a lawsuit against the unidentified policeman.
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Debora MacKenzie writes in New Scientist:
Hospitals in Greece have identified H1N1 swine flu in two students who had no contact with known cases of the virus and had not been in countries with widespread infection. The infections were discovered even though the students should not have been tested for swine flu under European rules. The Greek authorities say this shows the rules must change.
Indeed, an investigation by New Scientist earlier this month showed that the EU rules would exclude exactly such cases and could make H1N1 appear much less widespread in Europe than it is.
Takis Panagiotopoulos of the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Athens and colleagues reported on 28 May in Eurosurveillance, a weekly bulletin published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm, Sweden, that two Greek men returning home from Scotland had tested positive this week for H1N1 swine flu.
The two go to university in Edinburgh and had attended term-end parties at the end of last week. Both developed coughs and fevers at the weekend before flying back to Greece, where one went to hospital in Athens on Tuesday.
"The examining physician decided to take a pharyngeal swab, which was tested at the National Influenza Reference Laboratory for Southern Greece, although the patient did not meet the European Union and national criteria for the new influenza A (H1N1) testing," the team reports.
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