Volume 21, Number 6
Mississippi’s SB 2988
Bruce k. Gagnon
A War on Communities
Z magazine Readers
Sean Bell Verdict
Damming the Flood
Triumph of Lunacy
Dr. Wall Street
Colombia Trade Deal
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Admittedly, "StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth" sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference. But by the time the participants caught their flights home from Omaha, Nebraska in April 2008, there wasn't anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.
Two hundred people from twelve countries and twenty-eight states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America's heartland. The local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been worried about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn't have been more excited. There'd never been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that's taken place at StratCom. But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.
From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom's underground headquarters at Offutt AFB on 9/11, the U.S. nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as "not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change" in its role and mission. In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America's nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, reconnaissance, surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations, and combating weapons of mass destruction.
U.S. Strategic Command
U.S. Strategic Command
With eight missions under its belt, StratCom's fingerprints are seemingly everywhere. Here's a rundown:
- StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception of a threat to America's "national interests."
- StratCom, through its National Security Agency component, is regularly conducting the now-infamous "warrantless wiretaps" on unsuspecting U.S. citizens.
- StratCom installations include proposed missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.
- StratCom is actively executing the Bush/Cheney administration's expressed goal of the weapon- ization and "domination" of space. Its shoot-down of a falling satellite using its Missile Defense System demonstrated its anti-satellite capability.
- StratCom, in promoting the development of new generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called bunker-buster tactical nukes and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), is seeking American offensive nuclear capability.
- StratCom commands access to hundreds of military bases around the globe and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.
- StratCom is poised to routinely violate international law with preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress's constitutional authority to declare war under the War Powers Act.
This is the new StratCom that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize. This is the menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past April. While the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out. Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers, and academics from all across the country and around the world. Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing StratCom's global command will require a global response.
That sort of international commitment was already in evidence. While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the "No To Bases Initiative" in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country to StratCom. From the title of his talk alone, "StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula," Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center. British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom's presence in her homeland, sized it up with the expression "horrid StratCom." Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian, and Canadian participants.
The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who in the mid-1980s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt AFB when it was still the Strategic Air Command. Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust. Today, Gumbleton said, we now have to fear StratCom's nuclear prowess and much more.
That greed for power had been the message of the conference's first speaker, American Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member Frank LaMere. The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still had a reservation north of the city. Never, LaMere said, had they ever imagined when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government that an instrument capable of destroying the earth would rest on their homeland.
The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening by themselves. To stop what is happening at StratCom Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world. So he was cheered, he said, to see all these people from around the world in Omaha. "That was good," he said, "But we need to act fast. Time is getting short."
A protest rally at Offutt Air Force Base started the three-day conference—photo by Aural Duta
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.