Volume 21, Number 9
March to War
Death to Afghanistan
Dying to Live
Wreck and Ruin
Laurence h. Shoup
Global Food Crisis
Fannie & Freddie
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The March to War with Iran
August 2 protest against provoking war with Iran
August 2 protest against provoking war with Iran
HR 362 has 261 co-sponsors (at this writing in August), including prominent Democrats such as Barney Frank (MA), Alcee Hastings (FL), Steny Hoyer (MD), Henry Waxman (CA), and Robert Wexler (FL).
The bill specifically calls on President Bush to "initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities." It urges the president to block refined petroleum exports to Iran and to impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program."
In opposition, the Presbyterian Church called on its members to protest both sanctions as well as any potential blockades. On July 8, the church issued a letter, "Talk, Not War, with Iran," pointing to HR 362 as dangerous because "A blockade, even a partial one, is an act of war."
According to a press release from the Council for A Livable World, three retired military leaders sent a letter to lawmakers "urging them to abandon" H. Con. Res. 362. Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army (ret.), former Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, U.S. Navy (ret.) described the bill as "poorly conceived, poorly timed, and potentially dangerous." In the letter, the three state "a diplomatic solution with Iran is the best course" and that the sanctions demanded in H. Con. Res. 362 would likely "undermine any chance for diplomacy to succeed in achieving a negotiated resolution."
On June 26, Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul in a Congressional speech said that the bill was a "virtual war resolution." Paul was incensed about the blockade of goods and the suggestion that Iranian officials be prohibited from international travel. He compared the move to sanctions against Iraq. "This is what we did for ten years before we went into Iraq," he said. "We starved children—50,000 [sic] individuals it was admitted probably died because of the sanctions on Iraqis—they were incapable at the time of attacking us."
The following week, Dennis Kucinich issued a letter, "Stop the Escalation of Tensions with Iran, Oppose H. Con. Res. 362," urging his colleagues to oppose the resolution. Kucinich wrote that the "bill will play into the hands of those in the Bush administration who want Congressional license to attack Iran."
While the bill's language asserts it isn't authorizing the use of force, Kucinich points out that it doesn't declare "that the President must seek the approval of Congress before authorizing use of force against Iran."
H. Con. Res. 362 asks the president to work against Iran's efforts to "destabilize" "the legitimate governments in the region." It also affirms a U.S. commitment to opposing "Iranian efforts at hegemony" in the Middle East.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker that the Bush administration, with the consent of the Democratic leadership, had begun a secret war on Iran and that some leading Democrats had endorsed Bush's Presidential Finding that requests $400 million for "a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military intelligence and congressional sources."
The U.S. is attempting to destabilize Iran's government by funneling money to extremist groups, including the Jundallah, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq or MEK (on the state department's terrorist list for decades), and a Kurdish separatist group, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK ("Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran," New Yorker, July 7, 2008).
According to Hersh, the funding request to wage this covert war occurred around the same time the Bush administration was dealing with the National Intelligence Estimate's (NIE) December 2007 report on Iran, which stated a "high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." It also stated "with high confidence" that Iran would not even be "technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015."
The report concluded that Iran is more a rational actor than one hell-bent on destroying the world, as it has been portrayed. "Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously."
Impact of Pro-Israel Lobby
Despite the NIE's findings, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) states that "Iran poses a growing threat to the United States and our allies as it continues rapidly advancing toward a nuclear weapons capability." The organization's position paper, "U.S. Must Do More to Prevent Nuclear-Armed Iran" reads like a virtual guide to HR 362. Nearly every point of the bill, including a ban on petroleum sales to Iran, sanctions on Iran's central bank and foreign investors in the oil and energy sectors, are found in AIPAC's paper. AIPAC's stated aim is to pressure the regime to "change course" by severely impacting the economy with a gas shortage.
On July 2, the Real News Network reported that Res. 362's broad support "has been credited to the pro-Israel lobby, specifically the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which sent thousands of its members to Capitol Hill to lobby for the resolution in early June." In the news feature, historian Gareth Porter argued that Congress "was responding more to the Israel lobby than to any new intelligence on Iran or events on the ground." A review of a handful of co-sponsors' top five contributing industries finds Democrats significantly benefiting from the pro-Israel lobby between 2007 and 2008.
To date, Stop War On Iran (SWOI), United for Peace and Justice, and Code Pink have taken the lead in opposing the march to war with Iran and calling for action against Res. 362. More recently, Veterans For Peace has joined the chorus condemning the bill.
Months ago SWOI issued a letter, "Stop the war on Iran before it starts," urging the United States to end its "campaign of sanctions, hostility, and falsehood against the people of Iran." Thousands signed the letter opposing "any new U.S. aggression against Iran" and demanding "funds for human needs" rather than "endless war for empire."
On August 2, the group and its grassroots affiliates held rallies in dozens of cities, including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, and throughout Florida. Attendance varied from 10 in Nashville, 80 in Atlanta, 100 in Washington, and around 1,000 in New York City.
Sara Flounders, coordinator of the national Stop War on Iran Campaign, said her group is pleased with the results of the August 2 effort. "Considering that this was August and organized on short notice, it far exceeded our initial expectation. We were originally hoping for local actions in 20 cities. It grew to 100 cities and we are still getting word of other local actions."
Flounders estimates that her organization has helped people send out nearly one million "no war with Iran" email messages, through www.StopWarOnIran.org, to members of Congress, the UN, the Bush administration, and the media. "We feel we helped to play an important role in awakening the movement to take seriously the looming threat of another war," said Flounders.
The coordinator of Atlanta chapter of the International Action Center, Dianne Mathiowetz, said activists have successfully put some of Res. 362's Georgia co-sponsors on the hot seat. "Locally, we have bombarded the telephone lines of John Lewis and Hank Johnson in particular. They both claimed that they had not read the full text of the resolution. We have confronted Lewis publicly as well as having meetings with his staff. Both say they will vote against the resolution if the section on the air, land, and sea blockade is not removed, but we haven't gotten them to take their names off it yet. And I don't believe either of them has made that statement in public."
Mathiowetz, who co-organized the August 2 action in Atlanta, says, "I definitely think the actions of activists across the country put the brakes on the swift and unnoticed passage of this resolution."
Early in July, Code Pink activists created a theatrical "blockade" of Congressperson Gary Ackerman's houseboat. About a dozen activists greeted the representative with whistles, chanting, and bullhorns. They demanded he renounce talk of sanctions in favor of diplomacy.
On July 9, Rep. Wexler issued a letter stating that he "will lead an effort to make changes to this resolution before it comes to the Foreign Affairs committee for a vote. Despite being a cosponsor of this resolution, these changes will ultimately determine whether or not I will continue to support H. Con. Res. 362."
As of early August, three Democrats had officially removed themselves from the list of the bill's co-sponsors: Tom Allen (D-ME), William Clay (D-MO), and Steve Cohen (D-TN).
Jeff Nall's latest book is Perpetual Revolt: Essays on Peace & Justice and The Shared Values of Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Progressives. Photo by John Catalinotto.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.