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Beyond Same-Sex Marriage
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The U.S. and Israel
Axis of Aggression, Torture, Death, & Devastation
W ith Israel engaged once again in a major war of aggression in Lebanon, and protected once again from any effective global response by U.S. power and veto, it becomes clearer than ever that the central global problem of organized violence and lawlessness in the early 21st century lies in the aims, collaboration, and power of the U.S.Israeli axis. These partners in aggression and state terrorism reinforce one another’s projections of power—the outofcontrol superpower protecting its regional client’s ethnic cleansing, while the Israeli lobby within the United States supports the violent projection of power by the United States, which provides further cover for Israel’s escalating regional violence. What is most remarkable, however, is the feeble resistance to—and sometimes positive support of—the axis of aggression, torture, death, and deva station’s (ATDD) violence by the European countries and “international community” more broadly.
Free to Aggress
C onsider that the United States has carried out three wars of aggression in violation of the UN Charter over the last seven years (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq) and that without having digested its Iraq aggression—now universally recognized as having been based on lies and a cynical abuse of UN processes, as well as being the “supreme crime”—it has actually begun a fourth aggression, against Iran, once again under the cynical cover of the UN. Furthermore, the United States was the main driver of the “sanctions of mass destruction” against Iraq throughout the 1990s, which resulted in the deaths of perhaps a million Iraqi civilians, possibly the greatest genocide of the postWorld War II era (with only the Congo and Rwanda as serious rivals), a project also carried out by the cynical misuse of the UN.
Instead of resisting these aggressions and genocidal operations, the G8 and international community have appeased the aggressor and genocidist, never condemning its aggressions or imposing sanctions in response to its major crimes, but collaborating with it, and, in the case of Iraq, giving it expost approval and support for the deadly occupation.
The UN, created specifically to prevent “the scourge of war,” has failed to pose any serious constraining force on the serial aggressions by the United States or those of its Israeli client. This failure, and the global crisis that it reflects, has hardly been recognized in the Western media and intellectual circles, for the same reasons that underlie the appeasement and collaboration: the military power of the superpower, fear of the economic and political consequences of opposition to the United States and its client’s rampaging, some sense of solidarity and support for U.S. and Israeli objectives and policies on the part of global elites and media, and cowardice and lack of moral fortitude.
Israel as well as the United States has been free over several decades to aggress, ignore any UN resolutions or rulings, ignore international law governing the behavior of an occupying power, and steadily “redeem the land” of Palestine by ethnically cleansing the Palestinians. Israel carried out a major invasion of Lebanon in 1982, with no penalty for this aggression, or for a lengthy illegal occupation, or for periodic bombing and ground attacks on Lebanon or for its lengthy maintenance of a terrorist proxy army on Lebanese soil. Its fresh major aggression in Lebanon in July and August 2006 is also being carried out without any UN or other international penalty or sanctions, again, as in 1982, with the protection of the U.S. veto and U.S. power—and Israel is currently threatening Iran and Syria without any apparent U.S. or international community constraint.
I n addition to preeminence in aggression, the U.S.Israel axis has long been important in sponsoring and using torture. The U.S. use of waterboarding goes back to the war against Philippine “niggers” in 1900; its use of electronic methods of torture was extensive during the Vietnam War, along with “Tiger Cages”; and this country was the principal sponsor of regimes of torture in the 1960s and 1970s as U.S. leaders struggled against nationalistpopulist upheavals in the Third World. Many premier torturers learned their lessons in the School of the Americas in those years. Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and the rendition gulag are not a break from the past or contrary to “American values,” they are built on a solid tradition. (Chapter 2 of Chomsky and Herman, The Washington Connection , 1979, was entitled “The PentagonCIA Archipeligo.”)
Israel has used torture on a systematic basis against Palestinians for decades, the New York Times noting matteroffactly in 1993 that Israel’s torture victims were running to 400-500 per month, but that Israel was “rethinking” the merits of its “interrogation” practices (Joel Greenberg, “Israel Rethinks Interrogation of Arabs,” August 14, 1993). If this were to be done to Jews on a systematic basis in some country, the outcry would be deafening, but here also an Israeli practice condemned everywhere as barbaric is treated in a very low key manner and brings about no negative policy responses from the United States or international community. This has permitted Israel to thrive, to command massive international aid, and to be given regular accolades as a model democracy, despite its long record of being “the only state in the world to effectively legalize the use of methods that constitute torture or illtreatment” (Amnesty International, “The Israeli government should implement the High Court decision making torture illegal,” September 6, 1999).
The Killing Business is Good
T he United States and Israel are also major dispensers of death to people who stand in their way. Both are highly militarized, the United States now the dominant military power on earth, Israel toweringly superior in military strength to any of its neighbors. Both have increasingly displayed the arrogance of power and a readiness to use their superior arms in lieu of peaceable means of settling disputes. Both have gravitated to the use of high tech weaponry that has devastating effects on civilians, but which reduces aggressor casualties and the need for land troops. As noted, their violent proclivities are now mutually reinforcing.
The U.S. use of atomic weapons against civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in what was a demonstration and warning performance, stands alone in the annals of violence. The U.S. has a longstanding tradition of threatening to use ever more lethal monstrosities. Israel also has a sizable nuclear weapons arsenal and has long posed a threat of first use, reinforced by the absence of any nuclear retaliatory power by its nearby rivals. The Iran “threat” of acquiring nuclear weapons is the threat of potential selfdefense, which would rob Israel of one important element that allows it regularly to use force against its neighbors.
During the Vietnam War, in which the United States deployed its ferocious weaponry lavishly against a resistant peasant society, it killed several million people. To this we may add hundreds of thousands killed in Cambodia and Laos. Many thousands have continued to die in Indochina from the millions of unexploded bombs that litter the soil and that the United States has made no effort to clean up or even provide supportive map guidance or technical aid. As one sign read over a U.S. military camp in Vietnam, “Killing is our business, and business is good.”
Much of U.S. deathdealing has been via sponsorship. It sponsored and long had a special relationship with the Suharto dictatorship, aiding its initial genocidal burst in 1965-66 with possibly a million or more civilian deaths by massacre, and supporting its invasionoccupation of East Timor and some 200,000 further deaths there. It sponsored the rise of National Security States in Latin America, with death squads flourishing and U.S. trained counterinsurgency cadres establishing a state terrorism “infinitely worse than the terrorism they were combating” (an Argentine postjunta truth commission). The U.S.sponsored wars in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s took a heavy civilian toll, with genocidal attacks on the Guatemalan Mayan Indians, among other largescale state murder operations. The U.S.sponsored killings in Latin America in those years ran into the hundreds of thousands (the “disappeared” alone were estimated to be 90,000 back in 1981). The U.S. “constructive engagement” with apartheid South Africa and support of “freedom fighter” Sav imbi in Angola also contributed many hundreds of thousands of deaths in that area in the 1970s and 1980s.
Israel’s killings have been on a smaller scale, but still notable in light of their claims of being victims of terrorism and merely retaliating to the actions of their weaker neighbors and the Palestinian resistance to their occupation and ethnic cleansing. Israel’s supposed “retaliation” to Palestinian “terrorism” featured a ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths of 20 or 25 to 1 until the second Intifada, when the ratio fell to 3 or 4 to 1, though with a higher injury ratio (the figure of 25-1 is given by James Bennett in the New York Times , March 12, 2002). The killings at Sabra and Shatila, mainly of women, children, and older people, has been estimated at between 1,500 and 3,000, which is far greater than the Israeli police estimate of PLO killings of Israelis for the entire period 1968-81. The total of Israeli killings in Palestine are hard to estimate, but run to tens of thousands. The Israeli killings of Lebanese in the 1982 invasion has been estimated at 17,000-20,000, and the numbers killed in Lebanon before and after that date surely run into many thousands.
T he United States has used its advanced weapons technology and wealth not only to kill large numbers in countries that stand in its way, but also to destroy their infrastructure and means of livelihood, thereby teaching them and others a lesson in the costs of opposition, setting back their capacity for development and taking vengeance. Vietnam’s forests were bulldozed and destroyed by chemical warfare, its lands were widely ruined by chemicals and millions of bomb craters, a large fraction of its most competent and productive males were killed, mainly in bomb strikes, vast numbers were wound ed and traumatized, and hundreds of thousands of children suffered birth deformities by chemical poisoning. Vietnam no longer posed a threat of a working alternative model. Neither did Nicaragua pose a “threat of a good example” after a decade of U.S.sponsored terrorist and economic warfare that reduced incomes by half and played a key role in ousting the reformist Sandinista government. El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Afghanistan, the Congo, and Angola are other states that have not recovered from U.S. direct or sponsored attacks.
Iraq was devastated in the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 and was then not permitted to recover, even to restore its badly damaged water and sanitary facilities, let alone to feed its people. The 2003-2006 invasion/occupation took a further heavy toll of Iraq’s already devastated infrastructure and was notable for the invader’s severe damage to Iraq’s libraries, museums, and other important historical monuments. Iraq is a shattered society, with serial blows administered by mainly the United States and Britain, with UN connivance.
Israel ravaged Lebanon time and again from 1978 onward, with exceptionally heavy destruction of infrastructure in 1982 and now in 2006. In 2002 Israel began a systematic destruction of the infrastructure of Palestine, destroying public buildings, records, medical facilities, libraries, among other facilities. In its recent 2006 assault on Gaza, nominally to help free a single captive Israeli soldier, its first target was the electric power station that serves 700,000 Palestinian civilians. Further targets included rooftop water tanks and mains, bridges, roads, and medical facilities. At no time has Israel been penalized or punished by the EU, let alone its patron superpower, for these multiple open, blatant, and illegal attacks on civilian facilities.
T his is an age of escalating violence, led by a militarized superpower with an enormous capacity to kill, closely linked with an expansionist and militarized client that sees benefits to its “Greater Israel” and ethnic cleansing program in chaos and warfare. This is a continuation of longstanding policies of this axis of ATDD, but rendered more dangerous by the death of the Soviet Union (and the end of real “containment”) and the coming to power in the United States of an exceptionally irresponsible, stupid, and weak Administration. The weak, stupid, and amoral frequently do stupid and horrendous things to compensate for their mistakes and once again in the Middle East they have unleashed large scale violence and the threat of an even wider war.
The axis of ATDD is setting the tone across the globe. It preaches that those resisting it only understand force, but the world recognizes that in truth it is the axis duo that only responds to force or its threat. Thus the axis leadership provokes a responsive militari zation and violence across the globe and the huge problems facing the peoples of the world (poverty, disease, environmental threats, inequality, racism, democratic deficits) are unaddressed and become steadily more serious.
These problems are not going to be dealt with until the world’s public becomes sufficiently aroused to throw out the leadership of the axis and/or force the nonaxis powers to resist axis violence with actions that bite and cannot be ignored.
Edward S. Herman is an economist, media critic, and author and coauthor of numerous books, Triumph of the Market and Beyond Hypocrisy (both South End Press).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.