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Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Herbert P. Bix
European Union News
Eleanor J. Bader
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The U.S. War In Afghanistan Continues
I n case you hadn’t realized, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has turned into another disastrous foreign war that will probably only end when the U.S. withdraws. U.S. soldiers, Afghan civilians, and those resisting the U.S. occupation are still dying for a neco-con dream of a worldwide empire.
Over three and a half years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, there has been no victory and the bloody war continues. If anything, the U.S. has suffered a defeat, judging by the fact that the world’s superpower hasn’t been able to fully secure its colony, despite Bush administration propaganda to the contrary. Bush’s declaration May 1, 2003 that “major combat operations” had ended in Iraq may have received wide coverage, but another bellicose announcement received little attention.
On the same day as Bush’s announcement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave exactly the same triumphant declaration while visiting Kabul. This is how Fox News, the Bush administration propaganda service, announced Rumsfeld’s triumph: “In an announcement marking a major victory in America’s ongoing war on terror, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declared Thursday that ‘major combat activity’ has ended in Afghanistan.”
Just like in Iraq, the reality is the opposite. From April 2005 on, the Taliban was once again “resurgent” with a spring offensive launched. Convoys of trucks supplying U.S. troops have been attacked, government buildings stormed, and Afghan and U.S. soldiers killed in numerous attacks. A political ally of America’s puppet ruler, Hamid Karzia—a former oil company representative—was beheaded in the southern “insurgency-hit” Helmund province. International peacekeepers were stoned when they started taking photos of women. There is even evidence that Kabul’s regime is slowly turning the people against it, as when local villagers clashed with Afghan troops who came to destroy their poppy crops.
Meanwhile, many people in the southern city of Kandahar, concerned about rising crime and a lack of law and order, are looking back with fondness to the Taliban’s time in power. The Taliban maintained law and order and a sense of stability, unlike the chaos the U.S. invasion has brought. Thousands of people marched in the streets demanding the governor and police chief resign, accusing them of collusion with criminals. At other times, as in Iraq, such demonstrations have been crushed with murderous gunfire from U.S. troops, their warlord allies, or a faltering Afghan army the U.S. is trying desperately to create.
Later in April it was reported that the Taliban had relaunched a radio service in Afghanistan using a mobile transmitter consisting of a one-hour program broadcast twice a day. Earlier in February 2005, U.S. intentions in Afghanistan were made clear by Senator John McCain when he called for permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan to “safeguard [U.S.] security interests in the region.”
A few days later, there was a glimpse that the situation in Afghanistan was not so good when it was announced that parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 21 would be delayed due to “logistical and security concerns.”
Then in mid-May 2005, thousands rioted in the eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad after reports said that guards at the U.S. concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had desecrated copies of the Koran. U.S. and Afghan troops fired on the protesters, killing at least four. The rallies spread to the capital Kabul and at least four other provinces, with university students in Kabul chanting “death to America” and calling the U.S. forces “invaders.”
An Associated Press report called it the “biggest display of anti-American anger since the ouster of the Taliban.” CNN described the riots as “anti-U.S. riots” and significant rallies were also held in Pakistani cities, with the anti-U.S. party, the MMA, announcing plans for further protests. Even Pakistan’s national assembly passed a resolution demanding the U.S. government investigate the incident and punish anyone found responsible.
Then there’s the undefeated Taliban who have been declared to be “resurgent” many times before their latest resurgency this April. For example, no less than 18 months earlier, a Taliban “resurgence” was reported in October 2003. U.S. forces launched major military sweeps in October and December 2003 and March 2004 to stay in control of the Afghan countryside.
Apart from Rumsfeld’s first declaration of victory on May 1, 2003, Hamid Karzai told BBC’s David Frost during an interview on June 8, 2003: “I don’t see a resurgence of the Taliban.” He continued by saying: “As far as the defeat of the Taliban is concerned, they are defeated, they are gone—as a movement, as a government, as a structure, a political structure, a religious structure—they are not there.” Someone should have told the German troops dying to keep Karzai in power—virtually on the same day as the interview four German peacekeepers were killed in a suicide bomb attack.
On February 26, 2004, Karzai again declared the Taliban defeated. Within two weeks, “evidence” emerged of how the U.S. was supposedly winning in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch released a major report documenting widespread abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The report states, U.S. forces “have arbitrarily detained civilians, used excessive force during arrests of non-combatants, and mistreated detainees.” The U.S.-run system of “arrest and detention in Afghanistan exists outside of the rule of law” and “There is compelling evidence suggesting that U.S. personnel have committed acts against detainees amounting to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.”
Robert Novak reported at the end of May 2004, “The overlooked war continues with no end in sight.... If U.S. forces were to leave, the Taliban—or something like it—would regain power. The U.S. is lost in Afghanistan, bound to this wild country and unable to leave.” Later, on June 15, 2004, George Bush declared, “Coalition forces, including many brave Afghans, have brought America, Afghanistan, and the free world its first victory in the war on terror.”
However, at the same time, news reports were revealing the opposite of Bush’s triumphal propaganda. The Associated Press reported on the “deteriorating security” situation, with an attack on international peacekeepers and 11 Chinese workers slaughtered in northern Afghanistan, far from where the Taliban usually operates.
Then on August 13, 2004, NATO’s top general, General James Jones, declared the Taliban and Al Qaeda defeated and that they would never challenge the government or be a major threat again. Two days later, the “defeated” Taliban killed seven Afghan soldiers and, by the end of September, at least three U.S. soldiers were killed and 14 wounded, and dozens more Afghan soldiers killed.
In October 2004, Agence France -Presse reported that the mission in Afghanistan was “unaccomplished,” despite Bush’s “triumphalism.” Little headway had been made in creating a national army, poppy cultivation was increasing, and outside Kabul most women were still wearing the full-covering burka and living in fear. Karzai’s puppet regime had little power with warlords and militias still in control of much of the country—when the Taliban wasn’t on the rampage of course.
In the same month, some United Nations workers were kidnapped in Kabul and many people were dying in fighting elsewhere, including U.S. soldiers, Afghan soldiers and civilians. Also in October 2004, it was reported that slick propaganda, which included DVDs, was circulating in Afghanistan calling for a “global jihad” against “oil-thieving Christian crusaders.” A British security expert noted, “This is a significant migration of tactics. I’ve never seen quality material with an international outlook like this before…. It’s a call to global jihad.” The next month, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar issued a message to followers marking the third anniversary of the Taliban’s fall, urging supporters to continue their holy war.
A look at U.S. deaths in Afghanistan shows how the war is slowly escalating. The number of Americans killed has increased each year since the invasion in October 2001 and the trend so far in 2005 seems to be upwards. In 2001, 12 U.S. soldiers were killed; in 2002, 43 were killed; in 2003, 46 were killed; and in 2004, 52 were killed. So far in 2005, 29 have been killed. This matches the overall trend in Iraq, which has seen a steady rise in the rate of American deaths throughout the U.S. occupation.
An analysis of Coalition deaths in Iraq reveals the cumulative average U.S. death rate rose steadily through 2004 and continued to increase in 2005. Despite a drop after the elections in January, the rate of U.S. deaths is increasing again.
As for the presidential elections that installed Hamid Karzai, it was no more legitimate than the elections held by the Soviets when they occupied the country in the 1980s. In fact, respected commentator Eric Margolis stated at the time of the December 2004 elections that those organized by the Soviets were “more open and fairer that the recent U.S.-staged Afghan election.”
In January 2005 the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan announced that a “long-delayed” gas pipeline would go ahead by 2006 and would run through Afghanistan to Pakistan. So the U.S. crusade in Afghanistan to secure energy reserves for the West and encircle Russia and China has turned into another long, bloody foreign intervention. If the U.S. does eventually secure a “stable” ally and possible permanent military bases, it will only be due to the imposition of military force to crush opponents, war crimes, enormous bloodshed, and substantial human rights abuses.
Stephen Kaposi is the author of The Real Axis of Evil: The Invasion of Iraq, Western Imperialism, Lies and the Police State . He lives in Sydney, Australia.
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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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/; email@example.com.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.