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Mystery Surrounds Deaths of Six Minot Airmen

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

KFYR Television & Citizens for Legitimate Government – 2007-09-30 20:10:31

http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=10465

Mystery Surrounds Deaths of Minot Airmen
KFYR Television

BISMARCK, North Dakota (September 22, 2007) — Six members of the US Air Force who were involved in the Minot AFB incident, have died mysteriously, an anti-Bush activist group says.

The incident happened when a B-52 bomber was “mistakenly” loaded with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander.

The plane was carrying Advanced Cruise Missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base on August 30.

The Air Combat Command has ordered a command-wide stand down on September 14 to review procedures, officials said.

The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber’s wings and it is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand.

In addition to the munitions squadron commander who was relieved of his duties, crews involved in the incident, including ground crew workers had been temporarily decertified for handling munitions.

The activist group Citizens for Legitimate Government said the six members of the US Air Force who were directly involved as loaders or as pilots, were killed within 7 days in ‘accidents’.

The victims include Airman First Class Todd Blue, 20, who died while on leave in Virginia. A statement by the military confirmed his death but did not say how he died.

In another accident, a married couple from Barksdale Air Force Base were killed in the 5100 block of Shreveport-Blanchard Highway. The two were riding a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, with the husband driving and the wife the passenger, police said.

“They were traveling behind a northbound Pontiac Aztec driven by Erica Jerry, 35, of Shreveport,” the county sheriff said. “Jerry initiated a left turn into a business parking lot at the same time the man driving the motorcycle attempted to pass her van on the left in a no passing zone. They collided.”

•  Adam Barrs, a 20-year-old airman from Minot Air Force Base was killed in a crash on the outskirts of the city.

•  First Lt. Weston Kissel, 28, a Minot Air Force Base bomber pilot, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Tennessee, the military officials say.

•  Police found the body of a missing Air Force captain John Frueh near Badger Peak in northeast Skamania County, Washington.

The Activist group says the mysterious deaths of the air force members could indicate to {sic} a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the Minot Air Base incident.


Minot Base Officials Say Airman Dies While On Leave

(September 12, 2007) — Minot Air Force Base said an airman has died while on leave in Virginia. Airman First Class Todd Blue, who was 20 years old, died Monday while visiting with family members. The statement did not say how he died. The base said Blue was a response force member assigned to the 5th Security Forces Squadron.

[The primary mission of the 5th Security Forces Squadron is to ‘provide 24-hour law enforcement and security services for the 5th Bomb Wing and all tenant units assigned to Minot AFB.’ “Guardians of the Upper Realm” –The host wing on Minot Air Force Base, the 5th Bomb Wing operates the B-52H Stratofortress aircraft to provide global strike and combat-support capabilities to geographic commanders. B-52 Stratofortress – Mission –Air Combat Command’s B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions… It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.]

AF Secretary Visits MAFB 14 Sep 2007 The top civilian in the Air Force spent the afternoon at Minot Air Force Base today. Michael Wynne, the Secretary of the Air Force, arrived at the base about 1 PM to get a personal look at how nuclear weapons are stored, protected, and handled. His visit comes two weeks after a B-52 bomber loaded with six nuclear warheads was flown from Minot to Barksdale Air Force Base.

Staging Nukes for Iran? By Larry Johnson 05 Sep 2007 My buddy… reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site… Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations… Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations? His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes.

A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else. Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can’t think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride… Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran?


‘Opposing’View: The following email was sent to CLG on 19 September, anonymously.

I’m a Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force. I do network security, so, that’s why I’m emailing anonymously, even though I really don’t feel it’s necessary. I’m just paranoid like that, which is why I’m pretty good at my job. 😉 Also, parts of what I’m putting in here are probably classified, which is the primary reason I’m sending this anonymously.

Anyway, I see a lot of people posting on Reddit about government conspiracies about nukes and things like this. It’s frustrating for me because it’s really very silly. Please, let me explain some background, to help you all understand what’s going on in the background for the Air Force:

Minot AFB is a dead-end base. It’s the abyss of the Air Force, the saying goes “Why not Minot?” They have major retainability problems there – people volunteer to go to Iraq, Korea, anywhere just to get out of there. Beside its location (middle-of-nowhere North Dakota), the base has very little real mission and spins its wheels forever in drills that all result in the end of the world since it’s a nuke base designed to fight the Cold War.

But, there is no Cold War for them to fight (at least not one that Minot’s golden piece of real estate would be useful in fighting), so its people probably feel pretty worthless and tired of fighting the now non-existent Soviet Union. The base has already been re-aligned (more on that in a moment) and it’s probably going to be BRACed into a regional airport in a few decades. Ellison AFB in South Dakota has already had its closure decided.

One of the biggest problems with killing off Minot is its core mission – all of the nukes it has. Its weapons capability is moving to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana as the AF further consolidates after the Cold War and infrastructure budget cuts because of Iraq et al. Moving weapons capability to Barksdale, in real world terms, means moving the actual missiles that would deliver the nuclear warhead to Barksdale.

No big deal, conventional weapons move all the time. Nuclear warheads, however, when transported for these reasons, are moved by the Department of Energy – a very time consuming, expensive, and burdensome process that someone else will have to figure out much later once they finally decide to close the base.

So, the Air Force’s solution is to move the missiles, and leave the warheads behind, to be dealt with one day when all of us are retired and don’t have to worry about it. That’s what SHOULD have happened. So the mission itself was pretty normal otherwise. (It may actually be intentional to leave things this way, to prevent Congressional involvement, as whatever Senator is from ND is probably desperate to keep Minot around as long as possible; leaving the nukes, but operationally stripping the base serves both sides purposes).

The mistake, and the reason everyone now knows about this, is that the warheads weren’t removed from the missiles being moved to Barksdale. I bet the guys on the ground in Barksdale were sure as shit surprised when they cracked the payload open and saw a warhead. 😉

I know as much as I do because I work with a cross-trainee whose last base was Barksdale as a munitions specialist. He was involved in this process there; along with the various other missions Barksdale has (it’s a pretty critical base in the AF).

Anyway, you would think there would be a pretty clear checklist for all of this, but apparently no one even bothered. Doing what they do day-to-day, is pretty standard operating procedure. People get lazy when they do the same thing day after day, and there’s no less than a half dozen teams who would be transferring these weapons around from storage until they’re loaded.

The idea of someone dropping the ball in the AF is not exactly unusual (quite common, actually, heh), especially when 4:30 rolls around and everyone wants to go home. If the next step is to hand it off to the guys who remove the warhead, and it’s 1630 on a Friday, hell, let’s just leave it until Monday, since the mission doesn’t fly until Tuesday anyway. Monday rolls around, someone else takes over, and doesn’t know the job wasn’t finished on Friday. There SHOULD be some paper trail for that kind of thing, but then, like I said, people are lazy. Oh, and Minot usually fails its nuclear operational readiness inspections. 😉 Sorry to kill your confidence in the military.

I’ve seen too much crazy stuff to believe in some massive conspiracy, there’s too many people involved. You’d have to kill like 50 people to “cover up” moving nukes to Barksdale. Plus, what would it achieve? There’s already more than enough nukes at Barksdale to blow the world up 3x over. Who needs 6 more? Seriously? Plus, more accidents occur with conventional than nukes, since nukes are computerized and designed to be super-duper safe.

Conventional weapons are built by the lowest bidder. [Yikes!] I’d be more worried about a fully-loaded F16 flying around NYC after 9/11 sucking up a bird than a B52 with nukes flying around without anyone knowing it was loaded with nukes. The pilots couldn’t “secretly” be in on it and launch them, the interface wouldn’t be installed, the COMSEC material wouldn’t be available, etc. You’d have to kill half the base to hide the paper trail necessary to give the pilots the ability to launch.

Several people dying from Minot is bad, of course, but then, crazy stuff happens. Motorcycle accidents, mind you, are the #1 non-war cause of dead in the Air Force. The Captain who died wasn’t a pilot (he was Combat Weather, as evidenced by his pewter beret in the photo linked from your site). Captains are a dime a dozen, just like the Security Forces troop who died.

Yes, a part of the Security Forces Squadron mission there would be do defend the nukes, but he’s not at all involved in any of the process. He stands outside the door and checks IDs. Seriously, that’s it. I have 5 cops (as they’re generally called in the Air Force) I deal with every day where I work because I do computer stuff, and they have zero clue what’s happening behind the door. They spend most of the day on the phone chit chatting with friends at other security posts about the latest dorm gossip about who slept with whom.

So, to conclude, just chill out a bit about the conspiracy, it’s kinda silly. Plus, again, what would be the point? It’s not a big deal to authorize a nuke mission. After 9/11 the entire Barksdale arsenal was loaded and on the flightline ready to fly. I wouldn’t sweat 6 who someone forgot to unload.

Feel free to republish, maybe it’ll educate a few people.

V/r

SSgt


Rebuttal to ‘Opposing View’ The following email was sent to CLG on September 19, 2007.

I’m NOT anonymous, and I take issue with the anonymous “ssgt” statements.

I’m a cold war vet from the US Navy, one who worked as part of an operation designed to exhaust and bankrupt the Soviet military, by constantly testing their limitations. This SSgt is a defacto shill for a propaganda machine.

1st.

Bullsheep. Plain and simple. IF this “SSgt” was actually just debunking a load of Steaming Holstein, none of his command would have much issue with any of his statements, especially publicly available facts such as retention rates and base activities that are noted on google.com, mil.gov, wikipedia, and many other websites worldwide. There is no need to be anonymous when you’re not releasing classified data, is there? Saying “there is not a plot” is not contrary to secure data, even if there is not a plot.

Second

6 people dying within days of a world-record nuclear screw-up is decidedly newsworthy, and suspicious, in itself. The rate of fatalities in the military isn’t that high even in war zones.

Third

The “Decider” has already stated that he believes the USA has the right to bomb Iran, and that he will not certify that he’d refuse to use nukes. “No option is off the table” as he is fond of saying. I think that’s pretty damn clear, being as it is coming from the Commander In Chief.

Fourth

The military reporting of these incidents is itself contrary to military secrecy, reason, and law. I suspect an altogether different agenda. I believe that this high-level press coverage of a screw up, carrying nukes on B52s, is designed to use the US Media [gasp, they’ve never done that before!] to pressure Iran to meet US demands.

a. The US military would never release to the public any real classified data, especially including data about moved or missing nukes, without authority from the White House.

b. The US media is NOT entitled to print or distribute classified information, and is NEVER brought-in as it was in this case, so rapidly or on such an elemental and critical faux paus.

c. The only logical excuse for the sudden and detail-filled news coverage of this event is that of an intentional release of data for political purposes.

Fifth

Declaring that the US Military is lying in the media isn’t illegal provided that one does not expose any actual events or secrets, or violate the UCMJ by disobeying a direct order. All soldiers still have their civil rights. These rights are merely waived as needed for valid military purposes, as it is the job of a soldier to take abnormal risks and bear state secrets.

If it was really a secret, the anonymous sergeant would now be a traitor to the USA, just by talking about it. Thus, the implication that the letter is legit, is ALSO an implication that the letter is NOT legit. There is no need to be anonymous if it’s not a secret. QED. This is an example of a circular argument.

Thus, “I” am not violating any UCMJ or Federal laws by stating that it’s bunk. You can’t cite me for a double negative: I’m stating that what doesn’t exist, doesn’t not exist. We call that the First Amendment, and whether Dumbya likes it or not, it’s still in force. I’m saying that there is no pink elephant.

The missiles were moved, without any doubts, intentionally; OR The missiles were never moved and the press coverage is based on propaganda to scare Iran; OR the missiles were moved and the press coverage is based on propaganda to scare Iran. You can’t prove or disprove what the US military has done without EXTERNAL data. They’ll say whatever they want to suit themselves.

Sincerely, Don Lee E3/EW US Navy vet ASWOC 574 Jacksonville FL Top Secret and other clearances [inactive]

America under Bush: A Coup Has Occurred

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Daniel Ellsberg / Consortium News.com – 2007-09-30 20:03:38

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/092607a.html

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20. This is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech:

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there’s another 9/11 under this regime… it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? ? They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran — an escalation — which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law….

This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.

Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so.

Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in — and there’s no move to do this at this point — unless that happens I don’t see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic.

The Next Coup
Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution…, what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world — in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren’t found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president — elected or not — with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country — but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.”

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.

Founders Had It Right
Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right.

It’s not just “our way of doing things” — it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment.

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t, it doesn’t even make it unlikely. That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress — Democrats and Republicans — and the public and the media, we have freed the White House — the president and the vice president — from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs. And the question is what then, what can we do about this?

Heading Towards a Police State
We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely…. I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small perhaps — anyway not large — possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

Restoring the Republic Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little?

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, “traitor,” “weak on terrorism” — names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

Now Is the Time to Honor Our Oaths
How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services.

And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran. I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada — who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war — is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

Congressional Courage
On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate — and frankly of the Republicans — that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.

Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.” Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words “swear him in” when it came to testimony.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves — they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.

Daniel Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Stand with the Youth of America: Anti-war Protesters Take to the Streets

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Encampment to Stop the War – 2007-09-30 19:59:40

http://encampmenttostopthewar.blogspot.com/http://encampmenttostopthewar.blogspot.com/

=It’s 1973 all over again! The Encampment to Stop the War Has Moved to Streets! Yipee!!

• Photos of Mass Action Available Online at:
http://encampmenttostopthewar.blogspot.com/

BOLINAS, California (September 30, 2007) — Dear Friends and Colleagues, evidently we are seeing the first major US youth awakening in forty years. I urge you to go to this link so you can see many inspiring photos of great-looking young people starting to take history into their own hands. I’ll include two of them.

I’m so turned on by this that I’m still weeping a bit as I type. I hope you’ll relay this to more folks than you’ve ever relayed anything before. I hope you’ll find ways of being inspiringly supportive–wherever you are. Take a student to lunch.

These gallant exemplars are providing us with our best opportunity in a long time. For this reason US pimp/whore corporate media are blacking them out. (Please post me exceptions, if any.) Within the past half-hour I’ve found nothing at ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC.

The good news is that these total blackouts (e.g., the huge US demos during the bombings of Baghdad in ’91) happen only when those controlling the media become quite frightened by massive peoples’ energy. Thus far, the infamous BBC is aiding and abetting this conspiracy of silence.

Please notice also that the police yesterday prevented buses of protesters from reaching downtown DC. This also implies that the vicious US Backroom Boys are as frightened now as their counterparts in Burma.

An admirable coming-of-age is occurring now among our dear young people–without whom no significant victories are possible.

Yours for solution energies,
Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te,
Ponderosa Pine


The Sept. 15 March on Washington:
A New Movement is Emerging

Brian Becker / ANSWER Coalition

The Sept. 15 March on Washington was unique. The energy, the youth, the multitude of new people who were joining a protest for the first time; the large number of Iraq war veterans as well as active duty service members; the determination of Gold Star family members to unite together in the streets against the war that stole the lives of their children and the inspired willingness of thousands to die-in and risk arrest — these were the features that made Sept. 15 somewhat more akin to the militant marches and actions that became a characteristic feature of the movement that helped end the Vietnam War.

The people who attended knew this to be true. This was not the same crowd strolling down the street. What the people saw and felt and experienced and knew to be true could not be easily erased by the typically bad, cynical and misleading corporate media coverage.

Tens of thousands of people, led by Iraq war veterans, Gold Star families whose loved ones were killed and other veterans, marched shoulder to shoulder across eight lanes of Pennsylvania Avenue. The police suddenly locked together barricades which were taken down just as quickly as the Iraq veterans led the march straight up the broad sidewalk leading to the Congress where they were again violently blocked by platoons of riot clad police.

People marched forward towards the steps of the Capitol determined to carry their anti-war message as the heavily armed police attacked and blocked peaceful protestors. Thousands joined a Die-In and symbolic funeral for the US Servicemembers and the legions of Iraqis who have perished in this criminal endeavor. Police reinforcements with shields and helmets marched down the steps of the U.S. Capitol building with guns and sticks in hand.

Iraq war veterans and the family members of soldiers and marines, joined by thousands upon thousands of high school and college students, stood face to face with a line of armed force that prevented their forward march to redress grievances for an illegal war and occupation.

Police forced Iraq War veterans and elderly veterans of other wars to face into the ground and tied their hands behind their backs. Men and women in fatigues, students, mothers of soldiers and members of the American Muslim community were taken away in handcuffs and marched or dragged up the long Capitol steps.

More than 190 were arrested in all and when they were brought to jail together it was obvious that their spirit and solidarity was a testament to their determination to resist the war machine. Throughout the demonstration, and among those who were detained too, a collective spirit was crystallizing. Almost everyone could sense that something was new.

People were held on busses, many in tight cutting handcuffs, until the early morning hours. When finally processed at the police vehicle garage where everyone was held, people were directed to a door leading to an alley uncertain where they were, what they were to do or what would happen next as the door closed behind them. But as each person stepped outside a few yards and was seen a great cheer went up and across the street they saw people on the grassy embankment waiting for them.

ANSWER organized hundreds of supporters and a legal team that stayed outside the jail all night long and greeted each newly released person with coffee, food, rides to the bus station or home if they lived in the DC area.

Before the action the government undertook significant efforts to try to suppress and repress the organizing efforts. The ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) was slapped with $38,000 in fines for putting up 194 posters that were legally wheat-pasted announcing the Sept. 15 action. ANSWER was told they had to be taken down immediately, and refused. Instead, we filed a suit with the Partnership for Civil Justice challenging the constitutionality of the government’s actions.

When ANSWER held a press conference in front of the White House to protest the fines, the police from the National Park Service arrested the speakers and organizers — and horse-mounted police charged into the assembled media.

Ironically, this police attack in front of the White House came hours after Laura Bush gathered the media together inside the White House to condemn the police crackdown of “pro-democracy activists” in Myanmar.

If anything, the government’s attempts to suppress these efforts not only failed but also drew additional thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, of angry people to the streets.

A True United Front
When the large crowd, with so many high school and college students in attendance, poured into the streets around 1:00pm on Sept. 15 the excitement and buzz was palpable. People knew they were part of something very special, something different from the earlier anti-war marches. It wasn’t just the large crowd, which was marching 120 abreast, and filling up all eight lanes of Pennsylvania Ave. for many blocks. The march was impressive and new at other levels as well.

ANSWER initiated the action and provided hundreds of organizers and volunteers. These people were the organizational and administrative anchor of the protest. But this was not an action of one group or entity.

Sept. 15 was a genuine and broad coalition of diverse organizations. Iraq Veterans Against the War, D.C. Chapter; Grassroots America, Veterans for Peace, Camp Casey Peace Institute, Hip Hop Caucus, CodePink, National Council of Arab Americans and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation worked together in joint planning.

The groups achieved an admirable level of cooperation and comradely working relations based on mutual respect and shared responsibility. Many other organizations also contributed. Ramsey Clark and thousands in the ImpeachBush movement mobilized as well.

As a response to the fascist mobilization of the so-called Gathering of Eagles, numerous local and national organizations joined together to offer a united security team.

Sept. 15 may be a harbinger of an even greater unity in the anti-war movement among Iraq war veterans and military families, the Arab American and Muslim communities, students and youth, the immigrant rights movement and other oppressed working-class communities — both those who are already unionized and the millions who need to be.

In our ongoing evaluation of the action, we will have to assess not only its strengths but any of its defects, weaknesses and mistakes. It is not possible to have such an energized action with many tens of thousands of people without there being a fair share of mistakes to learn from. None of the defects, however, can take away from the broader significance of the action.

At the Barricades
ANSWER leaders were among the first people arrested when riot police tried to barricade the path to the Capitol building. Some also were among the first of the 197 people released from custody.

The rest of the night those released earlier and other solidarity activists had the great privilege of welcoming people as they got out of jail and shuttling individuals to the bus and train stations between 1:00am and 8:00 am the next morning.

We got a chance to meet and learn the stories of these brave souls. Many were Iraq war veterans and young students for whom this was their very first demonstration and their first arrest. They were inspired, pumped up and eager to keep mobilizing. They were proud of what they had done.

Many people told us in person, and in emails and phone calls, that Sept. 15 was an event of great importance in their life and outlook.

There is no scientific method to assess how many people fit into this broad category, but by the anecdotal feedback we believe this was a large group.

People come into the streets, risk arrest, join a movement and become activists because they have certain hopefulness that their actions can make a difference.

We have been through a period of pessimism and political apathy — hallmarks of generalized mood where the mass of people do not have the confidence that change is possible. But on September 15 it felt that this may be changing.

Building a New People’s Movement for Change
On Sept. 20, just five days after Sept. 15, tens of thousands people traveled to Jena, La. to stand with the Jena 6 and the African American community.

These two events coming within one week’s time are the first signs that we are waking to a new morning of action, resistance and militant struggle. New movements are not born in the minds of social critics and Ivory Tower observers. They are forged in the streets. Real people, volunteering their time and ignoring the armies of naysayers, are the ones who ignite new historical processes. This movement is coming together because it is needed. Its time has come.

By acting together against war and racism, and linking this movement to all the needs of society that are being sacrificed and destroyed by the power of corporate domination, we can fill the void and vacuum left by the earlier collapse of the progressive movement.

Sept. 15 in Washington, DC was a meaningful day and for some a life-altering day. It will be remembered as significant in a broad historical sense if it emerges as a step toward an even greater development. That is the goal and task of all those who are committed to waging a broad struggle for the radical transformation of this country.

That, and nothing less, is the order of the day.

Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition.


The Encampment to Stop the War
Has Moved to the Streets!

Youth activists, veterans, and antiwar organizers have taken the street near Constitution Ave., Pennsylvania Ave., and 4th St. NW in the middle of Washington, DC.

Several hundred people have completely shut down the street, including people from as far away as Oregon and Florida. They intend to keep the street closed for as long as possible.

Hundreds of supporters have gathered on the sidewalks, as youth are erecting tents from the Encampment in the middle of the street.

They are asking for the progressive and antiwar community in the area to come out and support them. Bring food, water, signs, and join youth from across the U.S. who are moving from protest to resistance to shut down the war.

For more information, or to find out how you can help, call 202-821-3686. As of 8:40 pm, about 100 youth from the Encampment are still occupying Constitution Ave., which they have now blocked for more than 5 hours. Local activists have turned out with food and water to support this action.


Encampment Youth Take the Streets:
Demand Troops Out Now!

About 50 youth just returned to the Encampment from a militant march through the streets of Washington. They took the streets as they marched from the Department of Education to focus on the lack of money for education; to the Department of Justice to demand an end to police brutality and justice for the Jena 6; to a military recruiters office to protest the recruitment of youth to kill and die for wars of profit; and finally to the Capitol building to say “No Justice, No Peace! US Out of the Middle East.”

Although they were pursued by more than a dozen police vehicles, they managed to hold the street for about 20 blocks.

There were no arrests — in fact the march returned to the Encampment with more youth than they started with, as several groups of bypassers joined the march along the way.


Youth Have Shut Down Constitution Avenue

ALERT!

Youth activists, veterans, and antiwar organizers have taken the street near Constitution Ave., Pennsylvania Ave., and 4th St. NW in the middle of Washington, D.C.

Several hundred people have completely shut down the street, including people from as far away as Oregon and Florida. They intend to keep the street closed for as long as possible.

Hundreds of supporters have gathered on the sidewalks, as youth are erecting tents from the Encampment in the middle of the street.

They are asking for the progressive and antiwar community in the area to come out and support them. Bring food, water, signs, and join youth from across the U.S. who are moving from protest to resistance to shut down the war.

For more information, or to find out how you can help, call 202-821-3686.

Labels: Encampment to Stop the War, protest, september 29 posted by Encampment to Stop the War @ 6:18 PM Update from Rally at the Encampment Site

Thousands of people are joining us here at the Encampment, despite efforts by the police to block access to the rally.

We have been informed that police have blocked an entire highway into the city in order to stop the buses that are coming from dozens of organizing centers. We have been on the phone with organizers, planning alternate routes into the city tobypass. We are determined not to let the police block the outpour of resistance and opposition to Bush’s criminal war.

The mall in front of Congress is full of thousands of activists, some from as far away as Washington State and Hawaii.

The march is stepping off in just a few minutes, and we’ve just heard that a group of youth are planning civil disobedience at the end of the march. Details and updates to follow.


Speakers from Rally in Front of the Capitol

Partial list of speakers:

Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

From the cast of Sicko — Donna Smith, Adrian Campbell,

Larry Smith, Julie Pierce, Tracy Pierce Jr., Dawnelle Keys, John Graham Larry Adams (NYCLAW)

Brenda Stokely (Million Worker March Movement)

Charles Jenkins, TWU

Mumia Abu-Jamal (by tape)

Malik Rahim, Common Ground Collective

Omowale Clay, December 12th Movement

Charlotte Kates, Al-Awda New York, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition

Medea Benjamin, Code Pink

Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN USA

Larry Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress

David Swanson, After Downing Street

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus

Adam Kokesh, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Ann Wright

Victor Toro

Debra Sweet, World Can’t Wait

Ardeshir Ommani, Stop War on Iran Campaign

Ignacio Mendes, National Network on Cuba

Walter Sinche, May 1st Immigrant Rights Coalition

Rosita Romero, Domincan Women’s Development Center

Jared Ball, Green Party of the U.S.

Leonard Peltier Statement, read by Sara Flounders

Sonia Umanzon, FMLN

Ivey Parker, Katrina survivor from New Orleans

Pam Parker, singer

Luci Murphy, singer

Usavior, Black Waxx Records, Artists and Activists United for Peace

Nana Soul, Black Waxx Records, Artists and Activists United for Peace

Mohammed Awdallah, U.S. Popular Palestine Conference Network

Ricardo Prado, Democratic Pole, Colombian political party

Kali Akuno, People’s Hurricane Relief Fund

LeiLani Dowell, FIST — Fight Imperialism Stand Together

Larry Holmes, Troops Out Now Coalition

Teresa Gutierrez, May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Sara Flounders, International Action Center

Tyneisha Bowens, FIST — Fight Imperialism Stand Together

Sara “Echo” Steiner, Florida Green Party

Christine Gavin-Lathan, Katrina survivor from Gulfport,Mississippi

Labels: encampment schedule, september 29 posted by Encampment to Stop the War @ 1:00 PM


Thousands to march to demand: “Stop the War at Home & Abroad!”

o Culmination of Week-Long Encampment in Front of Congress
o Opening Rally: 12 noon
o March Begins: 2 pm
o Media Check in: Sign in at Media sign-in

(Washington, D.C.) Activists from across the US, some from as far away as Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Portland, Oregon, have been encamped in front of the Capitol Building for almost a week to demand that Congress cut off all funding for the war in Iraq.

Today, they will be joined by thousands of antiwar protesters from across the US, coming from more than 75 organizing centers, for a massive march to demand, “Stop the War at Home and Abroad!” Buses, cars, and vans are coming from as far away as Florida and Detroit.

Students have been mobilizing from the University of Florida, Rutgers University in New Jersey, as well as many local campuses, including Howard University, George Washington University, Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland, the Univeristy of the District of Columbia, and Gallaudet University.

Today’s events will begin with a 12 Noon opening rally at the Encampment site, located on the west side of the Capitol at 3rd & Constitution.

Speakers will include former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Adam Kokesh of Iraq Veterans Against the War, several members of the cast of SiCKO, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, as well as military family members, antiwar activists, labor activists and community organizers.

The march will step off at 2 pm and will pass by FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. The purpose of this route is to draw attention to the resources that should be invested in health care instead of being spent on war; the ongoing injustices in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and the scapegoating of immigrants.

March Route

March out on Maryland Avenue
Left on 3rd St.
Go to Department of Health and Human Services
Right on Independence Avenue
Left on 4th St.
Go to Department of Education
Right on C Street
Right on Maryland
Right on Independence
Left on 3rd St.
Left on Massachusetts
Right on I Street
Stop at ICE
Right on 4th St.
Left on Massachusetts
Right on 3rd St.

o Note: Some activists not associated with march organizers are planning to engage in acts of peaceful civil disobedience.


Friday DC Encampment Update
Ann Wilcox

GPAX Blog from Troops Out Now Encampment (www.troopsoutnow.org) On FRIDAY, 9/28 folks at the encampment prepared for a major March Against War at Home and Abroad, to be held Sat., 9/29 beginning with a noon rally.

Friday was Student Activism day, with teach-ins and a contingent of about 50 students marching through the streets of Washington, DC, demanding an end to war, justice for Katrina survivors and end to police repression. They made stops at the US Dept. of Education, Dept. of (In)Justice, and the Armed Forces Recruiting Station at 14th and L St, NW.

As they “took the streets back,” the students gained a considerable escort of MPD police vehicles, however there were no arrests. Marchers continued along Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, ending on the Capitol Lawn.

At dusk, TONC campers joined victims of the health-care insurance system and policy-makers at the Lincoln Memorial for the first “Tracy Pierce Memorial Vigil” sponsored by the cast members of the Michael Moore film “Sicko.”

Donna Edwards and others featured in the film spoke to the group about their family members who died after being denied health care by the insurance industry; they were also joined by members of the California Nurses Assn who are loyal allies in this struggle. Over 75 people attended this moving vigil — the first of many.

Finally, the TONC Encampment rocked out to the sounds of the Philippine music group BAYAN Philippine Alliance. Their music and poetry opposed repressive policies in the Philippines.

Saturday at 11:00 am, all will gather at the Encampment for a rally and March to End the War at Home and Abroad.

Join us!!

Stand with the People of Burma!

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

www.mizzima.com & Nonviolent PeaceForce & Amnesty International – 2007-09-30 19:51:29

Letter from a Demonstrator in Burma
www.mizzima.com

(September 29, 2007) — The situation is rather scary because according to the junta nine people were killed, and 11 injured. One Japanese journalist was killed and an American journalist injured. They raided the Traders Hotel to look for more journalists. I think over 20 students were killed along with between five and 10 monks today.

I was lucky because I was with the largest group of about 100,000 people and we started from Sule. They shot at us and wounded one person and we decided to call more people and left Sule.

There was no leader so I told a student who held the flag in the front to be careful and not to stray to a place which could be the army’s killing field.

On the other hand, there is no point trying to persuade young people not to be violent because they are enraged. I do not want confrontation but I want the world to know what we are doing so that we can continue in the days to come when the regime falls.

My voice is not loud enough to advise the crowd when they marched through a wide road with two walls (Between Tamwe junction and Kyaikkasan) where people could be killed.

I left just before that happened due to my sore feet and bruises (I walked about 10 miles without proper sandals). In the evening, they shot at the crowd. When I went back, there were sandals everywhere.

I could not imagine what happened to young boys and girls at the front. They beat and killed monks last night when they raided many monasteries. There is no leader for all have been arrested. I do not know what will happen tomorrow.

My brother was caught in Sule for an hour. People died there too. We closed our office after half a day. I can’t believe they would do that to us in this modern multimedia century. I have a lot of documentation.

Please use this e-mail address only to contact me. Do not call my cell phone. Prisons are full of people and monks. The generals are dangerous — like caged animals.

Please help. Can you tell your governments to do something??? Maybe one cruise missile to the Myanmar capital?

Best
Kyaw


Burma-Myanmar: A Historic Moment for Peaceful Transition and Genuine Democratization and Reconciliation
Nmel Duncan / Nonviolent PeaceForce

(September 30, 2007) — Recognizing the historic moment of opportunity for the emergence of genuine democracy in Burma-Myanmar we call upon all the peoples of that country and of the world to support reconciliation and peaceful transition through nonviolent means. This is a time for deep wisdom and historic leadership to guarantee a peaceful and nonviolent transition, to engage the government, military and civil society and all the peoples of all nationalities of Burma-Myanmar.

The world community is concerned for the security and well-being of the peoples of Burma-Myanmar. We call upon all its citizens – Government leaders, officers and soldiers of the military, monks and all religious leaders, students and all citizens – to face this historic moment side-by-side with the courage of nonviolence, openness to dialogue, and respect for human rights and freedoms. We call for the setting aside of violence and the courage to work nonviolently for national reconciliation to achieve genuine and peaceful democratization.

We are encouraged by and strongly support Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of ASEAN George Yeo’s statement (Sept. 29) recognizing the historic opportunity in Burma-Myanmar today for peaceful transition and genuine reconciliation. We urge the people and governments of Singapore, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand and ASEAN as a whole to play a proactive and constructive role, to strongly urge restraint from the use of violence, and to use all opportunities available to engage the Government and peoples of Burma-Myanmar in a process of peaceful transition.

We urge the European Union, the United States and Russia to actively support the countries of the region and to directly engage with the Government and peoples of Burma-Myanmar to support democratization and genuine reconciliation. We urge Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the UN General Assembly, the Secretariat, and Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari to ensure that Burma-Myanmar remains at the forefront of their agenda and endeavor to play a key and decisive role in supporting democratization and national reconciliation in the country.

Burma-Myanmar has reached a crucial moment in its history. There now exists an opportunity for peace, genuine reconciliation, and democratization. The peoples of Burma-Myanmar continue to show tremendous courage. We call upon all people of the world – NGOs, citizens’ organizations, businesses, students, religious communities, unions, governments, local authorities and international organizations – to demonstrate their solidarity for the people of Burma-Myanmar, for nonviolence and democratization. In this, we applaud the efforts and dedication of the world’s media and the courage of those journalists who are keeping the world informed about the situation Burma-Myanmar.

To all the people of Burma – to the monks and all religious leaders, students, citizens, soldiers, government, civil service, and refugees outside Burma – you are not alone. The world is watching, and stands with you in this historic moment in support of genuine reconciliation, democratization, and peaceful transition.

International Civil Society Organizations from 48 countries, gathered at the Nonviolent Peaceforce International Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, affirmed their support for this statement and encourage the people of Burma-Myanmar and the world to work for peaceful transformation of the conflict in Burma-Myanmar.

Nonviolent Peaceforce affirms its commitment to advocate for and provide when able nonviolent civilian peacekeeping to deter violence.

Mel Duncan is the Executive Director of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. He can be reached at:>/I>
melduncan@nonviolentpeaceforce.org


Stand with the People of Burma!
Amnesty International

I’m sure you’ve seen the inspiring – and terrifying – pictures of red-robed monks facing down heavily armed military police in the streets of Burma (Myanmar) this past week.

Their courage in the face of brutal repression – in the fight for human rights – is what Amnesty International is all about. While you and I live far away from Burma, we can help the brave pro-democracy forces there through our support of Amnesty International.

As I write this, Amnesty activists in more than 20 countries are taking part in demonstrations and meetings with government leaders, designed to pressure the military rulers of Burma, and its key allies China and India, to stop the violence and restore human rights. Amnesty has been working on Burma for decades to free hundreds of pro-democracy activists, including Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, from long prison sentences for nothing more than acts of peaceful dissent.

Now is the time for you to join Amnesty International USA to show your solidarity with the people of Burma – and the people in dozens of other countries whose human rights are being trampled upon.

As we end our Fall membership drive at midnight tonight, please make a membership gift to Amnesty International to help us keep up international pressure on the brutal military regime in Burma.

Please join us in standing side by side with the peaceful red-robed forces for democracy and human rights.

Larry Cox is the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA

Are USAID Funds Being Used for Covert Operations in Central Africa?

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Georgianne Nienaber & keith harmon snow / OpEdNews.com – 2007-09-30 01:54:11

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_georgian_070920_are_usaid_funds_bein.htm

On Wednesday September 19, 2007, the US State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the provision of $496,000 of new funds for wildlife conservation in the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to a State Department press release, poaching, armed conflict and “demographic pressures” are justification for the grant.

But investigations in Eastern Congo reported by these authors over the past six months indicate that USAID “conservation” funds — millions of taxpayer’s dollars — have been misappropriated, misdirected, and have disappeared. Evidence suggests that ongoing guerrilla warfare in Central Africa has and is continuing to receive clandestine financial support in AID-for-ARMS type financial transfers. Gorilla rangers are outfitted with well-oiled machine guns, courtesy of fundraising campaigns by conservation organizations.

It is historical fact that the US underpinned the rule of Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko by providing more than $300 million in weapons and $100 million in military training.

Mobutu used his US-supplied arsenal to repress the Congolese people and plunder his nation’s economy for three decades, until Laurent Kabila’s forces overthrew his brutal regime in 1997. In order to prop up US interests in the strategic resources of Congo, the Clinton administration quickly offered military support to Kabila and developed a plan for new training operations with the armed forces.

In addition, questions still remain as to the role covert operations played in the slaughter that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The current Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame, got his military training in the US and is highly connected with Washington. Did US covert aid to his organization help provoke the bloodbath known as the Rwandan genocide?

In neighboring Congo, what was the role of the US in the assassination of Laurent Kabila in January 2001? What did the US agencies do to promote a civil war and an invasion of that country that has cost 3 million lives?

In 2005, Amnesty International reported large quantities of weapons and ammunition from the Balkans and Eastern Europe were flowing into Africa’s conflict-ridden Great Lakes region, Kivu Province, and Virunga Park.

Amnesty International revealed the role played by arms dealers, brokers and transporters from many countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Israel, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, the UK and USA. The study traces the supply of weapons and ammunition to the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda and their subsequent distribution to armed groups and militia in the eastern DRC that have been involved in atrocities amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Weapons sales by authorized private weapon companies, like the recently accused Select Armor, have also soared. Recently released US Defense Department figures show that private arms sales will reach an estimated $9.5 million in 2007, which is down from a 2005 high of nearly $15 million. Uganda leads this list with nearly nine million dollars in purchases from US authorized private arms dealers, and Djibouti once again hits near the top of the list with nearly six million dollars in purchases in 2005, 2006 and an estimated 2007.

Plausible Denial
“Our efforts are focused on conserving and protecting the habitat of these magnificent animals,” said Claudia A. McMurray, US Assistant Secretary for State Oceans, Environment, and Science. “The survival of the mountain gorillas of Virunga is severely threatened by the tragic events in the region, and we will continue to devote whatever resources we can to protect the gorillas and other threatened species there.”

However, as reported by these authors, millions of dollars in USAID funds given to Virunga Park through the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) over the past ten years have virtually disappeared. Wildlife conservation in eastern Congo is a shambles, and “rebel” armies fighting in the region are receiving massive military support from known and unknown sources. Russian made Kalashnikovs are everywhere.

The realities on the ground in Central Africa are disturbingly different from those painted in the fundraising drives and brochures produced by the big conservation organizations, and their partners and sponsors. Are these conservation programs merely providing a smokescreen for other activities?

The Virungas region is located in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, also the base for long-time Rwandan-backed warlord General Laurent Nkunda.

There is evidence that the United States backs General Laurent Nkunda through both clandestine and open military programs and missions in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Fighting in Congo’s North Kivu province has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the past year alone. The death toll for the region is unknown but cataclysmic — in the millions of people dead since warfare began in the area in 1996.

Playwright Eve Ensler, producer of the Vagina Monologues, recently launched an unprecedented campaign to stop sexual violence in Eastern Congo. Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war to sow terror and break down resistance in order to facilitate military occupation and conquest by invading forces. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have suffered attacks of sexual violence in the area.

THE MISSING USAID MONEY
In 2005, after years of activity with zero oversight or program verification, the activities of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund-International (DFGFI) and Conservation International expenditures of USAID funds ostensibly for gorilla conservation in Central Africa came under scrutiny.

A Freedom of Information Act request was submitted regarding DFGFI’s failure to file required A-133 audit forms on its USAID funding. These A-133 forms are federally mandated from every non-governmental organization (NGO) receiving USAID monies, which come from US taxpayers.

A Freedom of Information Act request determined that DFGFI has not filed audits for more than two years, while they received a total of at least $4,693,384 from USAID between September 24, 2001 and September 29, 2004.

In September of 2005, US Congressman James Oberstar was contacted by a constituent who claimed that the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International had failed to file federally mandated audits (Form A-133) after receiving millions of dollars in grants from USAID.

Congressman Oberstar’s informal inquiry found that, indeed, the DFGFI had failed to file required forms accounting for millions of dollars in USAID money.

“USAID is covering up for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International,” said a source close to this investigation, in January 2006. “The US government has backed off their investigation of where the million’s of dollars in grants went.”

The source claims that DFGFI officials working in Congo and Rwanda are using the gorilla conservation as a front for other activities. The source also provided information revealing the interesting backgrounds of top-level DFGFI directors.

“The little old lady in Iowa who sends in her five bucks to save the gorillas would freak out if she knew where her money was really going,” the source said. “The gorillas are getting zip in the wild.”

In 2006 Congressman Oberstar demanded that USAID produce a report on the activities of the DFGFI in Central Africa, but as of this writing there had been no substantive action by the DFGFI or USAID. Oberstar noted that the DFGFI has violated US law by not filing required audit reports.

“I’m personally pursuing the matter” Oberstar told a reporter for the Rwanda-owned state newspaper, the New Times, in November 2005, “and have to make sure that USAID explains to the government why DFGFI has not been presenting their audit reports.”

The Rwandan state-run newspaper New Times reported that DFGFI President and CEO Clare Richardson told their reporter that DFGFI had presented audits to USAID in March 2005. The New Times also reported that the Director General of the Office of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), Rosette Rugamba, told the New Times that she didn’t understand the activities of the DFGFI.

“I don’t know what they are doing in Rwanda,” Rugamba told the New Times. “They have been here for over three decades claiming they are doing research work but they haven’t given us any results. The living conditions of the DFGFI trackers are miserable and yet the DFGFI has lots of money.”

According to Congressman Oberstar’s office, on March 31, 2006, Congressional Affairs at USAID told a House International Relations Committee staff-member “that an audit is being conducted by a third party auditor, but it has not yet been completed.”

Also, the US government Office of Acquisition and Assistance was reportedly forcing DFGFI to respond to all allegations leveled against them about finance and budget issues.

The “third-party” auditor performing a “private” audit is the Defense Contract Audit Agency, a US government agency responsible for auditing US Department of Defense contracts.

Why is the US Defense Contracts Audit Agency auditing programs and funds designated for “gorilla conservation” in Central Africa?

“The Defense Contract Audit Agency,” reads their web site, “is under the authority, direction, and control of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), is responsible for performing all contract audits for the Department of Defense (DoD), and providing accounting and financial advisory services regarding contracts and subcontracts to all DoD Components responsible for procurement and contract administration.”

The Defense Contract Audit Agency completed the DFGFI/USAID audit in March 2007, but the audit has not been released due to the claimed “proprietary nature” of the audit.

We repeat the question: Why is the US Department of Defense Contract Audit Agency auditing the finances and programs of a conservation organization like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund?

While oversight and accountability for past USAID ‘investment” in the region has not been achieved, even under the pressure of a US Congressman, some $496 million dollars is being directed to the ongoing black hole in Central Africa.

DIAN FOSSEY GUERILLA FUND
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International also receives funds from private donors, foundations and corporate sponsors, and they have regular fundraising drives where callers solicit donations from members and the general public.

Sponsors and friends listed in DFGFI documents for January to December of 2003, in the $25,000 and above category included, Dr. and Mrs. Nick Faust and CNN, and certain mining and intelligence connected interests.

Dr Nicholas Faust has deep connection to the US Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.

CNN’s Ted Turner is an owner-shareholder in a high-tech company called Earth Search Sciences Inc. (ESSI) based out of McCall, Idaho. In 1999 ESSI loaned a state-of-the-art “hyperspectral” probe — a remote sensing instrument carried on an aircraft or satellite platform — to a DFGFI and Georgia Institute of Technology team who performed some interesting “studies” in Rwanda.

The project was directed by Dr. Nicholas Faust who is one of the key scientists with the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), Redlands, California, USA, which is directly linked to ESSI.

ESRI Corporation (www.esri.com) is self-described as “the world leader in GIS (geographic information system) modeling and mapping software and technology.”

ESRI is a key contractor for the US Department of Defense and Intelligence sector, providing battle theatre GIS mapping and support technologies used, for example, for “a defense-wide infrastructure, supporting fighting missions, command and control, installation management, and strategic intelligence.”_http://www.esri.com/industries/defense/business/military_ops.html
Remote sensing of gorilla habitat reportedly provides essential information about food sources, like the availability of species of bamboos, or encroaching threats from slash-and-burn agriculture, or other changes to gorilla habitat. But the remote sensing arena has proliferated due to the efficacy of these technologies in identifying deposits of minerals or hydrocarbons (oil & gas) — prospecting from aerospace platforms — and the data was therefore far more significant than a few species of bamboos.

According to two independent inside sources, the 21 data CD’s from the ESSI/ESRI remote sensing over-flights ostensibly for Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International were delivered directly by the DFGFI’s CEO Clare Richardson into the hands of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Minister of Defense.

“These guys aren’t looking for habitat,” comments one remote sensing expert (who has visited the facilities of ESSI), “they are looking for oil, which is what they do, and they probably got funding for habitat assessment from USAID and are using the data to provide their owners with oil, minerals and uranium info. I’m not aware of any natural resource vegetative project that they have done in the past. It strictly sounds like taking the taxpayer dollar to fatten some oil guys pockets.”

The Albertine Rift area and so-called World Heritage Sites of the border zone between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo are at present enmeshed in massive petroleum and natural gas exploration and exploitation projects.

Some 1000 people a day die in war-torn Eastern Congo due to guerrilla warfare and covert operations. The extent of western petroleum, mining or military involvement in Eastern Congo is never reported by the international press.

Former CNN journalist Gary Strieker became a member of the DFGFI Board of Trustees. Strieker was the CNN journalist embedded with the Rwandan Patriotic Army during the Pentagon’s covert operation that overthrew the government of Juvenal Habyarimana in Rwanda in 1994.

CNN is deeply embedded with the Pentagon in reporting the US government slant on military operations in US military hotspots, including Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

CNN reportage never establishes any connections to, or stories about, the deeper, hidden realities of western involvement in war, mining, extortion, pillage, dictatorship, arms-running, genocide, disease, or population control programs in Central Africa. Like virtually all of the western media, there is never any attention to the perpetuation of structural violence or the institutions of control and domination.

WEIDEMANN CHALLENGES CONSERVATION
In a telling memo written in December 2004, Robert Hellyer — USAID Mission Director for DRC — wrote to the USAID Africa Bureau in Washington regarding the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), the “principal vehicle for United States participation in the Congo Basin Forest Project.”

Buried in the February 2006 Annex of the supporting documents for the report of the Weidemann Consortium — an evaluation of the CARPE program in Central Africa — is the admission that the rational of “overpopulation” was bogus.

“Of the more than 60 million people that live in the region,” Hellyer wrote, “about 22 million are located in urban areas. At present rates of population growth, the region is expected to contain 150 million people by the year 2025. Population density is on the whole quite low, with a regional average of 14 persons per square kilometer.”

Wildlife conservation and state department interests have repeatedly trumpeted population pressures as the reason for gorilla and habitat decline in Central Africa, yet the above report makes it clear that “population density is on the whole quite low.”

Robert Hellyer elaborates on the global demand for petroleum and timber, and on the adverse impacts of human populations in a landscape — Congo — where “it is in the self-interest of the United States government” to support “sustainable development” in the region. Hellyer confirmed that CARPE and USAID are not interested in the Congolese people, or even biodiversity protection, but only in the interests of the United States.

The Virungas National Park has become the focus of international investigations around white western mercenary operations. Top former US state department officials involved in mining companies now plundering eastern Congo have turned up on the boards of some of the “conservation” organizations involved in the Virungas and other protected areas in Central Africa.

One of these conservation mercenary organizations is Richard Leakey’s Wildlife Direct, a newcomer in Congo that operates under the mantle of the Africa Conservation Fund, a tax-exempt (501-c-3) registered with the Internal Revenue Service.

Gorilla killings in the Virungas increased when Wildlife Direct appeared in the Virungas in January 2007.

One former sate department official involved in the region is Walter H. Kansteiner III, an Africa Conservation Fund board member since the founding of ACF in 2004. Kansteiner was a top-level National Security Agency official in both the William J. Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations.

In 2003 Kansteiner appeared as an expert witness in the US Congressional Hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa of the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations titled “Saving the Congo Basin, the Stakes, the Plan.” At the time, Kansteiner was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. He formerly served with the National Security Council as director of African Affairs and as an African specialist on the staff of the Secretary of State.

Kansteiner has been a constant presence behind the scenes in Congo’s war since 1996. Kansteiner worked on a strategic minerals task force at the Department of Defense and was Executive Vice President of a commodity trading and manufacturing company specializing in tropical commodities in the developing world: one of these was coltan one of the mineral byproducts of warfare in DRC’s Kivu provinces today.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the world’s purest and largest deposits of strategic minerals, such as gold, coltan, niobium, cobalt and columbite (columbium-tantalite or coltan). Niobium, coltan, tantalum and cassiterite are found in the Virungas region.

Walter H. Kansteiner III is on the Board of Directors of Moto Gold, now operating in the killing fields of the bloody Ituri district near Lake Albert.

RESOURCE WARS IN CENTRAL AFRICA
One petroleum firm involved in the great lakes region of Central Africa is Heritage Oil and Gas, a Canadian company involved in Kazakhstan, Russia, Iraq, Oman, Kurdistan, Gabon and on Lake Albert — on both sides of the war-torn DRC-Uganda border — where fighting between the Congolese FARDC army and Ugandan soldiers and Heritage Oil guards killed a British Heritage Oil subcontractor on August 3, 2007.

Heritage Oil (Canada) and Tullow Oil (London) are operating around Lake Albert in areas that recently saw major fighting. In mid-August the Uganda government commenced a build-up of troops on the DRC border. Congolese survivors in frontier towns along Lake Albert saw Ugandan military and their “rebel” allies — believed to be troops allied with Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba — marching into Congo with heavy weapons in late August.

By September 5, 2007, UPDF troops — and rebels reportedly aligned with Jean-Pierre Bemba — had occupied the DRC’s oil- and gold-rich Semliki Basin on the western shores of Lake Albert. Heavily armed foreign forces occupied the villages of Aru, Mahagi, Fataki, Irengeti and the Ruwenzori mountains. The international press and the United Nations Observers Mission in DRC (MONUC) remained completely silent about the Ugandan incursions.

By September 8, 2007, Ugandan troops were heavily massed on the DRC border while Kabila and Museveni were signing oil and gold sharing agreements in Tanzania. UPDF forces and “rebel” troops alleged to be Bemba’s remained in DRC as of September 15.

Heritage Oil and Gas is tied to mercenary companies and a long list of shady operators and off-shore subsidiaries and partner companies.

Bechtel Corporation subsidiary Nexant is involved in the oil pipeline being constructed across Uganda to the US military port at Mombasa Kenya.

The Ugandan People’s Defense Forces and Museveni government genocide against the Acholi people of northern Uganda is driven by transboundary petroleum and gold concessions linked to foreign corporations like Heritage, Tullow, and Bechtel.

Uganda and Rwanda are two of the Pentagon’s premier military partners in Africa: some 150 US Special Forces were added to the Pentagon’s Uganda arsenal in March 2007 and US and U.K. military have been training UPDF troops.

Heritage has already reported pumping some 13,000 barrels per day from its “Kingfisher” 1-A site on Lake Albert.

In March 2007, the government of Rwanda awarded massive oil concessions to Vangold Resources. The 2700 square kilometer Vangold concession — named “White Elephant” — is believed to be part of the underground basin connected to the Heritage and Tullow Oil fields in the Semliki basin of DRC/Uganda.

Vangold Resources is a Canadian Company with Canadian and US principals.

The “White Elephant” concession is located in northern Rwanda in areas where the Rwandan Patriotic Army has led massive military operations, driving forced displacements premised on depopulating the area of Hutu villagers, since their initial invasions in 1990.

COVERT ALLIANCES WITH LAURENT NKUNDA
Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba met with Rwandan-backed General Laurent Nkunda during his Vice-Presidency (2003-2006) and he is now one of General Nkunda’s secret backers in the ongoing bloodletting in eastern Congo.

Jean-Pierre Bemba’s brother-in-law Anthony “Tony” Teixeira deals in blood diamonds, criminal networks and mercenary operations. Tony Teixeira is one of three pivotal businessmen who, along with Jacques Lemaire and Victor Bout, were cited in 2000 for sanctions-busting by supporting the UNITA rebels in Angola’s war. Bout and other businessmen with US connections have been involved in weapons transfers to Congo.

According to insider MONUC sources, Jean-Pierre Bemba has been buying off high-level MONUC officials. This would partially explain MONUC’s unwillingness to challenge or dislodge General Nkunda.

Congolese people in the Kivu province have been throwing stones at MONUC vehicles because they believe MONUC is not serious about “peacekeeping” in eastern Congo but is pursuing a political agenda.

On September 17, 2007 a “resource hungry” China signed an agreement to invest five billion dollars in Congos’ infrastructure. Anglo-European interests are now using the military occupation of General Laurent Nkunda — backed by clients’ regimes in Uganda and Rwanda, by Jean-Pierre Bemba and MONUC — to leverage their position with Kabila.

General Laurent Nkunda earns at least $100,000 a month in extortion and minerals theft, and he is buying officials. Most important, General Laurent Nkunda is the “insurance policy” for the US and German companies preventing Congo’s access to the Lueshe niobium mines and other mineral bonanzas, including coltan, cassiterite and, allegedly, uranium, under Nkunda’s control.

Over the past decade, USAID has become closer and closer to Pentagon interests. While originally a “soft” instrument of US foreign policy around the world, the Pentagon has openly sided with USAID in recent military programs. One of these is AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s new Africa Command, which counts USAID as a major partner.

Georgianne Nienaber has been an investigative environmental writer for more than thirty years and wrote a column for the Rwandan New Times. She lives in rural northern Minnesota. Recent articles have appeared in India’s TerraGreen, COA News, The Journal of the International Primate Protection League, Africa Front, The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, AllAfrica.com, and Zimbabwe’s The Daily Mirror. Her fiction exposé of insurance fraud in the horse industry, Horse Sense, was re-released in early 2006. Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey was also released in 2006. She recently worked on the Coleen Rowley for Congress campaign, doing press and campaign events and just returned from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was in DRC as a MONUC-accredited journalist.

Keith harmon snow is an independent war correspondent and photographer, and a human rights and genocide investigator who formerly worked with Genocide Watch, Survivor’s Rights International and the United Nations (Ethiopia and Sudan). He has fifteen years experience in Africa working in 17 African countries. From 2004-2007 he worked with the United Nations Observers Mission to Congo (MONUC) in DRC and with UNICEF documenting genocide and consulting on livelihoods and vulnerabilities in Ethiopia.

He was part of the Special Congressional Hearing on Genocide and Coverty Operations in Africa chaired by Cynthia McKinney in 2001. His most recent story about his work in Afghanistan appears in Kyoto Journal, where his last story about the Dalai Lama in India was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

The Boys from Baghdad: Iraqi Commandos Trained by US Contractor

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch – 2007-09-30 01:47:24

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14700

(September 20th, 2007) — “Starting the month with a bang, the boys from Baghdad executed two baited ambushes … and further confirmed the [Emergency Response Unit’s] ability to conduct operations with stealth and violence of action,” writes an unofficial historian for the ERU, in Unit History of 1st Battalion, a report obtained by CorpWatch. (1)

The “boys” that the report praises are members of one of dozens of elite Iraqi commandos units that function as a “third force” to augment the Iraqi police and army, both of which are widely considered to be failures. On this mission in early July 2005, the Emergency Response Unit, backed by the First Battalion of the Fifth Infantry Regiment of the US Army, had detained “anti-Iraqi forces” and intercepted roadside bombs.

Their tactics owed much to a secretive US private contractor, US Investigations Services (USIS), which conducted ERU trainings on US military bases in Iraq — including at Camp Dublin and Camp Solidarity. The trainings began under General David Petreaus as an effort to bolster security in Iraq, and soon evolved into a system for providing support to the deeply sectarian Ministry of the Interior.

Beginning in May 2004, US authorities contracted with USIS to create the first ERU. The non-sectarian force is supposed “to respond to national-level law enforcement emergencies. The four-week training runs recruits through SWAT-type emergency response training focusing on terrorist incidents, kidnappings, hostage negotiations, explosive ordnance, high-risk searches, high-risk assets, weapons of mass destruction, and other national-level law enforcement emergencies” according to the Pentagon.

Who Owns USIS?
For the first 11 years of its existence as a private company USIS was owned by the Carlyle Group. In May 2007 USIS was sold again to Providence Equity Partners (PEP) for $1.5 billion. The Rhode Island private equity group specializes in media, entertainment and communications companies. PEP’s most famous acquisition was the purchase of Clear Channel’s television network. (41)

The top advisor to PEP is Michael Powell, a former policy advisor to Dick Cheney, when Cheney was US Secretary of Defense. But Powell is better known for two other reasons: He is the son of Colin Powell, a former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense.

Michael Powell’s other claim to fame was that when George W. Bush appointed Colin Powell secretary of state, the president chose Michael to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). There he presided over the deregulation that allowed Clear Channel to acquire the television stations in a way that would have been previously illegal. (42)

Two years after Michael Powell resigned from the FCC, his client, PEP, bought up the very same television stations.
By April 2006, the ERUs had conducted 117 “Close Target Reconnaissance” missions in Baghdad alone, completing 104 of them, and capturing 236 “suspects,” according to estimates by Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Voss, military advisor in charge of the ERU program.

The ERUs are now officially controlled and paid by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and are accompanied by US trainers or soldiers throughout their training. But a high-level State Department report issued in 2005 explains that the Iraqi commandos were initially rejected by the very Ministry of the Interior that they were intended to support when they were created more than three years ago.

Instead, US officials and contractors controlled the ERUs, which became an unofficial Iraqi face to provide local cover for US operations. With no support from the Iraqi government at the time, the ERU had to rely on USIS for salaries, thereby becoming a privately financed militia.

Michael John, a spokesperson for USIS, told CorpWatch that the company is still under contract with the Pentagon for ERU training, but says that the support is provided strictly as part of training. “We are in a training and not in an operational capacity. The National Police Support Team (NPST) operates under the jurisdiction of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior and the US Department of Defense.”

Dozens of interviews conducted by CorpWatch with high-ranking military and government officials over the past 12 months suggest that even at the level of Petreaus’s staff, few appeared to know the specific role and scope of ERU activity. What is clear is that the ERU is just one of at least six different US “security” training programs worth over $20 billion that a variety of US agencies have provided to the many factions in Iraq. (See accompanying boxes for examples of other programs.)

It is becoming increasingly clear that such training programs may be causing or at least exacerbating civil war. Part of the blame lies within the complex failures of the US occupation and part with the loyalties and skills of the forces recruited into the myriad security training programs that are associated with different ministries and thus with different, and often rival, political factions.

“Of course, they are fucking things up,” Robert Young Pelton, author of “Licensed to Kill, Hired Guns in the War on Terror” told CorpWatch. “Because the US is arbitrarily putting weapons and power in the hands of those who choose to fight, rather than those who are in the moral right,” (2) explaining that few who sign up have any previous law enforcement credentials.

The Third Force

The fact that neither the Iraqi army nor the police were able to tackle the growing insurgency became glaringly obvious in April 2004 when violent uprisings exploded across the country. Iraqi soldiers assigned to fight in Fallujah fled the field. (3) A group of Baghdad police, sent to assist US soldiers battling the Mahdi army in Najaf at the same time, also refused to fight. (4)

Special Police Commandos
The ERUs are not the only “third force” police commandos trained in Iraq under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. The Special Police Commandos, a SWAT team that has been often described as death squads, also have unofficial US “advisors.” (Unlike the Anbar militias described below, the Special Police Commandos are not trained by USIS, but are a separate force, albeit working for the same ministry.)

The commandos were first composed of veterans of Hussein’s special forces and Republican Guard, and headed up by Adnan Thabit, the nephew of Falah al-Naqib, the interior minister under the interim government of Ayad Allawi that followed Paul Bremer. The commandos quickly became notorious after a nationally televised reality show featured them brutally interrogating suspected “terrorists.” (21)

“In one show, a former policeman with two black eyes confessed to killing two police officers in Samarra; A few days after the broadcast, the former policeman’s family told reporters, his corpse was delivered to them,” wrote Peter Maass, a New York Times journalist who first detailed the role of the Special Police Commandos in May 2005. Maass also documented several cases he personally encountered in which the commandos abused prisoners. (22)

Maass also noted the potential for the commandos to become enmeshed in sectarian killings, observing that Allawi, Naqib and Thabit are all Sunni.

“Paramilitary forces have a tendency to become politicized … [and] used for internal combat,” wrote Maass. “In a country as riven as Iraq — with Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Turkmen vying for power — a paramilitary force that is controlled by one faction can be a potent weapon against others. That is why the commandos are a conundrum — in the country’s unstable military and political landscape, it is impossible to know where they are heading.”

Weeks after Maass’ article appeared, his words would seem prophetic. In May 2005, Allawi was replaced by Jaafari, a conservative religious Shiite from Islamic Dawa Party, in the first elected government. Bayan Jabr, a former high-ranking member of the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade, the military arm of the fundamentalist Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), took over as interior minister in Iraq’s transitional government.

Each commando unit had a nickname such as the Scorpions, Snakes and Tigers. One particularly notorious group, led by General Gharrawi, was the Wolf Brigade, later renamed the Volcanoes. (23) A US Department of State report recounts an August 2005 incident in which about 50 men suspected of being Volcanoes raided the Al Huriya neighborhood in northern Baghdad, kidnapped 36 Sunnis and killed them. Acid was used to burn their faces before they were shot in the head. (24)

Under Jabr, the Special Police Commandos were taken over by two generals, Rasheed Fleyah and Mahdi Sabeh, both Shiites. In November 2005, American troops discovered 169 beaten, whipped and starved prisoners (most of whom were Sunni) at the Al-Jadiriyah bunker, a secret detention center run by the country’s Interior Ministry. One of these victims, Jamal Hamdani, was left impotent and paralyzed on one side of his body after repeated electrocution of his spine and genitals during two months in detention in a secret prison in Kadhamiya, Baghdad. An electric drill had been used on his chin. (25)

Six months later, in May 2006, a similar center was found in Hilla, where some victims had holes drilled into their bodies. Then, as many as 1,400 torture victims were discovered at Site Four in east Baghdad under the control of the Wolf Brigade. Jabr later admitted that torture had taken place in both Al-Jadiriyah and Site Four.

US military officials declared themselves surprised. “I did not see militia groups in the Special Police Commandos in the time I was there,” General David Petraeus, the man in charge of security training for Iraqis until September 2005, told a Frontline documentary team in late 2006. (26) (Petraeus was appointed the commander in chief of all US troops in Iraq in January 2007.)

When the current government of Nouri al-Maliki took charge in April 2006, the Special Police Commandos were officially disbanded, merged with the ERU, and renamed the National Police. (27) In October 2006 the new Minister of the Interior, Jawad al-Bolani dismissed Fleyah and Sabeh, but the rumors of death squads run out of the Interior Ministry persist. (28)

It should be noted that as each new political group takes control of the Interior Ministry and receive US training, it creates new fiefdoms inside the bureaucracy that never disappear but instead support rival militias that exacerbate rather than resolve the sectarian conflict.

A recent Los Angeles Times article explains that each floor of the 11-story headquarters of the ministry is now occupied by a different faction (most of whom are Shiite) working under the US advisors stationed directly above them on the top floor. (29)

US planners in Iraq were suddenly forced to admit that the country was on the verge of spreading insurrections and looming civil war. Officials at the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), headed by Paul Bremer, began earnest discussions about creating a “third force” (5) of highly trained commando units that would be able to deal with hostage situations and unforeseen criminal or political violence. (In a monograph on the evolution of Iraq’s security forces, Andrew Rathmell of the Rand Corporation, a think-tank closely affiliated with the Pentagon, defined the third force as “constabulary forces that lie somewhere between civilian police and armed forces.”)

Senior US advisors at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, notably State Department official Steve Casteel, supported the creation of this third force. A former senior US Drug Enforcement Administration official, Casteel previously helped train government forces in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, where he was involved in the hunt for Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellin cocaine cartel. (6)

Ministry of Interior advisors drew up plans for an Emergency Response Unit consisting of three companies of 60 men each, plus a headquarters unit to do high-risk search, arrest, hostage rescue, and crisis response operations. Once trained, these units were to be integrated into the regular Iraqi Police Service. The advisors also planned similar elite units, Bureau of Dignitary Protection (BDP), to protect high-ranking Iraqi officials who were under threat of kidnapping.

A total of 370 ERU and 395 BDU personnel were trained in the initial phase and deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Baghdad. (7) __This early ERU training was conducted under a $64.5 million no-bid contract issued in May 2004 (10) to US Investigations Services (USIS), a former federal agency that started out conducting background investigations for civil service personnel. (11)

At first, the CPA officials who controlled the purse strings of the Iraqi Ministry of Finance, used oil revenues to finance the contract. Today, the USIS contract, which has been renewed twice, is paid for with Pentagon (and thus US taxpayer) funds. (12) Most of the trainers are retired military personnel plus a few police officers and federal agents.

US control was further enhanced by conducting the trainings at US military bases. At Camp Dublin, near the Baghdad International Airport, new ERU recruits were expected to live alongside their USIS trainers. The four- to eight-week trainings took place at a special facility inside Dublin that was built on a bare plot of land by First Kuwaiti, a contractor that later won the bid to build the US embassy in Baghdad. (13)

USIS also trains ERUs at Camp Solidarity (originally dubbed Camp Gunslinger) in the Sunni neighborhood of Aadhamiya. (14)

Greg (not his real name) worked in a team of 45 USIS trainers based at Camp Dublin to teach ERU recruits skills such as weapons use, close-quarter battle tactics, and forced entry into buildings through doors and windows. “We want to develop a unit of the Iraqi military that can take care of their own problems internally. It’s not publicized a lot for whatever reason, but it is true that we are doing that,” he told the Detroit Metro Times newspaper. (15)

Once trained, the ERUs were quickly dispatched to “lead” counter-insurgency operations beside US forces, often in combat zones. “They conduct their missions with us on the sidelines,” Lieutenant Voss, the ERU program head, told The Advisor, a newspaper published by the US military security training program in Baghdad. (16)

USIS
US Investigations Services traces its origins back to 1883 as a part of the federal government’s Civil Service Commission (CSC). Tasked with checking backgrounds of prospective government employees, CSC evolved into the Investigations Service arm of the Office of Personnel Management.

In 1996, the Clinton administration privatized this office, purportedly to save money, and sold it for $545 million to the Carlyle Group and the New York investment firm of Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe. (37) Ten years after the sale, USIS, a private company, has a near monopoly on “screening transactions,” conducting some 20 million a year, roughly 90 percent of the total. (38)

The contract to provide commando training in Iraq was a departure for USIS, which had no previous involvement in security training. And it was just the first of several government projects that USIS took over from federal agencies. In September 2006, USIS won a contract to provide the staffing for around-the-clock watch operations at towers erected by Boeing in the Arizona desert to monitor the Mexican border for the US government. Its task is “to detect, identify, classify, and respond to and resolve illegal entry attempts at our land borders with Mexico and Canada.” (39)

Although USIS will not take the place of the Border Patrol agents, who are federal employees, the Virginia-based company plays a role in the selection of agents through its contract to do background checks on them. (see “Fencing the Border: Boeing’s High-Tech Plan Falters”) __A year later, in July 2007, USIS won a contract to provide the data, software and analysts to track the estimated 550,000 “fugitive aliens” in the US (40)

Disowned and Criticized
USIS’s ERU training program ran into problems from its first days in Iraq during the caretaker government of Ayad Allawi, who took charge in July 2004. Iraqi government officials refused to recognize the ERU graduates or to pay them salaries on a regular basis. This stance led to conflicts with US government officials, who believed ERU trainees should be integrated into the police force, according to a critical July 2005 report from the Inspector General of the US State Department. (17)

Rejected by Baghdad, the ERU became an adjunct of the US military, relying on the US Special Forces for operational intelligence. At one point, when the ERU salaries were five months in arrears, USIS started to pay its recruits a $75 monthly salary. (18)

DynCorp Police Training
The rank-and-file of Iraq’s police also undergo training and mentorship from a private company — some 700 trainers working for DynCorp, a Virginia-based corporation.43 DynCorp also employs 377 people to train police in Afghanistan. (44) For its training and security work in the two countries in fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006, the company received $1.6 billion, which accounted for roughly 30 percent of its revenue during those years. (45)

The Iraq program was first issued to DynCorp as a no-bid contract in April 2003 and renewed in September 2006. (46) The latest contract, which expired at the end of May 2007, is currently up for bid. The Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, an independent US government agency, criticized DynCorp for overspending on the building of training facilities — such as $43.8 million for a residential camp in Baghdad for trainers that has never been used. (47)

A 2006 Pentagon and State Department investigation into the police training program in Afghanistan revealed that managers had no idea how many police officers were actually on duty or what became of thousands of trucks and other equipment issued to police units. (48) The report concludes that the police were largely incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement work. While the report investigators do not blame DynCorp directly, Afghan officials have complained about the poor quality of trainers and their high salaries.

Ali Jalali, a military historian who served as Afghanistan’s interior minister from 2002 to 2005, told the New York Times: ”They were good on patrols in Oklahoma City, Houston, or Miami. But not in a country where you faced rebuilding the police force.” (49)

Others say the same — that DynCorp’s Iraq training has also been a wasted effort. “It is my professional opinion that the police training program in Iraq has been a complete failure,” said Gerald Burke, a retired Massachusetts police major who worked as an adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Interior for two years, when he testified before the US Congress House of Representatives Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in April 2007.

Another source of conflict between Baghdad and Washington centered around how to define the pool of potential trainees. The State Department report recommended that trainers should draw recruits from within the existing police force, in order to make the ERUs more palatable to the Iraqi government. When the first elected government took over in May 2005, al-Jafaari’s administration agreed to integrate the ERU and BDP units into the Ministry of the Interior. (19)

However the training continued to be conducted separately from the regular police program contracted to Virginia-based DynCorp.

The ERU initial training also came under fire for alleged human rights abuses. In the spring of 2005, Colonel Ted Westhusing, a military ethics expert from Oklahoma who was in charge of the USIS contract, received an anonymous four-page letter accusing USIS of deliberately reducing the number of trainers to increase its profit margin.

Westhusing was supervising the ERU program at the time. The letter, which was eventually released to Texas journalist Robert Bryce earlier this year under the Freedom of Information Act, detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly witnessed or participated in killing Iraqis during the assault on Fallujah in 2004. “ERU Mentors [USIS contractors] are conducting real world ops [operations]. They shot their weapons and killed Iraqis,” wrote the whistle-blower. “ (Name deleted) was telling me how many Iraqis he had killed until I told him to shut the hell up. I was appalled by this. I have talked to the Mentors and am told that if they don’t go with the Iraqis the Iraqis won’t fight.”

Worried that “it would put his contract at risk,” an unnamed USIS manager did not report the accusations to the US military supervisors according to a November 2005 investigative article by T. Christian Miller in the Los Angeles Times. (20)

On receipt of the letter, Westhusing reported the allegations to his superiors, but told them that he believed USIS was complying with the terms of its contract. US officials investigated and found “no contractual violations,” and “these allegations to be unfounded.”

But over the next few months Westhusing became increasingly dissatisfied with the company. In June 2005, he attended a meeting in Iraq in which he angrily complained of “his dislike of the contractors, [who] were paid too much money by the government,” according to Miller’s sources. __Shortly after Westhusing had left the meeting, a USIS employee discovered the colonel lying on the floor in a trailer in a pool of blood, a single gunshot wound to the head. A note discovered by the body, in Westhusing’s handwriting, pointed to suicide: “I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied,” it says. “I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more.”

“Equipping Iraqis for Civil War”
USIS training continues today under a new contract issued earlier this year, although few details have been made public. Occasionally the Pentagon’s public affairs office publishes short descriptions of ERU missions.

A July 21, 2007 press release, for example, describes one group, accompanied the previous day by US military advisors, that “detained three suspected members of a rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi militia group.” Also known as the Mahdi Army, the militia is led by the powerful and popular Shia leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, and is based in Sadr City, the poor Shia neighborhood in northwestern Baghdad. (30)

Such raids are fraught with problems: The perception that the US or the Iraqi government is backing raids on groups with popular support and parliamentary representation, such as the Mahdi Army, could fuel civil war.

Indeed some fear that US-trained militias, rather than adding security, are already exacerbating sectarian strife. “We have been going about pumping out so many individuals with weapons, with uniforms, that my greatest fear is that in our effort to train and equip the Iraqi security forces, what we have been doing is equipping Iraqis for civil war,” Matt Sherman, a civilian advisor to Iraq’s Interior ministry, told Frontline. (35)

“It is like raising a crocodile,” Saad Yousef al-Muttalibi, told the Washington Times when asked about the various “third force” training schemes. The Al-Maliki cabinet member, who is in charge of negotiating reconciliation agreements, continued: “It is fine when it is a baby, but when it is big, you can’t keep it in the house.” (36)

Others point out that these trainings are a throwback to colonial divide-and-conquer techniques. “The ERUs represent a return to not only the old Special Forces/CIA counterinsurgency model [fighting fire with fire], but the older British model of sepoys or local fighters paid strictly to bolster foreign forces with little if any concern about the local power balance. The same recipe was used in Afghanistan, Latin America and other proxy wars,” Robert Young Pelton told CorpWatch.

Anbar Awakening
The term “Emergency Response Unit” has also been used for various schemes that arm and equip local militias to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior. For example, some 2,500 men have been trained under such a scheme in Anbar province and another 800 in Babil province in the past year. (9)

But Lieutenant Colonel Michael Meese, an advisor to General David Petreaus, told CorpWatch that US Special Forces were in charge of these ERU training schemes around the country, noting that they were different from the USIS training scheme at Camps Dublin and Solidarity.

Petraeus has personally lent his support by attending an ERU graduation ceremony in Hilla this past June.

The most widely touted example of US Special Forces-trained ERU deployment has been in Anbar province, the vast western desert province that borders Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, where Al Qaeda in Iraq and various sectarian forces are currently attacking Maliki government and occupation troops.

In September 2006 Sheikh Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi, head of the Anbar Salvation Front, joined hands with the US (31) The enemy-of-my-enemy alliance served al-Rishawi in various ways: It helped him fight off Al Quaeda of Iraq’s attempt to undermine his tribal power, and it procured special training for his followers.

All told some 2,500 al-Rishawi supporters received US Special Forces-provided ERU training. Touting Anbar’s declining violence, including carjackings and bombings, the US military and even Al-Maliki hailed the “Anbar Awakening” as a major step forward in combating “terrorism.”

Al-Maliki made a much publicized trip to Ramadi, the provincial capital, in a show of support and solidarity with Al-Rishawi in March. Indeed it was his first trip to the city in 30 years and reporters were invited along to witness the new militias.

Monte Morin, a military reporter with the Stars and Stripes described an ERU he witnessed in Ramadi. “The units, which are armed but wear no standardized uniforms, have been issued pickup trucks and, in some cases, night-vision goggles. They draw pay from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.”

Like the USIS-trained ERU, these militias are backed up by the US military. Morin described how Colonel Mohammed Rashid (an ex-Baathist), was put in charge of an ERU to patrol the 50-square-mile Jazeera suburb, beside the 1st Battalion of the 36th Infantry Regiment and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division of the US Army. (32)

Some say that providing ERU training to groups such as the Anbar Salvation Council is a dangerous game, given the council’s history and the US record of training groups such as the Afghan resistance that later turn their weapons and skills back on the US

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Welch, a US Army reserve officer in Baghdad who specializes in tribal and religious affairs, told the Washington Post that Al-Rishawi “made his living running a band of thieves who kidnapped and stopped and robbed people on the road between Baghdad and Jordan.” (34) (This may help explain why violent robberies and bombings decreased when the Anbar Salvation Council took charge.)

Then there is the question of loyalty. “The question with a group like [the Anbar Salvation Council] always is, does it stay bought?” Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told the Washington Post.

The Anbar success has been short-lived. In June, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the Mansour hotel in Baghdad, killing a number of the sheikhs affiliated with the Anbar Salvation Council. In the last three months support for the group has crumbled. (33) Al-Rishawi himself was killed in a bomb attack on September 13, 2007, a week after meeting with President George Bush.

This article was made possible by a generous grant from the Hurd Foundation. It is the third in a series on the failure of reconstruction in Iraq. The first article, on healthcare in Iraq, may be read here: http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14290, and the second, on oil metering, may be read at http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14427. To contact the author, e-mail pratap@corpwatch.org

ENDNOTES:

1. Unit History of 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, Task Force BobCat, 1 July 2005, Battalion Commander: LTC Todd McCaffrey

2. Author interview, July 2007

3. Andrew Rathmell, “Developing Iraq’s Security Sector,” RAND Corporation, December 2005

4. Author interview with police trainer who worked at the Ministry of the Interior at the time. (Name withheld)

5. Rathmell, op. cit.

6. Peter Maass, “The Way of the Commandos,” New York Times, May 1, 2005

7. “Interagency Assessment of Iraq Police Training,” Report # ISP-IQO-05-72 US Department of State, Report # IE-2005-002, US Department of Defense, ” July 15, 2005)

9. “North Babil’s ERU Graduates, Ready to Train,” July 28, 2007, Press Release from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

10. The original contract issued for training and life support was # DABV01-04-C-0083

11. See USIS history, http://www.usis.com/history_USIS.htm

12. The training and support contract #s obtained from FedBizOpps, were: W914NS-04-R-9025, W91GY0-06-R-0001, and W91GY0-07-R-0008 See also “Specialized police training work in Iraq commended by Department of Defense,” USIS Press Release, September 20, 2006

13. Contract # W916QW-04-D-0012-0003. Recorded in Appendix H, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Report to the US Congress, July 2006

14. History of Camp Solidarity obtained from Global Security.org website

15. Sandra Svoboda, “Soldiers of Fortune,” Detroit Metro Times, May 9, 2007

16 John J. Pistone, “Emergency Response Unit proves mentorship work,” The Advisor, April 1, 2006 _ “Privatization of Federal Investigations,” Kennedy School of Government case study, http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/awards.html?id=49041

17. “Interagency Assessment of Iraq Police Training,” op. cit.

18. “Interagency Assessment of Iraq Police Training,” op. cit.

19. US Department of Defense, Section 9010 Report, October 2005

20. T. Christian Miller, “A Journey That Ended in Anguish,” Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2005

21. Maass, op. cit.

22. Maass, op. cit.

23. Michael Moss and David Rohde, “How Iraq Police Reform Became Casualty of War,” New York Times, May 22, 2006

24. “Iraq Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2005” State department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor _March 8, 2006

25. Ibid. Catherine Philp, “State Denial Adds Insult to Torture Victims’ Injuries,” Times (UK) November 18, 2005

26. “Gangs of Iraq,” Frontline documentary, PBS television. Original interview recorded by Martin Smith on October 11, 2006

27. “Stand Up and Be Counted: The Continuing Challenge of Building the Iraqi Security Forces” Report prepared by the staff of the US House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations for a hearing held on May 24, 2007

28. Sabrina Tavernise, “Iraq Removes Leaders of Special Police,” The New York Times, October 18, 2006

29. Ned Parker, “Interior Ministry mirrors chaos of a fractured Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2007

30. Coalition Forces, Iraqi Emergency Response Unit detain three rogue JAM,” Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release, Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory, July 21, 2007

31. Todd Pitman, “Sunni sheiks join troops to fight insurgency,” The Associated Press, March 26, 2007

32. Monte Morin, “Iraqi’s promise highlights ambition of Ramadi Emergency Response Unit,” Stars and Stripes, March 3, 2007

33. Joshua Partlow and John Ward Anderson, “Tribal Coalition in Anbar Said to Be Crumbling, “Washington Post, June 11, 200735 Frontline, Op. Cit.

34. Ibid.

36. David Enders, “Iraqi tribes reach security accord,” Washington Times, July 23, 2007

37. Shane Harris, “Former federal employees benefit from buyout,” Government Executive, April 21, 2003 See USIS website: http://www.usis.com/ourinvestors.htm, and http://www.usis.com/history_USIS.htm

38. See http://www.usis.com/commercialservices/overview.htm, Shane Harris, Op. Cit.

39. “USIS to provide staffing for operation centers,” USIS Press Release, September 21, 2006

40. “USIS Investigative Services wins contract from US Customs and Border Protection,” USIS Press Release, May 9, 2007. USIS awarded $21 million Department of Homeland Security contract,” USIS Press Release, July 23, 2007

41. “USIS Announces Agreement to be Acquired by Providence Equity Partners,” USIS Press Release, May 11, 2007, by Providence Equity Partners website lists the management team at http://www.provequity.com/team/index.asp?Employee_Type_ID=All&Section=0,1,1&, “Clear Channel Agrees to Sell Television Station Group to Providence Equity Partners,” Clear Channel Press Release, April 20, 2007

42. Michael Powell biography on Providence Equity Partners website, By Robert Kuttner, “Deregulation: Why Michael Powell Is Wrong,” April 14, 2003

43. Renae Merle , “Coming Under Fire: DynCorp Defends Its Work in Training Foreign Police Forces, “ Washington Post, March 19, 2007

44. James Glanz and David Rohde, “Report Faults Training of Afghan Police,” New York Times, December 4, 2006. “Interagency Assessment of Afghanistan Police Training and Readiness,” State department and Defense Inspector Generals, November 2006

45. Glanz and Rohde, Op. Cit.

46. Andrew Higgins, “As It Wields Power Abroad, US Outsources Law and Order Work,” Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2004. Tod Robberson, “Contractor with Texas ties operates with secrecy, arouses suspicion,” Dallas Morning News, December 24, 2006

47. “Review of DynCorp International, LLC, Contract Number S LMAQM-04-C-0030, Task Order 0338, for the Iraqi Police Training Program Support,” Special Inspector Gneral for Iraq Reconstruction, #06-029, January 30, 2007

48. Interagency Assessment, Op. Cit.

49. Glanz and Rohde, Op. Cit.

50. Testimony of Gerald Burke, before the US Congress House of Representatives Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on April 25, 2007

The Environmental Costs of War

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Professor Paul Rogers / University of Bradford – 2007-09-30 01:25:39

http://www.preparingforpeace.org/rogers_the_environmental_costs_of_war.htm

The Environmental Costs of War
Professor Paul Rogers / University of Bradford
Public lecture presented at Lancaster University on 13th July 2002

Compared with the effects on people and on economies, the environmental effects of war have so far been relatively limited. At the same time, they can be severe under certain circumstances, war industries can have serious local impacts and some forms of conflict could potentially have calamitous results. Moreover, there are examples of wars that have already had severe environmental impacts, and these should give us concern for the future.

What is much more significant in relating environmental issues to conflict is the existence of profoundly important relationships between environmental processes and the causes of conflict.

In this talk I want to cover both aspects, broadening out the theme to examine environmental interactions and war rather than limit ourselves to environmental consequences of war.

I will do this in the belief that human interactions with environmental processes, at both the regional and global levels, are going to be key factors in the evolution of international conflict in the coming decades.

But let us look first at the environmental effects of war.

Most forms of conflict involve violent actions directed specifically at opponents and their economies. In their most extreme form these can involve the wholesale destruction of armed forces in the field, and the targeting of civilian populations in their towns and cities. Such actions inevitably have major environmental side effects, examples being the utter destruction on the western front in the First World War, the destruction of cities, dams, irrigation systems and many other features.

The side effects on natural environments are severe, but they are usually relatively short-term. In part this is because ecosystems have a remarkable capacity for regeneration, especially when areas of intense destruction are surrounded by relatively unscathed zones. Even the wholesale destruction in Flanders was remedied by a couple of decades of re-growth, and the huge swathes of bomb damage in East London in the 1940s resulted in the colonisation of sites that was to last for years until the city was rebuilt.

In short, wars up until now have inevitably had their major effects on people and their societies. Even so, there have been important exceptions. Significant among these has been the impact of war industries, especially at times of major conflict. In such circumstances, any semblance of pollution control and other forms of environmental safeguards have been discounted, with massive consequent damage.

Many of the examples of environmental damage in the North of England were particularly significant during the First and Second World Wars. In Huddersfield, for example, there was the wholesale destruction of one of the most beautiful woodlands in the town as a result of air pollution caused by munitions production as local dye-works were subsumed into the war effort in the First World War. This beauty spot, Kilner Bank, was reduced to a deeply acidic wasteland (pH1.5) and was not restored to anything approaching its original state until an innovative land restoration project in the early 1970s.

More recently, we have seen the far more massive side effects resulting from the development of the nuclear weapons industry. Extensive radioactive contamination resulting from nuclear testing has been a feature of large areas of land in New Mexico and Nevada in the United States, parts of Siberia and the Russia Arctic, and areas of South Australia, French Polynesia and other Pacific islands and, almost certainly parts of China.

In Britain, the Windscale fire in the 1950s spread contamination across much of Cumbria, there are reliable reports of serious contamination following an accident in a nuclear waste deposit in the Soviet Union at about the same time, and there is a substantial problem of disposal relating to Soviet-era nuclear submarine reactors.

The United States nuclear weapons industry has been plagued by problems of waste disposal, with much of it closed down in the early 1990s, in part, because of these problems. Rocky Flats and Hanford River both have clean-up problems running into billions of dollars and the environmental and human costs in Russia are reported to be massive.

Although not directly related to nuclear weapons, the radioactive contamination resulting from the incident at Chernobyl has given us some idea of the effects of a nuclear war, with the nearby city of Pripiat abandoned as being far too costly to decontaminate.

Since the end of the Cold War we have learnt that the much derided estimates by peace researchers of the likely consequences of a nuclear war were actually remarkably accurate. If Britain had been subject to a 100-megaton attack, up to 40 million of the population of 56 million would have died, and much of the country would have been reduced to a radioactive wasteland.

Moreover, work done towards the end of the Cold War established that a central nuclear exchange between the superpowers would, besides killing hundreds of millions of people in the short term, have created a two-year nuclear winter which would have devastated the human communities and natural environments of most of the northern hemisphere.

Apart from the possible effects of nuclear war, a risk which is still with us, there are a number of examples of the environmental effects of conflict that indicate the capacity for destruction. One is the pernicious effect of anti-personnel land mines, removing land from production for generations. There remain large tracts of NW Egypt that are still no-go areas as a result of mines laid at the time of the battle of El Alamein, and more recent use of land mines involves devices that are more difficult to detect and clear.

A second is the use of area-impact weapons such as napalm, cluster bombs and fuel-air explosives, all of which are intentionally destructive over a wide area. While aimed at people, they also have an environmental impact that can have a lasting effect on surviving communities. Moreover, they have been noted occasions where there has been the intentional destruction of large areas of natural forests and also crops, as a means of restricting insurgents. This was a technique developed by the British in Malaya and taken up on a much larger scale by the United States in its use of the notorious Agent Orange in Vietnam. More recently, the most noted example of deliberate environmental damage was the destruction and firing of the Kuwaiti oil wells by retreating Iraqi forces in 1991.

Even so, the environmental effects of war may be severe, and could be calamitous in the event of nuclear use, but the more significant connection between environmental systems and conflicts lies in a range of interactions that relate partly to resource location and use and partly to the longer-term impact of human effects on the global ecosystem.

These two features represent one of two core drivers of potential conflict in the coming years and should be analysed alongside the other, the rapidly growing disparity between a relatively small global elite of around a billion people and an increasingly educated yet marginalised majority of five billion.

The violent effects of increasing socio-economic polarisation are already apparent, with a likely trend towards further instability and conflict. On its own, this is, at the very least, be a matter for real concern. It might therefore be argued that such a trend will be recognised, and that sufficient economic reforms might be put in place to curb an excess of insecurity. There are few signs of this happening and it would, in any case, have little effect unless it was part of a recognition of the second global trend, the growing impact of environmental constraints on human activity.

In essence, the limitations of the global ecosystem now look likely to make it very difficult if not impossible for human well-being to be continually improved by current forms of economic growth. This is certainly not a new prognosis, and formed a central part of the frequently derided “limits to growth” ideas of the early 1970s. Those ideas stemmed from some of the early experiences of human/environment interaction, notably the problems of pesticide toxicity, land dereliction and air pollution, all initially significant problems in industrialised countries.

The earliest indications came in the 1950s with severe problems of air pollution affecting many industrial cities, most notably a disastrous smog episode in London in 1952, responsible for the death of some 4,000 people bronchitic and elderly people.

A decade later came the recognition of the effects of organophosphorus pesticides on wildlife, a process greatly stimulated by a single book, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Later in the 1960s there were environmental disasters in Europe including a massive fish kill in the Rhine, the wrecking of the Torrey Canyon oil tanker near the Scilly Isles and the killing of over 140 people, mostly children, when a coal mining waste tip engulfed a school in the village of Aberfan in Wales.

By the early 1970s, environmental concern was sufficient to stimulate the first UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Although initially likely to be concerned with the environmental problems of industrialised states, the Stockholm meeting was substantially influenced by an early systems study of global environmental trends, Limits to Growth, published a few months earlier.

While widely criticised as a somewhat crude simulation study of the global system, Limits to Growth was seminal in introducing the idea that the global ecosystem might not be able to absorb the overall effects of human activity, especially those stemming from the highly resource-consumptive and polluting lifestyles of the richer states of the industrialised North.

The early signs of environmental problems were joined by much more significant changes in the past two decades. Air pollution became recognised as a regional phenomenon through the experience of acid rain, and a global problem, the depletion of the ozone layer, began to be recognised as serious in the 1980s. Ozone depletion has a significance as being the first major global effect of human activity. It resulted from the effects of a range of specific pollutants, chlorflourocarbons (CFCs) and related chemicals, on the thin layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere that normally shields the earth’s surface against excessive amounts of UV radiation.

While the potential for an ozone depletion problem was recognised in the 1970s, concern was hugely boosted by the discovery in the early 1980s of an annual ‘ozone hole’ over the Antarctic each Spring. The problem was brought under some degree of control by international agreements, specifically the Vienna Convention in 1985 and the Montreal Protocol two years later, but still had a large effect on environmental thinking – this was a human activity that was having a discernible and potentially devastating impact on the entire global ecosystem.

Other problems developing on a global scale also rose to prominence. They included desertification and deforestation, the latter having an immediate effect in terms of soil erosion and flooding, and the salinisation of soils, especially in semi-arid areas. Other forms of resource depletion became evident, most notably the decline in the resources of some of the world’s richest fishing grounds, not least in the continental shelf fishing grounds of North America and Western Europe.

Problems of water shortages and water quality are already severe in many parts of the world. Around half of the population of Southern Asia and Africa does not have access to safe drinking water, and eighty per cent of diseases in these areas stem from unsafe water.

At a more general level, there have been tensions between states over the status and use of major river systems.

The 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan resulted in joint control over the mid-Nile waters, but Ethiopia controls 85% of the sources of the Nile, with Sudan and Egypt having the prime dependencies. Similarly, the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are essential to Bangladesh, with its rapidly growing population. Schemes for joint utilisation exist with India and Nepal, but Bangladeshi requirements and Himalayan deforestation remain twin pressures.

A more specific source of potential conflict is the substantial Turkish programme of dams, hydro-electric and irrigation programmes on the upper waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in South East Anatolia, rivers which are subsequently essential to the economic well-being of Syria and Iraq.

Also in the Middle East, a much smaller-scale problem, that forms a largely hidden part of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is found in the West Bank. Winter rainfall on the West Bank hills provides water not just for the West Bank, but also for much of Israel in the form of underground aquifers flowing westwards towards the Mediterranean. Any long-term settlement will require a fair sharing of the water resources that will be very difficult to achieve given the already heavy use of water by Israel and the increasing water demands in both Israel and the West Bank.

In some parts of the world a persistent failure to come to terms with human environmental impacts produced near-catastrophic results. Nowhere was this more clear than in many parts of the former-Soviet Union, with a drying-out of the Aral Sea, massive problems of pesticide pollution and the radioactive contamination of Arctic environments are the most obvious examples.

Individual problems of pressures on land, water, fisheries and other resources are likely to increase, notwithstanding some successful cross-border agreements, as population growth and increases in per capital resource consumption combine in their effects. Even so, two much more broad global phenomena will have a more profound impact on global security, the ‘resource shift’ and climate change.

The resource shift is a centuries-old phenomenon that stems from the original industrial revolutions of Europe and North America feeding initially on domestically-available raw materials, whether coal, iron ore, copper, tin, lead and other non-renewable resources. In the early nineteenth century, European industrial growth was based largely on such resources mined within Europe, and the much more resource-rich United States could continue to be largely self-sufficient until the latter half of the twentieth century.

Much of the era of colonial expansion was predicated on requirements for resources, and many of the colonial wars, so costly to the newly colonised peoples, stemmed from the determination to control land and supplies of raw materials.

In the past century, the industrialised North has become progressively more dependent on physical resources from the South, as its own deposits of key ore, coal, oil and gas have become progressively more costly to extract. This resource shift has meant that certain physical resources have acquired a strategic significance that, in a number of cases, already results in actual or potential conflict.

Zaire, for example, has had much of its politics in the forty years since independence dominated by competition for the control of Shaba Province, formerly Katanga. This has included outright violence during the civil war after independence in 1960, and rebellions in Shaba in 1977 and 1978 that were helped by Eastern Bloc aid from neighbouring Angola and were controlled by Franco-Belgian military interventions with logistic support from NATO.

At the root of these conflicts has been the formidable mineral deposits of Shaba. Of these, the best known may be copper and industrial diamonds, but of at least as great significance are the cobalt mines around Kolwezi and Mutshatsha, these deposits representing about half of known world reserves in the late 1970s. With cobalt a key component of ferro-cobalt alloys used in ballistic missile motors, jet engines and other defence-related products, preventing the control of the Shaba deposits falling into the hands of leftist rebels was a priority.

The protracted and bitter 25-year conflict for the control of Western Sahara between Morocco and the independence-seeking Polisario Front has complex causes, but a central factor is the massive reserves of rock phosphates at Boucraa in the North of the country. Rock phosphates form the basis of phosphate fertilisers, in turn the essential components of compound fertilisers used throughout world agriculture. On its own, Morocco is the world’s main exporter of rock phosphate, but with the Western Sahara reserves it achieves near-dominance.

Elsewhere in Africa, illicit trading in diamonds has fuelled conflicts in Sierra Leone and Angola, much of the western support for South Africa during the apartheid years was a consequence of South Africa’s dominance of gold and platinum markets, and Russian determination to maintain control of parts of the Caucasus is due, in part, to access to Caspian Basin oil.

Even so, transcending all of these is the geo-strategic significance of the oil reserves of the Persian Gulf region, reserves that are both remarkably plentiful and cheap to extract. At the end of the 20th century, some two-thirds of all the world’s proved reserves of oil were located in Persian Gulf states with production costs typically around $3 a barrel compared with up to $12 a barrel for oil from more difficult fields such as the North Sea or Alaska.

When the Iraqi army occupied Kuwait in August 1990, the Saddam Hussein regime added Kuwait’s oil fields to its own even larger deposits, gaining control of 19.5% of all of the world’s known oil reserves. Saudi support for the subsequent coalition military build-up stemmed, to a large degree, from a fear that the Iraqis would go on to seek control of the massive Saudi oilfields close to Kuwait. With Saudi oil then representing over a quarter of all known world oil reserves, the western coalition perceived the Iraqi regime as threatening to control 45% of the world’s oil, an entirely unacceptable prognosis demanding reversal.

The exploitation of world oil reserves is a remarkable example of the resource shift in that the world’s largest consumer of oil, the United States, was until the early 1970s self-sufficient, but is now a massive oil importer. During the 1990s, in particular, the United States progressively ran down its own reserves of easily extracted oil, while new reserves proved elsewhere in the world typically increased the holdings of many countries.

To be specific, the US had reserves totalling 34 billion barrels in 1990; these decreased by more than a third during the decade, whereas the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, all much larger than those of the US, actually increased. Thus, in all of these states, the discovery of new reserves exceeded production. By the year 2000, all the major industrialised states of the world, except Russia but including China, were becoming progressively more dependent on Persian Gulf oil, even allowing for the deposits of the Caspian Basin.

Overall, and throughout the 20th century, the industrialised states of the North have become progressively more dependent on the physical resources of the South, a trend set to continue well into the new century. As a potential source of conflict it is a core feature of the global economy.

Of the many environmental impacts now being witnessed, one stands out above all the others – the development of the phenomenon of climate change as a result of the release of so-called greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane. One of the most fundamental of modern human activities, the combustion of fossil fuels, is demonstrably affecting the global climate. Among the many effects already apparent and likely to accelerate are changes in temperature and rainfall patterns and in the intensity of storms.

The greenhouse effect caused by increases in gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been recognised for some decades, and it was initially expected to have its most notable impact in terms of increases in atmospheric temperature – hence the use of the term global warming.

In the past two decades this has become recognised as a pronounced oversimplification of much more complex changes in the world’s climate, including considerable regional variations. It has also been more widely recognised that there are substantial natural climatic cycles, some of which, such as the El Nino effect in the Pacific, may also be affected by human activity. Furthermore, other forms of atmospheric pollution resulting from human activity might even counter the effect of the greenhouse gases.

A further complexity is that it has been generally believed that the more pronounced effects of climate change would happen in temperate regions, with tropical latitudes largely buffered against substantial change, a belief based on some historical evidence that the tropics had been least affected by earlier natural climatic cycles. The expectation has been that there would be substantial effects on North and South temperate latitudes and on polar regions. The former might variably involve changes in rainfall distribution, increases in temperature and increased severity of storms.

There would be gainers and losers but the major effects of global climate change would be felt, by and large, by richer countries that would best be able to cope. Some commentators saw it as ironic that those countries that had contributed most to greenhouse gas production would be the countries most affected by climate change.

Not all the effects of climate change would impact on temperate latitudes, and two effects have long been expected to cause substantial problems for poorer countries. One is the likelihood of more severe storms, especially cyclones. While rich industrialised countries may be able to cope, albeit at a cost, the changes affecting poor countries will be well beyond their capabilities to handle.

There are examples of this across the world, and it is sometimes possible to contrast the impact of such disasters on rich and poor countries. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit parts of the United States, killing 52 people and causing damage estimated at $22 billion, over 70% of it covered by insurance. Six years later, Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras and Nicaragua. The death toll was 11,000, and less than 3% of the $7 billion damages were insured.

The other effect is the risk of sea level rises, stemming partly from an expansion of the oceans consequent on increases in temperate and partly from a progressive if slow melting of polar icecaps. Effects of both of these trends would be severe on a number of poorer countries, partly because some of the heaviest concentrations of population are in low-lying river deltas, but more particularly because of the lack of resources to construct adequate sea defences.

Such problems have been recognised for some time, but more recent analysis of climate change, over the past five to ten years, suggests another pattern of effects that are likely to have much more fundamental global consequences. Although predictions are tentative, evidence has accumulated that the anticipated buffering of climate change in tropical regions may not happen, or at least may be far less pronounced.

In particular, there are likely to be substantial changes in rainfall distribution patterns across the tropics, with the overall effect being far less rain falling over land and more falling over the oceans and the polar regions. With the exception of parts of equatorial Africa, almost all the other tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world are likely to experience a ‘drying out’.

The impact of this is likely to be fundamental in terms of human well-being and security. Across the world as a whole, the great majority of people live in these regions, most of the countries are poor, and most produce their own food, primarily from staple crops dependent on adequate rainfall or irrigation. Much of the food is still produced by subsistence agriculture. Most of the heavily populated areas are the major river valleys and fertile deltas, including the Nile, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mekong and Chanjiang (Yangtze) and areas of high natural rainfall across Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

A substantial drying-out across the tropics will have a hugely greater effect than any likely impact on temperate latitudes for two reasons. One is that the basic ecological carrying-capacity of the land – its ability to support given human populations – will decline, and the second is that poor countries will have massive difficulties in trying to adapt their agricultural systems to limit the loss in food production.

Some of the most substantial changes of the last half century have happened with little warning. Perhaps the most serious crisis of the Cold War, over the Cuban missiles in 1962, came virtually out of the blue. The oil price rises of the early 1970s were almost entirely unexpected, the anticipation throughout the west being of an era of cheap and plentiful oil. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 erupted out of nowhere in a matter of weeks.

These are examples of political crises, albeit two of them with resource overtones, but it is also the case that assessing environmental trends, especially at the global level, is frequently difficult – pesticide toxicity in the 1960s, acid rain in the 1970s and the sudden intensity of ozone depletion in the 1980s being among a number of examples.

There has been considerable progress in the study of the global ecosystem in the past half century, especially in terms of the knowledge of the mechanisms of biogeochemical cycles, oceanic systems and the global climate, but all of these are, at the very best, imperfectly understood. As a consequence, there is every possibility that many current expectations concerning human environmental impacts may be incorrect. It is possible that some of the warnings now being made, including those discussed above, may turn out to be excessive as natural control mechanisms come into play and moderate the effects of the impacts.

This might be considered re-assuring, but there are several reasons for thinking that such optimism is unwarranted. The first is that many of the expected effects are likely to prove costly and politically unwelcome. As a result, where significant environmental research is undertaken in publicly-funded centres, whether government laboratories or universities, there is a tendency for researchers to be cautious in their conclusions. If the implications of your research results are unpalatable, you tend to be very careful in ensuring that you are as certain as you can be with the evidence.

The second is that there is growing evidence from various long-term fossil and other evidence, that the global ecosystem, especially its climate, has been much more volatile than was previously thought. In other words, natural ‘buffering’ systems may not have coped with induced change in the past. Finally, the time-scales of human interaction are much more immediate in terms of ‘ecosystem time’ than anything short of rare natural cataclysms such as a massive meteor or comet striking the earth, one explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Humans evolved over several million years, but only spread right across the world by 20,000 years ago, numbering perhaps five million before they learnt to farm 10,000 years ago. Cities and empires have developed in the past 5,000 years but environmental impacts were limited in extent and confined to a few locations until the start of the industrial revolution just over 200 years ago. Only since then have there been major regional impacts and only in the past 100 years can these be said to have ‘gone global’, with most of that effect coming in the closing decades of the last century.

In other words, a global ecosystem evolving over several billion years was hardly affected by its most intelligent species until the most recent century, but that one species is engaging in activities that do just that. In such circumstances, it is probably wise to err on the side of caution and expect the unexpected to be a cause further problems rather than a solution to them.

To summarise the argument so far, the current economic system is not delivering economic justice, and there are now firm indications that it is not environmentally sustainable. This combination of wealth disparities and limits to current forms of economic growth is likely to lead to a crisis of unsatisfied expectations within an increasingly informed global majority of the disempowered.

Such a crisis, as seen from the elites of the North, is a threatening future. As Wolfgang Sachs puts it:

The North now glowers at the South from behind fortress walls. It no longer talks of the South as a cluster of young nations with a bright future, but views it with suspicion as a breeding ground for crises.

At first, developed nations saw the South as a colonial area, then as developing nations. Now they are views as risk-prone zones suffering from epidemics, violence, desertification, over-population and corruption.

The North has unified its vision of these diverse nations by cramming them into a category called “risk”. It has moved from the idea of hegemony for progress to hegemony for stability.

In Sach’s view, the North has utilised the resources of the South for generations but has now come up against environmental limits to growth:

Having enjoyed the fruits of development, that same small portion of the world is now trying to contain the explosion of demands on the global environment. To manage the planet has become a matter of security to the North.

Managing the planet means, in the final analysis, controlling conflict, and within the framework of the development/environment interaction, several issues are likely to come to the fore, stemming from migratory pressures, environmental conflict and anti-elite violence. None of these is new and there are recent examples of all.

Potential sources of conflict stem from a greater likelihood of increased human migration arising from economic, social and especially environmental desperation. This movement will focus on regions of relative wealth and is already leading to shifts in the political spectrum in recipient regions, including the increased prevalence of nationalist attitudes and cultural conflict.

Such tendencies are often most pronounced in the most vulnerable and disempowered populations within the recipient regions, with extremist political leaders and sections of the popular media ready to play on fears of unemployment.

This trend is seen clearly in western Europe, especially in countries such as France and Austria, where antagonism towards migrants from neighbouring regions such as North Africa and Eastern Europe has increased markedly. It also figures in the defence postures of a number of countries, with several southern European states reconfiguring their armed forces towards a “threat from the South” across the Mediterranean.

There are already some 30 to 40 million people displaced either across state boundaries or within states, and this figure is expected to rise dramatically as the consequences of global climate change begin to have an effect. The pressures are likely to be particularly intense from Central into North America, Africa and Western Asia into Europe and South-East Asia towards Australia. The most probable response will be a ‘close the castle gates’ approach to security, leading in turn to much suffering and not a little ‘militant migration’ as marginalised migrants are radicalised.

Perhaps least easy to assess is the manner in which an economically polarised and increasingly constrained global system will result in competitive and violent responses by the disempowered, both within and between states. There are already many examples of such actions, whether the Zapatista revolt in Mexico, or movements stemming from the disempowered in North Africa, the Middle East and Southern and South East Asia.

At an individual and local level, much of the response from the margins takes the form of criminality, usually by young adult males and directed not just against wealthier sectors of society but often against the poor and unprotected. For middle-class elites in many Southern states, though, security is an every-day fact of life, with people moving from secure work-places through travel in private cars to gated communities and leisure facilities with 24-hour protection. For the richest sectors of society, security extends to armed bodyguards and stringent anti-kidnapping precautions, with a host of specialist companies offering their services.

This is the environment that is already the norm throughout most countries of the South, and the widening rich/poor gap suggests it will get worse. But the more difficult and potentially more important problem stems from substantial new social movements directed, often with violence, against the elites. Predictions are difficult but four features are relevant.

The first is that anti-elite movements may have recourse to political, religious, nationalist or ethnic justifications, with these frequently being fundamentalist, simplistic and radical. Many recent analyses focus on the belief systems themselves, with much emphasis placed by western writers on religious fundamentalisms, especially within the Islamic world.

While such religious movements are significant, they are far from being alone in serving as a motivation against marginalisation and for empowerment, with ethnic, nationalist and political ideologies, cultures or beliefs also being of great significance. At times, it is as if the “Islamic threat” is being erected to replace the Soviet threat of the Cold War years, an attractive yet thoroughly dangerous simplification of a much more complex set of processes.

The second feature is that anti-elite movements may be more prevalent in the poorer states and regions of the world, and they may therefore be considered of little concern to the relatively small number of wealthy states that dominate the world economy. But in an era of globalisation, instability in some part of the majority world can have a considerable effect on financial markets throughout the world, making the security of local elites of real concern to the West. Wealthy states are dependent on resources from the South, on cheap labour supplies and on the development of new markets for their advanced industrial products. Fifty years ago, a civil disturbance in a country of the South might have its effect in the North within weeks. Now, it can be within minutes.

Thirdly, there is a perception across much of the majority world that a powerful and firmly rooted western hegemony is now in place and a very widespread response is one of real antagonism to this control of the world economy. It is easy to assume, from a western ethnocentric position, that antagonisms are most likely to be directed from the margins at local elites. This is not necessarily the case. There is, instead, every chance that it is the western economic dominance that will be blamed for marginalisation, not the activities of local elites.

Finally, there is sufficient evidence from economic and environmental trends to indicate that marginalisation of the majority of the world’s people is continuing and increasing, and that it is extremely difficult to predict how and when different forms of anti-elite action may develop. It was not predictable that Guzman’s teachings in Peru would lead to a movement of the intensity and human impact of Sendero Luminosa, nor was the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico anticipated. When the Algerian armed forces curtailed elections in 1991 for fear that they would bring a rigorous Islamic party to power, few predicted a bloody conflict that would claim many tens of thousands of lives.

What should be expected is that new social movements will develop that are essentially anti-elite in nature and draw their support from people, especially men, on the margins. In different contexts and circumstances they may have the roots in political ideologies, religious beliefs, ethnic, nationalist or cultural identities, or a complex combination of several of these.

They may be focused on individuals or groups but the most common feature is an opposition to existing centres of power. They may be sub-state groups directed at the elites in their own state or foreign interests, or they may hold power in states in the South, and will no doubt be labelled as rogue states as they direct their responses towards the North. What can be said is that, on present trends, anti-elite action will be a core feature of the next thirty years – not so much a clash of civilisations, more an age of insurgencies.

The economic geographer, Edwin Brooks, put it succinctly nearly thirty years ago when he said it was so important to avoid:

a crowded glowering planet of massive inequalities of wealth, buttressed by stark force yet endlessly threatened by desperate people in the global ghettos.

To avoid such a dystopic world requires immense energy and commitment as we seek the processes of socio-economic and political change that will help us achieve a more just and sustainable world order. The next ten years will be of fundamental importance in achieving this and our work and progress in this direction may well determine the shape of much of the new century.

Professor Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford

This lecture draws, in part, from Chapter 5, “The New Security Paradigm” of Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century, Paul Rogers, Pluto Press, (Second Edition) June 2002.

Preparing for Peace is the website of the Westmorland General Meeting ‘Preparing for Peace’ initiative

Errant Nukes Over America; a Mystery in Syria

September 30th, 2007 - by admin

Conn Hallinan / Dispatches from the Edge – 2007-09-30 01:18:47

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=09-28-07&storyID=28105

BERKELEY (September 28, 2007) — “Loose nukes sink…” well, just about anything. The official story is that on Aug. 30, the US Air Force (AF) “mistakenly” loaded six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on a B-52 at Minot, North Dakota and flew them to Barksdale, Louisiana for decommissioning. The mistake was discovered and the munitions officer at Minot was suspended pending an investigation.

Except the story doesn’t make any sense and it certainly didn’t happen the way the AF says it did. At least according to the hundreds of current and retired military personal and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) with nuclear experience who are writing letters to the Army Times and military websites essentially charging that the AF is lying.

“Ain’t no way in hell that anybody in the US military could do anything ‘inadvertently’ with a nuke,” writes a retired NCO who worked with nuclear weapons.

Another veteran with lots of hands-on experience says, “the safeguards involved in nuclear munitions in all the armed forces are incredibly complex,” and when nuclear weapons are involved, “all kinds of red lights go off in everyone’s systems.” The military is so up-tight about nuclear weapons procedures, the writer says, that in one incident an NCO who violated a “no go” area was fatally bayoneted by a guard.

There are any numbers of things that don’t make sense about the “official” version. For one thing, when nuclear weapons are moved by air, it is in a special C-130s designed to prevent radiation leakage in case of a crash. But in the Aug. 6 event, the missiles were attached to the wings of the B-52, which as one wag commented was like “shipping ammunition in a gun.”

Secondly, if the nukes were going to be decommissioned, they would have been sent to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. From there the warheads would have been transferred to the Pantex facility in Amarillo, Texas for dismantling. Barksdale, in contrast, is one the main staging bases for the Middle East.

Some commentators argue that the only way the operation could have avoided the “red lights” was by leap frogging the normal chain of command. Only the National Security Agency or Vice-President Dick Cheney’s office has that kind of juice. In May 2001, Cheney was placed in charge of “all federal programs dealing with weapons of mass destruction.”

One theory is that Cheney was trying to ship nukes to the Middle East in preparation for a strike on Iran. But transporting nukes to the Middle East would be like sending coals to Newcastle: US forces in the theater are bristling with nuclear weapons.

A former officer writes that it might even have been a “cost-cutting” maneuver—albeit a dumb one—to save money by putting the nukes on a regular flight rather than using the expensive, specially designed C-130.

Some have even suggested that it was a plot by Christian evangelicals trying to bring on the apocalypse. As silly as that might sound, a 2006 study for the US War College by Col. William Millonig concluded that “conservative Christian and Republican values have affected the military’s decision making and policy recommendations,” and warned that “America’s strategic thinkers, both military and civilian, must be aware of this and its potential implications on policy formulation.”

So the explanations for the errant nukes range from “Grand Conspiracy,” penny pinching, to new Testament crazies. Major incompetence is a strong candidate as well.

And who blew the whistle? One military source says that if the Army Times ran the story, it was because someone very high up the command chain told them to do it. According to the source, the only way the story could have come out is if “the dime dropper wore at least three stars, if not four.”

What gets lost in all this is that the Advanced Cruise Missile packs a W-80 warhead with an explosive power of from five to 150 kilotons. The atomic bomb that flattened Hiroshima and killed 220,000 people—100,000 of them in a millisecond—was 13 kilotons. Schelpping these things around by “mistake” is something that Congress, not the Air Force, needs to investigate. Identifying who authorized the operation would go a long way toward finding out how six nuclear weapons went AWOL.

Maybe the media should drop OJ and start asking some questions?

And What Happened in Syria?
“Loose warplanes…” well, it is not clear exactly what those Israeli jets that violated Syrian airspace Sept. 6 were up to, except that they weren’t there for the reasons the US State Department is claiming.

The aircraft, according to Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem, dropped “bombs” in Syria’s arid northern plains and “fuel tanks” in Turkey. The Turks called the incident “unacceptable.”

The Israelis are mum.

On Sept. 11, unnamed “officials” in the Bush administration told the New York Times that the Israelis bombed a “weapons cache” that Syria was sending to Hezbollah in Lebanon. But that story had no legs. The bombing—if there was one—took place on the Turkish-Syrian boundary, a long way from Lebanon’s northern border. On top of which, Hezbollah is in south Lebanon.

Three days later, Andrew Semmel, the acting deputy secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, trotted out another explanation: Israel bombed a covert nuclear program set up by the North Koreans.

According to Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator and a senior fellow at the New American Foundation, neoconservatives in the Bush Administration are trying to sabotage talks with North Korea and any detente with Syria. “They [neocons] want to torpedo the North Korea deal” and “make sure there is no cooperation in Syria.”

And right on cue, former UN Ambassador and neocon stalwart John Bolton was writing in the Wall Street Journal that “Iran, Syria, and others might be ‘safe havens’ for North Korea’s nuclear-weapons development, or may already have benefited from it.” He then told the New York Times that continued talks with North Korea over ending its nuclear weapons program “would be a big mistake.”

Chiming in was US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who wrote in the New York Sun, “Damascus has been developing its nuclear facilities,” and warning, “Syria poses a growing threat that the US must confront.”

But when the international Atomic Energy Agency investigated Syria in 2004, it found no evidence of a nuclear program.

Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, says “The story nonsense.” He says the 40-year old Syrian nuclear program “is too basic to support any weapons capability. Universities have larger programs than Syria.”

Another possibility is that the Israelis are preparing to whack Iran. Northern Syria is one of Israel’s corridors into Iran (the other is through Jordan and Saudi Arabia). According to Time, the Israeli incursion was designed to test Syria’s Russian made Pantsyr air defense system, a mixture of missiles and 30 mm cannons that is supposedly immune to jamming. According to Time, Iran is also deploying the Pantsyr around its nuclear facilities.

The corridor explanation makes some sense, probing the Pantsyr does not. The latter is a short-range tactical system and any bombing of Iranian targets will be from high altitude using satellite-guided munitions. Even Syria’s new SA-24 missile system can only reach 22,000 feet, not high enough to seriously bother US or Israeli planes.

So, what were those warplanes up to? Mapping radar sites? Spoiling for a fight? Humiliating the Syrians?

Dark armies are moving by night, with potential catastrophe at every turn.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Money for Peace, Not War

September 28th, 2007 - by admin

Jamil Kazoun / Arabic News.com – 2007-09-28 22:07:51

http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/070919/2007091901.html

Money for Peace, Not War:
A Plan for Immediate World Peace and Prosperity

(September 19, 2007) — Terrorism has become one of the most important topics occupying public discussion and politics, with the US, for years now, in a supposed war on terror. Enormous resources have been marshaled on this issue, and the subject is a major topic for politicians, the media, and the public.

In my book A Second American Revolution: Creating Rational Government, I wrote about the need for every law passed to be justified based on explicit cost-benefit analysis, and for the cost-benefit analysis to be part of the law.
Considering an issue, it must be quantifiable if we wish to deal with it in a rational way, and put it into perspective. Otherwise, emotions or other factors may lead down the wrong path, or cause less than optimal decisions to be made.

One of the first considerations is to know if the issue we want to address is a real problem or not. Towards this end, looking at the data on terrorism, in this case, should be a good guide. Some of the questions we may want to ask are:

How Many Deaths Are Caused by Terrorism?

The cost of human life can be determined, and put into perspective by comparing the number of deaths caused by terrorism with the leading causes of death in the US.

Event Type Killed per Year
Diseases of heart 699,697
Malignant neoplasms 553,251
Cerebrovascular disease 163,601
Lower respiratory diseases 123,974
Accidental injuries 97,707
Diabetes mellitus 71,252
Influenza and pneumonia 62,123
Alzheimer’s disease 53,679
Nephritis, nephrotic
syndrome, and nephrosis 39,661
Septicemia 32,275
Intentional self-harm (suicide) 29,423
Chronic liver disease 26,751
Assault (homicide) 19,727
hypertension and hyper-
tensive renal disease 19,054
Pneumonitis 17,392
Lightning 67
Terrorism (see table below)

Cause of Death Number rate 2001 2000 change
• Source for average number of deaths from lightning: US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

Taking one components of the accidental death of all causes in the US, here is the data only related to car accidents.

Number of death from car accidents alone
(numbers in the table are approximate):

Event Type Killed per year Injured per year Social cost and threat

Car accidents 42,000 5,300,000

The human capital method used to calculate the injury and crash costs does not include the costs associated with loss of emotional well being unless medical attention is required. Values for “pain and suffering” or permanent losses in functional capacity, unless they result in permanent earnings loss, are also not quantified by human capital measures.

Husbands and wives widowed; children lost parents; parents lost children; victims and relatives suffered permanent scaring and injuries, both physical and emotional.
• Source: US Department Of Transportation.

Year US Citizens Killed in the US
2005: 9
(Fifty-six Americans were killed worldwide.
Nine inside the US, and 47 died in Iraq. It is not clear if Iraq-related incidents should be included in such statistics.)
2004: 0
• Source: US Department Of State.

Terrorism acts per year and number killed worldwide of all nationalities:

Summaries
Year Number-of-Acts People Killed
2003 208 625
2002 205 725
2001 355 3547*
* (excluding the 3,074 killed on 9/11= 473)
2000 426 405
1999 395 233
1998 274 741
1997 304 221
1996 296 311
1995 440 165
1994 322 NA
1993 431 NA
1992 363 NA
1991 565 NA
1990 437 NA
1989 375 NA
1988 605 NA
1987 665 NA
1986 612 NA
1985 635 NA
1984 565 NA
1983 506 NA
1982 500 NA

Total killed worldwide of all nationalities from 1995 to 2004:
7,029

Average killed from terrorism per year:
639

Average killed from terrorism per year without 9/11 victims:
389

• Source for number of acts: US Department of State._Source for number if killed: Wikipedia _(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterns_of_Global_Terrorism).

Total US Citizens casualties caused_by international attacks 1998-2003:

Year Dead Wounded
1998 12 11
1999 6 6
2000 23 47
2001 2,689 90
2002 27 37
2003 35 29

Year Dead Wounded
Average per year killed: 465
Wounded: 36

Average per year killed 20
Wounded 26

(without counting 9/11 US citizens victims)

•Source: US Department of State.

Looking at all these facts, we can draw the following conclusions. Without considering the singular event of 9/11, the average number of US citizens killed by terrorism per year anywhere in the world is 465, and this is the average over the years 1998 to 2003. If we go back further to include previous ten years, this number will probably be much lower.

If we exclude the 9/11 US citizens victims, the average number of Americans killed from terrorism worldwide is twenty persons per year. If we only count US citizens killed within the US territories, the number is closer to zero persons per year.

Think for a moment about these numbers. The number of US citizens killed per year from lighting averages sixty-seven people. This means that a US citizen has at least three times greater chance of being killed from lightning than being killed by a terrorist act anywhere in the world. Does it make sense to spend a year worrying about being struck by lightening? No, because you have to be pretty unlucky to be killed from lightening.

So why is everyone so preoccupied with terrorism?

What is the Economic Cost of Terrorism?
Glen Hodgson, Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist of Export Development Canada, wrote:

“The US alone now spends about $500 billion annually – 20 percent of the US federal budget – on departments directly engaged in combating or preventing terrorism, most notably Defense and Homeland Security. The Defense budget increased by one-third, or over $100 billion, from 2001 to 2003 in response to the heightened sense of the threat of terrorism – an increase equivalent to 0.7 percent of US GDP.

Expenditures on defense and security are essential for any nation, but of course they also come with an opportunity cost; those resources are not available for other purposes, from spending on health and education to reductions in taxes. A higher risk of terrorism, and the need to combat it, simply raises that opportunity cost.

Second, there are the short-term economic costs associated with terrorist events. In countries where terrorism has struck, there is the immediate shock – loss of life and property – followed quickly by a negative impact on the insurance industry, short-term investment flows, stock market valuations, and tourism and related employment.

Insurance claims arising from 9/11 are conservatively estimated at $40 billion and will take years of court time to resolve. Work by the IMF after 9/11 estimated that the tragic events that day cost the US economy up to $75 billion in GDP in 2001, or 0.75 percent of GDP that year, with tourism generally and the airline industry in particular bearing the brunt of the downturn.”

The Center for Contemporary Conflict at the US Naval Postgraduate School made the following observations on the immediate and short-term direct impacts of 9/11:

“The September 11 attacks inflicted casualties and material damages on a far greater scale than any other terrorist aggression in recent history. Lower Manhattan lost approximately 30 percent of its office space and a number of businesses ceased to exist. Close to 200,000 jobs were destroyed or relocated out of New York City, at least temporarily.

“The destruction of physical assets was estimated in the national accounts to amount to $14 billion for private businesses, $1.5 billion for state and local government enterprises and $0.7 billion for federal enterprises. Rescue, cleanup, and related costs have been estimated to amount to at least $11 billion for a total direct cost of $27.2 billion.”

They added, “The losses from the terrorist attacks for the insurance industry (including reinsurance) are estimated at between $30 and $58 billion with the main uncertainty concerning liability insurance. By comparison the losses associated with Hurricane Andrew’s 1992 damage in Florida came to around $21 billion. Even if the final cost is close to the lower estimate, insured losses in 2001 are likely to have been the highest ever.”

The Congressional Budget Office said that direct spending on terrorism by the government was $47.3 billion, and said $95 billion was spent on Operation Iraqi Freedom. And the military budget is $626 billion, according to Global Issues (www.globalissues.org), an independent news website that tracks global political, human rights, and environmental issues.

There are roughly one hundred million households in the US, according to the Census Bureau. This means that each family, or household, is spending $473 a year on direct terrorism fighting, about $950 on Iraq, and about $6,260 in general military spending (indirect spending on terrorism) per year.

Why Is the US Government Spending
So Much Money and Generating
So Much Hype on Terrorism?

About 42,000 people die on average per year from car accidents alone in the US, at a cost of about $230 billion. Compare 42,000 people versus about twenty people on an average year that die from terrorism (or 465 people if we include the 9/11 as a typical year).

These numbers put the human cost of terrorism into perspective. Fear is harmful when it is irrational. And, looking at these numbers, it seems that the fear generated from terrorism is extremely irrational.

Worse yet, and what is most important, is that such irrational fear is leading citizens to act irrationally. This allows governments to spend enormous amounts of money on such causes. Fear has resulted in citizens giving free hands to governments to take away civil liberties.

Hatred has spread worldwide, pitting societies against each other, such as the Christians against Muslims, and the West against the Middle East, or Muslims in general. Many Muslims have reacted with hate for the West.

And you can see how the actions and reactions of such hate leads to a downward spiral of more hate, suspicion, military action, and increased security-related spending. Many Politicians love such scenarios of crisis, and feed on fear and human instincts, as do many in the media, each for its own benefit.

One thing fear is good for, aside from being a protective instinct, is television or radio or other ratings. Having something exciting to talk about can be fun. But sadly, some use terrorist acts for great political benefits – as an instrument to stay in power, or to scare people to get elected.

Fear can be a great weapon in the hands of those who want to pray upon citizens’ natural instincts to want to be protected. And fear can suppress the good nature in human beings by bringing out hate and destroying liberty – all under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Worse yet, overreactions, fighting, and overprotecting yourself can generate the very thing you are trying to avoid – more hate directed towards you, which in turn may create more terrorism, instead of less.

Are we so threatened by terrorism and war that all means for rational thinking have been ditched aside, so that we can’t see reality and put the problem in perspective? Politicians and the media can be each other’s best friends, and both have their own interests. Since the public like interesting stories, terrorism seems to fill the need.

Most people like to hear in the news about a mother giving birth to seven children at one time, but how often does this happen? Fun to read and talk about, but this is not your usual birth event. So is the case with terrorism. While the subject isn’t fun, it certainly grabs our attention, and gives us much to talk and worry about.

Maybe that is why terror and horror movies are so popular. The media loves and thrives on sensationalism, because it seems to feed human instincts of lust and attraction for fear and grabs their attention, because the main function of private media is to make money, as any business is supposed to do.

Politicians love to scare the public, and promise to protect them from “terrorism” and the “bad guys” in order to get elected, increase special interest spending, or to beat up political opponents who they label as weak on defense and security simply because they dare to question the reality of where best to spend money, and the alternative ways to establish peace in this world, without militarism.

So here we can see how the public’s lack of proper analytic skills is compounded by politicians and media who can be eager to capitalize on fear. Some media companies fear competition from the others and play to these fears to win their audience.

Similarly, politicians are afraid to loose votes to bellicose opponents who may label them “weak on defense.” Fear, money, and power create a vicious cycle, and if the country is spending that much money on militarism, they have special interests for doing so.

The US declared war on terrorism, and brought world countries in line with this issue. The word “war” is used sometimes to galvanize public opinion about open-ended and undefined conflict, which is not an actual war.

Who decides officially to declare this a war? Who is the enemy? How long will this war last? And when do we know the war is won?

Is terrorism really something worthy of declaring war? Or has war become a political term to hijack citizens into a false sense of security by surrendering their rights, money, and votes, because the government is supposedly protecting them from enemies in a war?

A person has to then ask: Is it smart to be spending about $7,000 per household per year on war-related activities when the number of people dying in the US from terrorism is less than those dying each year from lightning? And even when 3,000 died in 9/11, remember that about 40,000 die each year from car accidents. Car accidents cost the US economy about $270 billion each year, which is much more than terrorism can ever come close to. Heart disease related deaths amount to about 700,000 per year at enormous cost. How much is the government spending towards this end?

Put another way, if the government wasn’t confiscating this $7,000 from each household through taxes to spend on militarism, and this money was handed back to you instead as a check, would you send it back to the government for defense or would you keep it for yourself? This is an extra $7,000 every single year to use in your household! I wager that few, if any, would send the check back to the government because that is a lot of money to spend on war and defense.

The US public views a certain amount of deaths from car accidents, gang or criminal activity, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs as reasonable.

Even in Iraq, they accept a certain number of deaths for soldiers. Why not accept a certain number of deaths from terrorism? The amount of money spent to prevent these very few deaths from terrorism is hard to justify for the benefits. After all, reducing the highway speed limit to five miles per hour would save about 40,000 lives a year, but no one is fighting for that change.

People don’t think twice about the dangers of driving on the highway, yet they lose sleep worrying about acts of terrorism. Clearly, the fear the terrorism is very disproportionate to its actual danger.

Safety is very highly valued by citizen; but in some areas, it can be in great disproportionate to the true risks. You can make your own judgment about how and where you think money should be spent. You can have it spent on one or any combination of these options, or paths: war, peace, hate, plow shares, and extending love. $7,000 given to each household can do great things inside the US, and can do absolute miracles if spent for peace and development in our world.

This is a chapter from the book “A Third American Revolution: A New World Government. A Plan for Liberty, Justice and Peace.”

The author, Jamil Kazoun, is organizing a conference on world peace to be in February 2008 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA. The conference “World Peace 2010” will focus on conflict areas in the world with the aim of finding solutions, such as for the Palestinian — Israeli and Arab — Israeli conflict, Iraq, Irish conflict, India-Pakistan conflict, and others.

• If you would like to be considered for participation or sponsorship, please contact ANFOG@aol.com. The author is available for interviews about the book and the conference, and encourages all to review the book to increase awareness of it to promote peace, and for having the goals of the plan for a World Peace by 2010 a success.

ACTION ALERT: Senate Opens Door to War with Iran: 76-22

September 28th, 2007 - by admin

Mike Hersh / After Downing Street.org – 2007-09-28 21:37:33

http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/27183

Despite calls and common sense, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to take a first clear step toward war with Iran. The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment is exactly as described in the letter from 25 organizations. 76 to 22. It wasn’t even close!

What are we going to do about it?

Will the US attack Iran?
Why not a sense of Congress vote against it?
Why not a public outcry against the next horrendous, illegal, immoral, self-defeating war?

• Sign the Petition:http://www.dontattackiran.org
• Check out: http://www.troopsoutnow.org”>Troops Out Now.

How can anyone vote for a Senate resolution seeking international doom? This story isn’t covered at all. That’s why the neocons feel they can act with impunity. I’m tired of playing defense and I’m tired of arguing about how best to protest/end a war that should never have started.

I don’t want to spend the next five or ten years protesting against another war we should work together to prevent. What are we doing about it now?

Code Pink, the encampment against war in DC, and others are already working on projects, but we have to come together and break through into the general public. It’s up to us to galvanize opposition to war with Iran NOW before the drum beat drowns out all opposition.

We’re already hearing the demonization of Iran. The media are ready to pick up their pompoms and start cheerleading us into yet another war. It’s impossible to play “catch up” after the “shock and awe” begins. By then it’s way too late.

What are you and I doing today to prevent war tomorrow?

We need to call our Senators, write letters to the editors, and get active. It’s time for all sane Americans to join the call: NO WAR WITH IRAN! Let’s get on with it.


Dear Senator,

We are writing to urge you to vote “No” on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment No. 3017 to the Fiscal year 2008 Defense Authorization bill. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment is a provocative measure that will only undermine efforts to resolve tensions with Iran through diplomacy.

Provocative measures such as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment can lead to a tit-for-tat escalation resulting in military confrontation between the US and Iran. There are no good military options for solving our disagreements with Iran.

By further destabilizing the Middle East, a military confrontation with Iran would result in disastrous and unintended consequences damaging to the interests of US, Israel, and indeed the entire world. If we have learned nothing else from Iraq, it is that there are limitations to the use of military force.

We strongly caution against any legislation that increases the chances of military force being used against Iran. The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. A military confrontation with Iran would have disastrous consequences for security throughout the region and put US forces in Iraq in far greater danger.

We urge all Senators to vote “No” on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment No. 3017 to the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill.

Signed,

Former Congressman Tom Andrews
National Director
Win Without War

Medea Benjamin
Founding Director
Global Exchange

John Burroughs
Executive Director
Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy

Jacqueline Cabasso
Executive Director
Western States Legal Foundation

Will Callaway
Legislative Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Simone Campbell
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Tim Carpenter
Director
Progressive Democrats of America

Michael Eisenscher
National Coordinator
US Labor Against the War

Adam G. Gerhardstein
Legislative Assistant for International Issues
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Morton H. Halperin
Executive Director
Open Society Policy Center

Amy Isaacs
Executive Director
Americans for Democratic Action

John Isaacs
Executive Director
Council for a Livable World

(Rev.) James Kofski, M.M.
Associate, Asia/Pacific and Middle East Issues
Maryknoll Global Concerns
Washington, D.C.

Lynn Kunkle
Policy Director
3D Security Initiative

Rabbi Michael Lerner,
Editor, Tikkun Magazine
Chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

Tom Mattzie
Washington Director
Moveon.org

Mary Ellen McNish
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Gael Murphy
Co-founder
CODEPINK:Women for Peace

Robert Naiman
National Coordinator
Just Foreign Policy

Trita Parsi
President
National Iranian American Council

Marie Rietmann
Public Policy Director
Women’s Action for New Directions

Gar Smith
Co-founder
Environmentalists Against War

Sue Udry
Legislative Coordinator
United for Peace and Justice

Joe Volk
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

James E. Winkler, General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Church


Senate Vote:
(Those who voted not to commit an act of international aggression are indicated with “•”]

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Not Voting
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Not Voting
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

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