Code Pink & Oliver Stone / TheOliverStone Posts – 2016-01-08 13:43:26
Special to Environmentalist Against War
No More Free Passes for Saudi Arabia!
On January 2, the Saudi government executed 47 people, most of them by beheading. One of the executed was Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, a nonviolent religious leader who defended the Shia minority and criticized the abuses — both domestic and foreign — of the Saudi regime.
With ISIL-like barbarity, Saudi Arabia has carried out hundreds of beheadings in recent years, imprisoned critics of the monarchy and waged a harsh crackdown against the Shia religious minority. With such a horrific human rights record, why is Saudi Arabia a major ally of the United States?
Take action now and tell Secretary Kerry:
It’s time to stop stalling. Enforce US law by sanctioning Saudi Arabia for human rights abuses!
The US government’s Commission on International Religious Freedom designates Saudi Arabia a country where violations of religious freedom are “systematic, ongoing and egregious.” Such countries are supposed to be sanctioned, but year after year, the State Department issues waivers for Saudi Arabia. This latest action by the Kingdom is yet another indication that it is well past time for those waivers to be lifted and sanctions to be imposed.
As CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin notes in her latest article, the Saudi government was well aware that killing Sheikh al-Nimr would enrage Shia Muslims both inside and outside the country.
The US government had expressed concern that al-Nimr’s planned execution risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.” But instead of insisting on al-Nimr’s release during his years in prison and echoing Amnesty International’s condemnation of his “deeply flawed” trial, the US government was silent.
In 2016, we’re committed to challenging the toxic relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. We hope you’ll join us!
ACT NOW: Ask Sec. Kerry to lift the waiver and impose sanctions as mandated by law.
As Wars Around the World Rage,
Both Republicans and Democrats
Speak of Muscle, Power, and Violence
Oliver Stone / TheOliverStone Posts
(January 5, 2016) — As the wars of the world rage on into 2016, the powder keg now appears to be ‘Syraq’ and not Ukraine. One day, perhaps too late, we as a country will recognize that some of our ‘friends’ are our ‘enemies,’ and some of our ‘enemies’ are really our allies. But as long as we pursue the politics of Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies, we’re squandering our life force in the creation of more and more chaos.
In this dangerous election cycle, Republicans and Democrats continue to talk loudly — of muscle, power, and the exercise thereof. But since Vietnam, it’s equally clear we’re scared of putting boots on the ground in any significant way (500,000 went to Vietnam), as casualties are anathema to the electorate, who prefer the Empire’s use of proxy armies, and covert/soft power.
But as long as Russia continues to maintain and refine its nuclear capabilities (at about 1/5th our cost), those who actually think must understand we can’t force them into submission where their national interests are concerned, i.e., Eastern Ukraine, their borders with Europe, and terrorism against Russia, etc. Without that nuclear capacity, there is no doubt Russia would’ve rendered Edward Snowden to the United States long ago.
Having suffered through two Chechen wars, the mass execution of schoolchildren at Beslan, the Moscow theatre attack, etc., and with the largest Muslim population in Europe, terrorism is a huge issue to Russia. How much closer is ‘Syraq’ to their borders than ours?
Russia well knows the US has been supporting several of these terrorist groups against them, starting with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan back in the 1980s, and that we’re now supporting Turkey and Saudi Arabia and their proxy groups, including ISIS, as well as several other organizations.
Throw in mercenary Chechens in several countries, fascist groups in Ukraine; as well as NATO-aided, right-wing groups in Poland, the Baltic Republics, etc. While we continue to play Red Riding Hood’s grandma-in-wolf’s-clothing, our media consistently denies we’re the Big Bad Wolf in this affair — ‘Who me?’
In response, Russia, despite sanctions against it and a withering propaganda onslaught, has only hardened its muscle back to 1941 levels. They’re ready for the worst. This is so dangerous. Why?
Below are five excellent analyses showing us the details of a US strategy that allows us to understand the frightening stakes of USA/EU/NATO against Russia/Iran/Syria, reaching a tipping point in a gigantic battle for energy resources — the 21st century Mid-East resembling the 1914 Balkans; this could bloom, like a Ponzi scheme, into a war that ultimately engulfs the rest of the world.
The most unstable particle in this fury is this damned 2016 circus of an American election. Emotions are most easily excited, dumb things about our weaknesses and strengths are said and believed by the electorate. Nor has our media really given us insight into what the Russian point of view really is, although Putin has stated it on several occasions.
We keep insisting it’s the restoration of the Cold War Russian Empire — which Putin has repeatedly condemned, saying it didn’t work THEN and it won’t work NOW. He’s deplored the fallacy of Communism. Meanwhile, we don’t seem to understand or empathize with the true size of the terrorist threat against Russia.
We should be remembering in a time of possible all-out war, when most people seem to have forgotten what war is like, that it’s not Russia, the EU, the Mid-East, or Ukraine, which have the most to lose. It’s the USA — us. Most of us would lose our lives, and we’d certainly lose our economy, and generally a way of life that’s spoiled us since WW2.
I keep wondering WHY do we keep pushing for “regime change” and dominion over other lands? We never back down, it seems. There’s no end to the zombie hunger for more control. Nothing changes in our system of ill will towards any resisters, going back to the Philippines in the early 1900s.
But am I naÃ¯ve to think, as bad as our rhetoric and propaganda have gotten, that the military-industrial complex in our country is not so NUTS as to set off a real hot war — when we have the most to lose? Remember the senselessness of World War I. Will we be asking ourselves the same question about ‘Syraq’ one day? How did this start? Why?
In closing, I pray that I turn out to be as wrong as I was about Ukraine at the end of 2014, and that we’ll all still be communicating at this time next year. Let’s hope so . . . Let’s hope sanity prevails in 2016.
Pepe Escobar, “You Want War? Russia is Ready for War,” Counterpunch.
Pepe Escobar, “NATO’s got a brand-new (Syrian) bag,” RT.
Mike Whitney, “Putin Throws Down the Gauntlet,” Counterpunch.
Robert Parry, “A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes,” Consortium News.
Ira Chernus, “Six Mistakes on the Road to Permanent War,” TomDispatch.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
ACTION ALERT: Stop the Execution of Young Saudi Activist
(January 2, 2016) — Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated their utter disregard for human rights and life by recently executing 47 people. One of those executed was Ali’s uncle, prominent Shi’a Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was convicted after a grossly unfair and political trial.
Saudi Arabian authorities claim that the recent executions were carried out to fight terror and safeguard security. However the killing of Ali’s uncle clearly suggests that authorities are using the death penalty to crush dissidents, particularly from within the Shi’a minority.
Ali remains in solitary confinement at risk of death. Please keep taking action.
Ali al-Nimr has been sentenced to death by a Saudi Arabian court for alleged offences committed when he was just 17.
Police arrested Ali in February 2012 amidst the ‘Arab Spring’ protests that swept the Middle East and North Africa.
Ali was not allowed to see his lawyer and says that officers tortured him into confessing to charges including ‘demonstrating against the government’, ‘attacking security forces’, ‘possessing a machine gun’, and ‘armed robbery’.
Ali is the nephew of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr — a prominent Shi’a cleric and vocal critic of the government’s treatment of the Shi’a minority — who was also sentenced to death in October 2014.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most prolific executioners in the world. In the last 30 years, it has put 2,200 people to death — sometimes for alleged crimes committed before the age of 18, which violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Ali has now exhausted all appeals. He will face execution as soon as the King ratifies his death sentence.
Ali has now exhausted all appeals and could face execution any day now.
Email the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and the President of the Human Rights Commission and insist they revoke Ali’s death sentence immediately and take steps to end capital punishment.
We will also present your names to the King of Saudi Arabia as part of our global action.
ACTION: Sign the Petition:
Stop the Execution of Young Saudi Activist
To: His Excellency Mr Nabil Mohammed A. AL SALEH
His Excellency Mr Nabil Mohammed A. AL SALEH and
Bandar Mohammed ‘Abdullah al-Aiban Bandar Mohammed ‘Abdullah al-Aiban
Quash the death sentences of Ali, Abdullah and Dawood
I urge you to quash the conviction and death sentences of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher and Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon, and ensure that they receive fair trials in line with international law and standards and without recourse to the death penalty. And please investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.
Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by anyone below the age of 18.
Please establish immediately an official moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.