Mexico – December 30, 2012
To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and compañeras:
This past December 21, 2012, in the pre-dawn hours, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and we took over, peacefully and in silence, 5 municipal seats in the Mexican southeastern state of Chiapas.
San Cristobal, Chiapas. December 21, 2012
In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristobal de las Casas, we watched you and we watched ourselves in silence.
This is not a message of resignation.
It is not one of war, death, or destruction.
Our message is one of struggle and resistance.
After the media-driven coup d’état that exalted a poorly concealed and even more poorly disguised ignorance to the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present so that you would know that if they never left, neither did we.
Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went out in search of someone to blame for its loss. At that time we were in cities and communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not fashionable at that time.
On that yesterday first they defamed us, and then they wanted to shut us up. Too incapable and dishonest to see that within themselves they had and have the seeds of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.
Six years later, two things remain clear:
They don’t need us to fail.
We don’t need them to survive.
We never left, even though media from all over the spectrum have dedicated themselves to making you believe that, and we are reemerging as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.
In these past years we’ve strengthened ourselves and we have significantly improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is superior to that of the indigenous communities that are linked to the governments in power, that receive charity and squander it all on alcohol and useless things.
Our homes improve without hurting nature by imposing roads upon it that are foreign to it. In our villages, the land that was previously used to fatten estate owners’ cattle is now used to grow the corn, beans, and vegetables that brighten our tables.
Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and to contribute to the collective growth of our communities.
Our boys and girls go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their fatherland and of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques they need to grow without no longer being indigenous.
The indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as merchandise. The indigenous PRI members go to our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those provided by the government there are no medicines, nor equipment, nor doctors, nor qualified personnel.
Our culture flourishes not in isolation, but rather enriched by contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and the world.
We govern and we govern ourselves, always seeking agreement before confrontation.
All of this has been achieved not only without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, but also while resisting their attacks of all kinds.
We have demonstrated, yet again, that we are who we are. With our silence, we were present.
Now, with our word we announce that:
First: we reaffirm and consolidate our membership in the National Indigenous Congress [CNI],a space for meeting with the original peoples of our country.
Second: we will resume contact with our compañeros and compañeras who are Adherents to the Sixth declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico and around the world.
Third: we will try to construct the necessary bridges towards the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to lead them or take their place, but rather to learn from them, from their history, from their journeys and fates.
For this we have achieved the support of individuals and groups in different parts of the world who comprise the support teams for the EZLN’s Sixth and International commissions, so that they will become communication links between the Zapatista Support Bases and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are Adherents to the Sixth Declaration in Mexico and around the world who still maintain their conviction and dedication to the construction of a leftist non-institutional alternative.
Fourth: our critical distance from the Mexican political class will continue; they have done nothing but prosper at the cost of the necessities and the hopes of humble and simple people.
Fifth: regarding the federal, state, and municipal bad governments–executive, legislative, and judicial–, and the media that accompanies them, we say to them the following:
The bad governments from all over the political spectrum, without exception, have done everything they can to destroy us, buy us, and make us give in. The PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC, and the future RN party have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically.
The corporate media tried to make us disappear, first with servile and opportunistic slander, later with cunning and complicit silence. Those whom they served and whose moneys breastfeed them are no longer around. And those who have taken their place won’t last longer than their predecessors.
As was evident on December 21, 2012, they’ve all failed.
It remains to be seen if the federal, executive, legislative, and judicial government decides to once again resort to the counterinsurgency policy that has only achieved a rickety farse clumsily based on media management, or if it recognizes and fulfills its duty and raises indigenous rights and culture to constitutional ranking as established by the so-called “San Andres Accords,” signed by the federal government in 1996, which was ruled by the same party that now controls the executive branch.
It remains to be seen if the state government will decide if it continues its dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecessor which, in addition to being corrupt and deceitful, used the Chiapan people’s money for his own enrichment and that of his accomplices and set about openly buying voices and pens in the media, while he heaped misery upon the Chiapan people, at the same time that he was using police and paramilitaries to try to stop the organizational advance of the Zapatista villages; or if it will instead, with truth and justice, accept our existence and the idea that a new form of social life is blossoming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico. Blossoming that draws the attention of honest people all over the planet.
It remains to be seen if the municipal governments decide to keep swallowing the millstones that the anti-Zapatista or supposedly “Zapatista” organizations use to extort them to attack our communities, or if they instead use that money to improve the living conditions of their constituents.
It remains to be seen if the people of Mexico who organize themselves in electoral struggle and resist decide to continue viewing us as the enemies or rivals upon whom they can unload their frustration about the frauds and attacks that, in the end, all of us suffer, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally see in us another way of doing politics.
Sixth: in the coming days the EZLN, through its Sixth and International commissions, will announce a series of initiatives of a civil and peaceful nature, to continue walking together with the other original peoples of Mexico and the whole continent, along with those in Mexico and around the whole world who resist and struggle down and to the left.
Brothers and sisters:
Compañeros and compañeras:
Before, we had the good fortune of honest and noble attention from various media outlets. We thanked them for it then. But that was completely erased with their later attitude.
Those who bet that we only existed in the media and that with the siege of lies and silence we would disappear were wrong.
When there weren’t cameras, microphones, pens, ears, and looks, we existed.
When they defamed us, we existed.
When they silenced us, we existed.
And here we are, existing.
Our pace, as has been demonstrated, does not depend upon our impact in the media, but rather upon the world’s and its parts’ understanding, upon the indigenous wisdom that dictates our steps, upon the unflinching courage that comes from below and to the left.
From now on, our word will begin to be selective in its recipient and, with the exception of a few occassions, will only be understood by those who have walked and walk with us without giving in to the media and current trends.
Here, with not a few errors and a lot of difficulties, another way of doing politics is already a reality.
Few, very few, will have the privilege of knowing it and learning from it directly.
Nineteen years ago we surprised them by taking over their cities with fire and blood. Now we’ve done it again, without weapons, without death, without destruction.
That is how we differentiate ourselves from those who, during their administrations, delivered and deliver death to their constituents.
We are the same from 500 years ago, from 44 years ago, from 30 years ago, from 20 years ago, from just a few days ago.
We are the Zapatistas, the smallest, the ones who live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the fatherland, those who don’t give up, those who don’t sell out, those who don’t give in.
Brothers and sisters:
compañeros and compañeras:
We are the Zapatistas, and we send you a hug.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast,
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee — General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December 2012-January 2013.
Translation: Kristin Bricker
In a hate crime against Hindus and Muslims, a New York City woman pushed an Indian man in front of an oncoming subway train, causing him to be crushed to death in the second such murder to occur this month.
Erika Menendez, 31, is now being charged for the death of Sunando Sen, 46, who was killed by a 7 train in Queens last Thursday. The woman told police she shoved the man onto the tracks because she believed he was a Muslim or a Hindu. She then fled from the scene.
“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers. I’ve been beating them up,” Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, quoted the woman as saying.
In an interview with the New York Times, Brown said the victim was “allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself.” Sen, who was born in India and was raised a Hindu, never saw the face of his attacker. According to the district attorney’s office, Menendez and Sen had never met, and it was unclear to tell what the victim’s religious background was.
“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown said.
Menendez fled from the scene on Thursday, but was arrested after a witness tipped off the authorities on Saturday. The passerby recognized her from the sketch and surveillance tape released by police after the incident.
“It will be up to the court to determine if she is fit to stand trial,” he added. If convicted, Menendez faces 25 years to life in prison. Menendez also has a history of violence and multiple arrests. The 31-year-old was arrested once for cocaine possession and twice for attacking two other strangers. Over the past 12 years, she has had 14 encounters with police. Five of those times, her mother called the police, while two other incidents resulted in assault charges, the Wall Street Journal reported. In 2003, she attacked a retired firefighter as he took out his garbage in Queens.
“I was covered in blood,” Daniel Conlisk, 65, recalled to the Times. “She was screaming the whole time.”
Two months prior, Menendez was accused of hitting and scratching a man in Queens. The woman has repeatedly been institutionalized for mental health problems and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center earlier this year. The woman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and never received any jail time.
“People get well and then they get sick again,” said Ana Marengo, a spokeswoman for New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corportation.
“No one monitors if they are taking their medication or follows up to see if they are in danger to themselves or others,” said D. J. Jaffee, executive director of the Mental Health Policy Organization. Relatives of Menendez claim the defendant frequently failed to take her prescribed medication.
The judge in the case of Sen’s death ordered that Menendez be held without bail and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Conlisk believes that if Menendez had a weapon when she attacked him, he would have been killed. The most recent subway murder brings further attention to the mental health system of the United States, which has already been scrutinized this month after 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 26 people in an Elementary School earlier this month.
The death of Sen also marks the second time that a man was pushed to his death from a subway platform this month. On December 3rd, a homeless man pushed a man into the tracks at the Times Square subway station. The New York Post published a photo of the man, clinging to the edge of the platform before being crushed to death by the oncoming train, sparking an uproar about the photographer’s decision to flash the camera rather than help the man back onto the platform.
In a speech on Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed historic lows in the city’s yearly homicide and shooting totals, but also encouraged residents not to forget Sen’s death.
“It’s a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” he told reporters.
The incident also sheds further light on lingering racism faced by Hindus and Muslims in the US. According to Sen’s roommates, the victim was kind and respectful of other people’s religions. He opposed war and violence, especially those prompted by religious intolerance.
“He was so gentle,” one of Sen’s roommates told the Times. “He said in this world a lot of people are dying, killing over religious things.”
Are they STILL pushing this absurd line? The Jewish Chronicle is propagandising again. In its recent article “Britain’s anger with Israel over 1982 Lebanon War,” the JC states the attempted assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to the UK in June 1982 “provided the spark for Ariel Sharon to spearhead Israel’s incursion into Lebanon.” The JC states that the ambassador was “shot in the head by Palestinian terrorists,” and that the “invasion of southern Lebanon” demonstrated “Israel’s determination to stamp out terrorism from its northern border.” NOT BY A LONG SHOT, GUYS.
In case you missed it, the ambassador was shot by a Jordanian who was working within the Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)—which in turn was run by a Palestinian who had been based in Jordan, Syria, Sudan and Iraq . . . but not in Lebanon. The ANO was characterised by its international, mercenary approach. The Jordanian gunman was accompanied by a cousin of Abu Nidal. . . and an Iraqi intelligence operative.
At best, the JC is being disingenuous. The 1982 military invasion of Lebanon was simply an escalation of Israeli aggression dating back decades—the aim of which was to eradicate the Palestinian resistance. The 82 invasion targeted the PLO, with whom the ANO were enemies. Thus the attempted assassination has long been widely acknowledged to have been a thin pretext. Yet the JC laments that, when the ambassador was shot, Israel had had to defend itself by running over Lebanon—a tired and feeble excuse.
As stated at the 7th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly (16 August 1982):
“For more than two months now the international community, as a whole, has focused its attention on Lebanon, where one of the most lethal wars of aggression the Middle East has ever known throughout its history is going on. The capital of a member nation of the United Nations [Beirut] has been besieged by the armed forces of a neighbor State [Israel].
This premeditated operation, which has already resulted in thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian civilian victims, was planned well in advance, designed to bring about a final solution to the Palestinian problem. At the same time, acts of intimidation and terrorism towards the Palestinians on the West Bank of the Jordan and in the Gaza Strip are increasing, leaving the victims convinced that the only way, to survive is to submit to domination.
Thus the military operations conducted by Israel in Lebanon replicate the political war against the PLO . . . . the Israeli leaders continue to flout the fundamental principles contained in the Charter and to violate numerous resolutions of the United Nations which, however, presided over the creation of the State of Israel. The most recent and most flagrant example of this attitude was Israel’s rejection of resolutions 508 (1982), 509 (1982), 512 (1982), 513 (1932) and 516 (1982) of the Security Council, and resolution ES-7/5 of the General Assembly, which all required Israel to put an end to the hostilities and to withdraw its forces behind the internationally recognized frontiers of Lebanon. The diplomatic efforts which have been undertaken here and there have always been met by the same Israeli reaction. That is, an escalation of violence.” 
The platitudes of the JC are routine. This article does serve, however, to draw attention to one disheartening reality. The attitude of far too many—not just Israelis, but also Americans, Arabs and Europeans—has been to view the Palestinians as nothing more a problem. Send them here, send them there, blast them into oblivion, just sort it. But the Palestinians are not a problem, they are a people. They deserve neither scorn nor pity; they deserve simple human equality. Was Britain “angry” with Israel for stampeding Lebanon in its attempt to eliminate the Palestinian “problem” and to pave the way toward a greater Israel? In retrospect, it seems they were not angry enough.
 For further reading, the British National Archives documents referred to in the JC article: http://filestore.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/prem-19-824-1.pdf ; CAB 128/74/7 (08 July 1982); CAB 128/74/5 (24 June 1982)
 Massamba Sarre (Senegal) Chairman, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: UNGA A/ES-7/PV.25 (16 August 1982) http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/6DC9C76A00B3E8E085256A16006D4056. See also further international statements UNGA A/ES-7/PV.27 (17 August 1982) http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/0C46FBC69F3D95F685256A260072FE9E.
- Israel forces Jordan Valley Palestinians from homes ahead of war drill (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Almost 4,000 Palestinians were detained by Israel in 2012 (arabworld360.blogspot.com)
Israeli forces have delivered evacuation orders to around 100 Palestinian families in the northern Jordan Valley ahead of a military training exercise, a local official said Monday.
The evacuation affects around 1,000 Palestinians living in rural communities who reside in Wadi al-Maleh, Ain Hilwa, Wadi al-Faw and al-Burj, local mayor Arif Daraghma told Palestinian media.
They must leave their homes by Wednesday for 48 hours, or they will be subject to penalties, he added.
Israel’s army forced several families from their homes in the northern Jordan Valley earlier this month for a similar exercise.
Hundreds of others were also pushed out their homes for a two-day military exercise in November.
Israel has designated the Jordan Valley a “closed military zone.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says Israel has designated around 18 percent of the West Bank as closed military zones, an area roughly equal in size to Area A, the 17.7 percent of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.
Around 5,000 Palestinians live in Israeli military firing zones in the West Bank, UNOCHA says. Since 2010, Israel has demolished the homes of 820 Palestinians located in firing zones.
- More evictions for Israeli army training in the Jordan Valley (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Rescuing Christians in Pakistan: Another Israeli Project for the Destabilization of the Islamic World?
In order to advance its hegemonic designs, Israel has long exploited ethnic and sectarian differences in the Middle East and beyond. To date, the 2011 secession of South Sudan from Khartoum stands as one of the most successful examples of Tel Aviv’s divide and conquer strategy. Now, the involvement of individuals with intimate ties to the self-defined “Jewish state” in a project whose stated aim is to rescue Christians in Pakistan strongly suggests that Islamabad is also being targeted for destabilization.
Introducing the ostensibly humanitarian project on his website, Walid Shoebat, a prominent figure in the Israeli-inspired and -funded Islamophobia network, writes:
Pakistan is our primary focus for our initial push to save Christians who are suffering from the Blasphemy laws, which are used by Islamic extremists to make up charges against innocent Christians, in order to steal their property and stir up violence against the Christian population.On March 4th the Christian Minister of Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was gunned down by Islamic extremists causing tremendous fear within the Christian community. Even in the short time since his murder, the violence against Christians has increased dramatically.
The Raoul Wallenberg Project is working with people on the ground who are well connected in the Christian community. They have reached out to us for our support to help alleviate their suffering, and in certain situations, help with their escape. For their protection we cannot expose their names publicly. In the future, large donors who are concerned about the transparency of fund ing [sic], we can provide the names and details privately.
The work we do is practical. We will be supplying food, medicine, safe houses, legal help for visa applications, and in extreme circumstances, security details for rescue missions.
Our financial goal is to raise one million dollars a month – solely for the Raoul Wallenberg Project – which will allow us to make a significant impact to alleviate much of the suffering of persecuted Christians and remove them from their circumstances. We are working behind the scenes with members of Congress, in particular the staff of Congressman Allen West, who has kindly offered his help on Capital [sic] Hill. Other members of Congress will be recruited as public opinion puts pressure on them for their support of this real, and dangerous threat to Christians worldwide.
Shoebat’s reference to Congressman West is revealing. While AIPAC ensures that most members of Congress dare not openly oppose Israeli policies, West is particularly eager to please the lobby. In a letter to Florida constituents before his 2011 visit, he wrote:
In Israel, I will get the opportunity to meet with a true Leader, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. At a time when western civilization has no leading voice, I believe the only one that resonates, speaks Hebrew.
As for Shoebat, his purported concern for persecuted Christians appears to be motivated by a similar passionate attachment. According to the description on his website of his alleged conversion from Muslim terrorist to Christian activist,
“He has set out to bring the cause of Christ, the Bible, and the case for Israel to millions throughout the world.”
Given Israel’s dispossession and ongoing oppression of Christians in Palestine, it seems likely that the Raoul Wallenberg Project’s stated mission of rescuing their co-religionists in Pakistan is merely cover for another Israeli project for the destabilization of the Islamic world.
- ‘West waging economic war against Sudan’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- South Sudan and Israel discuss bilateral cooperation (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Is South Sudan’s Largest Land Deal a Land Grab? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
How bad has it gotten for the US antiwar movement? After the president its most prominent leaders supported in 2008 took George W. Bush’s war on terror and institutionalized it, they have been at a strategic loss, unable to kick their dogmatic, electoral-minded tactics to the point that they are now engaged in an awkward campaign to get a conservative Republican appointed to administer Barack Obama’s wars. Indeed, after getting a commander-in-chief of its own, the down-and-out antiwar movement is now angling to get its own defense secretary.
The logic behind the leftists for Chuck Hagel campaign — sometimes unstated — is not so much that he’s a great guy, but that the people attacking him are even worse. And to be fair, they’re right. Most of the people blasting the former Nebraska senator hail from the belligerent far right, primarily employed by neoconservative media outlets like the Weekly Standard and Washington Post. Their critique is that Hagel is no friend of the Jewish state, and perhaps even anti-Semitic, because he once made comments critical of its influential lobby in DC and opposed Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon (an undeniably good thing). He’s also talked about giving diplomacy a shot with Iran, when the proper line is supposed to be “nah, fuck those guys.”
Hagel has also come under fire from military lobbyists for his stated desire to cut bloat at the Pentagon, though it’s worth remembering that Bush/Obama secretary of defense Robert Gates pledged the same thing while burning through the biggest military budgets in world history. In other words, the usual sky-is-falling crowd is making much ado about nothing with respect to a guy who, outside of a few maverick-y speeches over the years, adheres to the Washington consensus as much as the next old white guy. Their goal? Maybe a nice little war with a third-rate power and a bit larger share of the GDP. But like executives at Goldman Sachs, they know they’re going to be pretty much fine no matter who is in office.
It would be one thing to simply point this out; that yes, some of the charges against Hagel can politely be called “silly.” One can disagree about the wisdom of Israeli wars, for instance, without being a raging anti-Semite, and indeed much of the Israeli establishment would privately concede their 2006 war was a bust. And with politicians talking of slashing Social Security, you damned well better believe it’s not a gaffe to say maybe we ought to take a quick look at where half the average American’s income tax goes: the military. Such a defense might have some value.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the pro-Hagel campaign is doing. Instead, they’re billing the fight over Hagel’s nomination as a defining battle of Obama’s second term. If Hagel wins, the argument goes, AIPAC loses, opening up the foreign policy debate in Washington and increasing the possibility of peace in our time. If his nomination goes down, however, that reinforces the idea that the hawkish foreign policy consensus in Washington shall not be challenged and that even the mildest criticisms of Israel cannot be tolerated. Some even suggest that who administers the Defense Department could decide if there’s a war with Iran or not, perhaps forgetting the chain of command.
Indeed, most of Hagel’s defenders aren’t defending his occasionally heterodox views on Israel and unilateral sanctions (he’s cool with the multilateral, 500,000-dead-children-in-Iraq kind), but rather trumpeting his commitment to orthodoxy. The Center for American Progress, for instance, has released a dossier detailing “Chuck Hagel’s Pro-Israel Record,” noting his oft-stated verbal and legislative commitment to the “special relationship.” Some of his former staffers have also issued a fact sheet showing that all of Hagel’s alleged heretical views are well within the hawkish mainstream.
Further left on the spectrum, it’s not much different. The Washington-based group Just Foreign Policy, for instance, has revived Democratic rhetoric from 2004 to pitch the fight over the potential Hagel nomination in black and white terms of good and evil.
“The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to ‘Swift Boat’ the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense,” the group states in a recent email blast to supporters. Neoconservatives have been “making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel . . . is ‘anti-Israel,’” it continues, helpfully informing us that the Hagel the neocons make out to be such a reasonable guy is indeed a fantasy. Finally, it ends with an appeal: “We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy,” followed by a petition supporting Hagel’s nomination hosted by MoveOn.org sure to defeat any military coup.
In a blog, the group’s policy director, Robert Naiman, likewise pitches the battle over Hagel’s nomination in terms of Obama vs. The Warmongers. “Hagel represents the foreign policy that the majority of Americans voted for in 2008 and 2012: less war, more diplomacy,” he writes, pointing to past statements he’s made about the wisdom of a war with Iran.
Of course, the unfortunate truth is that American’s didn’t vote for “less war, more diplomacy,” as comforting as that thought may be, because they haven’t had the chance. In this past election, Obama often ran to the right of Mitt Romney, his campaign frequently suggesting the latter would not have had the guts to kill Osama bin Laden. The DNC ridiculed Romney for suggesting he’d consider the war’s legality before bombing Iran. “Romney Said He Would Talk To His Lawyers Before Deciding Whether To Use Military Force,” read the press release, as if that’s a bad thing. Obama, bomber of a half-dozen countries, never forgot to mention the “crippling” sanctions he’s imposed.
And J Street, the group that just co-sponsored a rally with AIPAC backing the Israeli state’s latest killing spree? Ask a resident of Gaza how “pro-peace” it is.
But, in order to create a sign-this-petition! narrative, one often can’t do nuance. So Naiman doesn’t. In another post, this one highlighting Hagel’s establishment support, because antiwar activists care about that sort of thing, he casually refers to former ambassador Ryan Crocker as among the “diplomacy champions and war skeptics” backing the former senator. This would be the same Ryan Crocker appointed by George W. Buish who has said “it’s simply not the case that Afghans would rather have US forces gone,” and dismissed the killing of at least 25 people in Afghanistan, including children, as “not a very big deal.”
That should give you a good idea of the obfuscation going on in the antiwar campaign for a Pentagon chief. This is a problem. If you’re going to play the role of the savvy Washington activist and get involved in the inside baseball that is fights over cabinet appointments, ostensibly to reframe the debate more than anything – we must defeat AIPAC! – you ought not go about reinforcing adherence to orthodoxy and the perceived value of establishment support and credentials. And you ought not cast as heroes of the peace movement people that really shouldn’t be. That’s actually really dangerous.
Yet, some would rather play down Hagel’s pro-war credentials for the all-important narrative. So we cast him as a staunch opponent of a war with Iran, ignoring his repeated assertions that we must “keep all options on the table” with respect to the Islamic Republic, including killing men, women and children. In a piece he coauthored with other establishment foreign policy figures, Hagel’s opposition to war amounted merely to a call to consider its costs – and its benefits.
For instance, “a U.S. attack would demonstrate the country’s credibility as an ally to other nations in the region and would derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for several years, providing space for other, potentially longer-term solutions,” the senator and his friends wrote. “An attack would also make clear the United States’ full commitment to nonproliferation as other nations contemplate moves in that direction.” Ah, but he mentioned there could be “costs” (though none of those he mentioned were “dead people”). Such is brave, antiwar opposition in Washington.
But that’s the cynical game played in DC by some of the would-be movers-and-shakers on the outskirts of the policy conversation: cynically play down a politician’s faults to please funders, other politicians and one’s own sense of savvy self-satisfaction. It’s how the antiwar movement ended up dissolving and largely getting behind a president who more than doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan. People were presented a rosy image of a candidate who was on their side and they concluded their work was done upon his election. The same thing threatens to be the case with Chuck Hagel. Indeed, as The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg notes, “who better to sell the president’s militant Iran position than someone who comes from the realist camp?”
When I privately raised some of these concerns with Naiman, he got snooty quick, just as he did with other writers who questioned whether the quest to “defeat AIPAC” should be conducted by stressing why AIPAC should love the guy. To me, Naiman wrote that if I had concerns about the antiwar movement taking ownership of a defense secretary, “There are plenty of organizations that pursue an ultra-left, ideological purist line. Why don’t you give them your support and be happy?”
We live in an an age where ideological purity is defined as being uncomfortable with an antiwar organization throwing unequivocal support behind a conservative Republican to head the Pentagon. It’s an amazing world.
Rather than engage in the reactionary politics of supporting what one perceives to be the least-evil administrator of war, those on the antiwar left and right ought to be truth tellers. Let’s not sugar coat this: The problem isn’t just AIPAC and the neocons, but the Center for American Progress and the neoliberals. Dumbing down the reality only serves to bolster one faction of the war party. And it kills antiwar movements.
- Why are neocons so down on Chuck Hagel? (salon.com)
The UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has unveiled a new initiative to end the country’s months-long crisis.
Brahimi said on Sunday that the new plan could find support from world powers, including key Syria ally, Russia.
The veteran Algerian diplomat, however, did not elaborate fully on his proposal but said he had discussed it with Russia and Syria, and that it was a political solution based on the Geneva Declaration adopted in June.
“I have discussed this plan with Russia and Syria…. I think this proposal could be adopted by the international community,” Brahimi told reporters in Cairo after meeting with Arab League chief Nabil El-Araby.
Under the Geneva plan, opposing sides would cease fighting and a transitional body would be formed until elections are held.
Brahimi also said that the situation in Syria “is very bad and getting worse by the day,” and that without a negotiated solution the country will turn into “hell.”
Brahimi’s previous attempt to secure a temporary truce in Syria for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in October failed after militants refused to cease their fire.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
A recent UN report has revealed that militants from 29 countries have so far infiltrated into Syria to fight against the Damascus government, most of whom are extremist Salafists.
The Syrian government has repeatedly said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.
- Brahimi’s shuttle diplomacy rekindles hopes of solution to Syrian crisis (news.xinhuanet.com)
- Brahimi urges end to Syria violence (standard.co.uk)
An analyst says America and its allies have planned to leave a residual force of more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan passed 2014, contrary to the agreement.
In the background of this, American pilots are currently under special training ready to be deployed to Afghanistan in coming months in what appears to be a renewed build up by certain US forces. 66,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan. America is expected to honor a 2014 agreed deadline to withdraw from the country.
Press TV has interviewed Mr. Mohammad Daoud Abadi, Chairman of the Afghanistan National Peace Council, Los Angeles about this issue. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: We see American pilots training in conditions similar to that of Afghanistan. Are we preparing for a longer stay of US troops in Afghanistan do you think?
Abadi: Thank you for inviting me again I appreciate it. Before I answer that question I’d like to thank Press TV for it’s worldwide media presence and being honest on the matters, we do appreciate that very, very much.
In response to your question I must say that what we hear from the US government is that they’re planning to leave a 6,000 to 9,000 fighting force in Afghanistan after 2014. That plus another 5,000 from NATO allies.
What I’m hearing – I hope it’s not correct, but what I’m hearing from the media and from different sources is that the US has planned to leave these 6,000 soldiers in Baghram airport, Kandahar in the south and Jalalabad in the East.
They are planning to have the Spaniards in Hira and Shindand airport, which is close to the Iranian border, to the Italians and on the North the Mazar e Sharif, the Germans still be staying.
To be honest and to look at it from a technical point of view this residual force will not be a force to really do the terrorist war or against terrorist activities because let’s say that if they are in Baghram airport and they fly from Baghram airport to Kandahar to do an operation, it is a 2 hour flight of 350 kilometers distance – it takes two hours for a helicopter to get there.
So in general this residual force is there for some other purpose other than what is claimed. Therefore this policy as I have said, this time the Pentagon will fail on this again and I don’t think this is something that they can count on.
Press TV: Just how much has President Hamid Karzai been a president to the Afghan people and tried to help efforts to oust the US occupiers from Afghanistan?
Abadi: Based on yesterday’s report Mr. Karzai is coming to Washington in early January and they will hopefully be talking about future issues in Afghanistan as well as the matter of residual forces.
President Karzai is going to make the biggest mistake of his life if he agrees to residual forces because that will mean the continuation of war in Afghanistan.
As I have said before the Mujaheddin of Afghanistan have put this condition even at the 19th of December meeting in Paris – this was the first condition that both sides the Taliban and Jamiat e Islami of Afghanistan put on the table.
Therefore what Mr. Karzai is going to sign with them based on their immunity issues, that is not going to work. As for US forces they are defeated now they were defeated then.
FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.
“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.
As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.
The FBI’s Indianapolis division released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though they acknowledged that no specific protest date had been scheduled in Indiana. The documents show that the Indianapolis division of the FBI was coordinating with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” as well as the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center,” the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence” and other national FBI coordinating mechanisms.
Documents show the spying abuses of the FBI’s “Campus Liaison Program” in which the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to “sixteen (16) different campus police officials,” and then “six (6) additional campus police officials.” Campus officials were in contact with the FBI for information on OWS. A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.
Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients – the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel… ” (The DSAC document was also obtained by the Northern California ACLU which has sought local FBI surveillance files.)
Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to the DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor for the port actions. The NCIS describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.” The NCIS also assists with the transport of Guantanamo prisoners.
DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It advised to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”
The FBI in Anchorage reported from a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011, about Occupy activities in Anchorage.
A port Facility Security Officer in Anchorage coordinated with the FBI to attend the meeting of protestors and gain intelligence on the planning of the port actions. He was advised to request the presence of an Anchorage Police Department official to also attend the event. The FBI Special Agent told the undercover private operative that he would notify the Joint Terrorism Task Force and that he would provide a point of contact at the Anchorage Police Department.
The Jacksonville, Florida FBI prepared a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in October 2011. The intelligence meeting discussed Occupy venues identifying “Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories as portions … where some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”
The Tampa, Florida FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison participated with the Tampa Police Department’s monthly intelligence meeting in which Occupy Lakeland, Occupy Polk County and Occupy St. Petersburg were discussed. They reported on an individual “leading the Occupy Tampa” and plans for travel to Gainesville for a protest planning meeting, as well as on Veterans for Peace plans to protest at MacDill Air Force Base.
The Federal Reserve in Richmond appears to have had personnel surveilling OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”
The Virginia FBI was collecting intelligence on the OWS movement for dissemination to the Virginia Fusion Center and other Intelligence divisions.
The Milwaukee division of the FBI was coordinating with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety division in Green Bay Wisconsin regarding Occupy.
The Memphis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force met to discuss “domestic terrorism” threats, including, “Aryan Nations, Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous.”
The Birmingham, AL division of the FBI sent communications to HAZMAT teams regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The Jackson, Mississippi division of the FBI attended a meeting of the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for “National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day” on December 7, 2011.
The Denver, CO FBI and its Bank Fraud Working Group met and were briefed on Occupy Wall Street in November 2011. Members of the Working Group include private financial institutions and local area law enforcement.
Jackson, MS Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a “Counterterrorism Preparedness” alert. This heavily redacted document includes the description, “To document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”
You can read the FBI – OWS documents below where we have uploaded them in searchable format for public viewing.
The PCJF filed Freedom of Information Act demands with multiple federal law enforcement agencies in the fall of 2011 as the Occupy crackdown began. The FBI initially attempted to limit its search to only one limited record keeping index. Recognizing this as a common tactic used by the FBI to conduct an inadequate search, the PCJF pressed forward demanding searches be performed of the FBI headquarters as well as FBI field offices nationwide.
The PCJF will continue to push for public disclosure of the government’s spy files and will release documents as they are obtained.
Related article and video
- Terrorists and criminals: Documents prove FBI monitored OWS (alethonews)
- Policing Dissent (video report)