Another criminal wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a peace treaty with the FARC guerrilla group active in Colombia since 1964. The Nobel recipient must have been in the works for a while since the peace treaty was defeated in a popular referendum last Sunday.

It’s been a few years since I closely studied the conflict between the Colombian government & FARC but either would be a worthy recipient of this discredited honorific. The coffee & cocaine oligarchs of Colombia don’t operate in the shadows as the US & other oligarchies do. They directly run the country & are as worthless & thuggish as this guy looks. FARC activities are indistinguishable from criminality. There should have been a joint award.

I am reminded of the 1987 Nobel recipient Óscar Arias Sánchez, then president of Costa Rica. He won it for his so-called peace plan to address conflict in Central America–Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. A central feature of the Arias plan was more US military involvement in Central America.

I lived in Boston then & of course was involved in antiwar campaigns against US involvement in Central America. Arias was invited to speak at Harvard University which must be on the inside track about who will be the Nobel recipient. Several from the antiwar movement went to hear him & sat in the bleachers of a packed-out audience.

In his presentation, Arias said Nicaragua had held their first democratic election since the Sandinistas took over in 1979. (I don’t recall if he meant the 1984 election which the Reagan regime called a sham.) The entire Harvard audience broke into thunderous applause at the renewal of democracy in Nicaragua which was then under sustained economic & military attack by the US & its proxy guerrilla group called the Contras.

At the question & answer period, I raised my hand in the peanut gallery to respectfully ask him why his peace plan for Central America proposed more US military involvement & tried to lay out in a succinct way why antiwar activists considered his plan at odds with peace.

Throughout my no longer than two-minute question, the audience booed, hissed, heckled, tried to shout me down. It was my first experience with such aggression for asking a question at a public forum—& probably a rare moment when those distinguished & pompous-assed professors would express themselves so coherently & briefly. It felt like being shot at in a barrel but I kept telling them to pipe down & let me finish. Which I did. Arias was there to be honored & fawned over, not to be challenged, & did not respond to my question.

Out of all the battles I’ve had in my political life, that moment of discombobulation from being heckled is one of my few regrets. I like to have the last word with my nemeses. Till today, it still bugs me that I didn’t ask the assembled fawning rowdies, “Is the audience trying to shout me down for asking a question the same one that just applauded so vigorously for democracy in war-torn Nicaragua?”

Call me spiteful, but I’ll go to my grave annoyed by that missed opportunity.

The 15th year of the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan & the historic failure of international antiwar forces

Today is the 15th year of the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan. It has been a barbarous war for the people of Afghanistan & Pakistan & is not nearly ended. Later I will post about the European Union forcibly deporting 80,000 Afghan war refugees denied asylum in Europe.

Through most of the war the international antiwar movement has been weak & fragmented & has not rendered powerful solidarity with the people of Afghanistan—or for that matter, any other country. I only want to say to the people of Afghanistan & Pakistan that this is a historic failing & thousands of activists around the world grieve at what it has meant for you, at the cost you have paid because we could not unite to stay the hand of US-NATO militarism. The tragedy of failure is incalculable & we only wish our grief was sufficient to compensate what it has meant for you. But it doesn’t.

Rebuilding the international antiwar movement on a principled basis is the most imperative political mission of our era.

Islamophobia & elitist, pro-war version of feminism to justify US-NATO war in Afghanistan

Afghan woman in Palkistan (Muhammed Muheisen) Oct 7 2015

Reposting this from one year ago because it is about how US war propaganda combines Islamophobia with the elitist, pro-war version of feminism to defend the now 15-year war against the people of Afghanistan which also involves Pakistan.

It is worth noting that the article critiqued here, which accepts the US Pentagon defense of the Afghanistan War, appeared in Alternet, considered by many as a reliable source of progressive views. They also just published Max Blumenthal’s scurrilous attack on White Helmets in Syria, which ignores Syrian & Russian bombing & appears to justify it.

Today is the 14th anniversary of the US-NATO war in Afghanistan–typified by barbarism & war crimes & justified by claims the US was a liberation army for Afghan women. Alternet took this opportunity to publish an article titled “After Over a Decade of Occupation & $1.5 Billion in US Aid, the Reality Facing Women in Afghanistan Has Barely Changed” co-authored by Jodie Davis, a co-founder of CodePink & Amie Ferris-Rotman, a former Reuters reporter in Afghanistan with her head embedded up the ass of US-NATO.

It is a shameful, dishonest, scurrilous, racist, & colonial piece of war mongering journalism. Alternet should repudiate it & Davis should hang her head in shame. Ferris-Rotman is simply repeating the crap she’s reported from Afghanistan for a long time where her sources are US officials. She’s uncritical of the US in Afghanistan & writes rubbish praising US women soldiers deployed there.

It not only gives complete credence to war propaganda that US-NATO went there to liberate women from the Taliban but takes out the whole of Afghan culture with this kind of comment: “Like many nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping Afghanistan’s women & girls, CODEPINK has spent years watching the forces in Afghan society, culture & politics wreak havoc on ordinary people’s lives. The American effort to install a pro-Western government, including laws that recognize the rights of women & girls, is constantly running into cultural barriers & biases that considers misogyny normal & traditional.” If this is true, CodePink has some questions to answer. Like, whose side are they on in the Afghan war? Or is this just Davis–who has political associations with pro-Afghan war feminists & the Democratic Party–speaking?

As for all that dough USAID has been throwing at Afghan women to liberate them, if you don’t have your head stuck up the general’s asses, you can investigate & find out that USAID doesn’t dispense any kind of humanitarian aid but uses it primarily to blackmail & bribe Afghan officials.

The article really has to be read to appreciate how racist it is, how colonial in mentality, how shameful Alternet would publish it. But CodePink really has to weigh in on the assertions & analysis of Jodie Davis. Do they agree? Because if they do, they are war-mongers. If they don’t, they need to politically kick her ass to the curb for discrediting the organization she helped found.

Photo is Afghan woman living the high life of a refugee in Pakistan as a result of US-NATO liberation.

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen)

This is link to the piece of war propaganda referenced in this post:

Khurram Parvez & defense of the disappeared

Sri Lankan mothers of disappeared Oct 7 2016

These are Sri Lankan mothers protesting the forcible disappearance of their children. The estimated number of Sri Lankans disappeared by the military is disputed (they always are disputed to hide the magnitude of the crimes) but goes as high as 65,000 people.

That is true throughout the South Asian region & is the reason the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) was formed. Khurram Parvez is the chairperson of AFAD which is without question one of the reasons for his arrest & why AFAD activists in several countries are protesting for his release. Under his leadership, AFAD was building political collaboration with organizations for the disappeared in Latin America & elsewhere.

Khurram Parvez is an extraordinary individual because even in jail, as he has to deal with his disability without proper medical care & worries about his family, he is already documenting the torture of other detainees he encounters in jail as part of his work with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).

Activists like him don’t do this kind of dangerous work so they can win honorifics like the Nobel Peace Prize. They’re not driven by narcissism & need for recognition. He said, “My struggle for justice forms only a part of the larger struggle of my co-detenues & all those wrongly detained. Your solidarity is therefore to the larger struggle for justice & is greatly appreciated.” He places his defense within the broader political context of defending all of those detained.

If we do not vigorously defend him, it will be easier in Kashmir, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, & elsewhere for regimes to simply pick up activists & disappear them. So his defense, like he says, is part of the larger struggle for human rights. But it is an essential part.

Kashmiri journalists in fifth day of protests against closing of Kashmir Reader

This is the fifth day Kashmiri journalists have been protesting the shutdown of Kashmir Reader & the continuing censorship of Kashmiri media.

You have to be pretty tough & steeled politically to publicly protest in Kashmir whilst the occupying army is arresting by the thousands under the Public Safety Act where they could be tortured, held indefinitely, even disappeared.

On the 90th day of this murderous siege, it really matters that we extend solidarity to these freedom fighters. So please like & share this page to defend them from any recriminations & to defend freedom of press in Kashmir.

Nonsense claims about growing Russophobia to divert from Russian carpet bombing in Syria

Am I the only one not seeing this hating on Russia stuff or US saber-rattling against Russia that so many are warning about? Believe me, I know hating on Russia since I grew up in the McCarthy era with a mother who was ardently opposed to communism. But all the hating was about communism, not Russians since after all they’re white people. We’re only supposed to hate brown & black people.

Russia & communism were big topics in my family. But I don’t believe a single relative, or for that matter anyone I know, has uttered a peep about Russia for the past 25 years since the USSR collapsed. No body bad-mouthes communism since it’s presumed to be deader than a doornail. They don’t even write triumphalist obituaries anymore.

Concerned that I was missing out on an important new phenomenon—Russophobia & hating on white people–I googled myself silly & only found jeremiads about Russophobia on Russian & other websites that support Russia in Syria. And here I thought I was missing out on something.

So does the Russophobic alert mean when Obama talks tough about Putin? Or when we criticize Russian bombing in Syria? Cause that is not the same as hating on Russians or Russia or even Putin. That’s just opposing bombing people & that’s a good thing.

Kids haven’t been out of the house in three months, Kashmiri political groups have a shutdown of businesses called till the 13th, protesters are still getting shot at, but just saw a tourist ad saying this was a good time of year to visit Kashmir.

Differences over Syria are of greatest consequence: so why are people engaged in pissing contests about it?

If people are testy about the volatile differences on Syria it’s because how they are resolved is critical to the future of the antiwar movement, Palestinian solidarity movement, socialist & progressive activists—all of which are being attacked for massive failings on Syria by pro US-intervention forces.

This is not a platonic issue that can be worked out in a diplomatic venue because it represents the clash of classes, the struggle for democracy, competing visions of what is even going on, & some great big military operations, overt & covert, involving several countries.

It’s unfortunate there is rancor but there is a life & death struggle going on in Syria. The results of that struggle will redound upon the entire Middle East—& not just the Middle East but democratic & antiwar struggles throughout the world. No one will be unaffected by what happens.

Another one of Obama’s worthless protests against Israeli settlements

Some think when Obama speaks, he represents actual US policy. Like on regime change in Syria or on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Just this week, Obama & the State Department, for the umpteenth time, “strongly condemned” Israel’s plans to build a new settlement in the West Bank.

But it was the Obama administration not that long ago that rebuked Netanyahu for ingratitude by listing all the things the US does for Israel, including paying moving & resettlement costs for Jews moving to Israeli settlements, providing Hebrew classes on arrival, & other such services for Israeli settlement programs.

You can’t just discount what Obama says but you also can’t take it as the gospel truth.