Saturday, December 31, 2011

UPDATE on Peace Instead of Washington's Addiction to War: Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Published on Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Living Peacefully With One's Neighbors by Phil Tajitsu Nash

Imagine that your community and a neighboring community had been at war a half century ago. Many men had been killed, and women and children had been kidnapped.

Then, imagine what it would take for those two communities to sit down together to look at archival films of life in their region, share memories of common ancestors, and allow their children to interact peacefully with one another.

Read about these trend-setters for peace: or click here

(Since a New Year resolution of mine is to seek out the true positive despite all that we must face that is not...I wanted to include the above article as an antidote to the concerns of Kucinich's as RIGHT ON as his concerns always are...and to show how we of all ages can learn from peacemakers of ALL ages and persuasions.



Truthdigger of the Week: Rep. Dennis Kucinich
For original GO here

Posted on Dec 30, 2011

As the year draws to a close, the U.S. government risks repeating the costly mistakes of the recent past by ratcheting up tensions with Iran, emphasizing risky sanctions over diplomatic negotiations and making fact-challenged claims about Iran’s nuclear program. Good thing Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on Capitol Hill to call Congress on its deadly war addiction. For his willingness to make a stand against almost all of his congressional cohorts and his refusal to accept shoddy arguments and distressingly repetitive rationalizations for entering into yet another precarious foreign entanglement, we salute Congressman Kucinich as the last Truthdigger of the Week for 2011.

It’s alarming how short our nation’s collective memory, not to mention its attention span, can be when it comes to missing signs of the manipulation of information during the lead-in stages of conflicts with other nations. Rep. Kucinich called in Friday with a history lesson and an update on the debate he brought to the floor of the House about why we shouldn’t listen to the building drumbeat of war with Iran that seems to hold most of Washington in its thrall.

First, a little background. Two bills have made the legislative rounds proposing sanctions against Iran in the last year: The Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act (H.R. 2105) and the Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905). On Dec. 14, H.R. 1905 passed with only 11 members of the House, including Kucinich, opposing the bill. Minutes later, H.R. 2105 also passed, and this time only two congressmen—Kucinich and California Rep. Pete Stark—voted against it.

“We actually warned members about this,” Kucinich said Friday. “We sent out letters to members of Congress, and I went to the floor to speak against it.” But Kucinich’s arguments were shot down from both sides of the political aisle, as his colleagues seemed eager to accept the predominant rhetoric claiming that Iran was dead set on developing its own nuclear weapon and that imposing tough sanctions is the most effective way to thwart the threat from Tehran.

This, despite warnings from the likes of Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who noted in September that open diplomatic channels were key in preventing big miscalculations and miscommunications. As Kucinich pointed out in his letter to Congress members on Dec. 12, “Section 601 of H.R. 1905 prohibits contact by a U.S. government official or employee with any Iranian official or representative who ‘presents a threat’ to the United States,” a clause that sharply curtails diplomatic interactions between the two nations, but the prospect of this potential gag order apparently failed to stir up much concern. “You see how little attention is paid to any details and facts,” Kucinich said of his opponents in Washington.

So, here are the facts as Kucinich saw them as he took a moment to talk to Truthdig’s Associate Editor Kasia Anderson on the last business day of the year.

Kasia Anderson: There appears to be some push back from other members of Congress about this issue of whether our hands would be tied, diplomatically speaking, by H.R. 1905. How can you all be looking at the same document, and yet one member of Congress says this won’t compromise diplomatic communication and another says it would?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I can tell you from my perspective. Everything I try to do is fact-based; I work from a fact-based position. There are some members who made up their minds a long time ago to advance conflict against Iran, and I think the impact on the U.S. and the world would be devastating. There’s no reason whatsoever for us to move into a war against Iran. And we should not be rattling sabers—we should not be taking steps that escalate. And so I think from my perspective when these issues have come up in the past regarding Iran, I understood that the neocons have had extraordinary influence in keeping up the tensions, but someone has to say that they were wrong about Iraq. Someone has to hold the neocons responsible for the drumbeat for war that cost the lives of thousands of American troops and perhaps over a million Iraqis, that will have a long-term cost of about $5 trillion and that has further damaged America’s position in the world. The same people that brought us Iraq are changing the q to an n and advancing a whole new war based on the same type of flimsy predicate that brought us to war against Iraq.

Anderson: In your debates about the sanctions against Iran, you drew parallels to the lead-in to the Iraq War and to the Gulf of Tonkin, among other historical lessons. Can you expand on those here?

Kucinich: The Gulf of Tonkin is relevant here because the American people were largely unaware of what transpired during an encounter—a so-called encounter—in the Gulf of Tonkin that led directly to the war in Vietnam. We are now in the Strait of Hormuz, in an area where there’s a tremendous amount of traffic, and the potential for conflict is real. This is why I quoted Admiral Mullen in saying that he wasn’t looking towards any escalation here. Anybody in the Navy understands how real the risks are of ratcheting up a military presence in the Strait of Hormuz as a means of [imposing] sanctions from the very beginning—sanctions were in and of themselves a path towards escalation—a direct path towards war. … Congress can’t seem to get away from this drumbeat of war. As an institution it seems incapable of avoiding another war. The American people don’t want another war.

I led the effort in Congress in 2002 in challenging the march towards war. There was no evidence that Iraq had the intention or the ability of attacking the United States of America. There were no WMDs—it was all a put-up job to take us into a war. And the people who took us into it have never been held accountable, from Bush on down; members of Congress are equally accountable because they voted in favor of the war. We cannot break free of the hold that war has on our country. The implications of conflict with Iran are extraordinary. Unlike Iraq, Iran has the ability to fight back. Unlike Iraq, Iran is a major player in the economy of the world, and the implications of conflict with Iran will be felt globally and can put the U.S. in a much broader conflict with other nations as well. This is a very dangerous moment.

Anderson: How is it that Congress gets swept up in this kind of rhetoric?

Kucinich: It’s really a kind of reverse Houdini phenomenon. Houdini was famous for escaping being bound, but members of Congress are famous for binding themselves—binding our nation into perilous conditions. And so how does that happen? I don’t see war as being inevitable. I see that we have an obligation to use diplomacy to avoid war, and we have a greater obligation in this heavily mediated society to work to get at the truth and not be swept up into war by ideologues or by war profiteers who both cashed in in Iraq.

With an American economy falling apart. ... We are at a decisive moment in the history of this country where we have to begin to make a conscious choice of a domestic agenda over foreign conflict. If we fail to do that, we will lose our nation.

Anderson: Do you think anything can be done with respect to a potential conflict with Iran?

Kucinich: Yes! Back off. That’s what we need to do.

I want to go back over the dynamics in Washington. There’s always a certain group of people—Republicans and Democrats alike—who will vote for war. They’ll vote to fund wars, seeing it their patriotic duty to do so. We need a new type of thinking. That new type of thinking has to be demanded by people like your readership and by constituents aross the country. We have become so enamored of war as a nation we can’t break from it. If you look at the Republican debate, it’s all about war with them—all but Ron Paul. What’s this about? What are we doing? Why aren’t we taking care of things at home?

There’s a psychology of aggression which permeates our society. It is as though we are riding a death star. Yet I refuse to believe that America will perish through this kind of thinking. I’m hopeful that we can reverse the direction. But you can only do it if people have the truth—if people have information about what’s really going on.

Anderson: What about the claims that Iran is developing its own nuclear weapon?

Kucinich: The changes in the International Atomic Energy Agency are very disturbing. Instead of a dispassionate technician running the IAEA, you have a politician who used politics to get his appointment, and now he’s willing to do his servile best to give those who want war the leverage to claim that Iran is moving towards getting a nuclear weapon. That poisons the dialogue.

Know that lies are being told right now to get us into a conflict with Iran. We need to take steps to avoid it, otherwise we’re looking at a condition that would be calamitous to the economy of the nation and to the long-term health of the United States of America. Also think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, how the military was trying to go for war. And the political strength it took President John F. Kennedy to pull back and to curtail war. There was a real conflict there, and the chances of conflict were real. The chances of a nuclear war were real, and yet we had leaders who understood the need for diplomacy. Diplomacy is not weakness—it’s strength. The use of arms as a substitute for diplomacy is idiocy. Those who are responsible for that kind of thinking need to be called on it—need to be held accountable. It’s lazy intellectualism and lazy politics that cause people to vote for war. We can no longer afford this. We need to change our position in the world. If we don’t we will lose our nation. That’s why I’ve been speaking out in Congress for years to try to avert conflict.

You can look at what I said in the lead-up to the war against Serbia. You can look at what I said coming out of 9/11 and the lead-up to the war in Iraq and these other wars that we’ve had. The one ray of light that I saw was that some of the conservative Republicans questioned our actions in Libya.

Look, if you want to stop war, you have to have communication with people. I mean, if you look back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is one of the gravest crises of the 20th century, it was the fact that the United States and Russia were able to engage in communication [that saved us]. So we have to be very careful that we don’t pass any kind of a law that would restrict not just our First Amendment rights and not just freedom of association, but would restrict the basic kind of diplomacy that’s used, because everyone here knows that diplomacy is not just leaders talking to leaders. All kinds of backdoor diplomacy goes on, and I think that that needs to be taken into consideration.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So why are the drones allowed at all?

This girl was left with horrific burns after U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. She was brought to America to receive surgery.

Shakira was pulled from a bin by a medical mission where two other children died of their injuries

By Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 11:40 AM on 23rd December 2011 Read more: here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gutsy Silent Angels Want Peace in Mexico

Raymundo Aguirre for NPR

After 20 minutes of silent witness, the angels gather around a group of neighbors and pray with them for employment, for better living conditions, for salvation from sin, and for an end to the murders.

With their silver makeup complete, the young people pile into a decrepit green van nicknamed "the weenie," and make their way to the first stop of the day. Their wings are strapped on the roof.

The van pulls up in front of a supermarket at a busy intersection.

The angels, well rehearsed, take their positions on street corners and medians. They stand on folding chairs in long white robes, so that they look like giants...

READ more on for December 19, 2011 here or GO here to listen to the 6 minute story.

American Voices for Peace features forgiver Rais Bhuiyan

GO here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

CAIR: Highlights/News/Actions -- Esp. Texas Leaders

Be sure to see call to action on NDAA (Yes, we should call no matter what has been signed or not and ask for our representatives and President to get rid of such a law.

Here's an older and timeless letter from CAIR Houston

"And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion"

(Holy Qur'an Chapter 90, Verses 12-17)

"Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant" (Holy Qur'an Chapter 7, Verse 199)

Executive Director's Message

Different Faiths, One Family, Come Together: Focus on the Good!

As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatoh! In June CAIR-TX initiated its Peace and Unity Campaign as a response to anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia, and a call for unity among all Americans. If there was ever a time to heed the call for peace and unity in America … it’s now. The current polarizing narratives that are amok in our society do not serve our country well. The freedoms that we have enjoyed as Americans cannot survive this onslaught of negativity unless we change those narratives to more peaceful, unifying overtures. On Thursday June 23, 2011 we announced the release of “Same Hate, New Target” Although this Islamophobia report had some troubling trends that must be addressed, it has more important positive trends that should be our focus. Achieving balance and focusing on “the good” in these times can be challenging for advocacy groups and community alike. You may recall Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule. This rule can be applied to almost any situation. It essentially says we spend 80% of the time dealing with 20% of our challenges. June 15, 2011 marked my one year anniversary with CAIR-TX, Houston Chapter, and what a year it’s been! Al hamdu-illah, we have met many of our challenges head-on. We continually have opportunities to promote an accurate image of Islam and Muslims, while empowering Muslims to be their own advocate. The Houston community seems to have embraced our outreach efforts, and we continue to build coalitions that promote justice, mutual respect, and a sense of unity. These relationships are invaluable, and we hope to make our peace and unity initiative the mantel in everything we do! Insha Allah, we will spend 80% of our time building relationships and focusing on the good in the Greater Houston Community!


Mustafaa Carroll

Executive Director

Find this letter in this older inspiring newsletter from Cair Houston here

Introduction to a man who has been a featured peacemaker of the year in a variety of places - who has been supported by CAIR Houston -- Here's an intro to Rais Bhuiyan and his international campaign and website: "World Without Hate" in many places --
Attacked man forgives attacker here

Find these items of interest on the CAIR website along with suggested actions for more justice and peace where we live:

Interfaith Leaders Challenge Anti-Sharia Bill lA rabbi, an interfaith leader, and a Temple University professor joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Wedne... CAIR-PA: Lessons of Ramadan and 9/11 (Philly Inquirer)This season brings a confluence of two important events for me as an American Muslim, one spiritual, one civic....

CAIR: Manhattan Children's Museum Gets Funding for 'Muslim Worlds'"Muslim Worlds" will have hands-on exhibits, performances and other events geared toward getting children...SEE here and CAIR > HomeCouncil on American-Islamic Relations ... Manhattan Children's Museum Gets Funding for 'Muslim Worlds' "Muslim Worlds" will have hands-on exhibits, ... Childrens Museum of Manhatten

NEW Attack in Texas here

Per Positive Actions to Negative Ones:

I found this on CAIR fb = CAIR
Christians, Muslims, Jews to Boycott Lowe's Over 'Bigotry' hereChristians, Muslims, and Jews alike are speaking out against Lowe’s Hardware Store’s decision to pull advertisement from the TLC television show “All American Muslim.” On Saturday, demonstrations in front of various Lowe’s locations across the country will seek to raise awareness

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: OR go here Action Alert: Ask President Obama to Veto Indefinite Detention of U.S. CitizensContact President Obama and urge him to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), which authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial.


note from blogger here on "no more crusades" plz consider calling your congressional representatives too...what about mayor of your state and religious leaders? With enough folk calling - we the people may get this horrendous law removed.

Also go to oneheartforpeace dot blogspot dot com or click here for plenty more items on this recent finalized ruling...

THANX CAIR for ALL you do for peace, justice, and our precious yet often fragile nation and world!

US: Lowe's pulls ads from Muslim show, sparks protest

By JEFF KAROUB | AP – 17 December 2011

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Protesters descended on a Lowe's store in one of the country's largest Arab-American communities on Saturday, calling for a boycott after the home improvement chain pulled its ads from a reality television show about five Muslim families living in Michigan.

About 100 people gathered outside the store in Allen Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where "All-American Muslim" is filmed. Lowe's said this week that the TLC show had become a "lightning rod" for complaints, following an email campaign by a conservative Christian group.

Protesters including Christian clergy and lawmakers called for unity and held signs that read "Boycott Bigotry" and chanted "God Bless America, shame on Lowe's" during the rally, which was organized by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat and the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, said it was "disgusting" for Lowe's to stop supporting a show that reflects America — the conservatives, liberals and even "the Kim Kardashians" in the Muslim community, she said.

"We're asking the company to change their mind," said protester Ray Holman, a legislative liaison for a United Auto Workers local. He said he was dismayed that the retailer "pulled sponsorship of a positive program."

A local rabbi extended his support to clergy at the protest and local Arab Americans, saying he and other Jews would have been at the protest had it not fallen during the Jewish Sabbath.

"I hope that they would likewise stand up and demonstrate should something outrageous like this take place against another religion," Rabbi Jason Miller said in a statement.

Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said Saturday that the company respected the protestors' opinion.

"We appreciate and respect everyone's right to express their opinion peacefully," she said.

The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives of families living in and around Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit at the heart of one of the largest Arab-American populations outside the Middle East.

Dearborn is home to the Islamic Center of America, one of the largest mosques in North America. Overall, the Detroit area has about 150,000 Muslims of many different ethnicities and is served by about 40 mosques.

It airs Sundays and ends its first season Jan. 8.

The Florida Family Association has said more than 60 companies it emailed, from Amazon to McDonalds, pulled their ads from the show, but Lowe's is the only major company so far to confirm that it had done so. The group accused the show of being "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

The travel planning site also pulled its ads, though its marketing chief said the decision was made because the company was dissatisfied by the show's quality and TLC wasn't upfront with advertisers about how the show would be presented.

Saturday's rally was met by about 20 counter-protesters including John White, who lives in nearby Livonia and called those protesting against Lowe's "terribly misdirected." He acknowledged that he hadn't watched the show, saying he'd seen previews and read about it, but believed the company made a decision based on business, not bigotry.

"Americans are not suspicious ... of baseball-playing, apple-pie eating Muslims," he said. "It's the ones you see on the news."

The manager of the Lowe's store, Doug Casey, said the company wasn't influenced by any outside group or ideology. He said those who criticized Lowe's have a right to their opinion, but that "it's not the opinion of most of the customers I spoke to in the store today."

"I'm deeply sorry if it's caused any divide in our community," he said. "It was never our intention to offend or alienate anyone."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The US Privatizing of Crimes Against Humanity

Excerpt from Annie Byrd's "Feeding the Monster..." Rights Action December 9, 2011

Privatizing Crimes Against Humanity

The use of private security contractors by the State Department, the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency has skyrocketed since September 11, 2001.

A two year Washington Post investigation published in July 2010 showed that just in the CIA one third of all employees, approximately 10,000 people, actually worked for private security contractors. Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained that he has not been able to get a number on how many private contractors work in the Secretary of Defense.

Blackwater, among the largest and best known government contractors, was founded in 1997 in McLean Virginia, home of the CIA, the same year that an internal directive limited the possibility of the use of torture by informants on the CIA payroll, and the same year approximately 1,000 CIA informants, at that time reported to be a third of the CIA employees, were purged from their payroll for participation in crimes following controversies that exposed involvement in drug trafficking, torture and murder.

Many known human rights abusers have been involved in the private security industry. Billy Joya, a former member of the 1980s Honduran death squad Batallion 3-16, is reported to own private security companies in Central America, and founded a company in the US in 1997. He was also sighted in the 15th Batallion near Tocoa, Colon in March 2010, a date that coincided with the birth of a death squad reportedly operating out of the 15th Batallion which, to date, has been implicated in close to 50 assassinations.

In September 2011 Joya appeared on the Honduran national news program 'Frente a Frente' with a strange cost benefit analysis of police in Honduras, apparently promoting the argument that the police are expensive and inefficient, the inevitable discourse that proceeds privatization of any state enterprise.

The AUC Colombian state-sponsored paramilitary forces, deeply implicated in massacres, murder, torture and drug trafficking, have long been connected to private security companies. Chiquita Brands Fruit Company is currently being sued by the surviving families of Colombian unionists murdered by the AUC after Chiquita made payments in 2004 to AUC affiliated private security companies.

There is no doubt that private security contracting companies are a means of facilitating impunity for States and corporations by contracting out repression and other dirty business. Lawsuits forced Blackwater to change its name to Xe and move its headquarters to the United Arab Emerites.

The birth of denationalized mercenary armies, contracted for military and police functions, and involved in heinous crimes, is a real threat to the rule of law on a global scale, and it looks like Honduras and Central America may already be their next big theater of operations.

Calls for International Commissions

The measures undertaken thus far demonstrate no real commitment or capacity to achieve effective reform. In reaction, in early November, Julieta Casetallanos put out a call to form an international commission to intervene in the police and carry out a reform process. Real reform and international observation is urgent, especially as Honduras enters a volatile yet potentially transformative electoral process while at the mercy of deeply corrupt and violent state institutions controlled by people put in place by a military coup and willing to do anything to retain political control of the nation.

After the 2009 military coup, a proposal surfaced to create an office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights in Honduras, but few advances have been made in establishing one, and the mandate of a UNHCR office would not be broad enough to encompass the need to oversee a purge of state institutions...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Muslim Men March on FMC Carswell

Find links to the case and concerns re. Dr. Aafia below this announcement...

Muslim Men March on FMC Carswell
(Ft. Worth Texas)
Saturday, December 31, 2011
An emergency mobilization for
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, and all other female prisoners suffering abuse in a federal institution that has a long, shameful record of violating the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishment.”

While ALL ARE INVITED to join this urgently needed mobilization, we feel it is a
special obligation on Muslim Men!

You can mail a donation to:
The Peace Thru Justice Foundation
11006 Viers Mill Road
STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902
For More Information:
E-mail: or Tel: (202) 246-9608

To learn more about the facts of this case you may wish to go to
the International Justice Network - GO here and Just the Facts here

Find a most interesting sweeping, long yet also clear talk given by this dedicated human rights lawyer who has been working with Aafia's family on the well-being and return of her children: