Monday, December 24, 2012

Stand with the People of Syria!

As the monopolist corporations consolidate their power over the Free (Market) World, the alliance of the USA, the UKGB, and Israel, used as enforcers of the regime of global economic dictatorship, have been using chemical weapons and subsidizing terrorist organizations to kill people within Syria in order to destabilize their society. As seen in the history of their invasions of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, the sole objective of this program is the placement of a new regime which protects the interests of the monopolist corporations, and not to uphold Human Rights or to protect the health and education of the People!
* Stand against War in Syria! [link]

* Revolutionary analysis of the Syria revolution and liberated Kurdistan [link].
* United States Military personnel, tired of endless war and agony, are stirring in dissent. This development is being denied by the monopolist media, calling the dissent "faked" [link].


from Labor Fightback Network [] [973-944-8975] []:
At a time when 27 million U.S. workers are unemployed or underemployed and severe cuts in social programs are being implemented under the sequestration, the Obama administration is focused instead on finalizing plans to unleash a bombing attack on Syria.
We strongly believe that labor and our community partners should vehemently oppose such an attack.
After all, the government destroyed Iraq at a cost of 4,488 U.S. lives, tens of thousands casualties and billions of dollars, and at a cost of a million Iraqi lives and casualties, all based on a lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And this came after the U.S. supported Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s. Washington's outrage is indeed selective.
The U.S. government attacked Afghanistan and 12 years later the war against that country is still going on with a further loss of human life and at a cost of $10 billion a month. But what benefit has that war brought to the working class majority of either country?
Now  a new U.S. war is apparently about to commence, this time against Syria. Will Iran be next? And which country will be the enemy after Iran?
A lot of terrible things are taking place not just in Syria but also in other parts of the world. But the U.S. has no right to intervene and dictate the course of events in other lands. We are not the world's cop and have no right to go from one hot spot to the next, demanding that countries comply with what the U.S. government directs them to do.
The cornerstone of international law is that each country must decide its own destiny, free from outside intervention and dictation. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a long history of waging aggressive wars -- even when it faces no immediate threat as is the case with Syria -- because it does not approve of the regimes and policies of other countries. Vietnam is a classic example of where such a war was waged with enormous loss of blood and treasure, while the warmakers suffered a staggering defeat.
Labor must be unconditionally against any military aggression by the U.S. government -- the only government in the world that used atomic weapons and that later used Agent Orange in Vietnam and Depleted Uranium in Iraq.
The American people are sick and tired of endless wars and occupations. All polls show an overwhelming majority of the public opposes a U.S. strike against Syria.
We urge our union brothers and sisters -- and all of labor's allies -- to speak out now and demand of the U.S. government: "Money for Jobs and Education, Not for Wars and Occupations! Hands Off Syria!"

WILPF Statement on Syria, chemical weapons, and avoiding military intervention

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomes the decision by the British Parliament to refuse the endorsement of military action against Syria. Parliament upheld the principle that the use of chemical weapons can never be justified, but reasserted the importance of international law and the UN Charter in dictating any response by the international community. However, media reports indicate that the US government is still intent on a military strike against Syria, even without UK support.
It has been WILPF’s position since the first reports of use of gas that the use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international law, regardless of which party to the conflict perpetrated the attack. But the use of chemical weapons, however abhorrent and illegal, should not be used as a pretext for military intervention. Other options are available and must be pursued.

Chemical weapons and international law -
There is no doubt that the use of chemical weapons in armed conflict is a violation of international law. The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in war. Furthermore, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) outlaws the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer, or use of chemical weapons. While Syria is party only to the 1925 Geneva Protocol and not the CWC, legal experts and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have pointed out that these agreements have created a principle against the use of chemical weapons through customary international law.
This means the prohibition against using chemical weapons is just as binding as a treaty and is similarly binding on armed groups. Consequently, if either the government or a rebel faction that uses chemical weapons, they can be held accountable for this violation of international law. The alleged use of chemical weapons must not be used as a pretext for military intervention.

Against military intervention -
Rather than rushing to military intervention or war, the international community must respond in conformity with international law. International legal obligations permit military intervention only under specific circumstances, none of which are applicable in this situation.
The rhetoric of the governments pushing for intervention is more akin to retribution and punishment than justice in accordance with international law. It presupposes both the “right” of Western governments to act as global police and the legitimacy of the use of force to resolve international problems.
The consequences of military intervention are inevitable: collateral damage, exacerbation of the conflict and suffering of civilians, radicalization of forces in the region, and making the prospect of a peaceful negotiation even more remote. Military intervention will not help the Syrian people secure relief from the violence nor will it result in a peaceful transition to a democratic and accountable government. A dialogue must happen and it must happen with the voices of those who advocate a nonviolent solution.

Alternative options -
Alternatives to armed force have been carefully constructed over decades and there are systems in place that could and should be used.

1. Ensure effective investigation of the attack through an extension of the existing mandate of the UN inspections. The UN inspections must be allowed to be completed. The inspection team has so far collected samples and interviewed victims and witnesses. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has argued that the team must be allowed to do its job and establish the facts, pushing back against the US and UK government’s assertions of “certainty” about the facts of the case and their demands that the inspection team leave the country. Once the inspectors have determined whether chemical weapons were used and perhaps the origins of these weapons, the international community should then act in accordance with international law in its response.

2. Seek a UN Security Council resolution to secure the hand-over of any WMD in the possession of any party to the conflict. The first obligation on the UN Security Council is to ensure the prevention of further chemical weapons use. Consequently, it should promulgate a resolution to facilitate the seizure of the prohibited weapons. This could get the support of the Russian government, which has supported the prohibition of use of chemical weapons and which seems to have considerable influence over the Syrian government. Because of Russia’s strong participation in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, (which has a larger geographical mandate than just Europe), the OSCE may also be able to secure the hand-over of the weapons.

3. Request the UN Security Council refer the matter to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has been established to bring justice when a state is unwilling or unable to do so, as would be the case here. There needs to be an investigation into the identification of the perpetrators and the nature of the command responsibility. Syria is not a party to the ICC but the UN Security Council can and should refer the matter to the office of the prosecutor and ensure that funds are available for investigation and indictment.

4. Support a political solution through inclusive peace talks. The political process developed to provide a political solution to the Syrian crisis through “Geneva I” talks in 2012 and planned “Geneva II” talks this year have been established to provide a political rather than military solution to the crisis. The first set of discussions developed a plan for a transitional government in Syria involving both government and opposition members. This discussion needs to be continued in Geneva II talks with strengthened support from permanent UN Security Council members. Pressure also needs to be strengthened for an inclusive process involving women on all sides as well as nonviolent humanitarian and women’s groups to ensure a strong peace process and outcome.

In the meantime, arms transfers to the Syrian government and rebel forces must stop. These arms flows have achieved only more bloodshed. In calling for those providing weapons to either side to stop, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes, “The military logic has given us a country on the verge of total destruction, a region in chaos and a global threat.  Why add more fuel to the fire?

Moving forward -
Some will question where the justice is in simply completing inspections and securing the weapons. Law is not about quick “fixes” often demanded by governments, or the immediate justice that is wanted by victims. However, it provides a process which is critical to engage with if we want to move away from violent retribution and towards processes of peace and justice. WILPF calls, yet again, for choosing peace over violence, and political over militarized solutions. Sustainable peace cannot be built on more violence.

message from "Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center" [] [55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek 94596]

Contact your Congressperson now!
A supposedly democratic nation can't have a more urgent and necessary debate than over the question of whether or not to attack another country. That's why the Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress and not to the President acting alone.
Yesterday, Congresswoman Barbara Lee initiated a letter to President Obama insisting that he "consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria."
Two of our local Members of Congress, Rep. George Miller and John Garamendi have signed this letter: This was the right thing to do and we should recognize their efforts.  Please contact their offices and let them know of your support.
* Miller: [925-602-1880]
* Garamendi: [925-932-8899]
Two other local Members have not yet signed on.  Please ask them to do so now!
Representative Jerry McNerny and Eric Swalwell will be at a Congressman on your Corner event tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at UNCLE Credit Union main branch - Livermore.
* McNerney: [925-737-0727]
* Swalwell: [925-460-5100]
It doesn't take much time to make a quick phone call. You don't have to provide lengthly explanations or point-by-point arguments.  Just tell your Reps that you want Congress to vote and to vote NO.
If you really want to stop this war, the time to act is now!
Link to Barbara Lee letter and updates here 
Saturday August 31, 12 noon
"No New War vs. Syria"
Emergency Protests Across U.S.
Powell and Market Sts. - San Francisco
Peace is Possible!  

"Left and Right Join Together to Say ‘NO on Syria’ On August 30th beginning at Noon Joining a Nationwide Action"
message from the "Chico Peace & Justice Center" [526 Broadway, Chico, CA 95928]

Rally in Chico's Downtown Plaza -
Concerned residents will gather to mark their opposition to a hasty intervention into Syria. Speakers will call on the White House to slow down plans for a military intervention in Syria. This event is being organized by the student-led libertarian group Young Americans for Liberty and the progressive organization, the Chico Peace & Justice Center.
Shared concerns by both the left and the right include lack of evidence that the Assad regime in Syria was behind the use of chemical weapons in a suburb of Damascus on August 21, killing as many as 1,400 people according to US intelligence reports.  Emily Alma, long time activist, says, “The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.  We cannot, we should not carelessly support the rebels.  Choosing sides in this conflict is reminiscent of Afghanistan in the late ‘80s.”
Beyond the lack of clear evidence, each group has its own concerns.  Ambrosia Krinsky, Assistant to the Director at the Chico Peace & Justice Center, said, “We reject the all-or-nothing mentality to this tragic situation.  Diplomacy must be part of the conversation.”
Concerns from the right include the costs of another war.  Thomas Childers, member of Young Americans for Liberty, says, “We cannot afford another war.  Attacking Syria could lead to a regional war.”
This gathering is part of a national call to action to stop a military intervention into Syria.

Hands Off Syria! Take action against U.S. intervention!
August 27th Statement from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition [] [] [2969 Mission St., San Francisco] [415-821-6545]

Call to Action for actions the day of/after U.S. military action begins at Powell and Market Sts., San Francisco. 5pm (weekday) or 12pm (weekend)
Plan a demonstration in your city on the day of or the day after U.S. military action begins. Fill out our Event Listing form so we can help spread the word [link]!
Washington is on the march toward yet another war of aggression in the Middle East, this time targeting Syria. In the event of U.S. military strikes against Syria, the ANSWER Coalition is calling on organizations and individuals to take to the streets in opposition to what would be a destructive and criminal war by the U.S. government.
If there is a U.S./NATO attack on a weekday, an emergency response protest will take place in San Francisco at Powell & Market Sts., at 5 pm on the day of the attack, or if an attack takes place after 5 pm, the protest will be the following day. If the emergency response protest is on a weekend day, it will take place at 12 noon at Powell & Market Sts.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the American people are clearly opposed to U.S. intervention, the signs all point to war. In a recent Reuters poll, only 9 percent favored direct U.S. military intervention, and 89 percent opposed arming the Syrian opposition. But the tiny elite clique who really run the country are completely discounting the will of the people, making a mockery of their so-called “democracy.”
The U.S. 6th Fleet has deployed war ships to the eastern Mediterranean and is threatening to launch missile and air strikes against Syria. Not only are the White House and Pentagon openly threatening direct intervention, they are also moving to further arm the Syrian opposition. A U.S./NATO attack on Syria could well lead to a wider, regional war with grave and unpredictable consequences.

A staged provocation: a pretext for war -
The pretext for attacking Syria is the allegation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons last week in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, just after a UN team had arrived in the country to investigate an earlier alleged use of chemical weapons. President Obama declared over a year ago that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would cross a “red line,” triggering U.S. military action.
The idea that the Syrian government would launch a chemical weapons attack exactly at the moment when the UN team was in the country investigating chemical weapons defies all logic.
In a sign of their total disregard for the truth, the United States government has declared, in advance of any actual investigation, that the Syrian government is guilty of using chemical weapons. U.S. officials have stated that the United Nations weapons inspection team, which is today at the site near Damascus where hundreds of people died last week, is “too late.” In other words, the United States, along with Britain and France – the former colonizers of the region – have decided to use chemical weapons as an excuse to go to war.
We must remember the Iraq War in 2003, where “overwhelming evidence of weapons of mass destruction” was used as the pretext for a war that killed hundreds of thousands and tore Iraq apart. No such weapons were ever found.
If in fact chemical weapons were used in Syria last week, the far greater likelihood is that it was a staged provocation by the opposition to invite U.S./NATO intervention in order to save their weakening military position in the conflict. We have no reason to trust the U.S. government’s version of what happened. This is the same government that has routinely lied and deceived the American people on many issues, as was recently revealed by Edward Snowden’s leaks related to NSA spying.
U.S. foreign policy is not one of benign humanitarian concern, but one of Empire. Washington’s goal is control of the entire oil-rich and strategic Middle East region. To achieve this aim, U.S. leaders – Democrats and Republicans alike – have worked to destroy independent governments and popular movements in the region for more than six decades.
For the people of the United States, fighting against a U.S. intervention in Syria is of paramount importance to prevent the spread of war and destruction. The ANSWER Coalition is calling on all those opposed to this brutal war drive to take action against any U.S. attack on Syria! A broad coalition of organizations worked together in June and July 2013 for days of action opposing the U.S. role in Syria. We expect that the actions in the coming days and weeks will be of a similar unified character.


Organize actions before an attack! Sign up here [link]!   
Secretary of State Kerry’s demagogic speech on August 26 on the situation in Syria makes it clear that the U.S. is serious about military action against the people of Syria.  Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans are against any further intervention.  However, as with the Iraq War, the government shows contempt and disregard for the will of the people.
UNAC calls for all antiwar and social justice organizations to prepare for a response if there is any military action by the U.S. in Syria.  We call upon all organizations to mobilize to take action opposing U.S. intervention before any military action.  We also call upon all organizations to work together and make plans for an emergency response on the day after any military action against Syria.  If your organization is making such plans, please click here and fill out the form so we can let others know.
The issue of chemical weapons is the cover the U.S. and its allies use to justify their illegal and immoral acts of war, just as the specter of WMD’s were used as the rationale for attacking Iraq.  Their real mission, as in Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere, is to force regime change in order to control energy resources and get compliant regimes in the region.  The claim that a bloody military attack on a country that poses no threat to the U.S. is needed to offer humanitarian assistance is the height of hypocrisy.  The result of the “humanitarian” invasion and ten-year occupation of Iraq is over a million Iraqi deaths and a country in ruin.
Military intervention will not bring peace to a people already engulfed in terrible violence and destruction.  Such intervention can only lead to more death and devastation.
We must do all we can to stay the hand of the U.S. government as it moves towards military intervention in Syria.  Please start organizing now for actions to oppose U.S. intervention in Syria.
Say NO to another US War!
Hands OFF Syria!

Hands off Syria and Iran!    End the Drone Wars!
We Need Jobs, Education and Healthcare, Not Endless War!

The ominous signs of impending war with Syria escalate.  NATO is massing troops and military equipment on Syria's borders, and preparing to install missiles aimed at Syria.  U.S. warships are stationed off Syria’s coast. ‘Special operation’ units are readied.  The U.S. government has been supplying arms and logistical support to a few selected Syrian paramilitary groups favored by the U.S. as “replacements” for Assad.  The media bombards us with arguments that support foreign intervention, supposedly for “humanitarian reasons”.  Like WMD’s in Iraq, alarms are sounded, with no credible evidence, that Assad may unleash chemical weapons, thus establishing a pretext for invasion.
These are the facts that impel us to oppose any military, economic, diplomatic, or covert intervention aimed at controlling the internal affairs of Syria or any other country:
* The Syrian people in their majority, regardless of their political positions re: the current government, have rejected calling for foreign intervention, such as occurred in Libya.
* Sanctions harm the people of Syria by causing food shortages, power outages, and blocking the distribution of goods.
* The U.S. is directly involved in arming and training a few selected Syrian militias favorable to the U.S., contributing to the escalation of violence, direct foreign military intervention, and total destabilization. The people who always suffer the most are the people not engaged in the armed struggle.
* We see the results of ‘humanitarian’ U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya today, where the people, especially women and children, are worse off than before, with millions dead, injured, and/or displaced, an infrastructure and economy in shambles, and where there is no peace.  A country that has a river of Iraqi, Afghan, and Libyan blood on its hands has no right to tell other countries what to do.
* The U.S. government’s goals in Syria are to gain dominance in a part of the world that holds the vast majority of the known oil reserves and to gain strategic advantage as it seeks to isolate and contain competitors like Russia and China.  The U.S. has no interest in democracy or the humanitarian well-being of a country’s peoples anywhere in the world, especially in areas where the U.S. has economic or strategic interests.
* The U.S. has a long history of thwarting the emerging economies and progressive initiatives of the third world while supporting repressive regimes.
While activists may hold different views of Syria’s internal political system, we must all agree that the U.S. government has no right to impose its will on other countries, especially those formerly colonized and exploited by the West.  In all cases, we must support the right of nations to self- determination – that is to be able to decide on and resolve internal conflicts free from any foreign intervention.
The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) demands:
No U.S. or NATO intervention in the internal affairs of Syria!
No War!  No Sanctions!  No Intervention!
Self-determination for the Syrian people!