USA

Nato talks security and peace, Chicago has neither

Gary Younge - The Guardian

The paradox of such a city hosting this summit lays bare the brutal way in which inequality is globally maintained and locally replicated

On Friday morning in Brighton Park, a neighbourhood in southwest Chicago, around half a dozen Latina volunteers in luminous bibs patrolled the streets around Davis Elementary school. The school sits in the crossfire of three gangs; the Kings, the 2/6s and the SDs (Satan's Disciples). The trees and walls nearby are peppered with "tags" denoting territory and mourning fallen gang members. There is a shooting in the area every couple of weeks, explains Mariela Estrada of the Brighton Park Neighbourhood Council, which facilitates the volunteers.

That same evening, just a couple of blocks away, a 14-year-old, Alejandro Jaime, was shot dead while out riding his bike with his 11-year-old friend. According to witnesses, a car knocked them both off their bikes. They picked themselves up and ran. A man got out of the car and shot Alejandro in the back. "Although it's the city's job to provide public safety, we had to respond since our children are in danger and continue to face threats of gang violence," said Nancy Barraza, a Parent Patrol volunteer.

The next morning world leaders started arriving in Chicago for the Nato summit where, just 20 minutes from Brighton Park, they would discuss how to maintain international security. The dissonance between the global pretensions of the summit this weekend and the local realities of Chicago could not be more striking. Nato claims its purpose is to secure peace through security; in much of Chicago neither exists.

May 19th - Anti-NATO / Anti-War Protests "The most important of our generation"

Malalai Joya - The Guardian

The NO TO NATO demonstration in Chigago is twinned with the protest in London on 19 May outside the US Embassy: Joint statement by National United Antiwar Coalition (US) and Stop the War Coalition (UK)

Thousands of protesters are expected to descend on Chicago this weekend for Nato's annual summit where Afghanistan will be top of the agenda.

It promises to be one of the most important anti-war demonstrations of our generation. I will be unable to travel to attend, but from here in Kabul I can tell you that the whole country will be watching Chicago this weekend.

The protesters remind us that the US government is not representative of the US people. It's encouraging to see so many willing to take action and stand up against this unjust, disastrous war.

Recently Barack Obama travelled to Kabul to meet Afghanistan's so-called president, Hamid Karzai. Both leaders used this meeting to pretend that they are ending this war when they are really trying to prolong it.

Obama knows that the American people are turning against the war, and both men also know that the Afghan people are against not only the war, but the continued occupation of their country.
Both claim that the war will end in 2014, while saying simultaneously that American troops will remain in some capacity until 2024. As 2024 nears they will probably say they mean to remain in Afghanistan until 2034.

The reality is that the US and its Nato allies plan to dominate Afghanistan and the larger region militarily for the next generation. Their reasoning is geostrategic: to control our energy and mineral resources, and maintain military superiority over China and other competitors.

No one can believe leaders like Obama who say they are working for peace even as they continue the bombings, night raids and drone attacks that kill civilians every week – sometimes every day – in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Obama's sham Afghanistan treaty that doesn't end the war in 2014 but makes it endless

David Swanson - WarIsACrime.org

Obama and Karzai signed a treaty for more years of war in Afghanistan, just like in Iraq -- the difference being that, the Afghan deal doesn't include an end date.

President Obama has signed an agreement with President Karzai to keep a major US military presence in Afghanistan (currently about three times the size Obama began with) through the end of 2014, and to allow a significant unspecified presence beyond that date, with no end date stipulated.

Obama stresses that no permanent US bases will be involved, but his agreement requires Afghanistan to let US troops use "Afghan" bases.

Obama forgot to provide any reason not to withdraw from Afghanistan now, given majority US desire to end the war. Like Newt Gingrich promising to quit campaigning before actually doing so, Obama is promising to leave Afghanistan, but not yet -- except that he isn't promising to ever leave at all. The agreement is open-ended.

Obama spoke on Tuesday of a transition to Afghan control, but we've heard that talk for a decade. That's not some new bright idea that requires two-and-a-half more years to develop.

Obama talked of fighting al Qaeda, but the US has not been fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and has admitted for years that there is virtually no al Qaeda presence there. That's not the two-year project, and it's not the reason to remain indefinitely after 2014.

The agreement requires that all "entities" involved in a peace process renounce violence, but the Taliban will no more do that while under foreign occupation than the United States will do so while occupying. This is not a serious plan to leave. Nor is it a plan based on Afghan sovereignty, numerous claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Barack Obama is the most militarily aggressive president in decades

Most Democrats are perfectly aware of Obama's military aggression. They don't support him despite that, but rather, that's one of the things they love about him.

Peter Bergen, the Director of National Security Studies at the Democratic-Party-supportive New America Foundation, has a long Op-Ed in The New York Times today glorifying President Obama as a valiant and steadfast “warrior President”; it begins this way:

THE president who won the Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months after his inauguration has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.

Just ponder that: not only the Democratic Party, but also its progressive faction, is wildly enamored of “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.” That’s quite revealing on multiple levels.

Bergen does note that irony: he recalls that Obama used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to defend the justifications for war and points out: “if those on the left were listening, they didn’t seem to care.” He adds that “the left, which had loudly condemned George W. Bush for waterboarding and due process violations at Guantánamo, was relatively quiet when the Obama administration, acting as judge and executioner, ordered more than 250 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2009, during which at least 1,400 lives were lost.”

Why the United States is never held to account for its atrocities

Glenn Greenwald - The Guardian

What is most revealed by the removal of the US Marine who killed 16 civilians from Afghanistan is the American belief that no other country can ever impose accountability on Americans.

US army staff sergeant Robert Bales is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, and then burning some of the bodies. The massacre took place in two villages in the southern rural district of Panjwai.

Though this horrific crime targeted Afghans on Afghan soil, Afghanistan will play no role in investigating the crime or bringing the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to justice.

That is because the US almost immediately whisked the accused out of Afghanistan and brought him to an American army base in Fort Leavensworth, Kansas.

The rapid exclusion of Afghans from the process of trying the accused shooter has, predictably and understandably, exacerbated the growing anti-American anger in that country.

It is hard to imagine any nation on the planet reacting any other way to being denied the ability to try suspects over crimes that take place on its soil. A Taliban commander quickly gave voice to that nationalistic fury, announcing: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan. The Afghans should prosecute him."

Iraq war criminals line up to wage war on Iran

Marina Hyde - The Guardian

The creatures of the US military-industrial complex, have somehow managed to pick themselves up from what should have been career-ending humiliation in Iraq and call for more of the same.

The thing about a supertanker is that at least you can turn it round. It takes a while, by all accounts, but you have to think any such vessel has the turning circle of a London taxi compared with the US war machine, which – like its erstwhile willing passenger Tony Blair – appears to relish its lack of a reverse gear.

Are we moving inexorably towards a strike on Iran? There is "a smell of fresh chum in the waters" again, as the rip-roaring journalist Matt Taibbi put it recently.

This week, not a decade after the Iraq invasion, several former officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency accused its head of mishandling the Iranian crisis. They levelled charges of western bias, relying on dodgy intelligence, and sidelining sceptics.

This may sound vaguely familiar. In fact, the situation has all the charmless nostalgia of those I Love 1982-style shows, which saw "expert" talking heads such as Vernon Kay and Kate Thornton reminisce about everything from deely-boppers to the Falklands with no modulation of tone.

Syndicate content