Iraq

10th Anniversary Demonstration Commemorating the Disabilling of US Navy Warplane in Shannon Airport by Peace Activists

On Feb. 3rd 2003, the Pitstop Plougshares were charged with $2.5 million "criminal damage" followng their nonvolent dsablng of a U.S. Navy warplane. Initially remanded in Limerick Prison they were brought to trial three Itmes over the following three years at Dublin's historic Four Courts. In 2006 following two mistrials, the Ploughshares - Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Caron O'Reilly - were unanimously acquitted of all charges by a Dublin jury. Accordng to WikiLeaks released Dubln U.S. embassy cables, the action and acquittal sent shock waves through the U.S. and Irish government war conspirators.

Deirdre and Ciaron were joined on Sunday by sizeable contingent of Garda and anti-war activists from Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Many of those gathered mantain a monthly anti-war persence at the airport and ongoing opposition to the continued use of the civilian airport by the U.S. military and C.I.A.

http://www.shannonwatch.org/

The gathering began by reading the February 2003 action statement of Derdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly. This was followed by remembering the dead of Iraq, those soldiers who passed through Shannon to their deaths and anti-war activsts who had resisted the militarisation of the airport who have sadly passed away over the past ten years. Imprisoned U.S. military whistleblower Bradley Mannng http://www.bradleymanning.org/ ,who passed through Shannon Airport to deployment in Iraq, was also remembered. Reflections were then shared by all gathered before mustard seeds were scattered as a symbol of hope for future nonviolent resistance at the airport.

VIDEO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFuLb...

Former US diplomat cautions against Irish Nato involvement

ÁINE McMAHON - IRISH TIMES

Ann Wright, a former US diplomat and the highest ranking member of the US military to resign over the Iraq war, has cautioned against Ireland getting involved in Nato.

Ms Wright was special guest at a joint Irish Anti-War Movement/ Peace and Neutrality Alliance meeting in Dublin yesterday. She is most noted for having been one of three state department officials to publicly resign in protest at the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

“I would urge the citizens of Ireland to really push back on this attempt to get Ireland as a part of the Nato forces. We have seen what has happened in Afghanistan and the numbers of Afghans that have been killed in by military operations,” said Ms Wright.

Ms Wright praised Ireland’s record of neutrality but warned it was now being “shopped around” by Nato. “They are trying to get Ireland to join up with them .The secretary general of Nato, Rasmussen, is here today to try and convince the Irish Government to join up with Nato,” she said.

Slippery slope

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on a visit to Dublin this week, encouraged Ireland to get involved in more Nato projects and to develop its defence forces. Ms Wright described any involvement of Ireland with Nato as a “slippery slope”.

“It’s a much different road than working with UN forces doing peace keeping operations in Lebanon, [as] Ireland has done for a long time.”

Obamas Perpetual War

Micah Zenko - Foreign Policy

"The United States is in a state of perpetual war, spending $633 billion this year on defense, with over 200,000 US servicemembers deployed around the world."

During his second inaugural address on 21 January 2013, President Obama offered two aspirational statements that struck many observers as incongruous with administration policies: "A decade of war is now ending" and "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

We should question these observations, not least because of the string of US government plans and activities that increasingly blur the conventional definition of war.

My own list of war-like activities since Obama's inaugural would include:
four drone strikes that killed 16 people (all in Yemen);
the acknowledgement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding drones, "We've done that in Pakistan. We're doing it in Yemen and elsewhere. I think the reality is its going to be a continuing tool of national defense in the future";

the announcement that the US military would provide intelligence, transportation, and refueling support for the French intervention in Mali;
the signing of a US-Niger status of forces agreement that will likely include a drone base for surveillance missions, although US officials "have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point";
the forthcoming expansion (perhaps quintupling) of US Cyber Command, including "combat mission forces" for offensive cyberattacks;
the executive branch's secret legal review determining that Obama "has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad";
the Marine commandant's announcement of a new "crisis response unit" that would be "rapidly employable" to "address crises";

Owen Jones: The War 10 Years On

Owen Jones: After The Iraq War - Never Again

Owen Jones - The Independent [UK]

"The hawks were wrong on every count. Wrong about the weapons; wrong about being greeted with flowers; wrong about the human cost; wrong about Iraq becoming a flourishing democracy."

Almost exactly a decade ago, on a bitingly cold February day, we marched in our hundreds of thousands to stop a catastrophe.

The historic demonstration against the Iraq war was more of a shuffle than a march: the streets were too crammed to walk very fast. The coach to London was packed full of car workers. Lollipop ladies, firefighters, supermarket shelf stackers, lecturers, shopkeepers marched: there was a euphoria that people power brings.

When we left for our pick-up points, placards scattering the street, chants still echoing in the evening air, we thought we had won. How could the greatest mass of demonstrators to have ever swarmed through Britain’s streets be tossed aside?

It is a memory now punctured with bitterness. Yes, we helped trigger one of the greatest parliamentary rebellions in history as 139 Labour MPs defied the Whip, but the largely united Tories came to Tony Blair’s rescue.

When I visit schools, students who were six, seven or eight years old when we marched ask how they can change anything if up to two million demonstrators couldn’t. And forget the expenses scandal: it was Iraq that exploded what trust millions had in our political establishment.

But the real anguish lies elsewhere. The consequences of the Iraq obscenity were far worse than those of us who yelled “Not In Our Name” imagined. Years of blood and chaos followed. There can be no sense of triumphalism or vindication.

Is Iraq on its Way to a Civil War?

Is Iraq on its Way to a Civil War?
By Adil E. Shamoo
February 10, 2013 

All indicators are pointing to a looming sectarian civil war on Iraq’s horizon. It is possible to avoid this civil war, but so far, the country’s leaders are not willing to compromise, and outside parties show little interest in stopping it. They should care more than they do: if not resolved, a bloody civil war in Iraq will fuel the rising conflict among Sunni-Shia across the Middle East — now in Lebanon and Syria — with the potential of spreading into other countries and inviting extremists to take advantage of the conflagration.

Of course the United States’ nine-year occupation of Iraq unleashed this friction between Sunni and Shia, the underlying inferno that keeps Iraqis killing each other. According to Iraq Body Count, 4,505 Iraqis died from violence in 2012-409 in the month of Ramadan alone. Many will say this is civil war already, with numerous groups carrying out suicide attacks, bombings and outright assassinations on a daily basis. No one knows for sure who is responsible most of the time, but invariably it is Al-Qaeda, Sunni militants, lingering Baathists, sectarian fighters, and insurgent nationalists who are to blame.

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