portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

actions & protests

March against Obama's wars O-9 in Seattle!

Demonstrate in solidarity with the Afghan and Pakistani peoples! March with the SAIC contingent!
Down with Obama's wars ---
U.S. get out of Afghanistan now!

In conditions of worsening slaughter, the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan enters its 10th year on October 7. Obama has tripled the number of U.S. forces since Bush left office, to around 100,000 troops, and he has thrown away the lives of more U.S. soldiers in 19 months than Bush did in 7 years, leaving no doubt that this is his war. Meanwhile, there are only estimates of Afghan and Pakistani deaths and ruin caused by Obama's escalations, including from drone attacks "bravely" launched from desks in Nevada.

An imperialist war headed for defeat

The U.S. military is fighting to prop up a government of brutal Northern Alliance fundamentalists, warlords, drug lords, and other thieves that it has imposed on the Afghan people. By dominating Afghanistan, the filthy rich U.S. ruling class hoped to defend and extend its interests in strategic Central Asia, where big powers China and Russia, as well as smaller powers, are also vying for spheres of influence. But Obama had to escalate the war because the U.S. military is being defeated---something they couldn't imagine happening.

Thus, the U.S./NATO and their installed President Karzai both strive to kill as many of the Taliban as possible while also seeking an accommodation with it. They're vainly trying to pull a "victory" rabbit out of a hat, and thereby prolonging the suffering of the Afghan and Pakistani peoples. But the people are not taking this lying down.

Mass resistance in Afghanistan

August 1: Hundreds of people turned out to a Kabul demonstration protesting a US/NATO contractor's SUV running down and killing or injuring several Afghans on July 30, as well as a U.S. missile attack which killed 52 civilians on July 23. An older woman (Rabia) who witnessed the July 30 outrage told the international press:

"The people were so emotional. They were throwing stones at the Americans' vehicles. If the police hadn't taken the Americans away, the people would have torn them to pieces. If I had the chance to do that, I would do the same thing."

August 14: Some 250 people surrounded contractors and armed guards to demand that expansion of the Bagram U.S. air base/prison onto their land be halted. NATO claimed that the soldiers were "forced" to shoot at them in response, and three civilians including a 12-year-old boy were shot.

August 18: Protesting night raids, some 600 demonstrators blocked the main highway linking the capital, Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad. Among their slogans were "down with Obama!" and "down with foreign forces!"

August 23: 2000 or more villagers gathered outside the Bagram base to protest the arrest of a Muslim teacher on suspicion of involvement in a rocket attack on occupation troops. When treated with contempt, the crowed attacked vehicles with rocks and rebar. The troops fired, killing one civilian, whereupon the people attacked the local police and the head of the district government.

August 25: After an Afghan driver who had just killed three Spanish paramilitaries was shot down, word quickly spread outside the Badghis Province base that "they're killing Afghans." In reply, hundreds of people stormed the base throwing rocks and sticks, and setting fire to a vehicle. Again they were fired upon with live ammunition, with 25 people being wounded (two critically), and seven of them under age 18.

"If the police hadn't taken the Americans away, the people would have torn them to pieces"---such is the whirlwind of mass opposition that the brutal U.S./NATO occupation is stirring.

Opposition among the American people

The Obama administration has a problem justifying its imperialist savagery. With CIA Director Panetta now saying that the number of al-Qaeda operatives in all of Afghanistan could be less than 50, fear-mongering isn't working. Indeed, as casualties mount, and more facts about the war come out, support for it has fallen to 40% (or even 30%) according to the opinion polls.

Defend WikiLeaks and all who expose the truth!

When WikiLeaks posted over 90,000 secret U.S. military reports covering the war in Afghanistan, Obama responded by saying there was nothing new in them. For Washington and Pentagon insiders this may have been true, but to everyday people there was much that was new:

1) the actual scope of the war; 2) the number of instances of civilians being shot down by U.S./NATO troops (often covered with the lie that "warning shots" ricocheted); 3) the existence of Task Force 373---a covert, heavily-armed Special Forces death squad that assassinates Taliban members, and murders ordinary people in the process; 4) more details about the corruption of the Karzai government, and related gun battles between the Afghan National Army, the Border Police, and other "security forces"; 5) 237 reports of popular demonstrations against the U.S. occupation and/or U.S.-dominated Afghan authorities; 6) repeated accounts of NATO forces repressing demonstrations, often in close coordination with local Afghan authorities.

Of course, WikiLeaks released only a partial cache of government documents written from the U.S. military's perspective, in which the writers often lied about the real number of civilian casualties. But the Obama government and the Pentagon hated even this much. Thus, while the documents supposedly contained "nothing new," Obama clamored that their release "could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations." And his gang of government officials, generals and admirals---all of whom really do have blood on their hands---cried that WikiLeaks and its co-founder Julian Assange could have blood on their hands! This is in line with a 32-page U.S. intelligence report on how to "fatally marginalize" WikiLeaks--itself exposed by WikiLeaks.

CIA "feminism" and liberal war propaganda

In March, WikiLeaks published a CIA document outlining a strategy to counter the growing European anti-war movement by highlighting the issue of the Taliban's oppression and violence against women. Then, in July, the Time Magazine cover featured the picture of a young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off by her abusive Taliban husband (reportedly with the approval of a local Taliban commander) as punishment for running away. Next to it was the headline "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan."

Well, the world already knows that the fundamentalist Taliban is misogynist, but Time ignores the fact that this was O.K. with the U.S. government when it maintained friendly relations with the Taliban prior to 2001. Time also ignores the fact that the U.S.-installed Afghan government is filled with brutal, fundamentalist oppressors of women. And Time ignores the voices of secularist and democratic Afghan women, such as those in the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, or the expelled parliamentarian Malalai Joya. Why? Because these women tell the world the truths that the situation of Afghan women is as bad or worse under the U.S./NATO occupation and Karzai mafia as it was under the Taliban, and that it will be easier for them to fight against all their internal fundamentalist enemies when the U.S./NATO occupiers have gotten out.

Suicides... and resistance in the U.S. military

Nearly as many U.S. soldiers are now committing suicide as are being killed in combat, and last year there were more suicides than combat deaths. This is because working-class youth in this country are caught between the jaws of joblessness and insecurity outside the military vs. fascist discipline, "warrior"-cultism, and being forced to fight in unjust wars inside it. Additionally, soldiers have been taking prescribed and illegal drugs to ease mental anguish and physical pain at an epidemic rate, while those who complain of depression or PTSD are often ignored or ridiculed.

Along with the record suicide rate, during the past six years there's been a 177% increase in the number of soldiers found to have committed spouse abuse, child abuse and neglect. And this summer there has been a rash of soldiers or new veterans murdering their spouses and children before committing suicide. Meanwhile, an estimated 18 veterans take their own lives each day.

The other side of this terrible picture is that ordinary soldiers continue to resist the military nightmare they've been snared into. The number going absent without leave (AWOL) or deserting has risen 234% over the last five years. Soldiers continue to courageously refuse orders, and active-duty G.I.s continue to step forward to publicly denounce the wars and expose the truths about them.

One of these is PFC Bradley Manning, currently in the brig charged with giving WikiLeaks the infamous "Collateral Murder" video that showed the gunners on helicopters methodically shooting Iraqi civilians (and two Reuters reporters) beneath them. And while the gunmen and their superiors walk free, PFC Manning faces court martial and a potential 52 years in prison! But if Bradley Manning did leak the video he stood up to provide good service to progressive humanity. Anti-war activists everywhere demand his freedom.

Iraq: continuing crimes by a defeated U.S.A.

Bush haughtily invaded Iraq to establish a subservient government, dominate Iraqi oil resources, and permanently station large numbers of U.S. troops with which to dictate imperialist "order" in the region. But after seven years the fundamentalist-dominated Iraqi government makes deals with Iran, has given the vast majority of oil contracts to non-U.S. companies, and wants increasingly fewer U.S. troops in the country.

This is a major defeat for the U.S. imperialists: their one clear "victory" is that they've killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and decimated their country. But it is not a decisive defeat. Thus, Obama & Co. are striving to salvage what they can with 1/4 the troops the U.S. once had (re-branded "transitional troops"), plus over 100,000 mercenaries, which simply cannot replace a regular army. They continue to arm and train the reactionary Iraqi armed forces, and to engage in combat, e.g., two U.S. soldiers have now been killed since Obama crowed about his ahead-of-schedule withdrawal of "the last combat brigade."

Escalating U.S. global terror

Meanwhile, Obama has passed record war budgets, continues to aid Israel, and has proclaimed his "right" to assassinate anyone on earth, including American citizens. He threatens "black ops" and other covert activities in 75 countries, compared with about 60 at the beginning of 2009. And the CIA now says Yemen, where it has already murdered civilians, "urgently" needs more "targeted killing" with its Predator drones.

Unite the anti-war movement with all struggles of the oppressed!

Obama is following Bush in fighting for the same class interests at home as he does in Afghanistan, Iraq, and globally. He has given $trillions to Wall Street while telling the masses of people that they must sacrifice. He has robbed the food stamps budget that 40 million people now depend on, saying he must do so to pay teachers. He refuses to give relief to the unemployed and poor so as to use them to further drive the down wages and conditions of all. And he has sent troops and Predator drones to the Mexican border while deporting record numbers of undocumented migrants, so as to intimidate the rest into accepting worse exploitation.

This situation demands that the working class fight back on many fronts---which requires reliance on the politics of mass struggle, not elections and voting. Yet to unite the masses for effective struggle requires being able to stand up for the interests of the most exploited and oppressed people, domestically and internationally.

Anti-war activists contribute to this when they expose the class interests behind the bipartisan wars currently being waged (and U.S. militarism), and oppose the national chauvinism, religious bigotry, and racism that go with them. And when they organize anti-war demonstrations that carry these same messages to everyday people, they're preparing conditions for development of a more profound U.S. antiwar movement.

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, September 3, 2010

Saturday, October 9

Demonstrate in solidarity with the Afghan and Pakistani peoples!

Meet at Westlake Center, 4th Ave. & Pine St., 1:00pm
March at 2:00pm!

Called by Seattle United Against the Afghan War, which includes ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), Code Pink, Friends of Alice Bryant Peace Park, International Action Center, Military Families Speak Out, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (B.C.), Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, SNOW (Sound Non-violent Opponents of War), Veterans for Peace Chapter 92, Vietnam Veterans Against the War---Anti-Imperialist, Voices of Palestine, and World Can't Wait.

homepage: homepage: http://seattleaic.org