Progressive Calendar 03.21.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 06:44:12 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.21.08

1. No burner!       3.21 9:15am

2. Palestine/DVD    3.22 9:30am
3. Free girl school 3.22 10:30am
4. NWN4P Mtka       3.22 11am
5. Oil $ markets    3.22 1pm
6. Northtown vigil  3.22 2pm
7. CD training      3.22 3:30pm
8. Dreams of peace  3.22 7pm
9. Palestine/CTV    3.22 9pm

10. Laurie Stone     - Down, out, and Democrat
11. Millet/Toussaint - Banks: the daylight robbery of borrowers
12. Joseph Gerson    - Resisting the empire
13. ed               - Imperialist omelet  (poem)

--------1 of 13--------

From: Juliet Thompson and Jullonne Glad
<mpls.residentsforcleanair [at]>
Subject: No burner! 3.21 9:15am

Urgent** City Council Vote on Midtown Burner TOMORROW
Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air
Action Alert #1
Hello again!

Recently, you expressed concerns around the proposed Midtown Burner and so
we're letting you know of another opportunity to communicate your
concerns. Kandiyohi Development Partners (the project developers) are
asking the Minneapolis City Council for an extension on their option to
purchase the land. The option to purchase expires March 30th, but a vote
could happen as soon as tomorrow!  (For further information on this
meeting, click the link to Wednesday's Star Tribune

As concerned citizens, we need to make it clear to Minneapolis City
Council members that concern for this facility extends well beyond Ward 9.
Given the potential environmental and health effects this proposed burner
could have, there may be significant financial implications for not just
9th ward residents, but for the entire city. Therefore, we are encouraging
Minneapolis residents from all wards to attend the next City Council
meeting tomorrow (Friday, March 21) at 9:15 AM at City Hall.

Like many of the other public-input opportunities associated with the
Midtown Burner, urgency and confusion prevail. Council action on the
developer's extension request may occur at tomorrow's City Council
meeting, but if request does not show up on tomorrow's agenda it will
likely show up on future Council agendas. In either case, tomorrow is a
great opportunity to show City Council that there are strong concerns from
constituents from each of the City's 13 wards.

We have identified the following City Council Members as those most likely
to withdraw burner support given enough constituent opposition: Paul
Ostrow (Ward 1), Diane Hofstede (Ward 3), Don Samuels (Ward 5), Elizabeth
Glidden (Ward 8) and Sandy Colvin-Roy (Ward 12). If you can't attend
tomorrow's City Council meeting, please send an email or make calls to
your Councilperson and Mayor Rybak.  A sample message can be found below;
feel free to cut and paste, modify or write your own message - the
important thing is to communicate your concerns to the decision-makers as
soon as possible.

Finally, please forward this email to your family, friends, colleagues or
anyone else you think may be interested in this issue.

Thank you for your involvement in this issue. With each article, public
hearing, community meeting and City Council contact, we are making a
difference! It will truly take all of us to ensure that environmental
justice is realized!

If you are able to attend tomorrow's Council meetting, please RSVP to this
email address:
mpls.residentsforcleanair [at] [mailto:mpls.residentsforcleanair [at]]

Sample letter to Mayor and Councilmember below:

To find your Ward and City Councilperson, just click on the link:

Dear Mayor Rybak,

I am in favor of energy derived from renewable, "green" sources -- but NOT
if it comes at the expense of public health and environmental justice.
Therefore, I urge you to act now to withdraw all public support of the
Midtown Eco-Energy power plant, proposed to be built in south Minneapolis.
City, State Zip

Thank you,
Juliet Thompson and Jullonne Glad, Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air
Join Our Mailing List 
Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air | 2820 17th Ave S | Minneapolis | MN |

[Also, the devil is asking for an extension on the souls of the Kandiyohi
Development Partners. "They're not worth much, but I'm a tad short of cash
at the moment. What I like is even more burners in hell! He he he (cackle

--------2 of 13--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Palestine/DVD 3.22 9:30am

"Life in Occupied Palestine"
Saturday, March 22, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments) 10:00 a.m. to noon (Program
and Discussion) Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001 York Avenue South,
Edina. We will show Anna Baltzer's 59 minute DVD on the large screen. Anna
is the granddaughter of a Holocaust refugee. This is her powerful eye
witness account of the current occupation. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace
Now. FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642

--------3 of 13--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Free girl school 3.22 10:30am

Saturday, March 22: Laura Jeffrey Academy. Parent/Family Information
Session on this new TC tuition free charter school offering a unique year
round, girl-focused educational experience for grades 5 through 8 (Grades
5-6 in Fall 08). 10:30-Noon. Rondo Community Outreach Library, St. Paul.

--------4 of 13--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 3.22 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------5 of 13--------

From: Lynne Mayo <lynnne [at]>
Subject: Oil $ markets 3.22 1pm

Peak oil & the Future
Oil, money, and markets ~ A short class for Citizens
Money is energy ~ with Jon Freise

How to Read the Financial Pages ~ Karen Redleaf
   The Basics: Hedge funds, Futures, Derivative, Options, Etc.
   Market Mechanics of the Mortgage collapse: how unsound mortgages were
packaged and sold as bonds

Bring  questions.  And answers.

March 22  ~~ 1-3pm
Lynne Mayo¹s house  ~ 2420 17th Ave South, Minneapolis, Mn.  55404

--------6 of 13--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.22 2pm

peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.), every Saturday
2:00 -- 3:00 PM.

--------7 of 13--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: CD training 3.22 3:30pm

Seventy percent of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq yet the U.S.
occupation continues.  We've signed petitions, called our representatives,
and attended vigils.  We've rallied and marched locally and nationally.
Yet after 5 years, the war is still on.  A coalition of Twin Cities
activists believe it's time to raise the level of protest in response to
an unjust war, military recruiters who prey on our young people, and
politicians who aren't doing enough to stop it.

Civil Disobedience Training and Organizing Meeting
Saturday March 22 at 3:30 p.m. at Mayday Books.  301 Cedar Ave. S,
Minneapolis. (Located below Midwest Mountaineering and The Hub Bike Co-op,
near the West Bank side of the University of MN campus)

Women suffragists, trade unionists, civil rights and peace activists have
all used civil disobedience thoughout our nation's history to win many of
the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.  Come to the training to learn
more about this important tactic.  Bring your questions and concerns.
Activists who have organized and participated in CD multiple times will
lead the training.

A potential action is planned for Thursday, March 27.  More details will
be available at the training.  If you can't make it but would like more
info, respond to this email.  A permitted student rally and march is
already scheduled for March 27 at noon at Coffman Union (University of

--------8 of 13--------

From: Larry Johnson <elent7 [at]>
Subject: Dreams of peace 3.22 7pm

World Storytelling Day Celebration at Dunn Bros. by Loring Park
7 p.m. on March 22

Larry Johnson and Elaine Wynne, KEY OF SEE STORYTELLERS, will tell stories
of times that violence was averted by someone's powerful words and
presence or imagination.  Larry, a conscientious objector medic during
Vietnam, will tell the story of Hugh Thompson, the helicopter pilot who
stopped the continuation of the My Lai Massacre by his brave understanding
of the Geneva Convention.  Elaine will undoubtedly tell Jane Yolen's
SILENT BIANCA, as well as the story of Vaclev Havel.

Woven throughout these and other stories will be an invitation for
listeners to tell their own stories and memories of potential violence
diverted to peaceful resolution.  AN EVENING OF WISDOM WILL EMERGE FROM

Dunn Bros is at 329 West 15th St. in Mpls, East of Hennepin and South
Across the Street from Loring Park.  There is no charge for the evening,
but large and small donations accepted for VETERANS FOR PEACE.  More
information available at 612-747-3904.

--------9 of 13--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine/CTV 3.22 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 3/22, 9pm and Tues, 3/25, 8am "Anna Baltzer: Life in Occupied
Palestine" (Part 1).  Presentation by Jewish American author given at U of
St. Thomas in January.

--------10 of 13--------

Down, out, and Democrat
By Laurie Stone
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Mar 20, 2008, 01:09

As a Democrat, I'm totally depressed. Another election is coming; another
chance to put this country back on track, to right our wrongs, to finally
let the people be heard. We're the party of Martin Luther King, Bobby
Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt. We have a president in office that makes
Richard Nixon looked beloved. So what are our choices? Barack or Hillary.
Pepsi or Pepsi Light. Pepsi anyone?

Does anyone else get that creepy feeling we're all meant to be here, like
it's a weird Twilight Zone episode? That our three choices for president
are exactly what the powers that be had in mind? As the Cowardly Lion
cried in the witch's castle, "We're trapped, trapped like rats". There's
nowhere to turn. Whatever door we walk through leads right back to where
we started, like an M.C. Escher painting.

Here we have a war that will cost $3 trillion dollars, according to latest
estimates. That's so much money that I get a headache thinking about it,
especially when I imagine the health care, education, infrastructure, and
research that would buy. If this administration has its way, this war (and
others in the future) will suck every last penny from our country's
treasury, robbing us of our future, leaving a poor, empty husk in its
place. There will be nothing left for our children and grandchildren.

So what are Obama and Hillary proposing to do about it? I don't know.
They're too busy squabbling over who's a Muslim and Hillary's tax returns.
It's like watching two sailors fighting over a dollar as the Titanic goes
down. Yes, they both claim to be against the war, but both continue to
fund it. Obama says he would not have voted for it, but has shown no
stomach for going against the power majority in on anything. His main luck
is timing. We'll never know what he would've done in 2002. Hillary voted
for it and I get the feeling she'd do it again tomorrow if it would keep
her in the boy's club.

Obama's been hailed as the new JFK, but I don't get his message of keeping
politics safe and sane and squeaky-clean. After three years in the Senate,
in a country beset with war, scandal, economic crisis, corruption . . .
that's your big solution, Obama? We should get out our Emily Post book? In
my small town, putting up a new stop sign can bring on two years of
near-violent debate, but he's going to run one of the most powerful
countries in the world like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood? And isn't debate
healthy? Isn't that what a democracy is about? I thought the other extreme
was dictatorship.

The Kennedy comparison is ironic since JFK encouraged robust discussion,
an exchange of ideas, hearing all sides. We've had a Democratic majority
in Congress for over a year practically falling over each other,
capitulating to Bush's demands. Does Obama want more of that? Does he
think this Congress has been too obstructive? Too impolite? I'm sorry
Obama. You're losing me on this one.

Another problem I have with Obama is the John Kerry disease of
lawyer-speak. The other day I heard him say, "The Bush administration has
mis-served this nation". Mis-served? How about destroyed? Smashed? Ruined?
Driven to the edge of a cliff? Mis-served sounds like a bad meal at I-Hop.
That's what worries me about this guy. He seems afraid or unable to really
connect, to appeal to that boiling rage simmering under the surface, to
deliver that knock-out blow. If he becomes the Democratic Party's nominee,
how is he going to fare when the next Karl Rove pulls him into a dark
alley. "Now see here, my good man!" is all I can hear as the punches fly.

Then there's Hillary, the woman who doesn't know she's a woman, or is
afraid to admit it. Yes, I know she's a warrior, a fighter, down in the
trenches with the boys. I know it's a big, cruel world and bad guys lurk
everywhere, ready to get that phone ringing at 3 a.m. Hey Hillary, haven't
you had enough of this macho crap? As a female, would you ever consider
standing up for the wives, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers of this
world who are sick to death of this brutal, male-dominated planet? No, I
didn't think so.

You know why so many women don't like Hillary? Not because she's a woman
and we're all these non-liberated weaklings who want to return to Donna
Reed and June Cleaver. It's because she doesn't represent female values -
compassion, diplomacy, non-violence. Here we finally have a female running
for leader of the free world, a chance to better this planet, a chance to
do this mess over with a woman's sensitive, wise touch . . . and guess
what? She's more militant than the men.

Honestly, I don't think John McCain could be much worse. Yes, I can hear
the gasps now, but think about it. He'll keep us in Iraq for one hundred
years and the other two will only keep us in for 20, just long enough for
the oil companies, defense contractors, and special interests to vacuum up
every last dollar from that poor, traumatized nation. Those groups are the
real puppeteers and don't think it's any coincidence the people left
running seem more than willing to serve them a long, long time. What have
they done to prove otherwise? Any candidate with more backbone was shown
the exit long ago.

The election process is like a reality show. It seems unscripted and
spontaneous, but it's all premeditated. The reality is manufactured. Our
choices are presented to us. Sadly, whichever way we choose, I don't feel
much will change. It was all decided long ago, and for that I feel

--------11 of 13--------

The Daylight Robbery of Borrowers
The Triple Failing of the Big Private Banks
March 20, 2008

Since August 2007, US and European banks have constantly made headline
news concerning the deep crisis they are going through and its knock-on
effect on the neoliberal economic system as a whole. Asset depreciation
for these banks currently stands at over 200 billion dollars. Several
banking research services and seasoned economists estimate that the final
damage will exceed 1,000 billion dollars.

How did the banks manage to build such an irrational lending system? Eager
for profit, mortgage companies made loans to a sector of the population
that was already heavily indebted. The conditions attached to these
mortgages - highly profitable for the lender - amounted to daylight
robbery for the borrower: the interest rate was fixed and reasonable for
the first two years but thereafter rose sharply. Lenders assured borrowers
that the property they were buying would quickly appreciate thanks to the
boom in the real estate sector. The problem was that the real estate
bubble burst in 2007 and house prices started to go steadily down. The
number of defaults on payment soared and mortgage brokers had trouble
repaying their own loans. To protect themselves, the big banks either
refused extra credit to the mortgage lenders or agreed to new loans at far
higher interest rates. But the spiral did not stop there, since the big
banks had bought up a large number of the original loans as off-balance
sheet operations by creating specific companies called Structured
Investment Vehicles (SIV), which finance the purchase of high yield
mortgages converted into bonds (CDOs, or Collateralised Debt Obligations).

As from August 2007, investors stopped buying the unguaranteed commercial
papers issued by SIVs, which no longer looked like a safe or credible
option. Consequently, the SIVs lacked the liquidity needed to buy up
mortgages and the crisis worsened. The big banks who had created the SIVs
therefore had to bail them out to stop them going bankrupt. Up to then,
SIV operations had not appeared in the banks' accounts (thus allowing them
to conceal the risks involved), but now the SIV debts had to come out of
the closet and onto the books.

The result was general panic. In the US, 84 mortgage companies either went
bankrupt or partially stopped doing business between 1 January and 17
August 2007, as opposed to only 17 similar cases for the whole of 2006. In
Germany, the IKB BANK and SachsenLB were saved by the skin of their teeth.
Recently, in England, the bankrupt Northern Rock has had to be
nationalised. On 13 March 2008, the Carlyle Capital Corporation (CCC)
fund, known to be close to the Bush clan, collapsed with debts 32 times
its capital. The following day, the prestigious US bank Bear Stearns (5th
US investment bank) called on the US Federal Reserve to provide an
emergency credit line. Bear Stearns is being snapped up by JPMorgan Chase
for a mere pittance.

Several branches of the lending market are shaky constructions on the
point of collapse. They drag into their misadventures the powerful banks,
hedge funds or investment funds through which they were created. The
salvage of these private financial institutions requires massive
intervention on the part of the public authorities. And thus once again,
profits accrue to the private sector, and losses to the public purse.

Which brings us to a key question: how is it that banks can readily waive
bad debts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars yet have constantly
refused to cancel the debts of developing countries? Why should the one be
feasible and the other impossible? It should be remembered that the debts
claimed today from these countries go back in the past to criminal
dictatorships, corrupt regimes and leaders pandering to major powers and
investors. The big banks lavished loans on such notorious regimes as that
of Mobutu in Zaire, Suharto in Indonesia, the Latin-American dictatorships
of the 1970s and 1980s, not to mention the apartheid regime in South
Africa. How can the banks persist in inflicting the burden of debt on
people who have suffered the consequences of despotic regimes funded by
the banks themselves? From a legal standpoint, many of the debts appearing
in their accounts are odious and as such should not be repaid. But the
banks continue to demand their pound of flesh.

We should also remember that the Third World debt crisis was caused by the
drastic unilateral hike in interest rates imposed by the Fed in 1982. Up
to then the private banks had been happily handing out variable rate loans
to countries that were already over-indebted. The crash came when these
countries could no longer sustain repayments. Today history is repeating
itself, this time in the North: overindebted households in the US are
faced with mortgages that they can never repay as they watch the value of
their properties plummet.

The recent waiving of debts by banks can only justify the claims of those
who, like the CADTM, demand the cancellation of Third World debt. Why?
Because the long-term debt of Third World public authorities towards
international banks reached 181.9 billion dollars in 2006 . Since August
2007, the banks have had to cancel a far greater amount, with more still
to come.

It is clear that the big private banks have failed in three ways:

* they have built up catastrophic private lending structures that have led
to the present disaster;

* they have lent to despotic regimes and forced the democratic governments
that replaced them to repay this odious debt down to the last cent;

* they refuse to cancel the debts of developing countries, for whom
repayment means ever-worsening living conditions for their people.

For all these reasons, the banks must be held to account for their actions
over the last decades. The governments of the countries of the South must
make a full audit of their debts, as Ecuador is doing today, and repudiate
all debts that are odious and illegitimate. The bankers have shown them
that such a step is perfectly feasible. It would also be the first step
towards restoring the true role of finance, which is to be of service to
men and women. Everywhere, without exception.

Damien Millet, spokesman for CADTM France (Committee for the Abolition of
Third World Debt), coauthor with Eric Toussaint of Who Owes Who?,
Zedbooks, 2004.

Eric Toussaint, president of CADTM Belgium, author of The World Bank: A
Critical Primer, Pluto, London, 2008.

Translated by Judith Harris.

--------12 of 13--------

Resisting the Empire
by Joseph Gerson
Published on Thursday, March 20, 2008 by Foreign Policy in Focus
Common Dreams

Victories are within sight for people in a growing number of nations where
communities that host U.S. foreign military bases have long fought to get
rid of them.

Ecuador's decision not to renew the U.S. lease for the forward operating
base at Manta is the culmination of just one of many long-term and
recently initiated community-based and national struggles to remove these
military installations that are often sources of crime and demeaning human
rights violations. A growing alliance among anti-bases movements in
countries around the world, including the United States, is preventing the
creation of new foreign military bases, restricting the expansion of
others, and in some cases may win the withdrawal of the military bases,
installations and troops that are essential to U.S. wars of intervention
and its preparations for first-strike nuclear attacks.

The Challenge

Of course, there is still plenty of bad news. The Bush Administration is
currently negotiating what is, in essence, a security treaty with the
Maliki puppet government in Baghdad to secure one of the principle
Bush-Cheney war aims: permanent military bases for tens of thousands of
U.S. troops. The goal is to transform Iraq into an U.S. unsinkable
aircraft carrier in the heart of the oil-rich Middle East. Unfortunately,
the plan for Iraq is only one part of the vast and expanding U.S.
infrastructure of nearly 1,000 military bases and installations
strategically scattered around the world.

Across Asia, in Japan, another Marine has raped an Okinawan school girl,
traumatizing yet another life and temporarily shaking the foundations of
the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Under the guise of a "Visiting Force
Agreement," U.S. troops have returned to the Philippines where they are
deployed from "temporary" and unconstitutional military bases. In the
Indian Ocean, Chagossian people were removed from Diego Garcia to make way
for massive U.S. military bases; they have won all of their legal appeals
but still can't return home. In Central Europe, the Bush Administration is
pressing deployment of first strike-related "missile defense" bases in the
Czech Republic and Poland. Russia has countered by threatening to target
the bases with nuclear weapons, and opposition to "missile defense". In
response to this renewed Cold War, opposition to "missile defense"
weaponry is building in public squares and in parliaments throughout the
region. And, as he recently traveled across Africa, President George W.
Bush was met with near universal opposition to his plans for further
military colonization of the continent in the form of moving the
Pentagon's Africa Command headquarters from Europe to the oil and
resource-rich continent.

The Bush Administration and Pentagon are "reconfiguring" the U.S. global
network of more than 750 foreign military bases to impose what Vice
President Dick Cheney termed in a New Yorker interview as "the arrangement
for the 21st century". This imperial "arrangement" is increasingly being
met with opposition in "host" nations and the United States alike, and
victories by allied movements are within reach.

How We Got Here

For more than a century, the United States has been building an unrivaled
global structure of nearly foreign fortresses. Located on every continent
and at sea, these military bases and installations provide an
infrastructure from which invasions and nuclear wars can be launched. They
enforce an unjust and often violent status quo, influence the politics and
diplomacy of "host" nations, secure privileged access to oil and other
natural resources, encircle enemies, "show the flag," and more recently
have served as prisons operating outside the restrictions of U.S. and
international law.

These bases violate democratic values in other ways. When the United
States was founded, the Declaration of Independence decried the "abuses
and usurpations" caused by King George having "kept among us, in times of
peace, Standing Armies". Since then, "abuses and usurpations" inherent in
the presence of foreign "Standing Armies" have become far more dangerous.
Their demeaning and disruptive impacts include:

Undermining the sovereignty of "host" nations Militarizing and colonizing
the "host" nation's culture Assaulting democracy and human rights Seizing
people's private property and damaging their homes Violently abusing and
dehumanizing women and girls Causing life-endangering military accidents
and crimes that are rarely punished Terrorizing low-altitude training
flights and night-landing exercises Polluting with military toxics Since
the Cold War ended, U.S. presidents and the Pentagon have worked to
"reconfigure" the architecture of this military infrastructure to address
changing geopolitical realities, technological "advances," and growing
resistance to the presence of foreign bases. With agility, flexibility and
speed being given priority in U.S. military operations, bases are being
transformed into hubs, forward operating bases, and "lily pads" for
invasions and foreign military interventions.

The other axis of reconfiguration is geographic. As U.S. forces have been
forced out of Saudi Arabia, and with U.S. geostrategic priorities turning
away from Europe and toward China, Washington has concentrated its
military build up elsewhere in the Persian Gulf nations, Asia and the

Tipping Points

In a number of countries, the reconfiguration has not proceeded as
smoothly as anticipated:


As Major General Robert Pollman explained in 2004, "It ma[de] a lot of
sense" to "swap" U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia for new ones in Iraq. U.S.
command and air bases located near the holy cities of Mecca and Medina
incensed many Muslims and were among Osama Bin Laden's professed reasons
for the 9-11 attacks. In the lead up to the 2003 invasion, many of the
functions of these bases were moved to Qatar and Kuwait, and after the
conquest, 110 bases were established across Iraq. To limit their political
and military vulnerability, the Pentagon has been spending more than a $1
billion a year to consolidate them into 14 "enduring" and massive Air
Force, Army and Marine bases in Baghdad and other strategic locations, In
addition to helping secure U.S. control over Iraq, these bases contribute
to encircling Iran, and they can be used for attacks across the Persian
Gulf region and into oil-rich Central Asia.

The Bush administration's plans to saddle its successor with these bases
and the continuing occupation by negotiating an agreement with the Maliki
government hit unexpected road block. In addition to popular Iraqi
opposition, U.S. peace movement organizations joined Rep. Bill Delahunt
(D-MA) to prevent the unconstitutional imposition of what is essentially a
treaty. The Delahunt hearings about the proposed commitment to defend the
Baghdad government from internal and external enemies, the bases which are
permanent in all but name, and privileged access to investment
opportunities (read oil) for U.S. corporations forced Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates to rhetorically back away from the open-ended security
commitment to Baghdad. But his promises that the bases are "not permanent"
are less credible.

Nothing is officially "permanent," of course. Not even the bases in Japan
and Korea, which have been there for more than six decades, and not the
Great Wall of China, or the pyramids of Egypt, which are slowly decaying.

With opposition to the treaty and the permanent military bases now a
defining issue between Democrats and Republicans, the U.S. peace movement
has an important opening to press its demands for the immediate and total
withdrawal from Iraq.


U.S. planners anticipate that by 2015 Africa will provide the U.S. with
25% of its imported oil. With Islamist political forces operating across
northern Africa, the continent is also seen as an important front in the
misconceived "war on terrorism". So, to "promote peace and stability on
the continent" the Bush Administration and the Pentagon want to augment
the U.S. military presence in Africa, beginning with the transfer of the
Africa Command, AFRICOM, from remote Germany to an accommodating African
nation. As President Bush learned during his recent ill-fated African
tour, the continent's leaders are understandably reluctant to accept
renewed military colonization. Ghana's President John Kufuour put it
bluntly when he met with Bush, saying, "You're not going to build any
bases in Ghana".

Africa is not free of bases. France and Britain still have bases scattered
there. The U.S. has bases in Djibouti and Algeria, access agreements with
Morocco and Egypt, and is in the process of creating a "family" of
military bases in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sao Tome,
Senegal and Uganda.) And, although Bush responded to African fears about
AFRICOM's possible relocation by saying that such rumors were "baloney"
and "bull," he also conceded that: "We haven't made our minds up".

With a growing No AFRICOM movement in the United States that is allied
with anti-colonialist forces in Africa, this is one U.S. threat that can
be contained.

Diego Garcia

In the mid-1960s, in a quintessential act of European colonialism, all of
Diego Garcia's 2,000 inhabitants were forcefully removed from their
homeland by British authorities to make way for massive U.S. air and naval
bases. In an act of legal fiction, the island was separated from Mauritius
on the eve of that island nation's independence.

Located in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia's two-mile long runways have
since been used to launch B-1 and B-52 attacks against Iraq and
Afghanistan. Its stealth bomber hangars have recently been upgraded for
possible strikes against Iran, and its submarine base is being refitted to
serve Ohio-class submarines that can be used for both missile attacks and
to secretly deploy Navy SEALS in Iran and other Persian Gulf nations.

The Chagos people of Diego Garcia want to return home, ending their exile
in Mauritius' slums, where up to 90% are unemployed and live desperate
lives. The base rests on colonial constructions. With the help of allies
in London and around the world they attempted to return, but have been
halted on the high seas. But their plight and struggle has wide and
sympathetic media attention, especially as they have won one challenge
after another in the British courts. The British House of Lords is to make
a "final ruling," but an end run in which Diego Garcia would be returned
to Mauritius" authority and the "rented" to Washington remains possible.
Education about the plight and struggle of the people of Diego Garcia,
beginning with the spring speaking tour of Chagos leader Olivier Bancoult,
is the best way to prepare for the next round of this compelling struggle.


Since its 1945 bloody conquest in 1945, Okinawa has served as the
principle bastion of U.S. military power in East Asia - even after its
1972 reversion to Japan. Sixty years after the end of World War II, nearly
45,000 U.S. troops, civilian staff, and their families are based on Air
Force, Navy, Marine and Army bases that occupy 27% of the island
prefecture. Okinawans have suffered nearly every imaginable military
abuse: One quarter of its people were killed during the 1945 battle, many
by Japanese soldiers. U.S. nuclear weapons have fallen off ships and into
coastal fishing grounds. Shells and bullets from live fire exercises have
slammed into people's homes. Children, their grandmothers, base and
service workers have suffered rapes that are too numerous to count. Land
has been seized, and military accidents - including helicopters and their
parts falling into students' schools - are not uncommon.

To pacify the nationwide outrage that followed the 1995 kidnapping and
rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan school girl in 1995, Washington and Tokyo
agreed to reduce, not remove, the size of the U.S. footprint on Okinawa.
With the U.S.-Japan alliance hanging in the balance, the Status of Forces
Agreement was revised to accord the Japanese courts greater authority over
crimes by G.I.s, and a plan was developed to move half of the 16,000
Marines - the greatest source of G.I. crime - to Guam largely at Japan's
expense. Several bases were consolidated and Washington agreed to move the
Futemna Air Base, in Ginowan's city center, to a more remote part of the
island. This leaves the massive Air Force, Naval and Marine bases still
occupying a quarter of the prefecture.

Inspired by respected elders, the people of Henoko, the coastal site to
which Futnema's functions were to be transferred, have put up a stiff
resistance. To prevent the militarization of their community and the
destruction of the reef on which the new air base is to be built, they
have built alliances with peace activists and environmentalists around the
world. Their focus has been to prevent destruction feeding grounds for
dugongs (large, gentle sea mammals similar to manatees) that became the
symbol of their movement. They have also conducted months-long sit-ins and
taken their case to court. A California appeal court recently confirmed
their environmental claims, and the relocation process stalled.

Within weeks of this court victory, Marines raped a 14-year-old Okinawan
school girl and a Filipina woman sparking renewed outrage across Okinawa
and Japan. In the "Message from the Women of Okinawa" that followed, the
U.S. military and the world were notified that the days when "so many rape
victims...told no one and wept silently in their beds...are now over".
Their message is clear, "Go back to America. Now".

With Washington and Tokyo focused on "containing" China, it will be years
before the last G.I. returns from Okinawa. In the meantime, we can provide
critical support to women and men who are courageously and nonviolently
campaigning to defend their lives, their families, their communities, and
nature itself. The base at Henoko must not be built. The base in Futenma
must be closed. It is past time to bring all the Marines home.


Guam is not home. Located in the South Pacific and conquered by the United
States from Spain in 1898, it has long served as a U.S. stepping stone to
Asia. Nominally it is not a U.S. colony, but an "unincorporated territory"
with a nonvoting delegate in Congress. Throughout the Cold War, U.S. air
and naval bases occupied the island's best agricultural lands, water
sources and fishing grounds. Now the abuses and usurpations are becoming
much worse.

Since the nonviolent 1995 Okinawan uprising, the Pentagon has been
preparing for the day when it is finally forced to withdraw from Okinawa
and Japan. Thus Guam is being transformed in to a military "hub". Already
large enough to accommodate B-52 and stealth bombers, Andersen Air Force
Base is being expanded to serve as "the most significant U.S. Air Force
base in the Pacific region for this century". More submarines are being
homeported in its harbor, and the Navy is considering homeporting an
aircraft carrier strike force there is well. Then, there are those Marines
from Okinawa. Understandably, Guam's tiny Chamorro population feels
besieged. In the traditions of U.S., Israeli and South African settler
colonialism, it is "cowboys and Indians all over again". We have a
responsibility to prevent this cultural genocide.


The Cold War never really ended in Europe. An estimated 380 U.S. nuclear
weapons are still based in seven European nations, and most of the 100,000
troops deployed across Western Europe remain there. But Pentagon campaigns
to deploy misnamed "missile defenses" in the Czech Republic and Poland and
to expand the Aviano Air Base in Italy are leading hundreds of thousands
of Europeans into the streets.

The missile defense system is ostensibly modest. A missile tracking radar
is to be installed in the Czech Republic, and ten interceptor missiles are
to be sited in Poland, reportedly to defend Europe from Iranian missiles
that have not been deployed. In fact, this is the tip of the iceberg.
Russia properly fears that, once deployed, the missile defense system will
be greatly expanded with the goal of neutralizing Moscow's missile forces,
leaving Russia vulnerable to U.S. first strike attacks. In response,
President Vladimir Putin has menacingly threatened to target nuclear
weapons against the Czechs and Poles.

Opinion polls indicate that most Czechs oppose the missile defense
deployments and want to hold a referendum to block them. Many NATO leaders
are angry that the U.S. circumvented the European Union's decision-making
process, and protests spearheaded by the U.S. Campaign for Peace and
Democracy greeted Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek when he recently
visited the United States. With many leading congressional Democrats also
opposed to these dangerous deployments, missile defenses can be stopped.

Finally, there is Italy where, unexpectedly, hundreds of thousands of
citizens turned out to protest the expansion of the U.S. Air Base at
Aviano (which also hosts U.S. nuclear weapons.) Dissent over the base
expansion nearly toppled the Prodi government in 2007, and it will remain
the focus of European and U.S. anti-bases campaigns.


In response to popularly based movements to win the withdrawal of unwanted
U.S. foreign military bases, an incipient U.S. anti-bases movement is
emerging. It includes organizations as diverse as the American Friends
Service Committee, and the Southwest Workers Union, the United for Peace
and Justice coalition, and scholars who are moving from studying military
bases to working for their withdrawal.

Four increasingly integrated U.S. anti-bases networks have developed in
recent years, spurred in part by the development of the global "No
Military Bases Network" in World Social Forums and the global Network's
formal inauguration in Quito, Ecuador at a conference last year that
brought together four hundred activists from forty nations. The U.S.
networks are currently organizing April speaking tours featuring Olivier
Bancoult from Diego Garcia, Terri Keko-olani from Hawaii, Jan Tamas and
the Czech Republic, and Andreas Licata from Italy. And a national U.S. "No
Foreign Military Bases" conference is in its early planning stages.

Joseph Gerson, a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus (, is
director of programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New
England. His books include The Sun Never Sets.Confronting the Network of
U.S. Foreign Military Bases, (South End Press, 1991) and Empire and the
Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (Pluto
Press, 2007).

Copyright  2008 Institute for Policy Studies

--------13 of 13--------

 You cannot make an
 imperialist omelet without
 breaking the world egg


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

                                Up yours, W!

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.