Knitting and Sljivovica

Apr 17, 2012

"Now, if the Democratic rank and file haven’t necessarily learned to love the bomb - though many certainly have - they have at least learned to stop worrying about it. Barack Obama may have dramatically expanded the war in Afghanistan, launched twice as many drone strikes in Pakistan as his predecessor and dropped women-and-children killing cluster bombs in Yemen, but peruse a liberal magazine or blog and you’re more likely to find a strongly worded denunciation of Rush Limbaugh than the president. War isn’t over, but one could be forgiven for thinking that it is."

TV presenter Rachel Maddow’s latest book speaks out against war, but not the system which makes wars inevitable. - Charles Davis.

Such an important critical analysis of how many liberal democrats and “peace” activists speak against the idea of war but rarely engage in actively criticizing the Empire that enables the possibility, funding and activation of war.

For one, Maddow, a self-described “national security liberal” who is “all about counterterrorism”, writes more like a politician seeking to flatter her US audience than a teller of tough, uncomfortable truths. While at times briefly alluding to its war-filled past, Maddow repeatedly paints a picture of the US as, at heart, a peaceful nation, one with a government structured by its noble founding founders with a “deliberate peaceable bias”. It is only recently, she maintains - post-World War II, but especially since Ronald Reagan - that war and a gargantuan military-industrial complex have been deemed “normal”.

And:

Though many might perceive it as an anti-war work, Maddow’s overriding concern seems to be not so much the wars themselves - certainly not the non-American victims of them, who are never once mentioned - but the modern, unilateral way in which we go about fighting them. Reagan, for example, invaded Grenada without first seeking approval from Congress and armed and funded right-wing insurgents in Nicaragua despite a congressional prohibition, facts she holds responsible for the creation of all that “‘imperial presidency’ malarkey”.

Plus:

Maddow doesn’t tell her readers any of that. Nor does she advocate a radical break from the system of hierarchical power that allows a few people in Washington - one if you’re a unilateralist, 535 if you’re not - to have the literal power to destroy the world. Rather: “The good news is we don’t need a radical new vision of post-Cold War American power,” she says. “We just need a ‘small c’ conservative return to our constitutional roots, a course correction.”

Just read the damn thing. It takes guts to face the Empire, the big guns that engage in war. Rarely will you find a media personality, political entity or activist questioning the validity of the Empire, of the Super Power. Those who do, have very little control and representation in the spheres where political narratives are established.

(via mehreenkasana)

Mehreen makes a very good and important point - those who routinely challenge conventional wisdom aren’t given the platforms that those who don’t are. It sounds cynical but it’s a reality. Rachel Maddow is a talk show host on a once heavily pro-war network that still touts neoconservative talking points. The U.S. media is all about access, that is, never angering politicians or government officials in hopes that they’ll appear on and return to your show or allow you to interview them in the future so you get your high ratings, pricey ad spots, and you sell more copies of your printed media. The heads of MSNBC have said that they are “the [Washington] establishment.” This is true of every mainstream cable network and media outlet. The military industrial complex is, arguably, the most powerful and largest actor in U.S. politics so, of course, presenting a challenge to U.S. foreign policy is going to be seen by Washington as unfavorable.

It’s not exactly fair to single Maddow out but using her as an example does a nice job of making the point that even the mainstream media giants who seem to be representative of leftist/progressive viewpoints really aren’t and there are a number of reasons why this is true, including all of the silly patriotic ideals we’ve absorbed, but much of it has to do with the nature of our media and their reluctance to challenge Washington conventional wisdom.

(via mohandasgandhi)

(via mohandasgandhi)

Mar 20, 2012

No one asked their names.

In the days following the rogue US soldier’s shooting spree in Kandahar, most of the media, us included, focused on the “backlash” and how it might further strain the relations with the US.

Many mainstream media outlets channelled a significant amount of  energy into uncovering the slightest detail about the accused soldier – now identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. We even know where his wife wanted to go for vacation, or what she said on her personal blog.

But the victims became a footnote, an anonymous footnote. Just the number 16. No one bothered to ask their ages, their hobbies, their aspirations. Worst of all, no one bothered to ask their names.

In honoring their memory, I write their names below, and the little we know about them: that nine of them were children, three were women.

The dead:
Mohamed Dawood son of  Abdullah
Khudaydad son of Mohamed Juma
Nazar Mohamed 
Payendo
Robeena
Shatarina daughter of Sultan Mohamed
Zahra daughter of Abdul Hamid
Nazia daughter of Dost Mohamed
Masooma daughter of Mohamed Wazir 
Farida daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Palwasha daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Nabia daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Esmatullah daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Faizullah son of Mohamed Wazir
Essa Mohamed son of Mohamed Hussain
Akhtar Mohamed son of Murrad Ali 
 
The wounded:
Haji Mohamed Naim son of Haji Sakhawat
Mohamed Sediq son of Mohamed Naim
Parween
Rafiullah
Zardana
Zulheja

(Source: aljazeera.com, via mohandasgandhi)

Jan 25, 2012

[Image is a photo of a serious-looking Marine (whom I read as a white male) leaving a building marked, “Joint Legal Assistance.]
occupyallstreets:

Marine gets no jail time in killing of 24 Iraqi civilians
Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will not serve a jail sentence following his guilty plea in the killing of 24 Iraqis in 2005, a military judge said Tuesday.
The announcement by Lt. Col. David Jones came after Wuterich took responsibility during his sentencing hearing at Camp Pendleton for the killings in the Euphrates River town of Haditha and expressed remorse to the victims’ families.
Jones said he had planned to recommend 90 days in the brig — the maximum as requested by the prosecution — but that the plea bargain approved by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser had called for no jail time.
Wuterich, 31, was the last of eight Marines charged in the Haditha killings to have his case resolved. Six had the charges against them dropped, and one Marine was acquitted.
As the squad leader, Wuterich ordered his Marines “to shoot first, ask questions later” as they stormed two houses on Nov. 19, 2005, after a roadside bomb had killed one Marine and injured two others.
Source
http://occupyallstreets.tumblr.com/

[Image is a photo of a serious-looking Marine (whom I read as a white male) leaving a building marked, “Joint Legal Assistance.]

occupyallstreets:

Marine gets no jail time in killing of 24 Iraqi civilians

Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will not serve a jail sentence following his guilty plea in the killing of 24 Iraqis in 2005, a military judge said Tuesday.

The announcement by Lt. Col. David Jones came after Wuterich took responsibility during his sentencing hearing at Camp Pendleton for the killings in the Euphrates River town of Haditha and expressed remorse to the victims’ families.

Jones said he had planned to recommend 90 days in the brig — the maximum as requested by the prosecution — but that the plea bargain approved by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser had called for no jail time.

Wuterich, 31, was the last of eight Marines charged in the Haditha killings to have his case resolved. Six had the charges against them dropped, and one Marine was acquitted.

As the squad leader, Wuterich ordered his Marines “to shoot first, ask questions later” as they stormed two houses on Nov. 19, 2005, after a roadside bomb had killed one Marine and injured two others.

Source

(via karnythia)

Dec 17, 2011

[TW: rape, suicide] Rape in the US military: 'I just screamed for them to stop' - video

jesteractivist:

Over a third of sexual trauma cases reported last year in the US military were men. Rick Tringale says he was gang raped in his dormitory during the first few weeks of training, he was 18 years old. He tried killing himself three times before being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder

(via sanityscraps)

Dec 9, 2011

"The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid."

—Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (via darkjez)

(via anedumacationisnomore)

Oct 26, 2011

Lack of Immunity Is Why US Withdrawls from Iraq

undercovernun:

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister said Saturday that U.S. troops are leaving Iraq after nearly nine years of war because Baghdad rejected American demands that any U.S. military forces to stay would have to be shielded from prosecution or lawsuits.

The comments by Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, made clear that it was Iraq who refused to let the U.S. military remain under the Americans’ terms.

A day earlier, President Barack Obama had hailed the troops’ withdrawal as the result of his commitment — promised shortly after taking office in 2009 — to end the war that he once described as “dumb.”

(emphasis mine)

May God have mercy on our souls.

(Source: azspot, via undercovernun)

Jul 28, 2011

I am utterly mortified. #killingfields

notfondofasking:

I can not believe that up until recently I hadn’t actually heard about the Genocide in Sri Lanka that happened over the course of 2008 and 2009. I finally plucked up the courage to watch this a channel 4 documentary called ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. It has genuine footage from civilians of them being shelled, shot at, injured and dead in massive numbers that the Sri Lankan Government has rejected and claimed that is it not real footage but a lie. Even after a official UN report earlier this year. 

A few terrifying facts;

  • the title ‘Killing fields’ comes from how the Government would announce ‘no fire zones’ wait for civilians to arrive in their masses and shell them constantly
  • 40,000 people were killed in the last few weeks [death toll is uncertain]
  • there were 400,000 people made homeless and fleeing their cities
  • war crimes have been committed by the Government of Sri Lanka such as execution on prisoners of war [i.e. murder], rape, abuse, torture and bombing of hospitals [consistently].
  • those who surrendered were also shot point blank
  • the man behind it all is still President of Sri Lanka
  • the Sri Lankan Government has support from China who provided heavy artillery air crafts as well as support from Russia and Pakistan.
  •  in 1983 1/2 million Tamils fled but 800,000 populated Sri Lanka - 1999 mass graves were found - 600 people went missing 
  • Year 2000 Massacre 
  • by 2009 the Tamil population had fallen to half of what it was in 1983. Since the massacre it is uncertain how many are left as there is no official figure

Three things you should please make the time to do;

  1. Watch the documentary linked above if you can [I’m not sure if you can watch it outside the UK] If you are not able to watch it there is a youtube link here which summaries what the show is about as well as this description provided by Channel 4; 

    Jon Snow presents a forensic investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers.

    With disturbing and distressing descriptions and film of executions, atrocities and the shelling of civilians the programme features devastating new video evidence of war crimes - some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

    Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps; and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

    The film is made and broadcast as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faces growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into ‘credible allegations’ that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

    In April 2011, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts, which concluded that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces.

    It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

    This film provides powerful evidence that will lend new urgency to the panel’s call for an international inquiry to be mounted, including harrowing interviews with eye-witnesses, new photographic stills, official Sri Lankan army video footage, and satellite imagery.

    Also examined in the film are some of the horrific atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tigers, who used civilians as human shields.

    Channel 4 News has consistently reported on the bloody denouement of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields presents a further damning account of the actions of Sri Lankan forces, in a war that the government still insists was conducted with a policy of Zero Civilian Casualties.

    The film raises serious questions about the consequences if the UN fails to act, not only with respect to Sri Lanka but also to future violations of international law.

    You can follow the programme on Twitter using #KillingFields 
  2. Read the information provided on this facebook group which is very well put together ……. here
  3. Sign this petition 

We need to help those who need it most. These people are living in fear/poverty and injustice.

EDIT: Total killed so far 100,000

(Source: )