31 July 2008

I Support the Military Personnel of the USA

I want to insert the fact that I am not "anti-troop." I support American Soldiers and I take great pity on all military personnel who are convinced and coerced into enabling an unjust and unlawful operation. In fact, I am "pro-troop." I don't want our troops to be put in harm's way without a damn good reason for doing so.

I ask that those who are responsible for the illegal invasion and occupation be held responsible. Who is responsible? Well, it's the sources of the lies and obfuscation about the war themselves - those prominent members of the Bush Administration who repeatedly told the People of the USA, the Congress and USA Military Personnel lies upon lies and falsehoods upon falsehoods in order to conjure up a war that is in their personal private interests.

They conjured a war to fulfill their idea of national interest - which is global dominance. But there is no way that global domination is in the true best interests of the USA. And thousands of soldiers have died - hundreds of thousands have likely been wounded (for more on this please see the website for Vincent Bugliosi's new book: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder). Which is not to belittle the fact that millions of Iraqis have been killed and now suffer as a result.

Those who foisted this wrongful, ill begotten war of aggression deserve to be held accountable. Let them know that I oppose the war, and I simultaneously support the American soldier - I don't want my fellow Americans to be used for idiotic wars of imperialism. I know that Iraq didn't threaten the USA. So stop the war now! Stop the use of public ports for illegal wars of aggression and private interest!

Photos of USNS Brittin in Port of Tacoma

Here's a link to photos of USNS Brittin in the Port of Tacoma: http:// www.flickr.com /photos /rwhitlock /sets /72157606476390567 /

30 July 2008

Stop the Illegal and Unjust War in Iraq

The US Military is again caught moving vehicles of foreign aggression. Port Militarization Resistance Activists have spotted the USNS Brittin at the Port of Tacoma off-loading Stryker Vehicles.

I look forward to following the most recent confrontation between the agents of oppression in the wrongful policy of global dominance as it is being executed in the occupation of Iraq - and protesters who demand accountability and the end to aggression.

Stop the Illegal and Unjust War in Iraq

29 July 2008

Karl Rove Arrest Attempt

[UPDATE Wednesday July 30th: the House Judiciary Committee has voted to recommend holding Karl Rove in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena to appear and testify. Apparently, the contempt charge will move to the full house for a vote.]

Human Rights Peace Activists attempted to arrest Karl Rove for his alleged criminal involvement in various frauds and abuses of power during his time in the White House:
go to original

Group Attempts Citizen's Arrest Of Karl Rove

July 28, 2008 8:28 a.m. EST

Amy Beeman - AHN

Des Moines, Iowa (AHN) -- Four people were arrested Friday for attempting to make a citizen's arrest on Karl Rove.

The group of three Catholic workers and a retired Methodist minister and Peace and Justice Advocate were cited for trespassing and released after trying to enter the Wakonda Country Club in Des Moines where Rove was scheduled to speak at a Republican Fundraiser.

The small group were acting under Iowa law that states private citizens have a responsibility to arrest someone if they believe a felony has been committed. That person is then turned over to police officials and a judge for formal indictment. Under the law a federal judge must evaluate the charges and decide if an indictment should be made.

This is the second attempt by two members of the group to arrest Rove, whom many believe should be held accountable, along with other members of the Bush administration, for war crimes, murder and lies to the public related to the Iraq war.

The retired minister, Rev. Chet Guinn, 80, told reporters who were on site for the pre-arranged arrest that everyone who remains silent when major crimes are being committed against all humanity becomes an accomplice.

Daily Wisdom from The Dalai Lama

I regularly read from a book of daily wisdom that is composed of quotes from HHDL. I want to share today's. It's about Karma, and Cause and Effect:

July 29th
One of the characteristics of karmic theory is that there is a definite, commensurate relationship between cause and effect. There is no way that negative actions or unwholesome deeds can result in joy and happiness. Joy and happiness, by definition, are the results or fruits of wholesome actions. So from that point of view, it is possible for us to admire not so much the immediate action, but the real causes of joy.
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

from The Path to Tranquility, compiled and edited by Renuka Singh

27 July 2008

McCain v. Obama on Iran

What's the biggest issue for me in US politics? Foreign Policy. I believe that the foreign policy of the USA has a trickle down effect over domestic society, and I also believe that the foreign policy dictate and subsequent actions of my government have tremendous and profound impacts upon the whole of human society around the world.

The most important issue for me in the coming months, and as it relates to the presidential race between John McCain and Barak Obama, is the issue of Iran and its alleged clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Both candidates offer similar rhetoric on Iran: that it cannot be allowed to possess WMD in the form of nuclear armament. But is there credible evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program? Or is the rhetoric bellicose and belligerent and tending towards provocation and aggression? Already, a 'silent' act war has been declared in the desire to enact and erect a military blockade against Iran.

In the fierce desire to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon device, many in positions of power have embraced the far-flung opinion that Iran should not have the right to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear technologies - as it has expressly stated is its only intention - that of the creation of nuclear energy.

So, this position on Iran is dangerous. It says, we don't like you and we don't trust you, so we say that you can't have nuclear technology. Ours is okay, but yours is not. We are good and you are bad. This is the wrong type of thinking if we want to create a peaceful world. The position on Iran of both McCain and Obama is belligerent and tends toward aggression.

Iran has expressly and officially and repeatedly denied its interest in obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran is party to multiple international anti-nuclear weapon agreements. There is no evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program as of now, when I am writing this. So can we attack a foreign country just because we think it has weapons that we don't want it to have?

The position of the USA is so weak on this front for a number of reasons. One of which is that the USA is not party to many of the currently circulating nuclear weapons anti-proliferation treaties in the world today.

But basically, this policy toward Iran reeks of the global dominance manifesto. This is a policy where the supposed 'national interest' (i.e. as in it relates to energy policy, remember oil is the foundation of the economy) justifies bullying and taking without asking. The "Take without Asking" foreign policy is unworkable.

When deciding between McCain and Obama, I have no choice. Both are bombers. "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" - Let it rain (reign?) John McCain"

Obama is, apparently, prone to bombing in order to entertain foreign policy, as well.

This is belligerent hostile rhetoric, given the absence of clear and present evidence of a nuclear weapons program; it is just plain wrong.

The right thing to do is to talk. Enter into dialogue with Iran. With all of the connected interests. Increase understanding. Increase trust. True and lasting Peace can only be attained through nonviolent means - through the promotion of mutual respect, cooperative efforts, respect, altruism and mutual interests.

So, tell me, who should I vote for in three months?

- signed by me, feeling disenfranchised in America

[p.s. Further, even if there was credible - undeniable - evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt of an Iranian clandestine nuclear weapons program, there must be further reason to believe that Iran poses an imminent threat of offensive use of those weapons, in order to justify any adversarial military action.

It is not enough to have evidence of a nuclear weapon, to justify attack. There must also be clear and specific intent to use the weapon in an offensive and physically harmful capacity. - And even in that extreme scenario, there must be UN Security Council agreement to legally (and morally) wage what would then be a "pre-emptive" attack.

Just because a foreign nation (like Iran) might possess weapons that our government (speaking of the USA) doesn't like doesn't give our government (USA) the right to attack it.

To attack: First there must be evidence of a weapons program beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. Second there must be evidence of a specific imminent threat that said weapons are to be used in an aggressive, hostile / offensive manner. Third, there must be Security Council approval prior to any initiation of "pre-emptive" action.

Otherwise, in the absence of those prerequisites, it is clear - that it is the USA that would be the aggressor.

read something supportive and similar:pull the plug on the war state by charley reese]

26 July 2008

Photos from Trip to Bermuda

I posted a lot of photos (over 400) from my recent Bermuda visit. Check them out: www.flickr.com/photos/rwhitlock/sets/72157606370057712/

Setting Sun with Clouds

Law and Morality, Truth, Love, Peace and Justice

Yesterday at a peace vigil, which I regularly participate in, I was holding a sign that reads, The War is Illegal. I believe that it is true that the war is illegal, because if President Bush did as we can rightly assume he did, based on obvious evidence that exists in the public realm, to intentionally - knowingly and deliberately - mislead Americans about the nature of a threat from Iraq, then he broke the law - egregiously and grievously. Thousands of people have died and suffer as a result.

The war is illegal because members of the Bush Administration took the USA to war based on fraudulent representation of a threat posed by Iraq. They took us to war on a lie. Thousands of soldiers have been killed and many thousands more now suffer grievous injury to mind and body. The situation of the people of Iraq is even worse.

Laws are based on morality. The search for a moral, ethical and benign society is what (supposedly and ideally) dictates the formation of law. Furthermore, Morals are based in essential principles like Love, Truth, Peace and Justice.

So, while holding my sign, which read the war is illegal, I did my best to feel Love toward my fellow human beings. I liked the effects. People seemed to respond and really take notice and appreciate me and the sign I was holding. You might try something similar in your life. Try to feel Love (platonic is usually the preferred sort) toward your fellow human beings - in all of your interactions. Maybe treat it like an experiment. See if you get along better while maintaining a feeling of Love toward others.

24 July 2008

Back from Travels

Hey, I am back from major travels. I went to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and then to Bermuda. It was a good two weeks. Lots of stories to share - I don't know where to start!, and I took a lot of photographs.

Anyway, I am back in Olympia and gearing up to restart! I do feel refreshed from the travels, though I am certainly tired out and looking forward to getting more energy as I get back into a routine. On my list of things to do is finding employment and cleaning my room and getting going with an exercise routine again. I am looking forward to plugging back in to Olympia!

I pulled some garlic out of the front lawn garden at my girlfriend's house. check it out:

It looks a lot better now that Ana cleaned it up, I haven't photographed the clean bulbs yet though.

I am looking forward to posting more photos, and possibly more stories, from the travels! Stay tuned.

09 July 2008

Travel July 2008

I flew from Washington State to Minnesota today. I was up at, in the words of my cousin Nathaniel (aka Hans 'n' Frans), the "buttcrack" (of dawn.) Anyway, I had tons of time to kill at the airport, and snoozed in the sun until a young Navy Enlistee named Evan sat down near me and struck up a conversation. He's on leave for a week and was traveling from Whidbey Island to MN for a family reunion of sorts; his father is getting re-married. He is looking to go into special forces and start training for Navy Seals. He chose Navy because he says that the Seals are the toughest special forces. So it was a good conversation, and I am proud of myself for not saying anything rude or anti-war. One of the things I thought was interesting was how the Navy treats garbage. Evan has served on-board an aircraft carrier (and is scheduled to redeploy to the Persian Gulf later this year.) He said that the Navy policy for garbage is to cram it into 50 gallon corrosion resistant (coated) steel drums and dump them overboard, whereby they sink to the bottom of the ocean. Also, he said that the policy is to burn plastic and paper. Burning plastic. That can't be good! Anyway, it was nice to meet you Evan, and best wishes for your special forces pursuits - I hope it works out for the best for you.

After getting into Minneapolis, I took the new LRT (light rail transit) train from the airport to downtown MPLS. Then I managed to lug all of my gear onto a bus and make the two mile trip uptown to my folks' apartment. So it's good to be here, visiting. Weather's great.

I took some pictures from the flight, I am going to look at them now and post any good ones to flickr (link). The air was hazy the whole way from Seattle to MPLS. I presume it's from the fires in California. But wow, that's a lot of smoke! The whole country is hazed up.

On the flight I also had a chance to bore into a significant amount of Vincent Bugliosi's new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Bugliosi presents a stark and profound argument against George W. Bush. This book is definitely essential reading if you care about the war and the state of government in the USA.

That's the update. Peace. and Love. and Understanding.

07 July 2008

Turse: Bush Administration Getting it Done on Iraq Oil

From TomDispatch.com:
Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Bush Administration Strikes Oil in Iraq

How Many Lives Per Gallon? …and speaking of oil, just when we were barely getting used to Big Oil and Iraq hitting the front pages of American newspapers in tandem, here comes Afghanistan! Who now remembers that delegation of Taliban officials, shepherded by Unocal ("We're an oil and gas company. We go where the oil and gas is…"), back in 1999, that made an all-expenses paid visit to the U.S. There was even that side trip to Mt. Rushmore, while the company (with U.S. encouragement) was negotiating a $1.9 billion pipeline that would bring Central Asian oil and natural gas through Afghanistan to Pakistan? Oh, an! d who was a special consultant to Unocal on the prospective deal? Zalmay Khalilzad, our present neocon ambassador to the U.N., George W. Bush's former viceroy of Kabul and then Baghdad, and a rumored future "Afghan" presidential candidate.

Those pipeline negotiations only broke down definitively in August 2001, one month before, well, you know… and, as Toronto's Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin put it, "Washington was furious, leading to speculation it might take out the Taliban. After 9/11, the Taliban, with good reason, were removed -- and pipeline planning continued with the Karzai government. U.S. forces installed bases near Kandahar, where the pipeline was to run. A key motivation for the pipeline was to block a competing bid involving Iran, a charter member of the 'axis of evil.'"

Well, speak of the dead and not-quite-buried. It turns out that, in April, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (acronymically TAPI) signed a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement to build a U.S.-backed $7.6 billion pipeline. It would, of course, bypass Iran and new energy giant Russia, carrying Turkmeni natural gas and oil to Pakistan and India. Construction would, theoretically, begin in 2010. Put the emphasis on "theoretically," because the pipeline is, once again, to run straight through Kandahar and so directly into the heartland of the Taliban insurgency.

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times caught the spirit of the moment perfectly: "The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which cannot even provide security for a few streets in central Kabul, has engaged in Hollywood-style suspension of disbelief by assuring unsuspecting customers it will not only get rid of millions of land mines blocking TAPI's route, it will get rid of the Taliban themselves." Nonetheless, as in Iraq, American (and NATO) troops could one day be directly protecting (and dying for) the investments of Big Oil in a new version of the old imperial "Great Game" with a special modern emphasis on pipeline politics.

There has been a flurry of reportage on the revived pipeline plan in Canada, where -- bizarrely enough -- journalists and columnists actually worry about such ephemeral possibilities as Canadian troops spending the next half century protecting Turkmeni energy. If you happen to live in the U.S., though, you would really have no way of knowing about such developments, no less their backstory, unless you were wandering the foreign press online.

Nick Turse, author of the indispensable new book, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, considers the Iraq oil story that did, at last, hit the mainstream news here (only a few years late in the Great Game) and offers suggestions for mainstream reporters now ready to pursue the story wherever it leads, even back into an ignored, and oily, past. Tom

The Iraqi Oil Ministry's New Fave Five
All the Oil News That's Fit to Print (Attn: The New York Times)
By Nick Turse

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Peace Vigil and Protest of Nuclear Weapons (especially as they exist in an offensive capacity)

I returned yesterday from a the 50th Annual Western Washington (regional - Oregon included) Fellowship of Reconciliation Conference at Seabeck. It was a great weekend and I learned a lot about the activist community. I had fun and enjoyed the company of so many dedicated Peace and Justice activists. After the conference, a group of us drove a few miles North to the main gate of the Naval Base Kitsap Bangor for a peace vigil. I just uploaded some photos from that, but the set will eventually grow to include some from the rest of the weekend's festivities.

I held a sign that read, "This is an act of Love."

Think about it - we can choose to act out of either love, or fear. I choose love.

03 July 2008

Marine in Afghanistan to US Civilians: Do what you can to get us out of here


Here's a great segment, I was impressed by a statement from a Marine at about 4 minutes and 22 seconds into the program. The Marine says (I'm paraphrasing): My question is for the civilians. What are you doing? What are you doing to get us out of here?

Check it out for yourself.

40 Years after the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and Global Climate Disruption

From Democracy Now!:
Forty Years After Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, US Tops World in Nuke Arsenal

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, when nuclear powers agreed to eventually eliminate their nuclear weapons, and non-nuclear states agreed not to seek to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Forty years later, there are 189 signatories to the treaty and nine nuclear armed states in the world. The United States and Russia still have the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. We speak with Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund and author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons.
And also, climate disruption caused by anthropogenic forces:
Leading scientist John Holdren says ‘global warming’ is not the correct term to use, he prefers ‘global disruption.’ “Global warming] is misleading, it implies something that is mainly about temperature, that’s gradual, and that’s uniform across the planet,” says Holdren. “In fact, temperature is only one of the things that’s changing it’s sort of an index of the state of the climate. The whole climate is changing: the winds, the ocean currents, the storm patterns, snowpack, snowmelt, flooding, droughts—temperature is just a bit of it.”

As we continue our discussion on global warming, I am joined here in Aspen by one of the country’s top scientists, John Holdren. He is Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is also the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and just completed a term as board chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During the 1990s he advised President Clinton as a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition to global warming, John Holdren’s research has focused on energy technology, nuclear nonproliferation and arms control.

John Holdren, professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and just completed a term as board chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

02 July 2008

Conflict in Israel/Palestine: How the Establishment Media Distorts Reality

I subscribe to Jewish Peace News, which I believe provides an important perspective, and a truly critical analysis, on some of the current issues surrounding the states of Palestine and Israel. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is one of the most pressing issues of the day. These are two different groups of people who are each struggling, albeit in different ways and for different purposes. It is essential, for a just resolution of the conflict, to have access to the most complete set of information possible, and to represent the reality on the ground truthfully and accurately. The portrayal of the conflict in news stories and articles must strive toward objectivity, and it must keep away from promoting the agenda of one of either of the groups - for example, by omitting relevant facts and details. The following is from JPN:
An article yesterday (June 30) in the New York Times included this update on the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza: “The deal, mediated by Egypt, has been violated by dissident Palestinian groups that have fired rockets or mortar shells at Israel.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/world/middleeast/30mideast.html)

The following news item gives an account of other violations, most of which came from Israel and most of which preceded the rocket attack on Sderot on June 24th.

Judith Norman

UN: Israel violated truce 7 times in one week
By: Roi Mandel
27 June 2008


Since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the Palestinian factions have been recorded, a UN source told Ynet on Thursday [June 26th]. According to the source, seven violations were committed by the IDF, while the Palestinians are responsible for just one.

However the UN report does not include the Qassam fire launched towards the Negev during the day. ‘It is important that both sides honor the ceasefire, in order for it to be the first constructive step towards a wider and more extensive peace process between the sides,’ the source said.

Most of the offences committed by the IDF include shots fired by soldiers at Palestinian farmers attempting to reach their land near the border security fence. According to the UN, on June 20 an IDF patrol shot at Palestinian farmers near the fence east of Rafah. The soldiers fired for ten minutes in order to drive the farmers away, but no injuries were reported.