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COLUMN 101, JANUARY 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
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MUSICIANS MOBILIZE AGAINST BUSH
Subject: Rockers Unite to Oust Bush
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 23:19:44 -0500
Rockers Unite to Oust Bush
Moby, Henley, Matthews ask fans to "get involved"
by Damien Cave
Rolling Stone - November 26, 2003
Bruce Springsteen told a crowd of 50,000 New Yorkers on October 4th to "shout a little louder if you want the president impeached." Two weeks later, John Mellencamp posted an open letter to America on his Web
site, declaring, "We have been lied to and terrorized by our own government, and it is time to take action." Meanwhile, Moby, Eddie Vedder and Michael Stipe are organizing a TV-ad campaign that will run anti-Bush commercials during the week of the State of the Union address in January; Dave Matthews is railing against the war in Iraq in interviews; and at press time, at least three multiband rock tours planned to take aim at Bush-administration policies. Green Day, NOFX, Tom Morello, Dixie Chicks, Don Henley, Willie Nelson and Steve Earle have all played (or plan to play) for political candidates or causes.
Hip-hop stars have also gotten involved. "We have a voice and a responsibility to speak out," says Jay-Z, a member of Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit, which aims to register 4 million voters before the 2004 election. "People listen to us."
Welcome to the increasingly partisan world of popular music---where President George W. Bush is a marked man. Thirty major artists interviewed for this story cited many concerns: U.S. policy on Iraq, the Patriot Act, the Bush administration's assault on the environment, the economy and the media. But they all agreed that as the 2004 presidential election gets closer, it is time to mobilize. "The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," says Moby. Adds Lou Reed, "We must all unite and work for whomever opposes Bush, regardless of whatever differences we may have. Our motto: Anything but Bush." ##
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IS U.S. ARMY BECOMING 'ARMY OF ONE'?
Subject: Army Reserve battling an exodus: War is seen as drain on ranks
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 13:12:20 -0500
Army Reserve battling an exodus. War is seen as drain on ranks
By Robert Schlesinger
Boston Globe -- Nov. 23,2003
WASHINGTON -- The US Army Reserve fell short of its reenlistment goals this fiscal year, underscoring
Pentagon fears that the protracted conflict in Iraq could cause a crippling exodus from the armed services.
The Army Reserve has missed its retention goal by 6.7 percent, the second shortfall since fiscal 1997. It was
largely the result of a larger than expected exodus of career reservists, a loss of valuable skills because such staff members are responsible for training junior officers and operating complex weapons systems.
"The Army has invested an enormous amount of money in training these people, and they're very hard to replace," said John Pike of globalsecurity.org, an independent research group in Washington. With extended deployments and increasingly deadly attacks by Iraqi guerrillas, Defense Department officials are scrambling to combat a broader downturn in retention and recruitment that they fear is on the horizon.
The US Army, the primary service deployed in Iraq, is offering reenlistment bonuses of $5,000 for soldiers
serving there. The Army National Guard is extending an official thank-you to members by arranging services to
honor returning soldiers. The Massachusetts National Guard is offering rewards ranging from plaques to
NASCAR tickets to members who lure recruits. And throughout the branches, recruitment advertising is up
and programs are being launched to make the military seem more family-friendly. ##
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U.S. EXPORTS TOYS FOR TORTURE
Subject: Amnesty Int'l Report: The Pain Merchants
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 23:32:19 -0500
For Immediate Release: Contact: Alistair Hodgett
December 2, 2003 (202) 544-0200 x 302
Amnesty International Report: US Exports $20 million of Shackles, Electro-Shock Technology Expanding Global Trade Supplies States US Condemned for Torture
(Washington, DC) " A new Amnesty International report charges that in 2002, the Bush Administration violated the spirit of its own export policy and approved the sale of equipment implicated in torture to Yemen,
Jordan, Morocco and Thailand, despite the countries' documented use of such weapons to punish, mistreat and inflict torture on prisoners. The US is also alleged to have handed suspects in the 'war on terror' to the
same countries. The total value of US exports of electro-shock weapons was $14.7 million in 2002 and exports of restraints totaled $4.4 million in the same period. The Commerce and State Departments approved these sales, permitting 45 countries to purchase electro-shock technology, including 19 that had been cited for the use of such weapons to inflict torture since 1990. ##
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U.S. AIMED CLUSTER BOMBS AT CIVILIANS
Subject: Cluster Bombs Kill Civilians, US Troops in Iraq
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 00:22:50 -0500
Cluster bombs kill in Iraq, even after shooting ends
By Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY
Posted 12/10/2003 11:55 PM
BAGHDAD -- The little canisters dropped onto the city, white ribbons trailing behind. They clattered into streets, landed in lemon trees, rattled around on roofs, settled onto lawns.
When Jassim al-Qaisi saw the canisters the size of D batteries falling on his neighborhood just before 7 a.m. April 7, he laughed and asked himself: "Now what are the Americans throwing on our heads?" The strange objects were fired by U.S. artillery outside Baghdad as U.S. forces approached the Iraqi capital. In the span of a few minutes, they would kill four civilians in the al-Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad and send al-Qaisi's teenage son to the hospital with metal fragments in his foot.
The deadly objects were cluster bomblets, small explosives packed by the dozens or hundreds into bombs,
rockets or artillery shells known as cluster weapons. When these weapons were fired on Baghdad on April 7,
many of the bomblets failed to explode on impact. They were picked up or stumbled on by their victims. The four who died in the al-Dora neighborhood that day lived a few blocks from al-Qaisi's house. Rashid Majid,
58, who was nearsighted, stepped on an unexploded bomblet around the corner from his home. The explosion
ripped his legs off. As he lay bleeding in the street, another bomblet exploded a few yards away, instantly killing three young men, including two of Majid's sons -- Arkan, 33, and Ghasan, 28. "My sons! My sons!" Majid called out. He died a few hours later.
The deaths occurred because the world's most modern military, one determined to minimize civilian casualties, went to war with stockpiles of weapons known to endanger civilians and its own soldiers. The weapons claimed victims in the initial explosions and continued to kill afterward, as Iraqis and U.S. forces accidentally detonated bomblets lying around like small land mines. A four-month examination by USA TODAY of how cluster bombs were used in the Iraq war found dozens of deaths that were unintended but predictable. Although U.S. forces sought to limit what they call "collateral damage" in the Iraq campaign, they defied international criticism and used nearly 10,800 cluster weapons; their British allies used almost 2,200. ##
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FORT BENNING ARMY SCHOOL TEACHES BRUTALITY
Subject: Hogtied and Abused at Fort Benning
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 20:45:46 -0500
Hogtied and Abused at Fort Benning
By Kathy Kelly
November 27, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
On Sunday, November 23, I took part in a nonviolent civil disobedience action at Fort Benning, GA, to protest the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation -- WHISC)
Shortly after more than two dozen of us entered Fort Benning and were arrested, US Military Police took us to a warehouse on the base for "processing." I was directed to a station for an initial search, where a woman
soldier began shouting at me to look straight ahead and spread my legs. I turned to ask her why she was shouting at me and was ordered to keep my mouth shut, look straight ahead, and spread my legs wider. She then began an aggressive body search. When ordered to raise one leg a second time, I temporarily lost my
balance while still being roughly searched and, in my view, "womanhandled." I decided that I shouldn't go along with this dehumanizing action any longer. When I lowered my arms and said, quietly, "I'm sorry, but I can't any longer cooperate with this," I was instantly pushed to the floor. Five soldiers squatted around me, one of them referring to me with an expletive (this f_ _ _ er) and began to cuff my wrists and ankles and then bind my wrists and ankles together. Then one soldier leaned on me, with his or her knee in my back. Unable to get a full breath, I gasped and moaned, "I can't breathe." I repeated this many times and then began begging for help. When I said, "Please, I've had four lung collapses before," the pressure on my back eased. Four soldiers then carried me, hogtied, to the next processing station for interrogation and propped me in a
kneeling position. The soldier standing to my left, who had been assigned to "escort" me, gently told me that soon the ankle and wrist cuffs, which were very tight, would be cut off. He politely let me know that he would have to move my hair, which was hanging in front of my face, so that my picture could be taken. I told him I?d
I was then carried to the next station. There, one of the soldiers who'd been part of pushing me to the floor knelt in front of me, and, with his nose about two inches from mine, told me that because I was combative I
should know that if I didn't do exactly as instructed when they uncuffed one hand, he would pepper spray me. I asked him to describe how I'd been combative, but he didn't answer. After the processing, I was unbound, shackled with wrist and ankle chains, and led to the section where other peaceful activists, also shackled, awaited transport to the Muskogee County jail. At our bond hearing on Monday, Nov. 24, a military prosecutor told the federal judge that the military was considering an additional charge against me for resisting arrest. I explained my side of the story to the judge, grateful that there are at least several witnesses upon whom I could call.The federal judge determined that most of us were "flight risks" and increased by 100% the cash bond required before we could be released, from last year's $500. to $1000.
Today I have a black eye and the soreness that comes with severe muscle strain. Mostly, I'm burdened with a serious question, "What are these soldiers training for?" The soldiers conducting that search must have been
ordered not to tolerate the slightest dissent. They were practicing intimidation tactics far beyond what would be needed to control an avowedly nonviolent group of protesters who had never, in thirteen years of previous actions, caused any disruption during the process of arrest. Bewildered, most of us in the "tank" inside the Muskogee County jail acknowledged that during the rough processing we wondered, "What country do we live in?" We now live in a country where Homeland Security funds pay for exercises which train military and police units to control and intimidate crowds, detainees, and arrestees using threat and force.
This morning's aches and pains, along with the memory of being hogtied, give me a glimpse into the abuses we protest by coming to Fort Benning, GA. As we explore the further invention of nonviolence in our increasingly volatile time, it's important that we jointly overcome efforts to deter our determination to stand together against what Martin Luther King once called, "the violence of desperate men," -- and women. ##
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