Protest 8 Years of War and Occupation


The Iraq war is 8 years old. Despite President Obama’s claim that combat
operations have ‘ended’, more than 50,000 troops remain, backed by tens of thousands
of mercenary private contractors. 4,436 American soldiers are dead. Some estimate that over a million Iraqis have
died, with millions more maimed and displaced. While we lay off teachers, slash social services,
and suffer skyrocketing unemployment at home, this war has cost more than $200 billion this
year alone. The occupation of Afghanistan drags on, and
has expanded into Pakistan, where hundreds of drone bombs fall, remote-controlled from
afar like a deadly video game. The US Government continues to back repressive
regimes and right-wing movements across the Middle East, Latin America and beyond, all
while claiming to support democracy and freedom. Whistle blowers and antiwar activists are
targeted by the FBI, while Muslims and immigrants are scapegoated. This year we’ve seen amazing changes come
from peaceful protests. In Egypt they toppled a dictator. In Wisconsin we’ve seen a political
awakening in hundreds of thousands of ordinary workers. Can we come together as a nation
to finally end the wars and occupation? On March 19th at noon, join us at Michigan
Avenue & Congress Parkway for a rally and march to mark eight years of war and occupation,
and to wish for peace.

Activists Plan Oct 6th Occupation in DC


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Washington. Unemployment is high and is getting higher. The wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq and Libya continue. And people have been asking, where is the American Tahrir
Square? We saw hints of it in Wisconsin, but there’s yet to be something at the national
level that challenges current public policy. Now, there are many attempts in the works,
but one of them is planning an event–or more than event, they’re planning to occupy a square
called Freedom Square in Washington, DC, in October. And now joining us to discuss this
is one of the organizers, David Swanson. David is with–I guess you’re–today you’re October
11th dot org, but you’re also with–tell us your other various websites. DAVID SWANSON: Yeah, october2011.org, and
I work for rootsaction.org, and I blog at warisacrime.org and many others. JAY: So, David, tell us what’s planned for
October. SWANSON: Well, we’re planning to model our
behavior on the actions that happened earlier this year in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt,
in Tunisia, and the actions you see in Spain and Greece and countries around the world
when governments get even a fraction as bad as ours has gotten. And so we’re going to
go to Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC–whose name is quite similar to Tahrir Square, translated–and
we’re going to occupy it, beginning October 6. And we’re going to remain and we’re going
to nonviolently interfere and shut down the offices of our government until we begin to
get some movement. You know, the actions in Egypt are very much an ongoing struggle, and
they’re very much trying to get back that momentum they had in Tahrir Square. But they
have some momentum, and that came from that activity. So we’re going to be there until
we begin to take back control of our government. JAY: What are some of the specific demands? SWANSON: Well, if you go to october2011.org,
you’ll see a list of demands at the top, at least of general themes. And there will be
more specific demands made, including getting out of Afghanistan. We’re, of course, timing
this for the end of the first decade of the war in Afghanistan, as well as for the beginning
of next year’s austerity budgets coming out of Washington. But the general themes are
the same that everybody comes up with, that the majority opinion in this country is demanding,
and that our government won’t answer to, the same demands that other more partisan and
less principled movements are making, and that is to tax the rich, to end the wars and
cut the military, to protect Social Security and give us Medicare for all, to protect workers
rights to organize and to strike and to strike in solidarity, to protect our environment,
to build our environment, to create infrastructure and green energy. It’s the same agenda that
everybody has. What’s different is the tactics we mean to employ. JAY: So what exactly do you mean by stop the
business of government? SWANSON: Well, I mean shutting down buildings
and offices and hallways and streets nonviolently–strictly nonviolently. We will have–we have a nonviolence
pledge. People are going to October 2011 and pledging to be there and to be nonviolent.
We have training sessions. But we intend not just to rally or speechify or protest or engage
in theatrical operations or to misdirect all of the anger and the frustration at one political
party or the other, but to actually take the demands of the people as a whole to the government
as a whole and stop business as usual. JAY: So you’re talking about what? Sit-ins
in offices, obstructing traffic on streets, things like this? SWANSON: All of the above, yes, absolutely.
Obviously, we’re not going to go into details here, publicly, beforehand. But beginning
October 6 and continuing until we’re satisfied that things are moving in the right direction,
there will be operations being shut down by the imposition of people’s bodies in Washington,
DC. JAY: Now, you’re going to have kind of a permanent
base there. You’re setting up tents. If people want to come find you, where are you going
to be? SWANSON: Yes, Freedom Plaza. It’s right along
Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s conveniently between the Congress and the White House. You can
go to october2011.org. You’ll find a link to a map. If you don’t know where it is, you
sign up and get information on rides and how to get there and who can help you and where
you can stay and so forth. But we will be, above all, maintaining a large occupation
in that plaza night and day. JAY: Now, you previously–I assume you still
are–were involved with Progressive Democrats of America. And you–this–which is about
trying to change the policy of the Democratic Party. The policies that you’re going in October
to try to change are policies of a government that’s controlled by the Democratic Party.
So how does this campaign relate to–what’s the relationship to the Democratic Party? SWANSON: Well, my loyalty–I can’t speak for
everyone else, but my loyalty is to the set of demands that we went through–taxing the
rich, ending the wars, cutting the military, protecting our social safety net, creating
prosperity in this country. And my loyalty is not to a political party. And that ought
to be the case for everyone across the political spectrum. Sadly, it’s not. And so you have
people like Al Gore and Keith Olbermann demanding a Tahrir Square but not building the one that’s
actually being planned. You have organizations demanding that there be protests, that there
be resistance, and putting forth agendas that are almost identical to October 2011, and
yet directing all of their protest energy exclusively at Republicans. You have progressive
groups now thrilled to be talking about Republican presidential candidates rather than about
what our government now is doing. And so there’s not any conflict for those of us who want
to impose the will of the public and this progressive agenda on our government. We’re
the people. They’re the government. I don’t care what party they’re from. You saw this
disastrous budget deal they put through, and now President Obama’s talking about more cuts
beyond that to make it even worse. This is not something that we should be standing for
for a minute, regardless of party. JAY: Well, it seems like the election campaign’s
already begun if you look at the last week of media coverage. What stance will you take
towards the election campaign? I mean, there will be at some–you know, as this gets a
little closer to the actual action and you guys in theory are still going to be camping
out over those months, what will be your attitude towards Obama and the election? SWANSON: He’s the president. We are the sovereigns
of this nation. We are the people in whose name the constitution is drafted. And he is
not representing us in the least, not on any of these points, and neither is the Congress.
It may be representing him, but it’s not representing us. And so if he wants to get reelected, he
is going to have to change. And this is not going to become a PR stunt as part of an election
campaign, as far too many protests and marches and rallies are. This is actually going to
be an occupation to resist the ongoing behavior of our government, regardless of the fact
that, yes, in another year and a half there will be another election. We can’t shut down
business as–we can’t shut down governance in between elections because, lo and behold,
there’s another election coming in a year and a half. You know, this is one of the defects
in our political system. We’re going to say, wait a minute, there is a lot of damage going
to be done in the next year and a half if we do not resist it. JAY: And what’s your attitude for some kind
of alliance? And is there discussions that have ever gone on or are going on with Ron
Paul type libertarians? And it’s an interesting thing that on foreign policy, military issues,
I would guess many of the people involved in this campaign probably agree with much
of what Ron Paul says. When it comes to domestic issues and austerity questions, you probably
don’t agree on anything. But is there anything developing in that way? SWANSON: It’s–you know, it’s a tough call.
If Ron Paul were president, we would have to fight tooth and nail for the social good,
but we wouldn’t have to resist the Empire. Now we have to do both, right? So arguably
it’s worse. And so I love to work with libertarians around issues where we agree, which is principally
wars and the military and the Empire. I just was on antiwar.com radio, which is a wonderful
place. And yet on most of the agenda that this occupation is putting forward we disagree.
And so it comes down to individual choice. If you believe it’s more important to join
with this mass movement opposing these wars, opposing this empire, even if you disagree
with us on lots of other points, then please, by all means, be there. But this is not an
agenda that’s been designed to build those bridges. This is an agenda pulling from vast
majority opinion in this country, which is, of course, not libertarian; it’s just diverted
into partisanship so that it’s demobilized. This is a majority–. JAY: Why do you think that vast majority opinion
doesn’t reflect itself in who gets elected? I mean, we know about the role of money and
advertising. But is there still not still a weakness in terms of how people that agree
with you communicate with the mass population? Because on a lot of these issues, people,
majority opinion, it’s not so clear when they come to vote. SWANSON: Well, the biggest weakness, I’ve
said many times, is our communication system. And I’ll say it again: support therealnews.com JAY: Hey, I’m happy to get it, but I wasn’t
fishing here. SWANSON: I know you’re not asking me to say
this, but I’m saying it. This is the weakest link is the lack of a decent communication
system and of outlets like this one. Beyond that, there are–you know, the money is a
huge factor, the lack of ballot access, the gerrymandering, the unverifiable voting machines.
I mean, we need an endless list of reforms that I’ve written about in my book, Daybreak.
We need all of those reforms if elections are going to reflect public opinion. But public
opinion nonetheless is free to represent itself between elections, and it’s people’s loyalty
being given to political parties that waters that down more than anything else, I think
more than the influence of the corporate media. JAY: When I look at the list of demands for
the October event, there doesn’t seem to be a real highlight about gathering and dealing
with the unemployed. It’s kind of–like, I’m looking here. It’s kind of mentioned with
workers rights, create jobs. But, you know, speaking to and trying to rally people who
are out of jobs–and, you know, we saw, you know, these pictures of people lining up for
free dental work ’cause they’ve lost their medical plans. And why not more of a focus
on that? SWANSON: Well, everyone always wants more
of a focus on something. And, you know, people who run websites understand this, that they
end up bolding and highlighting one thing and then asked to do it the same for everything
else. So we tried to lay out the basic, general agenda of broad points there at the top of
the website. We’re in favor of full employment. At Roots Action, we’re pushing John Conyers’
bill for full employment, which is actually the law, that Congress and the president are
required to create jobs, and are not doing it, and nobody’s talking about it. You know,
we are supporting workers’ rights and the right to organize. And so, you know, this
is the agenda is let’s end the wars where all the money is going and let’s put the money
into useful things that create jobs. And this is the thrust of it. JAY: Thanks very much or joining us, David. SWANSON: Thank you, Paul. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

U.S. Government is Manufacturing a War With Iran



[Applause] welcome to the Kenny McDonald show it's well-known that the US has a long history of manufacturing Wars going back to the USS Maine explosion in Havana Harbor which had nothing to do with Spain but it was used to thrust the u.s. into the spanish-american war then the Germans sunk the Lusitania which garnered American support to enter World War one but the Germans repeatedly warned America and even took out full-page ads in American newspapers warning Americans not to get on the Lusitania which was a British ship that would be a German target then there's the Gulf of Tonkin incident where one alleged incident never even occurred and the other incident resulted in no American casualties and a single bullet hole in the side of the USS Maddox the government's exaggeration of the Gulf of Tonkin incidents was enough to sink us deeper into the Vietnam quagmire fast forward to Iraqi soldiers allegedly throwing babies out of incubators before the first Gulf War which was an absurd story that was simply false but did its job in convincing Americans to support intervention in the Gulf who could forget the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein never had before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the chemical weapons allegedly used by the Syrian government a claim that even for the former Secretary of Defense James Madison that there was no evidence that the Syrian government was responsible and now here we go again the u.s. is manufacturing yet another war in the Middle East this time with Iran the most recent escalation is the response to Iran shooting down a hundred-million-dollar unmanned US drone Iran took responsibility for shooting down the drone and claimed that the drone was flying in Iranian airspace while the United States claimed that the drone was in international airspace either way the drone is in the region to spy on Iran and to provoke a response from the Iranian government who was painted by the American media as an irrational rogue state however Iran demonstrated restraint on Thursday a commander in the Iranian Air Force claims it could have shot down an American p8 aircraft carrying a crew of 35 people that also entered Iranian airspace but the Iranian military decided not to fire on the American aircraft because it did not want to provoke a major escalation in the standoff the shot down drone comes on the heels of two attacks on Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman the attacks may have been conducted by Iran but there is no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks on the oil tankers and Iran has denied responsibility nonetheless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately responded to the oil tanker attacks by pinning the blame on Iran without a shred of evidence to support his accusation it's well known that Iran has adopted a position that if they cannot export their oil they will see to it that no one else can either but we still don't know who was behind the attack that resulted in zero casualties but that doesn't matter to the US government they're just trying to build a case for war Pompeyo who is supposed to be our top diplomat will use any opportunity he can get to pin blame on Iran so that he can get what he wants which is support for a war of diplomatic so now we were manufacturing the catalyst event for war with Iran trying to provoke Iran and if that doesn't work making shit up until something sticks but this war is being manufactured on multiple fronts the first is to provoke Iran into an incident that will allow the US government to gain public support for the war the second front is to create a situation where Iran is forced to break the joint comprehensive plan of action which is the Iran nuclear deal Iran announced on June 17th that it is approaching the maximum allowable uranium stockpiles to be clear Iran is not enriching to weapons-grade uranium and they never have in fact every American intelligence agency concluded in 2007 and again in 2011 that Iran did not have a secret nuclear weapons program and if such a program ever existed it was discontinued in 2003 that might come as a shocker if you tuned in to Sean Hannity often additionally Iran threatened to exceed the 3.67 percent uranium enrichment which is the maximum allowable enrichment according to the nuclear agreement but Iran is not threatening to enrich anywhere near the 90% which is what is considered weapons-grade enrichment Iran also warned that it will exceed its hundred and 30 tonne limit of heavy water which is used in nuclear with reactors but this violation is largely because the Trump administration stopped purchasing heavy water from Iran and then prevented every other country from purchasing it as well the International Atomic Energy Agency commonly referred to as IAEA has consistently stated that Iran has thus far upheld its commitments to the nuclear deal despite the Trump administration's withdrawal from the deal in May of 2018 so why is Iran suddenly making statements about breaking its commitment to the countries still in the deal because the United States is squeezing Iran to death with crippling sanctions and the remaining countries in the agreement cannot do anything to help when the u.s. withdrew from the nuclear deal last year the Trump administration placed heavy sanctions on Iran then on may 2nd of this year the United States ended all exemptions on its sanctions on Iranian oil which means no country can purchase oil from Iran also in May trump signed an executive order placing sanctions on iranian steel aluminum and copper five countries remain in the nuclear deal with Iran but the u.s. sanctions have made the deal essentially useless for the Iranians because the deal was made to monitor Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief now the US has imposed sanctions that the five remaining countries cannot get around not only did the United States withdraw from the nuclear agreement it used its power to destroy the integrity of the agreement between those who still remained in it the sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy causing a depression and price inflation as always the effects of the sanctions hit people the hardest they prevent the people from acquiring the basic necessities of life such as medical supplies and food sanction is just a nice neat word for economic warfare against civilian populations Trump's maximum pressure campaign is an attempt to starve poor people so much that they demand a change in their own government this is a strategy that has not worked in the past and is unlikely to work now in addition to not being very effective sanctions are psychopathic and sick if the American people understood the suffering caused by American sanctions they would be horrified so the question is not why is iran threatening to break their end of the nuclear deal the question is why would I ran stay committed to a deal when the benefits that were promised to them cannot be upheld when it comes time that Iran does break the deal the US will predictably criticize Iran for breaking a deal that the u.s. broke over a year ago this hypocrisy would be comical if the stakes weren't so high another front in this war manufacturing is where the Trump administration is going to find authorization for war with Iran because Congress is certainly not going to vote for this war the Constitution was designed to prevent government rodents like Pompeo and john bolton from dragging the American people into Wars but too Secretary of State Mike Pompeo authorization is not a problem he believes the 2001 authorization of military force is a blank check for war the 2001 authorization was passed after 9/11 and designed to hunt down those responsible for the 9/11 attacks how could that possibly apply to a war with Iran well according to Michigan congresswoman elisa slatkin members of Congress were briefed by Pompeo on how the 2001 authorization would be used to backdoor the United States into a war with Iran apparently it's pretty easy just like the Bush administration did in Iraq the US government would fabricate a connection between al-qaeda and Iran the problem with that of course is that there is no connection and any claim otherwise wouldn't fool a third grader first Iran is Shia and al-qaeda al-qaeda is Sunni now that's certainly not a full argument but it's important to know Iran has supported terrorist organizations in the Middle East such as Hezbollah but they have also been countering al Qaeda and al Qaeda like groups in the region Iran like the United States was in support of the northern alliance in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban Iran supported Pro Iraqi government militias that fought on the same side as the United States against al Qaeda in Iraq and again Isis al Qaeda like groups have never been friends with the Iranian regime in Tehran and they have even conducted attacks on government buildings within Iran the connections the US government is trying to make are laughable examples of people associated with al Qaeda who have resided in Iran if the u.s. held the same standard everywhere then every country in the Middle East is connected to al Qaeda and thus the u.s. can go to war anywhere they please under the 2001 authorization interestingly the al Qaeda like groups have been more friendly to Iran's biggest regional adversary Saudi Arabia who is supposedly one of America's most important allies in the region Hillary Clinton's emails revealed by WikiLeaks showed that the Saudis were actively supporting Isis in the group's infancy now there were Shia militias that were not al Qaeda that the u.s. fought against in Iraq Iran may have supported some of these militias but the connection between those groups and Iran is unclear many in the u.s. claimed that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism which I don't necessarily think is true and if you examine what groups Iran does support none of them threaten the United States Iran's proxies are groups that counter their regional adversaries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel so while the u.s. is trying to lay blame for American deaths on our in Iraq on Iran they are turning a blind eye to the known Saudi government links to Isis who were beheading American journalists on camera despite Saudi Arabia's connection to our enemies the u.s. continued to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Saudis responsibility for American deaths only bothers the US government when it's convenient no one ever raised a big stink about Pakistan recruiting funding and training the Taliban during the US war in Afghanistan in fact we kept sending billions of dollars a year to Pakistan as well pretending that the 2001 authorization of military force somehow authorizes a war with Iran is an outrageous notion and should be rejected by the American people so who is the aggressor here the United States has a long history of belligerence towards Iran many in the media will have you believe that US relations with Iran started in 1979 when Iran took US hostages but if we go back further the CIA overthrew democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 and installed the Shah who ruled as an oppressive dictator puppet of the u.s. until 1979 following the Iranian Revolution the u.s. encouraged Iraq to invade Iran which they did in one of the bloodiest Wars of the 20th century ensued during the iran-iraq war the u.s. helped facilitate Iraq's acquisition of chemical weapons which were used against Iranians during the war the u.s. even shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 killing all 294 the u.s. implemented a containment strategy throughout the 1990s as the u.s. maintained a threatening posture toward both Iraq and Iran from the military installations on the Arabian Peninsula which by the way pissed off the Middle East and drove young Muslims into the arms of jihadists like bin Laden then early in george w bush's war on terrorism bush labelled iran who had nothing to do with 9/11 as part of the axis of evil since taking office President Trump has shredded the Iranian nuclear deal despite Iran's cooperation imposed crippling sanctions that are starving the population labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization has sent an aircraft carrier bombers and additional troops to Iran's borders has violated Iranian airspace and has made outrageous threats of annihilation to anyone who is intellectually honest it's clear that the United States is provoking this war war with Iran would be disastrous many in the media claim that a war with Iran would be a cakewalk and the US troops would not even need to be sent on the ground that is a generously optimistic view the reality is a war with Iran would spill over into the entire region and have global economic implications Iran has stated that it will retaliate in full against regional American installations and America's allies the war would spill into the Arabian Peninsula Iraq Israel Afghanistan not to mention the reactions from what Russia or China would do it would not be a cakewalk instead it would be the most catastrophic war thus far in the 21st century Iran's military strength and technology make it a much fiercer adversary than Saddam Hussein's Iraq the Strait of Hormuz would be shut down where twenty to thirty percent of the world's oil passes through on a daily basis the American people do not need another regime change war if you agree with me share this video subscribe to my channel and call your congressmen to let him or her know how the American people feel thanks a lot have a good night