Friday, August 31, 2012

Food for American Reflection from Henry David Thoreau

"A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined.

Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? The mass of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies.... In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well." - Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drone Attacks Damage the US Interests (ongoing additions)

Updating (see end of post)

"...drone strikes by the US ...are contributing to swelling the ranks of terrorists."


Drone attacks boosting terrorism

By Sajjad Shaukat

Pakistan News Service
Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

The controversial drone strikes by the US spy agency, CIA may have eliminated a number of militants but simultaneously, they are contributing to swelling the ranks of terrorists. The US and its allies have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001 but the first drone strike was not executed till 2004. They remained sporadic till 2008, when President Obama accelerated the number of attacks and 2010 became "year of the drone" when a total of 118 drone strikes were launched, resulting in a maximum number of 993 lives lost.

The controversy regarding the drone strikes is on two accounts, their legality and the number of civilians being eliminated as collateral damage owing to the strikes. The second aspect is being exploited by terror mongers for fresh recruitment, urging the relatives of victims to avenge the death of their loved ones by joining the terror organizations.

As far as the legality of the drone attacks is concerned, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the position that the administration`s programme of targeted killing outside of armed conflict zones was unlawful. Judicial experts expressing their views before a key congressional committee opine that US drone attacks were illegal because the CIA was using civilian contractors to launch them. Another lawyer argued before the US House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs that while the United States had the right to use the drones, the CIA personnel actually launching the attacks could be guilty of war crimes. A third expert tried to draw parallels between the killings in Fata and targeted killings of bandits loyal to Pancho Villa along the Mexican border in the 19th century. He insisted that current intelligence laws "implicitly" gave the US president the power to launch targeted killings.

Renowned columnist Bill Quigley reminds that assassination by the US government were declared illegal since 1976, when US President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g), banning them. Drone killings are acts of premeditated murder, which is a crime in all fifty states and under federal criminal law. Quigley quotes a May 2010 report by NYU law professor Philip Alston, the UN special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, who directly questioned the legality of US drone killings, stating that drone killings may be lawful in the context of authorized armed conflict (e.g. Afghanistan where the US sought and received international approval to invade and wage war on another country).

However, the use of drones "far from the battle zone" is highly questionable legally. Referring to Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international affairs and politics at Princeton University, Quigley brings out that the widespread killing of civilians in drone strikes may well constitute war crimes. According to the current US Military Law of War Deskbook, the law of war allows killing only when consistent with four key principles: military necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity. These principles preclude both direct targeting of civilians and medical personnel but also set out how much "incidental" loss of civilian life is allowed. Retired US Army Colonel Ann Wright squarely denies the legality of drone warfare, commenting in "Democracy Now": "These drones, you might as well just call them assassination machines. That is what these drones are used for: targeted assassination, extrajudicial ultimate death for people who have not been convicted of anything."

Coming to the more ominous aspect of boosting terrorism, Gareth Porter has carried out research on the real level of civilian casualties in US drone strikes in Pakistan, based on data gathered by a Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar for the families of the victims of drone strikes, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London founded on their interviews with eyewitnesses and others in the areas where the strikes take place. He concludes that the US has been tremendously underplaying the level of civilian casualties by as much as 84 percent.

Porter also concludes that the drone war in Pakistan has created enormous anti-American sentiment throughout the country, particularly, in the areas where the strikes have taken place, they generate not just anger, but the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other groups have been able to generate more enthusiasm for support for the jihadist sentiment that they represent. Pakistan's repeated requests to cease the drone attacks have not only fallen on deaf ears, but to rub salt in the wound, have actually resulted in an acceleration of the frequency of strikes, thus aggravating the issue. The drone attacks is thus boosting terrorism.

For original article GO here or
(Pakistan News Service was founded in 2002)

The writer is a political and defence analyst.

More REFERENCES to the problems listed above (What is this if not a war crime?):

The "Double Tap" blogdog: U.S. Drone Strikes Hit Mourners & Rescuers AGAIN US Drone Strikes Hit Mourners and Resuers
A few days back, President Obama said that US drone attacks in Pakistan had "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." The misnomer of "militant" for all males of a certain age who happen to live, walk, be in a certain area, along with the "double tap" may be two of many reasons why US news so under-reports the actual casualties.

Also, see article "If Attacking Rescuers and Funerals is Evil When Others Do It, Why is it OK for US? See Jun 8, 2012onth, U.S. drones again began hitting mourners and rescue workers. Also find: CIA KILLS RESCUERS AND FUNERAL GOERS here (CIA kills rescuers and funeral goers.)

Andrew Myers blog, per Aug 28, 2012 --"And herein lies the real function of the American justice system, clearly revealed time and again. It is to protect high-level actors from accountability even for the most egregious of crimes, while severely punishing those who reveal or take a stand against those crimes, thus deterring and intimidating any future opposition." See the same blog, Aug 20, 2012 - – "Drone strikes on funerals and 'double tap' strikes." Once again we act as terrorists by or own definitions.

"Yet more drone strikes" | DAWN.COM (Pakistani) here

"Civilian Deaths From US Drone Attacks Much Higher Than Reported" Aug 22, 2012

ACTIVISTS RAISE CONCERN at Johns Hopkins University which has been doing drone research. This link also covers the Maryland drone crash. Find Crucial & Detailed Drone Info included (reposted from May to August 2012 on NO DRONES MARYLAND GO here

Here's a little more on some of the Johns Hopkins U research (along with the University of Pennsylvania and Boeing)here bluicebank at 7:09 PM August 08, 2012
One of the comments under that posting makes quite a point via sarcasm: "What could possibly go wrong? Because if the accidental killing of women and children by these things has taught us anything, it's that we need a swarm of them that act according to a computer program tailored after how killer bees attack.And when the horrible melee occurs, some genius will declare, "No on could have predicted ..." !!

PHOTOS and Advocacy of victims

If the following doesn't compel a deeper sense of empathy for families who've been innocently affected by US killer drones -- just what will? GO here

More data, photos and a Pakistani human rights lawyer who represents the voiceless victims of the killer drones: See comments on the Drone Conference in US here and more on photographer of drone victims in Pakistan here

KATHY KELLY and the CREECH 14 TRIAL transcript now available, 2nd edition by pdf file here (Find more on the Creech event on Wikipedia's entry on Kathy Kelly. Also hear/read the DemocracyNow! interview with Kathy Kelly here -- Find out more about Kelly at her pioneer group: Voices for Creative Non-Violence
* top drone photo credit I. D. * pirhayati20120216130143327
** the photos of the children are here and were found first here with reference to the Dande Darpa Khel attack. (reposted to August 27, 2012)

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Torrent of light and river of the air,
Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen,
Like gold and silver sands in some ravine . . .

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American Poet

The Universe is an infinite sphere, the centre of which is everywhere,
the circumference nowhere. - Pensées, Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and natural philospher (and other famous philosphers & mathameticians have used this metaphor as well -- such as "God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” ~Voltaire citing Timaeus of Locris)

From some perspectives, such a Universe or such a God is just too vast to be touched and felt and known let alone reached...Yet tonight I am choosing and putting my love-trust in a Transcendence which is so All encompassing that NO ONE -- NOT ONE of us is excluded or left behind. So that's me and you as well, wherever we find ourselves to be on the outer or the inner -- the physical or the spiritual map.

TONIGHT I'm held fast in that warm and wild RIVER of the air knowing we are inside a torrent of light -- the kind which takes away all fear. Come along as we circle our fragile globe TOGETHER in the arms of such light and such LOVE --

Until...EVERYONE comes along...


The two photos above are from the On Being Blog here

On the first: Trophygeek took this photograph of a lone Perseid meteor over Sutro Tower in San Francisco on Monday night, adding: “I happened to be checking on the camera when it happened so I saw it too! Set up the camera to take 8 second exposures all night and caught this large meteor as it streaked over San Francisco. The lights near the tower are cars up on Twin Peaks shining their headlights into the fog.”

The second photo was taken by Dominic Alves (Taken with Instagram)

End Quote:

“It is not merely enough to attest that there is a God. One also has to state how the One God relates to humanity.”

~Omid Safi, from Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UPDATED thrice: DRONES & the Folk they kill

Note that now there are two Tariq's stories in this post. I'm adding this one on 22 Aug which also is thanx to the work of Clive Stafford Smith with Reprieve: here
and some very sad, touching short stories via Reprieve

Tariq Sadullah

I know no story more horrific and moving than this one on Tariq Aziz here and by the way, see the face of Jemima Khan who has an emotion who says what a serious journalist she is on behalf of innocent Pakistanis, regardless of ALL she herself has been through.

Tariq Aziz

Jemima Khan, Journalist

US Unmanned Drone

Tariq Aziz

Photo found at CNN from 16 August

UPDATE: CNN Opinion Thursday 16 August 2012
Added: When are drone killings illegal? By Mary Ellen O'Connell, Special to CNN
updated 11:12 AM EDT, Thu August 16, 2012 (This one just in is a surprise in that CNN (often behind or in denial on such issues) here

Find more stories here and INSTEAD of DRONES: What would Pakistan Drone Strike Victims do with $60,000 ? This is a most thought-provoking set of answers -- surely many people would see the evils of drones if only they knew? GO here
Shahzad Akbar, centre right, had been denied into the US (until at last he was permitted to attend the first international conference on the drones organized by several human rights groups.) The denial is suspected to be because he sued the CIA on behalf of Karim Khan, centre left, whose family was killed in a drone strike. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP Akbar is a lawyer representing civilian victims of drone strikes in Pakistan. He founded the Islamabad-based human rights organisation Foundation for Fundamental Rights.

Here's part of a post about recent events in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA:
Waging peace at the drone convention by John Dear SJ on Aug. 14, 2012 On the Road to Peace

The future of war was on display last week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. There, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International showed and sold the latest weapons of death -- drones, those unmanned fighter bombers currently used by the Obama administration to bomb children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen. It was like a big, happy, drunken party for death. Fortunately, peacemakers took notice and held vigil and did what they could to call for the abolition of drones and war itself.

The 2012 convention featured 8,000 attendees, 500 exhibitors and representatives from 40 countries, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But that didn't stop my friends Franciscan Frs. Louis Vitale and Jerry Zawada and CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin from trying to enter the convention and staging a die-in right at the entrance.

"The convention was a celebration of killing technology," Medea told me on the phone afterward, "and they are so anxious to wrap all this in the veneer of humanitarian good, how drones can find lost children, for example. They say the drones can help, but it's a humanitarian cover. Inside the convention, it's all about military."

Medea knows what she is talking about. She has just published a powerful new book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

"My book is about how we have to counter the image, offered by one government official, that these drones are 'surgically precise, just, ethical and wise,' " she said. "It looks into the legal and moral issues: What happens to the pilots who direct them; who produces the drones; how they kill people; how it has become a growth market and how counter-productive these drones actually are. They pose a real threat to the rest of the world. We can go anywhere now to kill anyone on the basis of secret information. Why shouldn't other nations do the same thing, even to us?

"What was so clear at the convention," she told me, "was how much this industry is relying now on police departments. In the booklet for the convention, they had six booths about health care, 20 for the military and 25 for U.S. police departments. Much of the focus now is about how they are going to open up the U.S. air space to sell drones to the 18,000 U.S. police departments. The war is winding down, they say, and though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not really end, we need new markets. 'We need a domestic market for drones,' they say.

"We tried to rent a room in the convention center so that I could give a talk about my book, but they wouldn't let us rent a room, even though there were many empty rooms," Medea said. "So I decided to register as a journalist, and paid the $200 registration fee, to learn what's happening. But they wouldn't let me register. I was standing on line when security guards came up and told me to come with them. Five minutes later, the security came up to Fr. Louie. They knew our names. In a hallway, Louie and I were surrounded by security guards and Las Vegas police, who thought we were a threat. They told us that if we ever entered the convention center again, they would arrest us.

"The drone convention was clearly all about making money," she continued. "We saw how the entire industry is being fed by U.S. tax dollars. It would be impossible without that. Several billion dollars of homeland security money may go to help sell drones to local police departments. They make it sound like free enterprise at its best, but the whole thing is heavily subsidized by government money, taxpayers' money. That reinforces the idea that the convention should be open to the public since the public is paying for it. And yet they are so afraid of people who advocate for peace. Peace is bad for their business."

The next day, Medea, the two Franciscans and a dozen or so friends staged a "die-in" in front of the convention center. They laid down on the sidewalk and covered themselves with white sheets that had red paint poured on them so the sheets looked blood-stained. Large signs were placed around them that read, "The victims of drone attacks in Afghanistan" or "Pakistan" or "Yemen" or "Iraq." A model of a drone was placed in the center that read, "Killer Drone." It, too, had red paint on it, making it look like blood was dripping all over it.

"They didn't know what to do with us," Medea told me. "People walked by and took pictures. We were very quiet, with bloody sheets lying over us. We spoke, too, saying that we represented the innocent victims of these weapons, and that we shouldn't glorify weapons used to kill innocent people. After a while, we stood up, gathered in a circle, and Fr. Louie led us in prayer. By then, the hotel security guards and local police had arrived. They threatened to arrest us, so we left."

What can we do? I asked Medea.

"People need to engage their communities in an open discussion about the ethics and morality of drone warfare, particularly in the faith based community," she said. "At the moment, we are asking faith-based leaders to join our sign-on letter campaign. We're also asking people to contact their congresspeople and express their concerns about drones, especially since they are managed by the CIA, a secretive organization. We are calling for 'no-drone' resolutions at city councils across the country and asking people to contact their local police department to inquire about their intentions for acquiring drones and to express their concerns about privacy. We also want people to start organizing protests at every local drone headquarters, at Air Force bases, universities that work with the military, businesses that work with drones, and think tanks that support drones. These demonstrations need to be stepped up. Every state in the U.S. now has a strong relationship with a drone program. We need to organize significant protests against these drones.

"According to recent legislation, the FAA has to open U.S. airspace to drones by 2015, so within the next decade, we will be seeing 20,000 drones in our own airspace. It's up to us to set some standards to protect our privacy as well as our safety."

As a co-founder and director of CODEPINK, one of the largest, most active peace organizations in the U.S., Medea Benjamin has given her life to the abolition of war. Currently, CODEPINK has about 160,000 members, and its members are very involved with the Occupy movement across the country.

"Polls show the majority of Americans support the use of drones against terrorist suspects who have never been convicted of anything. In 10 years of killing thousands of people, mostly by drones, most Americans have never seen a drone victim. They've never seen anyone killed by these lethal machines. It makes it hard for Americans to develop a sense of compassion for the victims if you never see the victims, and if you are told by the government that they are all militants. It's our job to humanize the victims, to get these pictures out to people, and their stories out to people."

Over the last few years, she has been in close touch with people in Pakistan. Some of them said to her, "When women and children are being in killed in northern Pakistan, the local people think this is what the American people want. If this is not true," they said, "we have to show them." How can we do that? Medea asked. They suggested a joint peace march with Americans and thousands of Pakistanis into northern Pakistan, the area most targeted by U.S. drones.

So next month, Medea is flying to Pakistan with other CODEPINK women, and on Sept. 21, International Peace Day, they will journey into the remote rural northern area and march for peace with thousands of local Pakistanis.

"If the government prevents us from traveling up there, then the drone victims and their families will travel to Islamabad to meet with us," she said.

"We need to reinvigorate the peace movement," Medea said. "It's absolutely critical. There are many reasons why the peace movement is a shell of its former self, but one reason is partisan politics. Peace people are more likely to criticize a Republican administration than a Democratic administration. If we're going to be effective, we have to be independent from partisan politics, and criticize the Obama drone policy as much as Bush's indefinite detention policy at Guantanamo. If we can help people with their local needs, and connect their needs for jobs, housing, health care and affordable education with the huge amount of money that continues to go to the Pentagon, we can build the movement again."

John Dear will speak Aug. 22 at the spirituality festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Aug. 26-28 near London at the annual Greenbelt Festival before embarking on a national speaking tour of England. His new book, Lazarus, Come Forth!, explores Jesus as the God of life calling humanity (in the symbol of the dead Lazarus) out of the tombs of the culture of war and death. To see John's 2012 speaking schedule, go to John Dear's website. John's talk at last year's Sabeel conference in Bethlehem is featured in the new book Challenging Empire. John is profiled with Dan Berrigan and Roy Bourgeois in a new book, Divine Rebels by Deena Guzder (Lawrence Hill Books). This book and other recent books, including Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings; Put Down Your Sword and A Persistent Peace, are available from

We can send you an e-mail alert every time an On the Road to Peace column is posted to Go to this page and follow directions: E-mail alert sign-up. If you already receive e-mail alerts from us, click on the "update my profile" button to add On the Road to Peace to your list.

John Dear SJ's blog find the above article posted originally here

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: Alfred W. McCoy: A MUST READ article for all peace/justice activists!

Sorry to be so heavy on this site without much let-up but this can't be missed. He's the one expert I have followed on these issues for a long time, featured his work in a workshop in my area. I find him to be easy to corroborate as well as to be ahead of most other human rights groups/persons on these topics. We need to take heed...

Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: How Both Parties Made Illegality the American Way of Life

By Prof. Alfred W. McCoy

August 14, 2012

After a decade of fiery public debate and bare-knuckle partisan brawling, the United States has stumbled toward an ad hoc bipartisan compromise over the issue of torture that rests on two unsustainable policies: impunity at home and rendition abroad.

President Obama has closed the CIA’s “black sites,” its secret prisons where American agents once dirtied their hands with waterboarding and wall slamming.

But via rendition -- the sending of terrorist suspects to the prisons of countries that torture -- and related policies, his administration has outsourced human rights abuse to Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. In this way, he has avoided the political stigma of torture, while tacitly tolerating such abuses and harvesting whatever intelligence can be gained from them.

This “resolution” of the torture issue may meet the needs of this country’s deeply divided politics. It cannot, however, long satisfy an international community determined to prosecute human rights abuses through universal jurisdiction. It also runs the long-term risk of another sordid torture scandal that will further damage U.S. standing with allies worldwide.
READ rest CLICK here

Sunday, August 12, 2012

UPDATED: Time to Hold Iran in the Light

Rescuers stop searches after Iran quakes kill 250 AP photo*

UPDATE: Monday 13 August 2012

Already this article is highly recommended by readers:
Two Iran Earthquakes Kill 300 and Injure 5,000 (Hospitals Full) GO here

Surely, during this special Ramazan season, we can each find some way to remember our brothers and sisters in Iran. Last night I lit two candles and am praying for the best way to demonstrate my empathy and concern. Plz leave comments. Also, plz see more links below added for a more rounded history, set of stats and ACTION FOR DIPLOMACY.
from Connie, blogger here at oneheartforpeace....

Earlier: AP World Press | Sunday 12 August 2012

Here's one of the first AP articles which came out in several world sections of leading newspapers East and West:

TEHRAN: Rescuers ended the search on Sunday for survivors of twin earthquakes in northwestern Iran that killed at least 250 people and injured more than 2,600 a day earlier, state television reported.

At least 20 villages were totally leveled, state television reported. Ahmad Reza Shajiei, a senior government official in charge of rescue operations, said more than 5,000 tents have been set up to shelter more than 16,000 homeless.

Thousands spent the night outdoors after their villages were leveled and homes damaged in the powerful quakes, which were followed by some 36 aftershocks.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted a local official as saying the death toll was 277. State TV said 44,000 food packages and thousands of blankets have been distribute in the stricken area.

Television video showed people being evacuated on stretchers, while others were treated for broken limbs and concussions. Dozens of families were sleeping on blankets laid out on the ground in parks. Some were crying, and others shivered from the cold in the mountainous region hit by the quake, near the border with Azerbaijan.

More than 1,100 rescuers worked through the night to pull out those trapped under rubble and to reach some of the more remote villages affected. Some 15 dogs were brought in to search for survivors...

Also watch articles by: ALI AKBAR DAREINI , Associated Press, where I found the following photo

Lest we keep repeating our grave US and Western mistakes from past and recent history, let's read up. Even a few moments of such reading and reflection (from all sides of the political spectrum) should be more than many of our congressional representatives are taking the time to learn and heed.

Perhaps some of the documents indicated here (however imperfect) could be seen as a springboard to other research. here

BETTER -- look up the arts which have so deeply influenced our world. One sample is this well-acclaimed group of musicians offering a September event. At any rate, try to access whatever you are able from these artists for peace who've been inspired by their poet Rumi -- who happens to be the most popular poet in America today! GO here

Here's one of our best US lawyer-journalists, Glenn Greenwald with
IRAN: Fact and Fiction -- GO here or once at oneheartforpeace -- simply go to archives for February 2012 and find this article easily.

NOW is the time to HOLD IRAN in the light for people not unlike we ourselves who offer a richness of the arts, history and geography we need to round out our own disparities. What if we were to suffer due to such an earthquake AS WELL as SANCTIONS from another nation? (Let's not forget the devastating injury and death to multitudes of children in IRAQ when the west called for sanctions there so mindlessly.)

SO, here's information we in the West need to know now:


Passed: Crippling Sanctions Against Iran

IN brief, Congress has passed H.R. 1905, ushering in the most aggressive sanctions the U.S. has ever imposed on a country during peacetime. The sanctions are designed to crash Iran’s economy, undermine human rights and cripple the diplomatic process currently underway. These sanctions include a ‘humanitarian exemption’ which does not directly prohibit access to food, medicine, and humanitarian trade, but the destruction of Iran’s civilian economy by sanctions will mean many people will be unable to purchase the food, medicine, and other goods that the humanitarian exemption is supposed to protect. (from Friends Committee on National Legislation).

How heartless in anytime, let alone now.


What a time for America to WAKE UP! Meantime, NEWER legislation is being proposed and GAINING GROUND with a growing list of co-signers. Plz call your representatives and leaders NOW to support H. R. # 4173. Find more info GO here

If you'd like more information from the Friends Committee on National Legislation -- the US group I trust most on research, lobbying and presenting practical actions, plz keep watching the FCNL just above for updates and/or email one of the experts at FCNL working on actions and info related to IRAN, Kathy Zager, policy assistant to Kate Gould.

Just this morning I spoke with Kathy there who confirmed that the link just above is up-to-date. She said to give out her email for any press or others needing yet more information on these life and death issues: Kathy Zager's email address is

During this time of another round of suffering in Iran, let's reflect on our common humanity; to pray and work toward healing would give my readers the most updated facts and actions the Friends Committee suggests.

And perhaps a candle or two in our windows would remind us how deeply we want restoration and peace for our "family of humanity" in Iran.

I remember reading about and seeing a beautiful photo of dear Iranians putting candles in their windows for Americans right after 911 -- sharing their own concern for us.
Find these here

Photo on top: Iranians search the ruins of buildings at the village of Bajebaj near the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran, on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, after Saturday’s earthquake. -AP

Thanx so much for stopping by,


Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the Odious Defense of Drone Strikes (1st, an article by Murtaza Hussain)

photo credit: Reuters

Original Posting on Monday, Aug 6, 2012 11:00 AM EDT (link below shows

Is Drone War Moral? (A philosopher's arguments in defense of drone strikes are both odious and wrong)


“I see mothers with children, I see fathers with children, I see fathers with mothers, I see kids playing soccer … [but] I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy. I have a duty, and I execute the duty.” By their own accounts, drone pilots spend weeks stalking their targets — observing the intimate patterns of their daily life such as playing with their children, meeting neighbors, talking to their wives — before finding a moment when the family is away to launch the missile that will end their target’s life. Afterward they drive home like any other commuter, perhaps stopping at a fast food restaurant or convenience store before coming home to their families for the night. “I feel like I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, I just don’t deploy to do it.”

Recently, the Guardian published a piece about Bradley Strawser, an assistant professor of philosophy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., which made the argument that drone strikes are not just moral but that the U.S. should in fact consider itself morally obliged to use them in combat. “It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value … You’re not risking the pilot. The pilot is safe.”

That the overwhelming majority of Strawser’s argument is based on the reduced potential of physical harm to the aircraft pilot, while precious little concern is given the people on the ground — often completely innocent, who are being killed in huge numbers by these strikes — is certainly abhorrent. But it must also be noted that for all the attention his work is receiving, he is of course a paid employee of an institution devoted to serving the military and his opinion is far from unbiased. His livelihood comes from the very people whom he is tasked with philosophically critiquing, a circumstance far more conducive to obsequious rationalization than moral criticism. At the end of the piece he even expresses his own gratitude for receiving gainful employment in his field of study: “I wanted to be a working philosopher and here I am. Ridiculous good fortune.”

Continue Reading here

Older and New References:

Pakistani Students Win International Award for Film on Drones here

Condemning Drone Strikes Global Activists to Take Part in ... Waziristan March here

Rethinking Drone Wars here items (Clive Stapleton Smith) here and here

Legal Action on Deaths of Three US Citizens in Yemen (one a 16 year-old)

Story on Democracy Now! (with video) here


Read more articles by MURTAZA HUSSAIN here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On the Anniversary of Nagasaki 1945 on 9 August

The logo above found here

Make your own Origami Cranes for Peace here

OR here or here

Some peace activists are making peace cranes to attach to peace leaflets.

Updating by adding an important history World War II: The Good War Gone Bad here

None of us want to remember but once in awhile maybe we should see what we never ever
want to do to our fellow human family again here

Here's is an inspiring article about the VERY SITE -- this just in a few hours ago:

Nagasaki marks anniversary of atomic bomb attack

Associated Press / August 9, 2012

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese officials pledged Thursday to seek a society less reliant on nuclear energy as the country marked the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

About 6,000 people gathered at a peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 blast, including students and the mayor of one of the towns most affected by last year’s nuclear disaster.

Almost a year and half after the world’s second worst accident at a nuclear power plant, concerns about the safety of nuclear energy and radiation effects persist.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which was struck by a tsunami last March, has revealed the risk of nuclear technology.

Taue urged Japan to map out concrete plans to achieve a nuclear-free society where people don’t need to worry about the effects of radiation. He also called for renewed commitment to a global ban on nuclear weapons.

The Freedom Bus: Ride for Justice

To find out more and see visual/video items about this event GO here

“At this moment I feel free from the occupation!”

Omar Hajajlah, participant in a Freedom Bus event in Al-Walaja

For us, the Palestinian people, artistic expression is an integrated part of our struggle for justice, equality and freedom. Joining the September freedom ride means joining us in this struggle!

From 23rd of September to 1st of October 2012, the Freedom Bus will travel to the key sites of oppression and resistance within the West Bank. During the ride, interactive theatre and music events will give voice to accounts of daily life under Israeli occupation – political imprisonment, army violence, home demolitions, the Wall – as well as stories that underscore the rich Palestinian history of creative protest and sumoud (steadfastness).

During the freedom ride, people from around the world will come together to stand in solidarity, share experiences and ideas, build alliances and participate in discussions on topics such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the role of international civil society, and resistance through art. Passengers on the ride will include renowned human right activists, artists, scholars and many others who wish to be part of this historic event.

Don’t miss this opportunity to participate directly in the movement towards freedom and justice in Palestine! Apply now to join the Freedom Bus ride.

“It really, to me, shows how art can and sometimes should be at the same time the most political and most aesthetic of acts. I strongly encourage anyone who can join the Freedom Bus ride in September to drop whatever it is they’re doing and make sure they are there.” Mark LeVine, Author, Professor, Activist and Musician

The Freedom Bus is coordinated by The Freedom Theatre, a theatre and cultural centre based in Jenin Refugee Camp, occupied Palestine. Siraj Centre, a lead partner in the initiative, will be coordinating the logistics of the ride and liaising with all passengers. A range of other Palestinian community based organizations and popular committees are involved in the design, development and delivery of the Freedom Bus initiative.


Twitter: #FreedomBusPal

George S. Rishmawi

Siraj, Center For Holy Land Studies
Beit Sahour, Schoold Street
P.O.Box 48
Tel: +972 2 274 8590
Fax: +972 2 274 8774
Mobile: 0599 180 872 or 0522 50 20 79
Skype: georgerish!/george.s.rishmawi


Blogger, Connie, adds this link: What Really Happened -- showing how the land belonging to the Palestinians has changed dramatically over the years

The map above was found here I am not sure it's the best one -- so suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

UPDATED: Visit World Wide WEB 20 years ago -- Help keep it free

Connie's note: I just found this interesting update referring to the many languages involved in this movement - GO here

Sir Tim Berners-Lee -- the father of the web -- who is the reason you’re reading this story in a web browser, complete with hypertext here.

On this day 7 August in 1991 the World Wide Web becomes publicly available on the Internet for the first time. VISIT the very first WEB Page from 20 years ago 7 AUGUST here See foot notes *** and share your additional links by comment plz.

Then help keep the World Wide Web FREE and OPEN as the father of the web intended:
SIGN The DECLARATION of INTERNET FREEDOM with your group (find 63 translations here!)
CLICK here

Or sign on as an individual with GO to a great page with names from all over the world here or get more info and sign in real fast and simple here


We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.

Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open.


We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

Expression: Don't censor the Internet.

Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users' actions.

Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used

Now here's the declaration in URDU -- one of 63 languages which are translated by the Global Voices — Lingua Project.


ہم یقین رکھتے ہیں کے آزاد اور خودمختار انٹرنیٹ سے ایک بہتر دنیا وجود میں آئے گی. انٹرنیٹ کو آزاد رکھنے کے لئے ہم دعوت دیتے ہیں ایسے تمام اداروں، ممالک اور صنعتوں کو جو ہمارے اصولوں پر اعتبار رکھتے ہوں. ہمارا یہ بھی ماننا ہے کہ ان اقدامات سے معاشرے میں آزادی، نئے خیالات کی تخلیق ، اور تجدید فکر کو راہیں ہموار کرنے میں مدد ملے گی۔

ہم آزادی کی اس بین الاقوامی تحریک میں اس لیے شامل ہیں کیونکہ ہمارے خیال میں یہ جنگ لڑنا ضروری ہے۔۔

آئیں ہم ان اصولوں پر بات کریں جاری رکھتے ہیں - چاہے آپ اختلاف کریں یا اتفاق ، ان اصولوں پر بحث کریں، ترجمہ کریں، ان کو اپنا بنائیں، اور اپنے سماج میں اس کو عام کریں۔

انٹرنیٹ کو آزاد رکھنے میں ہمارا ساتھ دیجیے۔


ہم ایک آزادی انٹرنیٹ کے طرف دار ہیں۔

ہم شراکتی اور شفاف عمل کے ذریعے انٹرنیٹ پالیسی بنانے کی اور مندرجہ ذیل پانچ بنیادی اصولوں کی حمایت کرتے ہیں:
اظہارِ رائے: انٹرنیٹ پر پابندی نہ لگائیں۔
رسائی: انٹرنیٹ کی تیز اور سستی رسائی سب کیلئے مکمن بنائیں
آزادی: انٹرنیٹ پر تعلق بنانے، اطلاعات کی رسائی، لکھنے، پڑھنے، دیکھنے، بولنے، سننے، علم حاصل کرنے، تخلیق کرنے اور نئے خیالات پیدا کرنے کی آزادی سب کے لیے یکساں ہونی چاہیے۔
تجدید فکر: بلا اجازت نئے خیالات تخلیق کرنے کی آزادی ہونی چاہیے۔ نئی ٹیکنالوجی پر پابندی لگانے کی کوئی ضرورت نہیں، اور اگر کوئی انٹرنیٹ صارف موجد کی تخلیق کا غلط استعمال کرے تو اس کی سزا موجد کو نہ دو۔
پرائیویسی: پرائیویسی کا خیال رکھو اور لوگوں کو اپنی ذاتی معلومات کنٹرول کرنے کا مکمل اختیار دو۔

Have a question about this above translation or any other? Send an email to

Last week Global Voices launched a "translathon" -- a 24-hour marathon in which people translated the Declaration into as many languages as possible. The event beautifully illustrated how the Declaration's five principles have resonated with Internet users around the world. Before the translathon even began, the Global Voices team had collaborated to translate the Declaration into 28 languages, including Aymara, Catalan, Malagasy and Swahili. But by the end of the daylong translathon, the Declaration had been translated 35 more times, for a total of 63 translations.

Josh Levy, Free Press

This is an exciting, valuable international movement. Plz join the growing democratic crowd...

Plz don't leave without signing! The DECLARATION of INTERNET FREEDOM
CLICK here

Photo Credit above Tony Scarpetta "Wired"

*** Here are some more links as well as information sites for the World Wide Web
(Perhaps you are taking a computer or World Wide Web class? Maybe you'll be willing to share some of this with your fellow students and teachers? Especially the Declaration?) here

Although we can do without the "shots around the world" :) this short article at
Atlantic online has some links not showing up elsewhere here

WORLD WIDE WEB 2013 here


And here's a long history at Wikipedia here

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Mother, My Friend

Some things I want to celebrate about my Mom on her birthday, TODAY:


I can easily laugh and cry with her. I've been able to talk about everything -- especially as an adult -- often "intensely". As my youngest son said about her when he was very young, she's the "feeling" grandma.

I have countless treasured moments with her.

Like so many others, I know I can go to her with anything.

"She has taught me to enjoy life, to live it to the fullest. To live "OUTLOUD". In fact all the women in my family are like that!!" But she is MOST OF ALL. "She is the most influential person in my life, and rightfully should be. Not just because she is my mom but because of the beautiful spirit she truly has. God has blessed her with amazing talents, but the biggest blessing is her ability to love others the way she does."

She is someone who is SO UNCONDITIONAL in her loving -- like noone you've ever met before!

All my life, she's had calls from all manner of people, all ages, from any state or even Canada because a call with her will often turn them around on a better path or soothe tears no one else can calm.

My Mom, Ruby, is ALSO a BELLE AME: A Beautiful Soul! She GLOWS from inside out and many many people all her life have said to her or to me that she is SO SO PRETTY.

I found some of the lines and inspiration for some of the description above, especially that in the quotes on another site -- CLICK here to find this special place.


I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL. THANX for your faithfulness to me and so many others.

Nearly everything I've learned about loving family, friends and others in my life and much that I've learned about faith and prayer, finding missing objects, patience, not sweating the small things, waiting for another better day and WHAT REALLY COUNTS -- all of that I've learned from you each day of my life.


With you in spirit,


(Besides all the above, my Mom LOVES AZALEAS -- maybe even more than roses -- thus the photo above from the Azalea Festival at Nezu Jinja. Although you can count on my Mom no matter what, sometime she's full of surprises and funny sayings. Never take her for granted or think that
she won't speak up at the right moment and with lots of spunk!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How Precious this World we Share

The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music… The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.

—Rabindranath Tagore

Painting above is Michael Gregory's Floating World, 2012, Oil on canvas

This night, I'm considering how precious our world is in every place and part...close at hand no less so no more so than anywhere else on earth. Perhaps this is one way to remember Hiroshima?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

TEN YEARS AGO (US Hall of Fame)

John Choon Yoo is an American attorney, law professor, and author.

As a former official in the United States Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration, Yoo became known as the author of the "Torture Memos" (see Wikipedia for more photos and info)

John Choon Yoo was born in Korea, studied at Harvard and Yale and despite such a privilege and what we might consider places of special scholarship in law and careful oversight, what he put in place is STILL reverberating as a terrible scar on the reputation of America world-wide. The doors to torture and intimidation without justice or reprieve had been set in motion and the bells of this horror are still reverberating as if without end.

As a former official in the United States Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration, he became known as the author of the "Torture Memos" (see Wikipedia for more photos and info)

News From World Can't Wait

I've got to confess… when I connected to World Can't Wait in 2006, some prisoners at Guantanamo had been tortured for four years. I had other things on my mind and, probably more important, people to blame for the crimes of our government.

The blame game was easy, and disguised responsibility for the evil being done in my name. But it didn't close Guantanamo. Or release survivors of that hellhole.

The clock is ticking. August 1st marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of professor John Yoo's "Torture Memos," which sanctioned mental and physical torment and coercion practiced by the state. It's been 9 years since those same documents were found legally defective and withdrawn. The Bush Gang left the stage, Barack Obama took the helm, and 168 prisoners remain at Guantanamo, with several thousand more left in Bagram, Afghanistan.

These men must not be forgotten, or their stories conveniently swept under the rug for the remainder of this election season. My donation to World Can't Wait today will help send an orange-jumpsuited contingent to the Democratic National Convention [ ] to represent the victims of brutal prison policy, and all of us who say NO to torture.

Curt Wechsler, editor of

Read the original memos, courtesy

Memo from Jay Bybee to Alberto Gonzales here

DATE: August 1, 2002
SUBJECT: "Standards for Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. 2340 - 2340A"
AUTHOR: Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel In what has become notorious as the "torture memo," Jay Bybee signs off on an opinion authored by John Yoo. The memorandum systematically dismisses numerous U.S. federal laws, treaties and international law prohibiting the use of torture, essentially defining the term out of existence.

Letter from John Yoo to Alberto Gonzales here

DATE: August 1, 2002
AUTHOR: John Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo writes to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales warning of potential threats of international prosecution regarding the administration's interrogation policies. Yoo notes that "Interrogations of al Qaeda members ... cannot constitute a war crime" because of the Presidential determination that Geneva's protections do not apply.

Memo from Jay Bybee to the CIA here

DATE: August 1, 2002
SUBJECT: Memorandum for [REDACTED] Interrogation of [REDACTED]
AUTHOR: Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel Written by the Office of Legal Counsel's Jay Bybee and sent to the Central Intelligence Agency, this heavily redacted document was released to the ACLU in 2008. It details "advising the CIA regarding interrogation methods it may use against al Qaeda members," and in one un-redacted portion, argues that "to violate the statute, an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering. Based on the information you have provided us, we believe those carrying out these procedures would not have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering."

Click to tweet or share on Facebook: here and here

Courtesy of World Can't Wait - National: 866.973.4463