Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Obama, Panetta and Holder undermine basic constitutional rights by justifying killing American citizens without judicial process and bypassing Congress in declaring war
by Alli McCracken
“Assault? Who — or what — did I assault?” I asked the police officer incredulously as I sat in his office at the police station, handcuffed to the wall. “Well, looks like it was Leon Panetta himself,” the officer responded as he flipped through a pile of paperwork.
Me? A 22-year-old mild-mannered peace activist, assaulted the Secretary of Defense? I had simply tried to tell him how I felt about the wars. On the morning of October 13th about 25 activists who are occupying Washington DC, as part of the nationwide occupations, went on a field trip to Congress. We wanted to attend the House Armed Services Committee hearing where Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, and Martin Dempsy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were testifying about “lessons learned by the Department of Defense over the preceding decade” and “how those lessons might be applied in the future in light of anticipated reductions in defense spending.” After all, these hearings are open to the public. And shouldn’t we have a say in where our money is being spent?
As a peace activist with the group CODEPINK for the past 10 months, I have done my fair share of sending letters and emails and delivering petitions to our government representatives, asking them to stop pouring trillions of our taxpayer dollars into the endless cycle of death, destruction and reconstruction halfway across the world. There are so many critical things that we could spend that money on here in America, such as education, healthcare, helping the homeless, the elderly, the disabled, the veterans.
by Ali Jawad
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has graphically chronicled the heart-wrenching realities that have shrouded over Manama in recent days. Whilst there may be criticisms of a sometimes de-contextualised narrative, his articles are nevertheless sufficient to shed light on the fundamental grievances that have spurred the popular protests across Bahrain. There is more than enough in his articles to evoke the deepest emotion and sympathy for unarmed civilians being systematically crushed under the juggernaut of a western-armed foreign mercenary force doggedly determined to maintain the vestiges of a brutally authoritarian regime.
Officials at the Pentagon have surely read some of Kristof’s reports by now, and have no doubt made note of the striking similarities between the Al-Khalifa regime and its ousted Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts. The intelligence services and their head, Leon Panetta, are also acutely aware – no doubt – of the voluminous grievances held by the vast majority of Bahrainis towards a ruling monarchy that is increasingly acquiring the “illegitimate” prefix; this in addition to a growing view amongst Bahrainis equating the Al-Khalifa regime as the prime obstacle to serious democratic change. In spite of this however, the placid petulance that has characterised the statements of the US Secretary of State has served to further underline to the lay Arab citizen that despite its mendacious, last-minute attempts to embrace the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the US remains firmly committed to the vocation of bolstering tyrants and dictators – only opting to disown them as the latter partake in their final rites.