Tag Archives: anti-war movement

Labor Beat: Chicago Press Conference Protests Obama’s FBI Raids

FBI Raids Activists’ Homes in Sinister COINTELPRO Replay

In a replay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeting the left during the 1960s and ’70s, America’s political police launched raids on the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists.

Heavily-armed SWAT teams smashed down doors and agents armed with search warrants carried out simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and Chicago early morning on September 24.

Rummaging through personal belongings, agents carted off boxes of files, documents, books, letters, photographs, computers and cell phones from Minneapolis antiwar activists Mick Kelly, Jessica Sundin, Meredith Aby, two others, as well as the office of that city’s Anti-War Committee.

Meanwhile, as federal snoops seized personal property in Minneapolis, FBI agents raided the Chicago homes of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker. According to the Chicago Tribune, “neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.”

“In addition,” the Tribune reported, “Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.”

Amongst those targeted by the FBI were individuals who organized peaceful protests against the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq and 2008 protests at the far-right Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

As Antifascist Calling reported in 2008 and 2009, citing documents published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, state and local police, the FBI and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the United States Secret Service, the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency implemented an action plan designed to monitor and squelch dissent during the convention.

As part of that plan’s execution, activists and journalists were preemptively arrested, and cameras, recording equipment, computers and reporters’ confidential notes were seized. Demonstrations were broken up by riot cops who wielded batons, pepper spray and tasers and attacked peaceful protesters who had gathered to denounce the war criminals’ conclave in St. Paul.

With Friday’s raids, the federal government under “change” huckster Barack Obama, has taken their repressive program to a whole new level, threatening activists with the specter of being charged with providing “material support of terrorism.” A felony conviction under this draconian federal law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, § 2339B) carries a 15 year prison term… continue reading

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On Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 a press conference was held to protest the FBI raids the day before on Chicago-area anti-war activists. In an attempt to intimidate and silence activists critical of U.S. foreign policy and militarism. Joe Iosbaker and his activist wife Stephanie Weiner had their home invaded by the FBI and searched for 12 hours. They even put in “evidence” bags drawings that their children made. Includes comments by their attorney Melinda Power. The space at the West Town Community Law Office was packed with about 75 supporters from numerous community and anti-war groups who made enthusiastic chants of solidarity at the end of the press conference. Iosbaker vowed that this McCarthy era-type government intimidation will not deter the anti-war movement from building an upcoming Midwest regional march on Oct. 16. Length – 9:28. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video, YouTube, or blip.tv and search “Labor Beat”.

Obama’s FBI raids anti-war activists homes in Minneapolis:

Activist Alert on the FBI Raids: The homes of five Twin Cities activists, including three prominent leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement, were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an “investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” The office of an antiwar organization also was reportedly raided.

More articles from HAW

Recommended reading from Historians Against the War

“Afghanistan’s Armies, Past and Present”
By Stephanie Cronin, History & Policy, posted July 8
The author teaches Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford

By Andrew Bacevich, The New Republic, posted July 7
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University

“Mark Twain’s Early Protest Against the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”
By Cynthia Wachtell, Tikkun Daily, posted July 7
Based on the author’s just-published book War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1961-1914 (LSU Press)

“What Eisenhower Could Teach Obama”
By Melvin A. Goodman, ConsortiumNews.com, posted July 5

“Why McChrystal Did It”
By Immanuel Wallerstein, Z-Net, posted July 4

“What Drives Israel?”
By Ilan Pappe, posted June 30 (originally in the Scotland Herald)
The author teaches history at the University of Exeter, UK

“How Afghanistan Became the Ignored War”
By Julian Zelizer, CNN.com, posted June 28
The author teaches history at Princeton University

“The Land Where Theories of Warfare Go to Die: Obama, Petraeus, and the Cult of COIN in Afghanistan”
By Robert Dreyfuss, TomDispatch.com, posted June 27

“Why the Taliban Is Winning in Afghanistan”
By William Dalrymple, New Statesman, posted June 22
Compares the current war to the disastrous First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-42

Recent articles from HAW on Obama, Afghanistan & Haiti

This is the latest in the series of biweekly mailings that we started in September, linking to recent articles on HAW-relevant topics, either written by historians or written by others but providing historical background.

“Obama’s State of the Union”
By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted February 3
(on foreign policy aspects of the State of the Union speech)

“Missteps on Afghanistan”
By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted February 1
The author formerly taught history at the University of Chicago and is now working on a book to be entitled Afghanistan: Descent into Unending War

“Afraid of the Dark in Afghanistan”
By Anand Gopal and Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted January 28

“Patriotic Anti-Militarism: Remodeling the Antiwar Movement”
By Kevin Zeese, CounterPunch, posted January 26

“Pakistan on the Brink? The Real Threat from Within”
By Adaner Usmani, Against the Current, January-February issue

“Replacing International Oppression with International Aid”
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted January 25
The author teaches history at SUNY Albany (not Vassar College, as was mistakenly stated in our last mailing)

“George Clooney’s Haiti — and Beyond”
by Jesse Lemisch, New Politics web site, posted January 23
The author formerly taught history at John Jay College and, before that, the University of Chicago and SUNY Buffalo

“Securing Disaster in Haiti”
By Peter Hallward, Americas Program web site, posted January 22

Historians Against the War: Links to Recent Articles of Interest

Historians Against the War: Links to Recent Articles of Interest

“No Exit: America Has an Impressive Record of Starting Wars but a Dismal One of Ending Them Well”
By Andrew Bacevich, American Conservative, February 1 issue
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University.

“Haiti’s Troubled History with the U.S. and France”
By Marc Becker, History News Network, posted January 19
The author teaches Latin American history at Truman State University. This article was sent in e-mail form to the HAW-Info list on January 17.

“U.S. Military Escalation in Afghanistan: A Response to President Obama”
By Richard Drake, History News Network, posted January 18
The author teaches history at the University of Montana

[review essay on The Guantanamo Lawyers and Guantanamo USA]
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, History News Network, posted January 17
The author teaches history at the University of Tulsa

“Iran, 1979 and 2010”
By Dilip Hiro and Tom Englehardt, TomDispatch.com, posted January 12

“Nuclear Terrorism: How It Can Be Prevented”
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted January 11
The author teaches history at Vassar College

“Yemen: The Latest U.S. Battleground”
By Stephen Zunes, Huffington Post, posted January 8

“Obama’s Alternate Universe”
By Scott Ritter, Truthdig.com, posted January 8

Historians Against the War statements on Military Resistance and Escalation in Afghanistan

The HAW Steering Committee has voted to adopt the following two statements related to the war in Afghanistan.

Statement on military resistance:

This statement was submitted by Staughton Lynd and approved by the HAW Steering Committee. Correspondence on it should be sent to another member of the Steering Committee.

Historians Against the War supports soldiers in the United States military who refuse to fight in Afghanistan, either as conscientious objectors or on the grounds that the United States is committing war crimes forbidden by Nuremburg and the Army Field Manual, such as the use of drone aircraft in Pakistan.

Statement on Escalation in Afghanistan:

This statement originated in a draft suggested by Herbert Shapiro, emeritus history professor at the University of Cincinnati. It was amended somewhat in discussions within the Steering Committee and adopted.

Historians Against War (HAW) expresses its opposition to the escalation of the Afghanistan War announced by President Obama in his December 1 speech at West Point. Once again we are told the United States must increase its commitment of human and material resources in support of a government, steeped in corruption, that fails to demonstrate support of a majority of its country’s population.

In his speech, President Obama took issue with any claim that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. The two conflicts are not carbon copies of each other but there are distinct similarities. And if we go on with the Afghan War it may be that we have not fully learned the lessons of Vietnam.

The Vietnamese would not yield to a counter-insurgency that believed sending increasing numbers of troops, dropping more and more napalm upon them, and flying more bombing runs was a formula for victory. They would not yield to a strategy that could not distinguish between soldiers and civilians and pretended that a discredited Saigon regime had the support of the people over whom it ruled.

In Afghanistan we once more follow the path of escalation, inflicting “collateral” damage on a civilian population and propping up a corrupt government. In the present war we once more adopt a “guns not butter” policy, making war while undermining our ability to devote the resources needed to make the economic reforms so urgently needed at home.

Afghanistan’s own recent history provides further reason for opposing the Obama administration’s current course of action. The Soviet experience of the late 1970s and early 1980s dramatically reinforced Afghanistan’s role as the “graveyard of empires.” At the same time, U.S. intervention in the form of aid to the most reactionary anti-Soviet forces helped lay the groundwork for the emergence of al-Qaeda.

HAW urges a change in direction. We need an Afghanistan policy that includes a full, early, and orderly withdrawal of U.S. military forces, economic assistance to Afghani civil society, and a relinquishment of any project for permanent U.S. bases.

Why liberals kill and other links to articles recommended by Historians Against the War

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

“Obama’s Folly”
By Andrew Bacevich, War in Context website, from the Los Angeles Times, December 3

“The President Has Drawn the Wrong Lessons From His Understanding of the History of War”
Interview with Andrew Bacevich on Democracy Now, posted December 2

“Obama’s Surge: Has the President Been Misled by the Iraq Analogy?
By Juan Cole, Salon.com. posted December 1
A detailed analysis of circumstances that gave the Iraq “surge” the appearance of success, and of how circumstances in Afghanistan are different.

“Afghanistan: The Roach Motel of Empires”
By Zoltan Grossman, AfterDowningStreet.com, posted December 2

“Afghanistan Fact Sheet: The Numbers Behind the Troop Increase”
By the National Priorities Project, posted December 1

“A Better Way to Kill? Human Terrain Systems, Anthropologists and the War in Afghanistan”
By David Price, CounterPunch.org, posted December 1

“It’s Obama’s War Now”
By Gary Leupp, CounterPunch.org, posted November 30
The author teaches history at Tufts University; despite its title, the article is mainly historical.

“The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan Through CIA Eyes: Lessons for the United States Today”
By Bennett Ramberg, Huffington Post, posted November 24

Bill Moyers’ Journal, November 20 – on escalation in Vietnam
Public Broadcasting System, November 20
On Lyndon Johnson’s decision making on Vietnam in the mid-1960s, using excerpts from President Johnson’s taped phone conversations with top advisors. The video of this program can be accessed here.

“Why Liberals Kill”
By Thad Russell, The Daily Beast, posted October 17
a broad-brush analysis of the liberal foreign policy tradition from a libertarian conservative perspective

Suggestions for inclusion in these lists are welcome: they can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com. Members of the working group for this project are Matt Bokovoy, Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Jim O’Brien, Maia Ramnath, and Sarah Shields

Lastest article links from Historians Against the War

Links to Recent Articles of Interest from HAW.

“History Promises Disaster in Afghanistan for Blind America”
By John R. MacArthur, Providence Journal, posted November 18
(by the publisher of Harper’s Magazine)

“Washington’s Welcome Indecision”
By Mahir Ali, Znet, posted November 18

“Who’s Afraid of World Government?”
By Lawrence Wittner, History News Network, posted November 16
(The author teaches history at SUNY Albany,)

“Haunted by Gorbachev’s Ghost”
By James Fergusson, truthdig.org, posted November 15 (from The Independent)
(on parallels with the Soviet experience in Afghanistan)

“Obama, Learn the Lessons of Vietnam – from JFK, not LBJ”
By Larry Berman and Edward Miller, New York Daily News, posted November 13
(Miller teaches history at Dartmouth College)

“Why the Afghan Surge Will Fail”
By Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted November 12

“The Fifty-Year War”
By Jonathan Schell, The Nation (November 30 issue), posted November 11
(on domestic politics as the link between US decision-making in Vietnam and Afghanistan)

“Cold War Without End: America Never Had a Post-Communist Revolution”
By David Brown, Antiwar.com, posted November 10

“Drone Race to a Known Future: Why Military Dreams Fail – and Why It Doesn’t Matter”
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted November 10

“Sen. George McGovern on the Presidency from Lincoln to Obama”
Interviewed by Robert Scheer, Truthdig.com, posted November 6

Suggestions for inclusion in these lists are welcome: they can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com. Members of the working group for this project are Matt Bokovoy, Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Jim O’Brien, Maia Ramnath, Sarah Shields

Bill Moyers on “Washington’s War”

Picture 1

Moyer’s links the war, economy, and the disintegration of the social fabric of the US and suggests:

So here’s a suggestion. In a week or so, when the president announces he is escalating the war, let’s not hide the reality behind eloquence or animation. No more soaring rhetoric, please. No more video games. If our governing class wants more war, let’s not allow them to fight it with young men and women who sign up because they don’t have jobs here at home, or can’t afford college or health care for their families.

Let’s share the sacrifice. Spread the suffering. Let’s bring back the draft.

Yes, bring back the draft — for as long as it takes our politicians and pundits to “fix” Afghanistan to their satisfaction.

Bring back the draft, and then watch them dive for cover on Capitol Hill, in the watering holes and think tanks of the Beltway, and in the quiet little offices where editorial writers spin clever phrases justifying other people’s sacrifice. Let’s insist our governing class show the courage to make this long and dirty war our war, or the guts to end it.


More links from Historians Against the War

This is the latest biweekly collection links to recent articles by historians on HAW-relevant topics – or articles by other writers that provide historical background on these. Members of the working group for this project are: Matt Bokovoy, Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Jim O’Brien, Maia Ramnath, Sarah Shields.

“Honduras: Solution or Stall?”
By Greg Grandin, Z-Net, posted November 2

“Afghanistan as a Bailout State”
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted November 1
(applies Vietnam lessons in critiquing all the mainstream policy options under discussion in Washington)

“Afghanistan Déjà vu? Lessons from the Soviet Experience”
Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, National Security Archive, posted October 30
(contains links to several Soviet primary sources and several newspaper articles based on them, including the Sebestyen op-ed piece listed below)

“Transcripts of Defeat”
By Victor Sebestyen, New York Times, October 29
(on the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and its parallels to the present)

“Is Obama’s Iran Policy Doomed to Fail?”
By Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch.com, posted October 29

“What Savvy Leaders Could Do to Move Toward a Nuclear-Free World (Obama–Are You Listening?)”
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted October 26

“Review of Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State”
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, History News Network, posted October 24

Links to recent articles of interest from Historians Against the War

This is the fourth biweekly mailing of links to articles that provide historical background on HAW-relevant topics. Suggestions for inclusion are welcome: they can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com. Members of the working group for this project are listed below.

Matt Bokovoy,
Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg
Jim O’Brien
Maia Ramnath
Sarah Shields

“What the U.S. Military Can’t Do”
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch.com, posted October 22
(historically based article on Afghanistan focusing on US military’s inability to “seal the deal” in previous wars)

“Lessons from the Long War and a Blowback World”
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted October 18

“Fighting the Taliban: What, Exactly, is Being Fought in Afghanistan?”
By M. Reza Pirbhal, CounterPunch.org, posted October 14
(long article on US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan by a Louisiana State U. historian)

“Left and Right Against War”
By Murray Polner, History News Network 9hnn.com), posted October 12

“Afghanistan – The Proxy War”
By Andrew Bacevich, Boston Globe, posted October 11

“Apocalypse Then, Afghanistan Now”
By William Astore, TomDispatch.com, posted October 11

“Obama’s Prize, Wilson’s Legacy”
By John Milton Cooper, History News Network (hnn.com), Posted October 11

“War and Peace Prizes”
By Howard Zinn, The Guardian, posted October 9

“Unintended Consequences in Nuclear Pakistan”
By Fred Branfman, TruthDig.com, posted October 9

“Honduran Coup Regime in Crisis”
By Greg Grandin, CommonDreams.com, posted October 9