Foreign Policy Activism Opportunities

  • Prosecute #Torture via @ACLU - Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Prosecute Torture.

    I know. It seems like this topic wouldn’t require any activism. Why would we ever need to demand that the Department of Justice seek…well…justice? Apparently, for all the reasons covered in today’s show and all the reasons you already knew and all the reasons that don’t even surprise us now that more than a decade has gone by since our government lied to our faces to obtain support for an illegal war.

    We already knew about the torture; but now the government has spent three years and $40 million, finally proving the thing we knew — that the CIA understood torture isn’t an effective information gathering tool, but encouraged its use anyway. And it doesn’t appear it took much for our elected officials at the time to be convinced. The report also makes clear once and for all that the illegal and torturous actions carried out in the name of patriotism did not help locate Osama bin Laden or thwart any terrorist plots. They were, in fact, counterproductive. Just don’t tell that to Dick Cheney — his robot heart might not be able to take it.

    Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept and Marcy Wheeler at EmptyWheel.com do solid break downs of the report, how it came about, the worst things in it and other details to stoke your rage should you be into digging deeper.

    The ACLU told the following to The Intercept:

    “Even though we previously knew many details about the torture program, the brutality this landmark report documents is breathtaking...The release of this report is a call to action for the Justice Department, Congress, and the White House. We cannot make a clean break from this nation’s history of state-sanctioned torture without accountability for the terrible human rights violations committed in our name.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Visit ACLU.org and click on the impossible to miss "No Free Pass For Torture” action to sign the petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor — as is not only his right, but his duty as the highest law enforcement official in the country. As the petition states: "Accountability for torture today is critical for stopping it tomorrow” — and, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have any of this happen again.

    Also — as it is the holidays — we’re bringing you a positive torture related action via the ACLU. Not everyone who was commanded to use the “enhanced interrogation techniques” followed orders. There were dissenters among our public officials and our military rank and file. Some prosecutors resigned rather than bring cases founded on coerced evidence. Others, like the Navy’s general counsel Alberto J. Mora, stayed and led an effort to end the practices which he argued to his superiors were ineffective and unlawful.

    Still others endured ridicule and bullying by their bosses for daring to question what they were told was their job and patriotic duty. Lt. Col. Darrel Vandevelde was placed under house arrest for refusing to participate in torture. Please sign the ACLU petition titled "Honor Those Who Said No To Torture” asking the president to “formally honor the members of the military, the CIA and other public servants who — when our nation went off course — stayed true to our most fundamental ideals.”

    TAKE ACTION:

    Write, email, and call (202-353-1555) the Department of Justice to demand the prosecution of those who ordered and orchestrated torture

    SIGN the ACLU petition: No Free Pass For Torture

    Additional Activism:

    SIGN the ACLU petition demanding the president Honor Those Who Said No To Torture

    Sources/further reading:

    "Why a Criminal Investigation is Necessary” — The ACLU statement on the Senate Torture Report

    "Civil Rights Groups Call for Prosecution of Torture Architects” by Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept

    "SSCI Torture Report Key: They Knew It was Torture, Knew It Was Illegal” via empty wheel

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #884 "One of our Blackest Marks (The Torture Report)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones via @KnowDrones and @VFPNational

    The United States is at war. Again. Still. Always? At this point, no matter what our elected officials are calling the insurgent groups, the rhetoric certainly sounds familiar. Even FoxNews has stated more than once that President Obama is sounding a lot like George W. Bush.

    With Congress off campaigning for the midterms, there’s no direct action linked to funding or supporting military action in Iraq and Syria — other than the always encouraged action of calling your reps to tell them you’ll be considering their position on continuing intervention on November 4th.

    You can, however, stand united with a world community in opposition to the president’s primary tool for intervention in the “war on terror” which now includes ISIS/ISIL. October 4th is the first Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing, organized by “Know Drones” and supported by Veterans for Peace and Code Pink.

    Actions are planned in the US, England, South Korea, Germany, India, and Canada just to name a few. You can find the event in your area at KnowDrones.com and if you are planning one where you live, you can submit it to the calendar by email via Anastasia@CodePink.org.

    If you glaze over at the use of the word “drone” because it’s part of punchlines about Amazon, the Olympics and our overreaching surveillance state, I urge you to read the story of Brandon Bryant as told to GQ a year ago. The article “Confessions of a Drone Warrior” is candid, emotional and cuts through the clinical rhetoric used by news outlets and on the floor of Congress.

    The article itself describes why Bryant’s bravery in coming forward is so important:

    "Since its inception, the drone program has been largely hidden, its operational details gathered piecemeal from heavily redacted classified reports or stage-managed media tours by military public-affairs flacks. Bryant is one of very few people with firsthand experience as an operator who has been willing to talk openly, to describe his experience from the inside.”

    Bryant’s description of the moments after his first fired shot is chilling:

    "The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”

    Drones kill. That’s their purpose. The rhetoric out of the White House and Congress that we “aren’t sending troops” or that we're “just providing tactical air support" shouldn’t comfort those concerned about ending war and supporting peace. Get involved. Make your voice heard. Stand with Veterans For Peace and Know Drones.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Find the event near you: Global Action Day Calendar

    Submit your event to Anastasia of CODEPINK via anastasia@codepink.org

    Sources/further reading:

    "Veterans Group in Response to President Obama’s Plan to Confront ISIL Says They are Disappointed But Not Surprised” via Veterans For Peace

    ”Veterans For Peace: Six Steps Short of War to Confront ISIL”

    ""Ban Weaponized Drones!": Anti-Drone Movement Spreads in Europe” via Truthout

    "Confessions of a Drone Warrior” by Matthew Power at GQ

    "Race is on to perfect solar-powered drones” by Hiawatha Bray at The Boston Globe

    "Domestic Drones” via ACLU National

    "Warrant for Drones Veto Was the Wrong Decision” via ACLU of Northern California

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #864 "The definition of insanity (Foreign Policy)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich