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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why not an “October Morning”

Compiled and edited by Carolyn Bennett

Casualty sites reporting June 12, 2011
(Accurate totals unknown)
Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20,
2009: 232] Information out of date
Wounded 33,051-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides estimated: 18 a day
Latest update on this site: June 9, 2011
Iraq Body Count
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
101,366 – 110,719
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.  http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
ICasualties figures:
1,615 United States
2,520 Coalition
4,460 United States
4,778 Coalition


In Yemen, political violence has displaced thousands. There are shortages of food, water and fuel. The UN Refugee Agency (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) reports an estimated 4,000 residents sought protection in late May as a result of fighting between security forces loyal to President Ali Saleh and armed opposition forces in the northern Al-Hasaba district of the capital city, Sana’a.

The Joint International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Yemen Red Crescent teams working in and around Sana’a retrieved some 20 dead bodies since June 4. They discovered seven bodies on June 7. As many as 35,000-40,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) are in need in the coastal city of Aden and the southern governorate of Abyan. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Nearly 10,000 IDPs from Abyan are living in relocation centers in public schools in and around [Yemen’s second city] Aden.”  A further 4,700 IDPs have been registered in Lahj.


An estimated 433,066 persons remain internally displaced in Afghanistan, according to a UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Bank study. Of this number, 226,682 people were displaced by conflict between June 2009 and April 2011.

Displacement caused by military operations and localized fighting continues to affect communities in many parts of Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross reports. More than 51,000 IDPs — up 40 percent over the January-April period last year — received ICRC assistance.

The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) has warned that conflict between government forces and Taliban have displaced at least 12,000 people in Afghanistan’s remote northwestern province of Faryab. People are in desperate need of water, sanitation and other essentials. These internally displaced people reportedly have “sought refuge either with families and friends or they have camped in the open, in miserable situations (some secure), in remote villages with very limited or no access to safe drinking water, sanitation and other basic living facilities.”

Diarrheal diseases linked to poor hand washing, hygiene practices and inadequate sanitation are significant causes of death among children under five in Afghanistan. The health ministry reports an estimated 50,000 children under five die every year due to pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. People “‘are facing too many problems.’”

Shoot to kill

The video appears to show five members of the security forces in Karachi shooting an unarmed man. The dead man was 18-year-old Afsa Shah. The incident now under investigation by the rangers reportedly appeared on local television stations and the internet website YouTube. The teenager had allegedly attempted on Wednesday to steal from a police officer’s family in Clifton, Karachi’s most exclusive neighborhood.

Security forces in May “shot dead five unarmed Chechens at a checkpoint near the southwestern city of Quetta.” One of dead was a pregnant woman. Officials initially claimed the five people had been “suicide bombers but footage showed them to be unarmed and dispelled the government’s claim.” A representative of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan told Al Jazeera, Pakistan has “descended into a ‘trigger-happy society where shoot-to-kill has become routine practice for the law enforcement agencies.’”

Pakistan/Afghan border

Eight soldiers died Thursday and 12 suffered wounds when 150 heavily armed fighters attacked a security checkpoint in Pakistan’s Waziristan region on the border with Afghanistan. Security forces returned fire and reportedly killed 12 more people.

After this incident, a bomb exploded in a market near the northwestern city of Peshawar. Four people died and three suffered wounds.

“Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani at a meeting of top military commanders called on the people of North Waziristan ‘to evict all foreigners from their soil and take charge of their land and destiny once again.’”

Gaza/West Bank, Israel continues to block aid

Approximately 40,000 Palestinians live in Area C of the West Bank. International nongovernmental organizations say restrictions on their movement reduce the effective delivery of aid to some of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities — mainly people in Gaza and in Area C of the West Bank.

Delivery of humanitarian aid to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has been hampered by severe restrictions on staff movements thus hurting the quality, scope, and sustainability of operations. “The biggest problem for us,” Oxfam reports, “is getting permits for national staff to leave Gaza and travel to the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” Under the Oslo regulations, Area C, which includes East Jerusalem, is administered and controlled by the Israeli government and military.

On the run

Most of them are women and children crossing borders “without any belongings.” They descend on relatives or host families. A small number reside temporarily in a school in Tall Bire.

Ongoing protests beginning in Syria in mid-March face regular crackdowns by government forces. At least 1,100 people have died. Among the dead are more than 50 protesters estimated to have died in demonstrations that followed Friday prayers on June 3. Authorities have reportedly arrested more than 10,000 people.

Six thousand people fled into Lebanon “using illegal border crossings to escape the violence unleashed on protesters by security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.” An estimated 6,814 people received some assistance from the Lebanese Higher Relief Council.

Blood flows, people flee, are blocked toward Tunisia

Misurata — Al Jazeera’s correspondent Tony Birtley called today a “bloody day in terms of casualties.”  Qaddafi shelled Misurata in Libya’s west. Thirty-one people died yesterday in the conflict.

Zawiyah — NATO air strikes hit Zawiyah, a major oil port 50km west of Tripoli. Qaddafi forces shut down a vital coastal highway that leads into neighboring Tunisia.

Zintan — Pro- and anti-government forces fought today near the western town of Zintan attempting to “to seize a town that lay in between the towns of Zintan and Yafran.” Senior aide to Libyan president Qaddafi, El-Khouwildy el-Ahmeildy, was reportedly wounded during a NATO air strike on a city near Tripoli.


Two bombs and eight shooters who attacked the home of a schoolteacher in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul left 10 people dead and approximately 52 injured.

People reported seeing women and children bleeding and hearing them screaming and crying. Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city, 360km northwest of Baghdad.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Nonviolence is better

The director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies  asked late last week, “What would a transformed U.S. policy look like?”

This is some of Phyllis Bennis’s answer to the question she posed: “It would entail ending all U.S. military ties to any regime suppressing the Arab Spring protests in its own or other countries (that means Saudi Arabia as well as Bahrain and Yemen), and pulling all troops and mercenaries out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It would mean supporting the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone throughout the Middle East.

“Such a policy would suspend all economic aid until it can be redirected away from militaries, even in democratizing countries, and into the hands of governments who are held accountable .…

“It would also end the military aid and diplomatic protection that enable Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies towards the Palestinians.

“It would replace Washington’s failed ‘peace process’ with support for regional and globally-led diplomacy based on international law and human rights.”

Nonviolence heads toward October morning

A gathering planned for October 6 in Washington, D.C., is billed “a gathering of people who support peace and social, economic and environmental justice [intending] to stay in Washington, D.C. as a unified presence.”

The group October 2011 dot org says, “We will use ongoing actions of nonviolent resistance to disrupt the forces that corrupt our political process and undermine our rights and human needs. We will demand changes that shift power away from concentrated corporate capital and free us to create solutions that lead to a just and sustainable future.”

Purposes of action —

  • “Create solidarity among the people and groups who support peace and economic, environmental, and social justice
  • “Demonstrate the power of nonviolence
  • “Model a society that functions with inclusivity, tolerance, and a process of decisions by consensus of the people
  • “Have a great enough effect that the government will take concrete steps to meet our demands
  • “Create a lasting force that will continue to move our society towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future.”

October morning begins —

Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. (13th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue NW), Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

Sources and notes

“YEMEN: The human cost of the conflict,” June 9, 2011, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92944

Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with regional desks in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar, Dubai and Bangkok, IRIN covers 70 countries. Networks of local correspondents support IRIN’s bureaus. The service delivers in English, French, and Arabic through a free email subscription service and social media syndication. IRIN is an editorially independent non-profit project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA. Integrated Regional Information Networks launched in 1995 in response to the gap in humanitarian reporting exposed by the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath.

Between the lines “As Afghan War Approaches Second Decade, Activists Organize October Anti-War Protest” (BTL Scott Harris interview with David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org), posted June 8, 2011: “The U.S. peace movement has waned. There have been in recent years fewer anti-war protests and less participation in vigils, teach-ins and lobbying of Congress. Now, as the U.S. military combat role in Afghanistan enters its second decade, a major protest is being organized for October 6, 2011, with the goal of placing new attention on the war in Afghanistan and demanding an end to the conflict,” http://btlonline.org/2011/seg/110617af-btl-swanson.html

“AFGHANISTAN: Clashes displace 12,000 in Faryab Province,” June 6, 2011, KABUL, IRIN, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=92909

“Pakistan rangers ‘gun down unarmed man’ Investigation under way after footage surfaces of alleged killing of unarmed man by five Karachi security forces,” June 10, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/video/asia/2011/06/201169185514224350.html

“Fighters kill several soldiers in Pakistan  — Local intelligence officials say raid targeted military checkpoint on the border between North and South Waziristan,” June 9, 2011,   http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/06/20116934727791167.html

“Israel hindering delivery of aid” (The Electronic Intifada Ramallah, RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank, IRIN), May 12, 2011, http://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-hindering-delivery-aid/9943
Originally at IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, not necessarily reflecting views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“SYRIA-LEBANON: Displaced Syrians head back home,” June 6, 2011, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92901

“Fierce fighting erupts in western Libya — Rebels battle troops loyal to Muammar [Qaddafi] as they attempt to seize town between Zintan and Yafran,” June 12, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/06/20116124372194590.html

“Deaths in Iraq attacks  — Two car bombs strike Mosul and gunmen attack school teacher in a village outside of Tikrit,”   June 11, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/2011611133422731363.html

PROGRESSIVISTS’ alternatives

“Obama’s changes don’t match changes of the Arab Spring — there is still a long way to go before the U.S. response to the Arab uprising can be taken seriously by the people of the Middle East and North Africa,” (Phyllis Bennis), June 2011,  http://www.tni.org/article/obamas-changes-dont-match-changes-arab-spring

Phyllis Bennis
Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, is a fellow of both TNI and the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. where she directs IPS’s New Internationalism Project. She specializes in U.S. foreign policy issues, particularly involving the United Nations and the Middle East. For 10 years, Bennis was a journalist at the UN and currently serves as a special adviser to several top-level UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues. She is the author of numerous articles and books, particularly on Palestine, Iraq, the UN, and U.S. foreign policy. 

What is nonviolent resistance October 2011 dot org asks and answers — A pledge outlining rules to follow at the October 6 action

1.      We will use our anger at injustice as a positive, nonviolent force for change.
2.      We will not carry weapons of any kind.
3.      We will not vandalize or destroy property.
4.      We will not use or carry alcohol or illegal drugs.
5.      We will not run or make threatening motions.
6.      We will not insult, swear or attack others.
7.      We will protect those who oppose or disagree with us from insult or attack.
8.      We will not assault, verbally or physically, those who oppose or disagree with us, even if they assault us.
9.      Our attitude, as conveyed through our words, symbols and actions, will be one of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all people we encounter including police officers, military personnel, members of the community at large, and all marchers.
10.  As members of a nonviolent action, we will follow the directions of the designated coordinators.
11.  In the event of a serious disagreement, we will withdraw from the action.
[PLEDGE OF NONVIOLENCE from Veterans for Peace, FAQ, http://october2011.org/node/168]

Media and Blogs Covering October 2011 dot org Campaign:
Between the Lines with Scott Harris • Community Alliance • FireDogLake • Forward Blitz • The Indypendent • Liberty News TV • LUV News • Make It Plain with Matsimela Mapfumo on Sirius XM • OpEd News • Peter B. Collins • Speaking Truth to Empire • The Black Commentator • The Nicole Sandler Show • Office of the Americas • War is a Crime • Woodstock International


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