No War, No Sanctions, No Intervention, No Assassinations

Clear, simple, to the point. A nice, simple set of values that all kinds of people should be able to get behind.

It’s the platform, manifesto, talking points, everything of No War on Iran: National Day of Action, February 4th.

A lot of anti-war activities get bogged down in lengthy laundry lists of talking points and arguments from the “top,” before they ever reach the larger numbers of people they’re supposed to recruit or inflluence. They end up having something for everyone to disagree with.

This thing leaves everyone free to make their own arguments and not have to answer for someone else’s stupid ideas. No war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations. Anything else you want, bring yourself.

“Radical anarchist KN@PPSTER” and “sane policy advocate KN@PPSTER” are both down with the four points, for different but not really incompatible reasons.

From a policy standpoint, screwing with Iran is the silliest damn idea I’ve heard in a decade characterized by silly ideas.

The US has fought and lost two full-blown wars in Asia (and smaller ones in Asia and elsewhere) over the last ten years, draining its treasury and degrading its military (in both the moral and practical senses).

Launching a third major war, against an opponent three times as populous, with much greater regional support, and much more militarily advanced than either Iraq or Afghanistan … well, if you were looking for  proof that the assorted War Colleges of the US armed forces have “special needs” classes, just check out the number of different crayon colors used in drafting that contingency plan.

From an anarchist standpoint, war (and preparation for war) is one of the primary instruments which the political class of every country, and their “transnational” partners, use to savage the freedoms and empty the pocketbooks of their subjects for their own benefit. 99% of the time, that’s its only purpose. The other 1% of the time is when one particular clique of the political class is in real existential danger from another clique or cliques, and wants their subjects to bail them out.

So, get back to me if the war you’re selling is revolutionary class struggle, productive (us) vs. political (them). Otherwise, I’m not buying. And this ain’t that.

But that’s all just me. I’m sure you have your own reasons. On February 4th, let’s set those other reasons aside and stand together for no war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations.

[cross-posted from KN@PPSTER]

Iran: The Case Against the Next War

The Case Against the Next War is “a concise package on foreign policy with Iran and Israel because [young activists] desired a resource to show parents and family something with integrity,” says Nick Hankoff. The 26 year old media consultant created the presentation for his local GOP group which as he noted in a brief interview with, made up of new activists under 30. Click here for a media presentation which cuts through the now daily onslaught of anti-Iranian propaganda.

Hankoff is Chair of Los Angeles County Republican Liberty Caucus, Grassroots Coordinator for Tenth Amendment Center and an on-call volunteer for

Action Item: Tell Your Rep to Vote “NO” on H.R. 1905

From the Friends Committee on National Legislation:

The conflict between the U.S. and Iran is reaching a point where it could spiral out of control. In the U.S., Congress and the administration have become more confrontational toward Iran. Iran has done the same and withdrawn further from the international community.

Now, Congress is preparing to add fuel to this fire. Your representative is preparing to vote on legislation that could close off prospects for diplomatic communication between the U.S. and Iran at the very time that such channels are critical for preventing war.

This vote could come as soon as next Tuesday. Please call your representative today at 877-429-0678 and ask her or him to vote “no” on the Iran Threat Reduction Act, H.R. 1905. Enter your zip code to get talking points that reflect whether your member has publicly supported this bill.

Doing 55 in a 54

Kelley Vlahos has a great piece today on the Henry Gates affair and the larger problems of which it’s a symptom. One such problem is the ever increasing number of pretexts on which the authorities can interrogate, search, assault, and arrest citizens. The authority figure, equipped with endless excuses to initiate an interaction with the citizen, from an expired tag to a false burglar alarm to an alleged whiff of what might be a controlled substance, uses his or her superior knowledge of legal arcana to find some way to put the citizen behind bars.  For instance, what struck me when reading the policeman’s account of the Gates incident was a small detail: the repeated use of the term “tumultuous.” It appears three times in the brief report in descriptions of Gates’ behavior. Why was the cop fixated on this SAT word?

Turns out, it appears in the Massachusetts statute defining disorderly conduct. The cop goaded the agitated Gates into stepping outside of his house (he made sure to give a reason for this in the report – poor acoustics in Gates’ kitchen!) to create the grounds for an arrest.  The cop already knew the specific – though vague and debatable – adjective he should use in his report to make the charge sound incontestable to the lawnorder crowd.

The proliferation of new laws in the wake of 9/11, all full of vague and debatable terms, has given the authorities infinite points of entry into all of our lives. They truly can arrest first and read the statutes later; you’re sure to have done something wrong. Even if they eventually drop the charges or fail to convict you, don’t count on getting any compensation for your anxiety, lost time, injuries, or legal fees.

An analogous situation prevails in international affairs, where the global police churn out endless legal pretexts for subjecting whole countries to full body-cavity searches, house arrest, assault, and capital punishment, and we’re watching it play out yet again in the case of Iran. But that’s a post for another day.

The Suffrage Green Preservation Society

Like Justin, I’m pulling for Iran’s Greenies. No, Mousavi’s worldview and goals aren’t radically different from Ahmadinejad’s; if they were, his candidacy wouldn’t have been approved by the clerics. Nor are the people out in Tehran’s streets good little junior Americans, much less state-hating libertarians like me. But the protesters strike me as decent people with understandable grievances, and Mousavi does have a different temperament than Ahmadinejad, which, as Obama has demonstrated in the last week, actually matters sometimes. (For the first time since the inauguration, I’ve had reason to be relieved that that one beat the other one, because at least the former, while dedicated in principle to all the same fundamentals as the latter, isn’t an impetuous hothead. Obama may yet decide to bomb Iran into compliance with pristine Chicago election standards, but – and I truly hate the phrase “X would have been worse” – Allah only knows what McCain, who combines all the worst traits of a hormone-addled adolescent and a mean old fart, would have done by now.)

In addition to having a better temperament, Mousavi hasn’t yet been fitted for his custom-made caricature. If he miraculously ends up becoming Iran’s president, it will take America’s Mideast hegemonists a few months to affix the Haji Hitler mask to Mousavi’s unfamiliar visage, which may be enough time to head off new sanctions or an Israeli air strike. Moreover, it will be difficult, though hardly impossible, for all the establishment commentators who have made a secular Bodhisattva of Mousavi to take it all back when he, unsurprisingly, protests the U.S. encirclement of his country and insists on Iran’s rights to nuclear energy. In fact, if the mullahs were crafty chess masters, they would invalidate the election results – regardless of who actually won – and install Mousavi immediately. This would be an enormous boost to their domestic credibility (they could blame all the fraud on Ahmadinejad), and it would leave their international critics speechless – again, at least for a while.

But, sadly, that probably won’t happen, so it’s best for those who want peace to emphasize the primacy of negotiations with the Iranian government over the proper composition of that government. And to those who suddenly know, know, KNOW everything about Iranian politics and society: please acquire some self-awareness and humility. A lot of you guys knew, knew, KNEW everything about Iraq seven years ago, and we see the glorious dividends of your omniscience today. If you sincerely want to help your newfound friends in Iran, your first priority should be making sure that our own government (or the one in Jerusalem that it funds and backs to the hilt) doesn’t out-murder the Basij a thousand times over with bombs and missiles.

Aid for Gazans

Prof. Floyd Rudmin sends the following:

Material aid to Palestinians in Gaza can be given by donations to the following aid agencies. These are not listed in any order of priority.

1) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been responsible for the necessities of life for refugees in Gaza since 1948. UNRWA runs hospitals and schools, and provides basic food supplies for Palestinian families long trapped in Gaza. Donations can be made online here. Donations by bank transfer and international checks are also possible.

2) The Norwegian People’s Aid (Norsk Folkehjelp) has been actively helping Palestinians since 1987 and opened a local office in Gaza in 1996, with a focus on supporting women’s rights and development. Donations can be made online here. Select "Gaza" as the "Cause" which you wish to support.

3) Action by Churches Together (ACT) International is a Swiss-based alliance of Protestant and Orthodox churches to provide aid during emergencies. On January 14, ACT International delivered 3 truckloads of food, milk, and medicine to the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Donations can be made following instructions here via bank transfers or international checks. The Church World Service is a member organization, accepting online donations here, for fund #6824, "2009 Gaza Humanitarian Response." Church World Service meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 2-star rating by Charity Navigator.

4) Medecins sans frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) runs a clinic in Gaza and has 21 tons of medical supplies and a team of surgeons set to enter Gaza as soon as allowed. MSF meets 19 of 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here.

5) The United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) is a registered US charity with a focus in Gaza on first aid training and mobile clinics. The UPA meets 19 of 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. They are now fund raising for medical and food supplies. Donations can be made online here.

6) American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) is a registered US charity, founded in 1968, to give aid to impoverished Palestinian families. On January 9, ANERA delivered 81 pallets of fortified milk to Gaza. ANERA meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here.

7) Oxfam America is a well-known aid agency. It meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Oxfam has established a "Middle East Crisis" fund to help with emergency medical needs. Donations can be made online here.

8) The International Medical Corps (IMC) delivers aid to Gaza via Heart-to-Heart International, International Relief Teams, and The Bridge Foundation. The IMC meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here or by 24-hour phone line.

9) Episcopal Relief & Development operates in Gaza via the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. It supports the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in central Gaza and is sheltering 400 Gazans displaced by the conflict. Episcopal Relief & Development meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here, where you can select the "Middle East" fund.

10) CARE was established in 1945 to deliver aid to war-torn Europe. It is now one of the most reputed U.S. aid NGOs, active in Gaza since 1948, with a focus on food security and clean water. CARE meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 3-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here.

11) World Vision is a Christian relief agency with field offices in many countries, including Gaza. World Vision meets all 20 Better Business Bureau standards and has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations can be made online here.

12) Medical Aid for Palestine is a registered Canadian charity established in 1982. It is subsidized by two government agencies: the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Secrétariat à l’Aide Internationale du Québec (SAI). Donations can be made online here.

Floyd Rudmin is a professor of psychology in Arctic Norway.