18 November 2010

Don't Extend It. End It.

Reposted from the Canadian Peace Alliance:

Virtual March

On November 18, Call your MP and the Party Leaders and demand.... Don't Extend It. End It.

The Conservative government, with the support of the Liberals are about to extend Canada's war in Afghanistan. The Prime Minster says there is no need to debate the issue. Evidently he believes that keeping 1000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan, at a cost of $3 billion and against the will of 80 per cent of Canadians is an issue that needs no further discussion.

Stephen Harper is expected to announce the details of the extension of the Canadian deployment this week. He needs to hear from you!

Let the Prime Minister and the Party Leaders know that Canadians are against any extension of the war in Afghanistan and want the troops brought home now.

What can you do?

1- Join the virtual march on Ottawa this Thursday November 18. Phone, E-mail, fax and write your your MP and the Party leaders and call on them to end the war.

Step 1
Just cut and paste the following e-mails into the address line: pm@pm.gc.ca, CannoL@parl.gc.ca , Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca, Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca, Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Step 2
Find the e-mail for your MP HERE.

Step 3
Send your e-mail. Please let us know about your efforts by cc'ing cpa@web.ca

Step 4
Call the party leaders and cabinet ministers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Telephone: (613) 992-4211

Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon:
Telephone: (819) 441-2510

Gilles Duceppe:
Telephone: (613) 992-6779

Michael Ignatieff:
Telephone: (613) 995-9364

Jack Layton:
Telephone: (613) 995-7224

2- Organize emergency actions in your town. There are a number of groups planning emergency rallies and pickets. In Toronto there will be mass leafleting on November 20 at 1 pm at Dundas Square. In Ottawa there will be a picket at Stephen Harper's office at 1 pm on the 20th. In many other cities, people are hitting the streets with Don't Extend It. postcards and petitions.

3- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Please keep in mind that letters to the editor should be less than 200 words and must be accompanied by your contact information.

Points to consider in your letters and calls:

» Civilian and military casualties are at record levels in Afghanistan. Even with 150,000 troops, the resistance has a heavy presence in most of the country. There is no indication that this will get better with the new extension. In fact, all indicators point to a deteriorating situation that is not being helped with more troops.

» Women's rights are still being eroded by the NATO backed government and the majority of reconstruction funds disappear into the pockets of Afghan officials and western development agencies.

» The government that Canada supports in Afghanistan is a corrupt warlord led government that hangs onto power through fraudulent “elections”.

» The extension of the war is expected to cost Canadians at least $3 billion according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

» The notion that Canada can stay in a non-combat role is not true. If our soldiers are training Afghan troops they will still be in harm's way.

05 November 2010

An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM

Many thanks to Adrienne Pine for this important alert, "An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM." In that she presents us with evidence of a striking deepening of the alliance between U.S. academia and military objectives, in this case revolving around the concept of "strategic culture," and joining Florida International University with the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) which covers Latin America and the Caribbean. As Adrienne explains,
As it has done with great success throughout the past century, the U.S. military continues to find ways to use the academy and anthropological concepts to whitewash its imperialist actions in the service of U.S. corporate profits. In Latin America from 1963-1965, Project Camelot set a dark precedent for the use of social science to abet and legitimate counterinsurgency operations including psychological warfare. Now, at FIU's Applied Research Center, SOUTHCOM and FIU have partnered in the creation of a so-called "Strategic Culture" Initiative, a center that hosts workshops and issues reports on the "strategic culture" of different Latin American countries.
"Strategic culture" is formally defined by FIU-SOUTHCOM as "the combination of internal and external influences and experiences - geographic, historical, cultural, economic, political and military - that shape and influence the way a country understands its relationship to the rest of the world, and how a state will behave in the international community." However, as Adrienne notes about their documents it is clear that a more accurate definition would be "strategic propaganda for the creation of hegemonic political ideology favorable to U.S. economic and military interests" :
By reframing corporate-military strategy as "culture", FIU-SOUTHCOM intentionally draws upon the legitimacy and integrity of anthropology and other social sciences to depoliticize and bolster its case for military occupation of the Americas.
Adrienne Pine, who is an anthropologist at American University in Washington DC, writes further about the use of "culture" for geopolitical domination:
The concept of "culture" is being used to justify the violent actions of the U.S. military throughout the hemisphere. Culture is also used to justify U.S. training of and funding for Latin American military forces that engage in torture, targeted assassinations of dissidents, and carry out coups d'etat. When our disciplines' cultural capital is appropriated in order to legitimate military violence, we are all obligated to strongly and forcefully denounce such actions both in the academy and on the ground. Only in doing so can we reclaim the ethical core of anthropology and the social sciences.
Please read Adrienne Pine's "An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM" and the pages to which she links, and consider sending her sample email to the authorities involved.
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