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ACTION ALERT: 150 Leading Activists Challenge Obama to Become a Peace President


January 26, 2011
Via David Swanson / War Is a Crime

We, the undersigned, share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced.... We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them.

http://warisacrime.org/primary

150 Leading Activists Oppose
Obama for Democratic Nomination


Over 150 prominent activists, authors, and academics have launched a petition with a statement that begins:
"We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them."

Among the signers are:

Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace
Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report
Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Code Pink*
Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*
William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy
Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Jeff Cohen, author/media critic
Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers
Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice
Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class
Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial
Dahr Jamail, journalist/author
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*
Howie Klein, publisher, DownWithTyranny.com
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst
Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*
Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild
Gareth Porter, author and journalist
Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*
Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser
Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War*
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year
Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*
John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author
Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant U.S. attorney, author
Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat

*for identification only

The full list of initial signers appears at the end of the following petition.
We Will Oppose Obama As Long As He Supports War

(January 25, 2011) -- We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them.

Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country.

He has continued as well to try to hide the true costs of the wars by funding them with off-the-books supplemental spending bills, despite the fact that he campaigned against this very practice.

The President has escalated a war on Afghanistan in which rising civilian deaths and atrocities have become routine.

He has given the CIA even greater freedom of action to launch lethal drone strikes against civilian houses in Pakistan on mere assumption of some connection with Taliban or other organizations, despite the warning from the US Ambassador in late 2009 -- revealed in a Wikileaks cable -- that such attacks could "destabilize" the Pakistani government, despite many reports that civilians, including children, are disproportionately victims, and despite the contention of the United Nations and many US allies that this practice is illegal.

Obama has approved an increase in covert operations by CIA-controlled Afghan troops into Pakistan, and his administration has remained silent while the US command in Afghanistan leaked to the New York Times plans for new Special Operations Forces raids into Pakistan aimed at Afghan Taliban targets.

The President has expanded the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF), operating in virtually total secrecy and without any accountability to Congress, in one country after another. SOF troops are presently in some 75 nations -- 15 more than when Obama took office.

President Obama has, on a later schedule than he campaigned on, finally reduced US troop presence in Iraq. But he has not fully withdrawn US combat forces from Iraq or ended US combat there, his claims to have done so notwithstanding.

His vice president has suggested, without correction by the President, the possibility of a US military presence in the country even after the deadline for withdrawal under the US-Iraq withdrawal agreement, if only through the use of military contractors.

The Obama administration has announced plans to form an army of mercenary troops from private military contractors in Iraq which is to have its own air force and its own fleet of mine-resistant military vehicles.

The plan includes continued contracts with the company formerly called Blackwater, despite the knowledge that it was guilty of atrocities against civilians in that country, and despite the openly declared opposition of the Iraqi government to such a continued role.

Obama has overseen increased weapons sales to foreign nations, and assisting in those sales has been a major function of his State Department.

He has approved increased funding for work on nuclear weapons, even while supporting an arms control treaty. He has established a policy of potential nuclear first strike against Iran or North Korea.

President Obama has argued for the justness of war-making in widely watched speeches from the Oval Office and in Oslo, Norway, where he was accepting a Nobel Peace Prize.

He has, in his Oval Office speech last August, defended false statements that took our nation into the current wars and false statements that have prolonged them.

The President has supported sanctions against Iran and Syria that punish the people, especially children, and not the leadership, of those countries. He has sent ships and missiles to Iran's border.

He has risked hostilities with North Korea through the ongoing construction of new military bases in South Korea and provocative war games exercises. His administration has helped a military coup succeed in Honduras.

President Obama has sought to allow more Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. He has protected Israel's killing of activists on a humanitarian aid ship, not even protesting at the murder of an unarmed American youth.

He issued a presidential memorandum on October 25, 2010, giving US approval for the use of child soldiers by Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen.

He has backed Indonesian armed forces that assassinated civilian activists in late 2009.

He has expanded the US military presence in Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guam, Italy, and Diego Garcia, as well as overseeing an enormous military base construction project in Afghanistan.

President Obama has not closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay and continues to maintain a network of detention facilities in Afghanistan through which prisoners, according to the most recent information available, are still being subjected to harsh treatment.

He has claimed the right to imprison people, including American citizens, indefinitely without charge or trial, thus further cementing in place the elimination of the rights of prisoners of war and the elimination of the right of habeas corpus for anyone, as well as the rights found in the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the US Constitution.

The President has claimed the power of rendition. His CIA Director Leon Panetta and his senior advisor David Axelrod have asserted, without correction by the President, that the President maintains the power to torture.

In the recent case of Gulet Mohamed, the Obama administration, for a time, claimed the power to forbid an American to reenter the country, absent any conviction or even any charge of a crime, and apparently collaborated with Kuwait to torture that American. The President has also openly claimed the power to order the assassination of Americans abroad.

In Iraq, the US military has continued to work with and protect from accountability an Iraqi military that is known to regularly use torture.

The President has expanded the use of warrantless spying. Under his leadership, the FBI has infiltrated peace groups and raided the homes of peace activists. It has set up and entrapped in terrorism charges people whose training and motivation came largely or even entirely from the FBI.

He has supported the re-authorization of the PATRIOT Act, which strips away Americans' civil liberties.

President Obama, in direct violation of the Nuremberg Charter, a US treaty commitment, has publicly instructed his Attorney General not to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes, including torture.

His administration has worked hard to provide retroactive immunity to corporations engaged in warrantless spying and individuals engaged in sanctioning torture.

He has kept secret a vast trove of documents, photos, and videos pertaining to prisoner abuse. He has advanced unprecedented claims of secrecy powers in defending the crimes of his predecessor. President Obama's White House has put great pressure on European states not to investigate or prosecute US war crimes.

This president has restricted the release of the names of White House visitors and has pursued the prosecution and punishment of government whistleblowers more aggressively than any previous president.

His administration is responsible for the cruel and unusual lengthy confinement in a 6' by 12' cell, prior to any trial, of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning. His vice president, Joe Biden, has publicly labeled an Australian journalist, Julian Assange, a "terrorist."

President Obama has used a private propaganda firm that had been exposed planting lies in Iraqi media, to screen potential embedded reporters for coverage of the US military. He has used the military to restrict reporting by American journalists on an oil spill in American waters.

Perhaps most perilously, President Obama has claimed the right to engage in many of these activities without the authorization of Congress. He has even claimed the power first developed by his predecessor to rewrite new laws through the extra-Constitutional use of presidential signing statements. Expanded powers that are not opposed now will be far more difficult to oppose later with another president able to claim past precedent.

The President's own deficit commission recommended cuts of $100 billion to the military budget. The United States spends about $1 trillion each year on the military, through a variety of departments, and has spent over $1 trillion already on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Over half of every US dollar of income tax is going to war making. The Department of Defense budget alone is larger than the military expenditures of the next largest 16 militaries in the world combined. That budget could be cut by 85% and still be the largest in the world.

In addition to the lessening of hostility toward our country that would result from a significant decrease in US military presence around the world, by shifting our financial resources we could create jobs, green energy, top quality free education, public transportation and infrastructure.

We could also end all talk of reducing our Social Security or health coverage. We intend to support public servants who put our money where it serves the public.

We are not concerned with whether President Obama is acting enthusiastically or reluctantly in pursuing a militaristic policy abroad and more repression of dissent at home. It matters little whether he is submitting to powerful forces or freely following his preferred course. We do not elect his soldiers or spies, his advisors, his campaign funders, or the owners of our major media outlets. We elect the president. We will not support his nomination for another term, and we believe that a large proportion of Americans who voted for him in 2008 will not do so again unless he reverses the most egregious policies to which we have referred -- especially by taking decisive steps to end the war on Afghanistan and to make deep cuts in the military and war budgets.

Signers as of January 25, 2011:


Nic Abramson, U.S. Boat to Gaza


Meredith Aby, MN Anti-War Committee


Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace


Will Allen, author, The War on Bugs

Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore


Vicki Andrews, Peace Circle -- Grand Rapids MN


Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD)* and national board member, Peace Action*


Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report


Anna Baltzer, activist


Missy Beattie, activist and writer


Mark Bebawi, producer/host, The Monitor, KPFT


Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Code Pink*


Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*


Toby Blome, activist, Bay Area Code Pink


William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy


Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Vice-President, Veterans For Peace


Roy Bourgeois, founder, School of the Americas Watch


Linda Boyd, activist


Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators


Jean Hay Bright, Maine's 2006 Democratic US Senate candidate


Elaine Brower, military mom, World Can't Wait

Mike Byerly, Alachua County Commissioner, Gainesville, Fla.


Scott Camil, President, Gainesville Florida Chapter, Veterans For Peace

Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member

Oskar Castro, board member, War Resisters League


Zach Choate, operation recovery field organizer, Iraq Veterans Against the War


David Cobb, Move To Amend coalition*


Jeff Cohen, author/media critic


William John Cox, Voters Evolt!


Catarina Correia, video editor, coordinating committee member, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance


Bud Courtney, New York Catholic Worker


David Culver, publisher, Evergreene Digest


Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association


Matthew W. Daloisio, Witness Against Torture*


Nicolas J S Davies, author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq


Elena Day, People's Alliance for Clean Energy


Frank Dorrel, publisher, Addicted To War


Jane Swift Dugdale, Main Line Peace Action


Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition


Cherie Eichholz, national board member, Veterans for Peace


Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility


Pat Elder, Coordinating Committee, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth*


Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers


Samuel S. Epstein, professor


Desiree Fairooz, Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice


Mike Ferner, national board member, Veterans for Peace


Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance


Robert Fitrakis, professor, editor


Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice


Margaret Flowers, M.D., Physicians for a National Health Program*


Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report*


George Friday, Independent Progressive Politics Network


Sarah Fuhro, board member, Military Families Speak Out*


James Clay Fuller, retired newspaper editor


Monica Gabrielle, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member


Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space*


Lila Garrett, radio host


Nate Goldshlag, national board member and treasurer, Veterans For Peace

Michelle Gross, president, Communities United Against Police Brutality


Thomas John Gumbleton, retired Roman Catholic Bishop


DeeDee Halleck, founder, Paper Tiger Tv, Deep Dish Network, emerita professor, UCSD


Connie Hammond, Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus, Ohio


Kathy Hass, activist, Central Florida Code Pink


Bill Habedank, Veterans for Peace

Jim Haber, coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience


Susan Harman, Progressive Democrats of America*, Code Pink*


David Harris, Veterans for Peace


David Harris, draft resister, author

Leslie Harris, activist, Code Pink Greater Dallas*


Bob Heberle, former national board member, Veterans for Peace


Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class


Dud Hendrick, Maine chapter president, Veterans for Peace

Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial


Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker


John Heuer, chair and national board member, NC Peace Action


Herbert J. Hoffman, vice president, Maine Veterans for Peace


Connie Hogarth, Cofounder WESPAC (Westchester Peoples Action Coalition)*


Lydia Howell, writer and host, "Catalyst", KFAI Radio


Sam Husseini, activist
Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor


Rick Jahnkow, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft*


Dahr Jamail, journalist/author


Mark C. Johnson, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation


Larry Kalb, former Democratic congressional candidate


Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace


Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*


Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation


Joey King, national board member, Veterans for Peace


Howie Klein, publisher, DownWithTyranny.com


Michael Knox, professor and clinical psychologist


Georg Koszulinski, filmmaker


Joel Kovel, author, The Enemy of Nature, Overcoming Zionism


Andrew Kolin, author, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W Bush


Steve Lane, activist


Jesse Lemisch, Historian, Emeritus Prof, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY


Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives


Linda LeTendre, LMSW Christian Peace Witness


Dave Lindorff, editor, Thiscantbehappening.net


Erik Lobo, Veteran For Peace


Ralph Lopez, JobsForAfghans.org 


David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst


Sarah Martin, subpoenaed antiwar and international solidarity activist


Gene Marx, national board member, Veterans for Peace


Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video


Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst


Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Nominee for US President

David McReynolds, Socialist Party USA*


Bob Meola, War Resisters League National Committee* and Courage to Resist Organizing Collective*


Michael T. McPhearson, co-convenor United For Peace and Justice, former executive director of Veterans For Peace


Camilo E. Mejia, activist, resister


Linda Milazzo, activist, writer


Dede Miller, activist


Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor


Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace


Gael Murphy, co-chair, Legislative Working Group, United for Peace and Justice*, co-founder, Code Pink*


Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*


Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild


Brad Newsham, activist


Georgianne Nienaber, activist and author

Stirling Newberry, former military contractor


Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center


Jeanne Olson, veteran, activist


Paul Ortiz, Veterans for Peace, author


Michael Parenti, author and activist


Cynthia Papermaster, director, National Accountability Action Network*


Judith Mahoney Pasternak, War Resisters League*


Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist


Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid of NC
Gareth Porter, author and journalist


Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*


Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser


Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War


Ward Reilly, advisory committee member, Iraq

Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, VVAW


Jill Richardson, author


Katie Robbins, national organizer, Healthcare-NOW!
David Rovics, singer/song writer


Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year


Richard E. Rubenstein, author, Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War

Stephanie Rugoff, project coordinator, War Criminals Watch

A.F. Saidy, M.D., Coalition for Peace in M.E. in L.A.


Nicole Sandler, radio host


Lisa Savage, Code Pink Maine*

Linda Schade, WikiLeaksisDemocracy.org


Bill Scheurer, PeaceMajority Report


Sue Serpa, coordinator, JobsForAfghans.org


Jamilla El-Shafei, Peace Action Maine, Code Pink


Joanne Sheehan, coordinator, War Resisters League New England


Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth


Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
*

Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*


Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited


Jeffrey St Clair, CounterPunch


John Stauber, author, Weapons of Mass Deception


Josh Stieber, conscientious objector


John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author


David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org


Rev. James L. Swarts, professor, Veterans For Peace, Progressives In Action Peace Committee Chair


Dennis Trainor, Jr., NoCureForThat.org


Diane Turco, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice

Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation*


Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant US attorney, author


Robert C. Walter, Peace Action Maine, associate member of Veterans for Peace


Harvey Wasserman, author


Janet Weil, military family member

Alison Weir, president, Council for the National Interest


Beverley Whipple, Fla. chapter leader, Military Families Speak Out


Paki Wieland, activist
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam Veteran, activist


Diane Wilson, shrimper, activist, author, Veterans for Peace


Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate


Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat


Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor, St Peter's Episcopal Church -- Detroit

Dan Yaseen, Peace Fresno


Charles M. Young, contributing editor, Thiscantbehappening.net


Kevin Zeese, Voters For Peace


Maggie Zhou, Climate SOS



*for identification purposes only

ADD YOUR NAME


CONTACT: david@davidswanson.org
http://warisacrime.org/primary

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