Young people arrested in anti-war protest
About a dozen young people were arrested Wednesday, Dec. 2, as they sat in the intersection of 10th Street and 3rd Avenue in downtown Minn-eapolis to protest the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. About 100 people marched through the streets of downtown in an “Emergency Un-permitted March” from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Loring Park down Hennepin Avenue to 8th Street, down 8th Street to Marquette, up 6th Street to Hennepin, up Hennepin to 10th Street, down 10th Street to 3rd Avenue where the group of about 12 sat in the center of the intersection until police arrested them and took them to jail.
The marchers were joined by about 12 mounted police on the left side of the
marchers and about a dozen police on bicycles on the right side. On the one hand it seemed friendly for the police to protect the marchers from traffic as they went through traffic lights and up the wrong way on one-way streets, but (as it became clear once the dozen young demonstrators sat in the streets) their primary purpose was to corral the demonstrators. The mounted police quickly moved their horses in front of the sitting demonstrators, and the bike police moved behind them cutting off any contact with the main body
of protest. After neatly corralling them, they quickly proceeded to handcuff them and take them to vans to go to jail for booking.
Some protesters tried to persuade the young people sitting down to get up and return to the body of the march. Their argument was that as long as they were marching they were being effective, and once they were arrested they were taken out of action. This is an important tactical debate for people in the anti-war movement. Another consideration might have been that the march was losing critical mass. With about 100 demonstrators, there was little likelihood the police would try to stop or arrest the demonstrators, but with numbers dwindling to 20-some it seemed more likely the police would try to corral and stop the demonstration.
Thus, the sit-in became the summary statement of the demonstration.
The demonstration was organized by Direct Action to Stop War and Occupation (www.daswo.wordpress.-com). The Anti-War Committee and the Iraq Peace Action Coalition sponsored a peaceful and legal protest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenues. They said, “The U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan has nothing to do with fighting terrorism or human rights. The war has always been about the U.S. control of the emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East, especially oil and gas resources.”
A majority of the American people (54 percent in the latest poll) believe it is foolish to continue to pour money and American lives into the bottomless pit of Afghanistan. Most observers, including the U. S. ambassador, a former military commander for Afghanistan, believe the Afghan government is hopelessly corrupt and a narco-terrorist state. The ambassador believes sending more troops would actually hurt the possibility of genuine Afghan democracy.
Obama is a smart man, probably the smartest president since Thomas Jefferson. Why can’t he see that the military industrial complex through its mouthpieces in the Republican Party are pushing him into this just to alienate his base. They want to do everything they can to get Obama to
frustrate and anger his supporters.
Who benefits from the war in Afghanistan?
There are Three Chief Beneficiaries:
First, Big Oil: Unocal, probably in partnership with the Bush family, was the owner of the pipeline that brings natural gas out of Turkmenistan and Central Asia to markets in Pakistan and India. Hamid Karzai was the Unocal representative and CIA operative sent to deal with the Taliban government in the late 1990s, and, when the Taliban government said they didn’t want the pipeline, they were told it would happen with or without their approval. Most of these discussions took place in the State Capitol in Austin with Governor George W. Bush presiding. The Bush family interest in oil is well documented. They owned Dresser Industries, which manufactured oil-drilling equipment, and in 1998, family friend and business associate, Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, negotiated a sweetheart deal for the Bush family by buying Dresser for $8 billion in stock and thereby giving the Bush family controlling interest in Halliburton. After that, wherever oil moved, the Bush family made money on it. The U. S. military is protecting that oil pipeline, defending “vital American interests”—which translates to Bush family property and profits.
Second, the Opium Warlords: The war in Afghanistan overthrew the Taliban government and restored the opium warlords to power. The CIA had a government in place ready to function. It was the old colonial government that worked for the British—a network of warlords whose main concern was growing, selling and transporting opium. These were the U. S. allies. The Taliban had outlawed opium production, and the U. S. and CIA got opium production back up to 93 percent of the world supply. But all that opium production isn’t worth anything unless the government and the U. S. military will help get it out of the country. Karzai and his brother have been very cooperative as long as they get a fair percentage of the price.
The U. S. military has defended fields from the Taliban and even cooperated in sending drones and the Pakistani military into Helmand Province to safeguard the traditional smuggling route through Pakistan. Obama has been sending drones into this area to soften up Taliban resistance to smuggling. The Bush family connection to CIA drug smuggling is well known. When George H. W. Bush was head of the CIA, Ollie North was working with the Meo tribesmen (Hmong) to organize resistance to the Viet Cong in the border region between Laos and Vietnam. As in Afghanistan, our allies were cultivators of opium and had a long-standing relationship with the French to export opium to Marseilles. North and Bush continued that tradition. North and Bush worked together again in the basement of the White House when they needed a way to fund the Contra war in Nicaragua. Ollie bought cocaine from the Contras, sold it to American dealers, took the money and bought Soviet weapons in Iran and brought the weapons to the Contras in Honduras. George W. Bush must have treasured these old family ties because he couldn’t let the Obamas use Blair House while they were waiting for their inauguration because he was using the facility to entertain President Aribe of Colombia (a notorious member of the Colombian cocaine cartel) and award him the Medal of Freedom.
Third, War Profiteers: President Woodrow Wilson thought it would be a good idea to have all the companies involved in the production of war materiel to meet together as a War Industries Board. Of course, the unintended consequence of this was to form the Military Industrial Complex that has directed U. S. foreign policy ever since. Sam Bush (George W.’s great grand dad) was head of small arms production. His son Prescott added to the family fortune by selling weapons to Nazi Germany until he was closed down by Truman’s Trading With The Enemy act. With the acquisition of Halliburton, the Bush family now not only supplies guns and munitions but also meals and accommodations to our fighting men and women. So, who benefits from our continued war in Afghanistan? In all three areas,
the paths lead back to the Bush family. They are big oil. They are the drug lords. They are the war profiteers. For Obama to continue this war is to continue the Bush war without Bush.
STOP THE WAR! BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME, NOW!