Monday, December 7, 2015

Defend the Drone Operators: Fight media blackouts

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We should all be concerned about what is happening in our country.  The problems we face would take up considerable space. Homelessness, police violence, mass killings, racism, sexism, a general decline in our standard of living and the ferocious attack on organized labor.

Trade unions were built in the face of extreme violence waged against the workers of this country on the part of the state and and its armed representatives from the Pinkertons to the cops and other gangsters recruited by the corporations and bankers to defend their interests. The level of police violence being aimed at black youth in particular is not a recent phenomenon, for them or for workers in general. Workers could be imprisoned for discussing or "combining" to discuss raising wages. Workers were shot, (River Rouge, Ludlow) and/or deported for trying to organize against employer violence on and off the job.

During the Vietnam War, a war similar to the invasion of Iraq, that was waged against a colonial people by an imperial one without provocation or justification, some three million Vietnamese and 70,000 American workers lost their lives.

Veterans of this conflict fought by US workers on behalf of US corporations as the sons and daughters of 1% were engrossed in their studies at university at the time, are still suffering the physical and mental consequences of real, not Hollywood violence. When we add the US wives who lost husbands, sons and daughters who lost fathers, parents who lost adult children who should have had a productive life ahead of them, the Vietnam War destroyed a whole generation of American workers and their communities. The Vietnamese of course, with some three million dead, are still suffering form the effects of a conflict during which the US poured dioxin on them, their food, and even American troops. One of the main architects of this horror scene, Henry Kissinger is alive and well, and rich, today.  The Vietnamese defeated this imperialist invasion at great cost and sacrifice and one of the reasons was the degeneration and breakdown in the US military. There were numerous underground newspapers published in the US military at the time. There were also attacks on officers by rank and file troops.  At some point when one realizes that one is fighting an enemy that actually poses no threat to our way of life, the will to fight vanishes.

In the case of Vietnam, in order to escalate a war that was unpopular and certainly not a defensive war from the US point of view, an incident was created that we now now as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It was created by the US propaganda machine to win support at home for more violence against the Vietnamese people and to justify sending young Americans to die or kill.  Young people today probably know nothing about the Gulf of Tonkin fraud, but you should. You can read a bit about it here and do your own investigation.

Back to my concerns. In addition to the above, there is the incredible censorship that exists in the US mass media. We are taught that we are the freest country in the world and all that, and we do have freedoms we should champion.  But the mass media in the US is the most censored and unfree of all the advanced capitalist economies.  What we need to be clear about is it is becoming even more so.

Just recently, four US drone operators wrote an open letter to President Obama (in the thumbnail) in which they claim the Obama and Bush administrations, “have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”
You can read the letter in its entirety and download it here.

These are heroic Americans . "When the guilt of our roles in facilitating this systematic loss of innocent life became too much, all of us succumbed to PTSD." they wrote in their letter.
Here are a few more comments in an interview with Amy Goodman.:
BRANDON BRYANT: We are the ultimate voyeurs, the ultimate peeping Toms. I’m watching this person, and this person has no clue what’s going on. No one’s going to catch us. And we’re getting orders to take these people’s lives.
MICHAEL HAAS: You never know who you’re killing, because you never actually see a face. You just have a silhouette. They don’t have to take a shot. They don’t have to bear that burden. I’m the one that has to bear that burden.
P.W. SINGER: There’s always been a connection between the world of war and the world of entertainment. The military has invested in creating video games that they’re using as recruiting tools.

The last thing I heard about these whistleblowers was that they have not been charged (remember Obama is the champion when it comes to going after whistleblowers) but their bank accounts have been frozen, though I haven't confirmed this. But make no bones about it, what this reflects is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the crisis that is brewing in the US military.  This took great courage. Just trying to get workers to speak up in the workplace is hard enough even where we have unions. 

What I want to ask the reader is please share this information. It will be up on this blog's Facebook page and on our personal FB pages, please share it. Let's not let these people down. Let's back them up. In fact, when we consider it, in every rally or protest that takes place about the host of issues we are facing that concern us, what these soldiers have done should be brought out, should be made and issue of and we should defend their actions. They should be invited to speak at all events. Let's have their backs as we say.

The Obama administration and the war criminals that run this country hope it will go away, drift in to the unconscious, overwhelmed by the latest football score, mindless detail of a pop star's pathetic sex life or other trivial detours.  These guys aren't lying. They are doing us a great service like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and others have done. Shame on us if we don't stand up for them. How can we expect other military personnel, our sons and daughters, to stand up when we are consumed with the mindless garbage the media spews out.  The Military is crucial to the 1%'s continued war against workers abroad and workers at home.

Myself, and this blog would like to work with any other forces that can overcome the media blackout of this important development and offer these hero's our support. Why aren't there rally throughout the country defending them, having them speak, linking this attack on them to all the other assaults on workers and the poor in this country?

If you are in a union, a church, any organization composed of working people, bring it up, get your union to support them with a resolution or open letter to the Obama Administration as they have done. Where is Bernie Sanders, the so-called socialist? Has Kshama Sawant, the socialist Seattle City Council member taken any action?

And I would like to close with this. The heads of the major union federations in this country are a disgrace. They refuse to fight for their own members and they refuse to take a stand, a serious stand on any of the major social issues of the day.  Quinton Tarantino has been threatened by the police union for his condemnation of police brutality much as Bruce Springsteen was after he made that song 40 shots about the Amadou Diallo murder.  The trade union leadership from Trumka (AFL-CIO president) on down should come out and support these celebrities when they take open stands on important issue like these. Leaders of locals and activists in locals should raise these issues, the drone operators, and others and pass resolutions aimed at the higher bodies urging the trade union hierarchy to take a public stand.  Up to this point the trade union leadership at the highest levels are part of the problem, are complicit in the efforts to drive US workers back 100 years. It is this combination of the bosses and the trade union leadership that is delaying the rise of the mass direct action movement that is necessary to halt austerity and a US foreign policy that is the main cause of instability and the growth of terrorism in the world.

If you are interested in, or have any ideas about how we can make the issue of the drone pilots more widely known contact us at: we_know_whats_up@yahoo.com

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