Judy Bello's blog
FOR hosted an Internet panel discussion on America’s Drone Wars at Vonvo.com, which combines live images of the speakers with a chat box for comments and questions.
On January 31, I made the following argument before a Court in the town of DeWitt where I was charged with Disorderly Conduct for protesting the MQ9 Reaper drones flown from Hancock Base over Afghanistan. I argue that the War on Terror is illegal under International Law and drone attacks in particular violate both Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law.
Closing Argument in the Case of Hancock Protesters from October 25, 2012
Testimony in the Case of Hancock Protesters from October 25, 2012
I’ve taken US President Obama’s speech  at the UN General Assembly and Iranian President Rouhani’s speech  at the UN General Assembly and interwoven them as a dialog of sorts. It appears that President Rouhani did not attend President Obama’s speech, but he says that he did listen to it. Perhaps he sat outside the group so he could take notes and confer with his staff.
I cut some of the blather and redundancies. You can read the full transcripts if you are interested. The links are at the bottom of this page. I highlighted phrases I thought were interesting and more interesting. But I didn’t annotate. You can draw your own conclusions.
Obama: For most of recorded history, individual aspirations were subject to the whims of tyrants and empires. Divisions of race and religion and tribe were settled through the sword and the clash of armies. The idea that nations and peoples could come together in peace to solve their disputes and advance a common prosperity seemed unimaginable.
It took the awful carnage of two world wars to shift our thinking. The leaders who built the United Nations were not naïve; they did not think this body could eradicate all wars. But in the wake of millions dead and continents in rubble, and with the development of nuclear weapons that could annihilate a planet, they understood that humanity could not survive the course it was on. And so they gave us this institution, believing that it could allow us to resolve conflicts, enforce rules of behavior, and build habits of cooperation that would grow stronger over time. [ snip ]
Rouhani: Our world today is replete with fear and hope; fear of war and hostile regional and global relations; fear of deadly confrontation of religious, ethnic and national identities; fear of institutionalization of violence and extremism; fear of poverty and destructive discrimination; fear of decay and destruction of life-sustaining resources; fear of disregard for human dignity and rights; and fear of neglect of morality. Alongside these fears, however, there are new hopes; the hope of universal acceptance by the people and the elite all across the globe of “yes to peace and no to war”; and the hope of preference of dialogue over conflict and moderation over extremism.
The recent elections in Iran represent a clear, living example of the wise choice of hope, rationality and moderation by the great people of Iran. The realization of democracy consistent with religion and the peaceful transfer of executive power manifested that Iran is the anchor of stability in an otherwise ocean of regional instabilities. The firm belief of our people and government in enduring peace, stability, tranquility, peaceful resolution of disputes and reliance on the ballot box as the basis of power, public acceptance and legitimacy, has indeed played a key role in creating such a safe environment.
The Iranian presidential election seems to have been implemented smoothly and the people have elected a moderate-reformist cleric named Hassan Rouhani. Use of the terms ‘moderate’ and ‘reformist’ can be confusing to us over here as a number of candidates have either changed camps since the early post-revolutionary period, or are not a perfect fit in any category.
Bradley Manning’s courage, honesty and idealism are a shining light. Sadly, the prosecution has decided to go ahead with their case for the most serious charges. Of course they want to make sure that this breach of ‘security’ will not happen again. The question is whose security are they protecting?
Mark Johnson, Director of FOR USA, the United States Fellowship of Reconciliation, recently mentioned to me that they are thinking of initiating a Campaign around the moral and ethical issues related to destroying the environment. At the time, I said nothing. The thought took me to the source of the painfully fragmented, deeply interconnected peace and justice movement.