Today No War with Iran Protest, As Trump’s Rationale for Assassination Unravels

GOP Rep. calls administration security briefing, “worst I’ve seen in nine year.” It gets worse. Trump is hellbent on war. Retake and allies have assembled a diverse slate of speakers for today’s rally… and then we march.

Retake Launches New Website

Huge thanks to leadership team member Saraswati Khalsa for researching and activating a new, higher functioning website. We will be making some tweaks over the next week or two, but I think you will find it much more user-friendly. One feature I particularly like is that we can select a featured topic for prior posts, which appear on the left side of the home page. And other resources are immediately accessible on a much more functional home page. Click here to check it out.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, TODAY, Saturday, January 11 at 8:30am with Ken Mayers, a leader with Veterans for Peace and an activist who has been a mainstay in protesting war in all forms at the corner of Cerrillos and St. Francis every Friday at noon. He was arrested last year in Ireland, jailed and unable to leave Ireland for nine months, until he was allowed to return home last month. He is one of the organizers of the rally on Saturday. Tune in to find out what real tenacity and commitment look like. A true local hero.

Today We Protest

Veterans for Peace Supporters Flashing Signs Promoting Saturday Rally

Why We Protest

Why are we marching today? To protest a still dangerous risk of war and to continue forming community among advocates and concerned residents, to help each other cope with mounting stress from the climate crisis, the threat of war, and an increasingly aberrant and dangerous president. This stress takes a toll and being together and forming community can be an antidote to that stress.

The threat of war has not been diminished one bit, not with the president who continues to make up provocative foreign policy on the fly and then justify his impulses with whatever made up “fact” he bumps into. The impulsiveness and the reasoning used to justify those impulses leaves allies and foes utterly unable to negotiate in good faith. His latest ratcheting up of sanctions are sure to generate a response from Iran, as current sanctions are already strangling the country.

Emerging evidence is unraveling Donald Trump’s rationale for the recent assassination of Qasem Soleimani. First, administration officials met with a select group of members of Congress to lay out why there was an imminent threat to American lives. According to New York Magazine, those Congressional leaders were not impressed:

When the administration shared its intelligence with select members of Congress, many of them came away unimpressed, if not outright disgusted. Rep. Gerry Connolly described the presentation as “sophomoric and utterly unconvincing.” Even Republican Senator Mike Lee, heretofore an unquestioning Trump supporter, called it the worst briefing, at least on a military issue, he’s seen in the “nine years [he’s] been here.” 

New York Magazine, “Trump’s Rationale For Killing Soleimani Is Falling Apart”

Republicans don’t criticize Trump for fear of reprisals on the campaign trail, but apparently there are limits, as evidenced by the comments from Rep. Connelly above and of rumors of a handful of GOP Senators meeting behind the scenes to force the Senate to call witnesses in the impeachment “trial” to come. But today, we focus on Trump’s unraveling rationale for assassinating Soleimani.

The Washington Post reported that on the same day of Soleimani’s assassination, the US attempted to assassinate another Iranian official in Yemen. The dual assassination efforts undermine Trump’s assertion that Soleimani’s assassination was to prevent imminent attacks by Iran. It is one thing to convince Congress and the public that Soleimani was involved in unhitching an imminent threat, but adding a second plot to the mix strongly suggests some longer term coordination of efforts with a different intent.

In another inconsistency, in a series of speeches and Fox interviews, Trump first commented that the embassy in Baghdad was under imminent threat, then later that “many embassies” were being threatened, and still later that four embassies were being threatened. The problem here is that none of these possible threats were mentioned in the briefing of Congressional representatives. If there was evidence of compelling threats, why were they shared with campaign trail audiences, but not Congress.

This is the same Donald Trump who three years ago dismissed multiple security reports indicating that Iran was living up to the international arms agreement and since then has been repeating how Iran has violated the agreement. Clearly, this is a president who will make up just about anything to justify his impulses or to try to convince Americans that he has just saved us from a horrid tragedy (so re-elect me).

So, after assassinating an Iranian leader, an action that violates international and US law, and after Iran clearly responds to this action with extraordinary restraint, Trump presses on and has now imposed the strictest sanctions yet, strangling Iran in an effort to force them to capitulate. As reported in this Thursday’s post, the sanctions already in place are strangling Iran economically and socially. It was those sanctions that caused Iran to first shoot down a US drone and to launch an attack killing a US contractor. Trump must know that by ratcheting up sanctions still more, he will provoke another response from Iran. Do you trust Trump’s reaction? Click here to read the full NY Magazine report.

Protest Plan

We have pulled together a line-up of speakers designed to provide multiple vantage points to the crisis and the impact of US war policy in many countries. It is one thing to read about attacks in one country or another, but we have assembled speakers from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Egypt, and they will share the human side of US colonialism and war.

After we hear from these speakers we will march from the Roundhouse to the Plaza and back. We will not go onto the Plaza, as that would require a permit. But our purpose is not to stop and conduct a rally there, it is to make sure that people in and around downtown know there is a protest and that Santa Feans will not abide ongoing aggression and acts of war. The schedule is below.

  • 12:00-12:10:  Chants and songs.
  • 12:10  Paul Gibson welcomes everyone & introduces each speaker
  • 12:15  Aaron El Sabrout is a North African settler of trans experience, privileged to be living on Tewa territory. He is a lawyer, poet, activist, artist, and gardener.
  • 12:20 Teresa Leger de Fernandez is a longtime social justice advocate and candidate for US Congress in NM District 3 who will speak about how Congress has failed to effectively perform its role of approving hostile actions, not just in the last weeks, but over the years.
  • 12:25 Mona Haydar – For the last 4 years, Mona has been performing her poetry and music, leading writing and activism workshops, and speaking at universities and colleges about art, Islam, feminism, hip hop, theology, and inter-faith dialogue. She has performed internationally, spoken at churches, synagogues and conferences, and such institutions as Smith College, MIT, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and the Parliament of World Religions. 
  • 12:30 Jeff Haas, Civil rights, immigration rights, and Indigenous Rights attorney and activist for Palestinian rights.
  • 12:40 Ruby Lopez, member of YUCCA youth steering committee who leads YUCCA’s social justice education in the public schools, is a board member of Chainbreaker, and a student at SF Community College.
  • 12:45 Two college students from Iran and one from Lebanon.
  • 1 p.m. March to plaza and return.
  • Post march: Break bread at Tumbleroot, 2791 Agua Fria St.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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3 replies

  1. Once again I do not see anyone really paying attention. Today in our local paper, a full page “opinion” from the right wing Ethics and Public Policy Institute, https://eppc.org/author/henry_olsen/ In his opinion piece titled “Facebook: The Right Call On Political Ads, The author defends Zuckerberg, in a slick well written piece of outright propaganda. Of course our local paper has not informed the local populace about the current fact based news about fakebook , and Zuckerberg. Fakebook has engaged in an all out propaganda war after the release of Hacked, the documentary, and as more news trickles out about the real ramifications of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. There is no way that local opinions can compete with this slick kind of propaganda, which has been published in different versions across corporate media.

    I could not find an online link to the piece, that is probably by design.

    I have not seen anyone on the local level ask where all of the hate and division comes from or how this is shaping public discourse. Our local paper fully engaged with the Facebook, right wing hate, and now is mostly taken over by right wing trolls. An extremist group like Ethics and Public Policy, with ties to Evangelicals, is a really sophisticated attack on public opinion, Olsen promote Zuckerberg as having a “Strong personal belief in free speech” even as Zuckerberg divided this country and amplified the free speech of a group of diabolical billionaires, took Russian rubles to pay for American political campaigns and elevated trump to the presidency. His underhanded attacks on anyone that criticized him, with an influence campaign has not been discussed.

    No one at our local paper took responsibility for spreading hate and division during the 2016 election and before. There is no “Both Sides” there are facts and Lies, Alternate Facts. Take any social problem, from housing, child abuse,healthcare, racism, and income inequality, and look at how it was covered by local media. Check the Front Page today where there is an article about the police evidence room, not a new problem, but presented as a surprise. Of course no one in local media covered this for years as corrupt judges, the DAs Office and local journalists conspired to cover it all up. SFPD “lost’ vehicles, and required innocent local citizens to pay thousands in legal fees to recover their work vehicles. The police laughed about it, and local attorneys were more than happy for the extra business. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/report-police-department-evidence-room-has-serious-issues/article_832e369a-3417-11ea-8474-933fb75c51ea.html
    Of course this corruption, and obfuscation only really effected lower income, and people of color, so the local journalists were not concerned, it did not effect them. Besides the real estate industry frowns on realistic local news, preferring to paint a nicer picture of local police and court corruption.

    Another gem in today’s paper, https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/governor-taps-santa-fe-attorney-for-district-court-bench/article_db0bef76-33d9-11ea-8fb1-9fa409d0df99.html This judges only qualifications are her ability to keep silent about the corruption of previous judges and lawyers, and remain silent on the destruction, evisceration, and corruption at state agencies.

    “She worked as assistant general counsel for the state Department of Public Safety and the Human Services Department before starting her own law practice in 1996 with an emphasis on elder law issues, including wills and probate.”

    She saw first hand how governor Martinez’s destruction of these agencies effected the elderly and vulnerable populations in NM. She took full advantage of it all, enabling corrupt guardians and monetizing the despair in this community. Where others saw horror and despair, Buhlman saw an opportunity to cash in. The same Gas Lighting tactics she used against vulnerable community members, she can now apply to citizens in her court. The Trial Lawyers certainly endorsed her she will bring in a lot of business for them. She will not criticize any systemic dysfunction, and like in her earlier practice she will look the other way in matters of elder abuse, and child exploitation. HSD is a good starting point for exploiting the local populace, there she would have access to other who protected and endorsed corrupt state practices, that have entrenched racism and poverty in this state.

    There is this Panglossian, Kumbaya short shortsightedness going on around here, that enables the corruption, the industries and Neo Liberalism. As long as it goes unrecognized and unacknowledged it will enable Trump and the Military Industrial Complex. Nobody connected the LANL expansion, the war with Iran, and the evisceration of environmental laws. Normalizing right wing think tanks, unlabeled propaganda, right before the legislative session, is another tactic to win hearts and minds. Local media did not cover any of the fear in local low income young people who fear they might get drafted, as they continue normalize a war with Iran. I guess that would offend some advertisers.

    No one is thinking about the people with a limited and distorted internet access, the ones who only get news from their local papers, TV, without cable, or the garbage available at supermarket check outs, and dollar stores.

    https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/10/defense_contractors_are_using_a_new

    The unlabeled political ads that helped trump get elected had nothing to do with deep fakes. They were run as “news” by conservative operators. I actually spoke to people who voted for trump and tracked down the ads. Some people in Santa Fe, were told by their Pastors, in church, that they would go to Hell, if they did not vote for trump. The Priest at St Anne’s sent out a letter advising his parishioners. Some of these people had never voted before in their lives. There is still a lot of denial about all of this, and even though Congress is looking into it, they are dissembling and barking up the wrong tree with the “deep fakes.” https://www.salon.com/2018/11/14/facebook-hired-gop-opposition-research-firm-to-demonize-activists-as-anti-semitic-report/ They are pretending that Zuckerberg did not engage in influence campaigns or undermine our democracy.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/7/21055283/facebook-deepfake-ban-political-ads-shallowfakes-rules-moderation

    https://www.theverge.com/interface/2020/1/10/21058616/facebook-political-ads-targeting-misinformation-polarization

    https://www.rightwingwatch.org/

    Another suicide, here in NM with the highest rates in the nation, and a lot of lies and denial about all of that too. https://ibis.health.state.nm.us/indicator/view/SuicDeath.Cnty.html Corporate and pharma funded advocacy groups do not appear to make a dent in the statistics, in fact the lies and denial they perpetuate are adding to the death toll. Maybe the increase, in the long suppressed, minimum wage, not discussed by corporate media, will bring the numbers down.https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/08/794568118/raising-the-minimum-wage-by-1-may-prevent-thousands-of-suicides-study-shows No one brought this up at our state legislature, while they refused to fact facts on the economic despair and hopelessness.

  2. It is hard for my family to take a protest seriously that includes chanting, music, and all kinds of equity issues, when the real issue is preventing war with Iran. Although my stand on issues aligns with the left, I also think it borders on insanity that all of these other “threads” – what conservatives call “Special Interests” – are brought in. All this does is to water down the message, which is that we refuse to allow the president to go to war with yet another country in the Middle East. I am just not on this page, sorry. Can’t endorse every cause under the sun when something so very serious is at stake, possibly even nuclear winter.

    • I really do not understand this comment, Linda. You object to chants and songs when virtually every anti-war protest I’ve ever attended over the past 50 years has included both. How is this anything but raising ones voice? Should we just stand silently in black robes and frown? Your objection to equity being part of a protest also seems curious. We include representatives from diverse countries because our protest should NOT be just about Iran. Iran is one symptom of our colonial hegemony that has impacted Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran and much of the rest of what once was called the third world. Including those voices doesn’t water down a message, it enriches it and helps others connect the dots about how our foreign policy disasters spread well beyond Iran. Lastly, I am puzzled by the last comment about “can’t endorse every cause under the sun.” Virtually every word of the posts from last week was focused on Iran. So, taken together, I am mystified by your comments.

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