U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

Past Events

Solidarity with Bradley Manning
December 17, 2011

No to "war as usual"
March 19, 2010

Winter Soldier Europe
March 14, 2009

Palestinian Flags Flutter
Alongside Peace Banners

January 17, 2009

Close Guantanamo Now!
January 17, 1009

10-Day Vigil for Gaza
January 8-18, 2009

Supporting La'Onf
October 29, 2008

Free the Cuban 5
Sept 13, 2008

Cheney in Chains
Sept 8, 2008

No Bush, No War
June 11, 2008

May Day ILWU Solidarity Action
May 1, 2008

War Tax Day
April 15, 2008

World Social Forum Global Day of Action
Jan 26, 2008

Shut Down Guantánamo Now!
Jan 11, 2008

No U.S. Military Base in Vicenza
Dec 15, 2007

Meeting Iranian Artists
Dec 05, 2007

End the War in Iraq, No War on Iran
Oct 27, 2007

Report on Final Days of No Dal Molin Festival in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 16, 2007

Camping for Peace in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 12, 2007

Impeach Them Both +
Judiciary Fax Blast

July 23, 2007

I-M-P-E-A-C-H !
April 28, 2007

4th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq
March 20, 2007

No Dal Molin, Vicenza, Italy
Feb 17, 2007

Congress: Act Now to End the War
Jan 27, 2007

No Military Bases, Vicenza, Italy
Dec 2, 2006

No War, No Cluster Bombs
Sept 23, 2006

Protest Calling for Cease-fire in Lebanon
July 26, 2006

Military Spending
Bean Poll

July 18, 2006

Stop the Escalation
in the Middle East

July 17, 2006

Refusing to Kill
July 06, 2006

Shailja Patel:
Poetry in Times
of War

July 05, 2006

Troops Home Fast
July 04, 2006

Italian Vote on
Military Missions

June 27, 2006

Peace Parade
June 02, 2006

Michael Uhl of
Veterans for Peace

April 29, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden in Plain Sight

April 26, 2006

War Tax Day
April 15, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hotel Palestine: Killing the Witness

April 12, 2006

National Anti-war Protest in Rome
March 18, 2006

Soldiers Against War
March 18, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Aristide and the Endless Revolution

March 15, 2006

Women (and men!) Say No To War
March 8, 2006

An Eyewitness Account of Post Katrina New Orleans
March 2, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Life and Debt

February 09, 2006

Vote to Renew Italian Mission in Iraq
February 09, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
February 06, 2006

NBC Today
Show Blitz

February 06, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Revolution Will
Not Be Televised

January 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
In Rome

January 18, 2006

Crimes & Lies:
with Dave Lindorff
and Maurizio Torrealta

January 13, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Peace Propaganda and
the Promised Land

January 12, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Oil Factor

December 15, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Plan Colombia

December 01, 2005

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre
November 30, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

November 17, 2005

Protest at U.S. Embassy: White Phosphorus in Fallujah
November 14, 2005

Control Arms Petition
at Piazza Chiesa Nuova

November 12, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Invisible Ballots

November 10, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Corporation

October 27, 2005

Movie Night:
Viva Zapatero

October 25, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden Wars of
Desert Storm

October 13, 2005

Anti-war rally
at U.S. Embassy

Sept 24, 2005

USC4P&J Social
at the Beehive

June 22, 2005

Die-In with
Articolo 11
at Palazzo Chigi

June 21, 2005

Collecting Photos
with Control Arms

June 18, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

June 16, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

June 09, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Weapons of
Mass Deception

May 19, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
May 05, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 28, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 21, 2005

International Day of Protest
March 19, 2005


Eyes Wide Open Film Series, Part II
Plan Colombia: Cashing-In on the Drug War

December 1, 2005

On the first of December, we screened Plan Colombia: Cashing-In on the Drug War Failure, another excellent film by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy, as part of our Eyes Wide Open documentary film series. This film documents the U.S. government military aid program to Colombia in the so-called war on drugs. (See the handout distributed at the screening)

We were pleasantly surprised by the turn-out. This is, unfortunately, not a terribly well known subject among U.S. citizens and it was also the day following our screening of the Fallujah video and not everyone can make it out two nights in a row. But we still got close to a full house.

The film covers the military aid package signed by Clinton ostensibly aimed at eliminating the flow of drugs from Colombia to the U.S. It gives the history of the plan, first brought forth by the ex president of Colombia, Andres Pastrana, which was intended as a primarily social and economic development plan designed to resolve the ongoing civil war. Colombia was seeking aid from the international community for part of the plan's budget. The U.S. government's offer was primarily military aid, which in the end isolated Colombia from the rest of the international community. The budget fell short and the socio-economic emphasis of the original plan was replaced by a military approach.

U.S. companies got contracts for helicopters, contracts for aerial spraying of coca plants (and anything else that happened to be nearby), contracts for training the Colombian military.

Noam Chomsky makes two very insightful points in the film. He asks what right does the United States have to spray coca plants in Colombia and compares it to China spraying tobacco plants in North Carolina because of the health risks posed by smoking. Would this be accepted?

He also talks about a study of the most cost effective means for eliminating drug use in the U.S. He lists the various methods, in order of cost effectiveness, starting with drug prevention and treatment programs at home, by far the most effective. The least, which is where the U.S. puts most of its money, is source country control. It makes you wonder if fighting the war on drugs is what this is really about. In fact, cocaine production has steadily increased over the years.

We saw examples of the violence perpetrated on the Colombian people by both sides of the conflict, the leftist rebels and the para-military forces. We hear chilling accounts of attacks on villages, told by men and women who seem eerily accustomed to brutality and bloodshed.

Contrast this with discussions by lawmakers in the U.S. Congress whose primary concern seemed to be which state's industry would get the fat contracts for helicopters and other military equipment to be sold under the plan.

In fact, one thing we talked about in the discussion was how incredibly bad every U.S. official appeared in the film, with the exception of representative Jim McGovern and the late Paul Wellstone.

We also talked about what has happened since the film was produced. The failed Plan Colombia was renamed by Bush as the Andean Counterdrug Initiative and extended it to include other South American countries. Just this past November Congress voted for an additional USD 735,000,000 for the plan. Rep Jim McGovern introduced an amendment to reduce the amount by USD 100,000,000. It was voted down.

And then there are the recent murders in the San José Peace Community, first killing Luis Eduardo Guerra the leader of the community in February 2005 and then his successor in November.

One person pointed out an issue that was surprisingly missing from the film. There was little or no talk of CIA involvement in drug trafficking. Considering the well-known joke that CIA stands for Cocaine Import Agency, it was one aspect we expected to be covered in the film.

We talked about one possible solution to the problem, albeit practically impossible to implement, and that is the legalization of drugs. Many leaders have put forth this idea, however they also recognize that no one country or region alone can legalize drugs without being targeted by the U.S.

There are no easy answers. But it is certain that military aid in a country with an ongoing civil war is not the solution. And there are some things we can do. We can pressure our elected representatives to stop pouring money into the failed program and push for drug treatment and prevention plans.

First and foremost, of course, is to be informed on the issues, and this film certainly provides a great deal of information.

Stephanie Westbrook

Special thanks to Linux Club for their hospitality.


Ongoing/Future Events

Our Eyes Wide Open Film Series is suspended; for further information click here.

Upshot of our Nov. 9th group discussion on current politics:

It wasn't the Russians that got us Trump. Or Comey. Or even the massive GOP election fraud. It was the DNC.*
*Dem National Committee

To learn how to stop the DNC from delivering us another Trump, read Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis.

Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force. Tell Trump to STOP THIS CARNAGE, not fuel it! Click here.

Also participate in the CodePink email and/or phone initiative:

Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video by the Italian Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.

Iraq Deaths Estimator
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can curb ISIS by itself!"

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Copyright © 2005 Stephanie Westbrook  All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy