On Friday, January 13th, 2006, David Lindorff, a U.S. investigative journalist and writer, and Maurizio Torrealta, an Italian journalist with RAINEWS24, made a presentation to about seventy-five (75) people at an event organized by U.S. Citizens for Peace and Justice-Rome and the coalition of Rome peace groups, Romacittapertallapace. “Voices from the other America, Voices from the other Italy” was held at the Casa delle Culture in Trastevere. This was one of the first events of a new campaign entitled “Crimini e Bugie” (Crimes and Lies) whose intent is to inform the public about the crimes and lies, both U.S. and Italian, surrounding the war in Iraq and mobilize for two important dates, the vote for renewal of the Italian mission in Iraq in late January or early February and the International Day of Protest set for March 18.
Dave Lindorff, who is currently writing his fourth book, “The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office” focused his comments on the case for impeachment, war crimes, the media and to a lesser extent on the complicity of European nations (Italy, France, Germany…) in assisting the U.S. regime in their war effort.
Maurizio Torrealta, co-producer of the video Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre, talked about the importance of independent information from the battlefield, where experimental weapons, such as those based on microwave or laser technology, are put to the test, albeit under tight cover. Journalists, by uncovering the use of these new horrifying weapons, give power to public opinion, which in turn helps keep the use of these weapons in check. He also talked about the growing military power, concentrated among just a few countries, that is leading to less and less democracy in the world.
During the lively question and answer session that followed, Lindorff was asked to name the top three crimes committed by George W. Bush that would warrant impeachment. He mentioned that a recent poll stated that 53% of the U.S. public thought that the President should be impeached if it is found he lied about the war in Iraq. He thought that number one would be Bush’s recent admission of authorizing “spying” on U.S. citizens who were thought to be engaging in “terrorist” activities because this act has angered both conservatives, for whom citizens’ privacy is highly regarded, as well as civil liberties proponents. Reason number two might be Bush’s lying/falsifying information that he thought was necessary to win Congressional and citizens’ support for going to war with Iraq, such as the fabrication of the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Saddam’s link to Al Qaeda. The third reason that he gave was the “outing” of the CIA operative, Valerie Plame, by members of his administration (Libby and possibly others) as this effected national security and would strike a cord with both sides of the political debate.
Lindorff acknowledged that the mainstream media, both television and newspapers, was not showing the horrible images of war like it did during the Vietnam era. The American people are not seeing the body bags (2,000 and more) arriving back home. They are not seeing the decimated bodies of civilian victims of white phosphorous on their TV’s or the cover page of their local newspapers. He suggested that the internet is playing a role in keeping people informed and this needs to increase. Lindorff also mentioned that the peace movement has been reactivated, gave credit to the creativity of Cindy Sheehan and the Camp Casey efforts, and described a grassroots initiative that travels around the country with a pair of boots for each serviceperson lost in Iraq and how this was having an impact on public opinion.
On the question of how the peace movements in Italy and the U.S. could cooperate, Lindorff said the most important thing the Italian movement could do is to make sure that incriminating information on the Bush administration comes to light and to pressure elected leaders to investigate crimes with U.S. involvement, such as the forged documents from Niger, the kidnapping of Abu Omar in Milan and rendition flights.
In the short term, Lindorff was optimistic about the midterm elections coming up in November 2006 (although he did not address the question of an accurate vote count). He was hopeful that with more Democrats elected to Congress, impeachment efforts, among other things, would be moved forward. When questioned, he did state that he thought that Democrats, as well, were also pro corporation and pro imperialistic, but that the Democratic Party was a balance of power force to keep the more conservative Republican Party in check.
Though, a number of Italians questioned whether anything really changes with elections, bringing up, as an example, the fact that Clinton was in the White House and the left in power in Italy when Kosovo was bombed.
In the long term, Lindorff did posit that instead of the neocon “fantasy” of making itself the only superpower on the planet, that within twenty years, the U. S. government may self destruct, from within. He pointed to the weakened economy (a new estimate puts the total cost of the war in Iraq at $2 trillion), the worsening levels of corruption, the mishandling of the Katrina disaster as a few indicators.
One person disagreed with Lindorff's theory that the U.S. would inevitably lose the war in Iraq and therefore be forced to abandon its plans for world domination. This was a war about oil, so how could we possibly think that the U.S. would some day give up or be driven from the country. She also said the same could be said of Italy, with the promise of oil in the Nasiriyah.
On a Friday the 13th, with a full moon, a group of Italians and U.S. citizens gathered for 3 hours to hear from two journalists dedicated to uncovering the truth. They asked provocative questions and offered their own opinions. It was an opportunity to share information and ideas in an effort to bring about change.
Romacittapertallapace: coalition of Rome peace groups promoting a counter information campaign Crimes & Lies as a mobilizing force for the upcoming vote to renew the Italian mission in Iraq and the global day of protest, March 18, 2006.
The Crimes & Lies Campaign focuses on the lies of the U.S. Government and the complicity of the allied countries such as Italy.
Translators for Peace: association of translators and interpreters working to spread the message of peace in many languages. Traduttori per la pace
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 Assad in Syria and al-Malaki in Iraq, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
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