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Statement to Senator Levin read by activists before arrest

September 2, 2010

(Below is the statement read by an activist during a public meeting with Senator Levin in Big Rapids a few weeks ago. Just after the statement was read, another activist hit Levin with a piece of pie. Both of the activists are facing serious charges for confronting the Michigan Senator on war crimes.)

Senator Levin,

There’s no doubt that you are one of the most respected senators in the United States. Coupled with three decades of senatorial experience and your role as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, this respect translates into great influence in policy making, especially in regard to US foreign policy.

Despite your relative popularity, I sincerely doubt that many of your constituents know the extent of your contributions to increasing human suffering around the world.

How many people know that you were an enthusiastic supporter of the primarily Clinton-era US-led sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s–sanctions which likely killed over one million innocent people by way of starvation, disease, and denial of medicines? Who were these victims? Certainly not Saddam Hussein and his regime–their grip on the besieged population was strengthened as a result. The victims were poor people, children, the sick, and the elderly. Publicly available declassified government documents now reveal the murderous (and ultimately successful) intentions of the US government to destroy Iraq’s water system and then to systematically ban the importation of crucial items such as chlorine– the effects of which were designed, according to top officials, to unleash “disease epidemics” which were predicted to affect “children in particular.” The result? Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were deliberately murdered, perhaps up to half a million, according to mainstream estimates. Their blood is on your hands.

For three decades you have been the strongest supporter of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people. While the record is far too long to run through here, it is worth mentioning that just two winters ago, the Israeli military slaughtered some 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Over 1,000 were civilians according to leading Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups. Over 300 were children. Israel used F-16 fighter jets paid for by us; they used guns and ammunition, paid for by us; according to Human Rights Watch, Israel dropped white phosphorus–a chemical weapon supplied by US taxpayers which burns the flesh at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit–on Palestinian schools and incinerated children and noncombatants alive. Your response to these atrocities was to co-sponsor a Senate resolution praising the US-organized bloodbath. In fact, for years you have worked diligently to make sure that US taxpayers subsidize these campaigns of murder and oppression against the Palestinian people. Perhaps this is why you receive more pro-Israel lobby money than any other senator aside from Joe Lieberman. The blood of thousands of Palestinians living under military occupation and apartheid is on your hands.

You have repeatedly voted to allocate billions of dollars in funding for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq; an occupation and invasion which has killed, according to conservative British estimates, well over one million human beings. It might behoove you to remember that according to the ruling at the Nuremberg Tribunals following World War Two, an aggressive war is “the supreme international crime” because it encompasses and is ultimately responsible for all of the crimes and suffering that comes about as a result of the aggression. This funding–our money–is the lifeblood of a brutal military occupation which has killed, maimed, caged, tortured, humiliated, devastated, impoverished, and otherwise destroyed the lives of millions and millions of people. But you don’t care how many Iraqi mothers bury their sons; you don’t care how many tears are shed over the unfathomable amounts of death, destruction, degradation, and humiliation suffered at the hands of the US and its surrogates. This blood, too, is on your hands.

And power learns no lessons about human suffering. Today you urge more taxpayer support for the war in Afghanistan and for a so-called government in Afghanistan which is run by, in the words of Human Rights Watch, some of the “most notorious warlords in the country,”; warlords and criminals who killed some 50,000 Afghans during the early 1990s after the US and Russia had systematically destroyed Afghanistan in a nasty game of imperial Cold War politics. The blood spilled in every house raid and every air strike on civilians is on your hands.

Today, you continue to call for more murderous attacks in the region. You have prominently called for increasing US drone strikes in Pakistan. These cowardly bombings–which are carried out by robot planes guided by Americans sitting at computers on an Air Force Base in Nevada–have killed several hundred civilians, including women and children. Not only are these bombings wildly immoral because of this, but they also inflame and incite, quite understandably, hatred against the United States. Pakistani blood will continue to drip from your hands as long as the bombings continue.

You remain hawkish and aggressive in your posture towards other sovereign nations as well. For example, your position on Iran–a country that, in stark contrast to Israel, hasn’t attacked its neighbors for centuries–is that “all options, including military options, should be on the table.” In plain terms, this is a threat to bomb Iran, maybe even with nuclear weapons. Such threats are flagrant violations of the UN Charter, if anybody cares. If and when the US or its Israeli client attacks Iran, that blood, too, will be on your hands.

Senator Levin, reasonable people can disagree on policy and politics. BUT, reasonable people CANNOT disagree on basic human principles of justice and decency. It is both perverse and shameful that you claim to uphold values like freedom and justice while actively taking part in the murder, mutilation, repression, and infliction of suffering on millions of Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghans, Pakistanis, and many more peoples living under the whip of US imperialism, from Latin America to Africa, to Asia and the Middle East.

And back home in Michigan, you treat the people you purport to serve with equal contempt. While you go to sleep in your Detroit mansion as a millionaire each night, nearly 20,000 human beings in the same city go to bed homeless, on the streets. Do you have even the slightest idea what being homeless entails? These people could be housed with money you prefer to spend on war, or money you prefer to spend on yourself. While you sit self-righteously in Washington making laws to protect power and privilege, the police systematically brutalize and imprison our state’s African-American population at rate nearly THREE TIMES that of South Africa during the years of apartheid.

The truth is that, on principle, you are no different than every other senator in the U.S. and I don’t respect you. And I’m not the slightest bit interested in hearing your entirely predictable response, replete with the same old dastardly lies and apologetics for heinous crimes against humanity. If there was any justice in this country or in this world, you would be in prison and I am going to say it straight to your face.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Joshua permalink
    September 2, 2010 2:33 pm

    What a powerful letter. How unrelenting in principle and presentation. I’ve already called Levin’s office with my opinion on this individual’s incarceration, but now knowing what he’s actually there for, I may have to call again.

    Thank you for posting this, Jeff.

  2. Eileen Rios permalink
    September 2, 2010 3:19 pm

    Jeff, I couldnt agree with you more, but I also believe every american is who has eyes to see is gulity!

  3. September 3, 2010 9:37 am

    does anyone know of a link to the documents or name of the documents the protestor was speaking about?

    “Publicly available declassified government documents now reveal the murderous (and ultimately successful) intentions of the US government to destroy Iraq’s water system and then to systematically ban the importation of crucial items such as chlorine”

  4. Fara permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:40 am

    We need more people like this.

  5. Leila permalink
    September 7, 2010 11:05 pm

    r, you’ll find the sources at the end of the statement:

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