Closing arguments are expected today in the trial involving 11 anti-war protesters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who claimed their constitutional and civil rights were violated seven years ago by city police in riot gear who overreacted to a peaceful demonstration against the U.S. invasion of Iraq by “launching gas grenades, and shooting pepper-ball and beanbag guns,” according to The Weekly Alibi.
That was 20 March 2003. (Bob A. and I were at the Truman gate of Kirtland Air Force Base when we heard about police action over KUNM radio and dashed to the scene near the University of New Mexico main campus and Central Avenue.) It’s a little hard to overstate the intensity of the state/mega media response to anti-war demonstrators who were portrayed in the early years of the poisonous post-9/11 hysteria as the domestic equivalent of Al Qaeda.
State-of-the art technowar was the response of the Bush-Cheney-Blair axis of imperial arrogance against an oil-rich, geo strategically located state unconnected to the 9/11 attacks. A “shock and awe” campaign of raining hellfire from above and heavy civilian casualties below was pimped as a technological and civilizational triumph of U.S.-led military righteousness. Good Americans were expected to applaud. Some felt a flush of the shame that rattled their knees and unsettled their bowels. Others cried; there were lamentations, oaths made in anger.
Seven years later in blood-soaked Iraq: “The final days of the campaign for Sunday's parliamentary poll, the second since US-led troops ousted Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, have been rocked by a series of suicide attacks that left dozens dead,” reports Rory Mulholland for AFP.
Today in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Taliban forces toppled by U.S.-led NATO military operation in late 2001 are resurgent.
Last night, Kabul Dreams, an electric guitar, bass and drums trio touted as Afghanistan’s first rock band, played at the university. Female students, who are outnumbered about four to one by males, sat demurely in folding chairs on one side of the gymnasium. Only the boys and men danced; they had the center of the gym floor.
Early this afternoon, while waiting for transportation for my weekly grocery shopping, the music I was listening to had to compete with the muezzin’s amplified call to prayer. Our grocery run was limited to the nearby shop, away from the concentration of guesthouses, hotels, government ministries, embassies, NGO offices after the latest “credible threat” of more violence.