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Monday, May 21, 2012

  • "No NATO, No War": U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit


    We broadcast from Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s six-decade history. On Sunday, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as members of Afghans for Peace, led a peace march of thousands of people. Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers’ voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. "I’m here to return my Global War on Terror Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan," said Jason Hurd, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. "I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe." [includes rush transcript]

  • Scott Olsen, U.S. Vet Who Nearly Lost Life at Occupy Protest, Brings Antiwar Message to NATO Summit


    We’re joined at the NATO summit in Chicago by Scott Olsen, who survived two tours in Iraq but almost died when he was hit with a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest last year. Olsen returned four of his medals at Sunday’s antiwar march. When asked why he’s joined the Occupy movement and is protesting against the heavily policed NATO summit, Olsen says, "I’m going to make every effort I can to show them that we’re doing the right thing, we’re in the right, and no matter what they do to any of us, we’ve got each other’s backs, and we’re going forward." [includes rush transcript]

  • U.S. Army Vets Join with Afghans for Peace to Lead Antiwar March at Chicago NATO Summit


    Sunday’s antiwar march at the NATO summit in Chicago was led by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and Afghans for Peace. "We’re here to protest NATO and call on all NATO representatives to end this inhumane, illegal, barbaric war against our home country and our people," says Suraia Sahar, a member of Afghans for Peace, who marched alongside Afghan war veteran Graham Clumpner during the anti-NATO protest in Chicago. "I feel honored standing next to this veteran, Graham, because they’re now, I believe, in my opinion, doing the right thing in speaking out against the occupation and war alongside us today." Clumpner says, "I reject any affiliation with this war." [includes rush transcript]

  • Chicago Activists Denounce Massive Security Apparatus at NATO Summit Amid Cuts to Social Services


    Hundreds of protesters marched to the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, on Saturday to oppose Emanuel’s cutting of social services while funding a massive security operation during the NATO summit. The day earlier, a group of nurses led a march in downtown Chicago to protest austerity cuts. "They say cut back, we say fight back," the protesters chanted. "We need to come together," says retired nurse Kay McVay. "When you cut, you bleed blood. Not gold. Blood." [includes rush transcript]

  • Chicago Police Face Accusations of Entrapment, Brutality in Crackdown on NATO Protesters


    Dozens of anti-NATO protesters have been arrested in Chicago over the past several days, including five men who were jailed on domestic terrorism charges. Three of the men were accused of plotting to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets. Their lawyers say they were entrapped by government informants. The Chicago police have also been criticized by activist groups for using violent force to break up protests and accused of targeting independent media activists who have been streaming the protests live over the internet. On Saturday night, three helping to livestream video of the protests were detained at gunpoint. [includes rush transcript]

  • As NATO Coalition Unravels in Afghanistan, Global Activists Question Military Alliance’s Existence


    Delegates from more than 60 countries are taking part in this year’s NATO summit in Chicago. Many international peace activists have also traveled from across the globe to take part in the protests in the streets. "We do not need NATO any longer," says German peace activist Reiner Braun, chair of the international coalition, "No to War, No to NATO." "The old enemy of the NATO — the Warsaw Pact — is over. But NATO still continues. It spends $1 trillion per year, and we need this money for jobs, for healthcare system, for education." [includes rush transcript]

  • Guitarist, Activist Tom Morello: "Music Can Help Steel the Backbone of Those in the Struggle"


    The musician and activist Tom Morello has performed at a number of rallies and concerts over the past three days at the NATO protests in Chicago. Morello is the longtime guitarist of Rage Against the Machine who also performs as the Nightwatchman and with his other band, the Street Sweeper Social Club. "Across the globe, and certainly across the United States, from the Veterans Against the War movement to the rising, boomeranging-back-around union movement, social justice movements are on the rise again," Morello says. "I hope, to some small degree, that my songs can help be a soundtrack for that struggle and they help people on the front lines." [includes rush transcript]

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson at NATO Protests: "People Are Searching for Alternatives to War"


    Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition joined Iraq Veterans Against the War and Afghans for Peace at the head of Sunday’s anti-NATO march in Chicago. "People are here are from around the world, searching for alternatives to war," Rev. Jackson says. "Now [the U.S.] seek[s] to go and to expand a long-term commitment to Afghanistan — $2 billion to $4 billion a week, while we’re laying off transit workers, closing schools and closing hospitals. We can’t afford it. It is a mission not worthy of the investment." [includes rush transcript]