On September 16th, Daniel Ellsberg, US Army Col. and diplomat Ann Wright (ret.), senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern (ret.), and KPFA morning host Aimee Allison spoke in Oakland to kick off a nationwide campaign to free alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of documents and combat video showing the gunning down of Iraqi civilians and journalists. The event was be streamed live on Indybay as well as Michael Moore's website.
On Saturday, February 6
, a rally in support of the Iranian people and marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution will be held at 1pm at the Plaza De Cesar Chavez in San Jose. "The Iranian Revolution of 1979 stopped short of establishing a democratic government," say event organizers. "But today, after enduring more than three decades of renewed repression, Iranians are protesting once again to complete a mission that was left unfinished."
The U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is a pact that provides a legal basis for U.S. troops in Iraq and establishes their departure from Iraq by December 31st, 2011 pending any negotiations. On November 16th, 2008, Iraq's Cabinet approved the agreement. On November 27th, the Iraqi Parliament ratified the agreement. Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr and many others protested the passing of the accord as prolonging and legitimizing the occupation, and Grand Ayatollah Sistani expressed concerns with the ratified version. On December 4th, Iraq's presidential council approved the security pact. A referendum must be held by mid-2009 which may terminate the agreement and require Coalition forces to completely leave by the middle of 2010.
On June 17th, 2008, a U.S. military judge dismissed charges against another Marine connected to the massacre of twenty-four unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha. Of the eight Marines originally charged in the case, only one still faces prosecution. Criminal charges have been dismissed against six of the Marines and a seventh Marine was acquitted.
On May 30th, tens of thousands of Iraqis protested in a number of cities across Iraq against the proposed agreement between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration that would codify a long-term US military occupation. Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah Ali Sistani are demanding that any US-Iraqi security agreement be submitted to a national referendum
Santa Cruz resident Matt Childers, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, testified at the Winter Soldier hearings held last month in Silver Springs, Maryland. Matt served two deployments to Iraq as an infantryman with the U.S. Marines. Originally from West Virginia, he now makes his home in Santa Cruz and is a student at Cabrillo College. His testimony was given as part of a panel on racism and dehumanization of the enemy in Iraq.
Fighting between Iraqi government forces and militias loyal to Moqtada Sadr erupted March 25th in Basra. Fighting quickly engulfed Baghdad's Sadr City and spread to other towns. On March 28th, US planes bombed alleged Mehdi Army positions both in Basra and in Baghdad. Despite the US intervention, government troops were unable to pierce Mehdi Army defenses or over-run their positions. The police force in Basra suffered numerous mutinies. On Sunday, March 30th, Sadr called on followers to cease offensive operations in an apparent deal with Maliki's political party negotiated in Iran without Maliki's own support.