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Showing posts from April, 2007

Speaking truth to power today in the Senate

Vets, military families protest against
war funding, 14 arrested

For Comment:
Tina Richards, 573-247-8059
Pete Perry, 571-271-1313

WASHINGTON – Today the US Senate voted to approve its revised form of the military supplemental, and within the same hour 14 peace activists were arrested inside a Senate office building.

The Senate voted 51-46 to pass the $124.2 billion spending bill at around 1 p.m. At the same time a coalition of military families, veterans and anti-war groups held a dramatic protest inside the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. The protest featured the reading of letters from military families calling for a swift end to the occupation of Iraq, two 600 square foot banners and a funeral honoring the next fallen soldier.

The arrests began to occur during the funeral portion of the protest alongside the giant Alexander Calder statue in the center of the atrium. Among those arrested were, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus and Adam Kokesh with Iraq Veteran…

Agustin Aguayo out of brig, coming home soon

"My experiences in Iraq made my convictions stronger... In the end I felt that I had to listen to my conscience."
— Agustin Aguayo

Agustín Aguayo, a 35-year-old Army medic and conscientious objector, was convicted of desertion and missing movement on March 6 in a U.S. military court in Germany. Although he faced a maximum of seven years, Agustín was sentenced to eight months in the brig for resisting redeployment to Iraq (see Courage to Resist's report from Germany). Since he had been imprisoned pending trial since September, he was released from the brig on April 18.

Agustín is still in the Army for the time being, and he is still in Germany. We are expecting his unit give him leave during his transition out of the Army so that he can come home, hopefully within a couple of weeks. However, Agustin's wife Helga notes, "For now the sad truth is it seems that the unit's inefficiency will keep him in Germany a while longer—an undetermined amount of time."

In …

Bringing Guantanamo to the White House

CHARGES DISMISSED FOR ANTI-TORTURE ACTIVISTS, BUT FOURTEEN OF THEM ARE
LATER ARRESTED AT THE WHITE HOUSE

On April 18, 2007 at 9:30 AM, around fifty anti-torture activists, including Baltimore's Max Obuszewski and Joy First from Madison, Wisconsin, went to U.S. District Court, 333 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. for trial to face a charge of disorderly conduct as a result of a January 11 arrest in the atrium of the same courthouse. Courthouse officials, though,
seemed surprised that the defendants appeared in Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson's courtroom.

After the Jan. 11 arrest, most of those in custody refused to provide any identification and simply gave the name of a Guantanamo Bay detainee. Presumably, the government did not expect any of the eighty-nine individuals
arrested to appear for trial as they were released with John and Jane Doe citations. While the prosecutors, Judge Robinson and the marshals deliberated behind closed doors, the defendants began readin…

One account of today at the White House

Bush, Lawmakers Meet on Iraq War Funding on the Deadliest Day in Baghdad Since the “Surge” Began Protesters Outside White House Urge End to War as Meeting Goes on Inside
By Kevin Zeese

The stalemate between Congress and the President continued as they met in the White House on Wednesday, April 18, 2007. In Baghdad a reported 178 people died and many more were wounded on the deadliest day since the Bush “security plan” began. Outside the White House, scores of protesters called for an end to the war and the closure of Guantanamo Bay with more than a dozen arrested chaining themselves to the White House fence.

Several groups of protesters and peace movement leaders were outside. Cindy Sheehan noted the flag at half mast for the killings at Virginia Tech should be at half mast every day for the deaths in Iraq. Marine Mom Tina Richards hoped to get a chance to ask Nancy Pelosi whether she would meet with military families and others affected by the war or continue to arrest them. A prot…

Military mom Tina Richards arrested at Pelosi's office while exercising her First Amendment Rights

Marine Mom Arrested at Speaker Pelosi's Washington, DC Office

By Kevin Zeese


Today, Monday, April 16, 2007, Marine Mom Tina Richards was arrested at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. She was seeking to deliver a letter on behalf of a “Women’s Delegation for Peace” (see letter below with bios of the delegation members).
VIDEO OF THE ARREST AVAILABLE FROM WHYNOTNews.org. The video is on YouTube search “Tina Richards Arrested” or visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9XTl1Nou8g

The event was organized by Code Pink to welcome Congress back and urge an end to the war. Also participating were members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Vets for Peace, Voters For Peace, Iraqi Voices for Peace, Democracy Rising, Washington Peace Center, Grassroots America (Tina Richard’s educational organization) and other organizations and individuals.

The arrest occurred in the hallway outside of the Speaker’s office as the delegation was protesting the media being forced to leav…

We should be outraged at torture and 'black sites'

TORTURE AND SELECTIVE OUTRAGE
By David Lindorff

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The alleged torture of British Navy personnel by Iraqi Revolutionary Guards was page one news in the New York Times and other US publications on Saturday, and the outrage in America and Britain was almost universal.

According to the just released 15 captives, they were blindfolded, then forced to listen to guns being cocked, which led them to believe they might be executed. They were placed in isolation from one another, yelled at, and forced to confess to having trespassed in Iranian territorial waters.

These abusive treatments are all awful, and no one would want to have to endure them, but let's be honest here: they pale in comparison to what American captives have been put through in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo, and at various secret "black sites" around the world from Poland to Ethiopia.

People held in captivity by American forces--military and CIA--are known to have faced mock executions, t…

Putin's government cracks down on dissent, chess champ seized

Police Grab Ex-Chess Champ Who Opposes Putin
Garry Kasparov Now Prominent in Russia's Anti-Putin Opposition

By AMMU KANNAMPILLY
April 14, 2007 — - Over a thousand people gathered in central Moscow today to protest against the Russian government's growing crackdown on political dissent and its increasing tendency to curb the country's newfound democracy.

The march -- banned by the Kremlin -- saw the presence of several prominent figures from the pro-democratic movement in Russia, including former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov and ex-Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

Kasparov was detained by police almost as soon as the demonstration began. According to an eyewitness account published on the Russian news Website, www.gazeta.ru, Kasparov was among 20 or so activists held by police as the march began to gather pace.

"This regime is criminal; it is a police state," Kasparov shouted as police hauled him away in a van.

He was released 10 hours later by a Moscow court, wh…

Thoughts on the movement, and a wake up call to anti-war Democrats

I guess many of us are anxiously awaiting to see the results of the Senate and the House's joint conference on the supplelemental bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush asked for approximately $99 billion, the Democrats newly installed in power, turned around and are willing to give him more than $120 billion. At this point approximately $500 billion has been spent on these disastrous and immoral invasions (November 2001 and March 2003 respectively). The Senate's version has a March 2008 timetable for withdrawal, while the House has an August 2008 date (two months before the Presidential election which the Dems are now expected to win).

Anything smell political here? Sure! Not only are these timetables for withdrawal timed to gain the Dems as much political power as possible, there's nothing about them that can be enforceable when dealing with a reckless and completely morally empty commander-in-chief. Then throw in this weekend's interview of Sen. Carl Levin b…