Sunday, December 28, 2008

Edumacation Secdatary Arne Duncan Wants Military Schools

By Bruce Gagnon
Dandelion Salad
space4peace.blogspot.com
Dec. 21, 2008

Chicago teacher Jesse Sharkey writes:
“In the past couple years, Arne Duncan [Obama's pick for Secretary of Education who hails from Chicago] has been turning public schools over to private operators–mainly in the form of charter and contract schools — at a rate of about 20 per year. Duncan has also resuscitated some of the worst ’school reform’ ideas of the 1990s, like firing all the teachers in low-performing schools (called ‘turnarounds’). At the same time, he’s eliminated many Local School Councils and made crucial decisions without public input.”

“To me, the thing that made Duncan’s role clear came after three months of organizing at Senn High School, the community school where I teach, against the Chicago Board of Education’s proposal to install a Naval Academy.”

“After an inspiring campaign that involved literally hundreds of people in the biggest education organizing effort in the area in decades, we forced Duncan to come up to our neighborhood to listen to our case for keeping the military out of our school. More than 300 of us — parents, teachers, and community supporters — held a big meeting in a local church and, at the end of the meeting, we asked Duncan to postpone the decision to put the military school at Senn.”

“Duncan’s answer was a classic. He said: ‘I come from a Quaker family, and I’ve always been against war. But I’m going to put the Naval Academy in there, because it will give people in the community more choices.’ “

Arne Duncan is an advocate of Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and is closely associated with the Daley family political machine in Chicago. Duncan has a market view of education – the business model of schooling. Many education experts claim that he made no real progress in the last 7-8 years in Chicago leading that public school system. Real education comes when we teach kids to play with ideas, to learn to think. This Duncan corporate model on testing, “reform,” teaches kids to take tests, to memorize, and to become automatons.

Educator Jim Horn, who has written extensively about Duncan at School Matters, notes:
“If Obama is committed to moving backwards to a time when the most that public schooling could do was to ‘rake a few geniuses from the rubbish,’ as Jefferson would have it then the stupidifying corporatization of public education is just the ticket ….. Arne is entirely capable of leading the charge.”

Greg Palast, who devoted part of his instructive book Armed Madhouse to NCLB, describes its workings :
“At the heart of the program is testing. And more testing. Testing instead of teaching. When tests go badly, the solution is to push the low-test-score kids to drop out of school. If the triage isn’t enough, then attack their teachers.”“Here’s how Duncan operates this program in Chicago at Collins High in the Lawndale ghetto. Teachers there work with kids from homeless shelters from an economically devastated neighborhood. Believe it or not, the kids don’t get high test scores. So Chicago fired the teachers, every one of them. Then they brought in new teachers and fired THEM too when, surprise! test scores still didn’t rise.”

The bigger view is necessary here. I have written and spoken extensively in recent years about the Pentagon saying that America’s role under corporate globalization will be “security export.” We aren’t going to have jobs making things in our country anymore. Our job will be building weapons and waging endless war to grab declining resources around the world. In order to pull that off you need a growing cadre of young people who have no ambition, no dreams, no ability to get into college — you need a dumbed-down generation.

My friend Richard Rhames, a vegetable farmer in Biddeford, Maine writes an award winning column for his local newspaper. He wrote about education last week and had this to say:

“The US educational system has, since working class kids gained entry in the early 20th century, functioned largely as a sorting mechanism, where children were indoctrinated, trained in docility, but sometimes, through the work of motivated teachers, exposed to a world of ideas, and perhaps the subversive minefield of independent thought.”

The days of teachers having the time and the ability to motivate and inspire kids to expand their minds is under frontal attack.
Obama has made another pick that benefits the corporatization and militarization of American culture. His children have always attended, and will continue to attend, private schools where the elite ensure their kids get a stimulating education.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Final outcome of the Ghosts of Iraq War: Judge suspends fines and jail time

By Eve Tetaz


As was anticipated Judge Morin sentenced us to five days in jail(suspended as the prosecutor didn't think it was worth the expense to jail us), 6 mos. probation, and a heavy fine. He then allowed us to give our sentencing statements. After I gave mine, I told him that I would refuse probation and would not pay the fine. (Last time I refused, I was sent to jail.) Each of my codefendents gave his or her statement followed by the same refusal. After the last defendant spoke, the Judge gave a new ruling, as follows:

None of us would be required to be on probation, none of us has to pay a fine, and all of us were sentenced to one day in jail already served because we had spend the night and a day in jail waiting for arraignment.

It is apparent to me, that Judge Morin was moved to change his ruling because of the justice of our actions. I think I can speak for the others when I say, "We will not be silent." We will continue to speak truth to power.

Amen and Hallelujah.

Dixey Bosely-Smith Paul Fitch, and Ann Barnet, all from 8th Day, Bettina Del Sesto from Support Group 2, and Judith Kelley from Pacee Bene and Maria Allwine from the Baltimore Non Violence Center were present in court to support us. Thank you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

President Obama Shut Down Guantanamo : “Yes You Can!”

Submitted by Malachy Kilbride on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 12:50pm

Next month in January the American people will joyfully celebrate the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama and the end to the criminal Bush Administration. Americans will celebrate the belief in our freedom, our vote, and the conclusion of eight years of an unaccountable regime that brought us into war and occupation on lies. We will celebrate the hope for much needed change. But how can anyone truly celebrate freedom and change when Americans know of the inhumane treatment and torture of the Guantanamo prisoners?

In one month Americans will also mark the 7th year the Guantanamo Bay camp received the first prisoners into that dark, tragic, and shameful place. By now, if Americans are unaware that hundreds of men and some boys have languished in Guantanamo for years without charge, without access to lawyers, without due process or the habeas corpus rights granted to prisoners by law-abiding civilized governments then these unaware Americans are some place much more tragic and dark than Guantanamo. But for Americans who do know what Guantanamo is and what it represents then January must be the time to commit to closing Guantanamo and places like it. We must take action because we are responsible for Guantanamo.

Keeping Guantanamo open will mean the celebrations and hope for change will be hollow and devoid of meaning. An open Guantanamo will continue to be one of America’s immoral hypocrisies. Just as in election year 2006 Americans in 2008 expressed their hope for change, an end to war, and the disgraceful undemocratic policies supporting torture, the elimination of habeas corpus, and operating places like Guantanamo. However, those elected to lead in 2006, for whatever reason, failed to lead us away from the continued criminality of the Bush Administration. This continuing type of unaccountable leadership must end starting this January under the new administration. Americans must actively pressure the Obama Administration to pursue real and meaningful peace measures, restore habeas corpus, and close the Guantanamo prison immediately.

“We’re going to close Guantanamo…We’re going to lead by example-by not just word but deed. That’s our vision for the future.” Barack Obama said on the campaign trail. What welcome words! Now let us all welcome the actions necessary to restore justice and accountability.

Electing and celebrating President Obama will not be enough to restore justice. The American people must accept their unique responsibility in restoring justice by closing Guantanamo. Americans must actively exert their influence and pressure President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo. Guantanamo can be shut down within the first 100 days as one step in restoring accountability and justice.

But, can this really be done? “Yes, we can!” says Witness Against Torture a group of individuals and groups working to close Guantanamo and end torture. Witness Against Torture announced a 100 Days Campaign that begins on January 11, 2009. January 11 is the date the first prisoners were brought to Guantanamo in 2002. On January 11 a solemn march will process through Washington DC followed by a rally with activists, human rights lawyers, and others working to close Guantanamo and end torture. A fast will begin carried out by people of faith and conscience who will be in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners in an attempt to highlight the issue of their imprisonment. This will be the start of a 100 days campaign waged by Witness Against Torture in which Witness Against Torture will lobby on Capitol Hill, hold educational and cultural events, organize creative actions in Washington DC, in addition to a sustained presence in front of The White House.

Since Guantanamo first opened in January 2002 around 700 prisoners have been quietly released after years of imprisonment without any charges against them. Around 250 still remain in the prison indefinitely. Recently, 17 Uighur men from China were found not guilty by a US District court in Washington DC. They were ordered released. The Bush Administration’s Department of Justice has appealed this and effectively blocked these innocent men from being released from the Guantanamo prison. They are still there awaiting the appeal by the DOJ.. When their lawyer goes to visit them they are shackled to the floor treated by the US as guilty criminals if not caged animals. Is this what America will represent under an Obama presidency?

We cannot let the Obama Administration be unaccountable like the Bush Administration. We cannot give Obama a free pass like Bush was given for eight long years. We must actively call upon Obama to shut Guantanamo down within the first 100 days under his leadership.

Doing any less than actively calling upon the new American president to restore justice and accountability by shutting down Guantanamo as a first step is to betray the principles of our Bill of Rights and The Constitution of The United States. The Guantanamo prison eats away at America’s conscience because it is wrong. Keeping Guantanamo open makes our liberty a hypocrisy. Join Witness Against Torture’s 100 Days Campaign calling on President Obama to fulfill his promise for hope and change by shutting down Guantanamo.

Visit: WAT's 100 Days Campaign

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Letter to the local peace and justice movement

Our fellow DC area activist-organizers,

There has been much change during the last couple years within the local peace and justice movement. The changes we have witnessed have included dissolution of the DC Anti-War Network (DAWN) as a group but not the commitment of several of its participants, there has been an increase in levels of nonviolent resistance actions, the revitalizing of the Washington Peace Center as a dynamic force in the wider DC metro community, and most recently the founding of a capacity-building coalition for future mobilizations, known as Activist Coalition of DC (ACDC). However, there is an important and vital need to share resources, creativity, and skills to unite collective energies and move beyond being only somewhat effective to being successful in our peace and social justice struggles. This needs to be our highest priority.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the U.S. Government was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and that a nation that continually spends more on military expenditures rather than human needs is approaching spiritual death. We are at that twilight moment now as our government spends trillions of dollars on war while witnessing a collapsing economy. We strongly urge our fellow activists and other concerned citizens to turn out for a peace witness at war profiteer Lockheed Martin in Bethesda on Dr. King's Birthday, January 19th. This national death Dr. King spoke of is very near, and while millions celebrate Barack Obama's victory, we are troubled by his choice of known warmongers as top-tier advisors and cabinet officials who are closely tied to those responsible for our dying economy and those who have profited from the illegitimate, illegal and immoral wars and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

We also call out and encourage everyone, followers and believers in King's dream and life of peace, to turn out early on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20th at McPherson Square for yet another witness for justice and peace. We will be handing out signs with President Obama's own most progressive quotes. President Obama must be held accountable to his own words and expressed promises. We must hold him responsible for the hope of real change he has instilled in millions. We cannot miss this opportunity. We must turn to hope and renewed life, and away from violence and death. This will be an important day for those of us working for peace and social justice to reach out to fellow citizens, encouraging them to join us in letting the new government know that we will not be silent.

We realize that different individual progressive activist-organizers have different foci, and the Washington Peace Center is interested in providing a home to all, possibly through official working groups and fiscal sponsorship. But there also comes a time when we must all come together, united in a common purpose. That common purpose is the end of war and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the restoration of civil liberties and social justice at home.

We must be the change we wish to see. President Obama even said this election belonged to we the people, not him. With this victory comes responsibility. We cannot rely on politicians alone to bring the changes we wish to see in the world. This is why we are calling for a DC peace and justice unity meeting on January 29th, after the inauguration to set our priorities for the next year, and to help prepare plans for the major national mobilization being called for March 19th, the dreadful commemoration of shock and awe. Can you believe this will be six years of an aggressive and evil war on a nation, which never attacked us, and by our government's own information, never posed a credible threat to us? Let us get to work to accomplish small things separately, but together, united in a common purpose we can accomplish a great deal more. We believe we have the power to begin to galvanize the masses to bring about a more just and peaceful world in our time. Let us begin uniting and exercising that power now.

In peace and resistance,
Pete Perry & Malachy Kilbride
Board members of the Washington Peace Center

DC Unity Meeting
Jan. 29
7PM
Reeves Center (14th and U Streets NW)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I was one of the 53 spied on by the Maryland State Police


The Maryland State Police spied on me, and placed me in a database. Despite being fully committed to nonviolence, I was categorized as a terrorist. This has been a pretty hot item with the press in Maryland. Apparently my Work with DAWN (DC Anti-War Network) and the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance attracted their attention. Below is one of the latest stories. Funny thing, I received a copy of my file and they didn't even have a physical description of me. Also, no photo, and about 80% of it was redacted. So I will most likely be part of the ACLU lawsuit against MSP.

Senators press for spying answers
Annapolis
By LIAM FARRELL, Staff Writer

U.S. Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski are pressing federal agencies for answers on whether they have any knowledge or information about the Maryland State Police's spying on anti-death penalty, anti-war, and environmental activists.

Mr. Cardin and Ms. Mikulski, both Maryland Democrats, were joined by Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in a letter sent yesterday to federal law enforcement and intelligence officials. The senators urged the government to delete any information it has about the 53 protesters mistakenly classified by the state police as suspected terrorists.

The senators also are asking the agencies to identify how much of the information reached federal databases; the extent the information has been used, shared, or resulted in someone being placed on a federal terrorism-related watchlist; any plans to eliminate the data; and whether any federal officials told the state police the information was being improperly collected.

The state police did not use any federal funds for the surveillance and none of the activists were placed on any federal terrorism watchlists, said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the state police.

"We did not take any overt, adverse law enforcement actions against any individual," he said.

The letter was sent to Michael Mukasey, the U.S. attorney general; Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI; Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency; and Michael E. Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

"Anti-war protesters, environmental protesters, and anyone exercising their First Amendment right to nonviolent protests should not be unlawfully spied upon nor should they be grouped together with criminals and terrorists," Mr. Cardin said in a prepared statement. "The actions uncovered over the last month are unacceptable and need to be addressed before they happen again."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland released documents this summer that uncovered a covert surveillance operation of regional protest groups conducted by the state police during 2005 and 2006.

A report on the spying ordered by Gov. Martin O'Malley, who was not governor when the investigations were occurring, and compiled by former Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs, criticized the state police for "overreaching" by continuing to monitor groups when there was no evidence of criminal conduct.

A total of 53 people were mistakenly classified as terrorists in police databases, and some of the information was placed in the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, a federally funded database used to communicate between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Sachs' report states the police may have violated federal regulations by sharing data about individuals when there was no reasonable suspicion they were involved in criminal activity.

Although the covert operation originally appeared limited to anti-death penalty and anti-war groups, three staffers for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network revealed in October they were also on the list.

David Rocah, an attorney for the ACLU, said the state police have not been "terribly forthcoming" on how far the bad information was spread, and there are reasons to be skeptical about any positive assurances.

"We are thrilled that (the senators) are asking these important questions," Mr. Rocah said. "These are questions we have been asking since day one."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Demanding Indictment of Bush and Cheney: Nov. 10th


Dear friends,

By the time you read this letter we will likely know who our next president will be. But whether Obama or McCain wins the election, we need to continue our work calling for peace and justice. We must continue to demand that the new president ends the occupation of Iraq and does not escalate military action in Afghanistan. We also must call for justice and demand that Bush and others in his administration are held accountable for the murders of millions of innocent people from Iraq, from Afghanistan, and almost 4200 US soldiers.

Our work is far from over. I will be flying to Washington, DC to join other activists from around the country in an action on November 10 at the Department of Justice. This action is being organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) www.irqpledge.org following the principles of nonviolence that we have learned from Gandhi, King, Day and others.

In September organizers from NCNR sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey (See letter below). In the letter we called for the indictment of Bush and Cheney for war crimes. We asked for a meeting with AG Mukasey to discuss this matter. We have not heard back from AG Mukasey, so on November 10 at 12 noon we will go to the Department of Justice in Washington, DC and demand a meeting, demand that Bush, Cheney and others are held accountable. If we are not granted a meeting, some of us will be led by our conscience to take action in the spirit of nonviolence where we may be risking arrest. We take this action knowing that we are doing what we are called to do, knowing that we are doing the only thing we can do as our leaders have continued to disobey the laws of the United States and to trample on and shred the U.S. Constitution for the last 8 years.

If possible, please join us in DC on November 10 for this action. If you are not able to make it to DC, we ask citizens all around the country to join us in solidarity through local actions on November 10.

First, call the attorney general’s office on November 10 to encourage him to meet with the citizenry outside who want to discuss the indictment of Bush and Cheney: Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000 and Office of the Attorney General – 202-353-1555.

Second, if possible, hold a solidarity demonstration at your local federal building on November 10. During the demonstration, you would have a copy of the NCNR letter requesting a meeting. You would emphasize that the AG must meet with these concerned citizens and must consider an indictment.

It is time, no matter who becomes our next president, to bring the criminals of the Bush regime to justice. Please, wherever you are, do your part in joining us in this call for justice and truth.

We, the people, have the power to make this happen.

For more information or to join this action, please contact:

Max mobuszewski@verizon.net or Joy jsfirst@tds.net

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghosts of War on Trial

Peace activists Eve Tetaz (DC), Maria Alwine (Maryland), Ellen Barfield (Marlyand), Tim Chadwick (Pennsylvania), Joy First (Wisconsin), Judith Kelly (Virginia), Art Landis (Pennsylvania), Linda LeTendre (New York), Max Obuszewski (Maryland), and Manijeh Saba (New Jersey) went on trial yesterday selecting a jury of their peers. All 10 of them face a maximum sentence of six months in prison for speaking out in the U.S. Senate Gallery on March 12, 2008. All 10 citizens of conscience were calling on their elected representatives to cease funding an illegal war and occupation to the tune of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Nine of the 10 defendants are pro-se defendants in this trial brought by the U.S. Government. The trial continues today, and likely Wednesday in courtroom 312 of DC Superior Court, Carl Moultrie Building, 500 Indiana Avenue NW. All defendants are affiliated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (www.iraqpledge.org).

For more info: Joy First, 608-239-4327/Ann Wilcox (attorney advisor), 202-441-3265

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

17 Uighurs in Guantanamo Released, Appear in Washington Friday!

Today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, 17 uighur men detained and imprisoned for seven years, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantanamo Bay were ordered to be freed and released to the U.S. Judge Ricardo Urbina rejected the government's argument that the men, all of whom were declared non-enemy combatants four years ago should remain detained against their wills in a state of legal limbo.

Judge Urbina ordered the immediate release of all the men, and scheduled a hearing for Friday at 10 a.m. to discuss the details of the men's acclimation to living inside the U.S.

Uighurs are an Islamic ethnic group residing in western China. Many want to separate from the Chinese regime and form their own homeland. For this reason, China does not want their return, nor do many of them wish to return due to the likelihood that they would be imprisoned and tortured for their beliefs. A small uighur community will house the men for a temporary period in the Washington Metro area. Attorneys presented a representative from Lutheran Refugee Services and others who will assist with a more permanent placement of most of the men in Tallahassee, Florida where a large and vibrant uighur community resides.

In his oral opinion, Urbina said the government failed to provide any logical argument for the men's continued imprisonment in Guantanamo. He also said that continuing to hold men no longer deemed enemy combatants and without charge was unlawful.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Washington Peace Center co-sponsors an evening with Vincent Bugliosi

Bugliosi: “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”
Friday, October 17, 2008 at 6 p.m.
University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
Building 38, 2nd Floor, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Mr. Bugliosi, a highly successful prosecutor in Los Angeles and author of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” will appear at a Washington, DC law school to present a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts President George W. Bush on trial in a courtroom for the murder of more than 4,100 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.

Bugliosi’s argument is simple. Bush wanted a war with Iraq. He had to show that preemptive invasion of Iraq was justified. To do this Iraq had to be an imminent threat to the United States. There were two major problems. Bush couldn’t prove any connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. More importantly, his own 2002 classified intelligence estimate findings of the National Intelligence Estimate (NEI) of 2002, classified the original document, and provided Congress with a doctored version to support his claims. By doing this, Bush pushed through an illegal invasion which he had to have known would cost U.S. lives.
That, Bugliosi argues, is an act of murder committed against each and every U.S. soldier killed in this war.

While he has not been on hand for any combat, should Bush appear before a judge and jury charged with the murder of thousands of U.S. soldiers, Bugliosi is confident that he's provided the arguments and evidence required for a first degree murder conviction.

“No man, even the president of the United States, is above the law,” said Bugliosi.

As a Los Angeles prosecutor, Bugliosi represented the state in 106 major cases and won 105, including each of his 21 murder cases. Since his first book, Helter Skelter, he's been one of the top true crime writers with three number one best sellers and numerous awards.

Moderators include Joe Libertelli, Director of Alumni Affairs, UDC Arthur D. Clarke School of Law, and Wilmer J. Leon, III, Ph.D., host of "On With Leon", a contributor to truthout.org, politicsincolor.com, and the Black Star News, and frequent guest on CNN's “Lou Dobbs Tonight”.

Along with the Washington Peace Center, the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law, and Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice helped organize and co-sponsor this special event.
###

Friday, September 26, 2008

War and Poverty: Out of sight, out of mind

This morning, I rolled out of bed and grabbed a bus downtown. I was determined to be bear witness to what many in our country have never seen, and seldom ever hear of... The last 50 homeless men were kicked out of Franklin Shelter at 13th and K Streets NW. Out of sight, out of mind.

I got to the front of the shelter at 6:55 a.m. There were a couple of the men standing out front with some young white folks, mostly students, some anarchists. One man, I had seen the evening before when we chanted and protested in the nearby intersection, was on the lower steps of the shelter loudly expressing himself. I thought of the Biblical figure of John, the voice crying out in the wilderness. Alone but full of truth.

"They don't care, they go about their business, they don't care about people like us," he shouted. "And for (Adrian) Fenty? He doesn't give a damn! Those in power, they are baby killers."

I was speechless, but I nodded in agreement. Those in power are baby killers. One of the white students thought the man's anger was being directed at him, and tried to reassure him that we were all there in support and solidarity. Part of the man's diatribe seemed a bit confused, but it was clearly full of disappointment and pain. "I know, I know you are here to support," he mumbles, and then a few minutes later he wanders off when he sees a few police approach the front steps and the main doorway. "I don't want to deal with them, they aren't civilized."

According to the law, and what the men from Franklin Shelter have in writing, is that the shelter was to be closed on October 1st. But over the last several days men have been pushed out and the beds have been disappearing. Many are being bused over to 801 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, but some are going straight back out to the streets. And hypothermia season is approaching quickly.

When I arrived there were already a small handful of police monitoring us and the shelter. By 7:05 about 30 more police arrive in squad cars, they seem unsure what to do, there's just a small group os us there. I overhear a shelter security guard talking into a walking talkie about a couple trucks coming to "move stuff." The crowd of police on 13th Street seem to be talking to each other and into cell phones. Terry, a shelter resident and I comment to a couple students watching, that's taxpayer money at work. After several more minutes and deciding that none of us were a direct threat, half of these police on 13th Street leave.

About then I see that Jane Zara, a fellow WPC board member and attorney arrives. She is interviewing a couple of the residents, and overhear something being mentioned about a last-minute legal maneuver.

Terry tells another attorney and some others standing by, "The men in Franklin are being dehumanized. We are not thought of as humans by the mayor or the city council." A little later I remark to Terry and some students he engages in a little DC history lesson, that the mayor first wants to move the homeless east of the river and then eventually out of the city entirely. Out of the sight of the corporations and upwardly selfish yuppies.

Baby killers. Out of sight, out of mind.

Meanwhile, as I type this I see on The National Priorities "Cost of War" Website, that the cost of the Iraq War has spiraled past $557.3 billion dollars. The number jumps another $10,000 every 4 seconds! And what does this grand sum of money earn us? Over a million dead Iraqis! And 4,173 Americans murdered by the Bush Administration.

But you know, we can't afford to provide basic shelter for 300 men in downtown DC. Fenty is closing Franklin Shelter, within earshot of the White House, ahead of schedule. He is acting in a preemptive manner. A preemptive strike, sending men to their death. Sound familiar?

By 7:45 a.m. the moving trucks arrive, they remove 6 large folded dining tables, lots of chairs, a TV, a microwave. Some of the young white guys have digital cameras and continue documenting this shame. Someone mentions that a nearby upscale bar on K Street was celebrating last night that the shelter was closing. Supposedly the men's lockers are going to be moved to 801.

Out of sight, out of mind. About 8:10 a.m. I wander off, thoroughly disgusted by my city and country. But then again, I am also responsible -- why didn't I act sooner? What could I have done?

As I use the pull down menu on The National Priorities Website, I check out a trade-off for the Iraq War. At the current total cost of the criminal and immoral war and occupation, we in the U.S. could have instead have had -- this is what it tells me:

For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: 5,103,740 Affordable Housing Units.
Want to do something about this outrage? Come to Mayor Fenty's Office at the Wilson Building (1350 Penn Ave. NW) at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

VETERANS FOR PEACE END ARCHIVES OCCUPATION ON HIGH NOTE


"We may be back again soon," Vets add

Washington -- Five military veterans, all members of Veterans For Peace, are breaking camp from their perch on the National Archives building this morning, taking with them their 22x8-ft. banner demanding “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” that has overlooked their 24-hour action on a narrow ledge 35 feet above Constitution Ave.

Tarak Kauff, 67, former Army Airborne, who provided ground support throughout, said in a phone interview, "We're always told to 'write your Congressman,' and we have. Only this time we brought a letter they couldn't miss. We've made our point writ large that Bush and Cheney are war criminals and must be arrested and prosecuted. Impeach them if we can, but we're not holding our breath for Congress to act. The kingpins of this criminal administration will be brought to justice, along with many of their lieutenants."

Elliott Adams, VFP president, by phone from his spot on the ledge overlooking the entrance to the Archives Building, said "This turned out excellent. We're very happy with the response we've gotten to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes. We considered staying longer this time but we are not prepared for longer than this...although we may be back again, soon."

VFP members participating in the Archives action are: Elliott Adams: 61, NY, VFP President and former Army paratrooper in Viet Nam; Ellen Barfield: 52, MD, former U.S. Army Sgt., full-time peace and justice advocate; Kim Carlyle: 61, NC, mountain homesteader, former Army Spec 5; Diane Wilson: 59, TX, shrimp boat captain, former Army medic; Doug Zachary: 58, TX, VFP staff, former USMC LCpl discharged as a conscientious objector; and Tarak Kauff (ground support) 67, NY, painting contractor, former U.S. Army Airborne.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gays and Lesbians Opposed to Violence (GLOV) Reforms

As appeared in Metro Weekly...

Stirred to Action
Viciousness of recent anti-gay attacks spurs community reaction
by Will O'Bryan
Published on September 18, 2008

Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to motivating a community, a picture -- far more than flow charts of crime statistics or bullet points in a report -- may actually be invaluable. Add to that picture a compelling online essay, and you have the start of a community movement.

With a number of publicized attacks against local gay people in recent months, from Nathaniel Salerno's attack on a Metro train in December to Michael Roike and Chris Burrell being beaten to the ground near the 14th and P Streets NW intersection in August, the viciousness Todd Metrokin suffered in Adams Morgan in July -- written about on The New Gay blog by his friend Chris Farris in late August -- may have been a tipping point.

''There are the anecdotal stories you hear from your friends,'' says Pete Perry, a local gay man and longtime peace activist. ''Then I read about the attack in Adams Morgan and in front of Playbill [Café at 14th and P Streets].''

What Perry read, along with those photos of Metrokin's injuries showing stitches running throughout his ear and a boot print on his face below swollen eyes, was the catalyst for him to turn the energy he'd been dedicating to opposing war and torture to his more immediate community. He got to work with David Mariner, acting executive director of The Center, the metro area's GLBT community center, to organize a meeting to address hate crimes.

At the same time, Mark Hayes, another local gay man, was finding himself similarly fed up. While Perry is a Washington native, Hayes came to the District about five years ago, having lived in Boston and Raleigh, N.C. His experiences here, he says, indicate a level of entrenched homophobia he's not experienced elsewhere.

''D.C. is very different,'' says Hayes, recalling that he and three friends were recently taunted with shouts of ''faggot'' by a passing Lincoln Navigator with Maryland plates as they neared Nellie's, a gay sports bar, walking along 12th Street NW. ''Even though North Carolina has a reputation for not being as gay friendly, the big gay bar in Raleigh is right downtown. I'm not terrified, but I don't have the level of safety that I felt in Boston.''

Hayes says he believes D.C. has a ''major problem with homophobia. I think it starts in schools and goes on up.''

Hayes, reacting independently for the most part, had been in touch, he says, with both Farris and another local man, Shea Van Horn. When they learned of Perry's meeting at The Center, they combined their efforts with his.

That meeting, Monday evening, Sept. 8, brought 13 people together to discuss a grassroots response to the attacks. Among the small group, some already knew each other, if only recently. Farris and Van Horn were there, along with Zack Rosen, who is also associated with The New Gay, and Hayes. Metrokin was there, too, his injuries appearing healed, at least superficially. Perry sat near the head of the conference table, while Mariner conducted the meeting.

Two guests, Tom Donegan and Tracey Conaty, were invited by Mariner to share their perspectives, having been in a similar set of circumstances nearly two decades ago as key organizers of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), a grassroots organization that existed through the 1990s, also a response to violent crimes in the GLBT community.

For about an hour and a half, the group took nascent steps, discussing each attendee's motivation for being there, perceptions of crime, thoughts on what the group should be doing, etc. There were calls to hold rallies or marches following a Take Back The Night model, or buy billboards showing same-sex affection, and to figure out exactly how the Metropolitan Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit fits into the mix.

There was also a call for outreach to other corners of the local GLBT community. It was an understandable call, in that those gathered Sept. 8 were nearly all white men. In and of itself, that might not mean much -- even if not representational of the District's GLBT community -- but some of the comments posted to Farris' New Gay essay, ''Where is our anger?'' exposed a mix of, at best, racial tension.

''If you think yuppie white boys in striped shirts are doing the beatings you are mistaken,'' read one anonymous post.

Followed by, ''If your racist sensibilities were offended, rest assured that 'suburban' doesn't necessarily mean white or yuppie around here.''

And, ''It is not race baiting to describe identified suspects and assailants, like the six black guys who, in fact, attacked three white gays in Adams Morgan. 

Grow a pair.''

While most comments expressed shock, anger or concern for Metrokin, or asked what the community might do to respond, there was enough friction to demand attention. Monday evening, Mariner volunteered to begin outreach efforts.

Sterling Washington, part of the leadership of the D.C. Coalition of Black GLBT Men and Women, is a target of that outreach. Reading the responses to Farris' essay, Washington does not seem particularly troubled and adds that either he or D.C. Coalition President Brian Watson, who also works for Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), will definitely be attending this new group's next meeting.

''The whole racial breakdown of it is very much an oversimplification,'' says Washington, an African American, also mentioning a Sept. 7 attack near Eighth and N Streets NW that has left one gay black man on life support. The attack has initially been listed as a hate crime, though it remains under investigation.

''If you can objectify people, it's easier to mug them. I think a lot of that goes back to what's not being taught in schools about acceptance and tolerance. You would think in a city like this, that wouldn't be an issue. It makes you think the perpetrators grew up in homes where homophobia is acceptable.''

Washington also suggested that self-defense pepper spray, particular varieties of which are legal in the District if registered with the MPD, might be in order.

Along with the D.C. Coalition, groups mentioned at the Monday meeting to be included in outreach efforts are THE, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters, Asian Queers United for Action, the D.C. Trans Coalition, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the Latino GLBT History Project and the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League.

While folks at the meeting were not overly critical of the job the GLLU has done, the MPD in general took minor criticism for slow response times, and strong criticism for behavior that could be characterized as condescending at best.

How much more the police might be able to do has also been countered by the question of how much more the community might -- or might not -- want them to do.

On one hand, considering the GLLU's role as the MPD liaison to and advocate for the GLBT community -- though ultimately answerable to the police chief/mayor's office -- the GLLU's supervisor, Officer Joe Morquecho, cited an interesting statistic at a town-hall meeting in April, pointing to the GLLU being assigned 555 calls in 2006. Of those, he said, 75 percent were domestic-disturbance calls, creating a community-driven drain on GLLU resources.

Adds Lt. Brett Parson, former head of the GLLU and now responsible for all MPD liaison units: ''I think you've got people wishing they could get the same personalized

service [from MPD] that they get with the GLLU, and that's just impossible. The GLLU can't investigate every crime that occurs. They're good, but not that good. They

can only assist. If I were the victim of a crime, I'd want to go where I'm comfortable, but the GLLU are liaisons.''

Of increased police presence to deter attacks, says Hayes, ''Fundamentally, unless we're going to turn into a police state, they can't be on every block every day.''

Conaty strikes a similar chord, saying that, while she sees no relation between the end of the initial GLOV group and the start of the GLLU in 2000, the community cannot depend solely on the GLLU.

''We'd advocated for [the GLLU],'' Conaty's says of GLOV's efforts in the '90s. ''There was a sense of personal pride that it happened, but never a sense that it was a panacea that would solve all of our problems.

''The GLLU will operate best when there's a community watchdog group it has to work with. It's the same with all institutions. That's why we have community groups. The GLLU has a responsibility, but so does our community to be visible and to advocate.''

Whatever direction this new effort takes, while already co-opting the GLOV moniker, it's evident, at least for now, that there is a mood in the District that recent attacks on gay people have reached a point that has motivated corners of the community to greater action.

Perry, who with Farris met last week with Morqeucho, emphasizes that this new group will likely work closely with the GLLU, a move Parson says he strongly supports.

Beyond that, Perry offered a statement, the essence of which has been repeated by those involved in the new effort: ''I don't want to be afraid any longer. I don't want the GLBT community to say, 'We're afraid. We have to change our patterns.'''

Similarly, says Hayes, ''We are here in D.C. We are here like everyone else. We shouldn't feel guilty for living here. If a guy and girl walk down the street in Shaw holding hands, gay people should, too. We're not going to feel safe doing that unless we start doing that. Even if it's antagonistic, I think it's necessary.''

The next GLOV-GLBT Anti-Violence Group meeting is Monday, Sept. 22, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at 1101 New York Ave. NW. For more information, visit The Center online at www.thedccenter.org.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Speaking of Elitists...


From The Plank...

Last night Mitt Romney got on stage at the Republican Convention and railed "Eastern elites" that have been running Washington. For a true change, he said, "look for the sun in the West, 'cause it's about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaksa!"

Yes, something from Arizona was certainly shining at the convention, but it wasn't the sun. It was Cindy McCain's citrine dress from Monday night. And her three-carat diamond earrings. Oh, and don't forget the Chanel J12 white ceraminc watch.

Cindy's dress, designed by Oscar de la Renta, cost $3,000, and the watch, another $4,500. Her four strand pearl necklace cost between $11,000 and $25,000, and her shoes set her back $600. But the real whoppers were the earrings, priced at $280,000, putting the total cost of the outfit beteween $299,100 and $313,000.

An average citizen living in the Mat-Su Valley (where Palin's hometown of Wasilla is located) would have to work for over 10 years to buy Cindy's outfit. And lets just say the cost of the ensemble is significantly more than the average cost of a single-family, three bedroom home in Wasilla--let alone seven of them.

--Amanda Silverman

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Organizers' Meeting for GLBT Anti-Violence Working Group

There has recently been an upswing in anti-gay hate crimes in the Adams Morgan and 14th Street areas of DC. A small group of us have decided to start organizing a Working Group...

We will meet 7:30 PM Monday, at the DC Center, 1111 14th Street NW, Suite 350.

Here is a tentative agenda, but I would like to have additions by Sunday night.

1. Introductions (5 mins)
-- assign roles

2. Review of recent hate crimes -- Is there truly a sharp increase this year? (10 mins)
-- do we have hard numbers?

3. How do we record and monitor MPD's response? (15 mins)
-- should we invite GLUU to the community meeting, or C. Dyer from Fenty's administration?
-- what do we know about the previous group that used to do this?

4. Organizing a community meeting -- where? when? (15 mins)
-- establish a list of tasks and assign them in prep for this meeting

5. Community education -- where do these hate crimes come from? (10 mins)
-- bullying, violence, starting with children
-- Pete will have a mock-up of a brochure, will want input

6. Future of Working Group (10 mins)
-- what can we do to address the roots of violence?
-- how can the GLBT community work in proactive ways on issues of racism, gentrification, etc (all related to violence and pitting one group against another)?

7. Next Organizers' meeting? (5 mins)
-- assign roles

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
www.democracynow.org


September 1, 2008

Contact:
Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107, mike@democracynow.org

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman's office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation's leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Video of Amy Goodman's Arrest

Monday, September 01, 2008

Update from RNC re protests, cop raids

by Sonia Silbert, Co-Coordinator, Washington Peace Center

We woke up Sat morning to the news that three houses had been raided early in the morning. Two were houses of lead local organizers and one was a house of Food Not Bombs folks - they were all awaken to cops raiding their houses with guns drawn and were all detained while the cops went through the houses. Everyone in the houses was released except for 3 or 4 main local organizers - they were arrested and are being held without bail for "conspiracy to riot", "conspiracy to commit property destruction" and (my favorite) "conspiracy to plan civil disobedience".

Friday night at the convergence space there were two activist parents with their 5 year-old son with them during the raid. He was understandably frightened out of his wits at the sight of all these cops with guns handcuffing his dad and all their friends. Unfortunately, he and his parents were staying at one of the houses that was raided Sat morning, so woke up to the sight, once again, of cops, guns, and parents being handcuffed.

Throughout the day, houses of local organizers continued to be raided by the cops - six houses in all. The cops in the raids were all accompanied by building inspectors who tried to find code violations that would shut down the homes. They got as far as to start boarding up one privately-owned home that they claimed had code violations. Apparently the only person who could talk to them about this plan was the house owner - unfortunately, she was in jail, being held without bail. Activists mobilized quickly to respond to these raids and get neighbors around to witness the cops raid and search. The house that was being boarded up got unboarded and reopened due to community pressure as well as many calls to the City Council members by local allies.

Also throughout the day, individual activists were targeted on the street. 2 more local lead organizers with the RNC Welcoming Committee were snatched walking down the street, arrested and are being held without bail through Tuesday or Wednesday. 6 local organizers are being held in all - 5 were members of the Welcoming Committee and were leads of the actions being planned. Stories continued to flood in of people being pulled over in bikes and cars, being searched, detained and released.

I was helping make props Sat afternoon when my friend Alexis called me from the street - she said she had just turned the corner and saw a bunch of cops who had pulled over a white van and had guns drawn and were making activists in the car walk backwards away from the guns. I gave her the legal hotline number and Sam and I ran down the street to where she was. There were 4 or 5 cop cars with lights flashing surrounding 5 activists kneeling on the sidewalk handcuffed. We got all their names (including an old ally from New Orleans who I haven't seen in years - funny where you run into people) and called them into the legal hotline and gave them some water and whatever support we could. They said they had been driving and were being followed by an unmarked truck for about 30 min until they were finally surrounded and pulled over at gun point. One of them was separated from the rest and they hadn't seen him since - it turned out he was in a car being questioned by the cops. Their car was searched and all of them were searched and IDed and released after about 30-45 minutes. There was no explanation given - it's just pure fear tactics. Everyone is feeling insecure traveling around and making sure we all stay in groups and be smart - especially locals who were lead organizers in this.

The amazing thing is that the infrastructure that the Welcoming Committee and others have put so long into organizing is functioning amazingly well, despite the leads being in jail. Within 10 minutes of our calling in the above incident there were legal observers on the ground, taking pictures and statements. After lots of pressure on the City Council and negotiations, the convergence center was reopened yesterday afternoon and meals continue to be served there. There are still computers and free wireless and they have found more programs and informational handouts for all.

The legal collective has been amazing and very responsive, the communication system is up and running - we all receive text messages of any updates - and the medics are everywhere. At the spokescouncil last night I was amazed at all the affinity groups who stood up with plans prepared, knowing where they were doing actions and with who. Perhaps the saddest thing about all the lead organizers being in jail is not that we need them right now to ensure the success of their actions - their hard work has prepped us for that - but they can't see that all their incredible efforts are paying off.

On a slightly different note, I caught the end of the Vets for Peace/Iraq Vets Against the War banquet last night during their national conferences, and they are planning great things over the next few days and year. People should check out IVAW's great action at the DNC last week, and stay tuned for actions this week.

The latest update is that Bush and Cheney are not coming to the conventions tomorrow - they want to prep for a photo-op in a disaster zone or McCain doesn't want them around or they're afraid of the protests - and we are all thinking of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as Gustav approaches. It's hard to be prepped for one emergency situation while thinking that a major disaster might be about to hit. We'll see what happens over the next day and where our energies are directed. For now, I'm glad that I'm safe and I'm thinking of my friends at the other end of the Mississippi from us and wishing them safety and health as well.

For my story from Friday night's raid at the convergence center, scroll down.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

High schoolers refusing war and occupation in Palestine

High school seniors send Olmert Barak letter saying they refuse to enlist in army carrying out Israel's policy of 'segregation, oppression, killing in occupied territories'; army reacts quickly, arrests teen at his Herzliya home a day after he was set to enlist.

Dozens of Israeli high school seniors who are looking to evade mandatory military service on moral grounds sent a letter Wednesday to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in protest of Israel's policy of "segregation, killing and oppression in the occupied territories".

As opposed to previous protests by the defiant teens, also known as refuseniks, the IDF responded harshly and arrested 18-year-old Udi Nir at his Herzliya home a day after he was supposed to enlist in the army. The teen was subsequently brought before a military judge.

Tali Lerner of the New Profile movement, which backs the refuseniks campaign, told Ynet that Nir was tried for refusing to enlist and was "frightened by the unpleasant situation, but sounded very determined not to serve".

Lerner said most refuseniks are sentenced to 28 days in a military prison.

Sahar Vardi, a senior at the prestigious Leyad Ha'universita High school in Jerusalem, said "We (conscientious objectors) planned to go to prison together, but the army has apparently learned its lesson and arrested Udi as a preemptive measure."

'IDF service a privilege'
While in custody, Nir wrote a letter to Barak saying "I cannot take part in the activities of an occupying army that regularly violates human rights. As an Israeli citizen and as a drafted teenager, I feel that it is my duty to refuse to enter the circle of blood and (add fuel) to the fire of hatred that is raging in our fields.

"I refuse to join an army so as not to support the occupation and other acts that go against my most basic principles: Human rights, democracy and every man's social responsibility towards his fellow man," the letter read.

Vardi said Nir's arrest was a "deliberate attempt on the army's part to prevent our voices from being heard. We were surprised by how quickly Udi was arrested, but we were prepared for such a scenario and knew that this was a price we were willing to pay.

"Fortunately people are beginning to realize that the army is not a sacred cow and enlisting in it is not a must," she said.

"If more and more people voice their objection to the occupation, the government's policy will have to follow suit."

A number of seniors who signed the letter are planning to rally outside the Kirya army base in Tel Aviv as a show if support for Nir.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office said, "Udi Nir was supposed to enlist on Monday, but did not report and was therefore treated as an absentee. He was detained, brought before a judge and received a six-day suspended sentence. Following his continued refusal to report for duty, Nir was sentenced to 21 days in a military prison. We consider IDF service a privilege."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Great video of Dennis K.

Why I am a fan of this man from Cleveland. He mentions HR 333: Resolved, That Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors; HR 1258: Impeachment of President Bush; HR 1345: additional impeachable charge against Bush...

Monday, August 11, 2008

WPC Board Member Maxit speaks truth to power in Beijing

‘Team Tibet’ Gets Deported for Displaying Flag
By Danielle Wang
Epoch Times StaffAug 9, 2008

NEW YORK—Three Tibetan supporters were deported from China when they unfurled a Tibetan flag an hour before the Olympic Ceremony started.

The three Tibetan supporters, Jonathan Stribling-Uss, 27, and Kalaya’an Mendoza, 29, and Cesar Pablo Maxit, 32, are Americans, with Maxit also holding Argentinean citizenship. Each displayed the Tibetan national flag and was taken away by police afterwards.

It is considered a serious crime to display Tibet’s national flag in China. When Stribling-Uss, Mendoza and Maxit arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport Saturday afternoon, they were greeted by friends, supporters and people of the Tibetan community.

“We proudly displayed the Tibetan flag in Beijing yesterday to shine a spotlight on the Chinese government's lethal military crackdown inside Tibet and its attempt to use the Beijing Olympics to cover up its human rights abuses there,” said Mendoza of New York City.

The three activists walked into the streets near the Chinese National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. There, they each pulled out T-shirts saying “Team Tibet 08” and each of them also pulled out the Tibetan flag.

“After walking into the streets, we were quickly tackled by the six people from the Chinese military,” Stribling-Uss said.

“One of my friend’s feet was broken, and their faces were pushed onto the concrete. Afterwards, we were taken to a nearby park where we were treated poorly,” Stribling-Uss continued. “Our shoe laces were tied together and our shirts were pulled onto our heads.”

“The Chinese government is using the Olympics as a Chinese Opera Mask to make an impression—the Tibetan people and I wanted to be part of an action of unmasking that impression with an action,” said Stribling-Uss.

“I wanted to give a clear statement so that they couldn’t cover up the protest,” he said.
According to Stribling-Uss, during the spring of 2008 in Tibet, 1000 monks were detained and sent to detention camps.

“They’re increasing the tension throughout Tibet as the Olympics go on,” said Stribling-Uss. “It was really horrible and saddening to see the brutality.”

As the Beijing Games continue, Tibetan groups are planning to protest in various parts of the world to call on the Chinese regime to address the crisis is Tibet.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Cindy is on the ballot!

Dear Supporter,

On behalf of the people of San Francisco and all whom dream of a better tomorrow, we are proud to announce that Cindy Sheehan is officially on the ballot as a candidate for California's 8th Congressional District Representative to the U.S. House. Cindy is only the 6th Independent candidate ever to be listed on a California election ballot.

There has been an overwhelming and unprecedented show of support among San Francisco voters for the Sheehan campaign's progressive agenda. Over the past few months, hundreds of volunteers and supports rallied around getting their voices heard in November's election. After collecting roughly 20,000 signatures, with at least 10,198 qualifying, the Sheehan campaign has proven its viability with flying colors.

Cindy's access to November's ballot is evidence of growing discontent among San Francisco voters with the Democratically lead U.S. congress and its inability to end the war, hold the Bush administration accountable for unconstitutional acts, stimulate the economy, reform healthcare, reconsider trade agreements that harm American workers and the environment and cut ties to corporate lobbyists. The Sheehan campaign is offering a new vision for San Francisco and the nation. Cindy believes in peace, accountability, freedom, and well being for all. She believes that war should be a last resort for defense and not the handy policy tool that it is currently being used as. She believes that healthcare is a basic right in a democratic society and should not be based on ability to pay. Cindy knows that it is essential to keep our representatives and leaders accountable to our Constitution and to democratic practices. She knows that we must retool our economy to be in harmony with the environment and its sustainability. Most importantly, Cindy understands that Americans are striving for a new type of politics that has meaning, puts people before profits and that challenges the divisive two party system.

After overcoming its first obstacle by achieving ballot access, the Sheehan campaign is in full gear and ready to achieve victory in November. Over the next few months, the campaign will be working hard to spread its message of peace, accountability, and hope. Thank you to all whom have shown their support by volunteering, donating, advocating, and being the change that we wish to see. Although Cindy is on the ballot, the most challenging part of the campaign is around the corner. We must spread our message more widely, recruit more volunteers, raise more funds and secure more votes. As a grassroots campaign going up against a well oiled machine, we are fighting an uphill battle. Regardless, we have hope. We have hope because we understand the power of people to chance society. The civil rights movement and women's liberation movement within the United States is evidence that if we come together in union, regardless of the odds against us, we can overcome all obstacles. The Sheehan campaign's message to you today is that, we can overcome! We can overcome fear. We can overcome the military industrial complex. We can overcome corporate domination of our economy. We can overcome environmental degradation. Let us create a society grounded in peace, love, and humanity.

Onwards to victory!!!!!

Let us elect Cindy Sheehan to the House of Representatives!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sy Hersh: Cheney Plot to Attack Americans, Provoke War with Iran


Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.

In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,’” according to one of Hersh’s sources.

During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected:

HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.

Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected.

Hersh argued that one of the things the Bush administration learned during the encounter in the Strait of Hormuz was that, “if you get the right incident, the American public will support” it.

“Look, is it high school? Yeah,” Hersh said. “Are we playing high school with you know 5,000 nuclear warheads in our arsenal? Yeah we are. We’re playing, you know, who’s the first guy to run off the highway with us and Iran.”

Transcript:

HERSH: There was a meeting. Among the items considered and rejected — which is why the New Yorker did not publish it, on grounds that it wasn’t accepted — one of the items was why not…

There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected.

So I can understand the argument for not writing something that was rejected — uh maybe. My attitude always towards editors is they’re mice training to be rats.

But the point is jejune, if you know what that means. Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the incident was the American public, if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. You know, we’re into it.

…What happened in the Gulf was, in the Straits, in early January, the President was just about to go to the Middle East for a visit. So that was one reason they wanted to gin it up. Get it going.

Look, is it high school? Yeah. Are we playing high school with you know 5,000 nuclear warheads in our arsenal? Yeah we are. We’re playing, you know, who’s the first guy to run off the highway with us and Iran.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Groups protest Hagee and his hateful group


Peace and Justice Groups Protest warmongering "Christians," Hateful Hagee


For Comment: Immediate Release

Malachy Kilbride, Wash. Peace Center, (202) 841-2230 July 18, 2008

Barbra Bearden, Peace Action, (301) 565-4050, ext. 330

WASHINGTON – Monday evening a coalition of peace and social justice groups wishing to foster greater understanding between faith traditions and stopping an illegal and immoral military strike on the nation of Iran will be protesting outside the Christians United for Israel Conference at the DC Convention Center.


When: 5:00-8:00 PM, Monday, July 21st

Where: 9th Street and Mass. Avenue NW, Across from DC Convention Center

What: Protest the right-wing Christians United for Israel Annual Conference, and raise awareness about preventing war with Iran and the importance of respecting world religions.


The Christians United for Israel's (CUFI) Third Annual "Washington-Israel Summit" is a staunchly right wing and militant Zionist gathering. This year it will feature a keynote speech by Sen. Joe Lieberman and appearances by its founder, the controversial Rev. John Hagee. In the news recently for being condemned by the John McCain presidential campaign for making anti-Catholic statements, Hagee continues to raise a lot of questions regarding the political influence of his multi-million dollar non-denominational church and his own bigoted views.

Participants in Monday's protest will be the Washington Peace Center, Jewish Voices for Peace, CODE PINK DC, and Peace Action. The groups, while engaging in dialogue with CUFI attendees, will hand out literature regarding the dire consequences of a naval blockade of Iran, as proposed in House Resolution 362, and why warfare is not Christian.

"Rev. Hagee's expression of his fundamentalist brand of Christianity is offensive, disturbing, and offensive to Catholics, Muslims, and Jews. His group is one of the forces calling for war with Iran," said Malachy Kilbride president of the Washington Peace Center's board of directors. "People of conscience and faith will be outside this gathering to bear witness to peace and a reasoned and rational foreign policy with regard to Iran."

Workshops offered at the conference include "Radical Islam: In Their Own Words," led by neo-conservative Daniel Pipes and former right-wing Senator Rick Santorum; and "The Basics of The Arab Israeli Conflict," led by far-right politician Gary Bauer, president of the anti-choice, and homophobic group American Values. Musician Randy Travis will also perform Monday evening.

"We want the world to know there are Americans who strongly disagree with the right-wing Christians and their love of war and oppression of Palestinians and other peoples in the Middle East," said Gael Murphy co-founder of CODE PINK: Women for Peace.

Sen. Lieberman has been one the most strident advocates for military action against Iran. A senior policy advisor for the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) who has been working on H.R. 362 will address the conference.

Hagee has been criticized by notable journalist Bill Moyers as presumptuously trying to speak for all Christians, by Reform Rabbi Eric Yoffie for holding extremist views and for attacking other faiths such as Islam and Catholicism. The San Antonio minister has lambasted Catholicism as "The great whore," and in 2006 during a radio interview; he said the Islamic faith has "a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews."

In his book "Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War," Hagee also made anti-Semitic remarks, including a claim that Adolf Hitler was "carrying out a divine plan." On the CUFI Web site the group describes Iran's president as "a new Hitler of the Middle East."

###

Monday, July 14, 2008

Iran, Israel and Nuclear Elephants


By Nadia Hijab, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies

Beyond the histrionics of US foreign policy, the real issue concerning an Iranian development of nuclear weapons is international nonproliferation – and, indeed, a world free of all nuclear weapons, argues Nadia Hijab.
Whatever else it is, Iran’s nuclear quest is not short on drama. Israel and Iran have just flexed their military muscles in highly publicized exercises and tests. The P5+1 - the US, Britain, France, Russia, and China, all permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany - just brandished another acre of carrots and rainforest of sticks at Iran.

In the US Congress, resolutions to impose a naval blockade against Iran, among other measures, have been cosponsored by nearly half the House and a third of the Senate, in complete disregard of the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate that says Iran no longer has an active nuclear weapons program.

These histrionics have cloaked the elephant in the room -- indeed, whole herds of the ivory-tusked beasts are hidden from view, each carrying its own weight again in loads of hypocrisy. Take just three of the elephants: Israel’s huge nuclear arsenal and the more modest stores of India and Pakistan.

Israel’s nuclear stockpile is said to include between 100 and 200 nuclear devices, according to the Federation of American Scientists; other sources put the figure as high as 400. India and Pakistan are each believed to have 35 nuclear devices. None has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Yet the United States and Europe have taken little action. For example, Israel has been conspicuously absent from the semi-annual reports the US Congress requires from intelligence agencies on the acquisition by foreign countries of technology for weapons of mass destruction.

And even as it was turning up the heat on Iran back in 2006, the US Administration was lobbying Congress hard for an agreement on nuclear cooperation with India despite US legislation prohibiting such cooperation with a country that has not signed the NPT.

The deal, which received preliminary Congressional approval, may not take effect because of lack of time to secure final approval before the end of 2008. If it does, it would allow India to open civilian facilities to inspection while keeping military ones closed. Pakistan, which wanted the same deal, was rebuffed, but has not received anything like the treatment of Iran.

These nuclear powers dominate Iran’s neighborhood. As the CATO Institute soberly noted in a 2006 briefing, "Iran is located in a volatile region, surrounded by hostile neighbors. Russia, Israel, Pakistan, and India all have nuclear weapons already, so regional deterrence issues probably loom large for Iran."

Given this reality, one would have thought that the best way to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions would be to work on Israel, India, and Pakistan to give theirs up and make the Middle East a nuclear free zone.

And in fact the P5 voted for such an approach in 1991. Article 14 in UN Security Council Resolution 687, part of the cease-fire arrangements ending operation Desert Storm that expelled Iraq from Kuwait, solemnly sets out the goal of "establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction."

Article 14 has never been acted upon, in spite of frequent pleas by Arab states for a nuclear free zone. Why not? Here the NPT emerges as one of the biggest elephants in the room. Under the NPT, which entered into force in 1970, the original five nuclear powers -- the selfsame P5 -- were supposed to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals. In exchange, other countries pledged not to acquire them.

Because the P5 have not done so, they have faced the other 183 NPT signatories with the choice of living under their nuclear shadow or trying to acquire their own nuclear weapons. The countries that are trying to bring Iran to heel are the ones responsible for eroding the treaty that would have prevented the pursuit of such weapons. Indeed, France and Russia are lining up behind the United States to sell India nuclear technology.

Some argue that Iran is driven by ideology rather than by state interests, and cannot be dealt with “rationally.” However, its president’s rhetoric aside, Iran has not demonstrated excessively aggressive behavior in the past 30 years. It has not, for example, invaded other countries to control their land, water, or oil resources. Rather, it was itself invaded, in 1980 by Saddam’s Iraq, with the active support of the then US Administration.

The best way to stop Iran from going nuclear is to forge ahead with the reduction and elimination of all nuclear weapons. But for that to even begin to happen, we need a far bigger spotlight on the elephants in the room.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Civil resistance intensifies to evil policies so far this year

In honor of Independence Day, I was originally going to write a piece talking about the loss of our republic to the military-corporate empire we live in now, but I thought I would just save myself the additional frustration and post Max from Baltimore's report on civil resistance actions and trials thus far this year! Thanks Max...

Thanks to all of you who were able to risk arrest or to support such protests against the Iraq War. Let us continue to take the risks of peace. This list of appeals, arrests and legal cases is not all-inclusive. Please send additions, corrections and updates to mobuszewski at verizon.net. Included are arrests and pending cases in 2008.

JULY

20—[WDC] The government was to file a brief in response to the one filed on Dec. 29, 2007 by Mark Goldstone on behalf of Beth Adams, Ellen Barfield, Michelle Grise, Sherrill Hogen, Kathryn McClanen, Joan Nicholson, Max Obuszewski & Eve Tetaz with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. They are appealing convictions related to protests on Sept. 26 or 27, 2006. However the government has requested sixty additional days arguing this is a complicated case.

On Feb. 16, 2007 some 30 defendants who appear before D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III are convicted and ordered to pay a $50 assessment fee. One defendant was found not guilty. On Mar. 14, 2007 20 defendants who appear before Judge King facing charges from either Sept. 26 or 27 are convicted and ordered to pay the $50 fee.

16 - [WDC] Ten members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance are to appear for a status hearing set a trial date for a jury trial before Judge Robert Morin in Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The original judge, Wendell Gardner, had to step down after realizing he is not allowed to handle a jury trial.

These activists, Maria Allwine, Ellen Barfield, Tim Chadwick, Joy First, Judith Kelly, Art Landis, Linda Letendre, Max Obuszewski, Manijeh Saba and Eve Tetaz, were arrested on Mar. 12 in the gallery of the U.S. Senate. They acted as the Ghosts of the Iraq War and stood up individually to announce "I am a ghost from the Iraq War. While I died needlessly, I am here to demand an end to the funding of the war so that others do not have to die." The defendants are facing a charge of disorderly conduct/disruptive conduct, which carries a possible sentence of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

4 - [Charlottesville, VA] Protesters disrupted George W. Bush's July 4th address at Monticello before a naturalization ceremony for new citizens at Thomas Jefferson's home. The protesters called out "war criminal" and "impeach Bush." Six of the protesters were removed, handcuffed and released without charge. Desiree Fairooz, Linda Lisanti, Gael Murphy and David Swanson were all removed.


JUNE

30 - [WDC] Paul Zulkowitz was granted a dismissal before judgment. Ann Wilcox, the attorney, called it a victory because the government decided against expending the time and resources for a jury trial. Also she opined that the government may not have wanted to grant the peace activist a forum to condemn the war.

Zulkowitz voiced opposition during a public hearing where Gen. David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), on Apr. 8. Zool stood and chanted “Bring them home, bring them home! . . . ,” was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor count of “disruption of Congress.” The maximum sentence was six months imprisonment.

28 – [Des Moines IA] In solidarity with the eleventh annual 24-hour vigil hosted by Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition in Washington D.C., ten people gathered outside the federal courthouse in a solidarity vigil. Eventually vigilers decided to walk through a farmers market and an arts festival. Taylor Hays, Christine Gaunt, Halsey Reynolds and Kirk Brown intended to return to the courthouse.

A police officer escorted them through the market. However, security stopped them from walking through the arts festival. During a dialogue, a police officer cuffed Reynolds. Brown and Gaunt were also arrested. In the squad car, the police decided to charge them with "harassing a public official." They were held overnight. While Reynolds was released on personal recognizance, the other two had to post a $300 bond.

24 – [Berkeley, CA] Four CODEPink women, including Toby Blome & Zanne Joi, were scheduled to begin their jury trial for a protest they held inside the Berkeley Recruiting Station commemorating the death of the 4000th US soldier killed in Iraq. The women were arrested on Mar. 24 and charged with trespassing and intimidating the Marines. They faced up to 6 months in jail & a $1,000 fine.

Judge Morris Jacobson from the Alameda County Superior Court reduced the charges to an infraction that will be dismissed in six months time. In addition, he dismissed all other pending charges against the women, including several charges for obstructing the sidewalk, an arrest for public nudity during a Breasts Not Bombs protest, and numerous parking tickets incurred during many months of protests.

23 – [Des Moines, IA] Trespassing charges against Catholic Worker Kirk Brown were dropped at the Polk County Courthouse. The charges stemmed from Brown's involvement in an occupation of the Armed Forces Career Center in Des Moines on Mar. 19. The prosecutor confirmed the witnesses could not state with complete certainty that the protesters had blocked the entry. Eleven protesters occupied and briefly shut down the center. Brown and Ed Bloomer refused to leave. Bloomer pleaded guilty to trespassing at the arraignment and was give a fine and a suspended sentence.

20 - [Alexandria, VA] Faith and Resistance Retreat participants arrested at the Pentagon on Mar. 21 appeared for trial in federal court. The group entered the Pentagon grounds in solemn, silent procession. Tim Fryett, Peter Pedemonti, Peter DeMott, Susan Crane and Steve Miller sought to block the entrance and were quickly arrested; Claire Grady and Eve Tetaz knelt on the grass and were also arrested. All were charged with "disobeying a lawful order.” Two others were arrested, one as a result of a mistake, the other in solidarity so his brother would not be alone. However, charges were dismissed for all but Susan Crane and Peter DeMott. They were found guilty and ordered to pay a $100 fine. They will not pay.

19- [WDC] An activist was arrested in the gallery of the House of Representatives when he threw down “bloody” money during the vote for more funding of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

18 – [WDC] The government dismissed charges against Steve Baggarly, Kristin Sadler, Bill Streit and Eve Tetaz who were arrested at the White House on Mar. 22. The anti-torture activists were arrested for holding signs in the forbidden area.

16—[Portland, OR] Jesse Laird, Rhoda Moore and Tom Hastings are scheduled to appear in court, as a result of their arrests in Sen. Gordon Smith's office on May 16. Smith's Oregon Chief of Staff made it known that no peace people were going to be welcome ever at Senator Smith's office. Moore, who attempted to make an appointment, asked why the scheduler had promised to call her back but never did. They explained the House just voted to defund this war and the Senate will soon vote. They promised to leave if Smith agreed to vote against any more war funding. Instead, they were cuffed and stuffed. In less than two hours they were given a citation release.

9 – [Portland, OR] Two anti-war protesters who stood in front of a rose-laden tank during last year’s Grand Floral Parade had their legal troubles wiped away. Bonnie Tinker and Sara Graham, members of the “Seriously P.O.’d Grannies,” were charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with police after they held up anti-war signs in front of the tank in the middle of the parade.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Alicia Fuchs dismissed the case after Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Puskar asked for an additional day. Puskar said police officers scheduled to testify didn’t show up because they mistakenly thought the trial was set for June 10.

9 – [Madison, WI] Bonnie Block, David Nordstrom and Joy First appeared for trial before Judge Dan Koval in municipal court. However, charges against the three were dismissed by Madison City Attorney Marcie Paulson when the military officer who had been subpoenaed for the trial failed to appear.

On Mar. 19, the antiwar activists were arrested at a military recruiting station in Madison. While other activists read names of the war dead on the sidewalk outside the recruiting station, the three went inside to talk to recruiters. They were arrested and charged with trespassing, which carried a $424 fine.

2 – [WDC] Three members of the Christian Peace Witness, who were arrested in the Hart Senate Office Bldg on Mar. 7, were convicted in D.C. Superior Court. Joan Nicholson of Kennett Square, PA, Ellen Arginteneau of State College, PA and Vicky Andrews of Duluth, MN were found guilty of unlawful assembly. During the Interfaith Witness for Peace for Iraq, forty four members of various faith groups were arrested while appealing to Congress to shut off the funding.


MAY

30 – [WDC] Thirty four Witness Against Torture advocates were convicted in D.C. Superior Court by Judge Wendell Gardner. David Barrows had his case dismissed, but the others were convicted after a four-day trial. Eleven of them were jailed, four for one day. Susan Crane received the longest sentence—15 days.

Eighty WAT activists were arrested either inside or outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 11, the sixth anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Most defendants only provided the police with a name of a Guantanamo detainee and remained in jail until the evening of Jan. 12. Those arrested outside the Supreme Court were charged with disorderly conduct making parades illegal, while those arrested inside faced an additional disorderly conduct charge against objectionable language. These are federal charges. At trial, though, all defendants faced only a charge of disorderly conduct making parades illegal.

The government offered a stet to the arrestees which would place the case in an inactive file for six months. If the defendant was not arrested in the next six months, s/he would have the case dismissed. It was an obvious attempt to quell the resistance movement in D.C. At least two arrestees who did not accept the stet had their cases dismissed. On May 8, the government dismissed the charges against Frida Berrigan, Joy First, Mike Foley, Lindsay Hagerman, Judith Kelly, Chris Knestrick and Max Obuszewski. All were arrested inside the Supreme Court.

22 – [WDC] Four CODE Pink women were arrested and charged with "unlawful conduct on Capitol grounds" at Gen. Petraeus’ confirmation hearings. Three of them spent the night in jail.

15—[Madison, WI] In Municipal Court, Bonnie Block, Joy First and Janet Parker were found guilty of trespassing during a bench trial in front of Judge Daniel Koval. During sentencing, Marcie Palmer, Madison City Attorney, requested the minimum fine of $109, which was granted by Judge Koval and commuted to 11 hours of community service for each of the defendants. Block, First and Parker were arrested on Feb. 15 at the Hilldale Mall during a peaceful and solemn vigil speaking out against the devastating occupation of Iraq. The three women were lying on the floor and were covered with a white sheet, calling attention to the death and human suffering of the war. They were joined by about seven other activists reading names of the war dead and holding banners calling for an end to the war. When the three women lying on the floor were asked by the police to leave, they declined noting that they were not blocking or disrupting anyone, and that they needed to continue the vigil against the war and occupation of Iraq.

In his sentencing, Judge Koval said that the heartfelt arguments were compelling and that he was sympathetic to the cause of the defendants, but that was not the issue. He took an oath to uphold the constitution and follow the law.

13 – [WDC] Liz Hurican was arrested outside the Cannon House Office Building for loudly lobbying representatives about war funding.

2—[WDC] Desiree Fairooz was convicted of disorderly conduct by Judge Richard Ringell in Superior Court. This conviction resulted from an incident on Oct. 24, 2007, when Fairooz called Secretary of State Condi Rice a war criminal at a Congressional hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Scott Shapiro asked for a sentence of 90 days incarceration. While the judge said there is a price to be paid for civil disobedience that included jail time, he suspended a five-day sentence, gave her three months of unsupervised probation and ordered the payment of $50 to the victims of violent crime fund.

1—[Burlington, VT] Ten activists, including Jen Berger, Hillary Martin and Rachel Ruggles, locked themselves together in the lobby of weapons manufacturer General Dynamics. The activists demanded “General Dynamics stop giving campaign contributions to the politicians responsible for regulating it, stop making Gatling guns, missiles and other weapons of mass destruction and give back the $3.6 million in Vermont tax breaks General Dynamics received in 2007.”


APRIL

30—[Bangor, ME] Six longtime anti-war activists arrested on Mar. 7, 2007 for refusing to leave the federal building when it closed for the day were found not guilty of criminal trespass by a Penobscot County Superior Court jury after 2 ½ hours of deliberation in a two-day trial. The defendants and six others were inside U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office demanding that she vote against further funding of the Iraq War and against the Bush proposal to increase the number of U.S. combat troops.

Jonathan Kreps, Henry Braun, James Freeman, Dud Hendrick, Douglas Rawlings and Robert Shetterly chose to go to trial. The six others arrested in Collins’ office, Maureen Block, Diane Fitzgerald, Nancy Hill, Judy Robbins, Peter Robbins & Pat Wheeler pled no contest and paid a fine.

Freeman, Hendrick and Shetterly represented themselves. Philip Worden represented Rawlings, and Lynne Williams represented Kreps and Braun. Hendrick outlined their legal strategy during the trial: "intercede against a greater crime in an act of civil resistance, not civil disobedience.” Freeman said after the verdict. "The fact that this was a not-guilty verdict says something about the way the wind is blowing in this state.”

Brendan Trainer, assistant district attorney, prosecuted the case. District Attorney R. Christopher Almy offered this observation: "I think that the public in Maine is so disgusted with the war in Iraq that they demonstrated their disgust with this verdict. And, that they are upset with [Sen. Olympia] Snowe and Collins for getting us involved in this debacle." He also indicated he would no longer prosecute such cases.

23—[WDC] In D.C. Superior Court, David Barrows was sentenced to 18 months supervised probation, six months imprisonment suspended, 100 hours of community service and a $1,100 fine with $500 suspended. The judge rejected the prosecutor’s request for imprisonment. Barrows was convicted on Apr. 2 for unlawful conduct in Congress on Sept. 11, 2007 during testimony given by Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Prior to his sentencing, he said “Our voices must be heard - not the silence of apathy or the silence of cowardice; not the silence of selfish profiteering but the tears of families of young Americans who volunteered for war under false information.”

18—[Chicopee, MA] Eight activists were to appear for a pre-trial hearing after being arrested on Mar. 19 at a gate to the Westover Air Force Base. Five years ago, anticipating the start of Bush's war in Iraq, Rev. Andrea Ayvasian, Frances Crowe, Gene Grossholtz, Rev. Peter Kakos, Claudia Lefko, Paki Weiland, Kathleen Winkworth and Carl Doerner went to the same gate. While they were convicted for that action, the case is on appeal. On the fifth anniversary of this illegal war, the eight returned to block the main Westover gate for 90 minutes, were arrested and charged again with "disturbing the peace." Over the years, there have been 72 arrests at this gate.

10 – [New Brunswick, NJ] Suzan Sanal (Rutgers Against the War/Campus Antiwar Network), Erik Straub (Tent State/SDS), and Arwa Ibrahim received a summons from the state of New Jersey for activities during the Walk Out, which took place Mar. 27. They were the only ones to receive a summons as a result of the protest despite the fact that the Walk Out was organized by a coalition of a dozen student groups and gathered several hundred participants. Arwa was not even a member of the Walk Out coalition and never attended an organizers' meeting.

All three are being charged with disorderly conduct, and if convicted they could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. The complaint states, "Did engage in conduct which caused a physically dangerous or hazardous condition, specifically by organizing and participating

in a protest march onto Route 18 disrupting traffic in violation of N.J.S. 2c: 33-2A(2)"

Defend the Rutgers 3 who charged belatedly after a walk out of hundreds of Rutgers students and supporters protesting the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Students walked out of classes, rallied on campus, marched through downtown New Brunswick, and spontaneously walked on to Route 18, a state highway. During the action, the police did not complain to student organizers, issue warnings to the crowd, or attempt to stop any of the actions. The nonviolent protest ended without incident.

8—[WDC] David Barrows was sentenced today by Superior Court Judge John Bayly, Jr. to 14 days imprisonment suspended, six months of unsupervised probation, $200 for court costs and $200 to the victims of violent crime fund. The prosecutor suggested a sentence of 180 days in jail with all but 20 days suspended. Barrows was convicted of simple assault on Feb. 26. The accuser, Karen Testerman, a pro-war right-wing homophobe, and the police witnesses failed to tell the truth at trial. Testerman accused Barrows of assaulting her on Sept. 18, 2007 during a pro-war rally in Upper Senate Park. Sens. Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham were among the featured speakers.

2--[WDC] Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip Hop Caucus, was charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. These charges are based on Yearwood’s participation in a protest against global warming and the war on Oct. 22, 2007. He was not arrested at that time.

Rev. Yearwood had been charged with assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct when he attempted to attend a Sept. 11, 2007 House hearing during which Gen. David Petraeus was scheduled to testify about the Iraq War. The assault charge was eventually dismissed, but Yearwood was scheduled for trial on a charge of disorderly conduct on Feb. 25, 2008. When he appeared for trial, the case was dismissed.

2—{Omaha, NE] A federal magistrate judge sentenced Dagmar Hoxsie to pay a $200 fine and do two years probation and John Bach a $100 fine and two years of probation. They crossed the line at Offutt Air Force Base, the home of STRATCom, on Dec. 28, 2007 and were charged with trespass. In court, Hoxsie pled no contest and Bach guilty. The action was part of the annual Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day the Catholic Church remembers the children killed by King Herod in the Gospel of Matthew story of the birth of Jesus.

1—[Rochester, NY] Seven advocates arrested on Mar. 19 for placing a coffin in front of the IRS office were scheduled to appear in court. Charged with disorderly conduct were Eli Yewdall, Sister Grace Miller, Rita Lewis, Mike Connelly, Kathy Castania, Jake Allen and Harry Murray.


MARCH

31—[NYC] A judge was to decide on a motion for dismissal in the case of the UN witness against crimes perpetuated by Bush, Cheney & Co. against humanity here and abroad. The motion argues that no crime was committed and that the arrest was illegal. The judge waived the requirement for any defendant, including Linda Letendre, to be present.

31—[Chicago] Six Iraq War protesters were scheduled for a hearing, after being arrested during an Easter mass, Mar. 23, and charged with one count of felony criminal damage to property and two counts of simple battery. All defendants had to post bonds before being released from jail.

Angela Haban, Regan Maher, Mercedes Phinaih, Ephran Ramirez, Donte Smith and Ryane Ziemba, a few seconds into Cardinal Francis George’s homily, rose from their seats, turned to address the hundreds of parishioners in the auditorium, and talked about the continuing deaths in Iraq. The group also decried George's failure to speak out against the war during a Jan. 7 meeting with Mayor Richard Daley and George Bush. They then squirted themselves with stage blood and collapsed to the floor.

Leaving the auditorium, they chanted "Even the Pope calls for peace!" "And so should we all call for peace," said George from the alter as the last protester was led out. The group, which calls itself Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War, said in a statement after being arrested they targeted the Holy Name Cathedral to reach a large audience, including Chicago's most prominent Catholic citizens and the press, which usually covers the services. Speaking after the service, George said, "We should all work for peace, but not by interrupting the worship of God."

29—[Long Island, NY] Don Zirkel was removed from the Smith Haven Mall in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War. Police said that Zirkel was disturbing shoppers at the mall and now faces charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

21 - [Alexandria, VA] Sr. Margaret McKenna and Elizabeth McAlister were found guilty and fined $100 in federal court. Aaron Weiss, Tom Lewis and Marcus Melder had their cases dismissed. This would be the last court appearance for Lewis before his untimely death. The five were taken into custody after doing a die-in at the Pentagon, as part of the Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat in Dec. 2007.

21—[Groton, CT] Forty people marked the Stations of the Cross along the south perimeter of the Naval Submarine Base. Sponsored by the Hartford Catholic Worker, this was the most recent witness in a tradition of over twenty years. The police refused to make arrests.

19—[Boston, MA] Boston police arrested five people blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Career Center. The protesters were enacting a scene of destruction from Iraq.

19—[Memphis, TN] Seven people were arrested during a sit-in at Sen. Bob Corker's office and charged with trespass--Peter Gathje, Jacob Flowers, George Grider, Dennis Paden, Ceylon Mooney, Kathleen Kruczek and Jessica Buttimore. They activists refused to leave the office as the senator refused to agree to hold a town meeting that would address the Iraq war.

19—[San Francisco] Police arrested 143 protesters, included Daniel Ellsberg, in the central business district. Charges included trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing traffic. Four women were detained for hanging a large banner off the city’s famous Golden Gate Bridge and then released.

19—[WDC] Activists targeted the American Petroleum Institute. Around 200 people were outside the building at 9 AM. Despite acts of resistance, the metropolitan Police were not arresting protesters. With but two exceptions, despite the many acts of resistance at various sites in Washington, the police would clear an area but not take anyone into custody.

By early evening, several hundred people gathered at the reflecting pool by the U.S. Capitol, 100 or more wearing March of the Dead white masks and marching single file up Independence Ave. to a major intersection by the Cannon House Office Building. Around twenty people gathered in the middle of the street and were arrested by the Capitol Police. Manijeh Saba is the only one who is going to trial.

19—[WDC] The War Resisters League organized an early morning march to the Internal Revenue Service to highlight the three trillion dollar Iraq War. Affinity groups then blocked the three entrances to the building. The Federal Protective Service arrested thirty two of the blockers, including Clark Field. Most of the activists, if not all, paid the $50 citation release.

19—[Worcester, MA] After attending mass, antiwar activists proceeded to the federal courthouse. Mike Benedetti, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, Sandra McSweeney, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy and Roger Stanley entered the pre-lobby, knelt, prayed for an end to the war in Iraq and said a rosary. Officers allowed them to complete the prayers, before arresting them. They were charged in federal court with the “petty offenses” of not obeying a federal officer and blocking an entrance. They all pled “not guilty” and said they would represent themselves. They are facing a possible $5,000 fine. A 30-day jail sentence is also possible for each charge, but the U.S. attorney and the judge said there was no risk of jail. Trial is set for June.

12—[WDC] Led by students and youth, STOP-LOSS CONGRESS, a nationwide grass-roots coalition of more than fifty broadly diverse organizations including OurSpringBreak, CodePink, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, was joined by veterans who have endured involuntary extensions (Stop-Losses) of their tours of duty. Members of Stop-Loss Congress blocked the parking lot exits at the Hart Senate Office Building and the Rayburn House Office Building. Thirty people were arrested by the Capitol Police.

All members of Congress received a Stop-Loss order to remain on duty until the troops are brought home. The only member of Congress who agreed with the order was Rep. Dennis Kucinich. All others were on vacation from Mar. 15 to Mar. 30, ignoring the killing and suffering they have enabled, supported, and financed.

9—[Iowa City, IA] Des Moines Catholic Workers Kirk Brown and Mona Shaw attempted to make a citizen's arrest on Karl Rove at the opening of his talk at the Univ. of Iowa. Shaw and Brown stood before an audience that included about 200 protesters decrying Rove's appearance. Both began to read a written "Citizen's Arrest Complaint" that cited Federal Criminal statutes and the Iowa Code. Before they could finish reading the complaint, they were taken into custody by University Police, informed they were under arrest, and removed from the hall. Both were released in the foyer leading to the hall and not allowed to return to the talk.

6—[WDC] After reconsideration, a D.C. Superior Court Judge Raphael Diaz acquitted the Polar Bear 7. On Oct. 22, 2007, during the "No War, No Warming" demonstration, people dressed up as polar bears sang and danced their way on sidewalks outside of the Cannon House Office Building to remind Congress of the connection between war and global warming. The US Capitol Police insisted they disperse, but the "Polar Bear 7" were arrested as they attempted to leave, less than 30 seconds after the first warning to disperse. The arrested were Paul “zool” Zulkowitz, Alexis Baden-Mayer, Adam Eidinger, Robert Levitt, Cesar Maxit, journalist William Jordan and Anna Duncun.

At a beginning of a six-day trial in February, Jordan and Duncun had their charges dropped. Ariel Vegosen was also arrested, but her case was dismissed before the trial began. Diaz found the others innocent of unlawful assembly, but guilty of "a lesser included" charge, failure to obey a police order. At that time, the seven were ordered to return to court on Mar. 7 for reconsideration and/or sentencing. It is still mystifying why the judge failed to acquit during the trial. While there was no finding of any basis for the arrest, and the judge discredited the prosecutorial theory of "transferred intent," he left open the question of selective arrest. The defendants now plan to file a civil suit against the Capitol Police.

4--[Wausau, WI] Roberta Thurstin and Don Timmerman were convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from a visit to Rep. David Obey's office on Feb. 26, 2007. The citizens along with Susanna Gilk went to the office seeking information as to how he was going to vote on funding for the Iraqi invasion and occupation. Gilk pled guilty and agreed to do community service.

Thurstin and Timmerman, though, went to trial and were convicted despite the lack of any disorderly conduct and the fact that they were arrested before the office was closed. They were fined $5 and ordered to pay court costs and service costs. It seems that if you convicted in Wisconsin, you must pay a fee to reimburse those who filed the charges as well as court costs. The defendants were ordered to pay $190 despite the fact they are paupers.

2--[Santa Barbara, CA] Larry Purcell, Ed Ehmke and Mary Jane Parrine were arrested protesting Stars Wars testing at Vandenberg Air Force Base. They're expected to be charged with trespassing and go through the federal court system. In 1983 the first nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) was tested at Vandenberg and since then the base's mission has expanded to launching and monitoring orbiting satellites, and managing space surveillance operations.

More than 150 people commemorated the 25th anniversary of antiwar demonstrations at Vandenberg. The group pleaded with members of the Air Force to abandon their posts and join the protest against nuclear weapons.


FEBRUARY

28--[Wheaton, IL] Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Hartfield were to appear at a motions hearing to quash two separate disorderly conduct charges resulting from their May 6, 2007 display of a sign reading “Impeach Bush and Cheney — Liars” and an upside-down U.S. flag on the Great Western Trail Bridge over Interstate 355. They originally faced one count of disorderly conduct, but the state’s attorney added charges of reckless conduct and un-authorized display of a sign. The government then dropped two of the charges when the activists refused any plea bargain. However, the state’s attorney added a new disorderly conduct charge. So they are facing two disorderly conduct charges. If their motion to quash, on the basis of a false arrest, is denied, they would be scheduled for a trial date.

13 - [WDC] Desiree Fairooz is arrested at the conclusion of a congressional hearing on the 2009 war budget.

11—[Tacoma, WA] Peter Ryan, Sky Ogawa Cohen, Jesus Lopez, Jesse Schultz III and Fiona Thompson were scheduled for trial on a charge of failure to disperse while blocking arms shipments going to the port.

11—[WDC] Don Muller, Max Obuszewski, Perry Reeve and Lynn Robinson were to file an appeals brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. However, the federal public defender’s office filed a motion for a 60 day extension. The activists were arrested on the White House sidewalk on Sept. 26, 2005, and later convicted of demonstrating without a permit in three separate trials. The convictions were affirmed by Chief Judge Thomas Hogan.

6--[Duluth, MN] Trespass charges against nine antiwar activists were dismissed. The activists had an appointment in the office of Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) on Sept. 21, 2007, but were denied entry. They were then arrested and jailed for refusing to leave the doorway of the Duluth Federal Building. At the start of their St. Louis County Court trial, a motion for dismissal was filed by the defendants, Jay Newcomb, Joel Kilgour, Emily Gaarder, Ozone Bhaguan,

Kristofer Dubbels, David Boulton, Peter Krause, all of Duluth, Lori Seele of Finland and Nukewatch staffer John LaForge, arguing the police had violated their Constitutional rights to free speech and association, peaceful assembly and the redress of grievances. Judge Gerald Maher granted the motion. A tenth defendant, Bonnie Urfer, also of Nukewatch, ignored court orders and had a warrant issued for her arrest Oct. 31, 2007. The defendants are considering filing a civil suit against the City.

4—[Tucson, AZ] Three anti-torture advocates appeared for trial in federal court facing charges for a Nov. 18, 2007 protest at Ft. Huachuca in Sierra Vista, AZ. Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada and Betsy Lamb had been incarcerated since the arrest because of outstanding legal matters in other jurisdictions. They appeared in court in handcuffs. Lamb is awaiting trial for a September anti-war protest outside the office of Rep. Greg Walden, in Bend, Oregon. Zawada has an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear for a court date in Washington, D.C. The third defendant, Mary Burton Riseley, who was weak with the flu, came to court in a wheelchair.

They faced charges of criminal trespass on a military installation, conspiracy and failure to comply with a police officer. They were arrested outside the gate of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca during a solidarity demonstration with the annual protest at Fort Benning.

A plea agreement was reached in which the military prosecutor agreed to drop the conspiracy charge in return for the defendants agreeing to stipulate to the facts. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall found Zawada, Lamb and Riseley guilty of trespass and failure to obey an officer. Each defendant received a sentence of two years of supervised probation, a $5000 fine or 500 hours of community service. She told the defendants that they could do their community service by participating in demonstrations, handing out leaflets and other legal forms of protest. She also advised them that they could ask for an early end to their probation as soon as they either paid the fine or completed their community service.

1—[Portland, OR] A motions hearing was scheduled to consolidate all the cases relating to an action on Oct. 5, 2006 during a World Can't Wait march. Ten people were arrested, but Ryan Dunn would later be found not guilty. The others awaiting trial are as follows: Adriane Ackerman, Alex Tinker, Bonnie Tinker, Brent Georgeson, Chris Knudtsen, Colin Jones, Crystal, Paul Forester & Victor Phillips.


JANUARY

29—[Columbus, GA] Eleven activists were convicted of "trespassing on a military base.” On Nov. 18, 2007 they crossed the line unto Fort Benning, the military base which houses the SOA/WHINSEC.

Federal Magistrate G. Malon Faircloth sentenced Ed Lewinson, who is blind, to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Tiel Rainelli received the same sentence. The other sentences are as follows: Joan Anderson, 30 days and a $500 fine; Ozone Bhaguan, 90 days and no fine; Le Anne Clausen, 30 days and no fine; Art Landis, 30 days and no fine, Chris Lieberman, 60 days and no fine; Diane Lopez Hughes, 45 days and a $500 fine; Gus Roddy, 30 days and a $500 fine; Stephen Schweitzer, 60 days and a $500 fine; and Michelle Yipe, 30 days and a $500 fine.

25—[Madison, WI] Municipal Court Judge Daniel Koval found Bonnie Block, Conor Murphy, Jean McElhaney, Jamie Haack and Joy First guilty of unlawful trespassing at the East Towne Mall. On Nov. 2, 2007 a group of about 25 concerned citizens went to the mall for a die-in organized by Madison Pledge of Resistance. As the names of US soldiers and Iraqis killed in the carnage were read aloud, seven activists were moved to lie down on the floor. Those lying on the floor were covered with a white shroud, and a red rose was placed on top of each body. Two of the arrestees had their case resolved. The other five went to trial.

The judge was sympathetic to the cause, but had an obligation to follow the law noting a 1987 decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which determined shopping malls were private property where speech is limited to what is acceptable to the mall owner. The judge reduced the fine from $424 to $109 and offered 10 hours of community service as an option in lieu of paying the fine.

24—[Albuquerque, NM] The Rev. John Dear was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Don Svet to 40 hours of community service and $510 in fines and court costs to be paid immediately. The judge was quoted at sentencing: "I'm not interested in making a martyr out of you." Dear and eight others were arrested in the Joseph M. Montoya Federal Building in Santa Fe on Sept. 26, 2006. On Sept. 6, 2007 Dear, Philip Balcombe, Sansi Coonan, Michella Marusa, Martin "Bud" Ryan and Eleanore Vouselas were convicted of failure to comply with official signs and directions. The activists, who had been denied access to Sen. Pete Domenici's office, wanted to present him with a "Declaration of Peace" to end the war.

Jan Lustig and Bruno Keller offered Alford pleas and were ordered to pay $25 in court processing fees. Jordan McKittrick is a minor, and his case was dismissed. Dear's co-defendants received varying sentences in Oct. 2007, including suspended prison time, fines and community service. All five are appealing their sentences. Dear received the highest fine and most hours of community service, but he will not appeal. At sentencing, Svet was also quoted as saying, "Mr. Dear, you frankly are a phony. You preach nonviolence but you are the same man who took a hammer and a can of paint against a U.S. aircraft."

24—[Moyock, NC] Steve Baggarly, Beth Brockman, Mark Colville, Peter DeMott, Mary Grace, Laura Marks and Bill Streit were sentenced after being convicted on Jan. 23 in a jury trial. On Oct. 20, 2007, they were charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and destruction of property at the headquarters of Blackwater USA when they reenacted the Nisoor Square massacre, which happened on Sept. 16, 2007 when Blackwater contractors killed 17 Iraqis. Six of the protesters were found guilty of second-degree trespassing and of resisting, obstructing and delaying a law enforcement officer. Grace was only found guilty of trespass.

The judge sentenced them to time served. Five of the protestors served five days in jail after their arrest. Marks and Brockman were only in jail one day, but the judge suspended the other four days as long as they stay away from Blackwater property.

In non-jury trials in December, the seven were convicted. However, the trials were closed to the public. The second trial was a result of an appeal of the earlier convictions. A formal complaint from the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU to the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission claims the judge violated the protesters' constitutional right to a public trial.

23—[Tacoma, WA] Wally Cuddeford was scheduled for trial. He was arrested on Mar. 6, 2007 during public comment time in City Council chambers after he condemned police brutality against war protesters.

22—[WDC] Patrick O’Neil and Eve Tetaz were scheduled to be arraigned on charges relating to an arrest at the White House on Dec. 30, 2007 during the Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat. That day, the Jonah House donkey joined Mary, Joseph and the Jesus in a walk through Lafayette Park to the White House. There they set up a “Refugee Camp” tent. The donkey was given a ban and bar letter from the District of Columbia.

17—[WDC] Tina Richards, Adam Kokesh and Ian Thompson are scheduled for trial. On Sept. 6, 2007 a police officer rode a horse into the middle of a press conference in Lafayette Park. Several activists were speaking to the media about the urgency of coming out to protest the war on Sept. 15. When Richards and Kokesh pasted up a poster advertising the demonstration, they were arrested. Also arrested was Thompson, an attorney.

17-18—[WDC] On Jan. 17, thirty one antiwar activists were convicted in Superior Court of unlawful assembly. Over a two-day period, the defendants were given suspended jail sentences ranging from three to ten days and six months of unsupervised probation. All were ordered to pay at least $50, though for some it is $100, by April 30 to the victims of violent crime fund. Some defendants also received stay-away orders for the Capitol Crypt. A number of defendants had no previous criminal record, yet received suspended jail sentences. This is very unusual in Superior Court. However, there is an attempt underway in D.C. to quell the antiwar resistance. More than half of the defendants have appealed the conviction.

Thirty four people, calling themselves Rivers of Blood, were arrested on Sept. 20, 2007 during a die-in at the crypt of the U.S. Capitol. The police made the mistake of not charging all of the defendants with the same disorderly conduct charge. After both sides rested their cases, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Shapiro realized the discrepancy in the disorderly conduct charges.

The only witness for the government was the “arresting officer.” She was not present for the entire die-in, nor did she individually ask all defendants to leave. She never identified what a single defendant did. Instead her testimony targeted the group. She repeatedly said “many” of them or “some” of them. The defense did not bother to cross examine her, as it assumed her testimony was lacking. While Judge Ann O’Regan Keary dismissed the disorderly conduct charges, her rationale for a guilty verdict for unlawful assembly was that the painted tee shirts worn by the defendants and the Rivers of Blood banner were provocative and a breach of peace. She claimed that the die-in could have caused others to engage in violence. Of course, the government never presented any such evidence.

14—[Tacoma, WA] Wally Cuddeford, Jeff Berryhill and Caitlan Esworthy were scheduled for trial on a charge of resisting arrest during a blockade of arms shipments going to the port. Berryhill and Cuddeford face the additional charge of assaulting police.

11—[WDC] The U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a conviction for Cindy Sheehan, relating to her arrest during a demonstration on the Pennsylvania Ave. sidewalk outside the White House on Sept. 26, 2005. Three hundred and seventy one activists were arrested that day and charged with demonstrating without a permit. Sheehan and forty-one others appeared for the first trial on Nov. 16, 2005 before Judge Alan Kay. Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Hartzenbusch was the prosecutor.

When the activist, who lost her son Casey in the Iraq War, tried to explain her intent on being on the White House sidewalk, the prosecutor objected and the judge sustained the objection, claiming that the charge imposed strict liability. After a two-day trial, Kay convicted Sheehan and the other defendants.

Sheehan v. United States, No. 05-MJ-00649, 2006 WL 3756349, was argued on Oct. 16, 2007. The appellant contested the district court’s judgment on five grounds: “1] The First Amendment challenge to the National Park Service Regulations was preserved at trial; 2] the NPS permit requirement is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment, because it imposes strict liability on protective expressive conduct; 3] there is no evidence of appellant’s mens rea, because the Government prosecuted the case on the premise that strict liability applied and the Magistrate Judge excluded evidence that addressed appellant’s mens rea; 4] the evidence does not show that appellant was ‘demonstrating’ within the meaning of the NPS regulations; and 5] the evidence does not show that appellant knowingly demonstrated without a permit.”

The court rejected the challenge to the constitutionality of the regulations. But it acknowledged the unfairness of the trial: “We reverse and remand for a new trial, however, because appellant was convicted of a crime that does not exist and prevented from offering a viable defense.”

10--[Montpelier, VT] A small group of war protesters briefly took over center stage at Gov. James Douglas’ State of the State address. Minutes into the speech, the activists, including high school students, unfurled banners bearing anti-war slogans. Approximately ten protesters were escorted out by Capitol Police from the House chambers, but not before winning the attention of the overflow audience.

10—[WDC] Mike Ferner, a national officer with Veterans for Peace, was convicted of disorderly disturbing Congress in a jury trial in Superior Court. On Sept. 20, 2007, he and Linda Weiner stood up in the gallery of the House of Representatives and shouted "Congress! Congress! Funding the war is killing our troops. Please stop." The disposition of Weiner’s case is unknown.

Ferner was fined $100, which he refused to pay. Sent to the D.C. Jail, he was released after serving less than 24 hours.

3—[WDC] In Superior Court, Judge Henry Greene dismissed all charges against activists arrested on Sept. 15, 2007 on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. Close to 200 people were arrested, but most paid a citation fine. Only Elliot Adams, Ellen Barfield, Brian Becker, Carla Boccella, Rodney Centeno, Jay Gillen, Sholom Keller, Adam Kokesh, Polly Miller, Shawn Peterson and Rich Reinhart appeared for trial facing a charge of crossing a police line. In trial opening statements, the defendants argued that the police line was unconstitutionally set up, since it was formed to prevent protected speech with no sufficient cause for a time and place restriction, and no crimes were committed as the police helped or pulled protesters across the line.

The government's case collapsed during the testimony of a Capitol Police officer when it became evident that the government failed to provide adequate discovery to the defense. One of the documents which was withheld included a "police sensitive document related to terrorism." A motion for judgment of acquittal was granted.

3—-[Des Moines, IA] Twenty five activists intended to occupy Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters until the senator agreed to pledge to bring an immediate end to the war in Iraq and to veto further funding of that war if she is elected president. When Clinton staff saw the group approaching the office, the door to the building was locked. A demonstration was held outside for several hours. When the headquarters staff left to go to the caucuses, the protesters decided to leave. No arrests were made.

2—[Des Moines, IA] Twelve people were arrested during occupations of the campaign headquarters of Sen. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Four were arrested in Romney’s office: Chris Gaunt, Ed Bloomer, Janice Sevre-Duszynska and Suzanne Sheridan. The eight arrested in Obama’s office were as follows: Vicki Andrews, Diane Haugesag, David Hovde, Dan Pearson, Tom Roddy, Brian Terrell, John Tuzcu and Kathy Kelly.

2—[Arlington, VA] Nine individuals braved 30 degree weather and 20 mph winds to visit Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in solidarity with Voices for Creative Nonviolence’s SoDa POP (Season of Discontent, a Presidential Occupation Project) campaign. Participants carried signs and a mock coffin, and there was a costumed Hillary Clinton as Lady McDeath. Clinton staffers kept the doors closed and put up cardboard along the windows in order to avoid seeing the protesters. There were no arrests.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski@verizon.net