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.