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A week ago I was in DC Jail -- This is a reflection

A week ago, I was spending my third and last night in DC Jail. A loud, violent and cruel place. A place populated by young black men, as a white inmate I was an extreme minority. And as a gay white man of somewhat slight build, I elected to get the protective custody order from Judge Lynn Liebovitz upon my sentencing. My sentencing, in retrospect was not that severe, and this is because my pre-sentencing officer had recommended probation and I admitted that my days of being arrested for expressing my moral and ethical beliefs (which put me in complete opposition to the U.S. Government’s foreign policy) were over. Perhaps someday, when I am retired and close to my friend Eve Tetaz’s age I may resume nonviolent civil resistance against the moral bankruptcy and downright evil policies of the U.S. Empire, but for now I choose a different life for my lifetime partner and myself.

Many of you have expressed an interest in discussing my experiences further, and I am open to accepting questions…

Where I am and my setencing statement

Hello blog-readers! I have not written here for a while. These are tough economic times, and Matthew and are trying to cope with them on a very personal level. I continue to job search for something full-time with a decent salary, but I am glad to have returned to CCHS for now. My own circumstances and feelings about the state of things in our country has lead me to decide to basically quit being an activist-organizer (for free) within the peace and justice movement. Those who continue to carry a lionshare of the load for this movement have my respect. I do not regret any of my actions for peace and justice, but I realize now is the time to start a new chapter in my life.

Here is my sentencing statement in the Kerry case involving Ellen, Eve and myself:

Good morning Judge Liebowitz.

On May 21st, Eve Tetaz, Ellen Barfield, Steve Mihalis and I spoke during a senate foreign relations committee hearing. We provided public testimony. Public witness. Nothing more. Nothing less. We believe it i…

Ellen, Eve and I go to court

Anti-war protestors prosecuted by government

Contact: Ellen Barfield, 410-243-5876; Pete Perry, 202-631-0974 October 11, 2009

WASHINGTON – Three nonviolent anti-war activists go on trial Tuesday, October 13 for an action in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 21 of this year.

Ellen Barfield of Baltimore, Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, and Pete Perry of Fairfax, Virginia will argue their case before a jury of their peers. The three are charged with Disruption of Congress. The trial will be presided over by Judge Lynn Leibovitz in courtroom 310 of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse.

“We were expressing our dissent to the costly and tragic war in Afghanistan,” Perry said. “This is a war based on revenge that has now clearly lost the support of a majority of Americans.”

Barfield is a military veteran, Tetaz is a retired DC public schoolteacher, and Perry was instrumental in organizing last week's protest against the Afghanistan War in Washington.

NON-VIOLENT PEACE DEMONSTRATORS BRUTALIZED

News Release: Non-Violent Peace Demonstrators Brutalized by Secret Service at White House Today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kevin Martin, 301-537-8244 (mobile)

Paul Kawika Martin, 951-217-7285 (mobile)


BY SECRET SERVICE AT WHITE HOUSE TODAY
Activists had sought a meeting with the Obama Administration to urge an end to the war in Afghanistan



Washington, D.C. – Twenty-three non-violent peace activists calling for an end to the US war in Afghanistan were violently pushed and dragged away from a White House gate by Secret Service officers this afternoon. The activists, participating in a larger demonstration of over 300 people organized by the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance, had sent a letter to President Obama last month requesting a meeting today to discuss their opposition to the war.

After a non-violent “die-in” at the White House gate, the peace activists waited for over three hours while various police departments, including the Washington, DC Metro Police, Park Police and…

4 activists resisted at Vermont Yankee

4 women arrested at Vt. Yankee

By SUSAN SMALLHEER Rutland HErald Staff - Published: September 29, 2009

VERNON - Four elderly women living downwind of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor were arrested Monday afternoon when they walked through the first two security gates at the Vernon reactor and sat down on folding chairs, blocking entry to the plant.

The four women, members of the Vermont Yankee Shut It Down Affinity Group, are no strangers to Vermont Yankee protests, and each said they had been arrested multiple times outside the Entergy Nuclear corporate headquarters in North Brattleboro but never prosecuted.

Entergy Nuclear officials said that the response by the plant's security forces Monday afternoon went well and denied that security had been breached. But the women, wearing tie-dye t-shirts and carrying folding stools and signs, ignored the entreaties of the armed guard at the guardhouse, marched right past him through the second chain-link gate and then sat down with their fo…

Press release: Protesters demand Obama end Afghanistan War

Anti-war groups demand end to Afghan War,
demonstrate at the White House

For Immediate Release Sept. 27, 2009
Contact: Pete Perry, 202-631-0974; Gael Murphy, 202-412-6700

Washington – Disappointed with President Obama’s unwillingness to significantly change course from the Bush administration in Afghanistan, and alarmed by the recent troop build-up there, national anti-war groups will be joining together October 5th in a day of nonviolent direct action, during the week the Afghanistan War begins its ninth year. The coalition includes the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Code Pink, Peace Action, the Black is Back Coalition, Progressive Democrats of America, the War Resisters League, the Washington Peace Center, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Joining them will be Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey Sheehan, a soldier killed in Iraq in 2004.

The White House action — the first such protest aimed specifically at the war in Afgh…
Dear Friends,

10/5 will be a great day and will mark a key step in the revival of
the anti-war movement, post Obama-mania. Altogether we are at
approximately 100 people signed up to risk arrest.

As decided on the last conference call, we will have one final
planning call before the Oct. 5 action.

As Frida noted, we need to talk about media. Are there other specific
things that people want added to the agenda? If so, please forward to
me.

Here is the tentative program for the rally in McPherson Square:
MC Welcome and Intro (5 minutes)
Poet 1 (one poem) (3 minutes)
Song by Emma's Revolution (5 minutes)
Poet 2 (one poem) (3 minutes)
Elizabeth McAlister (10 minutes)
Song by Emma's Revolution (5 minutes)
Black is Back Spokesperson (10 minutes)
Max Obuzsewski -Closing Remarks (5 minutes)
Song by Emma's Revolution (5 minutes)

I will make up the agenda and get it out along with a reminder early next week...

In peace and resistance,
Pete

Dialogue with the pres. before Oct. 5th

September 15, 2009



President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500



Dear president Obama:



We are writing on behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance to seek a meeting to discuss the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. We are greatly concerned that the people of Afghanistan, like the people of Iraq, are suffering greatly from the U.S. invasion and the continued assault on this beleaguered country.



We feel you are stuck in the same trap, which ensnared President Lyndon Johnson. His decision to continue that awful war in Vietnam brought down his presidency. He failed to listen to the peace movement, and history has not been kind to him.



Today's peace movement is baffled by your persistence to wage war on the people of Afghanistan. Not only is your policy flawed, but it is doomed to failure. Afghanistan surely does not need more killing and destruction. It needs financial assistance and the willingness of the United …

Resisting a lost war...

President Barak Obama presses on with an escalation in a war he cannot win. A majority of the Afghan people view U.S. military forces as a foreign occupying force, and now a growing majority of Americans no longer support this war. The United States empire can not sustain this military occupation. The facts on the ground and a myriad of historical examples prove this.

Afghanistan's history is replete with the tombstones of foreign occupiers. In the 18th centuries it was the Persians, twice. In the 19th and early 20th century it was the British, three times. In late 20th century the Soviets were thoroughly defeated in what was considered "their Vietnam."

Commander-in-chief Obama tells us this is a just war, a war we must fight to avenge those those killed on September 11th. However, President Karzai in his recent campaign and subsequent re-election has indicated a desire to sit down at the negotiating table with the Taliban. Furthermore, his brother-in-law is a known opium …

End these Endless Wars and Occupations -- Oct. 5th at the White House

Hello,

You participated in the largest arrest action in U.S. Park Police history on September 26, 2005. I was with you. I was one of the 374 people of conscience acting for peace that day, including scholar Cornell West and peace mom Cindy Sheehan. As the present co-convener of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, I want to invite and encourage you to join us again on the week the Afghanistan War will enter its 9th year of lost lives, lost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and lost direction and morality. This is a war that can not be won, yet the escalation continues. What are our troops fighting and dying for? Even President Karzai has said during his recent campaign that he wants to sit down at the negotiating table with the Taliban. It is time the war and occupation end, it is time to end indefinite detention at places like Bagram prison and begin the process of building peace and rebuilding infrastructures.

Eight years ago on October 7, 2001, the U.S. and Bri…

Three of My Friends Held in DC Central Lockup Until Monday

DRAFT PRESS STATEMENT: TASSC Arrests, White House sidewalk, Sat. June 27, 2009::

Today, five persons of conscience were arrested on the White House sidewalk, in connection with a 24-hour Vigil to End Torture, sponsored by the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC). The group gathered at Lafayette Park, bringing messages of solidarity from organizations and individuals - all calling for an immediate end to torture and support for survivors of torture.

Mid-way through the vigil, at about 1:00 p.m., several hundred vigil participants processed from Lafayette Park to the front of the White House, carrying their mesage of an immediate end to torture. Five persons remained on the White House sidewalk, in violation of federal regulations, and were arrested by US Park Police. The five are: Joy First, of Madison, Wisc.; Malachy Kilbride, Eve Tetaz, Harold Nelson, and David H. Barrows, all of Washington, DC.

Nelson and Barrows were released from police custody, after post…

What is a crime? We go to trial Monday!

I have not written much recently because life has been busy, and I am now beginning to focus on my own career rather than what can easily become (and often did for me) all-consuming activism. I have been arrested again since last I posted -- more on that later. Below is an interesting reflection mentioning our January 6th (first day of Congress) arrest.

Thank you to my friend David Swanson for the following post on his afterdowningstreet.org...

U.S. Govt. Threatens to Prosecute Waterboarding
By David Swanson

We've been lobbying the Department of Justice all these months without realizing that the key to justice lay in the Department of the Interior, and specifically in the National Park Service, which has told activist Steve Lane he will be prosecuted if he attempts to demonstrate waterboarding at Thursday's anti-torture rally in Washington, D.C. The permit for the rally reads "Waterboarding exhibit will not be allowed for safety reasons."

Of course it's not news that…

Being Anti-Torture is now mainstream

Myself and some of my dearest friends in the peace and justice movement have been working very hard on our government to acknowledge that it has engaged in torture, and that it will not tolerate it any longer. As we near the conclusion of Witness Against Torture's 100 Days Campaign, we want to acknowledge that while there have been some success there's still a lot going on in places like Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan that we don't know about.

Anyhow, this recent report is promising:

Senate report on prisoner abuse connects dots all the way to the top
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
April 24, 2009 - 12:00AM

AdvertisementA HIGH-LEVEL US Senate report published yesterday directly implicates senior members of the Bush administration in the extensive use of harsh interrogation methods against al-Qaeda suspects and other prisoners around the world.

The 232-page report, the most detailed investigation yet into torture by US military and intelligence personnel, undercuts the clai…

My housemate is held over night after dramatic protest at White House

Catholic peace activist, Paul Magno, arrested at
White House while dramatizing the crucifixion

WASHINGTON -- Dramatizing a contemporary 'crucifixion,' a local peace and justice activist was arrested during a Good Friday nonviolent protest at the White House.

After two colleagues helped chain Paul Magno to the fence of the president's home, an assembled group of protesters, many with Witness Against Torture's 100 Day Campaign (http://www.100dayscampaign.org/), began to sing "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord." The action occured shortly after 12 noon, amid a crowd of tourists.

The activists are calling for the immediate closure of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the end of all torture. The group has also begun calling for the closure of Bagram, Afghanistan, despite U.S. military plans to double the size of the military prison.

"Just as our Lord Jesus of Nazareth was torture and crucified, men in places such as Guantanamo and Bagram are being tortured and cru…

My housemate risks arrest on Good Friday

Local activist, Paul Magno, to mark Good Friday with a dramatic nonviolent direct action at the White House

WASHINGTON -- On a day holy to all Christians, a local peace and justice activist will risk arrest during a dramatic protest against the indefinite detention of prisoners at places such as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The planned action will attempt to nonviolently recreate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the White House.

The action will happen at about 12 noon at the White House during Witness Against Torture's daily vigil (http://www.100dayscampaign.org/) calling for the immediate closure of Guantanamo and the end of all torture. The group has also begun calling for the closure of Bagram, despite U.S. military plans to double the size of the military prison.

"I want to call on the president to do the morally correct and just thing, and release all the prisoners who have never been charged with anything, and to shine an even brighter light on …

Former Uighur Prisoner writes to President Obama

Abu Bakker Qassim's letter to Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

I express my gratitude and my best respect for the contribution of the United States of America to our Uighur community. At the same time, I express my gratitude for your right and prompt decision to close the jail of Guantánamo Bay. I hope you will forgive my English, which I have tried to learn.

I hope my letter will find you in a good health. Please allow me to express my wish and prayer to read my letter.

My name is Abu Bakker and I'm writing on behalf of Ahmet, Aktar, Ejup, with whom I have lived since May 2006 in Albania, the only country that offered us political asylum from Guantánamo when US courts concluded that we were not enemy combatants.

I would like to write something about myself. The Uighur people have a proverb: "Who thinks about the end will never be a hero." Obviously it is human to think about the end, as it is human for me to remember things long ago.

30.12.2000. My last night in my l…

Congress: Tell Them in Person April 4 - 19

By David Swanson

It's just spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful, and your representative and your two senators pack up their lingerie and come dancing from hop-scotch and toy soldiers to make the trek outside the Beltway for a well-earned vacation sponsored by corporations completely indifferent to legislative news and dedicated to appreciation of nature's bounty in this season of new birth -- er, I mean, to begin a District Work Period dedicated to discovering exactly how much you appreciate the good work they've done so far -- er, that is to say, the last frazzled human threads that our democratic republic hangs by are coming home from April 4th to 19th and if you want to nudge them gently or forcefully in any direction you should call and ask for an appointment NOW.

This is something you have a right and a responsibility to do, either alone or with your friends and family, or with some like-minded neighbors, or with a coalition representing activist groups, labor un…

Obama reaches out to Iran

This is a positive development. As someone entirely dedicated to peace, I am extremely pleased with the direction Pres. Obama appears to be taking

What happened at the Pentagon on St. Patrick's Day?

Myself and several other activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance visited the Pentagon Tuesday morning taking with us copies of a letter that had been delivered a week earlier to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The letter asked for the U.S. government to pursue peace and just diplomacy over illegal and immoral wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as an immediate cessation of bombing portion of the nation of Pakistan. We also said that if we did not receive a response, we would pay him a visit.

Seven of us approached the doors of the Pentagon, about 30 yards from an entrance to the Metro station. We spoke with a guard monitoring those entering the building, as we did not carry officially-issued Pentagon badges. However, we are all citizens and taxpayers of the U.S., and wished to meet with at the very least someone from Gates' office. We were told to go into a security booth for those arriving at the Pentagon for business where we had to show two…

Bush, Yoo, Etc tried to destroy our Constitutional rights

This further confirms what many of us activists long believed about the modus operandi of the Bush regime. Of course many of us (including myself and 52 others in Maryland) were tracked and labeled terrorists by the Maryland State Police. And a subset of that group was further spied on by the Department of Homeland (Fatherland) Security. Here it is, Bruce Fein explains what happened to the U.S. Constitution following September 11, 2001.

FEIN: End presidential secrecy
Bruce Fein

Congress should swiftly enact a statute prohibiting secret presidential government.

The urgency was demonstrated last week when nine ill-conceived legal memoranda to justify despotism cobbled together by the pliable Jay Bybee and John Yoo in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush were belatedly released.

Their shelf-life would have been nanoseconds if they had been immediately exposed. Their counterconstitutional reasoning would have been instantly discredited. Instead, the memoranda remained intact u…

Obama Pressured by Israel Lobby to Boycott World Conference Against Racism

By Roberto Lovato, New America Media
Posted on March 3, 2009, Printed on March 3, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/129674/

At a time when racial conflict and discrimination are on the rise around the world, the Administration of the world's first black U.S. president will not be attending the world's most important conference on race and racism.

In what may signal a dangerous new, "post-racial" approach to global race relations, President Barack Obama's Administration announced that it will not attend the second World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Geneva next April. According to this article in the New York Times, the Administration will boycott the conference to protest what it deems the unfair equation of Zionism with racism in the outcome documents of the first conference held in Durban, South Africa, and now the second conference, also known as "Durban II, as well." Other concerns cited by Admi…

WE COMMIT CIVIL RESISTANCE NOT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

By Max Obuszewski

In 2002, the Iraq Pledge of Resistance was formed to prevent a war
with Iraq. While we failed, we continued to engage in nonviolent
direct action to end the war and the occupation. Eventually, the
group, in expanding its focus, became the National Campaign for
Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].

In light of the massive Capitol Climate Action on March 2nd, we would
like to take the opportunity to describe what we as a campaign have
committed ourselves to. We celebrate this opportunity to share our
thoughts with other progressive activists.

As a group with lots of direct action experience, NCNR has
consistently encouraged organizations and individuals to recognize the
difference between civil disobedience and civil resistance. We see
the difference as being important in the struggle for nonviolent,
positive social change.

The classic definition of civil disobedience, as practiced by the
civil rights movement, is the breaking of an unjust law with the
intent of changing it. In Montgomery…