Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Meaningless Freeze - A Lying Wall

Photo credit to Electronic Intifada dot net SEE here

Wallwritings | News analysis of politics, cinema, modern culture ...
Behind a 30-Foot Prison Wall, “Merry Christmas” Becomes a Media Lie ... by James M. Wall. This nation is moving toward a repeat of the US rush...

Behind a 30-Foot Prison Wall, “Merry Christmas” Becomes a Media Lie

by James M. Wall

If you relied on your local newspaper to tell you how things went in Bethlehem this Christmas season, don’t believe what you read.

Newspapers across America relied heavily on an Associated Press story to inform their readers that “Bethlehem Celebrates its Merriest Christmas in Years”.

It did not. Ask the people who live and work there.

The same optimistic headline ran over the same upbeat AP story, in US newspapers from Lafourche Parish, Louisiana to both major dailies in Washington, DC.

By virtue of its tight control over the AP bureau in Jerusalem, the Israeli government took advantage of a lazy, parsimonious American media and an equally lazy and complacent American public to guarantee yet another distorted portrait of life in the land Jesus made holy. To continue reading, click here

The “Little Town of Bethlehem” Still Waits for Its Stolen Democracy

By James M. Wall

A new Palestinian parliament was elected in the Occupied Territories on January 25, 2006. One month from this Christmas, Palestinians should have been celebrating the fifth anniversary of that democratic, internationally-monitored, election.

There will be no celebration in January, 2011. Instead, Bethlehem, the West Bank, and Gaza still wait for the democracy that was stolen from them.

Palestinians remain trapped in a military occupation the Israeli government forced the world to accept because the “wrong” party won.

For one brief shining moment, before the 2006 results were rewritten to fit the Zionist narrative, democracy lived in the land where Christ was born. To continue reading, click here
Humiliating Israeli Rejection Leads to Further US Diplomatic Isolation

by James M. Wall

Leave it to linguist Noam Chomsky to provide a precise description of President Obama’s latest diplomatic failure.

Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion—excluding Arab East Jerusalem—should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history.

Few observers were fooled by the “stop the settlements” offer, least of all Noam Chomsky, who can smell a linguistic rat faster than most of us.

Chomsky has been a teacher of linguists since 1955 as the Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. He is also a consistent critic of American imperialism.

In his analysis of the Obama offer, Chomsky does not limit Zionist influence on US politics to the Israel Lobby. He looks for the money trail.

That gift of $3 billion for fighter jets is “another taxpayer grant to the U.S. arms industry, which gains doubly from programs to expand the militarization of the Middle East.” click here

MORE URLS - posting and responses to this post & on Dr. James Wall's blog-work:

James Wall: World News, Tweets, Pictures and Videos - Liquida
But obviously James Wall of Wall Writings, along with the Presbyterian Church .... Books for Christmas: The American Spectator BRIAN ANDERSON Anyone who ...

The 'Little Town of Bethlehem' Still Waits for Its Stolen ...
Dec 19, 2010 ... One month from this Christmas, Palestinians should have been celebrating the ... By James M. Wall Palestinians remain trapped in a .... The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from ... SEE the "Stolen Democracy"

Nov 28, 2010 ... It's James Wall, the former long-time editor-in-chief of the Christian Century, .... Veterans Today said: New post: WALL WRITINGS: CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL ... 15 Dec Afghan War Protest · Merry Christmas Bob Walsh ... SEE "wall-writings-choose-this-day-whom-you-will-serve"

Veterans Today
By James M. Wall Could Israel be using Wikileaks to prepare the US for an ...

Jim Reeves The Writing's On The Wall Rated 5.0 out of 5.0

Behind a 30-Foot Prison Wall, “Merry Christmas” Becomes a Media ...
Dec 29, 2010 ... James M. Wall If you relied on your local newspaper to tell you how things went in Bethlehem this Christmas season, don't believe what you.“merry-christmas”-becomes-a-media-lie/

Nov 28, 2010 ... WALL WRITINGS: CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE. By James M. Wall. Currently there is considerable anger in our political dialogue. ... SEE "wall-writings-choose-day-whom-you-will-serve"

Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy (The Wall Writings) WALL WRITINGS: CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE | My Catbird Seat By James M. Wall Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for US president, was flying on April 4, ... CHRISTMAS STORY- MARY AND JOSEPH IN PALESTINE 2010 SEE "wall-writings-choose-this-day-whom-you-will-serve"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

[headlines] Iraqi Christians fear spike in Christmas attacks

Amnesty International Press release
20 December 2010

Amnesty International today called on the Iraqi government to do more to protect the country’s Christian minority from an expected spike in violent attacks as they prepare to celebrate Christmas.

“Attacks on Christians and their churches by armed groups have intensified in past weeks and have clearly included war crimes,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“We fear that militants are likely to attempt serious attacks against Christians during the Christmas period for maximum publicity and to embarrass the government.”

Last year armed groups carried out fatal bomb attacks on churches in Mosul on 15 and 23 December. Some 65 attacks on Christian churches in Iraq were recorded between mid-2004 and the end of 2009.

The increase in violence against Christians in the last month takes place against a backdrop of sectarian violence in Iraq, including several bomb attacks on Shi’a gatherings last week during the Ashura period, which have reportedly killed more than a dozen people.

“We utterly condemn the ongoing attacks against Iraqi civilians carried out by armed groups, and call on the Iraqi government to provide more protection, especially for vulnerable religious and ethnic communities” said Malcolm Smart.

Attacks have increased since around 100 worshippers were taken hostage in a Baghdad Assyrian Catholic church by an armed group on 31 October, with more than 40 people killed as Iraqi security forces tried to free the hostages. The Islamic State of Iraq, an armed group linked to al-Qa’ida, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Following the hostage crisis, Christian families in Baghdad have been subjected to increasing bomb and rocket attacks on their homes, as well as systematic threats in the mail or by text message.

Christians in Mosul have also been increasingly targeted for assassination by gunmen, with reports in Iraqi media of at least five killed by armed men in November. Reports of killings and abductions of Christians in Mosul have continued in December. Dozens of Christian families have fled Baghdad, Mosul and Basra and have sought refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

In May this year, a bus-load of Christian students were targeted in a bomb attack as they travelled from a predominantly Christian area in Mosul to Mosul University. A Christian from Mosul who must remain anonymous for security reasons has told Amnesty International: “Many students who were in those buses in May have not gone back to university.”

“The security situation in Mosul is very bad… 90 per cent of the Christian students have dropped university - they are all very afraid of something happening to them. …When I leave the house I am always under alert…”

These comments are consistent with a summary of testimonies from Iraqi Christians who have recently fled to Syria, released by a Christian organisation called the Church Committee for Iraqi Refugees in al-Hassake.

The summary, released by the Barnabas Fund, another Christian NGO, says that Iraqi Christians in threatened cities like Mosul “are living behind locked doors. They are compelled to take long leaves of absence from work, in Mosul and other cities, as a result of the dangers they face at work. The universities are almost empty of Christian students, as are the schools.”

The summary tells of regular threats against Christian families in Mosul and other cities, including a dead bird being nailed to the door in warning, extortion, and offensive graffiti on houses.

Tenants renting the homes of Christians who have fled Iraq are allegedly being forced to hand over the rent payments to armed groups who consider themselves the new owners, according to the summary. When Christian families have sold their houses to leave Iraq, armed groups have also allegedly threatened the new owners for taking ‘their’ property.

According to media reports, as Christmas approaches the Iraqi authorities have started constructing concrete walls to protect Mosul and Baghdad churches from security threats, and are introducing stringent security checks at their entrances. Religious services have been scaled back due to fear of attacks.

“Building walls around churches is a sign that the government has failed to provide real security” said Malcolm Smart.

The wave of attacks on Mosul Christians since the 2003 invasion of Iraq has greatly reduced the community’s population which then stood at over 100,000.

Iraqi politicians have taken since elections in May to form a government, creating a climate of uncertainty and power vacuum for months, which has been exploited by armed groups.

“Now that Iraq is finally forming a government, that new government’s effectiveness will be measured by whether it achieves an actual reduction in sectarian attacks by armed groups, and helps stem the flood of Christians fleeing Iraq to escape the violence” said Malcolm Smart.

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is an international non-governmental organisation that supports human rights learning; the training of activists and professionals; the development of educational materials and programming; and community-building through on-line technologies.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peaceful Music from Africa

Soweto Gospel Choir
CLICK for "Amazing Grace" here Find "Stand By Me" here and comfort from Umlazi South Africa here

Like my husband and I did tonight, you may want to end your tiring day together listening and watching the beautiful faces of the children, the gorgeous and graceful dancing of the women, the loving friendships and with the beauteous music of angels in your heart and soul by going to Dreams of Kirina with Baaba Maal...
Rest your soul and dream of peace among nations with these superb, peace-loving musicians and their families. GO here

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

UPDATED with ACTION: December "Catch-Up": Italy Convicts US "leaders"; Gitmo; Aasia Bibi; Aafia Siddiqui & More

ACT NOW PLEASE: We have a crisis: the Senate is on the verge of blocking fair trials for Guantanamo detainees. News story here .


We need you to email or call your Senators right now and urge them to oppose this move. Why? All people have the right to a fair trial, and victims of terrorist attacks have the right to justice. Fair trials in US federal court are the right way to prosecute suspects, ensure justice for terrorist attacks and close Guantanamo.

Look up your Senators at here and/or send to others simply

Suggested Call-In Script

"My name is _________ and I live in ____________(state). I am calling to urge Senator _____________ to oppose a provision in the 2011 Omnibus Appropriations bill to block Guantanamo detainees from coming to the US mainland for prosecution. This provision would further erode the US government's record on human rights. I support fair trials in US federal courts for Guantanamo detainees charged with crimes, and I
oppose military commissions and indefinite detention, as these practices violate human rights. Thank you."

Suggested Email Message

Dear Senator_________,

"My name is _________ and I live in ____________(state). I am writing to urge you to oppose a provision in the 2011 Omnibus Appropriations bill to block Guantanamo detainees from coming to the US mainland for prosecution. This provision would further erode the US government's record on human rights. I support fair trials in US federal courts for Guantanamo detainees charged with crimes, and I oppose military
commissions and indefinite detention, as these practices violate human
rights. Thank you.

See related item at and GITMO: A DISMAL WEEK FOR AMERICA plz GO here

We must STOP OUR SILENCE re. what's happening to the detainees/prisoners in the war on terror from BOTH sides of the world and AROUND the world in secret sites:

More and more politics and even human rights issues world-wide are allowing or encouraging referral to religions -- even when maybe not necessary -- to be used sometimes in a counter-productive manner. So I've decided to show more such cases/items here in what I hope will be a generally neutral way to raise awareness and discussion.

Also, there is an "leveling" of the "playing field" as civilians worldwide demand a greater degree of human rights and more connecting together worldwide in this effort.

Italy: Court Upholds Convictions of Americans in Kidnapping Case
By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO Published: December 15, 2010 in the NYTimes

An appellate court in Milan upheld on Wednesday the conviction of 23 Americans charged with kidnapping an Egyptian cleric in 2003 and ordered even harsher sentences. All but one of the Americans are Central Intelligence Agency operatives. Defense lawyers said they planned to file appeals, which would go to Italy’s highest court. Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, was sentenced to nine years, one more than his previous conviction, while the 22 other Americans received seven-year sentences, up from five years. The Americans were also ordered to pay a total of $1.33 million in damages to the Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, above, who was kidnapped in Milan. Prosecutors said that he was taken to Egypt, where, he said, he was tortured. Italy has never formally requested the extradition of the Americans. Through their lawyers, they have pleaded not guilty in the past.

YET, as called for by Amnesty International: Italy Prevents Trial of Intelligence Agents (while indicting US CIA Agents) GO here

Find another item about Italy's case against US here (several comments under this piece agree with Amnesty item above)

Find my blogpost on case of AASIA BIBI who faces hanging for allegedly blasphemy here A note that there are MANY lawyers as well as some journalist, activists and Muslim clerics speaking out on this case and seeking justice for Aasia and a change in the Blasphemy Laws. We in the West must also take a look at our own Blasphemy Laws whether on the books or in practice - and this includes partiality to religion/race and the holding of American items, such as flag, so sacred that there have been threats of death for all who question the same in any manner.

More UPDATES on this case (and be aware how hard Asian human rights lawyers/activists and many Pakistani's in and out of Pakistan are fighting for Bibi's life ) GO here

“Mullah's campaign against Aasia Bibi is a blasphemy to Islam" – by Rauf Klasra”. Rabia says: November 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm (has anyone translate any part into
English? In which ways do you agree with this one?)

From Jinnah Institute dot org Research Brief on Aasia Bibi's Case here

From Christian Science Monitor here(I'm hesitant to send anything from US media where there is pointing of finger from Americans who lack Pakistani and/or Muslim background - yet some of these articles do point out that there are strong Pakistanis on side of human rights fighting for Aasia.

Aasia Bibi | Human Rights First Dec 15, 2010 ... Aasia Bibi, a
Christian farm worker and mother of five, was accused of making
blasphemous comments...GO here OR here

DRONES drone on:

Drones, etc. also a grave misuse of supposed death punishment in an
area of powerless civilians where the inter-cooperation of rights abuses continues by BOTH US & Pakistan's leaders - GO here

More comments on the lack of humane conscience in use of drones here

Various on DR. AAFIA SIDDIQUI: Press Release December 10, 2010 Cage Prisoners dot com activists are in Discussion with Pakistan's Interior Minister here

Andy Worthington Discusses the Repatriation also on 2010/12/11/and find other recent items on Andy's work with Aafia's case/situation at his site andyworthington dot co dot uk. as well as some interesting points on Wikileaks on his top blogpost for December 14th.

Keep Watching Aafia Siddiqu's Official Family Site GO to Free Aafia dot org or click here and protest the ILLEGAL withholding of visits from Dr. Aafia and her family with as many leaders/authorities as you deem helpful. Plz comment below with any tips or responses.

The Honest Faith of Elizabeth Edwards by David Gibson has some choice comments for those who are seekers of interfaith dialogue GO here The article was also published on Politics Today.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that family members said Holbrooke told a Pakistani doctor before being sedated for surgery: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." Those were his final words. Although his work in Pakistan carried some deep questions and concerns, these words are a striking ending to his life here

Find all of these and more at NOGITMOS dot org (go to news) or at the specific sites:
12/16 / Associated Press / Abu Zubaydah's Lawyers Ask Poles for Probe
12/16 / Agence France Presse / US Senate to consider blocking Guantanamo closure
12/16 / Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Cobain / Guardian (U.K.) / Lawyers ask government to help former UK resident held at Guantánamo
12/15 / Ronald Kessler / NewsMax / Kit Bond: Releasing Gitmo Terrorists Is a Disaster
12/15 / Josh Gerstein / Politico / Poll: 63% favor military tribunals over civilian trials
12/15 / Stephanie Condon / CBS News / Senate Moves to Block Obama's Gitmo Agenda
12/14 / Human Rights First / Retired Commandant of the Marine Corps: Congressional Ban on Guantanamo Transfers Would Undermine National Security
12/14 / Center for Constitutional Rights / Common Dreams / Leading Rights Groups Urge Spanish Court to Open Investigation without Further Delay into Role of Bush Lawyers in Torture of Guantanamo Detainees
12/14 / Daphne Eviatar / Huffington Post / Pundits Punch and Congress Cows: Bill Bans all Gitmo Prisoner Transfers for Trial
12/14 / Andy Worthington / Guantánamo: A Dismal Week for America
12/14 / Lyle Denniston / ScotusBlog / Detainees and math theory: A legal test
12/14 / Editorial / Los Angeles Times / Guantanamo must go
12/13 / Katie Gradowski / Open Media Boston / Torture, Two Years Later
12/13 / Gabor Rona / Human Rights First / Ben Wittes Redux: Another ‘solution’ in search of a problem?
12/13 / Bejamin Wittes / Lawfare / David Remes Responds to Recidivism Claims
12/13 / Rachel Slajda / TPM Muckraker / Democrats Added Ban On Gitmo Detainee Transfer To Omnibus Spending Bill More news at or CLICK here for LIVE leads to URLS

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dances of Universal Peace Event : Links

TONIGHT in Phoenix 7-9 PM for more info on this event Click here

For more on this beautiful movement GO here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SOAW (The School of the Americas Watch ) - BACKGROUND INFO

poster at

See the SOA with various corroborated and opposed points of view. SOA or The School of the Americas has been renamed WHINSEC (For years, this school has been known also as the School of Coups or the "School of Assassins" to many peace/justice activists)

Look over the following to form your own position by seeing criteria from many sources. Decide for yourself, does this school represent AMERICA, True Democracy and PEACE? Source Watch on the School of the Americas and related: GO here

More Transcripts on USA and Torture archive goes through 2008 here

Here is strong support for the coming School of the Americas Watch event

SEE a full introductory film on the School of the Assassins here to see why the SOAW came to be and why more support for this movement could help bring awareness of and further the end to Torture, USA

Found out a lot more on the visionary/founder Father Roy Bourgeois here

GO here to read newsletters from the movement going up to the latest FALL issue on matters beyond yet influenced by the US and to see the Video: US Army School Teaches Brutality here

A Supportive and sometimes Surprising Christian Community - GO here

Plz scroll the three-part series of posts just below for more information.


Written by Liz Albanese
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 18:18


It's that time again! Only 3 days until thousands from across the hemisphere and beyond join together with one common goal of shutting down the School of the Americas. As we reach the 20th anniversary of converging at the gates of Ft. Benning, we acknowledge that the strength of School of the Americas Watch is due to the many of you who work year round to change the system that creates injustice and militarization across the globe.

This year, like many others before, we come together in memoria y resistencia at the gates of Ft. Benning in Georgia to let our voices be heard loud and clear: SOMOS UNA SOLA AMERICA.

Before we come together for a weekend of celebration and solidarity with workshops, speakers, musicians and more, it is important that we remember why we strategically gather at the gates of Fort Benning.

We gather to resist the growing U.S. militarization of the Americas and to affirm the promotion of a culture of peace. We come to insist that the doors of this School of Assassins close and that doors of peace in the Americas open. As we perceive that the SOA has "jumped the gates" and is multiplying in U.S. military bases, troops, ships and fleets in the Americas, we come to say: NO MAS. We come to build bridges with our compatriots of this UNA SOLA AMERICA.

We are led to a constructive place of peace in which we come together to denounce the lies and complicity of those upholding a system of militarization. Building true solidarity means finding the connections between our struggles in order to be united in strength. The neoliberal policies that continue to create this phenomenom of militarization is affecting all of our communities.

It is clear to see that we cannot fight against such strong power on our own, we need your help. There are many different actions occurring across the globe in conjunction with SOA Watch vigil at Fort Benning. Please join in or create an action in your community using creative nonviolent tactics of educating and bringing awareness to others. There are many different ways that you can do this which include: hosting a film screening, creating legislative pressure, or holding a vigil on the main street of your town to honor victims of the School of Assassins!

There are 15 simultaneous actions that we know about thus far in México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Paraguay, El Salvador, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Ireland. For more information, click here.

GO below for Parts Two & Three with LINK for more info in Part Two...

Even if you are not able to come, Plz get out the word and notify your local and favorite media that this is going on...

This could be one of the final nails in the coffin to put Torture (at least legally and with greater awareness) to death in America...

SOAW Event: Part Two Practical Considerations

NOTE that each of the three parts I've posted above and below have lots more to say and LINKS you will find by going to this link under: Stand up for justice (left as is for easy cut/paste/sending to others (Plz do!)


- Want to participate but can't risk federal arrest? Attend the Direct Action preparation meeting for all risk levels on Friday night 7:30-9:30pm, Convention Center 207; or Saturday after the plenary at 10:45am.
- Find out more about "crossing the line"?

- Friday in the Convention Center 9am-12pm and 2-5pm
- For last minute nonviolence training please meet on Saturday, November 20th, at 1:30pm near the entrance on Ft. Benning road.

- Please make sure to attend the Saturday morning plenary.
- Rally at the gates with speakers, musicians and more.
Saturday November 20th 11:30-4:30pm & Sunday 8:30am-2pm.
- Benefit concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights
- Immigrant Rights Rally at the Stewart Detention Center Friday 10am-12pm in Lumpkin, Georgia (45 mins from Columbus). Meet at the Convention Center at 8:15AM to find a ride or join the caravan.
- Job, Internship, Volunteer and Religious Vocational Fair, Saturday 8-10pm, CC Ballroom A


Your time, energy, and donations make this vigil possible. Our work depends on you!
See you at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:23

SOAW Event - Part Three CONVERGE Nov. 19-20

Nov. 19-21: Converge on Fort Benning

In a few days, from November 19-21, 2010, thousands will gather at the gates of Fort Benning to stand up for justice and call for the SOA/WHINSEC to be shut down! Below are some helpful links for your trip planning, and a sneak peak into what SOA Watch has lined up for this year! (para información en español, haga click aquí)

Still looking for a ride to Georgia? Visit our rideboard, and click here for more helpful travel tips.

Still looking for a place to stay in Georgia? Check out hotels, motels, and camping in and around Columbus, GA!

Organizing Packet (Paquete Organizativo)



Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the SOA/WHINSEC

This year there will be different ways for people to be involved in the Saturday action including crossing the line of the base of Fort Benning which risks federal arrest, or a city side action, outside the permitted area. But note that you may also participate without risking arrest. SOA Watch has permits for the activities in front of the base, and the acts of civil disobedience for those risking arrest will be clearly marked.

Legal Briefing for Those Considering Crossing the Line or Civil Disobedience on Federal Property

Legal Briefing for Those Considering Civil Disobedience in Columbus ON CITY OR STATESIDE PROPERTY

For more information click here; Para información en español haz clíc aquí


Stage Program:

The stage program at the gates of Fort Benning will take place on Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 11:30am - 4pm and on Sunday, November 21, 2010 from 8am - 2pm. The program will feature leaders from the resistance against the illegitimate U.S.-supported government in Honduras; Padre Jesus Alberto Franco, a renowned leader from Colombia, risking his life working with Afro-Colombian, indigenous and mixed-race farmers in resistance; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit; Marie Dennis, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and Co-President of Pax Christi International; United Auto Worker president Bob King; the Hip Hop group Rebel Diaz from the Bronx; the puppetistas, musicians and many other beautiful people.

Above: Rebel Diaz

Workshops and Vendors:

The vigil at the gates of Fort Benning has become one of the largest annual progressive gatherings in the country. This year, 60+ tables hosted by progressive organizations and fair trade retailers will line Fort Benning Road throughout the weekend. Pick up a cup of fair trade, organic coffee at the Café Campesino tent, check out empowering literature at the Catholic Worker Bookstore, and learn about Witness for Peace's fall campaign at their table.

Dozens of workshops and other events will be held throughout the weekend at the Columbus Convention Center. Organizations and individuals such as Ann Wright, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Símon Sedillo, the Colombia Support Network, Pax Christi USA, and MANY others, will hold infomative sessions throughout the weekend. There will also be concerts, student meet-ups, a Catholic liturgy at which Bishop Thomas Gumbleton will preside, a hip hop show case, film screenings including The Coca Cola Case and Quién Dijo Miedo (Inside the Coup in Honduras), nonviolence trainings, and other exciting events to look forward to! For a full list of events, click here.

**Please join in on Nonviolence Trainings Friday morning and afternoon. The practice of nonviolent direct action is an essential part of the movement to close the School of the Americas and it is only successful if we are constantly practicing and improving our nonviolent pressure.**

4th Annual Vigil at the Stewart Detention Center

Friday, November 19th @ 10AM in Lumpkin, Georgia

SOA Watch calls for justice for all immigrants including those held inhumanely and without due process at the Stewart Detention Center, an isolated, for-profit facility. We contend that many immigrants to the United States, particularly those from Latin America, are victims of U.S.-sponsored military training and other atrocious policies around issues like trade and immigration. Click here to read more...

If you are interested in participating in this vigil, contact Becca Polk, Becca@soaw.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Those leaving from Columbus will meet outside the Convention Center (801 Front Ave.) at 8:15am to join the caravan led by a member of Georgia Detention Watch. Please notify Becca if you are able to drive.

we can do it!YOU can make this year's vigil even better: VOLUNTEER TODAY!

* URGENT! We need two people with A/V expertise (production) to help out from Friday morning to Saturday evening, at the Convention Center. Please email Nico at nico@soaw.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you can help!
* Become a Peacemaker
* Get creative! Join the Puppetistas!
* Educate people at the legislative table near the stage, contact Theresa at tmcameranesi@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
* Help with translation and interpretation. We still need bi-lingual English-Spanish interpreters. Contact Sara at sara.koopman@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Marcos at somospoetas@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , to volunteer!
* Volunteer with the medics team, contact Larry at egbertL4pj@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
* Other volunteer tasks include: sitting at the event registration table, delivering programs to hotels, unloading tables and chairs for Saturday and Sunday's events at the gates, and more! Contact Nico at nico@soaw.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , to help with vigil logistics in Georgia.

Donate to the SOA Watch Silent Auction

The third annual auction will be held in conjunction with the annual SOA Watch vigil from November 19-21 in the Columbus Convention Center. Some ideas for auction items you might donate: crafts, jewelry, artwork, local foods, fair trade coffee or chocolate, wine, a few days in your country/lake cabin or condo! Please contact Lisa at LSullivan@soaw.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and let her know what item you can donate to the auction and she will be in touch with you about details of how to get it to the auction.

Make History: Endorse the November Vigil

With less than a month to go, many organizations have expressed their support for the closing of the SOA/WHINSEC and for our 2010 vigil. We are heartened by the solidarity and support felt across the Americas!

Current endorsers include: the United Auto Workers; the Student-Farmworker Alliance; Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A); Fellowship of Reconciliation; United for Peace and Justice; Catholics United; Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW); Womens' International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section; A.N.S.W.E.R.; Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); and dozens of other faith, community, worker and peace groups from around the country.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get Ready for Human Rights Day: December 10 2010

Pakistan women in unity and prayer after the floods still are taking their toll

Why not make your presentation or gathering about Inter-People understanding which of course leads to Human Rights for All? Do not human rights cover freedom of worship and religion as well as other choices? And what of those with NO choice?

More than three months have passed since Pakistan was hit by some of the worst flooding in its history. (Olivier Matthys/IFRC) (p-PAK1508)

For a conference on Muslim-Jewish Discussion GO here

Here's some History about this day GO here

For me, Inter-cultural and Inter-Faith discourse is part and parcel with Human Rights because Rights come out of the following ideas are an interweaving of Rights and Inter-Humanitarian Dialogue.

AND/or why not consider tying your event on Human Rights into concern for victims of floods/earthquakes and other catastrophes natural or man-made?
go to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent for a touching diary of Pakistan Floods Affectees - GO here

Here's some useful copy from a former commemoration here

Here are more suggestions - yet - hey - create your own out of the unique passions and eye only you and group may have to give:

Amnesty USA dot org GO here

Bloggers Unite dot org GO here

GET INSPIRED with the Trailers and Videos from the worldwide OneDayOn Earth event: GO here BE ECLECTIC

See comments and versions on The PEACEABLE KINGDOM

ROCKWELL THE GOLDEN RULE PRINT The same year The Saturday Evening Post cover appeared Norman Rockwell was awarded the 1961 Interfaith Award of The National Conference of Christians and Jews.Rockwell cherished this recognition above all others, because it affirmed his stance that, "all men are members of the One Family of Man under God."

Just a few more URLS for ideas here and here

NOT too early for some of us to begin working toward an Intercultural (even human rights oriented) World Poetry Day here What a great time to encourage Poets and other Artists to become a larger part of human rights and loving tolerance than ever before...

READ more on the Dignity of Difference programs by going to oneheartforpeace blog

Finally, Sign the Pledge: "Reason - Truth - Civility" and encourage others to do so on Human Rights Day GO here

Friday, November 5, 2010

UPDATED: The Long Shadow of Torture: An Audio and Interview

Here's a helpful AUDIO without stridency: here

UPDATES: 16 November 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Shaker Aamer still in Guantanamo Bay despite UK government compensation - After years of suffering during their kidnap, rendition and detention in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons around the world, the former Guantanamo detainees released to the UK are finally being paid compensation for the UK’s role in their incarceration...Despite this welcome news, one of the individuals who has a strong case against the UK’s complicity in his torture, still remains in Guantanamo Bay. Shaker Aamer has now been detained without charge or trial for the last nine years and despite for strong calls for his release, he continues to languish to this day. Cageprisoners Director and former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Moazzam
Begg, said of his case,

“Shaker Aamer must now become a priority for this current
government. The compensation paid to the former Guantanamo detainees
is a welcome departure from the policies of the previous
administration but in order to truly resolve the errors that have been
made, Shaker Aamer must be returned back home to his family. We will
do everything in our power to help this government achieve their goal
of helping his return.” (Cageprisoners is a human rights NGO that exists to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held
as part of the War on Terror. We aim to give a voice to the voiceless.)

False Confessions and the Norfolk Four (Which we know goes on often in alleged "terrorist" cases as well as in US in general here

BBC report on Stephen Soldz' top site on Britain's decision to compensate torture victims here

Recent example of US gov's hiding of crucial documents which would give many clues as to the unreliability of the CIA in our wars and detention machinery here Yet who's prosecuting the ongoing criminality at the top including the CIA?

Watch for more additions in the Comments below and add your own.


Here's a RE-Play of an earlier interview given recent revelations. One of the most interesting comments is Dr. Rejali's comment that we must ask the question related to torture "From where comes the demand and from where comes the supply?" and that torture "creates a very non-professional atmosphere" among doctors, journalists and lawyers and that 48 hours of sleep deprivation can create deep muscular pains in many of your muscles and joints - so many kinds of torture leaves no marks...and that slippery slopes involving group process and doing a little evil leads to more and more. Rejali calls this "fuzzy" thinking.

He says that once you give power to individuals to use torture you give one individual absolute power over another individual. You train a group of people to torture and afterward where to these people go? That which was international becomes domestic...these folk become police officers at home (torture has been documented in Chicago from 73-93 and water-boarding has been common and documented in the deep south after Vietnam)...Little to none of this long effect is calculated. This interview also includes an excerpt from the Stanley Milgram experiment***.

Toward the end of this interview is a mention that to begin with the Iranian Revolution was a revolution against torture although the follow-up was somewhat problematic.

Iranian-American political scientist Dr. Darius Rejali is one of the world's leading experts on torture, and in particular on how democracies change torture and are changed by it.

In the wake of Wikileaks revelations about torture in U.S.-occupied Iraq, we explore how his knowledge might deepen our public discourse about such practices — and inform our collective reckoning with consequences yet to unfold.

Krista Tippett, host of Being"Facing the Malleability of Human Nature:

"In the post-September 11th era, torture became an aspect of U.S. identity, a defining part of our national repertoire of intelligence gathering and military detention.

This is something we knew on some level long before April 2009, when the Obama administration released memos from the Bush administration that functionally sanctioned it.Those memos semantically parse just how far an interrogator could go, how much lasting psychological or physical pain he or she must inflict, to breach international definitions of "torture."

Without stridency, Darius Rejali's knowledge sets such parsing in human and historical context. Most importantly, he helps us understand the damage such calibrations — and the policies they engender on a slippery slope of rationalization — did to the soldiers who received the orders and to the nation that now carries this legacy. What it does, in other words, to us.We started talking years ago as a production team about how we could approach the subject of torture and contribute to public reflection on it.

In Darius Rejali, we finally found a distinctive, helpful, edifying way in. He brings a unique practical and moral authority to this conversation on several levels. He was raised in pre-revolutionary Iran with, as he tells it, an Iranian Shiite father and a Calvinist American mother. He grew up with an awareness that a long line of his aristocratic Iranian forebears, including his great grandfather, had used torture against opponents. Torture was also a known tool of the state apparatus of the king, or Shah, who ruled Iran during Darius Rejali's childhood in the 1960s and 70s.

Darius Rejali says there is no question that authoritarian states have practiced torture most viciously. But, he points out, torture is also not incompatible with modernity, culture, and education, nor is it a stranger to democracy. Major media reports of the story behind "enhanced interrogation," after its details were declassified in April 2009, suggested that U.S. officials had to learn about torture techniques used by the former Soviet Union.

But one of most disturbing — and important — revelations Darius Rejali makes in this conversation is that democracies have made their distinctive mark on the history of torture, including the United States.Torture is a part of the history of human cruelty, Darius Rejali clarifies. It is distinguished by the fact that it is applied by officials of a state, claiming public trust. Rejali finds echoes of torture not only on the Iranian side of his family lineage but also in that of his maternal ancestors who held slaves in the American South. Interrogation using electricity was innovated in U.S. prisons in the early 20th century. Even "waterboarding," or simulated drowning, — the most notorious and controversial method of interrogation to enter our public vocabulary — appeared domestically, inside U.S. prisons, early in the last century. In the 1980s, a Texas sheriff and his deputies were convicted of using waterboarding to extract confessions from prisoners.

This is not a new or foreign invention.It is, rather, a prime example of the "long shadow" of torture that this conversation attempts to trace as a foundation for collective reckoning and healing. Waterboarding first took root in local police forces, mostly in the American South, after U.S. soldiers were exposed to it in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. Its impact becomes manifest in the inner trauma, the family lives, and the future work in security firms and prisons of soldiers who were ordered to do something — as Rejali sees it — that no human being should ever be ordered to do.

Rejali's immersion in 40 years of social scientific research also yields the plain, unsettling message that these men and women who have perpetrated torture were probably not sadists, not just a "few bad apples" who defied the norm. The demonstrated if shocking norm of human behavior is that at least half of us are capable of inflicting harm on another human being under orders, in the right circumstances with the right kind of authority behind the orders. I'm reminded here of a similar observation made to me, and discerned in killing fields the world over, by the forensic anthropologist Mercedes Doretti.

The upside of facing this malleability of human nature, however, is that the right systems of accountability and reckoning can make a profound and immediate difference moving forward. Darius Rejali also proposes some very practical steps for lawmakers and citizens as we reckon with the unfolding consequences of what has been done in our name in recent years. This reckoning is in all of our interest, whatever side of the political divide we are on, and whether photographs are released or some individuals brought to trial.Whether you call it "enhanced interrogation" or "torture," it profoundly traumatizes the lives and societies of those who experienced it and those who perpetrated it. Coming to terms with these human consequences will be the work not of days but of years and generations.

For we know that in our lives, both individual and collective, traumas that we do not face will continue not merely to haunt but to define us.

Krista Tippett says: I Recommend Reading: Torture and Democracy by Darius Rejali --
Rejali's latest book on torture, violence, and its role in democratic countries is a sweeping, definitive narrative. His comprehensive history of torture and its techniques shines a clarifying, expansive light on modern debates, with both moral and practical implications for us as individuals and as members of a broader culture.

Pertinent Posts from the Being Blog include the following - find these at or click here

Sgt. Joseph Darby» Whistleblowers, Resistors, and Defectors: Two examples of individuals who confronted the status quo, and were ultimately vindicated.

"Violence pretty much forces a silence on people." We talk about torture in the abstract, but do we consider the actual acts of torture and the violence that they are?

"Torture" vs. "Enhanced Interrogation" What should be the role of public media in labeling interrogation behavior as torture?

Rejali Reprise and Why Resistors Resist - Hear an excerpt of an American RadioWorks interview with Rejali about those who resist the pressure of group-think in a "torture bureaucracy."

"All Words Have Connotations" - A New York Times editorial sheds light on the difficulties of covering torture and interrogation.

A Guest with a Personal Interest in the Torture Debate - A passage from Torture and Democracy with a view of Rejali's personal stake in this subject.


News Digest for November 8, 2010

11/08 / Lt. Col. Barry Wingard / The Public Record / Nine Years Too Long

11/08 / David S. Cloud / Los Angeles Times / White House considers Yemen drone strikes, officials say

11/08 / Marc and Craig Kielburger / Edmonton Journal (Canada) / Khadr deserves rehabilitation

11/08 / U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia / November 5 Ruling, Salaha v. Obama

11/08 / Mary Shaw / OpEd News / The Child Soldier and Gitmo's Kangaroo Court

11/08 / Brian Bennett / St. Louis Today (Missouri) / National Former Guantanamo detainees active in Yemen

11/08 / Lucile Malandain / Agence France Presse / Yemenis at Guantanamo remain in limbo

11/07 / Lyle Denniston / ScotusBlog / New test of Munaf filed

11/07 / John Feffer / Foreign Policy In Focus / The Lies of Islamophobia

More news at


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bush Says He Gave Waterboard Orders in new Memoir

Rachel Slajda | November 4, 2010, 9:38AM
'Decision Points', CIA, George Bush, Torture

In his new memoir, former President George W. Bush says he personally gave the order to waterboard Khalid Sheik Mohammed in 2003.

According to the Washington Post, Bush writes that the CIA asked him if they could use the torture technique on Mohammed.

"Damn right," he said.

The Post reports -- via "someone close to Bush who has read the book" -- that Bush writes that he would do it again if he thought it would save lives. He also reiterates his position that waterboarding, or simulated drowning, is not torture.

Bush said he believed Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had information about pending attacks.

Another terrorism suspect who underwent what the Bush administration called an "enhanced interrogation technique," Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded more than 80 times in a month -- raising questions about how much information the CIA was getting.

The Obama Justice Department has called the technique torture and prohibited its use.

Also revealed in publicity tour surrounding the memoir, Decision Points: Bush considers himself a "dissenting voice" on the decision to go to Iraq.

Featured at TPMMuckraker

Bush: I Gave The Order To Waterboard

Four Dead Candidates Won On Tuesday (And Two Lost)

Various Comments under this article


Of course any opportunity to investigate or punish the previous
administration is gone with the majority. But that's OK, I'm told by
Republicans and Democrats alike that that's all in the past so it
doesn't matter anymore!
(Edited by author 1 hour ago)

We seem to have internalized (Democrats also) the words of Nixon from
the Nixon/Frost interview: "If the President does it, that means it's
not illegal".

quaint notions of Constitution and Separation of Power/Limits of
Power don't apply to Republican presidents.

What "later"?? Now that the house Republicans have subpoena power I
fully expect the hearings, committees and panels to be formed for
investigating Obama's "constitutional violations" for the next 2

Arrival of Godot
Look. I don't doubt that Pinochet, Videla, Stroessner, or the others
actually thought there was a danger to their homeland.

It still doesn't justify torture.

Pinochet was indeed under indictment in Chile at the time of his death.

Comparing Bush to unelected military dictators is pretty silly.

Arrival of Godot
You really don't want to use "un-elected" and "Bush" in the same
sentence while trying to make a point.

It was hyperbole. Intentionally so.

Nonetheless, Pinochet and Stroessner were both "elected". And, "the
greatest, most free country the world has ever known" should never
have tortured people. But we did.

what about the other waterboarded guy, al-libi, the one who said
saddam was in bed with al qeada? cause that guy we sent to egypt
where he 'committed suicide' in his cell. are you proud of torturing
him, too?

Obama says look forward and not backward! ... therebye giving the
green light for the next dickwad president to do exactly as Bush did
with no fear of legal consequences. Thanks BO, great job! - The
Professional Left bush can't say something stupid without it being obama's problem?

the Dems may not have the majority in Congress now - but what's the
statute of limitations on this sort of thing?

We stand for nothing anymore. I am ashamed to be an American. We used
to be the bastion of liberty. Now we are broke and broken. Hope is
pretty much dead, too.

The lead story yesterday on TPM was how Issa has subpeona power and
the likelyhood of the GOP using it to pursue impeachment. Today not
quite the lead story is that Bush admits he authorized torture. Pelosi
emphatically took impeachment off the table when Dems won Congress in
06, actually even before they won.

She nearly fell over herself, she could not get this out fast enough.
There is a Chinese curse, it goes something like, "may you live
interesting times" Unfortunately, things are way beyond interesting at
this point, they have moved into the psychotic.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson

Totally agree with Ug. While I realize that Democrats in the US
couldn't go after a Republican ex-president, there is nothing that
would have stopped say, the Europeans from taking up war crimes
hearings at The Hague. By treaty law, the US would have to cooperate
with them to the fullest extent. Not gonna happen now I guess.

You'd be correct...if the US had ratified the Treaty of Rome.

The ICC, which would have jurisdiction of war crimes, can't prosecute
citizens of non-signatory countries.

I don't believe him. I suspect the CIA actually asked Cheney for
permission. They knew he--not Bush--wore the pants in that
presidential "relationship." To find out for sure, ask Liz Cheney if
it was Bush who authorized the waterboarding. If her face reddens and
she clams up, we'll know her daddy did it. This is just a case of
Bush trying to massage and revisionize his legacy. He doesn't deserve
this free press coverage--he's irrelevant. The media should
concentrate on people who still matter . . . like Bristol Palin,
still a contender on Unwed Mothers Dancing with the Stars.

It is a real shame that Chimpoleon will never get a taste of his own
medicine or the fate he so richly deserves. Nuremberg taught all the
lessons we need to know about what to do with war criminals. The
whole Bush Crime Family should be tried at the Hague, convicted, and
taken out dancing. At the ends of ropes.

Well, since Holder has done NOTHING other then what Gonzo would have
done...IF it LOOKS like a WAR CRIME. if it SOUNDS like a WAR CRIME,
and if the person accused of COMMITTING A WAR CRIME admits that he
DID COMMIT WAR CRIMES, WHY IS HE FREE??? Otherwise that means anyone
can get away with war crimes inside or outside the US... No

Yes.. and it looks as though voters throughout this once great nation
have decided that it is acceptable for those in power to torture.
Proof? Okay, our current democrat and republican mobsters in
Washington have decided to PROTECT WAR CRIMINALS... and justify it by
stating protecting them will allow this nation to progress and get
things done. RUBBISH!! Protecting these criminals says to the next
torturer that he/she can do so without regard to consequences. It
also tells patriots of over two hundred years that we could care less
about their sacrifices. When they were willing to die to stop these
horrendous acts, they were just naive and misdirected. Giving up your
life for honorable reasons (protecting innocent men, women and
children... preventing prison and torture without trial...
kidnapping... etc.) is just not this nation's way of doing business
anymore. We are now just as evil as those we fought! Integrity,
justice, humanity... even our once held beliefs of what it meant to
be a Christian (or have any uplifting qualities for that matter) have
been thrown out the window.

These mobsters we are harboring and promoting in the end, will be our
destruction...Good gift to leave our children, isn't it...

Obama turned his back on the law by failing to "look back". To him, I
say: Crimes are punished *by looking back*. That cost us dearly on
Nov. 2 and, unless Holder gets off his ass and indicts the Bushists,
will cost Obama in 2012. There really is no controversy. This is as
certain as gravity.
“Of course the people don’t want war . . . That is understood.
But . . . it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along
whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or
a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always
be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you
have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the
pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
It works the same in any country.” --Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg
trials, 1946 from “Nuremberg Diary,” by G. M. Gilbert.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

After the US Election: Center for Constitutional Rights

Rabbis for Human Rights Award to CCR and find many other awards here

Letter from Vincent Warren, Executive Director of CCR (Just In, November 3, 2010):

After yesterday’s election you may be wondering what your next move is to further social justice and restore sanity in government....Support (for) CCR ...(is taking) another step on the very long journey we are taking together to restore our rights and renew our country’s commitment to the rule of law.

Like many of you, I watched the election coverage to see what direction the American people wanted to pursue. The results were disappointing, but not surprising. The right wing is now calling the shots in the House of Representatives, some left-leaning members of Congress were discarded and the Tea Party has a toe hold. The stakes for justice and democratic principles are so high, CCR must continue to be a clear, progressive voice for change no matter who controls the House or the Senate. Help from the current Congress and the executive has been rare and lackluster. History has shown that the upcoming move to the center-right may serve the 2012 elections but will certainly mean further retreat from the change we want to see. Your next move should be to keep the Center strong to serve as a check on these two branches and to push the courts to preserve a meaningful democratic society for us all.

Early on CCR took on the fight against the unconstitutional expansion of presidential powers; sought to expose the abuses and illegalities of US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the increased use of military contractors; and challenged the repeated use of “national security” justifications by President Bush, and now by the Obama administration, to obscure facts and avoid judicial review.

With your help CCR will continue to take the long view and pursue cutting-edge litigation and educational & media advocacy, pushing back on overreaching executive power, taking on unpopular cases for the most marginalized clients and communities, and building respect for human rights...

On behalf of all of us at CCR, thank you for standing with us at the front lines of social justice and pushing ahead, even in the most difficult times, to protect and advance rights for all.

With appreciation,

Vincent Warren
Executive Director

P.S. I’d like to share with you more of CCR’s work over the past year in the pursuit of justice. Please check out our 2010 Annual Report at or CLICK here to learn more.

To obtain a hard copy of Center for Constitutional Rights' latest annual report, please write to:

Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway
New York, NY 10012


Office of the Attorney General, Dept. of Law, Charities Bureau
120 Broadway,
New York, NY 10271

(I suppose what you may want to supply is a large SSAE (Stamped, Self-Addressed Envelope with a good estimate of the needed amount of stamps from your location.)

NOTES from Connie (blogger here):

Help keep groups like the CCR STRONG...we in the US and those who work with us need this solid organization more than ever. I left out the plea for funds as this is my policy with this blog - yet you may want to contact to both sign up for free emails and to find other ways to pitch-in...

By the way, here's a recent piece via Vincent by a CCR Staff Member
"Live from the Rachel Corrie Trial in Israel" GO here

Monday, November 1, 2010

MK Hanin Zoabi Will Speak at the MECA Event Today

Our upcoming speaker, MK Hanin Zoabi, was among dozens of Palestinian citizens injured by Israeli police last week. She was shot in the back and neck with rubber coated bullets. Many believe she was specifically targeted by police. She has received hundreds of death threats since her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Despite her injuries, Hanin has travelled to the US as planned and will speak at a MECA event in Berkeley with Areej Ja'fari on Tuesday, November 2.

Hanin Zoabi

In a recent interview with Ali Abunimah, she stated:

“We are struggling for a normal state which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality. I recognize religious, cultural and national group rights for the Israelis, but inside a democratic and neutral state.”

Please join MECA in welcoming MK Hanin Zoabi and Areej Ja'afari, a Palestinian leader of youth, women's and refugee rights from the West Bank at our event tomorrow evening; Palestinian Women's Voices. You can still buy tickets online now.


Barbara Lubin
"It was so inspiring to meet and hear Haneen Zoabi, Palestinian member of Israel's Knesset, a courageous leader, feminist and struggler for equality. Go hear her along with Areej Ja'fari, and support the important work of the Middle East Children's Alliance on Nov 2 in Berkeley, CA"

- Ali Abunimah, Co-Founder of the Electronic Intifada,author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse"

Ali Abunimah will be speaking in Palo Alto Nov. 3.
Tuesday, November 2nd, 7pm, Berkeley
Palestinian Women's Voices: MK Hanin Zoabi and Areej Ja'fari

First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way @ Dana
Al-Tajammu’ Party leader in 1948 Palestine
Palestinian Member of the Knesset
Leading member of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’s Mavi Marmara
Youth/women’s leader & refugee activist from Dheisheh Refugee Camp

Tickets: $15, $10 for low-income and students, no one turned away for lack of funds. Buy tickets online or call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006

$15 tickets also available at bookstores: (east bay) Books Inc., Diesel, Moe's Books, Pegasus/Solano, Pegasus/Shattuck, Walden Pond (SF) Modern Times

This is a benefit for MECA's Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine.

The event is wheelchair accessible and ASL interpreted.

Cosponsored by KPFA, Al-Awda, SF Arab Film Festival, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Bay Area Women in Black, Code Pink, Global Fund for Women, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Youth Network, Students for Justice in Palestine, US Palestinian Community Network

For info or 510-548-0542.

Also read more about the above speakers at the online Electronic Intifada

Planting Seeds by Kathy Kelly (With Voices for Creative NonViolence)

Kathy Kelly writes about her experience recently in Afghanistan

Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Posted: October 30, 2010 11:33 AM

Nur Agha Akbari and his family live in Kabul, on an unpaved, pitted street lined by mud brick homes. When we visited him this week, his oldest son, age 13, led us to a sitting room inside their rented two-story apartment, furnished with simple mats and pillows. The youngster smiled shyly as he served us tea. Then his father entered the room.

Mr. Akbari is a robust, energetic, well educated man from a respected, academic Afghan family. In the late 1970s, Nur had gone to study agriculture in the UK and remained there, becoming an organic farmer. His four brothers had instead remained in Afghanistan, or else returned there after studies abroad. His two eldest brothers had trained in the Soviet Union -- one as an engineer, one as a nuclear scientist -- and had received early warning of the likelihood of what came to be the 1979 Soviet invasion. They spoke out publicly about their fears as the invasion grew more and more imminent.

On December 27 of that year, Soviet troops occupied major government, media and military buildings in Kabul, initiating a nine-year war between a nationalist/fundamentalist resistance (the "Mujahideen") and the Soviet occupiers. Soviet officials fired Nur's oldest brother from his cancer research work at Kabul University and blacklisted him. He found himself unable to work, and soon joined the resistance. Nur doesn't know much about what happened to him then, but he was among thousands of people bulldozed into mass graves after capture and execution by the Soviets. All told Nur knows very little about the fates of his three older brothers, all killed in the war. But their tragedy would largely shape his life.

Nur had arranged for his surviving, younger, brother to join him in the UK. But Nur would lie awake at night, thinking about the children and the wives of his slain brothers. Concerned that his nephews and nieces were now fending for themselves in Afghanistan's war zones, fatherless and penniless, he resolved to return home.

When he learned of a job with an Austrian relief agency which would have him living in Pakistan but taking three trips per year into Afghanistan, he immediately applied. A representative of the "Austrian Relief Group" recognized Nur's family name and told him it would be exceedingly dangerous for him to enter Afghanistan, but Nur persisted, realizing this was perhaps his only chance to rescue his widowed and orphaned family there. He got the job and swiftly set up residence in the Pakistani city of Peshawar where, eventually, he managed to gather all of his brothers' children and wives in a large house he had rented. At last he could be sure that they had health care, adequate food, and access to education. He worked tirelessly to make this possible.

Now, at family reunions, they remember those hard times. The youngsters who were saved by their young uncle are themselves parents now, and the family history includes great gratitude for the sacrifices Nur made, as a young man, to provide for and encourage his large extended family.

His is among thousands of stories of hardship and tragedy, many worse than his own, as he made sure repeatedly to remind us several times in the course of relating it. Stories of death and dislocation from the superpower invasion of 1979, and now from the American occupation, entering its tenth year.

Now Nur works as an engineer for the Afghan government's Department of Agriculture, with many more people to try to help rescue. He talked to us about the problems besetting Afghanistan as it attempts to rebuild from an ongoing war.

Nur is a visionary. He imagines communities learning to provide for themselves and solving problems using local decision-making and initiative at a grass roots level. He is passionately committed to a model of community development which he had begun to implement in the Panjshir Province. "We need to sow seeds," he says. "Germination takes time. It's not like building a wall which you can just slap up." But he has hit impasse after impasse in his efforts to foster grassroots community development, with many different forms of corruption everywhere springing up to commandeer the funds the occupation has made available for development work.

Our delegation has heard a lot about rising and pervasive corruption over the past two weeks traveling in Afghanistan. Following the election of Mr. Karzai, people we've spoken with were stung by the congratulatory calls from heads of state around the world, including that of President Obama. Already outraged over what they (and international observers) consider an extremely fraudulent election, they feel bewildered by other world governments' legitimization of corruption in their capital. By supporting the current government, the U.S. exacerbates the life-choking corruption here. Afghan Member of Parliament, Ramazan Bashar Dost, urged us to ask the U.S. government to realize this, and desist. A young woman running her own company in Kandahar province spoke to us with contempt about corrupt officials. And others -- an Afghan human rights lawyer, the co-founder of a large media company, three fellows working for a smaller news agency, along with almost every Bamiyan villager we met during a week there -- all spoke of how the corruption had negatively, in cases disastrously, impacted their efforts to make a living and contribute toward their country's resurrection from its current, dreadful state.

One of the most egregious examples has been set by the United States. According to a McClatchy report released on October 27, 2010, the U.S. government knows it has awarded nearly $18 billion in contracts for rebuilding Afghanistan over the past three years, but it can't account for any of the billions spent before 2007. What's more, a crucial agency of government investigators and auditors -- those responsible for the SIGAR, the "Special Inspector General in Afghanistan Report," on waste, fraud, and abuse of American taxpayer dollars -- has now received a failing grade in a new government investigation of corruption in their own activities.

Nur wonders where all the money has gone. "If we spent one quarter of one quarter of one quarter of the billions that they've spent, we could fund this process of community development," he assures us. "Billions have been spent and we have nothing for it. If we had followed a process marked by transparency, fairness and involvement of local communities, we could have turned this country around in five years."

Beyond lamenting lost opportunities and lost lives in the dangerously impoverished Afghan economy, he mainly fears that ordinary Afghans will increasingly adjust to a welfare culture which relies on handouts rather than hard work to achieve progress.

As we spoke with Nur, his son returned to the room with a rich, creamy soup prepared by his mother and then left and returned again with platters, one per guest, each heaped with walnuts, glazed dried apricots and luscious pomegranate seeds. When we praised the quality of this truly delicious fare, Nur (with a wry smile) replied,

"We spend many days trying to export these good fruits. By the time we finish crossing bureaucratic hurdles and filling out many sets of papers, arranging transportation, getting approval, and negotiating prices, the fruit often rots. But, if you have a truckload of opium, you can send it to the other side of the world in one day."

Nevertheless, Nur continues working toward a better future for Afghanistan. He holds on to a deep faith in the ability of the simplest people to generate solutions to their problems if they are liberated from the oppressive effects of war and corruption. This is no time for a loss of nerve. Nur Agha Akbari, a survivor and a creative thinker, may not reap the harvest in his lifetime, but he won't stop planting the seeds.

Kathy Kelly ( has been traveling in Afghanistan with two other co-coordinators of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, David Smith-Ferri and Jerica Arents.

“Losing the hand of God’s protection.” Alan Grayson Vs. Daniel Webster:

Before the election tomorrow, I want to tell you one last thing about my Republican opponent, Daniel Webster. Because it illustrates the mindset of the Far Right, and what will happen to us if Webster, and people like Webster, come to power again.

This year, jobs and the economy are on the voters’ minds. But every once in a while, a question comes up about war and peace. It happened here a few weeks ago. Someone asked Daniel Webster, “how long do we stay in Afghanistan?”

Webster’s answer: “However long we stay is a military decision that should not be shared with the world.”

Nor, apparently, shared with us. It’s our job to pay for the war, and to raise children who will fight and die in that war. But not to know how long the war will go on, even if it goes on forever.

We deserve an answer to the question, “how long do we stay in Afghanistan?” Contribute to our campaign, and help defeat a man with no answers.

But that’s not all. Webster said that the war in Afghanistan must continue indefinitely, because “we need a beachhead in the Middle East.” (Note to Webster: Afghanistan is in Central Asia, not the Middle East.) And occupying Afghanistan “protects us,” Webster said, “because once that beachhead is established, it can move further and further.”

In Thomas Greer’s book "A Brief History of the Western World", he describes the result of the Crusades as follows: “The feudal system of western Europe was thus transplanted to this Christian beachhead in the Middle East.”

We don’t need more Crusades. Especially with nukes. Help defeat Daniel Webster.

But here is the punchline. Webster finishes his answer to the question “how long do we stay in Afghanistan” by referring to “the biggest threat to our country.” Which is this: “Losing the hand of God’s protection.”

Greer’s book describes the “orgy of looting and killing of Muslims and Jews” during the Crusades. In words echoing what Daniel Webster says today, one Crusader wrote in his journal, “It was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place [Jerusalem] should be filled with the blood of unbelievers, since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies.”

I support peace. Daniel Webster supports endless war. The choice is clear. Help us if you can.

I believe what Abraham Lincoln believed: "Don't pray that God's on our side; pray that we're on his side."


Alan Grayson


Florida is having quite a little "war" fueled in large part by FOX and POLITICO...

There are two people vying for the same slot. Last day to vote for them is tomorrow...

Until the recent "Taliban Ad" - I could find no obvious fault with Grayson... and was disappointed with that one...However, There's certainly a lot of information and lots to worry about with Daniel Webster's campaign as well and I believe much more so...

So how about checking the records out for self and not allowing FOX and POLITICO to distort your own view on the issues and facts?

Whether or not you vote and no matter how you believe these two candidates are looking at their opponent, do ask if you really want a leader to represent America who is willing for ENDLESS WAR...ENDLESS CRUSADE MENTALITY?

Thanx for coming by and do share your opinion..ALBEIT NOT with Anonymous name...


And his campaign website:

Friday, October 29, 2010

There is never an argument to defend the use of torture

Published in The Herald (Scotland) on 29 Oct 2010 ALSO see very simple action in post just below...

I was once tortured.

It happened in Bosnia in 1995 during the last months of the war there, after I was abducted near the Herzegovinan town of Mostar. The gunmen who took me prisoner claimed to be Croatian militiamen, but were, in reality, little more than thugs and gangsters.

During my short captivity, along with other civilian prisoners, I was bound and beaten with rifle butts before being singled out one night to be shot. To this day, I’ve never really been able to figure out what then followed – a mock execution or simply a case of my captors, who were drunk at this point – making a cock-up of trying to kill me.

The last I remember of that night, was kneeling with my hands tied behind my back looking down into a ditch where others lay twisted and lifeless. Then there was the sound of a pistol being cocked before being put to the back of my head. A second later, there was an empty click and some mocking laughter before a thump on the back of my neck sent me to oblivion into the ditch where I later regained consciousness lying alone among a heap of bodies.

Perverse as those events were, what also still puzzles me was the motive behind my captors’ behaviour. In short, there was nothing to be gained from the treatment they meted out. No secret or strategic information, nothing useful of a military or intelligence nature to be elicited from me. Evidently, they appeared driven by little more than some kind of primitive sadism.

But what if saving lives depended on such behaviour? Would it then be acceptable? Indeed, in these dangerous times, could it be argued that torture is a necessary evil on behalf of those tasked with fighting terrorism?

According to Sir John Sawers, the head of British overseas spy agency MI6, the answer is a resounding no. “Illegal and abhorrent under any circumstances, and we have nothing whatsoever to do with it,” Sir John emphasised yesterday, in the first public speech by a serving MI6 chief in its 100-year history. No sooner had Sir John issued his rebuttal than there was sceptical echoes of “yeah, right” resounding from myriad political lobbies and quarters.

Such cynicism is understandable. After all, it would be naive in the extreme to accept the notion that our security services – MI5 and MI6 – have never tortured anyone in the course of their operational activity. And even if you were gullible enough to buy into the suggestion that Britain’s spies haven’t had a hands-on approach to such methods, those they do business with often have fewer scruples when it comes to a bit of water boarding, electric shock interrogation, mock executions or the countless other methods that exist for extracting information through physical and psychological violence.

Yet the strange thing is, I find myself empathising with some of the dilemmas Sir John highlighted in his speech yesterday.

How many of us can begin to imagine the decision-making that goes with being in receipt of credible intelligence that could save innocent lives, while knowing at the same time it had been obtained through torture by a dubious regime with little regard for human rights?

Put another way, I suppose it’s a bit like the bar-room debate: what if your own wife, children or other family members were directly under threat at the hands of terrorists and the only way to avoid them being killed was for the security services to torture an individual known to have solid information that could help prevent their deaths? Would you countenance such a course of action? Given that MI5 and MI6 are compelled by UK and international law to avoid action that could lead to torture taking place, it must sometimes feel a bit like fighting terrorism with one hand tied behind your back. What’s more, as Sir John also rightly pointed out yesterday, in the unforgiving world in which his agents have to operate, “these are not abstract questions just for philosophy courses or searching editorials … they are real, constant operational dilemmas”.

But before we get too cosy with the idea that our secret services spend most of their time fretting over such things, or, indeed, that torture might have a role in the fight against terrorism, let’s pause and consider a few other points.

For a start, information obtained through torture is notoriously unreliable. In fact, most of those countries who readily make use of it in the war on terror do so largely because of systematic failings within their own capacity to gather dependable human intelligence.

Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not saying that torture can never produce reliable intelligence, but time and again from wars of the past to those more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan it has proved to be the exception rather than the rule. We need only think back to how much pain, suffering and injustice was perpetrated in the name of intelligence gathering by the rendition process or in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib to realise the extent of its failings.

How interesting it will be to see the outcome of the so-called Gibson Inquiry announced earlier this year by Prime Minister David Cameron aimed at examining claims that British security services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects, the best known of whom is Binyam Mohamed.

At the end of the day, real democracies don’t do torture. In today’s war on terror, far from being a necessary evil, torture is plain evil: a morally reprehensible act that is in itself is a form of terrorism.

No matter how much we try to justify it as a means to an end, in fighting today’s war on terror, it simply can never be so. Those states that advocate its use are little better than those morally bankrupt thugs at whose hands I, along with countless others, suffered in Bosnia all those years ago.

As the French Algerian author, Albert Camus, eloquently put it: “Torture has perhaps saved some, at the expense of honour … even when accepted in the interest of realism and efficacy, such a flouting of honour serves no purpose but to degrade our country in her own eyes and abroad.”

SIMPLE ACTION: Help Reduce Torture for US Detainee

Plz go to Educators for Civil Liberties dot org here Add your signature

SIMPLE ACTION: Help Stop Delivery of Bulldozers to Israel

Sign a petition to the Obama Administration asking it to stop the delivery of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military, and to investigate Israel’s violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment. here STOP Caterpillar

Earlier this week, Israeli media reported that Caterpillar is suspending the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military. This represents a significant step towards holding Israel accountable for its use of Caterpillar bulldozers, which are provided at U.S. taxpayer expense as military aid, to commit human rights violations.

This news comes in the midst of a civil trial in Israel brought by the family of Rachel Corrie, an American student activist, who was crushed to death in 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protecting a Palestinian home from demolition by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Rafah, Gaza.

In 2005, CCR sued Caterpillar on behalf of the Corries and four Palestinian families whose family members were killed or injured when bulldozers demolished their homes on top of them. The suit, which was ultimately dismissed, charged Caterpillar with aiding and abetting war crimes and other serious human rights violations on the grounds that the company provided bulldozers to the IDF knowing they would be used unlawfully to demolish homes and endanger civilians. Learn more about the use of Caterpillar bulldozers by Israel to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians

On a related note, the Rachel Corrie Foundation has submitted a paper as part of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States, which will take place next week, documenting how the United States has failed to uphold its human rights obligations in Rachel’s case. CCR also submitted a report highlighting serious shortcomings in the U.S. response to corporate human rights violations, including in the case of Caterpillar. CCR will be co-hosting a panel discussion at the UPR on corporate accountability that will feature Sangina Patnaik, Rachel Corrie’s cousin.

Thank you for signing the petition.


Annette Dickerson
Director of Education and Outreach

Thursday, October 28, 2010


29 October 2010 8:00am - 9:00am ET Looks like there's still time for local folk to sign up Registration and all day event copy and past for dissemination and/or CLICK