Judge Kim Schaefer asked the defendant if she had created a disturbance that day. Van Poolen proudly said, “Yes, I stood up and spoke in front of several hundred people, and I said, ‘General David Petraeus you are a war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. I am a graduate of Calvin College and a follower of Jesus Christ and I am here to speak out.’” Judge Schaefer interrupted and asked what the effect was. Van Poolen responded, “Petraeus stopped speaking and then two men brought me outside.” Next Van Poolen’s lawyer David LeGrande spoke in her defense, saying, “It was an intentional act of civil disobedience. The tradition sees it as appropriate to break laws and deal with the consequences…to right injustice.” . . . Van Poolen responded, “I was practicing free speech in a non-violent way. I did so with the sincere belief that, to call attention to the outrageous and immoral acts of U.S. leaders, civil disobedience is required. I hope my actions followed in the footsteps of other great and inspiring leaders.”
Our society has lost a great activist today with the death of John Judge. No one spoke more clearly, strongly, and informedly on political power, militarism, and activism for positive change. While John lived nextdoor to Dennis Kucinich — and with one of the best views and one of the best collections of political books and documents — in Washington, D.C., it was as staff person for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney that he advanced numerous causes of peace and justice and accountability for the powerful on Capitol Hill. On impeaching Bush and Cheney he was there first. John’s expertise reached back into history and across continents. From the Kennedy assassination to conscientious objection to how-a-bill-becomes-a-law, he was a person to turn to for information and wisdom who was never anything but helpful, friendly, cheerful, and energetic. He could describe the hiring of Nazis in Operation Paperclip and the creation of the Cold War and then suggest that perhaps the Nazis actually won World War II. He could explain the creation of standing armies in such a manner that you knew without a doubt that either our society was insane or you were. He could get you thinking and get you active. And always with complete humility and good will. He will be missed.
Dozens of people of all ages showed up to the “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event in an effort to raise awareness towards U.S. foreign policy practices as well as fly kites with a message. Kite flying is a popular tradition in Afghanistan, but the pastime was banned during the Taliban reign. “The Kites show us there’s a way to do it peacefully,” Howard Traxmor, who participated in the event said. “We can use drones for agriculture and other needs.” Organizers said the drones are a major part of foreign policy that people need to understand the impact of better. The United States has been using drone attacks in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. However, nationwide controversy has erupted after many believe drone attacks killed innocent civilians and children.
The Drones Quilt Project is currently on tour across the USA. The exhibit consists of 3 to 5 quilts of 36 blocks, each measuring 66″ x 66″, four information panels measuring 20″ x 30″ each, and a resource/take action handout. We hope to have the exhibit travel the country, so if you are interested in hosting the exhibit in your town, please contact us. Check the website to see when the exhibit is coming to a town near you. The idea for a Drones Quilt came from some women in the UK who started the project as a way to memorialize the victims of U.S. combat drones. We believed that there were lots of anti-drone activists in the U.S. who would like to make our own version of a Drones Quilt, and so the idea traveled across the Atlantic. The idea is to collectively create a piece of artwork which connects the names of activists with those killed. The names humanize the victims and point out the connectivity between human beings. Plans for the American version of the quilt include creating educational materials, photographs and information which together with the quilts will create an exhibit which will travel the country, informing and educating the American public.
On the occasion of Spring Days of Action against the killer drones the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance issues this call to action: The National Security Agency is not only violating the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution by taking away the privacy rights of Americans and others around the world, but contributing to the deaths and the maiming of innocents, including children, in the NSA’s role supporting the US CIA and US Military drone strikes. The NSA is culpable, and we must nonviolently express our First Amendment rights and responsibilities under international law to oppose the US Government and the Obama Administration’s extrajudicial killings carried out in our name and with our tax money. On Saturday, May 3, 2014 we will gather and peacefully assemble at the National Security Agency to hold a public witness against the its role in violations of international law, war crimes, and crimes against peace.
CREECH AFB, Nevada – After a week of protests, seven anti-drone activists from throughout the country were arrested here early Friday at Creech Air Force Base front gate as they attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander asking for an end to drones. The seven women also had strings of small paper drone replicas, each representing – by name – innocent victims, including children, of the Obama drone warfare program. Other protests during the week included a simulated “Drone Attack on a Wedding Party”; “A Funeral Procession,” with white masks, coffins and a giant Mourning Mother puppet; “ONE NATION UNDER SURVEILLANCE” (illegal spying, domestic & foreign); “Call Congress Day for Drone Transparency,” and “Celebrate Whistleblowers.”
Four acclaimed journalists will speak at Ithaca College on Monday, April 28, as they accept national honors. Glenn Greenwald will appear via a pre-taped video, while Jeremy Scahill, John Carlos Frey andNick Turse will appear in person. The Izzy Award and I.F. Stone Hall of Fame ceremony, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Park Hall Auditorium. Sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM), both the award and the hall of fame are named in memory of legendary journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone, who published “I.F. Stone’s Weekly” from 1953 to 1971 and exposed official deception while championing civil liberties. Also participating in the ceremony will be Izzy Stone’s son Jeremy Stone and biographer Myra MacPherson, author of “All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone.”
Manufacturers of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as drones, visited members of Congress today on Capitol Hill. Corporate members of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) put on a drone expo for representatives from the House Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus. Protestors from CODEPINK were on hand to greet AUVSI representatives as they entered the Rayburn Building. CODEPINK’s co-founder Medea Benjamin has been an outspoken critic of the Obama’s administration’s use of drones. She recently wrote a book on the subject called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
The Catholic Agitator has published a special edition about Sister Megan Rice, the 83 year old nun, who is currently serving time in prison for the actions that she and other Ploughshares Activists, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed took to stop nuclear weapons. They splashed blood against the walls, put up banners and beat hammers “into plowshares” — a biblical reference to Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Thee Catholic Agitator describes Sister Rice as “The Terrorist Nun” who serves in prison for “crimes of peace.” Breaking into a sensitive nuclear facility to stage a protest, the three activists were prepared for the worst. “We were very aware that we could have died,” Rice said. They were not killed but found themselves incarcerated.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper that screamed with the headline “War machines touted as agents of mercy”. A large photo carried the caption that began with “US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers toured the USS Anchorage at Pearl Harbor”. Hagel is on a mind-washing trip throughout the Pacific in order to sell the notion that Obama’s ‘pivot’ of 60% of Pentagon forces into the region is a “sign of the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief the US military can provide.” As evidence of this kind and gentle spirit Hagel’s public relations team suggested that the amphibious assault landing craft they toured “works well for humanitarian assistance” because it has two medical operating rooms and a six-bed intensive care unit. So next time there is a tsunami or any other kind of natural disaster where hundreds of thousands are impacted – have no worries because here comes the assault landing craft. But the true intentions of the Hagel trip emerged when the Secretary of Endless War was asked about the pivot…. is it real and is the US giving up on the Middle East?
This weekend Maine Veterans for Peace, and other sponsors, will hold three events in our state to make public the issue of the US military ‘pivot’ into the Asia-Pacific. This pivot is being used to provocatively surround China and Russia as 60% of US forces move into that region. Vital in this pivot will be naval forces, many of which are built at Bath Iron Works. Remembering the call to work within our ‘bio-region’ the issue of the Navy’s April 12 ceremony in Bath thus looms crucial for our collective movements. The ‘christening’ of the new $4 billion Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer ought to be connected to climate change and growing cutbacks in social spending. At this very moment USM students are in the streets protesting faculty lay-offs and cuts of entire programs, while climate change activists are stepping up their local efforts to arouse the public about our warming Mother Earth. To all of our movements the public appears tranquilized in the face of these mounting crises.
A scuffle between a very loud protestor, a CBS crew member, and reporter Jay Levine interrupted broadcasts on two networks yesterday, prompting mounted police to secure the scene. The protester was able to get in front of the camera as the media was reporting on a fundraiser for President Obama in Chicago. Levine was reporting on President Obama’s Chicago visit when the protestor rushed him, grabbing the microphone and yelling, “Obama is a war criminal.” Although the CBS feed cut off at that point, NBC Chicago’s Mary Ann Ahern was standing nearby and captured the rest of the action. Levine, with the aid of three mounted police officers, was able to finish his report.
We’re at a crucial turning point in our campaign to support WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Chelsea’s future hangs in the balance, and your support can make a huge difference! Last week, Chelesa’s trial attorney, David Coombs, released a statement with an insider’s view of the injustices of the court martial proceedings and the excessive 35-year sentence. He warned: I have fought to ensure that she received a fair trial and a just result. Unfortunately, I do not believe that she received either… The government-wide crackdown on whistleblowers and the extension of this crackdown to journalists threatens to stifle the very freedoms that we [the United States] have fought so hard to ensure
Four years have passed since WikiLeaks’ sensational release of the classified US military video titled Collateral Murder. On April 5, 2010, the raw footage was published depicting airstrikes by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The soldiers attacked Iraqis, killing about a dozen men wandering down a street, including two Reuters staffers, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh in the first of three reckless attacks involving civilians…Before anyone talks about the laws of armed conflict and whether the rules of engagement were broken or not, we need to ask why these armed crews were even there in the first place. We should be examining the legality of the Iraq War itself. Speaking in defense of the disclosure of classified US military documents on the Iraq War, Assange pointed out how “most wars that are started by democracies involve lying,” and noted how “the start of the Iraq war involved very serious lies that were repeated and amplified by some parts of the press.”
Enlisted soldiers on all sides of the political spectrum will agree: the officers, by and large, only care about their own careers, and are willing to throw any of us under the bus to protect their lifestyles. When it comes to the suicide epidemic, the military brass treats our community with disdain. Some have been very open about their feelings. Top commander of Fort Bliss (right near Fort Hood in El Paso, Texas) Major General Dana Pittard wrote in an official blog post: “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess… suicide is an absolutely selfish act… be an adult and deal with your problems like the rest of us.” Col. Dallas Homas, commander of health care at Fort Lewis, was relieved after soldiers exposed that he was having his subordinates intentionally refuse to diagnose soldiers with PTSD to “save money.”