Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NEWS UPDATES SEPT 30th Thru Oct 2nd War & Peace

PHOTO UK The Independent The delegations meet at the opening of talks between Iran and the six world powers

Still here/there/everywhere...

NOTE: Along with other planned modifications of this blogsite, I plan to improve posting of news items. (This and other posts to be updated in the post OR in COMMENTS and fewer new posts here for a few weeks unless of a positive - poetic - inspirational nature.)

WAR "Drums" - the most active and influential groups and possible breakthroughs
War Resisters League (WRL): Antiwar Groups Demand End to Afghan War, Demonstrate at White House

Norman Solomon | Starting Another Year of War in Afghanistan

White House Split on Second Afghan Troop Surge

Police Use of Acoustic Warfare Draws Ire of Civil Libertarians

Justice Dept. Ordered to Release Cheney Statements in Plame Case

Iran/West (a breakthrough or no?) What can the West do better?
here (includes today's UK's The Independent's "take" on "Half a century of mutual suspicion" with brief CHRONOLOGY - also find this at the bottom of this "One Heart..." post ***)

Cost of War in Iraq
Cost of War in Afghanistan

The cost in your community at National Priorities:

When in Doubt, Keep Killing. Starting Another Year of the War in Afghanistan
By Norman Solomon - In the White House, there's no indication of a pane that's facing the pain in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, where the U.S. government continues to bring gifts: a dollar's worth of warfare for a dime's worth of everything else.

Bizarro World:
Karl Rove Blasts Obama for 'Outsourcing Afghanistan'
By Jeremy Scahill: There are racist astroturf loons that appear to have recently landed on earth from planet Fiction and are navigating their way through the country, speaking in tongues, led by snakeoil salesmen like Glenn Beck.

Is This What "Shielding Afghans From Violence" Looks Like?
By: Derrick Crowe: Warning: The following video contains graphic images.

No Credible Evidence' of Iranian Nuclear Weapons, says UN Inspector
By Julian Borger and Richard Norton-Taylor: The UN's chief weapons inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, said today he had seen "no credible evidence" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, rejecting British intelligence allegations that a weapons programme has been going on for at least four years. here
Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True
By Juan Cole: Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace. Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. - Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

PALESTINE: ‘Soon there will be no Christians left’

His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem

"These places are holy for all the people, for the West as well as for Islam, and so this conflict does not concern only two people, Palestinians and Israelis, but people from here to Pakistan," he says.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem tells Ed West that the only thing that will keep the faithful in the Holy Land is a lasting peace.

'Thank you for this interview, I hope you can help us through your good influence on the news," says the man opposite me, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

It's not often one meets a man just one rung below the Pope in the pecking order, or the man who leads the oldest Christian community on earth, so his modesty is touching, but the Patriarch of Jerusalem is a warm and charming man. But one with a depressing message.

"We were the first Christian community in the world. We were not converted to Islam, though lots of people were converted by force. And soon - and it is important - there will be a Christian population no more!"

Indeed. At a speech in Westminster Cathedral this month he made this depressing prediction: "From limiting movement and ignoring housing needs to financial taxation burdens and infringing on residency rights, Palestinian Christians do not know where to turn. The number of Jerusalem Christians, for example, is expected to fall from 10,000 to 5,300 in the coming seven years, if these policies are carried out at the same pace."

Things are very bad for the oldest Christian community on earth - comprising 10 per cent of British Palestine in 1948, they make up just two per cent of the Israel/Palestine area today, and are continually leaving for Europe, Australia, the United States and Latin America.

Being disproportionately middle-class and highly skilled, Palestinian Christians are quite welcome in the West, where there are many large communities already there to help any newcomer.

As well as these strong pulls there are equally strong push factors: a 60-year-long conflict and the economic problems that come from endless violence and the restrictions that follow.

Today, the greatest source of daily inconvenience and resentment is the fence/wall, called by the Israelis "the separation barrier" and by the Arabs the "racial segregation wall", from which it has become the "apartheid wall" in English. It was built to keep out suicide bombers travelling into Israel proper, and has succeeded, but it also divides towns and communities and forces people to wait for long periods to make their way through security checkpoints (priests included). The Patriarch calls it "the humiliation not just of people, but of a people".

Before the Pope's visit in May he even asked the Israeli authorities to make some "courtesy gestures", but nothing happened.

The Holy Father's visit was inevitably controversial, a diplomatic nightmare for a German-born pontiff visiting the Jewish state in conflict with predominantly Muslim enemies and a shrinking Christian minority, in a city claimed by all three Abrahamic religions. It's not even ammunition for Richard Dawkins - more like artillery.

But the Pope, he says, did everything right. "His speech was very well-balanced. He came as a man of peace and dialogue, a good pastor about his flock, and he made a call for Christians to stay, stay, stay in their land. He made the link between the Church of Cavalry, the agony of our Lord, and our agony, our suffering.

"There were 350,000 Christians in Jerusalem before 1940, now there are 10,000 maximum. Israel needs to allow young people to work, and the reunification of families. In 1948 they [the Arab nations] said: 'Go outside for some while and come back.' But they never came back," he shrugs.

The Palestinian Christian diaspora is quite enormous. Outside the Middle East itself there are 35,000 in Canada, 25,000 in Honduras, 5,000 in Mexico, 15,000 in Britain and almost 40,000 in America. Palestinian Christians, he says, are "everywhere" .

The Patriarch is fairly well-travelled himself. Born in October 1940 in Madaba, near the Jordan, he was one of five brothers and four sisters who between them have produced over 100 descendants. His family were Orthodox in the distant past but joined the "more dynamic" Latin Rite Church at some point.

"When the East separated from Rome we were already in the desert and no one asked us our opinion," he jokes.

By the time of the First World War his nomadic ancestors had settled near Amman, which soon became the capital of the British-run Kingdom of Transjordan. Whereas Iraq's royal family were overthrown by Arab nationalists not long after the British military left, the Hashemite rulers of Jordan, King Hussein and his son King Abdullah, have proved to be popular, well-respected and politically cunning rulers.

Unlike the citizens of other Arab nations Jordanians will praise their head of state off the record as well as in public, and His Beatitude's affection is sincere. "We are in harmony with the Hashemite regime," he says. "We are attached. We are proud to be his friend."

The young Fouad entered the seminary in 1959 and was ordained in 1966, becoming a priest in Ramallah in Jordanian-occupied Palestine before moving to Irbid, northern Jordan, in January 1967 (lucky for him. Later that year Ramallah would be fought over by Jordanians and Israelis, and won by the latter).

He entered the diplomatic service in 1977 and worked in Honduras, Egypt, Germany and Peru, before becoming Bishop of Tunis in 1992 and coadjutor Archbishop of Jerusalem in 2005 (and patriarch last year).

"It is a unique diocese," he says of his current station, which covers Jordan, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian territories. "Most have one state and many dioceses. We have many states and one diocese."

So his career began in the Holy Land and now it has reached its summit in the Holy Land. The story has a nice symmetry to it - all that's missing is a solution to the endless haggling over land.

Strangely enough, while religion is at the heart of the conflict, and blamed even for aspects that are not religious but tribal, spiritual leaders have not been consulted enough in this war. This is why the Patriarch meets the Jewish Council for Jewish-Christian relations and other groups that bring together all three faiths.

"We have one important interfaith council, with Jews, Muslims and Christians, and our goal, as stated back in 2002 in Alexandria, is to see what religious leaders can do in this conflict.

"For many years we were forgotten," he says. But the Americans have recently taken an interest and they now meet every three months, although there's a long way to go. Education is actually a big problem.

"The books of religion with which children are being educated do not help for reconciliation, for peace culture, and I don't know who is worst. It would be nice if we had the courage next year to change the books, and start from the beginning to create a new culture where people can live with the other."

Now what? Some solution must be found. The hard-line Palestinians, Hamas, would like to throw all the Jews into the sea, but overwhelmingly Christians side with more secular and moderate forces, and recognise Jewish concerns too.

"We want normal life," he says. "We want Israel to have security, we want Israel to live in peace, but at the same time we can't say if they occupy territory we can have peace, because we cannot. That doesn't work. We say to the Israelis: where do you want to go? Where do you want to go with the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Muslims? There must be another approach. You must cede some territory. I think peace is worth paying the price.

"We cannot throw out five million Israelis from Israel - we cannot and we must not. And they cannot do the same. So if we are condemned to live together, let us prepare to live together. Only peace can stop the Christians emigrating."

Despite all the hardship the surprising thing is just how many priests are ordained in this part of the world, at least two or three every year, despite the shrinking population and the difficulty involved. Most know they'll end up in somewhere like Ramallah and entry rules mean they cannot go home for holidays. But they keep on coming. It's the spiritual lure of Christ's city.

"These places are holy for all the people, for the West as well as for Islam, and so this conflict does not concern only two people, Palestinians and Israelis, but people from here to Pakistan," he says.

One could say that what's illogical about the conflict over the area around Jerusalem, from a strictly practical and materialistic point, is that if both sides gave up a bit they could easily live off the tourism alone.

The Patriarch's mornings are entirely taken up meeting the floods of visitors from Europe and America, hours of meeting and greeting pilgrims, and these are bad times. "All my mornings are - how do you say?" He struggles for the word. I suggest "occupied", and he laughs.

Perhaps tourism may save the Holy City but it would be tragic if Jerusalem became only a Christian Disneyland for western visitors rather than a living Christian community that can date its faith back to the time of the apostles.

Pope Benedict XVI has asked Aid to the Church in Need to prioritize help for the suffering Church in the Middle East. For information and to make a donation, contact here or telephone 020 8642 8668

The Catholic Herald, September 25 2009 Also submitted om

God Bless You!

St. James

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The Moderator

Jerusalem, Palestine


Simple Actions for Peace

Light a Candle for Peace (a beautiful INTERNATIONAL effort) available in many languages. Light yours for someone in special need, for your own personal, national or international intention or just for gratitude and silence. This is a place to come back often and to feel connected to many others around the world in the COMMON SOUL of HUMANITY here -- YOU can also read others' intentions and prayers here as well and add your positive energy and love to their prayers.

PERHAPS YOU WOULD LIKE SUGGESTIONS for ACTIONS you might take with US-International Issues and legislation on PEACE-related items and others such as the ONGOING concerns for people in Gaza and for prisoners still tortured in Bagram and those held indefinitely although innocent of all charges in the US "war on terror"?

TRY THIS: If you go to the most recent posts for your own interests during the last several weeks and check Both ACTION sites as well as COMMENTS you may find something easily suited to your time and interest. Some of these are for THIS WEEK and some are not. But most items of Action are good for a long time - adapted by you.

You may want to go to various topics which concern or interest you - whether listed as ACTIONS or not. You are likely to find NEWLY-ADDED international and US ACTIONS which are quite simple and usually quick to take. Add your own as well in the COMMENTS. Please keep checking these. Note also that many items for US citizens are also ones which can be taken by those in other countries and may even have more impact.

You may also sometime want to check out another blog I do with my friend, Susanne of Germany here

Pretty soon, I hope to UPGRADE some aspects of this blog. Thanx for stopping by and tuning in. Send any personal suggestions with ONEHEARTFORPEACE - Suggestions in Subject heading to me, Connie, at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


National Conference on War Powers, Law, and Democracy
Georgetown Law School, Washington D.C., October 2-3, 2009

Who decides about war and peace? Congress? The President? The Courts? The People? What kind of national defense should the U.S. have? What type of military?

"Who Decides About War?" will confront essential questions raised by the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. These questions are timely, as the process that brought the United States into those wars is widely recognized today as having been flawed at best, dishonest at worst.

This engaging event will bring together activists and academics, public officials and veterans, lawyers and military families. We will use facilitated discussions, panel presentations, and workshops to accomplish two goals:

First, to educate ourselves and each other about the issues involved, the state of the law, and alternatives.

Second, to develop a statement of common principles leading to a more democratic, comprehensive, and durable national defense policy -- one that will honor the Constitution and help keep the United States from entering into unnecessary wars.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have revived and deepened longstanding questions about how and by whom war and peace should be decided under our Constitution and in faith with our democratic aspirations . . .

Read all about it, register, and make plans to attend:


122 State Street Suite 405 | Madison, WI 53703 US

Network for Good

Monday, September 28, 2009

RUMI for Balance

Dave Chihuly Glass
Autumn Gold / Persian Wall

Today, after several months of posting - sending - participating in quite a few items on human rights and concerns about warring, I need a balance. Today, I choose Rumi and the simplest. I celebrate here the Divine in the most common place. The grace, the royalty of our daily walk and our appreciation of the myriad unfolding of paintings all around us in life and creation hourly season by season. I quiver with great joy and anticipation at the first crisp heralding of autumn colors and reflections in my corner of the world - a joy I pray to hold and give as life allows to those who through no fault of their own experience little to none.


You're the road of love, and at the end, my home,

One of the crowd, and yet I see you crowned;

I see you in stars, in the sun, in the moon,

Here in the green leaves, and high on the throne.

#1369, from Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

At times we are hidden, at times revealed;

We are Muslims, Christians, Jews; (and more) of any race.

Our hearts are shaped like any human heart,

But every day we wear a different face.

#1325, from Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

Both above poems are translated by Zara Houshmand

I may not be posting for awhile (except perhaps adding Comments with more updated info from time to time. My goal is to do more than usual to nurture relatings - and get back in touch with my own poetic nature once again - but I'll be back. Meantime, do sift through and skate freely within the posts and leave a comment here and there. Thanx for stopping by, Connie

This morning, I found this comment from a friend who is a kind of seer and definitely a poet who's one of the best read people I know. This quote he sent is exquisitely beautiful and seamlessly fits together life as we find it with inner experience as understood each moment.

Akhtar Wasim Dar said:

THE WAY OF LOVE is a novel by Nigel Watts on early life of Rumi. Following is the ending passage:

Even as be bathed in the sudden light of grace, Jalal knew that this happiness would pass; he knew too that seeking to maintain this state would hasten its end, that only by letting go of God could he keep Him. If he wanted to walk with God, he would have to move continuously, and sometimes that would mean losing Him. And yet Jalal knew that even if desolation was felt again, that the absence from God was not real, that all was God-even the desolation, the loneliness, the nostalgia. Within every cry Jalal raised to the heavens of ‘God, where are you?’ had been hidden God’s answer: ‘Here I am.’ And so it would always be.

One more note:
Also keep in mind the life of ST. FRANCIS AND ST. CLARE who in Assisi long ago inspired many for generations to come who sought to link a life of faith to works of love and peace.

Must Read from Bedoin: Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

English following Arabic
لمن يقرأ العربية: الرجاء إرسال رسالة الكترونية إذا أردت أن تستلم منا مقالات وأخبار بالعربية مرة كل أسبوع
وهالك سؤال للتشجيع قد يدهشك-- من كتب وفي أي سنة؟:

مضى علينا 25 سنة ونحن ننبه إلى الخطر الصهيوني, وندعو إلى اتقائه ودفع مضاره بتأليف الرأي العربي والإسلامي. تسلح كثيرون بهذه الدعوة. فهتف لهم الجمهور ومشى ورائهم فتاجروا بثقته واشتروا بها وظائف ومنافع وارتقوا إلى مقامات وأهملوا الوطن وازدروا أهله. هذا لا ييئسنا بل سنستأنف الجهاد...وطنيتنا السابقة تتلخص في هتاف للزعماء وحفلات تكريم وتأبين واحتجاجات ومظاهرات راحت بظلها الأراضي وأفلتت من أيدينا التجارة وانتقلت إلى غيرنا العمال وفرغت جيوبنا وجاعت بطوننا وصرنا نرحل عن ديارنا. نحن بحاجة إلى وطنية صحيحة تمنع انتقال الأراضي
. الجواب: نجيب نصار, محرر الكرمل. بتاريخ 2-1-32 (قسطندي الشوملي. جريدة الكرمل 1908-1941: دراسة نقدية وفهرس تاريخي. مركز اللقاء للدراسات الدينية والتراثية في الأراضي المقدسة. القدس. 1996. ص 61)
والتاريخ يعيد نفسه

Today, Bethlehem University was forced to close because the Israeli authorities imposed a "closure" of the West Bank because of Yom Kippur holiday. As our students and faculty from Jerusalem cannot get to Bethlehem (a mere 5 miles away) because of this closure, the educational activities cannot be carried out. Also all Palestinians who are lucky enough to have permits to cross into Palestinian Jerusalem (for work, education etc) are also thus forced to take a day off. In the meantime, the repression does not take days off. Israeli authorities are very busy in continued colonial activities from ethnic cleansing to stealing water (80% of the West Bank water is taken by Israel), to kidnapping and holding political prisoners, to starving Gaza, and to violence against people and against nature. Israeli sewage still flows down the valleys of Salfit while Israel forbids Palestinians from building sewage treatment plants. News today is that Israel has told hundreds of citizens in East Jerusalem that they will cutoff the water to their homes (which used to be a mere one cubic meter per person per month, barely enough to drink and cook let alone take showers). The forms of ethnic cleansing continue to morph.

But we cannot blame everything on the occupiers. There are some Palestinians who have been playing by Israeli rules for many years and who purport to represent all Palestinians. Mistakenly, they think they can both try to get our rights from the occupying army and at the same time abide by the rules laid out by the occupying/colonizing forces and their lobbies abroad. This week one example illustrates the issues: Israel is holding the approval of wave lengths agreed to for a cellular company (Wataniya) that invested millions here until the Palestinian "authority" drops its support for involvement of the Internatioanl Criminal Court investigation of war crimes committed buy Israel in Gaza ( ). This shows the impossibility of trying to pressure Israel while abiding by the corrupt and idiotic system created by the Oslo process.

Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN and repeated the same sentences repeated thousands of times before about sticking to the choice of peace and (endless) negotiations and hoping (without any real pressure or evidence of any International pressure) that the International community help advance their own (unfair but still rejected by Israel) UN resolutions and road maps to peace. As Oslo negotiater Dore Gold stated in the Jerusalem Post 6 October 1995" "Oslo 2 is ultimately the creation of a new psychological reality in the West Bank. After initial celebrations, Palestinians will find themselves confined to a certain degree of cantonization."

President Obama's administration has clearly shown itself spineless to stand-up to the Israeli-lobby that is dragging the US into another war with another Middle Eastern country without even agreeing to halt colonial settlement activity for year (like asking a rapist to suspend the rape for a period to allow negotiations!). I can never understand why politicians keep doing the same thing that proved itself a failure and hope for a different outcome! As one author put it in a different context: “Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts. It is epitomized in a historian's statement about Phillip II of Spain, the surpassing wooden-head of all sovereigns: No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence “ (Barbara Tuchman The March of Folly. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984).

Ali Abunimah writes more on this subject in electronic intifada:
here and concludes that the struggle will continue elsewhere. I agree. The Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is growing. Download this excellent issue of The Link from Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU) titled "Ending Israel's Occupation (PDF file) here which succinctly describes the recent BDS successes

And the olive trees in my yard and everywhere promise a great harvest this year so stay tuned and stay active and you certainly are welcome to come join us in the olive harvest :-)

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home here

ACTION Center for Constitutional Rights - International Fight for Justice and Peace

The U.S. is attempting to prevent international investigations - ie in response to the UN Fact-Finding Mission - context of the Gaza Conflict. This report headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, submitted its Report to the U.N. Human Rights Council that documents war crimes.

Support International Law!

ACTION in a nutshell: Write or call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and ask President Obama to stand for human rights and accountability. Insist that he support a strong resolution in the Human Rights Council endorsing and implementing the Report's recommendations and supporting international justice mechanisms if domestic investigations are inadequate. You can also write Ambassador Susan Rice of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. or call (212) 415-4062.

Full Release:

This week the international community has a chance to change course in the fight for justice and peace in the Middle East. We need your help to make it happen.

Today, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, submitted its Report to the U.N. Human Rights Council that documents war crimes including deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians committed in the context of military operations in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. The Report urges the international community to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for serious violations of international law. The Human Rights Council is considering resolutions on the Report's recommendations this week, which include referral to the Security Council, and in the face of inadequate domestic investigations, eventual referral to the International Criminal Court.

Despite the legitimacy of the Mission, the fairness of its mandate and the soundness of its findings, the Obama administration has said it disagrees with many of the Report's recommendations and will try to keep the Report in the Human Rights Council. The U.S. is attempting to prevent international investigations into these war crimes, even though just last week, President Obama told the U.N. that "[t]he U.S. stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation -- one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations." Refusal to support the Report's recommendations in the Human Rights Council would in fact serve to thwart international cooperation and the enforcement of international law.

Help put the pressure on our government to stand by its promises. Write or call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and ask President Obama to stand for human rights and accountability. Insist that he support a strong resolution in the Human Rights Council endorsing and implementing the Report's recommendations and supporting international justice mechanisms if domestic investigations are inadequate. You can also write Ambassador Susan Rice of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. or call (212) 415-4062.

Thank you for standing with us during this critical time in the fight for justice for war crimes.

Annette Dickerson
Center for Constitutional Rights

Protest Musharraf at the Meyerhoff Tues US Sep 29- 7:30- OUTSIDE

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD! Protest to say NO to torture, killing and disappearances no matter where and from whom. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD! Protest to say NO to torture and disappearances. ... Remember the force more powerful than violence!

Remember the force more powerful than violence!
URL for easy sending:

Protest Musharraf at the Meyerhoff Tues US Sep 29th 7:30 OUTSIDE
1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MC 21201-5556

Protest Musharraf at the Meyerhoff

Place: 1212 Cathedral St
Baltimore, MD 21201-5556
Date: September 29, 2009
Time: : Musharraf's speech starts at 8 PM and will be closed to the public. [Be there OUTSIDE Meyerhoff at 7.30 PM]

Why protest?

Because war criminals and the arts do not mix.
The Meyerhoff has done it again! Last year, they hosted war criminal Madeleine Albright and Islam-hater Salman Rushdie as part of their annual Baltimore Speakers Series. This year, they honor former Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf.

Why Protest?

* Musharraf helped "disappear" many innocents to Guantanamo, where they (including child prisoners) were held under horrific conditions, tortured, and abused.

* He ordered the demolition of numerous mosques, from which he feared opposition (this was usually instrumented by Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq, then Minister of Religious Affairs).

* Musharraf is the only Pakistani general to call out 10,000 troops against a major, functioning masjid.

Under his orders, the Red Mosque and Jamia Hafsa Women's Seminary (both in Islamabad) were first besieged by tanks and heavy artillery, then stormed by his elite U.S. trained-commandos.

Over 150 people (by very conservative estimate) were killed in the Lal Masjid massacre. Many of these were young women who'd studied in the madressa. Musharraf’s army also issued a shoot-to-kill order against journalists during the siege. [Unofficial but usually reliable sources say the death toll was above 1,000. Musharraf’s troops used phosphorous against the youths in the mosque. Those killed included the ailing mother of the leader of the mosque.]

For these, and other war crimes, Musharraf ought to be tried--not honored at the Meyerhoff!

We call on all people of conscience to peacefully picket outside the Meyerhoff while Musharraf is speaking

Sunday, September 27, 2009

LIVING ISLAM - Personal Vignettes (various sources)

Aafia, Mariam, Suleman, Ahmad - from happier times

The following is a personal account by Dr. Aafia's brother, Mohammad, content originally published at here This is for me the most touching and beautiful expression of deep faith out of the most agonizing sorrow (from any perspective) which I have read in a long time.

Aafia Siddiqui’s Brother Reflects on Ramadan: Blessings & Hope Amidst Pain and Sorrow

As we come to the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr of 2009, it is the 7th Eid we will celebrate without Aafia being among her friends and family. But we will celebrate. Not because we forget Aafia or because we abandon her but because there are many reasons to celebrate and to be thankful for God’s many, many blessings.

In some ways, for a long time, I could not get myself to see beyond the pain and stress of the whole saga of my sister disappearing with her three young children, and that too under such a notorious cloud of suspicion and innuendo. Celebrations or even allowing oneself to experience the simple pleasures of life seemed wrong and filled me with remorse. After all, Aafia and her children were denied these same treasures of family and friends that only freedom allows, and yet we all take for granted. So, for a long time I put myself in a mental prison with her even though it was neither productive nor therapeutic.

During the last year events have taken our whole family on such a phenomenal roller coaster ride of emotions and stress that I am amazed that we are all still here. Much of this has been played out in public and many of you have had a window into our journey. Aafia is still in a miserable place and it seems like the most powerful forces on earth are determined that she stays there. So many people come up and express sympathy but feel that we are fighting a lost cause – hoping in the face of a hopeless situation. Yet, I find reason to celebrate and have genuine hope.

One of the less publicized benefits of Ramadan is that it gives a person time to slow down and reflect. This month helped bring much into perspective. The break from the physical and mental flurry that has engulfed our family the last few months was put aside for long enough each day to give time to reflect and wonder why? – Why on earth did God do this to Aafia and us all? What did we do to deserve this? Where are the mercy and blessings of the Beneficent and Merciful God? And while I still do not know why, I do realize that there was no shortage of blessings. In fact, just as there has been so much pain that it numbs, there have also been so many blessings that they began to look routine even when some were nothing short of miraculous.

In 2003 when this nightmare began, we were isolated and “friends” began to desert us. Fear of job loss and persecution of our children was not mere speculation. We endured threats, warnings and separation of family. Then we had to mourn what we believed was the death of Aafia and her children – but we could only do so in private and in silence. Yet, God blessed us with relative safety and comfort. We learned that promises were cheap and courage and loyalty were rare. We learned to differentiate between a friend and an acquaintance. We learned to distinguish sincerity from opportunism and the painful lesson that trust is frequently misplaced.

Now, seven Eids later, we find that for each “friend” we lost, we were blessed with a multiple. Our isolation has been transformed into the support of thousands. We witnessed the miracle of resurrection as someone we believed dead was returned to life – not once but twice for us. That same Aafia who was once a pariah is now a unifying element for a whole nation. Her son, we were “guaranteed”, would spend the rest of his life in a US mental institution. Instead, he is living with family and recovering in a loving environment. This in itself would be enough to make one eternally grateful but God’s mercy did not stop here.

Twice during the past year alone, my mother was in critical condition and we were certain she would pass from us without seeing Aafia. Yet, she has recovered significantly. Whether she is destined to see Aafia free, only God knows.

On multiple occasions, supporters were cautioned to back off, but the result somehow was increased momentum. When newspapers were advised to reduce coverage, TV stations stepped in. When banners were discouraged, songs appeared. I cannot explain any of this except as God’s blessing to have brought out people we neither knew nor had the means to employ. What is even more remarkable is that the support has grown to include a broad spectrum of political, ethnic and social cross section of people – from the religious to the secular; from the poor to the elite; from the right wing to the left.

Then, just two months ago, when Aafia’s fate seemed sealed in a US courtroom, and our family was struggling to raise sufficient funds to retain decent lawyers for Aafia, the Pakistani government did something they have never done before for an ordinary citizen. They retained a team of lawyers to pursue a serious defense for Aafia. It was the sincere efforts and prayers of people like many who will read this that resulted in this historic commitment. People set aside differences to join together for a common cause. And we got proof that indeed if we do our part with sincerity, God does His part. This historic act, whatever the motivation, was surprising to the point of shock, even to us.

But as I reflected on this month, it really should not be a shock. For one thing we have experienced in our ordeal is that we too have undervalued and underestimated our heritage and people. It has become too common and acceptable to belittle and dismiss Pakistan and its society as corrupt, callous and self destructive. While there is much to justify these attributes, we also discovered the spirit of the people of Pakistan, their generosity, their passion, their frustration and their desire for peace, respect and dignity. Most of all, we were touched by the hunger for something around which to unify and regain a sense of pride as a nation. And we were humbled when our Aafia became one such symbol.

I have focused largely on the public events only because many of you have been witness to these and can testify to them. There have been many other things for which we are grateful but these will have to remain private for the time being.

To conclude, I would say that while a month of reflection has not answered why we have had to endure this ordeal, three important lessons have become obvious:

1. Recognizing that freedom, family, sincere friends and health are the greatest treasures God has given us. Transforming that recognition into life’s priorities is a challenge we must face every day of our lives.
2. An intimate understanding of why despair is a sin.
3. God’s help does come but not unless one makes every human effort first. And when it does, God does indeed work in mysterious ways and often what we think is good for us is not and what we dread turns out to have unexpected benefits.

With these lessons, I will think of Aafia even more. Not as someone who brought difficulty into our lives but as someone who has helped us, in an odd way, put our priorities into perspective. And while this does not gain her freedom or ease her pain, all the events I have recounted and lessons learned are what give me reason to hope. To hope that one day, God willing, our journey will come to a happy destination and be a source for joy and hope rather than sadness and despair.

My God Bless You


Kamran Pasha Writer

In 2008 as he was working on the NBC drama "Kings," Hollywood screenwriter and author Kamran Pasha received a call from his mother telling him that she wanted to do her Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and as a son it was his duty to accompany her. Reluctant to go, Pasha later wrote on that he often had felt "the need to put my career before my faith, missing prayers and even forgoing some of the fasts of Ramadan to focus on my work." But that material success was coming "at the cost of something far more precious—my relationship with God."

With the blessings of his executive producer Michael Green, Pasha went with his mother and discovered that the Prophet Muhammad's life story was "far more remarkable than any of the Hollywood epics I have written." Pasha came back profoundly affected and put his experiences into his work. He spent two seasons as a writer and co-producer on Showtime's drama "Sleeper Cell" and worked on the recently canceled TV series "Kings," a contemporary retelling of the story of the biblical King David. In an interview with Beliefnet, Pasha said, "There aren't many Muslims in Hollywood, but there are stories that need to be heard, and Muslims like me should be the ones telling those stories."
As told to Belief Net

Speaking of Faith presentation (follow up to stories of Ramadan with Krista)

Each story is quite different from the next and most are quite personal.
The variety of Muslim experience is so important to note. No listener is, of course, expected to agree or approve of all (Muslim or non-Muslims)...try to listen with an open mind toward peace within and without the culture and the individual religious expression. Also be aware some of this is fairly new ground for Krista as well. Some deal with the universal experience of alienation even from one's own family and friends and at time with one's own religious perspectives.

GO here

Here is one I'm adding on September 30, 2009 - Just found this at
Belief Net:

Saturday, September 19, 2009, 12:54 PM EST [General]

Just thought i would write a bit about myself to help people get to know me a little better. I have been a devout regular to this website for a very long time, turning to it in times of need. This website has helped me through some very tough times. So, today i decided to join up, so i can openly communicate with other people out there. Now, here is a bit about me... I am a 19 year old soon-to-be Muslim girl. Currently, i am technically Catholic, but in my heart i am Muslim. I believe that there is no god but Allah(SWT) and that Islam is the TRUE religion. I am so happy and proud to say i have Allah watching over me and guiding me down the right path towards Islam (Insh'Allah). I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful guy, Hassan. (We have been together for over 2 years now). I guess you could say my initial interest in Islam came from him. He gave me numerous Islamic books to read and study, and ever since i have fallen in love with the religion. I have started learning, researching and acting like a Muslim. When i read things about the religion i always find myself nodding my head in agreement. It just feels so right. I have alot of support from my friends (99% of my friends are Muslim). They have told me on numerous occasions they love and support me no matter what. They also help me to further understand the religion. All through my 12 years of schooling i grew up with Muslim friends, so i guess you could say i always had their influence projected onto me. Some people joke i am a 'Muslim at heart' or i have the mentality of a Muslim, becuase i don't drink, smoke, go clubbing, or anything else that is forbidden in Islam. I don't eat bacon, ham or pork and i fast during Ramadan. My brother hates Muslims and Islam and will probably dis-own me when i revert, but that is his prerogative. My mother also has a strong hate for Muslims, that i find hard to deal with, as her support means so much to me. My father doesn't really mind what i do, as long as i'm happy... Well i am tired it's 2.23am and i am going to sleep. Eid is tomorrow in Australia, so HAPPY EID everyone. May Allah continue to bless us, protect us, guide us and love us. Salaams,

US General McChrystal's Frank (Afghanistan) Assessment - 60 Minutes Sunday Sept 27, 2009

URL for CBS NEWS 60 Minutes here

When 60 Minutes went out on patrol with a squad from the 10th Mountain Division, they were not going into a village to root out insurgents but to offer the people protection and help with their daily lives, which the central government in Kabul has so far failed to do.

The only way to win, McChrystal insists, is to earn the support of the people.

McChrystal's new strategy says conventional military operations designed to kill the enemy can never win this war. Destroying homes and accidentally killing civilians in the process only create more insurgents and alienates the population.

In other words, for much of the past eight years, the U.S. has been sowing the seeds of its own demise...

READ Story here

VIDEO: General McChrystal with David Martin - Produced By Mary Walsh


Produced by Mary Walsh
© MMIX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

JUST IN & Recent: The Latest News from the US, Israel and Palestine

See reference to The Parents Circle below news items.

2 hours ago: Michael Oren still 'enjoying every minute' as Israel's ambassador to Washington Twitter here

From The American Palestinian Public Affairs Forum Please go:

Cape Town to host Palestinian Struggle and Human Spirit Film Festival:
Channel 4 Network SA, a Cape Town-based international news network and syndication company, will be hosting a Palestinian film festival from 2-4 October 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. GO: here

A report of apparent double-standard on dating and marriage along with other concerns between Palestinians and Jewish coupling "Anti=Assimilation" Report by Jonathan Cook on Inter-racial dating and marriage: here
This one may be more complete: here and one more here

High Holy Workbook from American Jewish Tikkun (for Jewish and Non-Jewish):

Interview with Israeli Rami Elhanan and Palestinian Bassam Aramin from Circle of Bereaved Parents: Israeli Rami Elhanan and Palestinian Bassam Aramin have both lost daughters in the conflict between their peoples. But instead of demanding revenge, they are working together for peace and reconciliation. Rami and Bassam are part of a 500 strong group called The Circle of Bereaved Parents. Their stories are told in a book called "Nine Lives." here

OBAMA: you need to talk with Hamas! Levy on Haaretz - Haaretzonline/Twitter here



(More to be added to this post on a continuing basis. Please add your own suggestions to Comments...)

Here's an added item for your own personal use whether for peace in a spot of the world. Or perhaps for a beloved friend or family member. Even, perchance there is a spiritual or practical challenge? Yet again, maybe you want to express gratitude or just remain in silence for a few moments? Recently, a dear member and mentor within the movement of forgiveness for those who inflict loss - who is now himself missing has led some of us to pray for his well-being via the use of this site. Try this and tell us if this works for you. OR, find your own candles and light them for significant events? The prayer of Muslims five times a day is a beautiful habit from which we might all learn.

International "Light a Candle" Perhaps begin and/or end your day lighting a candle - Perhaps on this

ONE MILLION CANDLES Peace Initiative, began with the Death of visionary/founder's horrific and unthinkable loss of 15 family members killed in single bomb attack in Gaza! The founder Manal Timraz says on the blogsite onemillioncandles dot blogspot dot: "Following the devastating news on the loss of 15 members of my beloved family (11 Children aged 2-12) in an airstrike in Gaza, I am now more determined than ever to become the loudest voice of the innocent. Join me in breaking the silence and speak the words of peace and justice, felt by the rest of the world." Go to this challenging and welcome blog: here

Read inspiring article on Qatar Air involvement in the campaign - GO here


CONFRONTING THE TRUTH (DVD) is being used widely to show how Truth Commissions work with Societies in Transition (73 minutes)

Steve York and Neil J. Kritz

From USIP Press Books - First published July 2007

Confronting the Truth shows how countries, which have experienced massive human rights violations, have created official, independent bodies known as truth commissions.

Since 1983, truth commissions have been established in over 20 countries, in all parts of the world. Confronting the Truth documents the work of truth commissions in South Africa, Peru, East Timor, and Morocco. Taking testimony from victims and perpetrators, and conducting detailed investigations, truth commissions create a historical record of abuses that have often remained secret. They identify patterns of abuse, and the structural and institutional weaknesses, and societal and cultural problems, and weak legal systems that made the violation possible. To remedy these faults, they recommend governmental, societal and legal reforms to address the pain of the past, to safeguard human rights and due process, and to ensure that the horror will not be repeated.
Editorial Review

"Confronting the Truth" shows how countries, which have experienced massive human rights violations, have created official, independent bodies known as truth commissions.

Since 1983, truth commissions have been established in over 20 countries, in all parts of the world. Confronting the Truth documents the work of truth commissions in South Africa, Peru, East Timor, and Morocco. Taking testimony from victims and perpetrators, and conducting detailed investigations, truth commissions create a historcial record of abuses that have often remained secret. They identify patterns of abuse, and the structural and instituional weaknesses, and societal and cultural problems, and weak legal systems that made the violation possible. To remedy these faults, they recommend governmental, societal and legal reforms to address the pain of the past, to safeguard human rights and due process, and to ensure that the horror will not be repeated.

This video is 73 minutes long and in stereo. Please note that there are two different English language DVDs: one for PAL technology and one for NTSC technology.

Steve York is a veteran documentary filmmaker who has worked in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America on subjects ranging from religious fundamentalism to American history to nonviolent conflict. His programs are regularly seen on PBS and the networks, and have been recognized with awards at major film and television festivals and competitions.

For his work on historical themes, he has received a Peabody Award (ABC News Special, Pearl Harbor: Two Hours That Changed the World, anchored by David Brinkley) and a Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival (ABC News Turning Point at Normandy: The Soldiers' Story, with Peter Jennings). He also produced Remembering The Bomb, filmed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the fortieth anniversary of the atomic bombings.

Neil J. Kritz is the Associate Vice President of the Institute's Rule of Law Program, which focuses on advancing peace through the development of democratic legal and governmental systems. Kritz conducts ongoing research, writing, and consultation on the question of how societies deal with a legacy of past abuses. He is the editor of a three-volume work, Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes, and he has provided advice and organized conferences on questions of war crimes and mass abuses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.

In 1990–91, at the request of the Russian Constitutional Commission, Kritz coordinated two expert reviews of the draft Russian constitution. He directs Institute working groups on humanitarian law, constitution-making, and the administration of justice during peacekeeping operations.

Since 1999, he has chaired a Palestinian-Israeli legal dialogue. At the request of the United States Department of Defense, Kritz prepared a curriculum on international law and the promotion of democracy for use in training United States and foreign military officials.

He has studied and written on the advancement of the rule of law through regional organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Before coming to the Institute, Kritz served as special assistant to the chairman at the Administrative Conference of the United States. He holds a J.D. from American University's Washington College of Law.

Related Titles

* Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes, Volume I: General Considerations
* Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes, Volume II: Country Studies
* Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes, Volume III: Laws, Rulings, and Reports
* Watching the Wind: Conflict Resolution during South Africa's Transition to Democracy

See our list of new and forthcoming titles - GO here

Also order here in Arabic, English, Kurdish and Serbio-Croation - GO here
and VIEW here


(Blogger's note: Professor/Writer par excellence, Marjorie Cohn (President of the National Lawyers Guild) has said that these commissions work much better with nations without long-established democracies such as that in the USA. That is why she and many others who speak for justice have strongly advised that the US needs Special Investigation and Prosecution to address the grave human rights abuses and war crimes of the last all too many years of the Bush administrations.)

VIGIL for Middle East Peace //Call for Reflections

A nun at a Dominican church in Jerusalem holds a candle during a prayer for peace in the Gaza Strip (CNS photo/Eliana Aponte, Reuters)

See bottom of post for the Call for Reflections and also a URL to article on
One Million Candles Campaign for Gaza

Prayer Vigil for Middle East Peace

Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Durham Friends Meeting
404 Alexander Ave.
Durham, NC 27705
For more about this place of peace:

Click here for MAP to Event:
here ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

God invites to the abode of peace, and guides whom He pleases to the right way. (Quran 10:25)

The Prayer Vigil for Middle East Peace is held in area congregations on the 4th of every month. This monthly service is a part of a national movement initiated by Churches for Middle East Peace (, committed to the principles of a just peace and to solidarity with Christians, Muslims and Jews. The participants of this effort agree to pray together until a lasting and just peace is secured in Israel and Palestine. Each state across the United States is designated a day in the month to hold the prayer vigil. In North Carolina, it is the 4th of each month.

Please join us for the monthly prayer service for Middle East Peace at Durham Friends Meeting. In this vigil, we will gather as a community in solidarity to the people of the Holy Land, reflect on recent events and pray for justice and peace. Prayer vigil will be held at 7pm.

Phone 919-286-4958 for more information.

We look forward to seeing you there.
Coalition for Peace with Justice
A wonderfully informative site r

Inspiring story: Airlines delivers One Million Candles to Gaza:
here One Million Candles Peace Initiative (Death of 15 family members killed in single bomb attack in Gaza sad catalyst for this beautiful campaign by family member!)

Water running out in Gaza! IC Red Cross here
MIDEAST: Gaza's Water Supply Near Collapse By Mel Frykberg

CALLING FOR CONTEMPLATIVE REFLECTIONS (prayers, quotes, poems, meditations or very short bios) about persons of any faith and any time. Example: the following posted item from Lady Julian of Norwich and if you scroll through this blogsite oneheartforpeace you will find more. (from Allama Iqbal and others)

Please send these to: Connie at Place in your subject heading:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ACTIONS - Sep 27th UPDATE: G-20 - Protest - over-reaction of US Military- Police Officials?/// ALSO: IMMIGRANTS concerns

UPDATES ON possible over-reach of US Justice Officials: blogger here at oneheart, Connie Nash added notes with (( )) which you can easily delete if wished before sending on the part of following you wish. (See another action underneath this one with special concern for IMMIGRANTS.)

BACKGROUND: Thousands opposed to G-20 march through Pittsburgh - Yahoo! News
A vociferous but peaceful group of several thousand people marched for miles through downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, ... G20 Summit. Play Video of Protests here
JUST IN: September 27:The most blatant show of military and police force left protesters tear-gassed, subject to piercing sound, shot with rubber bullets, and not allowed to assemble, while the population of Pittsburgh was kept off the streets and rounded up along with people there to deliver messages of opposition to the G-20 ministers.

We put a quick letter together which we will deliver on Thursday. Please circulate this link everywhere so that thousands sign on.

READ Cindy Sheehan's letter - See Videos of Police Arrests from Pittsburgh - and SIGN/register your concerns - GO here

(( I signed with the following statement: The over-reach of police/military activity and arrest is being seen the world-over. Do US citizens need even the appearance of fascism? What happened to free speech and the right to protest non-violently?))

((Look for coverage from Rob Kall of the NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD - see Recently this Press Release from NLG posted with comments at Common Dreams: here
Leave your own on oneheartforpeace or elsewhere.))

SIGN this letter of outrage at right, to be sent to federal and PA authorities. Deadline 10-1-2009 GO here

CONTACT these officials:

Luke Ravenstahl: Mayor of Pittsburgh 412-255-2626
Nathan Harper: Chief of Police, Pittsburgh 412-323-7800
Ed Rendell: Governor of Pennsylvania 717 787-2500

People of conscience must stand together in outrage and not accept this repression from the government on the people. We cannot allow these actions to go quietly into the night and be forgotten. We are seizing the opportunity to have our voices heard in unison, denouncing the fascist direction of this country. It is with the utmost urgency and for the sake of stopping the police state and reversing this course that WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.

By signing this statement we pledge to do everything we can to call attention to, and demand justice for those unjustly arrested and charged at the G-20 in Pittsburgh. The world can't wait! Outraged by the police/military repression of protest at the G-20 in Pittsburg? Sign this letter!


To: Homeland Security & Elected Officials & Law Enforcement in Pennsylvania

Thousands of people gathered in Pittsburgh during the recent "G-20" meetings came to dissent and express political demands. They were repeatedly denied the right to assemble over several days, and were met with a militarized police state.

We denounce the city of Pittsburgh, especially the Mayor, for combining domestic and military agencies for the purposes of surveillance of the protesters; riot squads on bicycles, and military troop transports; use of agent infiltrators into political groups, and provocateurs on the streets; revocation and denial of permits to assemble and mass arrests of protesters & bystanders alike, with weapons of mass destruction used on the people who only stand to exercise their freedom of speech.

Nearly 300 people were arrested, including juveniles. Some were physically abused, with use of batons and projectile devices. The charges are demonstrably political charges devoid of actual crimes committed.

Such abuses against protesters are NOT acceptable. We demand:

1) Charges against people involved in political protest at the G-20 be dropped immediately.

2) A thorough investigation of methods employed by law enforcement, and directed by Homeland Security and Chief of Police, including the crowd control methods and mass arrests; the conditions of detention of those arrested; and any ongoing surveillance and interference with the rights of those accused, arrested, or involved in the protests are contrary to the expectation of the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Such investigations must include public hearings, and a real search for the truth in what happened.

3) A public report, dissociating your city from those methods found to suppress speech and assembly, and guarantee to the people that they will not be used again.

4) Rejection of the use of military involvement, or the use of federal agents in future protests.


Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait

FBI Data-Mining System Sifts Citizens' Travel Records
Wired News Wed, 23 Sep 2009 04:14 AM PDT

The FBI's got a secret database for terror, criminal and spying investigations, and according to government documents acquired by Wired DOT com, there are tens of thousands of records detailing Americans' airline flights, hotel stays and car rentals. The FBI is trying to use the database to predict future crimes.

--- Justice for Immigrants wrote:

From: Justice for Immigrants
Subject: It's not too late to tell Congress to stand up for immigrants!
Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 3:46 PM

Immigrants STILL need protection

Take Action!
Contact your Senator on Health Care and Immigrants

Background: On September 16, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), introduced his version of health care reform in the Senate. The Senate Committee on Finance will likely debate this bill during the week of September 21. A key issue in the Senate will be whether legal immigrants are included in any health care reform proposal that moves forward.

Action: Your action is needed to ensure that legal and other vulnerable immigrants are treated fairly in health care reform. Significant grassroots pressure would send a message to Washington that Catholics consider immigrant health care an important priority. Please CALL your senators ASAP and ask that Congress to treat immigrants fairly in health care reform.

1) If you live in a state that has a Senator on the SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, we especially need you to make calls!
Toll-free lines for ENGLISH:

Arizona: JON KYL: 877-426-8013
Arkansas: BLANCHE L. LINCOLN: 877-386-0172
Delaware: THOMAS CARPER: 877-386-0172
Florida: BILL NELSON: 877-386-0172
Idaho: MIKE CRAPO: 877-426-8013
Iowa: CHUCK GRASSLEY: 877-426-8013
Kansas: PAT ROBERTS: 877-426-8013
Kentucky: JIM BUNNING: 877-426-8013
Maine: OLYMPIA J. SNOWE: 877-386-0172
Massachusetts: JOHN F. KERRY: 877-386-0172
Michigan: DEBBIE STABENOW: 877-386-0172
Montana: MAX BAUCUS: 877-386-0172
Nevada: JOHN ENSIGN: 877-426-8013
New Jersey: ROBERT MENENDEZ: 877-386-0172
New Mexico: JEFF BINGAMAN: 877-386-0172
New York: CHARLES E. SCHUMER: 877-386-0172
North Dakota: KENT CONRAD: 877-386-0172
Oregon: RON WYDEN: 877-386-0172
Texas: JOHN CORNYN: 877-426-8013
Utah: ORRIN G. HATCH: 877-426-8013
Washington: MARIA CANTWELL: 877-386-0172
West Virginia: JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV: 877-386-0172
Wyoming: MIKE ENZI: 877-426-8013

(These toll-free lines will have a message that will prepare you to send a message about immigrant inclusion.)

Toll-free lines for SPANISH:

Arizona: JON KYL: 877-559-7809
Arkansas: BLANCHE L. LINCOLN: 866-584-3962
Deleware: THOMAS CARPER: 866-584-3962
Florida: BILL NELSON: 866-584-3962
Idaho: MIKE CRAPO: 877-559-7809
Iowa: CHUCK GRASSLEY: 877-559-7809
Kansas: PAT ROBERTS: 877-559-7809
Kentucky: JIM BUNNING: 877-559-7809
Maine: OLYMPIA J. SNOWE: 866-584-3962
Massachusetts: JOHN F. KERRY: 866-584-3962
Michigan: DEBBIE STABENOW: 866-584-3962
Montana: MAX BAUCUS: 866-584-3962
Nevada: JOHN ENSIGN: 877-559-7809
New Jersey: ROBERT MENENDEZ: 866-584-3962
New Mexico: JEFF BINGAMAN: 866-584-3962
New York: CHARLES E. SCHUMER: 866-584-3962
North Dakota: KENT CONRAD: 877-386-0172
Oregon: RON WYDEN: 866-584-3962
Texas: JOHN CORNYN: 877-559-7809
Utah: ORRIN G. HATCH: 877-559-7809
Washington: MARIA CANTWELL: 866-584-3962
West Virginia: JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV: 866-584-3962
Wyoming: MIKE ENZI: 877-559-7809

2) If you do not live in a state that has a Senator on the Senate Finance Committee, you can call the Capitol Switchboard:

English: 866-974-8813
Spanish: 866-584-3909

JULIAN OF NORWICH Universal visionary for our time

English mystic Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) understood the concept of universal salvation and cosmic optimism. One of her saying which is referred as her most famous catches great attention: “ALL SHALL BE WELL, AND ALL SHALL BE WELL, AND ALL MANNER OF THING SHALL BE WELL”.

In this site one heart for peace if you scroll through the various items on human rights you will also find how enthralled I have become with the works of Allama Iqbal who LIKE Lady Julian received revelations and visions. He also expressed similar optimism and beauty in his poetry, writings and reflections.

We need this optimism today as an antidote to despair and a reminder that there is a goal and for many of us ACROSS THE BOARD in various traditions there is a spirituality that is so much deeper, more beautiful and filled with for us ACTUAL promises of PEACE on EARTH for which we don't need to wait yet can PRACTICE and know even now. *

PEACE to all who come to this site. Please add your own Comments with your own similar guidelines - quotes, poems, reflections for HOPE that is more than just an Orwellian doublespeak yet brings the future optimism into EVER-PRESENT faith we can actually live with one another NOW. Please forgive me you who are part and parcel of our work for peace and human rights who understandably cannot now or maybe ever accept such outpourings of faith and the use of the word God in our day and time. I'm so empathetic and have many loved ones who LIVE such loving lives for the powerless who are unable to share this faith in optimism and the Divine.

For you perhaps, you might try substituting here the word LOVE or SILENCE or PEACE for the word God...and perhaps you might substitute your own trusted Prophet or Spiritual Mentor for the word Christ? My daughter taught me this method when she was very young and this works for me sometimes when I'm in moments of "unfaith" or just needing a fresh approach.

Faith is
nothing else but
a right understanding
of our being -
and allowing things to be;

A right understanding
that we are in God
and God
whom we do not see
is in us.

God feels great delight
to be our Father
and God feels great delight
to be our Mother
and God feels great delight
to be our true Spouse
and our soul the loved Wife.

Christ feels great delight
that He is our Brother
and Jesus feels great delight
that He is our Liberator.

These are five great joys
that God wants us to enjoy.

From Meditations With Julian of Norwich by Brendan Doyle.

(The Mandarin Characters spell the name Julian)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Case to Scrutinize CIA-Led Extraordinary Renditions

AP Prosecutor Armando Spataro gestures, during the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect, Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. Prosecutors began closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terrorism suspect. The arguments by prosecutor Armando Spataro signaled the final phase of the first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary renditions program. Spataro's arguments, including the specific sentence he wants for each defendant, are expected to continue into next week. A verdict is expected by year's end. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) (Luca Bruno, AP / September 23, 2009)

"Kidnapping...damaged the fight against terrorism, prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians charged with orchestrating a CIA-led abduction."

"...first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program."

"Unbelievable and a little bizarre"

See the rest....

Official title:

First CIA rendition trial enters final phase with closing arguments in Milan court

9:00 am CDT Colleen Barry AP Writer -- Wednesday Sept 23, 2009

MILAN (AP) — The kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric damaged the fight against terrorism, prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians charged with orchestrating a CIA-led abduction.

The arguments by prosecutor Armando Spataro signaled the final phase of the first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. Prosecutors allege that the 26 Americans were mostly CIA agents who worked with Italian intelligence to organize the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street in February 2003.

"The kidnapping of Imam Abu Omar on Feb. 17, 2003 damaged the fight against terrorism by offering to the same terrorists an excuse to give sermons that gave the impression that ours is not a real democracy but a so-called democracy," Spataro said.

Two protesters broke into the trial at the end of the morning session demanding "justice for Abu Omar." A handful of others outside the courthouse said they were prevented from entering the public trial, with scores of riot police blocking the entrance to the courthouse.

Spataro gave a detailed rendering of the evidence against the American defendants, while the case against the Italians will be laid out next week. The closing arguments will conclude with the sentence he wants for each defendant. A verdict is expected by year's end.

Prosecutors say Nasr, a suspected terrorist, was driven from Milan to Aviano Air Base in Italy, flown to Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany and then to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured. Nasr has been released but remains in Egypt and has not testified at the trial.

The case is the first to scrutinize so-called extraordinary renditions, under which the CIA transferred terrorism suspects to third countries for interrogation. Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the agency's way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where torture was practiced.

The CIA has declined to comment on the Italian case, and all the Americans are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives. The Italian government has denied any involvement, and all defendants, or their lawyers, have denied the charges.

Cesare Bulgheroni, a lawyer hired to represent Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who was head of security at Aviano at the time, filed a U.S. Department of Defense request for the Italian court to transfer the case to a U.S. military court since the alleged actions happened while he was carrying out his duties. The judge rejected the motion.

Spataro called the request "unbelievable and a little bizarre," noting that it came 2 1/2 years after the trial began...

READ the REST: here

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Also see: here

from this URL: here Council of Europe: Ireland, stop US torture flights

IN the SPOTLIGHT: 10 Ways the US Military Has Shoved "Christianity" (so-called) Down Muslims' Throats

NOTE: This post should make apparent the UGLY side of Religion of any sort - Especially Pseudo-Christianity today which marries Warfare to this sick brand of so-called "evangelical Christianity"... or any other Pseudo-Religion.

We need to constantly compare and ask what is the difference between the "terrorisms" of our day? And where can we find, demonstrate and dialogue with the beautiful aspects of various spirituality which love and foster peace? (These are available and need more exposure since the "dark side" is getting way too much.)


It's not just private religious organizations that act like Christian crusaders.

IF the above doesn't get to our American Consciences, TRY THESE:

Take a look at the video called "This Is Where We Take Our Stand" (here ) which shows a U.S. veteran in tears after having mistakenly called in air strikes against an Afghan village.

For powerful footage along the same lines see the "Winter Soldier" videos: here

Or consider showing Robert Greenwald's new film "Rethink Afghanistan." (ADD PAKISTAN) There are six parts available now online, covering the civilian casualties, the financial costs of escalation, the futility of the occupation, the impact on Pakistan, the impact on women, and expert views on the impossibility of "victory." Check it out: here

"No Good War, No Good Drone" By David Swanson (With Practical Actions)

Predator Drone - Photo courtesy of Dark Gov and internet (copyright not specified)

From Tue, 2009-09-22 on AfterDowningStreet dot org
See Other related Links at After Downing Street

* Activism
* Afghanistan
* Iran
* Pakistan

This Article, "No Good War, No Good Drone" shows emphasis with CAPS which are blogger's here at oneheartforpeace....

Eight years of slaughter, and not so much as a hint at what a "victory" would look like. It's gotten to the point where even polls by Fox News show a majority of Americans against escalating the war in Afghanistan, and polls by more honest organizations show a majority wanting to bring home the troops that are there now.

But our so-called representatives in Congress are reluctant to "interfere" with their own primary Constitutional responsibilities, and the so-called executive whom they've given free reign is undecided about whether to listen to us or the military. THERE'S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO "GO OUT THERE AND MAKE HIM DO IT."

On Monday, October 5, citizens from across the country will join together at the White House in nonviolent resistance to and demonstration against the ongoing wars. You can safely demonstrate or you can choose to risk arrest as many of us will be doing. Sign up now at here

The more people who come, the more reluctant the police will be to arrest anyone, and the more reluctant our government will be to defy the will of the majority we represent. IF YOU CANNOT COME TO DC, YOU CAN CALL YOUR CONGRESS MEMBER ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 5th at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote NO ON ANY MORE MONEY FOR WARS. Here's where your congress member stands: here And here are two lists of events happening all over the country marking 8 years in the Graveyard of Empires: here and here

If, on the other hand, you CAN join us in our empire's capital, please consider coming for more than one day. On October 2nd and 3rd, Friday and Saturday (and you can come for just Saturday too), there will be a CONFERENCE at GEORGETOWN LAW SCHOOL in downtown Washington, D.C., that you won't want to miss called "Who Decides About War?" Here are some of the speakers:

* Jean Athey, Peace Action, Montgomery County, MD
* Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
* Leah Bolger, National Vice-President, Veterans for Peace
* John Bonifaz, Attorney at Law
* Elaine Brower, Military Families Speak Out
* Prof. Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild
* Rep. Michael Fisher, State Representative, Lincoln, Vermont
* Bonnie Gorman, Military Families Speak Out, Boston
* Mort Halperin, Senior Adviser, Open Society Institute, Keynote Speaker
* Sen. Richard Madaleno, State Senator, Montgomery County, Maryland
* Ben Manski, Esq., Executive Director, Liberty Tree
* Geoff Millard, Chair of the Board of Directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
* John Nichols, Esq., The Nation magazine
* Caleb Rossiter, Professor, International Service, American University
* Jeremy Scahill, author, Blackwater, Keynote Speaker
* Benson Scotch, Senior Legal Counsel, Bring the Guard Home! It's the Law.
* David Swanson, Founder, After Downing Street
* Don Wallace, Professor, Georgetown Law School

Learn more: WhoDecidesAboutWar here

Wouldn't it be nice to hold a conference like this in your own town? You easily can, by arranging for one or more of these speakers to be there, and by using the magic of video. Videos of this DC conference will be made available. And there are wonderful videos already out there. For example, take a look at the videos called "This Is Where We Take Our Stand" ( here ). The latest one shows a U.S. veteran in tears after having mistakenly called in air strikes against an Afghan village. For more powerful footage along the same lines see the "Winter Soldier" videos: here

Or consider showing Robert Greenwald's new film "Rethink Afghanistan." There are six parts available now online, covering the civilian casualties, the financial costs of escalation, the futility of the occupation, the impact on Pakistan, the impact on women, and expert views on the impossibility of "victory." Check it out: here

But please don't do events without music. I did some events this week with the amazing music of David Rovics here A musician in DC named Brenda Elthon just sent me this wonderful set of songs: And of course Emma's Revolution and dozens of great groups that I pre-apologize for not mentioning have been leading the way for years now: here

And do not -- I repeat -- do NOT hold an event meant to educate without making sure that people will attend who do not already agree, or without videotaping the event and immediately posting the video online. We actually have the technology and the reach needed to educate this country. We've already turned a majority against all wars, Republican wars, Democratic wars, bad wars, "good" wars. But our understanding of war, of what creates it, and of how exactly to stop it needs to deepen.

I received an Email today celebrating the "morality" of pulling out troops and sending more drones. Others have begun pushing the idea that Afghanistan may be, like Iraq, the "wrong" war, whereas the REAL "right" war is in Pakistan. All such talk reveals the thinness of our war opposition. Talking about the financial cost of war and the cost to the war-makers themselves can be useful if it brings a specific war to an end. But we must not stop clearly demanding an end to wars because they kill people. Period. Complicating the issue is not strategic or smart. It can be severely damaging. We must end all aggressive wars, or ending any one of them will just launch the next one.

Lobbying a president to end wars can be useful if it communicates the message far and wide, but presidents will never end the use of war, and strengthening the misunderstanding that such decisions should be up to presidents can do great damage. Influencing a president is almost impossible. Influencing a senator is extremely difficult. Influencing a House member is actually feasible and strategic. And luckily, we don't need the White House or the Senate in order to end wars. All we have to do is convince our representatives that we will give them hell, make their lives miserable, and vote them out of office if they vote for any more funding. That is the message you should call with on Monday, October 5th.

David Swanson is the author of the new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press. You can order it and find out when tour will be in your town: here