Saturday, October 31, 2009

NEW YORK events include Free Fahad Campaign, Hearing Dr. Aafia Siddiqui & Tina Foster, Bagram Habeas Litigation



NOTE: Important events NYC concerning detainees including vigil-program with well-Known New York actors to help free Fahad MONDAY eve - then a court hearing for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Tuesday. See campaign and legal documents on Free Fahad(who has a great three lawyer team) NOTE: Other important events this coming weeks in NYC concerning detainees where lots of legal work has been done to set stage for hearings and coming trials - among the few scheduled inside US (NYC-Manhatten) email contacts for more information at Muslims for Justice dot Com GO: here and Free Fahad dot com Go here Email contacts at these sites for more information.

Wednesday November 4, 7 pm: Talk - Torture and Lies: The Story Of Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A. Talk by ANDY WORTHINGTON at Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th Street, New York. 212-691-3345 Revolution Books, NYC Friday November 6 at 8 PM: Film screening - Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo, Followed by Q&A. Screening at Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor, New York. With special guest TINA FOSTER (International Justice Network, Bagram habeas litigation) and moderator Debra Sweet, Director, 646-732-3261.

Beginning Nove 11th-- Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A. Berkeley, California, venue tbc. Phone: 415 864 5153 and staff of USF School of Law. Phone: 510-848-1196 Also dates with British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, Street Protests & Die-Ins on the evening President Obama announces the plan to expand the occupation of Afghanistan. That's the night the media will be looking for response from the people. Get signs and banners ready. More at: The World Can't Wait...and more details below at earlier notice.

Find quick announcements concerning protests, media, etc. at here and here and for a lawsuit fired against Psychologist Torturer: here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New York & San Francisco Events on Gitmo Beg. Nov 4th

New York:

Wednesday November 4, 7 pm: Talk - Torture and Lies: The Story Of Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A.
Talk by Andy Worthington at Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th Street, New York. 212-691-3345 Revolution Books, NYC

Friday November 6, 8 pm: Film screening - Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo, Followed by Q&A.
Screening at Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor, New York.
With special guest Tina Foster (International Justice Network, Bagram habeas litigation) and moderator Debra Sweet, Director, 646-732-3261. This event is sponsored by Alwan for the Arts and The World Can't Wait

Saturday November 7, 4:30-6:30 pm: An Afternoon with Andy Worthington, hosted by The World Can't Wait. The Art Club, 100 Reade Street, Tribeca, New York. Selections from "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo" and a chance to meet Andy Worthington, and to benefit the work of The World Can't Wait in stopping the US torture state. Donations requested.

San Francisco Bay Area:

Tuesday November 10, 7 pm: Film screening - Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A. Berkeley, California, venue tbc. Phone: 415 864 5153
This event is sponsored by Berkeley students and World Can't Wait.

Wednesday November 11, 12 noon: Film screening - Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A. University of San Francisco School of Law, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117. Contact: Elizabeth Hinchman. Please note that this screening is for students and staff of USF School of Law. This event is sponsored by the University of San Francisco School of Law

Wednesday November 11, 7 pm: Talk - Torture and Lies: The Story of Guantánamo. Followed by Q&A. Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. Phone: 510-848-1196 Revolution Books, Berkeley

More dates in DC/VA

And, from another hero, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, How a Torture Protest Killed a Career

Surging on or Droning on?

ALERT: Street Protests & Die-Ins on the evening President Obama announces the plan to expand the occupation of Afghanistan. That's the night the media will be looking for response from the people. Get signs and banners ready, and make your gathering plans now.

Whether Barack Obama announces a troop increase to Afghanistan, or chooses the covert operations & unmanned drone option to try to "win" in Afghanistan, we should be in the streets opposing any escalation.

The only acceptable announcement to come from the administration would that they're withdrawing combat troops, support troops, CIA drones, covert operations, and all private contractors NOW.

From Ken Theisen on worldcantwait.net:

NATO and the Expansion of the Afghan War

Afghan Government "Legitimacy" is Critical to U.S. Imperialism

November 21 - 22 New York City

We're extending the invitation to this meeting far beyond activists already working with World Can't Wait. Everyone will contribute; everyone will learn a lot and be part of bringing this movement forward in 2010 toward more decisive and determined resistance.

Writers, students, thinkers, non "activists" all welcome at this meeting. Register now. Details forthcoming.

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait----------

The Coming of Age by Faraz Haider



images added boldly by Connie

A burning desire within always consumes all contradictions and doubt that come its way!

Submit to it! Resist it no more.
Since your desires will be a reflection of the thoughts you keep. Think good!
And spend time in the presence of God - through HIS remembrance!
For this is the key to 'great thoughts'!
For what you think will come your way!
Thus to entertain 'evil thoughts' is a play with fire!
In HIS presence you will have HIS protection!
HE inspires good thoughts.

Recognize the 'Holy' around you so you may find HIM!

So follow your heart and go where you must!

So the flame within will become stronger!

And the daemons you have become friends with will burn away!

And the weak man will go.
The powerful man will take his place.



See the Comments Go here

NEW: Torture Flight Ruling/ /Gitmo Trials Allowed in US: UPDATE from Bill of Rights Defense Committee (US)

Current News

Find these below and more at bordc dot org add slash news or simply scroll down:

10/27, William J. Bratton, Los Angeles Times, The LAPD fights crime, not illegal immigration

10/27, Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, Court to reconsider CIA 'torture flight' ruling

10/27, Adam Serwer, TAPPED: Blog of The American Prospect, Report: FBI Lacks Linguists To Process Intelligence Information

10/27, Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian (UK), Move to withhold evidence in torture collusion claim

10/27, Andy Worthington, Public Record, Senate Finally Allows Guantanamo Trials In U.S., But Not Homes For Innocent Men

Bill of Rights Defense Committee (Started by former Amnesty notable: Chip Pitts - I believe he may have been the first to use the phrase publically that our torture network worldwide was a "gulag archipelago" of prisons (perhaps from Irene Khan in a press release?)

Find these above and more at bordc dot org add slash news or simply scroll down:

LESSONS for many nations? (Including the US) Myanmar: Judges and Lawyers

LONG yet invaluable for MANY nations to take a hard cold and activist look and improve prevent before worse incurs...Connie

===================

Key problems for the Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:50 PM ET from:"HREA"

Asian Human Rights Commission Press release

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) welcomes the news of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, in his press conference of 22 October 2009 that the Chief Justice of Myanmar, U Aung Toe, has accepted a visit by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. As the AHRC has studied the situation of judges and lawyers in Myanmar very closely, we would like to preface discussions concerning this important trip with the following general comments.

First, the problem of the non-independence of the judiciary in Myanmar is a 50-year-old problem. It began with the caretaker government of General Ne Win in 1958, and since 1962 there has been no independent judiciary at all. In the 1960s and 70s the structure and habits of the independent judiciary were completely destroyed. So the problem of a non-independent judiciary in Myanmar is not just one of a military dictatorship. It is not the sort of problem with which the rapporteur will be familiar from the past experiences of countries in the Americas, where judiciaries were variously co-opted and cajoled by military dictators to go along with their agendas, or were marginalized and bypassed if they failed to cooperate. It is a more comprehensive problem of the thorough demolition of the independent judiciary, from top to bottom, over a period of decades, to the extent that the notion of an independent judge upon which the Special Rapporteur's mandate it premised no longer exists in Myanmar at all.

Therefore, it is not a problem that will be addressed with some short recommendations for changes in personnel and laws. It is a problem that ultimately will take decades to address, just as it took decades to create.

Second, the problem of the total loss of habits of an independent judiciary is not only among judges and law officers (prosecutors) in Myanmar but also among defence lawyers. Ordinary defence lawyers see their role not as advocates of law but as brokers. This is because ordinary criminal cases are decided through payment of money between the parties, to the police, the prosecutor, the judge and other personnel. The Government of Myanmar itself to some extent acknowledges the corruption in the system, but is unable to address it because the corruption extends to all parts of government, because there are no institutional means to address it, and because the cooperation of the judiciary with the official programme depends upon its personnel being able to make money out of their positions. Therefore, the problem of the non-independence of the judiciary is intimately tied to the problem of endemic corruption.

Third, the problem of non-independence and the problem of corruption together mean that people in Myanmar have zero confidence in the courts. People come before the judiciary because they are brought before it on charges. Most are poor people who are not represented by lawyers, a fact adverted by the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar in his last report when he remarked of his visits to jails on his previous trip that nobody whom he spoke to at random had had legal counsel, and that some did not know the meaning of the word "lawyer". Some businesspeople also use the courts as part of their commercial negotiations, because if they have more resources than their rival then they can buy judges to settle disputes. But ordinary people do not bring genuine complaints to the courts. This is because there is no perception of the courts as places where someone can find justice.

It is also because the courts have less power than other parts of the state apparatus. Instead, a person with a grievance against a state official will take the complaint to a senior person in that part of the administration to which the official belongs, such as the police or the Ministry of Home Affairs. Rather than being able to rely upon the judicial process to consider a complaint, the complainant must hope, in the manner of feudal rule, that someone high up will hear his or her prayer, take sympathy and do something about it. Therefore, the problem of non-independence is intimately tied to the loss of confidence in the system.

Fourth, the problems of non-independence, corruption and no confidence are tied to the non-separation of powers in other parts of the state. For the last half-century Myanmar has been run by decree or, for about 14 years, by a one-party parliament that was anyhow under executive control. The non-independence of the judiciary is intimately connected to the non-separation of the executive and legislative functions. Its role has been completely changed from a body to interpret and apply statute in individual cases to a body to enforce pronouncements that are described as "laws" but that have never had any legislative backing, nor, for most of the time, any constitutional framework; they are only "laws" insofar as laws can be made without a law-making organ and in the absence of a supreme law to give them coherence. Therefore, the problem of non-independence cannot be properly addressed until the non-separation of powers is properly addressed. You will be informed by the government that this will soon be done through the election for new parliaments at the national and regional levels. However, from the contents of the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar--the drafting of which the chief justice oversaw--it is plain that this is not the case. The constitution has declared that the parts of government will be separated only "to the extent possible", which speaks to how far the Government of Myanmar is not only from separation of powers in reality but also even from a basic conceptual understanding of separateness.

Fifth, the problems of non-independence, corruption and no confidence are also connected to the lack of public space for reporting and debate on the work of judges and lawyers. At present there are no publications in Myanmar that can report openly and honestly on the work of the courts. The government publications rarely make mention of the courts at all. Private publications do so more but they are tightly censored and very little of the types of problems outlined above ever makes it into print. You can buy some of these from newsstands during your visit and ask for some articles to be translated so you may ascertain the limits of their contents. The absence of public space for debate also means that the types of opportunities for public advocacy on cases that have existed under other regimes, such as those formerly in Latin America, do not exist in Myanmar. This also greatly hampers opportunities to address the endemic problems of the judiciary, and therefore its non-independence is affected by the lack of open media.

The upshot is that the courts in Myanmar are not judicial agencies at all. They are merely administrative organs for the management of crime through bureaucratic rather than adjudicative functions, and for the making of money for their personnel. They carry out their activities without public scrutiny and there is no confidence in their work.

These features of the system present rather large challenges for a Special Rapporteur with a mandate premised upon some minimum agreement about a norm that ceased to exist in Myanmar so long ago that its real meaning is completely unknown to people working in the system.

Notwithstanding, the Asian Human Rights Commission sees the anticipated visit as an excellent opportunity to explore the deep problems of judicial non-independence in Myanmar further and looks forward to you engaging with as many knowledgeable persons and groups inside and outside the country as possible to make it a success, not with the expectancy of being able to address the problems outlined above, but at least with the hope that they can be explored and understood further such that in the future some informed strategies can be put forward to begin the immense work to again make the work of judges and lawyers in Myanmar independent.

HREA - GO here

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.

US Diplomat Resigns Over Afghan War

IslamOnline dot net & Newspapers Tuesday October 27, 2009

"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," said Matthew Hoh.

CAIRO — A senior US diplomat disillusioned with the US involvement in Afghanistan has resigned, becoming the first US official to quit in protest over the eight-year war, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, October 27. "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," Matthew Hoh, 36, wrote in his four-page resignation letter.

Hoh, the senior State Department official in Afghanistan's Zabul province, said he became disillusioned about the exact goals of the US presence in the war-ravaged country.

"I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."

He said at Americans need to be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost and promised dreams not kept.

"I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the ruling Taliban and its ally Al-Qaeda.

Since then, Taliban have launched protracted guerrilla warfare against the US-led forces, rendering heavy losses to the foreign troops.

The spiraling attacks have made 2009 the worst year for the US-led troops since the 2001 invasion.

Provocative

Hoh, A former Marine who fought in Iraq, said he had come to the conclusion that the presence of the foreign troops is fanning ethnic tensions in the country.

He added that the Pashtun people view the war as a continuation of “sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies."

"The US and NATO presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."

The diplomat believes many of the groups fighting foreign forces do this because they see them as foreign intruders.

"That's really what kind of shook me. I thought it was more nationalistic. But it's localism. I would call it valley-ism."

In many cases the presence of the US troops turned calm areas into chaotic ones, Hoh said citing Korengal Valley, an isolated spot near the eastern border with Pakistan.

He insists that militants appeared in strength only after the Americans came to the region.

"(The war) has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional.

"It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency."

The diplomat hopes his resignation would affect the American public opinion and policy regarding Afghanistan.

"I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.

"I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right.'"

WHAT WE in US MUST DO NOW to end the wars

Here's what we need from Congress to end the wars:
here

And here's how to step up your activism and compel your representative to represent you:

VETERANS' GROUP TO MEMBERS: MULTIPLY RESISTANCE BY ANY PEACEFUL MEANS AVAILABLE
here
By Mike Ferner, After Downing Street

In a statement today directed to the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama and its membership, Veterans For Peace urged its chapters to demonstrate opposition to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan by doing two things:

1) Take the actions listed below within the next several days, before President Obama decides to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and

2) Plan acts of even greater resistance during the two days following any such decision.

· Continue writing and calling our representatives and demanding peace.
· If we’ve done that: take to the streets
· If we’ve done that: sit down in the streets
· If we’ve done that: sit down in Congressional offices
· If we’ve done that: sit down, clog up, incapacitate, call in sick, withdraw consent and generally bring the nation’s business to a halt, wherever and whenever we can, with any peaceful means available.

To President Obama and the House of Representatives:

As veterans of our nation’s wars, we insist you hear our call.

British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin spoke an unassailable truth when he said, “War would end if the dead could return.” If you believe that is true, Mr. President and Members of the House, you must heed our counsel well: we are the closest anyone can come to that truth the dead would speak. Stop the killing!

Because we personally understand what war truly means, we have written, called and demonstrated repeatedly for an end to the killing in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have protested at and have been arrested in House Office Buildings, the House Gallery, the White House and Congressional offices across the nation. We have pleaded, then demanded, that you stop the suffering in these countries. Although promised prior to the election, no combat brigades have returned from Iraq. And now we can smell the mire of escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nevertheless, we cannot cease to appeal to that spark of humanity in your hearts. We know wealthy, powerful interests such as weapons contractors, lobbyists and right-wing broadcasters daily make a deafening noise, trying to drown out the voice that insists, “Stop the killing.” We also know that no matter how quiet the voice of humanity might become, it can never be silenced.

So we lift up to you voices much more eloquent than our own, voices of soldiers who survived the worst fighting human beings have ever experienced, World War One. For nearly 100 years, the wisdom and compassion of their poetry has endured. Their words now stand as one of the world’s most powerful witnesses to the madness of war.

You must hear them.

…And you yourself would mutter when
You took the things that once were men,
And sped them through that zone of hate
To where the dripping surgeons wait;
And wonder too if in God's sight
War ever, ever can be right.
– From “Foreword” by British ambulance driver, Robert Service

And

…If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
– From “Dulce et Decorum est” (It is Sweet and Right to Die for Your Country) by British Army Lt. Wilfred Owen, killed a week before the 1918 Armistice.

More than that we cannot say to you, so we will address our former brothers and sisters in arms who are now our brothers and sisters in peace.

To members of Veterans For Peace:

At one time in our lives we bore the hardships and dangers of military service. We were not strangers to privation, or fear, or acts of courage. Although the America of our childhood history books has been shaken and some would say, shattered by what we learned in the military and since, we can still hear the call to service when it is clear and true.

Nothing could be more clear or true today than the need for us to do everything we humanly can to stop the killing. Not just stop the escalation – stop the killing. Bring all the troops home. Take care of them when they get here. Pay to rebuild what we have destroyed.

It is important for us to rededicate ourselves to the It is important for us to rededicate ourselves to the resolution we adopted at our 2008 convention: Afghanistan is not “the right war.” We must leave as soon as possible.

This is important to repeat because this administration and some in Congress would have us believe that we cannot withdraw immediately from Afghanistan, we must provide some stability and protection from the likes of the Taliban.

So we state without doubt: our occupation of Afghanistan is driving the violent opposition to it. More U.S. troops and more occupation will mean more anger and yet more violent reaction from those whose lands we occupy. We must rededicate ourselves to ending this cycle of violence.

The Taliban recruit from the ranks of the unemployed and the poor. One important way to reduce unemployment, poverty and Taliban recruits is to fund programs that provide work and income. To say that the government of Afghanistan is corrupt and that economic development funds are wasted is to conveniently ignore the real reason we are in Afghanistan.

Throughout Afghanistan, grassroots networks are making a difference at the local and tribal level. This is where we should put our money.

But we are not in Afghanistan to give them democracy, even if that were possible. Neither is our purpose to build up that country’s smaller, more democratic institutions that serve the population. We occupy Afghanistan because America the Empire demands control of its resources and to have a strategic locations from which to project military power. As the Secretary-General of NATO said recently, “We need a stable government in Afghanistan, a government that we can deal with.”

And no one – NO one, but us is going to stop the killing; neither the President nor the Congress. We can beseech them, ask them, demand from them that they stop the killing and bring all the troops home. But until we exert the power of massive resistance to the Empire that only we can exert, it will keep rolling over Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis and whoever else that is in its way.

We must continue writing and calling our representatives and demanding peace. If we’ve done that we must take to the streets. If we’ve done that we must sit down in the streets. If we’ve done that we must sit down in Congressional offices and if we’ve done that we must sit down, clog up, incapacitate, withdraw our consent and generally bring business as usual to a halt wherever we can, with any peaceful means available.

If we do not take every step we can we know what will happen. Combat brigades will stay in Iraq, drone attacks, Special Forces and the CIA will continue to kill and maim in Pakistan, and 40, 60, 80,000 more troops will be sent to Afghanistan where the suffering and death will increase dramatically – for years to come.

Even when we do all of the above we must anticipate that it may not be enough to stay the hand of death. The American Empire is a mighty machine. We will need to make common cause with all those living in the heart of Empire who are also its victims. We know who they are. We see them every day – on the streets, where we work, where we shop, where we pray, where we play.

They and we are the common folk, not possessed of significant wealth. But we are skilled and numerous and creative and tenacious. And we have nothing but time. The Empire may be mighty but it is also as of glass – the next blow against it may well be the one that sends a crack through its entire length, the next blow causing it to shatter. We cannot know when that will happen or whose blow may be the deciding one. Our job is simple: to never quit. To use a military analogy, as long as an army, no matter how tattered, remains in the field, the revolution continues.

That’s all we have to do. But we must do it. Starting now.

###

Ferner is a former Navy hospital corpsman and President of Veterans For Peace mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

BUDAPEST: George Soros is Delivering Series of Lectures this week

NOTE: Perhaps your economic class or even your social sciences course could learn something from these online lectures? Perhaps you know a reporter in Budapest or could arrange a phone interview for your newspaper or magazine?

If I were present at these lectures, I could imagine the most provocative of discussions about Marxism, Capitalism and emerging Social/Economic systems as well as the age-old topic of the power of the rich vs the power of the masses. Perhaps in such a dialogue and with the audience in Budapest and/or via Media world-wide there could be something beautiful which may emerge and may potentially be one small cog in the wheel of transformation of the planet?

How might each of us work with or in counter-movement yet nonviolently with our most apparently powerful leaders? How might we influence these called "greats" toward even more be potential influence and resources in the market of World Peace? Given Mr. Soros birth in Budapest, tragic personal/historical and interest in the well-being of the world at large - as well as his strong work to end the reigns of Bush - perhaps there's something here for peacemakers? (My disclaimers, I am bored with most rich folk and know next to nothing to recommend Mr. George Soros personally or not - just that not only in his own right yet also in terms of metaphor for our changing world, his voice is still alive and we need to reckon with the same and others of his caliber and history.) Connie
==========================================================
Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I thought you might be interested to know that George Soros is delivering a series of lectures in Budapest at Central European University starting yesterday, October 26th.

In the lectures, Soros discusses his philosophical theories in general and specifically as they pertain to the economic crisis, regulatory reform, finance, politics, open society, and a host of other subjects.

Monday, October 26 - General Theory of Reflexivity Tuesday, October 27 - Financial Markets Wednesday, October 28 - Open Society Thursday, October 29 - Capitalism versus Open Society Friday, October 30 - China and the Way Ahead.

Best,

Michael Vachon






URLS from Michael Vachon (note from oneheart blogger Since there was a slight glitch technically, I am reworking here the URLS for viewing - connections online, this link may be best): here Here's a 2nd URL for viewing lectures later - Videos and transcripts may also be posted eventually at here each evening after the event.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

World-Renowned PAKISTANI Doctor Abdul Sattar EDHI Wins UNESCO Prize


See the most recent Award Report below: Edhi wins Unesco prize By Amin Ahmed
Saturday, 24 Oct, 2009 DAWN

"According to the Guinness World Records, Edhi Foundation has the largest private ambulance service network in the world."

"He has buried over two hundred thousand unclaimed bodies in an era where altruism and selflessness are almost extinct..."

Edhi Foundation: here

Branches in New York and elsewhere: here

International and National Awards at a Glance: here

Dr. Abdul Sattar Edhi: Pakistan's Angel of Humility & Tender Care (In URDU +) from 2008 VIDEO: here

Inspiring Bio and shocking recent happenings: here

The way this World Saint has been treated by US: here Such US systems MUST become humane or they are apparatus for disharmony in the world!

Note that he and his children in Cairo were prevented from helping Palestinians in Gaza as well.

=========

Edhi wins Unesco prize
By Amin Ahmed
DAWN
Saturday, 24 Oct, 2009 | 05:25 AM PST
here

ISLAMABAD, Oct 23: Pakistan’s renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi and Franois Houtart of Belgium, who is known for promoting inter-faith dialogue, have been awarded the ‘2009 Unesco-Madanjeet Singh Prize’.

Their selection by an international jury has been announced by Unesco. They will receive the award on the International Day for Tolerance at the Unesco headquarters in Paris on Nov 16.

Dedicated to advancing the spirit of tolerance in arts, education, culture, science and communication, the prize is given every two years to individuals or institutions for contributions in promoting tolerance and non-violence.

The International Jury of the Unesco-Madanjeet Singh Prize comprised Ioanna Kucuradi of Turkey, Maurice Glele Ahanhanzo of Benin, Kamal Hossain of Bangladesh, Masateru Nakagawa of Japan and Mokhtar Taleb-Bendiab of Algeria.

The award was instituted in 1995 on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with the support of writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh, who is also Unesco’s Goodwill Ambassador.

The prize for Abdul Sattar Edhi is in recognition of his life-long efforts to ameliorate the conditions of the most disadvantaged groups in Pakistan and South Asia and to promote the ideals of human dignity, human rights, mutual respect and tolerance. He carries out humanitarian work through his Edhi Foundation which he set up in 1957.

A non-profit social welfare programme with over 300 centres across Pakistan, the foundation runs maternity homes, asylums, homes for the physically handicapped, blood banks and orphanages. Its branches in other countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, provide relief to refugees and other victims of strife and natural disasters.

Friday, October 23, 2009

WHIP WARS & More from David Swanson/After Downing Street



here

AfterDowningStreet dot org or GO here

We're on Facebook here

(Also find David and AfterDowningStreet dot org) at Youtube and Twitter

David Swanson on Wikipedia: here

Public Opposes Wars, Will Our Representatives?

Here is how to phone them, what to ask them to commit to, and where to report what they say.

here VERY helpful vote chart on how Representatives Were-Are/Were Not -Are NOT voting and more. Plz CALL YOUR REP NOW! Get out the word!

There are two bills you can ask them to sign onto, but because bills must be passed by the Senate and signed by the President as well, a stronger commitment from your Representative in the House is a commitment to vote No on war funding bills. If the House blocks a war funding bill, neither the Senate nor the President can continue a war.

here

And for David Swanson's writings, events and Blog Roll: here
* * * * *


Daybreak Tour Heads to PA, ME, MA, and CA

The Daybreak book tour is rolling along and has stopped in 20 of the scheduled 48 cities already. The Miami, Fla., stop saw a hall packed to capacity with a crowd standing in the back and unable to get in, and the evening filmed by C-Span's Book TV. Watch for it on your television or computer in the coming weeks.

Air America host Nicole Sandler introduced the event in Miami and hosted a discussion of it last night on her show.

Please buy the book at your real-world book stores, which is what encourages them to stock greater quantities and display them more prominently.

Here's the complete tour schedule.
http://davidswanson.org/book

And below are the next several stops. Join the tour, get a book and get it signed in Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, or California:

Nov. 3 Philadelphia PA
Nov. 4 Newtown and Kutztown, PA
Nov. 5 Bangor, ME
Nov. 6 Portland, ME
Nov. 7 M's Vineyard, MA
Nov. 19 Davis, CA
Nov. 20, Nevada City, CA
Nov. 21, Fresno and Fair Oaks, CA
Nov. 22, Bay Area, CA
Nov. 23, Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 24, Orange County, CA

Keep watching for Book Forums TV and otherwise sometimes open to attendence at key tour spots live and look for a number of these on You Tube as well

Thursday, October 22, 2009

North Carolina Peace and Justice Events: Triangle Area

Breaking Bread and Barriers: Community Forum on Immigration Reform, potluck dinner and panel discussion, with short documentary film, Roots of Migration, from a recent Witness for Peace delegation to Oaxaca, Mexico. 6:30M, Fri, Oct 23, Durham Friends Meeting, 404 Alexander Ave. Speakers: Gail Phares; Juan José, immigrant from Chiapas, now Chapel Hill resident; Ajamu Dillahunt, NC Justice Center. Take a side dish, salad, or dessert and a canned good to benefit the Latino food pantry at Iglesia Emanuel. Sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, Durham Immigrant Solidarity Committee, Durham Friends Meeting. Info: 699-8207.

Blood Done Sign My Name: True story of “Henry “Dickie” Marrow, a 23 year-old U.S. Army veteran who was allegedly murdered in 1970 by local white businessman, Robert Teel, and his sons Larry and Roger; the men were acquitted of the crime by an all white jury despite testimony by multiple eyewitnesses. Movie directed by UNC Alum Jeb Stuart and filmed in NC. 7:30 PM, Fri, Oct 23, Hayti Heritage Center,804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham. Tickets $5. 683-1709 ext. 21 or here .

March for Climate Leadership: A Call to Conscience on International 350 Day of Climate Action. Sat, Oct 24. 2 PM rally with speakers at Moore Square, corner of S. Blount and E. Hargett, Raleigh.3 PM march up Wilmington St.to parking lot across from Governor’s Mansion on East Jones St. 3:30 - 5 PM rally with speakers delivering Call to Leadership and Conscience to Governor Beverly Perdue asking her to stop construction of Duke Energy's Cliffside coal-burning power plant. A group of volunteers will be risking arrest to deliver the message. Info: 259-3180

A Step to Understanding the Law Enforcement Process to Build Trust and Respect: Event will address questions about fusion centers, 287(g), ICE & Immigrants, FBI investigation techniques, and civil rights from the perspective of law enforcement. Keynote speaker Nawar Shora, Legal Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and ADC's Director of Diversity Education and Law Enforcement Outreach (LEOP). 4 - 8 PM, Sat, Oct 24, Apex Mosque, 733 Center Street, Apex. Muslim American Society Freedom-NC (345-8105).

Orange County Justice United In Community Effort (Orange JUICE or Justice United): Founding Ceremony of new organization and reaction from all area candidates for elected office. 6:30 PM, Mon Oct 26, United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King, Jr, Blvd. Join this broad-based organization of local congregations and voluntary associations with power to take collective action in the name of justice and the common good. Info: 530-8515.

Peace Mom and the Patriot: Cindy Sheehan and Bob Bowman present 7 PM, Tues, Oct 27, Raleigh UU Fellowship, Wade Avenue. Sponsored by Triangle Veterans for Peace, Code Pink Women for Peace, and NC Peace Action. Info: 933-6589.

Looking into the Nuclear Age: On Life, Art, and the Bomb: Canadian artist and peace activist Robert Del Tredici links art and nuclear weapons, 5:30 PM, Wed, Oct 28, UNC's Fed Ex Center, corner of McCauley and Pittsboro Sts, Chapel Hill. Sponsored by the Dept of Art. Info: 542-4403.

Iraq-Israel-Afghanistan: Current Antiwar Tasks and Challenges: Bill Fletcher, Jr., Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, discusses "How the Israel/Palestine conflict relates to the struggles against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," 5:30-8:00 PM, Fri, Oct 30, NCCU, Miller Morgan Health Science Bldg, Nelson Street off Fayetteville St, Durham. Co-sponsored by Triangle Campaign Against the Israeli Occupation and Coalition for Peace with Justice.Info: 919-490-5546, 910-670-0891; here

Satirical singer-songwriter Dave Lippman Returns for BAJ Event: Enjoy some ethics-based humor and music, 7:30 PM, Wed, Nov 4, Community Church. Benefit concert with suggested contribution of $10-20. Along with economic meltdown, Dave's program will feature topics on the Middle East. Sponsored by Balance and Accuracy in Journalism Info: here 542-2139.

Guantánamo Bay: Beyond the Law's Reach? Panel discussion: Attorneys Robert M. Elliot, Frank Goldsmith, and J. Griffin Morgan will describe their pro bono work for the release of Guantánamo Detainee Sharifullah, an Afghan Army soldier, held without charges since 2003. Nancy Talanian, founder of No More Guantánamos, will explain her efforts toward ensuring basic human rights for all prisoners, including the legal right to be either released or charged and tried for crimes, in accordance with international law, and not held indefinitely. 5:00 PM, Sat, Nov 14, NC Advocates for Justice Headquarters, 1312 Annapolis Dr, Raleigh.
Sponsored by North Carolina Stop Torture Now here and No More Guantánamos here . Support NC STN in raising funds to cover expenses involved in the legal struggle to end indefinite, extra-judicial detention of this wrongfully held prisoner. Info: 637-7678, 942-2535.

BAGRAM Must Go! Here's Why...(and UPDATED US Rights Items)

(My one disclaimer here is that we needn't and shouldn't wait for Gitmo to close at last to close Bagram but work on closing BOTH Bagram and Gitmo simultaneously. If we wait for Gitmo to close before acting on Bagram, we could be waiting months or possibly years longer than proposed and meantime continue to harm US reputation worldwide yet even more to do grave, unthinkable dis-service to the people within those prison walls. Connie)

From Bill of Rights Defense Committee
here ( scroll down for news or go to bordc dot org slash news )

Or find: here

In a nutshell:

"... According to human rights groups, the Bagram airbase prison is even worse than Gitmo because of its hellish conditions and torture of detainees. While the US is in the process of closing down Gitmo giving its inmates a chance to defend themselves in its courts, it is refusing to extend the same privilege to those held at Bagram. However, rights groups insist that most Bagram detainees are equally innocent.

One case in point is that of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who mysteriously disappeared in Islamabad to resurface in the US custody last year – after five years. The US-trained neuroscientist is said to have been kept at Bagram and tortured for years even as her family looked for her everywhere.

President Obama can restore the world’s faith in America and its moral leadership by shutting both Gitmo and Bagram — or by opening them to justice and the rule of law."

See also related: Congress Passes Gitmo Bill
here

=================

After Gitmo, Bagram Must Go

22 October 2009
The US Senate has given the go ahead to President Barack Obama’s decision to close the infamous military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Senate passed by a 79 to 19 vote to allow the government to transfer detainees from the prison to the US soil for trial or transfer them to their home countries.

The measure has already been approved by the House of Representatives and now goes to Obama for his signature.

The closure of the Gitmo prison was the first executive decision Obama made after taking office. Considering the worldwide opinion and growing international pressure to shut the prison, the move was understandably hailed around the world as a huge step forward on human rights front. It indeed had been a courageous decision by the new president after all that had been going on at Gitmo for years under the previous administration.

More than 600 people picked up randomly from around the world, especially from Afghanistan and Pakistan, after the US invasion of Afghanistan had been lodged at the prison camp in Cuba for years in despicable conditions — without a trial and without giving them access to their families. In fact, even today little information is available about those held at the Bay and their crimes. As some of America’s own most respected newspapers and media networks have reported, most of those faceless suspects at Gitmo had been men who just happened to be at a wrong place at a wrong time.

Some of those detainees have subsequently been released or transferred to their home countries. However, there is still a large number of detainees out there who have been given up for dead by their families. They don’t have anyone to defend or fight for them. This is why the Obama administration’s move to transfer those unfortunate men to the US soil before shutting what has come to be known as America’s gulag is so welcome. If those men are indeed guilty of what they have been accused of, they should be tried in a US court of law. Else, they should be set free to go home to their countries. In fact, they should be compensated for having been imprisoned and traumatised all these years without a charge and without any evidence.

While shutting down the Guantanamo Bay, Obama must not forget about the other gulag that the US has been operating in Afghanistan. According to human rights groups, the Bagram airbase prison is even worse than Gitmo because of its hellish conditions and torture of detainees. While the US is in the process of closing down Gitmo giving its inmates a chance to defend themselves in its courts, it is refusing to extend the same privilege to those held at Bagram. However, rights groups insist that most Bagram detainees are equally innocent.

One case in point is that of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who mysteriously disappeared in Islamabad to resurface in the US custody last year – after five years. The US-trained neuroscientist is said to have been kept at Bagram and tortured for years even as her family looked for her everywhere.

President Obama can restore the world’s faith in America and its moral leadership by shutting both Gitmo and Bagram — or by opening them to justice and the rule of law.

Top of archives at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee for Wednesday - Thursday here

===============
UPDATES on RIGHTS VARIOUS: Current News at Bill of Rights Defense Committee (for all the items below here and scroll down...

10/22, Nat Hentoff, Opposing Views, Obama Every Bit as Bad as Bush/Cheney on Patriot Act

10/22, Emily Berman, Roll Call, Democrats Failing to End Bush-Era Abuses of Power

10/22, David Frenkel, Winchester (MA) Star, Dear President Obama, 'hope' is not enough

10/21, David Kravets, Wired, House Considers Limiting Patriot Act Spy Powers

For all the items above please GO...here and scroll down to NEWS....

Are US War Deceptions Leading to A Failed State?

Possible reasons below. (Disclaimer, none of these are the whole picture, of course, yet may hold some history and theories needing dialogue and strong efforts to counter trends.) Come back for more related items here or in this blogsite/including Comments...

America's Phoney War in Afghanistan (comments for this article and others here add important dimensions)

By F. William Engdahl
.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Obama Presidential agenda is how little anyone has questioned in the media or elsewhere why at all the United States Pentagon is committed to a military occupation of Afghanistan. There are two basic reasons, neither one of which can be admitted openly to the public at large.
here

===

The Lost History Of Hemland

This is a must read - By Adam Curtis

If you look beyond the soldiers, and into the distance, what you are really seeing are the ruins of one of the biggest technological projects the United States has ever undertaken. Its aim was to use science to try and change the course of history and produce a modern utopia in Afghanistan.
here

===

Sy Hersh: Military 'In War Against The White House'

By Susie Madrak

The army is also "in a war against the White House - and they feel they have Obama boxed in," Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh told several hundred people in Duke University's Page Auditorium on Tuesday night. "They think he's weak and the wrong color. Yes, there's racism in the Pentagon. We may not like to think that, but it's true and we all know it."
here

===

Pakistan Feels The American Raj

By Eric Margolis

The eight-year war in Afghanistan has now set Pakistan on fire. What began in 2001 as a supposedly limited American anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan has now become a spreading regional conflict that involves the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and Russia.
here

===

The US Massacre at Al-Sukkariya

Attack on Syria Cover Up

By Real News

Erlich: The US massacre at Al-Sukkariya, Syria in 2008 was a clear violation of international law.
here

===

Iranians Mourn Blast Victims

Video Report -

Iranian mourners have filled the streets of the capital, Tehran, to mark the deaths of their loved ones in Sunday's suicide attack in southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan.
here

===

Why Liberals Kill

By Thaddeus Russell

The left may be pressuring President Obama to exit Afghanistan. But their heroes-from FDR to JFK-promoted U.S. involvement in more wars than all modern GOP presidents combined.
here

===

US Joins Ranks of Failed States

By Paul Craig Roberts

In any failed state, the greatest threat to the population comes from the government and the police. That is certainly the situation today in the USA. Americans have no greater enemy than their own government. Washington is controlled by interest groups that enrich themselves at the expense of the American people.
here

Your Town Can Demand Justice More Powerfully Than You Can

here
By David Swanson

Most city council members take oaths to defend the Constitution. The Constitution makes the rights and standards in its amendments and in international treaties the supreme law of the land. Our nation has a rich tradition of local governments lobbying state and national governments through the passage of resolutions. Under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives local governments may petition Congress. Under the First Amendment, we all can.

Just in recent years, on issues of peace and justice, hundreds of cities have passed resolutions in favor of peace, diplomacy, restraint from launching wars, and the cessation of wars in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, including 287 cities, 4 counties, and 17 states on Iraq alone. Through this and many other means, we have thus far prevented an attack on Iran, and we've won over a majority of the country to support ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- which we will eventually end if we keep up the struggle.

Over 100 cities passed resolutions urging the impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney. They have yet to be impeached, but an impeachment push drove Alberto Gonzales out of town, may yet nail Jay Bybee and bring down the whole criminal power structure, and has solidly laid the groundwork for prosecutions. In fact, three cities have already passed ordinances committing their police to arresting Bush or Cheney should they dare to visit. I strongly recommend that your town do the same, as well as publicly backing the impeachment of torture-memo author Jay Bybee.

Meanwhile, Berkeley, Calif., has now joined United Nations human rights treaties that are not supported or complied with by the United States as a whole. And Amherst, Mass., may invite released Guantanamo victims to settle within its welcoming borders.

Perhaps most impressively, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) has led a campaign that has seen 414 local, county, and state resolutions passed defending our civil rights against abuses in the PATRIOT Act, and committing local police to noncooperation with federal violations of rights that were created by the U.S. Constitution.

Now the BORDC is launching a campaign to pass a pair of new ordinances, which I cannot recommend more strongly. These are powerful tools for restoring the rule of law and defending our civil rights. Passage of resolutions by towns often leads to their passage by states and to support for their substance by congress members, as well as to public education and a shift in media discourse.

The first model resolution offered by BORDC (which you can alter to suit local needs) limits local law enforcement efforts in support of federal warrantless spying. Of course, local and state police, as Americans, are required to comply with the Fourth Amendment anyway. But what happens when the feds say otherwise? This explicit legislation backs up those who take a stand.

The second model resolution is even more important. It places your town on record supporting federal and requiring local criminal investigations into torture. It includes an optional clause requiring the arrest of accused torturers as in the three ordinances noted above.

A third resolution that I can imagine but have not drafted would be modeled on this torture accountability resolution and require a criminal investigation of warrantless spying, which is not only unconstitutional but also illegal under state law in most states.

While we understand that there is strength in numbers in the abstract, too seldom do we employ that power through our levels of government from the smallest and most democratic up to the largest and most corrupt. Together, our towns can save our country, if we force our local representatives to take action.

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: http://davidswanson.org/book.

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: http://davidswanson.org/book.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This LOVE That REMEMBERED (Made Into a GIFT)

For the Republic of Rumi...

Skardu Baltistan Summit Post - Next are Iceland - Forbes and Big Sur, California USA - Open Traveler)

Hello, I found this poem by grace the other night and asked the poet if she would write a note to you. She did...so this is our gift to you together...
from Connie and Amata

To Republic of Rumi: Poet from Australia says Hello ((Find a NOTE below the poem)

THIS LOVE THAT REMEMBERED
By Amata Natasha

As the sun of radiance dissolves
To create the tenderness of the evening
It is this feeling,
Fluttering as a bird upon the song of perpetual time

As this vortex of here and now,
Cascades into another illusion,
Another eon,
Another epoch of ancientness


And birthed whilst the Earth slept,
This love; that remembered all
Awoke!


Piercing the heavens with liquid gold...

That meanders as a thread of
purity
My muse with timeless heart
Fills to overflowing
This awakened essence of pulsing life

As the moon of quiet surrender
Kisses the power of the night
All is awake
All is silent
As the breath of oneness embraces
This love that remembered



-Amata Natasha Goldie, Copyright © 2009 – All rights reserved.


Photo near Amata's name is Greece - then from HER country -The Great Ocean Road, Australia-Oceania Both from Open Traveler

My message to poets at The Republic of Rumi is below:

"Beloved beautiful poets of The Republic of Rumi, It is such a great
joy to meet you all and an honour to share with you a string of words
that I hope will speak to your soul.

My name is Amata Natasha Goldie and I live in amongst the gumtrees in Noosa Australia, where koalas and kangaroos abound in the beauty of the natural world. It is my hope for you all to speak your truth, to follow the light of your inner soul, and to be always guided by the Divine~ Let your voices be heard my dear poet friends, for we are paving the way to a new world, let the arrows of your wisdom shoot forth from the ether of magnificence, and let them rest upon the brow of your forehead and seep into your very consciousness, so that you may plant these beautiful seeds in the gardens of tomorrow,"

"~Your love shall always transcend darkness~"
Grand Canyon, USA

My blessings and love are with you all,
Amata

Join me on Facebook:
here

Join me on Twitter:
here

If you prefer links to Poem and Quotes here they are:

The Poem:
here

The Twitter Quotes:
here

Blessings,
Amata
xoxox

To truth, beauty, freedom and grace...
Amata Xxx

Hoh Valley Washington State USA

Remembering Our Oneness

World's Busiest Ports online travel photo

Monday, October 19, 2009

Americans, are you paying attention? Congress on Patriot Act and the National Security State...

Current News See all the following at bordc dot org
Bill of Rights Defense Committee USA

10/19, Tom Burghardt, Dissident Voice, Telecom Lobbying, Congress & the National Security State

10/19, Judy Platt, Huffington Post, As Congress Prepares to Reauthorize the Patriot Act, Reader Privacy Must be Protected

10/19, Democracy Now!, Department of Homeland Security Expands Controversial 287(g) Program Empowering Local Police to Enforce Immigration Laws

10/19, Katie Redding, The Colorado Independent, New immigration enforcement agreements frustrate Coloradans

10/18, Susan Crabtree, The Hill, Group pushing for Guantanamo closure, prisoner transfers

10/18, Joan Smith, The Independent (UK), Our 'Don't Ask' Policy on Torture Demands Some Answers

bordc dot org

Sunday, October 18, 2009

UPDATED on BINYAM MOHAMED with Congrats to Andy Worthington

In this file photo dated 2000 and released by the human rights and legal defense organization Reprieve, Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed is pictured in London. Mohamed, a former U.K. resident alleges he was tortured while in U.S. custody. Newer reports would appear to back up these allegations.

Recent reports appear to back up this allegation: here Scott Horton on Britain’s High Court issued a decision on Friday directing that classified information shared by the CIA with British intelligence services concerning the torture and mistreatment of a former Guantánamo prisoner be made public. Harper's

Photo of Binyam Mohamed (courtesy of Andy Worthington see article just below)

See NEWEST article on Binyam Mohamed featured Oct 20th at Andy Worthington's site: here

CONGRATULATIONS to Andy for his amazingly faithful work to end torture - with his focus on Gitmo prisoners to this day. He was rewarded with being in the TOP category on the internet - SEE here

Andy speaks to blogs and sites: (which)"reward perseverance and specialization, and that it favors cooperation over self-absorption. Linking, networking, communication: the Internet positively embraces all these, and remains resistant to corporate attempts to raise tollbooths on its highways.

To this I would only add that, when it comes to favoring cooperation over self-absorption, what this means in particular is that the Internet is genuinely democratic, favoring those who willingly share their information, rather than jealously guarding it, and that, so long as links are provided, cross-posting articles invariably raises bloggers’ profiles, and their visibility to search engines.

So please feel free to join in this ongoing experiment. As ever, I ask cross-posters only to link to my site and to preserve internal links. And if you’re new to the site, you could, if you like, begin by looking at my latest article."
ANDY

Again, for more on Andy's site, go to: Andy Worthington dot co dot uk or CLICK here

Read earlier items on Binyam Mohamed and on EXTRAORDINARY RENDITIONS
here

Earlier see British/US dynamic on Binyam Mohamed's case at: here

BlackWater, North Carolina USA & Other Upcoming NC Events!

(919) 801-0734

Community Forum: Meet your neighbor, TigerSwan, Headquartered in Apex, and Founded by
a Former Blackwater Vice President TUESDAY, October 20, 2009 – 7pm
Halle Cultural Center, downtown Apex

The critically acclaimed movie “ Iraq for Sale : The War Profiteers” will be shown followed by a community discussion

APEX – The citizens of Apex are unaware that a mercenary company founded by a former Blackwater Vice President is headquartered inside their city limits.

According to its Web site, TigerSwan provides US and foreign governments, law enforcement agencies, and private sector corporations a variety of services including weapons use, assault planning and urban warfare, as well as surveillance, motorcade protection and sniper training.

TigerSwan currently has operations in Iraq . There are also known contracts for their services with the University of North Carolina and with the military at Fort Polk , LA and Norfolk , VA.

TigerSwan President and CEO Jim Reese came to notoriety in September 2007 when his company worked with Blackwater to purchase 1,800 acres of farmland near Fort Bragg to establish a training center for soldiers and corporate executives. After the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad by Blackwater personnel that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and more than 24 wounded, the $5.5 million deal was canceled.

Mercenary companies such as TigerSwan and Blackwater operate in a legal gray area. There is uncertainty whether they're subject to civilian law, military law or neither.

Recently in Iraq , four personnel from DynCorp International (another mercenary provider) ignored Iraqi military officer orders resulting in a fight. Their arrest and detention ended when the four DynCorp personnel were flown out of the country, evading the Iraqi legal system. Neither the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) nor the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) appear to be of any help in restoring Iraq ’s sovereignty and the rule of law.

"The fact is that mercenaries like TigerSwan and Blackwater are hated by people in the middle-east because of their legendary brutality, racism, arrogance and their ability to get away with murder…literally" says Christian Stalberg, a spokesperson for Blackwater Watch, a group based in North Carolina that is concerned about human rights abuses, indiscriminate use of deadly force and the lack of accountability by private armies, mercenaries, and private security contractors. "Studies show that civilians in these occupied countries are unable to distinguish the difference between these contractors and our men and women in uniform. Mercenaries put our men and women in uniform at grave risk."

TigerSwan, like Blackwater, also trains civilian law enforcement--a grave danger to U.S. democracy given these companies history of indiscriminate and excessive use of deadly force.

The movie “ Iraq for Sale : The War Profiteers” explores war profiteering by companies in Iraq including Blackwater and exposes the trail of damage and destruction these companies leave behind. The privatization of war is a dangerous trend which has given birth to perpetual war and perpetual profits for companies like TigerSwan and Blackwater. Ultimately it is the American people who will pay the bill, both in terms of staggering debt with no end in sight and lost national security due to the United States being perceived as an imperialist, hostile aggressor.

About BlackwaterWatch

BlackwaterWatch exists to shine a light on Blackwater/Xe specifically, and private armies/mercenaries generally. We represent a growing contingent of concerned individuals and groups including, but not limited to, human rights and peace activists, people of faith, civil libertarians, and veterans. BlackwaterWatch is concerned about human rights abuses, indiscriminate use of deadly force and the lack of accountability by private armies, mercenaries, and private security contractors. BlackwaterWatch supports the passing of legislation to phase out the use of military security contractors in Iraq , Afghanistan and Pakistan altogether. For more information visit http://blackwaterwatch.net.

================================================

Cindy Sheehan here

Author and Antiwar Activist will be speaking in downtown Asheville on Friday night 23 Oct 2009 at 7pm at First Christian Church on Oak Street, off College Street, near the Buncombe Court House.

She demonstrates all over the world and is very knowledgeable and articulate. Cindy has a weekly internet radio show.

Lt. Col Robert Bowman here , USAF Retired and President of the Institute for Space and Security Studies will also speak. He is one of the country's foremost authorities on national security and flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam.

For info call 828-712-8244

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Guantánamo Bay: Beyond the Law's Reach?

North Carolina Stop Torture Now and No More Guantánamos cordially invite you to a Panel Discussion and Fundraiser

Guantánamo Bay: Beyond the Law's Reach?

RECEPTION AND DISCUSSION:
Saturday, November 14, 2009
5:00 - 7:00 PM

North Carolina Advocates for Justice Headquarters
1312 Annapolis Drive
Raleigh, NC 27608-2146

Presentations by Habeas Counsel for Sharifullah, young Afghan man detained without charges since 2003:

Robert M. Elliot and J. Griffin Morgan of Elliot, Pishko, Morgan, P.A., of Winston- Salem, and Frank Goldsmith of Goldsmith, Goldsmith, and Dews, P.A., of Marion, North Carolina.

Robert M. Elliot practices in the following areas of law: Labor and Employment; Civil Rights; Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); Personal Injury. He has served as state President of the ACLU, former General Counsel for the NC ACLU, and cooperating attorney for NC ACLU.

Frank Goldsmith practices in the following areas of law: Civil Rights; Employment Law; General Civil Litigation; Mediation. He is a past state President of the ACLU, chaired the state ACLU's Legal Committee for several years, is a cooperating attorney, and is currently on the board of the WNC-ACLU chapter..

J. Griffin Morgan practices in the following areas of law: Workers Compensation; Labor and Employment; Personal Injury. He has always been involved in union/management and workers' rights issues, as well as various civil rights causes.

Nancy Talanian of No More Guantánamos

Nancy Talanian, NMG's founder and Director, has more than 25 years of grassroots organizing experience. Prior to founding NMG, she founded and directed the national Bill of Rights Defense Committee that earned national recognition through the passage of more than 400 local government resolutions and eight statewide resolutions upholding the constitutional rights of more than 85 million U.S. residents. No More Gitmos here

Guantánamo Detainee Sharifullah

Sharifullah, an Afghan Army soldier, was detained by United States forces on January 29, 2003, during a raid on an Afghan military compound where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found. The IEDs were neither in his possession nor in his immediate vicinity. Sharifullah denies involvement with the IEDs, and many of his interrogators and interpreters say he is being truthful. He has never been charged with any crime. Another Afghan Army officer captured at the same time as Sharifullah and held without charges on the same evidence was freed from Guantánamo in 2007 and is now back home in Afghanistan , a free man.

Co-sponsors: American Muslim Political Leadership & Education PAC, Amnesty International-Group 213, Coalition for Peace with Justice, Duke Human Rights Center, Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Human Rights Coalition of NC, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, Muslim American Society Freedom-NC, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, North Carolina National Lawyers Guild, North Carolina Peace Action, Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Friday, October 16, 2009

US ANTIWAR MARCHES and RALLIES IN 45 CITIES: SATURDAY October 17, 2009


FINALE for the last Two Weeks of Anti-War Protests

Tomorrow, there will be antiwar marches and rallies in 45 cities. If you're in one of them, get yourself there! This date was chosen because 40 years ago, October 15, 1969, Vietnam Moratorium marches happened around the country. here

Why World Can't Wait Demands U.S. Troops Out of Afghanistan (Add Pakistan) Now!

An announcement from the Obama adminstration may come any moment. Wednesday, reports predicted they will expand the war by 45,000 troops. Today, I've heard that General McChrystal says that's the least he could work with, and that the expansion could (expand) by 80,000 troops.

Only the US doesn't have 80,000 troops. This makes the work World Can't Wait has been doing in bringing veterans into high schools class rooms even more crucial. Youth who are being heavily recruited, and pressured by the recession, need to hear the reality of what these occupations mean.

Think this is all a bit abstract and far off? Read it for yourself in the Army Times this week. Wichita KS public schools are looking to bring in the new program because, ""The Army's got a lot deeper pockets than education."
Army considers middle-school JROTC program.

GO here

I (Debra Sweet) will be in Orlando Florida tomorrow, speaking at:

12pm, Saturday October 17
Rally at South East corner of Alafaya Blvd. (SR 434) and University Blvd , the main entrance to the University of Central Florida in Orlando

Info: 321-368-5093

Now, President Obama doesn't have to release the torture photographs that, supposedly, the Republicans pressured him not to release, because:

It's Official: Democrats Support Torture (and Covering Up Torture)

From Ken Theisen: The Obama administration has repeatedly gone out of its way to cover up the abuses of the Bush regime. This has included the failure to pursue prosecutions, or even investigations, of the top criminals in the Bush regime for their numerous crimes. Over and over, Obama's Department of Justice has gone to court to suppress the revelations of the crimes of the Bush administration. It has used arguments of "national security," "state secrets," and "executive privilege" to keep the dirty secrets of the regime from becoming public...

Tuesday I (Debra Sweet) was on Anti-war Radio with Scott Horton and Angela Keaton

Listen here. GO

here

In an early evening edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday, coverage of the Obama fundraiser there included:

Mike Dean of San Francisco, with the left-wing group World Can't Wait, paid tribute to Obama's Nobel Peace Prize with a huge poster showing the president wearing a medallion inscribed "Orwell War Is Peace 2009."

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait

----------

DC Voting Measure Could Be Added to US Defense Spending Bill

here

CQ TODAY MIDDAY UPDATE

Oct. 16, 2009 – 1:53 p.m.D.C. Voting Measure Could Be Added to Defense Spending Bill

Isn't something terribly wrong with THIS picture?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PLANET PEACE ( International Songs, Poems, Declaration)

Planet Peace

Michael Franti: Hello-Hello, Bonjour-Bonjour: here

here (You'll love this International yet African beat & the words): LYRICS here

More Michael Franti: GO here

Playing for Change: GO here

Written Song of Peace
here

Also check out this effort for a Planet Peace here

See International Peace Effort below
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International People's Declaration Of Peace (IPDOP):

The International People’s Declaration of Peace was written with feedback from citizens all over the world and is being translated into 18 languages (with more to come.) The Declaration encourages people to refuse to participate in governmental war crimes against fellow human beings. A world-wide physical tour of the document (in an archival historical format) will begin in 2010 to be signed by prominent peace dignitaries and world leaders from every possible country - translations available in many languages.

here

NO to Wider Afghan War

My disclaimer: while I believe this is an important article with information and points currently ignored, at the same time I find it incomplete on Pakistan and a bit sweeping with it's slightly stereotypical use of terminology. However, it's important in the scheme of the needed debate...so here it is...

Yet my take is continuously to say NO to US war in Pakistan as well and this is not quite clear enough for me....

Before the featured article, here's one that should give everyone pause to continuing this expansion in Afghanistan BEFORE there is any public accountability of Human Rights in Bagram:
here

consortiumnews dot com

Saying 'No' to a Wider Afghan War

By Ivan Eland
October 13, 2009

Editor’s Note: President Obama is under growing pressure from Washington power centers to escalate the war in Afghanistan and accept the recommendation from his field commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, for about 40,000 more troops.

From the Washington Post to Sen. John McCain, Obama is getting excoriated simply for taking time to weigh the various options. However, in this guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland says the President should resist the pressure and just say “no.”

Although the politicians, media and public believe few things are more important than preventing another al-Qaeda attack on America, defending the founding principles of the republic would seem to be one of them.

The conventional wisdom is that the war in Afghanistan is a “war of necessity” that cannot be lost if the war against al-Qaeda is to be won. This proposition is only now being questioned because the fraud-plagued Afghan election makes a legitimate government almost impossible and because the war in Afghanistan has turned into an eight-year quagmire that is getting worse by the day.

Not only is the conventional wisdom wrong, but Gen. Stanley McChrystal should be fired, even if it means losing the war.

McChrystal, much like Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, has publicly spoken out about decisions that are the exclusive purview of the elected civilian leadership. At great cost to his popularity, President Harry Truman cast a great blow for the critical republican principle of civilian control over the military by firing the insubordinate MacArthur.

President Obama could do the same with far less cost; McChrystal just took his job and is not a popular war hero, as was MacArthur.

The founders of the United States — reacting to warlike monarchies of Europe and their own suspicions of standing armies as a threat to liberty — realized that the principle of civilian control over the military was crucial to the survival of a republican form of government.

The ill effects of militaries meddling in the civilian affairs of state have recently been demonstrated in Honduras and Thailand.

But hypocritically, at the same time President Obama is letting Gen. McChrystal publicly undermine his freedom of action on whether to pour more U.S. troops into the Afghan tar pit, the United States is making increased aid to Pakistan dependent on the Pakistani military staying out of civilian business.
Whether Obama takes the politically incorrect and unlikely route of firing McChrystal, the U.S. must face two stark facts.

First, a surge in Afghanistan to match the “successful” surge in Iraq is not likely to work because Afghanistan is a larger country with guerrilla-friendly mountainous terrain, has a more zealous insurgency than Iraq, and where the insurgency has a sanctuary (in Pakistan). And now Afghanistan will likely have an illegitimate government.

Besides, it is far from clear that the surge in Iraq worked. In 2005, the U.S. also conducted a similar troop surge in Iraq, and violence increased. Prior ethnic cleansing and paying off Sunni guerrillas to redirect their belligerence from U.S. forces to al-Qaeda are probably more likely reasons for the lower violence, which is likely to be temporary.

Iraq’s underlying ethno-sectarian fissures remain, the country’s security is fragile, and violence will likely erupt again when the U.S. draws down its forces.
Second, even opponents of the surge in Afghanistan understate their case against it. Their correct conclusions are that in a democracy, it is dangerous to escalate a war on which U.S. public opinion has soured after eight long years of losing and that al-Qaeda in Pakistan can be effectively fought using fewer troops, drones, cruise missiles and intelligence.

However, proponents of the surge answer, seemingly cogently, that Afghanistan must be stabilized or it will be a safe haven yet again from which al-Qaeda will attack the United States.

Because politicians are intrinsically cautious when it comes to national security, the proponents are likely to win this argument unless Americans finally face up to the question that they have avoided since 9/11: Why do radical Islamists, such as al-Qaeda, which are halfway across the world, focus their attacks on the United States?

The answer is in plain sight, but it is too painful for Americans to acknowledge. Osama bin Laden has repeatedly given us his reasons — U.S. occupation of Muslim lands and support for corrupt Middle Eastern dictators.

For example, in 1998, bin Laden charged that it was “an individual duty for every Muslim” to “kill the Americans” and drive their military “out of all the lands of Islam.”

So the nation-building, drug-busting fiasco in Afghanistan is merely inflaming the Islamist urge to throw out the foreign occupiers. It is no coincidence that the resurgence of the Taliban is correlated with increases in the foreign military presence in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, nation-building in Afghanistan has destabilized neighboring Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons.

In conclusion, the likely futile attempt to stabilize Afghanistan to prevent another safe haven for al-Qaeda is actually fueling the fires of anti-U.S. Islamist rage.

Withdrawing from Afghanistan and focusing on neutralizing the real threat from al-Qaeda in Pakistan — not the Taliban — using the aforementioned techniques with a lighter footprint will give the U.S. better results.

Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland has spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His books include The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A SONG and a POEM for PEACE



Let There Be Peace - a poem

Peace in the Four Corners that it should be
a promise, and real;

Peace in our nations that the specter should be
turned on its heel;

Peace in our cities that fear should abandon
our streets and walkways;

Peace in our schools that violence should be
routed, and always;

Peace in our churches that God’s children should be
families, assembling;

Peace in our homes that our young ones should
cease in their trembling;

Peace in our hearts that our tempers should be
cancelled and curbed;

Peace in our words that the masses should be
studied, and stirred;

Peace in our creations that our galleries should be
temples, adorned;

Peace in our visions that Love, in our time,
should be born, and reborn;

Peace in our deeds that never a doubt should
awake, and arise;

Peace in our souls that it should be
mirrored in our eyes.

Let there be peace.

*#+*#+*#+*#+

Filed under Poems of Peace and a recent winner at tenmillionclicksforpeace

Richard Doiron, Copyright © 2009– All rights reserved.

Visit Richard’s website at here

I've printed this following song before - yet plan on it often because I just love it and at the end of a long day of tiresome war drums it feels just right. Come back soon as I hope to put out some great music by video or URL - for peace and also for just plain FUN along with an URDU PEACE SONG or two - One similar to this one....

THIS IS MY SONG

sometimes called Poem for Peace and using tune Finlandia

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover-leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh, hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.



Photo is thanx to the beautiful blog and photo by Andromeda Jazmon