Saturday, September 28, 2013

Divestment and Boycott against Human Rights Abuse

The organizing of a boycott of economic activity targeting a foreign government engaged in Human Rights Abuse is restricted in certain legal frameworks. However, the People can organize a Divestment Campaign  which targets those who profit from Human Rights Abuse. For example, coffee drinkers can advocate for the removal of contracts between municipal or private governments and coffee companies who profit from Human Rights Abuse against farmers in Honduras, or Colombia, and advocate for contracts with reputable coffee growers who uphold Human Rights!

Veolia: A successful Divestment Campaign against a militant privatizer
The Veolia corporation has organized, profited, and advocated for the privatization of public services, replacing quality and affordable services for expensive profit-driven services with cut-backs on quality for the benefit of it's private investors. Veolia also supports illegal Human Rights Abuse, regarded as such by the United Nations, among other entities, in the Middle East.
The following list of links contains information about the Divestment Campaign against Veolia, as of 2013-09, and information about Veolia's operations in the San Pablo bay area:
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* [,21_IL.22,29_IC1147610.htm?filter.radius=50]
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"Veolia Sale of Bus line in Israel considered a BDS victory; Local Palestine BDS group declares major victory"
2013-09-28 message from "North Coast Coalition for Palestine (NCCP)":
Media contact: Lois Pearlman, [] [707-869-0266] [707-494-9127]
The Santa Rosa-based North Coast Coalition for Palestine (NCCP) is celebrating a major victory today: the French-owned multinational corporation Veolia has sold all of its bus lines linking Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
For the past two years we have been asking our Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to open the bidding for its bus service rather than extending its contract with Veolia. NCCP has argued that the county deserves a local company that would keep profits and decision-making in the community, and one that does not violate international law by servicing illegal settlements.
But this is not only a victory for us, outside Sonoma County Veolia has been a major target of theBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, including in the Sacramento Valley, where Veolia withdrew its bid to run the wastewater system after the Davis Committee of Palestinian Rights protested before the district board.
However, the sale ofVeolia’s contract to run the Israeli bus lines is only a partial victory. The company still runs a light rail system that provides rapid transit to illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem. It also operates Tovlan landfill in the occupied Jordan Valley, which receives recycling from Israel and illegal Israeli settlements and Ayalon sewage treatment plant that collects wastewater from the illegal settlement of Modi’in.
So, we are continuing our campaign to open the transit system bidding in 2014 as a nonviolent protestagainst the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli government, and because it’s time to find a local company to do the job. And, our ultimate goal, is to make Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions as successful in ending the occupation of Palestine as it was in bringing South African apartheid to a halt.
For more detailed information I have included the press release from Who Profits, an Israeli organization that verified the sale of the Veolia bus contracts in Jerusalem. Please feel free to contact me for more information about our local campaign, and for interviews with members of NCCP.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

US State Dept. denies audience to victims of illegal drone warfare

This is the same Pakistani lawyer that helped coordinate the CodePink Peace delegation to Pakistan last year. He represents drone victims in Pakistan and was invited to speak to Congress re:  drone killings.
The State Dept. is denying him a visa....

"My family has been destroyed since my mother was killed"
2013-09-23 message from []:

This week should have been one for the history books. On Wednesday, victims of a drone strike were scheduled to stand before Congress and share the horror of their experience. But the hearing never happened.
Rafiq is a school teacher from Pakistan, whose 67 year-old mother was killed by a United States drone strike on October 24, 2012. His children were injured by the drone strike and witnessed their grandmother's horrific death. Therefore, Representative Alan Grayson, D-FL 9th District, has invited the family to testify before Congress. However, the Department of State has blocked their lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, from appearing before a Congressional ad hoc hearing with the family. Without Mr. Akbar, Rafiq and his family will be unable to come to DC, and their story will never be heard. Mr. Akbar works closely with Reprieve, the human rights organization; both Shahzad and Reprieve were instrumental in arranging for me to meet with and interview Rafiq, his children and other drone strike victims when I was in Pakistan interviewing for and filming my upcoming documentary []. 
By refusing to grant Shahzad a visa, the US government is silencing drone strike victims and families. Rafiq's family wants legal justice, NOT VIOLENCE. The time for Rafiq and his family to speak in front of Congress is running out. Please join our campaign by:
* Calling the State Dept. directly at 202-647-4000
* Following up with an email demanding Shahzad be issued a visa
* Signing our petition with
Join Rafiq and his family in urging the Department of State to immediately approve Shazhad Akbar’s visa and allow the survivors to speak with the American public and Legislature. 
Your voice is invaluable in this effort to end the brutality of the drone wars, and we can't thank you enough.
Robert Greenwald and the War Costs team

My Mother Was Killed by a U.S. Drone
By Rafiq ur Rehman
To be delivered to:  U.S. Department of State
Petition Background -
 My name is Rafiq ur Rehman and I am a schoolteacher from Pakistan. In 2012, a United States drone killed my 67 year-old Mother, Momina, while she was working in the field picking vegetables. The drone that killed my mother also injured my children. After sharing my story with Robert Greenwald for his upcoming film, Unmanned, I was invited to testify in front of members of Congress about the impact that drone strikes have had on my family and the people of Pakistan. My two children and I were issued visas within days of applying, but our lawyer and liaison, Shahzad Akbar has been placed in ‘administrative processing’ and is not being issued a visa.
Mr. Akbar is a UK trained barrister who represents my family in our drone case as well as over 100 other civilian victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan. While working with Reprieve, Shahzad has done heroic and critical work encouraging us to use the rule of law to settle our grievances. Before he began representing civilian victims in 2010, he used to travel regularly in the United States. In 2008, Mr. Akbar had his visa quickly approved - it took only three days. It was not until he began standing up for drone victims in Pakistan that he became a problem to the U.S. government and began having his visa approvals delayed. In 2011 his visa was delayed for 14 months. Now, I need your help so my children and I can travel to the United Sates to tell our story.
Our hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st 2013. Without legal representation and accompaniment of our lawyer, Mr. Akbar, we cannot come to the U.S and share our story with Congress and with the people of this country. Please urge the Department of State to immediately approve Shahzad Akbar’s visa so that he may escort my family to the United States and allow Congress to hear the first hand account of what it is like living under drones.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

International Day of Peace, Sept 21st

Info about the main gathering for Peace in San Francisco [link], World Can't Wait... End the War against the the People of Syria!

Saturday, September 21,  12:00 Noon - 4:00 PM
Rally: Peace Day SF 2013
United Nations Plaza, 1150 Market Street @ Hyde Street, San Francisco
Thousands are expected to rally for Peace this September 21st, the United Nations International Day of Peace.  Peace Day San Francisco, sposored by Code Pink Women for Peace occurs on Saturday this year at the United Nations Plaza (Civic Center) in San Francisco. 
Various musicians and speakers address whistleblowers, drone warfare, mass incarceration, the industrial food complex and more.  Musical acts include Pamela Parker, Thunderground Collective, Clara Bellino and other local performers. 
Speakers include: Terry O'Neill and Patricia Ireland of the National Organization for Women, John Perry Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Pamm Larry of Label GMO Campaign, Stephanie Tang of World Can't Wait and Toby Blome of Code Pink.
Contact Andre Champagne,

"It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies." - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his "100-day countdown message to the International Day of Peace"

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 [link] of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.
In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282 [link], which established 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.
The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Statement on Syria from War and Law League (WALL)

"Who turned on the gas? Obama plays God, seeks to smite Syria for its sin, but some evidence points to rebels—& Saudi suppliers—as culprits", a WALL commentary []. Written Sept. 12, 2013. Modified Sept. 16:
WAR and LAW League [WALL], nonpartisan, nonprofit, for the rule of law in international affairs.
In pushing for a “small, limited” attack on Syria — to punish  President Assad for his supposed use of chemical weapons — President Obama and subordinates seem to have aimed at the wrong foe.
They call it “undeniable” that Assad was the culprit. But how could it be undeniable when Assad denied it? He admitted possessing such weapons but not using them. Syria and its ally, Russia, both blamed the rebels for the gas attack, August 21, 2013, which killed hundreds of civilians.
By the way, the U.S. possesses chemical weapons too, and has used them. Iraqis, Afghans, Vietnamese, and others have been victims of such weapons as napalm, white phosphorus, and radioactive “depleted” uranium, let alone cluster bombs, fuel air explosive bombs, and other mass killing devices. Civilians in the hundred of thousands succumbed to George W. Bush’s second war — launched over Iraq’s imaginary “weapons of mass destruction.” The U.S. killed millions in Indochina and Korea. Truman obliterated two Japanese cities with atomic bombs.
          One piece of evidence that the Obama administration has ignored consists of interviews conducted in Syria by the Minnesota-based news outfit Mint Press News. A story by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, August 29, presents a picture of chemical weapons and financing given to Syrian rebels by Saudi Arabia through Prince Bandar.
Ababneh interviewed some dozen rebels who, he reported, said the Saudi government paid their salaries. The interviews suggest that rebels fatally used the weapons, which had been supplied by the Saudis. They further suggest that the rebels may not have fully understood those weapons. See: “EXCLUSIVE: Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack / Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.” []
Last spring, evidence that rebels had used the nerve agent sarin emerged from interviews that human rights investigators conducted with Syrian victims, doctors, and medical workers. So reported the Reuters news agency from Geneva on May 5. Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria, said investigators had received indications of the gas’s “use on the part of the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

AP doubts U.S. claims -
The Associated Press expressed skepticism about the U.S. claims. In a September 8 story from Beirut headed “Doubts linger over Syria gas attack responsibility,” Zeina Karam and Kimberly Dozier refused to accept official U.S. claims that it had intelligence to connect the Syrian government to the unleashing of the chemical weapons.
 “… The public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence produced by U.S. intelligence — no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications,” they wrote. A week after Secretary of State John Kerry presented the administration’s case against Assad, the American people “haven’t seen a shred of his proof.”
Multiple U.S. officials told AP  that there was no direct link between Assad and the unleashing of fatal chemicals. Moreover, U.S. intelligence admitted that it could not keep track of all chemical weapons in Syria, leaving open the possibility of insurgent possession.
Among pros and cons in the story was a comment by Hisham Jaber, a retired Lebanese army general, who heads the Beirut-based Middle East Center for Studies and Political Research. He questioned the U.S. contention that the rebels could not have launched such sophisticated weapons. Among about 70,000 defectors from the Syrian military, many now fighting for the opposition, some could have been trained to fit rockets or artillery shells with chemical agents, in Jaber’s view. He said Syrian rebels had acquired chemical weapons from Saudis, who had bought them from Libyan tribes following the fall of Khadafi.
AP compared the Obama administration’s case for military action against Syria to the Bush administration’s case against Iraq, in which false data about so-called weapons of mass destruction were used to justify Bush’s 2003 invasion. The Obama administration claimed that satellite imagery and intercepted communications showed Syrian government guilt, yet it denied multiple requests from AP to see them.

‘Unbelievably small, limited’ slaughter -
In trying to convince the American people to trust a war-hungry branch of government that had lied to them for generations, Secretary Kerry made a point of minimizing the war that he and the president were cooking up. It would be an “unbelievably small, limited” attack. He stopped just short of adding, “It will consist of only of a few pistol shots,” or quoting the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill, except in a small, limited way.”
          The Pentagon, however, wants a war it can be proud of. So in a September 7 Los Angeles Times story by David S. Cloud, officers discussed plans for “a heavy barrage of missile strikes followed soon after by more attacks on targets that the opening salvos missed or failed to destroy.” The projectiles would be fired from five warships in the Mediterranean Sea, four warships in the Red Sea, and perhaps Air Force bombers too.
The initial barrage would take three days, after which the U.S. military would hit any of 50 targets still standing, or maybe choose new ones to assure that Assad suffered significant losses. Then, if Assad retaliated — and he has threatened to retaliate if attacked — he would be hit again. They did not say what would happen if Syria’s ally, Russia, retaliated. (Notice how military brass talk of fighting one man, though in reality many men, along with children and women, become their victims.)
          At first, the Syrians were allowed no way out. They had never threatened or endangered the U.S. in any way, yet they were to be bombed, and that was that. Obama had spoken. It would be unmitigated aggression, contrary to U.S. treaty obligations. Take the United Nations Charter, requiring members to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force …” (Article 2).
 On September 9, a reporter asked Secretary Kerry if there was anything Assad could do to avoid a U.S. attack. Kerry said, “Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week, turn it over, all of it without delay, and allow the full and total accounting.” Kerry added gratuitously, “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.” An aide later explained that in advising Assad, Kerry was talking hypothetically. Clearly he was not talking sincerely.
           But Russia’s Putin seized the idea. That very day, he asked Syria to put its stockpile of chemical weapons under international control so it could be destroyed. Within hours, Assad agreed. Obama went along. Putin was doing both Assad and Obama a favor.
            It had evidently been a public outcry against a new war that prompted Obama to seek congressional support and prompted Congress to put its foot down. Millions of Americans responded to Obama’s threat with written and voiced messages, overwhelmingly against war with Syria. No vote was taken in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, because the outlook seemed dim for the (pro-war) leadership in both houses.

Motivations -
            On September 14, Russia and the U.S. reached an agreement. Syria would list its chemical weapons within a week. There would be inspection by November and removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, agents, and facilities by mid 2014. The UN Security Council would supervise and, in case of noncompliance, it should impose measures under the Charter. Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, noted that the agreement said nothing of force or automatic sanctions.
             But war, not peace, remains on Obama’s lips: “If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act” (i.e. bomb), he said, ignoring the constitutional role of Congress. He is not an impartial observer of the Syrian civil war. On August 15, Obama came out for regime change: “…The time has come for President Assad to step aside.” And the CIA has been delivering light machine guns and other small arms to Syrian rebels for several weeks. The agency has also arranged to get the rebels antitank weapons, like rocket-propelled grenades. It is not clear how the weapons could be kept out of the hands of those rebels who are al-Qaeda adherents.
On September 10, Thom Hartmann, national talk-show host, commented about Obama’s comment a year earlier that Syria would cross a “red line” if it used chemical weapons. The purpose of the remark, Hartmann said, was to look tough in the election. In making the remark, he added, Obama handed the Syrian rebels a weapon: It was the tip that all they had to do to get Americans into the civil war on their side was to make it look as though the regime had used chemical weapons.
Hartmann drew a parallel between Obama’s off-the-cuff remark and action – the planning of an act of war – and what John F. Kennedy said and did in the sixties: The Cuban missile crisis stemmed from Kennedy’s tough words during his election campaign, in which he accused Nixon of being weak on Communism. So when news of the Soviet missiles in Cuba came out, Kennedy felt he had to follow through by acting tough.
It can be argued that each man risked war – possibly a nuclear world war – to save face after each man shot his mouth off for the sake of politics.

Letter to Obama -
          The San Francisco-based War and Law League (WALL) faxed many letters to Congress and the following to President Barack Obama:
            Innocent people are dying in Syria. So why go there and kill more? We think that as a peace-prize recipient, you should be trying to end the bloodshed, not add to it.
          Some presidents have acted as peacemakers: Bill Clinton arranged mediation to settle the internal strife in Northern Ireland. Jimmy Carter helped to end the Egypt-Israel hostility. Theodore Roosevelt mediated the end of the Russo-Japanese war.
           You say chemical weapons were used. Can we be holier-than-thou? The U.S. has long used chemical weapons in war: napalm, radioactive-uranium shells, white phosphorus bombs, etc. Under Reagan, the U.S. arranged to supply Iraq with gas and biological weapons for its war on Iran.
           As the late reporter Helen Thomas asked President Reagan, following his attack on Grenada, “What right do we have invade a foreign country?”
           We dispute the argument that the credibility of the U.S. requires that it attack a foreign country. The reverse is true:
           In the U.N. Charter, a binding treaty of the U.S. we pledged to settle disputes only by peaceful means (Articles 2 and 33). In the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact (1928), we renounced war as an instrument of national policy.
            The U.S. Constitution authorized only Congress – not the president – to decide whether or not to take any military action. The aim was to make it hard for just one man to hurry us into war (according to framers James Madison and James Wilson).
             And which of the Ten Commandments says, “Thou shalt kill”?
             The credibility of the United States requires peace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

World Can't Wait... End the War against the the People of Syria!

FLASH: World Can't Wait invites you … PeaceDaySF & EARTHDANCE, Sat. Sept. 21, Noon to 4 PM at UN Plaza, San Francisco (Civic Center BART, 8th & Market).
September 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. 
CodePink Women for Peace is again hosting Peace Day San Francisco, inviting everyone to rally and dance for peace with CodePink, March Against Monsanto, the Occupy Action Council, the National Organization for Women (NOW), Veterans for Peace, World Can't Wait and many more.  
 The World Can't Wait's booth will feature a scale-model drone, along with "Guantanamo prisoners" in jumpsuits, and lots of meeting people from all over the country and the world (it's still the height of tourist season) for intense, important conversations about the world, and about stopping the crimes of our government.  
VOLUNTEERS are needed to person our booth. You can help talk to people, give out flyers and ribbons, be in the Guantanamo tableau for 15 minutes or all afternoon, ….. we need you, so phone or email to say you can be there! (Come for an hour, or the day!....) 
As always, we also welcome photographers and videographers – it's sure to be a lively event. 
 Code Pink says: "Celebrate and demand peace at home and abroad.  Community, music and unity -- Peace, San Francisco style. Declare NO WAR ON SYRIA! Demand an end to chemical warfare abroad and at home in our air, water, soil and food supply." 
 Hear musicians and speakers address war in Syria, whistleblowers, drone warfare, mass incarceration, the industrial food complex and more.   
Speakers include Daniel Ellsberg, World Can't Wait, CodePink, Peace Alliance, NOW, Electronic Frontier Foundation, March Against Monsanto, Label GMO Campaign. 
Musical acts: Pamela Parker, Thunderground Collective, Camille Mai, Ashel Seasunz and the rising teen phenomenon, Ryan Cassata. 
 Watch the live stream from on Sept. 21 (12:00 PST, 9am EST).
 Check the schedule or register to volunteer online at:


Stop the next war before it starts . . .
News from the World Can't Wait - San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (All photos courtesy of Julian Field):
Our "US Hands Off Syria" action on Saturday was a first of its kind.  Just as the news was breaking about the U.S./Russia "deal" to strip Syria of chemical weapons, twenty people were hiking and biking toward the new span of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge (just opened 11 days before).  World Can't Wait was joined by Code Pink; the National Lawyers Guild was also represented.  World Can't Wait had called for this first-ever protest on the new Bay Bridge, and with big colorful banners and signs, we planned to "walk and talk, wear and bear our message" (the bridge now has a bicycle-pedestrian path, totally visible to the car traffic).
As we were setting up, the police (California Highway Patrol) arrived.  So did news reporters and TV cameras (Listen to KPFA-FM news coverage here - scroll in to the 9:40 mark).  As we spoke to the press about the Syria crisis and our demonstration, the police were announcing "no demonstrations on the bridge." We announced back that we had a crucial message to bring, that the police had no right to suppress it, that protesters had won a legal case already over the right to march on the Golden Gate Bridge, and that we were starting our walk, now.

We hoisted our signs and banners and walked up onto the bridge.  As we made a slow procession with banners over the railing, there were 20 of us with media crews in front of us and police on bicycles right on our heels. 

We were very colorful and waving out to the passing cars.  Drivers started honking, waving back, throwing us peace signs and power signs.  (Of course, a few shouted or made hostile gestures too.)  Ten thousand cars cross this bridge every hour, so we were "talking" with a lot of people.

It was also a good place to talk with many of the other walkers and bicyclists, all out to enjoy a gorgeous sunny day on the new bridge.  Not surprisingly, many young and old took our flyers and said they too were against Obama's threats to bomb Syria.  Often their reasons were pretty basic  -- not seeing a good reason for another war, some saying that bombing Syria wouldn't hurt Assad as much as it could hurt innocent people, wanting the U.N. to be responsible for solving conflict; "Enough killing for peace already!" said one Midwestern tourist… 

Others weren't stopping but would flash peace signs as they passed.  We didn't meet many people supporting it – but they may have been the ones who refused a flyer, wouldn't stop to talk.
We stayed on the bridge for two hours and made a successful finale with some group photo time around our banners.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Event announcement from Peace Coalition of Monterey County

What are the True Goals of the Surveillance State?
Speech by Angela Keaton ( Director of Operations)

MC: Tom Lee
Saturday, Sept 21, 2013
Starts at 2:00 PM
Free to the public
Location: Peace Resource Center,
1364 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA

What is the overall strategy of a surveillance state that continues to build a massive spying apparatus? What are the real purposes behind the “collect it all, tag it, store it” approach to gathering information on every American citizen?  Why does the federal government require secret laws, courts, judges and prisons? What will be the long-term impact on society if government nullifies personal privacy? Will such policies make the public safer? And what if there is more to come? In other words, is government’s spying on U.S. citizens just the tip of the iceberg? Are there more injustices in the pipeline?

Angela Keaton is the Director of Operations at and a producer of Antiwar Radio. She is currently chairman of the board for the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA) and national chair of Outright Libertarians (an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activists). Among her proudest moments were as producer for Antiwar Radio with host Scott Horton from 2006-2011.

Main Sponsor: Libertarians for Peace of Monterey County. Info: National website: Co-sponsors: the Peace Coalition of  Monterey County, Libertarian Party of Monterey County.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

UNAC Response to Obama's Speech on Syria

9/12/13 []
With tough talk and crocodile tears for those killed in the chemical attack, President Obama made a tactical retreat from his insistence on an immediate attack on Syria. Though he left the attack option on that table, this retreat should be seen as a victory for those who oppose a new U.S. war on Syria.
The Tuesday, Sept. 10 speech took place in the context of the near total isolation of the warmaking Obama administration at home and around the world. The British parliament voted down Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to back the U.S. president. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed it as did virtually all traditional U.S. allies. No support was forthcoming from forces ranging from the Arab League to Pope Benedict XVI.
Every national poll on Syria demonstrates overwhelming majority opposition to yet another U.S. war. Overnight, a new antiwar movement is emerging in the U.S. and around the world. Aware of this mass antiwar sentiment, the U.S. Congress was poised to vote against Obama’s proposal, an action that would make the president the first in the modern era to be essentially reprimanded by the U.S. legislature.
With no immediate options before him, Obama was compelled to at least momentarily jump at Russia’s proposal that Syria put its chemical weapons into international safe keeping. The Syrian government, while accepting this proposal, nevertheless continued to insist that it did not use the chemical weapons and had no intention of doing so. To date no U.S. government agency or the United Nations team on the site has refuted this position.  Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that it was too late for the facts – too late for any UN report.
With nothing but circumstantial evidence that the chemical sarin gas attack was used by the Syrian government, Obama’s speech assumed this as fact and the basis for attacking Syria.
The U.S. record is replete with similar false allegations to justify war, from the Vietnam era Tonkin Bay “incident” that proved to be fabricated by U.S. spy agencies, to Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” that were “proved” to exist by the Bush administration.
History demonstrates that U.S. pretexts for war are invented with impunity and with monstrous results. Four million Vietnamese died in that 10-year war along with 57,000 U.S. soldiers, many still suffering from the poison chemicals employed by the U.S.  1.5 million Iraqis died decades later; no “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found.
The U.S.-backed Saddam Hussein regime, with the approval of the U.S., employed sarin gas against the Iranian people in that eight-year war that took the lives of more than one million Iranians and Iraqis.
The international chemical weapons convention prohibits the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons.  If Obama was truly concerned about chemical weapons in the region, why is he not calling for the destruction of all chemical weapons – those owned and used by allies as well as foes?  This would then apply equally to the Syrian government, rebel forces, Israel, and the Egyptian military – none of which have signed the convention - and of course, the U.S., which does not adhere to international conventions and has used chemical weapons with impunity.
The U.S. government has no political, legal or moral standing to use force against any nation. The warmaking would-be cop of the world has an unbroken record of imperial interventions that have murdered millions to advance the interests of the elite few, not those of the vast majority.
The incredible revelations of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning should suffice to caution everyone that the U.S. "national security state" will use any and all measures to advance its interests and that these "interests" have nothing in common with those of the American people.  
Yet the Obama administration has not abandoned its imperial objective in Syria – to put into place yet another government subservient to the corporate objectives of the U.S. one percent.
The most remarkable and revealing statement in Obama’s speech was his assertion that “for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements -- it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.”  He goes on to say: “Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used…. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”
This incredibly arrogant and dangerous statement of a self-appointed American ‘exceptionalism’ means that the U.S. has the right and the “burden” of acting militarily in American interests because the U.S. alone (and possibly some of our chosen allies) has ideals and principles, always of the highest order, and for the betterment of humanity.
What hypocrisy and what bald-faced lies.  The 70-year record of the United States of bringing death, destruction, and domination to the world is not something Americans can be proud of.  Many Americans are recognizing this ‘essential truth’ and recognizing that only we, the people, have the power and obligation to end the horror perpetrated on our planet.
The U.S. antiwar movement must seize this likely temporary moment in history to deepen its opposition to war against the people of Syria. We have won some precious time to organize a massive movement to compel the government to bring the troops, warships, and planes home now.  We must continue to demand:
No U.S. War on Syria! U.S. Hands  off Syria! No New U.S. Wars! Bring the Troops and War Dollars Home Now! Money for Jobs, Education and Health Care Not War!
If your antiwar or social justice organization has not yet become affiliated with UNAC, we urge you to do so now so that the movement will be in a stronger position to stop any further moves towards war.  For your group to affiliate with the UNAC coalition, please click here and fill out the form [].

Veterans For Peace Statement on the Syria War

"No U.S. Military Intervention in Syria!"
Statement by Veterans For Peace, Sept. 2013 []
Contact: Patrick McCann [] [240-271-2246]; Michael McPhearson, [] [973-666-4605]
Veterans For Peace has just released this statement: Veterans For Peace strongly opposes U.S. military intervention,whether direct or indirect, in the war that is currently raging in Syria. U.S. military aid to rebels in Syria only deepens the suffering and increases the casualties among the Syrian people. It destabilizes the region and risks escalating the conflict into a regional war. It violates the U.N. Charter and international law. There should be no U.S. military intervention in any form, including a so-called “no-fly zone,” which would be a direct act of military aggression. Only the Syrian people can decide who should govern Syria. Veterans For Peace calls for an escalation of diplomacy, not war. We call for a ceasefire from all combatants in Syria. We call for urgent diplomacy to stop the bloodshed and address the humanitarian crises in Syria and among Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
Veterans’ Group Responds to President Obama’s Call to War

from Veterans For Peace National Board, September 12, 2013 []:
Veterans For Peace continues to strongly oppose U.S. military intervention, whether direct or indirect, in the civil war that is currently raging in Syria.
President Obama’s September 10th address to the nation failed to provide a compelling argument for intervention and left many basic questions unanswered and set justification for intervention squarely on logical leaps and counterfactual fallacies.
It is a logical fallacy to say, as the President did, that U.S. military inaction will embolden other dictators into “acquiring poison gas[es], and using them.” It is a leap to say that U.S. military inaction will create conditions for “al Qaeda [to] only draw strength in a more chaotic” Syria. We reject the President’s assertion that it is in the national security interest of the United States to intervene in Syria, and we reject the implication that military might is by default an effective response to atrocities abroad.
VFP strongly urges the Administration to pursue the recent diplomatic opportunity provided by Russian and Syrian leaders regarding Syrian stockpiles of chemical weapons. This international effort also reaffirms the importance of U.S. participation in international treaties like the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the International Criminal Court.
VFP condemns the use of all chemical weapons, as well as the targeting of civilians with conventional weapons. We have watched with horror as the Syrian people have suffered for over two years from violence committed with conventional and non-conventional weapons alike. Peace is served by collecting and destroying chemical weapons and holding perpetrators accountable to international law. This is the course that must be followed if current negotiations fail, not U.S. military intervention which will certainly lead to more lives lost.
The American public is very skeptical of President Obama’s case for war. People have different reasons for opposing military intervention, but chief among them is, after nearly 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are tired of war. We have been more than once tricked into supporting unjust wars—most recently with the false pretense of Saddam Hussein’s al Qaeda ties and Weapons of Mass Destruction stockpiles provided as pretext to invade Iraq. Those claims, similar to those being used to justify intervention in Syria, caused millions of dead and displaced Iraqis, thousands of dead U.S. service members and—in the end—cost trillions of U.S. dollars.
As a result, the American people have overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s call for military action in Syria. When Congress votes on the President’s military plans later this month, Congress should follow the public’s lead on this issue.
Indeed, the true WMD in the case of the Iraq War was U.S. propaganda. The world cannot afford another unnecessary war of choice at the hands of the U.S. government—whether approved by Congress or not. We reject the idea that the U.S. or the West should be the standard-bearer of morality in the world.
The truer motivations for wars such as these—profit, access and control of resources such as oil, and the extension of U.S. power —are not more important than the sanctity of human life. VPF supports neither the use of chemical weapons—regardless of who deploys them—nor military intervention in a raging civil war—by the U.S. or anyone else. Put simply, the civil war raging in Syria will not end through more military force, but a robust and sustained diplomatic effort.
As veterans representing every war since WWII, we are not war weary, but rather war wise. We know the cost of war from direct personal experience. We know that, whether a so called “pinprick” or robust but limited strike, military intervention will only exacerbate the conflict, not solve it. The conflict in Syria suffers a problem of too much war and not enough diplomacy, the former of which the United States should in no way contribute. War is not today, nor will it ever be, the way to solve the conflict in Syria.

9/11, a reflection from Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry

2013-09-12 by Keith McHenry []:
The Smashing Hunger, Squashing Poverty Tour - This is such an important time to work for peace, social justice and the environment. One way you can help inspire your community to take action is to host the Smashing Hunger, Squashing Poverty Tour with Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry. [575-770-3377] [] []
A local Taos man suffering a heart attack on May 21st could not be saved. According to the Taos News when volunteer fire fighters dialed  911  “The call went unanswered. Dispatchers in Taos heard only a faint rasp. The man died.” We have money for war but when it comes to real National Security issues like 911 emergency services the funds are not there.
This September 11th we woke to news that Obama still claims he may need to bomb Syria if negotiations with Russia and Assad fail. Remember that Saddam complied with every U.S. demand letting inspectors in to seek for weapons of mass destruction taking away every U.S. excuse for war but proving a negative was impossible and America bombed Iraq anyway. That war continued to this day. A limited attack on Syria may ignite a global war and maybe an economic collapse as oil prices sore after the Strait of Hormuz is too dangerous to navigate. The murder and chaos that would follow an Al-Qaeda victory in Syria would be staggering. All Al-Qaeda needs is U.S air support.
This September 11th is also the one year anniversary of an event in Libya that should remind us of just how well Obama’s limited wars can work out.  On September 11, 2013 CNN reported that “A car bomb exploded outside a Foreign Ministry building in the Libyan city of Benghazi Wednesday, state media said, on the anniversary of an assault on the U.S. Consulate there that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.” By the time you read this essay news of this reminder may well be eclipsed by an even more dramatic “Pearl Harbor” type event.
Imagine if Obama spent as much energy encouraging America to change our policies to slow climate change or spoke on every network pleading to congress to pass a universal healthcare bill, fund research and development on alternative energy or pass a farm bill that would subsidize organic agriculture. Sadly he would rather go all out for another war while ignoring the real national threats of climate change, hunger, poverty or the student loan crisis.
For most of my life September 11th reminded me of the US backed coup against Salvador Allende in Chili and the public murder of folk musician Víctor Jara who’s hands were cut off before thousands of other prisoners at the Santiago Stadium. But in 2001 nine eleven marked the day I was added to the official U.S. “black list” and banned from official employment in the United States, first being fired from United Way, than Sun Sounds Radio for the Blind where my boss told me naïvely of the Homeland Security “Black List” followed by my last official job at Western National Parks Association.
Banned from employment I headed out on the “Drop Bush Not Bombs Tour” first visiting Food Not Bombs groups in North America followed by a three month tour of Europe and the Middle East funded by friends and the sale of my first book “Food Not Bombs – How to Feed the Hungry and Build Community.”
The tour took me the Balkans where I visited  Belgrade Food Not Bombs in October 2003. As we prepared that weekend’s meal  at the Rebel Squat  local volunteers asked me if Michael Moore’s move “Bowling for Columbine” was based on reality. Did Americans really have guns and used them against one another? They were surprised to learn that civilians are allowed to be armed something I often hear when traveling outside the states.   I also shared that I had just read Moore’s book “Hey Dud Where’s my Country?” and mentioned he finished  the book calling on the American people to vote for General Wesley Clark for president. Everyone in the room gasped and started to recount  Wesley Clark’s 1999 bombing Serbia. One volunteer, Emma, told me how she was an intern at a local hospital that cared for over 750 deformed children some with two heads, others with five arms and others with just one eye. Depleted uranium was America’s choice of “chemical weapon” in that assault. Food Not Bombs activists painted targets on t-shirts daring Clark to kill them. They told of the fear caused when Cruise Missiles slowly floated above the streets of Belgrade seeking targets. Everyone lost friends and family and almost lost hope but they bounced back eager to share the trauma of a US Air War on a modern city. Their toilet was the Cruise Missile crater that had forced the occupants the home they were squatting to flee to France.
Imperialism has a long history of using chemical weapons. Professor Howard Zinn started “The People’s History of the United States” with an account of the first use of weapons of mass destruction in service of imperialism in the “new World” the ever effective  blankets of small pox. His history book continues with America’s use of one brutal advance in mass murder after another from simple bombs dropped on Mexican Rebels to the nuclear bombing of Japan.
While the U.S. media seems to have forgotten America’s use of banned chemical weapons the rest of the world remembers. After the last U.S. war on Iraq started the British Parliament ordered a study of the invasion and issued a report on the United States use of  Mark 77 – 750 pound fuel gel napalm bombs on civilians during the early days of “Shock and Awe.”  Before that invasion American leaders including my neighbor Rumsfield provided Iraq with chemical weapons that were used against Iran and during an internal war against the Kurdish population.
The U.S. also used more fuel gel bombs and white phosphorus on the people of Fallujah in November 2004. The March–April 2005 online Field Artillery magazine has confirmed the use of WP (white phosphorus) in so-called “shake ‘n bake” attacks, so the use of white phosphorus is substantiated by US Army sources only for screening and psychological effects: The Iraqi ministry of health installed by the Bush administration announced that their surveys and studies after the 2004 assault “confirm that US forces used substances that are internationally prohibited – including mustard gas, nerve gas, and other burning chemicals – in the course of its attacks on the city.”
 According to a study released by the Switzerland-based International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in July 2010 noted that “the increases in cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality and perturbations of the normal human population birth sex ratio in Fallujah are significantly greater than those reported for the survivors of the A-Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.” Hundreds of children deformed by the U.S. chemical attacks suffer in Iraqi hospitals as the war America continues to rage across Iraq.
At the same time Obama and Congress are investing so much energy drumming up support for another war it turns out that one in two civilians in the United States are still struggling to survive. The government may close in October. According to a September 9, 2013 Washington Post article “The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and government agencies will start shutting down if some type of budget bill isn’t enacted by then.”  It also says that “The government’s ability to borrow more money will probably end in late October if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.”  This real “National Security Threat” seems to be off the agenda as Millions of Americas face  delays and reductions in Food Stamps while food prices continue to increase. Two days of bombing Syria could feed all the refugees fleeing the war for months or save one hundred Taos Hospitals from the painful budget cuts our community must make this week laying off healthcare workers, reducing services and increasing  fees. Taos isn’t the only hospital forced to make huge budget cuts. The Bend Bulletin’s September 11, 2013 article starts with  “A federal budget-cutting proposal threatens to reduce Medicare payments to 15 rural Oregon hospitals, and hospital and state officials said the impact could be devastating. The proposal involves “critical access hospitals” that get higher Medicaid payments under a program started in 1997 amid a wave of hospital closures in rural America.”  So calling 911 may not lead to emergency treatment at your local hospital.  When you call 911 in my community you have no idea what might happen. A local man suffering a heart attack on May 21st could not be saved. According to the Taos News when volunteer Fire Fighters called 911 “The call went unanswered. Dispatchers in Taos heard only a faint rasp. The man died.”
Congress has not been able to pass a federal budget, not even a budget that would continue to redirect America’s resources to the very corporations that enjoy using our nation’s infrastructure of highways, power grids and surveillance without having to pay one dime in federal taxes.
A desperate man called our hunger hot line today. Like others that call our toll free number he had not eaten in seven days. He told me that the Sheriff’s Department visited his home but told him they were not in the business of feeding people. Food Bank couldn’t help either but 211 was able to give him our number. We still plan to help even though we don’t have the funds necessary to drive to his home in Madrid, New Mexico. Our last dollar was used to transport food to hundred of hungry children in Nairobi Kenya but that is fine, the funds seem to arrive just in time. The people come through even if the state can not.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York Food Not Bombs arrived with hot vegan meals to support the rescue workers. Arby’s Roast beef showed up a couple days latter but the first responders remarked that their sandwiches smelled like Ground Zero so their help was short lived. When the carbon industry Super Storms Katrina and Sandy attacked our communities we joined the citizen rescue squad with our joyously prepared meals, cleaning supplies, fresh water and commission. Every week during the perpetual war of poverty volunteers faithfully arrive on street corners, parks and plazas ready to nourish the local community.
The other emergency call this nine eleven is to the Senate Intelligence Committee and Obama’s web of spy agencies. News revealed on this 9/11 shows that “The National Security Agency openly shares unfiltered intelligence files with the Israeli government, according to a classified document leaked to the Guardian newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”
Domestic spying has consequences. For example Food Not Bombs expected to receive the final payment of $500 from a grant provided by  World Peace Earth to help secure the water pump at the Free Skool from this winter’s freezing nights. Two other urgently needed donations also failed to arrive. When I went to pick up the mail on August 21st, the day of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria  our post box was empty. It was empty again the next day and every day since. Our mail box was empty for 21 days in a row with at least $1,200 in promised donations lost to the winds or as Senator Tom Udall’s very helpful office suggested it may have been lost to the F.B.I. as had been the case when not one piece of mail arrived from June 1, 2008 to November 1, 2008 the same time the F.B.I. started to infiltrate Minneapolis Food Not Bombs. The informants suggested that bombing the police or Republican delegates might be a great strategy. Even though the Food Not Bombs volunteers declined to support the plot the Food Not Bombs house was raided the morning before the Republican National Convention and eight volunteers were charged under the Minnesota Patriot Act.
Food Not Bombs volunteer Jeremy Hammond was targeted by the FBI for sharing the Stratfor or Strategic Forecasting files with Wikileaks. Like Snowden, the information Hammond made public has been critical in understanding the impossibility of forming a free and democratic America unless we dismantle the Intelligence industry. The website asks that everyone write Judge Loretta Preska and ask that she  give him a sentence of time served. He has been held since March 2012 often in solitary confinement. They suggest you include a statement such as this in your letter.  “I am appalled that Jeremy Hammond is facing a decade in prison for exposing corporate spying. Already, he has been incarcerated since March 2012, held in solitary confinement, and at times has been denied the ability to communicate with his family. Jeremy has done enough time already. Please consider granting him a sentence of time served.” Jeremy’s sentencing is to occur on November 15, 2013 in the Southern District of New York.
Food Not Bombs volunteers Eric McDavid, Brandon Baxter and  Connor Stevens are in prison today as a result of  F.B.I. infiltration, surveillance following the government’s elaborate and expensive creation of phony bombing plots. The programs revealed  by Snowden are more than curiosities or a violation of our Constitutional rights. The principle task of the Intelligence Industry to make sure democracy never comes to America and protect corporate power’s freedom to ravage the environment, exploit labor and guarantee that they can operate not only tax free but absorb as much of the public coffers as they can before there is a revolution in the streets.
 The crushing poverty and hunger is our 911 and the people are as always the first responders in the economic and political terrorism attack of corporate greed.
You can respond by joining Food Not Bombs. Start or join a Food Not Bombs group in your community and provide organic vegan meals and inspiring literature under the banner Food Not Bombs. Also consider bringing Food Not Bombs cofounder Keith McHenry to your community this fall. The presentation will bring hope and a realistic strategy to transform our society for the better. Food Not Bombs will respond to your 911 call.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Antiwar Mobilization Thwarts Syria Attack — for now!

Statement issued 9/11/13 by United for Peace & Justice []:
Is Obama Considering A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION!?!? 
“Military might is not what defines a superpower. You have to have super patience. You have to have super negotiating power and diplomatic resources. And you have to have super humanitarian aid where needed. We have the possibility of doing all of that.”  — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV
In his speech last night, President Obama asked the Congress to delay a vote on the use of force in Syria while he pursues a diplomatic solution. This represents a significant victory for the peace and social justice movement!
This past week we’ve witnessed and participated in something amazing and inspiring: people all across the United States saying they are tired of war and speaking up to oppose yet another military intervention. And remarkably, this mobilization was so sudden and so powerful that members of Congress actually listened to the concerns of their constituents.
These developments pressured President Obama to go to Congress, slowing down the process long enough for the Russian proposal to emerge as something positive to explore, rather than an insincere initiative to be dismissed.
But this Syrian crisis is far from over. At any moment, the proposed deal could fall apart, and the Obama Administration may go back to drawing more “red lines.” The administration, despite Russia’s demand, is not yet willing to eliminate the threat of a military attack.
We need to ramp up the pressure even more. It is vitally important that our mobilizations continue and that we continue to send a clear message to the White House and to Congress:
* A military strike by the United States will not resolve the problem of chemical weapons,  will violate international law, and will risk igniting a wider war.
* Any Congressional resolution that authorizes the use of military force by the President as a response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria is unacceptable, no matter how many qualifiers or conditions are tacked on.
* No more “red lines.” Support Russia’s plan in the UN Security Council for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapon stocks to international control and join the Chemical Weapons Convention, without imposing arbitrary or artificial deadlines.
* Work to convene an international conference of all interested parties (including Iran) to seek a political solution to the civil war in Syria.
Everyone’s telephone fingers are tired. But if your Senator or Representative spoke out clearly in opposition to a military strike on Syria, please call them today and let them know their statements are appreciated.  If your Senator or Representive is still supporting a military option or on the fence, they also need to hear from you again.  If you have not memorized this by now, the Toll-free number to the Congressional switchboard (generously provided by FCNL) is 1-855-686-6927.
This has been an inspiring week as a host of grassroots and national organizations have pulled together to avoid another international tragedy. UFPJ’s Coordinating Committee has been working around the clock to mobilize opposition to a US military attack on Syria and to keep you informed about the rapidly changing situation. (see our Syria resources at We will need all that energy and cooperation as we face the budget battles ahead—ending the interminable “war on terrorism,” shrinking the overgrown Pentagon budget, and redirecting resources to urgently needed domestic programs. UFPJ needs your financial support in this moment of crisis and opportunity. Click here to make as generous a donation as you can!

Monday, September 9, 2013

In memorial to the 9/11 of 1973, and the destruction of freedom in Latin America

SOA Watch Activists are Calling for Justice for Victor Jara and for all the Martyrs whose Lives were Lost through SOA/ WHINSEC Violence.
September 11, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S.-backed military coup in Chile, in which General Augusto Pinochet ousted the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. The coup began a 17-year repressive dictatorship during which thousands of people were murdered, disappeared and tortured by Chilean security forces. High-ranking Chilean military officers, trained at the School of the Americas, perpetrated these crimes, and some have now been charged.
As a symbol of our solidarity with the Chilean people, we call on all activists to support the campaign, “Justice for Victor Jara.” The Chilean folksinger was the voice of his country's dispossessed, an internationally admired songwriter, and one of the founders of a new genre of Latin American song. He was killed on September 16, 1973, in the Estadio Chile. His body was dumped in the street, and found riddled with 44 bullets and signs of torture.
In December 2012, Chilean Judge Miguel Vazquez Plaza charged former military officers Hugo Sanchez and Pedro Barrientos as responsible for the murder of Victor Jara.
The judge also indicted former military officers Roberto Souper, Raúl Jofré, Edwin Dimter, Nelson Hasse, Luis Bethke and Jorge Gumucio as accomplices in the brutal crime. Barrientos, Jofre, Dimter and Gumucio are graduates of the School of the Americas.
Pedro Barrientos currently lives in Deltona, Florida. An extradition request for him has been issued by the Chilean justice system. Click here [link] to send a message (reproduced below) to U.S. government officials to demand that Pedro Barrientos be extradited to Chile so that he can go on trial in the case of the killing of Victor Jara.
 Victor Jara was a songwriter and musician and he studied indigenous folk music and traditions. He was also a teacher, theater director and social activist. Among Jara’s many songs, he performed Pete Seeger’s peace anthem, “If I Had a Hammer.” Demanding justice for Victor Jara is a way of asking for justice for all of the victims of the Pinochet dictatorship.

"Justice for Victor Jara and all Victims of Chile's Dictatorship"
message to responsible agencies within the United States []:
Pedro Barrientos is a former Lieutenant in the Chilean military as well as a graduate of the School of the Americas (SOA) who moved to the United States shortly after the end of Augusto Pinoche'ts dictatorship in 1990. Barrientos is allegedly one of the military officers responsible for the torture and murder of folk singer Victor Jara. In fact, Barrientos has been accused by other former Chilean military officers as the man that fired the bullet that killed the Chilean icon. This past January, after years of investigations, the Supreme Court of Chile formally petitioned the U.S. government to extradite Barrientos (in accordance with a long-standing treaty between the two nations) so that he may finally answer for his alleged crimes against humanity before the Chilean justice system. 7 months later, the U.S. government has shamefully still not responded to Chile's legitimate extradition request.
In solidarity with the Chilean people, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of their 9/11, we call on those committed to peace and accountability to support the “Justice for Victor Jara” campaign. The transcendental singer, artist, teacher, theater director, and political activist was killed (along with hundreds of others) in the days following the CIA-supported military coup of September 11, 1973, which ushered in the brutal dictatorship of another SOA graduate, Augusto Pinochet. Jara was first held and tortured in the the infamous Estadio Chile (since renamed Estadio Victor Jara), which was turned into a nightmarish detention and torture center after the coup. Survivors and other witnesses claim that military officers broke Jara's hands with the butts of their rifles before mockingly asking him to play his famous songs. Defiantly, Jara sang part of "Venceremos" (We Will Win). His body was later dumped in the street, found riddled with 44 bullets and signs of extensive torture.
At this time, it is unclear whether the U.S. government intends to comply with international law and honor Chile's extradition request, or continue to be complicit in the crimes against humanity committed by the Chilean dictatorship. The U.S. government disgracefully supported the 1973 coup and the brutal Pinochet dictatorship that followed. The U.S. military trained Pinochet, Barrientos, 4 of the 8 officers indicted for Jara's death, and dozens of other Chilean human rights violators at the School of the Americas. It is time for the U.S. to end it's complicity in the crimes committed against the people of Chile and finally begin to contribute towards justice and reconciliation, as well as comply with international law.
The Department of State, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) all have a legal duty to promptly respond to Chile's request for the extradition of Pedro Barrientos. Please take a moment to ask the appropriate U.S. authorities to comply with international law and prove that no longer will the brutal crimes of the past be condoned, and impunity facilitated. EXTRADITE BARRIENTOS NOW!

"Justice For Victor Jara - Extradite or Prosecute Pedro Barrientos"
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the coup d’etat in Chile that established the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Immediately following the coup, the detention, torture, murder, and disappearance of thousands of people (including Americans) by the Chilean security forces began.
Iconic folksinger Victor Jara was one of hundreds of Chileans and foreigners killed by the dictatorship in the days after the September 11, 1973 coup d'etat. His hands were broken before being mockingly asked to play his famous songs. His body was later dumped in the street, found riddled with 44 bullets and showing signs of extensive torture.
After years of painstaking investigations, Chilean Judge Miguel Vazquez Plaza charged former military officers Hugo Sanchez and Pedro Barrientos as principally responsible for the murder of Victor Jara in December of 2012. A total of 8 former military officers were indicted for the crime, and all of the accused have been arrested except for Barrientos, whom was last known to reside in Deltona, Florida.
In January 2013, the Supreme Court of Chile formally requested the U.S. government to extradite Barrientos so that he may answer to the Chilean justice system for his alleged crimes against humanity. Barrientos has become a U.S. citizen since moving to the U.S. right after the end of Pinochet's dictatorship. Given the credible evidence presented against him in Chile, it stands to reason that he has also committed immigration fraud by failing to truthfully disclose his past actions as a member of the Chilean military forces under the Pinochet dictatorship.
Victor Jara was a world-renowned singer, songwriter, teacher, theater director, and political activist. There is renewed interest in his case along with those of the thousands of other victims of the Chilean dictatorship, given that this year is the 40th anniversary of the coup d'etat that marked the beginning of a very dark period for Chile. Myself and thousands of other U.S. residents, Chileans, and people from all over the world are watching very closely how the U.S. will respond to Chile's extradition request.
It is time for the U.S. to extradite Barrientos to Chile, or in the alternative, prosecute him and strip him of his U.S. citizenship. If it does not, it will be seen as continuing to be complicit in the crimes committed 40 years ago and throughout Pinochet's 17 years in power. The U.S. will also be understandably seen as being in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian and treaty law. It is time for your agency to do its job and make certain that Barrientos answer for the crimes for which he is accused.

2013-01-03 "Victor Jara murder: Chile arrests ex-army officers"
from "BBC News" []:
Victor Jara wrote songs about love and social protest

Chilean authorities have arrested four former army officers accused of involvement in the murder of singer-songwriter Victor Jara.
Jara was killed days after the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in September 1973.
More arrests are expected after a judge last week indicted eight ex-officers, including one who lives in the US.
Jara's widow, Joan Turner, has urged the US to extradite Pedro Barrientos Nunez. He has denied any involvement.
On 28 December, Judge Miguel Vazquez accused Mr Barrientos, a former lieutenant, and Hugo Sanchez Marmonti, an ex-colonel, of homicide, while the other six were accused of complicity to commit murder.
On Wednesday, four of the men, including Mr Sanchez Marmonti. handed themselves in to the authorities.
The judge has said he will request Mr Barrientos's extradition from Florida, where he now lives.
Joan Turner Jara, originally from Britain, said on Wednesday that the charges against the former officers were " a message of hope" but that much remained to be done to ensure justice not only for her husband's case but for all the victims of Chile's military dictatorship.
"If Victor's case serves as an example, we're pushing forward in demanding justice for Victor with the hope that justice will follow for everyone," she told reporters.

Broken hands -
Victor Jara, who was a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was one of the best-known victims of Gen Augusto Pinochet's coup.
In the 1960s he wrote protest songs against the ruling elite of his country and was a supporter of President Salvador Allende who was toppled and died in the military uprising.
Jara, 38, was abducted on 11 September from a university in Santiago.
He was taken to a sports stadium in Santiago which had been turned into a makeshift prison and torture centre.
He was tortured, electrocuted and had his wrists and hands broken. On 16 September, he was machine-gunned to death.
In June 2009, his body was exhumed as part of an investigation to clarify the circumstances of his death.
Six months later, thousands people paid their final respects to the folk singer, who was reburied after a three-day wake.
More than 3,000 people were killed or went missing during military rule in Chile, from 1973 to 1990.

From Santiago, Chile to the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia:
Shut Down the SOA!

Led by SOA Watch Latin America Coordinator and torture survivor Pablo Ruiz, a delegation of SOA Watch activists is currently on the ground in Chile, where they are standing with tens of thousands of Chileans, in commemorating the martyrs whose lives were lost by the dictatorship. From these ashes of the past, a new Chile is arising, thanks to the valiant efforts of Chilean students and Mapuche people who refuse to accept the the neoliberal model imposed by Pinochet and designed by US economists.
From November 22-24, 2013, we will carry our protest to the place where the killers are still being trained: Fort Benning, Georgia. Join torture survivors, and social movement activists from Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and from across the Americas and take a stand against the School of the Americas and oppressive U.S. foreign policy. The November Vigil has evolved into one of the largest annual anti-militarization gatherings in the hemisphere, with concerts, workshops, strategy sessions, protests, street theater and nonviolent direct action. Make your travel plans now and join us from November 22-24, 2013 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!
For more information, visit []

Victory for the Beale 5, prisoners of conscience

[], news archive for the Peace vigil and Occupy action at Beale AFB! [].
Contact information:
* Bay Area: Toby [510-215-5974] []
* Nevada County: Shirley [941-320-0291] []

My statement at sentencing today for protesting drones at Beale Air Force Base
2013-09-09 by David Hartsough [], director of Peaceworkers [], a cofounder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce [], and a lifelong member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He lives in San Francisco, California. David Hartsough's blog []. [Photo courtesy The Nuclear Resister.]

I was arrested last year, along with eight others, at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, California, for blocking two entrances to the base. Our action closed the base’s main entrance for over three hours on October 30, 2012. Today, we were brought to trial in federal court in Sacramento, California. Here follows my statement to the court today.
Drones have killed thousands of innocent civilians and are immoral and illegal under U.S. and international law. They also recruit many more people into Al Qaeda.
We are one human family. All people in the world are children of God and are our brothers and sisters. If someone attacks our blood brother or sister, we would do everything in our power to stop them. This is the way we feel about innocent civilians being killed by drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.
One hundred and seventy-eight children and thousands of other civilians have been killed by drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Does this strengthen our national security? Is this making the world a safer place?
Drones are totally immoral and are against everything we have been taught in our religious faiths: Love one another, Love your enemy, and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a question of religious freedom. I am a Quaker and my religious faith requires me to try to stop the killing of innocent people.
How would we feel if Russians or Chinese or Afghanis or Pakistanis were flying drones over the United States and killing American people?
It is illegal under international law to go into another country and drop bombs on people our government doesn’t like. The Nuremberg Principles require citizens to attempt to stop crimes against humanity and killing innocent civilians is a crime against humanity. Doing nothing or remaining silent is complicity in these crimes. In protesting at Beale AFB, I was trying to uphold international law.
The United States is making decisions to kill people without them ever coming before a court or found guilty. The U.S. government is playing Judge, Jury and Executioner. Is this what we call the rule of law?
Using drones and killing many innocent people is creating more and more enemies of the United States. Every person we kill has at least 50 family members and friends who will mourn the loss of their loved ones. Many will seek revenge on the people and nation that has killed their loved one or friend.
Instead of drones and dropping bombs on people we need to send Peace Corps people to build schools and medical clinics and help people in these countries recover from the wounds of war. We could be the most loved country on earth rather than the most hated.
By our silence we condone this senseless killing. We must speak out and act to stop this madness. By our nonviolent protest at Beale AFB, we were acting to uphold God’s law, U.S. law, the Nuremberg Principles, and international law.
We call on our fellow Americans, people in churches and synagogues and mosques, students, all people of conscience, to join us in stopping drones before they kill more innocent people and recruit more people into Al Qaeda. Unfortunately, our “war on terror” is a receipe for perpetual wars and endless suffering and death for people around the world.
Judge Carolyn Delaney, at a time when our country is preparing to reign down missiles and bombs on Syria — which could start a much larger war in the Middle East killing thousands or hundreds of thousands of people — perhaps the best place for people of conscience is behind bars.
I am at peace with whatever you sentence me to. I cannot pay a fine or accept probation for a nonviolent action in which I was trying to uphold God’s law, U.S. law, and international law. Judge, if you so decide, I am ready to do community service or spend time in prison.
UPDATE: Monday evening, September 9, 2013
Press Release from the National Lawyers Guild/ Sacramento:
SACRAMENTO – Five peace advocates convicted of trespassing at a demonstration opposing the Obama Administrations killer drone program at Beale AFB near Marysville were sentenced here Monday to only 10 hours community service – after they said they rather go to prison than accept a fine and probation.
Judge Carolyn Delaney listened to passionate statements (Available upon request) by the defendants, who told the judge they were willing to go to federal prison rather than pay any fines or accept 3 years probation. They faced up to six months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine each for trespassing at Beale.
Delaney relented, and after acknowledging prison would serve “no purpose,” sentenced the most minimum of community service to Janie Kesselman, Camptonville; Sharon Delgado, Nevada City; Shirley Osgood, Grass Valley; and David and Jan Hartsough, both of San Francisco.
The “Beale 5” considered the very light sentence a “victory.” They were arrested October 30, 2012 protesting the U.S. drone program at Beale AFB, which provides surveillance drones that scout locations for killer drones, responsible for killing hundreds of innocent people, including children, around the world.
The defendants were convicted by Delaney August 12 after she  refused to allow a jury trial. She also refused the admit the “Necessity” and  “Nuremberg Principles” defenses, which argues citizens have a duty to prevent the killing of civilians by their own government. She also disregarded key testimony by witnesses.
The all-volunteer defense team – Sacramento lawyers Mike Hansen, Mark Reichel, Joe Marman and Tatiana Filippova – was coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento. They objected to the court’s decision to exclude a jury trial. They have 14 days to appeal.
The NLG/Sacramento also said the judge in the case refused to allow key witnesses – including people who have seen the devastation to civilians in Pakistan and other parts of the world.
A second anti-drone trial is scheduled later this year for another group of five people arrested at Beale AFB this past April 30.

"9 Arrested for Blocking Gate of Beale AFB to Protest Drone Strikes"
2012-10-30 []: BEALE AFB (Marysville), Ca. – Nine military veterans and peace activists from throughout California were arrested around at the main gate to Beale AFB (North Beale Road) today, protesting the inhumane and cruel U.S. Drone Program, now killing thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world.
About 100 activists from as far away as Fresno, the SF Bay Area, Sacramento and other Northern California cities unfurled large banners and carried model drones and large photos of child victims of drone strikes to show the dark side of drone warfare.
Beale AFB has been a target of anti-drone protests for years. Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an “accomplice” in drone killings.
There have been a series of direct actions leading to arrests this year protesting President Obama’s use of drones, most recently at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY last Thursday, where 17 were arrested.
Activists demanded: (1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan,
 Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.
 “US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In the name of combating terrorism against the U.S. we are terrorizing innocent people, and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process,” said a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Nevada County Peace Center, Peace Fresno, WILPF and World Can’t Wait.
“Our government has become lawless powers, acting as judge, jury and executioner, just because they can. They use remote-controlled drones to kill women in their kitchens, elders meeting in their jirgas, mourners at funerals, and rescuers who try to help the wounded. By most independent studies, the vast majority of those killed are civilians,” said Toby Blome, of CodePink’s Peace Delegation to Pakistan.
“When I learned about what we are doing with drones…killing innocent civilians, and see the faces of dead children and their mourners, I find the passion to do something. That’s why I’m taking some action at Beale,” said Shirley Osgood, Occupy Nevada County and Nevada County Peace Center and Nevada County Green.

"Anti-Drone Action at Beale AFB: Nonviolent Civil Disobedience for Peace"
by Shirley Osgood []:
For the past 2 ½ years I have been driving monthly from my home in Grass Valley, Ca, 30 miles out to Beale Air Force Base for a non-violent protest against drone warfare. There I have met other activists from around the state, as we have hung and held banners, passed out current information about drone warfare to those entering and leaving, camped together at the base entrance, shared food, celebrated birthdays, supported each other through hard times, sung and played guitar, risked arrest, and come to be a group of dedicated activist friends. These are some of the things I have learned about drones since I started protesting them at Beale AFB:
• Beale AFB is the home of the Global Hawk, the U-2, and the MC-12 Liberty aircrafts. The Global Hawk is an unmanned ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) aircraft which provides near real-time information to support our “war on terror” across the globe, and which has been complicit in the killing of many innocent civilians in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Bosnia, Serbia, Libya, and Somalia
• The use of drones for targeted assassinations/extra-judicial killings is immoral and illegal under international law, and their use threatens us all. The U.S. does not have the right to inflict capital punishment without trial on whomever it has put on its “kill list”. “Signature” drone strikes target people with suspicious behavior and also kill many innocent people, including children, who have no relationship to attacks on the U.S. “Secondary strikes”, that is, drone strikes on rescue workers, also constitute war crimes.
• The U.S. government claims that drone attacks are very accurate, but, in fact, many innocent people have been killed by our drones. At least hundreds, and by some reports, thousands of innocents, including hundreds of children have been killed and injured by our drones. There is great discrepancy in the numbers reported killed. Our government considers “combatants” or “militants” to be any male who appears to be of military age. The deaths of these men or boys are not reported in the civilian death counts.
• Since 9-11-01 we have spent almost $1,500,000,000,000 (that’s 1 ½ trillion) on our “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, neglecting needed services at home and abroad, including our fragile environment, education, homelessness, food, healthcare, and infrastructure. So those are some of the facts. I believe that killing civilians only creates more enemies, instead of our intended goal of getting rid of those who may be plotting against us. I can only imagine what “we” would do if we found a foreign drone flying overhead, surveilling, much less killing even one child.
For many months, I tried to obtain the names of the child victims, as I felt moved to do some kind of memorial to them, to acknowledge their existence, and their deaths. Last year I found a list of names on several different internet sites. This incomplete list included the names of children killed, their ages, gender, and their countries of origin. All the children on the list were from Yemen and Pakistan. The U.S. considers Pakistan an ally, and yet I had a list of almost a hundred children, ages 1 to 17, killed in Pakistan by U.S. drones. Aware that Yemen and Pakistan were not the only countries where innocents were killed by the U.S., we began planning a memorial project. Last fall, at Nevada County’s International Women’s Day Celebration, the “Children Killed by U.S. Drones Panel Project” started to emerge…9” by 20” fabric pieces with figures of children painted in acrylics, markers, pastels, pencil, and fabric, each including a name, gender, age and country. Though a work in progress by many people, (see for more information and photos), the panel project has so far traveled to The Federal Courthouse in Sacramento four times, Sierra College for Earth Day, Beale Air Force Base three times, the Broad St. Bridge and the Constitution Day Parade in Nevada City (rogue participants). Anyone is invited to participate in this project by contacting The Peace Center of Nevada County ( and leaving your contact information.
In my memory of my time going to Beale AFB to protest, there have been 17 arrests. The first was my sister, cited for handing out leaflets in the yellow triangle which divides the “in” and “out” lanes outside the base. Those charges were dismissed in court. Then a woman delivering a vase of home grown sweet peas to the guard house, was handcuffed and cited, along with a woman from Germany, filming a documentary on peace activists. Those charges were dropped after a few weeks.
Then nine people, including myself, were arrested in October, 2012, charged with trespassing on federal property. Charges were dismissed on four of those. In April, 2013, five were arrested at the Wheatland Gate for federal trespassing. The five arrested in October, who still had charges, including myself, came to be called the “Beale 5”. We went on trial August 12, 2013 at the Federal Court in Sacramento for trespassing onto Beale Air Force Base.
More than a dozen people blocked the county road at the base for several hours. When we moved closer to the gate, it was swiftly closed. Eventually, five of us sat on a small area about five feet wide, in front of the base gate, and shortly thereafter, we were detained on the base, cited for federal trespassing, and released with a citation indicating further action.
Though our pro bono attorneys petitioned to obtain a jury trial for us, the judge decided on a bench trial. Our attorneys were determined to “get us off” and presented lots of evidence regarding confusion about the base boundaries. The morning of the trial was filled with these details, but in the afternoon, we were at least allowed to testify regarding our reasons for the direct action. After the testimony and cross examination, the judge presented her verdict of “guilty” of trespassing.
September 9th at 9:30 was the sentencing date for the “Beale 5”. First we had a rally with about 50 friends and supporters/activists in front of the Federal Court House in Sacramento. So many faces I have grown to know and love, and some new ones too…. Brother Kevin Carter with his megaphone, speaking the truth about the “fierce urgency of now”, my sister, Pamela, friends and neighbors from Nevada County, my loving co-defendants, co-activists from the Beale AFB vigils, (including Flora from Linda!), Bay Area supporters (go Toby and Code Pink!), and new friends from Sacramento. Then there is Cres, our wonderful trial coordinator from National Lawyers’ Guild, and our team of pro-bono attorneys from Sacramento. The court room was filled with supporters. (That did feel very nice.) Judge Delaney was ready to give the sentence, and I think perhaps she did give it immediately, but also gave each of the five of us the opportunity to give a pre-sentencing statement.
The other four had prepared statements, and they spoke eloquently of their histories, drone warfare, and their reasons for being there. I had not written a statement, though I had general ideas floating in my head. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something about being a grandmother, my grandchildren being children of the world, just like the children on the drone panels, who have been killed in Yemen and Pakistan. And something about our fragile little planet, and how war does not support its healing. Though our sentence was small…only 10 hours of community service…. there was a controversy about being on probation until our 10 hours are done and reported.
After leaving the court, a group of about 10 of us went to my favorite restaurant in Sacramento, the little Afghani Restaurant at the corner of 8th and J St. This has become our tradition after our court hearings. I look forward to eating there again after supporting the “Wheatland 5″, whose trial for trespassing at Beale AFB will be October 28th.
Who will be next to challenge the dronewarfare our country is waging around the planet? You? Tune in for more news!

"Renouncing the right to bear drones"
2013-09-13 by Ken Butigan []:
The riveting attention paid to chemical weapons in Syria over the past few weeks is not a new phenomenon. Our revulsion has its roots in World War I’s searing plumes of mustard gas that decimated thousands of troops and that still swirl through the trenches of our collective mind. But it is also grounded in our conscious or unconscious memory of every pivotal moment in the history of war when one combatant’s edge widened incrementally or dramatically over another with the latest innovation in killing.
The ability of new weaponry to mechanize and geometrically multiply casualties with every turn of the technological wheel has proven chillingly advantageous to systems of domination. But this superiority has not only been numerical. Its power often has laid in its capability to deface and ultimately obliterate the facticity and stubbornly human presence of the other — whether it be with the meat grinding Gatling gun of the Civil War or the vaporous immensity of the atomic bomb. Virtually every new weapon over the past 5,000 years has not only been designed to defeat the opponent with greater firepower but to reduce, ruin and extinguish her or his body, presence, physical integrity — the qualities that makes us irreducibly human.
We are now in the midst of the drones revolution, the next leap in technologized lethality. The quantitative horror that drones have ushered into the world is deeply troubling. For example, U.S. drones have killed an estimated 3,149 people in Pakistan since 2004, as Out of Sight, Out of Mind vividly documents. At the same time a qualitative horror rumbles through our collective consciousness rooted in the growing capacities of drones, including their radical particularity, universal comprehensiveness, and increasing automation.
The precision of drones has dramatically refashioned the concept of most battlefield weapons, which steadily have increased the ability to kill large numbers of people. A military drone, on the contrary, is hyper-personal, designed and tailored to kill a particular person. While the United States regularly carries out what it terms signature strikes — aimed at classes of people that are presumed to be terrorists because they match a certain demographic profile (young men, for example) — the stark reality of drones is that they are designed to track and eliminate specific individuals.
Paradoxically, this very particularity makes the potential reach of drones universal. One by one, we are all hypothetically at risk. Any one of us could find ourselves on a “kill list” if we are deemed by “deemers” to fit the system’s criteria at any given moment. As the NSA revelations of Edward Snowden and others have underscored, the capacity increasingly exists for the U.S. government and other entities to amass profiles on every human being on the planet. Perhaps all seven billion of us are on a master list whereby the “deemer-in-chief” can toggle us from the “non-kill list” to the “kill list” when national security demands it. Whether this is the case or not, the growing capacity of drones to roam the planet to track and eliminate targets drawn from a comprehensive super-database is a prospect with which we must grapple going forward.
Even more than this, there is the possibility that such a comprehensive system will become virtually automated. Not only might there be a universal list, it could be activated and maintained by a set of algorithms, freeing those glued to the monitors and working the joysticks at places like Creech Air Force Base in Nevada — as well as their bosses who now compile and sign off on the lists — from the sometimes PTSD-inducing task of deciding who will live and who will die.
All these facets of drones — customizable killing, planet-wide surveillance and targeting, and the potential for them to be the lynchpin of a self-regulating, ubiquitous and permanent military regime — increase lethality but also degrade, destroy and erase the inviolable human presence.
The drones revolution is on, and every effort is being made to get us to enlist. Over the past few years this has included an unrelenting touting that drones are a foregone conclusion. Virtually every day there are new revelations in the press — for example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently announced that it was working on underwater drones [], and there seems to be a thriving “do-it-yourself” drones cottage industry []— while U.S. drone warfare continues apace in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. (Although most analysts downplay the role drones might play in Syria if the United States goes in [] [], this spring a news account detailed how the CIA has plans to carry out drone attacks against extremists in the Syrian opposition.) This is a new form of subtle and not-so-subtle conscription, designed not so much to fill the ranks of the armed services as to gradually get us to assume that a drone-run world is normal, good and just another part of the future.
But there is resistance to this “cultural draft,” including the international movement that, for the past few years, has been growing and broadening []. (In reflecting on this movement, I recently explored the idea of promulgating an international treaty banning drones, inspired by the international treaty banning land mines [].) Code Pink, which has provided powerful leadership for this movement, is sponsoring a drones summit November 16-17 in Washington, D.C. “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” will feature among other presenters Cornel West, international law expert Mary Ellen O’Connell, and activists from Yemen and Pakistan [].
Anti-drone protests have been staged recently in Yemen [] and Britain []. And this week, the “Beale 5” were sentenced in a Sacramento, Calif., courtroom for a nonviolent civil disobedience action they engaged in October 30, 2012 at Beale Air Force Base in Northern California, which provides surveillance drones that scout locations for killer drones []. Last month they were convicted of trespassing at the base after a day-long bench trial, where they faced a maximum sentence of six months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine. Judge Carolyn Delaney sentenced the five — Janie Kesselman, Sharon Delgado, Shirley Osgood, Jan Hartsough and David Hartsough — to 10 hours of community service after the defendants told her that they would rather go to jail rather than accept fines or probation.
In her statement before the judge, Jan Hartsough, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Pakistan in the mid-1960s, said: "After living and working there for two years, Pakistan is a part of me. I have followed with great pain and sadness the drone attacks on Pakistanis. I have learned from Pakistani victims of drone strikes that they are experiencing psychological trauma — never knowing when a drone might strike again. Kids are afraid to go to school; adults are afraid to gather for a funeral or a wedding celebration for fear of becoming a “target.” … So what have we accomplished with our drone attacks? When will we wake up and see that there are much better ways to win the respect of the world’s people? As a mother and grandmother I seek to find ways to help create a more peaceful world for future generations. Ending drone warfare is a concrete step we can and must take."
After the statements of Hartsough and the others, the judge declared that prison would serve “no purpose.”
A second anti-drone trial is scheduled later this year for another group of five people arrested at Beale this past April 30.