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Shut Down Creech

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Petition for sr. Megan Rice


Sixteen years in prison is not enough? Sister Megan Rice and her friends, all peace activists, already face 16 years in prison if convicted for a nonviolent peace action. Sister Megan, Greg Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli went to Oak Ridge, Tennesse, to say NO to nuclear holocaust. Instead of dropping charges, the US Attorney General and the Department of Justice are considering two additional charges against this 82-year-old nun and two U.S. veterans, both sabotage charges. One carries 20 years and the other 30 years in prison. With the new charges, the defendants would face a maximum of 65 years in prison. This is the equivalent of a death sentence.

Megan, Greg, and Michael called their action "Transform Now Plowshares," and brought nothing more dangerous than flashlights, binoculars, bolt cutters, bread, flowers, a Bible, and household hammers to Oak Ridge. They hammered on the walls of a storage facility to symbolize the disarming and abolition of nuclear weapons. The real danger to society is not this nun and two veterans, but instead the facility they want to transform. This unconstitutional facility holds enough weapons grade uranium to make more than 10,000 nuclear weapons, far more than what scientists say is needed to destroy life on earth.

Please join in this petition to the Attorney General of the United States asking him to refuse to authorize additional charges: 16 years in prison for revealing the criminality and insecurity of nuclear weapons production smacks of killing the messenger for the failings of the king.

For more see here.
To contribute to this work for nuclear disarmament, click here.
To sign the petition: here.

More on the case: Woe to the empire of blood, part II and part III.

From A Pinch of Salt.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence was held in Las Vegas on September 23, 2012.

Here is YouTube coverage of the two-day Celebration, made by John Amidon.

The first two clips are from the afternoon plenary session with Kathy Kelly and Vincent Harding in conversation with moderator Jim Haber.

After a good meal and some music, Mary Litell led the group in some exercises used by Capacitar International to help people survive and recover from trauma and extremely violent situations.

Then Rae Abileah shared some of her experiences and reflections on nonviolent activism.

Ahmed Younis offered some observations of society and the Islamic worldview based on the day's conversations.

The next day, a group held a Tashlich ritual, traditional for Jews during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

This service had spiritual and political significance as it was held in the Palazzo, a casino owned by Sheldon Adelson. The liturgy was created by members of Jewish Voice for Peace and included asking for repentance for the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories and for the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Israel as second class citizens.

The ritual involves casting coins or small stones or bread crumbs in a moving body of water. The Palazzo has a waterfall, so it seemed just too perfect!

Here are photos taken by Jim Haber of the NDE during the conference.

Video 1 of the List of video's:

Putting Nuclear Missiles on Trial: Oct 16-17th, Santa Barbara, CA

From the civil resistance of the Vandenberg 15 and the work of Veterans For Peace,
a new campaign to de-alert and stand down (eliminate) the Minuteman lll missile is happening.

Call President Obama today at 202-456-1111 and ask him to de-alert and stand down the minuteman lll.

Come to our trial of The Vandenberg 15 in Santa Barbara, CA with events starting on Oct.16, a public forum: "Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial" in the Santa Barbara library and the trial beginning on Oct. 17, 2012.

More information by emailing jajaja1234@aol.com.



Edit:
Here is the latest:

Minuteman III Missiles:
Dangerous, Deadly and Time to Decommission

The US nuclear arsenal includes 450 land-based Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) armed with thermonuclear warheads. These ICBMs are deployed in hardened silos in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. They are easily detected and targeted. The missiles cannot prevent a nuclear attack on the United States – there is no way to preemptively eliminate all of an adversary’s nuclear weapons. A launch would ensure retaliation by a nuclear adversary.

These missiles are on high alert every moment of every day. The decision to launch would be made by the President in 13 minutes or less if he believed there was an impending attack. The Washington Post recently called this “13 minutes to doomsday.” Thirteen minutes with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment would bring the world as we know it to an end.

An immediate step that could be taken would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by eliminating the possibility of accidental or unauthorized launch. A more significant step would be to make the decision to retire and eliminate all land-based ICBMs. They are expensive to maintain and do not address 21st century threats.

In a major unilateral nuclear attack without retaliation from the other side, the smoke from burning cities would block sunlight sufficiently to destabilize the environment, reduce warming sunlight to the lowest levels in at least 1000 years, shorten growing seasons and decrease sustainable agriculture, lower food production and create nuclear famine worldwide. Simply put, even a one-sided attack without retaliation would be tantamount to suicide. Nuclear weapons have no application without inflicting harm on oneself.

It is time we fully understand that any nuclear war that attacked another side’s cities would have consequences for the well-being of everyone on the planet, regardless of wealth, political affiliation, race, etc. The United States and the world would be far more secure by eliminating nuclear weapons, beginning with the Minuteman lll Intercontinental Ballistic missiles.

Please call or send a message to the White House today (call the White House at 202-456-1111) and ask President Obama to de-alert and decommission the US land-based missile force. It is unneeded, provocative, and could be launched to a false warning. US citizens and people throughout the world will be safer and more secure without them.

This is the next video please watch and pass it along. First call the White House so you can affirm you havecalled. You will feel good for having done so (like I do) and this is a team effort. Truly I need you to do this. Thanks. Paz, John

Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial with David and Carolee Krieger



"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have
guided missiles and misguided men." MLK

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the
whole staircase." MLK

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Living under constant threat of drones

Much of the public debate about drone strikes in Pakistan has focused narrowly on whether strikes are ‘doing their job’—i.e., whether the majority of those killed are “militants.” That framing, however, fails to take account of the people on the ground who live with the daily presence of lethal drones in their skies and with the constant threat of drone strikes in their communities.

Numerous other reports have highlighted the disastrous impacts of Taliban and other armed actor operations in Pakistan. Those impacts must also factor into the formulation of governance and military policy in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This report, however, aims to draw attention to a critical gap in understanding, specifically about life under drones and the socio-economic impacts of drone strikes on civilians in North Waziristan.

Available evidence suggests that these impacts are significant, and challenges the prevailing US government and media narrative that portrays drones as pinpoint precision weapons with limited collateral impact. It is crucial that broader civilian impacts and the voices of those affected be given due weight in US debates about drones.

New site Living under drones for further reading.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

EDIGER MEMORIAL INTERFAITH CELEBRATION of ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE Las Vegas, Nevada Community Event, September 23, 2012



For Immediate Release                     September 17, 2012
               
From: Nevada Desert Experience.
CONTACT: Jim Haber, Coordinator (702) 646-4814

EDIGER MEMORIAL INTERFAITH CELEBRATION of ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE
Las Vegas, Nevada Community Event, September 23, 2012

(Las Vegas, NV). The Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada is partnering with Nevada Desert Experience and Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service to present a community event – The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence – on Sunday, September 23, from 3:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Islamic Society of Nevada, 4730 East Desert Inn Road.

The Celebration of Active Nonviolence comes on the heals of the International day of Peace, September 21. Families are welcome and encouraged to attend the free event (donations welcome) which will include a program of powerful panelists, useful exercises, heart-lifting music, stimulating dialogue and a complementary dinner. Childcare available.

About some of the presenters and prayer-offerers:
Vincent Harding, chairperson of the Hope Project; A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal, will share the keynote presentation with Nobel Prize nominee Kathy Kelly. Co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly recently returned from another of many delegations to Afghanistan in coordination with the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Harding was a close friend of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. and is credited with drafting one of King's most outstanding talks, the April 4, 1967 Riverside Church sermon when he came out publicly against the war in Vietnam.

Mary Litell will share self-care techniques taught by Capacitar International in settings including refugee camps, prisons and schools. Rae Abileah of CODEPINK Women for Peace and Young, Jewish & Proud will talk about what inspires her to be a nonviolent activist today.  Ahmed Younis, Co-Author of the soon-to-be-released book American Blackness: Reflective Thoughts by Men of Faith, will offer reflections on the discussion from the perspective of an up-and-coming Muslim-American . The St. James the Apostle Catholic Church Gospel Choir will stir the audience to song. Prayers for Peace will be offered by representatives of many faiths, including Imam Aslam Abdullah, Bishop Dan Edwards, Pastor Gard Jameson, Rabbi Yocheved Mintz, Fr. Louis Vitale. Priestess Candace Ross, Sikh Teji Malik and Rev. Adolph Kunen.

As an expressive, community-building effort, a “Graffiti Wall for Free Expression” will be available for people to artistically share and blend their philosophies and hopes for a world free of wars, hatred and violence, and how we might create that here. A substantial library of hard to find nonviolence resources will also be on display.

The late Peter Ediger, local poet and peacemaker dedicated his life to the practice of nonviolence in many ways, both personal and political. Ediger's work in his final months was to organize this event to help the world to begin “celebrating faith, hope and love as alternatives to cynicism, despair and fear” by engaging (all) communities into passionate dialogue of the true meaning of active nonviolence – any creative alternative to either passive inaction or countering violence with more violence.

Jim Haber, who has chaired the celebration's organizing committee since Ediger's death in February comments, “Participants will leave the Ediger Celebration with useful tools for helping cope with violence in their lives be it due to war or other abuse. People's real-life stories will be discussed, of resisting violence without returning it and actually succeeding more than with violence and retaliation. The mass killings in Aurora CO, Milwaukee WI and elsewhere shouldn't be seen as isolated from the violence and wars our country is engaged in abroad, especially since the U.S. produces more weapons than any other country, is responsible for over half of global arms sales and spends over $2 Billion every day on the military.”

Gard Jameson, lifelong philanthropist, author, scholar and Chair of the Interfaith Counsel of Southern Nevada, shares, “Hopefully we can escalate the quality of our collaborations catalyzed by the tragedy in Libya and the hope of a better world. Our event on the 23rd provides great opportunity for community engagement.”

Vincent Harding offers, “Part of what gives me hope is that wherever I go in this country in the midst of all the temptation to despair, I find women and men and young people and communities working to create an alternative to fear and despair....”

Kathy Kelly warns, “Over the past six decades, U.S. activists have made significant gains in movements for civil rights, women's rights and labor rights. And yet, we must heed Dwight Eisenhower's words, spoken three days before he left the oval office:  "Be wary of the unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex.  Our gathering will help us plan and act with tough minds and tender hearts as we work toward ending the scourge of warfare..

People can get more information or RSVP (appreciated for food preparation and childcare) Please Visit Nevadadesertexperience.org or Interfaithsn.org.  Contact Us at (702) 646-4814 or Visit Us on Facebook – Ediger Celebration of Active Nonviolence.

Peace, Shalom, Pace e Bene!

# # #

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review on Y-12 before July breach: accomplishments were deemed to have an "exceeded level of high quality performance."

This week, Congressmen scold DOE in Tennessee for security breach of Y-12 nuclear facility, after Congressional hearing:

Read more here: http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/2012/09/congressmen-scold-doe-over-oak.html

and:

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2012/09/nnsa-touted-y-12s-security---.html

See also of Sept 19th:
Y-12 Firm Sees No Fraud on Guard Exams


We had a short phone conversation with Sister Megan Rice, and she pointed us to several websites about the Oakridge, TN Y-12 Facility, for instance here, about the cheating on security tests, and she said to check out this website too: Global Security Newswire.

Here is a YouTube featuring:

"Greg Boertje-Obed, the last of three Plowshares protesters to be released from jail pending their trial scheduled for Feb. 26 in U.S. District Court, talked about his cause Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 before boarding a bus for Minnesota to be with his family and prepare for trial."



Also follow Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground-blog on KnoxNews, for instance here when he writes about "Y-12."

Thanks Sister Megan!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence


A major event we have coming up soon:

Nevada Desert Experience, The Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, and Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service proudly present

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence

A stimulating Sunday of dynamic, thought-provoking discussions, uplifting music, delicious food, and the sharing of useful tools for dealing with violence and its aftermath.

Time:
Sunday, September 23, 3:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Place:
Islamic Society of Nevada
4730 East Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas

Active nonviolence is any creative alternative to passive inaction on the one hand,
or countering violence with more violence on the other hand.

Presenters include:
Vincent Harding Chairperson, Veterans of Hope Project: A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal

Kathy Kelly Founder, Voices for Creative Nonviolence (just back from another trip to Afghanistan)

Mary Litell Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service and Capacitar International

Rae Abileah CODEPINK Women for Peace and Young, Jewish & Proud

Ahmed Younis Co-author of American Blackness: Reflective Thoughts by Men of Faith (Roman & Littlefield, Fall 2012) and from 2008 to 2012, Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

St. James the Apostle Catholic Church Gospel Choir (singing A Cappella)
Under the direction of Susan Briare

Help decorate our Graffiti Wall of Free Expression

Complementary Dinner Courtesy of the Islamic Society of Nevada

Free Admission ($10 donation suggested)

Peter Ediger (1932-2012) was a poet and peace-maker, a veteran of many nonviolent campaigns who first envisioned this event. We are honored to bring this celebration to life!

For all inquiries and to request Free Child Care, RSVP to Nevada Desert Experience
702-646-4814
info @ NevadaDesertExperience.org

Sign onto this event on Facebook too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Transform Now Plowshares action at Y-12 nuclear weapons complex

[See for further updates: http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/ ]

From: Nuclear Resister, July 28, 2012:

Before dawn on July 28, 2012, Michael R. Walli (63), Megan Rice shcj (82), and Greg Boertje-Obed (57) carried out a disarmament action at the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear facility.

Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares, they hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF), splashed human blood and left four spray painted tags on the recent construction which read: Woe to the empire of blood; The fruit of justice is peace; Work for peace not for war; and Plowshares please Isaiah.

Under the cover of darkness they intermittently passed beyond four fences in a walk for over two hours through the fatal force zone. “We feel it was a miracle; we were led directly to where we wanted to go” said Greg.

After navigating through the complex they came to a long, white, windowless building marked HEUMF. “It was built like a fortress”, Greg said describing the four guard towers.

Unimpeded by security, they attached two banners to pillars of the building. “Transform Now Plowshares” read the first with a green and black icon showing part bomb part flower. A second stated “Swords into Plowshares Spears into Pruning Hooks–Isaiah”. In addition, between the pillars they strung red crime tape.

When confronted by a guard they read aloud their statement. “He was on his walkie-talkie but he heard it” Megan confirmed. Before receiving orders to halt they had opportunity to offer guards bread, and display a bible, candles and white roses. Though initially forced to endure a kneeling posture for an extended period, guards responded to complaint and allowed the activists to stand off and on. Meanwhile they continued singing.

Later that day, they were interviewed by the DOE investigative unit and given conditional charges of two felony counts for vandalism and trespass. They spoke to supporters from Blount County Jail at 12:30 pm saying they had not been processed yet. All are scheduled for arraignment in Blount County Court on Monday.
“We’re still opposing the filthy rotten system” Michael said. “Jesus has no nukes in heaven and no torture in heaven.”

Please send letters of support.


RETURN ADDRES MUST HAVE FULL NAME AND FULL ADDRESS OR INMATE WILL NOT RECEIVE MAIL.
[money order only, if mailed]
INMATE’S FULL NAME: _____________
BLOUNT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
920 E. LAMAR ALEXANDER PARKWAY
MARYVILLE, TN 37804-5022

-------------
From: Transform Now Plowshares, July 30, 2012:

Michael Walli, Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed made their initial appearance before federal magistrate Bruce Guyton in Knoxville, Tennessee at 11:15am today—Monday, July 30, 2012. The proceedings were nearly over before Greg required the judge to read the charges against them—the trio were charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, for their Transform Now Plowshares action on Saturday, July 28 at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

In court, the defendants were calm and composed. They spoke clearly, answering the judge’s questions directly. It was a pro forma hearing until the judge asked them each if they had a chance to review the complaint against them.

“Yes,” answered Mike Walli, the first to be questioned. Do you have any questions, the judge asked. “I note the charge listed relates only to what I have done,” Mike said, “and does not include the illegal nuclear weapons production taking place at Y12.”

The judge moved on to ask Megan Rice the same series of questions. When he got to “Have you had a chance to review and do you understand the charges contained in the document?” Megan answered, “It is incomprehensible that our charge against the activities at Y12 is not part of this conversation.” Megan referred to the indictment against Y12 the activists carried with them (and which was released after the action by supporters).

The judge moved on to Greg, asking him if he understood the complaint. Greg, who was representing himself, said, “I thought you were going to ask me if I wanted the complaint read first.” The judge smiled and said, “You’re right, I should do that. You are representing yourself quite well.” Then he went on to ask Greg the question he had already put to Mike and Megan, who had waived the reading. Greg answered that he normally prefers to have the charges read publicly. It was only then the public heard the formal charge— “that you willfully and without authorization entered the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Y12 Complex…” The language of the charge mirrors the authorizing statute—the three were charged with simple trespass, a criminal misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a sentence of up to one year imprisonment and one additional year of post release supervision.

No charges for destruction of property or defacing property were entered at the hearing, though they could come later.

The judge assigned Chris Irwin to represent Mike Walli, a reunion of sorts. Chris represented Mike during the proceedings following the July 5, 2010 action at Y12. Francis Lloyd was appointed to represent Megan Rice —Francis represented Jean Gump during the 2010 proceedings. Greg Boertje-Obed was given permission to represent himself, and the public defender, Bobby Hudson, was assigned to be “elbow counsel.”

When the prosecutor, Melissa Kirby, listed reasons for denying bail to the defendants (they all waived their rights to a hearing), she noted they had “bragged about their action to the media,” and were flight risks, etc. Mike Walli noted for the judge that he had been released in 2010 and appeared “under my own steam as agreed,” for all hearings and the trial. Francis Lloyd noted the defendants had made no statements to the media that were not protected under the first amendment; Greg noted that Plowshares actions are carried out in obedience to Isaiah’s prophecy that swords shall be turned into plowshares, that Ms. Kirby was wrong to characterize Plowshares as “an organization,” and noted that in similar actions in other jurisdictions, judges had permitted testimony about international law and some juries have found defendants not guilty.

In all, the proceedings took about half an hour and concluded with the scheduling of a preliminary hearing on Thursday, August 2, at 1:30pm EDST, in East Tennessee District Court in Knoxville, TN. Until then, it is expected the defendants will be held at Blount County Detention Facility. You can write to them at:

INMATE’S FULL NAME: _____________
BLOUNT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
920 E. LAMAR ALEXANDER PARKWAY
MARYVILLE, TN 37804-5022

RETURN ADDRESS MUST HAVE FULL NAME AND FULL ADDRESS OR INMATE WILL NOT RECEIVE MAIL.

Our history with Blount County is pretty sketchy with regard to mail. The 2010 Y12 protestors were denied mail because “we don’t have the staff to screen the quantity of mail you are getting.” So we encourage mail, but be aware it may come back to a month later, unopened, at the whim of jail authorities.

A STATEMENT FOR THE Y-12 FACILIITY

“Come let us go up

to the mountain of God

to the house where God lives.

That God may teach us God’s ways

That we may walk in God’s paths….

For God will bring justice among the nations and bring peace between many peoples. They will hammer their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift swords against nations. No longer will they learn to make war.

Come, let us walk in the light of God.” Isaiah 2

Brothers and sisters, powers that be, we come to you today as friends, in love. We, like many of you, are people of faith, inspired by many who have gone before us, people like the prophets, Isaiah and Micah, Jesus as well as Gandhi, and the countless who call us ‘to beat swords into plowshares’. May we now transform weapons into real, life-giving alternatives, to build true peace.

We come to the Y-12 facility because our very humanity rejects the designs of nuclearism, empire and war. Our faith in love and nonviolence encourages us to believe that our activity here is necessary; that we come to invite transformation, undo the past and present work of Y-12; disarm and end any further efforts to increase the Y-12 capacity for an economy and social structure based upon war-making and empire-building.

A loving and compassionate Creator invites us to take the urgent and decisive steps to transform the U.S. empire, and this facility, into life-giving alternatives which resolve real problems of poverty and environmental degradation for all.

We begin together by preparing our minds and hearts for this transformation. And so we bring gifts to symbolize this transformation, instruments that serve life, peace and harmony, truth and healing to this nuclear weapons plant and everywhere.

We bring our life-symbols: blood, for healing and pouring out our lives in service and love. Our very humanity depends on lives given, not taken. But blood also reminds us of the horrific spilling of blood by nuclear weapons.

-our hammers, to begin the transforming work of deconstructing war machines, creating new jobs which address real problems, eliminate poverty, heal and foster the fullness of life for all.

We bring our truth-symbols: candles, for light transforms fear and secrecy into authentic security;

-flowers, the White Rose of forgiveness, acceptance of friendship and genuine reconciliation.

-the crime tape and an Indictment, which point out truth and end lies which have blinded and dulled the very conscience of nations, and serve the interests of justice for healing global relationships.

-a Bible, to remind ourselves to become sources of wisdom and to inspire our acts of conscience as we carry on.

Lastly we bring food, symbolized by this bread, strengthening us as we build this new world where people do not feel compelled to build nuclear weapons in order to feed their families. So may we break and share this bread together in joy and genuine friendship as we work together, empowered by our Creating God

TO TRANSFORM NOW!

Michael Walli Greg Boertje-Obed Megan Rice shcj

Transform Now Plowshares

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crossing the Line: A Call to Revolutionary Love: Annual Kateri Peace Conference


"Crossing the Line: A Call to Revolutionary Love", the 14th annual Kateri Peace Conference will be held on Friday, August 17 and Saturday August 18, 2012 at the Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, NY.

featuring: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Kathy Kelly, John Horgan, Clare Grady, David Swanson, Matt Southworth, Walt Chura, James Ricks and more...

Below is an article by, "The Evangelist".

Complete conference information may be found at www.kateripeaceconference.org.

Information for Bishop Gumbleton's Day of Reflection, "Active Love and Nonviolence: The Only Moral Response to War", may be found there also.
Please come. Please pass this along too.
Thank you. Paz, John Amidon

Learn more at www.kateripeaceconference.org, call 869-6674 or email aumandmaureen@gmail.com and jajaja1234@aol.com. Deadline for the retreat day is Aug. 10; no one is turned away for lack of funds.

From: The Evangelist

/28/2012 12:40:00 PM
FONDA GATHERING
Shrine's conference aims for world peace

BY ANGELA CAVE
STAFF WRITER

Peace activists of all faiths will meet at the National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda for the annual Kateri Peace Conference Aug. 17-18.

The theme for the weekend is "Crossing the Line: A Call to Revolutionary Love" - which means overcoming fear and focusing on love, coordinators said.

The word love "needs to be rehabilitated," said conference founder John Amidon. "People are cynical about the concept of love and the way we treat each other and what it actually means. We seem to be possessed with fear and militarism."

Mr. Amidon served in the U.S. Marines in the late 1960s before turning to civil resistance and peace activism. He began the peace conference in 1998 with an interfaith pilgrimage from Fonda to Albany to advocate the closing of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. The SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, has been accused of training soldiers who killed innocent civilians in Latin America.

The peace conference's focus shifted with the start of the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; today, it protests issues like military spending, the use of drones and hydraulic fracturing.

Attendance ranges from seven to 240 participants. This year's conference will feature a Catholic retreat on non-violence with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Walt Chura, an essayist, teacher and lay Franciscan from the Albany Diocese, will tell the story of St. Francis of Assisi's peacemaking efforts with an Egyptian sultan during the Fifth Crusade.

Other highlights include a dramatic reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Declaration of Independence from the war in Vietnam" speech, reflections on activism and a panel of well-known activists like Kathy Kelly, a three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. She coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

Maureen Baillargeon Aumand, conference co-coordinator and a peace activist, noted that "there [are] so many issues to think about in the world," but social justice is "kind of a call that we all have. We have to live in loving relationships with each other and call our governments to task."

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the 17-century Mohawk maiden who will be canonized this fall, is an inspiration for the peace cause, coordinators said.

"She found herself confronted with history," Mrs. Aumand said, describing Blessed Kateri's persecution for choosing to become a Catholic. "The lines of her life intersected with global issues."

Conference organizers envision what Mr. Amidon termed "a society less dependent on violence and guns, and more life-affirming.

"We've got to be able to do better than this," he said. "If we don't end war, war will end us."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal: The Drone Wars Cometh

Column written 6/1/12 © ’12 Mumia Abu-Jamal [no direct link found for this column, it was sent via email]

For millions of people, who groaned under the gross, lumbering stupidity of the Bush years, the advent of the Obama administration seemed like the rising of a sweet springtime sun after storms of bleak chaos.

Who knew that the rise of Barack H. Obama would echo, in some ways, the Bush years?

Bush reveled in war, and boasted of being a ‘War President.’
Obama, by contrast, seldom speaks of war, never brags of it, and wages it with an intensity that can only be called chilling.

According to a recent New York Times article, Obama has become a secret warrior, unleashing drone attacks on suspected (!) enemies of the State at a rate that would have dizzied his bellicose predecessor, George W. Bush.

In Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in the Federated Territories (bordering both countries), in Yemen, in Somalia the drone wars reign, silent, computerized death from the skies, killing ‘suspects’, their clansmen, families and neighbors.

The wonder is that anyone could claim surprise, for Obama said exactly what he would do –attack terrorist suspects no matter where they were; and capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

His giddy supporters, so sick of Bush’s clumsiness and malapropisms, ignored Obama’s promises, or pretended not to hear them.
But Obama at war is more martial that Bush, more technological, more targeted – and less oral.

One wag, offered the view that Obama was Bush on steroids—quieter, more aggressive, more ruthless.

And that – albeit unwittingly—is the world we voted for.

--© ’12 maj
==============

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org

Mumia's got a podcast! http://mumiapodcast.libsyn.com/

Get your copy of the new book by Mumia and Marc Lamont Hill “The Classroom and The Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America" at
http://twpbooks.com/catalog/theclassroomandthecell-p-208.html

Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).

WWW.FREEMUMIA.COM

Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX 16, NEW YORK,
NY 10030
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO: FMAJC/IFCO)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
267-760-7344
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WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Terminator Planet: the first History of Drone Warfare

Terminator Planet: the first History of Drone Warfare
By Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt

From the Blurb on Amazon:

The first history of drone warfare, written as it happened. From the opening missile salvo in the skies over Afghanistan in 2001 to a secret strike in the Philippines early this year, or a future in which drones dogfight off the coast of Africa, Terminator Planet takes you to the front lines of combat, Washington war rooms, and beyond.

Drawing on several years of research -- including official documents, open-source intelligence, and interviews with military officers -- two of the foremost analysts specializing in drone war offer a sobering, factual account of robot warfare combined with critical analyses found nowhere else.

Packed with rarely seen Pentagon photos, Terminator Planet provides a rich history of the last decade of drone warfare, a clear-eyed look at its present, and a far-reaching guide to its future. You used to have to watch science fiction movies to imagine where that future was headed, now you can read Terminator Planet -- and know.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A truth that should not be told


Peace Activist Medea Benjamin of Code Pink interrupted White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan during a press conference about the progress of the war in Afghanistan last week.

When Brennan was espousing the notion that Al Qaeda's image is badly tarnished around the Muslim world because he claims they're killing mostly "innocent men, women and children," Benjamin stood up and challenged him.
Further reading, although watching may be enough....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Western Shoshone Mother's Day Walk-Run: May 7-13th

Please join the walk/run:

From the Facebook Group:

The Shoshone walk/run is a cultural event that takes place around the Nevada National Security Site , which use to be named the Nevada Test Site and also where the Nellis Air Force Base sits as well, but the land it sits on is the land of the Western Shoshone Nation. The Main purpose of the walk/run is to plant willows with our thoughts and prayers that goes in the hole thats made by the people with a pinch of tobacco offering, willows are spread out 3 or 4 miles apart while thats being done runners and walkers get spread out 2 miles apart and start of their walking or running after that 2 miles thats been covered then the supports with vehicles pick them up and go meet up with the people who are doing their prayer with the willow.

Before we all start off the walk/run we get together and set up camp at Warm Springs, NV which is north of Tonopah NV. When we gather as people we make prayer ties which is tobacco in little squares of red cloth with little string for the main staff pole that we carry across the land while we do our walk and run. We also use sagebrush that goes with each runner and walker, the reason why use sagebrush is to keep our strength up when were feeling weak or feeling hot its something thats used for medicine.

As for the camp set up every morning before the sun comes up theres a sunrise ceremony that takes place, in the middle of the ceremony one person covers about 2 or 3 miles with the staff pole after that he or she comes back and we all eat breakfast, when everyone is done eating we start to tear down camp which is the teepee, kitchen tent, and whatever else like tents, bags, chairs, tables, bins with food supplies, and anything else that needs to be put away. After all that has been done we circle up and get information from the main person who leads the walk/run which we'll talk about how the day is going to be or how the day will turn out then we start dropping of the walkers and runners (Depends on how many walkers and runners there will be) and do the same thing till we get to the Nevada National Security Site.

For the safety of the people is to look out for one another make sure the people drink only Water and/or Gatorade it will be hot to warm weather and another thing is to make sure the vehicles with the signs that say SLOW DOWN RUNNERS AND WALKERS, are readable so local traffic could get ahead's up on whose on the road during the walk/run

There will be more information for the Western Shoshone Walk/Run in this group such as the actually event that will take place I hope you can join us when that time comes. One more thing not just Shoshones can be there, EVERYONE can participate in the running and walking lets put our thoughts and prayers together as people.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Veterans For Peace Among 33 Arrested Outside Drone Base in New York State

April 23, 2012
Three members of Veterans For Peace -- Russell Brown, John Amidon, and Elliott Adams -- were among 33 peaceful protesters arrested on Sunday outside Hancock Air Field in New York State. Almost all of the 33 were arrested preemptively, as they walked single-file and silently along a road, prior to reaching the military base, at which they intended to approach the gate and deliver a written statement.
Here is video of the walk: http://youtu.be/xq8xEisjbSA

And of the arrests: http://youtu.be/VzvNYIlASTc

Here is a news story featuring a photo of Elliott Adams being arrested: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/military_protesters_turned_awa.html 

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones reported that the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department made the arrests in Mattydale, NY, two blocks from the entrance to the base. "Those arrested included an 87 year old woman in a wheelchair, parents (accompanying their children), a member of the press, and the group's attorney Ron Van Norstrand. Cameras, camcorders and phones were confiscated by the Sheriff's Department." http://blog.upstatedroneaction.org

Adams.jpgElliott Adams is Past President of Veterans For Peace, and current Nonviolent Training Coordinator. He had also been arrested in 2011 as one of the Hancock 38 protesting at the same base. Adams commented after this weekend's arrest:
"Once again local law enforcement obstructed me from complying with the Nuremberg principles. As a veteran of several war zones I understand the importance of international law like the Geneva conventions and the remarkable UN Charter. But as I tried to serve an indictment to those committing war crimes I was arrested preemptively.

"As veterans we know how important international laws like the Geneva conventions are. We know that weaponized drones are continuously being used to commit war crimes and even crimes against peace. The Nuremberg Principles obligate us, as citizens, to stop our government from committing these crimes. Our arrest on Sunday was a clear case of trampling on our 1st Amendment right to 'petition our government for a redress of grievances.'

"It is outrageous," Adams remarked, "that on the other side of this fence people are being murdered, albeit at long distance, and the Sheriff will not even investigate. On this side of the fence we are arrested for a 'violation of permit requirement.'"

Three women succeeded on Sunday in reading aloud at the base gate an indictment addressed to "the Service Members of Hancock Air Base." The Indictment states, in part:

"By giving material support to the drone program, you as individuals are violating the Constitution, dishonoring your oath, and committing war crimes. We charge the chain of command, from President Barack Obama, to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, to Commander Colonel Greg Semmel, to every drone crew, to every service member supporting or defending these illegal actions, with the following crimes: extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation of national sovereignty, and the killing of innocent civilians."

http://warisacrime.org/content/indictment-drone-warriors
Adams' statement, made in court at the trial of the Hancock 38 last November is available online:
http://warisacrime.org/content/elliott-adams-member-hancock-38-and-new-hancock-34-made-statement-trial-november-1-2011

As is his statement at the sentencing hearing:
http://warisacrime.org/content/elliott-adams-sentencing-statement-november-11-2011
Adams told the judge: "I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time. I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom." The judge, however, gave Adams a suspended sentence and probation conditions. Adams has not ceased protesting drone wars.

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.
-----------
Update:
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Activist-brings-campaign-against-drones-to-Albany-3504155.php#photo-2851855

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/onondaga_county_sheriffs_depar_2.html

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Way of the Drone: Emblem for an Empire of Cowards

The Way of the Drone: Emblem for an Empire of Cowards

By Chris Floyd, from the blog Empire Burlesque, April 18, 2012

A few months back, I reposted here an article that I wrote 10 years ago, before the invasion of Iraq: a fictional scenario of how the Terror War would play out on the ground of the target nations -- and in the minds of those sent to wage these campaigns. I was reminded of that piece by a story in the latest Rolling Stone.
The RS story, by Michael Hastings, depicts the drone mentality now consuming the US military-security apparatus, a process which makes the endless slaughter of the endless Terror War cheaper, easier, quieter. I didn't anticipate the development in my proleptic piece; the first reported "kill" by American drones, in Yemen, had taken place just a few weeks before my article appeared in the Moscow Times.

(One of the victims of this historic first drawing of blood was an American citizen, by the way. Thus from the very beginning, the drone war -- presented as noble shield to defend American citizens from harm -- has been killing American citizens, along with the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of innocent men and women around the world being murdered without warning -- and without any chance to defend themselves or take shelter -- by cowards sitting in padded seats behind computer consoles thousands of miles away, following orders from the even greater cowards who strut around the Pentagon, CIA headquarters and the White House.)

But what brought my earlier piece to mind was a brief mention of the "military slang" now being used to designate the victims of the drones. Below are a few snippets from my 2002 post, a fictional email by an occupation soldier to a friend:

Yo, Ed! I’m looking out the window of Watchtower 19 in Force Zone Seven. They’re loading up the dead wagon. Three friendlies, two uncardeds, the usual collateral – and one bug. We zapped the market before the bug got his hard-on – another one of those Czech AK-47 knock-offs that our friendly neighborhood warlord keeps bringing in. He says he doesn’t know how the bugs get hold of them – they drop down from heaven, I guess …

… I’d just come off night patrol in Deep-City Zone, hardcore bugland, backing up some Special Ops doing a Guantanamo run on terrorperp suspects. Banging down doors, barrel in the face of some shrieking bug-woman in her black bag, children scuttling in the dark like rats, the perp calling down an airstrike from Allah on our heads. You know the drill. You know the jangle. Not even the new meds can keep you blanked out completely.

So there’s always the overstep somewhere. Woman’s cheekbone cracking from a backhand, some kid stomped or booted out of the way. Some perp putting his hand in one of those damned dresses they wear, going for who knows what – Koran? Mosquito bite? Scimitar? Czech special? – and you open up. More shrieking, more screaming – and then the splatter on the wall.

In the new Rolling Stone story, Hastings tells us how America's brave drone warriors view their victims:

For a new generation of young guns, the experience of piloting a drone is not unlike the video games they grew up on. Unlike traditional pilots, who physically fly their payloads to a target, drone operators kill at the touch of a button, without ever leaving their base – a remove that only serves to further desensitize the taking of human life. (The military slang for a man killed by a drone strike is "bug splat," since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.)

"Bugs" being "splattered." This is what Barack Obama -- who has expanded the drone death squads beyond the imaginings of George W. Bush -- and all of his brave button pushers and joystick riders think of the defenseless human beings they are killing (including 174 children by last count).

Read the rest here...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday In A Nuclear World: 10 arrested at the Nevada National Security Site

Press Release
Nevada Desert Experience
Friday, April 6, 2012
Contact: John Amidon or Jim Haber, 702-646-4814 (office),
518-312-6442 (mobile John) 415-828-2506 (mobile Jim)

Good Friday In A Nuclear World:
10 arrested at the Nevada National Security Site

Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) concluded its 26th annual Sacred Peace Walk this morning at 11:00am. Thirty people participated in this year's walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). Ten were arrested in an often-repeated act of civil resistance standing for global nuclear abolition and Western Shoshone sovereignty in this region. The peaceful and prayerful demonstration included dozens of participants, with the final element of ten who crossed the line and were arrested by the Nye County Sheriffs and Wackenhut Security forces guarding the infamous nuclear testing grounds.

NDE continues its mission of supporting “personal renewal through desert spirituality, reconnecting with each other and the earth to end subcritical tests and other war-making preparations at the Nevada National Security Site and preventing the return of full-scale nuclear testing.” The NNSS continues its mission of promoting global domination through nuclear weapons prowess, as supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Today’s activities began with a Western Shoshone sunrise prayer service led by Shoshone Chief Johnnie Bobb. The weekend will continue the formation of a reunion of former peace- campers from the 1980s gathering at the Peace Camp across US Highway 95 from the NNSS Mercury Exit. Earlier this week, the Sacred Peace Walkers held vigil at Creech Air Force Base as well, prior to the vigil for peace at the NNSS.

The ten NDE participants arrested today are Miki Tracy of WI, Rev. Felicia Parazaider of CA, Fr. Louie Vitale of CA, Laura-Marie Taylor of CA, John Amidon of Albany, NY, Theo Kayser of Los Angeles, CA, Erik Johnson of TN, Dennis Duvall of Prescott, AZ, and local Las Vegans Charlie Smith and Robert Majors. Two days prior to this prayer-action which ended in arrests at the NNSS, four of the above-named Sacred Peace Walkers were arrested at Creech Air Force Base while standing for international human rights (see the NDE news release) after serving an indictment to Col. James Hecker for violations of human rights.

Nevada Test Site as exercise area against Iran

From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site [as they claim, it actually is Western Shoshone land], with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. The M.E.K. had its beginnings as a Marxist-Islamist student-led group and, in the nineteen-seventies, it was linked to the assassination of six American citizens.

Further reading.

Creech arrests, April 4th 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The watching state and its nuclear drones


The ‘eye of providence’, the all seeing eye of god has changed from a religious symbol into an automated digital routine available only to the unseen activities of state security agencies and whoever else may get hold of it. The eye of providence can be seen on one side of the seal of the United States in a vignette, on the other side is a picture of an eagle with in its claws a palm leaf and a bunch of arrows, above its head a group of stars within a nimbus of a great explosion. The seal is also depicted on a one dollar bill. It is as if this emblematic symbolism is now materialising with the advent of ‘social network surveillance’ of the internet and the global remote controlled spying systems, complimented by unmanned aerial vehicles that can both see and destroy what is classified as ‘the enemy’.

Further reading at Tjebbe van Tijen's.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Standing ground against murder


Commander Col. James Hecker and the USAF 432d
and the 432d Expeditionary Wing
at Creech Air Force Base have been served an indictment.

At approximately 7:45 AM, Fr. Louie Vitale, Dennis DuVall, Felicia Parazaider and Robert Majors were arrested at Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs, Nevada when attempting to fulfill their legal obligations as United States citizens by serving an “Indictment for the Violation of Human Rights,” charging Col. James Hecker and the 432d and 432d Expeditionary Wing with extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression,” for the killings of innocent civilians by the use of drones controlled by Creech Air Force drone crews. Las Vegas Metro Police was handed the indictment by the group and informed the Nevada Desert Experience that the indictment would be delivered. Fr. Vitale and along with Felicia Parazaider gave copies of the indictment to Las Vegas Police. The indictment was then received by Creech base security personnel to pass up the chain of command.

The full indictment follows:

Indictment for Violations of Human Rights
Col . James Hecker
Creech Air Force Base
Indian Springs, Nevada
April 4, 2012

We charge the chain of command from President Barack Obama, to Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, to Colonel James Hecker, to every drone crew:

With the following crimes: extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation of national sovereignty, and the killing of innocent civilians.
We charge that these crimes are committed in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, Article I, Section 6.11, the Charter of the United Nations, Article 2, Section 4, the Golden Rule and International Law, to which we are especially bound by Article 6 section 2 of the Constitution which states:

“…all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and Judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

We demand they immediately stop these crimes.
And be accountable to the people of the United States and Afghanistan.
We appeal to all citizens of the United States, military and civilian, and to all public officials, that we are required by the Nuremburg Principles I - VI and by Conscience to refuse to participate in these crimes, to denounce them and to resist them nonviolently.

Indictment
We charge the USAF, headquartered at Creech Air Force Base, home of the 432d and the 432d Expeditionary Wing, under the command of Commander Col. James Hecker, with the piloting of the MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-170 Sentinel Drones in combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the subsequent deaths of numerous citizens and noncombatants in the above mentioned sovereign nations.

Extrajudicial targeted killings by the use of unmanned aircraft drones by the United States of America are intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal force in violation of the US and international human rights law.

The US has used drones for targeted killing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan with no legal basis for defining the scope of the area where drones can and cannot be used, no rigorous criteria for deciding which people will be targeted for killing, no procedural safeguards to ensure the legality and accuracy of the killings, and no mechanisms of accountability.

In support of this indictment we cite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, who has said that the use of drones is
“…a highly probable blurring and expansion of the boundaries of the applicable legal frameworks – human rights law, the laws of war, and the law applicable to the use of inter-state force…The result has been the displacement of clear legal standards with a vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of a major accountability vacuum…. In terms of the legal framework, many of these practices violate straightforward legal rules..”

See United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council Study on Targeted Killings, 28 May 2010.[pdf]
Let all accused in this indictment understand that our words are spoken nonviolently. All are invited to stop the use of drones and refuse to participate in illegal warfare.

Another day at the office of bombing people

So you want to be a drone pilot? Have a seat in the operator’s control station that guides the remotely piloted aircraft. You could be sitting in a trailer on Creech Air Force Base in Nevada or doing your duty at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. From this perch, you can see a battle space on the other side of the world. You are virtually on the front lines of war.

One of the screens in front of you has a live full-motion video feed from the aircraft (perhaps showing the home of an anti-American sheik and his family in Pakistan or Afghanistan). A second screen has mission data like the altitude of the drone and its fuel level. A third screen displays multilayered menus of more data. You can steer the drone with the joystick in your right hand; the pedals beneath your feet control its rudder. But if you want to turn on the autopilot, it will require 22 keystrokes on one of several available keyboards.

Your partner, the “sensor operator” seated next to you, controls the camera. He or she can zoom in on the face of the man you are hunting. Is this target a danger to the United States?

Further reading.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sacred Peace Walk begins

From: Las Vegas Review Journal:

http://www.lvrj.com/multimedia/Sacred-Peace-Walk-begins-145705945.html

Photos and a short note of the first day of the Sacred Peace Walk this year, which started on Sunday 1st of April in downtown Las Vegas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The next strategically positioned paradise


As usual, Empire is out to get some islands which most people would consider paradisiacal, to launch drones and spread death and destruction.
The Cocos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, at one time "annexed" by Great Britain and now an Australian territory, seems to be the next big thing for the US navy.

Further reading, here and here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Police spying by drones in UK


From Bristol Indymedia:

Small, low-flying UAVs of 20kg or less – similar in size to radio-controlled model aircraft – can legally be flown under existing UK regulations, provided they have a permit from the CAA.

The latest figures obtained by the campaign group Big Brother Watch show 115 permits were issued between January 2009 and October 2011. At least five police forces – the Met, Merseyside, Essex, Staffordshire and British Transport police – are known to have used them. The Climate Camp and the Stonhenge Solstice are among a growing list of events targetted by police drones.

At a London aerospace conference in October 2011, a Home Office official confirmed the ongoing intention to use UAVs for “persistent reconnaissance” as part of the South Coast Partnership, a government-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan.

There remains a high level of police interest in military-style drones, which, unlike small UAVs, can fly at heights of around 20,000 to 30,000ft, making them invisible from the ground. It is not known how many of these drones the UK wants, but earlier this year a senior Ministry of Defence procurement official visited the Pentagon to begin negotiations.

The microphones and video cameras on these drones could pick up and identify conversations, our actions and voices could be being monitored from 30,000 ft.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Drone war in/on the Philippines

A United States-supported airstrike that destroyed with causalities an Abu Sayyaf hideout on the remote island of Jolo in the southern Philippines represented the first known use of the unmanned aerial assault craft in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counter-insurgency operations against terrorism-linked rebel groups.

The drone attack early this month reportedly killed 15 Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah operatives, including three most-wanted terrorist leaders - Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan), Gumbahali Jumdail (alias Doc Abu), and Mumanda Ali (alias Muawayah) - and raised the level of US-Philippine military cooperation.

Further reading.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peter Ediger 1926-2012


Peter J. Ediger, poet, prophet and peacemaker, died in Las Vegas February 16 after a brief illness. Ediger resided in Las Vegas, where he co-founded Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service in 1989 with the Franciscan Friars of California.

The lifelong activist and advocate for nonviolence, social justice and Christian pacifism had recently directed his prophetic words to local churches, challenging them to obey Jesus’ command to “love your enemies.” In addition to regular work with Pace e Bene, he worked part time for Family Promise, served as a member of the Las Vegas Catholic Worker community and contributed to the work of Nevada Desert Experience until near his death.

Born to Jacob H. Ediger and Margaretha (Wiens) in central Kansas in 1926, Ediger was ordained by the General Conference Mennonite Church (now Mennonite Church USA) in 1954 and pastored several Mennonite congregations until 1986.

He was preceded in death by ex-wife Marjorie Reimer Ediger and brothers Abraham and Menno, and survived by sisters Katherina Epp, Marie Regehr, Anne Martin, and Elma Kauffman; children Irene, Joe, Janice and Duane; and grandchildren Jack, Greta and Sallie.

The memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4601 W. Lake Meade Blvd, Las Vegas.

For more information, contact Duane Ediger, 312-523-9955.
Peter's short fatal illness is documented here.

Gonna take Us All, Jon Fromer (RIP

To keep the spirit!

SOAW News

We are all Bradley Manning!