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By Larry Johnson
Long ago people learned to make bowls of clay, to eat and drink from. Accident and experimentation taught them that tapping the bowls made sound, and metals, especially bronze, made better sound. An inverted bowl became a bell to sound danger, or call to meal or meeting. In times of war, too many bells have been melted down to make weapons of violence to further, in a paraphrase of Eisenhower’s famous quote, a theft of food from the bowls of too many people of the world.
Thanks to the State Arts Board and the voters of Minnesota, thru a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, veterans and activists worked with sculptor Gita Ghei this year to make their own bell of peace. Our long, hard work of restoring the peaceful symbolism of the 1918 Armistice, became the backdrop for allowing this to happen. Over 6 months we built a solid community as we drew designs, made wax molds, mixed and poured a plaster casts, and finally poured the bronze that became each bell. Bruce Berry, Matt Bockley, Heinz Brummel, Stephen Gates, Ted John, Larry Johnson, Steve McKeown, Lorrie O’Neal, Jim Ricci, John Thomas, Chante Wolf, and Craig Wood, all did the peaceful, meditative, artistic work of creating their own bell to ring out peace. I also can’t thank our great treasurer, Tim Hansen, enough for managing all the finances of the special arts grant. The message and the symbolism is so important, but it falls out of sight if the support work fails. Tim makes it work.
Stephen Gates, veteran and bellmaker, said, “After spending years in denial about the meaning of my military experience, I landed on the desire to create peace on earth. I’m a visual artist, but always wanted to do some casting. This project allowed me to do that, helping to make some sound ripple into the pond of peace”. I’m not a visual artist, and would not have signed on to this, except for what it was about. I’m a storyteller, a “word artist”, so my own bell has a simple design, good sound, and the words “Ring Out Light”. I researched the songs and stories, the history of bells. The Liberty Bell (bell of freedom) was cast 3 times, and each time it cracked, thus Leonard Cohen’s song, “Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”. I was thinking of the saying, “First casualty of war is truth”, and the New Testament saying, “Know the truth that will make you free”. When someone says, “Thank you for fighting for our freedom”, I say, “I’m fighting for the truth that makes us free; the light that shines into the darkness”. My bell rings out the light of truth.
The peace bells grant called for a culminating public event, so we staged an evening on March 20, World Storytelling Day, at Plymouth Congregational Church. World Storytelling Day grew from an earlier 1990s annual event in Scandinavia, and began in 2003, as the United States was preparing to invade Iraq. Every year since then, on or around March 20, there are events in 25 or more countries worldwide, all in the spirit of “If I can hear your story, it’s harder for me to hate you”. Our event began with the Plymouth Bell Choir, led by Cammy Carteng, playing Dona Nobis Pacem. As we gave a Kellogg-Briand Pact banner to Plymouth minister, Jim Gertmenian, we were still putting down extra chairs for the over 125 people who filled the room. Steve McKeown told the history and deep meaning of our work with Armistice Peace Bells. VFP member, Wes Davey, rang a bell made from a World War I artillery shell. We had failed at getting discarded shells to melt into the mix that our bells were cast from, so this contribution from Curt Oliver, former music director at Macalester Plymouth Church, added that element. Jack Pearson, musician/storyteller, led us in “If I Had a Bell to Ring”, and played music on a jaw harp made from melted down pieces of a crashed B-17. Rose McGee, storyteller/musician, told the story of her father, African/American World War II Veteran, coming back into life. Elaine Wynne, storyteller, told the Irish Folktale “Peddlar of Ballaghadreen”, with the old Peddlar’s deliberate “putting one foot ahead of another” to get where St. Patrick said he needed to be going, so reminiscent of the hard, painstaking work it is to make peace happen. The inspirational evening ended with words of meaning from the bellmakers, who then rang the bells they made, simultaneously, 11 times.
We thought March 20 was our closing, celebratory event, but even as we were planning it, we were asked to be a part of the annual Festival of Nations at River Centre in St. Paul. The Festival of Nations is an enormous event, with two days for students and teachers, and two open to the general public. It’s organized by the International Institute each year, and draws thousands of visitors from the five state area. The theme this year was “Peace Among the Nations”, and Linda DeRoode, Festival Director, asked us to have a Peace Bell Exhibit and to ring Bells of Peace each day at 11. Dale Rott, retired Bethel College Professor, and Festival mainstay, found our work on the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and asked Steve McKeown to help build a Kellogg exhibit at the Festival. He also built an indoor Peace Garden with Walter Enloe of Hamline, and asked Elaine and I to tell the Sadako story we have told for many years at the August 6 Hiroshima Remembrance at the Lake Harriet Peace Garden. We asked, “Well, then how about the Frank Kellogg story too”, so 3 of the 4 days we told, each hour, either the story of Sadako, the young girl in Hiroshima who inspired the world to fold cranes for peace, or the story of Frank Kellogg, the only Minnesotan to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The other day, Margi Preus, of Duluth read her children’s book about the Duluth Peace Bell.
It was an amazing experience which we could not have planned. We talked with many teachers with interest in having us come speak, or help them do their own November 11 Armistice remembrance. Some talked of having a kiln in school and of engineering their own casting of peace bells. Steve arranged for us to give copies of David Swanson’s When the World Outlawed War to a number of teachers who clearly had the interest and commitment to use it in their teaching and share with others in the school.
Chante created a beautiful photographic table display of the bellmaking process, and all in all, we were well received. Our message, framed by the visual of casting bells for peace, was delivered in the spirit of a 1929 speech by President Calvin Coolidge at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Coolidge, President when the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed, said, “We are gathered to remember those who gave their lives in service to the country, and there is no greater tribute we could pay than to do everything possible to keep such wars from happening again”. Elaine worked the table a couple days and said, “So many students asked about the bells. When I said veterans made them because they’re looking for better ways to solve conflict than war, they said, ‘ Cool. Just like Gandhi’. Many were clearly from countries torn by war, and their faces brightened to learn that veterans of war were trying to turn that around”.
Dale Rott gave us multiple comp tickets for workers to enter the festival. I won’t try to name them here, but thanks to all the members who came to be at our exhibit and talk to festival visitors about what we do and why. I hope you all got to also get out and visit the festival. The day I managed that, I found many wonderful stories from around the world. Taiwan’s exhibit focused on Kinmen Memorial Park, where they have a Peace Bell made from shells fired at them in a 1958 battle. Italy showcased St. Francis, and Maria Montessori, who built an outstanding educational system in Italy, but was chased out when she refused to let it serve the fascism growing up in Europe. Wherever she went, she sowed the seeds of educating children to be “whole” creators of peace, and when government systems didn’t want her, she moved on, hoping her efforts would secretly keep growing. Czechoslavakia highlighted Vaclev Havel, the great artist/leader, whose “velvet revolution” had a whole lot more to do with the end of the Berlin Wall than did the supposedly famous Reagan “Tear down that wall” speech. When Havel died, candles burned all over the country, and then some artists gathered all the wax and built a 7 foot candle, celebrating Havel’s leadership. As a writer/playwright, he said many memorable things, but as an activist leader of his country, he said things like “I really do live in a world where words are more powerful than 10 military divisions”. May our Bells of Peace keep ringing out such light.
Hunter College High School will be giving its Distinguished Graduate award to the Deputy Director of the CIA, Avril Haines, at this year’s senior commencement. The administration has tried to keep it quiet, hoping to avoid criticism.
Haines is a top official of an agency guilty of torture of detainees, launching drone attacks that have killed or maimed thousands of civilians and that has a long record of complicity in the overthrow of governments and the occupations of many countries. Millions of people have suffered from the dictatorships that followed in their wake.
A lead article on CNN today reads as follows: ‘Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero.’
It seems that one is defining the term ‘hero’ in a rather odd way, if one can’t consider a deserter a hero. Let’s look first at what desertion from the U.S. military means, in terms of actions and possible consequences, and then more specifically at Mr. Bergdahl’s particular situation, or at least what is currently known of it.
Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org
More than half of respondents in the survey, released by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, said they think elected officials don’t share their priorities, and almost two-thirds said elected officials seem motivated by selfish reasons. Less than a quarter of the millennials polled said they will definitely be voting in November.
Read more: http://bit.ly/TAWHR7
On Acronym TV this week, two individuals working to fix our Democracy in crisis.
David Swanson from the Coordinating Committee of WorldBeyondWar.org will be visiting London from the United States on July 2nd before heading up to speak in Northern England with CAAB.org.uk on the Fourth of July. Swanson is an author whose books include: War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013), War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012). See http://davidswanson.org
July 2, 2014, 8:00 p.m., Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holburn.
David Swanson from WorldBeyondWar.org
Also speaking: Ben Griffin of Veterans For Peace UK (http://veteransforpeace.org.uk) Ben is a former SAS soldier who refused to return to Iraq in 2005. He is now the coordinator of Veterans For Peace UK.
Hosted by London Region Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (http://cnduk.org) Chair: Jim Brann
Organized by Movement for the Abolition of War (http://abolishwar.org.uk)
RSVP to Bruce Kent email@example.com
NSA MENWITH HILL BASE:
July 4, 2014, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Annual Independence FROM America Demonstration at the main entrance to NSA Menwith Hill HG1 4QZ.
Speakers: Caroline Hughes, David Swanson, Annie Machon
Learn more: http://caab.org.uk
By Debra Sweet As he gave vague outlines of developing US military strategy while speaking at the West Point commencement last week, President Obama affirmed that he believes “in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” The previous day, he had announced that instead of all U.S. troops leaving in 2014, as had been the mantra, 9,800 would stay at least until 2016. We don't know what they will be doing, but securing the bases they've built from where secret operations — drones? missions into Pakistan? — are launched from is one likely explanation.
By Debra Sweet Memorable moments from the World Can't Wait panels this weekend at the Left Forum, attended by 240, and soon to be available on video:
Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org
(Note: this is an episode clip. The full show will air on Monday, June 9)
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon V. FEC, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle.
In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices on the Roberts court ruled that individuals could buy elections. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”
Dear Colleagues, dear Friends:
First of all, thank you very much for organizing the very interesting and important Peace Event in Sarajevo from June 6th to 9th, which you’ve called “the biggest international peace event 2014.” You have put together a compelling program.
Weeks ago I purchased my flight tickets to Sarajevo. I looked forward to the meetings and discussions with colleagues. I was also grateful for the opportunity to show a film, “The Killing Floor,” and to co-present a workshop about the first Global Action Day against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing on October 4, 2014.
Only very recently did I notice that the donors for Peace Event Sarajevo include not only respected NGOs and foundations, but also the French Foreign Ministry (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
How can this be? What do the governments of France and the United States hope to achieve by financing a peace event in Sarajevo? Have you perhaps heardthis same concern from other conference participants?
After all, the U.S. is by far the most aggressive war power in the world, with annual military spending that dwarfs that of all other countries and with operations all over the planet in violation of the sovereignty of other nations and international law. Among European nations, France is playing a particularly aggressive role, especially in Africa, and is working to persuade its European partners in NATO and the EU to join in more military ventures, often in the guise of “peacemaking” and “humanitarian” intervention.
Since I am a U.S. citizen, in the remainder of this letter I wish to explain more fully why I strongly object to the acceptance of a donation from USAID for a peace conference.
As you must know, USAID was founded at the height of the Cold War in 1961 and has played a controversial role in U.S. government destabilization efforts in various countries ever since, beginning with Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The USAID website sets forth the mission of this agency:
“USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.”
“Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.”
“Further, since 9/11, America’s foreign assistance programs have been more fully integrated into the United States’ National Security Strategy.”
Over the years, many countries have expelled USAID. In 2012 Russia expelled USAID because of “attempts to influence political processes through its grants,” and Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela called on all the Latin American ALBA countries to expel USAID.
It seems that these countries had good grounds to expel USAID. For example, in 2013 Wikileaks exposed how USAID worked in Venezuela to destabilize its government. In April 2014, an investigative article by the Associated Press exposed USAID attempts to destabilize Cuba by setting up a Cuban Twitter service. Some 40,000 Cubans joined the Twitter service, unaware of the U.S. role in setting it up. They also were unaware that the U.S. government was monitoring their private Twitter communications. The U.S. had planned to subsequently intervene in Cuban social networks by sending messages to the Twitter subscribers with the aim of fomenting unrest in Cuba. Reporting on the Cuban Twitter scandal, the well-known U.S. independent news program Democracy Now asked: “Is USAID the New CIA?”
Nearer to Sarajevo, USAID has played a leading role in the U.S. “regime change” effort in the Ukraine. USAID of course supports the coup government in Kiev, which includes acknowledged fascists and has unleashed terror and death on countless Ukrainians. Over the last twenty years, USAID pumped $1.8 billion into various Ukrainian projects, including $1.25 million to subsidize the pro-Kiev media in advance of the May 25th presidential election. In May 2014 USAID brokered a U.S. government loan guarantee of another billion dollars.
And here in Germany, USAID is partnered with AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, which is part of the Pentagon and the central command for all U.S. military ventures in Africa, including intelligence gathering, illegal drone murders, clandestine special forces ventures, and providing training and assistance for African military forces allied with the U.S. The U.S. military activities in Africa are often conducted in close association with those of France, and the U.S. has provided France with Reaper drones for use in Africa. To summarize, USAID provides a “humanitarian” veneer for brutal neo-colonial policies in Africa. USAID is the glove on the massive U.S. military fist.
Acceptance of the USAID donation damages the reputation of Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 and of its participants, and undermines the conference’s credibility.
Acceptance of the donation also helps the nefarious USAID to spruce up its image through association with well-respected peace activists, so that USAID can continue to “talk of peace” while preparing wars.
Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 should immediately return the USAID donation.
If for some reason it is not possible to return the USAID donation, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers should at the beginning of the conference disclose to all conference participants all details concerning the USAID donation, including how it came about, its amount, and any donor letters, contracts or correspondence.
Furthermore, Peace Event Sarajevo organizers must assure conference participants that their contact data and other personal information have not been and will not be made available to USAID for future schemes to influence social networks as was attempted by USAID in the Cuban Twitter project.
This article is a Truthout original.
Author Elsa Rassbach is US citizen, filmmaker and journalist, who often lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She heads the “GIs & US Bases” working group in DFG-VK (the German affiliate of War Resisters International, WRI) and is active in Code Pink, UNAC,No to NATO, and the anti-drone campaign in Germany. Her film short “We Were Soldiers in the ‘War on Terror’” has just been released in the U.S., and “The Killing Floor,” her award-winning film set in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released next year.
Originally posted at PoprularResistance.org
Several activists who were early initiators behind the Occupy movement have formed a new political party, The After Party. Carl Gibson and Radio Raheem are among them and they join Dennis to discuss the launch and future plans.
In the second half of the show, comedian Lee Camp, who performed at several Occupy encampments, talks about his new weekly comedy show, Redacted Tonight, now airing on RT every Friday night at 8:30 and 11PM EST.
About Reacted Tonight with Lee Camp |
This is a crosspost from www.news-beacon-ireland.info
published on Shannonwatch 2 June 2014
republished here under the term of Fair Use
On Tuesday May 27th, two members of Shannonwatch appeared in Ennis District Court to answer a charge under the Public Order Act, Section 8. This related to an incident that took place on October 13th 2013.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil.
Memorial for Civic Activist John Judge Sustains His Legacy
Two hundred admirers of the late civic activist and historical researcher John P. Judge fostered his legacy during a memorial service May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D), a next door neighbor and close friend, described Judge as an extraordinary truth-seeker in the spirit of the ancient Diogenes. And, Kucinich continued, "what better place for it than Washington, DC -- the capital of smoke and mirrors?"
Join the first Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing - October 4, 2014
As global citizens who believe in justice and the rule of law, we oppose weaponized and surveillance drones because their deployment:
- is used for extrajudicial "targeted" killings based merely on suspicion -- murders -- even of children inside and outside of war zones,
- violates democratic rights of freedom of speech and assembly and the right not to be unreasonably searched,
- terrorizes populations in targeted territories, thereby fueling hatred and increasing the cycle of violence,
- lowers the threshold to war and initiates a new round in the arms race,
- leads to the development of autonomous killer robots, thereby making even more horrifying wars likely.
We demand that all governments cease the production and acquisition of armed drones, as well as their research and development, and work towards a worldwide ban of these weapons.
We further demand that our governments prohibit the use of drones for surveillance and prohibit using space satellites, ground stations, and military bases to enable drone surveillance and to trigger drone killings.
We call on people all over the world to join us in the Global Day of Action on October 4.
To add your endorsement to this call or to send a URL link regarding your October 4th protest event, contact Colleen from CODEPINK at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come to the Left Forum -5/31 & 6/1/2014 -in New York City to hear World Can't Wait/War Criminals Watch empowering 4 panels. Share this widely and invite all your friends, fellow & sister workers and family! Our first panel, Sat. 5/31- 3:20-4:50 pm is on CUNY students present struggle to shut down its restored ROTC after 40 years off campus & end Gen David Petraeus' tenure at CUNY.
Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org
note: This is an episode clip. The full episode, The Healing Power of Psychedelics, will publish at Acronym TV on Thursday, May 29.
Amber Lyon, 3-time Emmy award winning journalist, describes how her work as a journalist covering social justice issues lead to her suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and how experience with Ayahuasca cured her of the disorder and led to a radical spiritual and career shift.
I have been reading accounts of your recent trial and conviction following your arrest at the Occupy Wall Street celebration at Zuccotti Park in 2012.
Originally posted at PopularResistance.org
In 2008, the Democratic party dropped its language dropped its old abortion language ("safe, legal and rare"), which had asked that women not have abortions unless they absolutely must, and changed the official platform.
In other words, it stopped patronizing women into feeling like Abortion is something they should apologize for. Instead, the Democratic party position now reads: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."
by Debra Sweet What would it take? We are wrangling over this. A lot of people thought that to close Guantanamo it would take electing Barack Obama. Our guest on World Can't Wait's national conference call this past Thursday evening, Carlos Warner, said he thought that in 2008. A federal public defender for Northeast Ohio, Carlos represents 13 men still detained there, which he has visited "at least 30 times." He describes his clients as "artists, poets, musicians, and some just regular guys who have had a very difficult life." These are the stories & voices we will bring to life this coming Friday in protests around the world.
The difference between participating in the Global March against Monsanto and voting in the European and Local Elections
Note: In Ireland local and European elections will be held one day before the Global March against Monsanto which will take place on the 24th of May. This post was written mainly for an Irish readership.
first published on News-Beacon-Ireland 21st of May 2014
by R. Teichmann
contributed by the author
Protests in 40+ Cities Worldwide
Protests come exactly one year after President Obama recommitted to close down the detention facility
Washington, D.C. — On Friday, May 23, one year after President Obama once again promisedto close the detention facility at Guantanamo in a speech at the National Defense University, Witness Against Torture, Code Pink, The Center for Constitutional Rights, World Can’t Wait, and more than 30 other groups are banding together to say “Not Another Broken Promise!” They are calling on President Obama make good on his commitment to close the prison this year.
The President’s pledge last May came amidst a mass hunger strike at the prison by men protesting their indefinite detention. Since then only a handful of men have been released from Guantanamo, where hungers strikes and brutal forced-feedings continue.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, says: “When I interrupted Obama's 2013 speech to say that he had the power to free those Guantanamo prisoners already cleared for release, the President said my voice was worth listening to. With most of the prisoners still trapped in the hell of Guantanamo, I wish the President would listen to his own words and close the prison.”
“There is no excuse for keeping Guantanamo open,” says Jerica Arents from Chicago. “The President has the power to shutter the prison and needs to do it, or his promise is meaningless.”
Demonstrations will be held in Washington, D.C. (at the White House, 11 am); in New York City (Times Square, noon); in Chicago (Water Tower Park, 4:30 pm); San Francisco (Powell/Market 4:30 PST); and in 40 other cities in 8 countries, including England, Australia, and Germany. A Full list, with time and place info, is at: http://witnesstorture.tumblr.
“In big cities and small towns, the outpouring of support for the Global Day of Action has been amazing,” says Witness Against Torture organizer Chris Knestrick. “Guantanamo continues to shock the conscience. The people of the world want it closed.”
At the protests, activists will wear black hoods and orange jumpsuits, update the situation at Guantanamo, and perform theatre to dramatize the ongoing abuses at Guantanamo.
WHAT: Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention
WHERE: Washington, NYC, Chicago, Raleigh, London, Sydney, Toronto, and other cities.
WHEN: Friday, May 23, 2014 (see tumblr link above for details)
WHO: Human Rights and Anti-Torture activists
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
An Executive of a major shale gas development company has conceded what scientists have been saying for years: global shale gas development has the potential to wreak serious climate change havoc.
Best known for his company's hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") activity, Southwestern Energy Executive Vice President Mark Boling admitted his industry has a methane problem on the May 19 episode of Showtime's "Years of Living Dangerously" in a segment titled, "Chasing Methane."
World Can't Wait is presenting four great panels at the Left Forum. We look forward to meeting you there.Left Forum 2014 will be at John Jay College New Building, 524 West 59th St, NYC. Our panels will be on Saturday May 31st and Sunday June !st. Check them out below.
Vast Surveillance of Whole Populations: The NSA Revelations One Year Out Session 2 on Saturday, May 31st from 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm in Room 1.85