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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:
And of the arrests:
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
Elliott 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."
Adams' statement, made in court at the trial of the Hancock 38 last November is available online:
As is his statement at the sentencing hearing:
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.
The Indictment calls attention to Article 6, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and reads: “…we charge that the Air National Guard of the United States of America, headquartered at Hancock Air Field Air National Guard Base …is maintaining and deploying the MQ-9 Reaper robotic aircraft…Extrajudicial targeted killings such as the U.S. carries out by unmanned aircraft drones are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force in violation of U.S. and international human rights law…” Everyone in the chain of command, from President Obama to drone operators, is charged in the indictment at http://upstatedroneaction.org/flyers/indictment2012.pdf.
The arrests preempted political free speech as the anti-drone activists proceeded silently and in single file on the shoulder of a public road towards the air base entrance. Sheriff’s Department vehicles blockaded the road and police officers corralled the group. Arrests began without warning; most were charged with violating a Town of DeWitt ordinance requiring a permit to march. How ironic that the real criminals –who plan, fund and perpetrate drone strikes go free while citizens who are upholding the U.S. Constitution and international law are arrested. What is so dangerous and powerful about the Indictment that such an effort is made to prohibit its delivery?
UPDATE: Date of this may have been February 2012
I appreciate the bench’s effort to understand the arguments made - arguments involving local law, international law and, even the principles of civil disobedience.
Elliott Adams, Member of the Hancock 38 and the New Hancock 34, Made This Statement at the Trial on November 1, 2011
Your Honor my name is Elliott Adams, pro se defendant and I am giving Closing Arguments.
Thank you for your care, patience and deliberateness during this trial.
International Law expert Ramsey Clark testified that international law appliers here in DeWitt.
He testified that drone attacks are illegal.
He testified that the law obligates us, as individuals, to obstruct war crimes and violations of international law.
He testified that the law obligates us, as individuals, to get our government to obey international law.
Everything we did on 22 April was in compliance with international law, the supreme law of the land.
He testified that law requires the Judge to decide if our acts were incompliance with international law or not. And that the Judge of a court like this has the power and obligation to enforce international law.
To the Service Members of Hancock Air Base,
Each one of you, when you joined the United States Armed Forces or police, publicly promised to uphold the United States Constitution. We take this opportunity to call your attention to Article VI of the Constitution, which states:
'This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; (and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.)'
This clause is known as the supremacy clause, for it actually creates the United States as a legal entity.
The Constitution says, in the supremacy clause, that, without exception, treaties shall be the supreme Law of the Land.
From Judy Bellows
Ann Tiffany was arrested after she exited her car and crossed the street a block before the beginning of the fence that surrounds the base.
Those arrested in the street several blocks from the base have been put on a bus for processing. Those on the bus were giving the option to waive their arrest and leave, but only 1 person did so. Shortly thereafter, a plainclothes policeman with a Sheriff Dept Jacket drove up and spoke to them. They then took the rest of those arrested to the courthouse for arraignment.
Arrests at the front gate of Hancock AFB:
Six people did reach the gate of the base, where they were arrested attempting to deliver an indictment. Those people included Elliott Adams of Veterans for Peace and Ed Kinane and Rae Kramer of Syracuse. Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait was by the gate talking to the press. who seemed visibly shaken by the overwhelming response of the police to a peaceful walk down the street and efforts to deliver a letter to the gate.
Sandy called again to say that the police are everywhere, and that if you slow down as you drive along, they come up behind you and shriek their siren and flash their lights to encourage you to speed up and get out of there. She drove by the gate of Hancock AFB on her way out of the area, but all of the people were gone. A couple of young soldiers and some police were standing around giving one another high fives.
20-Year Veteran Pleads Guilty to Act of Civil Disobedience
President of Veterans For Peace Disrupted Congressional "Super Committee"
Judge Expresses Sympathy With Criticism of Government, Imposes Minimum Sentence
Retired Naval Commander Leah Bolger pled guilty to the charge of Unlawful Conduct -- Disruption of Congress at a hearing before Judge Stuart Nash in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Thursday, April 12th 2012. Bolger, who is a peace activist and the President of Veterans For Peace, interrupted a public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee on October 26th, 2011 http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/JointDef.
In her statement to the Judge, Bolger said, "I have come to understand what millions of Americans already know—that the actual majority will of the people is of little concern to those in power. We can demonstrate and petition and write letters until we are blue in the face, but those actions are virtually worthless, as we can't compete. Our voice is drowned out by the power of the money coming from the lobbyists and corporate interests. Money equals speech."
Though the maximum penalty for this infraction is 6 months in jail and/or a $750 fine, Judge Nash sentenced Bolger to 60 days incarceration and suspended that sentence. He also required her to make a $50 payment to a victims of crime fund and to perform 20 hours of community service, which Bolger will perform by working 20 hours for Veterans for Peace. She is on probation for nine months and faces the risk of having the 60-day sentence imposed, but says she is committed to continuing to speak out and protest, including when NATO comes to Chicago in May.
Judge Nash heard testimony from Retired Associate Judge Art Brennan who said, "Leah Bolger is not alone in her thinking. Millions of us would do what she is doing if we could summon the energy and the courage to tell our government what it really needs to know. Leah is charged with the misdemeanor of interfering or disrupting Congress. Far from it! She did not interfere with members of Congress doing their duty, representing the people, meeting and deliberating. Instead, she added her own careful words to a committee that needed to hear from the people that Congressional leaders are elected to represent--someone other than the military industrial complex and the corporate super-citizens."
Brennan's thoughts were echoed by attorney/activist Kevin Zeese who told Judge Nash, "In 45 seconds retired Commander Leah Bolger did more to represent the views of Americans and tell the true facts about the deficit than all of the elected representatives on the Joint Committee…(she) did an incredibly brave and patriotic act of citizenship."
Bolger's attorney Mark Goldstone also spoke in support of her action.
Judge Nash said twice that he sympathized with Bolger's criticism of the government. She had asked the Super Committee to stop ignoring the public's demand that wars be ended, military spending be reduced, and the rich be taxed. Nash, however, said that 300,000,000 people cannot all come and interrupt a Congressional hearing. After her court appearance, Bolger said that she would have liked to be able to tell the judge that if our representatives represented us, nobody would have to interrupt them. "It is a disgrace that we have to break the law in order to speak to our government," Bolger said.
Nash's imposition of such a minimal sentence was greeted by cheering from the packed courtroom and by multiple offers to pay the $50 on Leah's behalf. Bolger does not view the $50 paid to a victims' fund as a fine. She asked the court to impose no fine, as she believed no one should pay for permission to speak to our government. "I'm gratified," Bolger said afterward, "that the judge agreed I should pay no fine." The judge also imposed no "stay-away" order barring Bolger from Capitol Hill, despite the government's request for one.
Bolger is also supported by author and radio/TV host Thom Hartmann who called Bolger's actions "a courageous act of civil disobedience" and compared her to Susan B. Anthony. Other notables supporting Bolger include Ben Cohen, Michael Moore, and prominent activist and former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader who said, "Bolger showed what active citizens should be doing peacefully--confronting the corruption head on and making sure the public knows what is really going on. She should be honored for her actions."
By Dave Lindorff
I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.
Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.
By Dave Lindorff
Back in the early 1980s, I had the extraordinary good fortune to get to meet one of my literary heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, up close and personal. We shared a police wagon, sitting next to each other for a ride to the station to be booked for blocking the door to the South African consulate in a demonstration against that country’s then policy of white rule and apartheid.
I can’t say I got to know the author very well, but he was quite friendly and interesting to talk to, and after our arrest and booking was over, and we were released, I shared a cab as far as his house.
Disruption of Congressional “Super Committee” could result in 6-month sentence
Retired Naval Commander Leah Bolger will appear in court Thursday, April 12th 2012 on charges stemming from her arrest on October 26th, 2011. Bolger, who is a peace activist and the President of Veterans For Peace, interrupted a public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee.
In a calm, articulate manner Bolger spoke for nearly a minute in the well of the Senate hearing room before Capitol Hill police escorted her out and placed her under arrest. Prominent social activist Ben Cohen praised Bolger for her courageous stand in this video which includes footage of her action: http://youtu.be/aZVtPhVBM5Q Bolger accused the sole witness, Chief Budget Officer Douglas Elmendorf, of obfuscating the true costs of military spending, and implored the Committee to enact the people’s plan for reducing the deficit—end the wars and tax the rich.
Ralph Nader, a member of Veterans For Peace, applauded retired Naval Commander, Bolger's effort to challenge the Super Committee for a minute of an un-scheduled reminder that cutting much needed social programs that saves lives rather than cutting the bloated military budget and taxing the 1% is Congressional insanity. "The government is dysfunctional, working for corporate interests rather than providing for the peoples necessities. Bolger showed what active citizens should be doing peacefully-- confronting the corruption head on and making sure the public knows what is really going on. She should be honored for her actions."
Bolger was a member of the Occupation of Washington, DCat Freedom Plaza. The occupation protested the Super Committee by holding an Occupied Super Committee hearing which was aired on C-SPAN, see CSPAN Coverage of Occupied Super Committee Hearings, and produced its own report. By cutting military spending and taxing the wealthy, the Occupied Super Committee reached the ten year deficit targets set by President Obama and Congress in two years, and was able to fund a jobs program, forgive student debt and secure social programs. See The 99%’s Deficit Proposal: How to create jobs, reduce the wealth divide and control spending. As a result of the actions of Bolger, the Occupy movement and other activists, the Super Committee, which had been on course to cut Social Security and Medicare, decided not to issue a report.
A press conference will be held at 8:30 am, Thursday April 12th in front of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 500 Indiana Ave NW, Washington DC. Those scheduled to speak and/or answer questions include:
Leah Bolger, defendant, President of Veterans For Peace (VFP)
Mark Goldstone, attorney for the defendant
Art Brennan, NH Retired Superior Court Associate Justice, member of VFP
David Swanson, author, activist, radio host, member of VFP
By John Grant
Founded and preserved by acts of aggression, characterized by a continuing tradition of self-righteous violence against suspected subversion and by a vigorous sense of personal freedom, usually involving the widespread possession of firearms, the United States has evidenced a unique tolerance for homicide.
-David Brion Davis
Homicide in American Fiction 1798-1860
The Trayvon Martin story is not going to go away. It was a narrative event waiting to happen, and the story only gets richer with meaning as time goes on. There are the obvious racial aspects, but the most important elements are about police power versus citizen power -- and who can get away with shooting whom?
1 April 2012. Around 2am 800 peace activists from more than ten European countries gathered near NATO headquarters in Evere, Brussels. 500 people tried nonviolently to enter the NATO compound. About 20 activists succeeded to enter the military site, 483 people were arrested. At the main entrance of the NATO headquarters 300 supporters cheered the intervention teams.
When peace is at stake, nonviolent intervention is necessary. NATO is a select club of countries that globally wages war, deploys nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them in a first strike. This military alliance is a danger for world peace. On May 20th and 21st, the heads of government of NATO member states will gather in Chicago. Today’s nonviolent intervention sends them a clear message: NATO creates more problems than it solves.
NATO Game Over – international action of civil disobedience
NATO GAME OVER is an action of civil disobedience. Nonviolent intervention teams tried to enter the NATO area in order to prevent a more serious crime, the preparation of war crimes.
Delegations from Germany, the Netherlands, France, UK, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Spain participated in the action alongside Belgian activists.
They all have a clear message for the government leaders who are meeting in Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20th and 21st: “We do not want a missile defence shield, We do not want NATO soldiers in Libya or Afghanistan, We do not want dangerous, useless and illegal nuclear weapons”.
Remove nuclear weapons
NATO's deterrence and defense strategy will prove to be a difficult issue. Since the last NATO summit in November 2010, the alliance has been looking for “the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense forces”, under the NATO Deterrence and Defence Posture Review. NATO member states will need to agree on the future role of the approximately 200 American tactical nuclear weapons that are still deployed in five European countries. NATO bureaucracy is keen on maintaining the status quo.
However, nuclear weapons cannot be used without violating international humanitarian law and their deployment is a preparation of war crimes. These weapons do not serve any military purpose, and a majority of European citizens want them removed. NATO must overcome Cold War thinking, re-adjust its nuclear policy and withdraw these nuclear weapons. A failure to do so will be an obstacle for further nuclear disarmament.
Stop military intervention
In Chicago, NATO-secretary general Rasmussen wants to decide on the priorities for the further expansion of NATO’s military intervention apparatus. The war in Afghanistan proves the failure of military intervention. Under the pretext of ‘Responsibility to Protect’, NATO attacked Libya to force a profitable regime change. The war left Libya a fragmented country, where armed militias struggle for power.
Press contact: Hans Lammerant, +32 479 682 443
(AFP) BRUSSELS — Hundreds of peace activists on Sunday tried in vain to break into the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels, with 483 of them arrested by police.
The demonstration, organised by the Belgian association Action for Peace two months before a NATO summit in Chicago, was called to protest the alliance's intervention in Afghanistan and Libya, and nuclear arming.
"No demonstrator was able to enter NATO headquarters," spokesman for Brussels police, Christian De Coninck, told AFP. "We detained 483 people for questioning and all of them should be free in the evening."
De Coninck said no one was hurt and no damage was reported.
The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda has nothing on its website about using nonviolence, supporting nonviolence, or opposing violence.
The G8 and NATO Protest also has nothing like that, but does have this:
"As we plan our actions and tactics, we will take care to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics."
A month ago I blogged that I would not endorse Occupy the RNC or DNC because both groups were refusing to state that they opposed violence.
Occupy the RNC has now put this on its website:
"We are not organizing actions, especially violent ones. That would just be stupid. We exist to provide information and facilitate logistics for people resisting the RNC."
Not how I would have put it. Nor would I have added:
"Don't fuck with us. We'll sue you."
But foreswearing violence and calling it stupid is enough for me. I wish Occupy DNC could bring itself to do as much. Better yet, just add "We oppose violence and will not use it."
That would be ideal, smart, strategic, and beneficial to the movement.
When the cops start a riot in Chicago on May 20th, raise your hand if you think CNN will base its coverage on your Youtube of what really happened and ignore that statement above about "space between divergent tactics."
Back in November, some good activists working with Occupy Wall Street wrote:
"‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions."
In other words, it's not consensus. It's minority rule. Most of us favor an openly nonviolent movement, publicly commited to nonviolence. When I question organizers of these protests, they practically scream that that is indeed what they favor, but that they want to be inclusive and not allow the 1% to divide us. Is destroying us better than dividing us? Is scaring away the majority of the 99% a price worth paying to be inclusive of 10 people who want to smash windows and 2 guys who want to smash police officers? What about the openness lost by embracing tactics that require secrecy?
"The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.
"Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.
"The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.
"Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:
"We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.
"In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.
"We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.
"Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.
"Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.
"Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.
"Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.
"Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”
"But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.
"A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.
"We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.
"A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.
"There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power."
Between now and May 20th in Chicago would be an ideal time to spread understanding of this.
Lisa Fithian is the streetwise radical who's teaching kids who want to be badass to be smart.
In her makeshift classroom in lower Manhattan, Lisa Fithian turns to a group of several dozen students, squares her shoulders, and issues a challenge: "Does someone want to be a cop and come get me?" A tall redhead abruptly breaks out and lunges at her, but Fithian, a petite, den-motherish 50-year-old, head fakes and bolts away. Cheers erupt from her pupils, Occupy Wall Street protesters intent on shutting down the New York Stock Exchange the following morning. Another pretend cop moves in, and this time she drops to the ground, flopping like a rag doll as the officer struggles to drag her away. Fithian stands to deliver her lesson. "Of the two choices, running away or going limp, what does running away communicate?" she asks.
"Guilt," several people say.
She smiles and nods. "Guilt."
Here's what to do:
In response to Tim’s transfer into isolated confinement, we’re asking you to please take a few moments to call the following contacts (or whomever you have time to call from this list) and ask that:
“Tim DeChristopher inmate #16156-081 be immediately removed from the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and placed back in the Minimum Security Camp at FCI Herlong.”
If you’d like to say more, here are a few key talking points we suggest:
- Moving Tim DeChristopher to SHU based on the complaint of an unidentified Congressman doesn’t make sense. Why is Congress intervening in one inmates detention status, anyway?
- Keeping inmates in isolated confinement for an indefinite amount of time awaiting a hearing is not humane and is not acceptable.
- *FOR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS* If they are your congressperson, tell them about the situation, [read here] and ask them if they know who ordered the transfer, and that you’d like them to take a look into it and get back to you promptly. Ask them why Congress is taking such an interest in the emails of one inmate. Tell them that Tim is a nonviolent offender who was wrongly charged and convicted to begin with, and was placed in a minimum security camp because he posed no threat to anyone. If you have time, mention that an oil and gas company owned by William Koch was recently found to have conspired to defeat a BLM oil and gas lease auction, but was merely fined, while Tim sits in isolated confinement after being charged with two felonies. If you call Jason Chaffetz, ask him to launch an investigation in his oversight committee.
** Please be respectful and polite when making phone calls. Outrage is appropriate, but remember that we are dealing with other human beings.
Michael Babcock, WARDEN
Eloisa DeBruler, Public Information Officer
BOP Central Office
202 307 3226
Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and
Homeland Security Congressional Members:
PRIORITY CONGRESSIONAL CALLS:
|Bob Goodlatte, VA
|Sandy Adams, FL
|Dan Lundgren, CA
|Mark Amodei, NV
|Randy Forbes, VA
(202) 225 – 6365
|Bobbi Scott, VA
|Ted Poe, TX
|Steve Cohen, TN
|Timothy Griffin, AK
|Hank Johnson, GA
|Tom Marino, PA
|Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
|Trey Gowdy, SC
|Judi Chu, CA
|Ted Deutch, FL
|Shelia Jackson Lee, TX
|Michael Quigley, IL
By Maris Beck, Sydney Morning Herald
A nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land should go ahead even if the land’s traditional owners have been incorrectly identified to government, the Commonwealth has told the Federal Court.
If it was found that a land council gave the federal government incorrect information about the traditional owners of Muckaty Station, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, it would not invalidate the government’s 2007 approval for a dump there, Commonwealth lawyer Dr Stephen Donaghue SC said in Melbourne yesterday.
He said the government’s new radioactive waste law requires only that a land council present evidence of who the traditional owners are — not that the evidence be true.
A group of elders, including Ngapa elders Mark Lane Jangala, claim that they are among the traditional owners of the station. The Northern Land Council had excluded the group, identifying the family of Amy Lauder (who has since died) as owners instead. Counsel for the groups, Ron Merkel QC, told Justice Tony North that the land council was a commercial body, that Ms Lauder was a member of the council, and that his clients’ exclusion had involved ‘‘misleading and deceptive’’ conduct. Misconduct was denied by the council, represented by Sturt Glacken SC.
Mr Merkel sought a full trial of the case and accused the Commonwealth of delaying proceedings.
‘‘People are elderly and dying and already the most important person in the case has died,’’ he said.
Mr Merkel said the government would only need to give 10 days notice to declare the site a dump and there was ‘‘only a shortlist of one’’ possible site: Muckaty Station.
The radioactive waste law, which passed Senate this month, has been opposed by environmental and indigenous groups who say the powers it grants to Resources Minister Martin Ferguson are too broad.
Dr Donaghue said the law, which was expected to receive the Governor General’s approval within days, included new requirements that owners be consulted before a final declaration was made.
‘‘Why would an injunction be issued before any of that process has been gone through?,’’ he said.
He said it was a misuse of resources to embark on a trial to identify the traditional owners.
He said payments to traditional owners — which could reach as much as $12 million — were compensation rather than commercial in nature and therefore were not subject to the prohibitions against misleading and deceptive conduct in the Trade Practices Act.
ARRESTED FOR NO NUKES OPPOSITION!!!!…as Rennie Cushing, Nelia Sargent and Kendra Ulrich join HarveyW at the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show to tell us about their sit-in at Entergy’s New Orleans Headquarters…why they did it, how they were treated and what they are planning next as part of the on-going campaign to shut Vermont Yankee and all other atomic reactors. Kendra, Nelia and Rennie are part of a long tradition of non-violent protest and their words on our show speak as loud as their actions. Rennie and Nelia helped found the legendary anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance, and Rennie also works against the death penalty as explains the mission of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, of which he is executive director. Listen to the whole show anytime at http://prn.fm/shows/environmental-shows/green-power/.
From the Badger Herald:
Washington, D.C. police arrested three University of Wisconsin students who serve or have been elected to serve in student government positions during a protest against rising student debt outside a prominent student loan lender.
Associated Students of Madison Chair Allie Gardner, Student Services Finance Committee Rep. Tia Nowack and newly-elected Maxwell Love were arrested outside of Sallie Mae’s offices in the city’s Northwest section.
By Dave Lindorff
If you want to know where the real government of the United States is located, just check out one of the documents received by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in response to their Freedom of Information Act request to the Dept. of Homeland Security relating to surveillance of the Occupy Movement. That document, from the Secret Service, dated September 17, 2011, the day the Occupy movement began on Wall Street, from the US Secret Service Intelligence Division, titled Prism Demonstrations Abstract, list the location as “Wall Street Bull” -- a reference to the bronze statue of a bull on Wall Street in front of the
New York Stock Exchange, and the “protectee” as “The United States Government.”
In the last few months, workers in three different states—at the Serious Materials factory in Chicago, at a Century Aluminum factory in Ravenswood, West Va., and at AT&T’s regional headquarters in Atlanta—have engaged in "occupations" that quickly produced small results for those workers. These actions—one an actual factory occupation, the other two highly visible encampments outside company facilities—have underscored the enormous potential of direct action to give workers leverage in negotiating with employers.
But just as Congress quickly outlawed the type of auto industry sit-down strikes that were so effective during the 1930s, anti-union groups are now advocating measures to counteract the success of these recent protests. The backlash has begun: Last week, a Georgia State Senate Committee passed SB 469, which would ban picketing outside of the home of CEOs and give a company the right to ask a judge to force protesters—whether union or nonunion—to stop picketing outside of any business.
If these members do not stop picketing after a judge's order, the courts could fine individuals $1,000 a day. Any organization or union that sponsored the protests would be fined $10,000 a day. The bill could severely limit the ability of unions and other groups to bring aggressive anti-union employer actions to the public's attention.
Three actions, with varying successes
Last month, workers in Chicago made headlines for occupying their plant for a second time to protest its abrupt closing (the first time was in December 2008, when it was operated by the Republic Windows and Doors company). Workers there won a short-term victory when the owner of the plant agreed to keep the plant open for 90 days and help the workers search for another buyer of the plant.
At around the same time, a group of retired United Steelworker union members had been camping out on a median strip in front of the shuttered Aluminum Century plant (the union calls it an "occupation"). Veterans of the famous early 1990s Ravenswood lockout—now in their 60s, 70s and even 80s—protested the company’s move to cut off retiree healthcare benefits. (To learn more about the famous 1990s Ravenswood lockout, I highly recommend Kate Bronfenbrenner and Tom Juravich’s book Ravenswood: The Steelworkers’ Victory and the Revival of American Labor).
In February 2009, Aluminum Century had shut down the plant, laying off 651 workers. Then in January 2011, Aluminum Century told its retirees that it would end all retiree healthcare—even for those not old enough to qualify for Medicare.
After learning that Aluminum Century was seeking $20 million from the state of West Virginia to re-open the smelter in Ravenswood, retirees—inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement—decided to occupy the space in front of the plant to make it known that they wouldn’t let it be re-opened until their healthcare benefits were reinstated. They camped out from mid-December to last Friday.
The public action attracted attention to the actions of Aluminum Century. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced that if the company wanted to re-open the plant it had to first restore healthcare benefits. Last Thursday, the company announced a deal with the union in which they would restore retiree benefits to all workers.
"It is notable that the retiree committee, with support from politicians in their state and local community, were able to come together with the company to find a solution for an increasingly difficult issue across America," said United Steelworkers International Vice President Tom Conway. "It's a settlement that will work for our retirees by giving them some stability and decent levels of health care coverage."
600 miles to the south, in Atlanta, AT&T workers continue to protest on the sidewalk in front of the company's headquarters. The "occupation" by Communication Workers of America (CWA) union members and Occupy activists began on February 13, after AT&T announced it would lay off 740 workers in the Southeast and likely shift the union work out to nonunion contractors.
In the three weeks since then, the encampment has grown from 13 tents on the first day to 23 tents, and attracted wide community support. The action is now starting to see some results, both good and bad.
“The company has announced that they are working to reduce the number of layoffs,” says CWA Local 3204 President Walter Andrews. “We won’t know the extent of the effectiveness until the 31st of the March."
CWA Local 3204 President Walter Andrews believes the Georgia bill was introduced in response to the AT&T occupation.
“If we did what we are doing, CWA would be fined $10,000 a day and each member would be fined $1,000 a day. It’s taking away our first amendment rights. We know that we could fight this in the courts, but we both know that could take years and what will happen in the meanwhile," says Andrews.
SB 469 also contains a provision aimed at hurting private-sector unions in the "right-to-work" state of Georgia. The bill would require union members to recertify every year that they wanted union dues deducted from their paychecks. “That would kill us,” says Andrews.