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Six Peacemakers Arrested at the Pentagon to Commemorate the 67th anniversary of the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The theme of this week’s show: Guns and Media
- RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy have launched a campaign targeting NBC’s new program, “Stars Earn Stripes,” a reality show co-hosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark and co-starring Todd Palin, which the network is advertising during the Olympics. We discuss this with David Swanson
- Another mass shooting, this time in Wisconsin, has people wondering what can be done about gun violence, the gun lobby and the debate about second amendment protections. We discuss this with Ladd Everitt
More about this week’s guests:
David Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Quote: “NBC is marketing its new show during the Olympics as the next big sport, featuring former Olympic athletes, but the sport is war, with — so they tell us — real bullets, real explosives, and real danger. If NBC is really risking blowing off the head or arm or leg of Sarah Palin’s husband and the other stars, then we’ve regressed to ancient Rome. Bread and circuses are now Big Macs and NBC war-o-tainment shows. I suspect and hope that in fact NBC is not putting these people at risk and nobody is going to die on Stars Earn Stripes (note, link does not take you to the NBC show page). And I am certain that the 95 percent of casualties in U.S. wars who rarely get mentioned on any NBC program, namely the non-Americans, will not be featured. We will not see children and grandparents blown to pieces. We will not see cluster bombs picked up as toys. We may see doors kicked in, but not the screaming terrified families behind them. NBC is sanitizing and normalizing war as a sport. Gone is any concept of war as an emergency, any notion of war time as separate from peace time. We are into permanent war, and war for its own sake.”
Ladd Everitt is the Director of Communications of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. He has served as the Director of Communications of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence since May 2006. In this position, he is responsible for developing and managing a wide range of communications activities in support of the organization’s overall mission.
Mr. Everitt has served in a volunteer capacity with the D.C. Crisis Response Team, a group which offers comfort, support and referral services to victims and survivors of homicide in the District of Columbia. From 2002-2007, he served as the volunteer President of the D.C. Chapter of the Million Mom March. Under his direction, the chapter conducted events for victims and survivors of gun violence, published letters and editorials in local and national periodicals, participated in press conferences and demonstrations calling for sensible gun laws, networked with other community groups who are interested in stemming the tide of gun violence, and authored a comprehensive resource book for victims and survivors, which was used by the Metropolitan Police Department.
Ladd relocated to the District of Columbia from New York in September of 1993 to pursue a Masters degree in U.S. Foreign Policy at American University. After completing his degree, he worked as a Research Associate with the U.S.‑Saudi Arabian Business Council in Washington, DC, and as a Chief of Policy Development for the Air Force Association in Arlington, Virginia.
A statement from Coalition to Stop Gun Violence issued in the wake of the incident in Colorado read in part: “Reports indicate that the shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes wore body armor and was armed with two Glock handguns, a tactical shotgun, and an AR-15 style assault rifle. He also released some type of chemical gas into the theater during the massacre. Twelve fatalities have been reported so far, with approximately 38 moviegoers injured, including 16 critically. “Sadly, there is nothing novel about this tragedy. It is yet another massacre perpetuated by a homicidal maniac who was given easy access to lethal, military-style firepower. “The pro-gun movement has told us that bloodbaths like Aurora are the price we must pay to guarantee freedom and individual liberty in the United States. Rational Americans should reject such radical ideology and demand immediate reform of our gun laws. “The truth is that there is no greater threat to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ than the wanton gun violence that continues to destroy American families and communities. Until our legislators stand up to the extreme leadership of the National Rifle Association and enact laws to assure the thorough screening of gun buyers, tragedies like Aurora will continue to haunt America. It is long past time to put public safety back on the agenda in the U.S. Congress, and in our state legislatures.”
By Eve Tetaz
I left Paris on June 28, 2012 and arrived in DC the same day to stand trial in DC Superiour Court on Wednesday, July 29th along with 13 co-defendants for having protested the death penalty on the steps of the Supreme Court in January. I was sentenced to 60 days in jail because I refused probation and to pay a fine on the grounds that although I broke a DC law, I was upholding my right under the first amendment of the Constitution to peacefully petition the government for a redress of grievances. I believe that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, and is a violation of the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution. Three of my codefendants opted to spend 5 days in jail rather than do community service in order to remain in solidarity with me.
Oak Ridge, TN—Early this past Saturday morning three plowshares activists performed a disarmament action in response to Government plans to invest $80 billion to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex.
Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares, Michael R. Walli (63), Megan Rice (82), and
Greg Boertje-Obed (57) entered the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility before dawn.
They delivered an indictment citing U.S. Constitutional and Treaty Law as well as the
“The ongoing building and maintenance of Oak Ridge Y-12 constitute war crimes that can and should be investigated and prosecuted by judicial authorities at all levels. We are required by International Law to denounce and resist known crimes.”
This action is one of a long tradition of Plowshares disarmament actions in the US and around the world which challenge war-making and weapons of mass destruction.
By David R. Weyeneth, Sr.
To accompany Gene Sharp's "From Dictatorship to Democracy" (PDF).
One: Focus on a problem or issue which needs change.
Two: Hold hearings and conduct research, including taking statements and affidavits of witnesses. The research may reveal a history of previous social change campaigns as well as being useful in outlining the current campaign. Keeping records will be useful in constructing a history of the current campaign for reference by others.
Three: Witness sites and events of the social problem.
Four: Negotiate with persons or agencies indicated as responsible or capable of alleviating the problem. Return to negotiations as needed.
Susan Crane, one of the five plowshares activists who entered the U.S.
Navy's Pacific Trident Naval Base at Kitsap Bangor (NBKB) in Washington
State in November 2009 has been ordered to appear before Judge Benjamin
Settle at the U.S. District Court, Tacoma, Washington on July 23, 2012.
Crane has already served 15 months in prison. The government is seeking
revocation of Crane’s current additional 1 year term of supervised release,
alleging noncompliance with some of the terms of her supervised release.
Crane, a mother of two grown children, and a grandmother, maintains now, as
she did throughout her trial, that the five came to the Navy base to
peaceably state the truth “Disarm Now: Trident Illegal and Immoral.”
Crane said, “The eight Trident submarines deployed from NBKB constantly
threaten to unleash nuclear holocaust. Each of the 800 nuclear weapons
by Common Dreams - Common Dreams staff
Environmental activists shut down dozens of Shell gas stations across the UK, Denmark and Germany on Monday. The action was part of environmental group Greenpeace's Save the Arctic Campaign -- a bid to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic slated to begin within the next three weeks. Greenpeace has ramped up its efforts against oil company Shell as its drilling vessels drift closer to its targets in the Arctic.
Earlier this week Shell's first drill rig to near the Arctic, Noble Discoverer, lost control during high winds and ran aground near Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
"Shell can't keep it's drill rig under control in a protected harbor, so what will happen when it faces 20 foot swells and sea ice while drilling in the Arctic? Shell's whole drilling program seems to be running aground...Shell cannot be trusted, and President Obama should not let its Arctic drilling program move forward," stated Greenpeace Lead Arctic Campaigner Jackie Dragon.
On Monday the activists scaled the roof of a Shell gas station, many in sickly polar bear costumes, used barriers to block off access to pumps, and covered a Shell sign with a Save the Arctic banner. In one instance they placed a life-sized polar bear model on a station's roof. Other campaigners chained themselves to pumps, a Greenpeace spokesman told the Independent.
Activists shut down pumps by switching emergency shut-off levers, which stop gas flow.
24 were arrested over the course of the planned actions.
What does Independence Day mean to you? The holiday can be a time to gather with family, friends and community. But it can also be an opportunity to reassess the direction of the country, the past struggles that secured rights and freedom, the challenges to power that rose up in the face of adversity, and the inequalities that still exist.
Elliott Adams and Nate Lewis, two members of Veterans For Peace, were part of a larger group of 15 activists arrested Thursday at the gate to Hancock Airbase in Syracuse, N.Y., where they held large banners and signs protesting drones for three hours before they were arrested.
One banner showed images of children killed by U.S. drones in Afghanistan. Another showed a reaper drone and the grim reaper. Another quoted Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream" and Barack Obama "I have a drone."
Photos and videos: http://www.facebook.com/daniel.j.burns.9?sk=wall
For some of the participants, this was not their first time protesting at Hancock. Adams was arrested last year as one of the "Hancock 38," and again this past April in a group of 33. Adams is Past President of Veterans for Peace and current Nonviolent Training Coordinator.
Police in Germany Join the People They're Supposed to Protect and Serve -- Imagine That in a More Fascist State Like Ours
In town court this evening, at the request of the town prosecuting attorney, Judge David Gideon dismissed the charge of “parading without a permit” against the “Hancock 33.” Onondaga County sheriffs arrested the defendants, from Syracuse and across New York State, on Sunday, April 22 while they walked silently, solemnly and single-file along the shoulder of East Molloy Road, the public road leading to the main gate of Hancock Air Base.
Many of the defendants were carrying signs protesting the piloting of weaponized Reaper drones at Hancock. Their intent, foiled by the arrests, was to deliver a citizen’s indictment to the base. They allege that under International Law war crimes are committed on the base, especially the widespread killing of civilians by the Reaper in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The town attorney Donald Doerr, citing the DeWitt Town Code – Chapter 134-1, noted that prosecution was unnecessary since the 33 weren’t a threat to themselves or to the traveling public and that they didn’t interfere with emergency service to the community.
One of the walkers, Ann Tiffany of Syracuse, said, “These were pre-emptive arrests. They violated citizens’ rights to assemble and petition our government under the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.”
“Let Justice Flow Like a River…”
By Brian Terrell
The United States District Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri, is a modern and graceful structure sitting on a bluff over the Missouri River. Less than one year old, it is a virtual temple in white marble, granite and glass, its clean lines all the more immaculate in contrast to its nearest neighbor, the crumbling 19th century hulk of the derelict and empty Missouri State Penitentiary, now a tourist attraction and occasional movie set. Set into the floor of the courthouse rotunda, executed in marble and bronze, is the image of the Great Seal of the United States, the eagle with arrows in one talon and olive leaves in the other, circled by a quote from the Bible, from the prophet Amos, “Let Justice Flow Like A River.”
By Dave Lindorff
My wife and I live on a 2.3-acre plot of forested land in a pre-Revolutionary house with a run-down old barn. When we first moved here, there was a rather large set of grassy areas, one in front of the house, another behind the kitchen, a large field in the back, behind the barn, a smaller lawn in front of the barn, and a hidden glen, as well as an island of grass in the middle of a circular gravel driveway.
On Wednesday night in Montreal, we shared a long dinner with student organizers, discussing everything from police tactics in Montreal and New York to the necessity of an anti-racist and anti-colonial framework for our movements. Our hosts noticed that, around the time that the nightly 8:30 p.m. march was supposed to begin, we were getting nervous about missing it. They laughed and said, “Don’t worry, it will go on until 2 a.m.” Or at least they normally do.
By midnight, after peacefully and joyfully marching through the city for hours, the police charged our march of about 4,000 people with batons and pepper spray. In a moment the scene became one of chaos and confusion. Many in the crowd turned around and ran, but there were police behind us, too, coming straight at us with their batons out as people were pepper sprayed and thrown to the ground. Eventually, we found our way out of the melée and asked our Canadian comrade what had happened to provoke the police. “Nothing,” she answered. “They just got tired of us.”
Excerpted from: NATO protests reveal need for nonviolent discipline by Ken Butigan
This was the largest organized medal return since April 1971, when more than 800 veterans deposited their medals on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to dramatically repudiate the Vietnam War. Like that event four decades ago, Sunday’s ceremony was moving and powerful. It crystallized in a clear but visceral way the realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time it spelled out the critical importance of undertaking deliberate and potentially risky resistance for healing and nonviolent change.
This riveting event could well have become the indelible image of this week’s NATO protest. Even more importantly, it might have prompted a renewed national focus on the realities and costs of the last dozen years of war-making.
So far, neither has happened. Although there was some media coverage of the medal return ceremony (including a piece on local television and extensive reporting on Democracy Now!), it was largely overshadowed by the clash between police and protesters that took place almost immediately after the vets exited the stage. The march permit expired and most of the thousands of marchers drifted away, but a couple of hundred people stayed put in the streets. Hundreds of police in riot gear then flooded into the area. As an Associated Press story reports:
Some of the most enduring images of the event were likely to be from the end — when a small group of demonstrators clashed with a line of police who tried to keep them from the lakeside convention center where President Barack Obama was hosting the gathering. The protesters tried to move east toward McCormick Place, with some hurling sticks and bottles at police. Officers responded by swinging their batons. The two sides were locked in a standoff for nearly two hours, with police blocking the protesters’ path and the crowd refusing to leave. Some protesters had blood streaming down their faces.
This description conveys little of the ferocity of the tense confrontation that erupted after the permit expired and a huge police contingent swarmed into the space, intent on pushing people out of the intersection and keeping them from moving toward the convention center. News accounts and video clips from the scene show that the police tactics were hugely confrontational and aggressive; the police attacked and pummeled many protesters. At the same time, video clips show objects being hurled at police officers, including a police barricade, and protesters pushing police. Both sides were confrontational, as this raw video indicates.
My spouse Cynthia and I brought our two-year-old daughter Leah to this march. (The coalition website said that this event would be “family friendly,” and we took it at its word.) We were one block from the stage, but left a couple of minutes before the permit expired because Leah was getting hungry and thirsty; it had been a long, hot day. As we walked north, a long phalanx of police officers in riot gear were trotting single file toward the intersection, where only a few minutes later they would be swinging batons at marchers unwilling to budge. Some would be bloodied; others arrested.
There is no excuse for the actions of the police. At the same time, the lack of nonviolent discipline among the remaining protesters contributed to escalating this confrontation. The media frame on this story shifted almost immediately from “peaceful march” to “street fighting,” and the powerful action of the Iraq and Afghanistan vets was largely lost in the inundating shuffle.
Well before all of this, Suellen Semekoski and I were asked by Iraq Veterans Against the War to co-facilitate the nonviolent action training that would support the vets in preparing for their medal return. We were happy to do so, and on Saturday afternoon and evening we plunged into this process with them.
In our six hours together, we sensed the depth of hope that this public action was generating for them as individuals and as a community. Throughout the day the participants repeatedly stressed that nonviolence was going to be crucial to this event and that they were committed to maintaining this spirit. In addition, we were joined by three members of Afghans for Peace who were collaborating with IVAW on this event. They were also resolute about the importance of nonviolent discipline. The success of this action, they said, depended on it.
These survivors of war — U.S. veterans and Afghan peaceworkers — were creating a rare public space where they sought to call on the nation and the world to reflect deeply on the reality of this past, present and future destructiveness. They were very clear that nonviolent strategies, tactics and atmosphere would be vital to achieving this.
Unfortunately, there was little infrastructure in place to support that possibility. While many of us led numerous nonviolence trainings in the Chicago area in the run-up to the NATO mobilization, there were no agreed-upon nonviolence guidelines to serve as a foundation for nonviolent action. (The “Chicago Principles” did not serve this function.) Nor were there adequate numbers of peacekeepers prepared to intervene in order to maintain this nonviolent atmosphere. (In January, some of us had offered to train 500 peacekeepers, who would be equipped to respond to outbreaks of violence. This was based on the experience some of us had had in Seattle in 1999 at the World Trade Organization meeting, where 200 peacekeepers had been an inadequate number. We were told that the coalition was already training peace guides.)
There are many reasons such infrastructure was not in place, including a sensitivity to the now classic debate between nonviolence and diversity of tactics. Nevertheless, I suspect that we are at a crossroads as a movement for change and, at some point, we must make a difficult but important choice.
From my perspective, people power depends for its lifeblood on nonviolent discipline.
Nonviolent action is more effective than violent action — including the kind of heated scrum that took place in Chicago this past Sunday — because it keeps us on message (focused on the issue, rather than the tired tit-for-tat narrative), it is more likely to alert, educate and mobilize the population (the lynchpin of successful movements), and it communicates a vision of the kind of society we want (veterans creating the space of transformative healing and social change rather than the push-comes-to-shove dynamics of retaliatory violence).
By Dave Lindorff
It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.
Camp Douglas, WI – Thirteen Wisconsin citizen activists held their monthly vigil outside the gates of Camp Williams/Volk Field on Tuesday May 22, 2012, calling for an end to drone warfare. People attended from Madison, Monona, Portage, Montello, Mount Horeb, and Wisconsin Rapids. Camp Williams/Volk Field is a National Guard facility where testing and training for the RQ-7 Shadow 200 drones is being conducted. The monthly vigils are organized by the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, a group that practices nonviolent civil resistance against the illegal and immoral policies of our government. They join an increasing number of activists all over the country who are speaking out against drone warfare.
By Phil Wilayto
On Tuesday, May 22, a group of prisoners held in Virginia's notorious Red Onion Super-Max prison began a hunger strike to demand that the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) follow its own regulations in regard to meals, sanitation, isolation, safety and procedures for processing prisoner grievances. To support these courageous prisoners, a press conference was held today at 11 a.m. outside DOC headquarters in Richmond, sponsored by the Richmond chapter of SPARC (Supporting Prisoners and Advocating for Radical Change). (See: http://vimeo.com/42634852)
New York, May 15, 2012 -- Stop Mass Incarceration Network --Occupy Wall Street/Stop Stop and Frisk activist Christina Gonzalez was arrested in court and sentenced to ten days in jail on Friday by Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge John H. Wilson, who charged her with "contempt of court."
The confrontation with Judge Wilson began when Ms. Gonzalez, charged with obstruction of government administration and disorderly conduct for her participation in a Brownsville Stop Stop-and-Frisk action last November, stood in the aisle to ask court clerks if a fax memo had been received indicating her attorney’s inability to be in court that day. The judge yelled at her to sit down, and then asked the court officers to remove her to the area outside the courtroom.
When her case was called about an hour later, Ms. Gonzalez attempted to reenter the courtroom, not knowing that the Judge had not intended for her to return at all. Without warning, the Judge immediately ordered for her to be handcuffed. She became indignant at what appeared to be an arbitrary abuse of power in the courtroom and asked another defendant to call her employer since she "was being arrested by a white racist pig." With court still in session, Judge Wilson demanded that she apologize. Ms. Gonzalez refused, stating that in good conscience she could not. The Judge abruptly found her in contempt, and immediately had her taken into custody. A bystander in the courthouse who filmed the incident was also arrested. Ms. Gonzalez is currently serving her sentence on Rikers Island.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks - Isiah 2:4
If Monday, May 14 - the first day of anti-G8/NATO summit protests in Chicago - is any indication, a direct action street protest model of confrontational nonviolence that enhances both local campaigns and national social movements is emerging that could predict how the rest of the week will play out on the ground in the Windy City.
Imagine if, by next weekend, a hundred or more large affinity groups of 50-75 people each all started organizing their own pop-up demonstrations at big banks, payday loan shops, and the offices of elected officials. The city of Chicago could potentially be overwhelmed, while a disciplined commitment to confrontational nonviolence could increase the legitimacy of the protests and their message.
Monday morning, about 100 members of the national Catholic Worker movement occupied the Prudential building that houses President Obama's national campaign headquarters to protest the corporate G8/NATO agenda (for MSNBC, Chicago Tribune, and Reuters coverage, go here , here, and here. Eight people were arrested.
The demonstration was marked by prayer, song, and dance, more of a block party than a raucous rally (the only real chant heard besides antiwar blues and gospel tunes was "potato! tomato! no more NATO!"), but the christian anarchists still caught building security by surprise when they suddenly stopped their program outside the public sidewalk and quickly, efficiently, with discipline, rushed the front doors of the building, pushed past security, and resumed their "Ain't Gonna Study War No More" dance party - this time inside the lobby and second floors of the building before the private guards could react.
Demonstrators would have actually penetrated every floor of the skyscraper but the guards were forced to shut down the elevators, disrupting business inside the building for hundreds of people trying to get to work.
As bold as that action was, however, when dozens of Chicago police officers began mobilizing inside and outside, protesters maintained their nonviolent discipline, stalled for time by "mic checking" a prepared statement, and, eventually, dispersed in an orderly manner while the eight-member arrest team stayed and got busted for criminal trespass.
How the rest of the week of action plays out in large part depends on if street protests continue to grow and build momentum in advance of the nurses march on Friday, the coalition action on Sunday, and the Boeing shutdown on Monday.
But Monday showed that the G8/NATO summit protest mobilizations this week may also add power to local campaigns. Monday afternoon, more than 50 teachers and students at a southside high school were joined by more than 50 people from Occupy Chicago, the Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education, and assorted socialist groups like the Workers World Party and the International Socialist Organization.
Local immigration, climate, and housing organizations also have demonstrations planned this week, and spontaneous, or unannounced, anti-capitalist marches can take everyone by surprise.
White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown
By Dave Lindorff
A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.
By Joy First
On Tuesday May 8, nine activists, as part of an action organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), occupied the office of the president of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for eight hours, calling on the university to end the drone research that is being conducted at the Applied Physics Lab (APL).
Drones are being used with more frequency than ever before. Obama has greatly increased the number of drone strikes. It is difficult to know how many innocent people are being killed by drone strikes because our government tries to keep this information undercover There are credible reports of 175 children being killed in Pakistan over a period of time, however the number of actual deaths of innocent civilians is expected to be much higher. I think about how people in this country would react if 175 of our children were murdered by a foreign country. How can we sleep at night with these atrocities going on in our name?
I regret that I have but one skull to get cracked for my country
Listen to this four-minute clip from the Thom Hartmann Show:
Thom tells his caller to read War Is A Lie:
But Thom uses brilliant arguments and facts that are not even in the book, which is really the best result an author can hope for: inspiring further thought.
There's also a video of Thom Hartmann and David Swanson discussing this topic at http://warisalie.org
The Thom Hartmann Show is at http://thomhartmann.com