Peacemakers



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Peacemakers,

Even with daily access to the finest intelligence information derived from the efforts of 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private corporations (0), President Obama has no idea what’s going on in Afghanistan. Proof? On November 7, while speaking to students at St. Xavier College in Mumbai India, President Obama waxed eloquently about teachings of Gandhi – mentioning his name 7 times in that talk. He mentioned Gandhi 6 more times in a speech before a joint session of the Indian Parliament 24 hours later. One would guess that Obama knows and respects the works of Gandhi.

At that joint session of the Indian Parliament, President Obama spoke about the loss of life during the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 (aka: 26/11), to wit (1):

“In Mumbai, I met with the courageous families and survivors of that barbaric attack. And here in Parliament, which was itself targeted because of the democracy it represents, we honor the memory of all those who have been taken from us, including American citizens on 26/11 and Indian citizens on 9/11. This is the bond that we share. It’s why we insist that nothing ever justifies the slaughter of innocent men, women and children… And it’s why, as strong and resilient societies, we refuse to live in fear. We will not sacrifice the values and rule of law that defines us…”.

There can be no doubt that many citizens of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan noted President Obama’s remarks, especially the reference to the innocent victims. More than anyone, they realize the good words coming from Obama’s lips bear no relationship to the strokes of his pen signing orders. There is no better proof than the following letter addressed to Obama from the Afghan children:

OPEN LETTER FROM AFGHAN YOUTHS TO OUR WORLD LEADERS

December 2, 2010

Dear Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, Gen. Petraeus, Mr. Rasmussen (2), and all our world leaders:

We are Afghans and we ask the world to listen. Like yourselves, we couldn’t live without the love of our family and friends. We were hurt by your criticism of Mr Karzai for voicing the people’s anguished pleas, “Stop your night raids.”

Please, stop your night raids.

If you could listen, you would have heard 29 NGOs in Afghanistan describe how we now have “Nowhere to Turn” (3)

If you could listen, you would also have heard Mr Karzai and the 29 NGOs express concern over your Afghan Local Police plan; the world will henceforth watch our militia killing the people, your people and our people, with your weapons and your money.

If you could listen, you would have heard the sound of your drones crystallizing the nights of hatred among the Afghan, Pakistani and global masses. Instead, we hear your determination to ‘awe, shock and firepower’ us with Abrams tanks. We hear distant excitement over your new smart XM25 toy (4), a weapon you proudly proclaim will leave us with ‘nowhere to hide’.

Nowhere to turn and nowhere to hide

Your actions have unfortunately dimmed our hopes that we the people could turn to you. Along with our Afghan war-makers, you are making the people cry. Yet, we understand. You are in the same trap we’re in, in a corrupt, militarized mania.

Love is how we’re asking for peace, a love that listens…

0. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/

1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/08/remarks-president-joint-session-indian-parliament-new-delhi-india

2. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General.

3. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/conflict_disasters/nowhere-to-turn-afghanistan.html

4. The XM25 is a gun that launches grenades, which burst in the air over the target. A laser range finder calculates the distance to the target and adjusts the grenade to explode in the air when it reaches that point. People will be unable to seek shelter behind walls Hence, “nowhere to hide”. Our tax dollars will purchase 12,500 XM25s and deploy them in Afghanistan during 2012 – so says Wikipedia.

Thanks to Bill Privitt, Vicki Ross and Creech 14er Judy Homanich.

View Afghan Youth Letter in full at: http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/

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President Obama, why don’t you invite these Afghan children to the White House?

Charley


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Senator Bernie Sanders’ 8 hour and 35 minute speech is available (124 pages): http://sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Sanders20101210transcript.doc

And the first 12 minutes of his wonderful effort is worth your effort: http://www.youtube.com/user/SenatorSanders

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And a group of researchers, authors and analysts have written an open letter to President Obama. The letter contains lots of factoids:

http://www.afghanistancalltoreason.com/An_Open_Letter_to_President_Obama/To_the_President_of_the_United_States_.html

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WNY Peace Center’s

 Weekly News



December 14, 2010

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Sunday, December 19th , 4 P.M. – 6 P.M., Christmas in the Woods, with Nan Hoffman. A carol sing & potluck at Riverside-Salem Cottage, 3449 W River Rd (between Whitehaven Rd & Bedell Rd), Grand Island, NY

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Monday, December 20th , 7 P.M., Holiday Season Celebration, at El Buen Amigo, 114 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo NY. The Latin American Solidarity Committee and the Latin American Cultural Association invite you to a celebration in support of fair trade merchandise being sold at the store. The store deals directly with craftspeople, cooperatives and small family businesses and returns all profits to the artists in those communities. Come join the festivities by showing our support for this endeavor. There will be music and refreshments, All are welcome

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Allies in Peace and Justice Announce

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Santa kidnaps Karl Marx! Rebel Elves with nerf guns! Sarah Palin joins the revolution! Wal-Mart stocks plummet! It's all a part of...

A TOTALITARIAN CHRISTMAS, by Clinton Ours. The Manny Fried Playhouse 255 Great Arrow Avenue, Buffalo NY. Take a break from the usual cutesy Christmas crap with this anything-but-wholesome holiday farce! Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays December 9th - 18th plus one bonus performance on Wednesday, December 22nd , all shows at 8 P.M. Tickets $15.00 general admission, (or $10.00 for students, seniors, and Subversive Theatre members). Purchase tickets online at www.subversivetheatre.org

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Tuesday, December 14th . For Preview Purposes Only, 7 P.M. Network of Religious Communities, 1272 Delaware Ave., Buffalo NY. This DVD is a 90 minute interview with Jeremy Brockway, former US Marine Cpl. and American war resister. The interview takes place in the living room of his apartment in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.

This interview is a glimpse into the life of an American soldier who somehow managed to survive war only to find that he suffered the extreme stress of having participated in so much death. This is not an easy film to view.

At the end of his first tour of duty, Brockway sought help for his deep emotional distress only to be rebuffed by his superior officers and ordered to return to combat. Realizing that he would be unable to cope with another combat tour, Jeremy and his wife Ashlea fled to Canada.

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Thursday, December 16th . Risk-Arrest Protest at the White House, Washington D.C. Veterans for Peace is organizing a protest in opposition to the wars.

WNY Peace Center member Frank Gage will be driving as has some room left in his vehicle. Give him a call at: 893-5584. Other folks driving to Washington may wish to caravan with Frank to the White House….

Background info on protest: http://www.zcommunications.org/an-open-letter-to-the-left-establishment-by-many-authors

More info about the protest: http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

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Nan Hoffman’s Holiday Happenings:

Saturday, Decmeber 18, …. with Joe Tumino, 2 P.M., St. Simons Episcopal Church, 200 Cazenovia St, Buffalo, NY.

Sunday, December 19, …. 4 P.M. – 6 P.M., Christmas in the Woods, a carol sing & potluck at Riverside-Salem Cottage, 3449 W River Rd (between Whitehaven Rd & Bedell Rd), Grand Island, NY

More info: http://nanhoffman.com

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Sunday, December 19th , Global Day of Listening to Afghans. Look at a few videos -- http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/ and read President Obama’s statement to the Indian Parliament (see above).

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Blood Thirsty Vegans

--------- is a musical family that makes music (sweet, sweet music) about peace, love and understanding to unite the human family, foster respect for the interconnected web of life, and remind the tribes how liberating it was to dance the dances of freedom.

Friday, December 31st , 10 P.M., New Years at Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St., Buffalo, NY, $??

More info: http://www.bloodthirstyvegans.com/

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Saturday, January 8. Jean Dickson and Friends. 8 – 11 P.M., Café Allegro, 1394 Hertel Ave. Buffalo NY. Jean and Friends sing sans electronic devices, so there’s nothing but air between their beautiful vocal cords and your waxy ear drums. They usually play the second Saturday of the month at Café Allegro. Enjoy great music and food.

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Other Announcements

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Bradley Manning Defense Fund - Matching Funds Deadline

Bradley Manning, a 22 year-old Army intelligence analyst, faces decades in prison for allegedly sharing a video with the Wikileaks website. The video records a US helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded two children in Baghdad. The Army, after initially covering up the evidence, now claims that exposing the massacre is criminal. Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime. Bradley is in solitary confinement on a military base, facing 52 years in prison. The soldiers involved in the shooting have not been charged.

To have your donation matched, mail a check to:

Pax Christi Long Island 15 Hofstra Drive, Greenlawn, NY 11740. Make the check payable to: Courage to Resist, write Bradley Manning Fund on the memo line. Pax Christ LI will match your donation until Dec. 31, 2010.

More info: http://www.couragetoresist.org/

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Palestine-Israel: A two-day conference was held in Stuttgart, Germany on November 26-28, 2010 – to explore the possibilities of one democratic state in Palestine with equal rights for the native Muslims and Christians and Jewish settlers. The speakers were – Haider Eid, Ali Abunimah, IIan Pappe, Mazin Qumsiyeh and Lubna Masarwa.

Ali Abunimah - International Strategies and Concepts for the Support of Civil Resistance in Palestine http://vodpod.com/watch/5033431-ali-abunimah-international-strategies-and-concepts-for-the-support-of-civil-resistance-in-palestine

Haidar Eid: Analogies between Apartheid South Africa and Israel and the current situation in Palestine http://vodpod.com/watch/5023128-haidar-eid-analogies-between-apartheid-south-africa-and-israel-and-the-current-situation-in-palestine

Lubna Masarwa - Palestine Solidarity Conference. Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ju_Iv5rCJQ

Ilan Pappe Palestine Conference in Stuttgart 26. November 2010 http://vodpod.com/watch/5039927-ilan-pappe-palestine-conference-in-stuttgart-26-november-2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh Palestine Conference in Stutgart 26 November 2010. http://vodpod.com/watch/5039913-mazin-qumsiyeh-palestine-conference-in-stuttgart-26-november-2010-publicsolidarity

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Report on the Bangor 5 – by Mary Anne Coyle, WNY Peace Center member.

The Bangor 5 (Steve Kelly, Susan Crane, Bill Bichsel, Anne Montgomery, and Lynne T. Greenwald) stand accused of conspiracy, trespass, destruction of property on a naval installation, and depredation of government property. Our friends were arrested after trespassing onto Kitsap Bangor Complex in Bangor, WA. As part of the Plowshares disarmament movement, they demand that every one of us, as citizens of this planet, take some part of the movement for universal nuclear disarmament. Why Bangor? Russell Brown’s Adopt Resistance blogspot (http://adoptresistance.blogspot.com) , “The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads…The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined. The trial’s progress can be followed at http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/events/

And the full text of Mary Anne’s letter is available at: http://adoptresistance.blogspot.com

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Report Available: Breaking the Silence – in Search of Columbia’s Disappeared, by Lisa Haugaard and Kelly Nicholls, Latin America Working Group Education Fund & U.S. Office on Columbia, both in Washington D.C.

http://lawg.org/storage/documents/Colombia/BreakingTheSilence.pdf

More than 32,000 people have been forcibly disappeared in Columbia, and the totals continue to mount as 1130 more people have been added to this list in the last 3 years. The report tells the stories of the affected families search for justice.

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Please signify your agreement with the following letter and your intention to add your name by replying to me (Bill Privett) at wprivett.paxchristi@gmail.com with the subject: Add My Name. Please provide your name, street address, email address and affiliation. We will accept signatures until Dec. 20.

----William Privett, Interfaith Peace Network of WNY.

Interfaith Peace Network of WNY, 1272 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209

December 20, 2010

To: President Barack Obama and the Western New York Congressional Delegation,

How our hearts yearn for peace!

It has now been more than 9 years since our nation has been embroiled in Afghanistan, the longest war on foreign soil in our nation’s history. The toll already has been unacceptable. According to the Washington Post, nearly 1400 families will never see their loved one again, and many times that number have had relatives permanently and seriously harmed, physically or psychologically.

Furthermore, the War in Afghanistan, from 2001 to the present, has caused the deaths of as many as 34,000 Afghan civilians, directly from insurgent and foreign military action, or indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war. Afghan civilian war deaths have increased by more than 30% this year, with those who have been hospitalized increasing 100%.

From our common judgments of justice and our common ethical perspective, every human life has equal value. In this context, the harm to Afghan civilians is unacceptable, far surpassing the 3,000 Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The use of drones predictably adds to these civilian casualties and further alienates the civilian population. This is morally wrong.

With the US economy reeling since 2007, this war has already cost us the US $367 billion per the National Priorities Project. The long-term costs will be staggering considering the care of returning US Vets, interest on the related debt and replacement of munitions.

We are supporting a regime that by all accounts is so corrupt that recent reports stated that were we to stop supporting corrupt officials, there would be no one to work with.

The people of both the United States and Afghanistan want the war to end. CNN recently reported that 58% in the US opposed the war. Recently, Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute confirmed that a majority of respondents believe the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan. On Nov. 15, it was reported by PBS, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had just told the Washington Post the U.S. should scale back its mission, including night raids.

In the face of all this, pressure is building to extend US involvement to 2014 and beyond. We can no longer accept the death, pain, suffering and mayhem caused by our continued presence in Afghanistan.

All our major faith traditions want peace. We urge with all our greatest desires that you bring an end to this War. We wish you peace.

Interfaith Peace Network of Western New York

(Estimates of the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan vary, but sources including the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch and the University of New Hampshire all attest to the large number of direct and indirect civilian deaths.)



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Help get a BAN on hydro-fracking for the city of Buffalo. Currently this legislation is making its way through the Buffalo Common Council. Tell your council member that you support this ordinance and expect them to protect the people!

Phone numbers for your common council member are listed at: http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us/Home/Leadership/CommonCouncil

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RECURRING EVENTS

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Visit El Buen Amigo, 114 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo NY 14201. Fair trade products from Central and South America. Learn Spanish, too. Space available for events. Tel: 716-885-6343; http://elbuenamigo.org

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Vigil at the Erie County Holding Center, each Wednesday at 5 P.M. – 6 P.M. Corner of Church St and Delaware Ave. Erie County Prisoner Rights Coalition continues its weekly protests against prisoner abuse at the Holding Center. Signs are available at the vigil. If the vigil ends early due to inclement weather, you will find the coalition at 14 Allen St. (near Main St.) until 7:00pm.

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WOMEN IN BLACK SILENT VIGIL AGAINST WAR

Every Saturday Afternoon, 12-1 P.M. regardless of weather.

Corner of Elmwood & Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo NY.

Witnessing weekly since October 2001….

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INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S INITIATIVES (IWI) TALKING CIRCLE

2nd Thursday of each month, 12-3 P.M. IWI Office @ Network of Religious Communities, 1272 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. More Information Contact Agnes Williams, Seneca 716-332-6988. Please bring Organic Snacks to share

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Frack Action Buffalo, 12 P.M. meeting at Lafayette Presbyterian, 875 Elmwood Ave Buffalo. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Meetings open to all. Use door off of parking lot on Lafayette Ave.

More info: http://groups.google.com/group/frackactionbuffalo/web/events.

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Anti-Wars/Stop the Drones Outreach. Tuesday, January 4th , 4:45-5:30 pm at Hancock Air National Guard Base, Mattydale NY (Syracuse).

During winter, this demonstration will be held on the first Tuesday of each month. So put on your heavy coat and join us to make public our beliefs! Contact Ed or Ann for details, (315) 478-4571

Sponsored by the Syracuse Peace Council. More info: http://www.peacecouncil.net/

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Sunday, Vigil for Peace. 12 Noon – 1 P.M. Corner of East Avenue and Goodman St. Rochester NY. Sponsor: Peace Action and Education, Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace (www.gvcp.org). Every Sunday.

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