Rochester Area Youth Rally For Peace in the Middle East
Local youth activists, supported by local organizations, will hold a rally for “Peace in the Middle East” on Thursday, January 9th, 2020 outside of 100 State St., Rochester, NY. The rally comes in response to U.S. President Donald Trump approving the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and deploying over 3,500 U.S. troops to the region earlier this week.
In addition to calling for the immediate recall of the recently deployed troops, the student organizers call on Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to support the legislation submitted by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that pushes to block any funding for a war with Iran. These students view that a war with Iran would put thousands of American and Iranian lives at risk and further destabilize the region already fraught with violence.
The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight of defense expenditures rare. As a democracy, we are on an unusual and risky path. For several decades, we have maintained an extraordinarily high level of defense spending with the support of both political parties and virtually all of the public. The annual debate about the next year’s military spending, underway now on Capitol Hill, no longer probes where real cuts might be made (as opposed to cuts in previously planned growth) but only asks how big the increase should be.
KENNETH B. KEATING FEDERAL BUILDING AND COURTHOUSE
100 STATE ST.
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
Please join Chapter 23, Rochester New York, Veterans For Peace in a solemn memorial in remembrance of the approximately 500 innocent men, women, and children massacred by United States Army soldiers at My Lai, Vietnam on March 16, 1968, which was later called “the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War.” Prayers and memorial remembrances will be given, along with implorations of forgiveness and reconciliation.
For information, to request to co-sponsor, and a list of speakers,
In her latest Urban Journal (October 26), Mary Anna Towler laments that a Clinton presidency won’t heal the nation’s divisions because “bipartisanship is functionally dead.” While this may be true of national politics and the electorate, bipartisan support for Clinton’s militarist foreign policy is alarmingly robust and could lead us into the abyss.
Foreign policy writer Diana Johnstone has argued that Hillary Clinton’s strategic ambition, explicit in her leaked Libya emails, is to “gain her place in history as victorious strategist of ‘regime change’ in Syria, Russia, and elsewhere.” And for this, Johnstone adds, “she enjoys the support of most of the State Department and much of the Pentagon, and Congress is ready to go.”
One example: a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this September on ongoing military operations revealed solid bipartisan support, with marginal objection, for US military engagement against Russian aggression.
Gary Leupp, Tufts University professor of history and religion, refers to “a rainbow coalition of… warmongers (both neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’), former generals, Wall Street donors — everyone [Hillary] needs on board when she starts bombing Syria.”
Washington Post White House correspondent Greg Jaffe reports that the Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the ground work for a more assertive American foreign policy through a flurry of new bipartisan reports. One study by the Center for American Progress recommends the next administration step up its military engagement in a more “proactive and long-term approach to the Middle East.”
“Taken together,” Jaffe reports, “the studies and reports call for more aggressive American action to constrain Iran, rein in the chaos in the Middle East, and check Russia in Europe. The studies, which reflect Clinton’s stated views, break most forcefully with Obama on Syria…Virtually all these efforts … call for stepped up military action to deter President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Russian forces in Syria.”
The mainstream media is also on board with this bipartisan agenda for war. Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, citing recent high-profile opinions in the Washington Post, Meet the Press, New York Times, and USA Today, entitles a recent article, “Media Roll Out Welcome Mat for ‘Humanitarian’ War in Syria.” (To discuss the cruel absurdity of “humanitarian war” — what Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly calls an “ugly oxymoron” — would require another letter. Just think Iraq or Libya.)
As for a united nation behind a Clinton (war) presidency, be careful what you wish for.
Doug Noble’s Speech to the RCSD School Board April 28, 2016
As someone with a Ph.D. in education who’s written extensively about the military in public education, when I first heard of the proposed military academy, I went and reviewed a century of research on the merits, costs, and overall educational value of such schools.
Doug Noble at the RCSD School Board Meeting
After all, if someone were proposing a new school based on, say, expeditionary learning or outward bound or headstart, isn’t that how we’d go about evaluating their proposal? In this case, what I found were overwhelmingly negative assessments of such schools, which I shared with the press and with this Board a month ago, and have submitted to you again today.
I was curious to see how this new Report would somehow provide evidence proving the benefits of a public military academy. Remarkably, though, the report’s authors don’t even try to build their case on such evidence.
Instead, their recommendations are based entirely on views of people who know little or nothing about such schools, but who are assumed to have sufficiently informed opinions about public military schools, simply by having some familiarity with education and by living in a society with a pervasive military presence.
The report itself even concedes that these opinions, gathered through surveys and focus groups, “should not be taken as a quantitative representation of community opinions.” Yet the report’s authors have already irresponsibly publicized in local media the false claim that there is“a significant level of support within the greater Rochester community for a military-style school.”
Surprisingly, given District budget constraints, the report recommends starting a brand new National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) program, for which the District itself would bear the full cost into the foreseeable future. This, instead of simply consolidating the District’s jROTC programs, already cost-shared with the Army. Remarkably, the affordability of these recommended new costs and cost tradeoffs within the actual and projected District budget is not even addressed by this so-called “feasibility report.”
The report’s authors insist they have strived to be unbiased since “Many of the members of this Committee have a background with strong military ties, and several are approaching transition points in their careers, which could lead the public [to] suspect ulterior motives.” Maybe it’s time to ask what sinecures await the newly retiring promoters of this military academy.
In fact, this scramble to be unbiased has resulted in an eerily anonymous report, somehow emerging from an innocent collective curiosity about whether the community would want a public military academy. But there are individuals behind this Report who very much want it, to the point of claiming falsely that their report has the full endorsement of its committee (it doesn’t) and even the support of the teachers union (a surprise to the union’s president).
In the end, this inept and disingenuous Report fails to make any legitimate case for a military academy in this District. I ask the Board not to be distracted by this effort, but focus instead on important things like adopting a humane code of conduct that doesn’t include police arrests or court martials.
Additional comments too long for the speech.
If one were to present a report to the Board proposing a new high school based on, say, the Expeditionary Learning model, one would need to make a case for it. One would define the model and its benefits, offer evidence of its success elsewhere, review existing research on its merits, problems, costs, implementations, etc. If there were already such a school in the District, one would survey and interview people actually experienced with or knowledgeable about this program who can offer a balanced assessment of its value to the District. The last thing one would do would be to promote such a school based on uninformed opinions by people who know little or nothing about it.
Yet this report does exactly this, and little else. An underlying assumption throughout is that the community is already informed about and prejudiced for or against public military schools, simply by living in a society inundated by ubiquitous military images and slogans. So this report doesn’t even TRY to build a case for a military academy, through research evidence, references, arguments, and personal examples, even though jROTC programs have been in public schools for a century, and public military academies have been around for several decades. There is by now a large body of scholarship describing and assessing these programs, but the report cites none of this.
Instead, it offers several pages of “background” statistics on a select few public military schools, retrieved from state ed websites, without any attempt at commentary or even any data from current RCSD jROTC programs. The remaining basis for the report’s recommendations is opinions by people with minimal actual knowledge of military schools, gathered in focus groups and interviews with a total of about 30 or 40 people, and from several hundred surveys, which, the report concedes, “should not be taken as a quantitative representation of community opinions, but rather as an indicator of the level of support within the community.”
The report’s overall recommendation is that, “based upon the work completed by the Advisory Committee, a military high school in Rochester is not only operationally feasible but also desirable…The results obtained … reveals [sic] that a majority of respondents would like the District to offer a military school that utilizes the public military academy model.” But, strangely, the report nowhere describes such a model, stating instead only that, “One such definition is provided by the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States.”A search of the Association website turned up no such definition, and, more significantly, no such model was ever even presented to survey respondents.
Another discrepancy :all recommendations in the report are introduced with the words “The Advisory Committee recommends…” But at least two committee members insist they never saw the report before it was first posted on the Board website April 17. They were never asked to review it or sign off on it, yet the report claims all its recommendations come from the committee.
Yet another discrepancy: The report claims, puzzlingly, that “RTA president Adam Urbanski has confirmed the support of RCSD teachers’ union in opening the school.” Yet Urbanski, when contacted about this, wrote, “I have not seen any report. RTA only agreed to have teachers on the committee exploring the idea…”
One unexplained recommendation for establishing the military academy is to start a new National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) program, rather than to choose the far less costly option of transferring or consolidating existing jROTC programs, with costs shared by the military. The report acknowledges that with its recommendation, “RCSD covers the full cost of military staffing and equipment until the US Army approves the JROTC program. It is unknown how long the approval process will take.” “A National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) program,” according to its website, “is virtually identical to JROTC except it is fully funded by schools that choose to pursue a JROTC unit without financial assistance from the Army, … an excellent alternative for schools that wish to expedite a program.”
The report offers no explanation for its apparent urgency to expedite its proposed academy, despite the huge fiscal burden it would place on an already burdened District.
The report’s authors, whoever they are, assume a strangely defensive stance early in the report: “The ethics of the Committee itself and its relationship with the military community were subject to self-scrutiny in order to guarantee an unbiased product and recommendation to the Rochester City School District. Many of the members of this Committee have a background with strong military ties, and several are approaching transition points in their careers.It would be an error for this Committee to recommend anything to the district that is not fully based in fact and unbiased. Additionally, it is unethical for any member to have positive recommendations for the sole purpose of furthering one’s own career. Maintaining transparency and objectivity is paramount to providing a credible recommendation. It would also be untruthful to hide the fact that one of the Committee members is responsible for Army Recruiting in the Greater Rochester Area. Only unbiased truth and accountability will guarantee that the public at large trusts the results of this inquiry and does not suspect ulterior motives.” One might now begin to suspect such motives.
In fact, its scramble to be unbiased is perhaps the most curious aspect of this report. If one were proposing a new school, one would, quite naturally, be biased in favor of it and lead the effort to sell it. Why else would one propose it? But this report postures as being “objective,” without anyone out front making the case for the school. Instead, it hides its promotion behind recommendations supposedly endorsed by an “advisory committee,” and from dubious statistics gleaned from surveys and focus groups. It’s as if the initiative to conduct this process came out of the blue, as someone’s fanciful thought experiment simply wondering whether the community would welcome a military school in the District.
But, of course, there are individuals behind this entire process and behind this report who very much want a military school in the District. Unfortunately, and ironically, despite the military’s claims about building “leadership” and “character” and “discipline” in its schools, the hidden promoters of this academy demonstrate neither the character to stand up and lead the effort, nor the discipline to produce a minimally respectable report.
Letter to the Editor of the Democrat & Chronicle
The headline for Justin Murphy’s April 26 article “Study shows interest in RCSD military academy” is false. The article misleads the public and must be retracted before more people believe it. The authors of the military academy report just released have irresponsibly publicized a conclusion they know to be false, that there is “a significant level of support within the greater Rochester community for a military-style school.” In fact, the report states explicitly that the opinions collected of several hundred respondents to surveys and focus groups “should not be taken as a quantitative representation of community opinions.”
The report itself is fatally flawed throughout and should not be taken seriously. The report’s authors don’t even try to build a case for a military academy based on research evidence or knowledgeable testimony. Instead, its recommendations are based entirely on opinions of people who know (and are told) little or nothing about public military schools. These respondents are considered sufficiently informed only by their marginal familiarity with education and by their relentless media exposure to all things military.
The report alleges falsely that it has the full endorsement of its “advisory committee” (members say it doesn’t) and even the support of the teachers union (a surprise to the union’s president). The report recommends without explanation starting a brand new program, for which the District itself would bear the full cost, even though consolidation of the District’s existing jROTC programs would share costs with the Army. Whether the District could afford these new costs is not even addressed by this so-called “feasibility report.”
The report acknowledges that “Many of the members of this Committee have a background with strong military ties, and several are approaching transition points in their careers, which could lead the public [to] suspect ulterior motives.” This does indeed leads us to ask whether promising sinecures awaiting newly retired military officers are really what’s driving this promotion of a military academy.
In the end, this inept and disingenuous report fails to make any legitimate case for a military academy that might benefit District students. Its case depends only on trying to convince us that the community wants it, through deceptive and misleading publicity that the media seems only too eager to swallow.
Nazareth College sociology professor Harry Murray has been found guilty of trespassing at the Hancock National Guard Air Base in Syracuse and faces 15 days in jail. He was one of 31 people arrested outside of the base on April 28, 2013. They had staged a “die-in” to protest U.S. drone strikes and to encourage people to visualize their effects.
A longtime peace activist and practitioner of civil disobedience, Murray represented himself in a Wednesday trial in Dewitt Town Court. “I tried to use an international law defense that said that drones are illegal according to the U.N. charter and international humanitarian law,” he said. “Under the Nuremberg principals, citizens have a responsibility not to cooperate with war crimes.”
Though he was found guilty, Murray was in good spirits. “We discussed some good issues. In some ways the judge seemed moved,” he said. “I think it was another step towards putting drones into the court room and on trial.”
“Our entire Middle East policy seems to be based on firing drones,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Intercept. “They’re enamored by the ability of special operations and the CIA to find a guy in the middle of the desert in some shitty little village and drop a bomb on his head and kill him.”
Targeted killing by drones remains the US weapon of choice, famously called “the only game in town,” by former CIA director Leon Panetta. This despite a decade of worldwide moral outrage over its overwhelming civilian casualties, violations of international law, disregard for national sovereignty, dismissal of due process, and continuing secrecy. The Obama administration recently announced that the drone killing program will in fact be increased by 50 % in the coming two years.
1. Bakken crude oil is more volatile than heavy crude oil, and rail tankers currently in use are prone to rupture when derailed. Since 2013, twelve accidents have occurred involving tankers carrying oil, much of it Bakken crude, in the U.S. and Canada, always almost always resulting in large spills and sometimes in explosive fires. Trains of tankers roll through Rochester. “Mothersoutfront” is an organization working to address the dangers of current transport practice.
2. Tourism in the Finger Lakes, the wine industry, and agriculture broadly have deep importance, deep investment, in New York State, and each critically depend on good fresh water. New York is blessed with water, yet a threat from hydrofracking remains. It is critical now to move the temporary ban on fracking to permanent status.
Social Security and Medicare
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th for Medicare and Medicaid.
*There is a retirement security crisis in the US since older workers will have to work longer and are anxious about retirement.
*A comprehensive national solution must address the severe gender and racial disparities in wealth and retirement income.
*Social Security and SSI must be preserved and strengthened and a majority of Americans favor expanding it, yet many in Washington are determined to cut it.
*Two out of three seniors rely on SS for most of their income.
*SS should be expanded and funded by wealthy individuals paying SS contributions on all of their earnings beyond $118,500 limit.
*Medicare is fully funded through 2030.
*In addition to enhancing Medicare’s benefits, the ACA (Obamacare) will save Medicare more than $700 billion in wasteful spending over the next 10 years.
*The way to rein in costs — getting providers to become more efficient and deliver care in more cost effective ways.
*Ways to improve Medicare: budget proposals that allow the federal government to negotiate prices for medicines, restoring Medicare’s ability to benefit from the same drug discounts that Medicaid receives, and closure of the donut hole.
The White House Conference on the Aging on July 13 (conference every 10 years) — 19 groups are urging the WH to include SS expansion as a key piece of it’s policy agenda. (YOU CAN SIGN PETITION at Alliance for Retired Americans or Social Security Works).
Republican candidates for president want to cut SS and Medicare and there are senate democrats that want this also.
Senator Claire McCaskill recently pointed out that Bernie Sanders is a socialist and has extreme views because “he wants Medicare for all in this country and would like to see expansion of entitlement.”
RAW is once again Peace Action & Education, the antiwar task force of Metro Justice. It recently organized an unusually well reported Memorial Day Peace Parade. Its members are focused on the latest US war efforts: ongoing drone killings, Iraq/ Syria escalations vs ISIS, and growing hostilities against Russia and China.
________________________________________________ SUMMER READING RECOMMENDATIONS:
Three excellent books trace the history of weaponized drones. The first is an insider’s detailed account of the development and first deployment of weaponized drones targeting Bin Laden (before 9/11). The other two books are brilliant critical analyses of the politics of US drone killings and their contradictions (like: why does a drone designed to “precisely” target an individual use an anti-tank missile?)
The latest news from Upstate anti-drone activists at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse:
On Saturday, four activists were found guilty of trespassing for attempting to read aloud outside the Base a list of children killed by U.S. drones. The judge, once again, did not allow expert defense testimony on international law, the rationale for the activism.
_________________________________ MIDDLE EAST AND ISIS:
These links elucidate the rise and threat of ISIS and the US military options:
__________________________________________________ THE US “PIVOT TO ASIA,” THE TPP, AND MILITARY CONTAINMENT OF CHINA:
These links explain Obama’s urgent push for the Transpacific Partnership, Hillary’s seminal role, and the refocused military policy from the Middle East to Asia (Russia and China):
The video below shows the police taking Joe Woods’ daughter as collateral to coerce Joe to turn over his house to MidFirst Bank.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘ransom’ as a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone in captivity. The Rochester Police held Audrey for ransom in a civil matter between Joe Woods and a commercial entity headquartered in Oklahoma.
Audrey awoke that morning to find her home being surrounded with crime tape. She went outside to see what was happening, and was told that they had a half hour to vacate. However, when Audrey attempted to go back in, she was told she would be arrested if she did. Upon insisting and entering the house, she was taken into custody.
This video shows Audrey being arrested, and then shows her sisters being allowed to reenter the house.
Shortly after, the police informed Joe that Audrey would be released to him with no charges filed if he abandoned the home and went with them to get her. Joe complied because he was concerned about his daughter. He followed them to a nearby quick shop where she was released, but a charge of obstructing government administration was still filed, despite the promise made to Joe.
TELL MAYOR WARREN AND CHIEF CIMINELLI THAT POLICE COMPLICITY WITH THE IMMORAL AND ILLEGAL BANK FORECLOSURE TACTICS MUST STOP!
Mayor Warren: 428-7045 Email
Chief Ciminelli: 428-7033 Email
We in Veterans For Peace (VFP) invite you to join us as we put together a special Memorial Day 2015 service. As many of you know, the year 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of what some consider to be the beginning of the American War in Vietnam– the deployment of the U.S. Marines to DaNang. The Department of Defense is very aware of the significance of this year and has mounted a heavily funded initiative to make sure that the younger generations of this country see the Vietnam War as a noble enterprise. Included in their efforts is a well-funded website as well as plans for annual celebrations, such as Memorial Day events around the country. They are planning to tell their version of the war for the next ten years.
However, we know that many of us disagree with their perspective, who see the war as, at the least, a grievous mistake if not an horrific crime. As we have already seen, the Pentagon will downplay or ignore this perspective in their narrative of the war. Thus, we in VFP have pledged to meet their campaign with one of our own — we call it the Vietnam War Full Disclosure movement (http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org). Please join us in more fully opening up the dialogue of how the history of the American War in Vietnam has to be told. We need to hear your voice. To begin with, we need you to write a letter. A special letter.
We are calling on concerned citizens who have been seared by this war to each send a letter addressing the Vietnam War Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, DC directly. We are asking you to share your memories of this war and its impact on your loved ones while expressing your concerns over future wars. Direct your words to those who died in the American War on Vietnam.
Our plans are to then gather boxes and boxes of letters from people like you who do not share the sanitized version of the Vietnam War advocated by the Pentagon. In order to bring as many of your voices into this dialogue, please send us your letter and then please send this request to ten of your friends and ask them to write their letters. And then ask them to send the request to ten of their friends. And ten more.
At noon on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, we will place these letters at the foot of the Wall in Washington, DC as a form of remembrance. As a Vietnam War veteran myself, I share with many the belief that the Wall is no place for political events. I consider it to be sacred ground and will not dishonor this memorial with a political act. The placing of our letters at the Wall will be treated as a service, a commemoration of the terrible toll that war took on American and Southeast Asian families. And as a trumpet call for peace.
Once the letters have been placed, those of us who served in Vietnam will “walk the Wall,” i.e., we will continue to mourn our brothers and sisters by starting at the panel commemorating our arrival in Vietnam and finishing at the panel marking our departure from Vietnam. For me that involves a walk of about 25 paces, taking into account approximately 9800 American lives. But we will not stop there.
We will continue walking beyond the confines of the Wall to memorialize the approximately six million Southeast Asian lives also lost during that war. This will be a symbolic act, for if we were to walk the total distance needed to commemorate those lives lost, using the model of the Wall, we would need to pace 9.6 miles, a walk equivalent to the distance from the Lincoln Memorial to Chevy Chase, Maryland. Nevertheless, we will carry the memory of those lives as best we can.
If you wish to submit a letter that will be delivered to the Wall on Memorial Day, please send it to [email protected] (with the subject line: Memorial Day 2015) or by snail mail to Attn: Full Disclosure, Veterans For Peace, 409 Ferguson Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 by May 1, 2015. Email letters will be printed out and placed in envelopes. Unless you indicate that you want your letter shared with the public, the contents of your letter will remain confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than placement at the Wall. If you do want us to offer your letter as a form of public witness, we will share it with others by posting it on a special section of our website. A select few may be read at the Wall on Memorial Day.
If you wish to physically join us on May 25th, please let us know beforehand by contacting us at the above addresses. Please stay in touch with us by visiting http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/. And if you wish to make a donation to help us defray the costs of our action, feel free to do so by sending a check to the Vietnam Full Disclosure committee at Full Disclosure, Veterans For Peace, 409 Ferguson Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516.
Since I will be coordinating this effort on behalf of Veterans For Peace, I will be happy to hear your suggestions on how we can make this event a more meaningful statement about the American War in Vietnam. You may email me.
Thank you in advance for writing your letter. For joining in on the dialogue. For working for peace.
Dear supporters of the Veterans For Peace project for Full Disclosure: Toward an Honest Commemoration of the American War in Vietnam,
We know that the Pentagon Vietnam War Commemoration project sees he 50th anniversary of the major US escalation in Vietnam — when marines first landed in Da Nang in march, 1965 — as a key moment in their project. And so do we.
We are planning teach-ins on the war and its impact starting in March. If you are interested in helping with the teach-ins wherever you live, please let us know by replying to this email. There may be people near where you reside working on the teach-ins and in case we can supply materials and even speakers if you would like. attached are some suggestive ideas for teach-ins, as well as a call for teach-ins.
We are organizing a Memorial Day event in Washington DC. Full details will be posted on our web site (which is always worth checking out (http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/ ). We would like you to attend, and more importantly to take the time to send a letter addressing the Vietnam War Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, DC directly. We are asking you to share your memories of this war (whether you are veterans or not) and its impact on your loved ones while expressing your concerns over future wars. Direct your words to all those who died in the American War on Vietnam, Americans and Asians alike.
Our plans are to then gather boxes and boxes of letters from people like you who do not share the sanitized version of the Vietnam War advocated by the Pentagon. In order to bring as many of your voices into this dialogue, please send us your letter and then please send this request to ten of your friends and ask them to write their letters. And then ask them to send the request to ten of their friends. And ten more.
At noon on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, we will place these letters at the foot of the Wall in Washington, DC as a form of remembrance. If you wish to submit a letter that will be delivered to the Wall on Memorial Day, please send it to [email protected] (with the subject line: Memorial Day 2015) or by snail mail to Attn: Full Disclosure, Veterans For Peace, 409 Ferguson Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 by May 1, 2015. Attached is a file more fully discussing our plans for this Memorial Day in Washington DC. Also its full text is at the end of this email.
We also would like it if you would sign on to our Take The Pledge campaign on our web site (again http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/ ). You can see it on the right of our home screen (and on other screens as well; just scroll down if you don’t see it right away. It simply says “I’m with Full Disclosure. I oppose the Pentagon campaign to rewrite the history of the Vietnam war.” We know you’ve already signed our Open Letter and many other things, but signing this will help update our contact list. And we can make use of this list in our ongoing work.
4. Finally, we have been disappointed in the response to our last appeal for funds. We know times are tough, but even small contributions make a difference. A big thank you again to those who did contribute. You can donate by going to the web site and looking for the donate button on any screen or go directly to
Folks, we’re trying to build a Rochester contingent for this nationwide event. Please get back to me if you’re interested in joining our carpools from Rochester for this important action. We could maybe form groups like Geezers Against Killer Drones, or just be the Rochester Against Killer Drones group. Please consider coming!!
Thanks. Doug Noble
Speak Out Against Drones!
A Day of Global Resistance at Hancock Air Base
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm
Hancock Air Base Main Entrance 6001 E. Molloy Rd., between Townline and Thompson Rds, Mattydale NY
Bring props, and signs! Costumes encouraged!
Join a contingent or create one of your own, such as…
Bicyclists Against Killer Drones
Medical Workers Against Killer Drones
Town of Dewitt Residents Against Killer Drones
Honey Bees Against Killer Drones
Gardeners Against Killer Drones
Veterans Against Killer Drones
—You get the idea
What’s Happening:Upstate Drone Action invites you to join us at Hancock Air Base for a day of street theater to express our appreciation and solidarity with anti-drone work around the world. Each contingent will be invited to have a representative speak for a minute (and really just a minute) on why you’re here. We’ll have music and more street theater. We should be done sometime between 2:30 and 3 pm.
We’re hoping to see all kinds of anti-war and peace and justice groups represented and lots of regular folks who are opposed to war and killer drones.
Parking: OCM BOCES (6820 Thompson Rd.,just north of the intersection of Thompson and E. Molloy Rd., about .5 miles from the entrance).
Also on Falso Dr. and Moore
“Morse was the only member of the Senate to switch parties and be re-elected. A waterfront arbitrator and member of the National War Labor Board during WWII, he had a knack for strikebreaking. The senator was one of only two senators to vote against the famed Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. His ability to correctly foresee and predict the outcome of the Vietnam War was prophetic and politically valuable.” Source
Friday July 18 5:00 – 6:00 PM @ the Federal Building at 100 State Street Please come and bring banners and signs. This is very last minute, again, but the situation is fluid. it looked like Israel might make a deal to back off but since then they have resumed slaughtering Palestinians and destroying their homes. Yesterday they drove 100,000 people from their homes by warning they would bomb them. Sounds like the Nakba. Terrorize the people. Threaten them and drive them out. Most of the people driven out 65 years ago are still refugees. Where will the Gazans go now? They are trapped.
Lets go out one more time to stand in solidarity with the people in Gaza against the horrific assault Israel has once again perpetrated on them.
Israel has no right to target families in their homes. Israel stop killing children. Israel stop killing Palestinians. Israel, you can’t kill Palestine. Come with signs supporting Palestine and Palestinians right to their homeland. Tell Rochester that Palestine lives and it won’t be forgotten.
Imagine the president, speaking on Iraq from the White House Press Briefing Room last Thursday, as the proverbial deer in the headlights — and it’s not difficult to guess just what those headlights were. Think of them as Benghazi on steroids. If the killing of an American ambassador, a Foreign Service officer, and two CIA private security contractors could cause almost two years of domestic political uproar, unending Republican criticism, and potential damage to the president’s “legacy,” consider what an Iraq in shambles and a terrorist state stretching across “the Levant” might do. It’s hardly surprising, then, that a president regularly described as “reluctant” nonetheless stepped before the press corps and began the slow march back into Iraq and toward disaster.
It was a moment of remarkable contradictions. Obama managed, for example, to warn against “mission creep” even as he was laying out what could only be described as mission creep. Earlier that week, he had notified Congress that 275 troops would be sent to Iraq, largely to defend the vast U.S. embassy in Baghdad, once an almost three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar symbol of imperial hubris, now a white elephant of the first order. A hundred more military personnel were to be moved into the region for backup.
Then on Thursday, the president added 300 “military advisers” drawn from Special Operations forces and evidently meant to staff new “joint operation centers in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat.” (If you are of a certain age, that word “adviser” will ring an eerie Vietnam-ish bell. You should, in fact, already be hearing a giant sucking sound somewhere in the distance.) He also spoke vaguely of positioning “additional U.S. military assets in the region” into which the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser and destroyer, had already sailed. And mind you, this was only the reasonably public part of whatever build-up is underway. While the president spoke of being “prepared to take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq, at least one unnamed “senior administration official” was already at work opening up the possibility of air strikes in Syria. “We don’t restrict potential U.S. action to a specific geographic space,” was the ominous way that official put it.
In other words, short of combat troops on the ground in significant numbers, that table on which “all options” are always kept open was visibly moved into Washington’s War Room of the Levant. It’s quite a development for a president who took special pride in getting us out of Iraq (even though that departure was engineered by the Bush administration, while Obama’s officials tried to negotiate leaving a force behind, only to be thwarted by the Iraqi government). In tandem with the military moves, the president and his national security team, perhaps reflecting through a glass darkly the “democracy agenda” of the Bush era, also seemed to have dipped their fingers in purple ink.They were reportedly pressuring Iraqi politicians to dump Prime Minister Maliki and appoint a “unity” government to fight the war they want. (Adding to the farcical nature of the moment, one name raised for Maliki’s position was Ahmed Chalabi, once the darling of Bush-era officials and their choice for that same post.)
There is, however, no way that an American intervention won’t be viewed as a move to back the Shia side in an incipient set of civil wars, as even retired general and former CIA director David Petraeus warned last week. In fact, in opinion polls Americans overwhelmingly reject military intervention of any sort, just as every experience in the post-9/11 era should signal one simple lesson: Don’t do it! But Obama and his top officials evidently can’t help themselves. The rising tide of criticism-to-come is undoubtedly already pre-echoing in their heads — previewed by the endless media appearances of Senator John McCain and a stream of op-eds from former vice president Dick Cheney, former occupation proconsul L. Paul Bremer III, and others from the crowd of “experts” who created the Iraq disaster and for whom being wrong about that country is a badge of honor.
We are clearly in the early stages of the intervention sweepstakes. The initial moves may even be greeted as auspicious, but watch out for the long-run destabilizing effects in an already chaotic region. Washington only imagines it can control such combustible situations. In reality, it hasn’t in the past and it won’t be able to this time either, which means unexpected ugliness will ensue. (And just wait until, in one of those joint operation centers or elsewhere, the first Iraqi soldier, like his Afghan counterparts, turns his gun on one of those special ops advisers.)
All that’s missing at the moment is the final touch on the Obama version of mission creep. I’m talking about the signature gesture for this administration in its conflicts across the Greater Middle East (and increasingly Africa). If you listen carefully, you can already hear the theme music for the era rising in the background and — with apologies to Stephen Sondheim for mangling his beautiful elegy to a lost relationship — it’s clearly “Send in the Drones.”
Veterans for Peace sent out an excellent mailing, giving the links to
four “Don’t Attack Iraq” petitions. Obviously, the intent of all of
them is the same, but the wording is different. I found three of
them to be user-friendly. (The fourth one didn’t work, so I didn’t
forward it.) Here are the links:
VfP also suggests we call the White House comment line, which I did. It’s easy
enough, and the volunteers at the other end of the line are typically polite and
attentive. The drawbacks are the wait time—for me about five minutes—and
the expense, because it’s not toll-free. Here’s the number:
You can complete the three petitions and the telephone call in less than a half-hour.
(Much less if you don’t have to wait too long for the White House operator.)
My advice is, “Just do it.” If enough of us do it, maybe the President will remember
that he is a recipient the Nobel Peace Prize!
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle gave Metro Justice a thumbs down.
“For Metro Justice for “uninviting” the group Feminists For Nonviolent Choices from marching in the Rochester Memorial Day Peace Parade. The organization, which opposes abortion, vowed not to carry signs advocating its position on the issue. A peace parade ought to be inclusive.”
The Peace Parade is inclusive of individuals, peace messages are welcome but anti-abortion messages are not welcome.
Protect Reproductive Health and Choice: Every woman should be able to decide what is best for her and her family when deciding whether to use contraception, have a child or end a pregnancy, especially when her health is in danger. This measure ensures that every woman in New York State can get the health care she needs. It’s not only about strengthening reproductive rights; it’s about supporting autonomy, privacy and dignity.
This is the only item in the 10 point agenda that did not pass last year.
The anti-abortion group, Feminists For Nonviolent Choices, campaigned hard against protecting women’s reproductive health and choice. The people in FFNVC are welcome to march in the Memorial Day Peace Parade as individuals, but they may not promote their anti-abortion agenda.
On May 26, 2014 the 30th Annual Rochester Memorial Day Peace Parade will follow the Memorial Day Parade. We will gather at Arnold Park and East Avenue beginning at 10am and walk 100 yards behind the Memorial Day Parade.
The Peace Parade will begin as a solemn procession lead by symbols of the devastation caused by war and end with a celebration of the fruits of peace and justice as women and girls dance to “Break the Chain”, the theme of One Billion Rising. In between will be representatives of local organizations large and small that support global peace, social justice, environmental preservation and networking for a more loving and humane society that puts the wellbeing of people before corporate and nationalist agendas.
Thirty years ago, Rochester Women’s Action for Peace came together to build the first Memorial Day Peace Parade, and despite formidable obstacles at the time, they succeeded. Their initiative was actually covered in the New York Times.
Organizer Wilma Campbell says “It is time to become visible again!”
The Peace Parade does not seek to denigrate the sacrifices of our military and their families. Rather, it seeks to remind us of the suffering caused by war and the indivisibility of peace, justice and freedom. We will make a statement on Memorial Day that we remember all the victims of war and so we want to shift our resources to create a future that delivers peace and justice for all.
The 2014 Peace parade is sponsored by: MetroJustice of Rochester along with Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace, the Flying Squirrel Community Space, the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Rochester Against War and Rochester Friends Meeting.
More information and photos of the 1984 Peace Parade can be seen on our Facebook page.
For more information: Gerry Condon, Veterans For Peace Vice President, 206-499-1220,[email protected] Michael Prysner, Veterans For Peace Board Member, 813-785-3179,[email protected]
Veterans Oppose U.S. Troop Deployments near Ukraine Military Escalation Could Lead to Nuclear War with Russia
Saint Louis. The deployment of U.S. troops to Poland and the Baltics is causing alarm among U.S. military veterans, who fear that ratcheting up military tensions near conflicted Ukraine could lead to a war between the U.S. and Russia, two nuclear-armed powers. Veterans For Peace is warning against further escalation of the conflict.
“Wars are all too easy to start, even by accident, but they are very hard to stop,” said Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace.* “It is time for cooler heads to prevail, and for honest diplomacy leading to a just and nonviolent outcome for the Ukrainian people.”
The veterans are reacting to a decision by the Obama administration to send US troops to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as the crisis in Ukraine heats up and Russia conducts military exercises on its border with Ukraine.
The first contingent of U.S. troops to arrive in Poland last week were 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy. The 173rd Airborne is a rapid response team that played a key role in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and saw major combat in Afghanistan.
“Ukraine is not a member of NATO but that could change if the U.S. has its way,” said Michael Prysner, a member of the Board of Directors of Veterans For Peace who participated in the invasion of Iraq with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. “The U.S. media is portraying Russia as the aggressor in Ukraine, while ignoring the major role the U.S. government has played in overthrowing the elected government of Ukraine and installing a government more to its liking.”
“Clearly the U.S. government has a dog in this fight,” said Gerry Condon, Vice President of Veterans For Peace. “The State Department was involved in February’s regime change in Ukraine and the CIA Director made a ‘secret’ visit there two weeks ago, followed by Vice President Joe Biden last week. Billions of U.S. tax dollars are being promised to prop up a shaky government that came to power via a violent coup. And now U.S. troops are being deployed to the region.
“Some political forces in the U.S. are irresponsibly pressing President Obama to be more aggressive with Russia,” said Condon. “Veterans who have experienced the horror and futility of war have a different message for the president: scale down the rhetoric and pursue a diplomatic outcome.
“Veterans For Peace understands that Russia has reason to feel threatened by aggressive NATO expansion right up to its borders,” said Condon. “Even so, we urge Russia also to take steps to ease tensions and avoid war.”
“We will work to understand the varying interests of different national groups and regions within Ukraine, and encourage a nonviolent, diplomatic outcome to this dangerous crisis.
“Washington and its European allies ought to reverse course and turn Ukraine into a field of cooperation with Russia through a jointly supported bailout devoid of geopolitical motivation.
“Good relations with both Russia and the European Union are in the best interests of all the Ukrainian people. A just and peaceful resolution that averts the threat of war is in the interests of the entire world’s people.”
* Veterans For Peace is a 28-year-old U.S. based nonprofit educational organization with chapters in over 100 US cities and several international chapters. VFP members include veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as non-veteran allies. The mission of Veterans For Peace is to abolish war as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
Veterans For Peace, 216 S. Meramec, St. Louis, MO 63105, 314-725-6005
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Rochester Against War invite you to celebrate the Afghan New Year with Kite Flying.
Please join us:
at Cobbs Hill Park Saturday, March 22, 1:00 – 3:00 PM (by Lake Riley off Culver Road across from the Armory) Bring a Kite or fly one of ours!
The Afghan Peace Volunteers are calling for an International Weekend of kite flying in opposition to the piloting of lethal Reaper and Predator drones over the towns and cities in Afghanistan threatening their homes and their families.
In Afghanistan, kite flying is a traditional activity to celebrate Nowruz, their New Years holiday which falls on the Spring equinox. Kite flying is a popular game played by children and adults in Afghanistan. One can vision the kites filling the sky in early spring as people emerge from their homes following a harsh winter in the mountains of Afghanistan. What a wonderful sight! Here in Rochester, March winds should be good to lift our kites and our spirits as well.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers wish to live without war and without drone strikes. They ask “Why not love?” These young people were born into a war that has plagued their country for decades. As US troops leave at the end of this year, they hope the drones will go with them so the war can really, finally end. You can see their video invitation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8hlqfDGoAI or by clicking either of the pictures in this email.