09 September, 2006

in protest

A federal judge cleared the way for a priest and two veterans to be tried before a federal jury on September 13, 2006 for damaging a Minuteman III intercontinental nuclear missile in North Dakota.

The three, dressed as clowns, hammered and poured their blood on the silo of the 40 ton weapon. The bomb has over 20 times the destructive power of the one dropped on Hiroshima. If convicted on the felony charges of criminal damage to property, each face up to 10 years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000.

They dressed as clowns "to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death. Clowns as court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to power." [snip]

"We are not criminals," Fr. Kabat told the court. "We are following the laws of morality. These weapons are the crimes against humanity!" Bill Quigley


Twenty-three peace activists cycling from London to Jerusalem to get wheels turning in the Middle East peace process will make a second attempt to enter Jenin in the West Bank today, having been denied entry by Israeli officials for the past two days.

The group of mostly British cyclists. . . were held up by the Israeli military. "When they tried to enter the West Bank, they were detained for eight hours," said Laura Abraham, the Peace Cycle 2006 founder. "No valid reason was given. Spurious explanations were provided by officials, and despite phone calls to the Israeli authorities from the British consulate, the group was told it would not be permitted to cross indefinitely."

Requests for water or the use of toilet facilities are also believed to have been denied. "We were treated so well in every country we passed through in Europe and the Middle East, but now we are being treated like animals," said one of the cyclists.

The Peace Cycle aims to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and to work for peace for every person in the region. Ms Abraham said the cyclists were due at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin yesterday, where they were scheduled to perform a musical piece to the children of the refugee camp, using their bicycles as instruments. The group was then due to visit Balata camp in Nablus tomorrow, and had scheduled meetings with Israeli Palestinian peace groups, as well as the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Bishop Riah, and the Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper. link

8th Annual Power to the Peaceful Festival

Happening today in San Francisco. Here's the line-up. Speakers include Michael Lerner, Jeremy M. Glick, Dennis Kucinich, and by tape, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The Festival began humbly in 1999 as an international day of art and culture in support of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The name and date "911" were chosen to call attention to the emergency status of Mumia’s impending execution and drew roughly 6,000 people to the Mission’s Dolores Park. In 2000, PTTP expanded; showing support for all prisoners on death row, and speaking out against the exponential growth of the prison industrial complex.

When the attacks of September 11th, 2001 occurred, the festival took on a new significance, serving both as a day of remembrance for the lives lost in the tragedy as well as a day in which Northern Californians called for and end to all bombing around the globe. The 2002 and 2003 events offered a space for healing and compassion for all the people killed or displaced by terrorism and the war on terrorism. By this time, the festival had outgrown Dolores Park, and was resituated in the lush mile acre of Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park, with over 20,000 people attending. In 2004 the festival was themed "Stand up and be Counted", encouraging people to get out and vote. Last year's festival, themed "Bring 'Em Home" emphasized that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home now and drew upwards of 50,000 attendees participating in a day of music, art and social justice.

"Be Peace Now" is this year's theme, reminding us that the path to a less violent world starts from within. Each one of us must commit to what we want to see reflected in the world. Or as Michael Franti sees it, "We can't change the world over night, but we can be a drop in the river that moves a mountain". link

Presented by musician/filmamker/social activistMichael Franti & his group Spearhead, whose latest album is titled YELL FIRE!. A film on the Middle East (view it here), , I KNOW I'M NOT ALONE, was released this summer, blurbed as:

. . . travels to Iraq, Palestine and Israel to explore the human cost of war with a group of friends, some video cameras and his guitar. A compelling soundtrack, visual and musical montages and Franti's intimate voiceovers make the film speak to the MTV, X, Y & Z generations, as well as the baby-boomers. A true armchair travel film pulling the audience into these war zones in the company of Michael's guitar, eloquence and wit - you feel the humanity, artistic resilience and sometimes horrific experience of what it's like to live under the bombs and military occupation.

With its guerrilla style footage captured in active war zones, the documentary is unlike the many academic and politically driven pieces in the marketplace, instead offering the audience a sense of intimate travel and the opportunity to hear the voices of everyday people living, creating and surviving under the harsh conditions of war and occupation. link

Download a few songs.


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