Here is the poem I read at today’s demo for Human Rights Day!
I hope everyone who was there gets all charged up about drones and decides to read Medea Benjamin’s book Drone Warfare: killing by remote control- and then come to our book club! (hint, hint you can still come to the book club, even if you didn’t make it to today’s demo).
It’s at Mayday Bookstore on Jan. 12th at 2pm and there will be coffee and snacks!
On Military Drones (and tearing them to pieces)
It’s the arms race of the future, really,
except this time Sputnik’s ganna be an unmanned plane.
And if the vessel is unmanned, doesn’t that make the killing
It’s odd to me to think that when I’m voting with my dollar,
I demand a better treatment of the chicken for my dinner
then our military seems to see fit for those people on the ground
in places like Iraq and Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan…
You know, those unreliable statistics, because really- who sees?
The trouble with machines is there’s a lack of accountability.
I want our government to have to make stickers for all their little planes that say
“No dolphins or civilians were harmed in the making of this democracy”
How about that? How about a harm free approach to foreign policy?
Can you install that, Uncle Sam, at the point of your gun?
Of course not, it’s an oxymoron. American the humanitarian.
On a mission and it’s called an invasion.
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane-
cause it sure aint Superman.
It’s a U.S. military drone and it’s loaded, so go ahead and run.
Cause it sees you too, but not with eyes.
Cause anyway, that’s what “collateral damage” is code for:
Dead people, lots of them children.
Unarmed civilians is a way of saying that they had nothing to do with
this conflict, but then neither do we- on this end.
The taxed, yet, unrepresented majority of people in this country
who do not like the war, and do not support another one.
But what can we do?
We don’t feel the trigger under our finger because we’re fed a constant stream of lies
and all our lives we are taught that it’s
“Do unto others has you would have done unto yourself”
And yet every time the news breaks that a woman is raped, that a village is
slaughtered we are ready to make those sacrifices for what we call
he safety of our country and it is utter nonsense.
Violence begets violence. This is a fundamental truth.
We are the purveyors of death and atrocity in these parts of the world,
and then you wonder why they hate us ???
So you tell me, who is the real terrorist?
Rebel with a gun or a smiling politician?
Whatever gets the job done.
And these days the job is as easily done as the push of a button
by some pimple-faced in a bunker in Nevada somewhere.
Did you know the controls for these drones are compatible with a PlayStation?
This is not a coincidence.
They are spoon feeding this to your kids, so I suggest you get acquainted.
Because drones are the future of warfare that already is.
And I heard Obama just Okayed the use of drones over ALL U.S. airspace
so be prepared to see them around.
Equipped with cameras instead of bombs,
so that should make us all feel safer.
They say that they are looking for the terrorists among us
and looking at everyone, you know –Just in case
Even though the only cases it seems our government team
can solve these days are the ones they cooked up in the first place.
But hey-they’ve gotta spend that budget someway, don’t they?
And did you know that it takes a whopping, jaw dropping, 300 people
to fully operate one of those drones for just one day?
One of those $28 million planes?
Oh yes sir’ee, it’s a booming industry.
Remember that bumper sticker about how great it’s be if schools had all the funding they needed and the army had to hold a bake sale?
People, this is what our government is busy buying.
This is where the tax dollars go.
So when they tell you they’ve gotta cut some spending,
you just tell’em “Land some drones, man.
Just land the drones.”
And call me a sentimental hippie like that, but I believe
in the power of the people to fight back.
Cause we can’t just let this technology run wild, or go rouge,
or come crashing home on us
We must realize and regulate, study up and educate each other
Before this whole thing gets out of control
(with evidence to suggest we are already at the threshold).
So let your president and members of congress know
what you think about the wars,
and what you think about the drones.
Tell’em we don’t need any more killing machines,
we could use that money much better here at home.
Leave those kids in Pakistan alone.
It’s time to end the war, and land the drones.
The MN Anti-War Committee has signed on to the following statement expressing solidarity with the current targets of FBI repression on the West Coast:
On Wednesday July 26th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.
Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.
This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.
We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or chose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free, and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.
No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.
Published on Tue, 2012-07-10 16:17
We have received reports, that this morning, July 10 2012, the Seattle Police Department raided an apartment – targeting well known activists from Occupy Seattle and the Red Spark Collective. A statement from the Red Spark Collective (part of the national Kasama network), notes “This apartment has been a hub for organizing the Everything 4 Everyone festival in August – to bring together West Coast forces for a cultural and political event building on the year of Occupy.”
In the United States today the forces of repression and reaction, ranging from the FBI to local police forces are trying to intimidate those who are standing up for peace, justice, equality and liberation. The examples are many, including the repression directed at Arabs and Muslims, the coordinated attacks on the occupy movement, and FBI raids on anti war and international solidarity activists.
We condemn this act of political repression and send our solidarity to all those who were targeted in this raid.
The Anti-War Committee is circulating the following statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
On April 2, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Rehberg v. Paulk that police investigators are immune from civil damage suits for giving false testimony to a grand jury. Grand juries are secret courts, run solely by prosecutors, with no judge, and those being investigated have no right to a lawyer or to having evidence favorable to them being presented. Now the Supreme Court rules that law enforcement agents who lie in these official proceedings cannot be held accountable in civil court for lying.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression denounces this ruling and notes the official corruption it unleashes. Law enforcement should not be given a free pass to distort, lie, or obfuscate. The Supreme Court ruling sends the wrong message to the FBI and law enforcement, allowing them to frame people with impunity.
Justice Alito said that if witnesses could be sued over their grand jury testimony they “might be reluctant to come forward to testify.” The justices claim that witnesses who lie can be prosecuted for perjury and that that threat is significant enough. In reality, prosecutors are rarely willing to bring perjury charges against their own police investigators.
This is significant because there are ridiculously long sentences on the books designed to force people into plea agreements. 94% of federal cases end in plea agreements. Indictments based on fabrications can turn into prison time for innocent people. Encouraging lies in the American justice system does not promote justice. Impunity for the FBI and law enforcement erodes civil liberties and corrupts justice.
This is one of many rulings, including Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, from the Roberts Court against the interests of justice, free speech, and democracy. It is important to remember that we need to continue to build a movement for social justice in the U.S. Instead more steps are being taken so the courts only promote the interests of the wealthy one percent. We need to continue to work for peace with justice both in the U.S. and around the globe.
Posted on March 22, 2012 by FightBack! News
New York, NY – Dozens packed into a standing-room only panel discussion at the Left Forum called, “U.S. Imperialist Wars, Political Prisoners, Past & Present, and the Anti-War Struggle” on March 18. The Left Forum, one of the largest gatherings of left and progressive thinkers in the country, hosted thousands of activists and academics organizing for social justice.
Speakers included Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Sundin’s home was raided by the FBI on Sept. 24, 2010, along with other anti-war and international solidarity activists. She called on all the audience to stand in solidarity with Carlos Montes.
Sundin said, “Carlos is an innocent man and has done nothing wrong. Quite the opposite, he is a hero who has dedicated his life to winning freedom and liberation – not only for the Chicano people, but for all the world’s peoples. He survived COINTELPRO the first time around, but today, once again, the government is working to imprison him.”
Sundin urged everyone present to sign the petition to drop the charges against Carlos Montes. “We can’t let that happen. He is a freedom fighter and we must work to ensure he not become the next political prisoner.”
Chicago, IL – The Northern Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas stated that the “investigation is continuing” into the case of the anti-war and international solidarity activists who have been hit with FBI raids and grand jury repression. Barry Jonas played a leading role in prosecuting the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation while he was trial attorney for the Department of Justice Counter-terrorism Section.
“This is another confirmation of what we have been hearing all along from the U.S. Attorney’s office – they are going for multiple indictments of multiple activists,” stated Jess Sundin, a Twin Cities Anti-War leader whose home was raided by the FBI. “The government subpoenaed 23 international solidarity activists to a Chicago grand jury and the government is trying to jail veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes. Jonas confirmed what we already knew – the government is trying to imprison anti-war activists on the grounds of ‘material support for terrorism.’”
The confirmation of the ongoing investigation came in a Jan. 24 phone call between Jonas and Bruce Nestor, an attorney who is representing some of the activists.
Nestor initially contacted Minneapolis Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter to view some of the sealed documents in the case. The grand jury proceedings against the anti-war activists are secret and the vast majority of documents relating to their case are under seal, meaning that they cannot be viewed by the targeted activists or their attorneys. Assistant U.S. Attorney Winter helped oversee the Sept. 24, 2010 raids and in recent months has represented the government on the issue of returning property seized in the raids. Winter told Nestor to contact Chicago Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas.
Jonas told Nestor the documents would remain secret “pending completion of the investigation.”
“That Barry Jonas is now involved in our case is an ominous development” said Sundin. “He is famous for one of the most appalling attacks on civil and democratic rights in the past decade – the prosecution of the Holy Land Five. “
The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. Its efforts were geared towards providing humanitarian aid to help the people of Palestine and other countries. In 2001 its offices were raided. Three years later, five people associated with the charity were indicted. The first trial ended with a hung jury. The second trial ended with convictions. The five defendants received sentences that range from 15 to 65 years in prison.
The trail included secret witnesses – the defense never got to find out who the witnesses were – the use of hearsay evidence and the introduction of evidence that had nothing to do with the defendants in the case, such as showing a video from Palestine of protesters burning an American flag, as a means to prejudice the jury.
As lead prosecutor, Barry Jonas played a key role in all this. He is now working under Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is runs the federal grand jury attacking anti-war and international solidarity activists.
“That Barry Jonas is chasing peace activists means we have to be ready for every dirty trick in the book. The record is clear. The way he sees it, solidarity with Palestine is a crime. We need to push back as hard as we can.” said Jess Sundin.
Sundin urges all supporters of peace with justice to sign the pledge to take action (http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/pledge-of-resistance) in the event that international solidarity activists are indicted.
The raids and subpoenas are an attack on anti-war and other progressive movements, our freedom to speak, our freedom to assemble with like-minded people, and our freedom to tell the government that their actions and policies are wrong.
Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists.
All proceeds from the album will be used to continue to build the fightback against FBI repression and to contribute towards the legal defense fund for those targeted in the September 24th FBI raids.
On Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00pm, Minnesota’s political parties will hold their precinct caucuses. Anyone can attend their caucus, where they meet with their neighbors to discuss what issues their party should adopt for their platform, in addition to electing delegates to party conventions and stating their preference on candidates.
Anyone can bring a resolution on any issue to their caucus to attempt to get it approved there. The Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression would like to encourage our supporters to take the following resolution to your caucus. Bringing the resolution to your caucus is an important way to educate folks about these dangerous attacks on our very rights to organize and speak out.
There is support for freedom of speech and assembly among people who participate in the Democratic, Republican, Green and Independence Party caucuses, which gives us an opportunity to tell the leaders of these parties that policies like the Patriot Act and the NDAA are not supported by their constituents.
If you don’t know where your precinct caucus is go to:http://caucusfinder.sos.
If you’d like background information on our case to help you feel more comfortable speaking to this issue you can print a basic info flyer here:http://www.stopfbi.net/
Good luck and thanks for your support!
The Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Whereas the U.S. Congress passed and President Obama signed into law, on December 30, 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contains provisions allowing for the indefinite military detention of individuals, including U.S. citizens, without charge or trial, anywhere in the world including in the U.S.;
Whereas individuals gathering at Occupy protest sites around the nation to nonviolently protest inequitable government policies and widespread corporate greed have suffered repression and retaliation by police and government officials;
Whereas in September 2010, 23 well-known anti-war and labor union activists in Minneapolis and Chicago and additional individuals around the country experienced surprise FBI raids of their homes, confiscation of property, a list (had any agreed to talk to the FBI) of chilling McCarthyistic questions and subpoenas to testify before a grand jury purportedly investigating “material support” of groups labeled terrorist by the U.S. State Department (although no charges and no indictments have been produced since the first raids in September 2010, this case is but one example of the hundreds of such cases pursued by the FBI over the last decade — mainly targeting Muslims and Arab Americans — without any crime committed or evidence of the planning of any criminal activity);
Therefore, be it resolved that this Precinct of the ______________ Party reaffirm our commitment to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Be it further resolved that the ______________ Party opposes indefinite military detention and advocates that section of the NDAA be repealed;
Be it further resolved that the ______________ Party supports the right of the Occupy movement to peaceably assemble and protest without experiencing mass arrests, pepper spraying, and other forms of brutality and repression;
Be it further resolved that the ______________ Party supports the right of peace activists to organize against war without fear of being harassed, infiltrated, raided or accused of criminal behavior;
And, be it further resolved that the _______________ Party move forward to ensure these rights and provide for their protection within every precinct, town, city, county, state and federal jurisdiction.
The US Palestinian Community Network passed the following resolution at its planning meeting on January 6-8, 2012, committing itself to work for the civil and human rights of the Palestinian community, particularly those targeted for FBI repression and a grand jury investigation. Those targeted in the case include labor activists, antiwar organizers, and seven Palestinian USPCN members and leaders in Chicago. For more information on the case, please see the website of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
Strategic Planning Meeting
January 6th-8th, 2012
Santa Clara, CA
Standing Up for Our Rights!
Whereas, the USPCN’s mission statement includes the upholding of Palestinian rights around the world, including the protection of democratic rights in the U.S.;
And whereas, the FBI raids on homes and offices, and confiscation of property, in Chicago and Minneapolis, and the grand jury subpoenas served to 14 individuals in the Midwest, including one USPCN National Coordinating Committee member, in September of 2010, constituted an escalation of historical attacks on the Palestinian community, the Palestine solidarity movement, the anti-war movement, and democratic rights in the United States;
And whereas, the nine (9) grand jury subpoenas served in December 2010 were to six (6) additional Palestinians, all members and leaders of Chicago’s USPCN chapter, and 3 Palestine solidarity organizers;
And whereas, the FBI raid on Carlos Montes’ home in Los Angeles in May of 2011 constituted an additional attack on a leading immigrant rights, Chicano liberation, and Palestine solidarity organizer;
And whereas, Department of Justice and other U.S. government repression is being utilized to stifle critique of U.S. foreign policy and Israeli violations of the human, civil, and national rights of the Palestinian people, as evidenced by the cases of the Irvine 11, the Holy Land Foundation 5, Abdelhaleem Ashqar, Sami Al-Arian, and many others;
Therefore be it resolved that the USPCN calls on all Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims to sign the Pledge to Defend Civil & Human Rights at http://uspcn.org/pledge-to-
And be it further resolved that the USPCN calls on all of its chapters and other Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and solidarity institutions across the U.S. to establish Emergency Response Plans in preparation for the possible indictments and arrests of any of the Palestinians or Palestine solidarity activists raided and/or subpoenaed;
And be it further resolved that the USPCN calls on all of its chapters and other Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and solidarity institutions across the U.S. to identify supportive U.S. Congresspeople in their respective districts, and call on these legislators to demand from Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald an end to this investigation;
And be it further resolved that the USPCN calls on its chapters to help organize a speaking tour of the U.S. for one of its Chicago members, to build support around the case;
And be it finally resolved that, even in the face of the attacks on our movement, the USPCN calls on all Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and other people of conscience in the U.S. and around the world to continue organizing for, and demanding, self-determination, independence, full equality, and the Right of Return for the Palestinian people; and freedom for Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Palestine solidarity political prisoners in Israeli, Palestinian Authority, U.S., and all other jails.
Posted on December 23, 2011 by FightBack! News
Minneapolis, MN – More than 50 people jointed a Dec. 23 picket line here, at the Obama campaign headquarters, to demand the President veto the National Defense Authorization act, which contains provisions that allow indefinite detention without trial. The protest was organized by Occupy Minneapolis and local anti-war groups.
Critics of these provisions, which President Obama is expected to sign on Dec. 26, say the bill is a real threat to civil liberties and human rights. Several provisions in the NDAA give congressional authorization of indefinite military detentions without trial for people accused by the government of being terrorists. It codifies the powers claimed by both George Bush and Barack Obama based on the “2001 Authorization to Use Military Force” to declare people enemy combatants, indefinitely detain them without trial, gut habeas corpus and carry out assassinations.
Sam Richards of Occupy Minneapolis said, “The NDAA of 2012 is the largest assault on our rights since the Patriot Act. Obama ran as a champion of civil liberties, we are going to urge him to veto NDAA and protect our right to habeas corpus, among other things.”
Jess Sundin of the Anti-War Committee and Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, “We are protesting this effort by Congress to give the president the right to lock American citizens up indefinitely without trial. It’s a way of declaring people enemy combatants. We in the anti-war movement know firsthand how the government feels about those who disagree with them. This would give the government permission to not only investigate me for ‘supporting terrorism’ because of my activism, but to detain me based of accusation alone, lock me up and throw away the key. President Obama needs to do the right thing and veto this now.”
Sundin was one of the activists raided by the FBI last year and summoned to a Chicago Grand Jury investigating ‘material support for terrorism.’