Saturday, February 28, 2009

Court Rejects Obama Bid to Stop Wiretapping Suit


t r u t h o u t | 02.28


Court Rejects Obama Bid to Stop Wiretapping Suit

Friday 27 February 2009


by: Devlin Barrett, The Associated Press


    Washington - The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program.


    A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday rejected the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay in a case involving a defunct Islamic charity.


    Yet government lawyers signaled they would continue fighting to keep the information secret, setting up a new showdown between the courts and the White House over national security.


    The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, claimed national security would be compromised if a lawsuit brought by the Oregon chapter of the charity, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was allowed to proceed.


    Now, civil libertarians hope the case will become the first chance for a court to rule on whether the warrantless wiretapping program was legal or not. It cited the so-called state secrets privilege as a defense against the lawsuit.


    "All we wanted was our day in court and it looks like we're finally going to get our day in court," said Al-Haramain's lawyer, Steven Goldberg. "This case is all about challenging an assertion of power by the executive branch which is extraordinary."


    A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.


    But hours after the appeals court made its decision, government lawyers filed new papers insisting they still did not have to turn over any sensitive information.


    "The government respectfully requests that the court refrain from further actions to provide plaintiffs with access to classified information," said the filing, suggesting the Obama administration may appeal the matter again to keep the information secret and block the case from going forward.


    The decision by the three-judge appeals panel is a setback for the new Obama administration as it adopts some of the same positions on national security and secrecy as the Bush administration.


    Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a review of all state secrets claims that have been used to protect Bush administration anti-terrorism programs from lawsuits.


    Yet even as that review continues, the administration has invoked the privilege in several different cases, including the Al-Haramain matter.


    The case began when the Bush administration accidentally turned over documents to Al-Haramain attorneys. Lawyers for the defunct charity said the papers showed illegal wiretapping by the National Security Agency.


    The documents were returned to the government, which quickly locked them away, claiming they were state secrets that could threaten national security if released.


    Lawyers for Al-Haramain argued that they needed the documents to prove the wiretapping.


    The U.S. Treasury Department in 2004 designated the charity as an organization that supports terrorism before the Saudi Arabian government closed it. The Bush administration redesignated it in 2008, citing attempts to keep it operating.


    The 9th Circuit eventually agreed that the disputed documents were protected as state secrets. But the court ruled that the Oregon chapter of Al-Haramain could try to find another way to show it had standing to sue the government over domestic wiretapping.


    A number of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, tried to sue the government over warrantless wiretapping but were denied standing because they could not show they were targeted.


    Ann Brick, a lawyer for the ACLU of Northern California, said the court has now crafted a way to review the issue in which "national security isn't put at risk, but the rule of law can still be observed."


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Israel's authoritarian transformation

The Peoples Voice @

Israel's authoritarian transformation


09:15:11 am

Sharon Weill & Valentina Azarov

One of the main issues raised during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip -- apart from a considerable number of allegations of violations of international humanitarian law that will not be dealt with here -- concerns the functioning of rule of law in Israel in cases regarding the freedoms of expression, opinion and access to information. The state did all that was in its power (and far beyond) to silence the voices that opposed the government's policies and operations in Gaza.

Those events were one major component of the process that led to the results of the elections to the Israeli parliament, in which a party, Yisrael Beiteinu, whose leader advocates a manifest racist and authoritarian agenda, has become the third political force in the country. The state's policies that will be examined in this article -- the ban on protests, the restrictions on freedom of expression and the disqualification of Arab political parties -- are a part of the transformation of Israel into an authoritarian regime based on segregation.

The ban on protest

During the military operations in Gaza, protesters met with police and army brutality in nonviolent demonstrations against the war. According to a 12 January 2009 report by the Israeli daily Haaretz, and a 2 January 2009 report by the human rights organization Adalah, during 230 such demonstrations, 801 protestors were arrested, 277 of them children and juveniles; arrests were made for "disturbing the peace," waving Palestinian flags, and "hurting the nation's morale." As of 7 February 2009, 255 people were still under arrest, including 89 children and juveniles; 114 indictments were submitted to the courts. Others were called in for interrogation by the security services, and were warned not to take part in any demonstration, some were put under house arrest and were prohibited from entering certain cities. The large majority of those arrested were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters in the West Bank, participating in nonviolent demonstrations, were violently repressed by the Israeli army that shot at them with live ammunition. Those clashes killed four Palestinian demonstrators in Nilin, Qalqiliya and Sawad. Many others were wounded.

The freedoms of expression and protest and personal liberties were systematically and blatantly violated by the state.

Violation of freedom of the press

Israeli journalists have been forbidden to enter the Gaza Strip for more than two years. Amira Hass and Shlomi Eldar, two well-known Israeli reporters who entered Gaza before the offensive, were arrested immediately upon return to Israel. Foreign journalists have been denied access since the beginning of November 2008, because of the interruption of the ceasefire with Hamas and the closure of crossing points between Israel and the Strip.

The Foreign Press Association petitioned the Israeli high court on 24 November 2008 against this new policy and requested that free access be allowed. The petitioner declared that the reporters demanding to enter the Gaza Strip were willing to exempt Israel from responsibility for their safety.

The first hearing was set only for 31 December 2008, after the petitioner requested urgently that, in light of the new circumstances, namely, the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, foreign correspondents should be allowed to enter the area in order to report from there.

On 2 January 2009 the court rendered its judgment, stating that:

"Indeed, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, as for the public's right to know, remain unchanged even in times of war, and in a period such as this, they have an all the more special importance; however, these rights are not absolute and under the circumstances of the situation in question they are to be balanced against the predicted risk to human lives as a result of opening the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip."

The court unequivocally endorsed the state's proposal to let only eight correspondents, referred to as a "pool," enter the Gaza Strip when the crossing was made possible for humanitarian purposes, and that the entry of the foreign correspondents was to be coordinated with the relevant authority a day prior to the requested entry date.

In addition, the court endorsed the state's position that the above procedure was

"to be subject to changes according to circumstances in the field. However, we expect the respondents to take all the necessary measures, according to the procedures they established, and in consideration of the rights and interests represented by the petitioner."

A day after the ruling, the ground operation in Gaza began. The state saw in that a fundamental change of condition, which rendered impossible the implementation of the court's decision. Thus, the obligation to facilitate the journalists' entry, which the state had agreed on just a day before, was never implemented.

On 20 January 2009, after the end of the operations, the state was ready to grant journalists access to the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, the Foreign Press Association filed another petition (HCJ 643/09) requesting full access to journalists, as was the case prior to November 2008, because they were not satisfied with a mere declaration of intention from the state. In the course of the hearing the state agreed to provide access, but only to foreign journalists and not to Israeli journalists holding a foreign passport.

Did the state violate the first ruling?

In its second ruling the court held that it would not decide whether there had been a violation of its previous decision as it was not a question that was relevant in the particular case. The state equally claimed that there were no violations, since all the restrictions were imposed, as the state explained, only for security reasons.

The petitioner did not ask for the state to be held in contempt of the court. They did not yet have the following information that was published a day after the filing of the second petition: Haaretz revealed a letter from the Ministry of Defense's legal advisor to the advisor's counterpart at the prime minister's office, showing that the Ministry of Defense had stated that security conditions did not prevent journalists from entering -- but that the prime minister's and the foreign minister's offices had continued to block access for reasons based mainly on public relations, using security as an excuse.

In the letter the legal advisor to the Ministry of Defense warned that if the prime minister's office continued to block access, the state could be held in contempt of the court. It should be noted that the state did not deny the existence of this letter or its contents. (The original article was published only in Hebrew in the 21 January 2009 print edition of Haaretz. A partial translation of the article was published in Haaretz's online edition.)

Banning Arab parties from Israeli elections

The repression of the Palestinian minority in Israel is reminiscent throughout the state's socio-political history of military rule and policies of ethnic cleansing. To note only one of many problems presented by the structure and content of Israel's authoritarian legal framework, would be to shed light on its inherently discriminatory nature, which seeks the erosion of the identity of Palestinians living within Israel's borders through, inter alia, the banning of the Palestinian flag and the systematic denial of Palestinian property rights in Israel.

On 12 January 2009 the Central Elections Committee (CEC) of the Israeli parliament disqualified the candidacy of two Arab parties, United Arab List-Ta'al and Balad (or National Democratic Alliance (NDA)), representing more than 160,000 voters, from running to the 18th Knesset (parliamentary) elections that took take place on 10 February 2009. The disqualification followed a complaint filed to the CEC by Member of the Knesset Avigdor Lieberman, head of the far-right party Yisrael Beiteinu.

According to section 7A of Israel's Basic Law, the Knesset allows for the disqualification of a party when its objectives or its candidates' actions involve: (i) the destruction of the state of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state; (ii) incitement of racism; or (iii) support of an enemy state during a conflict, or of a terrorist organization. Moreover, the law has been recently amended to include the provision that concerns those who have visited an enemy country in the last seven years before the submission of their candidacy, as such actions would be seen as supporting an armed conflict against Israel.

The disqualification motion had been introduced to the CEC by a number of right-wing parties and upheld by a majority of committee members including members of Kadima and the Labor party. Several committee members equated the Arab parties' support for Palestinians residents of the Gaza Strip, during the recent incursions, with support for terrorism. The members' greatest concern, as it were, was the parties' platform, which aims to change Israel's constitutional definition from a "Jewish and democratic state" to a "democratic state for all its citizens."

Adalah, a legal non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Palestinians in Israel, submitted a petition on the Arab parties' behalf challenging the decision to reject their candidacy. The principal legal claim was that the decision hurt the candidates' right to be elected, and that preventing party lists from standing for election harms the constitutional right of the public who vote for these lists to elect their representatives to the Knesset. Furthermore, most of the CEC's members took irrelevant considerations into account, and neglected the existent laws and case law -- the parties' platforms had already been considered in the previous elections by an extended bench of judges who had validated their candidacy, and since then there had been no change in their political agendas.

The petition tells a different story from that which transpired in the media. Adalah pointed out that the debates at the CEC were violent and uncontrolled and did not allow for a constructive discussion of the question at hand, isolating one side. Things got so out of hand that Justice Eliezer Rivlin, the President of the Committee, declared: "in view of the situation that has been created, I have decided not to vote" (protocol from the discussion on 12 January 2009, p. 60).

The parties' representatives were not given the opportunity to properly present their case, and were repeatedly interrupted (see pp. 20-25 of the protocol). In the short time that was granted to MK Ahmed Tibi, head of the United Arab List (UALAMC), to speak, he stated very clearly that "the Arab parties oppose a policy and not a country" and confirmed that what their political agendas sought was a common solution so that the two peoples could "live together and not die together" (pp 31-33 of the protocol).

Thus the decision taken by the CEC was biased, and based on incomplete quotations from the media that became at times the sole source of evidence. The attorney general stated that even if the claims made in the motions had been true, they still would not constitute sufficient cause to disqualify the Arab parties. Nevertheless, the votes to disqualify both parties were passed by an overwhelming majority of CEC members: 21 voted in favor of the disqualification of the UALAMC, seven members voted against and two abstained; 26 members voted in favor of disqualifying the NDA, three members voted against and one abstained.

On 21 January 2009 Israel's high court, with a nine-judge bench, unanimously accepted the petition that invalidated the election committee's decision and reinstated Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al's candidacy to the 18th Knesset.

Moving towards an authoritarian regime

Once the state starts to intervene in a citizen's opportunity to form and hold a political opinion; once the media is either silent or becomes mainly a tool of propaganda; and once demonstrations and political parties are outlawed because they oppose the government, a society is heedlessly undertaking a slow but certain transformation, moving away from of a democratic regime and towards of an authoritarian one.

The alleged war crimes committed by the army in the Gaza Strip, the violations of the basic freedoms of citizens within Israel, and the results of the 2009 elections are all examples of such a transformation. What happened in the two months leading up to the elections explains, to a certain extent, the votes of many Israelis, who made a racist party the third political force in Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman's party advocates the banning of Arab political parties that called for "a democratic state for all citizens," and the repression of what it sees as the "treachery" of the Arab citizens. According to its website, Yisrael Beiteinu demands an "unapologetical patriotism" and "requires citizens to affirm their loyalty to the state and readiness to serve in the army or in the National Service in order to be eligible for any state benefits."

The party declares in its platform its intention to make Israel a purely Jewish state, and at the same time, "[i]ncreasing the Jewish Presence in Yehuda, Shomron, [in other words, the West Bank] the Golan [the occupied Syrian Golan Heights] and East Jerusalem" as well as working towards the "separation of Gaza from the West Bank."

According to the party's website, "Ideally, 'the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,' but we are not living in ideal times. History has shown that there is a dangerous potential for conflict wherever members of two different religions dwell in the same territory. ... Members of this [Arab] minority are likely to serve as terrorist agents on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Many have already made explicit their lack of loyalty to the state. This situation could potentially lead to the collapse of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and perhaps as an entity all together. Therefore in our view, the only possible solution is the exchange of territory and populations, with the goal of the separation of the Jewish and Arab nations, respectively" (emphasis added).

Lieberman has made a number of utterances inciting racism against a Palestinians with Israeli nationality. A recent press conference organized by Lieberman's party in Haifa barred Arab journalists from participating. As Haaretz reported on 6 February, during a recent visits to schools in northern Israel, Lieberman was welcomed with calls of "death to the Arabs" and with proposals to "revoke the Arabs' nationality." It was recently revealed by Haaretz that Lieberman was once a follower of the Kahane Kach movement, an extreme right wing movement that was outlawed in 1988.

Ideas that were once considered too racist to be legitimately expressed are now part of the mainstream political discourse. At the same time other opinions are silenced. This is a serious warning that the situation in Israel resembles more and more that of the apartheid-era South Africa.

Sharon Weill is a PhD candidate in International Humanitarian Law, University of Geneva, Research Assistant with the Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project and lecturer in IHL. Valentina Azarov is a Legal Researcher with HaMoked - Center for the defence of the individual and author with the International Law Observer and the Alternative Information Center. The opinions expressed are the authors' own and should not be attributed to their professional institutions.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Death penalty repeal: SB279/Senate panel rejects death penalty repeal

Greetings folks. We are close to repealing Maryland's death penalty. We need your help. Now is the time. Really, right now.


We are close, very close. The bill will likely come to the floor this Tuesday, 3/3, and several votes will have to take place to pass it (see below for procedure if you're interested).  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE contact your state senator over the weekend and into the coming week. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pass this along to everyone you know asking them to contact their senator. It's best to call and follow up with an email. If possible, you can even go see them. Do it all. Do everything you can to move the Senate to vote in favor of repeal (in favor of SB279). 


If you don't know who your senator is, you can find out at ( If you already know your senator's name you can find their contact info through this page ( 


Thank you! Please pass this along to everyone you know who supports repeal. 


Voting procedure

Vote on a motion to reject the Committee's unfavorable report.  

Vote on motion to bring the bill to the floor.  
Bill is then on floor for debate.  There could be a filibuster, which will require acloture vote (requires 19 votes).  There could (we assume will) be amendments (acceptable and unacceptable) introduced and votes on each amendment.  

If we get through all of these with 24 majority votes, then we get to the final vote on the repeal bill.,0,5971009.story

Senate panel rejects death penalty repeal

Unusual strategy could still get issue before full Senate for vote

By Gadi Dechter

February 28, 2009

Lobbying efforts by death penalty opponents will intensify this weekend, even though a bill to abolish state executions died yesterday in a key Senate committee.

Ordinarily, the "unfavorable" vote by the Judicial Proceedings Committee would end debate. But because of a major push this year by the governor, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he will entertain a rarely used parliamentary maneuver to allow the full chamber to resurrect the bill "as early as next week."

That sets up a fierce debate on capital punishment that could tie up business in the Senate for hours, if not days. It's likely the last serious chance for repeal proponents before the 2010 election, and they are planning a major final push.

Gov. Martin O'Malley "will be having multiple conversations" with undecided senators "throughout the weekend," said spokesman Rick Abbruzzese.

Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said her advocacy group will be "pulling out all the stops" in coming days to persuade fence-sitting senators by mobilizing phone banks and visiting churches, encouraging people to e-mail and call their representatives in Annapolis.

"We will leave no stone unturned," she said.

And on Tuesday, the first day the repeal bill could come to the Senate, two former Maryland governors and other senior officials will come to Annapolis to urge lawmakers to replace capital punishment with a sentence of life without parole.

Death penalty supporters, meanwhile, are counting votes to make sure they retain their slim majority in the 47-member Senate. If a repeal bill passes the Senate, approval by the House of Delegates is expected.

Miller, a tenacious arm-twister who wants to keep capital punishment, deflected questions yesterday about whether he has kept a promise not to lobby members on the hot-button moral issue. "That's hard to say," he said, acknowledging that he has been counting votes. "I wouldn't call that lobbying."

Miller's willingness to entertain a full-floor debate could reflect his confidence that the repeal effort will ultimately fail. A recent survey by The Baltimore Sun showed that 19 senators favored a full repeal and 24 opposed it. Four senators declined to state their position.

Moreover, the parliamentary procedure being contemplated faces several practical and philosophical obstacles. Miller will allow a motion from the floor essentially rejecting the committee vote and re-introducing the bill before the entire chamber. Such a move would subvert the privilege that committees typically have in vetting legislation.

If that happens and the bill goes to the floor, the Senate must then vote again to bring it up for preliminary approval, known as "second reader." At that point, the simple repeal bill would likely encounter a barrage of attempts by opponents to water it down with amendments. Too many amendments - such as allowing execution of child-killers or police-killers - could ultimately dilute support from repeal backers.

That's just one scenario envisioned by pro-repeal Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat and chairman of the committee that rejected the bill yesterday. Frosh said his "optimistic" assessment is that the repeal camp is "just one vote short" of resurrecting the bill and still needs to change minds.

Henderson, however, predicted victory on the floor and noted that lawmakers used the rare parliamentary technique when they reinstated the death penalty in 1978.

"It's an historical mirror," she said. "Maybe there's a little bit of poetry here."

For the handful of undecided Democratic senators such as Bobby Zirkin, a vote on the death penalty means disappointing either the leader of your chamber or your governor.

Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat, acknowledged the tension but said "nobody is pressuring me into doing anything." Zirkin said he has "no moral problems" with the death penalty, just nagging concerns about the chance that an innocent person might be executed. He said he planned to spend the weekend talking the issue over with as many constituents as possible.

The committee vote yesterday was a 5-5 tie, with pro-death penalty Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Harford County Republican, absent. Under committee rules, a bill requires an absolute committee majority to move to the full chamber.

Several of those delivering "no" votes said they would support a partial repeal, but an amendment from Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Frederick County Republican, was rejected. Mooney's proposal would have allowed the death penalty only to punish a murderer who is already serving life without parole.

Sen. Bryan Simonaire, an Anne Arundel County Republican considered a potential swing vote this year, called his "no" vote a "heart-wrenching" decision.

"To me, it's not a political issue; it's an issue of the heart," said Simonaire, who was personally lobbied by O'Malley yesterday to support the repeal.

Simonaire said that he would favor limiting the death penalty only to cases where there is DNA evidence supporting a murder conviction but that he could not support a full repeal.

The brief committee discussion yesterday was a preview of the arguments likely to eat up hours on the Senate floor next week. Keeping capital punishment entails the "real risk that we will execute an innocent person," said Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat.

But proponents of capital punishment said they still believe in the deterrent power of the penalty, particularly for prisoners already serving life sentences. "The thing that keeps haunting me is the person serving a sentence of life without parole," said Sen. Norman Stone, a Baltimore County Democrat. "He or she can become a designated killer in prison" and face no further penalty, he said.

A recent survey found that a majority of Marylanders support the death penalty, but the level of support has decreased in recent years. Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978, five men have been executed and another five remain on death row.

State executions have been under an effective moratorium since December 2006, when Maryland's highest court ruled that lethal injection regulations had not been properly adopted. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is still revising protocols.

What's next

Death penalty opponents, including Gov. Martin O'Malley, will make a final push in favor of abolishing capital punishment.

•Senators will decide next week whether to reject their own committee's vote to kill a repeal of the death penalty.

•If the committee vote is rejected, repeal could be voted on by full Senate.


Larry and Nick won't fight extradition


Larry Egbert was released early this morning.  I am trying to determine if Nick is out yet.  It seems the commissioner wa getting persnickedy about Nick’s tax documents relating to his house.  Kagiso, Max,0,286614.story

2 charged in suicide network won't fight extradition

By Justin Fenton |

February 28, 2009

Two Baltimore men indicted in a Georgia assisted-suicide investigation waived their right to an extradition hearing yesterday morning, hoping to accelerate their release from custody as they await trial.

Attorneys for Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert, 81, and Nicholas Alec Sheridan, 60, who were arrested Wednesday in an eight-state probe of the Marietta, Ga.-based Final Exit Network, asked that the men be allowed to transport themselves to Georgia, where authorities say they plan to allow the men to be released on $60,000 bond.

District Court Judge Jeannie J. Hong said said she would consult with Georgia officials in an attempt to expedite the process.

"They have no reluctance to go to Georgia, where they've never been and never fled from, to face these charges," attorney Michael Kaminkow told reporters afterward.

Egbert, an anesthesiologist, is an unpaid visiting assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine but does not treat patients at the hospital. Sheridan, former owner of a catering company, is a part-time aide in the General Assembly to Del. Maggie McIntosh.

Authorities with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation say the pair played an integral role in connecting 58-year-old John Celmer of Cumming, Ga., to the network, which aided in his death in July.

At the hearing, Kaminkow said Egbert has high blood pressure and has not had access to proper medication. His blood pressure approached stroke levels last night, Kaminkow said. Sheridan, meanwhile, pleaded with Hong to release him so he could make arrangements for his 17-year-old daughter.

"Just one day - I could arrange things so she can carry on with her life," he said.

A group of about a dozen supporters attended the hearing to show their support. Max Obuszewski, a peace activist who held a sign that read, "I support Larry & Nick - Human Rights Activists," said the two men have been active in anti-war and human rights efforts, though he said he was unaware of their involvement in the Final Exit Network that is alleged to have helped facilitate suicides.

"It is, to me, a trumped-up case," Obuszewski said.

Asked about his role with Final Exit, Egbert's wife, Ellen Barfield, repeatedly bristled at the term "assisted suicide," saying her husband helped educate terminally sick people on how to "self-deliver." She would not answer several questions about whether Egbert had ever been present during someone's death.

Kaminkow said Egbert's support of right-to-die efforts is no secret and that he is a member of a 3,000-member nationwide advocacy group. The attorney said he didn't see the difference between the group's efforts and hospices.

"A hospice is a slow assisted suicide, where they are deprived of assistance and given drugs instead of medication," Kaminkow said. "It isn't much different."

Assisted suicide ring members prep for court fight

By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press Writer

Posted: 02/27/2009 03:28:24 AM EST


ATLANTA—Members of an assisted suicide ring say they've done nothing wrong and seem eager for a court battle over criminal charges they helped a Georgia man kill himself, while their supporters are using the case as a rallying cry for more debate about end-of-life issues.

Four members of the Final Exit Network were arrested Wednesday on charges they violated Georgia's assisted suicide laws by helping 58-year-old John Celmer use helium and an exit bag—a plastic hood with tubing attached—to suffocate himself.


Network president Thomas E. Goodwin and member Claire Blehr, both arrested in metro Atlanta, were released from jail late Thursday. Goodwin's attorney, Cynthia Counts, said she was confident her client "will be vindicated."

In Baltimore on Friday, Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert and Nicholas Alex Sheridan smiled and waved to supporters before asking a judge to release them on bond so they could travel to Georgia to face charges. The judge later agreed to release and their attorney said they were expected to travel to Georgia over the weekend.


"These are not people who are running from justice," said Michael Kaminkow, an attorney for Egbert, the group's medical director, and Sheridan. "These are people who want justice."


Celmer's mother says he suffered for years from mouth and throat cancer, but Georgia authorities say he was cancer-free and simply embarrassed about how jaw surgeries had affected his appearance when the network helped him kill himself.


Network members bristle at the term assisted suicide, saying they don't actively aid suicides but rather support and guide those, like Celmer, who decide to end their lives on their own.


"These people are suffering. And the suffering that they're experiencing is their own personal experience," said Jerry Dincin, a Chicago clinical psychologist who was named the group's president after Goodwin's arrest.

Dincin, who wasn't arrested, said he never met Celmer. But he said Friday people who approach the group for help are asked repeatedly in the days leading up to the suicide—often more than 10 times—if they are sure they want to go through with the process.


"Who are we to judge? That's his opinion. He was suffering to the point where he didn't want to live anymore. He had every opportunity to say no, and he didn't."


The four also were charged with tampering with evidence and violating anti-racketeering laws.


Georgia authorities began investigating the group shortly after Celmer killed himself last June. Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead says the organization may have been involved in as many as 200 other deaths around the country since it began in 2004.


State authorities have frozen the Georgia-based network's bank accounts, and Dincin said it can't pay its bills. "We can't even buy a stamp," he said, though he wouldn't say how much was in the accounts.


Voters in Oregon and Washington have legalized doctor-assisted suicide, and a district judge in Montana ruled in December that such suicides are legal there, though the state Supreme Court could overturn that decision.

Most other states call for prison time for those found guilty of assisting suicide. People convicted of assisting in suicide in Georgia can be sentenced to up to five years.


The GBI is now leading a wide-ranging investigation into the ring, which has led to raids in nine states. Authorities say they have searched 14 sites in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Montana.


Some legal experts and advocates said they hope details about the network will help stoke a deeper discussion over assisted suicide.


Barbara Coombs Lee, president of the national advocacy group Compassion and Choices, said the case is a reminder that lawmakers must consider changes to allow those suffering with terminal illnesses to "die gracefully."


"We shouldn't make people feel ashamed for wanting a graceful exit at the end of their valiant fight," she said.


Georgia prosecutors will seek to prove the four network members violated the state's 1994 assisted suicide law, which defines assisted suicide as anyone publicly advertising or offering to "intentionally and actively assist another person" in ending their life.


Dincin called the prosecution "a travesty of American justice."


"I'm so insulted. The GBI should be flushed down the toilet," he said. "They have judged us and ruined us before we have gone to court."


Dincin said the group's members didn't actively assist the suicides but were there to walk members through a procedure outlined in the best-selling manual "The Final Exit" and hold their hands until their dying breaths.

"If this case goes to court, we'll be dealing with the notion of what is 'assistance,'" he said. "If we point somebody to a book, maybe that's considered assistance in the courts. But we don't think so."


Associated Press Writer Alex Dominguez in Baltimore contributed to this report.



John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

Mother Jones

John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

— By Jonathan Stein | Thu February 26, 2009 9:27 AM PST

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning,  he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.

Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the nation's largest annual conference of conservative activists, Bolton, one of the hardest hardliners of the George W. Bush administration, spoke at length about Obama's naiveté and how various nations – Russia, North Korea, Iran – will be exploiting the new president. The most dramatic moment of his speech may have been when he cracked a joke about the nuking of Obama's hometown.

"The fact is on foreign policy I don't think President Obama thinks it's a priority," said Bolton. "He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city" – here Bolton changes his tone subtly to prepare for the joke – "pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?"
Bolton wasn't the only one who thought this was funny. The room erupted in laughter and applause. Was this conservative catharsis, with rightwingers delightfully imagining the destruction of a city that represents Obama? Or perhaps they were venting vengeance with their laughter. (Bolton is no stranger to inflammatory remarks. He once infamously quipped, "There are 38 floors to the UN building in New York. If you lost 10 of them, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.")

At CPAC, the Right's most fevered beliefs about Obama live on, with speakers portraying him as a radical liberal who wants to compromise American values, hand hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the shifty poor, and, as Bolton repeatedly pointed out, weaken America's defense.

Bolton was introduced by Thomas Kilgannon, the head of Freedom Alliance, an organization founded by Oliver North. Kilgannon described the United Nations, an organization that Bolton despises, as a place "where anti-Americanism is outdone only by anti-Semitism" and "where American tax dollars are wasted [and] dictators are exalted."

Bolton received a standing ovation and got off to a fast start, declaring that "President Obama is the most radical president we have ever elected in this country." In Bolton's world, Obama's radicalism is matched only by his lack of backbone. The new president, he warned, simply doesn't have what it takes to go head to head with the world's baddest bad actors. And Obama's pusillanimous posture, Bolton predicted, will result in American becomes a "weaker and less safe nation."

One man that Bolton feels has plenty of backbone is the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who Bolton believes can sense Obama's weakness and is already finding ways to test it. In Bolton's view, the problem isn't merely that Obama isn't man enough to take on Putin; it's that Obama desires the United States to become a second-class nation. "The administration wants to return to an arms control relation with Russia that will put us in a greatly weakened position," Bolton maintained.

Russia isn't the only threat that Obama will fail to confront, Bolton said. North Korea, he claimed, is testing a missile that can hit Alaska and "possibly" Hawaii. With "further development," he added, that missile could someday be used to attack the continental United States. And North Korea is small potatoes compared to Iran. "We have lost the race with Iran on the nuclear front," said Bolton. "They now have complete mastery over the nuclear fuel cycle. And while in the long-term, the preferred outcome would be to change the regime in Tehran and get rid of the Islamic revolution of 1979, we don't have time to do that before they get nuclear weapons capability." Bolton expressed disappointment that the Bush administration did not use force against Iran. Judging from the enthusiastic crowd reaction, there are plenty of conservatives who think that Bush's foreign policy failing was not preemptively attacking enough Middle Eastern countries.

Bolton concluded by saying, "I think it's clear that our national security is at risk in this administration." He received a standing ovation. In a brief Q&A session, he was asked if the American people will "revolt" because of Obama's policies. This question about armed revolution was curious, given President Obama's popularity rating is above 60 percent.

The speaker who proceeded Bolton, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, highlighted the conflict that runs throughout CPAC. Ryan's proposals for domestic policy were exactly what one would expect. Supply side theories, good! Government spending, bad! Tax cuts, good! European-style economics, bad! He  ended by saying, "With CPAC's leadership, we can revitalize this movement." And that's the problem. This year's CPAC is supposed to begin conservatism's comeback. But can rebirth be achieved when the ideas being spouted by Bolton, Ryan, and others are the same as the ones pushed for the last eight years? But at least this much can be said about Bolton: even as he fades into obscurity, he's not going soft.

Copyright ©2009 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. All Rights Reserved.


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Friday, February 27, 2009

Baltimore Activist Alert - Part 2

32] Takoma Park peace vigil – Feb. 27

33] Olney vigil to end the war – Feb. 28                           

34] Peace vigil in Chester, PA – Feb. 28

35] Retreat to study Marxism – Feb. 28

36] Peace vigil at Capitol – Feb. 28

37] Westminster peace vigil – Feb. 28

38] African Service – Mar. 1

39] Bridge peace vigil – Mar. 1

40] Healing Words of War – Mar. 1 

41] Bethesda peace vigil – Mar. 1

42] Take Back YPR meeting – Mar. 1

43] Red Emma’s needs volunteers – Mar. 1

44] Pentagon vigil – Mar. 2

45] Coal Plant Action – Mar. 2

46] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Mar. 2 -- 5

41] Lobby Night: Keep Guard at home/Protect Immigrant rights – Feb. 23

47] Protest the death penalty – Mar. 2  

48] Film TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE – Mar. 2

49] Pledge of Resistance meeting – Mar. 2

50] Peace Center meeting in Frederick – Mar. 2

51] Strategy in Iraq – Mar. 3

52] No Spying legislation hearing – Mar. 3

53] Tuesday peace vigil – Mar. 3

54] Slavery documentary – Mar. 3

55] Ecolocity DC meeting -- Mar. 3

56] BCAN meeting – Mar. 3

57] Death penalty meeting – Mar. 3

58] Occupation 101 – Mar. 3

59] Keep Guard at Home legislation hearing – Mar. 3

60] Peace vigil in Philadelphia – Mar. 4

61] Peace vigil in W. Mount Airy, PA – Mar. 4

62] Chestnut Hill, PA vigil – Mar. 4

63] Mobilization for Global Justice meeting – Mar. 4

64] PG County peace meeting – Mar. 4

65] WIB Peace Stand – Mar. 5

66] Israel/Palestine roundtable – Mar. 5  

67] Angela Davis speaks – Mar. 5

68] First Thursday protest of the war – Mar. 5

69] PeaceAction Montgomery meeting – Mar. 5                      

70] Vegan dating – Mar. 6

71] BUPJ meeting – Mar. 11

72] Remember the War – Mar. 19

73] Antiwar march in NYC – Apr. 4

74] MUPJ conference – Apr. 4

75] Human rights lawyer from the Congo is seeking speaking engagements

76] Join Global Zero campaign

77] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale

78] Publish your peace article

79] Become a member of the Washington Peace Center

80] Click on The Hunger Site  

81] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil


32] –  Join the Takoma Park peace vigil, which takes place the last Friday of the month from 5 to 6 PM at Takoma Junction (Rte. 410 and Carroll Ave.).  The next vigil to end occupation in Iraq, Palestine and the White House will be Feb. 27.  Call 301-589-5410 or go to


33] – Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. in Olney, MD.  The next vigil is Feb. 21. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167. 


34] –  Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. This vigil has been the target of counter-demonstrators and harassment from the "Chester County Victory Movement" but has grown and persisted.  Go to

35] – Workers World Party will hold a retreat on Sat., Feb 28 with the theme: The Capitalist Economic Crisis and the Fight Back: A Revolutionary Marxist View.  Discussions will be led by Fred Goldstein, member of WWP National Committee and author of Low-Wage Capitalism, Colossus with Feet of Clay.  The retreat will begin at 11 AM at the Solidarity Center, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md. 21218. There are suggested readings which can be accessed on the web, but you do not have to read the material to attend the various sessions. Contact Steve Ceci at to get a list of the suggested readings.

There will be a lunch break from 1 to 2 PM, and the retreat will conclude at 4 PM.  There is a suggestion to cover other issues at a future date based on the consensus of the group.

36] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sat., Feb. 21. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It. --Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to or email

37] – Westminster WIB holds a vigil the last Saturday of the month. On Feb. 28 meet at 2 PM in front of the library on Main St. Please wear black, everyone welcome at all stands, signs provided. Contact


38] –  On Sun., Mar. 1, the KALAFONG AME CHURCH invites you to a Prayer for Africa at 11 AM at the HISPANIC SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST DAY CHUCH, 5100 Edmondson Ave., Baltimore 21229.   Contact Rev. Dr. Duane Rawlings at  Go to\md\kalafong-ame-mission-church/index.html.

39] – Maryland Bridges for Peace welcomes you to stand for peace Sundays from noon (or thereabouts) to 1 PM on the Spa Creek Bridge in Annapolis.  Contact Lucy at 410-263-7271 or Signs are not allowed to be on a stick or pole.   If there is interest, people will be standing on the Stoney Creek Bridge on Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena [410-437-5379 or]. Go to

40] – Healing the Wounds Of War takes place on Sun., Mar. 1 from 4 to 6 PM at the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, 15 W. Church St., Frederick.  Alaine Duncan, acupuncturist and trauma specialist and clinical director, Crossings HealingWorks, a non-profit organization dedicated to healing the trauma of war, will talk about her experience working with veterans, their families and their caregivers. Call 301-834-7581 or email This is a presentation of A Season for Nonviolence.  Go to  The event is co-sponsored by Women in Black Frederick and the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ.

41] – Every Sunday until Nov. 3, from 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Aves., near Barnes & Noble and the Landmark Theaters, there will be a peace vigil organized by Bethesda Friends. Everyone welcome to participate!  

42] – Take Back YPR is meeting on Tues, Mar. 1 at 5 PM at One World Cafe, Canterbury and University Parkway.  RSVP at 410-336-1637.We will plan the program for the event with Marc Steiner on Sun., Feb. 8 at 6 PM at St. John’s, 27th & St. Paul Sts.  


43] – Red Emma’s needs volunteers.  Stop in to the weekly Sunday meeting at 7 PM at 800 St. Paul St. or email  The next meeting is Mar. 1. Call 410-230-0450.

44] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is Mon., Mar. 2, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Call 202-882-9649.

45] – On Mon., Mar. 2, there is a call to do “civil disobedience” at the Capitol Coal Plant, E St. SE @ New Jersey Ave. SE WDC,  by Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben.  Go to It is called Coal To Action / Capitol Climate Action, and supported by many groups. It begins at noon and is expected to go to 10 PM.

  Meet at Spirit of Justice Park, C St. and Capitol St SE.  Some Baltimore activists will catch the 9:52 AM Marc train at Penn Station. Tickets can be purchased on line at or at the station for $14 round trip.  

46] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6 PM on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community.  The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email

You can listen to interviews by Steiner through his Center for Emerging Media podcasts. To hear the interviews, email   Go to

47] – There is usually a vigil to abolish the death penalty every Monday from 5 to 6 PM, outside the prison complex and across the street from Maryland’s death row, at the corner of Madison Ave. and Fallsway in Baltimore.  The next vigil is scheduled for Mon., Mar. 2. Call 410-233-0488.

48] – On Mon., Mar. 2 at 7 PM, Witness Against Torture sponsors the film “Taxi to the Dark Side” at St. Stephens and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1525 Newton St. NW  (on corner of 16th and Newton St.), WDC 20010.  Members of TASSC and Witness Against Torture will be present to lead a discussion about the film after is showing.  It won the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The film focuses on the murder in custody of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar.  Dilawar was beaten to death by American soldiers while being held in extrajudicial detention at the Bagram Air Base.

49] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM at the AFSC, 4806 York Road [three blocks north of Coldspring Lane].  The next meeting will be Mar. 2, and the agenda will include a review of Lobby Night for the National Guard, the coal plant action, testimony to prevent future spying scandals and the arrest of Larry Egbert.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.


50] – There will be a meeting of the Frederick Peace Resource Center on Mon., Mar. 2 at 7:30 PM at 4 East Church St. Call Gus Fahey at 301-663-6117.

51] – More Than “Shiites" and"Sunnis": Post-Sectarian Strategy in Iraq will be presented on Tues., Mar. 3 from 10 AM to noon at the U.S. Institute of Peace, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 1200 17th St, NW, WDC 20036. The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs has convened a group of distinguished Iraqi academics and professionals to develop policy recommendations for Iraq. RSVP with your name, affiliation, daytime phone number and name of the event to Elizabeth Detwiler at

52] – The hearing for the No Spying legislation is on Tues., Mar. 3 at 1 PM in both the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.  Please submit written testimony explaining why you support the Freedom of Association and Assembly Protection Act (HB182/SB256) and why you oppose the State Police bill (HB311/SB266).  
53] – There is a vigil to say "War Is Not the Answer" each Tuesday since September 11, 2001 at 4806 York Road. Join this ongoing vigil.  The next vigil is Mar. 3 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

54] – You are invited to participate in a viewing of the documentary, TRACES OF THE TRADE, on Tues., Mar. 3 at 6 PM at the Cork Gallery, 302 E. Federal St., 4th Floor, Doorbell #9, and a follow-up discussion.  Go to  Later there will be three conversations, as part of Fusion’s participation in the Fetzer Institute and Maryland Public Television’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness. Go to www.loveandforgive.orgRSVP and indicate if you plan to commit to the entire series of conversations: 410-889-4700 or  This will be a potluck dinner event, so bring something to share.  

   In the documentary, producer/director Katrina Browne tells the story of her forefathers, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Given the myth that the South is solely responsible for slavery, viewers will be surprised to learn that Browne’s ancestors were Northerners. Go to

55] – There is a meeting of Ecolocity DC every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM at the EMERGENCE COMMUNITY ARTS COLLECTIVE, 733 Euclid St. NW, WDC 20001.  It is for people who live in, or are interested in making D.C. a transition town starting with an intentional community that will encompass clean energy, freecycle, natural building, organic farming, community salvage, new urbanism, etc. The next meeting will be on Mar. 2. Go to

56] –  BCAN is hosting the Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment,  Shari Wilson, on Tues., Mar. 3 from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road, Lutherville, MD 21093.  After her presentation, there will be a brief BCAN meeting. Go to

You email or call 410-812-1447.  To carpool, go to

57] – The Coalition Against the Death Penalty will meet Tues., Mar. 3 at 7 PM at the AFSC, 4806 York Road.  Agenda items will include the spy scandal, death penalty legislation and an anti-death penalty demonstration. Call 410-488-6767 or 443-838-3221.

58] – On Tues., Mar. 3 at 7 PM, see the documentary Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority at the Baltimore Cathedral of the Incarnation, 4 E. Univ. Pkwy.  Refreshments will be served. There is a sliding scale suggested donation, but no one will be turned away.  The film examines the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. Go to The film is presented by the Baltimore Palestine Solidarity. Go to


59] – The Keep the Guard at Home legislation will have a Senate hearing at 1 PM on Wed., Mar. 4 in 2 West Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis. The committee hearing this bill will discuss a number of other bills, so it is impossible to predict when the Guard legislation testimony will take place.


Anyone can submit written testimony, which will then be part of the public record. If you testify, you are limited to three minutes.  Also you must make 20 copies available of your testimony an hour in advance to the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs staff at 2 West, Miller Senate Building.  Please follow this format: Testimony of [your name or organization] to the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee March 4, 2009 SB 501--Public Safety - National Guard Deployment - Governor's Powers SUPPORT.  The committee number is 410-841-3661.  


60] – Each Wednesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the House of Grace Catholic Worker holds a weekly vigil for peace in Iraq outside the Phila. Federal Building, 6th & Market Sts. The next vigil is Mar. 4. Call 215-426-0364.

61] – Each Wednesday in clear weather, there is a peace vigil from 5 to 6 PM outside the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive (between Wayne & Hortter) in West Mount Airy, PA. The next vigil is Mar. 4. Call 215-843-4256 or email

62] – Each Wednesday, there is a peace vigil from 7 to 8 PM outside the Borders Book Store, Germantown Ave. at Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, PA. The next vigil is Mar. 4.  Call 215-843-4256 or email


63] – There will be a Mobilization for Global Justice meeting at 7 PM on Wed., Mar. 4 at St. Stephens Church, 16th & Newton Sts., NW, WDC.  Exit at the Columbia Heights Metro stop.  The meeting takes place the first Wednesday of the month.  Email  


64] – The Peace & Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 PM at the Greenbelt Community Center.  The next meeting is Mar. 4. Call 301-577-2350.


65] – There is a WIB peace stand on Thurs., Mar. 5, noon-1PM in Towson at northwest corner of Washington & Chesapeake Aves., across the street from the post office, near the courthouse. Contact This vigil takes place on the first Thursday of the month.


66] – On Thurs., Mar. 5, the WEEKLY ROUNDTABLE SEEKING A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL takes place from 12:30 - 1:30 PM at Potter's House, 1658 Columbia Road NW, WDC.  Join a civil discourse which explores the history, issues, myths, realities, and truth of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Contact Alice Azzouzi at 202-232-5483.

67] – Angela Davis speaks on “Feminism, Anti-Racism and Abolition Democracy" at the Women's Center at Towson U.'s University Union --Potomac Lounge (2nd Floor) on Thurs., Mar. 5 at 6 PM. Call 410-704-2051 or email

68] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore hosts an End the War! End the Occupation! rally on Thurs., Mar. 5 from 5 to 6:30 PM in Mount Vernon at Centre & Charles Sts.  The Pledge gathers in Mount Vernon on the first Thursday of the month to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

69] – PeaceAction Montgomery, meets every first Thursday, next being Mar. 5, at 7 PM at the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, room 16 in the basement, 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4099.

70] –  The Yabba Pot Café, 2431 St. Paul St., is sponsoring Vegan Speed Dating on Fri., Mar. 6 at 7:30 PM.  The cost is $5 to participate.  If you need your good fortune read - Sistah Althea will be in the corner giving five minute reading for only $10.  Call 410-662-TOFU.


71] – Baltimore United for Peace and Justice will meet at 7 PM on Wed., Mar. 11 at the AFSC, 4806 York Road. The BUPJ agenda will focus on organizing an anniversary commemoration of the Iraq War in March and the April 4 march and rally in NYC.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.


72] – Baltimore United for Peace and Justice is again planning a Public Meeting on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on Thurs., Mar. 19.  There will be a vigil from 6 to 7 PM, tentatively scheduled for York Road and Woodbourne Ave.  The program will start at 7 PM at Govans-Boundary United Methodist Church, 5210 York Road.  The theme of the evening will be to honor Dr. Martin Luther King and his campaign to end the Vietnam War and for Labor Rights.  Call 410 433-3269.

73] – There will be a United for Peace and Justice demonstration in New York City on Sat., Apr. 4, anniversary of Dr. King's 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech and his assassination in 1968 and concurrent with international demonstrations for peace on the 60th anniversary of NATO.  Buses leave from Stony Run Friends, 5116 N. Charles St. at 7 AM with a return around 11 PM.  Tickets are $40.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

74] – The 24th annual Maryland Peace and Justice conference has been set for April 4, 2009 at the Church of the Resurrection in Burtonsville, MD, easily accessible off of Rt. 29. Please put the date on your calendar and try not to schedule any other major events on that day. Thanks so much for your cooperation, and the organizers hope to see you there!  Call Paulette at 410-747-3811.

75] – Sylvie Maunga Mbanga, a human rights lawyer and women’s activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is in the DC area waiting for asylum. She works with seven local organizations to end the horrific sexual violence against women in the eastern region of the Congo. She is eager to speak to audiences about her situation and that of the DRC. Though she will speak for free, honoraria or donations (even Metro cards, or food/grocery gift certificates) would help her meet her day to day needs. Call her at 202-355-4511.

76] – Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees.  This is an historic window of opportunity.  With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.  

77] – WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5.  To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

78] – Publish Your Peace Article. Daniel Frasier is soliciting peace articles for the biweekly series of commentaries Paths to Peace in the Frederick News Post Religion and Ethics section. For details, email


79] – Become an active member of the Washington Peace Center, which is now located at 1233 12th St. NW.  All members are granted voting rights and are invited to join one or more of our many working groups. Members are asked to pay suggested annual dues of 25 dollars, or volunteer. Email - subject "membership.” The mailing address is The Washington Peace Center, P.O. Box 50032, WDC 20019-0032. Call 202-234-2000. Subscribe at  Send donations to The Washington Peace Center.


80] – The Hunger Site was initiated by Mercy Corps and Second Harvest, and is funded entirely by advertisers.  You can go there every day and click the big yellow "Give Food for Free" button near the top of the page; you do not have to look at the ads. Each click generates funding for about 1.1 cups of food.  So consider clicking.  

81] – Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981.  Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 East 25th St. Baltimore, MD 21218 Ph: 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]


"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan