Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sign a letter and/or visit Rep. Cummmings' office on Nov. 15 to discuss Syria and killer drone strikes

Friends, Below is a letter we will send to Rep. Elijah Cummings. We will also hand-deliver the letter to his office, 1010 Park Avenue, Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21201, on Friday, November 15 at 3:30 PM. This will be an opportunity to discuss with staff the issues raised in the letter. Let me know if you would sign the letter and/or join us on Friday. Thank you. Kagiso, Max Pledge of Resistance/Fund Our Communities, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 Email mobuszewski at verizon.net; Phone 410-366-1637 Congressperson Elijah Cummings 1010 Park Avenue, Suite 105 Baltimore, MD 21201 November 14, 2013 Honorable Elijah Cummings: We are members of the Pledge of Resistance/Fund Our Communities, and are deeply concerned about our government’s role in Syria and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to assassinate people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places. Representatives of the group would like to meet with you on Nov. 15, 2013 to urge you to support a peaceful solution to the catastrophe in Syria and to promote an end to this assassination program which we believe to be illegal. We intend to visit your Park Avenue office on November 15 at 3:30 PM, and hope to discuss our concerns. Regarding the situation in Syria, we implore you to support massive funding for the refugees who fled to avoid the devastation and the ongoing fighting, to promote a peace conference and finally to speak out against any U.S. military action. We firmly believe a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria is the answer. In 2011 in Yemen, CIA drone attacks were used to kill, first, Anwar Al-Awlaki and weeks later his son. They were U.S. citizens, who were never charged, brought to trial, or convicted of any crime. In fact, two other U.S. citizens have been assassinated by killer drone strikes without any pretense of due process. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought a lawsuit in US federal court against the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of Al-Awlaki. The suit was lost on procedural grounds; however, the judge in the case stated "Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?" The killer drone strikes only promote more terrorism directed at the US. This point was made by Malala Yousafzai when she met with President Obama and his family. On Oct. 11, 2013 Philip Rucker of THE WASHINGTON POST wrote this: “Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are ‘fueling terrorism.’” We are also disturbed by the lack of transparency and oversight by congress. In spite of assurances from President Obama that the victims of drone strikes are surgical targets, it has been reported that hundreds of victims who are innocent of crimes against the US have been killed including civilian men, women, and children. These people have names and families who love them. According to a report, “US: Reassess Targeted Killings in Yemen,” released on October 21, 2013 by Human Rights Watch “United States targeted airstrikes against alleged terrorists in Yemen have killed civilians in violation of international law." The report added that the strikes are creating a public backlash that undermines US efforts against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). We hope that you will take our concerns seriously, as it is our position that killer drone strikes are wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. We believe the US killer drone program must be brought to an end immediately. Please respond to our request to meet and to discuss a diplomatic solution in Syria and the termination of the drone assassination program. This is an opportunity to consider our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy. A U.S. policy of endless wars must be placed in the dustbin of history. We look forward to your response. In peace, Max Obuszewski On behalf of the Pledge of Resistance/Fund Our Communities

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