Friday, December 26, 2008

Free Al-Zeidi Rally in DC/Fake bidder could face federal charges

Free Al-Zeidi Rally in DC




CONTACT: David Swanson:





 A rally calling on the Iraqi Government to free Montather Al-Ziedi, the man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, will be held Monday, December 29 at noon in front of the Iraqi consulate to the United States, located at 1801 P Street NW in Washington, DC.


The rally is timed to immediately precede Mr. Al- Ziedi's appearance in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq on Dec. 31, New Year's Eve.  Mr. Al-Ziedi was arrested December 14 after hurling his shoes at Mr.

Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.  "Al-Zeidi did not attempt to physically hurt George Bush but to insult him and express the deep anger that so many Iraqis feel over the U.S. occupation.  He should be immediately released and the Iraqi government should be held accountable for abusing him while in custody," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK.


"The treatment Al-Zeidi has received should shame all Americans and is likely to motivate as much anti- American sentiment as have the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib," said David Swanson, cofounder of  "While our President and Vice President openly confess to authorizing torture, their puppet government in Iraq tortures a man for throwing shoes, in complete absence of even the pretense of 'interrogation,' much less a ticking time bomb.  Freeing Al-Zeidi will not fix this situation.  We must also put Bush and Cheney behind bars."


"There are credible reports that Montather Al-Ziedi has been tortured while in the custody of the government of Iraq," said Nick Mottern, Director of Consumers for Peace, one of the rally organizers, "and this alone provides the basis for setting him free."


"Mr. Al-Ziedi's act, in the context of the suffering caused by the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, can be seen as a legitimate form of self-expression," Mottern said, "but in any case his action is something that should be treated as nothing more than a misdemeanor in which his time already spent in jail would be more than sufficient."


The rally is being called by a coalition of peace and justice organizations including: CODEPINK: Women for Peace; Iraq Veterans Against the War;; Consumers for Peace;, and others.


At the close of the rally, organizers will deliver a petition to Ambassador of Iraq to the United States Samir Sumaida'ie at the Iraqi embassy at 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW.


Fake bidder could face federal charges


Reported by: Brian Mullahy

Last Update: 12/19 5:54 pm


An oil pump works to retrieve petroleum from the ground. (Photo: AP)

He registered for the auction, he had a number, and he made winning bids.  But Tim DeChristopher doesn’t have the money, and never intended to pay up.  Now, the 27 year old environmentalist may face federal charges.


DeChristopher’s actions on Friday occurred at the Utah Bureau of Land Management Office, which sold controversial oil and gas leases.  Bundled protesters took up pickets outside the building in downtown Salt Lake, opposing the sales.  Some say the leases represent one more environmental injustice from the Bush administration.


DeChristopher’s aim was to run up prices, and prevent real buyers from getting hold of the leases for potential exploration.   In the process, he racked up a tab of more than $1.7 million dollars.

“I tried to resist this sale any way I could,” DeChristopher said, after he was questioned by authorities who caught on to his plan.  “What the environmental movement has been trying for the last 20 years has not been effective.  It’s been too nice.”


His moves disrupted the auction, which BLM officials say occur four times a year, and don’t generate nearly as much interest as Friday’s session.  One agency spokesperson called opponents of the latest leases part of the “conflict class,” who have acted on “misinformation.”

The fake bids had an impact.  “It cost us potentially hundreds of thousand of dollars because we were bidding against him, and the price was going up,” said one bidder, who did not want to reveal  his name or company.  “It’s sad.”


When it was over, the BLM allowed oil and gas companies, who competed with DeChristopher in the auction, to relinquish their bids.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City will review the case, and DeChristopher himself, expects to be charged.


Copyright 2008 Four Points. 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


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