Thursday, February 26, 2015

Baltimore Activist Alert - February 26 - March 6, 2015

28] Police reform bill hearing - Feb. 26
29] “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” - Feb. 26
30] Stop the Privatization of Good Jobs! - Feb. 27
31] Vigil for peace at White House – Feb. 27
32] “In The Lady from Tel Aviv” – Feb. 27
33] Silent Peace Vigil – Feb. 27
34] Challenges and Opportunities for Public Health Justice -- Feb. 27
35] Town Hall on Police Abuses in Maryland – Feb. 27
36] See BUDRUS – Feb. 27
37] Ballroom Dancing – Feb. 27
38] Protest AIPAC – Feb. 28 – Mar. 3
39] THE CROSS OF CHRIST -- Feb. 28
40] Anti-drone vigil – Feb. 28
41] West Chester, PA demo – Feb. 28
42] Campaign Against Police Abuse workshop – Feb. 28
43] Strategy meeting – Feb. 28
44] Film THE OTHER BARRIO – Feb. 28
45] Roy Bourgeois will speak in D.C. – Feb. 28
46] “Motivate or Change: Defining the Role of the Next Generation in Social Activism” – Mar. 1
47] Colorism and Global Perceptions of Beauty – Mar. 1
48] People with disabilities protest – Mar. 1
49] Pentagon Vigil – Mar. 2
50] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Mar. 2 – Mar. 6
51] Author of book on the anti-war movement at Busboys & Poets – Mar. 2
52] Film LIONS FOR LAMBS –Mar. 6
53] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
54] Join Fund Our Communities
55] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
56] Do you need any book shelves?
57] Join Global Zero campaign
58] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale
59] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
28] – A police reform bill hearing will take place in the MD Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Thurs., Feb. 26 from 1 to 8 PM at Miller Senate Office Bldg., 11 Bladen St., Annapolis 21401. Some of the issues of concern--Law Enforcement Officer "Bill of Rights" reform, race-based traffic stops, body-worn cameras, having police-involved deaths investigated by the state prosecutor, and a statewide database on police brutality.

29] – On Thurs., Feb. 26 at 7 PM at the Wheeler Auditorium, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore 21201, Bryan Stevenson, one of the country’s most visionary legal thinkers and social justice advocates, will talk about his new book, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.” Among the first cases he took on was that of Walter McMillan, a black man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The book follows the suspenseful battle to free Walter before the state executes him, while also stepping back to tell the profoundly moving stories of men, women, and even children, who found themselves at the mercy of a system often incapable of showing it.

Stevenson is the executive director of Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. He also serves on the U.S. Programs board for the Open Society Foundations. This event is part of OSI-Baltimore’s Talking About Race Series, co-sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which continues to explore the many facets of this complex subject.

30] – Stop the Privatization of Good Jobs! Privatization of Public Services is a Slippery Slope… The Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight has released a report that strongly endorses the privatization of Department of Liquor Control [DLC]. Now, the County Council has created an “Ad Hoc DLC Committee” to review the value of PRIVATIZATION of the Department of Liquor Control…

Privatizing Good Union Jobs? Eliminating Union Contracts? Giving Up $30/$40 Million in Tax Revenue? What About Local Control? What About Public Safety? What About Our New Public Funded Multi-Million Dollar Warehouse? Join Union Members at Friday’s Ad Hoc DLC Committee Hearing to Protest Privatization and to Protect Our Services! Let’s Use OUR Voice and “Pack the Room!"

The AD Hoc DLC Committee Hearing is Fri., Feb. 27 at 9 AM at the Council Office Building, First Floor Lobby, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. RSVP to Alicia Valentin at

31] – On Fri., Feb. 27 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! The vigil takes place at the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contact Art @ or at 202-360-6416.

32] – At the Jerusalem Fund, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC, on Fri., Feb. 27 from 1 to 2 PM, catch the book talk about “In The Lady from Tel Aviv.” Raba’i Al-Madhoun tackles the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli issue, focusing on a pivotal time of anxiety and suspicion, with tensions on the point of boiling over. The novel’s protagonists are Palestinian exile Walid Dahman, who is returning home to Gaza after many years in Europe, and Israeli Dana Ahuva, who happens to be sitting next to him on their flight into Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Their dialogue takes the reader into the far realms of memory, history and the self. The novel, in its complexity, intricacy and ambiguity, avoids the dogma of ready-made ideology. Zeina Azzam will interview Al-Madhoun, followed by readings from his book conducted by Al-Madhoun and Elliott Colla. Visit

33] – There is usually a silent peace vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St. The Feb. 27 vigil will remind us that War Is Not the Answer and that there is the need to stop torture, and prosecute the torturers.

34] – Challenges and Opportunities for Public Health Justice will take place at the UMD School of Public Health, 255 Campus Drive, Room 1312,
College Park on Fri., Feb. 27 from 6 to 7:30 PM. This panel will discuss the additional work that the Civil Rights Movement needs to do to address environmental racism and classism and related inequalities in the US and the Washington, D.C. region. The panel will discuss progress that has been made, old and emerging challenges, solutions, and why we should be still fighting for health equity and public health justice in the 21st Century. Go to

Arab American and the University of The District of Columbia are proud to present a film screening of "Al-Helm: MLK in Palestine" with a Q & A with Academy Award nominated Director and Producer Connie Field on Fri., Feb. 27 from 7 to 9 PM. Doors open at 7 PM, and the screening starts at 7:30 PM. Go to The film will be shown at the University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, Building 41, Room A-03, WDC. Order tickets via Eventbrite:

35] – The Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition is hosting a Town Hall on Police Abuses in Maryland on Fri., Feb. 27 at 7 PM at the Takoma Park Community Center, Azalea Room, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park 20912. Hear the stories, act for reform. This will be in support of a sweeping Maryland Coalition for Justice and Equality (MCJE) police reform legislative agenda in Annapolis. RSVP at There are many speakers.

The town hall will take place the day after critical Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearings on police reform legislation supported by MCJE and MCCRC. So hear about legislation in Annapolis pertinent to police abuses. In Maryland, allow jurisdictions to create civilian review boards with real power to investigate police; renewal of the "Driving While Black" Act requiring law enforcement record-keeping and reporting of motorist race in all vehicular stops; and going beyond marijuana decriminalization to legalizing and taxing it like alcohol. In Montgomery County, there is consideration for the passage of the Local Civil Rights Restoration Act, especially its racial profiling, surveillance, and federal immigration law enforcement provisions.

It will feature mothers of police shooting victims in Maryland, activists in the Black Lives Matter campaign and the NAACP, an ACLU expert on this issue, and a General Assembly delegate and co-sponsor of several reform bills pending in Annapolis — and the list grows. Among the co-sponsors are the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Council on American Islamic Relations, Maryland. Come prepared to call, text, email and/or tweet Annapolis legislators about reform bills like SB0566 (law enforcement officer 'Bill of Rights' (LEOBOR) reform and SB0653 (state prosecutor for police-involved deaths).

36] – On Fri., Feb. 27 at 7 PM, see a screening of BUDRUS, about nonviolent resistance against the apartheid wall struggle in the West Bank. It will be shown in the Charles Commons Barbar Room, 33rd & N. Charles St. Visit

37] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at 8 PM. Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St. Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be Feb. 27. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.
38] – From Sat., Feb. 28 through Tues., Mar. 3, CODEPINK and a coalition of human rights organizations including Friends of Sabeel--North America will organize four days of political action in Washington DC to oppose the policies of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during its annual policy conference. Coined #ShutDownAIPAC, activists will host a variety of creative events: protests outside the DC Convention Center and Netanyahu’s speech in Congress; events critiquing AIPAC policies; and a lobby day in Congress to call for no more sanctions on Iran.
The #ShutDownAIPAC coalition will draw attention to AIPAC’s role as a special interest lobby that maintains a dangerous stranglehold over US policies. Activists will urge the US government to advocate instead for diplomacy with Iran and an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine. Simultaneously, the Palestine Advocacy Project will place ads in 12 Metro stations in Washington D.C. (as well as Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, LA, Chapel Hill, San Diego, and San Antonio).
“With the politicization of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech and the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans over Speaker Boehner's invitation to the foreign leader, now is the time to confront the influence of the Israel lobby AIPAC and highlight the brutal military occupation of Palestine,” said CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski. “The 30 congress people skipping Netanyahu's speech could mark the beginning of a shift in public opinion toward both the Israel lobby. Peace activists need to seize this moment and #ShutDownAIPAC is an important step forward.”
On Sat., Feb. 28 from 7 to 10 PM, #OneStruggle is at the First Trinity Lutheran Church, corner of E and 4th Sts. NW, WDC. This will be a discussion with Palestinian-American human rights lawyer Noura Erakat, police accountability activist and founder of the Dream Defenders Ahmad Abuznaid from Ferguson, Missouri, founder of Indigenous Resistance and Native American activist Andrew Curley, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizer Tareq Radi. Speakers will discuss the similarities between systems of oppression across the globe and gaining strength through unity. See the
On Sun., Mar. 1 from noon to 3M, rally at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW, WDC. Hundreds of protesters will rally outside AIPAC’s conference with visuals such as mock settlements, a checkpoint, a creative action with 100 Netanyahu masks and “bloody hands.” Speakers include founder of Boycott From Within Ronnie Barkan; founder of the Dream Defenders Ahmad Abuznaid; and Jewish Voice for Peace organizer and Friends of Sabeel representative Ariel Gold. There will be civil disobedience actions at this demonstration.
Also on Mar. 1, from 7 to 10 PM, catch #TheCouragetoSpeakOut at Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St. NW, WDC. The speakers are Miko Peled and Philip Giraldi who will discuss AIPAC’s political power and how best to counter it.
On Mon., Mar. 2 from 6 to 9 PM, protest at the Washington Convention Center during Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech. Activists will hold a protest and candlelight vigil to commemorate all the lives lost in the brutal Israeli bombing campaign of Gaza over the summer of 2014. On Tues., Mar. 3 at 9:30 AM, CODEPINK and coalition members will confront AIPAC during their Congressional lobby day to tell Congress, No more sanctions on Iran. Then from 4 to 6:30 PM join the PROTEST RALLY AT THE CAPITOL. Hundreds of protesters will gather ON THE WEST LAWN of the US Capitol Building for creative protest and speakers when Netanyahu is giving his controversial address to joint session of Congress. Contact Paul Verduin at or 301-518-5551.

39] – THE CROSS OF CHRIST: Justification for Redemptive Violence or a Call to Gospel Nonviolence? The event will take place on Sat., Feb. 28 at 9:30 AM @ Circle of Hope, 2009 Frankfort Ave., Phila., PA. The death of Jesus is central to Christian life and thought, yet it has been frequently been misunderstood and misused. In many tragic ways, the cross of Christ has been seen as a kind of “redemptive violence,” and has been directly or indirectly used to vindicate and even bless human violence. Reflect on how a more radical understanding of the passion of Christ can impact efforts to act nonviolently in a violent world. This is a Lenten challenge before Good Friday

This program will be facilitated by Will O’Brien, coordinator of The Alternative Seminary. A light breakfast will be served. A $5 donation is requested to cover costs (but no one will be turned away). Contact Will O’Brien at 215-842-1790. For directions, see The event is co-sponsored by many groups, including the Brandywine Peace Community.

40] – On Sat., Feb. 28 at 10 AM, there is an Anti-Drone Vigil at the Air and Space Museum. Join Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore members and others on the Mall to protest the use of killer drones. Help educate the public about the adverse effect these drones have on United States “security” at home.

41] – 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. Go to Email

42] – Come to the Emergence Community Arts Collective, 733 Euclid St. NW, WDC 20001 on Sat., Feb. 28 at 11 AM and take a workshop by the Campaign Against Police Abuse (CAPA) for a workshop on how to copwatch your community. Come learn how to observe and document police abuse to create a positive change in your community. RSVP at

43] – Come to the CODEPINK house, 1241 Evarts St. NE, WDC on Sat., Feb. 28 at 1 PM to strategize about #ShutDownAIPAC. This civil disobedience training will include getting ready for AIPAC events. Visit

44] – At Bloombars, 3222 11th St. NW, WDC 20010, on Sat., Feb. 28 from 2 to 4:30 PM, BloomBars and the DC Independent Film Festival take on the issue of gentrification with “The Other Barrio” (2015, 91 min.), by Dante Betteo - a Latino investigator sifting through the suspicious circumstances of a fatal fire in a residential hotel in San Francisco’s Mission District. He finds himself face-to-face with greed, corruption and his own personal demons. See The screening will be followed by a Q&A discussion with Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, executive director of DC Independent Film Festival. The suggested donation is $10. Proceeds support both the DC Independent Film Festival and BloomBars. Sample free organic popcorn. BloomScreen Indie Film Night is a weekly series of independent and foreign films, accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, experts and other guests. Visit

45] – Come to the Dignity Center, 721 8th St. SE, WDC, on Sat., Feb. 28 at 3 PM to hear Roy Bourgeois who will make a presentation on "Peace, Justice, and Equality Journeys." Bourgeois spent 4 years in the military and received a Purple Heart in Vietnam. He is the founder of SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH, and spent four years in prison for nonviolent protests against the SOA. SOA stands for School of the Americas and School of Assassins simultaneously. In 2010 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. A Catholic priest for 40 years, he was expelled from the priesthood in 2012 because of his public support for the ordination of women.

With little more than the moral backing of his increasing number of supporters, Roy Bourgeois has waged and continues to lead battles for peace, for social justice against military oppression of the poor, and for the inclusion of women to full participation in the Catholic Church. Refreshments will follow the presentation. ASL interpretation will be made available IF REQUESTED. Go to

46] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On Mar. 1, the platform address is “Motivate or Change: Defining the Role of the Next Generation in Social Activism” with Farajii Muhammad. He will speak about the role and work of the Young Leaders for Peace Coalition, where young leaders and student activists are addressing issues of social justice including police brutality and other forms of systematic oppression. Muhammad serves as the Youth Empowerment Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Baltimore. Farajii has over 15 years of experience working with young people and has centered his many missions and initiatives around one simple concept, re-defining leadership. Call 410-581-2322 or email

47] – Join a discussion on Colorism and Global Perceptions of Beauty at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Sts., Langston Room, WDC on Sun., Mar. 1 from 5 to 7 PM. The A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) open discussion series is hosted by Busboys and Poets as a community service. It provides the opportunity for people to come together and speak openly and honestly about issues of race. The intent is that each person walks away from the discussion feeling something: challenged, educated, uncomfortable, enlightened, refreshed, reassured and hopefully inspired and moved to action! A.C.T.O.R. is held on the first Sunday of every month at Busboys and Poets. Visit

48] – In the past five years, over seventy people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents. For the last four years, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and other disability rights organizations have come together at local vigils across the country to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities. On Sun., Mar. 1 at 4 PM, join a protest in front of the United States Capitol, between the building and the Capitol Reflecting Pool, WDC 20515.

49] -- 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. Email or call 202-882-9649. The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

50] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to All shows are also available as podcasts at

51] – Michael Heaney will speak at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Sts., Langston Room, WDC on Mon., Mar. 2 from 6:30 to 8 PM. He will discuss and sign his book "Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11." It was co-authored by Fabio Rojas. The book explores the interaction between political parties and social movements in the United States. Examining the collapse of the post-9/11 antiwar movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this book focuses on activism and protest in the United States. It argues that the electoral success of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama, as well as antipathy toward President George W. Bush, played a greater role in this collapse than did changes in foreign policy. It shows that how people identify with social movements and political parties matters a great deal, and it considers the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as comparison cases.

It synthesizes sociological and political science approaches to studying social movements and political parties to develop a new concept, 'the party in the street.' Based on more than 10 years of fieldwork in the antiwar movement and the Democratic Party and more than 10,000 surveys/interviews with political activists, it also utilizes a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative analytic methods, including surveys, interviews, ethnography, regression analysis, network analysis and content analysis. A co-sponsor of the event is CODEPINK/ Go to

52] – The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee, Baltimore Quaker Peace and Justice Committee of Homewood and Stony Run Meetings and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility are continuing the FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS DVD SERIES. On Fri., Mar. 6 at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, around 7:15 PM, LIONS FOR LAMBS [USA, 2007] will be shown with a discussion to follow. There is no charge, and refreshments will be available. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at

The film directed by Robert Redford makes a connection between a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, a U.S. senator, Tom Cruise, a reporter, Meryl Streep, and a California college professor, Redford. It is a critical look at the U.S. government's prosecution of the wars in the Middle East, and does this by telling three different simultaneous stories. The film’s Web site asks a question one must answer before one can enter: what do you stand for? The film itself asks a bigger question: What are you willing to do for what you believe? The title of the film comes from a comment a German general offered in a letter during World War I. Impressed by the bravery of the British soldiers, if not their officers, who were often given their commission because of social ranking, not military prowess, he wrote, “Never have I seen such Lions led by such Lambs.”

53] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

54] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget. Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures. Go to

55] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

56] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

57] -- 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.

58] -- 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.

59] – A 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.

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

"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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gaza in Ruins After Receiving Only 5% of Pledged Reconstruction Funds

A Palestinian man cries in front of his destroyed house in northern Gaza Strip. (photo: Oliver Weiken/EPA)

Gaza in Ruins After Receiving Only 5% of Pledged Reconstruction Funds

By Ken Klippenstein, Reader Supported News
23 February 15

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), discusses the causes and consequences of the fact that only about 5% of pledged donations have reached Gaza.

[This transcript has been lightly edited.]

Ken Klippenstein: What has been the impact of the failure of donor aid funds to reach Gaza?

Chris Gunness: Let me illustrate that with one simple vignette. I was in Gaza yesterday, and I met a grandfather living in the northern area, which is near the fence with Israel. The man is 62. Two of his grandchildren froze to death (i.e., died of hypothermia) during the storm known as Huda, which was in January.
They are living, 15 of them, in a shack, which I assumed when I saw it from the road was for animals. When I went there, it was a tiny, three-roomed wooden structure covered in leaky plastic. It was raining, so water was flowing in. And that is the very place where baby Salima died on the 21st of January at the age of just 40 days old.

The floor is sand, and on top of that they’ve put threadbare carpets. When you sit on them, they’re so wet and cold [that] it’s no protection whatsoever. Baby Salima basically got rained on all night. There was nowhere for them to go. Her body was blue and trembling. They took her to the hospital, and after one night the doctor phoned up and said that Salima was dead. Another grandchild, a boy, was 50 days old. He was in a UN shelter; it was freezing cold, and he died very suddenly of hypothermia.

There are about 110,000 homes which are either completely uninhabitable or very badly damaged. Assuming each home has between six and eight people, that’s 600,000-800,000 people, approximately. So in terms of both the depth of the suffering and the breadth of the humanitarian impact, it’s immense.

KK: Why haven’t the donor funds gone through? We heard so many different countries, from the Gulf states to the West, pledged aid – $5.4 billion, in fact.

CG: Your question is a very good one. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. It’s not from lack of appeals from us; it’s not from want of me telling stories like this; it’s not from lack of donors being given the figures, analysis, what the cost will be in human terms. All of this stuff they know, so there’s absolutely no shortage of information.

KK: What obligation does the West – particularly the United States, but also Europe – have to reconstruct Gaza, given that they are the ones who armed Israel? The West armed Israel with precisely the same weapons that were used to destroy Gaza in this last operation.

CG: And also, it’s those same donors who all met in Cairo [and agreed to rebuild Gaza] – without any security guarantees that it’s not going to be completely leveled again in another couple of years’ time, as has happened for the last six years. There have been three wars since 2009.

You should also ask what are the responsibilities of the belligerent parties, because in a conflict, the belligerent parties are responsible for the protection of civilians.

I think if you look at the Palestinian refugees in Gaza ... we have a situation where Gaza is under blockade and the political pressures that need to come to bear to lift the blockade are not being effectively brought to bear. So the blockade continues.

Not only do huge swaths of Gaza look like an earthquake just hit, but it’s proven very difficult to reconstruct, because the funds simply are not there.

What is the point of reconstructing Gaza if the place is not allowed to have a functioning economy? Do you want gleaming white, new houses and totally impoverished people because the population can’t export?

What you need in an economy like Gaza is to be able to import raw materials to make things [like] garments and export them. If you can’t export them, then you can’t have a functioning economy. The people of Gaza are incredibly entrepreneurial. They’re very proud. They don’t want to suffer the indignities of aid dependency.

What are the obligations of the international community? One of their obligations is to put pressures to bear on the right place so that the blockade is lifted by Israel and the people of Gaza are allowed to trade. If you trade, you can have a disposable income; if you have a disposable income, you can buy things.

We don’t want to be going to the donor community with our begging bowl in hand and asking for money. It’s much better if people in Gaza can have their own economy. Of course they’ll need assistance reconstructing the place, but thereafter, they need to have a functioning economy. Otherwise they’re going to be condemned for decades more to this life-support system known as international aid.

KK: Israel has necessitated this aid by its blockade since Gaza doesn’t have a viable economy?

CG: Yeah. In the year 2000, there were 80,000 people in UNRWA’s food distribution. Fifteen years later, it’s 10 times that – 800,000. A lot of that aid dependency is due to the fact that there’s a blockade and Gaza cannot trade.
Unemployment is 44%. Food insecurity is rising. 90% of the water in Gaza is undrinkable. That’s the impact of the blockade. It’s devastating.

KK: As a UN official, could you comment on what obligations Israel has [under international law] as the occupying force in the Palestinian territories?

CG: In the UN, Israel is an occupying power, and has obligations to provide services, housing, water, electricity; all the things which protected populations need to have in situations of occupation. It’s all very clearly stipulated in the 4th Geneva Convention.

KK: What has been the effect of the destruction of the supply tunnels running from Egypt to Gaza?

CG: Make no mistake, the destruction of the tunnels has devastated a lifeline to the people of Gaza. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about that. But the majority of the crossings into Gaza are through Israel.
The Rafah crossing – I’ve been through it – is a single road in one direction. A very narrow road, actually. And a very narrow single road in the other direction. It is not a crossing through which you would want to mount a major import-export or aid operation to 1.8 million people.

KK: How does the failure of the aid to reach Gaza now compare with previous instances?

CG: This is as bad as it’s ever been, I think. After the Cairo conference where the donor community pledged $5.4 billion, we created a plan for $720 million [in aid]. That was for essentially two things: rental properties for people whose houses had been destroyed, and for repair and reconstruction. That $720 million plan has a deficit of $585 million.
I’ve never known it to be this bad and I’ve been here for 9 years.

KK: I imagine failing to reconstruct Gaza represents a security risk.

CG: Having 1.8 million desperate, isolated, destitute people at any country’s doorstep – especially given the history, and given that there’s a fence around it and a blockade – how can that ever be considered to be in anybody’s interest – not just Israel, but all of us?

The Palestinian cause is a source of anger and frustration in many places, including across the Middle East. So it’s in nobody’s interest anywhere in the world to have Gaza in the state that it’s in.
Ken Klippenstein is a staff journalist at Reader Supported News. He can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or email:

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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

"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

Reading the Greek Deal Correctly

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Social Europe

Reading the Greek Deal Correctly
James K. Galbraith

View image |

On Friday as news of the Brussels deal came through, Germany claimed victory and it is no surprise that most of the working press bought the claim. They have high authorities to quote and to rely on. Thus from London The Independent reported:

several analysts agreed that the results of the talks amounted to a humiliating defeat for Greece.

No details followed, the analysts were unnamed, and their affiliations went unstated – although further down two were quoted and both work for banks. Many similar examples could be given, from both sides of the Atlantic.
The New Yorker is another matter. It is an independent magazine, with a high reputation, written for a detached audience. And John Cassidy is an analytical reporter. Readers are inclined to take him seriously and when he gets something wrong, it matters. Cassidy’s analysis appeared under the headline, “How Greece Got Outmaneuvered” and his lead paragraph contains this sentence:

Greece’s new left-wing Syriza government had been telling everyone for weeks that it wouldn’t agree to extend the bailout, and that it wanted a new loan agreement that freed its hands, which marks the deal as a capitulation by Syriza and a victory for Germany and the rest of the E.U. establishment.

In fact, there was never any chance for a loan agreement that would have wholly freed Greece’s hands. Loan agreements come with conditions. The only choices were an agreement with conditions, or no agreement and no conditions. The choice had to be made by February 28, beyond which date ECB support for the Greek banks would end. No agreement would have meant capital controls, or else bank failures, debt default, and early exit from the Euro. SYRIZA was not elected to take Greece out of Europe. Hence, in order to meet electoral commitments, the relationship between Athens and Europe had to be “extended” in some way acceptable to both.

But extend what, exactly? There were two phrases at play, and neither was the vague “extend the bailout.” The phrase “extend the current programme” appeared in troika documents, implying acceptance of the existing terms and conditions. To the Greeks this was unacceptable, but the technically-more-correct “extend the loan agreement” was less problematic. The final document extends the “Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement” which was better still. The MFFA is “underpinned by a set of commitments” but these are – technically – distinct. In short, the MFFA is extended but the commitments are to be reviewed.

Also there was the lovely word “arrangement” – which the Greek team spotted in a draft communiqué offered by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Monday afternoon and proceeded to deploy with abandon. The Friday document is a masterpiece in this respect:

The purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement, making best use of the given flexibility which will be considered jointly with the Greek authorities and the institutions. This extension would also bridge the time for discussions on a possible follow-up arrangement between the Eurogroup, the institutions and Greece. The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday February 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review.

If you think you can find an unwavering commitment to the exact terms and conditions of the “current programme” in that language, good luck to you. It isn’t there. So, no, the troika can’t come to Athens and complain about the rehiring of cleaning ladies.

To understand the issues actually at stake between Greece and Europe, you have to dig a little into the infamous “Memorandum of Understanding” signed by the previous Greek governments. A first point: not everything in that paper is unreasonable. Much merely reflects EU laws and regulations. Provisions relating to tax administration, tax evasion, corruption, and modernization of public administration are, broadly, good policy and supported by SYRIZA. So it was not difficult for the new Greek government to state adherence to “seventy percent” of the memorandum.

The remaining “thirty percent” fell mainly into three areas: fiscal targets, fire-sale privatizations and labor-law changes. The fiscal target of a 4.5 percent “primary surplus” was a dog as everyone would admit in private. The new government does not oppose privatizations per se; it opposes those that set up price-gouging private monopolies and it opposes fire sales that fail to bring in much money. Labor law reform is a more basic disagreement – but the position of the Greek government is in line with ILO standards, and that of the “programme” was not. These matters will now be discussed. The fiscal target is now history, and the Greeks agreed to refrain from “unilateral” measures only for the four-month period during which they will be seeking agreement.

Cassidy acknowledges some of this, but then minimizes it, with the comment that the deal “seems to rule out any large-scale embrace of Keynesian stimulus policies.” In what document does any such promise exist? There is no money in Greece; the government is bankrupt. Large-scale Keynesian policies were never on the table as they would necessarily imply exit – an expansionary policy in a new currency, with all the usual dangers. Inside the Euro, investment funds have to come from better tax collection, or from the outside, including private investors and the European Investment Bank. Cassidy’s comment seems to have been pulled from the air.
Another distant fantasy is the notion that the SYRIZA team was “giddy” with political success, which had come “practically out of nowhere.” Actually SYRIZA knew for months that if it could force an election last December, it would win. And I was there on Sunday night, February 8, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras opened Parliament with his version of the State of the Union. Tsipras doesn’t do giddy. And Yanis Varoufakis’s first words to me on arrival at the finance ministry just before we went over to hear him were these: “Welcome to the poisoned chalice.”

Turning to the diplomatic exchanges, Cassidy concludes that Tsipras and Varoufakis “overplayed their hand.” An observer on the scene would have noticed that the Greek government remained united; initial efforts to marginalize Varoufakis were made and rebuffed. Then as talks proceeded, European Commission leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Pierre Moscovici went off-reservation to be helpful, offering a constructive draft on Monday. Other governments softened their line. At the end-game, remarkably, it was the German government that split – in public – with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel calling the Greek letter a basis for negotiation after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said it wasn’t. And that set up Chancellor Angela Merkel to make a mood-changing call to Alexis Tsipras. Possibly the maneuver was choreographed. But still, it was Schäuble who took a step back in the end. It seems that none of these facts caught Cassidy’s attention.

Finally, in the run-up to these talks did the Greek side fail to realize that they had no leverage, giving – as Cassidy writes – all the advantages to Schäuble once “he realized that Varoufakis couldn’t play the Grexit card”? In truth the Greeks never had any intention of playing any cards, nor of bluffing, as Varoufakis wrote in The New York Times and as I had written two days after the election, in Social Europe:

What leverage does Greece have? Obviously, not much; the heavy weapons are on the other side. But there is something. Prime Minister Tsipras and his team can present the case of reason without threats of any kind. Then the right and moral gesture on the other side would be to … grant fiscal space and to guarantee Greek financial stability while talks are underway. If that happens, then proper negotiations can proceed.

That appears to be what happened. And it happened for the reason given in my essay: in the end, Chancellor Merkel preferred not to be the leader responsible for the fragmentation of Europe.

Alexis Tsipras stated it correctly. Greece won a battle – perhaps a skirmish – and the war continues. But the political sea-change that SYRIZA’s victory has sparked goes on. From a psychological standpoint, Greece has already changed; there is a spirit and dignity in Athens that was not there six months ago. Soon enough, new fronts will open in Spain, then perhaps Ireland, and later Portugal, all of which have elections coming. It is not likely that the government in Greece will collapse, or yield, in the talks ahead, and over time the scope of maneuver gained in this first skirmish will become more clear. In a year the political landscape of Europe may be quite different from what it appears to be today.

© 2015 Social Europe

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

"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

On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood

´How to raise radical kids´ excerpt from Frida Berrigan´s book ... forward by David McReynolds

On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood

By Frida Berrigan, Feb 12, 2015

The daughter of two antiwar activists, Frida Berrigan was raised in a
faith-based community with a mission of social justice advocacy. In
her book, It Runs in the Family, Berrigan writes about being raised by
radicals and gives advice on how to integrate child rearing into
fighting for change.

This excerpt is about the passing of Frida Berrigan's father, Philip
Berrigan, and the impact of her parents on her life:

On December 6, 2002, sometime after dinner, he died. He died at Jonah
House, and more than thirty of his friends, family, and community
members were there. We had walked the last weeks with him.

Each of us wept, probing the hole that his absence would leave in our
lives. We stood around him and prayed, cried, and said goodbye. There
was gratitude too—that his long, painful journey was over. We were all
confident that we gained a powerful advocate in heaven. The pine box
that my brother and friends made was ready, beautifully painted by the
iconographer Bill McNichols. We prepared the body and laid him in the
coffin in dry ice.

The wake and funeral were at Saint Peter Claver, where Dad had served
as a priest decades earlier. The night after the wake, we gathered
around him one last time and then nailed the coffin closed. I remember
my Uncle Jim, my dad's oldest living brother at the time, driving
nails deep with just two whacks of the hammer, in contrast to my own
clumsy, off-center pings.

The next morning was cold, clear, and so beautiful. Dad was loaded on
to the back of a pickup truck and my sister Kate, our sister-in-law
Molly, and I rode in the truck with him. Other people carried signs
and banners as we processed the mile or so to the church for the
funeral mass. I don't remember that much of the service, but it was a
strangely happy occasion. Dad was gone, but he was still so present in
the room full of people who loved him. That presence was the theme of
the eulogy that Kate and I wrote, which read in part:

He is here with us every time a hammer strikes on killing metal,
transforming it from a tool of death to a productive, life-giving,
life-affirming implement.

He is here with us every time a member of the church communicates the
central message of the gospel (thou shalt not kill) and acts to oppose
killing, rather than providing the church seal of approval on war.

He is here whenever joy and irreverent laughter and kindness and hard
work are present. He is here every time we reach across color and
class lines and embrace each other as brother and sister.

We ended by saying, "Thanks, Dad, for lessons in freedom, inside and
outside of prison. And thanks to all of you for struggling toward
freedom and working to build a just and peaceful world. Our dad lives
on in you." I have only seen my mother cry a few times. She broke down
at my dad's grave—wept and sobbed as he was being lowered into it,
with the torches and snow and music evoking some sort of timeless
Viking ritual.

She broke, and then she began to remake herself. For the last twelve
years, she has continued a life of community, labor, prayer,
organizing, resistance, studying the Bible, and innovation. She
devotes time and energy to her prodigious gift for art. Donkeys,
goats, llamas, and guinea fowl have joined the Jonah House community
and now quarrel and push one another at feeding time. Six incredible
youngsters now call her Grandma, showering her with sloppy kisses and
clumsy drawings and pawing her with sticky hands. She wears her
"Grandmothers for Peace" sweatshirt like a banner—fiercely and with
great love.

Now that I am a mom, I do more than rely on my parents' fierceness. I
shake my head in awe at what they were able to accomplish. Their basic
competency, indomitable strength, spiritual consistency, and
indefatigable spirits are guideposts for me as I try to find myself as
a parent. They leave me with big shoes to fill. Big shoes, but many
gifts. My mom is quick to reassure me that I'm doing just fine as a
mom. My dad always told us that we—his kids—were way ahead of him
because he didn't "wake up" until he was in his forties and we
were—God bless us—born awake. I know I can't match their intensity or
their dogged pursuit of peace. So what can I offer my own children?

The great American poet Wendell Berry calls us to "be joyful though
you have considered all the facts." That seems to sum up my
parents—unlike so many conscientious people, they were not burdened or
haunted by the ills of the world. My dad was joyful. My mom still is;
inspite of everything they knew and experienced. Why? Because they saw
themselves as part of the dynamic that is trying to change the world.
With that belief—and lived experience—they endowed us with a moral
cheerfulness that is both sustaining and infectious.

My parents showed me that being part of building a new society in the
shell of the old is fun, interesting, and refreshing. It brought my
sister, brother and I into deep relationships with strange and
fascinating people, freed us from the bounds of convention,
consumption, and carelessness. It allowed us to be creative; it
motivated us to build what you need and share it with neighbors. I see
that moral cheerfulness in my husband's upbringing as well. At our
best, Patrick and I draw from that well of strength in our parenting
and offer moral cheerfulness to our children.

From our parents, Patrick and I learned how to live well without a lot
of money, to speak up for justice in big and small ways, to treasure
the richness of diversity, and to value truth and love above pretty
much everything else.

What does that look like in practice? Potluck dinners, composting,
knowing our neighbors, belonging to the community garden and the food
co-op, looking after other people's children, joyfully embracing
chores and family work, pitching in with food and time when a neighbor
is in need, advocating for peace and justice, being enthusiastic
members of our local Unitarian Universalist church, greeting people by
name, cultivating curiosity in our children, having time for each
other and for others, sharing what we have, and so much more.

Our life today isn't a cookie-cutter version of my own childhood—thank
goodness—but I am grateful for the many ways in which my unique
upbringing informs, complicates, and supports my own parenting.

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

"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

Leaked Cables Show Netanyahu’s Iran Bomb Claim Contradicted by Mossad

Published on Portside (

Leaked Cables Show Netanyahu’s Iran Bomb Claim Contradicted by Mossad

Seumas Milne, Ewen MacAskill and Clayton Swisher

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Guardian

Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran [1] was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.
It is part of a cache of hundreds of dossiers, files and cables from the world’s major intelligence services – one of the biggest spy leaks in recent times.

Brandishing a cartoon of a bomb with a red line to illustrate his point, the Israeli prime minister warned the UN in New York that Iran would be able to build nuclear weapons the following year and called for action to halt the process.

But in a secret report shared with South Africa a few weeks later, Israel’s intelligence agency concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”. The report highlights the gulf between the public claims and rhetoric of top Israeli politicians and the assessments of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment.

An extract from the document Photograph: The Guardian

The disclosure comes as tensions between Israel [2] and its staunchest ally, the US, have dramatically increased ahead of Netanyahu’s planned address to the US Congress on 3 March.

The White House fears the Israeli leader’s anticipated inflammatory rhetoric could damage sensitive negotiations between Tehran and the world’s six big powers over Iran’s nuclear programme. The deadline to agree on a framework is in late March, with the final settlement to come on 30 June. Netanyahu has vowed to block an agreement he claims would give Iran access to a nuclear weapons capability.

The US president, Barack Obama [3], will not meet Netanyahu during his visit, saying protocol precludes a meeting so close to next month’s general election in Israel.

The documents, almost all marked as confidential or top secret, span almost a decade of global intelligence traffic, from 2006 to December last year. It has been leaked to the al-Jazeera investigative unit and shared with the Guardian.

The papers include details of operations against al-Qaida, Islamic State and other terrorist organisations, but also the targeting of environmental activists.

The files reveal that:

• The CIA [4] attempted to establish contact with Hamas in spite of a US ban.
• South Korean intelligence targeted the leader of Greenpeace.
• Barack Obama “threatened” the Palestinian president to withdraw a bid for recognition of Palestine at the UN.
• South African intelligence spied on Russia over a controversial $100m joint satellite deal.

The cache, which has been independently authenticated by the Guardian, mainly involves exchanges between South Africa’s intelligence agency and its counterparts around the world. It is not the entire volume of traffic but a selective leak.

One of the biggest hauls is from Mossad. But there are also documents from Russia’s FSB, which is responsible for counter-terrorism. Such leaks of Russian material are extremely rare.
Other spy agencies caught up in the trawl include those of the US, Britain, France, Jordan, the UAE, Oman and several African nations.

The scale of the leak, coming 20 months after US whistleblower Edward Snowden handed over tens of thousands of NSA and GCHQ documents to the Guardian, highlights the increasing inability of intelligence agencies to keep their secrets secure.

While the Snowden trove revealed the scale of technological surveillance, the latest spy cables deal with espionage at street level – known to the intelligence agencies as human intelligence, or “humint”. They include surveillance reports, inter-agency information trading, disinformation and backbiting, as well as evidence of infiltration, theft and blackmail.

The leaks show how Africa is becoming increasingly important for global espionage, with the US and other western states building up their presence on the continent and China expanding its economic influence. One serving intelligence officer told the Guardian: “South Africa is the El Dorado of espionage.”

Africa has also become caught up in the US, Israeli and British covert global campaigns to stem the spread of Iranian influence, tighten sanctions and block its nuclear programme.

The Mossad [5] briefing about Iran’s nuclear programme in 2012 was in stark contrast to the alarmist tone set by Netanyahu, who has long presented the Iranian nuclear programme as an existential threat to Israel and a huge risk to world security. The Israeli prime minister told the UN: “By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move[d] on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

He said his information was not based on secret information or military intelligence but International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports.

Behind the scenes, Mossad took a different view. In a report shared with South African spies on 22 October 2012 – but likely written earlier – it conceded that Iran was “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate, such as enrichment reactors, which will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given”.

But the report also states that Iran “does not appear to be ready” to enrich uranium to the higher levels necessary for nuclear weapons. To build a bomb requires enrichment to 90%. Mossad estimated that Iran then had “about 100kg of material enriched to 20%” (which was later diluted or converted under the terms of the 2013 Geneva agreement). Iran has always said it is developing a nuclear programme for civilian energy purposes.
Last week, Netanyahu’s office repeated the claim that “Iran is closer than ever today to obtaining enriched material for a nuclear bomb” in a statement in response to an IAEA report.

A senior Israeli government official said there was no contradiction between Netanyahu’s statements on the Iranian nuclear threat and “the quotes in your story – allegedly from Israeli intelligence”. Both the prime minister and Mossad said Iran was enriching uranium in order to produce weapons, he added.

“Israel believes the proposed nuclear deal with Iran is a bad deal, for it enables the world’s foremost terror state to create capabilities to produce the elements necessary for a nuclear bomb,” he said.

However, Mossad had been at odds with Netanyahu on Iran before. The former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who left office in December 2010, let it be known that he had opposed an order from Netanyahu to prepare a military attack on Iran.

Other members of Israel’s security establishment were riled by Netanyahu’s rhetoric on the Iranian nuclear threat and his advocacy of military confrontation. In April 2012, a former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, accused Netanyahu of “messianic” political leadership for pressing for military action, saying he and the then defence minister, Ehud Barak, were misleading the public on the Iran issue. Benny Gantz, the Israeli military chief of staff, said decisions on tackling Iran “must be made carefully [6], out of historic responsibility but without hysteria”.

There were also suspicions in Washington that Netanyahu was seeking to bounce Obama into taking a more hawkish line on Iran.

A few days before Netanyahu’s speech to the UN [7], the then US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, accused the Israeli prime minister of trying to force the US into a corner. “The fact is … presidents of the United States, prime ministers of Israel or any other country … don’t have, you know, a bunch of little red lines that determine their decisions,” he said.

“What they have are facts that are presented to them about what a country is up to, and then they weigh what kind of action is needed in order to deal with that situation. I mean, that’s the real world. Red lines are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”

Source URL:



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

"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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Exploding Oil Trains in Baltimore?/Will Landmark Court Decision Speed Diablo's Demise?

On Wed., Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 PM at the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., Baltimore 21218, catch Baltimore Green Drinks - Exploding Oil Trains. Go to

After the news of recent oil train explosions in West Virginia and Ontario over the last week, citizens of Baltimore are joining the national movement against crude oil export terminals and crude-by-rail shipments. Targa Terminals, located in South Baltimore, recently applied for a construction permit to expand and retrofit its existing export pier to store, handle, process and ship more than nine million barrels of crude oil per year to East Coast refineries. If approved, this project would put thousands of Baltimore residents at risk as trains carrying North Dakota crude oil, known to be highly explosive and volatile, and Canadian tar sands oil, travel on rail lines criss-crossing Baltimore neighborhoods. Representatives from Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club will update residents on the situation and how local citizens can get involved to protect the air quality, public safety, and environment in our neighborhoods (and, on the large scale, our global community) from these concerning developments.

Harvey Wasserman. (photo:

Will Landmark Court Decision Speed Diablo's Demise?

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
24 February 15

New revelations about earthquake dangers have shaken the future of California’s Diablo Canyon nukes.
In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal U.S. Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to their continued operation.

California’s two remaining reactors are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo cores, which also sit just 45 miles from the massive San Andreas fault—half Fukushima’s distance from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it. Photo credit: San Francisco Citizen

The suit says Diablo’s owners illegally conspired with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to weaken seismic standards. “This is a big victory,” says Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric won’t admit—hundreds of thousands of people are put at immediate risk by earthquake danger at Diablo Canyon.”

Diablo is also vulnerable on state and federal water quality regulations, economic concerns and more. Citizen activism has also shut operating reactors at Humboldt, Rancho Seco and San Onofre. Proposed projects have been cancelled at Bodega Bay and Bakersfield.

California’s two remaining reactors are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo cores, which also sit just 45 miles from the massive San Andreas fault—half of Fukushima’s distance from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it.

The two 1,100-plus megawatt Diablo nukes overlook a Pacific tsunami zone, nine miles southwest of San Luis Obispo. Since the 1980s they’ve hosted some 10,000 arrests—more than any other U.S. site.

U.S. courts generally treat the nuclear industry as a law unto itself and rarely question NRC proceedings.
But in this case, says Friend of the Earth’s S. David Freeman, “PG&E’s recent study revealed that the earthquake threat at Diablo Canyon, as measured by its original license, could be far greater than that for which the reactors were designed. So PG&E and the NRC secretly amended the license to relax the safety requirements.”

Freeman is former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Dr. Michael Peck, the NRC’s own chief seismic expert, warned that the Diablo reactors could not meet seismic safety standards. Peck was then transferred to NRC offices in Chattanooga.

The case follows a successful FOE filing showing that the NRC conspired with Southern California Edison to ignore steam generator violations at San Onofre. Amidst a massive grassroots upheaval, San Onofre was officially shut in 2013 (similar violations at Ohio’s Davis-Besse reactor have had little impact).

Safe energy activists staged major January gatherings in San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. A “Don’t Frack/Nuke Our Earth” conference may soon follow in the Bay Area.

Earthquake issues are not the only ones poised to doom Diablo.

The two reactors dump huge quantities of hot wastewater directly into the ocean. They’re out of compliance with state and federal water quality standards. So PG&E might soon be required by state law to build cooling towers, with cost estimates ranging from $2 billion to $14 billion.

The state Water Resources Control Board may meet on the issue this spring. The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and others ask the public to write the board and attend its next public hearing.

If required to build those towers, which might take years to do, PG&E would ask the California Public Utilities Commission to make the public pay for them. A vehement grassroots opposition would instantly erupt.
PG&E is much hated. Its negligence caused a 2010 gas explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno. Huge state and federal fines, criminal indictments and visceral public contempt have followed.

The CPUC is also under public fire amidst an astonishing array of scandals and law-breaking. Former chair Michael Peevey has retired in disgrace and faces a series of indictments for conspiring in secret with the utilities he was meant to regulate.

PG&E currently makes money at Diablo, says attorney John Geesman, “Only because ratepayers guarantee it against market price levels—nuclear power in states where prices are set by competitive markets are either closing (e.g., Vermont Yankee, Kewaunee, etc.) or going to the legislatures and seeking sweetheart subsidies (e.g., Illinois).” Forcing Diablo to actually compete in the marketplace would throw it into the red … and maybe out of business.

Amidst all that chaos, a requirement to pay for cooling towers might force Diablo shut. Parallel issues have erupted in New Jersey (a 2017 closure was negotiated at Oyster Creek), New York (Indian Point), Florida (Turkey Point) and elsewhere.

Draft shutdown resolutions are now circulating among cities, towns and counties in PG&E territory. A similar wave of endorsements helped force the two reactors at San Onofre to close.

A ratepayer revolt is also being organized by Code Pink’s Cynthia Papermaster. With PG&E customers withholding all or part of their bill, the potential economic impacts could be incalculable.

Diablo’s current license is set to expire by 2024. PG&E has begun the re-licensing process, but has missed key deadlines, prompting speculation they may give up.

According to intervenor sources, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has equal standing with the NRC on the license renewal. PG&E is late with answers to six pages of the CCC’s questions. Public comment period at the commission’s open meetings begins at 9 a.m.

The California Energy Commission has a bi-annual scoping review upcoming in Sacramento. The CEC addresses California’s energy future, aiming for a reliable supply. It lacks “direct regulatory authority over whether the plant continues to operate,” says Geesman. But its recommendations are “taken very seriously” and “have resulted in legislation,” according to another source close to the process. The CEC is “very public-friendly and very important” with five commissioners “who listen.”

The Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Committee and the Independent Safety Committee may also play a role, and are open to public testimony.

A constant flow of Diablo-related legislation is expected in the coming months.

A possible state-wide initiative could require cooling towers and make the utility pay for them, or take up waste issues, or the seismic issue, or force a strong feed-in tariff to support the conversion to renewables.
Just under 400,000 signatures would be needed to get on the 2016 ballot. Doing that and then actually winning the vote would be a daunting task.

But to head off a 1976 ballot measure, the legislature passed an effective ban on new nuke construction. The ballot measure then failed, but the ban remains in place.

California also has a powerful anti-fracking movement that parallels its No Nukes campaign. A joint May conference in San Francisco may launch a unified green push.

With combined grassroots forces pushing on water, seismic, regulatory, economic and other issues … through the legislature, NRC, courts, Water Board, Coastal Commission, CPUC and other agencies … with creative lobbying and activism, a resolution campaign, rate revolt, initiative process and more … California is poised to make itself nuke free.

Will that happen before the next catastrophe?

The answer will come from the people of California … now maybe with a boost from the courts.

© 2015 Reader Supported News

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

"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

Why "Citizenfour" Deserved Its Oscar

Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald at the Academy Awards. (photo: John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Why "Citizenfour" Deserved Its Oscar

By Amy Davidson, The New Yorker
23 February 15

A statement by Edward Snowden about CitizenFour's Oscar win last night: "When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I'm grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world." Edward Snowden,

"Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage,” Laura Poitras, the director of “Citizenfour,” said as she accepted the Oscar for best documentary. Neil Patrick Harris, the award show’s host, noted that Snowden couldn’t be there “for some treason.” Treason isn’t one of the crimes Snowden has been charged with—the government wants to prosecute him under the Espionage Act—but both the praise and the joke point to why this Snowden Oscar mattered. What he did was useful, and dangerous.

That wouldn’t have been enough if the movie were bad. But “Citizenfour” is worth watching, as well as celebrating. One still has to ask where the cinematic romance is. At the Oscars, an answer was provided by the young woman onstage with Poitras: Lindsay Mills, the woman whom Snowden at first left behind when he left his job and everything else for a hotel room in Hong Kong. One of the minor revelations of “Citizenfour” was that Mills had joined him in Moscow.

“Just walk me through it,” Glenn Greenwald tells Edward Snowden, in that Hong Kong hotel room. The guidance Greenwald and his colleagues look for is of three distinct kinds: How do you keep secrets? Why would Snowden tell secrets? And what has the government been hiding?

The first is the most one-sided. Greenwald, as the narration delicately makes clear, initially can’t figure out or can’t be bothered to set up the encrypted line of communication needed to satisfy the mysterious source who e-mails him—this is why Snowden turns to Laura Poitras, who knows exactly what he’s talking about when he asks, in their first exchanges, about her public keys. (George Packer wrote a Profile of Poitras for The New Yorker.) Snowden shows Greenwald how to do it (“It seems hard, but it’s not—this is super-easy”), and why he should. Here is one of the practical, paradoxical gifts of the Snowden affair: don’t give up on the idea that your words can be secret, at least slightly more secret than is convenient for companies or spies. If you are a little disciplined, you can be freer. There is a lovely shot of Greenwald’s face when Snowden, who is about to enter a password, asks for his “magic mantle of power,” a red sweatshirt, and pulls it over his head, as if he were a man running in the rain, or a teen-ager with a flashlight under his blankets. Looking at him, Greenwald, whom we’ve already encountered as a big talker, is, for a moment, only quiet and curious, with barely a flicker in his expression before he asks, “Is that about the possibility of—overhead?” Greenwald adds that nothing will surprise him anymore. His tone in that instant is one that the film, for all the scenes with angry activists, ultimately shares, and why the film works—neither titillated nor portentous, and just abashed enough to keep its importance from becoming self-importance.

Narcissism is the charge that’s thrown at Snowden—that he thinks he gets to decide what’s secret. His character, or, rather, his motivation for leaking, is the second puzzle for Greenwald and for Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian reporter also in the hotel room. Here, it is MacAskill’s face that is revealing. Greenwald seems sure of what category to put Snowden in, once he is persuaded that the leak is for real and the information is good. (“The fearlessness and the ‘fuck you’ to, like, the bullying tactics has got to be completely pervading everything we do.”) MacAskill, though, begins by telling Snowden that he doesn’t know anything about him; when Snowden starts talking about the N.S.A.’s relation to Booz Allen Hamilton, his on-paper employer, MacAskill stops him: “So, I don’t know your name.” He takes notes; his glances, when he looks up from writing in the scenes that follow, suggest a skeptic’s trust being earned.

The journalists’ relationship to Snowden opens up other sets of questions: What obligations do reporters have to their sources? The legal jeopardy in which James Risen, of the Times, found himself when the government moved to prosecute Jeffrey Sterling, a C.I.A. employee who it argued was Risen’s source, outraged journalists. And rightly so: the Obama Administration, in going after leakers, has pioneered the use of inappropriate legal instruments like the Espionage Act of 1917, which was also used to charge Snowden. (Ben Wizner, of the A.C.L.U., offers a good primer on the Espionage Act in a scene in “Citizenfour,” in which a group of lawyers meet in Berlin; Wizner also says that their phones should go in the refrigerator while they talk, which is funny but not a joke, the opposite of Neil Patrick Harris’s “some treason” line). The government ultimately decided not to jail Risen, but Sterling was convicted last month, and will be sentenced in April. Last week, after Attorney General Eric Holder bragged about the Administration’s press-freedom legacy, Risen went on what was variously called an “epic” or “vitriolic” “Twitter rant.” (“I plan to spend the rest of my life fighting to undo damage done to press freedom in the United States by Barack Obama and Eric Holder.”) Margaret Sullivan, the Times’s public editor, wrote that it was actually a pretty reasonable statement of journalistic principles: “Maybe the tenor of Mr. Risen’s tweets wasn’t very Timesian. But the insistence on truth-telling and challenging the powerful is exactly what the Times ought to stand for. Always.” The sense that intemperance can be publicly useful is one of Snowden’s legacies, and Poitras’s film captures it.

In “Citizenfour,” Snowden has a lot to say for the notebook, blog, and camera. He is pronouncing sentences that he seems to have rehearsed in his mind for months or years. He is a guide in the third area that needs to be charted: What is in these documents, and what does all their technical language mean? The danger here, given the number of documents, is that the film could become one big PowerPoint presentation—“just walk me through.” Mostly, Poitras avoids that, once the film gets past the first fifteen minutes. She sketches some programs, offers a route into others, and adds in long shots of things that are not only on paper or in code: an N.S.A. building under construction in Utah, the spot on the British coast where cables disappear under water. There is enough here to make a person better-prepared, later this year, when the authorization for the N.S.A.’s phone-metadata program is set to expire. President Obama’s comment on the matter—“No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot”—feels badly off base. The President sounds petty when he insists that he was on top of this without any help from Snowden.

What the country still has to work out is whether the Snowden documents were simply revealing or actually transformative. That’s the question about a good movie, too, though one shouldn’t underestimate the value of revelation, or truth, alone. Snowden has his silent moments. There is a scene, when he is getting ready to sneak out of the hotel in Hong Kong, after he has revealed himself, in which he stands in front of a mirror. Wearing a black shirt, he has put in contact lenses, shaved (after debating the amount of stubble that will make him look least like the pictures now playing on television), and, with a handful of foam, tries to slick back his hair. Watching it again on Oscar weekend, one thinks of Poitras and her team, and all the other filmmakers and actors, getting ready to step out. Snowden tries, and expects, to look different. When he sees that he doesn’t—his hair won’t stay down—he crumples a little, and looks as scared as anyone. There is no magic mantle of power. But outside the hotel room, things really did change.

© 2015 Reader Supported News

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

"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

'Extreme Conservation' Saves Mountain Gorillas From Extinction

A silverback mountain gorilla. (photo:

'Extreme Conservation' Saves Mountain Gorillas From Extinction

By Marcelle Hopkins, Al Jazeera America
23 February 15

Endangered gorillas have rebounded with the help of hundreds of trackers and vets, but some note strategy’s pitfalls

A baby gorilla’s face peeks through the bamboo canopy, sending dried leaves fluttering down to the sunlight-speckled forest floor. The 3-month-old, still unsteady on her climbing legs, narrows her eyes in concentration and reaches slowly for a nearby branch. In one clumsy slip, she tumbles upside down and slides head first down the bamboo pole like an inverted firefighter.

More agile on the ground, the infant mountain gorilla waddles toward her father, who is lazily stretched out on his giant round belly in a patch of ferns. Mr. Lucky, as the 500-pound silverback is called by the park rangers, gently pulls the baby in for a quick snuggle before she wriggles out of his arms to munch on a vine.
A few yards away, a group of tourists giggle quietly, amused by the familiarity of the humanlike father-daughter interaction. These Americans and Europeans have traveled to Rwanda to visit the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The tourism dollars they provide are funding local conservation efforts, which may have saved the mountain gorilla from extinction — at least for now.

When American primatologist Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in her research camp in Rwanda in 1985, the global mountain gorilla population was estimated at 540. Their survival prospects were grim.
All mountain gorillas live in only two high-altitude forests in equatorial Africa, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and in the Virunga Massif, a range of extinct volcanoes that straddles the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For decades, political instability and armed conflict in the region made law enforcement difficult. Poachers captured wild baby gorillas, often killing their mothers and fathers in the process, and sold them to foreign zoos and wildlife collectors. Local residents carved into the forests for farmland and firewood, shrinking the range of animals, which travel several miles a day in search of food.

Many scientists expected mountain gorillas to be extinct by the end of the 20th century. But thanks to anti-poaching patrols, habitat conservation and economic development of surrounding communities — all funded by tourism revenue — mountain gorillas have survived, although they are still critically endangered.
Today they number about 880 in the wild. None have survived in captivity.

Female mountain gorillas give birth roughly every four years, producing an average of four offspring in their lifetimes. With a low birth rate and a 26 percent infant mortality rate, population recovery is a long, slow process.

But mountain gorillas are the only great ape population that is increasing. One study estimates an annual growth rate of 4 percent in Virunga and attributes almost half that growth to the “extreme conservation” efforts of local wildlife groups.

‘Extreme conservation’

On a late afternoon in June 2011, Gorilla Doctors received an emergency call. Trackers following the Umubano family of mountain gorillas in Rwanda noticed that Ijobo, a 2-day-old male, had a severely infected foot. They thought he might die.

“We were prepared for the worst,” says Dr. Mike Cranfield, the executive director of Gorilla Doctors, a nongovernmental organization that monitors the health of gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC with 12 full-time veterinarians and 16 support staffers, funded largely through individual donations and foundation grants.
Early the next morning, Cranfield packed his field medical kit and set out on the mountain, accompanied by Gorilla Doctors veterinarian Jan Ramer and Volcanoes National Park trackers and guides.
They found Umurimo, Ijobo’s mother, clinging tightly to him, his foot mangled and swollen. They decided it needed to be amputated, a risky surgery on a wild animal.

“The gorillas know the vets,” says Edward Bahizi, a Volcanoes National Park ranger. “When the vets put on their masks preparing to treat gorillas, they become totally aggressive.” The gorillas have learned that vets usually come equipped with medicine-loaded dart guns, which are painful and scary to the animals.

The Gorilla Doctors team first knocked out Umurimo with a tranquilizer dart, then anesthetized Ijobo with a gas mask. Charles, the dominant silverback of the group, supervised from afar but fortunately did not attack.
The vets worked quickly, removing a portion of the leg below the knee, disinfecting and closing the wound in 40 minutes. They hid a safe distance away to watch Umurimo’s reaction when she woke up from the anesthesia. To everyone’s relief, she cradled the groggy infant on her breast and joined the rest of her group gathered nearby.

Gorilla Doctors checked on Ijobo every day for a week, until they were certain he was healing properly.
“It was one of the most rewarding moments I’ve had in 17 years of this work,” Cranfield says, remembering the day he saw Ijobo playing normally a year later.

Gorilla Doctors treats an average of 18 animals per year. About half of them have suffered serious injuries from snares set in the park by people illegally hunting antelope and buffalo. The other half have have been gravely wounded in fighting among silverback males or have respiratory illnesses they may have caught from humans. Because gorillas and humans share 98 percent of their DNA, airborne viruses and bacteria spread easily between populations. Pneumonia can be deadly for gorillas if untreated.

Gorilla Doctors undoubtedly saves lives, but their extreme conservation approach is controversial. Traditional conservationists believe human contact with wild animals should be minimal to avoid spreading disease and developing dependence on human intervention. As animals lose their fear of humans, they become more vulnerable to hunters and more reliant on the protection of people.

In contrast, extreme conservation includes “efforts targeted to deliberately increase positive human influences,” as defined by primatologist Martha Robbins in her 2011 study on gorilla conservation strategies.
Cranfield acknowledges that no human contact would be the best way to preserve the species. “But that’s not realistic. That’s not the world we live in,” he said. “With the human population coming to 7 billion, we’re going to have to eke out a sustainable existence with wildlife.”

Extreme conservation techniques are being applied to other endangered species as well. Veterinarians have taken wild Sumatran rhinos into captivity for medically assisted breeding. The International Anti-Poaching Foundation advocates using military training and weapons to combat illegal trafficking of elephant tusks and rhino horns.

Tourism and conservation

Every morning, more than 100 trackers spread out in the Virunga mountains and Bwindi forest to locate each of the 36 habituated gorilla groups.

The trackers start where they left the gorillas sleeping the night before and follow food scraps and feces until they find the group eating breakfast, sometimes miles away. The gorillas are constantly on the move, and trackers follow them everywhere they go, keeping a distance of at least 7 meters.

Employed by the Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese governments, these trackers serve several purposes. They protect the gorillas from would-be poachers. Nowadays gorillas are rarely directly targeted but are often caught in traps set for other animals. Some trackers are themselves former poachers, experts in finding and disarming snares. They’re also keen observers. They know when Inyongera is coughing, or when Bunyenyeri has been bitten by his brother. They record births, deaths, who’s mating with whom.

The trackers also habituate the gorillas, getting them used to the presence of nonthreatening humans, a process that takes up to three years of daily observation. This allows the trackers to alert Gorilla Doctors to any potential problems. And scientists are able to get close enough to observe individual behaviors and collect data.

Habituation also allows park rangers to lead groups of tourists to visit the gorillas for an hour a day. The park entry fees, a hefty $750 per day in Rwanda, pay the salaries of the trackers and guides and many others involved in maintaining the gorillas’ habitat.

“Tourism is the backbone of conservation,” guide Patrick Magirirane tells eight tourists still swooning from their encounter with Mr. Lucky and his brood. “We need people who love gorillas to come support the gorillas.”
In 2014 more than 27,000 people visited Volcanoes National Park, bringing in more than $15 million in tourism revenue. The Rwanda Development Board, a government agency, dedicates 5 percent of that to develop communities surrounding its national parks.

In one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, Rwandans have long relied on their parks’ rich natural resources for income, food and water. If it is to succeed in preserving the gorillas’ habitat, Rwanda must provide alternatives for those living near the national parks.

The Rwanda Development Board funds education, sanitation, infrastructure and agriculture projects determined by local leaders. More than 800 people from nearby communities are employed in government-sponsored conservation programs.

“If they don’t eat, if they don’t get jobs, they will go back to the park,” says park guide Jean Bosco Iryamukuru.

Conservationists like Iryamukuru are educating local residents to link the gorillas’ survival with their own. “It’s a process. Changing someone’s mentality takes a long time.”

© 2015 Reader Supported News

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

"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

Baltimore Activist Alert February 24 – March 6, 2015

Baltimore Activist Alert February 24 – March 6, 2015

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center. Go to If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]
1] Books, buttons & stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] Two Job Openings – reply by Feb. 28
6] "Chronicles of War" – through Mar. 15
7] Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories – Feb. 24
8] Clean water rally – Feb. 24
9] On Ferguson and Palestine – Feb. 24
10] No JHU Drone Research -- Feb. 24
11] Israeli Apartheid Week – Feb. 24, 25 & 26
12] “Oh Freedom After While: The Missouri Sharecropper Protest of 1939” – Feb. 24
13] “Mark Reads and Mark Watches” -- Feb. 24
14] EEOC case at Supreme Court – Feb. 25
15] Decade for People of African Descent – Feb. 25
16] Hear from Benjamin Wittes and Juan Mendez – Feb. 25
17] Film PAY TO PLAY – Feb. 25
18] Film KILLSWITCH – Feb. 25
19] Film “Our Black Shining Prince” – Feb. 25
20] Film PAY TO PLAY – Feb. 25
21] Building the #BlackLivesMatter movement -- Feb. 25
22] Webinar "Wait...Nukes Cost HOW Much?" – Feb. 25
23] Net Neutrality press conference/party – Feb. 26
24] "Can Space Promote Nuclear Non-Proliferation?" – Feb. 26
25] Tools for Change class at Free School -- Feb. 26 & Mar. 5
26] See “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” – Feb. 26
27] “From Ferguson to Chapel Hill – Feb. 26
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available. “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR]. It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed. It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq. To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net. Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe. It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing. To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale. For more details and to download the order form, go to The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month. Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered. Send it to Francine Sheppard at 5639B, Harpers Farm Rd., Columbia 21044. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Francine at 410-992-7679 or

5] – The International Labor Rights Forum [ILRF] has two job openings. The ILRF is a human rights organization that advocates for workers globally. The group has an opening for a Legal and Policy Analyst, who will help drive ILRF policy advocacy in support of strategic campaigns against forced labor, child labor, and other labor rights abuses. This position will require knowledge of international labor rights instruments and their associated enforcement mechanisms (e.g. GSP petitions, OECD-NCP complaints, etc.), which can support and help shape labor rights advocacy campaigns. An ideal candidate is one who has worked with a labor union and/or is interested in working with a small, fast-paced NGO and is an independent, innovative and driven individual. The applicant must possess strong writing skills and the ability to work effectively in diverse coalitions. Email cover letter, resume, and a sample of policy-related writing or a copy of a report to by Sat., Feb. 28.

There is another job opening for a Campaigner. This position will require experience mobilizing people to get involved in campaigns; enthusiasm to travel frequently; excellent writing skills; and knowledge about international labor rights issues with the ability to speak persuasively and compellingly to audiences of all sizes on topics including freedom of association, living wages, child labor, forced labor, and the power of organizing for achieving social change. An ideal candidate is one who has been active in anti-sweatshop or other economic justice campaigning and is an independent, innovative and driven individual with excellent communication skills. Email cover letter, resume, a sample of writing for an activist audience (flier, fact-sheet, brochure, press release, or e-blast), and a copy of longer paper or report to: by Sat., Feb. 28.

6] – You may be interested in an art exhibit called "Chronicles of War" by artist Phyllis Plattner, which shows her artistic views of the horrors of war. It is located at American University's Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, and will be there until Sun., Mar. 15. Call 202-885-1300.

7] – On Tues., Feb. 24 from 9 AM to noon, there will be a Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories public meeting at Hilton at Mark Center, Birch Conference Room, 5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22311. RSVP at

8] – The Maryland League of Conservation Voters is reminding you to tell your elected officials “Don’t go Backward on the Bay!” Then come and be heard at the Clean Water Rally on Tues., Feb. 24th from 11:30 AM to 1 PM in Annapolis on Lawyer’s Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401! Polluted runoff from urban areas and phosphorus from agricultural areas are choking our rivers and the Bay. Go to See

9] – The Palestine Center, Jerusalem Fund, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037, invites you to a panel briefing On Ferguson and Palestine: The Issues of Repression and Race, on Tues., Feb. 24 from 1 to 2 PM. The panelists are Bill Fletcher, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, host of "The Global African," Ramah Kudaimi, Membership & Outreach Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation & Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. RSVP at

10] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Feb. 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Call Max at 410-366-1637.

11] – The Israeli Apartheid Week events continue on Tues., Feb. 24 at 6 PM in Buchner Hall, Alumni House with Intersections: Black Liberation and Palestinian Liberation. This event and two others are hosted by Goucher Students for Justice in Palestine. Bridging solidarity through a shared history of struggle and resistance, Sammy Alqasem and Nicholas Powell will explore ways in which colonialism has affected the history of each of their communities and the ways in which solidarity has been waged throughout history and continues to shape the current movements toward liberation. Get more details at

Then enjoy Palestinian Cultural Day on Wed., Feb. 25 from noon to 3 PM at the Pearlstone Atrium. Ask questions while enjoying Palestinian food, music, and dance!

Finally Nancy Mansour will show her short film "The Summer in Gaza" and lead a discussion about her summer in Gaza on Wed., Feb. 25 at 7:30 PM in Kelley Lecture Hall. Mansour is the founder of Existence is Resistance.

On Thurs., Feb. 26 at 6:30 PM, the New Political Society is bringing Sayed Kashua to JHU in Charles Commons, East Room. Kashua is a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, recognized as one of the most important writers in Hebrew, and who recently left Israel for the United States.

12] – At Bloombars, 3222 11th St. NW, WDC 20010, on Tues., Feb. 24 from 7 to 9 PM, for Black History Month, BloomBars and the Africa World Now Project present a thought-provoking film about a forgotten civil rights protest. “Oh Freedom After While: The Missouri Sharecropper Protest of 1939” (1999, 59 min), by Steven John Ross is a historical documentary about a dramatic 1939 roadside protest by Missouri Bootheel sharecroppers–black and white–and the repercussions it had in politics and in their lives. Go to The screening will be followed by a Q&A discussion hosted by Mwiza Munthali, host of the radio show "Africa Now," on WPFW 89.3FM. The suggested donation is $10, and the organic popcorn is free. Proceeds support both the Africa World Now Project and BloomBars. Free organic popcorn. BloomScreen Indie Film Night is a weekly series of independent and foreign films, accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, experts, and other guests.

13] – On Tues., Feb. 24 at 7:30 PM in the Free School Classroom at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, Mark Oshiro talks about his book “Mark Reads and Mark Watches,” where he chronicles his unspoiled journey through various television and book series. He mixes textual analysis, confessional blogging, and humor to analyze fiction that usually makes him cry and yell on camera. All of this earned Mark a Hugo nomination in the Fan Writer category in 2013 and 2014. Join Mark as he discusses the Mark Does Stuff universe and reads a chapter from his upcoming book. What if you could re-live the experience of reading a book (or watching a show) for the first time? Call 443-602-7585. Go to

14] – On Wed., Feb. 25 at 9 AM, gather at the United States Supreme Court Building, 1 First St. NE, WDC 20543. The Supreme Court will consider whether Abercrombie & Fitch’s refusal to hire a Muslim woman wearing a religious headscarf (hijab) was discriminatory. Court convenes at 10 AM, and the EEOC argument is first on the calendar, so be outside before, during & after. Visit

15] – Be at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW, WDC, on Wed., Feb. 25 from 9 AM to 1 PM as, in recognition of the UN's International Decade for People of African Descent, the Baobab Fund for Racial Equity-North America is partnering with Africare, and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture to host a conversation on leveraging the UN decade to make significant advances for people of African descent. Go to

16] – Hear from Benjamin Wittes and Juan Mendez. Wittes, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, co-founded and is the editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog. Mendez is a visiting Professor of Law at American University - Washington College of Law. In 2010, he was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This event, sponsored by the University Chaplain, will be at the Kay Spiritual Life Center Lounge, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC, on Wed., Feb. 25 at noon. RSVP or to ask for special accommodations, email or call 202-885-3321.

17] -- On Wed., Feb. 25 at 6 PM at the Enoch Pratt Free Library-Southeast Anchor Branch, 3601 Eastern Ave., Represent.US will present the film “PAY 2 PLAY,” which follows filmmaker John Ennis' quest to find a way out from under the Pay 2 Play system. Politicians reward their donors with even larger sums from the public treasury -- through contracts, tax cuts, and deregulation. The film takes the journey through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make. The discussion after the film will focus on how Maryland citizens can take back our democracy, and the state and nationwide movement promoting a federal Constitutional Amendment will affirm governments' right to regulate electoral contributions and ensure all citizens' right to vote. Email Go to

18] – See the movie “Killswitch” on Wed., Feb. 25 at 6 PM at the South Orientation Theater, Capitol Visitor Center, WDC . This is the night before the FCC public meeting. Lawrence Lessig will discuss the film, which is about the Battle for the Future of the Internet. KILLSWITCH follows the story of two young hacktivists, Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden, who symbolize the disruptive and dynamic nature of the Internet. Their lives parallel one another as they free information to millions on the Internet, putting them directly in the cross-hairs of the most powerful interests in the world. See RSVP

19] – On Wed., Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Bus Boys and Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE, WDC 20017, see a viewing of documentary “Our Black Shining Prince,” a film tribute to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). The director is Phil Portlock, a native Washingtonian, a photographer, writer, producer of numerous video documentaries on African and African-American history and a social justice activist.

Through narration, music and vivid images, this 40-minute presentation captures the short but transformative life of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) from his early life in the Midwest to his rise as national spokesman for the Nation of Islam that rescued him from a life of crime. He became one of the main figures of the Black Nationalist Movement during the 1960s. His death on February 21, 1965, 50 years ago, robbed our nation, and African-Americans in particular, of one who symbolized the hope of an oppressed people. A Q&A session will follow the film. Call 202 529-8286 or email

20] – On Wed., Feb. 25 at 6:30 PM, enjoy a potluck dinner at the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., #102, Baltimore 21201. At 7:30 PM, see a screening of the acclaimed documentary PAY 2 PLAY, followed by a discussion with representatives of Get Money Out (Maryland). Go to Call the Baltimore Ethical Society at 410-581-2322.

Follow filmmaker John Ennis’ quest to find a way out from under the “Pay 2 Play” System, where politicians reward their donors with ever larger sums from the public treasury. Along the way, he journeys through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make. See the trailer at To cover the cost of screening rights, there is a request for a contribution from $1 to $20 (sliding scale, pay what you can, dollars or Bnotes). If you are attending the potluck, bring a dish, or contribute towards pizza.

21] – At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Dr. John Carlos raised his fist on the medal stand alongside Tommie Smith and became a symbol of resistance to racism and oppression throughout the world. Today, as the #BlackLivesMatter movement challenges police violence, athletes are again stepping up to try and be part of seeing this movement take root. On Wed., Feb. 25 at 7 PM at the Watha T Daniels Library, 1630 7th St. NW, WDC,
join Carlos and other speakers in a discussion on building the movement today and connecting it to all walks of life. The other speakers are Princess L. Black, an organizer with Movements of Organized Revolutionaries, and Dave Zirin, sportswriter and the author of “A People's History of Sports in the United States.” Go to

22] – Physicians for Social Responsibility Climate Health Action Teams are sponsoring an online webinar on Wed., Feb. 25 from 8 to 9 PM EST. Laicie Heeley, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, and Theresa Shaffer, Physicians for Social Responsibility, will take on "Wait...Nukes Cost HOW Much?" RSVP at

23] – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to do something monumental: Reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. Translation: Everything you've done to get real Net Neutrality has paid off. And it's time to celebrate! There are two events on Thur., Feb. 26 — the day the FCC's voting on Wheeler's plan. Go to There is a 9:30 AM press conference and rally at the FCC. Then at 6:30 PM, there is a VICTORY for the Net Party at Lost Society, 2001 14th St. NW.

24] – On Thurs., Feb. 26 from 10:30 AM to noon, Deganit Paikowsky, Tel Aviv University, will tackle "Can Space Promote Nuclear Non-Proliferation?" It takes place at George Washington University, CISTP Conference Room, Suite 403, 1957 E St. NW, WSC. RSVP at

25] – Rex Foster is co-teaching a class called "Tools for Change" and it continues Thur., Feb. 26 at 7 PM in the Free School Classroom at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201. It will conclude on Mar. 5. The class will explore some simple tools for making group and community work more effective. Register at

26] – See “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” at the Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW, WDC 20010, on Thurs., Feb. 26 at 7 PM. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, oil and food imports in Cuba dropped by more than half. This documentary details the hardships and showcases the creativity the Cuban people displayed as they struggled to overcome this exceptionally difficult period in their history.
The screening will take place in the meeting room on the main floor of the library. Email mtpleasantlibrary@dc.gova or call 202-671-3121.

27] – Get over to the UDC Theater of the Arts Auditorium, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, WDC, on Thurs., Feb. 26 from 7:30 to 8:30 PM as Arab America in collaboration with the University of the District of Columbia are proud to present, “From Ferguson to Chapel Hill: Together We Stand for Justice,” for Black History Month. In the wake of tragic events in Ferguson, and the recent murder of three Arab/Muslim American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, prejudice is still directed against people of color. Both African Americans and Arab Americans stand together for equality and the struggle for civil rights and justice for all.

The event will feature author and humanitarian, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, (who is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of her legendary father, Malcolm X), Lydia Lyon, African American songstress of both the African American and Arab American music genres, and Emmy Winning and Academy Award nominated Connie Field, director of the critically acclaimed film, Al Helm: MLK in Palestine. For additional information, complimentary tickets and media inquiries, contact Arab America at or call 877-272-2944.

To be continued.

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

"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