Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tucson Action For Bradley Manning After 35 Year Sentence Handed Down on Aug. 21, 2013

A Nice Turnout In Tucson On a Sad Day For A Great Hero Who Exposed Terrible War Crimes,  Just Like Daniel Ellsberg Did During The Vietnam War.

Fresh recruits were training in front of the military recruitment headquarters during the protest. Let's hope Bradley Manning's courageous actions will prevent them from being ordered to commit war crimes.


Check out this short video of the action in Tucson.

The following is a transcript of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday Aug. 21, 2013 after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."

Finally if you still have any doubt about whether Bradley Manning did the right thing, please spend 18 minutes to see this chilling footage from Iraq in 2007 released by WikiLeaks showing the U.S. military shooting civilians and journalists, and then opening fire on those who came to their rescue, and deciding against taking wounded children to a U.S. military hospital.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tucson in the Streets: The Vibrant Struggle for Social Justice in Tucson, Arizona; Snapshots from 2012-13

Tucson has a monthly Peace Calendar packed with events and meetings. It is published by the Tucson Peace Center, which doesn't have a physical space, but does peace really need an office? Regular protests/vigils are held Wed.-Fri. (on some days more than one). There is a wide selection of things to do the rest of the week, with everything from discussing Marx to leaving water in the desert for desperate migrants (details at end).

Since 1981 a peace vigil has been held every Thursday in front of the Federal Building downtown.

Every Friday afternoon since 2001 the group Women In Black has held a vigil in Tucson.

Since the start of the Iraq invasion in 2003 a protest has been held every Wednesday morning outside the military recruitment offices in Tucson.

Tucson lies within the border zone where the U.S. constitution barely applies and the Border Patrol is the highest authority in the land. Groups like Derechos Humanos, No More Deaths, Border Action Network, and Tucson Samaritans hold regular vigils and protests such as this one on International Human Rights Day and a candlelight vigil every Thursday evening to remember migrants who die crossing the desert.

One of the most dramatic protests in Tucson in 2013 was the heroic action of Raúl Alcaráz Ochoa, a community organizer with the Southside Worker Center and Corazón de Tucson,  when he placed himself under a Border Patrol vehicle to try to prevent officials from detaining and deporting his friend René Meza Huertha, who had been stopped by Tucson police for a traffic violation. This protest calling for the release of Raúl and René happened the day Raúl was released from custody. 

The Nuclear Resister folks in Tucson hold regular protests outside Raytheon missile makers and Davis Monthan Air Force Base and in support of Bradley Manning, one of our nation's greatest heros.

On the labor front Tucson Jobs With Justice holds regular meetings and actions in support of organized labor and other social justice issues. Occupy Tucson is a vital partner of Jobs With Justice and it supports every other cause mentioned here.

And just for fun, I can't resist posting this promo/trailer I did for Jobs With Justice, Raiders of the Lost Ark style. I'll be glad to do one for your group, favorite cause, family, birthday party, pet, etc. (I charge much less than Hollywood too!)

Other groups that have a long-standing presence and history of struggle in Tucson include the Communist Party-USA, PanLeft (video production), Casa Maria (soup kitchen/Catholic Worker Community), Humane Borders (water stations for migrants), GUAMAP (Guatemala Acupuncture Project), Center For Biological Diversity, Sky Island Alliance, Marxist Discussion Group (they meet at the great coffee shop/bookstore Revolutionary Grounds), Salt of the Earth Labor College, the Alliance For Global Justice (AFGJ) which will be based along with several other organizations at the brand new Center For Global Justice, just across from the Gloo Factory, Tucson's great print shop for the peace movement. And of course don't miss the annual Peace Fair held every February.

Want more or interested in some other issue. You're bound to find it here. 
  Tucson Peace Calendar