United States

UNITED STATES: Former CPT Iraq, Palestine, Vieques team member goes to jail for drone resistance

 On 12 January, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she will go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, 19 January. Grady Flores served as an intern on the Palestine and Iraq teams and was part of Christian Peacemaker Team’s delegation campaign to stop the U.S. Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Grady Flores had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), sought the order to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists.  The court charged her with violating the order because she took pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, 13 February 2013.  Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that a court acquitted all eight Catholic drone resisters because they went to uphold law, not break it.

The court and the Base have used orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters who received orders of protection, jail time, and fines.

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 13, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 13, 2016

Give thanks for the gift of water. Give thanks for the Indigenous peoples defending clean water around the world today. Pray that governments and corporations will abandon resource extraction projects that threaten watersheds.

January 17, 2016  Second Sunday in Epiphany
Anishinaabe Water Walkers
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

UNITED STATES: CPT Facebook post encouraging U.S. Muslims goes viral, receives pushback on connection of “whiteness” to violence

 


The San Bernardino massacre on 2 December 2015, carried out by Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, exposed U.S. Muslims to another round of Islamophobic violence and vitriol on social media.  Christian Peacemaker Teams decided to take a proactive stance the next morning by publishing the following paragraphs on Facebook:  

Dear Muslim friends, family and colleagues in the U.S., 
Because of the still unfolding ‪#‎SanBernardino mass shooting, we know this week may be difficult for you. People may make connections between your faith and culture that they did not make when Robert Dear, Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza or many other white mass shooters gunned down innocent civilians.

We want you to know we will commit ourselves this week to challenging those who make racist, ignorant generalizations about Islam and violence. We commit ourselves to drawing connections between whiteness and violence. Because God has no place in this beautiful creation for the evils of racism.

We invite our Facebook followers to leave encouraging comments for our Muslim brothers and sisters. 

By Saturday morning, the post had reached more than 280,000 people, been liked by 3400 people and shared by 1900 people.

CHICAGO: CPTers join protest calling for living wage, racial equality

 


Activists from Chicago and all across the United States held protests calling for a fair, fifteen-dollar national minimum wage on Tuesday, November 10.  

But for those at the protest, the low wages that keep many families in poverty is just one component of the structural racism within the United States.  

"This isn't just about money. This is about justice. This is about the black community. The brown community," said one of the protesters that asked not to be named. "This is about black lives, about police brutality, and about Rekia."  

Rekia Boyd was a twenty-year-old whom police officer Dante Servin shot and killed three years ago.  The protesters marched and demanded that Dante Servin face justice. 

Members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine team showed up in solidarity for the protest.   Currently in Hebron, dozens of people have died at the hand of the Israeli military in what Amnesty International has termed “extrajudicial executions.” Israeli leaders currently serving in the government speak of Palestinians and other non-Jews inegregiously racist terms, justifying violence against them. 

"We came out today because CPT understands that violence is rooted in oppression and that through our work we have to work on all forms of oppressions including an unfair wage that is rooted racism," said field worker Cody O'Rourke. "And it is through this coalition building that we have witnessed tangible changes being made across the movement that is calling for justice across Israel/Palestine."  

CANADA: E-mail Prime Minister Trudeau; tell him to stop the bombing of Iraq.


On October 19, 2015 Canadians elected a Liberal majority government, led by Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister in the 1970s and early 1980s. Mr. Trudeau’s first public announcement (an election promise) was that he would immediately order an end to the bombing by six Canadian CF-18 warplanes of targets in Iraq and later Syria. About one year ago former Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the then Conservative government had decided to add Canada’s warplanes to the U.S. bombing mission in Iraq. A much belittled news headline said, “Trudeau accuses Harper government of ‘trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are’ in Iraq.”

But two weeks after this promise by the Prime Minister, the Canadian Forces are still ‘whipping out their CF-18s’ to get in as many killer bombing runs as possible. For the third day in a row since the new government swearing-in (November 4) Canadian bombers have been dropping their deadly load onto Iraqi human beings. There is nothing to prevent an immediate order for cessation of the bombings, which would harm nothing and no one. 

Please send a quick on-line message to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to live up to a commitment he made on his first day as Prime Minister-designate when he called President Obama and said he would be ending the mission. He has no excuses not to issue an immediate order to ground the warplanes and begin the process of ending the bombing campaign.

Go to this weblink (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm) and send a quick email to Mr. Trudeau to STOP THE BOMBING.

CHICAGO:CPT trainees join coordinated witnesses against state brutality in Chicago and Palestine

 

Black Youth Project 100 leader Charlene Carruthers
(center, seated) reminds her comrades that they are 
there because the Chicago mayor wants to allocate an
additional $200 million to the Chicago Police Dept. 

Where does the money go? This question was just one of the the common themes in the coordinated actions of the Chicago chapters of Black Lives Matter and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated on the weekend of 24-25 October 2015.  CPTers in the middle of a month long training attended the events, employing their public witness, human rights documentation, and nonviolent direct action support skills. Other CPTers from the administrative team and field teams also participated. 

On 24 October marches to stop police brutality rocked the entire United States, making visible the lives stolen by state violence (one African-American dies every 28 hours at the hands of police or Correctional Officer in the US).  In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) met at the convention center. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had invited them to learn from Chicago Police Department (CPD).  The CPD is notorious for corruption; recently victims of systemic Chicago police torture won a precedent-setting reparations payout. 

CPT trainees demand independent investigation into Afghan hospital bombing

“The U.S. cannot investigate itself.”

“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”

These were some the core messages Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) conveyed through signs and chants on 9 October 2015 when it marched through the streets of Chicago, demanding an independent investigation into the hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the United States armed forces. On 3 October, the U.S. military carried out a bombing raid on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, resulting in twenty-two deaths, including ten hospital staff and twelve patients.  Doctors Without Borders is requesting an independent investigation into the bombing from the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission (IHFFC).

Members of CPT gathered on Friday outside of the British Consulate in downtown Chicago dressed in blood-spattered hospital attire and carrying a black coffin to symbolize the deaths at the hospital in Kunduz.   Alicia R from London delivered a letter to the British Consulate urging the British government to request an investigation by the IHFFC.  Only a member country can request such an investigation.

As the march started, chants of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “bombing hospitals is a war crime,” echoed through the streets.  At several intersections, members of the group dramatized the bombing by falling in the middle of the street as another marcher hit them with a sign shaped as a bomb that had the letters, “USA,” on it.

The procession stopped at the Canadian Consulate where two Canadian citizen trainees had a meeting to urge the Canadian government to also request an investigation by the IHFFC. During the meeting, other members held vigil outside. They sang and handed out information about the bombing to passers-by.

The march concluded at the US Federal Building where Kody Hersh from Philadelphia, PA and Douglas Johnson Hatlem from Chicago, IL knelt in front of the main doors preventing access as they prayed. Federal security locked the doors and rerouted pedestrian traffic, while CPT members and other supporters held a prayer vigil in memory of the innocent lives lost in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

As of Sunday 11 October, no member country has yet requested an investigation from the IHFFC and Doctors Without Borders continues to speak out against the hospital bombing.


.http://www.msf.org/article/msf-kunduz-attack-ihffc-awaits-us-afghanistan-consent-proceed-independent-investigation

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Privilege in Palestine and Pennsylvania

A month ago I visited Israel and Palestine for the first time to learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Instead, I learned about the United States. That place, seven hours ahead of my home time, made me feel like I was living in an America past.

When I rode past the barrier separating Israel from the land outside, I wondered about the origins of Wall Street in New York City. When I saw Palestinians get off the bus at a checkpoint to have their documents reviewed while the border guard hopped on the bus to glance at my U.S. passport, I couldn’t help thinking of Rosa Parks. When I heard stories of how Palestinians lost their homes to demolitions, evictions, arson and unemployment, I thought about the Lenape who used to live where I live in central Pennsylvania—but over the course of decades were pushed to reservations in Oklahoma.

The guns are different, the land is different, but the ideologies are the same. People with power—people like me—use any means to take what we want. We talk a good line about laws and rights, but deep down we’re selfish, and fearful. We’re afraid of strangers, afraid of scarcity, afraid of death, and we do everything in our power to keep those fears at bay.

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015 

Pray for Veronica, a Mexican human rights lawyer who stopped by the CPT office for lunch after she relocated to Chicago in the wake of serious threats to her safety because of  her advocacy on behalf of Mexican farmers whose land was targeted for confiscation by multinational corporations. Her struggle mirrors that of CPT's partners.  Pray for CPT's partner communities in Colombia and Iraqi Kurdistan who are also resisting violence generated by multinational resource extraction corporations.  

 *Epixel for Sunday, September 5, 2015 
The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail.

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;

for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them. 
Proverbs 22:2, 8-9, 22-23

 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary 
readings.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Resistance to KXL Pipeline in Lakota country grows

TransCanada Pipeline’s Ltd. and the state of South Dakota have violated the treaty rights of the Indigenous people of South Dakota in their push to run the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) pipeline through Lakota land.  Thus, on 26-29 July 2015, CPT travelled to Pierre, South Dakota, at the invitation of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). An alliance of local landowners, NGOs, and tribal governments had organized a legal challenge to the KXL during a nine-day series of hearings in which TransCanada Corporation sought re-certification of its construction permit from the public utility commission (PUC) of South Dakota.

The KXL pipeline aims to transport diluted bitumen to the Gulf Coast from the tar sands formation in northern Alberta, a crude oil source so dirty that scientists are predicting that its impact will amount to a "game over" for the climate. Moreover, Indigenous people in the vicinity of the tar sands and other proposed pipelines involved with it have experienced treaty violations, massive pollution of homelands, and violence from temporary work crews.

CPTer Charles Wright, reservist King Grossman, and I arrived in Pierre on Sunday, 26 July, and attended a protest march co-organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Dakota Rural Action. There were around 400 people walking, including many from local reservations, and about twenty on horseback. Lakota and Dakota people from Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Sisseton, and Yankton were represented and led the march across the Missouri River. A water ceremony and prayer time centered the gathering around respect for unci maka (mother earth), honoring the ancestors, and planning for the next seven generations who will inherit the planet we leave behind.