Heather Wokusch: Latest (Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11… or Worse )

March 29, 2007

Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11… or Worse

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush, September 2002

“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous… Having said that, all options are on the table.” – George W. Bush, February 2005

The Bush administration continues moving closer to a nuclear attack on Iran, and we ignore the obvious buildup at our peril.

Russian media are sounding alarms. In February, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Shirinovsky warned that the US would launch a strike against Tehran at the end of this month. Then last week, the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA-Novosti) quoted military experts predicting the US will attack Iran on April 6th, Good Friday. According to RIA-Novosti, the imminent assault will target Iranian air and naval defense capabilities, armed forces headquarters as well as key economic assets and administration headquarters. Massive air strikes will be deployed, possibly tactical nuclear weapons as well, and the Bush administration will attempt to exploit the resulting chaos and political unrest by installing a pro-US government.

Sound familiar? It’s Iraq déjà vu all over again, and we know how well that war has gone.

Seymour Hersh has published numerous articles in The New Yorker detailing the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iran. His latest, “The Redirection,” discusses US participation in Iran-based clandestine operations, the kidnapping of hundreds of Iranians (including many “humanitarian and aid workers”) by US forces and the shocking revelation that an Iran-Contra-type scandal has been run out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office with some of the illicit funds going to groups “sympathetic to al-Qaeda.”
….

Read more at www.heatherwokusch.com

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SOA Watch Staffperson Incarcerated for 3 Days by Capitol Police and the Department of Homeland Security

March 29, 2007

March 28, 2007

The Criminalization of Dissent:

SOA Watch Staffperson Incarcerated for Three Days by Capitol Police and the Department of Homeland Security

This past weekend, Hendrik Voss, a volunteer in the SOA Watch national office and an organizer in the struggle to close the School of the Americas, was being detained on an order from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He was held for three days in DC’s Central Cellblock, the DC Jail and at a Homeland Security Detention Center in Northern Virginia.

Due to swift and successful organizing, solidarity, and movement contacts, Hendrik was released from custody on Monday evening. Many thanks to all the people who have worked over the past few days to secure Hendrik’s freedom! See below for more information on Hendrik’s situation.

This incident is a reminder to all of us about the repressive political climate in the United States. Here are some more examples of how this climate is manifesting itself in regards to the movement to close the School of the Americas:

  • Sixteen human rights activists who crossed the line onto Fort Benning to call attention to the human rights abuses connected to the SOA were found guilty in federal court and received sentences from 1 year on probation to six month in federal prison. Click here to Support the Prisoners of Conscience.
  • The FBI has placed SOA Watch under “Counterterrorism Surveillance”.
  • Harassment of people who organize events or write letters to the editor about the School of the Americas by SOA/WHINSEC officers (read Aaron Shuman’s article “Fighting to Close the SOA and to Stop Government Spying”)
  • Denial of SOA Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request by the Pentagon. (Click here for more info)

    The way to counter the repression is to keep up the resistance, to organize more effectively and to change the values in this country. We can’t let intimidation and fear outweigh our commitment to justice.

    Organize and take action:

    Contact your Representative and urge her/him to sign-on to HR 1707, the legislation that will suspend operations at the SOA/WHINSEC and investigate the connection between the school and atrocities in Latin America.

    Organize in your community for the Fast to Close the SOA (April 25-27, 2007).

    Background

    Hendrik Voss was stopped by Capitol Police on Friday, March 23 for allegedly putting a “Close the SOA” sticker on a parking meter on Capitol Hill in preparation for the upcoming Congressional vote on the SOA/WHINSEC. Several officers of the Intelligence Unit of the Capitol Police were called to the scene. After Hendrik retained his right to not consent to a search of his belongings, he was arrested.

    Hendrik was held overnight in jail and appeared in court on Saturday morning. There, the judge told Hendrik that for this DC charge, he could be released on his own recognizance to await an April 17 hearing date – BUT that the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had put a detainer or “hold” on him, preventing his release.

    Neither Homeland Security nor Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (the new name for the INS) charged him or gave an explanation during this arbitrary detention. Hendrik is a German citizen and is in the United States with a visitor’s visa and has not been convicted of any crime.

    For three days, Hendrik joined thousands of people who are being detained by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, and his arrest is just another example of increasingly oppressive policies towards immigrants, grassroots organizers and human rights groups that are working to make positive social change.

    Hendrik was unusually lucky that he had an advocacy network outside of prison that alerted the German embassy, made contact to immigration lawyers and Congressional offices. No immigration related charges were filed but he is still facing a court date on April 17, 2007 on the charge of “defacing DC government property”.


  • FREE Bus Trip to Kanonhstaton, the Protected Place / “Caledonia” FRIDAY MARCH 30, 2007

    March 29, 2007

    The Ryerson Students’ Union is hosting a solidarity bus trip to support Six Nations at “Caledonia” / Kanonhstaton

    FRIDAY MARCH 30

    Meet us for a light lunch at 11:30 am in 55 Gould St. (Room G)

    Bus depart at 12:15pm SHARP!

    Returning to Ryerson University, Toronto at 9:00 pm

    Free for students, please bring a donation of any listed item(s) below.

    On Feb 28, 2006 community members from Six Nations occupied “Douglas Creek Estates” a 52 hectare property in Caledonia that the Canadian government had sold to Henco Industries 15 years ago in spite of a land claimed filed

    by Six Nations.

    The area has since been renamed Kanonhstaton (The PROTECTED PLACE)

    Over one year later, the federal government still refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Six Nations claim to the land. Kanonshataton The area in dispute is one of 28 land claims filed by Six Nations since 1980.

    SUPPORT SIX NATIONS IN RECLAMING THE PROTECTED PLACE.

    Please RSVP immediately, seats are limited

    events@rsuonline.ca

    Send your email address and PHONE NUMBER!!!

    PLEASE NOTE: RYERSON STUDENTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WILL HAVE PRIORITY

    SEATING. RSVP your request to events@rsuonline.ca

    DO NOT REPLY HERE!  REPLY TO events@rsuonline.ca

    Bring any of the following (in as many quantities as you can bring):

    ☼     Canned foods

    ☼     Water! Water! Water!  (as much as possible)

    ☼     Coffee, cream

    ☼     Pasta

    ☼     Fresh Food (fruits, vegetables)

    ☼     Batteries (“AAA” and “D”)

    ☼     Sugar

    ☼     Milk

    Peace

    SPIN


    Help Send OCAP to Mexican Organizing Convention

    March 29, 2007

    FRENTE POPULAR FRANCISCO VILLA INVITES OCAP TO ITS APRIL CONVENTION

    The Frente Popular Francisco Villa is a powerful and deeply rooted social movement in Mexico that traces it origins back to the grass roots challenge to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and the bloody repression that was directed against it. They are at the forefront of fighting neoliberal restructuring and mobilize poor communities to resist.

    Recently, they contacted us and invited us to send a couple of our members down to an important convention they are holding next month that takes place every four years and brings in delegates from across the Country and beyond.

    To say the least, we are honoured that such a movement of resistance in an oppressed Country would have heard of our little skirmishes here in Toronto and would want us to come to their meeting. They are proposing that we develop joint campaigns and develop an ongoing working relationship that will include activist exchanges. It is a huge opportunity to develop international solidarity and learn so much.

    OCAP’s delegates will be housed and fed by the members of the FPFV but we have to come up with airfare costs that seem to be roughly $1,000. We consider making with link a priority but would greatly appreciate any and all assistance supporters might be able to give us.

    If you can help us defray this cost, please send a cheque to:

    OCAP

    10 Britain Street,

    Toronto, ON

    M5A 1R6

    **

    Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

    10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

    416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca


    NYPD spied in Canada

    March 29, 2007

    If this article in the New York Times is accurate, officers and the leadership of the New York City Police Department almost certainly broke Canadian law. I wonder if the RCMP were or have been informed of these activities, and if so whether they will investigate. I’m not holding my breath, but surely someone should ask…

    For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.

    From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

    They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
    ….

    Read this NYT article by Jim Dwyer: City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention