Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Good news from Jeju!

Thanksgiving Day note from The Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island

Dear friends of Jeju Island,

We have much to give thanks for today. The three remaining political prisoners—Gangjeong Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, Gangjeong villager and cook for the peace camp Kim Jong-Hwan, and photographer/videographer and peace activist Kim Dong-Won–were all released from prison yesterday.

Thank you for your small acts of resistance and solidarity. In these times of uprising and revolution, we must cherish these small and large victories. It has been a good week. The blast at Gureombi has been temporarily stalled and the prisoners have been freed. We have much to be thankful for, including your friendship and belief that, together, we can indeed stop this naval base.

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British CO released from prison

Michael Lyons

British conscientious objector Michael Lyons was released on November 9, after serving four months in military prison for refusing orders to train and deploy to Afghanistan. Summing up his gratitude for the support he received while in prison, a Facebook message said Lyons now “has a new answer to the famous hypothetical question, What would be the one thing you would save if your house was on fire. Answer: The box of letters and cards of support received whist in prison!”

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One arrested during annual protest at Ft. Benning, Georgia

2011 arrest at Ft. BenningFrom School of the Americas Watch

Joined by actor Martin Sheen, thousands of people from across the Americas gathered this weekend in Georgia call for an end to notorious US military training school

FORT BENNING, GEORGIA – One Colorado woman was arrested Sunday, November 20 on the grounds of Fort Benning as part of the annual vigil and demonstration to commemorate those killed by graduates of the notorious School of the Americas and to call for the immediate closure of the training institute.

Solemn intonation of the names of those killed by graduates of the School of the Americas filled the air as the music team sang out each name from the stage during this morning’s solemn funeral procession in front of the entrance to Fort Benning. The base is home to the US Army School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) in 2001, a training facility that has turned out some of Latin America’s most notorious killers and continues to be implicated in human rights abuses today.

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E-Bulletin November 2011

The Nuclear Resister November 15, 2011 IN THIS E-BULLETIN, INCLUDING SEVERAL URGENT APPEALS:  1)   THE U.N. IS TRYING TO MEET WITH BRADLEY MANNING –– Calls needed all this week 2)   BLASTING IS IMMINENT ALONG GANGJEONG COASTLINE – Please email Jeju Governor Woo NOW 3)   DR. DHAFIR TO BE RE-SENTENCED ON JANUARY 5 – Letters needed […]

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Urgent Appeal from Gangjeong Villagers

From the Save Jeju Island Global Campaign 

Dear friends of Jeju Island,

On November 18th, the South Korean Navy will blast Gureombi, the smooth volcanic rock along the coastline of Gangjeong village where the local people have been fighting day and night almost for 5 years to stop the naval base. Please take 5 minutes to be part of this global collective effort to stop this destructive blast.

Jeju was recently selected among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, which with its UNESCO triple-crowned status makes the island among the world’s most precious cultural and national treasures. In addition, the marine ecosystem that lines Gureombi is an absolute preservation area designated by the South Korean government because of the many endangered species that inhabit Gureombi, including the red-clawed crab and soft coral. The spring water that bubbles up from Gureombi provides up to 80% of the drinking water for residents of Seogwipo City, the southern half of Jeju Island. The destruction of Gureombi threatens the surrounding marine life and the clean water that farmers and villagers depend upon for their survival.

Please take action now and send an email to Jeju Governor Woo urging him to halt the blast and construction of the naval base. The Jeju Island governor should protect Jeju’s pristine nature from being destroyed. Although Governor Woo has the authority to order the Navy to halt construction, he is overseeing the destruction of this pristine coastline.

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Fr. Bix begins 3 month prison sentence for July 2010 Y-12 disarmament action

Fr. BIll Bichsel, just before reporting to prison. Photo by Leonard Eiger.

Jesuit priest William “Bix” Bichsel reported to the SeaTac Federal Prison on November 10 after a prayer sendoff at Jean’s House of Prayer.

He was sentenced to 3 months in prison for his part in the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex resistance action in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on July 5, 2010.  Michael Walli, Bonnie Urfer and Steve Baggarly are also currently serving prison sentences for that action.

After completing this sentence at Sea Tac, Bichsel will be going directly into 6 months of house arrest for the second part of his incarceration for the Disarm Now Plowshares action that took place on November 2, 2009.   Two other Disarm Now Plowshares members, Susan Crane and Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, are still in prison.  Kelly is in solitary confinement at Sea Tac due to noncooperation.
You can find prison addresses to send notes of support to these and other anti-nuclear and anti-war prisoners of conscience here.
A recent reflection from Bix follows:

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More arrests on Jeju Island; support calls and emails needed

There were four arrests in Gangjeong village within the past day.
Those arrested are:
Youngsil Kang (International Team Leader)
Brother Song (Resistance Leader)
Sung-hee Choi (International Team Leader)
Dunguree (Filmmaker)Three were arrested at the UN-ROK Disarmament Conference during peaceful protest and one was arrested at the naval base gate. This conference is happening just minutes away from Gangjeong village and little connection is being made to the construction of the Navy base that will only escalate tensions in the region.

There are undercover police and military everywhere in the village.

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War tax resisters arrested at construction site of new Kansas City nuclear weapons plant

photo © Robyn Haas

from National Catholic Reporter
Protest, arrests at nuclear site cap war tax resisters conference

by Robyn Haas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Boil it down and war tax resisters have a simple strategy: Without taxes, the government can’t buy guns and fight wars. And, capping their annual conference this weekend with a protest outside the nation’s first new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility in three decades, some 60 war tax resisters said yesterday that the government shouldn’t be able to build such facilities either.

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Dr. Dhafir to be re-sentenced January 5

Dr. Rafil Dhafir

Jailed Iraqi-American physician and philanthropist Rafil Dhafir will be resentenced on January 5th, 2012 at 10 a.m. in the Federal Building in Syracuse, New York.  Dhafir, imprisoned for the last five years at the high security Communications Management Unit in Terre Haute, Indiana, will not be present as he did not want to travel. Judge Mordue has granted his request that he not be present.

Dhafir was originally sentenced to nearly 22 years, but the federal appeals court, when remanding the case to the trial judge for re-sentencing last year on technical grounds, suggested an even longer term might be in order.

Dhafir founded Help the Needy, a charity that directed more than $1M in aid to Iraqi civilians during the era of U.S. sanctions, 1991-2003. He was arrested February 26, 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq,

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Hancock 38 drone resisters await verdict after 5 days in court

Most of the Hancock 38 (click on photo to enlarge)

by Carol Baum of the Syracuse Peace Council

After five long days in court, closing arguments were heard in the Hancock 38 Drone Resisters trial on Saturday, November 5. But it’s not quite over – Judge Gideon will give the verdict on Thursday, December 1 at 5 pm at the Town of DeWitt Court House (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse). Please come. Dates can change, so contact SPC for updates.

Tuesday, November 1 marked the first day of the trial of the Hancock 38 Drone Resisters, activists from upstate New York and beyond who participated in a “die-in” at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base just outside Syracuse last April. The action symbolized the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan by hunter-killer reaper drones and protested the reaper here and elsewhere. The defendants also attempted to deliver an indictment to the base commander focusing on the illegality of the drones; the indictment was taken and thrown to the ground.

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