Saturday, September 23, 2006
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
September 23, 2006
At 10:00 a.m. on a beautiful crisp and cool sunny Sept. 23, 2006, People for Peace, Justice and Healing met on the porch of Associated Ministries. Present for check-in were: Sheila, Kyle, Dick, Scott, Mark, Joel, Colleen, Dorothy, Sallie S., and Kathryn.
1. REPORT ON THE RACE & PEDAGOGY CONFERENCE :Dick
Dick reported on the national conference on race and pedagogy held at the University of Puget Sound on Sept. 14-16. He said that impressive as Cornel West's speech on Sept. 14 was the speech by Lucius T. Outlaw Jr. of Vanderbilt University on Sept. 15 on "Educating for Ignorance: Race and Social Ordering" and extraordinary Q & A session afterwards astounded him even more. See here for an archived webcast of this speech (jump to about 35 minutes into the webcast to skip the introductory material) on tvw.org. Dick noted that conference organizer Dexter Gordon, whose idea the remarkable conference was, continues work on these issues on a weekly basis with participants in a discussion group that meets every Sunday at the YWCA in Tacoma (405 Broadway) at 9:00 a.m.
2. CONVERSATION CAFÉ: Kathryn
Mark will facilitate the Conversation Café at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma) this Tuesday, Sept. 26, on "Are you feeling safer?" The question for Oct. 2 is: "If it's worthwhile, is it an addiction?" Question for Oct. 9: "Technology: Friend or Foe?"
3. STATEMENT ON SENATE COMPROMISE ON MILITARY COMMISSION LEGISLATION: Mark
Mark presented and the group adopted a statement on the compromise announced this week between the White House and three Republican senators on proposed legislation to establish military commissions to try terrorism detainees. The statement is entitled "No Compromise on Torture!" and has been posted on the web here. Distribution and publicity on the statement was discussed; in addition to calling the Senate, PJHers are encouraged to write letters to newspapers. (The text of the statement follows these notes.)
4. STUDY GROUP ON DAVID KORTEN'S THE GREAT TURNING: Dorothy
Dorothy will lead a group of readers in an Earth Community Dialogue studying David Korten's new book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, which was published in April 2006 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., in Room 1 of the Anna Lemon Wheelock Library (3722 North 26th St., Tacoma) on Nov. 7 & 21, Dec. 5 & 19, 2006, and Jan. 9 & 23, 2007. For more information, call Dorothy at 253-564-8263.
5. INTERFAITH CAMP DEBRIEFING, CONTINUED: Sallie S.
Sallie showed a videotape of reporter Ed Muir's brief report on August's Interfaith Camp at Camp Seymour, broadcast on Northwest Cable News, as well as some raw footage from the network showing interviews with three campers and a counselor.
6. WATADA UPDATE: Sallie S.
Sallie noted that the U.S. Army added another charge against 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada about ten days ago. Sallie continues to participate in conference calls with the national coordinating committee.
a. "DR STRANGELOVE" SHOWING -- SAT., SEPT. 23 @ 7pm
Xeno Campanoli is offering a free showing of Stanley Kubrik's 1963 classic, "Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," starring Peter Sellers in the roles of Mandrake, President Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove, and George C. Scott as General Turgidson, this evening, Sat., Sept. 23, at 7:00 p.m., at 5101 N. 45th St. Xeno is making this house available as a place for viewing and meeting devoted to progressive community activities. The house is on the 11, 51, and 220 bus lines on the corner of North 45th and Orchard, 1/2 mile east of Pearl, and 2 1/2 miles north of the Proctor district. (For more information about taking advantage of this extraordinarily generous gesture, please contact Xeno at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
b. "A QUESTION OF TORTURE" DISCUSSION -- MON., SEPT. 25 @ 7pm
On Mon., Sept. 25, at 7:00 p.m., at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma) Mark will lead a discussion of Alfred McCoy's A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (Metropolitan Books, 2006) at UFPPC's "Digging Deeper," a Monday-evening book discussion group.
c. TOM RAWSON CONCERT -- SAT., JAN. 20, 2007 @ 7:30pm
Save Sat. evening, Jan. 20, 2007, for a 7:30 p.m. Tom Rawson fundraising concert at the Antique Sandwich Company for next year's Interfaith Camp. (Sallie)
NO COMPROMISE ON TORTURE!
Adopted by People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
September 23, 2006
On Thursday, September 21, three Republican senators who had been resisting the Bush administration's push for legislation on military commissions to try terrorism detainees reached agreement on a 94-page bill. The proposed legislation, which may be acted upon next week, represents a terrible retreat from this nation's commitment to liberty and justice for all.
WE URGENTLY CALL on all who believe in human rights, in the historic principle of habeas corpus, in the Geneva Conventions, and in core American values to contact their senators immediately to express opposition to this bill.
Amnesty International USA is describing the compromise as "a betrayal of the America we believe in." Calling on all supporters to telephone senators, AI USA President Larry Cox said on September 22 that "[t]he soul of our nation is jeopardy." "No human rights activist can remain on the sidelines in the days ahead," he said. "Everything we believe in is on the line."
An analysis published Friday in the rightwing *National Review* online indicates that Cox is right. It proclaims the deal (negotiated in the vice president's office in the Capitol) a win for the White House. The deal was also celebrated today as a victory by the *Wall Street Journal*'s notorious editorial staff.
But in a front-page piece in today's New York Times, the deal is lacerated as "a series of interlocking paradoxes." If enacted, the compromise bill "would impose new legal standards that it forbids the courts to enforce. It would guarantee terrorist masterminds charged with war crimes an array of procedural protections. But it would bar hundreds of minor figures and people who say they are innocent bystanders from access to the courts to challenge their potentially lifelong detentions. And while there is substantial disagreement about just which harsh interrogation techniques the compromise would prohibit, there is no dispute that it would allow military prosecutors to use statements that had been obtained under harsh techniques that are now banned."
The *New York Times* quoted Joseph Margulies, author of *Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power* (2006), who said that under the proposed legislation, for "the first time in U.S. history . . . the lawfulness of a person's detention is based on evidence secured by torture that's not shared with the prisoner, that he has the burden to rebut and without the assistance of counsel."
The director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington Legislative Office said on September 21: "This is a compromise of America's commitment to the rule of law. The proposal would make the core provisions of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions irrelevant and unenforceable. It deliberately provides a 'get out jail free card' to the administration's top torture officials, and backdates that card nine years. These are tactics expected of repressive regimes, not the American government. Also under the proposal, the president would have the authority to declare what is -- and what is not -- a grave breach of the War Crimes Act, making the president his own judge and jury. This provision would give him unilateral authority to declare certain torture and abuse legal and sound. In a telling move, during a call with reporters today, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley would not even answer a question about whether waterboarding would be permitted under the agreement. The agreement would also violate time-honored American due process standards by permitting the use of evidence coerced through cruel and abusive treatment. We urge lawmakers to stand firm in their commitment to American values and reject this charade of a compromise."
Writing in *National Review Online*, Byron York observed yesterday: "During the long negotiations between the Republican senators and the White House, Democrats were content to stay out of the issue, saying instead that they stood with McCain against the abuse of detainees. Now, however, there is a specific agreement, and McCain is on board, as well as Graham and Warner. What will Democrats do now?"
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing urges Washingtonians to contact their senators to insist that they oppose this alarming bill. Senator Maria Cantwell can be reached at 253-572-2281, 206-220-6400, or 202-224-3441. Senator Patty Murray can be reached at 253-572-3636, 206-553-5545, or 202-224-2621.