Chomsky, Zinn et al: US Out of Iraq Now!

Why we stand for immediate withdrawal of all U.S.
troops from Iraq

THE U.S. occupation of Iraq has not liberated the
Iraqi people, but has made life worse for most Iraqis.

Tens of thousands of U.S. service people have been
killed or maimed, and hundreds of thousands of
innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of
the U.S. invasion in 2003, the ongoing occupation, and
the violence unleashed by them. Continue reading Chomsky, Zinn et al: US Out of Iraq Now!

Lobby for Peace in DC – Jan 27-29

Can you come to DC Jan 27-29 and be a state coordinator of lobbying for peace and investigations?

See below:

State Coordinators Needed for UFPJ Lobby Day!
The countdown to the UFPJ Lobby Day is zooming along, and we expect to
have hundreds of peace activists on Capitol Hill on Monday, January 29.

As you make your plans to come to the lobby day, please consider
volunteering to be a coordinator for your state. Continue reading Lobby for Peace in DC – Jan 27-29

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment

New York Times
December 18, 2006
Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment

One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military’s maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.

American guards arrived at the man’s cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.

Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon’s detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.

At Camp Cropper, he took notes on his imprisonment and smuggled them out in a Bible.

“Sick, very. Vomited,” he wrote July 3. The next day: “Told no more phone calls til leave.”

Nathan Ertel, the American held with Mr. Vance, brought away military records that shed further light on the detention camp and its secretive tribunals. Those records include a legal memorandum explicitly denying detainees the right to a lawyer at detention hearings to determine whether they should be released or held indefinitely, perhaps for prosecution.

The story told through those records and interviews illuminates the haphazard system of detention and prosecution that has evolved in Iraq, where detainees are often held for long periods without charges or legal representation, and where the authorities struggle to sort through the endless stream of detainees to identify those who pose real threats.

“Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had,” said Mr. Vance, who said he planned to sue the former defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, on grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated. “While we were detained, we wrote a letter to the camp commandant stating that the same democratic ideals we are trying to instill in the fledgling democratic country of Iraq, from simple due process to the Magna Carta, we are absolutely, positively refusing to follow ourselves.”

A spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s detention operations in Iraq, First Lt. Lea Ann Fracasso, said in written answers to questions that the men had been “treated fair and humanely,” and that there was no record of either man complaining about their treatment.

Held as ‘a Threat’

She said officials did not reach Mr. Vance’s contact at the F.B.I. until he had been in custody for three weeks. Even so, she said, officials determined that he “posed a threat” and decided to continue holding him. He was released two months later, Lieutenant Fracasso said, based on a “subsequent re-examination of his case,” and his stated plans to leave Iraq.

Mr. Ertel, 30, a contract manager who knew Mr. Vance from an earlier job in Iraq, was released more quickly.

Mr. Vance went to Iraq in 2004, first to work for a Washington-based company. He later joined a small Baghdad-based security company where, he said, “things started looking weird to me.” He said that the company, which was protecting American reconstruction organizations, had hired guards from a sheik in Basra and that many of them turned out to be members of militias whom the clients did not want around.

Mr. Vance said the company had a growing cache of weapons it was selling to suspicious customers, including a steady flow of officials from the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The ministry had ties to violent militias and death squads. He said he had also witnessed another employee giving American soldiers liquor in exchange for bullets and weapon repairs.

On a visit to Chicago in October 2005, Mr. Vance met twice with an F.B.I. agent who set up a reporting system. Weekly, Mr. Vance phoned the agent from Iraq and sent him e-mail messages. “It was like, ‘Hey, I heard this and I saw this.’ I wanted to help,” Mr. Vance said. A government official familiar with the arrangement confirmed Mr. Vance’s account.

In April, Mr. Ertel and Mr. Vance said, they felt increasingly uncomfortable at the company. Mr. Ertel resigned and company officials seized the identification cards that both men needed to move around Iraq or leave the country.

On April 15, feeling threatened, Mr. Vance phoned the United States Embassy in Baghdad. A military rescue team rushed to the security company. Again, Mr. Vance described its operations, according to military records.

“Internee Vance indicated a large weapons cache was in the compound in the house next door,” Capt. Plymouth D. Nelson, a military detention official, wrote in a memorandum dated April 22, after the men were detained. “A search of the house and grounds revealed two large weapons caches.”

On the evening of April 15, they met with American officials at the embassy and stayed overnight. But just before dawn, they were awakened, handcuffed with zip ties and made to wear goggles with lenses covered by duct tape. Put into a Humvee, Mr. Vance said he asked for a vest and helmet, and was refused.

They were driven through dangerous Baghdad roads and eventually to Camp Cropper. They were placed in cells at Compound 5, the high-security unit where Saddam Hussein has been held.

Only days later did they receive an explanation: They had become suspects for having associated with the people Mr. Vance tried to expose.

“You have been detained for the following reasons: You work for a business entity that possessed one or more large weapons caches on its premises and may be involved in the possible distribution of these weapons to insurgent/terrorist groups,” Mr. Ertel’s detention notice said.

Mr. Vance said he began seeking help even before his cell door closed for the first time. “They took off my blindfold and earmuffs and told me to stand in a corner, where they cut off the zip ties, and told me to continue looking straight forward and as I’m doing this, I’m asking for an attorney,” he said. “ ‘I want an attorney now,’ I said, and they said, ‘Someone will be here to see you.’ ”

Instead, they were given six-digit ID numbers. The guards shortened Mr. Vance’s into something of a nickname: “343.” And the routine began.

Bread and powdered drink for breakfast and sometimes a piece of fruit. Rice and chicken for lunch and dinner. Their cells had no sinks. The showers were irregular. They got 60 minutes in the recreation yard at night, without other detainees.

Five times in the first week, guards shackled the prisoners’ hands and feet, covered their eyes, placed towels over their heads and put them in wheelchairs to be pushed to a room with a carpeted ceiling and walls. There they were questioned by an array of officials who, they said they were told, represented the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“It’s like boom, boom, boom,” Mr. Ertel said. “They are drilling you. ‘We know you did this, you are part of this gun smuggling thing.’ And I’m saying you have it absolutely way off.”

The two men slept in their 9-by-9-foot cells on concrete slabs, with worn three-inch foam mats. With the fluorescent lights on and the temperature in the 50s, Mr. Vance said, “I paced myself to sleep, walking until I couldn’t anymore. I broke the straps on two pair of flip-flops.”

Asked about the lights, the detainee operations spokeswoman said that the camp’s policy was to turn off cell lights at night “to allow detainees to sleep.”

A Psychological Game

One day, Mr. Vance met with a camp psychologist. “He realized I was having difficulties,” Mr. Vance said. “He said to turn it into a game. He said: ‘I want you to pretend you are a soldier who has been kidnapped, and that you still have a duty to do. Memorize everything you can about everything that happens to you. Make it like you are a spy on the inside.’ I think he called it rational emotive behavioral therapy, and I started doing that.”

Camp Rule 31 barred detainees from writing on the white cell walls, which were bare except for a black crescent moon painted on one wall to indicate the direction of Mecca for prayers. But Mr. Vance began keeping track of the days by making hash marks on the wall, and he also began writing brief notes that he hid in the Bible given to him by guards.

“Turned in request for dentist + phone + embassy letter + request for clothes,” he wrote one day.

“Boards,” he wrote April 24, the day he and Mr. Ertel went before Camp Cropper’s Detainee Status Board.

Their legal rights, laid out in a letter from Lt. Col. Bradley J. Huestis of the Army, the president of the status board, allowed them to attend the hearing and testify. However, under Rule 3, the letter said, “You do not have the right to legal counsel, but you may have a personal representative assist you at the hearing if the personal representative is reasonably available.”

Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel were permitted at their hearings only because they were Americans, Lieutenant Fracasso said. The cases of all other detainees are reviewed without the detainees present, she said. In both types of cases, defense lawyers are not allowed to attend because the hearings are not criminal proceedings, she said.

Lieutenant Fracasso said that currently there were three Americans in military custody in Iraq. The military does not identify detainees.

Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel had separate hearings. They said their requests to be each other’s personal representative had been denied.

At the hearings, a woman and two men wearing Army uniforms but no name tags or rank designations sat a table with two stacks of documents. One was about an inch thick, and the men were allowed to see some papers from that stack. The other pile was much thicker, but they were told that this pile was evidence only the board could see.

The men pleaded with the board. “I’m telling them there has been a major mix-up,” Mr. Ertel said. “Please, I’m out of my mind. I haven’t slept. I’m not eating. I’m terrified.”

Mr. Vance said he implored the board to delve into his laptop computer and cellphone for his communications with the F.B.I. agent in Chicago.

Each of the hearings lasted about two hours, and the men said they never saw the board again.

“At the end, my first question was, ‘Does my family know I’m alive?’ and the lead man said, ‘I don’t know,’ ” Mr. Vance recounted. “And then I asked when will we have an answer, and they said on average it takes three to four weeks.”

Help From the Outside

About a week later, two weeks into his detention, Mr. Vance was allowed to make his first call, to Chicago. He called his fiancée, Diane Schwarz, who told him she had thought he might have died.

“It was very overwhelming,” Ms. Schwarz recalls of the 12-minute conversation. “He wasn’t quite sure what was going on, and was kind of turning to me for answers and I was turning to him for the same.”

She had already been calling members of Congress, alarmed by his disappearance. So was Mr. Ertel’s mother, and some officials began pressing for answers. “I would appreciate your looking into this matter,” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois wrote to a State Department official in early May.

On May 7, the Camp Cropper detention board met again, without either man present, and determined that Mr. Ertel was “an innocent civilian,” according to the spokeswoman for detention operations. It took authorities 18 more days to release him.

Mr. Vance’s situation was more complicated. On June 17, Lt. Col. Keir-Kevin Curry, a spokesman for the American military’s detention unit, Task Force 134, wrote to tell Ms. Schwarz that Mr. Vance was still being held. “The detainee board reviewed his case and recommended he remain interned,” he wrote. “Multi-National Force-Iraq approved the board’s recommendation to continue internment. Therefore, Mr. Vance continues to be a security detainee. We are not processing him for release. His case remains under investigation and there is no set timetable for completion.” Over the following weeks, Mr. Vance said he made numerous written requests — for a lawyer, for blankets, for paper to write letters home. Mr. Vance said that he wrote 10 letters to Ms. Schwarz, but that only one made it to Chicago. Dated July 17, it was delivered late last month by the Red Cross.

“Diana, start talking, sending e-mail and letters and faxes to the alderman, mayor, governor, congressman, senators, Red Cross, Amnesty International, A.C.L.U., Vatican, and other Christian-based organizations. Everyone!” he wrote. “I am missing you so much, and am so depressed it’s a daily struggle here. My life is in your hands. Please don’t get discouraged. Don’t take ‘No’ for answers. Keep working. I have to tell myself these things every day, but I can’t do anything from a cell.”

The military has never explained why it continued to consider Mr. Vance a security threat, except to say that officials decided to release him after further review of his case.

“Treating an American citizen in this fashion would have been unimaginable before 9/11,” said Mike Kanovitz, a Chicago lawyer representing Mr. Vance.

On July 20, Mr. Vance wrote in his notes: “Told ‘Leaving Today.’ Took shower and shaved, saw doctor, got civ clothes back and passport.”

On his way out, Mr. Vance said: “They asked me if I was intending to write a book, would I talk to the press, would I be thinking of getting an attorney. I took it as, ‘Shut up, don’t talk about this place,’ and I kept saying, ‘No sir, I want to go home.’ ”

Mr. Ertel has returned to Baghdad, again working as a contracts manager. Mr. Vance is back in Chicago, still feeling the effects of having been a prisoner of the war in Iraq.

“It’s really hard,” he says. “I don’t really talk about this stuff with my family. I feel ashamed, depressed, still have nightmares, and I’d even say I suffer from some paranoia.”

Israel’s course approved for NYC students


9-8-06 (we were sent this on 12-17-06)

The New York City Council’s education committee approved a
curriculum on Israel initiated by the public relations department of the
Israeli Consulate in New York. The curriculum will be integrated into the
training program for educators teaching in 1,400 public high schools in
New York City. The teachers will be able to register to a 30-hour course
dealing with the history of the State of Israel, its economy, the
high-tech industry, Israeli art and Ethiopian Jews. The incentive offered
to teachers who will take the course: Credit points for an academic
degree. . . Israeli Consul General in New York Aryeh Mekel said that
“through the teachers a generation of leaders will be educated to maintain
the special relations between the United States and Israel.”

original article

DVD of Camp Democracy Now Available

DVD of Camp Democracy Now Available

For the holidays this year, give your loved ones some TRUTH:

Camp Democracy lasted for 18 days this past fall; 18 days of workshops, press conferences, education, and actions. Some of the highlights have been captured in a 45-minute documentary. You and your friends and family can listen to the wisdom of Howard Zinn, Jeff Cohen, Elizabeth Holtzman, Col. Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, Iraq War vets, Iraq War resisters, Hurricane Katrina survivors, and many more. Watch the Bush Crimes Commission verdict being delivered to the White House and hear a panel of experts lay out the case for impeachment. See Helga Aguayo tell the story of her husband’s refusal to serve in Iraq. Camp Democracy can continue to educate and engage those newly awakened to the issues before us; those who were there can remember the lessons learned.

Purchase the DVD. They’re $17 each. The cost of shipping and handling is included.

Iranians for Peace and Justice

Monday, November 13, 2006 – By Nathan Diebenow, Associate Editor
original article

[Press Conference report]

Unity of Contradictions

Iranian-Americans that value peace in the Middle East are taking no chances with the Bush administration and its policies toward Iran, even though the Democratic Party took control of Congress last week.

Two members of Iranians for Peace & Justice joined representatives of the Crawford Peace House on Election Day in Crawford to express their alarm at four major U.S. carrier forces playing war games near the Iranian coast line in the Persian Gulf. Continue reading Iranians for Peace and Justice

Did the CIA kill Bobby Kennedy

original Guarian article

Did the CIA kill Bobby Kennedy?

In 1968, Robert Kennedy seemed likely to follow his brother, John, into the White House. Then, on June 6, he was assassinated – apparently by a lone gunman. But Shane O’Sullivan says he has evidence implicating three CIA agents in the murder.

Monday November 20, 2006

At first, it seems an open-and-shut case. On June 5 1968, Robert Kennedy wins the California Democratic primary and is set to challenge Richard Nixon for the White House. After midnight, he finishes his victory speech at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles and is shaking hands with kitchen staff in a crowded pantry when 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan steps down from a tray-stacker with a “sick, villainous smile” on his face and starts firing at Kennedy with an eight-shot revolver.
As Kennedy lies dying on the pantry floor, Sirhan is arrested as the lone assassin. He carries the motive in his shirt-pocket (a clipping about Kennedy’s plans to sell bombers to Israel) and notebooks at his house seem to incriminate him. But the autopsy report suggests Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. Witnesses place Sirhan’s gun several feet in front of Kennedy, but the fatal bullet is fired from one inch behind. And more bullet-holes are found in the pantry than Sirhan’s gun can hold, suggesting a second gunman is involved. Sirhan’s notebooks show a bizarre series of “automatic writing” – “RFK must die RFK must be killed – Robert F Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68” – and even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember shooting Kennedy. He recalls “being led into a dark place by a girl who wanted coffee”, then being choked by an angry mob. Defence psychiatrists conclude he was in a trance at the time of the shooting and leading psychiatrists suggest he may have be a hypnotically programmed assassin.

Three years ago, I started writing a screenplay about the assassination of Robert Kennedy, caught up in a strange tale of second guns and “Manchurian candidates” (as the movie termed brainwashed assassins). As I researched the case, I uncovered new video and photographic evidence suggesting that three senior CIA operatives were behind the killing. I did not buy the official ending that Sirhan acted alone, and started dipping into the nether-world of “assassination research”, crossing paths with David Sanchez Morales, a fearsome Yaqui Indian.

Morales was a legendary figure in CIA covert operations. According to close associate Tom Clines, if you saw Morales walking down the street in a Latin American capital, you knew a coup was about to happen. When the subject of the Kennedys came up in a late-night session with friends in 1973, Morales launched into a tirade that finished: “I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard.” From this line grew my odyssey into the spook world of the 60s and the secrets behind the death of Bobby Kennedy.

Working from a Cuban photograph of Morales from 1959, I viewed news coverage of the assassination to see if I could spot the man the Cubans called El Gordo – The Fat One. Fifteen minutes in, there he was, standing at the back of the ballroom, in the moments between the end of Kennedy’s speech and the shooting. Thirty minutes later, there he was again, casually floating around the darkened ballroom while an associate with a pencil moustache took notes.

The source of early research on Morales was Bradley Ayers, a retired US army captain who had been seconded to JM-Wave, the CIA’s Miami base in 1963, to work closely with chief of operations Morales on training Cuban exiles to run sabotage raids on Castro. I tracked Ayers down to a small town in Wisconsin and emailed him stills of Morales and another guy I found suspicious – a man who is pictured entering the ballroom from the direction of the pantry moments after the shooting, clutching a small container to his body, and being waved towards an exit by a Latin associate.

Ayers’ response was instant. He was 95% sure that the first figure was Morales and equally sure that the other man was Gordon Campbell, who worked alongside Morales at JM-Wave in 1963 and was Ayers’ case officer shortly before the JFK assassination.

I put my script aside and flew to the US to interview key witnesses for a documentary on the unfolding story. In person, Ayers positively identified Morales and Campbell and introduced me to David Rabern, a freelance operative who was part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force in 1961 and was at the Ambassador hotel that night. He did not know Morales and Campbell by name but saw them talking to each other out in the lobby before the shooting and assumed they were Kennedy’s security people. He also saw Campbell around police stations three or four times in the year before Robert Kennedy was shot.

This was odd. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and Morales was stationed in Laos in 1968. With no secret service protection for presidential candidates in those days, Kennedy was guarded by unarmed Olympic decathlete champion Rafer Johnson and football tackler Rosey Grier – no match for an expert assassination team.

Trawling through microfilm of the police investigation, I found further photographs of Campbell with a third figure, standing centre-stage in the Ambassador hotel hours before the shooting. He looked Greek, and I suspected he might be George Joannides, chief of psychological warfare operations at JM-Wave. Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigating the death of John F Kennedy.

Ed Lopez, now a respected lawyer at Cornell University, came into close contact with Joann-des when he was a young law student working for the committee. We visit him and show him the photograph and he is 99% sure it is Joannides. When I tell him where it was taken, he is not surprised: “If these guys decided you were bad, they acted on it.

We move to Washington to meet Wayne Smith, a state department official for 25 years who knew Morales well at the US embassy in Havana in 1959-60. When we show him the video in the ballroom, his response is instant: “That’s him, that’s Morales.” He remembers Morales at a cocktail party in Buenos Aires in 1975, saying Kennedy got what was coming to him. Is there a benign explanation for his presence? For Kennedy’s security, maybe? Smith laughs. Morales is the last person you would want to protect Bobby Kennedy, he says. He hated the Kennedys, blaming their lack of air support for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

We meet Clines in a hotel room near CIA headquarters. He does not want to go on camera and brings a friend, which is a little unnerving. Clines remembers “Dave” fondly. The guy in the video looks like Morales but it is not him, he says: “This guy is fatter and Morales walked with more of a slouch and his tie down.” To me, the guy in the video does walk with a slouch and his tie is down.

Clines says he knew Joannides and Campbell and it is not them either, but he fondly remembers Ayers bringing snakes into JM-Wave to scare the secretaries and seems disturbed at Smith’s identification of Morales. He does not discourage our investigation and suggests others who might be able to help. A seasoned journalist cautions that he would expect Clines “to blow smoke”, and yet it seems his honest opinion.

As we leave Los Angeles, I tell the immigration officer that I am doing a story on Bobby Kennedy. She has seen the advertisements for the new Emilio Estevez movie about the assassination, Bobby. “Who do you think did it? I think it was the Mob,” she says before I can answer.

“I definitely think it was more than one man,” I say, discreetly.

Morales died of a heart attack in 1978, weeks before he was to be called before the HSCA. Joannides died in 1990. Campbell may still be out there somewhere, in his early 80s. Given the positive identifications we have gathered on these three, the CIA and the Los Angeles Police Department need to explain what they were doing there. Lopez believes the CIA should call in and interview everybody who knew them, disclose whether they were on a CIA operation and, if not, why they were there that night.

Today would have been Robert Kennedy’s 81st birthday. The world is crying out for a compassionate leader like him. If dark forces were behind his elimination, it needs to be investigated

· Shane O’Sullivan’s investigation will be shown tonight on Newsnight, BBC2, 10.30pm.

Nov 24 Peace Action Report

Thankful Neighbors —

November 24, 2006 – See seven items.
A partial list of thank-yous! More next week.
(Look for your next Traprock Peace Action Report
to come from

What a harvest of talents for peace:

1. For 6 years I’ve met with the Interfaith Council of Franklin County.
This year my Thanksgiving wish was answered in full:
Barry White Crowe Higgins brought us a message
from his tribal perspective informed by their experience of
history. In the context of a service about hunger, chaired by
Leslie Fraser, a former Traprock President, I invited Barry to bring
his message of truth. With beautiful hopes and music all around
we HEARD his appeal for a world that leaves genocide behind!
We will work to record his account of Thanksgiving to share it.

2. With great gratitude to Janet Masucci, Bob McCormick,
Gregg Crawford, Michael Bae, David Mankowski, Ann Levinger,
Michael Boehm, Abbie Jenks, GCC students, Michael True, Peter Letson,
Sally Weiss, Shelagh Foreman, folks at Just Foreign Policy, & staff
at Greenfield Community Television we have burst out of the starting
gate into the realm of television, together. Three programs will air
this week-end. … Some upcoming shows will be especially made for kids!
The schedule is at

We don’t have our copies yet, and haven’t even seen them in full,
but after 12 hours in the studio and 30+ hours of editing, watch for
the power of nonviolence to come through. Available soon for postage
and handling at

“Perpetual War for Peace? … Iran, Iraq & the Corporate Agenda”
with Just Foreign Policy (DON’T ATTACK IRAN!!)
“Hope Rises from the Ashes of My Lai” with Michael Boehm
& “The American Tradition of Nonviolence,” with Michael True

A. Michael True has given his slide show on the history of nonviolence
for 30 years, and is delighted he may have a video to send, when
he can’t travel to meet frequent requests. Praise be to volunteers, all,
and to perseverance, Michael!

B. Michael Boehm has also persevered. He’s made 15 trips to Vietnam
to help rebuild, and to heal as a veteran! Indeed hope rises!

C. Just maybe the Just Foreign Policy collaboration will help prevent
an attack on Iran. We welcome your ideas in this realm. Our nuke is
very close to home and reminds us nobody’s nuke should be
Targeted — especially for the mythology that Iran is a threat
because they want a nuclear deterrent that is a small fraction
of the threat we pose.

3. TraprockPeaceCtr has new clips on YOU TUBE!!!

Bravo, Charlie Jenks. Now a dozen clips to see on our site,
or on YouTube if you want to help rank some as favorites.
My current favorite is a message for your teen neighbors —
1. Aimee Allison, a former recruit, ardently & compellingly,
TELLS IT LIKE IT IS! See yourself dancing at the last
July 4 picnic at our home on the Hill. (That will be changing.)
See Holly Near, Mixed Nuts, or Anja Daneil sing from the heart.
Martin Espada recites poetry. Many more to choose from.
If you want to rank our video clip of Aimee, please go to


After 27 years, we look for a new home for Traprock.
Have a parcel of land where we could build, or a building with
grounds that we could make wheelchair accessible? The peace
and serenity of the wilderness reminds us daily that the world
is good. I don’t think I could have persevered for 11 years full
time on about half-time pay without the wildlife, the mama bear,
the deer, the turkeys, scarlet tanager, coyote, and fox bringing
renewal, hope, reminders almost daily.

This wilderness also inspires interns to come (when the roof
hasn’t been leaking.) Two new folks are in the process of inquiring.
Please call and send 2 job references if you’re interested.


Nov. 30 – The Historic Emergence of Nonviolent Struggle
7 pm, Reel World Films at the Arms Library, Bridge St, Shelburne Falls

Please call us if you’d like to host the terrific films,
“Iraq for Sale” or “Soldiers Speak Out” — 413-773-7427.
(Please send calendar updates for event listings to

6. Rosa Parks Day is coming, Friday, Dec. 1
Human Rights Day is Sunday, Dec. 10
& on Saturday, Dec. 16 the
Boston Tea Party Anniversary may be celebrated anew!
Please watch for exciting programs to be announced next week.

7. An Evening with Starhawk

“Holding the Vision of Global Justice:
Keeping our Spirit and Courage Alive”
Thursday, December 7, 7: 30 p.m.
Helen Hills Chapel, Smith College, Northampton
$12 general admission/$6 student or low-income

How do we keep a strong vision of peace in these times of war? World leaders seem unable to look beyond retaliation, retribution and destruction. The international global justice movement claims that “Another world is possible!” But what does that world look like? What can we do to make that vision real? How do we sustain the courage and commitment to do the work we believe in? And how do we maintain hope in hard times?

Starhawk, committed global justice activist and organizer, is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and the award-winning Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising. Her latest is Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature. She is a veteran of progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, is a highly influential voice in the revival of earth-based spirituality & Goddess religion, and has brought many innovative techniques of spirituality & magic to her political work.

Best regards,
Sunny Miller
413-773-7427, I LIKE PHONE CALLS —

Emily West

Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342

Palestinian mass resistance blocks Israeli air strike

Diaries: Live from Palestine
Palestinian mass resistance blocks Israeli air strike
Yousef Alhelou, Live from Palestine, 20 November 2006

Palestinians have started to employ new tactics to prevent Israeli air attacks on their houses. Hundreds of protesters successfully forced the Israeli air force to halt air strikes on a house belonging to Muhammad Baroud in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday night.

Israeli warplanes have already destroyed more than 60 houses belonging to activists from Palestinian factions across the Gaza Strip, using the same method of ordering the residents, through a telephone call at short notice, to evacuate their home prior to bombardment.

“This new phenomenon [of human shields] began when Muhammad Baroud, 29, a leader in the Popular Resistance Committees [PRC], received a warning phone call at 8 PM from the Israeli intelligence service ordering him to evacuate his house within 10 minutes because the Israeli air force was going to destroy the house. But he ignored this threat and said, ‘We are not leaving our house’. Once again his mobile rang, and Muhammad again ignored the warning. After that, Muhammad and I went to the rooftop of our house and started chanting slogans ‘Death to Israel! Death to America!’, and we started shooting in the air. A few minutes later an Israeli F-16 was hovering in the sky above our heads,” Wael Baroud, Muhammad’s brother, explained.

He added, “This area is very crowded and we managed to assemble many people after a man went to a mosque nearby and called people via a loudspeaker to go and support the family and prevent the bombardment of the house. People began to gather around the house, which is a three-storey building and houses five families. We remained inside the house. We were about 1,000 people — men and women — and some of us were on the rooftop and others inside the house and on the street.

“The whole world and the international community turned a blind eye and failed to protect us from the continuous Israeli attacks. We have to do something, so we are facing the threats of the Israeli F-16 fighter jets. We are ready to be killed and martyred for the sake of God and freedom. We don’t fear the Israelis. We are no better than the children of Beit Hanoun, who were slaughtered while they were sleeping in the latest Israeli massacre in Beit Hanoun.”

Issa Radwan, 31, took part in the demonstration near the house. He said, “We cannot bear [this] any more. It’s a very difficult life. We don’t feel that we are alive. Israel has made our life miserable and they claim that they are a democratic country and call for human rights. We want the whole world to know what is going on here and to protect us from the brutal Israeli genocide and continuous attacks. They are punishing the whole family because of some one [person]. We came here to protest and to send a message to the Israelis that it does not make a difference for us if we live or die. The Israelis have deprived us of our freedom and [they] still kill us every day, destroy our houses and impose a tight siege on us. They are punishing all Palestinians because of a few individuals.” He added, “Don’t be surprised if more people become militants and join resistance factions.”

He added, “My message to the international community, especially the Americans, is: Once again you failed to force Israel to halt its attacks and protect us, the civilians. You are always pro-Israel, so don’t be surprised when you know that all Palestinians hate you despite your financial support.”

Um Asa’ad, a neighbor said, “We came here to give our support to Baroud’s family not because he is a commander or because he belongs to a specific faction, but because our houses surrounds Baroud’s house and for sure will sustain damage.”

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the raid had been called off because of the gathering of people.

“We differentiate between innocent people and militants,” the spokesman said, vowing that Israel would continue its strikes against militants. He also accused gunmen of using civilians in Beit Lahiya as human shields.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh arrived at Baroud’s house early on Sunday to support the protest. “We are so proud of this national stand. It’s the first step toward protecting our homes, the homes of our children,” Haniyeh said as he made his way to the roof.

On his way out, he was asked if there had been any progress in regards to the national unity government. He responded, “Yes, there is progress but, despite progress in the talks, there were no guarantees that the new government could persuade the international community to lift the sanctions.”

“We want to feel more secure, to be more comfortable that they are going to be committed to these guarantees and lift the siege,” he said.

The interior ministry spokesman, Khaled Abu Hilal, said, “We salute our brave people who formed human shields to prevent air strikes by the Israeli enemy, who doesn’t spare any effort to terrorize us and attack us day and night.”

The spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Mujahid, said in a press conference yesterday, “We salute the people who answered the call to assemble to protest. Members of parliament, including Dr Ahmed Baher, and Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas leader, visited Baroud’s house as well as the parliamentary member Jamila Al-Shanti whose house was attacked a few weeks ago by an Israeli F-16 fighter jet”.

On Sunday night, hundreds of protestors remained on the rooftop. Demonstrators said they split into 12-hour shifts to guard the house around the clock.