Tag Archives: torture

UTAH ASIAN FESTIVAL DISCRIMINATES AGAINST FALUN DAFA DUE TO CHINESE INFLUENCE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UTAH ASIAN FESTIVAL DISCRIMINATES AGAINST FALUN DAFA DUE TO CHINESE INFLUENCE

When Patrice Loung a practitioner of an ancient self-cultivation practice out of China, called Falun Dafa, submitted an application to this years Utah Asian Festival, she foresaw no difficulties. She and other Falun Gong practitioners had been there two years ago, to demonstrate the five, meditative exercises and to introduce the practice which is based upon the belief in the principles of “Truth, Compassion and Tolerance”, and to teach people how to make oragami lotus flowers. She was surprised when not long after her application was accepted, she was sent a letter saying that Falun Gong was no longer welcome in the Festival due to some unspecified “incident”. When Patrice contacted Imanuel Aswandi, in charge a booths, she was told that the Festival staff had been contacted by some “Chinese people” (she wasn’t told who they were) and that they had expressed that they were offended by the presence of Falun Gong at the Festival and that the Falun Gong banners were political. In fact the only two banners shown said “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance” in Chinese characters and “Falun Dafa is Good” also in Chinese characters. Explaining this to the Festival Staff seemed to do no good. This incidence leads Falun Gong practitioners to believe that the Asian Festival, which is funded in part by the Salt Lake County ZAP program, is being influenced by either the Chinese Communist government, or by Chinese people who have been influenced by the CCP’s propaganda assault on Falun Gong.
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Torture on Trial: Ft. Huachuca

The Torture on Trial Protest at Ft. Huachuca in mid-November was held in tandem with the Close the School of the Americas Vigil.  Ft. Huachuca, located 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona, houses the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School (USAICS). Ft. Huachuca has a long history of complicity in U.S. crimes of torture.  Read the website for more info on Ft. Huachuca and the event itself.

Three people were arrested😦each is linked to their respective statements)
Sr. Megan Rice, 78, from Las Vegas, Nevada
Fr. Louie Vitale, 76, from Oakland, California
Dennis Duvall, 66, from Prescott, Arizona

(Deanna’s aside:  I am proud to say I have been arrested at the Nevada test side alongside Father Louie and Sister Megan, two individuals who have highly inspired me in my peace and justice work.)

IMG_0376.jpg

See the photo gallery of the Ft. Huachuca Protest here.

Petition to Close the School of the Americas

Sign the petition to our new President
Barack Obama on-line.

to issue an executive order to Close Down the School of the
Americas

(renamed the Western Hemisphere Insititute for Security Cooperation).

Go to www.SOAW.org/petition

This petition will be presented to the new president in person
following his inauguration.

The Sanctuary of Presente

This poem was created by Kenneth Kennon in Arizona, organizer of the Ft. Huachuca event, sister action to the Close the School of the Americas vigil:

The Sanctuary of Presente

by Kenneth Kennon

The fence was transformed

Once again

Into an unseasonable sacred space

A sanctuary of nonviolence

By the power of the spirit

Festooned on chain-links and barbed wire

White crosses and stars hung

Carrying names of the disappeared

Their holy images

And banners with messages of hope

This quiet metamorphosis

Emerged from simple acts of many hands

As tears welled

Names rang through stately wood

Of brillant and falling leaves of autumn

 

In solemn preparation

Of a joyous spring

Presente

On The Seventh Anniversary of 9/11

This came across my email desk from the group Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of families of victims in the World Trade Center Bombings on September 11, 2001, that formed just after that horrific tragedy to turn their grief into action.  Here is there message today on teh 7th anniversary of that incident:

September 11, 2008

Dear Members, Friends and Supporters of Peaceful Tomorrows,

The experience of yet another anniversary of 9/11 provides an occasion to reflect upon the hopes and beliefs that brought the members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows together. In response to the terrorist attacks that killed our family members, we never wanted wars of retaliation that would cause the deaths of innocent civilians in other nations. We never wanted hunger for revenge to lead America to violate international law, abandon Constitutional rights, or engage in torture.

We united to turn our grief into action for peace, believing that it is possible to break the cycles of violence caused by terrorism and war.  And over the past months, from Capitol Hill to Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond we have raised our voices in support of nonviolence, human rights and the rule of law.

Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

In July, Peaceful Tomorrows members traveled to DC to lobby Congress about the need to end the abuses at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and rededicate the U.S. to principles of international justice. We are currently working with human rights allies at Witness Against Torture and Center for Constitutional Rights to craft a multi-faceted campaign to shut down Guantánamo within the first 100 days of the new administration.  We believe it can be done!

Iraq
Perhaps the most hopeful work we are doing is our campaign to support the courageous and inspiring Iraqi peace and nonviolence activists of LaOnf.  LaOnf (which roughly translates as "nonviolence" in Arabic) is a network of over 100 Iraqi civil society organizations working to promote "nonviolence as the most effective way to struggle for an independent, democratic, and peaceful Iraq."

In August Peaceful Tomorrows members Terry Rockefeller and Adele Welty met with LaOnf members in Erbil, Kurdistan as they planned activities for their 2008 Week of Nonviolence.  In support of LaOnf’s efforts, Peaceful Tomorrows has launched a public education campaign to inform American citizens and policymakers about these Iraqi women and men who have endured repression, invasion and occupation yet remain committed to nonviolence. In October, Peaceful Tomorrows will help communities across the U.S. to show solidarity with the LaOnf activists.  You can find out more at www.peacefultomorrows.org, where you can sign up to organize or attend a screening of a documentary about LaOnf in your area.

Military Commissions

Peaceful Tomorrows members have been featured in news stories about the controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s prosecution of 9/11 suspects in military tribunals. As a partner in the American Civil Liberties Union’s John Adams Project, Peaceful Tomorrows supports fair trials for all people, regardless of the charges they face. We will continue to speak out against the military commissions, making clear how they embody a legal process that has been compromised by political interference and stripped of the minimum of defendants’ rights and protections that define fair trials.

Afghanistan
As support for war in Iraq decreases, there are disturbing calls to increase U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Peaceful Tomorrows is categorically opposed to the idea that we can win a "War on Terror." War IS terror. We need instead to invest in programs that address the root causes of violence and terrorism. Peaceful Tomorrows has been actively working to bring Afghanistan to the forefront of the U.S. peace movement. With our allies at United for Peace and Justice, we are developing web-based materials that will prepare U.S. peace activists to effectively challenge the calls for increased military engagement in Afghanistan.

As we prepare ourselves for the work ahead, we are grateful for your loyal support.  Please help us to continue our work by making a generous donation to Peaceful Tomorrows today.  You can donate online at this link.

And please, go to our website at http://www.peacefultomorrows.org where you will find more information about the projects of  Peaceful Tomorrows and our members, including a link to the newly launched website of the International Network for Peace, a global network of victims of terrorism, genocide, atomic weapons, occupation and war who have chosen to work for nonviolent solutions to conflict.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In peace and hope,

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Tasers: A Form of Torture?

A man who posted a YouTube video of himself being tasered by a Utah Highway Patrol Officer has generated controversy according to an article in today’s Deseret News – mostly due to the comments that people have made in response to it.
(NOTE: I personally do not condone the violent commments made in response to the video clip but think it's important to reveal the torture methods being used by police in the United States.)

Here is more information on the use of tasers as torture in recent news:

Published on Sunday, November 25, 2007 by CBS News
UN: Tasers Are A Form Of Torture
“Stun Guns” Are Under Fire After Six Deaths This Week; Rallies Held Demanding They Be Banned
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Cynthia McKinney Seeking Green Party Presidential Nomination

I had the great fortune of seeing Cynthia McKinney speak at the Annual National Meeting of the Green Party of the United States this past summer and then meeting her at the SOA Watch event last weekend.  She will be working with me and others here in Utah towards a visit in the spring of 2008.  Below are videos and photos of her appearance at the SOA Watch event last weekend.

Cynthia’s websites:
All Things Cynthia McKinney
McKinney for President 2008

Cynthia McKinney, who is seeking the Green Party of the United States Presidential Nomination, attended the School of the Americas Watch Event on Sunday, November 18, 2007. She was a featured speaker on the stage. She was also among those who led the funeral procession after the funeral service.

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School of the Americas Watch Event – My Experience

There is so much to tell it’s hard to know where to start. The good news is that five Latin American countries are now officially School of the Americas “dropouts” (they will not be sending any more of their military to the SOA for training). The bad news: It’s still open and operating. But it’s getting closer and closer to closing down. Only about 6 more U.S. representatives are needed to vote to close it.

My experience is best told through photos and videos. I have posted videos at
Green Party Peace Network.
You can also view my videos at Youtube – search for “deesdotes”.

Photos Tom and I took can be viewed at the SOAW page of the Green Party Peace Network.

Here are a few things for “taste” of what I experienced:
Father Roy Bourgeois, Founder of the SOA Watch

Funeral Procession






Torture

I found these articles on Torture in today’s news:

Accessories to Torture – Editorial, The Nation
Uncomfortably Numb to Torture – JoAnn Wypijewski, Los Angeles Times
On Torture– Ed Kinane, Common Dreams
Terror Suspects Tortured, Claims Amnesty Report – Declan Walsh, The Guardian UK

Utah Religious Community Issues Statement on Torture

Today’s Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune have published the statement from the Utah Religious Community disavowing the use of torture by the U.S. The statement urges our legislators to pass
H. R. 2863 (“Anti-Torture Provisions” – amendments to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2006).

There is one prominent religious community visibly missing from the list of signatories: The Church of Latter Day Saints. This church continues to refrain from taking a stand on this and other issues such as war itself.

On torture, the statement contains:
Torture, regardless of circumstance, humiliates and debases torturer and tortured alike. Torture turns its face against the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27). It denies the preciousness of human life and the dignity of every human being by reducing its victims to the status of despised objects, no matter how noble the cause for which it is employed.
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