Sunday, January 07, 2007

War - period ended 1.1.2006

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Leahy wants to know about Pentagon spying on Vermont protests/Brattleboro Reformer/Brattleboro/VT/USA/30-Dec-05/AP/

Boston Globe/Boston/MA/USA/30-Dec-05/AP/
Barre Montpelier Times Argus/Barre/VT/USA/30-Dec-05/AP/

…COLCHESTER (AP) -- Sen. Patrick Leahy wants the Defense Department to give him the details about two Vermont anti-war protests that were monitored by government officials.

Leahy, a Democrat, said Vermont had a long tradition of peaceful political protest.

"I want to know the extent of it. I want to know under what conceivable, conceivable legal justification they are doing it," Leahy told Vermont Public Radio.

"And even if they could legally justify it, what dunderhead policy reason (is there) for doing it," he said. "And again, I'd like to know how much it cost. The Department of Defense says we don't have enough money to get the kind of armor and protection our troops need in Iraq, but we've got money to go around and spy on Quaker meetings?"

Pentagon policy allows it to take the legal steps necessary to protect military installations and personnel from violence.

Earlier this month, NBC News reported that the Pentagon has monitored anti-war protests as part of a stepped up intelligence collection effort. The efforts included monitoring two Vermont protests.

Joseph Gainza of the American Friends Service Committee, who helped organize those protests, said he was not surprised that the Pentagon keeps tabs on the peace movement.

"What disturbed me was that it's part of a larger pattern that this government seems to be doing what it pleases and hiding from the American people so much of its violations of law," Gainza said.

Leahy wrote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asking for more information.

"Besides, I told the Department of Defense, if they really want to hear Vermonters speak out against the war, they don't have to send a camera crew to snoop around Vermont, just turn on C-SPAN," Leahy said. "I do it on the Senate floor all the time."

Gainza said the Pentagon's monitoring of protests could have a chilling effect on the public's right to challenge the government.

"People don't want to have their names on files somewhere as doing something which the government doesn't approve of. People are very concerned about that," Gainza said. ….

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/The Fog of False Choices/New York Times/New York/NY/USA/20-Dec-05/NYT/Chillingly, this is not the only time we've heard of this administration using terrorism as an excuse to spy on Americans. NBC News recently discovered a Pentagon database of 1,500 "suspicious incidents" that included a Quaker meeting to plan an antiwar rally.

Rutland Herald/Rutland/VT/USA/21-Dec-05/NYT/

International Herald Tribune/Paris/France/E.U./20-Dec-05/NYT

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Do Quakers Dream of Electric Sheep? And Other Questions About .../Intellectual Conservative/Phoenix/AZ/USA/20-Dec-05//by Jonathan David Morris. Being an anti-war Quaker shouldn’t be enough to get you on a Pentagon watch list -- yet, apparently, now it is. ...

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Department of Defense spied on locals, Akron group says/Akron Beacon Journal/Akron/OH/USA/20-Dec-05//... the data. ``This is chilling,'' the Quaker-affiliated group said in a press release. Department of Defense spokesman Maj. Paul Swiergosz ...

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Newest Enemies of the State: Quakers, grandmothers/ Lauderdale/FL/USA/19-Dec-05//... Lo and behold, the group's inaugural 2004 meeting at the Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth is listed as a "threat" in a secret 400-page Defense Department ...

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Impeaching the "Trust Me" Man/PEJ News/Prince Edward Island/New Brunswick/Canada/19-Dec-05//... we have only recently learned that the Department of Defense has squandered its Homeland Security resources infiltrating and spying on Quaker peace activists? ...

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/SHIELDS AND BROOKS/NewsHour/New York/NY/USA/19-Dec-05//…GWEN IFILL: The phrase used in the question was: Are you guilty of having unchecked presidential power?

MARK SHIELDS: Unchecked presidential power. And I mean, I think that is -- you know I think that is a concern. It's not that the president -- I mean, we also had revealed this weekend, I mean, the counterintelligence field activity of the Pentagon, you know, which is something that probably eight people in the country have heard of, has been spying on domestic antiwar groups including the Quakers.

Now, you know, I don't know what kind of a tortured logic it takes to go after a Quaker meeting as somehow a threat to national security, but, I mean, that's sort of the attitude that has seized this administration it seems. ….

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Bigger brother/Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles/CA/USA/18-Dec-05//The news came on the same day that Congress voted not to extend controversial aspects of the soon-to-expire Patriot Act, and on the heels of disturbing reports that the Pentagon's shadowy Counterintelligence Field Activity office has been keeping tabs on domestic antiwar groups, including monitoring Quaker meetings, under the guise of protecting military installations. The program is reminiscent of official efforts to spy on antiwar groups in the 1960s.

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Incompetent infiltration/Palm Beach Post/Palm Beach/FL/USA/16-Dec-05//...... Military surveillance of people who have nothing to hide is as smart as failing to use available intelligence to foil the perpetrators of 9/11. But the 2004 spying on pacifists and retirees at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Lake Worth, revealed in a classified database obtained by NBC News, is worse than a waste of resources. It raises the question of whether government can rein in itself after being unleashed by the Patriot Act. .......It isn't just The Truth Project that the Pentagon's highly secret Counterintelligence Field Activity agency perceived to be a threat. Dozens of others were listed among 1,500 "suspicious incidents" nationwide that had little relationship to any military installation. If asked, the Lake Worth peaceniks, who include a 79-year-old grandmother, could have saved the agency some money. They admit being "guilty" of giving information on alternatives to violence to local school students who they see as pressured by military recruiters.

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Lawsuit/group plans suit over surveillance/Palm Beach Post/Palm Beach/FL/USA/21-Dec-05// To drive home the point, the group held a press conference Wednesday night where the mayor of Lake Worth as well as speakers from more than a dozen civil liberties, environmental, antiwar and other groups talked about what they see as an erosion of freedoms in a time of increased government surveillance.

"The Truth Project believes that we have been defamed by agents of the federal executive branch by being designated a credible threat to military recruiters and recruiting facilities," Truth Project member Marie Zwicker said at the press conference in front of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and Courthouse. "We believe that this has done irreparable damage to the legal, political and educational activities of (the group)."

The 2004 Truth Project meeting, held at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Lake Worth, was one of more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" listed on a 400-page document that consists of raw, unverified information picked up by the military on suspicious activities that could involve terrorist threats. ...

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Bush lacks credible defense/Indianapolis Star/Indianapolis/IN/USA/22-Dec-05//…. Congress' purpose in establishing this semi-secret court was to ensure that federal power would not be misused, that it would not be deployed against political enemies or others who simply disagreed with government policies. (Think Richard Nixon, or J. Edgar Hoover's surveillance of "domestic enemies" such as Martin Luther King Jr.) And indeed, the New York Times reports that the FBI is gathering covert intelligence on such threats to American security as Greenpeace, PETA, Quaker anti-war groups, and -- right here in Indianapolis -- a Vegan Community Project. ….

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Civil Rights/Pentagon spying target demands investigation/ Lauderdale/FL/USA/21-Dec-05//…. The Truth Project gained national attention Dec. 13 when NBC News reported that a Pentagon agency had monitored and infiltrated the group when about eight of its board members met in November 2004 in a Quaker meeting house in Lake Worth.

The 400-page document obtained by NBC described the group as both a "threat" and "credible."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, on Tuesday released a letter from Undersecretary of Defense Stephen A. Cambone in which he directed the military's counterintelligence arm to review its policies regarding "receipt and retention of information about U.S. persons."

Nelson is a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Cambone, in the letter to Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John Warner, said he also ordered intelligence officers to "receive immediate refresher training" on handling information about U.S. citizens and residents.

Truth Project board member Rich Hersh of Boca Raton said the group would file several Freedom of Information Requests to obtain more information about government monitoring. …..

War/Protest/Wilcox, Dan/Dan Wilcox poet, photographer/Albany Times Union/Albany/NY/USA/18-Dec-05//…Wilcox, 59, recently retired from a 30-year career as a disability analyst, but he remains a busy man. A very busy man.

Just prior to lunch, for example, he offered the invocation at the weekly Quaker Peace Vigil at the state Capitol. After our chat, he was heading home to at least figuratively clear his desk of papers from t ….

War/Protest/Counter Recruiting/Peaceniks/Government spying: Who's next?/Tahlequah Daily Press/Tahlequah/OK/USA/23-Dec-05//…. The president needs this authority, Cheney claims, to quell the threat of terrorist attacks, but that's a load of bull the likes of which could only be rivaled by a stockyard. It's not just al Qaeda cells that have been subjected to wiretaps, as the White House has claimed. Indeed, among the groups Big Brother seems interested in watching are those who have dared to publicly opposed the Iraq war and other Bush policies - groups like Greenpeace, PETA, Catholic Workers and - most outrageous of all - those quintessential peaceniks, the Quakers.

Apparently, last year at a Quaker meeting house in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. NBC News has obtained a secret 400-page Defense Department document labeling the meeting as a “threat,” one of around 1,500 “suspicious incidents” that occurred in this country over a 10-month period. (For a more detailed list of other targets, check out ….

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Peaceniks/...Soldier, Spy/New Haven Advocate/New Haven/CT/USA/29-Dec-05//... eventsincluding the one at SCSU on Feb. 23 and a December 2004 protest by elderly Quaker peaceniks in Florida. It brings to mind visions of ...

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Sedition/Waterford: Barracks, footlockers and partiers/Loudoun Times-Mirror/Loudon/VA/USA/28-Dec-05//... For historic example, recent news has indicated that there are those who feel that Quaker Meetings in Lake Worth, Fla., are seditious now just as there were ...

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Meetinghouse/Cordaro to protest at Offutt today/Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil/Council Bluffs/IA/USA/29-Dec-05//... NBC's report, "Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?," details a few of the monitored protests, including a meeting held at a Quaker Meeting House in Lakeland ...

War/Protest/Civil Rights/San Diego protest on Defense Department watch list/San Diego CityBEAT/San Diego/CA/USA/21-Dec-05//... e-mail discussion among a Washington DC antiwar group titled “Great Places to Protest” and, as the NBC story points out, a Florida Quaker group protesting ...

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Bush snookers everyone again/Idaho Mountain Express and Guide/Boise/ID/USA/21-Dec-05// Since Bush didn't seek warrants from a FISA judge, there's no record of who was wiretapped. So, we must trust the president's (ahem!) honesty that only terrorism suspects were wiretapped, not critics or news reporters that've been branded by Bush henchmen as aiding the enemy.

Bugs were so successful, the president informs us, an Ohio truck driver was arrested for discussing on the phone blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge. Hmmm. Wonder if little green men were involved?

Success at the Pentagon, too: it collected data on a Florida Quaker group's peace meetings.

The most shameful cowering came from The New York Times, which stifled the story for a year at the White House's demand. The newspaper that took on Nixon in the historic Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers showdown was spooked again by Bush disinformation: it earlier bought reporter Judith Miller's humiliating Alice in Wonderland stories about nonexistent Iraqi doomsday weapons.

Using claims of religious piety and spreading fear that phantom barbarians will terrorize Americans, Bush uses the tool of all tyrants in nibbling at freedoms while ignoring laws.

He's here to protect us. ….

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Commentary: Feds tackle the Quaker, coed threats/Palm Beach Post/Palm Beach/FL/USA/21-Dec-05//… Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Here's a recent roundup of local developments in our continuing war on terror.

First, the bad news: The Quaker Meetinghouse in Lake Worth, a gathering spot for peace activists, has turned out to be a threat to our national security. At least, that's what the Pentagon says, and they haven't been wrong yet. ... I know, it's depressing to have to start fearing Quakers, who basically don't even like to fight a cold. But we've got to be realists here.......

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Students react to spy charge/San Jose Mercury News/San Jose/CA/USA/30-Dec-05//Many of the 43 ``suspicious events'' listed in the excerpt posted by MSNBC involved protests against military recruiting, including a planning meeting at a Quaker Meeting House in Florida and at college campuses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin and at UC-Berkeley. About three-quarters were classified as ``not credible.''

War/Protest/Civil Rights/Victims of the darkness: Government surveillance and intimidation/Pravda/Moscow/Russia/Asia/26-Dec-05//….. And as if things weren't bad enough, the military is now spying on us. A secret database obtained by NBC News recently reveals that the Department of Defense and the Pentagon have also increased intelligence collection on American citizens inside the country. This includes monitoring peaceful anti-war groups and protests and involves video taping, monitoring the Internet and collecting the name of anyone critical of the government.

There is even a toll-free number for anyone interested to report on fellow Americans to the military. And the spying even includes religious groups such as those attending the Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida. "On a domestic level, this is unprecedented," says NBC News analyst William Arkin. "I think it is the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military." …..

War/Counter Recruiting/Solomon likely to be upheld, lawyer says/Daily Princetonian/Princeton/NJ/USA/19-Dec-05// Barber then summed up the legal argument of the Department of Defense: ""This isn't compelled speech," she said. "The law schools have made their opinions abundantly clear, and they inculcate their students with their beliefs. Military recruitment isn't an expressive activity; it's a commercial transaction."

Barber said that she thought the best argument against the challenges to the Solomon Amendment is one that the government isn't even using — that law schools should "offer many points of view."

"Law students are mature adults and have the critical facility to evaluate the message they're getting from the military," she said. "The thing to do is to have other recruiters on campus from the Society of Friends, or organizations that fight discrimination."

After concluding her talk, Barber answered a series of questions ranging from the history of the Solomon Amendment to precedent legislation.

She said she could propose related research topics "that would make good junior projects or senior theses." ….

War/Conscientious Objection/Business/Notes of a Reporter at Large: The Conscientious Objector/San Leandro Times/San Leandro/CA/USA/28-Dec-05//…. A friend of mine died last week. He was a businessman, about 86, who spent his days looking after his real estate and investments.. We became acquainted when I rented an office in one of his buildings.

He never got over the fact that I always paid my rent on time; he'd mention it often as if it were something rare and beautiful.

We began meeting for lunch, about every other month. (Ever the businessman he sometimes showed up with coupons clipped from the local paper entitling us to eat for half-price.) I got to know more about him and his late wife and their four children, now all grown with careers and families of their own. I learned he was an ardent conservationist and gave money to liberal causes, and shared many of my own feelings about the misguided Bush administration. But, of course, none of this was, as they say, worth writing home about until we got to talking about the Second World War, that most popular of wars.

My friend, seven or eight years my senior, would have been about 21 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Where was he in the war? I wondered. A college athlete, he surely would have been fit to serve. Perhaps he was an officer. "I never served in the armed forces," he said. "I was a conscientious objector. I didn't believe in war."

"But surely, I said, "you didn't want Hitler or Japan to win?"

No, Hitler was a madman. Japan was bent on conquest in Asia. But in his philosophy, inspired by Quaker beliefs, war was murder. By and large only politicians and the people who provided the weapons profited from war.

"So, what did the government do to you? How did you spend the war year?"

He spent it, he said, working in hospitals as an orderly, with general, nonmedical duties. which the government accepted as way of doing one's part for the war effort.

Had I known such a gentleman in the 1940s when I was a kid I probably would have condemned him as a slacker or worse. My older cousins and an uncle - seven relatives - all served bravely , and one died . After Pearl Harbor, most of us kids in the same age group, 13 and 14, actually looked forward to the time when we would be old enough to join in the fight.

I remember, too, how everyone talked about seemingly able-bodied men who were not in uniform. Had they dodged the draft? Why should they be out of harm's way when our loved ones, and friends and neighbors, were overseas risking life and limb for the country?

Now, so many years later, when I heard my friend tell of the step he took to avoid combat in the war, I refrained from passing judgment, as I believed it took moral courage to say, in effect, to Uncle Sam: no, count me out but tell me how I can help the war effort in some other way because I don't want to take part in the killing nor do I want to be killed. Many others probably felt the same, but took their chances, for fear of what people might say about them.

In the end, my friend served his country with honor. And Uncle Sam merits a salute as well. After all, that war was all about the survival of a democratic America. May my old friend rest in peace. …..

War/Prayer///The high toll on small state/Chicago Tribune/Chicago/IL/USA/24-Dec-05//…By Julie Bykowicz
Tribune Newspapers: Baltimore Sun
Published December 22, 2005

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- It's 5 p.m., and the protesters are here. First two, then four. Eventually eight show up in front of the Unitarian Church on Pearl Street, even with the temperature dipping below freezing. Rush-hour traffic, if you can call it that in this city of 39,000 people, rumbles past.

A grandmother in a cherry-red coat clasps in her mittens a dog-eared poster with the word "peace" written in permanent marker. A Quaker couple huddling nearby wield two signs, one urging prayer for war hostages (and their captors) and one with a dove and the saying, "War is not the answer!"

As the home of Ben & Jerry's "Peace Pops," and with its staunchly liberal politics, Vermont would seem unlikely to rank first among states in GI deaths per capita from the Iraq war. Yet it does. Motivated in part by those deaths, its citizens have become among the most outspoken against the war, with dozens of towns passing resolutions opposing it and numerous public protests and peace vigils, like the one every weeknight in front of the Burlington church. But those sentiments have some grieving families feeling left out in the cold. ….


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