to do list

envision : nap : whisper : laugh : caress : sing : love : consider : hug : create : wonder
but above all

Traveling Hopefully

"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

-Arundhati Roy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Operation Walking Man

My husband, Bill Foltyn, died unexpectedly on November 27th, 2011. He did not die due to his health condition, but because of unrelated circumstances that caused him to become sick, which completely overwhelmed him. He was challenged many times over the past few years and especially the past 12 months. And although he felt discouraged for a short while, he overcame any doubts and became energetic, robust, and confident in his own progress and abilities. He was determined to reclaim himself, body and mind. During the past month we began working together on what we called Operation Walking Man. This video, from a few weeks ago, captures just a bit of his lovely, happy spirit.

I am so very grateful for all of you whose loving natures touched him during his recovery and made that spirit possible. You all know who you are as he was always so glad to see you.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mario Savio's "put your bodies upon the gears" address -- UC Berkeley, Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!" -Mario Savio

Speech Text (see below video)

You know, I just wanna say one brief thing about something the previous speaker said. I didn't wanna spend too much time on that 'cause I don't think it's important enough. But one thing is worth considering.

He's the -- He's the nominal head of an organization supposedly representative of the undergraduates. Whereas in fact under the current director it derives -- its authority is delegated power from the Administration. It's totally unrepresentative of the graduate students and TAs.¹

But he made the following statement (I quote): "I would ask all those who are not definitely committed to the FSM² cause to stay away from demonstration." Alright, now listen to this: "For all upper division students who are interested in alleviating the TA shortage problem, I would encourage you to offer your services to Department Chairmen and Advisors." That has two things: A strike breaker and a fink.

I'd like to say -- like to say one other thing about a union problem. Upstairs you may have noticed they're ready on the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall, Locals 40 and 127 of the Painters Union are painting the inside of the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. Now, apparently that action had been planned some time in the past. I've tried to contact those unions. Unfortunately -- and [it] tears my heart out -- they're as bureaucratized as the Administration. It's difficult to get through to anyone in authority there. Very sad. We're still -- We're still making an attempt. Those people up there have no desire to interfere with what we're doing. I would ask that they be considered and that they not be heckled in any way. And I think that -- you know -- while there's unfortunately no sense of -- no sense of solidarity at this point between unions and students, there at least need be no -- you know -- excessively hard feelings between the two groups.

Now, there are at least two ways in which sit-ins and civil disobedience and whatever -- least two major ways in which it can occur. One, when a law exists, is promulgated, which is totally unacceptable to people and they violate it again and again and again till it's rescinded, appealed. Alright, but there's another way. There's another way. Sometimes, the form of the law is such as to render impossible its effective violation -- as a method to have it repealed. Sometimes, the grievances of people are more -- extend more -- to more than just the law, extend to a whole mode of arbitrary power, a whole mode of arbitrary exercise of arbitrary power.

And that's what we have here. We have an autocracy which -- which runs this university. It's managed. We were told the following: If President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn't he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received -- from a well-meaning liberal -- was the following: He said, "Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his Board of Directors?" That's the answer.

Well I ask you to consider -- if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the Board of Directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I tell you something -- the faculty are a bunch of employees and we're the raw material! But we're a bunch of raw materials that don't mean to be -- have any process upon us. Don't mean to be made into any product! Don't mean -- Don't mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We're human beings!

And that -- that brings me to the second mode of civil disobedience. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!

That doesn't mean -- I know it will be interpreted to mean, unfortunately, by the bigots who run The Examiner, for example -- That doesn't mean that you have to break anything. One thousand people sitting down some place, not letting anybody by, not [letting] anything happen, can stop any machine, including this machine! And it will stop!!

We're gonna do the following -- and the greater the number of people, the safer they'll be and the more effective it will be. We're going, once again, to march up to the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. And we're gonna conduct our lives for awhile in the 2nd floor of Sproul Hall. We'll show movies, for example. We tried to get Un Chant d'Amour and [they] shut them off. Unfortunately, that's tied up in the court because of a lot of squeamish moral mothers for a moral America and other people on the outside. The same people who get all their ideas out of the San Francisco Examiner. Sad, sad. But, Mr. Landau -- Mr. Landau has gotten us some other films.

Likewise, we'll do something -- we'll do something which hasn't occurred at this University in a good long time! We're going to have real classes up there! They're gonna be freedom schools conducted up there! We're going to have classes on [the] 1st and 14th amendments!! We're gonna spend our time learning about the things this University is afraid that we know! We're going to learn about freedom up there, and we're going to learn by doing!!

Now, we've had some good, long rallies. [Rally organizers inform Savio that Joan Baez has arrived.] Just one moment. We've had some good, long rallies. And I think I'm sicker of rallies than anyone else here. She's not going to be long. I'd like to introduce one last person -- one last person before we enter Sproul Hall. Yeah. And the person is Joan Baez.

-- UC Berkeley, Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The one demand: "what really matters is not a what at all, but a how"

Wall Street occupiers inch toward a demand—by living it

By Adam Roberts.

When, in July, Adbusters called for an occupation of Wall Street starting on September 17, it asked, “What is our one demand?” Online discussions began about what that might be, in the hopes that it could be settled ahead of time, and Adbusters even suggested a few of its own, like calling for a new anti-corruption commission (a la Anna Hazare’s controversial proposal in India) or the revocation of corporate personhood. There has also been talk about a Tobin tax, or the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, or other wonky policy proposals.

After almost two weeks of occupation in renamed Liberty Plaza, the protesters have yet to settle on any one demand, or even on the idea that they want one. (This doesn’t mean it isn’t rather obvious why a bunch of angry Americans would be making a fuss at the exact center of their country’s concentrated wealth and reckless corruption.) Still, their evening General Assembly meetings—which are devoted to big-picture items like demands—have been busy. The Assembly has so far approved two significant documents about what it stands for, documents that are indicative of what the experience of the occupation is doing to those taking part. Many who came with a particular demand in mind, even, are changing how they think about what politics, and political activism, can look like.

“This is not about the demands,” said occupier Amin Husain at a General Assembly meeting on Monday night. “The demands will come. It’s about the beautiful thing we’re doing here.” The demand, so far, appears to be a process—one in which all people can speak and money can’t.

Last Friday, September 23, in the rain, a statement called “Principles of Solidarity” was passed by consensus by the General Assembly as a working draft. (This qualification is important—again, process.) The “Principles” states in its preamble a complaint about “the blatant injustices of our times perpetuated by the economic and political elites.” The principles themselves, though, are all about method:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  • Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.

These, one might notice, have as much to do with what the occupiers are doing in their encampment as with any change they might want to make as the society as a whole. They’re practicing direct democracy in the General Assembly; they’re talking a lot about privilege and oppression; nobody is being paid for labor, but all are benefiting from it; teach-ins and a library provide for makeshift education; open-source software and methods are fueling the movement’s websites and other media. (With seemingly more cameras around the plaza than people, though, privacy is still only an ideal.) The “Principles of Solidarity” promises, at the end, that “demands will follow.”

The document that, in turn, followed it was a “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” passed with the usual cheers in September 29′s evening Assembly meeting:


We will vote on that now. Straw poll. Looks good!



Yet this contains no demand either; instead, it’s a litany of injustices perpetrated by “corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality” and which “run our government.” More than that, though, the “Declaration” is a call to action, an insistence that “it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors.”

After the litany—which mentions such concerns as workplace discrimination, poisoning the food supply, corruption of the legal system, media manipulation, militarism, and more (footnote: “*These grievances are not all-inclusive.“)—the “Declaration” addresses the “people of the world”:

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

By Adam Roberts.

People do indeed seem to be joining. (WNV contributor Alyce Santoro has echoed this call with one of her own for people to “Occupy Everywhere.”) Currently, the website lists 85 cities and towns in the United States where occupations have begun or are in the works. In many of these cases, too, it appears that horizontal, directly-democratic assemblies are being used to organize and self-govern, just like at occupied Wall Street.

The occupation is becoming more than a discrete action with a single demand, as Adbusters first conceived of it. Instead, the occupation seems to be swelling into a movement, a mode of organizing that is capable of handling many kinds of complaints, at many levels of society. After the economy collapsed in Argentina in 2001, assemblies like this formed to govern neighborhoods, factories, towns, and national movements. One of their slogans was, “Occupy, Resist, and Produce.” What started as a protest turned into a lasting way of life.

Like the refrain of the Indignados in Spain—“Real Democracy Now”—these new assemblies are enunciating a demand by carrying it out for themselves. They are being the change they wish to see in the world, as Gandhi said, working for justice with methods worthy of their goal.

During the day, crowds gather around the collage of hundreds of cardboard signs that lines the northern edge of the plaza. Each makes its own separate demand, but together they have a certain coherence: “Peaceful Revolution.” “Bail Out the People.” “Wall Street Is Our Street.” Those who stop to read them are transfixed, as if having a silent conversation with each other over the blaring of drums and the plucking of banjos. They seem, somehow, satisfied.

The Demand is a Process

"A lot of people have seemed impatient that the movement now occupying Liberty Plaza near Wall Street has not stated an explicit demand. What a visit to the plaza reveals, though, is that what really matters is not a what at all, but a how." by

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

From the 'About' page: is a one-person operation, so the content comes little by little. What does end up here is vailuable information - a concerted effort is made to be sure that the integrity and quality of the information on the site is the highest possible.

Basically the site is here to give people access to truly free information regarding many areas of interest. I hope that people eventually come here to seek out quality information about everything "free".

free reality dot org

Some topics from the list:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Ethan McCord saw when he rescued the children...

Incident in New Baghdad is a short, award-winning documentary about the Apache helicopter strike shown in the Collateral Murder video allegedly leaked by Bradley. Ethan McCord, the soldier who rescued the wounded children from the van, spoke at the film premier in April. He describes his experience in-detail and works to contextualize the attack. If you have not read one of Ethan McCord’s interviews yet, you should absolutely check out the video:

From the video:

That was one incident of many that you guys got to see. Things like this happen almost on a daily basis in Iraq. It may not have been an Apache… it may have been a Bradley (type of fighting vehicle). I saw a Bradley fire on a van load of children, nothing more than children, and watched the Iraqi police pull bodies out. Pieces of children. And the whole time they were just looking at us and shaking their heads. Again, that was one incident. And you guys can see from that one incident that we shouldn’t be there.

Original at Bradley Manning Support Network (

Monday, May 23, 2011

While we were shopping...

British women today enjoy freedoms undreamed of a century ago. There is a widespread sense that all the big battles have been won. But have they? In the first part of a three-day series on feminism, Katharine Viner asks how liberating these 'freedoms' really are - and says it's time we stopped being so complacent.

Anorexic women targeted by ‘super-skinny’ porn websites

"As you know, beauty has one name: being thin. Our models are underweight, skinny, thin, bony – just like you. We want you. Regardless of the costs, we want you to join our agency. Let's face facts, on anorexic porn websites, men are masturbating watching your pictures. You are a superstar of starvation and if you were selling and marketing your frame you would be more wealthy than most of us because men would pay any price for watching those pictures."

Full Guardian article by Nicola Hobbs, The Guardian - Wednesday 6 April 2011

Anorexic back

Below Commentary From The AntiPornMenProject BY EDDIE, ON APRIL 16TH, 2011

Last week the Guardian exposed a horrific example of how the porn industry keeps its ‘edge’ in the market. Well recorded in the porn industry is the continuous movement towards more and more hard-core, violent and degrading content. As time goes on what counts as mainstream porn becomes normalized in the quest for more shocking material making yesterday’s extreme, today’s mainstream. It is indicative of the capitalist model that traders in the market attempt to out-do each other to the next new and exciting product. This operates the same way in pornography.

‘Super-skinny’ porn sites are another example of this. Blatantly exploiting people who are unwell in order to feed an appetite for porn that is not only more shocking but that also strongly plays to the masculine obsession with dominance and control over women. Not only do those who suffer from anorexia nervosa often look younger they are also obviously weaker than the non-anorexic male porn performer they are shown with in porn. Women’s comparative physical weakness to men is accentuated to the extreme in ‘Super-skinny’ porn. Not only does the industry move to more hard-core and violent ground, this new ground is often importantly about power and dominance over women.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Radical Feminist Seminar in Boston on June 25 – 26, 2011

For our US readers particularly, a Radical Feminist Seminar at Wheelock Media Institute, Boston, MA.

Come to Boston on June 25 – 26, 2011, for two days of radical feminist education, organizing, and networking. Women from all over the world will be exploring classic and contemporary radical feminism as well as developing local and international strategies for building cultures of resistance. We will have presentations, workshops, and discussions on:

* Globalization and the exploitation of women’s labor
* Fighting the global sex industry
* Theoretical and activist splits in contemporary feminism
* International strategies for radical feminist organizing
* Movement building through social media
* Radical feminist critiques of Third Wave feminism, Postmodernism, and Queer theory

Presenters include Gail Dines, Sheila Jeffreys, Cynthia Enloe, Lierre Keith, Saba Malik, Samantha Berg, and more. Special guest appearances include feminist activists from Norway and other countries to talk about their extraordinary successes in fighting the sex industry.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Freedom will be constantly updating all the anarchist activities and various feeder marches and radical blocs organised for the March 26th national anti-cuts demo. If we haven’t included your activity, action or event get in touch:

We will also be producing a ‘demonstration special’ issue of the paper for the day and will be having a stall at the two feeder marches at ULU and Kennington Park. Pick up a copy there.

See the Freedom Press site for more details.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Egypt Supports Wisconsin - One World One Pain

Underheard in New York

Homeless People Start Tweeting in New Awareness Initiative

It’s easy to ignore someone when you don’t know or care to know anything about them. But it’s different when that person shows up in your social media stream, telling you about a lonely day on the street or simply wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day.

Underheard in New York is an initiative to help homeless New Yorkers speak for themselves through Twitter. Four homeless people — Danny (@putodanny), Derrick (@awitness2011), Albert (@albert814) and Carlos (@jessie550) — were given their own prepaid cell phone, a month of unlimited text messaging and a Twitter account.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Instructions For Obtaining Dial-Up Internet In Egypt [PLEASE REPOST!]

by Operation Egypt on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 10:14am

International Internet Dial-up

Normally a computer connects to the local ISP and then establishes a connection, so that you can send and recieve data through the phone line to and from the provider. This is the fuzzzy sound we hear when we pick up the phone on someone who is connected to the internet.

In a nutshell we need to dial another international ISP, but since most of our homes back in Egypt have no international phone-call capability we will by-pass this by linking to the mobile-phone network which by default has international capability but unfortunately a little pricey (~2 LE a minute) but sufficient to make urgent communication on internet.

What you will need is:

- Regular Mobile Phone with Bluetooth.

- Computer with Bluetooth Dongle or any of laptops that has built-in bluetooth capability.

- Remote ISP number, username and password which I will provide at the end.

For simplicity I chose windows Vista (or XP) steps and I didn't put steps for other operating systems.


1- Turn on the bluetooth on your phone.

2- Switch on bluetooth detection on your laptop.

3- From Start menu->Run and write this command: telephon.cpl (there is no "e" at the end of telephon)

4- A window will popup, if it asks for area code just write for example: 757 in united states.

5- Choose "Modem" tab from top.

6- Click Add button then click Next for automatic detection of your phone

7- If your phone is bluetooth modem-capable it will appear in the list, choose it.

8- If it requires a pass key just write "123" for example and on your phone it will ask the same question so press "123" or the same number you chose and finalize the pairing.

9- Now it is supposed to say "Already connected" beneath the icon of your phone, right-click on the icon and press properties.

10- A window will appear, in Services tab make sure that the "Dial-up Networking" is present and enabled (checked)ho.

11- Press ok and it will turn you to the first window and now you will see your phone appearing in the modem list.

Your phone now is connected as a modem to your are doing great so far.

Phase 2: Dialing up a remote ISP.

I chose a website that provides numbers to remote ISPs in the US. I signed up with:

username: hany

password: egypt

Login/pass: guest/password

  • Bainbridge: (206) 312-1000
  • Bainbridge: (206) 312-1500
  • Bainbridge: (206) 312-2500
  • Bainbridge: (206) 312-3700
  • Bellevue: (425) 786-1000
  • Bellevue: (425) 786-1111
  • Bellevue: (425) 786-7777
  • Bellevue: (425) 786-5073
  • Black Diamond: (360) 469-1000
  • Black Diamond: (360) 469-1111
  • Black Diamond: (360) 469-2000
  • Black Diamond: (360) 469-2222
  • Buckley: (360) 761-6000
  • Buckley: (360) 761-6111
  • Buckley: (360) 761-6101
  • Buckley: (360) 761-6102
  • Centralia: (360) 523-1000
  • Centralia: (360) 523-1111
  • Centralia: (360) 523-1001
  • Centralia: (360) 523-1002
  • Graham: (253) 780-1000
  • Graham: (253) 780-1100
  • Graham: (253) 780-2000
  • Graham: (253) 780-2020
  • Hoodsport: (360) 717-1000
  • Hoodsport: (360) 717-1111
  • Hoodsport: (360) 717-1122
  • Hoodsport: (360) 717-1133
  • Olympia: (360) 515-3000
  • Olympia: (360) 515-3001
  • Olympia: (360) 515-3030
  • Olympia: (360) 515-3131
  • Seattle: (206) 495-1000
  • Seattle: (206) 424-1111
  • Seattle: (206) 337-5050 *
  • Seattle: (206) 337-5252

Land Line dial-up services

Those dial-up services should have been tested as accepting calls from overseas numbers

* French Data Network ( : +33172890150 (login 'toto' password 'toto')

* Telecomix dialup modem service at +46850009990. user/pass: telecomix/telecomix

* “free” PPP dial-up access on Madrid, Spain: +34 912910230 / pass:internetforegypt

Important note : if the connexion is unstable, try to force your modem to a lower speed (eg. a 56kbps modem should be locked down to 33,6kbps, 28,8kbps or 14,4kbps). 9600bps is considered to be the "safe rate".

With such bandwith, avoid using webmails or social networks : rather an IRC client to connect to, channel #jan25, someone will be there to relay any message.

وقد أدت الاحتجاجات في مصر أمس لقيود معينة في شبكة البنية التحتية للاتصالات. على الرغم من أن الشبكات لا يزال حتى ومعظم المواقع والأماكن لا تزال متاحة ، وهنا بعض الكتل وأكد أن الحاجة التحايل. يرجى ملاحظة أن هذه المعلومات يمكن ان تتغير بسرعة كبيرة ، وما هي إلا دقيقة لبعض الوقت. تغريد هناك جدل حول ما إذا كان يتم حظر التغريد بنشاط أو لأسفل فقط بسبب وجود خطأ في الشبكة. فودافون مصر ونفى عرقلة التغريد ، ومع ذلك ، تور المطور يعقوب أبلباوم يجادل بأن هناك تصفية مستمرة . هذه الكتلة من السهل التحايل باستخدام طرف ثالث updaters التغريد. على سبيل المثال أو خدمة Telecomix . يمكنك تعيين هذه الخدمات طرف ثالث لتحديث التغريد الحساب ، ومن ثم كنت من خلال.

كتل أخرى تشمل موقع أخبار dostor.orgوبعض وأفادت مواقع اخبارية قناة الجزيرة لتكون قابلة للوصول. الفيديو أيضا تدفق موقع Bambuser تشير التقارير إلى أن سدت. التحايل وذكرت البرمجيات هو تور للعمل ويتوفر لل تحميل . استخدام تور مع توربتن . ومن أوصى لرأب الصدع في المتصفح مع الشبكي في كل مكان ونوسكريبت إلى النفاذ في حركة المرور المشفرة أكبر قدر ممكن وتجنب البرامج النصية الضارة من خطف حساباتك. المتطابق الحق الآن خدمات الفيديو (مثل يوتيوب) ويبدو للعمل داخل مصر. ومع ذلك ، فإن فريق سترايسند هي قبل تحميل ملفات الفيديو لقائي المتطابق سريع إذا كتل سوءا. إذا كانت الخدمات اذهب الى الأسفل ، وسيكون هناك ألف نسخة. هذا كله كان التقنية جدا. لكن الأمن يأتي دائما في المقام الأول. حتى تبقي العين على هذه الشهادات ، الشبكي! (إذا كان هذا بلوق وظيفة مفيدة ، أي شخص حر في توزيع / ترجمة / ريميكس ذلك.)

Operation Egypt page

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

300 migrants on Hunger Strike in the Athens

300 hundred migrants are on hunger strike since Sunday 23/01/2011. The 300 migrants demand every migrant in the country to get documents. They also demand for migrants in Greece to get equal political and social rights -but also equal obligations- with the Greek workers. For many years now the workers’ and migrants’ rights movements in Greece are requesting equal rights, and viable and humane policies for migrants who want to get the legal documents to stay in the country. Nevertheless, the Greek authorities announced recently the building of a new wall in the borders between Greece and Turkey, while every year on the borders of Greece thousands of migrants die in their effort to come to Europe.

The 300 hunger strikers moved recently in the new building of Athens School of Law (University of Athens) in the center of the city -another group of 50 migrants-hunger strikers moved in Thessaloniki’s Workers Center. The Athens Law-School’s facilities are not being used as yet for teaching – while the executive of the Law School’s students union supports the hunger strikers who moved in their School’s grounds along 20 other political groups. However, the Law School’s Vice-Chancellor locked out the School since the first day. Suddenly the Greek government of PASOK, the conservative ND, the extreme-right LAOS and the Greek president united and agreed that the regime of University Asylum is being abused by the hunger strikers and they proposed a renegotiation of the Academic Asylum.

The Academic Asylum is constitutional provision which defends academic freedom and freedom of speech within universities. It means that police and army cannot intervene within Greek Universities. For many years now Greek governments have tried to cancel the academic asylum while police have attacked to protesters within University grounds several times. However various movements -students, left academics, anarchists, workers etc- have managed to defended physically the academic asylum.

The hunger strikers blogs:

Article reprinted from: From the Greek Streets #479 - Occupied London Blog.

Message from Egypt - People Don't Need Leaders to be Civilized

January 26, 20011


بالامس كان الشعب المصري بلا قيادات، متحضر، ثابت، كان الشباب ينظفون مكان الاعتصام، لم يحدث حادثة تحرش واحدة، لم نميز المسلم من المسيحي #jan25

Translation assisted by google translate:

Yesterday, the Egyptian people, without leadership, were civilized, stable, young people have been cleaning the place sit, there has been one incident of harassment, did not distinguish Muslim from Christian # jan25

Anonymous - Operation EGYPT DDoS Attack Instructions

Click image to enlarge.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Debra Sweet: Why I Oppose a Grand Jury Investigation of Anti-War Activists

Read Debra's excellent article here.

Three of the anti-war activists targeted by the FBI

Sarah Martin is a 71 year old mother of 3, grandmother of 5 and great-grandmother of 1. She was born and raised in Duluth and has lived in the Twin Cities for 40 years. She is a retired nurse who worked at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for 25 years. She said of herself, "I have been peace and justice activist since the '60s when my eyes began to open when I learned we'd been duped and lied to about the justifications for going to war against the people of Vietnam." Sarah joined WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) in the early 80s and has actively opposed every war the U.S. has waged. For the past 10 years she has been mainly focused on the middle east. A year ago she attempted to visit Palestine but was detained and deported by Israel when they learned she wanted to see the reality of Palestinian lives under Israeli occupation. She is currently on the WAMM board and an active member of the WAMM Mideast Committee.

Tracy Molm is 29 and was born and raised in MN. She grew up in Richfield and was a member of the her high school debate team. She went to the University of Minnesota for college with a major in women's studies and minor in political science. She has been active in the peace and justice movement since 2000 when she joined to protest the impending war on Iraq. Tracy works as a union organizer for AFSCME Local 3800, the clerical workers union at the University of Minnesota. She is an energetic and enthusiastic auntie to many of her friends children. It has been remarked many times that she is more of a kid than not.

Tracy joined the Anti War Committee through debate, where she learned to think critically about public policy and met others who were politically active. Her love for people motivated her to do more for the peace and justice movement including learning about Palestine and its over six decade long occupation. From there she had the opportunity to learn more and see for herself the reality that Palestinians in the West Bank live through every day on a delegation in August of 2004.

Anh Pham immigrated to the U.S. from Viet Nam with her family in 1975 after the end of the war. Her family raised her with a strong sense of community service and she taught Sunday school to toddlers at the first Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Minnesota. In high school she participated in Amnesty International where she attended a protest against the Persian Gulf War, conscious of the impact of war and separation on her own family. Upon entering the University of Minnesota, she was active in the local MPIRG (MN Public Interest Research Group) chapter and then worked with the YWCA, which included chaperoning a group of at-risk young girls to study border issues between the US-Mexico at El-Paso and Juarez, Mexico. That same summer she also became active in the Progressive Student Organization and went to Cuba to the World Youth and Student Festival. She was also active in student governance and served on the Student Services Fees Committee.

After leaving the University, she joined the Anti-War Committee (AWC). As a member of the AWC she helped organize local forums, pot-lucks and teach-ins as well as buses to Washington D.C.for protests. She traveled to El Salvador to attend an anti-globalization conference and then to Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine where she met with NGO workers and activist who shared their struggles. Upon returning she spoke out about what she saw to share stories that she didn't think were being communicated to the collective consciousness. She continues to believe to this day that the most important work for anti-war and solidarity activist to do is to speak to our own leaders about our military spending and foreign policy here in the U.S. Currently, she has returned to work that is close to home by advocating for the rights of all immigrants in this country.

Two videos detail two different ways police across USA are ignoring rape.

It appears that Baltimore police have decided that they are capable of determining when rape victims are lying about rape. I read elsewhere that they claimed that they receive a high number of false rape cases. Apparently, it is their biases against the victims, not any special skills, that lead them to the presumption that they make about the victims being liars: Rape cases dismissed by Baltimore police later found valid.

The decrease in rape since the 90s may be a result of police failing to write reports. According to the first video below, Baltimore's rape rate allegedly dropped 80% since 1992. It has been discovered now that Baltimore police fail to file reports for at least 60% of reported rape cases. This article, describes how Baltimore's drop in rape rates coincides with the amazing number (four times the national average) of 'unfounded' rape cases Baltimore police claim they receive. A hotline, set up for victims, immediately received numerous calls from victims whose cases were ignored by police. An post in late 2010 reveals: Half of rape reports thought false reinstated.

Below: "Rape victims tell Congress that police have been ignoring case after case."

Below: Half a Million Rape Kits Not Tested - Victims speak out against unprocessed rape kits throughout the country.

Follow up: The two videos below demonstrate that the phenomenon of police bullying/invalidating of rape victims is not just limited to U.S. police forces, but seems to be an inherent part of police culture. In these examples are interviews of victims from Ottawa, Canada.

Got humanity?

Bobby I just realized something...

…I can’t be in touch with my own humanity if I’m taking someone else’s humanity
away. It’s obvious those girls in the lad mags don’t really like being reduced to
faceless, nameless holes, called abusive names, and forced to perform painful sex
acts – all to personally gratify ME. It’s not right. Today I kick the porn habit. You
should too.”

Got humanity? Give women back their personhood. Stop consuming porn...