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Omak physician Bill Dienst shares his experiences caring for overwhelming numbers of refugees stranded
in Greece, Lesbos and Macedonia. Where did they come from? Why? Who helped and who didn’t?
How did aid reach them? Where are they now? Free to the public. Refreshments served.
Zaytouna-Oliva Taken in International Waters: Whereabouts of Participants Unknown
Click image above to view video
This afternoon, the Women’s Boat to Gaza was making good progress to the shores and the women were emotional about meeting all the people in Gaza who were waiting for them. Some of the Palestinians had spent the night at the beach to greet them.
At 9:58 (EST) organizers lost total contact with the Zaytouna-Oliva. The US embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted. We do not know where our friends are.
It is important to know that this happened in international waters and it is not only illegal but sets a bad precedent in giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat, a member of Veterans For Peace and on our Advisory Board. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.
Ann has traveled thousands of miles and made a great sacrifice for human rights. We can help her with a few small efforts:
Contact President Barack Obama: (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry’s Chief of Staff: FinerJJ@state.gov
Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends. Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.
| Veterans For Peace appreciates your generous donations.
We also encourage you to join our ranks.
Three people were arrested Thursday evening in a protest against oil and coal trains that shut down the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks near Trent Avenue and Napa Street.
This protest, organized by Veterans for Peace, is the second in Spokane in the last month. The first was organized by the Raging Grannies and also saw three people arrested.
About a dozen protesters gathered on the tracks in front of a stopped train to speak against oil and coal trains as well as global warming. “I’m here to witness to my faith,” said the Rev. George Taylor, a Lutheran pastor. “Oil and coal trains are an abomination to the Lord.”
The stopped train visible on the tracks was pulling a large number of what appeared to be oil tanker cars. BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said he would not confirm what the train was carrying. Three trains were halted by the protest, he said.
A BNSF police officer warned the crowd to disperse and most of them did. The three remaining – Taylor, activist Rusty Nelson and Maevea Aeolus – were arrested and face charges of trespassing and blocking a train.
Nancy Nelson, who was arrested and charged after the first protest last month, said her husband Rusty was arrested because things like speaking out at council meetings, signing petitions and writing letters wasn’t working.
“We have to do what we can,” she said. “In our minds they are death trains.”
Melonas said people are welcome to speak their mind about oil trains, but the company asks that people not block the train tracks.
“It’s extremely dangerous as well as disruptive,” he said.
South Hill Public Library is having a great showing, don’t miss it! And if you can’t make it this Saturday (the 10th), you can try for the 17th of September at the Argonne Library!
The Choice Program is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year because private care costs about 30% more than VA healthcare.
Below is a letter from the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) along with the acting ranking Democratic member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
This letter is the strongest Congressional opposition to the VA privatization that we have seen.
These House members have the courage to stand up against the well funded propaganda campaign to privatize VA healthcare.
This week Wednesday the House VA Committee will begin hearings on the Commission on Care recommendations. President Obama has submitted to Congress his analysis and recommendations on the Care Report. The Care recommendations contain efforts to push ahead on the privatization of the VA. The minority report from the Commission on Care was to close VA healthcare by 2035 and move all veterans to private care.
What can you do now to help stop privatization of VA healthcare?
1. Below is our letter to various groups asking that they share the Congressional Progressive Caucus members’ letter. Pls. consider forwarding this email your email lists asking them to sign the electronic petition.
2. The electronic petition we are urging people to sign is at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/we-oppose-va-healthcare-privatization
3. We have a paper petition you may circulate in your community. If you do this pls. send me a scan of the petitions and I will add them to the copy of the petition we provide the addressees. This petition is attached in Word. One attachment is the petition and the second is the CPC letter.
Here is a more than worthy cause for your money or spare change:
Please Help Restore the Mural at My Lai
> During a recent trip back to Vietnam with Brian Willson, Becky Luening and Sandy Kelson ( March 28-April 22, 2016 ), I spent two days at the My Lai Massacre site in Quang Ngai. The very large mosaic-tile mural in the photo ( with Sandy and Brian ), depicts some of the 504 Vietnamese civilians murdered by American soldiers on March 16, 1968, in the last moments of their lives.
> While examining the mural up close, we noticed the artwork had badly deteriorated from years of severe hot and wet weather that causes such damage. I had a private conversation with the co-director of the museum. She had worked at the memorial site for 16 years. I told her I was a Vietnam veteran, and a member of Veterans For Peace, and that millions of Americans who were adamantly against the war, consider the My Lai Massacre site extremely important. I said to her that as far as I was concerned, the My Lai Massacre site is sacred ground, and one of the most important memorials in the world. After I said this, she broke down and cried. It was a very powerful moment for both of us. I felt a deep emotional connection to her, and a loving empathy that was so important in healing my soul.
> When I got back to my home in Portland, Oregon, I corresponded with her via email, and offered to raise the funds needed to restore the mural. She eventually replied that it would cost $4,200 to complete the restoration. Our goal is to raise this money soon so that the mural may be completely repaired by the 50th anniversary of the massacre on March 16, 2018. Some of us plan on returning to Vietnam for this important event. To contribute to this project, please make checks out to VFP Chapter 72, and mail to:
> VFP Chapter 72
> c/o Bob Projansky
> 3036 SE Taylor St.
> Portland, OR. 97214
> Please feel free to forward this information. With sincere appreciation for keeping a profound historical memory alive.
> Mike Hastie
> Army Medic Vietnam
Visit the Vietnam Full Disclosure website at http://vietnamfulldisclosure.org
A handful of us are just back from an informative VFP convention in Berkeley. A magnificent time with much learned. We’ll be adding everything that we did learn shortly
The film? Occupation of an American Mind. Here are the times and places and information about the film
4pm September 10th, Spokane South Hill Public Library
4pm September 17th, Spokane Argonne Library
Veterans For Peace Awarded 2016 Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation voted unanimously to award its 2016 Peace Prize to Veterans For Peace “In recognition of heroic efforts to expose the causes and costs of war and to prevent and end armed conflict.”
July 18, 2016 / Seattle, Washington – On June 23, and continuing for eight weeks, 14 Seattle Metro downtown buses are displaying the following paid advertisement: 20 MILES WEST OF SEATTLE IS THE LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF DEPLOYED NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE US. Included in the advertisement is a map showing the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, home port for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear powered submarines.
The statement in the ad refers to the combined number of nuclear warheads deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor and nuclear warheads stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC). More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed 20 miles west of Seattle at the Bangor submarine base.
King County Metro was initially hesitant to run the ad, and questioned the accuracy of the statement of fact regarding the number of nuclear weapons at Bangor. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, provided corroboration of the statement. Kristensen provides the public and government agencies with analysis and background information about the status of nuclear forces worldwide and the geopolitical implications of nuclear weapons.
The bus ads are an effort by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a grass roots organization in Poulsbo, Washington, to reawaken public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Ground Zero member, Rodney Brunelle, said of the bus ad campaign, “We hope to generate a measure of citizen interest, and to begin a public discussion of nuclear weapons in the Puget Sound region. In this election year the danger of nuclear weapons ought to be a topic of discussion.”
On March 11, 2016, the 10th bi-annual Nuclear Deterrent Symposium was held in Silverdale to discuss the future of U.S. strategic forces. Rear Adm. Charles Richard criticized opposition to the Navy’s $100 billion plan for 12 new replacement SSBN submarines, proclaiming, “It’s a matter of priorities.” The new SSBNs would replace the submarines at Bangor. Rear Adm. Richards noted that the USS Ohio arrived at Bangor in 1982 to much protest, and stated, “We have taken that [nuclear weapons] out of the national psyche.”
* The U.S. is currently spending more on nuclear weapons programs than during the height of the Cold War.
* The U.S. currently plans to spend an estimated $1 trillion dollars over 30 years for rebuilding the nation’s nuclear facilities and modernizing nuclear weapons.
* The New York Times reported that the U. S., Russia and China are aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller and less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of power among nations.
* The U.S. Navy states that SSBN submarines on patrol provide the U.S. with its “most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.” However, SSBNs in port and nuclear warheads stored at SWFPAC are likely a first target in a nuclear war. The latest Google imagery shows three SSBN submarines on the Hood Canal waterfront.
* An accident involving nuclear weapons occurred on November 2003 when a ladder penetrated a nuclear nosecone during a routine missile offloading at the Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. All missile-handling operations at SWFPAC were stopped for nine weeks until Bangor could be recertified for handling nuclear weapons. Three top commanders were fired but the public was never informed until information was leaked to the media in March 2004.
* Public responses from governmental officials to the 2003 missile accident were generally in the form of surprise and disappointment.
* Due to ongoing modernization and maintenance programs for warheads at Bangor, nuclear warheads are routinely shipped in unmarked trucks between the Department of Energy Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas and the Bangor base. Unlike the Navy at Bangor, the DOE actively promotes emergency preparedness.
* Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility are involved in an environmental lawsuit against the Navy’s second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. As a result of the lawsuit, plaintiffs discovered that while the Navy insisted the second wharf posed no new safety risk at the base, the federal agency responsible for explosives siting refused to grant approval. The case was filed in federal court in June 2012 and is currently pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
* On December 14, 2015, the Navy filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the release of emergency response plans that might benefit the public in the case of a nuclear accident at Bangor. The lawsuit is still pending.
The bus ad
The bus ads measure 30 inches tall and 144 inches in length and are posted on the sides of 14 Metro buses in downtown Seattle. An interactive map of the bus routes may be viewed at http://mapping.titan360.com/atlas.aspx?mapId=33301 The blue lines show routes that are scheduled for buses with the ads and the black lines show routes of buses that may carry the ads.
Nuclear weapons and resistance
In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the Bangor base and hundreds were arrested. Seattle Archbishop Hunthausen had proclaimed the Bangor submarine base the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound” and in 1982 began to withhold half of his federal taxes in protest of “our nation’s continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.”
One Trident SSBN submarine at Bangor is estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force. One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.
On May 27, 2016, President Obama spoke in Hiroshima and called for an end to nuclear weapons. He said that the nuclear powers “…must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.” Obama added, “We must change our mindset about war itself.”
The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action offers the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.
Upcoming Ground Zero events:
* Numerous activities with the historic peace vessel, the Golden Rule and Veterans for Peace throughout the summer. Our first event with the Golden Rule will be in Poulsbo on June 28. See http://www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org/.
* The annual Interfaith Peace Walk led by Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple takes place from July 24 to August 9.
* Ground Zero Peace Fleet with the Golden Rule in Elliott Bay on August 3.
* From Hiroshima to Hope event at Green Lake on August 6 commemorating the victims of the Hiroshima bombing 71 years ago.
* The Annual Ground Zero Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration on August 7 and 8 at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action with a vigil and nonviolent civil resistance at entrance to Bangor.
* Boats by Bangor on August 9, will be a flotilla of small boats, the Golden Rule and other sail boats in the waters of Hood Canal out past the perimeter of Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.
Please check our website at http://www.gzcenter.org/ for updates.