Date: Sun, 26 May 2013 11:01:19 +0200
- INTERIM ACTIVIST CALENDAR, May 28, 2008
Of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter
Information and updates about the following events became available after publication of the latest issue of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter/Calendar and will take place before the new edition. Send event announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe at the same address. Previous newsletters and calendars may be located at http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com.
1. If there are transmission problems, a readable copy is included as an attachment.
2. The next Activist Newsletter will be sent in a week or so. Articles include:
What's REALLY behind the oil and gas price hikes?
The persistent male-female wage gap.
What will end inequality and poverty in America?
The earthquake, Olympics, Tibet, Darfur, and the China bashers.
Congress will pass the war funding bill, as it will next year, and next, and….
Bolivia — the struggle intensifies.
Barack Obama's unfortunate perspective on Latin America.
And lot's more.
DEMONSTRATE FOR PEACE OUTSIDE WEST POINT
Saturday, May 31, HIGHLAND FALLS: A peace rally and march will be held here today to protest the appearance of Army Secretary Pete Geren — a former Republican member of Congress from Texas — at graduation ceremonies in adjacent West Point Military Academy.
Members of the peace movement from Orange and surrounding counties will meet for a rally at 9:30 a.m. at the Highland Falls Memorial Park on Main St. (Rt. 218) a few miles north of the Bear Mt. Bridge on the west side of the Hudson River. After the rally, protestors will march to the West Point Gates to express their opposition to the unjust Iraq war, then return to the park to resume the rally.
The event, which has been taking place annually during the war, is being organized by the Democratic Alliance in cooperation with other antiwar groups. For information, contact Bennett Weiss at (845) 569-8662 or email@example.com. Plan extra time to get to the event because Rt. 9W (north or south) gets busy with cars going to the graduation ceremonies.
Thursday, May 29, to Sunday, June 1, HUDSON: We wish every American could view this film. For those of us who oppose the war, it's a must-see. The title is "Taxi to the Dark Side," and it won this year's Academy Award for best documentary. The film is about the tormented death of a young Afghan worker, a cab driver, at the hands of U.S. soldiers and interrogators. The documentary is being shown each evening at 7 p.m. at Time and Space Ltd., at 434 Columbia St. Admission is $7, and $5 for students and members. Information, (518) 822-8100 (events), (518) 822-8448 (office), http://www.timeandspace.org. There are a number of political and ideological differences between the Vietnam conflict and the wars Washington is waging today, but in certain respects there are real similarities — such as the brutality and racism that permeates the attitude of the U.S. military toward the people of these “enemy” countries. Addressing revelations of viciousness toward civilians by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the New York Times editorialized three years ago that such ill behavior had reached the point where torture and abuses are “no aberration but part of a widespread pattern,” and referred to some of them as being “clearly out of bounds for a civilized army.” One such incident is the subject of "Taxi to the Dark Side." (An excerpt from the Times article bringing the episode to light after it was suppressed for over two years is included at the end of this calendar.)
Sunday, June 1, NEW PALTZ: A public meeting on the topic of NAFTA and other U.S.-proposed trade agreements in the Americas will take place at New Paltz Village Hall today. The speaker will be Jim Mays, a member of the NYC People's Referendum on Trade, a grassroots coalition critical of free trade agreements modeled after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Mays will discuss the positions on trade pacts put forward by the candidates for this year's presidential nomination, the impact of NAFTA and similar agreements in stimulating migration to the U.S., and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) — the latest U.S.-Canada-Mexico accord that has earned the title, "NAFTA on Steroids." The meeting, sponsored by the Caribbean and Latin America Support Project (CLASP), begins at 7 p.m. at New Paltz Village Hall on Plattekill Ave., one block south of Main St. (Rt. 299), a mile or so west of Thruway exit 18. (When you reach Starbucks corner, Plattekill Ave., turn south one block. It’s just past the firehouse on the right.) Park in the Village Hall parking lot. All are invited and it’s free. A potluck dinner begins at 6 p.m. for those who wish to partake. Information and directions, (845) 255-5779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 1, KINGSTON: "Extraordinary Rendition: the use of torture as part of our national security policy" is the topic of a 6 p.m. meeting featuring antiwar activist and writer Frida Berrigan. She will speak after a showing of the award-winning 30-minute film titled, "Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'." Sponsored by the Mid-Hudson chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the event will be held St. John’s Episcopal Church, 207 Albany Ave. Information, (845) 331-5575.
Sunday, June 1, HUDSON: The film "Harlan County U.S.A. is showing today at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Time & Space Limited, 434 Columbia St. This 1976 Academy Award-winning documentary describes the efforts of 180 coal miners on strike against the Duke Power Company in Harlan County, Kentucky, in 1973. Directed by Barbara Kopple, 1976. Admission is $7, and $5 for students and members. Information, (518) 822-8100 (events), (518) 822-8448 (office), http://www.timeandspace.org.
Monday, June 2, POUGHKEEPSIE: The Dutchess Peace Coalition will meet 7-8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Fellowship, 67 South Randolph Ave. All who oppose the war are invited to attend. Information, http://www.dutchesspeace.org.
Monday, June 2, ALBANY: The Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition (NEPAJAC) is sponsoring a planning meeting of Capital Region peace and justice organizations and individuals to create more antiwar events. Particularly under consideration is a July 4th action in downtown Albany. The two-hour meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave. Free parking after 6 p.m., and a parking lot is also available behind the library. Information, (518) 391-2830, email@example.com, http://www.nepajac.org/.
Thursday, June 5, DELMAR: There will be a free public showing at 6:45 p.m. of the 2006 documentary "BAM 6.6: Humanity Has No Borders," followed by speaker Leila Zand, the Iran Program Director for the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The title of this 55-minute film refers to the 2003 earthquake measuring 6.6 magnitudes that struck the Iranian city of Bam, killing over 50,000 people, and leaving more than 60,000 citizens homeless. According to the program notes, "Bam 6.6 is the story of the human condition. The film weaves together stories of survival, loss, and healing, as we explore the humanity of the Iranian people through the prism of the disaster that struck the heart of Bam. Our subjects come from different walks of life — A Jewish-American woman, an American businessman, and the Iranian residents of Bam. Through their experiences, viewers will witness how a natural disaster can overcome religious and political barriers, dispel stereotypes, and unite disparate members of the human family." Sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, the event takes place at Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Ave. Information, (51) 439-1968, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.BethlehemforPeace.org. The film webpage is at http://www.essenceofiran.com/html/home.html.
THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THAT BROKE THE
STORY THAT BECAME 'TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE'
It was an exclusive article by reporter Tim Golden that appeared on the front page of the May 20, 2005, New York Times. Here is an excerpt:
“Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.
"The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.
Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.
“’Come on, drink!’ the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. ‘Drink!’
“At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.
“’Leave him up,’ one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.
“Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.
“The story of Mr. Dilawar's brutal death at the Bagram Collection Point — and that of another detainee, Habibullah, who died there six days earlier in December 2002 — emerge from a nearly 2,000-page confidential file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
“Like a narrative counterpart to the digital images from Abu Ghraib, the Bagram file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment, which has resulted in criminal charges against seven soldiers, went well beyond the two deaths.
“In some instances, testimony shows, it was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information. In others, it was punishment meted out by military police guards. Sometimes, the torment seems to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both. . . .”
[Editor's note: Upon reading this entire long story the day it was printed, we could not help but think repeatedly of Dilawar, and still do on occasion. An innocent worker, shy and dutiful, a slight youth who rarely left his family or village, he is a metaphor for all the victims of U.S. imperialism and militarism in recent decades.
[This tragic account is only a fraction of the pain our Armed Forces, our troops, have been inflicting in Iraq and Afghanistan. America’s political and military leaders are by far the most culpable in this regard and as a consequence are virtually our exclusive target. But in the all too frequent daily occurrences where wartime civilians are humiliated, beaten, tortured and killed, our troops must bear an individual culpability as well.
[Let us never forget the memory of this poor Afghani cab driver, tormented by racist thugs in American uniforms as he died. We owe it to our many victims to end this unjust war now!]