Hi yall:
The Sunday meeting/potluck went well. It was nice to be in somebody's house. It seems like, at least for a while, we are going to function as more of an affinity group (even though we never used that term at the meeting), meeting at people's houses, sharing food, and being as creative as possible. All the while, continuing to use the resources we have built (including this newsletter, which, by the way, has 289 adressees).

Having witnessed the growth of an actual mainstream anti-war movement over the last few months (over 200,000 protesting in the US last weekend), I've personally wondered what our role should be. Which wagons do we want to jump on, or off of? Do we choose new struggles, focus globally or locally, become more militant, or accept the direction of national umbrella coalitions? or do we try to do everything? and, of course, do we have the energy and time to see whatever we take on through to an end? Those questions aren't really resolved (for me) but at least the working relationships are intact and infact, stronger than ever.

One immediate result of the meeting is that Nic, who does the website, will share posting responsibilities for this listserv. The break is much appreciated. And, by the way, anyone else who would like to make newsletters and post them, that's cool. just email Nic or me.--Spencer

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TWO WEBSITES TO VISIT REGULARLY:

www.iraqjournal.org

This is probably the best clearinghouse for up-to-date Iraq info and reports from what's happening on the ground. Really its the only serious reporting coming out of Iraq right now. It is coordinated by independent journalists Jeremy Scahill and Jacqueline Soohen, who are both in Baghdad right now, with Voices in the Wilderness and the Iraq Peace Team.

ontheground.okcancel.org

this is the group's website. its really well done, and frequently updated. I don't know if that many people know about it though.

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NOW, STORIES...

1. AMNESTY IN IRAQ -

2. Washington Post: "WELL MORE THAN 100,000" PROTESTED IN DC LAST WEEKEND

3. NEW HAVEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN PASS ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION.
   (New Haven is the birthplace of GW Bush)

4. STUDENT GOV OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PASSES ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION
   (UT is huge, and its in the homestate of GW Bush)

5. TEAMSTERS LOCAL 705 IN CHICAGO PASSES ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION

7. SEPTEMBER 11th GROUND ZERO RESCUE-WORKERS STATEMENT FOR PEACE

8. Independent(UK) and Guardian(UK): QUIET REDEPLOYMENT OF AMERICAN FORCES IN THE GULF SUGGESTS ATTACK WILL BE DELAYED

9. MASSIVE ISRAELI SETTLER ATTACK ON FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS IN PALESTINE

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AMNESTY IN IRAQ -

[Something like 150,000 people left the prisons last week. It was amazing. I would strongly urge anybody to find pictures of this event. so many censored emotions, by both their government and ours, exploding out into the open. Its a little confusing politically. We ask ourselves who is responsible for this beautiful thing? But in one sense, it doesn't matter. its a pure human event, it cuts through politics and turns them to mush. maybe like when the Berlin wall got taken down.--Spencer]

to read with pictures visit-- http://iraqjournal.org/journals/021020.html

A DAY THAT SHOOK IRAQ: SADDAM GRANTS “COMPLETE AND FINAL AMNESTY” TO ALL PRISONERS
October 20, 2002
By Jeremy Scahill  

ABU GHRAIB, IRAQ-It was a scene that sounds unthinkable and Iraq is still in a state of stunned jubilation. Thousands of people jammed the streets in front of one of Iraq´s most notorious prisons today just moments after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced a “complete, comprehensive and final amnesty” for all prisoners, including those accused of political crimes and crimes against the state.

Earlier in the day word spread through Baghdad that the Iraqi president was going to address the nation with what several people said was “good news.” Shortly after noon, regular programming on all of Iraq´s television stations was interrupted by an announcement by Iraq´s Information Minister Mohammed Sahaf.

“Prisoners, detainees will be set free immediately,” Sahaf said in a statement attributed to the Iraqi President. He said the amnesty applied to “anyone imprisoned or arrested for political or any other reason.”
 
In another decree, the amnesty was extended to Arab prisoners, excluding those held or sentenced on charges of spying for Israel and the United States.

Sahaf said the amnesty was intended as a gift to the Iraqi people for their support of Saddam in last week´s referendum, in which the president claimed a 100-percent ‘yes´ vote.

”It's a unanimity that others are incapable of believing and it is the greatest truth of this age from this great, honest, warm people,” the statement said. “The referendum honored us before the whole world.”

Throughout Baghdad, cars stopped in traffic as horns blared throughout the main streets of the Iraqi capital. The highway soon filled with caravans of cars heading west toward Abu Ghraib.

Outside the prison gates, thousands of people danced and sang, mainly songs of praise to Saddam Hussein. Many people had looks of total disbelief on their faces, clearly shocked at the scene. Cars stopped in the middle of the highway in front of the prison, as many simply abandoned their vehicles to join the crowd. Eventually the mob swelled to such a size that the prison guards had to open the main gate. Floods of people began scattering throughout the massive complex, scaling walls and climbing poles to make their way inside the cells. Mothers and wives frantically wandered around looking for their imprisoned loved ones.
 
In almost any other country, this scene would have undoubtedly erupted into a riot. No one here we spoke with could ever remember a time when such a massive group of people was permitted to run freely as part of anything other than a pro-government rally. And at times that is exactly what the scene looked like. Deafening chants of “Our blood, our souls, we´ll give for you Saddam” rang out throughout the compound. Some of the newly released prisoners cut their own forearms with knives as they chanted.

In one wing of the prison, the crowd massively outnumbered the guards and began running through wings of the prison that had not yet been opened. Gun shots rang out and guards began beating people with large sticks. The crowd began to scatter, but ultimately shouts of “salaam” calmed the situation. It was an incredible scene: Prisoners kissing their onetime jailers, dancing in joy in a place that for most of the men represented pure misery.
 
Inside the emptied prison, huge dormitories contained the abandoned belongings of the newly liberated men. Potato sacks and filthy blankets laid out in straight lines, with metal bowls, shoes, photographs of loved ones. Guards smiled as they repeated “Finished, finished, finished.”

One of the most shocking events of the day (and this is saying a lot), did not happen at Abu Ghraib. It happened in Washington. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, interviewed Sunday on ABC's “This Week,” said the amnesty was a political ploy by Saddam.

“This is typical of this man's use of human beings for these political purposes of his,'' Powell said. “This is the kind of manipulation he uses to try to paint himself as something other than what he is, a brutal dictator.”

It almost sounded as if Powell was suggesting that the men should have remained in “Saddam´s prisons.” Standing in the midst of the prison compound, watching thousands of men pour out of the cells it was impossible to imagine such a scene taking place in the US.

At Abu Ghraib, people didn´t seem too concerned with “political purposes.”

Throughout the prison compound, mothers hugged their sons. Fathers carried their children. Tears were shed, songs were sung. One prisoner had to be restrained by his brothers after learning that his mother had died while he was in jail. Three hours after the prison gates burst open, a massive column of prisoners stretched for what seemed like a mile. Many men carried huge plastic sacks on their backs, others dragged large metal chests. Others seemed to have abandoned everything and walked quickly toward the exit. Every one of them with a look of tired astonishment on their faces.

“It´s a happy bright new day,” one of the released prisoners told IraqJournal. “I want to say thank you to our President Saddam Hussein for his gift and presenting a new life for a new people, opening a new page in the new future. I´m very, very happy because I am going home to my people, to my family, my friends-to my beautiful wife and babies.”

As the day wound down, a camouflage Iraqi Army helicopter descended on the prison. Rumor spread that Saddam was actually on board. Not likely. But that wouldn´t have been necessary. The disbelief was already there.
 
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Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating Iraqjournal.org, the only website providing regular independent reporting from the ground in Baghdad.

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"WELL MORE THAN 100,000" IN DC LAST WEEKEND
(but don't forget SF and other places too!)

WASHINGTON POST - Tens of thousands of people marched in peaceful protest of any military strike against Iraq, in an antiwar demonstration that organizers and police suggested was likely Washington's largest since the Vietnam era. Organizers with International ANSWER, a coalition of antiwar groups that coordinated the demonstration, had hoped for a turnout rivaling that of its pro-Palestinian rally in April that officials estimated at about 75,000. Organizers said they easily eclipsed that figure yesterday, assessing attendance at well more than 100,000. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey also said he figured yesterday's rally turnout exceeded that in April, but he didn't provide a specific number. . . Demonstrations in other cities, including Rome, Berlin, Copenhagen, Denmark, Tokyo and Mexico City, were held to coincide with the Washington march, and in San Francisco, thousands marched through downtown.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25886-2002Oct27.html

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THE NEW HAVEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN PASSES ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION

The New Haven Board of Aldermen has passed a resolution opposing military intervention in Iraq. The resolution was submitted by Green Party Alderman John Halle and passed by a margin of 24 to 2 with one abstention. The passage of the resolution has special significance because New Haven is the home city of one of the leading supporters of military intervention, Joseph Lieberman. New Haven is also the birthplace of President George W. Bush.

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STUDENT GOV OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PASSES ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION
by P. Ryan Petkoff
from the Daily Texan

The Student Government passed a resolution condemning any attack on Iraq by the Bush administration after a heated debate and a narrow vote. The assembly of hundreds roared as the 20-17 vote was read by Vice President Stacey Kounelias. "This makes the statement that the student body of the nation's largest university and in Bush's hometown feels that an unprovoked war is wrong," said SG two-year at-large Representative Jordan Buckley, author of the resolution and a key mediator in the evening's debate. . . . Students on both sides of the issue praised the assembly for facilitating the open debate on such a pertinent issue. . . Proponents of the resolution mobbed Buckley upon the result - the culmination of the four-hour debate. Buckley said the entire situation was a draining experience and a positive step for the peace movement and for challenging the U.S. government's rush for war. "I'm overwhelmed," Buckley said. "This is unbelievable."

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TEAMSTERS LOCAL 705 PASSES ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION

On Sunday, October 18, Teamsters Local 705, at it's general meeting,
resolved to oppose Bush's drive  for war against Iraq. With over 300 members attending, the meeting overwhelmingly approved a resolution proposed by members of the Uprise! group, and supported by veterans, socialists, and the Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Zero.

Teamsters Local 705, based in Chicago IL, is the second largest Teamsters Local in the U.S, and among  the largest locals of any union in the country. 705 was part of the historic 1997 UPS strike, and  well known for assisting other area unions struggling for justice.

The resolution reads as follows:

"Resolution Against the War

Whereas, we value the lives of our sons and daughters, of our brothers and
sisters more than Bush's control of Middle East oil profits

Whereas, we have no quarrel with the ordinary working-class men, women, and
children of Iraq who will suffer the most in any war

Whereas, the billions of dollars being spent to stage and execute this invasion, means billions taken away from our schools, hospitals, housing, and social security

Whereas, Bush's drive for war serves as a cover and a distraction for the
sinking economy, corporate corruption, lay-offs, Taft-Hartley (used against the locked out ILWU longshoremen)

Whereas, Teamsters Local 705 is known far and wide as fighters for justice

Be it Resolved that Teamsters Local 705 stands firmly against Bush's drive
for war

Further Resolved that the Teamsters Local 705 Executive Board publicize
this statement, and seek out other unions, labor and community activists interested in promoting anti-war activity in the labor movement and community."

We ask all those who support and are encouraged by this statement to
contact Teamsters Local 705 to offer support:

Teamsters Local 705
312 738-2800 or www.teamsterslocal705.org

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SEPTEMBER 11th GROUND ZERO RESCUE-WORKERS STATEMENT FOR PEACE

Meg Bartlett, an emergency medical worker on 9/11 read the following statement about why her and other EMS workers took the Pledge of Resistance at the New York Central Park event on October 6th.

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Statement by Meg Bartlett EMT-D, emergency medical worker on 9/11, Ground Zero for Peace

We, a group of 9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Because we feel we have a responsibility to those we could not save

And to those who calls us heroes

To do everything in our power to make sure that no one, ever again,

Experiences such horror, here or abroad.

We, a group of people who ran for our lives on 9/11,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Because we know that we are not the first or only people

To run so fast and run so hard

All the while knowing that if the buildings don't kill us

Surely our shattered hearts will.

We, a group of people who watched as mothers and fathers jumped to their death,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Because we believe it is unpatriotic to care only for American families.

We believe that there is no competition in grief,

We know first hand that gut-wrenching loneliness is so powerful that it translates into every language.

We, a group of 9/11 uniformed public servants,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Because we resent our President telling us how we represent the best America has to offer

While simultaneously withholding funding for our medical treatment.

As soon as we are told how thankful he is for all we have done, how proud he is of our bravery,

Our efforts and suffering are used as the excuse for further violence.

Please know that we do not want to be repaid with vengeance

And we will not allow it to be perpetrated on our behalf.

We, a group of people who searched hour after hour for survivors

Fueled only on hope and adrenaline,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance -

Because we are tired.

We are tired of being told that if we do not hurry and get back to "normal" that we are letting the terrorists win.

While such a simplification of terror insults us, if the game must be played

Let us remind you, the terrorists have already won.

Not just because we lost so many dear lives,

But because the terror of September 11th has actually made people in this country so frightened that they have stopped thinking.

Terror makes well meaning people so scared and so tired that it becomes easier for them to believe what the media and the government tell them, than to trust there own thinking.

We have become so frightened that we have convinced ourselves that racial profiling "just makes good sense."

But of course, it is inhuman.

We understand that when fear this intense is used in place of thought that we become so defensive that we will set out to kill others before they kill us.

We, a group of people celebrated for our bravery,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Because we are scared.

We have seen the loss of life that results when two planes crash into two buildings.

We have witnessed enough to understand that a nuclear attack would look a lot like Ground Zero --- only it would span for miles -- and the effects would linger for years.

We are so scared that we become physically ill with the anticipation of another attack.

However we do not believe that war will make us safer.

We, a group of people have the work experience and skills that would benefit the US Armed Forces,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

For self-preservation.

We are made up of laborers, people of color, and recent immigrants.

Given our nations' racist and classist military history, our male colleagues will be amongst the first to be recruited for the War on Terror.

We have already lost far too many of our coworkers.

We are a shattered community but

We will not let the rest of our good men be treated as disposables.

We, a group who gave our best on our nation's worst day,

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance--

Because we are courageous, resourceful and compassionate.

And we know that this world is full of people exactly like us.

We are a world of smart, creative, thoughtful, kind hearted people.

And there is simply no reason we cannot build a just and peaceful world.

And finally, we, a group of 9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers --

Take this pledge of nonviolent resistance --

Simply because we are rescue workers.

We do not choose to save only the victims who look like us, share our faith, or were born in our county.

Instead we faithfully attempt to save the lives of any one who needs us.

Given this, it don't make sense that we support the creation of any more causalities here or abroad.

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QUIET REDEPLOYMENT OF AMERICAN FORCES IN THE GULF SUGGESTS ATTACK WILL BE DELAYED
by Kim Sengupta
October 25, 2002
Independent (UK)

It is certainly not a retreat, not even a reversal of long-term strategy, but the United States has been quietly redeploying its forces in the Gulf, hinting that an attack on Iraq may be delayed. After a steady build-up of troops in the area, much of it undisclosed, to 60,000 in the past seven weeks, America's momentum appears to be slowing as the diplomatic war over a new United Nations
resolution reaches its final, crucial phase. The headquarters of the US 5th Fleet continues to host a battle group in Bahrain led by an aircraft carrier. But, diplomatic sources said, there are no plans, as had been expected, for the USS Abraham Lincoln to be joined by another carrier. The USS George Washington, which was in the Gulf before Lincoln, is believed to be on its way home. The Amphibious Ready group of the US Marines, has also left the area recently. The force, which will play a key role in any assault on Iraq, is undertaking an exercise in Djibouti, in the horn of Africa.

also this from the Guardian(UK):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,817744,00.html

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MASSIVE ISRAELI SETTLER ATTACK ON FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS IN PALESTINE
Number of Internationals Injured and Hospitalized

[Yanoun, Nablus]  Militant Israeli settlers attacked a group of international volunteers working with Palestinians to harvest olives in the olive groves near the Palestinian village of Yanoun.

Immediately after a Palestinian operation in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the Israeli- occupied Palestinian Territories that killed two Israeli settlers and soldiers, a group of about a dozen armed Israeli settlers spotted the workers from their settlement (which is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Conventions), and descended upon the international volunteers, kicking, punching and beating them with stones and rifles butts. The internationals were out in front of the Palestinian workers, trying to protect them from the settlers. The injuries are as follows:

James Deleplain ­ US citizen, 74 years of age ­ repeatedly hit in the face, wound under his left eye and massive swelling, kicked in the back and both the right and left rib cage, with a possible broken rib.  James had pneumonia two weeks ago and has been coughing since, therefore the beating, especially in the rib cage has left him in a very weak state.

Mary Hughes-Thompson ­ US and British citizen, 68 years of age - repeatedly hit in both arms.  Possible broken arms.  Speaking to Mary while she was on her way to the hospital, she stated "I am convinced they were trying to kill me."

Robbie Kelly ­ Irish citizen, 33 years of age- beaten in the face and body with rifle butts.  Swollen mouth, bruised ribs and 7 stitches in his left ear.

Omer Allon­ Israeli citizen, 24 - cuts and gashes in both legs and bruises all over his body.

Also the internationals' money and passports were stolen by the attackers, all of whom were of teenage years according to the volunteers.  Palestinians in the area may have also been attacked but we don't have concrete information yet.

Over 100 international volunteers are in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of the International Solidarity Movement's (ISM and GIPP) Olive Harvest Campaign.  For more information about this, please see www.palsolidarity.org . Internationals and Israelis have been providing a continual presence in the village of Yanoun

Injuries are being treated at Lijnat il-Zakaat Hospital/Clinic in Aqraba:
+972-(0)9-259-8550.

[I recognize that there is a problem with reporting violence against white people in Palestine, while not regularly reporting the daily violence that goes on against Palestinians. sorry--spencer]

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TWO NEW GROUPS:

COLUMBIA COLLEGE NOT IN OUR NAME:
[message from John Stevenson (johngste@enteract.com)]

WILL MEET ON TUESDAY 10/29 @ 5PM
IN THE HOKIN GALLERY
(not necessarily a permanent time, but at least a
time to figure out a more regular time)

COLUMBIA COLLEGE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:
[message from Eric (amnestycolumbia@end-war.com)]

MEETS 4:00 PM ON SUNDAYS
IN THE TV LOUNGE OF THE 731 S. PLYMOUTH COURT RESIDENCE HALL

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websites:
ontheground.okcancel.org
civic.columbiacollege.net

listservs:
www.topica.com/lists/ontheground/read
lists.riseup.net/www/info/ontheground

emails:
ontheground@care2.com
spencerkingman@riseup.net

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October 28th 2002