Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Despite "looks" from neighbors and her family's fears, Susan Johnson, "a little grandmother from Doylestown," traveled to the West Bank in 2004 and this May visited the Gaza Strip.
For Johnson, a local resident for 50 years, travel to the West Bank and Gaza follows a career of passionate activism, having protested the Iraq War both in Doylestown and Washington.
Tonight at a coffee house in Doylestown, she plans to speak about what she saw in the Middle East.
From very early, Johnson argued fervently in favor of Israel's right to exist, but the Israeli construction of the separation wall in 2002 angered her. Then through "divine intervention" at a protest of the Iraq War, a woman approached Johnson and asked if she would consider going to the West Bank with a group called Women of a Certain Age.
After meeting the group of 13 "bright, funny, articulate, women +10 of them were Jewish, which was a big awakening to me," Johnson decided to go to the West Bank. She calls it "a life-changing experience."
When Johnson received a letter from the organization UN Relief, forwarded by one of the women from Women of a Certain Age, with an application to travel to Gaza, she considered the opportunity for several days. She applied and the UN accepted her to join a delegation of 13 other people and departed in May.
"I really wanted to see for myself," says Johnson, who after her trip believes that media coverage of Israel and Palestine is unbalanced.
One example Johnson gives is the coverage of Hamas.
"Hamas is described as terrorists + Hamas and others shoot rockets over into Israel. I also saw that Hamas supplies or facilitates aid to the people in Gaza that they wouldn't get otherwise," Johnson said. "Suppose your house was demolished, then they come and give your family money."
Hamas does "not brainwash all of the kids or people, or it wouldn't be safe to walk around in Gaza," she said. Johnson felt safe the entire time she was in Gaza City and Rafa.
With the delegation, Johnson also visited the Qattan Center for Children and Culture, which "could be a children's center built in Doylestown for all the suburban kids and their parents would be thrilled."
The center provides a library, computer rooms, English classes, arts and crafts, music, and dance classes. Most importantly, the center provides one of the only places, according to Johnson, that the children feel safe enough to have fun and act like children.
Though it would mean leaving behind her grandchildren, Johnson is considering volunteering at the Qattan Center to care for "the world's grandchildren," because, " I want my grandchildren to respect me and know that I've done what I could to make the world a better place. + I think it's why we're here on earth + that may sound high or lofty, but I believe that with all my heart."
Now back in Doylestown, Johnson wants to ensure that as many people learn about both her experience and the plight of Palestinians. Despite "challenges" with the computer, Johnson started a blog, "Palestine: Seeing for Myself" at seeingformyself.blogspot.com. . . .
Many of the photos Johnson showed at Saxby's can be viewed at www.vivagaza.org/. She also recommended the blog of another member of the delegation, Philip Weiss: Mondoweiss. Several Israeli peace advocates were named, including Uri Avnery, who wrote this about the Gaza war.
Amnesty International issued a report on July 2, 2009: Israel/Gaza: Operation "Cast Lead": 22 Days of Death and Destruction. Amnesty also called on Israel to co-operate fully with the independent Gaza fact-finding mission set up by the UN Human Rights Council and headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. Read Rep. Keith Ellison re Goldstone and his report, submitted in September 2009.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
. . . there is an important effort underway -- as part of the ACLU Accountability Project -- to correct a critically important deficiency in the public debate over torture and accountability. So often, the premise of media discussions of torture is that "torture" is something that was confined to a single tactic (waterboarding) and used only on three "high-value" detainees accused of being high-level Al Qaeda operatives. The reality is completely different.
The interrogation and detention regime implemented by the U.S. resulted in the deaths of over 100 detainees in U.S. custody -- at least. While some of those deaths were the result of "rogue" interrogators and agents, many were caused by the methods authorized at the highest levels of the Bush White House, including extreme stress positions, hypothermia, sleep deprivation and others. Aside from the fact that they cause immense pain, that's one reason we've always considered those tactics to be "torture" when used by others -- because they inflict serious harm, and can even kill people. Those arguing against investigations and prosecutions -- that we Look to the Future, not the Past -- are thus literally advocating that numerous people get away with murder. . . .
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Anyone who believes that NPR is a "liberal" media outlet -- and anyone who wants to understand the decay of American journalism -- should read this column by NPR's Ombudsman, Alicia C. Shepard, as she explains and justifies why NPR bars the use of the word "torture" to describe what the Bush administration did. . . .
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
May 31, 2009
Rep. Patrick Murphy
1609 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Thank you so much for meeting with us on the 27th and being so generous with your time. In response to your request for information about Amnesty, research revealed that there are 1,326 donor members in your district and many more student activists whose contributions are primarily in terms of service hours. Incidentally, there are over 20,000 donor members in PA.
Inquirer columnist Mark Bowden wrote a piece on May 17, "Damage done by allowing torture," that reinforces the argument for a commission of inquiry. There is a link to the whole article on the Opinion page of http://www.amnestybucksmont.org/. The disturbing part is that he is predisposed to believe Cheney's claims about the effectiveness of torturing Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohammed—that it helped gain information that thwarted attacks, though he concedes, "A complete independent investigation is the only way to find out" (italics added).
Bowden's real outrage is directed elsewhere: "We don't know all the facts yet, but the failure to control abuses at Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and other military prisons strikes me as the real horror here." It goes without saying that Guantánamo is on that list, where Jeremy Scahill (http://www.alternet.org/story/140022/?) reports the abuse continues, at the hands of the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) teams.
One of the goals of http://www.amnestybucksmont.org/ and http://amnestybucksmont.blogspot.com/ is to document the depth and breadth of the anti-torture sentiment in this district and region, as evidenced by the collection of writings at the Opinion tab and the notices of anti-torture events on the homepage, such as the town hall meeting featuring General Richard O'Meara last October.
But again, to have any hope of reaching the vast audience for 24, Congress is going to have to launch an inquiry in one form or another that will finally tell the whole story, and there must be accountability. You will be doing the president and the country a much needed service.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
"We have re-created our enemy's methodologies in Guantanamo," Malcolm Nance, former head of the Navy's SERE training program, says in "Torturing Democracy." He adds, "It will hurt us for decades to come. Decades. Our people will all be subjected to these tactics, because we have authorized them for the world now. How it got to Guantanamo is a crime and somebody needs to figure out who did it, how they did it, who authorized them to do it ... Because our servicemen will suffer for years."
Link to documentary: http://torturingdemocracy.org/
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
". . . Ali Soufan, a former FBI counter-terrorism agent and interrogator, testified that President George W. Bush and Justice Department lawyers were wrong when they said that waterboarding and other tactics used on one suspect provided key pieces of intelligence about Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Testifying behind a screen to protect his identity, Soufan said the techniques, touted by the Bush administration as perhaps its most effective weapon against terrorism, were actually slow, ineffective and unreliable. . . ."
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
"'The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel,' says the document. . . ."
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
We call on the President of the United States to establish an independent, non-partisan commission to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees in the period since September 11, 2001. The commission, comparable in stature to the 9/11 Commission, should look into the facts and circumstances of such abuses, report on lessons learned, and recommend measures that would prevent any future abuses. We believe that the commission is necessary to reaffirm America ’s commitment to the Constitution, international treaty obligations, and human rights. The report issued by the commission will strengthen U.S. national security and help to re-establish America ’s standing in the world.
Co-Sponsors for CommissiononAccountability.org
Amnesty International USA
The Brennan Center for Justice
The Carter Center, Human Rights Program
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, School of Law
Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, UC Davis
The Center for Victims of Torture
The Constitution Project
Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Transitional Justice
International Justice Network
The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
National Institute of Military Justice
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The Open Society Institute
Physicians for Human Rights
The Rutherford Institute
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
2) Official reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross warned senior officials in the U.S. government that the treatment detainees were subjected to in black-site prisons amounted to torture. We call on Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a criminal investigation into the torture and abuse of detainees and to hold those responsible for such conduct accountable.
3) We urge our members of Congress to introduce or support a Dear Colleague letter calling on the administration to immediately produce and publish all the relevant policy memos that argued for and established the basis for coercive interrogation, detainee treatment and policy in the last administration.
Sign AmnestyBucksMont's petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/5/call-for-an-independent-commission-on-torture-abuse.