Friday, March 9, 2007

Change of Blog!

For a variety of reasons, mosty level of user friendliness, the Heads Up Collective BLOG has been moved.

You can now find us at

http://hupcollective.livejournal.com/

thanks!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Defend Edward Said Mural Aat SF State!

from:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mural/petition.html



The General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) would like to ask for your support in our project to unveil a Palestinian cultural mural commemorating the late Dr. Edward Said on the Cesar Chavez Student Center building at San Francisco State University. We have been working hard to finalize the mural and have reached a roadblock that we cannot overcome without your help.

The petition attached will give you a better understanding of our difficulty in dealing with the President of San Francisco State University, Robert Corrigan. Also, to read more about the situation, see www.sfgups.org

We would like to ask of you two things:

1. Please sign the following letter we plan to send to the President after receiving valued signatures of concurrence.

2. Please forward it to as many people as possible.

3. Please write a personal or group letter to President Corrigan in favor of the Palestinian cultural mural honoring Dr. Edward Said. The President’s contact information is: corrigan@sfsu.edu, cortez@sfsu.edu, gups@sfsu.edu

President Robert Corrigan
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
corrigan@sfsu.edu)

PLEASE CC:

General Union of Palestine Students
1650 Holloway Ave
Business Office, M100B
San Francisco, CA 94132
(gups@sfsu.edu)

and

Maria Liliana Cortez
1650 Holloway Ave.
Business Office, C-134
San Francisco, CA 94132
(cortez@sfsu.edu)

For more information you can visit: www.sfgups.org

Thank you for all of your help. It is greatly appreciated!

In Peace and Solidarity,

The General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS)



To: San Francisco State University President, Robert A. Corrigan


We are writing to express our concern regarding your refusal of the mural celebrating Palestinian culture and commemorating the late Dr. Edward Said at San Francisco State University. In addition to blocking the Palestinian mural before it was officially submitted to you for your approval, you have placed an indefinite moratorium on all future artwork on the Cesar Chavez Student Center building.

This ban has come in the wake of more than a year of painstaking efforts by the mural committee to follow the established process. The Palestinian Cultural Mural Committee, which is composed of faculty, staff, administrators and students, from a wide array of ethnic and religious backgrounds. The committee had choosen two artists, a Palestinian Muslim male and a American Jewish female. The committee held more then a year of meetings open to the public, held two town hall meetings concerning the elements to be included in the mural artwork before beginning the actual design. The outcome of the meetings resulted in over two hundred responses, the highest level of feedback on any proposed mural to date, with only two negative responses towards the tentative elements. Following these meetings were mural meetings open to the public where the mural design was finalized. The mural has been supported by a resolution passed unanimously by Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) and has been approved, by a vote of 6 (for) and 2 (against), by the Student Center Governing Board (SCGB). This vast approval reflects the overwhelming support that San Francisco State University’s elected student body representatives have for this mural. In spite of this, only an hour and a half after the SCGB vote, you sent a letter stating your deep disappointment that the Board had approved a mural that you considered "unsatisfactory."

In your letters, and in subsequent meetings with student representatives, You claimed that the mural is "conflict centered", represents a "culture of violence", and that you “won’t allow hatred towards Jews on these walls.” You have given no evidence to justify these claims, only pointing to the mural’s portrayal of Handala and a Palestinian house key with ‘Al-Awda’ (the return) written in Arabic calligraphy. Handala is a widely popular cultural icon created by the late Palestinian cartoonist, Naji Salim al-Ali. Handala depicts a poor, barefoot, Palestinian child, who represents a unified identity for millions of Palestinians struggling to gain dignity and human rights. The Palestinian key, in conjunction with the word ‘Al-Awda,’ represents how Palestinians have adapted to different cultures without forgetting where they came from. The Palestinian house key is the symbol that represents a collective memory, culture and identity of the Palestinian Diaspora whose families still carry keys to the only homes they knew.

By asking for the removal of Handala and the Palestinian house key you are effectively redefining Palestinian identity and culture, which is something that only Palestinians have the right to do. It is unjust and undemocratic to demand that the students exclude these items from the mural, as they are legitimate cultural and historical icons of the Palestinian experience.


Additionally, it seems you wish to deny the long history of San Francisco State University by claiming that this mural "runs counter to the core values of The University." San Francisco State University has pioneered the study and representation of oppressed people around the world through its College of Ethnic Studies. The Palestinian mural stands proudly in this tradition by representing the history, accomplishments, and the current struggle of the Palestinian people. Your denial of the mural is further a rejection of everything that is enshrined in the 'Cesar Chavez Student Center.' Rosa Parks, Richard Oaks, and Malcolm X, all commemorated in the student center, represent leaders who fought against injustice and for the rights of oppressed minorities. Dr. Edward Said certainly stands in this tradition through his lifelong dedication to causes of peace and justice as well as the struggle of the Palestinian people. Dr. Edward Said's famous treatise Orientalism, taught at San Francisco State University, is an attempt to debunk the largely negative and inaccurate portrayal of Arab people in the history of Western culture. Instead of standing with San Francisco State University's proud tradition, you have placed yourself in opposition to it.

As members of the community, we are disappointed that a President of one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation would make such belittling statements. As members of the community, we hope you will stand with San Francisco State University's proud tradition of being culturally open-minded. We also hope that you will deplore racist stereotypes of Arabs and Arab culture as Edward Said critiques in Orientalism and that you will allow Palestinians to be treated as equal humans, with dignity and respect.


We expect you to stand on the side of respect, justice, and democracy by lifting the ban on murals and approving the Palestinian mural as it is submitted to you by the Student Center Governing Board.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

go to http://www.petitiononline.com/mural/petition.html to view current signatures and add your own.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

US Psych torture on trial

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2019580,00.html

The US psychological torture system is finally on trial

America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners
insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court

Naomi Klein
Friday February 23, 2007
The Guardian

Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US
interrogators have used since September 11 to "break" prisoners are finally
being put on trial. This was not supposed to happen. The Bush
administration's plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being
part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla's lawyers
are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven
insane by the government.

Arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare airport, Padilla, a Brooklyn-born
former gang member, was classified as an "enemy combatant" and taken to a
navy prison in Charleston, South Carolina. He was kept in a cell 9ft by 7ft,
with no natural light, no clock and no calendar. Whenever Padilla left the
cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla
was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact
with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory
deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and
pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a "truth serum", a
substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP.

According to his lawyers and two mental health specialists who examined him,
Padilla has been so shattered that he lacks the ability to assist in his own
defence. He is convinced that his lawyers are "part of a continuing
interrogation program" and sees his captors as protectors. In order to prove
that "the extended torture visited upon Mr Padilla has left him damaged",
his lawyers want to tell the court what happened during those years in the
navy brig. The prosecution strenuously objects, maintaining that "Padilla is
competent" and that his treatment is irrelevant.

The US district judge Marcia Cooke disagrees. "It's not like Mr Padilla was
living in a box. He was at a place. Things happened to him at that place."
The judge has ordered several prison employees to testify on Padilla's
mental state at the hearings, which began yesterday. They will be asked how
a man who is alleged to have engaged in elaborate anti-government plots now
acts, in the words of brig staff, "like a piece of furniture".

It's difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The
techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at
Guantánamo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore
blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended
isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same
practices have been documented in dozens of cases of "extraordinary
rendition" carried out by the CIA, as well as in prisons in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

Many have suffered the same symptoms as Padilla. According to James Yee, a
former army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo, there is an entire section of the
prison called Delta Block for detainees who have been reduced to a
delusional state. "They would respond to me in a childlike voice, talking
complete nonsense. Many of them would loudly sing childish songs, repeating
the song over and over." All the inmates of Delta Block were on 24-hour
suicide watch.

Human Rights Watch has exposed a US-run detention facility near Kabul known
as the "prison of darkness" - tiny pitch-black cells, strange blaring
sounds. "Plenty lost their minds," one former inmate recalled. "I could hear
people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors."

These standard mind-breaking techniques have never faced scrutiny in an
American court because the prisoners in the jails are foreigners and have
been stripped of the right of habeas corpus - a denial that, scandalously,
was just upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington DC. There is only
one reason Padilla's case is different - he is a US citizen. The
administration did not originally intend to bring Padilla to trial, but when
his status as an enemy combatant faced a supreme court challenge, the
administration abruptly changed course, charging Padilla and transferring
him to civilian custody. That makes Padilla's case unique - he is the only
victim of the post-9/11 legal netherworld to face an ordinary US trial.

Now that Padilla's mental state is the central issue in the case, the
government prosecutors are presented with a problem. The CIA and the
military have known since the early 1960s that extreme sensory deprivation
and sensory overload cause personality disintegration - that's the whole
point. "The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the
subject's mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in upon
itself. At the same time, the calculated provision of stimuli during
interrogation tends to make the regressed subject view the interrogator as a
father-figure." That comes from Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation, a
declassified 1963 CIA manual for interrogating "resistant sources".

The manual was based on the findings of the agency's notorious MK-ULTRA
programme, which in the 1950s funnelled about $25m to scientists to carry
out research into "unusual techniques of interrogation". One of the
psychiatrists who received CIA funding was the infamous Ewen Cameron, of
Montreal's McGill University. Cameron subjected hundreds of psychiatric
patients to large doses of electroshock and total sensory isolation, and
drugged them with LSD and PCP. In 1960 Cameron gave a lecture at the Brooks
air force base in Texas, in which he stated that sensory deprivation
"produces the primary symptoms of schizophrenia".

There is no need to go so far back to prove that the US military knew full
well that it was driving Padilla mad. The army's field manual, reissued just
last year, states: "Sensory deprivation may result in extreme anxiety,
hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, and antisocial behaviour" - as
well as "significant psychological distress".

If these techniques drove Padilla insane, that means the US government has
been deliberately driving hundreds, possibly thousands, of prisoners insane
around the world. What is on trial in Florida is not one man's mental state.
It is the whole system of US psychological torture.

· Naomi Klein's book on disaster capitalism will be published this spring; a
version of this article appears in the Nation www.nologo.org

Monday, February 19, 2007

Prefigurative Parenting

(this essay was published in the last issue of Left Turn magazine, and is written by a Heads Up Collective member.)

Collective Parenting for Collective Liberation
By Rahula Janowski

Although outright hostility towards parents and children in radical left spaces is uncommon, there is an undercurrent of hostility or at least ambivalence about parents and children in many radical movements in the US. Meanwhile, the radical left in the US is small, fractured, and struggling, and our communities of resistance are largely racially segregated, mono-generational, and unsustainable. One important way to build the strength of our communities of resistance, and through that build the strength of our movements for radical social change, is to develop multi-generational movement cultures that embrace and support parents, all kinds of families, and folks of all ages.

My daughter was born in November of 2002, and before that, I had been looking closely at how mothering and radical political activism and organizing intersected for several years. Growing up in a working class, counter-cultural community in rural Vermont, there was always a wide age-range of kids and youth running around at every event, every roof-raising, and every party. When I became involved in West coast anarchist communities in the early 1990’s, my experiences stood in stark contrast; children were rarely present in radical spaces, be it meetings, parties, or even demonstrations.

For almost a decade, I lived and engaged in political work in communities that were mostly white folks in our twenties, with an occasional teenager, a few folks of color, and a handful of people over 30. In these communities, it was assumed that when activists and organizers had children or got older, they dropped out of the movement because something about parenthood and aging made people less radical and less willing to step up.

Carrying lessons

In the years since the birth of my kid, I’ve managed to stay politically engaged as a result of a supportive partner and household, and as time goes on I’m meeting more politically radical folks with kids. In spite of that, one thing I’ve realized is that although becoming a parent doesn’t make people less radical, in many cases, the radical communities with which I am familiar are unintentionally pushing people with children out.

Since my experience is limited to the predominately white sectors of the anti-authoritarian, global justice/anti-war communities, my observations and conclusions may not be reflective of experiences in other communities. I know that around the world, parents and mothers in particular are often the driving force behind grassroots popular resistance campaigns and movements within cultures that are far more embracing of children than the dominant US culture. However, in the political communities I have been a part of, parents and mothers are hard pressed to be involved in radical change work. And when mothers are involved, often we must leave our children at home along with our identity as mothers.
I hear stories, mostly from mothers, over and over, stories of how difficult it is to get out of the house, never mind to a meeting. How demoralizing it is to not be able to do nearly as much political work as before parenthood, and then to experience the varying levels of hostility encountered in movement spaces when we do venture out with our kids, along with the level of incomprehension most of our activist/organizer friends have about the realities of parenting. Often, these stories are related in an apologetic tone, as if our inability to juggle the intense demands of parenting, often alongside paying work, with the demands of being a deeply involved member of a community of resistance is a personal flaw, rather than a failure of our communities.

This dynamic needs to change drastically, not only so that the movement isn’t constantly losing experienced, skilled, and committed people as they become parents, but also because mono-generational movements that do not include people in all stages of life will neither move nor win. We need communities that are strong, that can withstand difficult times and challenges, and that can nurture and support its members to continue the work. A community of resistance that is multi-generational will have a continuum of memory, will carry lessons from one generation to the next, and will be a base for strong multi-generational movements.

Long-term view

Everyone brings different things to movements. We each arrive at the work with our own individual history, which is shaped by our personal experience as well as by our communities’ collective histories. When people who are engaged in political work become parents, we find ourselves with less time to engage in the work. But for many of us, that comes along with an increased sense of the urgency and necessity for doing the work and some new perspectives.

Becoming a parent shook me from short-term thinking to a much longer-term orientation to the work and the world. I find myself thinking not only about how to raise my child so that she’ll be prepared for the world she is going to inherit, but also how to engage in social change work so that world will be a better place than it is now, and how to build movements that will be stronger as she and her cohorts become old enough to join them.

My housemate, Clare Bayard, who is deeply invested in Natasha’s life, speaks to how involvement with kids can have a similar effect for people who aren’t parents: “I have always appreciated the wisdom of a seven generations framework coming from First Nations people, but never truly internalized what it meant until Natasha was born.” Clare continues, “She gives me a real investment in the future of this world beyond my lifetime, and because I care what world her life will trace through, I am constantly pushed to unstick from short term fixes and think deeply about how the work we do today will impact the world for generations to come.”

Interaction with the next generation brings a sense of continuity and dynamic longevity to the struggle. Playing with and caring for young children inspires hope for the future. Having relationships with youth keeps us in touch with their fire and inspiration. There is also a consistent pattern of youth pushing the struggle forward—helping movements and organizations evolve, by bringing their energy and particular insights to the work.

When we involve parents and children in our activist and organizing spaces, when we incorporate the children as part of the fabric of our communities of resistance, we are raising the next generation of revolutionaries. There is an idea that the children of radicals will always rebel and grow up to be interminably right-wing, but there are many examples that show this idea to be false.

One example of children carrying forward their parents’ revolutionary politics is the story of Camillo Mejia. After serving 6 months in combat in Iraq, in 2004, Mejia applied for Conscientious Objector status, which was denied, and he was eventually court-martialed. In a March 2005 interview on Democracy Now!, Mejia discussed growing up in the Sandanista Revolution. He says, about the pressure to follow in his father’s revolutionary footsteps, “I just turned my back on it, because I wanted to find my own way, and I guess joining the military was the culmination of that.” He continues “…the state of rebellion was there somewhere, but you know, the right conditions were not given until I went to Iraq for me to actually hear that voice and say, ‘No’… So … that family background has finally kicked in and, you know, given me a new conscience.” Camilo Mejia continues to be a strong leader among soldiers and former soldiers speaking out against the war on Iraq, and is also raising a child of his own.

Prefigurative parenting

Many folks involved in social justice movements, whether they use this terminology or not, engage in the theory and practice of prefigurative politics—the idea that how we engage in our work for social change prefigures what the world we hope to create will look like. If we seek a world in which all people have equal access to the workings of society; where parents, children, elders, people of all generations are integrated into society and communities; where all children are safe, nurtured, able to live free of violence and oppression; and everyone is given all they need to grow into the fullest version possible of themselves, then a necessary step toward building that world is working to make these things true within our communities of resistance.

What we need within our communities of resistance is an approach to raising children that is also “prefigurative.” How we treat kids is a powerful force in shaping society. This idea should not be used as an excuse to blame society’s woes on individual parents or on individual parenting choices. Obviously, no one parents in a vacuum. A politicized prefigurative parenting involves moving our lens back, broadening our focus from placing sole responsibility for children on individual parents or individual families, to a community level, and even further, to a societal level. In addition to the various systems of oppression including white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism, each parent must function in the context of their dominant society’s approach to children—educational access or lack thereof, current thinking about child psychology, medical practices, and the influences of teachers, caregivers, and extended families.

Because beliefs and practices of the dominant culture are often carried over into communities committed to changing society, we must change our values and practices within our communities of resistance as we push outwards. It is not unusual or surprising that the attitudes toward children within our communities of resistance reflect the attitudes of the dominant society. This means that while there are many specific acts that folks can undertake to truly include families and kids, the larger need is for a different framework of beliefs and assumptions about families within our communities—a framework that assumes the involvement of parents, elders, youth, and children, and sees their absence as an indication of something seriously wrong that needs to be addressed. Many specific acts of support for parents and children within communities of resistance can play the dual role of offering concrete support while laying the groundwork for this shift in frameworks.

In order for this to happen, people who are not parents need to actively work to become aware of the parents in their midst, and also to examine closely their own feelings about kids and about kids in movement space. Parents can also be more assertive about finding allies within our movements and asking for what we need. Parents and non-parents need to learn more about what it can look like to be a multi-generational movement, and to look to movements outside of the dominant US culture for examples and leadership.
Shared responsibility
Although the predominant approach to children and families within white-dominated movements in the US is a hands off, slightly hostile approach, this is not true globally, or within some communities within the US, in particular communities of color. Mijo, a Korean American friend tells me of her experiences working with a large group of farmers from Korea in Seattle. “When the Koreans were here,” she said, “everyone—including people I’d just met, whose names I didn’t even know—felt equally free to swoop [her son] up and kiss him, run off out of my sight and play with him, yell at him if he was about to get run over by a bicycle, or swat his hand if he reached for something like a candle. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in US white culture.”

The approach to community hinted at in Mijo’s experience can and should be a goal for our communities of resistance—where taking responsibility for entertaining and protecting kids is assumed by everybody, where interacting with the younger members of the community is just as important as with senior members, and where kids are made to feel part of the space. As people in our communities have children, we should interact with the kids as though they are the people who will be carrying our struggles forward when we are no longer able to, and in that way, include them as part of the movement right from the start.

When a parent knows that her child is safe in political spaces, and knows that her comrades will look after the child, she is free to more actively engage in the work. When a child feels that they are part of the community and part of the work, their commitment to the community and to the work will stay with them into adulthood.

Providing formal childcare at political events has an enormous impact. Knowing that not only is your child welcome to attend the event, but that there will be something for them to do easily makes the difference between a parent attending or not attending. Childcare collectives discussed below are one model for providing childcare and organizations with a budget should consider paying someone to hang out with the kids. There does need to be a level of accountability around how the people who provide the childcare are chosen and supervised, because our communities are no safer than any other communities when it comes to adults who act inappropriately with children.

Sometimes, even if no childcare can be provided, having a basket of toys and an area set aside for parents and kids to hang out in is a great help. The desired shift in thinking is for organizers to make the assumption that some of the people who want to come to your event (or meeting, or demonstration, or conference) are parents, and that you want to actively encourage their participation. And when parents do show up with children, it makes a huge difference if they are greeted with warmth and welcome, rather than the frosty assumption that “that kid will disrupt the meeting.”

Childcare collectives

Recently there have been some efforts that are shifting community approaches to kids within movement spaces, such as childcare collectives, which are formations of political activists who provide childcare as an act of solidarity. The Bay Area Childcare Collective mission states: “We are committed to providing grassroots organizations and movements composed of and led by immigrant women, low-income women, and women of color with trained, competent, patient and politicized childcare providers for one-time events or ongoing meetings.” Believing that the people who are most directly affected by systems of oppression must be in the leadership of movements attempting to undo those systems, the Childcare Collective takes care of the children so the parents can do the work.

Participation in or developing a childcare collective is not only a way to provide direct support to parents in the movement, but also offers a lot to childcare providers. Josh Connor, one of the Bay Area Childcare Collective organizers explains, “Children and young people bring vitality and life to all of our movements and they are a reminder of what we are fighting for. They are often able to offer the most insightful perspectives that cut to the heart of important issues. Their questions challenge us to develop our own abilities to describe the world around us.”

Another option for sharing responsibility for child-raising is the childcare team model developed by Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC), an anti-imperialist organization from the 1970’s and 1980’s with links to the Weather Underground organization. PFOC had a strong feminist analysis and understood that valuing the participation and leadership of women meant that providing childcare on a consistent, regular basis was crucial. PFOC in the San Francisco Bay Area expected every member who was not a parent to be part of a childcare team for a parent in the organization who had kids, and these childcare teams in many cases continued to operate after the end of PFOC.

Currently some families with young children in the Bay Area have taken on an adaptation of this model, gathering a crew of adults from our political community who regularly spend time with our kids, forming relationships with them over time. Having this level of support is crucial for parents who remain engaged in political work, and it also works to weave the children more tightly into the community. When children at a political event know not only their parents, but have close relationships with other adults there, they will feel more a part of the community, other non-parents will see them as involved in the community, and we can begin to move away from the idea of children as distractions and nuisances.
All of these efforts, along with many other actions, support the building of a community of resistance that is inclusive of people of all ages and in all stages of life, contributing in part to the development of strong multi-racial, cross class, and multi-tendency movements that are strong and sustainable for the long-haul.

Rahula Janowski does anti-racism and anti-imperialist work with the Heads Up Collective in San Francisco, and is a mother to an amazing 4 year old.
This article was deeply influenced by the feedback from participants in the prefigurative parenting workshop, as well as the support of Praxis House and the Heads Up Collective, and through the deep and sometimes challenging conversations with the wise women at http://hellakittens.com.

Anti-war events this week

Youth Anti-War Rally-SF Federal Building
Thursday, Feb 22, 4:30
SF Federal Building
Students from 55 schools across the Bay Area have collected thousands of
signatures on a petition to Nancy Pelosi demanding that she and Congress cut
the military funding for the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. Join us
at the rally on Thursday February 22 to tell Pelosi to respect the mandate
of the people. (More info below -- All ages welcome). Also, if you'd know
students who might want to sign or distribute the petition, please get back
to us!
Eric Blanc, for the ad-hoc coalition of bay area youth against war
, 415-646-6469

War Tax Resistance Workshops
Are you ready to stop paying for war?
More than half of our federal income taxes are used to wage war.
Come find out about your options for conscientious objection.
Berkeley: Saturday February 24, 2-4:30pm
3122 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA
(1 block East of Ashby BART)
San Francisco: Sunday, March 4, 2-4:30pm
San Francisco Friends Meeting
65 9th Street
Between Market and Mission
Near Civic Center BART
All events are free and wheelchair accessible.
For more information: Northern California War Tax Resistance
(510) 843-9877 € http://www.nowartax.org

COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER DINNER WITH HELGA AGUAYO
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2007
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
War Memorial Veterans Building, 2nd Floor
401 Van Ness Avenue (across from City Hall), San Francisco
Please join us for a community dinner with Agustin¹s wife Helga Aguayo
to raise funds for the Aguayo family¹s legal and travel expenses. Agustin
faces a military court martial in Germany, and seven year¹s in prison, on
March 6 for refusing to return to Iraq. For nearly three years, he has
unsuccessfully fought the Army for a conscientious objector discharge.
For more information about the Aguayo¹s, including leaflets, videos, etc.:
and

SPEAKING FIERCE-Celebrate International Women's Day
An Evening of Art, Poetry, Music and Dance
Thursday, March 8, 2007
6:30-9:00pm
First Congregational Church- Reidenbach Hall
2501 Harrison Street (@ 27th), Oakland
Tickets $5-15, No one turned away for lack of funds
FEATURING
Eli Painted Crow, Retired Army Veteran
Anuradha Bhagwati, Former Marine Captain
JamaeSori, Korean Women's Drumming Group
Aimee Suzara, Powerful Spoken Word
Kaylah Marin, Singer/Songwriter
Art in Action Women
Aimee Allison, Conscientious Objector
For more info, call 510-444-2700 x305
www.coloredgirls.org

Friday, February 16, 2007

Update and appeal for Sami Al-Arian

Sent: Fri 2/16/2007 11:53 am
Subject: Urgent - Write Letters in Support of Sami Al-Arian

Dear Friends,

I'm not sure if you've heard of Dr.Sami Al-Arian's latest conditions, but he
collapsed on the 23rd day of his hunger strike and has been moved from
Virginia to a medical facility in North Carolina. He has been on a hunger
strike since Jan. 22 for being "held in contempt" as a result of his refusal
to testify against other Muslim organizations before the Grand Jury in VA.

As you all know, Dr. Al-Arian was acquitted in December 2005 of 8 of 17
federal charges against him. The jury deadlocked on the rest, due to just
one or two individuals on the jury. Nevertheless, Dr. Al-Arian agreed to
plea guilty to one charge in agreement that he would then be deported to
leave the country. *During plea agreements, Dr. Al-Arian blatantly refused
the government's attempt to add a "cooperation provision," which would force
him to cooperate with the government on other cases. *

Nevertheless, in COMPLETE VIOLATION of the plea agreement, the government is
now forcing him to testify before the grand jury in VA on pre-trial cases
that are investigating other Muslim groups and individuals in VA. This is a
dirty tactic that the government has been using against Muslim prisoners
throughout the country ( i.e. the VA-11 case, Abdulhaleem
Al-Ashqar,
etc.). They're trying to psychologically intimidate prisoners, like Dr.
Al-Arian, into testifying against each other on dubious charges. Dr.
Al-Arian is refusing to testify out of principle. Thus, the judge is holding
him "in contempt," which prolongs his suffering and imprisonment for up to
18 months, whereas Dr. Al-Arian should be released by April, according to
the sentence (which was the maximum sentence the judge had the option of
imposing).

*Please send a letter, fax or email to the following four individuals: *

**

- *Honorable Judge Gerald Lee** **
**U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia **
**401 Courthouse Square**,** Alexandria, VA 22314*

- *Attorney General Alberto Gonzales** *
*Department of Justice *
*U.S.** Department of Justice*
*950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW*
*Washington**, DC 20530-0001*
*Fax Number: (202) 307-6777** *
*AskDOJ@usdoj.gov** *

- *The Honorable John Conyers, Jr** *
*2426 Rayburn Building *
*Washington** , DC 20515*
*(202) 225-5126*
*(202) 225-0072 Fax*
*John.Conyers@mail.house.gov*

- *Senator Patrick Leahy** *
*433 Russell Senate Office Building *
*United States** Senate*
*Washington** , DC 20510*
*(299029)224-4242 *
*senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov *

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heads Up presents: Occupation 101

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge"

With this quote from Steven Hawking, the makers of Occupation 101 lay out a basic premise...that there is a dangerous amount of misinformation about the current situation in what they call the Holy Land and what many call Israel and Palestine, hand in hand with misinformation about the history that has lead to the current situation. When Occupation 101 screened in San Francisco as part of the Arab Film Fest, the filmmakers were available for Q&A following the film, and they said that they made the film with the USA and Europe particularly in mind, because it is in these places that the misinformation about the Holy Land is at it's worst.

Occupation 101 is a disturbing, gripping, and important film that presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the United States' role, and sheds light on the major obstacles which stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2007, the Heads Up Collective is excited to screen Occupation 101 as part of our Televising the Revolution Radical Film series. The screening is a benefit forLeft Turn , an international network of activists committed to exposing and fighting the local and global consequences of capitalism and imperialism by amplifying voices of those on the frontlines of radical struggles for social justice and providing resources for strategy-building and reflection through Left Turn magazine, www.leftturn.org, and face-to-face forums.

You can view a trailer for the film at You Tube

And there’s a lot of information, including profiles of people interviewed, on the film’s website

Please join us on january 27, 2007, at 8 p.m. to watch this intense and incredible film, and to support the amazing, inspiring, and informative work of Left Turn. The film will be shown at El Rio, 3158 Mission St. @ Cesar Chavez, San Francisco. (the film is usually shown on the back patio, but in case of rain we move inside, so the event is rain or shine.)

Event is free, but it's a fundraiser so of course, donations accepted. Space is wheelchair accessible, but bathrooms are not. 21 and over. For more information, please contact radfilms@lycos.com