News Releases

Martin Luther King’s Call for a “Radical Revolution of Values”

In a major speech at Riverside Church in New York, given exactly a year before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed: “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

King came out against the war in Vietnam, calling military spending a “demonic destructive suction tube” and said: “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. …

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” See text and audio.

Organizations Call for Elimination of “Launch on Warning” Land-Based Nuclear Missiles

More than 60 national and regional organizations on Wednesday issued a joint statement calling for the elimination of the 400 land-based nuclear missiles now armed and on hair-trigger alert in the United States.

The statement, titled “A Call to Eliminate ICBMs,” warns that “intercontinental ballistic missiles are uniquely dangerous, greatly increasing the chances that a false alarm or miscalculation will result in nuclear war.”

Citing the conclusion reached by former Defense Secretary William Perry that ICBMs “could even trigger an accidental nuclear war,” the organizations urged the U.S. government to “shut down the 400 ICBMs now in underground silos that are scattered across five states — Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.”

“Rather than being any kind of deterrent, ICBMs are the opposite — a foreseeable catalyst for nuclear attack,” the statement reads.

“I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction,” Martin Luther King Jr. said as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The statement ends: “Nearly 60 years later, the United States must eliminate its ICBMs to reverse that downward spiral.”

Among the groups signing the statement are Physicians for Social Responsibility, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and Veterans For Peace. See the full statement and list of signers.

Guantánamo Prison: 20 Years, Biden “Must Uphold His Commitment” to Close it

The group Witness Against Torture is holding numerous events and protests marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay prison. Contact for the group: Helen Schietinger, h.schietinger@verizon.net.

Amnesty International recently released a statement: “This is an anniversary that should never have been reached. Since the Bush administration, there has been agreement among national security experts and across the political spectrum that the Guantánamo prison — a notorious site of torture and unjustifiable indefinite detention — should be closed.

“President Biden must uphold his commitment to close Guantánamo once and for all.” Contact: Gabby Arias, media@aiusa.org.

Santa Cruz Threatens to Evict Food Not Bombs

In the latest of a series of restrictions on people giving out free meals, the city government of Santa Cruz is targeting the group Food Not Bombs for eviction on Tuesday

KEITH McHENRY, keith@foodnotbombs.net@keith_mchenry

McHenry is co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement. He has a regular segment on the radio program “Flashpoints” on KPFA, “Foodfight: the Life and Death Battle Against Hunger and Houslessness,” and will be the first featured guest on Monday afternoon.   He just wrote the post: “Santa Cruz Threatens to Evict Food Not Bombs“: “It is 3:30 pm on Friday, January 7, 2022, when I finally get a call from Larry Imwalle, the Santa Cruz City Homelessness Response Manager. He never returned my calls about moving people to higher ground before the Benchlands flood or after my desperate efforts to get two families into housing. He is paid $150,000 a year to ‘manage the homeless.’

“I was buying two more sets of Industrial Steel Shelving at Home Depot to place in our new shipping container. We are rushing to remove our back stock of rice, lentils and other dry goods from India Joze’s Restaurant before he closes down to make way for a luxury apartment complex to be built in its place.”

McHenry was told that “the city will require that Food Not Bombs vacate Lot 27 by Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 2:00 PM.”

McHenry writes: “Larry tells me, as can be read in his email, that, ‘The Pure Water Soquel Construction Project will be working in this area and requires use of Lot 27 and the surrounding area to accomplish the project and stage equipment.’ I suggested he have the project manager call me so we can make this work and pointed out that there is another parking lot next to Wheelworks that is always vacant.

“As soon as Larry and I hang up I start getting calls from our volunteers at Lot 27. The police have arrived and are handing out papers saying we have to leave by Tuesday. This is not the first late Friday afternoon eviction from Lot 27 during our 664 days of sharing meals with the community during the pandemic. …”

Assange: Exposed War Crimes, Imprisoned for 1000 Days; Blair: Committed War Crimes, was Just Knighted

JOHN PILGER, jpilger2003@yahoo.co.uk@johnpilger

Pilger is a renowned journalist and film-maker whose books and documentaries have won numerous awards including an Emmy and a British Academy Award.

He said Wednesday: “Julian Assange has now spent 1000 days in Belmarsh prison. His crime is truth and authentic, accurate, vital journalism. Washington’s attempt to extradite him would be farcical if it wasn’t so threatening for all journalists who do their job and call governments to account. Julian languishes in Belmarsh prison in London only because of the ruthlessness of great power and its determination to conceal its crimes from the public.”

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is slated to be extradited to the U.S. for exposing documentation of U.S. government killings. Among the exposes that Assange is being prosecuted for is exposing video of the “Collateral Murder” killings by U.S. soldiers from a helicopter gunship mowing down Reuters staffers in Iraq. Reuters had requested the video and other evidence in 2007, when the attack occurred, but the U.S. government kept it secret until WikiLeaks made it public in 2010. Read John Pilger’s latest piece: “The judicial kidnapping of Julian Assange.”

Pilger also spoke out against former British Prime Minister Tony Blair being knighted: “Stand in solidarity with the men, women and children whose lives were lost or ruined in the criminal invasion of Iraq. Below is the petition calling for Blair’s knighthood to be rescinded. More than half a million have signed it. Make it millions.”

Food Not Bombs Wins Against City Gov Trying to Stop Free Meals; Other Battles Continue

The city government of Fort Lauderdale has settled with the local chapter of Food Not Bombs after trying to hinder them from distributing free meals. This followed a series of legal victories by the group, see Courthouse News Service piece from August 31, 2021 “11th Circuit finds Fort Lauderdale limits on food sharing in parks unconstitutional.

The group just issued a statement: “Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs vs City of Fort Lauderdale Court Case is Finally Settled!”It took seven years, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ federal civil liberties lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for banning food sharings is finally concluding. After we won our second appeal in August 2021, the City has accepted a settlement that admits they were wrong to enforce the Park Rule against us and will pay us a small amount of damages. They will also have to pay our lawyers a great deal more!

“These results are on top of the victories this lawsuit already accomplished in years’ prior, including the 2018 appeals ruling that ruled that the original sharing ban law was unconstitutional — and creating a strongly worded precedent about sharing food as protected free speech.” See full statement on Facebook.
Available for interviews:

NATHAN PIM, swampzine@gmail.com
Pim is one of the plantiffs with with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs.

KEITH McHENRY, keith@foodnotbombs.net@keith_mchenry

McHenry is co-founder of the global Food Not Bombs movement. He is currently in Houston, where the local chapter is defying the city government, risking arrest. See recent piece in the Houston Chronicle: “Refusing to comply with city ordinance, Food Not Bombs Houston continues to feed the hungry.”

Said McHenry: “Sharing free food with the hungry is an unreguated gift of love. …. Governments have no business interfering with anyone who is sharing food with the hungry. We aren’t stopping those governments from meeting the needs of the people in their community.”

Also see: “Cities Undermine the Holiday Spirit with Unconstitutional Bans on Sharing Food with the Homeless” in Reason.

McHenry noted: “The Point-in-Time count will be at the end of January and even though a huge undercount, it should reflect the increased need in people seeking food.

“While most indoor soup kitchens shut down during the pandemic, Food Not Bombs continured to share with the unhoused.”

Facing Starvation and Sanctions, How Does Afghanistan Move Forward?

 via Wikimedia Commons

Jim Lobe’s “Out of sight, out of mind: Afghanistan vanishes from U.S. news” in Responsible Statecraft states: “New data shows stunning plunge in coverage, just as the humanitarian crisis — much of it caused by Washington sanctions — peaks.” See accuracy.org news release: “As Afghans Face Starvation, U.S. and UN Sanctions Tighten the Screws.”

ZAHER WAHAB, zwahab@lclark.edu
Professor emeritus at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education, Wahab was senior adviser to the education ministry from 2002 to 2006.

He states that the U.S. government’s goal in Afghanistan was “not progress or nation-building” but rather “ideological, geopolitical, hegemonic, imperial.”

“The 20-year occupation was run with massive corruption and cronyism” leading to a hollowed state which “allowed the president and his gang to betray the nation.” Former president Ashraf Ghani recently denied widespread reports that he fled the country with over $100 million.

Wahab outlines a plan to rescue Afghanistan by forming a “really inclusive and meritocratic government,” “open the banks, reactivate the healthcare system,” expel foreign fighters and a host of other steps.

He stated that the U.S. government must take steps including:

* “Engage and recognize the Afghan government
* “Unfreeze ALL Afghan assets.
* “End ALL sanctions.
* “Cease all political, economic, diplomatic, psychological, drone, and proxy warfare against Afghanistan.
* “Provide immediate massive humanitarian assistance.
* “Return all the assets stolen in different forms by Afghans, Afghan-Americans, Americans NGOs, others.”

Hawkish Outcries for Russia Sanctions “Exceedingly Dangerous”

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, kat@thenation.com@KatrinaNation
Publisher and editorial director of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel is president of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord.

She said today: “While there is no question that Russia has contributed to tensions, the West should have understood that an attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO would spark deep, historical divisions within Ukraine and escalate Russian concerns. What is essentially a civil war has become a proxy war, a site of dangerous geopolitical focus.

“The hawkish outcry for more sanctions, more weapons, NATO membership for Ukraine, and an even more confrontational stance toward Russia is exceedingly dangerous and is not in our security or national interests.

“It is imperative that we embrace sober reasoning and diplomacy to end the conflict — more than 14,000 lives have already been taken. Make no mistake: There is no military solution to this conflict. Only reasoned dialogue and political settlement can put Ukraine on the path to long term stability and some semblance of peace.”

Drone War Exposé Affirms Need for Congressional Investigation

Following the recent New York Times’ “Civilian Casualties Files” report, a coalition of antiwar groups opposed to U.S. drone attacks is urging House Democrats to investigate the U.S. military’s systematic cover-up of civilian casualties caused by its drone-dependent air wars. They are urging them to conduct an investigation into the numbers and identities of all people killed by U.S. drones in the past 20 years.

The New York Times investigated drone attacks which occurred during a four-year time span, from 2014 to 2018, in Iraq and Syria. However, the coalition notes that Congress has the power to swiftly gather all needed information from the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and possibly other entities, dating back to 2001 and covering attacks in all drone attack locales.

“The Congress is in a unique position to gain access to all videotapes, action reports and other documentation for all U.S. drone attacks,” said Nick Mottern of the BanKillerDrones.org campaign. “This appears to be the only way that the public will ever know what has been inflicted on civilians in nations that have come under U.S. drone attack, which include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Niger, Libya and the Philippines, as well as Iraq and Syria.”

“The Times report makes it clear that U.S. politicians used drones and other aircraft to avoid a body bag count that threatened to end U.S. occupations,” Mottern continued, “deliberately concealing the devastating human cost these air assaults impose on civilians. The Pentagon consistently avoids accountability for the hideous atrocities caused by its ‘precision’ remote control warfare.”BanKillerDrones is campaigning for an international treaty banning weaponized drones and military and police surveillance. The activists seek to document not only the drone attacks waged by the U.S. military and the CIA but also private contractors who may have been employed by the U.S. government or government-related operators.

One of the principal goals of the coalition is to ensure reparations are paid to all surviving casualty victims. Members of the new coalition include World Beyond War, Code Pink, BanKillerDrones and the NY Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 34.

Contact: Kathy Kelly, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com
Nick Mottern, nickmottern@gmail.com
Brian Terrell,  brian1956Terrell@gmail.com

Desmond Tutu’s Last Piece: Biden Should End the Farce on Israel’s Nuclear Weapons

via Wikimedia Commons

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a major figure in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and other causes, has died at 90.

A year ago, on Dec 31, 2020, The Guardian published what appears to be his last article: “Joe Biden should end the U.S. pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons.”

Tutu condemned successive U.S. presidents for refusing “to acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons.” Even though U.S. law calls for a cut off of funds to nuclear weapons proliferators, he wrote that “U.S. taxpayer funds to Israel exceed that to any other country. Adjusted for inflation, the publicly known amount over the years is now approaching $300 billion.”

Wrote Tutu: “This farce should end. The U.S. government should uphold its laws and cut off funding to Israel because of its acquisition and proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

He urged weeks before the Biden administration took office: “The incoming Biden administration should forthrightly acknowledge Israel as a leading state sponsor of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and properly implement U.S. law.” In the year since, the administration has not addressed this issue.

Tutu continued: “Apartheid was horrible in South Africa and it’s horrible when Israel practises its own form of apartheid against the Palestinians, with checkpoints and a system of oppressive policies. …

“It’s quite possible that one of the reasons that Israel’s version of apartheid has outlived South Africa’s is that Israel has managed to maintain its oppressive system using not just the guns of soldiers, but also by keeping this nuclear gun pointed at the heads of millions. The solution for this is not for Palestinians and other Arabs to try to attain such weapons. The solution is peace, justice and disarmament.

“South Africa learned that it could only have real peace and justice by having truth that would lead to reconciliation. But none of those will come unless truth is faced squarely — and there are few truths more critical to face than a nuclear weapons arsenal in the hands of an apartheid government.”

Available for interviews:

BILL FLETCHER, Jr., billfletcherjr@gmail.com, @BillFletcherJr
Fletcher is past president of TransAfrica Forum.

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