Plowshares Sentencing Pending: Write the Judge

Plowshares Sentencing Pending, Write the Judge

November 20, 2019

Dear Robert,

Now is the time to write letters to Judge Lisa Godbey Wood regarding her sentencing of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. We are collecting letters, especially from those who know the defendants, testifying to their character and the good work that they are doing in their communities which will not be done if they are serving long terms in prison. These letters are not the forum to criticize the law, the legal process or government policies.  Rather it is the place to point out positive things about the defendants that should mitigate a harsh sentence.
Letters should be sent to defense attorney Bill Quigley at the address below. He  will compile them and distribute to various defendants’ attorneys for delivery to Judge Wood.  The attorneys suggest it would be helpful to get these done by Thanksgiving or the week after in order to get processed and delivered. Sentencing may be in January or possibly February.
The best letters are simple, polite, and tell good things about the person you are writing in support of.
The suggested format is as follows:
 
Date
Sender’s Name
Sender’s Address
 
Judge Lisa Godbey Wood
c/o Bill Quigley
Loyola University New Orleans Law Clinic
Campus Box 902
7214 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118
 
Regarding Sentencing of: Mark Colville [or] Clare Grady [or] Martha Hennessy [or] Fr. Steve Kelly SJ [or] Elizabeth McAlister [or] Patrick O’Neill [or] Carmen Trotta  (or all seven of the Kings Bay Plowshares)
                     
Dear Judge Wood,
 
  Suggested outline for the letter:
    – Explain who you are.
    – Explain who you are writing about, how you know them, and what good they do for their
      community.
    – Explain why the Judge should not send them to jail.
    – Thank the Judge for reading your letter.
 
Valediction,
Signature
For more ideas and details for your letters, you are welcome to see the defendants’ biographies here.
Thank you for your attentiveness to the trial, your support for the defendants and their families, and your focus on the issue of the abolition of nuclear weapons.
As Fr. Steve Kelly says, “The nuclear weapons won’t go away by themselves.” We do this work together.
In solidarity,
 
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Team
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Leaked Cables Show Depth of Iranian Influence in Iraq After U.S. Invasion “Shattered” the Country

Image Credit: The Intercept

An unprecedented leak of secret intelligence reports from inside the Iranian government has shed new light on how Iran has taken control of much of the Iraqi government in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion. The documents from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security were leaked to The Intercept, which then partnered with The New York Times on reporting the story. The leak includes 700 pages of intelligence documents from 2014 to 2015. The documents reveal that a number of Iraqis who once worked with the CIA went on to work with Iranian intelligence.

US F-16 fighter jet crashes into California warehouse!

A warehouse employee recorded a video of the crash site aftermathA warehouse employee recorded a video of the crash site aftermath

An F-16 fighter jet has crashed into a warehouse near a base outside Los Angeles, leaving the pilot and workers on the ground with minor injuries.

The pilot ejected before impact, and the small fire that broke out was quickly suppressed by the building’s sprinkler system.

The US Air Force says five people on the ground were injured. They have not confirmed if ammunition was onboard.

One warehouse worker captured the aftermath in a Facebook post.

“That’s a military airplane in our building,” Jeff Schoffstall said in his mobile phone video.

“So the turbines are spinning, there’s no roof on the building so you’re looking through the roof, the walls are gone,” he continued.

A hole in the warehouse roof was filmed by news helicoptersA hole in the warehouse roof was filmed by news helicopters

The crash happened at about 15:45 local time (23:45 GMT) outside the March Air Reserve Base in Perris.

“It just shook the whole building,” employee Baldur Castro told CBS, adding that one worker had been knocked to the ground.

According to the Air Force Reserve, the jet was based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was flying a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The pilot's parachute was located in a nearby fieldThe pilot’s parachute was located in a nearby field

 

Tough Week For Contestants | The Grumpy Man's Guide to ...

“Wrongway Feldman.” (Gilligan’s Island, 1964)

US Attack on Venezuela Resistance – Jacqui Voltaire

Hi All, I have shared some of this with you, but the great work being done at the Venezuelan Embassy is amazing and I want you to have all of this to see, hear and share! I so wish I could go down there this week, but my body is still healing from my fall and I have no energy. But I will be fallowing and getting info out as much as I can. Please also share with any organizations you might be involved with to get them involved. We may be helpless in our corrupt electoral system to vote out the corproate 2 Party System that keeps these things going on, but we can do what Medea and others are doing here and those who can can answer the call to go join them this week.
Love,jacqui

Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin was live — with Margaret Flowers.

Answer Coalition

Eyewitness Venezuela Livestream Webinar with Ajamu Baraka, Medea Benjamin, Max Blumenthal, Claudia De La Cruz, G…
You are likely aware of the attempted US-led coup in Venezuela that has failed. However, the US is ignoring that and turning over assets to the opposition. We, the Embassy Protection Collective (Colectivos Por La Paz), are staying in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC to protect it from takeover by the opposition. We need your help.

The Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective is approaching a crucial week. On or after April 25, we expect the illegitimate opposition to try take the embassy with the help of the Trump administration. We need a strong show of support to stop them. 

As a step toward showing that support, we will be publishing the Declaration of the Embassy Protection Collective (Colectivos Por La Paz). A copy is below. We are seeking individuals and organizations to sign on to the Declaration. You or your organization can sign on here: http://bit.ly/EPCDeclaration.  

We will have important events coming up in the next few days. Saturday will be an ANSWER webinar on Venezuela at 3 pm followed by an art build at 5 pm. The evening art build will be accompanied by music. There will be events every night that will be live streamed. For details of events at the embassy see Acton: 24/7 Protection Of DC Venezuelan Embassy or visit our Facebook page.

The crucial days for people to be at the embassy and spend the night will be April 24-25. This is when the opposition has openly said they will seek to take the embassy.

Please join us and show solidarity with Venezuela. Share this email widely and urge people and organizations to sign on to the Declaration: http://bit.ly/EPCDeclaration.
Declaration of the Embassy Protection Collective (Colectivos Por La Paz)
We have joined together as the Embassy Protection Collective to show solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their right to determine their elected government. We are staying in the Venezuelan embassy with the permission of the legitimate Venezuelan government under President Nicolas Maduro. We seek to provide a nonviolent barrier to the threatened opposition takeover of their embassy in Washington, DC by being a presence at the embassy every day of the week for 24 hours a day.
The Collective is working from the embassy, located in the heart of Georgetown in Washington, DC during the day and holding seminars and cultural events in the evenings, as well as sleeping in the embassy. Events include forums on Venezuela, its government, economy and the ongoing attempted coup. We are also holding seminars on US foreign policy toward Africa, Honduras and Iran, the prosecution of Julian Assange and other issues.
There is great cause for us to be concerned about a hostile takeover of the DC Embassy. On March 18, 2019, the Venezuelan opposition took over the military attaché building on 2409 California St in Washington DC, with the help of the DC Police and Secret Service. On that same day, the opposition also took over the Venezuelan Consulate in New York City. They have publicly threatened to take over the embassy itself.
International Law Protects Foreign Embassies Located In The United States
According to Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, foreign embassies should be protected by the United States government and their space should not be violated by the US government. Specifically, international law requires:
  1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
  2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
  3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.
The Trump Administration is violating the Vienna Convention by not only allowing the illegal seizure of diplomatic premises but by facilitating it. The Election Protection Collective is supporting the people of Venezuela by taking responsibility to ensure that Article 22 of the Vienna Convention is followed.
The Elected Government of President Maduro Remains In Power
The government of President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected on May 20, 2018 in response to the opposition demanding an early election. The election was held consistent with the Venezuelan Constitution, in consultation with opposition parties and as determined by the National Electoral Council, an independent branch of the Venezuelan government.
Sixteen parties participated in the election with six candidates competing for the presidency. President Maduro won by a wide margin, obtaining 6,248,864 votes, 67.84%; followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958, 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, who obtained 36,246 votes, 0.39% of the total. A total of 9,389,056 people voted, 46% of eligible voters.
The electoral process was observed by more than 150 election observers. This included 14 electoral commissions from eight countries among them the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America; two technical electoral missions; and 18 journalists from different parts of the world, among others. According to the international observers, “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”
In a letter to the European Union correcting some of the false statements made about the election, election observers wrote: “We were unanimous in concluding that the elections were conducted fairly, that the election conditions were not biased, that genuine irregularities were exceptionally few and of a very minor nature.”
Voting machines were audited before and immediately after the election. Venezuela does something no other country in the world does, a public Citizen’s Audit of a random sample of 52 to 54% of voting machines. The Citizen’s Audit is observed by the media, the public, and all opposition parties, who sign the audits.
The Invalid Self-Appointment of Juan Guaidó Violated Venezuelan Law
Juan Guaidó’s self-appointment as interim president violated the Constitution of Venezuela. The language of the Venezuelan Constitution is clear regarding when the president of the National Assembly can become president and none of the conditions in the Constitution have been met.
The opposition relies on Article 233 of the Constitution, which allows the National Assembly president to serve as interim president only if the president-elect has not yet been inaugurated. Guaidó’s self-appointment occurred after President Maduro had been inaugurated.
Article 233 allows the president of the National Assembly to become president only if the president-elect:
“become[s] permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice [equivalent of impeachment]; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.”

None of these conditions were met.
If Guaidó had met the above conditions, Article 233 allows him to serve for only 30 consecutive days pending election and inauguration of the new President. Guaidó’s self-appointment and fraudulent inauguration occurred more than 30 days ago and no election has been scheduled.
In a press briefing, Elliot Abrams, the US Special Representative for Venezuela, could not explain these violations of law by Guaidó and admitted that Guaidó is not “able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.” Even Abrams admits that Guaidó is not the president. Therefore, he has no authority over the Venezuelan embassy.
The Role of the Embassy Protection Collective
The Embassy Protection Collective is in the embassy with the permission of the Venezuelan government. We are upholding international law and the Venezuelan Constitution and opposing a coup attempt against the legitimate government of Venezuela on behalf of the people of Venezuela who elected their government.
The Embassy Protection Collective is made up of civilians, United States citizens, who are peacefully defending the embassy. If the opposition enters, they will be trespassing. We call on the DC police, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security and any other law enforcement agency to uphold the law and prevent the opposition from trespassing.
The Collective feels a responsibility to hold our government to a standard of respecting the rule of law as well as a responsibility to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela.

Free “Endless Wars” sticker from moveon.org

Click here or on the image below to get your free “Endless Wars” sticker now.

Two weeks ago, Congress took the historic bipartisan step of reasserting its constitutional war powers to end U.S. participation in the illegal, inhumane, Saudi-led war in Yemen—a war that has killed 85,000 children and is pushing millions to the brink of starvation.

9/11 attacks’ survivors take Saudi Arabia to court!

Survivors and families of victims accuse the kingdom of helping the hijackers who launched the attacks in 2001.

Some survivors of the September 11 attacks and the families of victims have moved to a New York court against Saudi Arabia.

They accuse the Saudi government of helping the hijackers launch the concurrent attacks in 2001.

They came to the court to demand the Saudi government cough up more information – specific documents that survivors of the attacks believe will shed new light on the hijackers.

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey reports.

Microsoft employees have demanded the company back out of a deal to provide HoloLens to US Military

A visitor tries a virtual reality (VR) headset Microsoft HoloLens during the Virtuality Paris 2018 show, 8 February 2018HoloLens allows the user to see digital images over real-world backgrounds

At least 50 Microsoft employees have demanded the company back out of a deal with the US military to provide augmented reality technology.

In particular, the group has said the firm’s headset, HoloLens, must not be used to “help people kill”.

In November, Microsoft agreed a $479m (£367m) deal to develop a platform that would involve soldiers using about 100,000 headsets.

“We always appreciate feedback from employees and have many avenues for employee voices to be heard,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

A letter sent around Microsoft on Friday and seen by the BBC has been backed by employees across multiple departments.

“Microsoft must stop in its activities to empower the US Army’s ability to cause harm and violence,” it reads.

“We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”

HoloLens, first released to developers in March 2016, allows the wearer to see digital images laid over the real world. Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella is expected to announced HoloLens 2 at an event in Barcelona on Sunday, ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show.

Military concern

The letter demands Microsoft cancel the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) contract, stop developing “any and all” weapons technologies, and draft a public policy statement on the matter.

It also calls for an “independent, external ethics review board” that would oversee compliance with that policy.

The letter was circulated internally at Microsoft on Friday
Image captionThe letter was circulated internally at Microsoft on Friday

It is not the first time that Microsoft employees have spoken out against the firm’s work with government entities.

In June, with the Trump administration mired in controversy over family separations on the US-Mexico border, staff demanded the firm cease providing services to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

Mr Nadella eventually denounced the White House’s actions and said Microsoft’s technology was only being used for standard office-related tasks.

‘War profiteers’

With this latest employee rebellion, Microsoft will not have such an easy defence. According to the contract, the goal is to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy”.

Microsoft is understood to have outbid rival augmented reality developers, such as Magic Leap.

Microsoft’s president and top lawyer Brad Smith has said employees who are not happy with the nature of the firm’s military work would be allowed to work in other departments. However, in the latest letter, employees said that suggestion was flawed.

“Microsoft fails to inform its engineers on the intent of the software they are building.

“There are many engineers who contributed to HoloLens before this contract even existed, believing it would be used to help architects and engineers build buildings and cars, to help teach people how to perform surgery or play the piano, to push the boundaries of gaming, and to connect with the Mars Rover (RIP).

“These engineers have now lost their ability to make decisions about what they work on, instead finding themselves implicated as war profiteers.”

Microsoft is not the only company to face internal anger over military work. Last year, Google did not renew a contract to work with the US on Project Maven, an artificial intelligence program in development with the Pentagon.

However, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said his firm would enthusiastically work with the military.

“This is a great country – it needs to be defended,” he said during an on-stage interview.

___

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