Eyewitness Afghanistan

Thursday 6 January @6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia

Evening Program
Update on Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and the Global Day of
Listening to Afghans
Reflections on peacebuilding efforts led by Afghans and the policy
View short videos submissions from the If I Had a Trillion Dollars
Youth Video Contest
Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign
to end U.S. military and economic warfare. She has just returned from
a month in Afghanistan working with young peacemakers and visiting
surgical centers serving victims of war. In 2009, she lived in Gaza
during the Operation Cast Lead bombing; later that year, Voices formed
another small delegation to visit Pakistan, aiming to learn more about
the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population and to
better understand consequences of U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan.
        For more information: 215/241-7170 |
Peter Lems, Program Director, Education and Advocacy for Iraq and
American Friends Service Committee Twitter: afghanistan101  /
Facebook: AFSC Wage Peace Campaign

Scholarship deadline for gay men- Real change requires strong leaders.

That’s why the Lax Scholarship Fund deadline, on Tuesday, January
18th, is so important.
        The Lax Scholarship Fund was established in 1994 by the late
entrepreneur and inventor Jonathan R. Lax for the purpose of
encouraging out gay men to be active leaders in their communities and
to obtain higher education.
The Lax Scholarship for Gay Men is open to out gay men who are from
the Philadelphia area or who attend school here. The deadline is right
around the corner, on Tuesday, January 18th.
If you or someone you know qualifies for this scholarship, to begin an
application go to:
        Lax Scholarships are intended for tuition and can be awarded in
amounts up to $20,000.  This scholarship is available to both
undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in accredited programs of
higher education.  Since its inception, the scholarship fund has
awarded more than $600,000 to students in the five-county greater
Philadelphia region.
        Bread & Roses Community Fund administers this scholarship fund as a
part of our larger mission for social justice in the Delaware Valley.
For more information about the Lax Scholarship visit the website or
email or call (215) 731-1107 x 204.



Application process for the US Boat to Gaza is now open!
Please go to the US Boat to Gaza website:

There are now accepting applications from all of us who want to be on
the boat. You have to fill out and return the 5 page application by 15
January the latest. They want us to send an electronic form and a
paper form too, so if you are interested to be on the US Boat to Gaza,
or if you know of someone who is, please go to the website asap and
request an application!
End the Blockade of Gaza!  / Tear down the Apartheid Walls!/ End the
Israeli collective punishment on the Palestinian people/ Free
Support the Free Gaza movement & US Boat to Gaza break the siege on
Support ISM volunteers in West Bank and Gaza Strip!

“Dear Afghanistan”: A New Year’s Call for Peace

While the US may be the world's single super power in military terms,
it faces another super power: the voices of war-weary millions who
detest violence and killing. In Afghanistan, in the United States, and
among the populations of countries whose governments have joined the
NATO coalition, millions of people are calling for an end to war in

On New Year’s Day, 01/01/11, people around the world are invited to
raise their voices, through Facebook, Twitter, Free Conference calls,
Skype, and blogs at several websites in a massive refusal to accept
this war any longer. Let your New Year’s resolution be to stand for
the people and end wars by sending a digital or spoken peacemaking
message to people in Afghanistan.  By amassing millions of messages
calling for peace, we can create yet another indication that ordinary
people within and beyond Afghanistan have had enough of war.
        Afghanistan’s people need food not bombs, health care not warfare and
courage for peace, not war.   Follow the steps below to communicate
the simple yet crucial demand:  Stop the Killing in Afghanistan.

On New Year’s Day 2011, from 7.05 pm Eastern Standard Time on the 31st
of December 2010 to 7.05 pm Eastern Standard Time on the 1st of
December 2011, from wherever in the world, you can :
•       Mobile/cell or Home phone by (661) 673-8600 & access code: 295191#.
Please arrange to talk by sending an email to
•       SKYPE: Please arrange to Call Afghanistan by sending your Skype ID
in an email to
•       Send an email message to
•       Text or sms by mobile at +93 7791 84146 or +1 727-248-0308
(001-727-0308 if text messaging from outside U.S.)
•       Facebook: Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers
•       @DearAfghanistan on Twitter
For more information: Visit Dear Afghanistan

A note on timings for the NEW YEAR CALL :
Place                Time                                 Date
London        12.05 am to 12.05 am       1st Jan to 2nd Jan
EST              7.05 pm to 7.05 pm          31st Dec to 1st Jan
Pacific Std     4.05 pm to 4.05 pm          31st Dec to 1st Jan
Jordan          2.05 am to 2.05 am          1st Jan to 2nd Jan
Afghanistan   4.35am  to 4.35 am          1st Jan to 2nd

In support of Georgia prisoners strike – sign the petition
Please take a minute to click onto the following link and sign on to
the Solidarity Statement/petition in support of the Georgia prisoners'
strike, the largest strike of prisoners in US history. Beginning on
December 9, 2010, thousands of prisoners who are forced to work for
free took non-violent action together across racial divisions. Their
demands are listed in more detail below.
        Yesterday, we spoke with Elaine Brown , former Black Panther leader,
who is co-ordinating support for the strike and has formed the
Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights.  She told us that
20,000 prisoners participated and that CCRPR are asking for support to
be focussed on prisoners’ efforts to win their demands. She comments
        “The prisoners’ peaceful protest was historic in scope and in the
unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian,
Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun,
Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State
Prisons.  It ignited protests and support actions all over the country
and, even, rumblings of similar protests in other prisons in other

Reports on the strike are available at:
You'll see that prisoners describe the sectors who have come together
to pull off the strike:

"We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the
head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful
understanding, all on common ground." Reports include the shocking
fact that "One in 12 adults in Georgia are in jail or prison, parole
or probation or other court and correctional supervision." and
prisoners' expressed concern that "there's people in here who can't
even read."

Reports also protest the profiteering of private corporations and the
obstacles put in the way of prisoners maintaining contact with family:
" Georgia no longer allows families to send funds via US postal money
orders to inmates. It requires families to send money through J-Pay, a
private company that rakes off nearly ten percent of all transfers.
Telephone conversations between Georgia prisoners and their families
are also profit centers for another prison contractor, Global Tel-Link
which extracts about $55 a month for a weekly 15 minute phone call
from cash-strapped families."

Elaine Brown didn’t know about the Solidarity Statement/petition, but
was glad to hear that people were supporting the strikers.  We are
signing it and are asking others to sign, because the more people who
sign the bigger will be the protection for prisoners against further
abuse by guards.

* A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the
Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC
demands prisoners work for free.
* EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the
DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the
benefit to both prisoners and society.
* DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical
care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care
and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
* AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the
Eighth Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner
punishments for minor infractions of rules.
* DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-
crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and
oppressive heat in summer.
* NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC
facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-
improvement and proper exercise.
* ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners
from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and
innumerable barriers to visitation.
* JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly
denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of
IN THE "Non-Violent" PROTEST:
Macon State Prison is (478) 472-3900.   /   Hays State Prison is at
(706) 857-0400
Telfair State prison is (229) 868-7721  /  Baldwin State Prison is at
(478) 445- 5218
Valdosta State Prison is (229) 333-7900 /  Smith State Prison is at
(912) 654-5000

The Georgia Department of Corrections is at
and their phone number is (478) 992-5246

Please Boycott Us!  (by Anonymous)

For years I have been rather ambivalent about the wisdom of boycotting
Israel. While a boycott of anything related to the illegal settlements
in the West Bank, which are a clear derivative of a brutal occupation,
is an absolute necessity, and which I have fully supported, I have
always been reserved about the boycotting of Israel proper. Today I
feel that there is no choice but to call for a full and total boycott
directed against Israel – Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS). For the
good of Israel and in the hope that blatant pressure from abroad
directed primarily at the Israeli economy is the only way to wean
Israel from what Thomas Friedman in a recent editorial called
“Israel’s crack addiction”. It is the only way to wake Israelis up
from their (crack) pipe dream of “business as usual” or the
feasibility of maintaining a disastrous status quo that will only lead
to more land grabs, violence and war, ultimately jeopardizing Israel
itself. It is the only way to convince present and future governments
that the current situation is untenable and unviable. It is the only
way to save us from ourselves. At this point in time, Israelis are
unable to affect change from within. The atmosphere has become so
poisoned that attempts at the grassroots level to affect political
change are insignificant at best, particularly in light of attempts at
the legislative level to delegitimise grassroots initiatives and make
local NGOs seeking to advance political change illegal.

The current Israeli government (as well as past governments, whether
led by Labour, Likud or the catch all Kadima party) has zero intention
of moving forward with negotiations with the Palestinians. They would
much rather “manage” the conflict than seek a truly just solution. The
continued occupation is having a disastrous effect on Israeli society
as a whole. Human life has become cheap, a form of Judeo-Fascism is
developing here, led by rabbis, far right politicians in the Knesset
and leaders in the occupied Palestinian territory. Jim Crow
legislation has been tabled at the Knesset, rabbis have signed calls
not to lease or sell property to Arab Israelis, hundreds demonstrate
against Arab Israeli neighbors, and recently a group of minors were
arrested for conducting what can only be called pogroms against
innocent Arab citizens in the center of Jerusalem. The poison of the
occupation has infected Israeli society as a whole at a level that can
only be diagnosed as gangrenous. The only way to convince Israelis
that the current status quo cannot be continued is to attach a real
and significant price to the continued occupation, and yes, to force
local political leaders to take responsibility, to lead rather than
manage, to commit, rather than hide behind spin doctors or the
outright lies of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Anyone who yet rationalises non-action against Israel is actively
contributing to the inevitable use of the only other tool world
history has provided for social and political change: violence! Please
boycott my country today, you are our only hope!

- The author chooses to withhold his name for fear of repercussions
against his family. The threat is real. Suffice to say that the author
is an Israeli academic in the field of the social sciences. While the
author is fully prepared to pay the price for his opinions, there is
no reason for his family to suffer. The author can be reached at:

  Bradley Manning Support Network Supporters Newsletter/   Exposing
War Crimes Is Not A Crime!

A Typical Day for P.F.C. Bradley Manning.
Find out what Bradley Manning's daily existence is like in this blog
post written by his lawyer, David Coombs.  No push-ups, sit-ups, or
pillows.  What next?

The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention.
Month upon month in solitary confinement and punitive restrictions are
leading to a depressed physical and mental state for Bradley Manning.
All without being convicted of anything at all.
        We (meaning all of you!) have already provided half of the funds
required for P.F.C. Manning's legal defense, but there are still other
expenses just to maintain the Network. Please consider helping us meet
our goal!

What Can I Do?
Join the fray!  Learn ten simple ways we've come up with for you to
help Bradley Manning (plus one more written in the comments section by
a very helpful supporter). Together we can! /
Facebook:  /  Twitter:
Media: +1 (202) 640-4388 or
Bradley Manning Suffering Extreme Isolation,  Courageous Whistleblower
'Physically Deteriorating'
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet - Printed on December 24, 2010

A Helpful Update on Mordechai Vanunu's present situation.

        Firstly, you may not be aware that, last summer, Mordechai
moved to new accomodation in Tel Aviv. He told us, at the time, his
new place was small but that he was really enjoying the chance to swim
every day in the Mediterranean; and as far as we know he has not been
getting any extra hassle from living in Tel Aviv, which is good news.
        Then, since the move, and from out of the blue, we heard that
the prestigious German International League of Human Rights had
awarded Mordechai their Carl-von-Ossietzky peace medal. In their press
release they said; "Vanunu's courageous conduct unquestionably recalls
Carl-von-Ossietzky's undaunted resistance against armament and war
during the Weimar Republic"**

        The award ceremony was to be on December 12th, in Berlin, two
days after the International Day of Human Rights. The International
League lobbied the Israeli Government to release Mordechai so he could
receive the award. Appeal letters were written and signed by many well
known international names. When contacted for comment, Vanunu, in
contrast to the refusal he offered to his most recent Nobel Peace
Prize nomination, was pleased to accept the award. And, perhaps,
knowing the Israeli authorities better than the International League,
he suggested that, if he wasn't allowed to receive the award,
personally, maybe the award ceremony could be postponed until he was
eventually allowed to leave Israel. There was no response from Israel.
Breaking with tradition the League agreed to Mordechai's suggestion
and it is now planning a continuing campaign to get Mordechai released
so he could receive the award. Opportunities for this will arise
during the build up to the 2011 Pugwash Conference, in Berlin, and the
planned conference on a Nuclear Free Middle East in 2012.
       The League has asked us to bring these details to your
attention, so by email, letter, phone calls or other methods -tell
your MP - you can help draw attention to these forthcoming events
linked to the fact that, Mordechai was brutally kidnapped after being
lured  from England; and that he is still being held in Israel despite
having completed his 18 year prison sentence, over six years ago, for
telling the truth.

       You may also have seen that Mordechai has been getting mention
regarding the wikileaks saga alongside other well known and
unrepentent whistleblowers: Daniel Ellsberg, Philip Agee and the
latest recruit Julian Assange. Where you can, in letters and phone-
ins, for instance, please take advantage of this to keep raising the
fact that Vanunu is still being punished for revealing Israel's
nuclear weapons capacity, over 24 years ago.
       Meanwhile Mordechai remains in Israel under multiple
restrictions. If you have time to send him greetings for Christmas or
the New Year or both, please do. Mordechai is still using,
POBox 20102, Salah Adin Street - post office, East Jerusalem 91384,
his email is:
      ** Carl -von-Ossietzky was a German journalist and pacifist, who
campaigned against the aggressive policies of theWeimar Republic. He
was arrested as a traitor in the early 1930s and executed before the
start of the Second World War.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1935.
        Our very Best Wishes for 2011- For and on behalf of The Campaign for
a Nuclear Free Middle East,
        Campaign for a Nuclear Free Middle East  -  if you reply to this email please be aware that
this email address is checked infrequently.

* Daniel Ellsberg: "I Am Wikileaks!"
Before asserting that Julian Assange and Wikileaks have nothing in
common with Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers case, Senator
Durbin would have been wise to take note of the fact that Daniel
Ellsberg is still alive and forcefully believes the opposite.

* Europeans Criticize Fierce U.S. Response to Leaks
Steven Erlanger, New York Times, December 9, 2010