U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

USC4P&J Initiatives

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May 17 - June 14 2012

Petition in support of freedom of the press in Iraq
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Petition against foreign military intervention in Syria
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Letters to Authorities
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Dear Mr. Ambassador
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Letters/statements

Letters to authorities voicing our concerns on issues of peace and social justice as well as solidarity statements from our group.

» Open Letter to President Obama
January 20, 2009

» Fax to Sen. Obama calling for a filibuster of war funding bills
March 19, 2008

» Fax to Sen. Clinton calling for a filibuster of war funding bills
March 19, 2008

» Solidarity statement to Florentine anti-war activists [in Italian]
February 18, 2008

» Fax to Rep Conyers calling for impeachment
July 23, 2007

» Fax to Chairs of Senate and House Foreign Operations committees calling for an end of funding for the military occupation of Palestine
June 11, 2007

» A letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
July 26, 2006

» A letter to Pope Benedict XVI
July 13, 2006

» An open letter to the Italian Government
June 23, 2006


Open Letter to President Obama

January 20, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Please accept our sincere congratulations on your recent victory in the United States presidential election. As US Citizens and members of various peace and justice groups in Europe, we take this opportunity to write to you with a list of measures which we think warrants your immediate attention. As Americans living abroad, we are in a unique position to see the damaging consequences of irrational international policy and blatant disregard for international commitments. As you are well aware, critical issues have been neglected and abused during the past 8 years, issues that have greatly concerned our organization. We ask that you give priority to the following matters:

1) Withdraw all US troops and contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. As has been tragically demonstrated, there is no military solution to either conflict and the continued occupation does nothing but prolong the bloodshed and destruction. In addition, this act will free up much-needed financial resources that could be spent strengthening our domestic infrastructure, and will also allow troops to return to the safety of their families rather than risking their lives defending two foundering and unjustified wars on terror. It will also be the first step in restoring US relations in the Middle East;

2) Call for an immediate end to rendition, torture and warrantless spying. Torture is morally indefensible and this single issue has caused the United States to lose considerable respect, credibility and legitimacy throughout the world. It has also served to further weaken pressures on other nations to banish torture for good;

3) Close Guantanamo Bay immediately and establish a truth and reconciliation commission that seeks to right all the injustices of Guantanamo, including uncovering unlawful detentions and renditions of its occupants;

4) Improve our international image and restore international confidence in our justice system by unambiguously supporting the international legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Included in this arrangement would be the inevitable prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes committed during their 8-year tenure;

5) Set our financial priorities straight by seriously reducing our exorbitant military spending. Please support Rep. Barney Frank's proposal to cut the Pentagon's budget by 25% and reconsider your plan to increase the military by 90,000 soldiers that will cost at least $50 billion over five years. Additionally, the $12 billion/month spent on the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq could instead be used to strengthen our public educational system, establish universal healthcare for all, raise the minimum wage to a living wage, rebuild our national infrastructure and invest in renewable energy;

6) Call for an immediate end to the siege of Gaza and make a serious commitment to advancing a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by endorsing the Arab Peace Initiative, which has provisions derived from U.S.-drafted UN resolutions (endorsed by Israel) that call for direct negotiations to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of land for peace. Such an initiative would also offer Israel not just acceptance from, but also full recognition and normalization of relations with the entire Arab world. As one of the leading causes of terror throughout the world, resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has the potential for going further than any war on terror could ever hope to go. In addition, we call on you to make substantial cuts to the massive foreign military aid afforded Israel and to apply the Arms Export Control Act in regards to Israel's illegal use of weapons supplied by the US;

7) Engage in immediate and direct negotiations with Iran, Syria and North Korea without any pre-conditions. Sanctions in past years have only fueled nationalism and strengthened the resolve of these countries to defend their countries' civilian nuclear programs;

8) Tackle global warming in such a way that the United States demonstrates its leadership and commitment to carbon emissions reductions to the world. While it may be too late to seriously commit to the targets set under the Kyoto Protocol, it's not too late to agree to tough targets on emissions reductions by creating innovative incentives, and by not letting Detroit automakers off the hook. Take advantage of the government's financial leverage in these tough economic times and demand that any sort of public assistance be tied to severe reductions in emissions from any and all of the cars they produce. Make the United States a model in this field by promoting a green economy thereby reducing our dependence on foreign oil and giving us a diplomatic advantage;

9) End the blatant misuse of signing statements, of which President Bush has taken great advantage over the past 8 years. These implicit challenges to acts of Congress have greatly undermined our democracy's system of checks and balances as well as Congress's mandate to legislate, with the consequence that Congress has not been able to regulate the government. The White House has been allowed to pick and choose the legislation they want to follow. This is a power that the writers of the Constitution never intended the president to have;

10) Reject the US National Missile Defense (NMD) program and recognize that it poses a threat to the European Union and unnecessarily increases tensions between the US and Russia. This is precisely the sort of initiative that will only serve to expand the arms race and create more global instability, not to mention its enormous price tag and highly uncertain efficacy;

11) Begin closing the network of US military bases around the world, and in particular, suspend the plans for putting a new military facility in the existing small airport, Tommaso Dal Molin, in Vicenza, Italy. Citizens of Vicenza have voted overwhelmingly against the new base at Dal Molin. Expansion of US military bases, like that in Vicenza, goes against the wishes of most local populations and puts countries in a dangerous position of serving as accomplice in many of the US campaigns in the Middle East.

We are relieved that the political tide is turning, and that change won in the face of "business as usual" and fear last November. However, we implore you to prioritize the above-mentioned issues and commit yourself to creating a world in which Americans living at home and abroad can be proud of their leadership and its policies. We look forward to experiencing these changes first-hand as American expatriates with our heads held high and our hearts wide open.

Sincerely,

U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome
U.S. Citizens Against War - Florence
Americans Against the War - France
Americans for Peace and Justice - Montpellier


Fax to Sen. Obama calling for a filibuster of war funding bills

The Honorable Barack Obama
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Obama,

Today, March 19, 2008, tragically marks the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. While perusing your presidential campaign web site on the issue of Iraq, I was encouraged by the inclusion of the following statement:

"We don't have to wait until George Bush is gone from office - we can begin to end this war today, right now."

I couldn't agree more.

Every day we wait, the already staggering death toll among Iraqi civilians continues to rise. According to the prestigious British polling agency, Opinion Research Business, over 1 million Iraqis have been killed violently since March 2003. And the US military death toll in Iraq is rapidly approaching 4,000.

Every day we wait, the alarming humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- a direct result of the occupation -- will only worsen. UN figures show that over 2 million Iraqis are internally displaced and another 2 million have fled their country.

Every day we wait, money that could otherwise be spent rebuilding the country we have destroyed, as well as caring for our veterans, is instead poured into the efforts of a blatantly failed policy. Current US spending levels are estimated at $400 million per day, while Iraqis continue to live without basic services such as clean water and electricity, suffering the consequences of a 60-70% unemployment rate and a general lack of security.

I am calling on you to use your role as US Senator to lead a filibuster to end this war, as you say, "today, right now." With just 41 votes in the Senate, a filibuster could prevent funding requests from the Bush administration needed to continue the occupation from ever coming to a vote. Only those bills that limit funds to bringing all U.S. forces home quickly and safely should ever see the light of the Senate.

Your Republican colleagues across the aisle have successfully used this tactic to avoid voting on amendments calling for timetables on withdrawal as well as non-binding resolutions condemning the so-called "surge." Why not use it now to cut off funding for the war? Without a veto-proof majority of 2/3 in the Senate, the filibuster remains the best chance to end this war.

I urge you to please lead a filibuster effort to stop this war, to help end the ongoing, tragic loss of life and bring our troops home.


Fax to Sen. Clinton calling for a filibuster of war funding bills

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Clinton,

Today, March 19, 2008, tragically marks the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. While perusing your presidential campaign web site on the issue of Iraq, I was encouraged by the inclusion of the following statement:

"Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war -- not next year, not next month -- but today."

I couldn't agree more.

Every day we wait, the already staggering death toll among Iraqi civilians continues to rise. According to the prestigious British polling agency, Opinion Research Business, over 1 million Iraqis have been killed violently since March 2003. And the US military death toll in Iraq is rapidly approaching 4,000.

Every day we wait, the alarming humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- a direct result of the occupation -- will only worsen. UN figures show that over 2 million Iraqis are internally displaced and another 2 million have fled their country.

Every day we wait, money that could otherwise be spent rebuilding the country we have destroyed, as well as caring for our veterans, is instead poured into the efforts of a blatantly failed policy. Current US spending levels are estimated at $400 million per day, while Iraqis continue to live without basic services such as clean water and electricity, suffering the consequences of a 60-70% unemployment rate and a general lack of security.

I am calling on you to use your role as US Senator to lead a filibuster to end this war, as you say, "not next year, not next month -- but today." With just 41 votes in the Senate, a filibuster could prevent funding requests from the Bush administration needed to continue the occupation from ever coming to a vote. Only those bills that limit funds to bringing all U.S. forces home quickly and safely should ever see the light of the Senate.

Your Republican colleagues across the aisle have successfully used this tactic to avoid voting on amendments calling for timetables on withdrawal as well as non-binding resolutions condemning the so-called "surge." Why not use it now to cut off funding for the war? Without a veto-proof majority of 2/3 in the Senate, the filibuster remains the best chance to end this war.

I urge you to please lead a filibuster effort to stop this war, to help end the ongoing, tragic loss of life and bring our troops home.


Condannati a Firenze 13 manifestanti contro la guerra. Vicenza avvertita?

Con una sentenza chiaramente intimidatoria, il Tribunale di Firenze ha inflitto, lo scorso 28 gennaio, sette anni di reclusione ai 13 manifestanti arrestati durante una dimostrazione, tenutasi davanti al Consolato USA il 13 maggio 1999, contro i bombardamenti statunitensi della Jugoslavia. Il pubblico ministero aveva chiesto solo 4 o 5 anni, una pena già all'epoca stigmatizzata come eccessiva per una semplice imputazione di “resistenza a pubblico ufficiale”.

La dimostrazione, inizialmente pacifica, degenerò infatti in scontri di piazza, “provocati dalle violente cariche delle forze dell’ordine” secondo quanto hanno poi riferito, con una documentazione video-registrata alla mano, Ornella De Zordo, capogruppo della lista fiorentina Unaltracittà/Unaltromondo, ed Anna Nocentini, capogruppo fiorentino di Rifondazione Comunista.

Noi, “Statunitensi per la pace e la giustizia” di Roma, rileviamo come questa sentenza si inserisca in una serie di condanne incredibilmente dure ed unilaterali inflitte di recente contro i manifestanti di Genova e di Cosenza. Ci sembra, anzi, un avvertimento non troppo velato, rivolto ai cittadini di Vicenza i quali, da quasi due anni, cercano di bloccare l'ampliamento della base militare statunitense “Dal Molin” nella loro città. Il sospetto ci sembra avvalorato anche dagli avvisi di garanzia recapitati di recente a quattro esponenti del movimento vicentino.

Riteniamo tuttavia che, in una democrazia vera, vada tutelata – non punita – ogni forma di resistenza pacifica contro decisioni governative considerate inique. Riteniamo inoltre che questa tutela debba attuarsi attraverso modalità non provocatorie di dispiegamento delle forze dell'ordine.

Esprimiamo la nostra solidarietà ai 13 condannati per la palese sproporzione della pena inflitta loro, che auguriamo venga cassata in sede di appello. Dichiariamo la nostra ferma intenzione, malgrado le intimidazioni, di continuare – insieme al movimento pacifista italiano – a risvegliare la coscienza collettiva contro l'uso della guerra “come mezzo di risoluzione delle controversie internazionali”.

Statunitensi per la pace e la giustizia - Roma
18 febbraio 2008


Fax to Rep Conyers calling for impeachment

July 23, 2007

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., Chair
House Committee on the Judiciary
Fax: 202-225-0072

Dear Chairman Conyers,

This month marks the 5th anniversary of the July 23, 2002 "Downing Street Memo." And over two years have passed since you, as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, held the infamous "basement hearings" to investigate that memo. Following the hearings, in which veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former Ambassador Joe Wilson testified, you joined concerned citizens to hand-deliver the signatures of over 120 congressional Democrats and more than half a million citizens demanding a detailed response from the Bush administration to the Downing Street Memo.

When the Bush Administration failed to respond, in December 2005 your staff put together the excellent Minority Report, The Constitution in Crisis, which found that "there is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws" and that "these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable misconduct."

While I commend you for the above efforts, I question why, as the current Chair of the Judiciary, you have since failed to act on the growing list of impeachable offenses by the Bush/Cheney administration, including lying the country into an illegal war, authorizing torture and extraordinary rendition of prisoners, defying international law and the Geneva conventions, violating federal surveillance laws, outing a covert CIA agent and issuing hundreds of "signing statements," not to mention Bush's recent commutation of I. Scooter Libby's sentence and Cheney's outlandish assertion that he is not really part of the Executive branch of government.

These illegal actions constitute an assault on the U.S. Constitution, causing damage which even a future administration may be unable to right. The administration's refusal to respect Congress, the separation of powers or the rule of law leaves only one possible recourse: the impeachment and removal of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Chairman Conyers, you once stated: "I have a choice. I can either stand by and lead my constituents to believe I do not care that the president apparently no longer believes he is bound by any law or code of decency. Or I can act."

I am writing to call upon you to act and to uphold the oath you took when you were sworn into office to defend the United States and our Constitution. The current, ongoing crisis compels you to use your assigned powers and take all appropriate steps to defend against these threats to our nation and its system of government by initiating impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.


Fax to Chairs of Senate and House Foreign Operations committees calling for an end of funding for the military occupation of Palestine

July 11, 2007

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey, Chair
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, House Appropriations Committee
Fax: 202-225-0546

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Chair
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Senate Appropriations Committee
Fax: 202-224-3479

Dear Chairman Leahy and Chairwoman Lowey,

Though I was disappointed with the final result, I want to thank you for your vote against the Iraq Supplemental. Our troops are involved in a military occupation that has nothing to do with the security or defense of our nation and is destroying the country of Iraq. I appreciate your vote aimed at bringing our troops home.

This past weekend, there were worldwide protests against another military occupation. The world said ENOUGH to 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, with protests across the globe including a historic march in Washington D.C.

Under the guise of defending its security, the Israeli government is in fact defending its illegal seizure of another people's territory forcing the Palestinian people to live under military occupation. And we are subsidizing it with our tax dollars. This must stop. As a U.S. citizen, I therefore ask Congress to cut the disproportionate military support -- amounting to half the entire Foreign Military Financing fund -- it has been furnishing Israel for decades.

The over two billion dollars in military aid that the U.S. gives Israel annually is, in reality, being used to oppress the Palestinian people and illegally occupy their land. The Palestinian people live under a military occupation that includes air attacks from US-made F-16s and Apache helicopters, extra judicial assassinations, Jewish colonies, incursions, routine imprisonment, home demolitions and land confiscation. Over 4,400 Palestinians have been killed (c. 826 under the age of 18) and more than 31,400 injured between September 2000 and April 2007. Over 1,000 Israelis (700+ civilians) were killed during the same period. Our one-sided policy towards Israel has promoted regional instability and antagonized much of the world, who recognize the occupation as the root cause of the ongoing conflict.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian people have every right to live in peace, and this will never be possible as long as the illegal occupation of Palestinian land continues. And precisely because I have the well-being of the Israeli as well as the Palestinian people at heart, I advocate a change in US policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.

This past weekend U.S. citizens marched on Washington to call for an end to US military, economic, diplomatic and corporate support for Israel's illegal military occupation. I join them and ask you, as Chairs of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, to stop funding this illegal occupation. It is wrong in Iraq, and it is wrong in Palestine.


A letter to Pope Benedict XVI

July 13, 2006

Dear Pope Benedict XVI:

As a prominent defender of the sanctity of human life before birth, we are writing to you to ask that you be a prominent defender of human life also, on behalf of the thousands of lives being lost in the occupied land of Iraq.

Pope John Paul II was openly critical and took a strong stand against the invasion of Iraq by convening to the Vatican the leaders of most of the countries involved. Tragically, he did not succeed in convincing these world leaders to stop the invasion. However, the hearts of millions of people throughout the world were filled with his words that rang out against the devastation that such an act of arrogance and lack of compassion is causing... [Read the entire letter]


An Open Letter to the Italian Government

June 23, 2006

Grazie, ma no grazie

Lettera aperta al governo italiano

Noi del gruppo romano Statunitensi per la pace e la giustizia scriviamo questa lettera per chiedere che il governo italiano ripensi alcuni "aiuti" che dà al nostro paese. Riteniamo questi "aiuti" contro gli interessi sia del popolo italiano sia di quello statunitense. Alcuni di questi "aiuti" sono il frutto di passate scelte di altri governi. Ci preme invitare il nuovo governo Prodi a un cambio di rotta... [leggi la lettera]

See an English translation of this letter.

 

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Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn Assad in Syria and al-Malaki in Iraq, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise... Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

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