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

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Latest News

Week of July 24 2006

by Becky Tavani

Lebanese to Rice: US Must Step Up
On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew into Beirut for a five-hour surprise visit with Lebanese leaders, who expressed growing frustration over the U.S. role in the conflict. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and other senior officials made it clear to Rice that they want an immediate cease-fire and expressed dismay with what they see as America's implicit endorsement of Israel's continued bombardment of Hezbollah targets around the country, Lebanese officials said. Read about it here.

Human Rights Watch emphasizes US responsibility in raising civilian protection issues with Israel and in bringing the conflict to a swift close in their open letter to Condi Rice. Read it here.

Ralph Nader also has some strong advice to George W. Bush on how to end civilian bloodshed in Lebanon: “As the leading player in official Washington's puppet show, it is time for you to assert the interests of the American people and those of the broad Israeli and Palestinian peace movements, by standing up to the puppeteers. For without this conflict, Hezbollah would not be in today's news.” Read it here.

Israeli Cluster Munitions Hit Civilians in Lebanon
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Israel is shelling civilian areas with cluster bombs, a violation of the Geneva Conventions. HRW has been very critical of the use of cluster and munitions by the U.S. military, because they are indiscriminate weapons - one big shell, which opens up and drops a number of smaller bomblets over a very large area. In many cases, when the bomblets don’t explode, they effectively turn into mines. For more, click here.

Human Rights Watch conducted detailed analyses of the U.S. military’s use of cluster bombs in the 1999 Yugoslavia war, the 2001-2002 Afghanistan war, and the 2003 Iraq war. Human Rights Watch research established that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas in Iraq caused more civilian casualties than any other factor in the U.S.-led coalition’s conduct of major military operations in March and April 2003, killing and wounding more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians.

TAKE ACTION: Hold the Bush Administration to account for its backing of Israel's killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

1) Get the facts and spread the word: Click here for background information and resources from a wide range of UFPJ member groups and allies.

2) The first batch of signatures from more than 300 organizations and individuals has been delivered, but it's not too late for you to sign on to our emergency letter to John Bolton.

3) Call the White House (202-456-1111), the U.S. State Department (202-647-4000) and your Congressional representatives (202-224-3121) to demand that the U.S. take immediate action.

4) Send a letter to your local paper and speak out against the latest assaults by the Israeli government on the people of Gaza and Lebanon.

5) Join or organize an emergency protest in your community. To find a protest in your area, check our events calendar. If you are organizing a protest, please post the details on our events calendar.

6) You can help get much-needed medical supplies to Gaza -- click here for more information and to make a donation .

For more ideas of how you can take action, visit UFPJ’s website here.

Katrina Victims “Not Allowed” To Talk To Media
The Federal Emergency Management Agency prohibits journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks, according to a report in the Baton Rouge Advocate .

For more detail, read Democracy Now!: “FEMA's Dirty Little Secret: A Rare Look Inside the Renaissance Village Trailer Park, Home to Over 2,000 Hurricane Katrina Evacuees” by Amy Goodman who reported back in April 2006 on the silencing of Katrina refugees.

TAKE ACTION: FEMA’s website urges citizens to report “allegations of civil liberties or civil rights abuses” to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, who is Richard L. Skinner.

ABA Chides Bush on Bypassing Laws
President Bush should stop issuing statements claiming the power to bypass parts of laws he has signed, an American Bar Association task force has unanimously concluded in a strongly worded 32-page report that is scheduled to be released today.

Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

"That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added "is harming the separation of powers."

The panel said presidents do not have the authority to declare that sections of the bills they sign are unconstitutional, and that they thus need not be enforced as Congress wrote them.

Bush has used these so-called signing statements to challenge more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office, more than all previous presidents combined. For more, click here or here.

Abusive Techniques Were Authorized, Soldiers’ Complaints Ignored
Torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, according to new accounts from soldiers in a Human Rights Watch report released today. The new report, containing first-hand accounts by U.S. military personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch, details detainee abuses at an off-limits facility at Baghdad airport and at other detention centers throughout Iraq.

In the 53-page report, “No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq,” soldiers describe how detainees were routinely subjected to severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures. The accounts come from interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch, supplemented by memoranda and sworn statements contained in declassified documents.  

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Ongoing/Future Events

Our Eyes Wide Open Film Series is suspended; for further information click here.

Upshot of our Nov. 9th group discussion on current politics:

It wasn't the Russians that got us Trump. Or Comey. Or even the massive GOP election fraud. It was the DNC.*
*Dem National Committee

To learn how to stop the DNC from delivering us another Trump, read Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis.

Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force. Tell Trump to STOP THIS CARNAGE, not fuel it! Click here.

Also participate in the CodePink email and/or phone initiative:

Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video by the Italian Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.

Iraq Deaths Estimator
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 al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can curb ISIS by itself!"

Copyright © 2006 U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy