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

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Latest News

Week of September 25 2006

by Stephanie Westbrook


Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation
Last week Brad Friedman of BradBlog called on Congress to pass emergency legislation providing funding for paper ballots for the upcoming midterm elections. He called it the Let America Vote Act and referenced the recent problems with the primary elections as well as the Princeton University report on hacking Diebold machines. The Princeton report received coverage in the mainstream media, including an article in the New York Times: The Big Gamble on Electronic Voting.

And on Tuesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California introduced a bill in the Senate to "amend the Help America vote Act of 2002 to reimburse jurisdictions for amounts paid or incurred in preparing, producing, and using contingency paper ballots in the November 7, 2006, Federal general election. "

The bill currently has two co-sponsors, Sen. Chris Dodd and Sen. Russ Feingold. Similar legislation was introduced by Rep. Russ Holt in the House. See NYT article: Senators Propose Funds for Paper Ballots to Back Up Electronic Ones

Better late than never. As Friedman put it, "we're delighted to see this legislation move forward! Delighted to see the Times' coverage. And just delighted in general that someone in Washington D.C. is finally recognizing the dangers to democracy that we're facing in the upcoming mid-term election!"

URGENT - Take Action: There is little time left to act. Call or write your Senators and Representative and urge them to support this legislation. See these sites for one click activism, but it's much more effective to call or write your own message:
Secretary of State Project or True Majority


Plans for Iran
In his article, War Signals, Dave Lindorff warns us that "the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. " Lindorff goes into more detail on his blog in "Bush War III: Going to War to Save His Hide." Gary Hart spells out the steps of an attack on Iran in the article The October Surprise.

Take Action: If you haven't already, sign the Don't Attack Iran petition.


"Non-Lethal" Weapons
Last week it was reported that the Secretary of the US Air Force said, "nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield." Read more about these weapons in an article on Huffington Post, and see the RAI News 24 video (in English, Italian and Arabic) from last May on the possible use of these weapons in Iraq.

Take Action: See the recent appeal [in italiano] by Italian medical professionals and researchers regarding use of "new" weapons in Lebanon and Gaza, and contact the working group if you or someone you know can help.


London Terror Plots Called Untenable by Army Expert
Doubt is cast on the liquid explosives threat by an expert in the British Army.

"The idea that these people could sit in the plane toilet and simply mix together these normal household fluids to create a high explosive capable of blowing up the entire aircraft is untenable," said Lt. Col. Wylde, who was trained as an ammunition technical officer responsible for terrorist bomb disposal at the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Sandhurst.

Read the article on Raw Story.


Declaration of Peace
The week of actions making up the Declaration of Peace campaign have been making news across the country. 34 people were arrested at the White House on the first day, September 21 and local actions at congressional offices and military installations have taken place daily since, with many more arrests. For news, reports and photos, see the Declaration of Peace web site.

Read a report of the USC4P&J solidarity action at a cluster bomb factory outside of Rome. And our site is also now #3 in google for simmel difesa, the name of the cluster bomb producer. Numbers 1 and 2 are the official Simmel web site.

Meanwhile, 50,000 protesters filled the streets in Manchester last Saturday at the Labour Party Conference. See the Stop the War web site for photos, reports and video.


Yet Another U.S. Military Base in Vicenza, Italy
See below an appeal from citizens' committees in the city of Vicenza, Italy, where the U.S. military is pushing for yet another base. The deal was sealed with the former Berlusconi government and local politicians without involving the residents nor city council. The new Prodi government is reconsidering the agreement. They will make their decision by the end of September.

In the city of Vicenza, Italy, there are plans to build yet another U.S. military base.

In opposition to these plans, local residents have formed 6 committees and for the past 3 months have petitioned the Italian government to refuse the authorization.

The entire affair has been conducted in a disgraceful manner. The request was initiated by Vicenza Mayor Hullweck and City Council member Cicero, in cooperation with the previous Berlusconi government, without ever informing the citizens of Vicenza nor was it discussed in City Council (and has yet to be discussed!). In May 2006, news of the plans started to leak out and concerned citizens began to act.

The citizens of Vicenza are strongly opposed to the construction of the new base for the following reasons:

1) Militarization of the city. Vicenza is currently home to various bases and housing facilities for the U.S. military (Camp Ederle, the bases of Longare and Tormeno, a residential village and various depots and warehouses throughout the city) not to mention headquarters for the European Gendarmerie. All this in a city of 110,000 inhabitants. The construction of a new base would make the city of Vicenza the largest U.S. Military base in Europe. This is in contrast with the rest of Italy and Europe, where the U.S. military presence is diminishing.

2) Protection of our territory. The area in question for the construction of the base is a vast green area completely surrounded by the city. Some houses will be no more than 30 meters from the base! Currently, the area includes a small civilian airport, a flying club, and the only rugby fields in the city.

3) Urban impact. In total, approximately 600,000 cubic meters would be built, the equivalent of 1900 apartments of 100 m2 each, adding more construction to an already heavily developed city lacking green areas.

4) Social impact. The new base would accommodate 2000 additional soldiers along with their families as well as civilian employees of the base. This would bring in an additional 15,000 people to a city of 110,000 inhabitants!

5) Economic impact. Italian taxpayers cover 37% of the operating costs for U.S. military bases in Italy, amounting to hundreds of millions of Euro per year. Another base would increase this figure.

6) Security issues. The soldiers housed at the new base would be part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (some of which are already lodged at Camp Ederle) and are currently stationed in Germany. The 173rd is an airborne rapid response force. They were the first to parachute into Iraq at the start of the war. The presence of these troops creates problems of security for the city; both as a possible target for terrorist attacks as well as problems associated with soldiers returning from war zones. In this regard, the city of Vicenza has already experienced problems with fights and brawls as well as cases of rape concerning soldiers returning from Iraq. (see http://tinyurl.com/rd5us)

7) Acoustic and environmental impact due to the military vehicles and aircraft used at the base.

We believe that the future of our city (one of the most productive in Italy) should be aimed at development of the local economy, employment and research, not towards further militarization.

The Italian government will make its decision by the end of September.

We ask that the government maintain coherence with the ideas illustrated in their electoral platform and have the courage to respond to the request with a clear and decisive NO.

The construction of a new military base would be a serious loss for the entire city, and, we believe, for Italy as well.

Il Coordinamento Comitati Cittadini

Take Action: Write to the Italian Minister of Defense with your thoughts on the new base. The decision will be made by the end of September so please send your message as soon as possible. Address the messages (in English or Italian) to the attention of Minister Arturo Parisi: spi.ca@gabmin.difesa.it. Send a copy of the message (either BCC or separate message) to the local organizers at: c.bottene@alice.it


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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! Sign the petition promoted by the Italian-based Committee to lift sanctions against Syria. For more information...


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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