White House Protest Corps

Protesters Speak Out Against U.S. Support for Ethiopian Government
June 21, 2010, 8:41 pm
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By Beth Goldberg, June 18, 2010

protestersNearly 200 protesters gathered in front of the White House on the afternoon of June 14 to denounce continued U.S. support for Ethiopia’s incumbent regime. Chanting in native Amharic and rallying around the Ethiopian flag, the crowd members were predominantly from DC’s sizable Ethiopian diaspora.

On May 23, Ethiopia held its fourth national election since transitioning to democracy in 1993. The transition away from dictatorship seems incomplete, however, when all four election have reelected President Meles Zenawi and his monolithic EPRDF party by landslide majorities. This year’s officially reported win margin was 99.6% vote for Zenawi, representing the government’s repression of opposition, use of voter intimidation, and rejection of election monitors. This is a significant regression in democratic governance since the last election Ethiopia held in 2005.

The protesters reacted strongly to this regression, calling on the U.S. to change its foreign policy and aid practices, which currently help prop up Zenawi’s regime. Ethiopia receives the third largest amount of foreign aid from the U.S. after Israel and Egypt, receiving $862 million in foreign assistance in 2009. This inundation of aid and diplomatic silence by the U.S. is projected to be because Ethiopia is such valuable U.S. ally in the volatile horn of Africa and in the War on Terror.

But Ethiopians, both in the Horn of Africa and in the U.S. diaspora, are enraged that the U.S. is prioritizing the stability and anti-terrorism policies of their corrupt despot, Zenawi, over encouraging free and fair elections.

The State Department’s assistant press secretary has remained markedly vague and diplomatic, promising, “We will work diligently with Ethiopia to ensure that strengthened democratic institutions and open political dialogue become a reality for the Ethiopian people.”

Witness Against Torture activists go to trial June 14


Twenty-Seven to Go on Trial for Protesting the Obama Administration’s
Failure to Close Guantanamo, Plan for Indefinite Detention, and
Refusal to Prosecute Torture

For Immediate Release, June 11, 2010

Contact: Jeremy Varon: M: 732-979-3119 jvaron@aol.com
Helen Schietinger: M: 202-344-5762

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, June 14 twenty-seven will face trial
stemming from arrests at the U.S. Capitol on January 21, 2010 — the
date by which President Obama had promised the closure of the
Guantanamo detention camp. The human rights activists will hold a
press conference outside the courthouse defending their protest,
condemning the Obama administration’s continuation of Bush policies,
and explaining their use in court of the “necessity defense.”

The press conference will be held Monday, June 14 at 8:30 am near the
intersection of Fifth Street NW and Indiana Avenue NW, directly across
from the Moultrie Superior Courthouse (500 Indiana Ave., N.W.

On January 21, twenty-seven people dressed as Guantanamo prisoners
were arrested on the steps of the Capitol holding banners reading
“Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken Lives.” Inside the Capitol
Rotunda, at the location where deceased presidents lie in state,
fourteen activists were arrested performing a memorial service for
three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006. Initially reported as
suicides, the deaths may have been — as recent evidence suggests — the
result of the men being tortured to death (see Scott Horton, “Murders
at Guantanamo, March 2010, Harpers).

“The continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo is
unacceptable,” Matthew W. Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “If
Guantanamo was a foreign policy liability and stain on the rule of law
on day one of the Obama presidency, it surely is eighteen months

“The deaths at Guantanamo show how barbaric US policies have been,”
says Helen Schietinger, another member of WAT. “We are still waiting
for accountability for those who designed and carried out torture
policies under President Bush. Obama can’t restore the rule of law if
he doesn’t enforce the law.”

The human rights activists plan to mount a “necessity defense” before
Judge Russell Canan. “We will be arguing that we broke the law only
after exhausting all legal means of opposing a much larger crime—the
indefinite detention, mistreatment, and torture of men at Guantanamo
and other US prisons,” says Jerica Arents of Chicago, Illinois,
another the defendants. The trial comes in the middle of Torture
Awareness Month, when many groups–including Torture Abolition and
Survivors Support Coalition International– are planning activities.

The January protests were the culmination of a twelve-day fast for
justice and an end to torture organized by Witness Against Torture in
Washington, DC. More than 100 people participated in the fast and
daily actions throughout the nation’s Capital.

Witness Against Torture formed in December 2005 when twenty-five
activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn
torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education,
community outreach, and non-violent civil disobedience. To learn more
visit http://www.witnesstorture.org

White House Protest: Rally on behalf of Filep Karma & Yusak Pakage
June 5, 2010, 1:24 am
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Amnesty International USA

Not Another Birthday in Prison!
Rally for the immediate and unconditional release of Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage!

Police arrested Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage in connection with a December 2004 public raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of independence for Indonesia’s Papua province.

They were convicted of treason and sentenced to 15 and 10 years in prison. Amnesty International believes they have been imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, a right all governments are obligated to protect and uphold.

Join us at the White House!

Rally on behalf of Filep Karma & Yusak Pakage

Saturday, June 5th, 2010
4:30 – 6:00pm Lafayette Park (in front of the White House)
Washington, DC 20005

For questions please email egutierrez@aiusa.org

Take Action Now!

President Barack Obama will be visiting Indonesia next month to showcase the importance of growing US-Indonesia bilateral relations. Encourage him to pressure the Indonesian government to release these two prisoners of conscience.  Help us ensure that Obama does not forget Filep and Yusak!

We also have online actions targeting President Obama that you can take on behalf of  Filep and Yusak’s behalf from the comfort of your office space  Call on President Obama to pressure the Indonesian government to release Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.

You can also make a direct call to the White House: 1-202-456-1111 (TTY/TDD 202-456-6213). Or if you have trouble getting through, call the White House switchboard: 1-202-456-1414 and ask to be connected to the comment line.

Below are some talking points you can use for the call:

I.       Amnesty International Prisoners of Conscience (POCs), Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage have spent more than 5 years in prison for waving the West Papuan flag at a peaceful and non-violent action and may collectively spend 25 years in prison.

II.       Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of these two POCs.

III.       There is a great opportunity to get these men released with the upcoming visit of President Obama to Indonesia (a country where he grew up).

IV.       We are calling on President Obama not to forget human rights and these two Prisoners of Conscience when he meets with Indonesian President Yudhoyono.  We ask him to carry a message of hope and freedom to both Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage when he goes to Indonesia

Emilia Gutierrez
Field Organizer , DC * PA* DE
Mid- Atlantic Regional Office
600 Pennsylvania SE, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20003

Support Rep. Kennedy’s resolution on West Papua. ETAN A LERT : Call Congress to support Human Rights in Papua


Support ETAN make a contribution here http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm

Thank you for your support.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668  Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email john@etan.org Skype: john.m.miller

Twitter: http://twitter.com/etan009
Blog: http://etanaction.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/134122?recruiter_id=10193810

Send a blank e-mail message to info@etan.org to find out how to learn more about East Timor and Indonesia on the Internet

Cut the crap Obama! 350.org photo copyright Chris Eichler
May 16, 2010, 2:28 am
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Today, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, along with many NGOs, businesses, and others, released the first version of comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

Our team has crafted a response to the bill, which you can see here:

To confront the climate crisis, the US Senate needs to take major steps towards energy indepedence. We can see the ugliest face of dirty energy as an oil spill ravages the Gulf and its communities. What we don’t see is the ongoing invisible spill of carbon into our atmosphere.

1) 350.org continues to focus on what’s scientifically required — The American Power act doesn’t meet the test of atmospheric science since the targets are very weak, and the offsets mean even they won’t be met in time to prevent climate catastrophe.

2) If this is the best bill that political realism allows, then we need to change political reality (hard, but easier than changing chemistry and physics). We’re working with allies to massively demonstrate the demand for clean energy all across the country, and the world, on 10/10/10 — and we hope that you, your organization, and your community will join us.

3) Our partners around the world are dismayed by the weakness of the targets in this bill since many of them will continue to bear the costs of our inadequate response. And in this country, many local organizers and state legislators don’t like the curbs put on states to reduce their carbon emissions through comprehensive legislation. The APA allows states to set clean energy quotas for utilities, but doesn’t let them cap carbon effectively — it’s wrong to block strong state leadership on climate change.

4) It would be a great shame to damage the Clean Air Act, the greatest legacy of the first Earth Day. The APA attempts to retain some key regulatory powers of the EPA, but more can be improved to keep this vital tool intact.

5) The oil spill disaster in the gulf should be a wake-up call for our country. It’s not enough to let states veto offshore drilling in neighboring states. We must end offshore drilling permanently.

In the coming months, 350.org and partners will work together to exert political pressure to act on these recommendations.