compiled by Jessica Maxwell
Grassroots Peace Group Infiltrated
When members of the California anti-war organization Peace Fresno saw the obituary of one of their fellow members in a local newspaper following a motorcycle accident, they were shocked to read that he was a member of the local sheriff departments anti-terrorist team. Aaron Kilner, known by Peace Fresno activists as Aaron Stokes, had attended several Peace Fresno meetings and vigils, as well as having ridden on the bus to a large globalization demonstration. Kilner is said to have remained quiet during discussions, but had been seen taking voluminous notes.
The Fresno Bee printed a story about the infiltration of Peace Fresno by law enforcement in their Friday, October 3 issue (<www.fresnobee.com/local/story/7537174p-8449347c.html>). The article included a statement from Sheriff Pierce claiming that Kilner was not investigating Peace Fresno:
Detective Aaron Kilner was a member of the FCSD Anti-Terrorism unit. This unit collects, evaluates, collates, analyzes, and disseminates information on individuals, groups, and organizations suspected of criminal or terrorist activities
Peace Fresno was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the FCSD. The FCSD does not have any reports, files, rosters, or notes on Peace Fresno or its (sic) meetings.
Oh, thats reassuring.
For more information visit <www.fresnoalliance.com/home> or <www.peacefresno.org>.
Army Concerned About Suicide Among US Troops
According to a recent Reuters report, the Army is growing increasingly alarmed regarding the number of suicides committed by US troops serving in Iraq. As of late September, 478 soldiers had been evacuated from Iraq for mental health reasons. Even more distressing, at least 11 US Army soldiers and two marines have committed suicide during tours of duty in Iraq. Several other deaths are also being investigated as possible suicides.
A suicide-prevention expert and assessment team were dispatched by the Army to evaluate the problem, which now accounts for more than ten percent of non-combat deaths. The team was expected to complete a report on its findings and make recommendations in two to three weeks.
Single Largest War Tax Resistance in US History
On October 15, renowned activist/author Julia Butterfly Hill announced her decision to withhold over $150,000 in federal taxes from the US government with the support of the War Resisters League. The money will be redirected into various nonprofit organizations. Julia drew international attention to the struggle of environmental activists when she spent two years living on a 200-foot-tall ancient redwood tree in northern California to prevent its logging.
To learn more about becoming a war tax resister, contact Andy Mager at the Syracuse Peace Council, 472-5478. For info on the web check out NWTRCC
No Palace Parade for Bush
Although Bushs planned trip to England this fall will be the first full state visit of an American president in over half a century, the traditional procession that would normally accompany such a visit has been cancelled. Fears of anti-war protests led to the decision.
London was the site of one of the largest anti-war protests in the world on February 15, 2003 (over one million people!), and Blair has continued to face fierce opposition from the British people for his support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Bush administration had hoped for a triumphant procession on the mall, but with anti-war forces determined to protest during the visit, Downing Street has decided to stage more tightly controlled photo events, such as Bush and the Queen taking tea at Buckingham Palace and inspecting the guard.
Bush will travel by helicopter to avoid any protesters lining road routes. Even plans for Bush to address Parliament have been cancelled because of fears of a boycott by Members of Parliament.
Bangkok Protests Bushs Visit
Demonstrators peacefully took to the streets in Bangkok, despite an order from Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra banning demonstrations during the summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). During his visit, Bush announced that the US and Thailand would launch negotiations to create a bilateral free-trade agreement. Protesters expressed their opposition both to the war in Iraq and policies of economic globalization, such as free trade.
At Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, the Fair Labor Organizing Committee announced that Coke was in violation of the schools labor Code of Conduct. The schools contract with Coke ends in May and Coke has already been taken out of the campus bookstore. United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) campuses are taking action to support a Colombian labor unions (SINALTRAINAL) life and death struggle at Cokes bottling plant in Colombia.
Students arent the only ones taking such actions. Many unions removed Coke machines from offices. The bus drivers union in Boston had Coke machines removed from four bus depots. For more info, visit <www.killercoke.org>.