Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kathy Kelly - Break Every Chain: Unshackling Ourselves from War and Injustice

 
Syracuse, NY; October 6, 2015

22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan

by Kathy Kelly; October 5, 2015

Before the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, a group of activists living in Baghdad would regularly go to city sites that were crucial for maintaining health and well-being in Baghdad, such as hospitals, electrical facilities, water purification plants, and schools, and string large vinyl banners between the trees outside these buildings which read: “To Bomb This Site Would Be A War Crime.” We encouraged people in U.S. cities to do the same, trying to build empathy for people trapped in Iraq, anticipating a terrible aerial bombing.

Tragically, sadly, the banners must again condemn war crimes, this time echoing international outcry because in an hour of airstrikes this past Saturday morning, the U.S. repeatedly bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, a facility that served the fifth largest city in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

U.S./NATO forces carried out the airstrike at about 2AM on October 3rd. Doctors Without Borders had already notified the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces of their geographical coordinates to clarify that their compound, the size of a football field, was a hospital. When the first bombs hit, medical staff immediately phoned NATO headquarters to report the strike on its facility, and yet strikes continued, at 15 minute intervals, until 3:15 a.m., killing 22 people. 12 of the dead were medical staff; ten were patients, and three of the patients were children. At least 37 more people were injured. One survivor said that the first section of the hospital to be hit was the Intensive Care Unit.

“Patients were burning in their beds,” said one nurse, an eyewitness to the ICU attack."There are no words for how terrible it was." The U.S. airstrikes continued, even after the Doctors Without Borders officials had notified the U.S., NATO and Afghan military that the warplanes were attacking the hospital.

Taliban forces do not have air power, and the Afghan Air Force fleet is subordinate to the U.S., so it was patently clear that the U.S. had committed a war crime.

The U.S. military has said that the matter is under investigation. Yet another in an endless train of somber apologies; feeling families' pain but excusing all involved decision makers seems inevitable. Doctors Without Borders has demanded a transparent, independent investigation, assembled by a legitimate international body and without direct involvement by the U.S. or by any other warring party in the Afghan conflict. If such an investigation occurs, and is able to confirm that this was a deliberate, or else a murderously neglectful war crime, how many Americans will ever learn of the verdict?

War crimes can be acknowledged when carried out by official U.S. enemies, when they are useful in justifying invasions and efforts at regime change.

One investigation the U.S. has signally failed to carry out would tell it how much Kunduz needed this hospital. The U.S. could investigate SIGAR reports ("Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction") numbering Afghanistan's "U.S. funded health care facilities," allegedly funded through USAID, which cannot even be located, 189 alleged locations at whose coordinates there are demonstrably no buildings within 400 feet. In their June 25th letter they astoundingly write, “My office’s initial analysis of USAID data and geospatial imagery has led us to question whether USAID has accurate location information for 510—nearly 80 percent—of the 641 health care facilities funded by the PCH program.” It notes that six of the Afghan facilities are actually located in Pakistan, six in Tajikstan, and one in the Mediterranean Sea.

It seems we've created yet another ghost hospital, not out of thin air this time but from the walls of a desperately needed facility which are now charred rubble, from which the bodies of staff and patients have been exhumed. And with the hospital lost to a terrified community, the ghosts of this attack are, again, beyond anyone's ability to number. But in the week leading up to this attack, its staff had treated 345 wounded people, 59 of them children.

Now the region has no hospital at all.

The U.S. has long shown itself the most formidable warlord fighting in Afghanistan, setting an example of brute force that frightens rural people who wonder to whom they can turn for protection. In July of 2015, U.S. bomber jets attacked an Afghan army facility in the Logar Province, killing ten soldiers. The Pentagon said this incident would likewise be under investigation. No public conclusion of the investigation seems ever to have been issued. There isn't always even an apology.

This was a massacre, whether one of carelessness or of hate. One way to join the outcry against it, demanding not just an inquiry but a final end to all U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, would be to assemble in front of health care facilities, hospitals or trauma units, carrying signage which says, “To Bomb This Place Would Be a War Crime.” Invite hospital personnel to join the assembly, notify local media, and hold an additional sign which says: “The Same Is True in Afghanistan.”

We should affirm the Afghans' right to medical care and safety. The U.S. should offer investigators unimpeded access to the decision makers in this attack and pay to reconstruct the hospital with reparations for suffering caused throughout these fourteen years of war and cruelly manufactured chaos. Finally, and for the sake of future generations, we should take hold of our runaway empire and make it a nation we can restrain from committing the fathomlessly obscene atrocity that is war.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org) She returned from Afghanistan in mid-September, 2015 where she was a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (ourjourneytosmile.com)

Kathy Kelly Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence 1249 West Argyle Street Chicago, IL 60640 773-878-3815 www.vcnv.org

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Left Forum 2015 - Saturday Evening Event


 
From the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

The 2015 Left Forum will take place in a period of excitement and challenge. Police violence is now being contested by a popular upsurge of protest and resistance. From the recent Syriza victory in the Greek elections and movements against austerity throughout Europe to the spread of horizontal-democratic politics around the world, and from the nationwide activism arising out of Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movements, to the growing momentum to end the Cuban embargo, recent events and left politics are shaping up to be pivotal. How do these movements raise the question of confronting and ending the crises of capitalism and democracy? What type of movements will it take in the United States to overcome such challenges and where are they forming on the ground, and what is their scope? What type of institutions, systems and societal conditions are possible here, when transformed conditions of justice no longer take the forms of, “the aggrieved speaking to the grievance alleviators”? The Saturday evening event turns the exploration of these issues towards a discussion of social transformation as it has arisen, and can arise in the U.S. in relation to the Black Lives Matter, anti police-violence and anti police-militarization justice movements, among others.

Introductory Remarks:

Kristin Lawler (Member, Left Forum Board of Directors and Host for the Evening) is associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. Her first book, The American Surfer: Radical Culture and Capitalism, was published by Routledge in 2011 and examined the politics of American surf culture during the twentieth century. She is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination; her work has been published there as well as in several edited collections, Z Magazine, and the digital forum of the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Lawler received her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center and worked as a staff organizer for the PSC, the CUNY faculty union. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on a book on slacker culture and the labor movement.

Moderator/Interlocutor:

Paul Jay is CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network with HQ in Baltimore. TRNN is independent of political parties, viewer supported and not-for-profit. TRNN does not accept advertising, government or corporate funding. This funding model allows for uncompromising broadcast journalism. Its mission is to be a daily video news service, online and on television, engaging a mass audience in solving the critical problems of our time. Prior to TRNN, Jay was for ten seasons the creator and executive producer of CBC Newsworld's flagship debate programs Face Off and CounterSpin, an award winning filmmaker, and founding Chair of Hot Docs! Documentary Film Festival.

Featured Speakers:

Alicia Garza is an organizer, writer, and freedom dreamer living and working in Oakland, CA. She is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. She is also the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, a national organizing project focused on combatting anti-Black state sanctioned violence. Alicia's work challenges us to celebrate the contributions of Black queer women's work within popular narratives of Black movements, and reminds us that the Black radical tradition is long, complex and international. Her activism reflects organizational strategies and visions that connect emerging social movements without diminishing the specificity of the structural violence facing Black lives.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report (BAR) and Black Agenda Radio. He founded the Black Commentator which he left to found BAR with Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley. BAR provides news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.


Kshama Sawant is an activist who brings a passion for social justice to her work. As a member of the Seattle City Council, she has been a voice for workers, youth, and the oppressed. After earning her PhD in economics, Kshama moved to Seattle and began teaching at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and the University of Washington Tacoma. She joined Socialist Alternative in 2009, and since then has helped organize demonstrations for marriage equality, participated in the movement to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a leading presence in the Occupy Movement. In November 2013, she defeated a 16-year incumbent Democrat to become the first socialist elected in a major US city in decades and the only Councilmember in Seattle outside the Democratic Party establishment. Kshama has consistently used her position to expose the ties between powerful corporate interests and a majority of the city's politicians - all Democrats. After being at the forefront of the movement that won a $15/hour minimum wage, Kshama helped win critical funding for homeless people in the City budget last year. She is up for re-election this year.

Makayla Gilliam-Price is a 17 year old Baltimore activist. Makayla founded the youth justice organization, City Bloc, and also organizes with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a youth led, grassroots think-tank which advances the public policy interest of Black people in Baltimore. She is a rising senior at Baltimore City College High School.

Thenjiwe McHarris is with the US Human Rights Network. She has spent her entire political and professional career challenging the injustices that imprison people and their communities in a life of poverty or one behind bars. She has worked on a number of campaigns including those that addressed state repression around the world, the transfer of military equipment and technology, capital punishment, excessive use of force by law enforcement, and poverty. McHarris began her political career calling for an end to policies and practices that contributed to acts of torture committed by law enforcement and currently helps to coordinate efforts to hold the US Government accountable for violating international human rights law.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Left Forum 2015 - Empire in Crisis: Uniting the Struggles to Defeat Racist State Terror, Austerity, and Endless War


 
This is a panel from Session 4 of the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

Note: The lights in the room (and the entire building) went out shortly after the one hour mark.

From the Organizers:

The global system of capitalism has created an endless crisis for working class people. For people of color, this crisis is even greater, as racist police brutality terrorizes communities across the US. Combined with cuts in education and basic services, mounting state violence has reached genocidal proportions for communities of color and poor people. Meanwhile, the US has fought wars in seven countries since 2008, bringing a crisis of endless wars by direct bombing or proxy. All for the purpose of profits for an increasing desperate system.  This panel will connect these major issues as the symptoms of one system in crisis, imperialism. We will discuss how we can practically unite these struggles to fight back and win a world of social justice and peace.

Panel Chair:

Ramiro Funez is an organizer with the revolutionary socialist young people's organization FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together) as well as the Honduran Resistance (FNRP).

Panelists:

Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire and Workers World Newspaper. He is a long-time activist in Detroit and been active in struggles against racist austerity, bankruptcy, and the ongoing effort to put a moratorium on housing foreclosures.

Sara Flounders is the Co-Coordinator of International Action Center

Teresa Gutierrez is a Workers World Party Secretariat Member as well as an organizer of the May 1st Coalition for Workers and Immigrants Rights.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Left Forum 2015 - Corporate Dominance: Our Debt-Money System and the Trans-Pacific Partnership


May 30, 2015

This panel from the 2015 Left Forum focused on the workings of our debt-money system and its connection to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Termed a "free trade" agreement, it in fact creates a mechanism that allows multinational corporations to sue sovereign governments.

Panelists:

Paula Pace is a practicing mediator and facilitator. She formerly worked as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and the Attorney General and also taught junior high school in NYC public schools. She has been active in "Local Futures," an organization that both provides a structural analysis of globalization and its effects and promotes local, sustainable development.

Sue Peters has been a student of monetary history since 2008, and has spoken publicly on the topic at colleges and civic groups. She graduated from NYU with a degree in history and from Bank Street College with a degree in education, worked for 32 years on Wall Street as a systems analyst, and has been applying her expertise to the money system. She is a member of the American Monetary Institute.

Don Butterfield graduated with degrees in architecture and engineering and served as a naval officer from 1955 to 1958. He has run a small practice in architecture and engineering since 1969. He became familiar with monetary reform when he read The Lost Science of Money. After joining the American Monetary Institute he did further research on the history of money in the United States. He is an active advocate of debt free sovereign money, and strongly opposes the TPP.

Related Link: American Monetary Institute

Left Forum 2015 - The Climate Mobilization: A Route to Reclaiming Democracy and Preventing Ecological Collapse


 
This is a panel from Session 2 of the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

Without a decisive break from business-as-usual politics, scientists warn that accelerating global warming threatens both economic and ecological collapse in a matter of decades. To secure a climate that supports organized human societies for the rest of the 21st century, it will now take nothing less than a rapid, wartime-level economic effort to transition the world's nations to 100% clean energy, adapt to unavoidable disruptions, and begin the long process of withdrawing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Whatever we call this response to our unprecedented crisis — a Green New Deal, a Marshall Plan for the Earth, a WWII-scale Climate Mobilization — how can we build the critical mass of public will that makes a just post-carbon transition possible in the United States? Is it possible to mobilize an intense bloc of citizens behind such an ambitious platform by 2016? Panelists will discuss The Climate Mobilization, a growing national campaign to accelerate the American climate movement toward the mobilization we need.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, is co-founder and director of Climate Mobilization. Klein earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. Her writing can be viewed at The Climate Psychologist

Left Forum 2015 - Entertainment Superpower: Media Technology and the American Empire


This is Session 1 from the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

This panel will explore Hollywood and entertainment technology as an organ of U.S. cultural, political, economic, and military dominance. For example, U.S. military surveillance, targeting, and weapons systems use technology, which was primarily developed for motion pictures and entertainment software (or the consumer electronics market). U.S. military hegemony is based on the ability of the U.S. Navy to dominate the world's oceans (due partially to the superior numbers and technology of US naval vessels), augmented by U.S. dominance in space-based reconnaissance technology, which is made possible by entertainment software consumers and movie-goers worldwide. The U.S. media and entertainment sectors are the only American sectors that boast a surplus balance of trade with nearly every nation in the world. Information clearinghouses and data heuristics from social media are now part of an exploding U.S. private industry in league with the U.S. Intelligence Community and law enforcement.

Panel Chair:

Alexa O'Brien is a investigative journalist. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK for her coverage of Chelsea Manning’s court-martial, and she had written extensively on the technical cross fertilization between entertainment and defense industries.

Panelists:

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author. He will speak to the social and political impact of Hollywood movies like “American Sniper”. He recently wrote a review of the film entitled, “Killing Ragheads for Jesus”.

Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based investigative journalist and author. He will speak about the role of U.S. private intelligence companies in mass surveillance as well as Sony Corporation's ties with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Rand Corporation in the context of the movie, "The Interview" about the assassination of the leader of North Korea.

Ray Nowosielski is a national security journalist and documentary filmmaker whose covers the CIA. He was threatened with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for his journalistic work uncovering the identity of a woman reportedly behind the CIA Global Jihad Unit and drone kill list program. He will speak to Hollywood’s portrayal of the CIA and the war on terror in films like Zero Dark Thirty.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Left Forum 2015 - Opening Plenary: Syriza, Podemos, Left Bloc & the Left: A European Revolutionary Politics?


This is the Opening Plenary from the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 - 31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

The opening plenary will focus on anti-austerity politics, alliances, and national and international political potentials and challenges emerging in Europe and impacting the world. Speakers will question and address the revolutionary dimensions of these developments - in the context of a mass-based political, economic, cultural, ecological, race, gender, and class struggle-illuminating politics - of electoral, left, and social movement organizing.

Eduardo Maura teaches Philosophy and History of Aesthetic Ideas at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Elected member of the Citizen Council of Podemos, he is co-responsible for the area of Culture and works in the Political Secretariat.

Leo Panitch is a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy at York University. He has been the editor of The Socialist Register since 1985 and is a regular contributor to publications such as the Guardian and Jacobin. He has spoken extensively on air on the current crises and mobilizations in Europe, and he is currently engaged with Syriza members inside and outside of the government. He is the author of many books including Working Class Politics in CrisisAmerican Empire and the Political Economy of Global FinanceIn and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown, and co-authored with Sam Gindin The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of the American Empire.

Caterina Principe is a Portuguese activist living in Berlin, Germany and studying her Masters in Gender Studies. She has been a key activist in the anti-precarity movement in Portugal as well as part of the Blockupy Platform in Germany. She is both a member of Bloco de Esquerda and Die Linke and has inside knowledge about different left organizations in southern Europe. She is currently a consulting editor for Jacobin Magazine, and has been spending the last months in Greece reporting on and analyzing the political developments.

Konstantino Tsoukalas is Doctor of Literature and Humanities at the University of Paris. He has served as Professor of Sociology at the universities of Paris, Thessaloniki and Athens, Scientific Director and later Chairman of the Board of the National Centre for Social Research, President of the Union of Greek Sociologists, President of the Hellenic Association of Political Science and visiting scholar at the Universities of Princeton, New York University, Columbia, Iztapalapa Mexico City, Istanbul, Paris and the Department of Economics of University of Athens. He has published multiple articles and books, his most recent publication being The Naked Queen: The Works and Times of Economic Discourse. He is a member of the Greek parliament since the January 2015 elections.

Laura Flanders (Moderator/Interlocutor) is Executive Producer and host of The Laura Flanders Show. She was the founder and host of GRITtv with Laura Flanders on Free Speech TV and The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio. She is currently a contributing writer to The Nation and a regular contributor to MSNBC. Her books include BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species, Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians.

Kristin Lawler (Member, Left Forum Board of Directors and Host for the Evening and Interlocutor) is associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. Her first book, The American Surfer: Radical Culture and Capitalism, was published by Routledge in 2011 and examined the politics of American surf culture during the twentieth century. She is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination; her work has been published there as well as in several edited collections, Z Magazine, and the digital forum of the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Lawler received her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center and worked as a staff organizer for the PSC, the CUNY faculty union. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on a book on slacker culture and the labor movement.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Left Forum 2015 - Against the Narrative: Independent Media and The Left


 
This is Session A from the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

Mainstream & corporate media set a narrow agenda in the US and abroad, marginalizing any voice that speaks for justice, peace, democracy, local autonomy, environmental protection and more. This panel focuses on the goals, gains, and ground game of the independent media and the current state of setting and speaking an agenda counter to the mainstream narrative

Panel Chair:

Julianna Forlano is the creator, host, & executive producer of the primetime news/talk show, The Julianna Forlano Show, heard on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and nationally via The Pacifica Network & The Progressive Voices Radio Network. Ms. Forlano is also the host and creator of the award winning multi-platform political news satire series, Absurdity Today. Ms. Forlano teaches in the Department of Television & Radio at Brooklyn College.

Panelists:

Paul Jay is Senior Editor of The Real News Network with HQ in Baltimore. TheRealNews.com is daily video news, non-profit, supported by viewers. It does not accept advertising, government or corporate funding. Its mission is to engage a mass audience in solving the critical problems of our time. For ten years Jay was executive producer of CBC Newsworld's flagship debate programs Face Off and CounterSpin, is an award winning filmmaker, and founding Chair of Hot Docs! Documentary Film Festival.

Glen Ford is a veteran journalist and the Executive Editor of BlackAgendaReport.com.

Eddie Conway is a former Black Panther, for forty years a political prisoner, and now with The Real News Network.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Trebbe Johnson - Radical Joy for Hard Times



Endicott, NY; May 19, 2015

Trebbe Johnson, author and founder of Radical Joy for Hard Times, claims that we need to broaden our definition of environmental activism in 6 ways. The new activism must be: 
  • Handy
  • Rooted in the present, even as we work for the future
  • Able to accept that people feel grief when the places they love are destroyed
  • Able to transform that grief
  • Local and small as well as global and large
  • Fun
One way to begin doing this is to pay attention to the places among us that have been damaged.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Their Power vs. Ours: Challenging the Warfare State


 
This is Panel 6 (the Closing Plenary) from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Followed by: Greetings From International Guests

Submit an application for your organization to join UNAC.

Panel Co-Chairs:

Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator, UNAC
Mari Matsuo, Antiwar & Social Justice Activist

Presenters:

Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition
Dr. Mazeda Uddin, South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship & Training
Cynthia McKinney, Former Six-Term US Congresswoman
Peter Van Buren, Author & US State Dept. Whistleblower
Cheri Honkala, Anti-Poverty & Human Rights Advocate
Dr. Ghias Moussa, Syrian American Forum
Ann Wright, Ret. US Army Colonel; Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Chris Nineham, UK Stop the Wars Coalition
Elizabeth Byce, New Democratic Party of Canada, Socialist Caucus
Elsa Rassbach, Co-Founder, German Drone Campaign

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

UNAC Conference 2015 - Challenging Imperialist Wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen & Beyond


 
This is Breakout Session 3 from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Panel Chair:

Judy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars

Presenters:

Johnny Achi, Coordinator, Arab Americas for Syria
Ray McGovern, Antiwar Activist, Former CIA Analyst
Cynthia McKinney, Former Six-Term U.S. Congresswoman
Bill Dores, Vice Chair, International League of Peoples' Struggle

Saturday, May 9, 2015

UNAC Conference 2015 - Tribunal on the Militarization of the Police & Structural Racism


 
This is Panel 5 from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Panel Co-Chairs:

Sara Flounders, International Action Center
Imani Keith Henry, Equality for Flatbush Project (E4F)

Presenters:

Michelle Kamal, Mother of Abdul Kamal
Manzoor Cheema, Muslims for Social Justice, NC
Margaret Stevens, Director, Urban Issues Institute
Kevin Zeese, Activist, Organizer with Popular Resistance
Jane Ledesma, East Flatbush CopWatch
Marilyn Zuniga, Teacher from Orange, NJ
Larry Holmes, People's Power Assemblies
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Author, Activist, Pastor FOR Organizer in Ferguson

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - The Cost of Endless War & Austerity


 
This is Panel 4 from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Panel Co-Chairs:

Ana Edwards, Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
Christine Marie, Connecticut United for Peace

Presenters:

Shafeah M'Balia, Black Workers for Justice, North Carolina
Ramiro Funez, National Popular Resistance Front of Honduras
Antonia Juhasz, Author, Activist, Oil Energy Expert
Lawrence Hamm, People's Organization for Progress
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10
Rolandah Cleopattrah McMillan, Raise Up for $15, Virginia
Andre Francois, USW 8751, Boston School Bus Drivers Union

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Free Political Prisoners


 
This is Panel 3 from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Panel Co-Chairs:

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Presenters:

Alejandro Molina, Editor, USA on Trial
Pam Africa, Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mark Burton, Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorney
El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan, Coalition Against Political Imprisonment
Sharmin Sadequee, Prisoners & Families Committee, NCPCF
Lynne Stewart, Human Rights Lawyer, Former Political Prisoner

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Kathy Kelly Speaks with Nick Mottern


 
Nick Mottern (KnowDrones.com) interviews well-known peace activist Kathy Kelly on drone warfare and related topics.

This interview took place at the Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad National Conference, sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), and held in Secaucus, NJ, May 8 -10, 2015.

Related Link: Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Confronting State Terrorism, Domestic & Global Policing


 
Secaucus, NJ
May 8 -10, 2015

This is a Breakout Session from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad Conference, held May 8 -10, 2015 in Secaucus, NJ and sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC).

Panelists: Nick Mottern, Kathy Kelly, & Debra Sweet

Includes some lively and interesting discussion by audience members.

Related Links:

Voices for Creative Nonviolence
KnowDrones
The World Can't Wait

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Ray McGovern's Statement on Drone Warfare


 
Secaucus, NJ
May 8 - 10, 2015

An impromptu statement by ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern at the 2015 United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC). In the second half he explains why he left the CIA and became an antiwar activist.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

UNAC Conference 2015 - Endless Imperial Wars


 
Secaucus, NJ
May 8- 10, 2015

This is Panel 2 from the Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad National Conference, sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition.

Co-Chairs: Judy Bello, Lucy Pagoada

Panelists & Guests (In Order of Appearance):

Susan Abulhawa, Author "Mornings in Jenin"
Johnny Achi, Coordinator of Arab Americans for Syria
Joel Andreas, Author of "Addicted to War"
Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA
Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Irina Koval, Patriot+ Foundation, Odessa, Ukaine
Ray McGovern, Antiwar activist and former CIA Analyst
Phil Wilayto, Virginia Defenders for Freedom Justice & Equality
Kaylee Knowles, People's Power Assemblies, NYC

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Alison Weir: Against Our Better Judgment


 
Binghamton University
May 5, 2015

The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

Alison Weir discusses her new book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, which documents the history of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. Weir will also discuss the root of the current violence in Israel-Palestine, distorted media coverage of the region, and why US taxpayers continue to send Israel nearly $10 million per day. A Q&A session followed her talk.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, a research and information-dissemination institute that focuses on Israel-Palestine. Weir first began to study the U.S.-Israel relationship after traveling to the Middle East as an independent journalist in 2001. She has lectured internationally on the American connection to the region, and her essays and articles have appeared in a number of books and magazines. Weir appeared on C-SPAN as a speaker at the historic National Summit to reassess U.S.-Israel "special relationship" in March of 2014. She is currently working on part two of Against Our Better Judgment, which will examine the U.S.-Israel relationship from the 1950s up until the present day. She resides in the Bay Area.

Sponsored by: Students for Justice in Palestine - Binghamton University

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Solarizing the Southern Tier



Download the Program Information Packet referred to in this video. 

Vestal, NY; April 15, 2015

A Presentation by Adam Flint
Program Manager, Southern Tier Solar Works

With short presentations by:

Amanda Postma, of Renovus Energy
Wendy Barnum, of ETM Solar Works
Michael Amico, of Direct Energy Solar

Southern Tier Solar Works (STSW), a program of the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition (BRSC), recently kicked off its Solarize Southern Tier East initiative, offering local residents and small business owners the opportunity to learn about solar energy while joining together to reduce the cost for all. The goals of STSW are to create lasting local jobs, put money back in the hands of residents and businesses, demonstrate shared commitment to the natural environment, and make this region a New York State solar leader. Learn more and sign up for one or more of STSW's community meetings and solar tours by visiting its website: Southern Tier Solar Works

Sponsored by Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition

Monday, April 6, 2015

Moral Monday 2


 
Binghamton, NY
April 6, 2015

The second in a series of events at which Binghamton, NY area residents speak out against the misdirected priorities of the Federal budget.

Sponsored by the Greater Binghamton Labor/Religion Coalition.

Speakers: Rev. Fred Brooks, Amy Fleming, Judy Arnold, John Englert, Timothy Wolcott, Jack Gilroy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Excerpts from an Interview with Sister Elizabeth Salmon, MM


 
Sister Elizabeth Salmon, MM is the daughter of Benjamin J. Salmon, a WWI conscientious objector.

This interview took place at Maryknoll Retirement Home, Ossining, NY on March 25, 2015.

Thanks to Jack Gilroy, who conducted the interview.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sane Energy Project: You Are Here


Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA   March 13 - 16, 2015

A Presentation by Kim Fraczek of Sane Energy Project

From the Organizers:

Sane Energy Project's goal is to replace shale gas infrastructure with renewable infrastructure. We oppose the development, transport, and export of fracked shale gas ("natural gas"). We support a rapid switch to renewable energy and the goal of zero fossil fuel dependence by 2030, as outlined by the 2009 Stanford University Study. Sane Energy Project is a grassroots group, formed in January of 2011 to oppose the Spectra Pipeline, the first of several high-pressure, large diameter shale gas pipelines slated to enter New York City. Today we have enlarged that mission to include shale gas infrastructure statewide and regionally. We stand in solidarity with activists fighting all forms of extreme extraction and nuclear energy.

See the map here: YouAreHereNYMap.org

Kim Fraczek is Sane Energy's Outreach Coordinator. She is committed to using art as a messaging tool for social engagement, and has brought a wise and considerate hand to the art component of all of our ongoing campaigns.




A Just Transition: What It Means & How We Get There


 
Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA; March 13 -16, 2015

What does a sound economy and resilient future without shale gas look like? Panelists cover topics including:

Traditional rural heritage industries (Greg Lotorto, landscape architect & horticulturist),
Sustainable agriculture (Deirdre Lally, Endless Mountain Farm), and
Alternative energy sources (Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network)

Introduction and further comments by Alex Lotorto.

Production Notes for Geeks:

The various noises apparent during Greg Lotorto's presentation (a hum, scratching sounds. and some sort of guttural noise, lol) are due to a loose microphone at the front of the room. They all stop suddenly, leading me to believe that I turned down that channel on the mixing board at that point.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Defending Loyalsock State Forest


Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA March 13 - 16, 2015

Presented by Jordan, of Marcellus Shale Earth First!

From the Organizers:

Learn how public lands and forests are being sacrificed as shale gas projects continue to grow in the northeast. A combination of education, community organizing, ecological surveys, and action are more important now than ever.

Legal Strategies: Local Ordinances & Permit Appeals


Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA; March 13 - 16, 2015

This is part of the Community Enforcement & Legal Strategies workshop, and features talks by Mike Ewall (Local Ordinances) and Alex Lotorto (Permit Appeals).

Related Link: Energy Justice Network

Environmental Harms of Pipelines


 
Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA  March 13 - 16, 2015

Presented by Faith Zerbe
Water Watch Director,
Delaware Riverkeeper Network

This presentation is part of the Community Enforcement & Legal Strategies workshop. Per the organizers:

"Participants will explore an array of legal strategies and issues pertaining to shale gas development, including community monitoring projects, eminent domain, permit appeals, local ordinances, and more."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Shale Gas 101: Cradle To Grave


 
Energy Justice Shale Convergence
Wyoming County, PA   March 13 - 16, 2015

In this interactive presentation, Alex Lotorto and various audience members explore the life cycle of shale gas. Topics include: raw materials, drilling, "fracking", waste, pipelines, export terminals, power plants and more.

Related Links:

Energy Justice Network
StoptheFrackAttack.org
SustainUS

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Getting To Net Zero...No More Dinosaurs Required!


 
Binghamton, NY  March 8, 2015

Sponsored by:

Green Sanctuary - Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton

From the Organizers:

We have so many new energy technologies that it is now very possible, and maybe even easy, to stop using fossil fuels. The beauty of many of these technologies is that the individual building owner can do them incrementally and affordably. Heat pumps, electric cars, bicycle commuting, net-zero homes, free energy audits, special financing opportunities -- Gay Canough of ETM Solar, and Joe Keyes of Heat Tek will touch on all these and more.

A Related Topic Not Addressed By These Presenters:

Fight Global Warming by Going Vegan



 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Maldives On the Brink: Climate Justice Catastrophe?


 
Central United Methodist Church
Endicott, NY  February 17, 2015

A talk by Leah R. Malone, M.S.

Statement from the Sierra Club Susquehanna Group:

The Maldives, a tropical small island nation and luxury resort destination known for its ecological beauty, is facing catastrophe from climate change impacts, particularly rising sea levels. Escalating instability and violence in the wake of the 2012 coup d'├ętat and 2013 presidential election have limited the nation's ability to mitigate and adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change. Additionally, the Maldives’ global climate justice advocacy efforts - which provided a model for other vulnerable nations - have been curtailed as this 100% Sunni Muslim country struggles to maintain its fledgling democracy. These events - relevant to Binghamton as a fellow community on the front line of climate change - will be discussed by Leah Malone, M.S.; She has worked in the Maldives since 2009 as a civil society consultant for Maldivian national, regional and local NGOs as well as a journalist for Minivan News, the country’s only independent English news outlet.

Sponsored by Sierra Club Susquehanna Group

Related Links:

Dhivehi Sitee
Huvadhoo Aid
Minivan News

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reforming the Energy Vision




 
NYS Public Service Commission Hearing
Binghamton, NY ; February 12, 2015

Part 1 is a PowerPoint presentation by Anthony Belsito.
Part 2 starts with a statement by Public Service Commissioner Diane Burman, and then moves on to public comments.

Statement From: Agree New York
Alliance for a Green Economy

What is REV?
 
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is a process initiated by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), which is the state agency that regulates the utility companies in New York. REV seeks to speed up the transition to energy efficiency and renewables by overhauling the regulations that govern utility companies and designing new energy markets. The PSC says that REV will give consumers more control over their energy use and engage them as energy producers. By promoting efficiency and distributed energy, REV also seeks to avoid billions of dollars in investments to repair or replace our aging energy infrastructure.
 
Read more at Agree New York

Production Notes for Geeks:

The venue, Binghamton City Council Chambers, had no provision to record audio directly from the PA system, and my attempts to record acceptable audio of Judge Mullany's comments failed. These have thus been omitted from the video. Luckily, Judge Mullany's comments were 95% procedural rather than substantive.
 
Also, because I couldn't get acceptable audio of the questions (no direct feed from the PA, no audience microphone), I had to omit almost all of the questions, many of which were interspersed with the PowerPoint presentation, and show only the presenter's responses. Occasionally the presenter paraphrased the questions, but if not, the questions can be inferred from the responses. I omitted responses where this was not the case. There was one instance where the questioner spoke very loudly and was in the vicinity of my second camera, so I was able to get reasonably good audio and video.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Drones Quilt Project



The Drones Quilts made an appearance at the Interfaith Conference On Drone Warfare, held January 23 - 25, 2015 at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. The event was sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action.

The Drones Quilt Project is dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of U.S. Combat drones.

If you would like to make a block for a drones quilt, or are interested in hosting the Drones Quilt Project exhibit, please contact Leah Bolger:  leahbolger@comcast.net.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 6 - Alternatives to Drones


Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

Please Note: Sessions 7 & 8 were not filmed.

What should we do instead? What alternatives do we point to that help end or limit the use of drones?

What are some of the alternative practices to the use of lethal drones in stopping violence by non-state and state actors, with attention to prevention, defusing violence, and healing?

What can the NGO community do to encourage the U.S. Government to investigate and invest in these alternatives?

Moderator:

Catherine Osborn, Campaign Director, Shoulder to Shoulder

Speakers:

Antti Pentikainen, Executive Director of Finn Church Aid, Helsinki, Finland
Dr. David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame
Sami Catovic, Executive Director, New Brunswick Islamic Center
Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Peace Action Education
Jack Gilroy, Peace Activist, Broome County Peace Action

Interfaith Worship:

Rabbi Charles M. Feinberg, Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, DC
Rev. Sandy Strauss, Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Kavneet Singh, Secretary General, World Sikh Council - North America

And a Few Words From:

Rev. Peter E. Bauer, Minister, United Church of Christ

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 5 - Strategic Implications of Policy Positions


Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

The Effects of Drone Warfare:

Does the use of lethal drones advance the U.S. war against the violence of non-state actors? How does the use of lethal drones compare in effectiveness with other measures being used to counter violence by non-state actors? Are U.S. drone strikes actually inciting more anti-American sentiment (blow-back) and consequently unintentionally encouraging more recruits for Al-Qaeda and other non-state actors? How do other nations view U.S. policy on the use of lethal drones? How does the UN view lethal drone use? Has U.S. drone policy hurt U.S. foreign policy in any way? What are the effects on civilians in areas where lethal drones are being used? What are the effects on the drone operators?

The CIA:

Currently, the CIA is engaged in the military operations of drone warfare as well as intelligence. Should military operations be removed from the CIA and what are the impediments to doing so?

War Zones:

International law strongly prohibits the use of force by one state in the territory of another, except during war or with the explicit consent of the other state. What exactly is a war zone, and what areas are non-combat zones in this modern era where active conflicts by state and non-state actors are found all around the world?

Moderator:

Elizabeth Beavers, Legislative Associate, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Speakers:

Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary
Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 4 - Morality of Policy Positions


 
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

“Imminence”: In its February 2013 White Paper the Administration justifies the use of certain drone strikes as consistent with international laws of self-defense by stating that imminence “does not require ... clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.” How does this attempted reinterpretation of “imminence” comport with the more traditional restrictive meaning of the concept in the Just War framework? Is there legal support for this definition of “imminence”? Does redefinition lower the barrier to go to war?

Assassination: Under what conditions in war is the assassination of people on a targeted list legal? Moral? What criteria should be used to be put someone on the list and who determines who should be on the target list? What kind of checks and balances exist in vetting the list?

Killing U.S. Citizens: Four U.S. citizens have been killed by drone strikes, including non -combatants, far from any battlefield. Are these killings legal? Do they raise different legal issues than the killing of non-citizens? What are the criteria to determine whether Americans have actually joined in a fight against the United States? Should the United States government have the right to treat them as if they have given up their right to due process and if so, when and how should this be done? Who makes that decision (a court, the Administration, Congress)?

Civilian Casualties: Drones may kill fewer civilians than other weapons. Does that make them more moral than other weapons? How should governments respond to civilian casualties? Should they pay reparations to the families of those killed or wounded by drones?

Moderator:

Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Interfaith Center of New York

Speakers:

Mary Ellen O’Connell, Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution, University of Notre Dame Law School

Marjorie Cohn, Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law; former President of the National Lawyers Guild, San Diego, CA

Pardiss Kebriaei, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 3 - Why Do People of Faith Care About This Issue?


 
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

Introduction by Rev. Richard Killmer, Project Director, Interfaith Conference On Drone Warfare

Moderated by Imam Sohaib Sultan, Muslim Chaplain, Princeton University

Rev. Dr. George Hunsinger, Professor of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary:

What do the criteria of the Just War tradition in Judaism, Christianity and Islam say about the use of lethal drones: discrimination, protection of civilians, legitimate authority, probability of success, proportionality, imminence and last resort?

Rev. Susan Hayward, United States Institute of Peace:

How do the criteria and practices of JustPeace help in analyzing drone warfare? The criteria are just cause, right intention, participatory process, right relationship, reconciliation, restoration, and sustainability.

Rev. Isaac Villegas, Pastor, Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship:

What are the insights of pacifist religious traditions on this issue?

Robert Eshman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles:

What are the insights of Jewish theology on the issue of drone warfare?

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 2 - Legal and Policy Issues


 
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

Session 2 began with a trailer from the film "Unmanned: America’s Drone War"

Domestic and International Law:

What current laws if any, both domestic and international, govern the use of drones? Are these laws being applied and obeyed? Is there a need for stronger enforcement mechanisms for existing standards? Much of 20th Century international law centers on the responsibilities of the nation state. How do these standards apply to private contractors, militant groups and other non-state actors who have not agreed to these standards? Is there a need for new legal standards about the production and use of lethal drones?

The Legal Questions about the U.S. Use Drones:

Authorization: What is the specific authorization for the Administration’s use of drones? If it is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), adopted by Congress in September 2001 that provides blanket authority for the use of “all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and affiliated forces, should that authorization be repealed or amended to be more limited or specific? Is there any other existing authorization that is applicable? Should the U.S. Congress have a greater role in the authorization and oversight of lethal drones and targeted killings?

Transparency and Accountability: What are the moral implications of the Administration’s lack of clarity about the legal justification for the use of drone warfare? Should the Administration be required to fully document the basis for and conduct of each lethal drone strike and make that available to Congress? To the public?

Introduction:

Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Peace Action Education Fund

Moderator:

Jim Winkler, General Secretary, National Council of Churches

Speakers:

Peter Lumsdaine, Founder, Alliance to Resist Robotic Warfare & Society
Gabor Rona, Visiting Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School
Elizabeth Beavers, Legislative Associate, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Wendy Patten, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Policy Center, Washington, DC

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 1 - Basic Facts About Drones


Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

Statement from the Conference Organizers:

U.S. drone strikes continue in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. On the weekend of January 23 - 25, people of faith from across the nation, many representing denominations, faith groups and religious organizations, will come to Princeton Theological Seminary to address the issue of drone warfare.

Those attending will accomplish three tasks:

1. Clarify the nature of lethal drones. Policy recommendations will be made by the conference to the U.S. government. Speakers with expertise in military strategy, international law, U.S. law, and national security will make presentations followed by discussion by all participants.

2. Apply our various traditions to our understanding of drone warfare to more fully understand this issue. People of all faiths are invited to participate.

3. Recommendations will be developed for how the religious community will address this issue.

Session One: Why This Conference, and the Basic Facts about Drones

Introduction: Rev. Richard Killmer, Project Director, Interfaith Conference On Drone Warfare

Moderator: Rabbi Charles M. Feinberg, Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, DC

The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates, Roman Catholic Bishop of Des Moines, Iowa

Jeremy Waldren, University Professor, New York University School of Law

Introduction: Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Peace Action Education

Dr. Rush Holt, CEO, American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science,
Former US Representative for New Jersey's 12th Congressional District

Dr. Maryann Cusimano-Love, Associate Professor of International Relations of The Catholic University of America

Interfaith Worship

Imam Sohaib Sultan, Muslim Chaplain, Princeton University

Rev. Sandy Strauss, Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.

Monday, January 12, 2015

DEC Public Hearing on the Proposed Constitution Pipeline


 
East Middle School, Binghamton, NY
January 12, 2015

Summary of the Arguments Tendered in Favor of the Proposed Pipeline:

1. "I need a job."
 
While I sympathize with this, a transition to renewables would provide many times the number of good, permanent jobs as compared to this or any fossil fool pipeline. And when you get home from work, you'd still have a livable planet.

2. "There will be widespread benefits to the economy."

Again, nothing compared to the benefits of a transition to renewable energy, which will have the added benefit of avoiding the substantial downsides of fossil fuel extraction and use.

3. "The gas will be cheap."

We should not be providing economic incentives to waste energy and to produce more greenhouse gasses. The earth simply cannot afford this.

4. "In the old days we used to just toss oil and chemicals onto the ground and into the water. It didn't hurt us then and it won't hurt us now."
 
No clue as to the fact that cancer and other degenerative diseases are epidemic, and maybe this has something to do with it.

5. "We've been raping and pillaging the planet since ancient times. Why stop now?"

No comment.

6. "The regulatory agencies will protect you."
 
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.
 

From the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:

Public Comments Sought On Draft State Permit Applications For Proposed Construction Of The Interstate Constitution Pipeline

Public Comments Will Be Accepted From Dec. 24, 2014 through Jan. 30, 2015

The public is invited to comment on permit applications the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County that is part of the project. The Constitution Pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would traverse though Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties.
 
Because the proposed pipeline and compressor station upgrade are components of an Interstate Natural Gas Transmission project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was responsible for conducting an environmental review of the project and has the authority to approve the pipeline route. FERC issued a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in October. Additional federal reviews and approvals for the project also are necessary. The FEIS can be viewed at: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20141024-4001 
 
DEC maintains the authority to review applications for specific permits and approvals. These include an Air Title V permit for the proposed compressor station upgrade, as well as a Water Quality Certification, a Protection of Waters permit, a Water Withdrawal permit and a Freshwater Wetlands permit for state-protected wetlands and adjacent areas for the pipeline installation.
 
Comments can be submitted to:
 
Stephen M. Tomasik
DEC - Division of Environmental Permits
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-1750
dec.sm.constitution@dec.ny.gov
 
Copies of the FEIS and DEC permit application documents can be viewed online at: http://www.constitutionpipeline.com/. Printed copies are available at:
 
Information on the Iroquois Wright Compressor Station can viewed at: http://www.iroquois.com/documents/WIP_-_NYSDEC_Air_Permit_Application_7-26-13.pdf.