Gaza Freedom March

We have archived StarHawk’s account of this profound international action:

We did it! Up until the moment we did, I didn’t quite believe we would, but we did.

Went to bed last night thinking, “Yeah, Starhawk, you’ve done this a hundred times, yawn, nerves of steel, sleep like a baby,” and of course I hardly slept at all, adrenaline racing, had to pee a hundred times. Got up this morning ahd rumors were flying around that the Egyptian security forces were blocking the hotels, so we got out quickly. Fortunately I had packed and organized my stuff the night before as that is the part of an action that is most stressful to me. Nothing makes me more crazy than needing to get out the door in a hurry and not being able to find some crucial piece of gear, and I nearly always can’t find some crucial piece of gear, due to that plague of Snatchers that follow me around, hiding my keys, lining their burrows with my socks and decorating them with my ATM cards.

Continue reading “Gaza Freedom March”

Linda Biehl

South Africa has awarded one of its highest civilian honours to a Chicago-born mother who became an international peace activist and motivational speaker following her daughter’s tragic death in Cape Town.

On Monday, Linda Biehl was among the thirty-eight recipients of National Orders for exception contributiongs to the benefit of the country.

President Thabo Mbeki awarded Biehl with the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (bronze class) for “displaying outstanding spirit of forgiveness in the wake of the murder of her daughter and contributing to the promotion of non-racism in post-apartheid South Africa.”

On 25 August 1993, Biehl’s daughter, Amy, an American Fulbright scholar working in South Africa against apartheid, was beaten and stabbed to death in Gugulethu, a township near Cape Town.

In 1998 the four young men convicted of her murder were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) after serving five years of their sentence – a decision that was supported by Amy’s parents.

Easy Nofemela and Ntobeko Peni, two of the convicted men, now work for the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in Cape Town, a charity which dedicates its work to putting up barriers against violence.


Mike Ferner

Ferner, who served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Viet Nam war, was arrested September 20, in the the visitors’ gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives when he and another activist stood up and loudly addressed the members of Congress, saying: “Funding the War is Killing Our Troops!”

Ferner was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with disorderly disturbing Congress, a charge that carries a maximum 6 months jail sentence.

“The government says I was disturbing Congress, but that is not the case,” said Ferner, a freelance writer from Toledo, Ohio. “I stood up in the House Gallery to sound an alarm, and you don’t knock quietly on the door when your neighbor’s house is on fire. You pound and raise your voice as if lives depend on it–and that is exactly what’s happening in Iraq. Thousands of lives are being lost, the war is causing untold suffering, and Congress keeps throwing gasoline on the flames.”

-from David Swanson

Frs. Steve Kelly & Louie Vitale

On Nov. 19, 2006, Kelly and Vitale approached the Fort Huachuca gatehouse in southern Arizona, seeking entry to speak with enlisted personnel and deliver a letter denouncing torture and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. They asked to deliver the letter to Major General Barbara Fast, commander at the post and a key figure in the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. When the priests were not allowed to pass, they knelt in prayer and were soon arrested. They both were cited for trespass and released a couple of hours later.

June 7, 2007. Priests Face Prison for Exposing Torture in Arizona: Torture Training at Ft. Huachuca. By BRENDA NORRELL. CounterPunch

Paradise – American Made

The vision – renovating half of the motel units to be used as for-profit units. This profit, along with the profit generated by restaurant business would be turned back into the veterans’ project, making it possible to develop similar properties in other areas of the country. The remaining rooms would see several renovated to become living quarters for those veterans who choose to stay with us indefinitely as counselors for others, as trainers, and as staff. The balance of rooms are to be used for temporary housing for veterans who choose to apprentice at the property for 3 to 6 months learning a new trade (motel management, maintenance, restaurant management, cooking, computer skills, landscaping, mechanics, horticulture, and any others that develop along the way.) The veterans would operate the restaurant, the service station, and the motel, caring for the property under our supervision and that of counselors and a motel manager who have already committed to assist us. It would become their work, their effort and their pride.

Source: Kevin and Monica Benderman, BendermansBridge, American Made

Hinzman and Hughey

Two U.S. Army deserters who lost a Federal Court of Appeal hearing in their bid to stay in Canada haven’t lost hope and will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, their lawyer says.

“This is not a setback that will dissuade us,” solicitor Jeffry House said of last week’s appeal court ruling.

Still, his clients Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey “are very disappointed,” the court didn’t conclude they should have refugee status.

Source: U.S. deserters plan Supreme Court bid. 2 soldiers who fled to Canada denied refugee status. May 08, 2007 04:30 AM. Leslie Ferenc, Staff Reporter. Toronto Star

Ehren Watada

SEATTLE — A second court-martial is scheduled to begin July 16 for an Army lieutenant who refused to go to Iraq with his Fort Lewis-based Stryker brigade and spoke out against the Bush administration.

The first military trial for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada ended in mistrial after three days when the judge said he didn’t believe Watada fully understood a pretrial agreement he’d signed and that would have cut his sentence to four years.

Source: Army lieutenant’s second court-martial set for July. Melanthia Mitchell, Associated Press, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Feb 28, 2007. Archived at Thank You Lt Watada.

Gold Star Families for Peace

They call themselves Gold Star Families for Peace. Organized less than two months ago, it is part support group and part activist organization, with members united by grief and the belief that their loved ones died in a war that did not have to happen. They represent a small percentage of the families that have lost someone in Iraq — 50 families out of more than 1,450.

Source: February 22nd, 2005 4:15 pm. For Some, a Loss in Iraq Turns Into Antiwar Activism; Gold Star Families Band Together to ‘Make People Care.’ By Evelyn Nieves / Washington Post. Archived at

Cindy Sheehan


November 4, 2004

Dear George,

You don’t mind if I call you George do you? When you sent me a letter offering your condolences on the death of my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, in the illegal and unjust war on Iraq, you called me Cindy, so I naturally assume we are on a first name basis.

George, it has been seven months today since your reckless and wanton foreign policies killed my son, my big boy, my hero, my best-friend: Casey. It has been seven months since your ignorant and arrogant lack of planning for the peace murdered my oldest child. It has been two days since your dishonest campaign stole another election…but you all were way more subtle this time than in 2000, weren’t you? You hardly had to get the Supreme Court of the United States involved at all this week.

Source: Casey’s Peace Page

Camilo Mejia

FORT STEWART – While Army Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia faced his desertion court-martial this past week at Fort Stewart, his mother, Maritza Castillo, stood vigil for two nights in front of the base with about two dozen family members and friends.

She planted herself outside the main gates, holding up a sign expressing how she felt: “Follow your conscience and give peace a chance.”

Source: Mother and soldier son follow their conscience. Even in jail – “I will never abandon him.” Lewis Levine. For Savannah Morning News. Web posted Saturday, May 22, 2004.