Mary Anne Grady Flores for free speech
We sat stunned in the packed courtroom on July 10 as a town justice sentenced longtime Catholic Worker activist Mary Anne Grady Flores, grandmother of three, to a year in prison. Her crime? Being the first to allegedly violate an Order of Protection, issued to over fifty activists since late 2012, for nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY, home base for remote pilots of weaponized drones.
Orders of Protection are typically served to protect victims of domestic violence. Mary Anne’s was issued to “protect” Hancock’s commander, who wanted to keep protesters away. The judge, insisting that protest at Hancock “has got to stop,” apparently hoped that these fraudulent Orders and Mary Anne’s draconian sentence would stifle dissent.
But while appeals are being filed and Mary Anne is out on $5,000 bail, the protests by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones are only intensifying. Mary Anne’s younger sister Clare Grady, attempting to serve the base with a “People’s Order of Protection” on July 23, violated her Order of Protection and got $10,000 bail.
Before being led away to jail, Mary Anne had asked the court, “Who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves?” The fight for those victims continues undaunted at Hancock.
Doug Noble, Rochester, NY
Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh
The trial of Rasmea Yousef Odeh will begin on 4 November, the new federal judge on the case decided in Detroit on Sept. 2.
But Odeh, a community leader in Chicago, hopes that the judge will dismiss the charges when he rules on key defense motions in coming weeks.
The Detroit hearing was the first before U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain, assigned to the case after the original judge, Paul D. Borman, a lifelong activist and fundraiser for Zionist causes, finally recused himself.
Dozens of Odeh’s supporters rallied outside the courthouse, where they heard a call for increased solidarity between Palestinians and African American communities confronting police violence, torture and repression.
Odeh’s indictment “is the product of an illegal investigation, and should be quashed as politically motivated and based on the selective use of the criminal law to target protected political work.”
Excerpted from Electronic Intifada Online News
PHOTOS ARE TELLING
Thought you might be interested to know that our Dutch house guest saw your article [Europe: Austerity Breeds Electoral Advances by the far right, Vol. 35, No. 4.] She commented unflatteringly about each [neo-Nazi] photo, then asked if she could take the article with her when she returns to Utrecht.
Sunny, Edmonds, Wash.
BLOCK THE BOAT
Israeli ship stopped
There is no question as to how immensely successful the Block the Boat protest at the Port of Oakland was, led by Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and arranged with the help of countless organizations. Thousands of protesters, including an estimated 5,000 who marched on the Port of Oakland on August 16, prevented the Israeli ship Zim Piraeus from unloading by keeping workers from crossing their picket line to enter the port for a historic four days, making it “the longest blockade of an Israeli ship” according to AROC.
Block the Boat was not only successful in keeping the Israeli ship Zim Piraeus from unloading its cargo but due specifically to this action, a number of companies are now either putting a hold on all products using Zim vessels or reconsidering using Zim Lines, the largest Israeli ship company. This is an impressive achievement by the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Roqayah Chamseddine, Sydney-based Lebanese-American journalist
Everyone’s an immigrant
I am the descendant of immigrants and Muskogee and Seminole Americans. My first immigrant ancestors were greeted with food and kindness. It helped that they married the Natives, rather than steal their land.
My next ancestors were German and did okay. Then the Irish arrived, “No Irish Need Apply” signs were everywhere. Italians, Eastern Europeans, and others were greeted the same way.
I see the same attitudes today from U.S.-born descendants of those immigrants. Why didn’t they learn from their ancestors? People immigrated because things were terrible at home. What if Native Americans had greeted the first immigrants the same way?
Linde Knighton, Seattle
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