It’s been nearly three years since the brutal massacre of 46 mostly young progressives by a neo-Nazi-led mob in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Government repression and right-wing attacks against Odessans demanding justice for that atrocity have been constant, but now have entered a new and much more dangerous stage. [read more]
People in Pakistan have walked over 400km to Islamabad and are camped out in the city to support Aafia Siddique as the 14th year of her abduction approaches. Her support campaign is calling on all of us for help. Today Aafia languishes in solitary confinement in a US prison.
The Aafia campaign urges us to. “Please visit and request influential people, friends and family to participate in events, to show solidarity on social media, to change your DP this week in support of Aafia please help bring up the twitter followers of Aafia movement. And all of you please send a BRIEF video message ASAP. “
WI BOPM urges all to support the freedom and repatriation of Aafia Siddique.
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
Contact: Hatem Abudayyeh, email@example.com, 773.301.4108
Rasmea Odeh, the 69-year old Palestinian American community leader who was tortured and sexually assaulted by the Israeli military in 1969, is bringing to a close her battle to win justice from the U.S. legal system.
After living in this country for over 20 years, Rasmea was charged in 2013 with an immigration violation that was always just a pretext for a broader attempt to criminalize the Palestine liberation movement. She has spent the last three and a half years leading a powerful battle to resist this attack, joined by hundreds of supporters for every court appearance, and thousands of supporters across the country and the world. However, the prospects for a fair trial are slimmer than ever. The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about “terrorism” rather than immigration. There is the great likelihood that a jury would be prejudiced by hearing the zionist Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel call Rasmea a “terrorist” and her supporters “mobs and hordes,” as he has done many times before. As a Palestinian who has dedicated her life to the cause of liberation, it is impossible for Rasmea to expect a fair trial in U.S. courts.
In 1969, as a college student, Rasmea was arrested by the Israeli police, along with as many as 500 others, and accused of involvement in two bombings. She was horrifically tortured for 25 days (including electric shocks and sexual assault), as was her father in her presence; and then tried before a kangaroo Israeli military court. This tribunal has military officers, and not civilians, as prosecutors and judges, and convicts over 99% of its Palestinian prisoners. She was found guilty based on a confession coerced through torture, and then given a life sentence. In 1979, she was freed with other Palestinians in a prisoner exchange.
In her 2014 trial in U.S. federal court, where she was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for allegedly giving false answers to questions on her applications for permanent residency and citizenship, Judge Gershwin Drain prohibited the defense from challenging the legality of the military tribunal or offering proof of her innocence of the bombings. She was also not allowed to put forward that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the torture, but she won an appeal and a new trial expressly based on the excluded torture evidence. Its back against the wall, the government then filed a vindictive new superseding indictment that falsely accused Rasmea of being a “terrorist” and a member of a “designated terrorist organization.”
Under this current, racist political climate, and facing 18 months or more of imprisonment, as well as the possibility of indefinite detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Rasmea has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement. She will plead guilty to Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, lose her U.S. citizenship, and be forced to leave the country, but will exit the U.S. without having to serve any more time in prison or ICE detention, a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years. Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch and Tukel clearly want to dodge a public and legal defense that puts U.S.-backed Israel on trial for its crimes against Rasmea and its continuing crimes against the Palestinian people as a whole.
Through a massive, organized defense campaign, Rasmea Odeh—a long-time icon of the Palestine liberation movement—is now a name known in every corner of the movement for social justice in the U.S. From the Movement for Black Lives in Ferguson, Chicago, and beyond, to the call for a global #WomenStrike on International Women’s Day, Rasmea has become synonymous with resilience and resistance. This fight not only brought her story to the U.S. and the world, but also pushed forward the cause of the liberation of Palestine. She exposed Israel for what it is – a racist occupier and colonizer – and put its policy of torture and sexual assault on the permanent record in a U.S. court of law.
We had practical victories too. When the first judge assigned to Rasmea’s case was exposed as a lifelong supporter of Israel, and it was then found that he had direct financial ties that affirmed this bias, he was forced to remove himself from the case. After the first trial led to a conviction that did not hold up under appeal, Rasmea was taken immediately into custody. Supporters mobilized to demand her release. Within weeks, the movement had helped to post her bond, and Rasmea was back in Chicago, planning her successful appeal and continuing her important community organizing. And Rasmea never once walked into a courthouse alone. Whether by the dozens or the hundreds, at every hearing, every day of trial, from Detroit to Cincinnati, we were with her.
Rasmea’s choice today was not easy, but nothing in this journey has been, and our support continues to be critical. Soon, a hearing date will be set for Judge Drain to consider the plea agreement. We will again call for All Out to Detroit and stand beside her on that difficult day. After that, Rasmea will continue her incredible organizing work wherever she is, and so will we.
As she said to supporters outside the courthouse after the initial verdict, “There is justice in this world, we will find it. We will face injustice and we have to change this world, not just in this country, in all the world in all the places there is no justice, we have to bring the justice together. In spite of everything, we are the stronger people, not the government who is unjust.”
The case of Rasmea Odeh presents us all with an example of how to resist. The current political climate is formidable. The Muslim Ban, attacks on Latino immigrants and Black people, the cuts to programs serving women … these and other attacks will call on each of us to be unwavering, like Rasmea; to be consistent like her supporters; and to never run scared or fall silent in the face of injustice.
Rasmea Defense Committee, led by U.S. Palestinian Community Network and Committee to Stop FBI Repression
March 23rd, 2017
In response to the increasing repression of anti-fascist activists by the government of Ukraine, the U.S.-based Odessa Solidarity Campaign is calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa, to take place on April 10, the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Odessa from fascist occupation. The day will include protests outside Ukrainian embassies, including in Washington, D.C.
Following is the statement calling for the Day of Solidarity. You can support this effort by widely sharing the statement.
For more information about the situation in Odessa, see: www.odessasolidaritycampaign.org.
The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is an all-volunteer team of human rights activists dedicated to supporting the people of Odessa, Ukraine, in their heroic resistance to fascism. More information can be found at our website: www.odessasolidaritycampaign.org.
The OSC is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). www.unacpeace.org.
A Call for an April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!
The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa on April 10, 2017, to draw attention to the Ukrainian government’s repression of anti-fascist activists in that city. We are calling for rallies, vigils and demonstrations outside Ukrainian embassies and consular offices around the world. April 10 is a date of great significance to all Odessans, as it marks the day in 1944 when Odessa was liberated from years of fascist occupation.
February 2014 saw the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine in a violent, right-wing coup supported by the U.S. government. Just three months later, on May 2, Odessa experienced one of Europe’s worst civil disorders in many decades, when 46 mostly young progressives were brutally murdered by a fascist-led mob at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.
Ever since that day, relatives, friends and supporters of those who were killed have been demanding an international investigation into the massacre, a demand that has been blocked by the federal government working hand-in-hand with the fascist organizations responsible for the deaths. This obstruction by the Ukrainian government has been noted by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and other international bodies, as well as the U.S. State Department.
It should be noted that, despite many videos taken of the fascists participating in the massacre, not one of those responsible for the murders has ever been brought to trial, while many anti-fascists arrested that day are still in prison, many never having been charged with a crime.
Each week since the massacre, Odessans have gathered in Kulikovo square to remember their dead and press the demand for an investigation. And nearly every week, neo-Nazi organizations like the notorious Right Sector harass and sometimes physically attack them. The police occasionally intervene, but the fascists are never arrested.
In an alarming new development, several anti-fascist Odessans have been arrested by federal authorities and falsely charged with serious crimes. On Feb. 23, Alexander Kushnarev, 65, a deputy of the Limansk District Council and father of one of the young people murdered at Kulikovo square, was arrested by agents of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Also arrested was Anatoly Slobodyanik, 68, a retired military officer and the head of the Odessa Organization of Veterans of Armed Forces. The Odessan region’s chief prosecutor claims the two men were planning to kidnap a member of the country’s Rada, or parliament.
The Rada deputy, Alexei Goncharenko, a member of a parliamentary bloc allied with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was in fact missing for a short time. But he quickly reappeared and was interviewed on the Ukrainian television channel EspresoTV, stating that his abduction had been staged by law enforcement officers. Kushnarev may have been selected for a government frame-up because Goncharenko was at the scene of the 2014 massacre where Kushnarev’s son was killed.
Kushnarev and Slobodyanik are now languishing in the Odessa prison where conditions are aimed at breaking the prisoners’ will to resist. Both elderly men have had long-standing heart problems and it is feared they may not survive their confinement.
Since the two men were taken into custody, the homes of other relatives of the victims of May 2 have been searched by police. Ominous reports are now surfacing about plans to arrest more relatives and supporters and extract “confessions” of plans to commit violent acts against the government.
Since the coup of 2014, the right of the Ukrainian people to free speech has been steadily restricted. The continuing demand of Odessans for an international investigation into the massacre at Kulikovo square has been a particular irritant to the federal government. If the voices of these brave people are allowed to be silenced, Ukraine will have taken another huge step toward becoming an undemocratic police state in collusion with murderous fascist groups.
All out for the April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!
Free Alexander Kushnarev, Anatoly Slobodyanik & all political prisoners in Ukraine!
Stop the repression against relatives & supporters of those killed on May 2, 2014!
No to fascism in Ukraine & all over the world!
The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).
It was founded in May 2016 following the second anniversary memorial of the massacre of May 2, 2014.
A delegation of UNAC members from the United States attended the memorial, which was held at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.
Save the date for the “Stop the Wars at Home& Abroad!” conference, to be hosted by UNAC the weekend of June 16 – 18, 2017.
All across the United States, people are rising up against the destructive policies of Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress.
Massive protests took place during Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The next day, millions of women and their supporters turned out in some of the largest mobilizations seen in decades. From solidarity vigils to clashes in the streets, the people are defiantly saying we will not accept the ultra-reactionary policies spewing forth from the White House. No wall! No ban! No deportations! No more police murders! No attacks on reproductive freedom! No Dakota Pipeline! No oppression of lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans people! NO WARS! [read more]
Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1208020632638814/
Register for the conference now: http://www.unacconference2017.org/p/registration-form.html
View the conference web site: http://www.unacconference2017.org
View a report of UNAC’s last conference: http://nepajac.org/UNAC_052015.html
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com.
On March 7, 2017, Lynne Stewart, the “People’s Lawyer,” died peacefully at her home in Brooklyn. Below is an article about her life written by Jeff Mackler of the UNAC Administrative Committee.
Two incidents serve well to highlight peoples’ attorney Lynne Stewart’s extraordinary life in the service of humanity.
Charged with “conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism,” Lynne took the witness stand in early 2005 at the close of her nine-month frame-up trial presided over by Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl in New York City. Stewart was asked by her attorney, Michael Tigar, why she had issued a press release on behalf of her client, the “blind” Sheik and Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel Rahman, when she knew that doing so was a violation of a Special Administrative Order (SAM) that prohibited Rahman from engaging in contact with anyone, anywhere, other than his attorneys. Rahman had been falsely convicted in 1995 of participating in a New York City terrorist conspiracy and was serving a life-sentence in Rochester, Minn [read more: http://nepajac.org/lynnestewart.htm]
Huge news: On April 4, we fight for equality, we fight for fair pay, and we fight for The Dream. Join us >>
Why am I fighting?
Because every single day, I walk home from work at McDonald’s – where I’m paid next to nothing.
I can’t live on just a few dollars an hour. My family can’t live on it. And I won’t stand for it any longer.
Nearly 50 years ago, right here in my hometown of Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while standing with striking sanitation workers fighting like I am for The Dream of fair pay and racial justice.
Today, in Memphis, we are still fighting and have faced widespread illegal surveillance and intimidation to stifle worker protest from the Memphis Police and McDonald’s.
On April 4, I’ll be carrying on that dream right here in Memphis – because economic and racial justice are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. That’s why the Fight for $15 and the Movement for Black Lives, America’s two most powerful social movements, are joining together in resistance and protest.
No matter where you are, you can join us. At 6:01 pm CT, the moment Dr. King was shot, we will hold a national moment of silence to honor our civil rights legacy and consider, “What is Our Dream?”
As Dr. King said, “white supremacy and corporate greed have always been linked in America,” and right now Republican leaders across the country are pushing radical laws to crack down on protest movements. They’re working to block cities from raising wages. They’re trying to tear up the Voting Rights Act and keep us from the polls while they demonize and deport our neighbors.
Now, more than ever, we have to band together as a movement for fair pay, as a movement for black lives, as a movement for immigrant rights, and as a movement – above all – for justice.
When corporate-backed politicians move to break unions and refuse to bargain with workers.
When families struggle to pay bills and more than half of black and Latino workers make less than $15 an hour.
When a woman like me works all day long to feed her child and still can’t make ends meet.
We must stand together. Commit now to join us on April 4.
Together, we are still fighting for The Dream.
Hear firsthand how Cuban believers in the gospel worked to support the goals of the revolution for free and universal healthcare and education, and to bridge the gap between church and government. After years of effort, COEBAC (the Coordination of Baptist Students and Workers in Cuba), which was founded in 1974 by progressive Baptist university students, prevailed and eventually showed that there was no conflict between faith and revolution.
Gladys Abella was a student at the triumph of the revolution in 1959 and has been active in COEBAC. She is currently a leader of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Marianao, Havana and works for the Cuban Council of Churches. Ms. Abella played a key role in the creation of the historic Martin Luther King Center in Havana, a project of the Ebenezer Baptist church.
Please join us to hear her story as a student activist and now an established leader of one of Cuban’s most prominent churches and non-governmental organizations. She will also share her thoughts on the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King and current issues relating to US-Cuba policy from a Cuban perspective.