Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Ustan b. Reinart
Law & Order
John M. Laforge
Press The Press
Dru Oja jay
Lee Siu hin
Z Papers on Vision
An interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Herbert P. Bix
European Union News
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Opponents Prevail Over Dirty Bombs
the span of five days, separate juries found two groups of anti-
war activists “not-guilty” of trespass last December.
Such verdicts are extremely rare, but four different juries have
now sided with peace activists who refused to leave the premises
of the biggest arms merchant in Minnesota—Alliant Techsystems,
Inc. (ATK)—before getting an appointment. After refusing to
talk with them last July, the company’s managers had them arrested.
Along with an identical acquittal in October 2003, and a similar
one in 1997, the politically-charged trials—all conducted by
different judges in Hennepin County District courts—have vindicated
a total of 106 people. The 1997 group—79 protesters in all—won
a “not guilty” verdict after showing that the outlaw status
of land mines excused what otherwise appeared to be trespassing.
This past January and May, three other groups of alleged trespassers had their charges dropped just prior to trial. Another group of 34 civil resisters arrested March 14 had charges dismissed on a technicality—a hastily-enacted Edina city ordinance had not been officially published, i.e., enacted, before it was charged against the protesters.
Alliant Tech, a $2.4 billion weapons giant headquartered in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, is one of the nation’s foremost producers of “depleted” uranium munitions (DU). The armor-piercing shells are made of radioactive waste uranium-238 left over after uranium-235 has been removed for use in reactor fuel and H-bombs. The misnomer “depleted” is a soothing Pentagon distraction, since DU is “depleted” only of uranium-235. The shells are solid radioactive waste and turn into chemically toxic and carcinogenic dust when they smash and burn through hard targets.
Three of the defendants in the December 14 acquittal had visited Iraq and seen firsthand the consequences of using nuclear waste as a weapon of war. Jane Hosking, John Heid, and Mike Miles—all of Anathoth Community Farm, an intentional anti-war community near Luck, Wisconsin, testified as witnesses to the documented increases in cancer and leukemia in southern Iraq since the U.S.’s 1991 bombardment.
Hundreds of tons of the waste uranium shells have been used by the U.S. against Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo. The U.S. military fired at least 340 tons of DU into Iraq in 1991 and from 176 to 200 tons during its March 2003 bombardment; five tons into Bosnia in 1994-1995; and between 10 and 12 tons into Kosovo in 1999. Estimates of how much was used in the 2001 bombardment of Afghanistan vary widely, but the Uranium Medical Research Center (www.umrc. org) claims 2,000 tons. In November 2004, Iraq’s U.S.-picked provisional government had the nerve to ask the UN for help in cleaning up the uranium dust spread across the country by U.S. and British forces during the 1991 and 2003 attacks. The UN declined, saying the U.S. had not provided it with maps of where its DU was used.
The use of DU created a European uproar in January 2001 when pollution left from the bombing of Kosovo was found to contain plutonium and other highly radioactive fission products created inside reactors. The Pentagon’s Kenneth Bacon had to acknowledge that, “We discovered some stray elements...in depleted uranium. They consisted of plutonium, neptunium and americium.” Since then, Italy, Germany, Norway, Greece, and other NATO allies have called for a moratorium on the use of DU, hundreds of protests have taken place across Europe, and numerous civil resistance arrests have taken place at ATK and other DU manufacturers in the U.S.
The Pentagon calls its DU shells “tank busters.” In fact, they don’t always work as such because the angle of impact must be within a small range to avoid ricochets or duds. When they do make a hit, uranium shells are more properly called “gene busters,” because the pulverized uranium-238 can be inhaled or ingested. Inside human bodies, DU attacks the gene pool, bombarding surrounding tissues and damaging chromosomes in successive generations—for eons. Uranium-238 is a heavy metal toxin, like lead or mercury, with a radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years.
About 700,000 tons of DU were produced at government-owned uranium enrichment plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Portsmouth, Ohio. The government gives this waste uranium metal free to weapons merchants. They then turn around and sell the shells to the government. Even the small caliber (30mm) shells bring $21.50 a piece, according to the Wall Street Journal, quoting the Air Force. The Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt—sometimes called the “Warthog”—fires 30mm DU shells at a rate of 3,600 shells per minute (or 60 rounds per second). The war profiteering is almost mind boggling. (ATK is also the country’s top bullet maker. The company announced last April that its Lake City, Missouri plant had produced 1.2 billion bullets for the U.S. Army in a period of 12 months. Over the next 12 it plans to make another 1.5 billion bullets.)
According to its own promotional materials, ATK has made over 18 million DU shells—16 million 30mm and 2 million 120mm “anti-tank” rounds. The uranium “penetrators,” as the company calls them, are “pyrophoric”—they burn through tank armor and self- sharpen as they punch through. (Tungsten also works to smash through tank armor, but its importation is expensive.)
T he six-person jury in the case— and in similar trials December 10, 2004, and October 18, 2003—decided that the defendants’ argument was reasonable even if technically “mistaken.” As the judge told the jury, “If defendants acted in good faith under claim of right, even if reasonably mistaken as to this right, you must find the defendants not guilty.”
ATK’s uranium munitions can’t be squared with the Geneva Conventions, which require protection of civilians and which forbid long-term environmental destruction; and DU also violates the 1907 Hague Regulations’ prohibition of poisoned weapons.
Because of the uranium pollution found in Bosnia and Kosovo, governments and NGOs around the world have pressed for independent studies of DU’s effects and have recommended a halt to its use until its dangers are better understood. International efforts to rid the world of uranium weapons appear the strongest in Europe. The legal victories in Minnesota will put the U.S. anti-DU movement on the map with other international campaigns.
The October 2003 trial ended in acquittal just as an international uranium weapons conference in Hamburg, Germany (www.uraniumweaponsconference.de) was wrapping up its work. Two-hundred delegates from 23 countries resolved that the U.S. and the UK must: (1) provide medical treatment and compensation to DU-contaminated troops and civilians; (2) clean-up and decontaminate DU- targeted areas in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and (3) join in efforts to prohibit the manufacture, sale, stockpiling, or use of DU.
The UN Environment Program has recommended, “Continued monitoring is clearly needed and the local [Kosovo] population should be informed about DU issues.” The UN Sub-Commission On Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities has resolved that “states...need to curb the production and spread of weapons of mass destruction and indiscriminate effect, in particular... weaponry containing depleted uranium....”
The European Parliament, in its “resolution on the consequences of using depleted uranium munitions,” called upon member states that are also in NATO “to propose that a moratorium be placed on the use of depleted uranium weapons....” The resolution also called for “measures to provide assistance to civilian victims and to protect the environment” in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In Minneapolis, activists explained to the jury that after World War II the laws of war changed in two ways. First, prior to the Holocaust, acts of mass destruction were outlawed, but prosecutions were possible only after-the-fact. At Nuremberg, German judges, military officers, and private industrialists were tried and the “planning and preparation” of illegal warfare was criminalized. Nuremberg’s purpose in punishing “inchoate crimes” or crimes-in-the-making— by outlawing production of weapons that can’t be used legally—was to insure that ordinary citizens can act to prevent wartime atrocities.
Second, the Nuremberg Tribunal held individuals responsible for their actions even if they were fulfilling government contracts or just “following orders.” The prosecution, led by a U.S. Supreme Court justice, demanded then that if mass destruction is made legal by the state, then the state must be disobeyed.
The Nuremberg Tribunal declared, “International law, as such, binds every citizen, just as does ordinary municipal law. The fact that a person acts pursuant to his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact available.”
The cumulative effect of Nurem- berg, the Geneva Conventions, and the Hague Regulations is that citizens are rightfully allowed to interfere with the government’s criminal acts. In Minnesota law, juries don’t have to agree with this analysis. They only have to find that it is legally reasonable.
As we explained in our closing argument at trial, “In a nutshell, the law says: It is forbidden to use poison or poisoned weapons; to use weapons that do severe, long-term damage to the environment; to use weapons that cannot distinguish between civilians and soldiers, or to use materials or devices that are similar to gas; the planning or preparation of wars that would violate binding treaties is itself a crime; individuals are personally responsible for their participation in these crimes—which is to say that we must all avoid such participation; finally, binding treaties and agreements are officially elevated to the position of ‘the Supreme Law of the Land’ by the Constitu- tion of the United States.”
To date, four juries have recognized the citizen’s right to nonviolent obstinacy in the face of official wrongdoing. In the case of refusing to leave ATK’s “dirty bomb” headquarters until we were granted a meeting, we attempted an act of crime prevention.
Not only did we win our case, but government prosecutors can now consider bringing charges against the real criminals.
John M. LaForge lives at the Anathoth Community Farm where he works on the staff of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental action group based in Wisconsin ( firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.