Tuesday, December 17, 2013

War journalist, Ann Jones writes about JROTC

A message from Rick Jahnkow of the Project on Youth and Nonmilitary Opportunities about a recent article by journalist, Ann Jones about how JROTC programs train kids to be soldiers:

A powerful article that will stimulate some discussion: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-jones/americas-child-soldiers_b_4450935.htmlTwo relatively minor errors: JROTC rifles now use gas-propelled pellets, and the minimum salary schools are required to pay instructors is not what their active duty salary would be (it's a more complicated formula, see "How JROTC Contributes to the School Funding Crisis" at http://www.projectyano.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=54&Itemid=62). 

--Rick JahnkowProgram CoordinatorProject on Youth and Non-Military Opportunitieswww.projectyano.org

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Human Rights Day at Crockett HS

Today is International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948.  We visited Crockett HS during lunch with our usual materials, chin-up bar, block print art, peace wheel and a poster that students could write on that asked, "Which rights are most important to you?"  We had copies of the 30 points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document.  The "peace strong" chin-up bar drew a crowd, and we appreciated talking with the students who stopped by.  Some students were aware of the honors being given to Nelson Mandela today in South Africa.  As several students said, "Peace DOES take courage."

a new linoleum block print that students can use to print their own paper folders

student art

student art

Nice!  A holiday tree in the library made of books

We agree!

school poster -- sounds like a good way to learn physical self-defense

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

US weaponized drones are killing civilians

From last weekend's edition of The New York Times:

Questions on Drone Strike Find Only Silence

T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a Yemeni who lost relatives in a drone strike, visited Washington this week.
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WASHINGTON — Standing on the marble floor just outside the House chamber, Faisal bin Ali Jaber looked lost in the human river of hard-charging lobbyists, members of Congress and staffers. It is not every day that a victim of American drone strikes travels 7,000 miles to Washington to look for answers.
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T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, center, with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, left, and Baraa Shiban, who investigates drone strikes.
Now he stood face to face with Representative Adam B. Schiff — a California Democrat who had carved out 20 minutes between two votes on natural gas policy — to tell his story: how he watched in horror last year as drone-fired missiles incinerated his nephew and brother-in-law in a remote Yemeni village.
Neither of the victims was a member of Al Qaeda. In fact, the opposite was true. They were meeting with three Qaeda members in hopes of changing the militants’ views.
“It really puts a human face on the term ‘collateral damage,’ ” said Mr. Schiff, looking awed after listening to Mr. Jaber.
A gaunt civil engineer with a white mustache, Mr. Jaber spent the past week struggling to pierce the veil of secrecy and anonymity over the Obama administration’s drone strike program, which targets militants in the hinterlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. He did not have much luck.
He met at length with a half-dozen members of Congress, as well as officials from the National Security Council and the State Department. Everywhere, he received heartfelt condolences. But no one has been able to explain why his relatives were killed, or why the administration is not willing to acknowledge its mistake.
It was an error with unusual resonance. Mr. Jaber’s brother-in-law was a cleric who had spoken out against Al Qaeda shortly before the drone killed him. The nephew was a local policeman who had gone along in part to offer protection. The strike, in August 2012, drew widespread indignation in Yemen, and was documented in The New York Times and later by human rights groups, along with a number of other strikes that accidentally killed innocent people.
A Yemeni counterterrorism official called Mr. Jaber hours after the strike to apologize for the mistake. Mr. Jaber wrote an open letter to President Obama, but received no answer. The same is true of a Pakistani family who lost a grandmother in a drone strike and visited Washington briefly late last month, in what appears to be the first such visit to Congress.
In May, Mr. Obama responded to rising criticism of the targeted killing program and acknowledged in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington that some innocent people had been killed. The president promised greater transparency, but the administration still refuses to discuss specific strikes or to apologize or pay compensation for strikes that went wrong. When American officials have offered estimates of civilian casualties in drone strikes, their numbers have been far lower than those given by research groups and journalists.
Mr. Jaber’s visit — and that of the Pakistani family — comes as a congressional effort is building to force the administration’s hand. Early this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee added to the annual intelligence policy bill a requirement for an annual report giving the number of “combatants” and “noncombatant civilians” killed or injured in the previous year in drone strikes outside conventional wars. The report would give only total numbers, not details of each strike or the names of those killed.
Mr. Schiff, who met Mr. Jaber on Wednesday, plans to sponsor a similar bill in the House.
Mr. Jaber’s visit was sponsored by the peace group Code Pink, which organized an accompanying protest in front of the White House last week, and Reprieve, a human rights group based in London.
Unlike some of the activists who embraced him and apologized to him wherever he went, Mr. Jaber strikes a very humble and unassuming attitude about his family’s tragedy. He says he does not presume to pass judgment on the drone strike program itself, but wants acknowledgment and an apology.
“I learned two things,” he said when asked to sum up his week in Washington. “First, the American people and their organizations are very kind and well meaning, and the Congress members also were very sympathetic. But on the other side, there are politicians who seem to be trying to keep everything secret.”
Mr. Jaber offers a harrowing account of the drone strike. It was the day after his son’s wedding in his native village, Khashamir, and he was eating dinner at home with several relatives when they heard a whirring from the sky. Looking out the window, he and his relatives saw a flash, and then heard a series of terrific crashes, “as if the whole mountain had exploded.” The village erupted in panic.
Mr. Jaber’s daughter, who was very close to the strike, was so traumatized that she did not get out of bed for three weeks, he said. The mother of one of the dead men went into a coma after she heard the news and died a month later.
When Mr. Jaber arrived on the scene that night, less than a mile from his house, he found bits of charred human flesh spread on the ground, he said. It was not until two hours later, through the accounts of witnesses, that the identities of the dead men and what had happened to them became clear.
Mr. Jaber’s brother-in-law, the imam, had been approached earlier that evening by three Qaeda militants who were angry about a speech the imam had delivered condemning terrorism. The imam reluctantly agreed to talk to the men, but just in case he was accompanied by Mr. Jaber’s nephew, the policeman. The volley of missiles killed all five men.
Like most Yemenis, Mr. Jaber deplores the influence of Al Qaeda in his country, which is one of the world’s poorest. He fears that the drone strikes are fostering greater militancy and anger at America. But above all, he finds the administration’s silence baffling.
At one point during his week in Washington, Mr. Jaber got a tour of the National Mall and other landmarks with another Yemeni who had been flown over for the visit, a young woman named Entesar al-Qadhi. Both of them said they were overwhelmed by the dignity and calm of the Mall, so different from the crowds and poverty of Yemen.
“They have such a beautiful country here, such a beautiful city,” Ms. Qadhi said as she strolled along. “Why do they need to go chasing someone with bombs in the desert?”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Speaking out about rape against men within the military

As a survivor of military sexual assault, Brian Lewis has been a courageous spokesperson on the issue of male-on-male rape within the armed forces.  His witness before Congress has helped shine a light on this often-hidden crime. As he says, "Sexual assault just really takes a rip out of the core of a human being, male or female....There's this perception that men aren't to be violated this way, and it makes it very difficult for men to come forward and break that social taboo....  Sexual assault is a crime about power and control.  It's not a crime based on sexual orientation."  Here is an article from this week's Washington Post:

Hidden face of a military problem

By Ruth Marcus, Published: November 21, 2013

Even now, 13 years later, Brian Lewis, a former Navy petty officer 3rd class, has difficulty describing how he was raped at knifepoint by a superior officer.
Lewis, stocky in a Harley-Davidson T-shirt, with hair as close-cropped as a newly enlisted sailor’s, pauses for long moments and frequently squeezes his eyes shut as he tells the story.
Lewis, now 34, was stationed aboard the submarine tender USS Frank Cable out of Guam. A more senior petty officer invited Lewis to dinner, took him to a beach at the naval station and assaulted him.
But the attack was, in some ways, not the worst of Lewis’ ordeal. A friend who found him afterward insisted that Lewis report the incident, which he did.
Then, Lewis said, “a few days later a very senior member of the chain of command informed me that I was not to pursue anything further” with criminal investigators.
“It was a very huge disappointment to know that the chain of command was going to throw me aside because my assailant was a senior person, [had an important job] and of course you can’t ignore the possibility of the commanding officer and senior people making rank,” Lewis said. “What commanding officer wants to have to pick up the phone, call his boss and say, ‘Excuse me, I’ve had a sexual assault or I’ve had a rape aboard my ship’? That’s a black mark on the officer’s record.”
Lewis, who said he has since learned that his attacker had assaulted at least one other sailor previously, was sent for mental health counseling, where a doctor cleared him to return to the ship, saying “it would do good to be exposed to the environment again.”
That was not a good idea. “I was constantly scared. I was afraid for my life,” Lewis said. “There’s only so many places to run inside a 600-foot-long ship.” His assailant remained on board, hard to avoid in such a contained environment.
Lewis was transferred to San Diego, where his Navy psychiatrist eventually accused Lewis of lying about the attack. He was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and given a less-than-honorable general discharge.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has since been treating Lewis for the post-traumatic stress disorder that the Navy psychiatrist had declared a fiction. He has suffered from depression and attempted suicide several times. “Sexual assault just really takes a rip at the core of a human being, male or female,” he said. “Why would I want to continue [living] when there’s no justice to be had?”
Lewis’ experience sounds both recognizable and unfamiliar. His description of a system that ignored claims and blamed victims is sadly common. Military commanders assert that times have changed; Lewis begs to differ.
“We’ve heard the same tired refrain of zero tolerance” for years, he said. Commanders, arguing against proposals such as that by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to take such cases out of the chain of command, insist it would compromise their authority. Still, Lewis notes, “26,000 victims per year is not good military order and discipline.”
But his is also the hidden face of the problem of sexual assault in the military. Women are more likely than men to be the victims in such cases. But in sheer numbers, more military men than women are targets of assault, mostly by other men.
“One of the big differences is the sense of public shame and scorn,” said Lewis. “There’s this perception that men aren’t to be violated this way and it makes it very difficult for men to come forward and break that social taboo.”
In March, Lewis became the first male victim to testify before Congress about military sexual assault; he used his testimony to thank his partner. “Being homosexual has nothing to do with sexual assault,” Lewis said. “Sexual assault is . . . a crime about power and control. It’s not a crime based on sexual orientation.”
But Lewis’s sexuality, at a time when don’t ask, don’t tell was the law, made his situation even more difficult. “I was put in a terrible position,” he said. “I was told that this is homosexual contact.”
He has earned a bachelor’s degree, is on the brink of a master’s in paralegal studies, and is applying to law school, intending to advocate for veterans.

“I don’t get much of a choice,” Lewis said of his decision to go public. “If I don’t talk about it, if men in general don’t talk about it, we’re not going to get the help that we need.”

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sexual Assault in the military: what will stop it?

Here's a good article from Mother Jones that explains the different Congressional approaches being considered right now regarding the epidemic of sexual assault within the military.  I support the bill by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and so do several veterans' organizations, including Iraq Veterans Against the War, who sent out a notice today linking to this article.

A primary part of the problem, as I see it, is that both of these measures mostly have to do with how sex crimes are reported and punished in the military.  They do not address root causes that have to do with sexism, violence and objectification of human beings that is ingrained in the training of recruits.  Until these issues are openly discussed and military culture changes in fundamental ways, sexual assault against both women and men in the military is likely to remain a very serious risk for recruits.

The Fight Over How to Stop Military Sexual Assault, Explained

This week the Senate will begin consideration of legislation to curb sexual assault in the military. But there's a battle raging over how to solve the problem.

| Wed Nov. 20, 2013 6:57 AM PST
The military's sexual assault problem has reached epidemic levels. Some 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012, according to a report released this summer by the Department of Defense (DOD)—up from 19,000 in 2010. This week, the Senate will begin consideration of legislation to curb the crisis. But a battle has emerged over how to solve the problem.
The background: Under the military justice system, if a service member is assaulted, the commander of the alleged perpetrator has the final say over whether charges should be brought.* Commanding officers are also allowed to overturn sexual assault convictions. Top military brass say that commanders need this kind of prosecutorial discretion to maintain order and discipline within the ranks.
Two members of the Senate armed services committee—Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)—disagree, and have put forward plans to reform the system. But they're at odds over how to fix it. Gillibrand heads up a coalition that believes military commanders should no longer have control over sexual assault cases, because current policy deters reporting of sex crimes and lets predators off the hook. McCaskill and her supporters in the Senate say Gillibrand's solution could actually increase retaliation against victims who report assaults, and could prevent some victims from bringing charges against attackers.
McCaskill's solution: McCaskill's proposal would allow commanders to keep their power to decide whether to prosecute an alleged sexual predator. An outside civilian panel would have the power to review cases in which commanders decide to forgo prosecution.
McCaskill's legislation would also forbid commanders from dismissing court martial convictions in cases of rape and sexual assault; mandate dishonorable discharge for anyone convicted of sexual assault; eliminate the statute of limitations in rape and sexual assault cases; and criminalize retaliation against a victim who reports an assault. ThePentagon's 2013 report on sexual assault noted that many victims, fearing retaliation from commanders and colleagues, do not report attacks.
McCaskill also recently proposed allowing sexual assault victims to challenge a discharge from the service, and extending the new protections to the military service academies. She has said her legislation "will make our military the most victim-friendly organization in the world."
Gillibrand says McCaskill's plan doesn't go far enough: Gillibrand agrees with McCaskill's fixes, but says they are not sufficient to end the climate of fear in the armed services that has kept victims from reporting assaults. Earlier this year, Gillibrand introduced a proposal that would remove commanders' power to make decisions about cases involving sexual assault. If she gets her way, only military prosecutors would be allowed to decide whether to pursue charges. This summer, the armed services committee voted against Gillibrand's plan. The senator is now attempting to corral enough backing in the full Senate to resurrect her legislation. The Senate will vote on the matter this week.
McCaskill, a former prosecutor who specialized in sex crimes, says that the Gillibrand proposal sounds logical but won't work. One reason, she argues, is that it could increase retaliation, because victims wouldn't have the support of commanders to move forward on a sexual assault case. In cases in which prosecutors decline to pursue charges, she adds, victims would be out of luck. "Over the past two years, there have been at least 93 cases in which prosecutors declined to pursue charges, but in which a commander launched a court martial,"McCaskill wrote in an op-ed at the Huffington Post Monday. "Many of those courts-martial resulted in convictions. That's 93 victims who would never have had their day in court if commanders lost the ability to bring a case to court martial."
Team Gillibrand: Support for the two senators' military sexual assault fixes does not break down neatly along party lines, nor along gender lines. Sixteen of the 20 women in the Senate back Gillibrand's proposal, as do Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Several veterans groups, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Service Womens Action Network, support Gillibrand's solution. So do about 30 women's groups. About a dozen retired military officers and the DOD's advisory committee on women in the services have also put their weight behind Gillibrand's amendment.
The New York senator has said she has so far won over 50 senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but she still has not secured the votes of the 60 senators needed to overcome a filibuster.
Team McCaskill: McCaskill's more moderate solution has the backing of nearly all of the senators on the armed services committee, including two Republican women—Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). Her proposal also has the approval of most of the top military brass, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and General Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff. All three military service associations have come out in support of McCaskill's plan, as have many vets groups, and the top Judge Advocate Generals (JAG)—high-level military lawyers—in each service.
Then again, the military is suppressing support of Gillibrand's plan: The Nation reported last week that the military is actively encouraging members of the military to lobby against Gillibrand's legislation. One JAG told The Nation that his superiors had made it clear to him that if he were to publicly support of her amendment, "It would kill my chances of ever having a good job again…I would be ostracized…It would be the end of my career."
Who will win? It's hard to say. Both senators are still actively drumming up support for their proposals. Since Reid supports Gillibrand's proposal, undecided Dems may be more likely to get behind her plan.
This is one policy area where the GOP House is unlikely to block Senate Democrat-backed legislation. This summer, the House passed a defense bill that contained many of McCaskill's reforms. And Rep. Dan Benisheck (R-Mich.) is working to gin up the support for Gillibrand-style reform in the House.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Berea College: a sustainable education that you work for

One of the college brochures at our SOY table is for Berea College.  This is a unique school located near the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.  I visited the campus this fall, and it is impressive and beautiful.

If you are a student who wants a good liberal arts education and have limited resources to pay for college, check out this school.  Instead of charging tuition, the school operates on a work-study model.  They also stress learning crafts and ecology.  We saw furniture made by Berea students that was finely crafted and met a Berea alum who is a master weaver in the town of Berea.  Now is the time to apply for Fall, 2014 admissions.  Here is more info about the school from their home page:

About the College

Berea College is distinctive among institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1855 as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, Berea charges no tuition and admits only academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. 
Berea offers rigorous undergraduate academic programs leading to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 28 fields.  All students work at least 10 hours per week in campus and service jobs in more than 130 departments.
The College has an inclusive Christian character, expressed in its motto ”God has made of one blood all peoples of the Earth.”  Berea’s primary service region is the Southern Appalachian region, but students come from all states in the U.S. and in a typical year, from more than 60 other countries representing a rich diversity of colors, cultures, and faiths. About one in three students represents an ethnic minority.
Berea continues to build upon a distinctive history of 150 years of learning, labor and service, and find new ways to apply our mission (the Great Commitments) to contemporary times bypromoting kinship among all people, serving communities in Appalachia and beyond and living sustainably to conserve limited natural resources.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Early College programs in Austin

It was good to see this story in this weekend's Austin American-Statesman about the two Early College High Schools in AISD : at LBJ and at Reagan.  Students in the program can get up to two years of college credits for no fees while still in high school.  Courses are taught by ACC instructors.  This is a great opportunity for students.  Here's the story:

Program gives Austin students jump-start on college

15-year-olds earning college credits at two high schools as Early College program ramps up.

Only a sophomore in high school, Jenifer Sanchez already will have 19 hours of college credit in December.
By the time she graduates from LBJ High School in Austin, she plans to be halfway through with her bachelor’s degree, and then the first in her family to graduate from college. She sees it as a path to a high-paying career and freedom from the money worries that have nagged her family.
The Austin school district is in its third year of offering the Early College High School program at LBJ and Reagan high schools. The program is one of several efforts that the district has put in place to boost the number of low-income and minority students who attend college, and it’s part of a regional push to get more kids into college that involves the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the University of Texas Ray Marshall Center.
Districtwide, 58 percent of Austin students enroll in college straight from high school, a rate that has been stagnant for the past six years. The numbers are lower at both LBJ and Reagan high schools: 54 percent at LBJ and 34 percent at Reagan. The rate doesn’t include students who take college courses during high school, but the program is geared to help increase the number of students who attend college directly after high school. Another aim of the program, district officials say, is to spur a cultural shift so students see themselves as college material.
Edmund Oropez, district associate superintendent of high schools, said the program gives options to low-income families and students who attend schools that have historically underperformed.
“We believe this could take us down the road to breaking some of those cycles of poverty,” he said.
In Texas, the Early College High School initiative started in 2004, and it has 21,510 students enrolled. About 72 percent of those in the program are Hispanic, 72 percent low-income and 65 percent are first-generation college attendees. There are 65 early college high schools in Texas, but most function as a program within a traditional comprehensive high school, enrolling 100 students at each grade level.
Getting credit
LBJ and Reagan both open the program to any student who passes a college readiness test. There are 881 students at LBJ and 1,173 students at Reagan who are enrolled in the program. In total, they’ve received nearly 4,100 credit hours. On average, students so far have earned 11 credit hours at LBJ and 7 credit hours at Reagan, but the average number of college credits will increase after this school year, as the students who began in the program are now juniors and are taking heavier course loads.
The program costs the district $520,000, or $253.16 per student, which includes tuition, salaries, supplies, training and summer programs. Austin Community College waives tuition for juniors and seniors.
“It is a game-changer for first-generation students and their families,” said John Fitzpatrick, executive director of Educate Texas, an Early College High School partnership organization. “Not only for them to be academically prepared but to see themselves as college material. To specifically give students the tools to earn college credit and give them a jump-start on college as early as 14 and 15.”
The program costs students nothing, bringing college to them with a mix of high school and college curricula, allowing students to earn up to 60 hours of college credit, or an associate’s degree in general studies, as they receive their high school diplomas.
High schools often offer dual credit courses to high-achieving juniors and seniors, who can earn up to 30 hours of college credit.
Helping students
Jenifer has long been a star student, and she sometimes works alongside her parents when they clean buildings — one of her father’s two jobs. Both of her parents dropped out of school in Mexico, her mother in about sixth grade, to work and contribute financially to their families.
“He wants for me what he couldn’t have,” Jenifer, 15, said. “He’s always pushing me forward and tells me to get a good-paying job.”
The Early College High School model, a public-private partnership of state agencies, businesses and nonprofit foundations, eases students into college courses, introducing them to college-level electives their first semester, such as a college and career class, before moving them into college math, science and history courses.
Jenifer was accepted into LASA, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, but said she could get more out of the Early College High School model. While students at LASA, a specialized high school for which students must apply, can take dual credit courses during their junior and senior years, the Early College High School program gives students a chance to earn more college hours.
“LASA was going to prepare me for college, but here, I actually get to take the college classes and get credit for them,” she said.
LBJ junior Omari Henry, 16, will have earned 38 college hours by December, a huge contribution toward reducing the overall costs of college. He said his mom, who attended college, saved enough to pay his older sister’s tuition, but she won’t be able to cover all the costs for both him and his brother. Having all the basic courses paid for in high school will stretch the money further, he said. He is fixed on becoming an accountant, and he hopes to attend Stanford University or Baylor University.
LBJ Principal Sheila Henry, no relation to Omari, says ACC professors teach the courses, and some of her staff is getting certified to do so. The college professors treat the students like adults, and they don’t check in with her or the students’ parents, just as they wouldn’t if the students had already graduated high school.
She loves the program because it serves her kids, and they have proven they can rise to those expectations.
“It’s a perfect marriage,” she said.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Get HIPP -- Help Increase the Peace

Yesterday, during our tabling at McCallum High School, several teachers came up to our table to talk with us and express their support.  One of the teachers is involved in the "No Place for Hate" campaign at the school, and he said that what would be very helpful for his students is a conflict resolution training program because a primary concern of students is dealing with conflicts in interpersonal relationships.  Fights can happen especially when there are miscommunications, rumors, gossip, mistaken assumptions, etc.

A good resource is HIPP -- Help Increase the Peace Program, a workshop for youth developed by the American Friends Service Committee in 1991.  Here is a great video about the program.  For more information, call the HIPP Nationwide Network at 410-323-7200.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chinning up with the Marines at McCallum High School

Today, Tami and I had the rare experience of tabling directly across the hall from two Marine recruiters during the lunch periods.  They brought their chin-up bar and had quite a few students try it.  Students were asked to fill out cards giving their contact information.  I spoke with the two recruiters and asked about the cards.  They said they don't contact students if they list their age as younger than 17.  It's important to abide by that.

We set up our chin-up bar, too, but didn't have takers on it today.  But, a number of students noticed the contrasts between our tables, looked at our materials and thought it was interesting that we were there together.  I thought it was a good opportunity to encourage critical thinking about these important things -- war, peace, using nonviolent strategies instead of military force, the realities of military life and alternatives for college funding, etc.

We appreciated our conversations with students, teachers and the recruiters.

Marine recruiters' chin-up bar

Tami at SOY table
Susan at SOY table

Students doing chin-ups at Marines' table

good to see this group at McCallum

Card that students fill out at Marines recruiting table

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

US drones are killing civilians

When we were tabling at Bowie High School last week, students who are in the school's Air Force JROTC program told us that they are studying military aircraft.  Today, this message came from the Youth Program Coordinator of Amnesty International about the terrible effects of the use of killer drones by the CIA and the US military in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Do JROTC students know about the wrongful civilian deaths caused by weaponized unmanned drones launched by the US?  

Here is the message from Amnesty International:

Why did the U.S. government kill Nabeela's grandmother?
At age 8, Nabeela Bibi witnessed the unimaginable horror of a U.S. drone blowing her grandmother, Mamana Bibi, to pieces. Last week, she and her brother and father traveled over 7,000 miles to tell their painful story to Congress.

Nabeela had to relive that terrifying day all over again. Adding insult to injury, the Washington Post reports that only 5 members of Congress bothered to show up.

Today, I'm asking you to help this child and her family seek the truth.

In the past few weeks I've crisscrossed the country building a movement to raise awareness about Mamana's case and rein in the killer drone program. 
It's been incredible to watch people learn about the secrecy and devastation of the U.S. government's drone program.

Every evening, I look at a photo of Nabeela, and I am appalled at the suffering this child has endured. And I vow to help this little girl get the answers she deserves.

We're taking this fight to President Obama and Congress until they tell the truth, and there is justice for Nabeela and others like her.

What will it take to make the government talk about these attacks?
We must make our cry for justice louder and more powerful than the drones. Amnesty has a plan to kick this movement into high gear, but we can't take it to the next level without you.
Follow Nabeela's lead — stand up for human rights.
In solidarity,

Kalaya'an Mendoza National Youth Program Coordinator Amnesty International USA