THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Weekend of Witness: "Love begins where violence ends."

SOUTHWEST WEEKEND OF WITNESS TO END TORTURE, NOVEMBER 14-15, 2009
 
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
 
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
 
1 ­ 4 p.m.       Workshop/Teach-in on Human Rights
Teach-in will be led by Prof. Randall Amster from Prescott College and Russell Crawford with NAU Peace and Justice
 
Held at Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 E. 23rd St., Tucson, AZ -One block south of 10th Ave and 22nd St. in Tucson, AZ
 
4-6:30 p.m.             Sign-making and Community-building Event
Simple supper served for donation
Also held at Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 E. 23rd St., Tucson, AZ
 
7 ­ 8 p.m.                  Healing Ritual and Music
Music provided by Ted Warmbrand and Francisco Herrera
Held at Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 E. 23rd St., Tucson, AZ
 
 
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Note:  For those who wish, carpooling has been organized to leave from Borderlinks (620 S. 6th Ave, Tucson) at 10:15 to allow at least 90 minutes for the trip to Sierra Vista, which is 72 miles southeast of Tucson (east on I-10, then south on Hwy. 90, then east on Fry Blvd.  Hwy. 90 is also called Buffalo Soldier Trail.)
 
Noon - 3 p.m.  No to Torture Rally, followed by a Procession and Presence at the Ft. Huachuca Main Gate
Rally is at Len Roberts Park at E. Theater Dr. and N. Carmichael Ave. in Sierra Vista, AZ (from the main gate of Ft. Huachuca take Fry Blvd east to N. Canyon Dr and go north to Theater Dr.)
 
Speakers, musicians
 
Bring brown bag or picnic lunch, beverages, hat, sunscreen, folding chair, appropriate signs, and walking shoes if you will be in the procession.
 
The park has restrooms and some parking but carpooling is encouraged. There are fast food and cafe options all along Fry Blvd.
 
No to Torture Procession Note: A Vigil of Presence across from Ft. Huachuca's main gate on the east side of Buffalo Soldiers Trail and Fry Blvd. follows the park Rally. We will also have a presence at one of the private contractor's office nearby.  (Please note that we are no longer allowed to be in the empty lot where vigils have taken place in past years.  We will need to vigil in the sidewalk area.)
 
The gate is a little less than a mile from Len Roberts Park. Counter-demonstrators are expected and peacekeepers will be aiding us in our procession. We will allow a half-hour for the transition from the park to the gate. Those not walking may drive near the gate and park in the neighborhood east of the gate.
 
All these events are sponsored by Southwest Witness, Tucson SOA Watch, and Torture on Trial in solidarity with SOA Watch and their annual Vigil & Action at Ft. Benning, Georgia on November 20-22 (see http://soaw.org/)

More information: http://southwestwitness.org/ and http://tortureontrial.org/ or 520. 820-7784


WHY WE PROTEST AT FT. HUACHUCA
A Statement of Southwest Witness Against Torture - www.southwestwitness.org

October 2009

Gandhi teaches us that nonviolence needs to be practiced in places of institutionalized violence.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca--headquarters of U.S. Army military intelligence training--to protest the policy of cruelty our country has carried out against  captives in the so-called ³War on Terror.²

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to open dialogue with soldiers and commanders about their rights and obligations to report cases of torture and cruel treatment. We call on enlisted personnel to speak publicly about their training and any abuses they have observed.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to protest our government¹s increasing use of private contractors--with little to no oversight or accountability--both as instructors and as part of interrogation teams in the field.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to call for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of all interrogation training and practice, which must include absolute prohibition of cruel treatment and command responsibility for any violation of this prohibition.

Our nonviolent presence joins growing, deepening movements throughout the world calling for an end to war and torture everywhere. We act in solidarity with the campaign to close the School of the Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where the testimony of torture survivors has informed our outrage and moved us to action. We know that torture diminishes the humanity of both perpetrator and those who are tortured. It damages the very soul of our country.

We are told that basic training in military interrogation at Ft. Huachuca respects the Geneva Conventions and follows the U.S. Army Field Manual. Yet, despite the efforts of many honorable soldiers and commanders who respect human rights, this training has been inadequate to prevent abuses of prisoners in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military prisons and secret detention centers around the world.

What is being taught in the field and in advanced courses about interrogation? What is happening in this dark space between training and the field? Has the policy of cruelty practiced by some U.S. military, CIA, FBI, and private agencies been integrated into military doctrine and advanced training?  Does such activity take place at Ft. Huachuca?

We understand that secrecy and deception are part of the nature of military intelligence. We challenge this institutionalized silence, because torture and cruelty betray not only the Constitution of the United States, but who we are as a people. In a democratic society, such silence must not prevail.
 
To break this silence, interrogators and all other personnel (including private contractors) must be taught when and how to resist illegal orders that violate the laws of war, the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They must be taught their obligation to speak out against such orders, and to report abuses to their superiors. And they must receive guarantees that speaking out will not lead to retaliation or punishment.

Ft. Huachuca¹s role in past military involvement in torture training must also be brought to light. Such involvement includes the creation of notorious manuals used at the School of the Americas to teach Latin American military personnel how to torture. Undoubtedly, records about past and contemporary use of torture exist at Ft. Huachuca. We call for the release of all such information, both past and present.

It is time for a light to shine on the darkness that has been hidden behind the walls of Ft. Huachuca.  

Monsignor Oscar Romero of El Salvador said, "Love begins where violence ends."  To end the violence of torture and war we will stand at the gates of Ft. Huachuca.   Together let¹s build a world without torture.

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