Reading Room

Citizens Watch Newsletter October 2001


Evaluating our Work in the Aftermath

by Marylia Kelley with Inga Olson, Ann Seitz and Tara Dorabji
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

The tragic morning of September 11 is only two weeks past as we prepare this edition of our newsletter. In the wake of the terror attacks, Tri-Valley CAREs' staff, board, and members are engaged in an ongoing discussion of our work. Our logo since 1983 has carried the slogan: "peace, justice, environment." This overarching vision provides the touchstone for our response.

We are organizing a "hate-free community" event in downtown Livermore - for we have received reports of harassment from members of our community. Simultaneously, we are sponsoring vigils and events that call us as a country to a principled, nonviolent response to the attacks.

One creative action that evolved out of an informal staff meeting involves honoring Rep. Barbara Lee on Gandhi's birthday (see page 1). We are also circulating letters for people to sign and send to President Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and our elected officials calling for a reasoned response based on rule of law, not vengeance (call us for copies).

This newsletter contains postcards for our 3,400 readers to use. On Nov. 1, we will conduct a short educational course on the history and practice of nonviolence as part of our "study group" series.

We believe that many "small actions" such as these, done now and done in a focused, visible and public way by folks all across the country, can make a difference in stopping the cycle of violence.

We have evaluated our ongoing programs as well. Our work for global nuclear disarmament has never been more relevant. Reports from the Pentagon that the use of tactical nuclear weapons cannot be "ruled out" only underscores the need to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Our "Project Exodus" to persuade Livermore Lab employees to forswear work on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction also takes on an added imperative in the context of a drumbeat for war.

Last week, Tri-Valley CAREs' executive director, Marylia Kelley, spoke to a group of about 250 at Sonoma State University on the topic of missile defense. Feedback from the audience was that all efforts to stop this program should be redoubled as a consequence of Sept. 11.

We have tabled at many, many events these last 2 weeks, and our postcards asking that all nuclear weapons be taken off hair-trigger alert have been flying off our tables as fast as we can restock. The peace community is speaking loud and clear through its actions.

Similarly, Tri-Valley CAREs' programs to protect the environment and obtain cleanup in communities surrounding nuclear weapons facilities offer an important component in the debate on "homeland security." Are we secure if our children breathe plutonium dust?

Are more militarism and fewer civil rights the path to our security? Or, does our salvation lie in a different direction; perhaps in our inter-connectedness? Might a true sense of safety come from understanding that violence and injustice perpetrated anywhere in the world makes us all less secure -- and in practicing that knowledge?

What would result if we put our resources into creating healthy communities instead of more nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction?

That we have an opportunity (nay, a moral imperative) to engage in this discussion - and to search for a common, global, human security - is the silver lining in the dark, horrible clouds that rained death and debris on September 11, 2001.


May the Families be Heard

from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

* Greg's parents, Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez - Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World Trade Center attack... our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us. It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son's death... Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world. (from an unpublished letter to the New York Times)

* Deora's parents, Derril Bodley and Deborah Borza - We must not retaliate in kind as if our cause allows us to... Let this passing be a start of a new conversation that is all-inclusive, tolerant of people's beliefs, that includes everyone's God, that includes everyone of color and provides a future for all mankind to live and harmony and respect. (from the 9/22 SF Chronicle. Deora died on flight 93 in Pennsylvania.)

* Craig's wife, Amber Amundson - My husband, Craig Scott Amundson, of the U.S. Army lost his life in the line of duty at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 as the world looked on in horror and disbelief. Losing my 28-year-old husband and father of our two young children is a terrible and painful experience. His death is also part of an immense national loss and I am comforted by knowing that so many of you share my grief. But because I have lost Craig as part of this historic tragedy, my anguish is compounded exponentially by fear that his death will be used to justify violence against other innocent victims. I have heard angry rhetoric by some Americans, including many of our nation's leaders... Your words and imminent acts of revenge only amplify our family's suffering... (from a letter published in the 9/25 Chicago Tribune)

* Abe's nephew, Matthew Lasar - In his speech at the National Cathedral memorial service, President Bush praised an unnamed man "who could have saved himself" but instead "stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend." On Sept. 27, Lasar spoke publicly: That man was my uncle, Abe Zeimanowitz. I mourn the death of my uncle, and I want his murderers brought to justice. But I am not making this statement to demand bloody vengeance... I do not feel that my uncle's compassionate, heroic sacrifice will be honored by what the U.S. appears poised to do. (from a 9/27 advisory by the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

Tri-Valley CAREs is putting these and other statements on Mac and PC disks. If you would like a copy, please call us.


Barbara Lee's Courage and Leadership

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

The Day: Friday, September 14, 2001

The Resolution: Declaring that a state of war exists between the U.S. and any entity determined by the President to have planned, carried out, or otherwise supported the attacks against the U.S. on September 11, 2001, and authorizing the President to use United States Armed Forces and all other necessary resources of the U.S. Government against any such entity in order to bring the conflict to a successful termination.

The Vote: 420 to 1

The One: Urging "restraint," Representative Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) rose and cast the lone vote against issuing a blank check for war. "We must not rush to judgment. Far too many innocent people have already died," she declared. (See insert for full text of Lee's speech.)

Lee later elaborated that the Resolution allowed the President to "attack anyone involved in the September 11 events-anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation's long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration. I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the President."

Tri-Valley CAREs will show its appreciation for Rep. Lee's historic and courageous vote on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, by bringing a cake and a special hand-made card to her district office.

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind," said Gandhi. Lee is someone who embodies the principles of nonviolence and "truth force" (or satyagraha) in today's world.

Send a card or letter to: Rep. Barbara Lee, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.


Around the World, Lift Every Voice

from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

* UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan - Making progress in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament is more important than ever in the aftermath of last week's appalling terrorist attack on the United States. The States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) agreed last year that this challenge could not be overcome by halfway measures. Indeed, they concluded that "the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons." Regrettably, several important treaties aimed at nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament or nuclear reductions still await entry into force. It is vitally important for the world community to continue its efforts to implement the commitments already made and to further identify the ways and means of achieving nuclear disarmament as soon as possible. (from a 9/17 message to the International Atomic Energy Agency.)

* Statement of the Afghan Women's Mission - [W]e strongly urge the United States government and its allies not to carry out military attacks on Afghanistan in retaliation for these violent acts. Afghanistan is a country devastated by more than two decades of war... When the fundamentalist Taliban regime took over most of Afghanistan in 1996, the situation only worsened for Afghans... Afghans have been suffering the results of extreme war, poverty, disease, hunger, lack of education, health care and shelter for too long, Afghans comprise the second largest refugee group in the world today... To attack Afghanistan now would be to attack a weak and defenseless people. (from a 9/13 press release.)

* Nobel Peace Laureate and co-founder of Peace People, Maired Corrigan Maguirre, Northern Ireland - We understand the depth of feelings of loss and pain but we would appeal that there be no retaliation. Violence serves no purpose. Violence solves no problems. Retaliation would mean the future deaths of many more people. This would, in turn, add to an increasing sense of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness, being felt around the world. (from a 9/12 statement.)

* Professor of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Pakistan, Pervez Hoodbhoy - If the lesson is that America needs to assert its military might, then the future will be as grim as can be... Ultimately, the security of the United States lies in its re-engaging with the people of the world, especially with those it has previously harmed. (from Black Tuesday: The View From Islamabad 9/16.)

* Amnesty International statement - Governments must take strong action against racist attacks directed at the Muslim, Asian and Middle Eastern populations in their countries, whether they are citizens or foreigners. You cannot claim to speak in the name of freedom if those on your territory do not feel equally protected. Governments are using the "war on terrorism" to introduce draconian measures to limit civil liberties... they must be resisted. (from the 9/26 statement of the international secretariat.)

* The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, speaking from India - While I express my sympathy, I have appealed to the U.S. president not to respond with more violence as violence is not an appropriate answer... Only nonviolent means can counter terrorism in the long-term. (from Reuters news service 9/17.)

* Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, USA - The Pope has called for "peaceful negotiations and dialogue" in the current crisis... Some have rushed to portray us who are opposed to the Bush administration's plans as naive and lacking realism. But... it is we who are the realists and those who would rush to war and escalate the cycle of violence are completely out of touch with reality and the lessons of history. (Statement 10/1.)

Many additional statements are available on disk from Tri-Valley CAREs.


Not Ruled Out

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Japan's Kyodo News reported on Sept. 19 that the U.S. Defense Dept. "has recommended to President George W. Bush the use of tactical nuclear weapons as a military option to retaliate for last week's terrorist attacks..." The recommendation appears intended to deter terrorists, analysts told the news service.

On ABC's "This Week" shortly after the attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

More recently, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and neutron bomb designer Sam Cohen have been quoted in various media discussing a possible U.S. nuclear retaliation.

Tactical nuclear weapons often contain specialized characteristics like dialable (variable) yield and earth-penetrating ability. We have been working to cut off the further development of these weapons precisely because they are the most likely to be considered "usable" by our government.

The lesson here is that until all nuclear weapons are abolished, their use again in anger remains a real possibility. We must act to prevent it.


The Vigil We Work to Prevent...

from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

If the United States begins bombing another country, or if another terror attack occurs in the U.S., meet that first evening at 7 PM at the Peace Monument at the Livermore main library, 1000 South Livermore Avenue.

Bring a candle or song, or simply come with love. We will vigil for peace and call for an end to hatred and violence in all of its forms.

We affirm the connectedness of all peoples everywhere. We condemn the acts of violence perpetrated on September 11, and we mourn the loss of many lives. Similarly, we do not condone any invasion or bombing attacks by our own government that will likewise result in bloodshed and heartbreak in cities in other nations.

Let peace begin with each of us.


Citizen's Alerts -- Calendar Section

from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Friday, October 12
"Star Wars Again?"
7 PM, Redwood Gardens
2951 Derby St., Berkeley
(510) 849-3020 for details

Women for Peace is sponsoring this forum on U.S. missile defense, space weapons and alternative paths to security. Panelists are Marylia Kelley, Dr. Kathryn Smick, Wilson Riles, Jr. and Andy Lichterman.

Saturday, October 13
"Fallout: From Hunters Point to Outer Space"
1 PM - 6 PM, Milton Meyers Rec Center
195 Kiska Rd., Hunters Point, SF
(925) 443-7148 for details

Enjoy a festival of art, music, education and protest. Together, we will find joyful ways to overcome the violent effects of nuclear weapons work at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and resist the militarization of our Bay Area, our country and the heavens.

Thursday, October 18
Tri-Valley CAREs meets
7:15 PM, Livermore Library
1000 South Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Join us in our ongoing endeavors to redefine national security in ways that move us away from paradigms based on hatred and violence and toward a future where resources are used to create healthy communities, not more weapons of mass destruction. Come and participate in discussions with friends and neighbors, make connections and help us plan upcoming events. Bring your ideas. Bring a friend. We will provide great snacks and a safe atmosphere for sharing. New and long-time members are welcome.

Sunday, October 28
Embrace Diversity: Make Livermore a "Hate-Free Community"
1 PM - 3 PM, Carnegie Park
Downtown Livermore, near 3rd & J St.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Join a celebration of caring, diversity and nonviolent solutions to hate. In response to the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, we honor our dead with a vision of nonviolence to guide us now and in the days to come. In the wake of rising hate crimes against Arabs, and those perceived as Arab or Muslim, we unite to embrace each other in our various cultures, ethnicities, customs and religious beliefs. There will be music, singers, speakers, information tables, children's crafts and more. To volunteer, call Tara or Inga at the Tri-Valley CAREs number above. This is a day for your whole family and friends.

Thursday, November 1
"Intro to Nonviolence"
Tri-Valley CAREs study group
7 PM, Tri-Valley CAREs' offices
2582 Old First Street, Livermore
(925) 443-7148 for details

An introduction to the concepts of nonviolence will be offered by a nonviolence trainer from the Pace e Bene group and Inga Olson, Tri-Valley CAREs' nuclear weapons and waste program associate. The evening includes brief teachings, personal reflection and interactive learning. We will study violence, nonviolence and nonviolent social movements. All are welcome.


Tabling in the Community & Getting the Word Out!

from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2001 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Thursday, October 11 from 4 PM to 8 PM -- Farmers' Market, Carnegie Park, downtown Livermore near 3rd and J St.

Saturday October 20 from 10 AM to 3 PM -- Make a Difference Day, Pleasanton Library, 400 Old Bernal Avenue.

Thursday, October 25 from 6 PM to 8 PM -- Livermore Downtown "Trick or Treat" Party, First Street, west of the flagpole.

Sunday, October 28 from 1 PM to 3 PM - Hate-Free Community celebration, Carnegie Park, downtown Livermore, near 3rd and J St.

To volunteer, call our community organizer, Tara Dorabji, at (925) 443-7148

Back to Citizen's Watch Index