Fellowship of Reconciliation: for a World of Peace, Justice and Nonviolence
Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is a group composed of people from many faiths, and no particular faith --
all coming together to support nonviolence and justice.
Offering people of conscience an action response to a morally-impaired U.S. foreign policy.

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A Report on the Injustice in the Application of the Death Penalty in Missouri (1978-1996)(Microsoft Word document)
Researchers from Missouri and New York found that about one of every 100 homicides in Missouri resulted in a death sentence during that 18-year period. Race of the victim and race plus socio-economic status of the defendant were found to be great indicators of who ultimately received a death sentence.


News

Common Dreams
Al-Jazeera
Electronic Iraq
Indy Media
AlterNet
BuzzFlash
www.WhatReallyHappened.com
Yahoo! News


Background

Background on Syria

Iraq Crisis Issue Guide by Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies

U.S. History with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990
An American Soldier on the March 21 episode of This American Life challenged those against the war to "learn the history".


Commentary
Common Dreams News Center

April 12, 2003
God is on our side?
Non Sequiter comic

April 8, 2003
The U.S. Betrays Its Core Values
by Gunter Grass

March 30, 2003
Bush and Blair do not know what they are doing or why they are doing it

March 29, 2003
A cartoon

March 25, 2003
What is the Geneva Convention?
A primer on the treaty dealing with treatment of POWs and Who’s violating the Geneva Convention?

March 24, 2003
It's Patriotic to Protest
op-ed by Jill Nelson

U.S. steps up secret surveillance
FBI, Justice Dept. increase use of wiretaps, records searches

March 23, 2003
Why are we in Iraq -- and Who's Next?
an Op-Ed piece by Richard Reeves.

March 22, 2003
Whose interests at heart?
The invasion and occupation of Iraq cannot give the Iraqi people their freedom

March 20, 2003
Senator Byrd Deplores Iraq War: "Today I weep for my country"

Familiar, Haunting Words

Bush's Lies and the War on Iraq (a gift to the extremist theocrats)

Demonstrations Flare Worldwide

It's Not About Terrorism, WMD or Liberation: Myths and facts about the war

    Local News and Announcements...

    Don't miss anything...please scroll down

    Reflections on the Stop the Machine Demonstration/Continuing Occupation
    Washington DC Freedom Plaza-- Missouri presence Oct. 6-9

    From Jeff Stack, Mid-MO FOR Coordinator

    A call this summer by many prominent national peace and social justice activist leaders to travel to Washington in October to help “Stop the Machine! Create a New World!,” resonated with many of us in Missouri. One of the five of us who traveled there from Missouri, Jean Blackwood of Columbia, encapsulated well the collective experience we had:
     
    “What was happening in Washington DC was far more than protest, far more than an effort to topple the current system. It was a living, breathing example of a new system being born, a system based on trust, smiles, sharing, patience, hugs, energy, creativity, and a willingness to make decisions by consensus, however slow and awkward that might be.  There was a feeling in the air that we were here not only to change it, but to truly be the change we wanted to see.” She adds, “And after my days there, I am more hopeful about this possibility than ever before in my life.”
     
    We had attended many rallies, vigils and other demonstrations over the past few decades. The US empire in the mean time has greatly expanded, becoming even more brazen in unilateral actions; corporations and banks, along with the ultra-rich residents of the world have dramatically increased their wealth, while impoverished global residents have only become poorer. Life-- human particularly-- on the planet is becoming ever more precarious with a corporate-greed driven resource grab guiding governmental policy. Someone (I don’t remember who) pointed out to me years ago, that soldiers willingly risk life, limb and mental stability to wage war. People truly concerned about peace with justice, he noted, similarly need to take greater risk, in a nonviolent spirit, to foment change….
     
    That thought prodded me to journey east. Jean, Miguel Rodriquez and I traveled from Columbia, Cynthia “Echo” Tarpeian from Hermann and Herb Petty drove from near Stanberry in northwest Missouri. (He graciously allowed us to travel in his station wagon, after making a few repairs to make it roadworthy). We collectively sought to join, at least for a few days, the beginning of an occupation in Freedom Plaza, inspired by the resistance of sisters and brothers in Egypt, Tunisia and Madison WI.
     
    The encampment had the feel of a hopeful village with a few thousand residents coming from throughout the country. There were scores of conversations among folks: activists, homeless citizens, passersby and law-enforcement officers. The plaza served as a staging area for several marches and creative actions (see below for further reflections on a few of them).
     
    Jean recalls, “There was a large stage with an excellent sound system up front (this only for the four days of the gathering that had the permit initially), where those gathered could be inspired by speakers like (journalist) Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader and (former CIA analyst) Ray McGovern, along with dozens of rappers, bands, spoken word artists, the anti-war troubadour David Rovics, the Raging Grannies and much more. In the evening a Pagan tribe was there to lead us in drumming, songs and the remarkable circle dance, which was both fun and uplifting.
     
    “Assemblies were held morning and evening to deal with issues and we all began to learn how to make decisions by consensus. There were real disagreements exposed, and sometimes some short tempers, but ultimately there was respect and a level of agreement that left everyone free to follow their own consciences.”
     
    It was heartening, after waking briefly at night, to look out across the immediate landscape and see a few hundred folks slumbering in sleeping bags, camping out on the plaza, a few blocks from the White House.  The Capitol building stood aglow on the opposite horizon, a mile down Pennsylvania Ave. For more information on the continuing presence there log on to http://october2011.org <http://october2011.org> .
     
    * Missourians were able to travel to Washington DC, thanks to the generous financial donations of Mark Adams, Priscilla Bevins, Ric Doubet, Jeff Doyle, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, May Belle Osborne, Ruth Schaefer, Jessie and Mallory Van Gerven, plus a generous donation of healthy food from the Clover’s Natural Foods (please patronize their business and the Peace Nook, thanking them for their support of this peace/social justice journey).
     
    There is cause for optimism about social change and as strong a populous imperative in years, to move our society forward in crafting the world we want to see-- thanks to the hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens who have now gathered in some 1500 locations in 89 countries, spurred on by the Occupy Wall Street action. Planning for the Freedom Plaza occupation preceded the OWS. It began a week after the New York City action, initiated by AdBusters. The OWS-inspired Wash. DC occupation in McPherson Square, a half-mile away and the Stop the Machine presence soon became mutually supported, kindred actions. Jean notes, “There was communication with the nearby Occupy DC group, which consisted of mostly younger folks. Many people traveled back and forth between the two encampments regularly.”
     
    She describes the layout on the Plaza “so you can get a feel for how cooperation made it all function beautifully. There was a medical tent staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses and set up with basics supplies including, to my relief, sunscreen.  There was a legal tent staffed with people who could advise you about what to expect and how to handle yourself if you were willing to risk arrest. There was an information booth where you could learn what events were being planned for the day - though things often got off-schedule and in each other’s way, as might be expected. There were various groups set up around the Plaza to share information or displays, like the realistic drones on one corner.  There were signs, signs and more signs, which accompanied huge banners on the assorted marches that would wind there way through the city day after day.  
     
    “Last but not least was the Food Not Bombs shelter where that gang of tireless people came up with miraculous amounts of food and water for the protesters, day after day. And it was good!  We were also helped by donations of pizza from people around the country and a local pizza shop that offered a special deal for the Plaza community.  We were given delicious bagels with primo cream cheese spreads, plus boxes of coffee by a local shop called Bus Boys and Poets.
     
    “I flew into Washington DC on Oct. 5,” notes Jean, “alone, feeling stressed by the big city and the need to find my way across it on an unfamiliar Metro. With some kind guidance from the guys downstairs who explained the working of the Metro ticket machines, I successfully got myself to the neighborhood of St. Stephens Episcopal Church where other protesters helped me to find the church itself.” This was far from an isolated example, she notes. ”I guess you can see a pattern emerging here.  The kindness of strangers stayed with me throughout my amazing four days on Freedom Plaza and I took every opportunity to return it.”
     
    She continues, “My own effort there, aside from learning and growing, was mainly marching.  I marched with a large group to the US Chamber of Commerce building where dozens of clever protesters applied for jobs in response to the large "JOBS" banner they displayed out front.  There were speeches and chants and we got the attention of those inside and outside the building and, in fact, shut the place down for a while.”
     
    “When drones fly, children die: Stop the Wars NOW!” a few hundred of us chanted steadily as we marched on Oct. 7, past the White House and later assembled at the office of General Atomics, a corporation which has developed this weapon. Jean and a half dozen others carried symbolic dead baby dolls to remind all of the human cost of US aggression.
     
    Participants carried three large banners, including one declaring "DRONES: making enemies faster than we can kill them." A New York activist noted large replicas that were wheeled about during the protests were 1/5th the size of a Reaper drone with a 66-foot wingspan (produced by Nick Mottern with Consumer for Peace, a group from upstate New York). These anonymous, impersonal machines, one speaker noted, make it “easier to enter war.”
     
    Debra Sweet, emcee of the protest and director of World Can't Wait wrote for OpEdNews that, as marchers reached the White House, “we paused, partly by plan, and partly because again, we had to. Here lives the Commander in Chief who sent more troops than the Bush regime ever did to Afghanistan, and who has used drones eight times as much as Bush did, spreading the drone war to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and even recently, Iraq. I had to tell those gathered that the slang term used by pilots of the unmanned drones -- who sit at video monitors half way across the globe -- for their targets, is ‘squirters.’"
    Sweet wrote, “Spontaneously, dozens of people went up to the door of the building, and went in. Some held the doors open, and fairly soon, they were ejected, roughly by security guards. DC police blocked the doors, but too late, we had taken the steps. We held a one hour rally on the steps” essentially shutting down the business.

    Jean adds, “Passionate speeches were offered on the company doorsteps by Ray McGovern and Sweet… We offered chants to reach those inside and for blocks around.  Everyone joined in abhorrence of the killing of the innocent by drones and the extra-judicial murder of suspected terrorists around the world, including (recently, U.S.) citizens. Obama was condemned as a war criminal (in part) because of his expansion of the use of drones during his administration. I should mention, I guess, that Mr. Obama did not receive many kind words from anyone involved in this occupation. It was definitely not a Democratic Party gathering.”
     
    Another “march was with a group also opposing the drones by rallying outside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum,” she continues. “This was an action you might have heard about on the news because a right-wing reporter had infiltrated the group and when some of our group at the front of the march entered the museum and dropped a banner and carried signs inside, this provocateur deliberately pushed a private security guard to start trouble.  The guards pulled out their pepper spray, and as I was told later, began just spraying it around randomly at everyone present.  A number of our people were hit by the spray, one girl was detained…  Many of us were only arriving at the museum after most of this was over with, as it was a very long march.
     
    “All of your Missouri delegation had joined in doing street theatre (with the Redwing group) so some of us were dressed as ugly, pitiful creatures following along the street behind an over-sized fat cat billionaire, bowing and scraping and promising we'd do anything to keep our jobs, or begging him for some trickle down (crumbs as compensation). When the crowd had calmed down after the pepper spray incident we presented an abbreviated version of our puppet play and were well received.”
     
    Several of us joined in one final march, to the White House, initiated by Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) and supported by Veterans For Peace, among other veteran groups. The groups called for a beer summit with the president, following in the spirit of the gathering convened a few years ago by the President between Harvard professor and author Henry Gates who was arrested by police officer James Crowley during an incident at the professor’s home. MFSO hoped that Obama would meet with veteran families to discuss PTSD, repeated deployments of soldiers into war zones and other neglected issues, which they felt needed to be addressed.
     
    “This gathering,” Jean added, however “was also thrown off kilter by a rogue actor, a disturbed Vet, possibly with PTSD, who had said earlier he wanted to make a symbolic protest by throwing his shoe over the White House fence, then accepting arrest.  Once there, unfortunately, he threw his shoe right at a White House guard instead.  His arrest ensued” for about 45 minutes. The police, it seemed “were probably hoping we would all go away.  Instead we listened to impromptu speeches by representatives of the various groups.”  A new group of young vets called March Forward is working at building GI resistance, getting more disillusioned young men and women to refuse to fight these endless, pointless wars.  They feel they are the ones most seriously able to end the wars.  I might add that the whole Plaza was very blessed with veterans for peace from all the national organizations.
     
    Each evening speakers and musicians shared their poignant visions and talents. Among those speaking were women members of Afghan Youth for Peace and peace activists from Bahrain. One Bahraini physician showed me pictures on his cell phone of what indeed did appear to be as he said, a few hundred thousand people protesting the government and its brutal crackdown on dissent during his nation’s continuing Arab Summer.  
     
    Two men, former soldiers in Iraq, addressed those gathered, provided for me some of the most inspiring perspectives of our time in Washington. Mike Prysner is a co-founder of March Forward!, a group of military personnel and veterans affiliated with the ANSWER coalition. At the age of 19, he spent a year in Iraq, starting with the invasion in March 2003. His insights and those of other returning veterans (as peace-group leaders have realized for years) do add credibility and a critical voice, essential to help compel the general public an end to these wars.
     
    Like many of us, he felt deeply encouraged that this occupation and others marked “the beginning of a new movement in the United States.” His experiences in the war on Iraq showed him the military served solely as “thugs for big business.”  And at what human cost? Six thousand soldiers have been killed, tens of thousands have been wounded; seeing a fellow soldier or civilian killed will traumatize hundreds of thousands, if not a million troops, a quarter of all in combat will have PTSD. And the government’s response? Health care, particularly mental health support is woefully inadequate, “criminal, abysmal.” Far more US soldiers, returning from the war zones, he noted, are killing themselves than the number dying in combat.
     
    The suffering of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, he soberly noted, “is infinitely worse.” 1.3 million people in those countries killed: “none deserved to die.” Millions have been displaced. “This is much more than a mistake. It is one of the great atrocities of the modern era.”
     
    And why has the US been waging these wars, now in Afghanistan for over a decade and for more than 20 years Iraq (counting two wars and deadly sanctions)? Prysner recites the US official litany: “to bring democracy, human rights.. to free people from oppressive governments… Soldiers however,” he lamented, “know how they are treated” by the US government— they’re “kicked to the curb.” In addition to and in large part due to the psychological trauma they endure, returning veterans have a 30-percent unemployment rate, while at least 11,000 are homeless, he adds. With such neglect of US warrior, “why in the hell” should the public believe Washington cares “about poor people in Iraq or Afghanistan?”
     
    Plain and simply, Prysner says, “these are imperialist wars.. rich men’s wars” waged for the  “bankers and corporations.” US officials “expect us to think that it is just a coincidence that these enemies that we have to defeat just so happen to be in some of the most oil-rich countries on the planet, that have refused to open up their borders to be exploited by Wall Street and plundered by the oil companies?… We know the primary motive” for intervention in these nations “is regional domination, resources not for us but for that 1-percent” of the wealthiest in our world.
     
    “And how do we fight these wars?,” he queried. With vast sums of money robbed from “our pockets,” accumulated through “cutting funding for education… social services…And they need soldiers too.” So Uncle Sam enlists “kids who can’t afford an education (coming) from poor families, (who have been) shut off from social services.” US officials contend, “’We are all in this together,’ (yet) I don’t own any stocks in oil companies.” Soldiers and the general public “have far more in common with the people who are struggling to live in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan than the rich people and the politicians making the decisions (to wage war) in this country.”
     
    “There are two societies in the US,” he stressed, continuing a recurring theme of the occupation, “one that lives in luxury, that doesn’t work, that simply owns everything, who collects dividends, who collects bonus checks and the other US society who has to work for a living, that collects a paycheck, that worries about going bankrupt if our children have to go to a doctor..which goes into debt for lifetime if they get a college education.” On a daily basis, the wealthy society is “waging attacks against we, the other society, the 99-percent. The only way things will change is not by asking for change, (nor) voting for change,” but by “fighting for change.”
     
    “The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are part of that same 99-percent as us,” he added. Very nearly all of us in these countries and elsewhere around the globe are suffering the repercussions of a belligerent US corporate-interest-driven foreign policy.   “The only occupation that is in our own interests are not the occupations abroad (but) are the ones taking place around our country.”  
     
    Given these realities, “soldiers have the absolute right to refuse to fight” in these wars, asserts Prysner, who proceeded to introduce Danny Birmingham, an Army field artillery specialist and Michigan resident who spent one tour in Iraq. Danny enlisted primarily for the job coming from a family of lower income, but “I thought I’d be helping people there” as well. It was the “first time I saw actual poverty.” For most all Iraqis he saw, there was “no running water, inadequate housing.” Troops did “nothing to help. All we did was build a giant courthouse in Basra,” a city in southern Iraq. Among the troops he encountered in Iraq, “nobody likes what they’re doing.”
     
    Soon after returning to the US, he reported filling out paperwork this past February to establish his conscientious objector (CO) status. He said he’s now unwilling to be a combatant and will refuse to return to Iraq next month with his Ft. Lewis (Washington-state based) army unit.
     
    Both he and Prysner said gatherings like this one give encouragement to resisting soldiers. Birmingham adds, he’s striving to “spread the word” among other troops that they can take a similar stand. “The money’s not worth it,” he insists. “One way this war will end is by service members refusing to fight.”  
     
    To sign a petition urging military leaders to honor Danny’s CO request and not re-deploy him log onto http://www.answercoalition.org/march-forward/statements/active-duty-soldier-why-im.html
     
    Jean concludes, “It was hard to leave when I did, knowing that others would remain to face harder days ahead, when arrests would become more frequent and when life on the Plaza might become a lot less pleasant without a microphone, when the rain - or the snow- began to fall, when the police might become a lot less friendly and tolerant, when the numbers of supporters might dwindle (or not?).  Mostly it was hard to leave behind the wonderful sense of community that existed there.  I hoped then, as I do now, that I can bring back to Columbia some of that sense of community and purpose experienced on Freedom Plaza.  The obstacles ahead may be great, but I now know for sure that another way is possible.”
     
     
     
     

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    Fw: Afghanistan Program 1/31 & News Conference 2/1 Postponed due to Weather

    Two  Columbia Peace Coalition activities-- the educational program, "Rethinking Afghanistan: The Human Costs of War," scheduled for Monday evening, 31 Jan. and the 1 Feb. news conference on "Occupation Recovery" to support war-traumatized US veterans-- are being postponed due to the forecast of freezing rain, followed by heavy snow. The freezing rain is likely to make travel in Columbia hazardous tomorrow evening. And the snow would really complicate matters for one of our two speakers, who was slated to travel here from Kansas.

     
    We have rescheduled the Afghan program for Monday, March 7. We will be announcing a location for this rescheduled event in the near future, and will be sharing more details on a future news conference as we work out details.
     
    In the meantime, please continue to take whatever actions you can to become better informed on the issues and please act to promote peace.
     
    We also hope you will travel safely and keep warm as intense winter weather returns this week. (thanks to our friend Mark Haim for forwarding this note, which I've edited just a bit).



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    Fw: Urge Pres. Obama & US to Support halt to Israeli settlements; support health care not more war for traumatized vets; other peace notes

    We wanted to share with you several calls for action to support our sisters and brothers in the Occupied Palestinian territories, US war-traumatized soldiers and to protect a peace and democracy advocate. You'll also find in this post, information about international affairs, promoting peace with justice, along with reports of creative, inspiring nonviolent resistance to injustice and war.  Thanks to Just Foreign Policy, Jewish Voices for Peace, Avaaz, Amnesty International, the Des Moines and St. Louis Catholic Worker communities, Nuclear Resister and Witness Against Torture for sharing their reports which we forward here.

     
    Thank you as well for what you do to better our world—in your own home among your loved ones, in your communities and the broader global society.
     
    In solidarity and hope,  
    Jeff Stack, coordinator
    Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation
    573-449-4585
     
    1) Urge Pres. Obama to Support UN resolution condemning further expansion on Israeli settlement in Palestinian occupied lands.
    A resolution is before the UN Security Council that opposes Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, echoing longstanding U.S. positions. But President Obama is under pressure to veto the resolution from political forces that seek to maintain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Urge President Obama to support the UN resolution. Log onto
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/noveto
     
    For more information, log onto
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/can-us-support-un-resolut_b_813233.html
     
    2) Support the democratic nonviolent struggles of Egyptians and the stepping down of the dicatorship of Pres. Hosni Mubarak, who's held power for three decades. Log onto the following international petition from Avaaz, urging their governments to support democratic reforms….
    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_egypt/?r=act
    To check out developments there live, log onto Aljazeera's website..
    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/ <http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/>
     
    Check out also a report from the British Guardian newspaper, based on an interview with Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He challenges US and other officials to support the Egyptian people rather than the corrupt Mubarak government (recipient of the 2nd most US foreign aid). To read the story log onto… http://www.truth-out.org/mohamed-elbaradei-if-not-now-when67255
     
    3) Advocate that war-traumatized US Troops receive needed health care NOT Redeployment orders to war
    The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) several weeks ago initiated "Operation Recovery" in support of war-traumatized troops. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are continuing through the use of exhausted troops who have been on multiple tours of duty and suffer deeply from the trauma of war.  Thousands of soldiers are being denied their right to heal by the U.S. military so it can continue its ongoing occupations. Join IVAW in supporting soldiers; take the pledge
    https://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5966/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4159
     
    4) Urge US officials to ensure humane treatment of Bradley Manning, the Army private who allegedly gave a massive trove of US secret documents to WikiLeaks
    (if he did so, he should be treated as a hero not a criminal).
    Read more about Amnesty International's report of concern and letter to Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, by logging onto:
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/006/2011/en <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/006/2011/en>  
    and for more info on the case…
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/us-accused-inhumane-treatment-over-wikileaks-soldier-case-2011-01-24 <http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/us-accused-inhumane-treatment-over-wikileaks-soldier-case-2011-01-24>
     
    5) Check out the Flash Mob last month in a St. Louis mall to Protest Corporate Support of Israel's Apartheid of Palestinian People.
    The St. Louis Solidarity Committee went Gaga in Best Buy and AT&T in St. Louis in mid-December (sorry for my late relaying of this). More than forty foiks gathered at Best Buy and AT&T urging holiday shoppers to Boycott Israeli Apartheid and Hang Up on Motorola!
    They got down to Lady Gaga's "Telephone" , following up on the Philadelphia's Boycott Divestment and Sanctions group's inspiring example. Log on…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGAdfvGQ-xg <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGAdfvGQ-xg>

    6) Witness Against Torture just concluded their two-week Fast for Justice
    It was a bittersweet action, the group reports. Bitter because we have not succeeded in shutting down Guantanamo or shuttering Bagram or delivering justice to those indefinitely detained. Still the resistance to the Bush and now Obama policies grow. Check out their website at http://www.witnesstorture.org <http://www.witnesstorture.org>  and log onto their Flicker url to see various thoughts from those who participated…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/99577116@N00/sets/72157625901100942/show/

    7) Haiti Notes:
    Election update: US and OAS support odd line-up of candidates in run-off election.
    Center for Economic and Policy Research reports in their Analysis of the (Organization of American States) OAS Mission's Draft Final Report on Haiti's Election, there is no legal, statistical, or other logical basis for its conclusion that candidate Michel Martelly finished second and Jude Celestin third. For more details, log onto:
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/cepr-examines-oas-report-on-haitis-election-finds-it-qinconclusive-statistically-flawed-and-indefensibleq
     
    Jean Bertrand Aristide, the elected and US-deposed former president wants to return home (he certainly has more a right to do so than does the already returned war-criminal "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Read more via Reuters, logging on at
    http://www.pretorianews.co.za/aristide-wants-to-return-home-1.1014290
     
    8) The "Creech 14," Protesting US Drone Attacks Found Guilty, Sentenced to Time Served.
    From Las Vegas, Nevada: Judge William Jansen found 14 people guilty of trespass for April 2009 demonstration at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, protesting the remote piloting of armed killer drones from Creech in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To learn more, log on… http://www.nukeresister.org/2011/01/27/creech-14-guilty-sentenced-to-time-served/ <http://www.nukeresister.org/2011/01/27/creech-14-guilty-sentenced-to-time-served/>
     
    9) Turkish government finds Israeli commandos culpable of unprovoked violent in May attacks on Gaza Strip humanitarian flotilla
    For a report from the Christian Science Monitor earlier this past week, log onto:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0125/Turkey-releases-report-on-flotilla-incident-accusing-Israel
     
    IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid—log on:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/The-Gaza-flotilla-and-the-aftermath-of-the-Israeli-naval-raid



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    Attend Rethinking Afghanistan Monday 31 Jan., news conference 1 Feb.;


    We invite you to attend any of a few upcoming mid-Missouri events promoting peace and compassionate support for US troops. We hope to see you in these settings next week.

    In hopes of good health and joy for you and your loved ones. In struggle for peace with justice and in solidarity,
    Jeff Stack
    Mid-MO Fellowship of Reconciliation
    573-449-4585

    1) Attend "Rethinking Afghanistan—The Human Costs of War," Monday, Jan. 31st beginning at 6:30 in Rm. 104 of Arts &
    Science (A&S) building on the MU campus
    . The educational evening commences with a showing of the acclaimed documentary "Rethink Afghanistan" by Robert Greenwald, which examines the impact of the nine-year war on Afghanistan and
    the United States.
     
    A discussion will follow at approximately 7:30, with presentations by Maihan Abdullah, M.D., a Fulbright Scholar from Afghanistan, currently studying at MU, and William Stewart-Starks, an Army veteran and Plains States regional coordinator with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Stewart is also a national organizer with IVAW's Operation Recovery, advocating that war-traumatized veterans not be re-deployed to combat in Afghanistan or Iraq. Sponsored by the Columbia Peace Coalition.

    2) Join us for a news conference-- informing Mid-Missouri of "Operation Recovery," a national, veteran-led initiative advocating that war-traumatized vets not be redeployed to war zones-- will take place at 9:30 am, Tuesday, February 1 in Conference Room A of the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia.
     
    The conference will feature: Will Stewart-Starks, who was an active duty combat medic in Iraq, now living in Lawrence KS and serving both as a
    regional leader with Iraq War Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and a national organizer with IVAW's "Operation Recovery;" Russ Breyfogle of Columbia, a veteran and social worker for 20 years at the Fulton State Mental Hospital (who worked with many traumatized veterans as a therapist); and Steve Jacobs, a veteran and registered nurse who worked at the VA hospital for 7 years as a psychiatric nurse, frequently treating veterans psychologically traumatized by war. He's also a community member of the St. Francis Catholic Worker which operates a hospitality house for homeless men, many of whom are veterans.; and Steve Jacobs of Columbia, who is a registered nurse and worked with the Veterans Administration for seven years as a psychiatric nurse, frequently treating veterans psychologically traumatized by war. Bill Wickersham of Columbia, an educational psychologist and leader of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) will facilitate the conference.
     
    "Operation Recovery" strives to encourage US political and military leaders to allow traumatized veterans to get the psychological and/or medical
    treatment they need rather then be re-deployed to combat in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. Thousands of exhausted troops have been on multiple tours of duty and suffer deeply from the trauma of war. Many are being denied their right to heal by the U.S. military so it can continue the ongoing
    occupations. For more information on the project log onto http://www.ivaw.org/operation-recovery.

    3) Attend Weekly Peace Vigils, happening in Mid-Missouri:

    Saturdays
    Columbia from 10-11 am in front of Columbia's Post Office on Walnut St.

    Wednesdays  
    Jefferson City
    from 12 Noon-1, Post Office, High St.  

    Columbia from 4:30-5:30 pm at  Broadway and Providence.

    Fulton 2nd Wed. (next one 2/9) 4:15-5:15 Callaway Co. Courthouse, Market & 5th St.



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    FOR/Quaker Statement of Religious & Cultural Acceptance/Celebration of Diversity

    On September 13, the Mid-Missouri FOR organized a news conference with Rev. Amy Gerhardt, lead pastor of the Missouri United Methodist Church, at their downtown church, urging acceptance—not just tolerance— of all people of all faiths, cultures and races. We gathered to express our concerns with a spate of violence and intolerance against Arab peoples in our nation and abroad, shown by some of our fellow US citizens. Below is the statement delivered by FOR’s Board Chair David Finke...

    We gather today to affirm a bedrock principle of our civil society:
    Religious Tolerance, and the Constitutional principle of Religious Liberty.

        This isn't just about a Mosque, or the hateful stunt of threatening to burn books sacred to one religion.  However, when vitriolic speech and the manipulation of fears translate into action, there are consequences of suffering and persecution. In the current wave of anti-Islamic misinformation and hysteria, we have seen attacks against persons and buildings, reminding us that it's time for people of good will to take a stand against intolerance.  I welcome that so many faith traditions are standing in solidarity here today on this issue.

        Those who would deny Cordoba House the right to build a Cultural Center in lower Manhattan, or suggest that Muslims can't be genuine Americans, have simply forgotten their civics lesson — if they ever learned them.  I want to address not so much the specifics of current events, but rather the underlying principles in our American history.

        Religious Liberty is one of America's gifts to the world.  It is an experiement which was radical at its inception and, as with any liberty, requires constant vigilance to survive.  Unique in the nations of the world, in our Constitution the nation's founders declared two principles about religion: (1) The State could not favor one and persecute others, and (2) Each religion, no matter how unpopular, was assured the right of "Free Expression."  Many at that time considered it dangerous, not to have a unifying National Religion, and there are still those among us those who believe in a theocratic state. We still have neighbors who decry secular, religiously neutral government, and want favor given to their own, often claiming rights as a majority.  

        As a Quaker, I bring a particular perspective to this discussion: Members of our faith, in America, were the only group ever to officially be put to death for attempting to worship as they felt God led them. Massachussets Bay Colony executed 4 Quakers in the 1660s for persisting in their preaching and praying, before the King stepped in and pardoned others similarly convicted.  The Puritan Establishment in New England wanted religious liberty, but only for themselves.  How quickly we forget the high stakes of religious intolerance, although in my lifetime the brutal fact of the Holocaust aganst Jews should be a stark reminder.

        You probably know the subsequent story of Quakers under William Penn founding their own colony at Pennsylvania, extending religious freedom to all, regardless of how much they differed theologically.  That, I believe, was the model for what is now enshrined in our First Amendment, to which we draw attention today.

        When we celebrate Ameica as "The Land of the Free," we may forget our epochs of pervasive religious prejudice leading to persecution. Here in Missouri there is the shameful, if often forgotten, episode of "The Mormon Wars," when the Governor called for extermination of that religion, driving adherents from the state. The 19th century frequently had anti-Catholic riots, and I can remember the hostility toward John F. Kennedy who, it was feared, as a Catholic would turn the nation over to the Pope.  Any Jewish person you talk to probably has tragic stories of family members facing discrimination in this country, and genocide in the Third Reich. Jehovah's Witnesses, Bahai's, Native Americans -- all can tell of facing either official or popular hostility for practicing their faith.

        The mindset which promotes burning the sacred books of another faith differs only in degree from promoting the burning of houses of worship. And it can be but a small step toward burning people, if one believes they are of the Devil, and one is an agent of God's vengeance.

        So, today, we join in affirming the core value of Religious Tolerance.  By definition, our varying faith traditions have points of disagreement in our understanding of what God is calling us to.  However, we must respect the ability of each to pursue our religious practices without harassment.  To do otherwise is to be profoundly un-American.

        David H. Finke,
        Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
        Chair, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Mid-Missouri Chapter

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    Mid-MO FOR Condemns Israel's Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla & Mourns the Deaths of Humanitarians

    Public Statement passed out at 2 June News Conference
    Co-sponsored by Mid-MO FOR & MU PIPA (Palestine Israel Peace Association)

    To view the Columbia Daily Tribune’s article on the news conference, log onto
    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/jun/02/local-residents-decry-attack-on-gaza-aid-flotilla/

    The Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation mourns the killing of at least nine people and the injuries of dozens of others in the May 31 Israeli attack of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. This attack by Israel against the humanitarian mission is an affront against humanity. The Mid-MO FOR condemns Israel’s violent actions and supports an international, impartial investigation of the incident. We additionally oppose violence by Palestinian or Israeli combatants and support nonviolent resolution of conflicts between the peoples.

    We urge Israel to follow through on public promises to release all of the nearly 700 people, taken by force from the six Gaza-bound ships and detained by the military. Furthermore, we implore US officials to pressure Israel to end its illegal blockade of the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip and to cease sending US dollars to enable the Israeli military to undertake such actions with impunity. We sadly recognize U.S. complicity in arming Israel and enabling its human rights abuses. In July 2008, the United States signed a contract worth $1.9 billion to transfer the latest-generation of naval combat vessels to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense; some of those vessels were likely used in this barbaric attack on international humanitarian activists. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel this budget year.

    The Gaza Freedom Flotilla boats were attacked by the Israeli military in international waters, a clear violation of international law. An elite commando unit of the Israeli military, armed with heavy automatic weapons, boarded the ships. Israel must be held responsible for this use of disproportionate force and for recklessly endangering the lives of all civilians onboard.

    The Flotilla was attempting to break Israel’s illegal and immoral three-year siege of the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Israel military forces, during its December 2008-January 2009 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead” killed more than 1400 Palestinians. Beyond the horrific murderous actions, the “operation” further exacerbated the human suffering of the siege, causing $2 billion in infrastructural damage. Israel has nonetheless consistently refused to allow rebuilding materials into the Gaza Strip. High-end medical supplies, as well as a revolving list of items that has included pasta, jam, and cardamom, have also been denied.

    When armed might is used to attempt to break up clearly organized nonviolent resistance to injustice, the conscience of humanity is offended. Besides that, the judgment of history goes against those seeking to preserve entrenched privilege when confronted by disciplined and determined People Power.

    Earlier this spring we recalled with shame the gunning down of unarmed protesters at Kent State University 40 years ago. We think of the murder of hundreds at Tiananmen Square when the Chinese government attempted to suppress democracy. The brutal beatings at the Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama during the Civil Rights struggles are another example of the might of the State brought to bear against those courageously standing against injustice.

    In these and so many other cases we see the power of nonviolent direct action -- which is not just refusal to engage in violent defense of rights, but also the vivid expression of the power of Truth, the willingness to sacrifice all for justice.

    Those who have perished in this humanitarian flotilla will join, in the annals of history, those we respect as having advanced the claims and interest of all mankind against those who, in an ultimately futile effort, try to suppress the just aspirations of humanity. We mourn the loss of these brave souls, and honor their efforts to relieve suffering.

    --David Finke, Mid-MO FOR Board Chair and Jeff Stack, Mid-MO FOR Coordinator

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    Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation
    June 2, 2010
     
    Public Statement--
    Condemning the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
    and mourning the deaths of humanitarians
     
    The Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation mourns the killing of at least nine people and the injuries of dozens of others in the May 31 Israeli attack of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. This attack by Israel against the humanitarian mission is an affront against humanity. The Mid-MO FOR condemns Israel’s violent actions and supports an international, impartial investigation of the incident. We additionally oppose violence by Palestinian or Israeli combatants and support nonviolent resolution of conflicts between the peoples.
     
    We urge Israel to follow through on public promises to release all of the nearly 700 people, taken by force from the six Gaza-bound ships and detained by the military. Furthermore, we implore US officials to pressure Israel to end its illegal blockade of the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip and to cease sending US dollars to enable the Israeli military to undertake such actions with impunity. We sadly recognize U.S. complicity in arming Israel and enabling its human rights abuses.  In July 2008, the United States signed a contract worth $1.9 billion to transfer the latest-generation of naval combat vessels to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense; some of those vessels were likely used in this barbaric attack on international humanitarian activists. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel this budget year.
     
    The Gaza Freedom Flotilla boats were attacked by the Israeli military in international waters, a clear violation of international law. An elite commando unit of the Israeli military, armed with heavy automatic weapons, boarded the ships. Israel must be held responsible for this use of disproportionate force and for recklessly endangering the lives of all civilians onboard.
     
    The Flotilla was attempting to break Israel’s illegal and immoral three-year siege of the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Israel military forces, during its December 2008-January 2009 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead” killed more than 1400 Palestinians. Beyond the horrific murderous actions, the “operation” further exacerbated the human suffering of the siege, causing $2 billion in infrastructural damage. Israel has nonetheless consistently refused to allow rebuilding materials into the Gaza Strip. High-end medical supplies, as well as a revolving list of items that has included pasta, jam, and cardamom, have also been denied.
     
    When armed might is used to attempt to break up clearly organized nonviolent resistance to injustice, the conscience of humanity is offended.  Besides that, the judgment of history goes against those seeking to preserve entrenched privilege when confronted by disciplined and determined People Power.
     
    Earlier this spring we recalled with shame the gunning down of unarmed protesters at Kent State University 40 years ago. We think of the murder of hundreds at Tiananmen Square when the Chinese government attempted to suppress democracy. The brutal beatings at the Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama during the Civil Rights struggles are another example of the might of the State brought to bear against those courageously standing against injustice.
     
    In these and so many other cases we see the power of nonviolent direct action -- which is not just refusal to engage in violent defense of rights, but also the vivid expression of the power of Truth, the willingness to sacrifice all for justice.
     
    Those who have perished in this humanitarian flotilla will join, in the annals of history, those we respect as having advanced the claims and interest of all mankind against those who, in an ultimately futile effort, try to suppress the just aspirations of humanity.  We mourn the loss of these brave souls, and honor their efforts to relieve suffering.

    --David Finke, Mid-MO FOR Board Chair and Jeff Stack, Mid-MO FOR Coordinator

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    100 Columbia-Area Entities have Endorsed

    A Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on Executions

    in Missouri  with a Concurrent Study Commission

    (Thank leaders with the following houses of worship & groups; consider
    joining them. Thank business owners for their endorsement and patronize them).

    -- As of 18 December 2009  

    Houses of Worship/Religious & Inter-faith Organizations
                    
    1.    Benedictine Sisters, Social Concerns Committee

    2.    Church Women United of Missouri (statewide with president based in town)

    3.    Columbia Interfaith Council

    4.    Columbia Interfaith Peace Alliance

    5.    First Baptist Church, Board of Deacons

    6.    Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation

    7.    Mt. Celestial Baptist Church

    8.    New Horizon United Methodist Church, Missions Committee

    9.    Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Social Concerns Committee

    10.      Religious Society of Friends, Columbia Friends Meeting

    11.      Rock Bridge Christian Church

    12.      Russell Chapel Central Methodist Episcopal Church

    13.  Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Social Concerns Committee

    14.  Second Missionary Baptist Church

    15.  School Sisters of Notre Dame Ministering in Mid-Missouri

    16.  Show-Me Dharma

    17.  St. Francis Catholic Worker Community

    18.  St. Luke's United Methodist Church

    19.  Thomas Moore Newman Center, Social Justice Commission

    20.  Unitarian Universalist Church--Social Action Committee           

    21.   Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church Council

     
    Businesses
                                        
    22.  A-1 Miller’s Small Engine
    23.  Alley Cat Yoga
    24.  Arsenic Leopard Gift Shop
    25.  Amazico Inc., DBA Cool Stuff
    26.  ASAP Plumbing
    27.  Axiom, an Identity Company
    28.  Bangkok Gardens
    29.  Bellman Computer Repair
    30.  Blackberry Exchange Clothing Shop
    31.  The Blue Note
    32.  Brighter Days Corp. Contract Painting & Window Cleaning
    33.  Café Berlin International
    34.  Clovers Natural Market
    35.  Coffee Zone
    36.  Columbia Books, Inc.
    37.  Columbia Daily Tribune (as reflected in an April 3, 2005 Editorial)
    38.  Day Care Extraordinaire
      39.  Dreamcatcher Boutique
    40.  Roy Finley Building and Development
    41.  Gaslight Mobile Home Park
    42.  Get Lost Bookshop
    43.  Gotcha! Theatrical Supplies & Costume Rental
    44.  Hairworks
    45.  Hinshaw Family Properties
    46. The Ink Factory
    47.  Kassman Insurance Agency
    48.  Lakota Coffee Company
    49.   Lee Street Deli
    50.  Lifecycle Consultants
    51.  Lindsey Rentals
    52.  Lotus Blossom Arts
    53.  Lulu's Repose Bath & Body Boutique
    54.  Main Squeeze Restaurant
    55.  Mama Bessie's Dry Cleaners
    56.  Maude’s Vintage Clothing
    57.  National Pastimes Productions
    58.  Ninth St. Video Store on Hitt St.
    59.  The Peace Nook
    60.   Peak Roofing/Construction
    61.  Practice of Elizabeth Alleman, M.D.
    62.  Practice of N.S. Goodman, Doctor of Chiropractic
    63.  Pride Used Cars LLC
    64.  Quick-Fix Automobile Repair
    65.  Rebirth Landscaping
    66.  Root Cellar
    67.  Sharp End Restaurant and Bar
    68.  Sparky's Ice Cream Shop
    69.  Uprise Bakery
    70.  Dan Viets Law Office
    71.  Violet Moon Herbal Organics
    72.  Whizz Record Exchange
    73.  World Harvest International & Gourmet Foods

    Groups & Organizations

    74.  Amnesty International, Local Columbia Chapter
    75.  Amnesty International, Hickman High School Chapter
    76.  Amnesty International, University of Missouri-Columbia Chapter
    77.  Boone County Muleskinners
    78.  Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center
    79.  Columbia MO National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Branch
    80.  Food Not Bombs
    81.  Frederick Douglass Coalition
    82.  Grass Roots Organizing (GRO) – based out of Columbia and Mexico
    83.  Green Party of Central Missouri
    84.  Hickman High School Global Issues Club
    85.  Minority Men’s Network
    86.  Mid-Missouri American Civil Liberties Union
    87.  Mid-Missouri Global Action to Prevent War
    88.  Mid-Missouri Peaceworks
    89.  Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW)--Central Missouri chapter           
    90.  Missouri Rural Crisis Center
    91.  Missouri Symphony Society
    92.  Mrs. J's African-American Center and Family Institute
    93.  North Central Neighborhood Association
    94.  Ridgeway Neighborhood Association
    95.  UMC Catholic Student Organization
    96.  UMC Faculty, Staff & Students Concerned About Democracy & Public Knowledge
    97. UMC Students for Progressive Action
    98.  UMC Students for a Free Tibet
    99.  Veterans for Peace— Chapter 43 (Mid-Missouri)
    100.Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Mid-MO branch

    If a group you are a member of, if your house of worship or your business or one you patronize--
    is/aren’t on this list, call us at 573-449-4585 or log onto http://www.moratoriumnow.net to find how
    to have them endorse this reasonable policy measure.
     



     

     

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    FOR News July 2008

    Help Halt Missouri’s Planned Execution
    of Dennis Skillicorn on Aug. 27

    The Missouri Supreme Court on 26 July “authorized” state officials to execute Dennis Skillicorn on 27 August—despite having just days earlier stayed then rescheduled the execution of John Middleton. Both executions could also indefinitely be delayed, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit (explained below in the next entry on the FOR website). We hope for the best, but urge concerned citizens to prepare for the worst-- Missouri continuing with its serial murdering, after nearly three years of no executions. Please keep free the evening of 26 Aug. The Mid-MO FOR will convene a Vigil for Life that evening (see below for details and for other actions) unless we learn by 12 noon that day the execution has definitely been stayed.  Call 573-449-4585, check this website and Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty www.moabolition.org <http://www.moabolition.org> for further updates, calls to action and sites around the state of other gatherings affirming life/opposing state murder.   
     
    There’s no doubt both that Dennis Skillicorn joined two other men in a cross-country crime spree in 1994 and that he did not kill Richard Drummond. Still he was sentenced to death, as was Allen Nicklasson, the admitted triggerman. Drummond had stopped his car near Kingdom City to give a ride to the two men and Tim DeGraffenreid who were stranded with their broken-down car. Nicklasson pulled a gun on Drummond, forcing him to drive west, Skillicorn remained in the car when the gunman walked Drummond 1/4 mile away and shot him. DeGraffenreid received a life sentence for 2nd degree murder, more in line with what Skillicorn should have gotten. We deplore the violence the men committed and mourn with Drummond’s loved ones, his violent death. We also urge the violence to end without cycling into a state killing.
     
    Besides his human right to life, Skillicorn has been sincerely remorseful for his part in the crimes while contributing to better our world from prison. The past five years he’s been editor of Compassion (log on at www.compassionondeathrow.org), a national magazine featuring writings by “death row” prisoners, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships for people who have had loved ones murdered. He also has worked for several years in the Potosi prison’s hospice program caring for terminally-ill inmates.
     
    Skillicorn, in a letter to Christians about the death penalty, writes, “Under the law of Grace, we are clearly to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The revenge cycle is like a boomerang that cannot be thrown without cost to the thrower. The cycle can only be broken by forgiveness. We must rise above revenge and examine our motives. Are we trying to please men, or God?” Let us serve humanity and the Creation and help spare the life of Dennis Skillicorn.  
     
    Take Action
    * Attend a Vigil for Life
    5:00-600 pm, Tuesday, 26 August, Boone County Courthouse, Walnut St. Columbia
    (unless we learn by 12 noon that day the execution has definitely been stayed). For future updates, check out this website periodically and www.moabolition.org, the website of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty (vigils would also take place in a least a half dozen other Missouri communities);

    * Contact the Board of Probation and Parole
    In a letter, urge the Board members to recommend Gov. Matt Blunt grant clemency, at least commuting his death sentence to life.  Please note that Mr. Skillicorn was not the triggerman by all accounts; that he has been genuinely remorseful for his role in the crimes and rehabilitated; has been an effective facilitator for restorative justice and contributing member of society even while incarcerated.
    Mail to: MO Dept. of Corrections/Board of Probation and Parole; 1511 Christy Dr., Jefferson City MO 65101
    or fax 573-751-8501

    * Contact Gov. Matt Blunt
    Urge him to commute Mr. Skillicorn’s death sentence to “life” for reasons similar to those noted above.
    Write: Gov. Blunt, Room 216, Capitol Building, Jefferson City MO 65101.
    Fax: 573-751-1595;
    Phone: 573-751-3222; or e-mail mogov@mail.state.mo.us.
     
    John Middleton’s 30 July Execution Halted;
    Lawsuit Challenges Lethal Injection

    The Missouri Supreme Court stayed the execution of John Middleton, a week before he was set to be killed during the opening minutes of 30 July-- reissuing a warrant for his execution, instead for 17 September. And in a separate development, prisoners and their advocates filed a lawsuit, Thursday in Cole County Court challenging Missouri’s lethal injection protocol, hopefully delaying for months, if not years, his and all state killings in Missouri.   
     
    The suit was filed on behalf of 13 of the 14 condemned prisoners for whom the Attorney General has requested execution dates. Families of those men, clergy and legislators—Sen. Joan Bray and Rep. Connie Johnson (both of St. Louis)—all joined the civil action, contending the Department of Corrections (DOC) has been violating the state’s Administrative Procedure Act.  The act requires agencies to provide notice and invite public comments about state proceedings. To date no public meetings have been convened by the DOC regarding lethal injections.  
     
    John Middleton would be the first person in the state to be executed since October 2005, when Marlin Gray was lethally poisoned in the Bonne Terre prison. Middleton was convicted of murdering Alfred Pinegar, Stacy Hodge and Randy Hamilton in 1995 in northern Missouri. We with the Mid-MO FOR condemn the horrible violence Middleton committed, in connection with a methamphetamine business he ran. We mourn those deaths and the anguish felt by their loved ones. We also realize the wrongs wouldn’t be erased by his state murder—the suffering, the immorality would only be expanded, devastating the lives of others who care about him.
     
    Missouri officials have executed 66 people, 4th most of any US state; 47 men dwell under a death sentence in Missouri, at least a couple of them having strong claims of being wrongly convicted. On 28 July 2003, Joe Amrine was set free. He’s one of three men in Missouri (among 129 people nationwide) exonerated after being found wrongly convicted and sentenced to die. Earlier this month, Amrine graced Columbia, joining FOR for a news conference with state legislative candidates. Let the 5th anniversary of his freedom remind us, mistakes can and do occur. It’s a prime reason our state needs a death-penalty study with a concurrent execution moratorium NOW.  To join the local effort of the Missouri moratorium campaign call 573-449-4585.


    ------ End of Forwarded Message

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    FOR Candidate Survey

    2008 Columbia-Area State Legislative Candidate Survey

    The Mid-MO FOR is a non-partisan group endorsing no particular candidate, encouraging all eligible citizens to vote on Aug. 5. As a pacifist group, we see it as our civic duty to inform voters of various social justice, peace and environmental perspectives of the candidates.

    Those of all political parties vying for the Missouri House Districts covering the Columbia area were asked to respond to five questions, choosing:

    • S- Support
    • O-Oppose
    • NP- No Position
    • Questions left unanswered were recorded as "DNR"- Did Not Respond.

    Many of these issues are difficult to answer in a single word, but we wanted to provide voters with an easy to measure comparative tool.

    1. Would you support or oppose a bill initiating a study of Missouri's death penalty (examining whether individuals have been wrongly convicted; whether death sentences have been meted out in a fair or arbitrary manner, with regards to the race, gender and economic status of defendants and/or murder victims and with regards to the geog0raphical area of the crimes)-- with a moratorium on executions in Missouri while the study would take place?
    2. Do you support or oppose the abolition of the death penalty?
    3. Would you support or oppose limiting Missouri National Guard units to humanitarian missions-- ending their deployment in supportive roles in the continuing U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan or in a support/combatant role for U.S. military activities in another country?
    4. Do you support or oppose the plan to transport radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and other facilities across country-including on Missouri highways and train tracks-to Yucca Mountain NV for more permanent storage?
    5. Do you support or oppose the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County in mid-Missouri by the utility company Ameren UE?

    Missouri House Candidates



    Question#


    1 2 3 4 5

    District 21

    (includes northern Boone Co. & northern notch of Columbia)
    Steve Hobbs Republican DNR DNR DNR DNR DNR
    Kelly Schultz Democrat S O O O S

    District 23

    (includes western portion of Columbia)
    Cande Iveson Democrat S S NP* O O
    Stephen Webber Democrat S S O* NP* NP*
    No other parties have candidates for the office

    District 25

    (includes eastern portion of Columbia)
    Ryan Asbridge Republican DNR DNR DNR DNR DNR
    Bob Pund Democrat S S S O NP
    Sean Spence Democrat S S S O O
    Mary Still Democrat S NP* O* NP* NP*

    Candidates for the Missouri House 24th District and the Senate 19th District did not respond to the survey.

    We are grateful many candidates made their views known publicly, especially given the short notice they were given in which to reply.

    Other Comments by Missouri state legislative candidates

    District 23

    Cande Iveson

    Question 3-Missouri National Guard
    As a personal matter yes, but I am not sure of the state's authority on this issue and/or federal funding constraints. This would require further study!

    Stephen Webber

    Question 3-Missouri National Guard
    I strongly oppose the war in Iraq. Currently our National Guard is on a peacekeeping mission in Kosvo, and I support their mission.

    Question 4-Transportation of Nuclear Waste
    As far as I know this is a federal issue. I'm not sure what role the state would play.

    Question 5-Second Nuclear Power Plant
    I haven't seen what Ameren wants from the state of Missouri. The decision to build or not will be private. Obviously there will be state regulations regarding CWIP and other issues. Until I see what it will mean for ratepayers, and the development of renewable energy it would be irresponsible to commit to a one word answer.

    District 25

    Mary Still

    Question 2-Death Penalty Abolition
    I want to see the result of the study . At this point my position is the same as Obama's but I want to learn all there is to know. My immediate focus is on better funding for public defenders' offices. Too many are overworked and underpaid and without the resources for proper investigation.

    Questions 3-Missouri National Guard
    The National Guard is the only constitutionally recognized reserve and it has a binding effect on the country. To limit its use to humanitarian service would cut an important thread that binds the state and federal government and dry up the funding source for the state guard. While this would be much to the delight of the Pentagon, I believe it would be a mistake. We should not allow a ill-advised war which has overused the guard, determine the future of this branch of service.

    Question 4-Transportation of Nuclear Waste
    Do not know the answer. I support the safest measure of storage and excellerated efforts and focus on cleanup technology.

    Question 5-Second Nuclear Power Plant
    I want to further study this issue.




    2008 Missouri Federal Candidate Survey

    The Mid-MO FOR asked candidates of all political parties seeking election to the open seat of Missouri's U.S. 9th Congressional district (covering 23-plus counties including Boone County and Columbia) to answer 12 questions, responding either: S- Support; O-Oppose or NP- No Position. Many of these issues are difficult to answer in a single word or phrase, but we wanted to provide voters a comparative tool with which to measure the candidates on various peace and justice issues. The questions:

    • S- Support
    • O-Oppose
    • NP- No Position
    • Questions left unanswered were recorded as "DNR"- Did Not Respond.
    1. Do you support or oppose, initiating the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Iraq with the setting of a definite and prompt timetable to safely and rapidly withdraw all U.S. soldiers, returning them to this nation-- while closing or turning over to Iraqis all U.S. military bases in that country, assuming the financial responsibility of funding the reconstruction of the war-ravaged nation by international and Iraqi civilians, and fully funding the health and other needs of returning US troops?
    2. Do you support or oppose, initiating the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Afghanistan with the setting of a definite and prompt timetable to safely and rapidly withdraw all U.S. soldiers, returning them to this nation-- while closing U.S. military bases in that country, assuming the financial responsibility of funding the reconstruction of the war-ravaged nation by international and Afghani civilians and fully funding the health and other needs of returning US troops?
    3. Do you support or oppose the normalizing of relations with Iran, initiating unconditional diplomatic talks between US and Iranian leaders to settle differences while ruling out US military attacks upon that country?
    4. Do you support or oppose immediately ending the US economic embargo against Cuba, allowing free travel between the nations and fully normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba?
    5. Do you support or oppose the United States strengthening economic, cultural and diplomatic relations with Venezuela and the Chavez government?
    6. Do you support or oppose the United States continuing with plans to develop so-called full-spectrum military systems, including deploying weapons in space?
    7. Do you support or oppose the United States taking the initiative among global nuclear nations to multi-laterally halt the construction of more nuclear weapons, reduce and eventually abolish nuclear weapons worldwide?
    8. Do you support or oppose the United States signing the Kyoto and/or similar environmental protocols, taking the lead among nations of the world to dramatically decrease fossil-fuel emissions and combat global climate change?
    9. Do you support or oppose a national moratorium on executions while studies are conducted in states (including Missouri) across the country to examine whether individuals have been wrongly convicted; whether "death" sentences have been meted out in pa fair or arbitrary manner, with regards to the race, gender and economic status of defendants and/or murder victims and with regards to the geographical area of the crimes?
    10. Do you support or oppose abolition of the death penalty?
    11. Do you support or oppose the plan to transport radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and other facilities in the United States across the nation's highways and railroad tracks-including across Missouri-to Yucca Mountain NV for more permanent storage?
    12. Do you support or oppose the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County in mid-Missouri by the utility company Ameren UE?



    Question #


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    Tamara Millay Libertarian S S S S S O S O S S O O
    Ken Jacob Democrat S O S S S O S S S S O O

    We are grateful that two individuals took the time to respond and wish all would have replied to these critical questions of our time.

    Surveys were mailed to all candidates. We made at least two follow-up calls to each candidate.




    The Mid-MO FOR is a non-partisan group, not affiliated with any political party nor endorsing any candidate.

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Mid-Missouri
Fellowship of
Reconciliation
P.O. Box 268
Columbia, Missouri
65205

Questions about the Fellowship of Reconciliation? -- contact Jeff Stack at 573-449-4585 or jstack@no2death.org

An appeal to conscience and purse-strings

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