Be you of a religious inclination or an aethiest, it is time!! We can not stand idly aside while American and Iraqis bury their children and grandchildren.  
 Take to the streets! Activate!  Join those that signed the Declaration of Peace and did Civil Disobedience, the Grannies and grandchildren from east to wesat coast.  
Join the eleven Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia women who walked into the US Military Recuitment Center in Philadelphia saying,"I am here to enlist. Take me to Iraq, not our grandchildren " . We were arrested and charged with Defiant Trespass!  Join us when on December 1, 2006, we go to Community Court, 1401 Arch Street, 2nd floor 9:00am.
But first, join the Declaration of Peace and subscribe to Political Allies.
 From: Rabbi Arthur Waskow [] ,  2006 September 28 Thursday 9:36 PM

Subject: Yom Kippur & a despicable law

A prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, & American life
Normal 2 1 2006-09-28T23:28:00Z 2006-09-28T23:28:00Z 2 2234 12737 106 25 15641 11.518 0 0

Dear Friends,
Habeas corpus – which the English barons imposed upon King John in 1215 through Magna Carta -- the present sycophantic US Congress today handed back with a smile and a flourish.  
John, often described as the worst of English kings, was reined in. The present President, certainly the worst of all American presidents, is being handed the power to define who can be tortured, and what torture is; and the courts are being debarred from stopping him.
The vote to strip out the anti-Habeas provision lost 48-51. It would have taken only 41 Senators to filibuster the bill to death – and what bill in the entire history of the Senate more deserved a filibuster?
Years from now, after more people have been tortured, the Supreme Court may follow the clear statement of the Constitution that Habeas Corpus may be suspended only during invasion or insurrection – but judging from previous votes of the present Justices, they may uphold this law by a 5-4 vote.
This law is second in despicability only to the protection explicitly given slavery in the original Constitution of the United States.  I am ashamed that to my grandchildren I am bequeathing an America so defiled.
 This coming Monday, Jews who are observing Yom Kippur in traditional form will read the stories of ten great rabbis who were tortured to death by the Roman Empire. It is a cautionary tale about all Empires.
And we will read one of the greatest of all the prophetic outcries: Isaiah's delivery of God's message that refraining from food and "hanging down one's head like a bulrush" is not what God meant by the fast of Yom Kippur: rather, striking off the shackles put on by wicked power; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless.  


(Isaiah 57:14 to 58: 14; for my own translation see –   )
Isaiah interrupted the official liturgy of Yom Kippur to say God's impassioned words. He describes how people shouted at him, shook their fists at him, when he "interrupted" the sweet levitical hymns with God's challenge.
I hope in synagogues throughout America this Monday, rabbis and congregants will speak out, and will realize that even Isaiah's words have become tame liturgy, unless we rouse them to cry out the truth of our own time.
"Raise your voice like a shofar!" says Isaiah.

I hope that Muslims and Christians -- who also recognize that Isaiah, a prophet, spoke for God – will figure out a way in the next few weeks to introduce this outcry into their own prayers and studies, and will raise THEIR voices like the ram's horn. The ram's horn that saved Abraham's son from death: may it save our children from this deadly sin.

Here is the voice of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was grabbed by the US as he returned from a business trip to Europe, on a connecting flight into LaGuardia, on his way to Canada. The United States "rendered"  him to Syria to be tortured. His words have been verified by an independent Canadian commission, which publicly criticized both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the US government for its behavior.
With blessings for a Yom Kippur that makes a difference,

Says Maher Arar:


<<  I am not a terrorist. I am not a member of Al Qaeda and I do not know any one who belongs to this group. All I know about Al Qaeda is what I have seen in the media. I have never been to Afghanistan. I have never been anywhere near Afghanistan and I do not have any desire to ever go to Afghanistan.
<<  Now, let me tell you who I am.
<< I am a Syrian-born Canadian. I moved here with my parents when I was seventeen years old. I went to university and studied hard, and eventually obtained a Masters degree in telecommunications. I met my wife, Monia at McGill University. We fell in love and eventually married in 1994. I knew then that she was special, but I had no idea how special she would turn out to be.
<<If it were not for her I believe I would still be in prison.
<<We had our first child, a daughter named Bar⡬ in February,1997. She is six years old now. In December, 1997, we moved to Ottawa from Montreal. I took a job with a high tech firm, called The MathWorks, in Boston in 1999, and my job involved a lot of travel within the US.
<<Then in 2001 I decided to come back to Ottawa to start my own consulting company. We had our second child, Houd, in February, 2002. He is twenty months old now.
<<In September 2002, I was with my wife and children, and her family, vacationing in Tunis. I got an email from the MathWorks saying that they might need me soon to assess a potential consulting work for one of their customers. I said goodbye to my wife and family, and headed back home to prepare for work.
<<I was using my air-miles to travel, and the best flight I could get went from Tunis, to Zurich, to New York, to Montreal. My flight arrived in New York at 2:00 p.m. on September 26th 2002. I had a few hours to wait until my connecting flight to Montreal.
<<This is when my nightmare began.
<<Then a team of people came and told me they wanted to ask me some questions. One man was from the FBI, and another was from the New York Police Department. I was scared and did not know what was going on. I told them I wanted a lawyer. They told me I had no right to a lawyer, because I was not an American citizen.
<<I told them everything I knew. They asked me about my travel in the United States. I told them about my work permits, and my business there.

<<This interrogation continued until midnight. I was very, very worried, and asked for a lawyer again and again. They just ignored me. Then they put me in chains, on my wrists and ankles, and took me in a van to a place where many people were being held another building by the airport. They would not tell me what was happening.
<<At 1 in the morning they put me in a room with metal benches in it. I could not sleep. I was very, very scared and disoriented. The next morning they started questioning me again. They asked me about what I think about Bin Laden, Palestine, Iraq. They also asked me about the mosques I pray in, my bank accounts, my email addresses, my relatives, about everything.
<<This continued on and off for eight hours.
<<Then a man from the INS came in and told me they wanted me to volunteer to go to Syria. I said no way. I said I wanted to go home to Canada or sent back to Switzerland. He said to me "you are a special interest".
<<They asked me to sign a form. They would not let me read it, but I just signed it. I was exhausted and confused and disoriented. I had not slept or eaten since I was in the plane.
<<At about 6 in the evening they brought me some cold McDonalds meal to eat. This was the first food I had eaten since the last meal I had on the plane.
<<At about eight o'clock they put all the shackles and chains back on, and put me in a van, and drove me to a prison. I later learned this was the Metropolitan Detention Centre. They would not tell me what was happening, or where I was going.
<<They strip searched me. It was humiliating. They put me in an orange suit, and took me to a doctor, where they made me sign forms, and gave me a vaccination. I asked what it was, and they would not tell me. My arm was red for almost two weeks from that.
<<They took me to a cell. I had never seen a prison before in my life, and I was terrified. I asked again for a phone call, and a lawyer. They just ignored me. They treated me differently than the other prisoners. They would not give me a toothbrush or toothpaste, or reading material. I did get a copy of the Koran about two days later.
<<After five days, they let me make a phone call. I called Monia's mother, who was here in Ottawa, and told her I was scared they might send me to Syria, and asked her to help find me a lawyer. They would only let me talk for two minutes.
<<On the seventh or eighth day they brought me a document, saying they had decided to deport me, and I had a choice of where to be deported. I wrote that I wanted to go to Canada. It asked if I had concerns about going to Canada. I wrote no, and signed it.
<<The Canadian consul came on October 4, and I told her I was scared of being deported to Syria. She told me that would not happen. She told me that a lawyer was being arranged. I was very upset, and scared. I could barely talk.
<<The next day, a lawyer came. She told me not to sign any document unless she was present. We could only talk for 30 minutes. She said she would try to help me. That was a Saturday.
<<On Sunday night at about 9:00 p.m., the guards came to my cell and told me my lawyer was there to see me. I thought it was a strange time, and they took me into a room with seven or eight people in it. I asked where my lawyer was. They told me he had refused to come and started questioning me again. They said they wanted to know why I did not want to go back to Syria. I told them I would be tortured there.
<<They asked me to sign a document and I refused. I told them they could not send me to Syria I would be tortured. I asked again for a lawyer.
<<At three in the morning they took me back to my cell.
<<At 3 in the morning on Tuesday, October 8th, a prison guard woke me up and told me I was leaving. They took me to another room and stripped and searched me again. Then they again chained and shackled me. Then two officials took me inside a room and read me what they said was a decision by the INS Director.
<<They told me that based on classified information that they could not reveal to me, I would be deported to Syria. I said again that I would be tortured there. Then they read part of the document where it explained that INS was not the body that deals with Geneva Convention regarding torture.
<<Then they took me outside into a car and drove me to an airport in New Jersey. Then they put me on a small private jet. I was the only person on the plane with them. I was still chained and shackled. We flew first to Washington. A new team of people got on the plane and the others left. I overheard them talking on the phone, saying that Syria was refusing to take me directly, but Jordan would take me.
<<Then we flew to Portland, to Rome, and then to Amman, Jordan. All the time I was on the plane I was thinking how to avoid being tortured. I was very scared. We landed in Amman at 3 in the morning local time on October 9th.
<<They took me out of plane and there were six or seven Jordanian men waiting for us. They blindfolded and chained me, and put me in a van.
<<They made me bend my head down in the back seat. Then, these men started beating me. Every time I tried to talk they beat me. For the first few minutes it was very intense.
<<Thirty minutes later we arrived at a building where they took off my blindfold and asked routine questions, before taking me to a cell. It was around 4:30 in the morning on October 9. Later that day, they took my fingerprints, and blindfolded me and put me in a van. I asked where I was going, and they told me I was going back to Montreal.
<<About forty-five minutes later, I was put into a different car. These men started beating me again. They made me keep my head down, and it was very uncomfortable, but every time I moved, they beat me again. Over an hour later we arrived at what I think was the border with Syria. I was put in another car and we drove for another three hours.
<<I was taken into a building, where some guards went through my bags and took some chocolates I bought in Zurich. I asked one of the people where I was and he told me I was in the Palestine branch of the Syrian military intelligence. It was now about 6 in the evening on October 9.
<<Three men came and took me into a room. I was very, very scared. They put me on a chair, and one of the men started asking me questions. I later learned this man was a colonel. He asked me about my brothers, and why we had left Syria. I answered all the questions.
<<If I did not answer quickly enough, he would point to a metal chair in the corner and ask "Do you want me to use this?" I did not know then what that chair was for. I learned later it was used to torture people.
<<I asked him what he wanted to hear. I was terrified, and I did not want to be tortured. I would say anything to avoid torture. This lasted for four hours. There was no violence, only threats this day. At about 1 in the morning, the guards came to take me to my cell downstairs.
<<We went into the basement, and they opened a door, and I looked in. I could not believe what I saw. I asked how long I would be kept in this place. He did not answer, but put me in and closed the door. It was like a grave. It had no light. It was three feet wide. It was six feet deep.
<<It was seven feet high. It had a metal door, with a small opening in the door, which did not let in light because there was a piece of metal on the outside for sliding things into the cell.
<<There was a small opening in the ceiling, about one foot by two feet with iron bars. Over that was another ceiling, so only a little light came through this. There were cats and rats up there, and from time to time the cats peed through the opening into the cell. There were two blankets, two dishes and two bottles. One bottle was for water and the other one was used for urinating during the night. Nothing else. No light.
<<I spent ten months, and ten days inside that grave.

<<The next day I was taken upstairs again. The beating started that day and was very intense for a week, and then less intense for another week. That second and the third days were the worst. I could hear other prisoners being tortured, and screaming and screaming. Interrogations are carried out in different rooms.

<<One tactic they use is to question prisoners for two hours, and then put them in a waiting room, so they can hear the others screaming, and then bring them back to continue the interrogation.
<<The cable is a black electrical cable, about two inches thick. They hit me with it everywhere on my body. They mostly aimed for my palms, but sometimes missed and hit my wrists they were sore and red for three weeks. They also struck me on my hips, and lower back. Interrogators constantly threatened me with the metal chair, tire and electric shocks.

<<They used the cable on the second and third day, and after that mostly beat me with their hands, hitting me in the stomach and on the back of my neck, and slapping me on the face. Where they hit me with the cables, my skin turned blue for two or three weeks, but there was no bleeding. At the end of the day they told me tomorrow would be worse. So I could not sleep.
<<Then on the third day, the interrogation lasted about eighteen hours.
<<They beat me from time to time and make me wait in the waiting room for one to two hours before resuming the interrogation. While in the waiting room I heard a lot of people screaming. They wanted me to say I went to Afghanistan. This was a surprise to me. They had not asked about this in the United States.
<<They kept beating me so I had to falsely confess and told them I did go to Afghanistan. I was ready to confess to anything if it would stop the torture. They wanted me to say I went to a training camp. I was so scared I urinated on myself twice. 


The Delaration of Peace


Thousands of people across the United States DECLARED PEACE in the more than 375 Declaration of Peace events that took place the week of September 21-28! We raised our voices and took action to call for a concrete and rapid plan to end the US occupation of Iraq and to support a comprehensive peace process.

Vigils, peace concerts, marches, rallies, teach-ins, readings of the names of the Iraqi and US war dead, interfaith services, call-in days to Congress, and acts of nonviolent resistance took place nationwide. In the past week, 265 people in 22 cities were arrested as they engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience at Congressional offices, military bases, military recruitment centers and at the White House. Visit the Declaration of Peace website for the amazing stories, photos, video and media coverage of the Week of Action. If you have a story or photos of an event, please submit them to the Declaration of Peace website.

We celebrate the actions you have taken to DECLARE PEACE! And we look forward to taking the next steps with you in the coming days, weeks, and months to bring the troops home and make this comprehensive plan for peace in Iraq a reality.

Steps We Have Taken to Declare Peace

We came together from every corner of this nation, joined by a deep commitment to end the U.S. occupation in Iraq.

Nonviolent civil disobedience inside the Hart Building

We called on our government leaders to commit to legislating a rapid, comprehensive and just plan for peace in Iraq.

When Congress failed to legislate this plan, we the people DECLARED PEACE.

With commitment and creativity, we took nonviolent action for peace throughout the United States and in other parts of the world. Visit the website for highlights of this first phase of the Declaration of Peace campaign.

Next Steps to Declare Peace

The occupation of Iraq and funding for this war, however, continue. Our Next Steps are clear. We must elevate nonviolent grassroots pressure on current and future elected leaders in Congressional districts and states across the country to make the upcoming fall elections a referendum on the US occupation of Iraq. We must also resist "preventive" war against Iran. And we must plan for the next phase of nationally coordinated nonviolent actions. In addition, we must:

  • DECLARE PEACE by calling on Congress to pass legislation to bring the troops home, prevent permanent US military bases in Iraq and end the funding of the war.
  • DECLARE PEACE by supporting US soldiers who refuse to fight in Iraq.
  • DECLARE PEACE by joining efforts that challenge the military's recruitment of our nation's youth.
  • DECLARE PEACE by educating ourselves and others about the realities of the invasion and occupation in Iraq and by supporting an Iraqi-led peace process.
  • DECLARE PEACE by joining other initiatives to end the war.

Thank you for joining this growing effort to DECLARE PEACE. Let us celebrate what we have begun as we prepare to take the next steps to end the US occupation of Iraq!

In peace,
The Declaration of Peace National Strategy Committee

See all the press coverage from the week! Check out our photo gallery and video footage!

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