Who lives, who dies, who tells your story – #RasmeaOdeh

Sadly, Rasmea Odeh has accepted a plea deal in the face of malicious prosecution for harmless PTSD-engendered errors on her immigration paperwork; she will be deported after more than twenty years of living peaceably in the United States, far from the oppressive government that tortured her into falsely confessing to crimes in her homeland.

It is the opinion of the Mayo Clinic (as well as my personal experience) that PTSD interferes with the memory of traumatic events. It is judicial pretense, not judicial prudence, to maintain that Rasmea or any other person who has PTSD can overcome all of its traits on any given day and under any given circumstance.

Judge Gershwin Drain has had fine moments. This isn’t one of them. Whatever further indignities and harm that befall Rasmea and other PTSD victims henceforth will be either entirely or partially his fault.

I will continue my struggle – Rasmea Odeh, April 5th, 2017

(This essay is adapted from speeches delivered by Rasmea Odeh at the Crossroads Fund Seeds of Change event on 31 March 2017 and at the Jewish Voice for Peace national conference on 2 April 2017.)

I was an infant during the Nakba, the 1948 catastrophe in Palestine. Growing up I heard many stories of pain and bitterness from my family, who were forced, along with 750,000 other Palestinians, to leave the homes, lands, lives and memories they had built for generations.

Now I face a similar Nakba, forced to leave the country and the life that I built for myself over 23 years in the US – the relationships, the memories and all the people I know and love, especially the women of Chicago’s Arab community.

But I will continue my struggle for justice for my people wherever I land. I will continue the struggle for the right of return, for self-determination and for the establishment of a democratic state on the entirety of the historic land of Palestine.

When I immigrated to this country and found myself in Chicago, after many years of working on women’s rights and other legal advocacy issues in the Arab world, I found psychological tranquility and stability amongst family and new friends, far away from any kind of fear or threats. I determined that this would be my second home, where I would build a life amongst a Palestinian community that I love and respect so dearly.
Community and struggle

I have been a community organizer for the past 13 years with the Arab Women’s Committee, a project of the Arab American Action Network. I have spent the best years of my life with these Arab immigrant and refugee women. We protect each other, and struggle for justice together through our organizing work. They are all helping me to live a generous and simple life, and forget a lot of my personal pain.

We created this committee from scratch; it now has over 700 members. The committee promotes leadership by and for Arab women, to build their capacity to fight for social change, and to challenge systems of oppression like racial profiling, sexism and patriarchy. We built a formation of immigrant and refugee women who fight for their own rights and the rights of all oppressed peoples.

We all have a role to play in our own cities, our own neighborhoods. Organizing is difficult. It’s hard work, but it’s the only thing that is guaranteed to make change in this world.

White people didn’t just decide to give up their power and allow people their civil rights. It was fought for in a Black-led movement that inspired the whole world, and it is still being fought for. Mubarak in Egypt didn’t just walk away quietly from his presidency. It took 10 million workers on strike to push him out, and that revolution is still not complete.

The Arab American Action Network was one of the leaders of the shutdown of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago the day after Trump’s Muslim Ban was announced. We helped get 5,000 people to that airport over two days, and thousands more shut down a number of other airports in the US.

Later that same weekend, a federal court froze that executive order, but it wouldn’t have happened without the mass movement in the streets. Trump lost Muslim Ban 2.0 as well, and the Republican bill to take healthcare away from millions, and he will lose many times more. Even though he said he was going to win more than any other president, he keeps losing because people in the US are in the streets resisting every single day.
Our role in Palestine’s liberation

Of course, Zionists aren’t going to stop their land grab in Palestine either. The Palestinians there — and the Palestinians and our supporters here — have to stop them with our resistance and our organizing. With boycott, divestment and sanctions – including the cultural and academic boycott of Israel. With challenging the Jewish United Fund in Chicago, and with shutting down Zionists when they try to defend their war crimes. With defending our students and our community-based institutions and our organizers and our allies when they get attacked.

Many hundreds of Palestinians and our supporters in the US have had to face government repression because of our organizing for peace and justice, and it is important that all of you continue your activism despite the attacks, because we are doing effective work in this country that is having an impact. Our community organizations, our student organizers, our academics, our solidarity activists — all exposing Israel for the criminal, apartheid state that it is.

There is a long history of repression against oppressed communities in this country. Law enforcement goes after those, like the Black liberation movement and so many others, who are fighting for social justice, those who want to make a difference in the world.

We are those people, and we will be targeted, but we should understand that we have the support of millions of others around the world who share our vision of historical Palestine liberated from Zionism, where all Palestinian refugees can return to their original homes, and where everyone there can live together with dignity and equal rights.

I am going to have to leave the life I have built for more than a decade at some point in the next few months. I am going to have to leave Chicago and all the beautiful people who have welcomed me so warmly to this country and this city. But I will still be organizing wherever I end up.

And I’ll be watching developments in the US very closely, because besides Palestine, this is the main front of the battle for the liberation of my homeland. And liberation we will win.

# End #

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@CredoMobile @MoveOn @PeaceAction @WinWithoutWar condemn @realDonaldTrump’s act of war on Syria

Please sign and share Win Without War’s emergency petition calling for Congress to return to Washington and immediately debate Donald Trump’s military escalation in Syriahttp://action.winwithoutwar.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=21713


CREDO, MoveOn.org, Peace Action, and Win Without War Condemn Donald Trump’s Reckless Act of War in Syria



April 7, 2017


Stephen Miles | stephen@winwithoutwar.org
Brian Stewart | press@moveon.org
Josh Nelson | jnelson@credoaction.com
Paul Kawika Martin | pmartin@peace-action.org

CREDO, MoveOn.org, Peace Action, and Win Without War Condemn Donald Trump’s Reckless Act of War in Syria

“Yesterday, Donald Trump unilaterally and recklessly launched a military action in Syria with no apparent plan for what comes next and with no legal authorization. This is not leadership and it will not make our country safer nor end the tragic human suffering in Syria.

“Make no mistake, this was an illegal act of war, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. Congress should immediately cancel its planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria.

“Our organizations recently committed to resist Donald Trump and his dramatic escalation of American war in the Middle East, and today we reaffirm…

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Work-At-Home Opportunity: Political Action Committiee (PAC) Management

“No federal law prevents Pesce from forming a PAC or soliciting money for it. And he doesn’t have to tell unsuspecting donors he’s an inmate at Taylorville Correctional Center…” ~ Rachel Wilson, Time

JoAnn Chateau

There may not be a wealth of good jobs for everyone, but there is one lucrative part-time job anyone can do from home: Form a Political Action Committee (PAC).

Enterprising inmate Angelo Pesce is happily engaged in this exact work-at-home opportunity.

“No federal law prevents Pesce from forming a PAC or soliciting money for it. And he doesn’t have to tell unsuspecting donors he’s an inmate at Taylorville Correctional Center…” ~ Rachel Wilson, Time

When I saw that Pesce had formed a PAC to Impeach the Asshole, I immediately understood it was one of those “it takes one to know one” things… Perhaps a bit of  projection… but the guy is trying to cope, to self-rehabilitate… How positive!

The industrious Pesce has more than one PAC. You may form as many as you want — replicate, to earn even more… What a pliable business model!

Pesce must have gotten…

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Every option a life-threat to @FL_Corrections’ #CagedCrusader

The Florida Department of Corrections’ Ghosting-to-Tennessee farewell party for inmate whistleblower Harold Hempstead was violent, per a communication from Harold that oddly reached the United Kingdom before it reach me here in Florida.

There’s sound reason to believe that a welcome home party for the Caged Crusader would be even more violent, as Harold has obviously availed himself of the opportunity to piss off yet more public servants by telling the truth about his farewell party.

Rather bizarrely, the increased violence of an FDC welcome home party may be the better option  … prison conditions in Tennessee are so godawful that corrections officers are committing suicide. I pay attention: I know that Arizona, Texas, Michigan and many other states aren’t safe to be Ghosted to, either.

So what’s our whistleblower supposed to do, request a return trip to Florida and hope not to die in transit or immediately upon arrival? What’s our whistleblower’s family to do … how will they deal with the drama of interacting with two dysfunctional corrections departments instead of one, and the increased expenses and emotional turmoil that distance causes?

With a federal government that prides itself on law and order despite law and order only being available in fiction, what the hell is anyone who’s trying to help to do?

All I can think of to do is keep repeating that #FailureToKeepFromHarm is a federal crime that the FBI and Department of Justice are obliged to investigate and prosecute, and that the president and Congress are supposed to ensure they do their jobs.


Florida D.C.’s Dangerous Games With Free Speech USA

Harold Hempstead - Caged Crusader

“He squeezed my throat and said, “you could have had a serious accident, but instead your being spared.  Don’t forget that.  You hear me?”

When the Sgt. let go of my throat, Cpt. Schrank said, “you really p-ssed off the wrong person.”

More testimony of violent assault, serious retaliation and attempted repression of free speech of the Rainey murder witness Harold Hempstead, by Florida Department of Corrections staff.

A few weeks before the night when he was awoken in the small hours, knocked around and transported to Tennessee – on the very same day the Rundle report was released – Harold Hempstead, the key-witness in the torture/murder of Darren Rainey, wrote a sworn affidavit about some of the retaliation he’s received from the Florida Department of Corrections. 

Here’s a brief account from Harold on the manner of his departure from Florida: 

“When I was being escorted from my cell to…

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@FBI @TheJusticeDept Investigate, prosecute @KathyFndzRundle NOW #FailureToKeepFromHarm

The years of delays in investigating Darren Rainey’s June 23, 2012 homicide caused the the death of other inmates – including an inmate who was key to helping free one of the incarcerated innocents I advocate for – and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s finding that Darren Rainey’s homicide wasn’t murder will certainly cause more inmate deaths.

Failure to Keep From Harm is a federal crime, and although the FBI continually advises the public, “If you see something, say something,” they never, ever mean it … not if what you see and say something about is public corruption, up to and including murder. Because this is the case, my life hasn’t been my own for all but a few months of this century.

And I know how very lucky I am just to be alive, because public servants play so damn dirty that surviving seeing something and saying something in Florida is anything but a sure thing.

Harold was harmed before he was moved to Tenneesse. He best not be harmed in Tennessee. The world is watching, and they’re pulling for Harold, not the likes of couldn’t-be-more-bloody-corrupt Katherine Fernandez Rundle or anyone else who thinks that the only good inmate is a dead inmate.


If Black Lives Matter Then The People Of Dade County Should Make Sure Katherine Fernandez Rundle Is Not Re-Elected As The Dade County State Attorney

Harold Hempstead - Caged Crusader

“I believe Ms Rundle has again shown the people of Dade County that Black lives don’t matter in Dade County.  How has she done this?  By again not prosecuting a law enforcement official that killed an African American in Dade County.

The Medical Examiner Representative that was called to get Rainey’s body on the night he was killed, in his initial report talked about the damage to Darren Rainey’s skin when he seen his body within hours of the murder.  Now they say Rainey’s skin showed no damage.

A nurse working on the night Rainey was murdered told the Miami Herald in a May 18th or 19th, 2014 article how hot Rainey’s body was after being cooked in water that exceeded 180 degrees.  Now they say his body wasn’t hot.

Mark Joiner talked about how he was forced to clean up Rainey’s skin.

An inmate wrote a letter…

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The preposterous pretense that corporations honorably self-regulate #Holocaust #IBM #Comcast

The video about a Holocaust survivor passionately speaking out against our rabid deportation policies that accompanies this blog post share isn’t the only The Young Turks YouTube video that won’t load on my computer. The other video is about the criminal aspects of Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle’s “close-out” report on the 2012 scalding homicide of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey by corrections officers. Both videos play very well on my phone, which means that YouTube isn’t censoring The Young Turks … instead it’s likely Comcast – my ISP – that’s doing so. What does corporate misbehavior that have to do with the Holocaust? Everything, according to a book – IBM and the Holocaust – that a friend brought to my attention this morning.

Holocaust Survivor Bernard Marks Speaks Truth to Power

JoAnn Chateau

Holocaust survivor Bernard Marks spoke up in defense of undocumented immigrants at an immigration forum held in Sacramento, California on Tuesday. Marks sees the parallel between ICE deportations and the beginning of Nazi Germany’s persecution of the Jews: Scapegoating.

“Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat,
blaming them for Germany’s economic and social problems.
The Nazi party promised to resolve these issues,
and in 1932 won 37% of the vote.”

~ Life Before the Holocaust, British Library

Holocaust Survivor Disgusted By Trump’s America

Young Turk hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian show, and comment upon, the video of holocaust survivor Bernard Marks, in which Marks concludes his statement by criticizing the Trump Administration.

Holocaust Survivor Warns Trump Administration: ‘History Is Not on Your Side’ | Time

“An 87-year-old Holocaust survivor didn’t mince words when he told off a top immigration enforcement official at a meeting in California Tuesday —warning…

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MIT Media Lab: $250K Disobedience Award – Nominations Now Being Accepted

It will be interesting to see where this leads!

JoAnn Chateau

Nonviolent civil disobedience plays a vital role in American democracy. If all three branches of government cannot effectively check and balance governing powers, if the media (Fourth Estate) fails to use its power to investigate and report in a way that curbs political corruption, then it falls to ordinary citizens to do the job. Activists, protesters, and dissenters are the last standing patriots, the last fighters, the last defense, the last heroes.

In honor and support of the wisdom, courage, commitment, and self-sacrifice of those who commit nonviolent disobedience, to defend and benefit society, MIT Media Lab has launched the Disobedience Award. Nominations are now being accepted…

“You don’t change the world by doing what you’re told.”

Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

Disobedience Award

MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award

“We are now accepting nominations for the first-ever MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, which carries a $250,000 cash prize…

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