On Tuesday evening, Berkeley’s City Council approved a resolution calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay Prison and welcoming detainees who have been cleared as posing no danger to the U.S., but who cannot safely return to their home countries. Berkely joins the Massachusetts towns of Amherst and Leverett, which adopted similar resolutions in 2009 and 2010. Nancy Talanian, the executive director of No More Guantánamos, said, "Dozens of innocent men remain in Guantánamo simply because they cannot safely return to their home countries, and U.S. allies rightly question why they must welcome all of them when the U.S. refuses to take any. Berkeley's resolution is a necessary step toward closing the prison with justice and restoring our country’s commitment to human rights."
The Obama administration announced it would delay a planned $53 million arms sale to Bahrain, after an international outcry against human-rights abuses by the Bahraini government, which had engaged in a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists, including long prison terms for doctors who treated injured protesters. The arms sale, which the group Just Foreign Policy described as a " U.S. seal of approval on [Bahrain's] anti-democracy crackdown," was the subject of a recent WNPJ Action Alert. Human rights advocates won't be resting, however, because the Obama administration may resume arms sales after the completion of an "Independent Commission of Inquiry" set up by Bahrain's own government. Take Action: Representatives Jim McGovern and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced a joint resolution to block the arms sale (House resolution, Senate resolution) Ask your Representative and Senators to add pressure on the Obama Administration to change its policy on Bahrain by signing the McGovern-Wyden resolution. Online form letter here...
The UNA-USA Dane County member group met this weekend in Madison to celebrate UN Day with the annual luncheon. For the 4th year, a Dane County resident was chosen to receive the Global Citizen Award for international justice work. This year's recipient is Lisa Fernandez, RN - who leads the Wisconsin-Nicaraugua Wheelchair Project (WNWP). Lisa is a member of WNPJ - as were the past three recipients of this award; Mike Boehm, Winds of Peace in Vietnam; Jennifer Loewenstein, Madison Rafah Sister City Project; and Norma Berkowitz of FOCCUS. To learn more about this group, contact Todd Kummer at email@example.com
|U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year, as required under a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments. The Obama administration made repeated efforts to win approval for keeping some U.S. forces in Iraq after the Dec. 31st 2011 deadline, but the refusal by the Iraqi government to grant legal immunity to U.S. troops eventually doomed any such agreement, and forced the U.S. to hold to the earlier withdrawal timetable.|
Faced with a declining population, the City Commission of Dayton Ohio voted unanimously last week to adopt a plan to "Create an inclusive community-wide campaign around immigrant entrepreneurship that facilitates startup businesses, opens global markets and restores life to Dayton neighborhoods." The Welcome Dayton Plan (.pdf) hopes to attract immigrants as a way to grow the local economy, based on nation-wide studies that show immigrants create new businesses and complement the American workforce. Read more...
On Saturday, October 8th, Senator Fred Risser was presented a "Lifetime Peacemaker" award by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. "From sponsoring one of the first lesbian and gay rights bills in the country back in 1982, to taking a stand for workers' rights as one of the 'Fighting 14' earlier this year, Senator Risser has long fought the good fight," said Diane Farsetta, WNPJ Executive Director.
In response to a campaign by WNPJ member group Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, Wisconsin State regulators have ordered the U.S. Army to improve soil test methods for a carcinogenic explosive that has contaminated groundwater and drinking water wells in rural communities near Badger Army Ammunition Plant. The precedent-setting decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is expected to prompt similar requirements at other military bases where dinitrotoluene (DNT) contamination has been found.
Athletic teams at the Menomonie School District in Dunn County will be changing their nickname from "Indians" to "Mustangs," in response to complaints received about the districts use of race-based logos and mascots. School Board President Colleen Davis told Wisconsin Public Radio that, "We knew a complaint was going to come, it was imminent. We had gotten several phone calls saying if the board did not respond in the near future they would just go ahead and file a complaint with the state." Under Act 250, a state law enacted last year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is required to review any school district's use of race-based logos or mascots if a complaint is received from a resident of the district. Several Wisconsin school districts have changed their team nicknames since the passage of the law, including the Osseo Fairchild School District, which dropped its "Chieftains" nickname in June after being ordered to do by the DPI.