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Past Events 2003:
Sunday Dec. 7, 4:00 p.m., Bethlehem Town Hall, Auditorium, 445 Delaware Ave, Delmar
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Discussion of the film and the issues: 5:00 - 6:00
About the film: This controversial and arresting film takes you behind the walls of government, as CIA, Pentagon and foreign service experts speak out, many for the first time, detailing the lies, misstatements and exaggerations that served as the reasons to fight a "preemptive" war that wasn't necessary. This documentary offers an in-depth look at the unsettling distortion of intelligence and the "spin and hype" presented to the American people, the Congress and the press. Fighting wars to bring about regime change is in breach of international law. Yet, throughout the fall of 2002, and into the weeks preceding the war in Iraq, the Bush administration systematically distorted intelligence evidence and misled the public in order to turn opinion favor of "regime change" in Iraq.
The film will present interviews with more than 20 experts, all of whom have informed opinions about the reasons we were given for war and the evidence presented to support those reasons. Some supported the war itself but are deeply concerned about the way information was misused. All believe it is their duty to speak up.
Among those interviewed
are former Ambassador Joe Wilson, weapons inspectors Scott Ritter
and David Albright, anti-terrorism expert Rand Beers, former CIA analyst
Ray McGovern, former CIA operative Robert Baer and Washington editor
of The Nation, David Corn.
For more info. including video clips: http://www.truthuncovered.com/home.cfm
Weathering the Politics of Fear: Personal Accounts of Coping with Political Repression and Discrimination
A Public Forum presented
This forum will
feature: Imam Warithu-Deen Umar, founder and president of the
National Association of Muslim Chaplains, retired after 25 years as
Chaplain, Supervisor/Trainer and Ministerial Program Coordinator for
the NYS Department of Correctional Services, where he supervised all
religious services, Christian, Jewish and Islamic, in the Western
region of the state. Helen Adler, long associated with the
Humanities Institute of Life-long Learning at the Bethlehem Public
Library, storyteller Joni Goldberg, and Dr. Mo Hannah,
Associate Professor of Psychology, Siena College. This Bethlehem Neighbors
for Peace public forum is a part of a week-long examination of the
impacts of and defenses against the political misuse of real and imagined
fear and culminating in a full-day conference (see below).
Many local organizations are coming together for this important gathering at Albany High School to build the movement for peace and justice in the Capital District. Keynote speakers are Damu Smith, Founder and Director of Black Voices for Peace, and William Rivers Pitt, Managing Editor of Truthout.org and author of War on Iraq; What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence. Dozens of workshops on ending the occupation of Iraq; corporate globalization / FTAA; confronting racism; Middle East; ; electoral politics; indepedent media; grassroots activism; and much more. Don’t miss this event! To pre-register ($25 suggested donation) contact email@example.com, or 869-6674. Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace is one of the sponsors of this major local event. Visit the conference website.
Action Alert to BNP Members from BBORDC
At its meeting of 10/14, the BBORDC (Bethlehem Bill of Rights Defense Committee) made the following decisions. Due to difficulties in getting the necessary support to go forward at this point even with a revised resolution, we have agreed that we will no longer attempt to get this particular board to pass a resolution. In January we will begin again with the newly elected board. We have also decided that we will hold off on placing our ad in the Spotlight until we begin our campaign with the newly elected board. Finally, we have agreed to hold another forum on the USA Patriot Act in January and have set the date for Sunday, January 11, from 2 to 4, location to be announced.
Between now and January, we will be engaging in the following actions and seek BNP member support:
1) letters to
the editor in the Spotlight every week dealing with some aspect of
the civil liberties/ Patriot Act issue
These actions are informed by our belief that it is important to keep our issue before the public, hence the letters to the editor.We also believe that George Lenhardt, who will be continuing on the board, left the door open for a change of mind on this subject; hence the need to convince him that this is a local issue and that there is local support for it. Finally, we hope the petition drive will educate people as well as provide evidence of support for our resolution. We ask BNP members to write letters to the editor of the Spotlight, letters to Lenhardt, and to help us with the petition drive. For more information on how you can help with the petition drive, call or email Andy Coates (475-9257; firstname.lastname@example.org), Judith Fetterley (475-1773; email@example.com); or Jane Streiff (439-4673).
The BBORDC welcomes suggestions from BNP members as to how to proceed on getting a resolution passed by the Town Board. We also would love to welcome new members; we can use some fresh energy as we move into our second season of effort. To share suggestions and/or express interest in joining BBORDC, call or email Judith Fetterley. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 12, at 7 at the home of Judith Fetterley. Those interested in knowing more about the national BORDC should check out the BORDC.org website.
by Leslie Hudson and Dan Rain
October 6, 2003
Over 250 people gathered at Page Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 30th to hear internationally known author and lecturer Michael Parenti speak on the subject of U.S. aggression and corporate globalization. During this most recent Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace public forum, co-sponsored by SUNY Peace and Justice and Campus Action, Dr. Parenti gave an historical analysis of U.S. foreign policy. He specifically cited dozens of examples which demonstrate a pattern of U.S. military and CIA-backed involvement in the invasion and overthrow of (often democratically elected) governments of other sovereign nations. The leaders of these states had in common the desire to use their resources for the betterment of their own people, and made the fatal mistake of challenging the dominant paradigm of global capitalism and "free" trade at the people's expense.
These coups and invasions, perpetrated to enhance foreign investment opportunities, have resulted in the deaths of millions of people and the destruction of countless others' lives worldwide. The U.S. uses the slogans of "freedom" and "democracy" as motives for these invasions, while in fact destroying those very ideals and replacing them with facism. Dr. Parenti's assessment of this pattern of U.S. foreign policy is that it has been carried out through a highly intelligent and well-planned conspiracy of the economic elite; and that it has, unfortunately for the majority of the world's citizens, been remarkably successful in achieving its objectives while deceiving the American public in the process.
Some pundits have tried to argue that American motives in these invasions are not primarily economic, by suggesting that protecting a few billion dollars of investment with hundreds of billions worth of military intervention doesn't offer a good return. However, an important distinction Dr. Parenti asks us to remember, is that these interventions cost hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, while they protect a few billion dollars of private investment money. "In fact," Parenti quipped to strong audience laughter, "the people who own the world usually spare no expense in using your money to protect their money."
Dr. Parenti explained
that some of his students at U.C. Berkeley have disagreed with his
critique of our national leaders, citing their "faith" and
"trust in the president." "Democracy isn't about trust,"
he reminds his students and all of us, "it's about distrust,"
about numerous checks and balances and open accountability to the
people. During his concluding remarks, he reminded the audience that
democracy is about action. We all need to take action, if we hope
to take back our country from the hands of the few, rich elite who
currently control our nation and the world. He recommends that we
continue to organize and protest, write and email our representatives
in government, get out the vote in the 2004 presidential election
to replace Bush, speak our minds and speak the truth. For more information
about Parenti and his 17 books, visit www.MichaelParenti.org. For
more information about Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace and our future
public forums and other events, please visit www.BethlehemforPeace.org.
Mass Vigil on Sept. 11
One hundred and
fifty people attended the Bethlehem Neighbors of Peace September 11
Vigil for Peace. The candle light vigil was organized in honor of
those who died on September 11, 2001 and the 2 wars in the 2 years
that have followed. Hy Kuritz, a World War II veteran, retired SUNY
History and Education Professor and member of Bethlehem Neighbors
for Peace gave a moving and informative talk. Statements were then
welcomed from any participant and moving statements were given by
many, from the very young to seniors, veterans and others. The vigil
was one of the 120 national Circle of Hope vigils organized around
the country in support of Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of family member
of people who died on 9/11/2001 who have united to turn their grief
into action for a peaceful world. Their website is
Ritter Speaks at the Bethlehem Town Hall
The crowd at the
forum gave Scott Ritter a very warm reception for