nonviolent resolution of conflicts, focusing on human security rather than national security.” In a congratulatory letter read at the ceremony, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern (DMA) said of McCarthy’s peace education work, “Your expertise and devotion to this area of study inspired me, as a student at American University years ago, to further explore the field of peace.” McCarthy’s son John introduced his father as a high-energy and competitive man who instilled in his children a sense of social justice at an early age. In his acceptance speech, McCarthy spoke about the importance of including peace studies in the academic curriculum and challenging young minds to pursue peace in their lives. “You can never tell when you are going to have a positive impact,” McCarthy said, relating a story of a young women in one of his university peace studies classes who was habitually late and seemed not interested in the subject matter. A few years later she wrote to McCarthy telling him that her appreciation of his class came about gradually and that she was at the point of extending her Peace Corps tour in Morocco for an additional year. Dr. Mubarak Awad, president of Nonviolence International and chair of the ElHibri Peace Education Prize Selection Committee, noted that “Many worthy nominations were received but in the end Colman McCarthy was the overwhelming choice of the peace education experts who served on the committee.” The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation that seeks to build a better world by encouraging peace education, interfaith dialogue, humanitarian and social justice. The El-Hibri Peace Prize was initiated in 2007 by Fuad El-Hibri, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, and his wife, Nancy. —Zen Hunter-Ishikawa
Iowa Human Rights Activists Protest FBI Excesses Dozens of Iowa activists rallied at Nollen Plaza in Des Moines on Sept. 30 in response to recent news reports about Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance and raids targeting human rights and anti-war activists across the nation. “We are here today to strongly condemn the FBI’s Sept. 24 raids at the homes and offices of peace organizers and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis and Chicago,” Des Moines Catholic Worker David Goodner told a crowd of about 50 activists, their supporters, and journalists rep64
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Sherry Hutchison, editor of The Friendly Line, the newsletter of the Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, defends constitutionally protected speech at a rally protesting FBI excesses. resenting local and national print and broadcast news organizations. “During raids last week the FBI delivered subpoenas to 11 activists in three different states accusing them of providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations….The FBI raids came in the wake of new revelations released last week by the Des Moines Register that the FBI spent hundreds of hours in 2008 spying on student and community organizations in Iowa City, Iowa,” said Goodner. The newspaper report was based on heavily redacted government records Goodner had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and turned over to the Des Moines Register. “It comes on the heels of a report released by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice that found between 2001 and 2006 the FBI opened criminal investigations against peace and justice organizations without cause, extended those investigations with weak factual evidence…violated their own policies, and routinely mischaracterized civil disobedience as a domestic terrorist threat to national security,” Goodner told the crowd gathered in the city center square on a beautiful fall day. “We denounce the government repression and harassment of grassroots community organizations that work to create a more just and democratic society.…We will not be silenced, and we will not be intimidated,” he declared. Ben Stone, executive director of the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, expressed the ACLU’s concern about government surveillance that has a chilling effect on constitutionally protected dissent. “What we are seeing is that there is a pattern here, around the country, that is very, very troubling,” Stone told the crowd. Stone called for the FBI’s expenditures to be scrutinized to assure that criminal investigations are limited to those people and organizations known to be genuine threats, so that taxpayer dollars are not wasted and legitimate dissent is not suppressed Also addressing the rally were Catholic Worker Brian Terrell and Des Moines activist Elton Davis, two of four Iowa anti-war activists who were served with grand jury subpoenas in 2004 by a Polk County deputy sheriff working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Those subpoenas, which targeted Drake University and demanded information about a November 2004 National Lawyers Guild conference held there, were met with stiff opposition and public outrage. They were withdrawn after Sen. Tom Harkin (DIA) publically commented, “I don’t like the smell of it…It reminds me too much of Vietnam when war protestors were rounded up, when grand juries were convened to investigate people who were protesting the war.” American Friends Service Committee Iowa program coordinator Kathleen McQuillen, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom member Judy Lonning, and Catholic Peace Ministry director Jeffrey Weiss also addressed the crowd. Following the rally, a smaller group of activists visited the FBI’s offices in West Des Moines to deliver a letter addressed to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Uniformed and plainclothes law enforcement officers denied the group entry to the FBI’s offices and refused to accept the letter, saying, “The resident agent-in-charge has requested ‘no contact.’” “The instruction from the FBI is, if you want to send them correspondence, send it through the U.S. Mail,” a uniformed federal officer told the group. Activists then read the letter aloud to the officers in the foyer of the building. This reporter asked Goodner if he supports the FBI’s efforts to investigate, and the Department of Justice’s often-thwarted efforts to prosecute, foreign intelligence agency operations on U.S. soil. “Absolutely,” replied Goodner, “and I also support them investigating the war criminals who led us into Iraq and Afghanistan and the corporate crooks who crashed our economy and the big banksters who ripped the DECEMBER 2010
Published on Nov 1, 2010
Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.