Report on Arms Bazaar Protest

We were small in number but we made our presence known. Upon arriving at our designated vigil site across from the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, site for the Air Force Association hosting some 150 arms contractors at the annual “Arms Bazaar,” we discovered there were no police posted to keep watch over us as in years past. So our community of seven processed to the main entrance of the hotel where AFA members were entering to have their $330 per plate banquet. As some military and weapons contractors were entering, we read our leaflet (see below), sang and vigiled until Gaylord security and local police ordered us to leave or be arrested. Seeing that several of us have cases pending elsewhere and that we did not plan to risk arrest this time, we complied with police. We returned to our regular vigil site and conducted a prayer service to end the use of lethal drones. We also prayed for the elimination of all nuclear and conventional weapons on earth and space and for the abolition of war. We remembered all victims of warmaking, violence and oppression, our beloved  peacemaker sister Anne Montgomery who went home to God on August 27, and Troy Davis who was executed last year at this time by the state of Georgia.  We also remembered Amber and Kevin Mason (from the DDCW), Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Maia Rodriguez and Becca Polk on trial in D.C. Superior Court for the SOA Watch action last April; Fr. Carl Kabat who is in court today in Kansas City for his July 4 plowshares witness at the new Bomb plant being constructed in Kansas City; the Transform Now Plowshares, including Mike Walli who was present with us; and Susan Crane, in prison for for a probation violation related to her Disarm Now Plowshares action in 2009.

Below is a link with several photos of the witness courtesy of Ted Majdosz. We are deeply grateful for Ted being with us.!i=2098120173&k=fNDq8Rz

 Let us pray for each other and that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide all of our efforts as we strive to be God’s peacemakers and to help create the Beloved Community.
Published in: on September 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Catholic Workers Among Five Human Rights Activists Facing Trial For Protesting the SOA on Capitol Hill

Dear friends, Kevin and I will be on on trial next week for protesting the School of the Americas on Capitol Hill with 4 other Human Rights Activists including founder of SOA Watch, Fr Roy Bourgeois. Please share press release below widely. Thanks so much for your prayers, love and your support!

Love, Amber Mason

For immediate release Contact: Hendrik Voss

Media advisory  202.425.5128  

School of the Americas Watch

On April 16, the Activists Were Arrested On Capitol Hill As They Opposed the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) and the militarization of Latin America

At 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, the peace activists will be available to speak with the media. They will then proceed to a trial, which will be held in the DC Superior Court.

Washington, Dc – On April 16, 2012, hundreds of activists marched on Capitol Hill to demand the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC). 13 of these activists were arrested when they attempted to march past the Congressional office buildings, were held for 6 hours by Capitol Hill police, and finally charged with “Blocking Passage.” Five are scheduled to go on trial on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 for engaging in a protest to close the SOA/ WHINSEC on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The “SOA 5,” a group of human rights activists from different parts of the country, were on Capitol Hill, among hundreds of other activists, to ask Congress to close the SOA and end the militarization of Latin America. As they tried to lead the march down Independence Avenue in front of the Congressional buildings, they were impeded by dozens of police who blockaded their passage. Despite the threat of arrest by the Capitol Hill police, the brave activists insisted to stand for their right of speech.

The defendants are: Amber Mason (26; Washington, DC), Becca Polk (27; Bloomfield, Michigan), Kevin Mason (29; Washington, DC), Maia Rodriguez (24; Arlington, Virginia), & Fr. Roy Bourgeois (73; Columbus, Georgia)

“Militarization in the Americas has increased during the Obama administration, as evidenced by the military coup and the ongoing violence in Honduras, the ever-expanding ‘War on Drugs,’ the continuing murders of unionists in Colombia and the construction of new U.S. military bases throughout the hemisphere,” says Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch and one of the defendants.  “It’s time for us to step it up, to get anti-militarization on the national agenda in 2012, and to create alliances to stop ‘teaching democracy’ through the barrel of a gun!”

Amber Mason, one of the defendants, says: “I refuse to be complicit in war and injustice committed by my government in my name and I believe you cannot claim to be for peace and justice unless you are publicly actively against war and injustice. For these reasons, I chose to risk arrest, and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Latin America, and all around the world calling for end to all militarization. As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.”

The SOA/WHINSEC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses and atrocities. In 2009, SOA graduates overthrew the democratically elected government of Honduras. The protest on Capitol Hill was part of a larger effort to increase pressure on President Obama to close the SOA by Executive Order. Ecuador and Nicaragua have recently joined Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Bolivia on the decision to remove its troops from the School of the Americas. On September 4, 2012, President Ortega said: “the SOA is an ethical and moral anathema. All of the countries of Latin America have been victims of its graduates. The SOA is a symbol of death, a symbol of terror.”

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Protest the Air force Association “Arms Bazaar”

Dear Friends,

This is an invitation to please join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and other peacemakers in a nonviolent witness to protest the AFA Arms Bazaar (see below). Please come and bring a friend. And please spread the word and post this wherever you can. Together, let us continue to do all we can to create Beloved Community and establish God’s reign of justice, peace and nonviolence.
When: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (During AFA $330 per plate banquet)
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745.  We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort.
Sponsored by: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Community
For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416
“The Air & Space  Conference and Technology Exposition is truly a one-of-a-kind event where AFA  brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current  aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. Invited speakers for 2012 include the Secretary of the Air Force, the USAF Chief of Staff, the Chief  Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and other top Air Force, government, and  aerospace industry leaders. Our national conference attracts the top echelon of  USAF senior leadership, including the commanders of every USAF command. Also  invited are military dignitaries from air forces worldwide.” (From AFA web site)          
The Air Force and some 150 arms contractors taking part in the AFA Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo, what we call an “Arms Bazaar,” have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Air Force and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military superiority and militarizing and controlling space.
The U.S. continues to be the #1 arms dealer in the world. Worldwide weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service. U.S. arms sales to both developed and developing nations reached $66.3 billion last year, up from $21.4 billion in 2010. Russia, which had the second highest weapon sales, sold $4.8 billion worth of arms. Total worldwide weapon sales nearly doubled to $85.3 billion, making the U.S. responsible for more than three-quarters (77.7%) of all global sales. Some of the biggest purchasers of U.S. weapons were Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia, whose purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters in part accounted for a $30 billion bill. The U.S. also sold around $2 billion worth of antimissile batteries to Taiwan, a deal that caused tension during a diplomatic Chinese military visit last July.
From September 17-19, the AFA will host speakers and seminars that will address how the U.S. can refine its warmaking and remain the preeminent military  superpower on earth and in space. And on September 19, the AFA will hold a $330 per plate banquet sponsored by Lockheed Martin. On September 19, as the AFA holds its opulent banquet, The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker will sponsor a nonviolent vigil to decry this sinful Arms Bazaar. 
Who will give voice to the victims who have suffered and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere as a direct result of U.S. warmaking, and weapons, like the Drone ”Predator” and “Reaper” war planes, produced by the arms contractors participating in the “Arms Bazaar?  In the name of God who calls us to love and not to kill, it’s time to end this scandalous Arms Bazaar!  It’s time to repent of U.S. war crimes and make reparations to all victims of U.S. warmaking. It’s time to bring all the war money home, alleviate poverty, meet urgent human needs, and save our environment. It’s time to eliminate all weapons, end all U.S. military intervention, abolish war and practice nonviolence. Please consider coming (and bring a friend) to this important vigil, and say Yes to Life and a resounding No to the war profiteers. We must not let this Arms Bazaar go unaddressed! Directions from Downtown D.C., Parking and Meeting Place Take 395 South (off of New York Ave. or Constitution Ave. at 9th St. NW)  Merge onto 295 South via exit on left (crossing into Maryland) – 7.4 miles.  Take the exit toward National Harbor. Take ramp to National Harbor Blvd. Bear left on National Harbor Blvd. and go two blocks to St. George Blvd. Make a right on St. George Blvd. Go to one block before Waterfront St. and look for street meter parking. Also St. George Parking Garage is on right in case you can’t find street parking (just past the cross street called Mariner Passage). The garage is one block before Waterfront St., where the Gaylord National Resort is located. We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd. on the sidewalk in front of the Gaylord National Resort. If you are coming from Maryland or Virginia use Map Quest for the most precise route to the Gaylord. Public Transportation If you would like to use public transportation, take the Green Line to Branch Ave. Get off at Branch Ave. and take the NH1 National Harbor bus line. This bus takes you to the corner of St. George Blvd. and Waterfront St. across from the Gaylord National Resort. Call 202-637-7000 and select “ride guide” for best directions. Or go WMATA web site.
Published in: on September 6, 2012 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment