PRESS RELEASE JUSTICE FOR AYYUB
JUSTICE DEFERRED AS AYYUB ABDUL-ALIM APPROACHES
TWO YEARS IN JAIL
Endless Delays Underscore Prosecution’s Already Weak Case
SPRINGFIELD, MA: On Friday November 15 at 8:00 a.m., friends, family and supporters of Springfield resident Ayyub Abdul-Alim will demonstrate for his freedom outside the Hampden County Hall of Justice at 50 State St in Springfield. The date will mark 707 days Ayyub has spent falsely imprisoned on three felony gun charges.
Springfield police planted a gun on Ayyub during an illegal stop and search in early December 2011. A motion is pending to have any evidence gained from that search suppressed due to its illegality, and is now tentatively scheduled to be heard next Thursday. If the motion is granted, Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni will be hard put to come up with any reason to keep Ayyub behind bars.
Background: Just after 7:00 p.m. on December 9, 2011, Ayyub Abdul-Alim closed up his store Nature’s Garden on State St in Springfield, and walked towards the Getty gas station near the intersection of State and Hancock Streets to get some milk before heading home. An alleged drug bust was occurring at the gas station when Ayyub approached from down the street. Under the orders of Officer Ronald Sheehan, Ayyub was detained by Officer Anthony Sowers and Officer Angel Berrios. Sheehan ordered Sowers and Berrios to search Ayyub for weapons. A police radio transcript shows that an initial search of Ayyub produced no weapons of any sort. After private communications between Sheehan and Berrios, Ayyub was strip searched outside and searched again by Berrios. Sowers approached Berrios with a handgun, which Berrios then held up as though he found it in Ayyub’s possession.
The current felony charges against Ayyub are unlawful possession of ammunition without an ID card – with a sentence enhancement – unlawful possession of a firearm – with a sentence enhancement – and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm. If convicted Ayyub could face 15 years in prison.
“Proveniente de Oaxaca Mexico, Gustavo Esteva”
Uno de los pensadores más interesantes y creadores de cómo moverse más allá del desarrollo, más allá del capitalismo, más allá del estado, y más allá de la política estará hablando dando una conferencia por primera vez en Bridgeport. CT
We are experiencing the end of an historical cycle, not just another crisis. All over the world, people are taking initiatives reclaiming the control of their lives and challenging the political system and dominant paradigms while reorganizing society from the bottom up. The Zapatistas have been and remain a source of inspiration to communities everywhere who seek to imagine and realize autonomy and their own idea of ‘buen vivir’ (the good life).
About the presenter: Hailing from Oaxaca Mexico, Gustavo Esteva is one of the clearest voices in the discourse of post-development theory in the world today, working to establish bottom-up alternatives to neoliberal globalization. A self-described ‘deprofessionalized intellectual’, Esteva’s theory has developed in tandem with a vigorous practice – redefining learning at the Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca, a free university which he helped to found, along with countless grassroots networks in Mexico and worldwide. Esteva served as a political advisor to the Zapatistas in the negotiations with the Mexican government and was a crucial voice during the 2006 APPO uprising in Oaxaca. His political work is closely aligned with La Otra Compaña.
Sponsored by Bridgeport Free Skool and Latino Advocacy Foundation.
Thursday I was at the height of the worst cold I’ve had in years, had just been fired from my job and had a headache.
Despite all this I was extremely excited to take a small road trip with Cat to hear from former Zapatista advisor and revolutionary Gustavo Esteva speak on the movement in Chiapas, our role in our own communities, and how to sustain revolution. At about 5:30pm we hopped in the car to begin our three and a half hour ride to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The event was co-hosted by the Bridgeport Free Skool and the Latino Advocacy Foundation. Gustavo started off first in Spanish and then translating into English, sharing his experiences working and living in Chiapas. He spoke of a community that was self governed and almost totally self sustainable with communal land set aside for farming.
“The Zapatistas are champions of non-violence,” Gustavo said. He shared a story with the group of a particular incident where a group from the Zapatista community had clear cut land to grow food. A group of aggressors moved forward and started harassing the Zapatistas who then left the land for the community to use. They moved elsewhere and began to clear the land again and the group followed them, this time with paramilitary forces. The Zapatista response was, “We cannot nourish hatred in our hearts because these our are brothers in confusion. We blame the government and power structure behind them.”
The overwhelming feeling I got from this gathering was one of hope and optimism – the true positive nature of the work the Zapatistas are doing is reflected in his character. Gustavo is over 70 years old but spoke with vigor, excitement and good humor. It’s a stark contrast to (some//older) activists I see in the US who have been broken from the assassinations in the 60’s and seem worn down and unhealthy. When you live your politics the difference is clear.
People asked about prison in the Zapatista community and Gustavo said it’s interesting, but there are only 2 men in jail right now that he knows of. Their crime was the highest offense – cultivating marijuana. Because the government is always looking for a chance to separate and divide the movement the illegal cultivation of marijuana gives police grounds to get involved which is a threat to the whole community. Many people were surprised that there was a lack of violent crimes and domestic abuse.
Gustavo spoke of rotating leadership and how powerful and important this is in a true, democratically run society. He also noted that in 1994 the group voted that there be no alcohol in the community. This was a consensus voted on by the entire group and something interesting to me.
On most peace walks I have taken part in there is a strict, “No Drugs, No Alcohol, No Weapons” policy. This is in compliance with non-violence and safety guidelines but also in respect for the fact that European colonizers used alcohol to divide and diminish indigenous communities in the Americas.
For true non-violence to work complete honesty is required – first with yourself, second with your community. True honesty requires a lot of soul searching and a clear headed mind, and I was intrigued and somewhat glad to know that the community had come upon these rules also. I think it’s also not a far stretch to say there’s a direct correlation between a lack of alcohol and a lack of violent crimes. Some people in the group were shocked that this rule was in place, but it seems fairly natural to me.
Gustavo laughed though, and said alcohol has been substituted with coke and pepsi.
It’s interesting to note that he spoke of two clear cut communities – Zapatistas and those who were living under control of the Government. In discussion it was raised that there is a new middle ground forming – young people who were raised with the Zapatistas and hold much of their practices firm but bring a blend of something more modern mixed with the orthodox Zapatista tradition.
Finally someone asked a question about anarchy and if this was how the Zapatistas lived.
“The best tradition for anarchy is law and order but it is our own law and order – not a vertical law that come down from someone else.”
Viva la revolucion.
For ten days people walked against drones in Maine as part of a Keep Space for Peace Week organized by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
“Keep Space for Peace Week” (October 5-12 this year) is an annual event put on by the Global Network. From Sweden to Jeju Island, people are encouraged to organize events in their local communities working to stop the militarization of space – plutonium rockets and drones…does that seem safe to you?
The US currently has over 100 active military satellites and well over 2,000 people have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan alone in the last decade; a number is steadily rising by the day(Reuters).
With access to healthcare, education, housing, fuel assistance and food benefits being slashed across the board you’d imagine that the US could cut simply a portion of their $680 billion dollar military budget and direct the funds from killing innocent children in Pakistan to feeding the ones that they claim to vehemently protect in the United States.
This years peace walk lasted for 10 days beginning in Limestone on the 10th and ending today in Augusta. Tomorrow the walkers will gather for a vigil in front of Bath Iron Works, home of the Aegis Destroyer.
For years Bruce Gagnon, (organizer and founder of the Global Network), local chapters of Veterans For Peace, Nipponzan Myohoji monastics, and other peace and justice oriented citizens have gathered outside of Bath Iron Works to call for an end to creating these ballistic missile systems and an end to war.
Tomorrow was initially supposed to be the christening of the USS Zumwalt Destroyer at BIW. This “great warship” christening has been postponed due to the government shut down. This may be the case, but one has to wonder if there’s a chance that the actual reason for postponing the christening is because a group of peace walkers have just walked all across the state to gather at this site and the Navy does not want to be confronted with non-violent peace makers because these people raise questions that they themselves don’t quite know how to answer and the christening of a new warship will surely bring media attention and this is most likely an event that the Navy would like to present to the public as a military triumph without leaving space for another option to be discussed.
Regardless, tomorrow the group will gather outside of Bath Iron Works at 10am for a vigil to remind the community that the factory could be creating something much more beautiful and less fatal than warships.
Support the walkers!
To support the work of the walkers please first and foremost read their stories!
Organizer Bruce Gagnon has been faithfully blogging their journey from the start – you can read all of his updates at keepspace4peace.blogspot.com
Lisa Savage, another incredible Maine activist with CodePink has been keeping online records as well, read her words at went2thebridge.blogspot.com
Hiroshima Day Ceremony at Grafton Peace Pagoda
Yesterday evening close to 100 people gathered in the town of Grafton to commemorate the 68th anniversary of when the US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
The ceremony started with a 4 mile walk from Grafton Center up to the Grafton Peace Pagoda.
Speakers included Hattie Nestel to talk about Vermont Yankee and nuclear power, Bruce Gagnon to speak about the upcoming Drone Walk in Maine, and Allan Brandt who shared the story of the Peacemaker and a prayer from the Mohawk tradition.
Other prayers included prayers from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
We heard music from a Taiko group out of Western Mass and guitar and songs from Roberto Muller.
Hiroshima Day Ceremony
What: 3rd rally of Campaign to Boycott TD Bank for bankrolling
climate change by investing in Tar Sands Oil
development and pipelines.
When: Monday, Sept. 9, noon to 1pm
Area citizens concerned about climate change will hold a permitted rally in front of TD Bank at 1441 Main St. in downtown Springfield in a campaign to boycott TD until it stops its major investments in Tar Sands oil mining and pipelines.
Similar protests on the same day will take place at TD Bank branches in Holyoke, Westfield, Northampton, Amherst, and Greenfield. Protests have already taken place in July at TD banks in Northampton and Amherst. Read Daily Hampshire Gazette story at:http://www.gazettenet.com/home/7272782-95/qa-climate-activists-put-northampton-td-bank-branch-in-spotlight
Representatives of the group will ask the TD Bank manager to write a letter to
the TD CEO, urging him and the Board of Directors to divest its holdings and
loans to TransCanada, the Canadian energy giant that is developing the Tar
Sands Oil fields in Alberta.
The group will also call on President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry to
reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas. Their decision
is expected later this year. Recently, 10 Nobel Peace Prize recipients signed a letter urging President Obama to reject the pipeline as a key step in taking bolder action to stop climate change.
Nearly 1500 people have been arrested in the past two years protesting the
proposed Tar Sands pipeline, including 30 college students in February at TransCanada’s office outside Boston, and 22 people of all ages in Chicago on June 17th. Over 70,000 people across the country have signed a “Pledge of Resistance” to engage in non-violent direct action/civil disobedience to protest if the pipeline is approved.
Voice From Fukushima Official Trailer
After campaigning in Japan for a cleanup of the nuclear waste and an end to the nuclear industry Chikako Nishiyama came to the US looking to build international alliances and to call for the people of the world to stand in solidarity with those suffering from all parts of then nuclear chain – from uranium mining to nuclear bombs.
Last weekend filmed she interviewed several anti-nuclear activists for a documentary to bring back to Japan. This documentary highlights the history of the nuclear disarmament movement in the US and is an international stance of solidarity with the people around the globe suffering from the failures of the nuclear industry.
We are trying to raise some money for this project, for editing, marketing, etc. If you would like to make a donation to help us share these stories you can go to our paypal link here
(Donations of any size are appreciated)
“GUILDERLAND — It has been seven years since Yassin M. Aref, an imam from Albany, was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in a Communication Management Unit in a federal prison in Indiana.”
—Read the full article at the Altamont Enterprise
Began filming interviews today with Fukushima former councilwoman Chikako Nishiyama and local anti-nuclear, anti-war activists.
Interviews continue tomorrow with Sam Lovejoy, anti-nuclear activist & founding member of one of the earliest communes in the US and Randy Kehler, the man whose speech in part prompted Daniel Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers.
Voice from Fukushima filming continues tomorrow.
@drvonskillet, Vanessa Lynch
Journey for Justice.
Lynne Jackson of Project Salam will walk for 10 days from Albany to Binghamton, NY to hand deliver petitions calling for the release of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two falsely imprisoned Muslim men targeted after 9/11.
For more photos from the first two days visit:
Follow the journey & sign the petition at