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Center Column Archives
Over 350 people marched in the annual Peace and Unity March on the unusually hot Sunday afternoon of September 30, 2012 in downtown Watsonville, CA. This year's march was held to protest gang and domestic violence in the community of Watsonville, and was organized by the Watsonville Peace & Unity Coalition, which was initiated by the Watsonville Brown Berets. The turnout was significantly larger than previous years, due to recent violence, a larger coalition including the City of Watsonville, and well-organized outreach throughout Watsonville.
A well-known anti-Muslim group known as "The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)" began running Islamophobic ads on ten San Francisco buses. The ads read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." After MUNI announced that it would not remove the ads, local artists took matters into their own hands and began modifiying the ads. Several now read: "In any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed. Support the Palestinian right of return. Defeat racism."
On August 16th, six veterans and activists in Oakland, CA, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
On July 20th, George Cadman interviewed Medea Benjamin about her new book "Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control," which is "a comprehensive look at the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who 'pilots' these unmanned planes, who the victims are and what some of the legal and moral implications are." Benjamin's book also looks at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to ground the drones, and ways to move forward. Medea Benjamin spoke at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Monday, July 23th.
A "Free Bradley Manning" protest was held in front of the county courthouse in Santa Cruz on February 23 to coincide with Manning's arraignment in military court in Maryland on charges stemming from the accusation that he provided thousands of classified defense department documents to Wikileaks. Approximately two dozen community members participated in the demonstration, which was located at the courthouse general assembly location of Occupy Santa Cruz on Water Street.
Eighteen months after he was first detained on accusations of revealing information to WikiLeaks, PFC Bradley Manning appeared before an Article 32 investigating officer for a pre-trial hearing on December 16th at Fort Meade in Maryland. Supporters gathered outside the gates of Fort Meade to call for Manning's freedom and denounce the proceedings as unjust. Supporters have long argued that PFC Manning could not receive a fair hearing due to unlawful command influence from President Obama, who publicly declared in April that the former Army intelligence analyst "broke the law."
On November 21st, the United States Army scheduled an Article 32 pretrial hearing for PFC Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist accused of releasing classified material to WikiLeaks. The pretrial hearing will commence on December 16th at Fort Meade, Maryland. This will be PFC Manning’s first appearance before a court and the first time he will face his accusers after 17 months in confinement. A rally and march in solidarity with Bradley Manning takes place on Tuesday, November 22nd
, starting at 5pm at Market & Powell Streets in San Francisco.