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On a small hill next to Deer Hill Road in the City of Lafayette, over 6,000 crosses have been erected and displayed as an on-going tribute, and to memorialize the soldiers, who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The hillside has been marked with controversy, and has sparked anger and even attracted counter protests to its existence.
The hillside was once owned by a woman named Louise Clark. Her husband was a WWII veteran, and though both have passed away, volunteers tirelessly continue to maintain the site. Jeff Heaton is the man who started the installation that continues to grow.
Read More with Video and Photos | See Also: 2006: Update on Crosses in Lafayette
| 2007: Crosses in Lafayette-Update
| 2010: Memorial Day Vigil at the Lafayette Crosses
On September 16th, Daniel Ellsberg, US Army Col. and diplomat Ann Wright (ret.), senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern (ret.), and KPFA morning host Aimee Allison spoke in Oakland to kick off a nationwide campaign to free alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of documents and combat video showing the gunning down of Iraqi civilians and journalists. The event started at 7pm in Oakland's Humanist Hall, and was broadcast live on Indybay as well as Michael Moore's website.
View the recorded live broadcast |
Audio & Photos |
Courage to Resist
and other organizations also led a march and rally to free Bradley Manning
in San Francisco on Saturday, September 18th, starting at 2pm in front of the SF War Memorial Building and ending at 4pm in Union Square.
Daniel Ellsberg, who helped end the war in Vietnam when he leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1970, says “Soldiers' sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our Constitution."
Former senior CIA analyst McGovern, who prepared daily security briefings for both President’s Reagan and George H.W. Bush, says combat video of civilians being machine-gunned should be released: “And it is that video that Private Manning is accused of giving to Wikileaks.” In contrast he says, “Our Secretary of Defense had not one word of regret about the dozen human beings, including two employees of Reuters, murdered on that fateful day in July 2007—or about the now-fatherless children who were seriously wounded.”
The combat videos and other documents released by Wikileaks
and available at collateralmurder.com
led to the arrest of Manning, now being held in Quantico, Virginia. If convicted, he faces up to 52 years in prison and is currently being held in solitary confinement.
Courage to Resist press release
Open Letter from Ann Wright
On Saturday, February 6
, a rally in support of the Iranian people and commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution will be held at 1pm at the Plaza De Cesar Chavez in San Jose. "The Iranian Revolution of 1979 stopped short of establishing a democratic government," say event organizers. "But today, after enduring more than three decades of renewed repression, Iranians are protesting once again to complete a mission that was left unfinished."
Rally organizer NorCal4Iran is inviting the public to join and "declare our unity and our support for these brave people and their struggles. We are not going to watch silently as our brothers and sisters lose their life and endure imprisonment, torture, rape, and violent death, just for peacefully asking for their basic constitutional, civil, and human rights. We are here to let the world know about the brutality of this atrocious and illegitimate government, and to reflect on the voices of people’s demands for freedom and peace to the whole world. Let us hope that our tears, blood, and cries would win over the tyranny and help bring it down."
Previously: Global Day of Action to Express Solidarity with the Iranian People
The U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is a pact that provides a legal basis for U.S. troops in Iraq and establishes their departure from Iraq by December 31st, 2011 pending any negotiations. On November 16th, 2008, Iraq's Cabinet approved the agreement. On November 27th, the Iraqi Parliament ratified the agreement. Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr and many others protested the passing of the accord as prolonging and legitimizing the occupation, and Grand Ayatollah Sistani expressed concerns with the ratified version. On December 4th, Iraq's presidential council approved the security pact. A referendum must be held by mid-2009 which may terminate the agreement and require Coalition forces to completely leave by the middle of 2010.
On May 30th, tens of thousands of Iraqis protested in a number of cities against the proposed agreement between the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration that would codify a long-term US military occupation.
Muqtada al-Sadr is demanding that any US-Iraqi security agreement be submitted to a national referendum.
Sources close to the office of Ayatollah Ali Sistani have said that he has called on the Iraqi prime minister to deal cautiously with the agreement and called on him to organize a national referendum on it. Iranian TV has claimed that Sistani has said he will not allow a US-Iraq agreement "as long as he is alive." There are also rumors that he has approved attacks on US forces in Iraq. Officially he has said little but has stated on his website that Iraqis are forbidden to provide food for US occupiers.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq, the largest bloc in parliament and cornerstone of the al-Maliki government, issued a statement through his office. He spoke of the existence of:
"a national consensus on rejecting many of the points put forward by the American side in the agreement, because they detract from national sovereignty." He said that such a consensus existed in the National Security Council, which is composed of the leaders of the major political blocs in the parliament.
Thousands of Iraqis protest agreement for indefinite US occupation
Thousands of Sadrists Protest Security Pact With US
Haeri Fatwa Against Security Agreement
Sadr demands Referendum on SOFA
Sistani Opposes SOFA
Sistani Forbids Feeding Americans
Sistani Aide: Jihad Fatwa May Come
Will Sistani Declare Jihad on US?