Earlier this year I posted about a controversy at Friends Central School in Philadelphia, where a Palestinian Quaker, Sa’ed Atshan, was invited to visit and speak, then abruptly disinvited & the two teachers who invited him, Ariel Eure and Layla Helwa, were suspended.
The news site philly.com reported on May 10 that the two teachers have now been terminated effective June 30. Along with that decision came an invitation from the school to Sa’ed Atshan to speak at Friends Central sometime in the future, on “his personal experiences and path to peace education.”
The report added that
[The suspended teachers] were offered severance pay of $5,500, but that is contingent on their dropping a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit, said Mark Schwartz, their lawyer.
“This is a ridiculous offer,” he said. “I’d be surprised if they took it. Unlike the school, these two have some principles.”
School representatives on Tuesday declined to give a reason for the terminations.
Today I sent the following FAX to the U.S. Senators from North Carolina:
Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech denouncing the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City. I was honored to be present then. In the speech, Dr. King prophesied a future of continuing immoral American wars. That prophecy has alas come true, in spades.
In the Iraq War which was launched in 2003, one of the worst of its many horrors was the use of torture. I have protested that practice for more than ten years, calling for ACCOUNTABILITY for those who created, justified and/or carried out that program.
(During the early years of the Iraq war, I gave away hundreds of these bumperstickers.)
This week you have the chance to HOLD ACCOUNTABLE one of those who justified official torture: NEIL GORSUCH. As reported by your colleague Senator Dianne Feinstein, as a white House lawyer Gorsuch justified torture and advised on ways officials could evade accountability for it. (Details here: http://bit.ly/2nYHgUZ )
This is but one of many reasons to oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court. For me, and no doubt it would be for Dr. King, this shameful record is a major one. VOTE NO ON GORSUCH.
Dog Days Profile: Jim Corbett, Sanctuary Prophet of Post-Desert Quakerism
Friend Jim Corbett, of Pima Meeting in Tucson, died on his Arizona ranch August 2, 2001 after a short illness. He was 67.
With his passing a quiet Quaker giant departed.
I for one am grateful to have lived in the same two centuries as he. For those who become familiar with the important strands of Quaker thought and action of our time, I believe Jim’s life and work will loom even larger with time.
Not that we’ll see a lot of monuments to him; he deserves them, but that wasn’t his way, and Quakers aren’t much for it.
When I started as Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, my main task was to get ready for a big war.
The U.S. was already fighting in Afghanistan, and the buildup for an invasion of Iraq was well underway. We could hear the war machine cranking up among the many units at Fort Bragg — some visible, like the 82nd Airborne, and many invisible, Special Forces units we weren’t supposed to know about — not to mention gathering hordes of “contractors”, a euphemism for mercenaries. Continue reading Who Wants The Best Quaker Job There Is?→
Exclusive Interview With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou — Part 3 of 3
[John Kiriakou will visit North Carolina October 27-29. As background for the visit, we conducted this email conversation. ThePrelude is here.Part One is here. Part Two is here.]
AFL: Besides telling of some pretty hair-raising “derring do” and anti-terrorist actions, you wrote very favorably overall in your book, The Reluctant Spy, about the CIA (calling it “THE CIA” marks me as an outsider, yes?), and most of the people you worked with and for. I wonder if, in the years since, given what you’ve been through since, that estimate has evolved any?
AFL: John, can we start with a quick background sketch? I gather you’re of immigrant Greek heritage, and grew up in southwest Pennsylvania. From there you made your way into a CIA in 1990 which was long widely regarded as almost iconically WASP and old-family. Was that era over by the time you got there?
Exclusive Interview With John Kiriakou – CIA Whistleblower:
Prelude: Here we set the stage for our conversation with John Kiriakou, former CIA anti-terror agent turned whistleblower who served almost two years in prison for confirming the CIA tortured prisoners in the “War On Terror.”
Kiriakou will visit North Carolina October 27-29, and make several public appearances. (Full schedule below.) This excerpt is from his 2010 book, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War On Terror. (More on his book here.)
Three Pictures for Today: First, John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower who confirmed the existence of the CIA’s illegal torture program, just got out of jail, after serving two years in a federal penitentiary. This twitter photo says it all:
Well, not QUITE all. Kiriakou still has a million-dollar legal bill, five kids, one in college, no pension and no job. And he has one other major distinction: of those government officials who planned the illegal [as in violatingexisting U.S. federal criminal law] CIA torture program, organized it, carried it out, shilled for it, covered it up, lied and obstructed justice for it, the only one who has faced charges is Kiriakou, whose “crime” was confirming its existence to a reporter. More on John and his background here.
Now, to the second photo of the day:
Departing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the federal officer ultimately responsible for the prosecution of Kiriakou and other whistleblowers about torture, government spying on citizens, and more. His record in this record is usefully , shockingly summarized here.
No doubt Holder did some good work in his tenure; but the record on civil liberties is going to make a rough chapter in the history books; and it ought to give him nightmares.
So Welcome home, John Kiriakou. And Eric Holder: here’s the third photo, a sign for you: