Archive for March, 2006

Who Benefits from Immigration Bans?

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Who benefits from immigration bans?
By Paul D’Amato | March 31, 2006

IN THE global capitalist economy, corporations are constantly pushing for a virtually borderless world market when it comes to investment, taxation and tariffs.

But whereas capital is relatively free to cross borders, labor is not. Here we find myriad legal restrictions on the movement of human beings across borders.

These restrictions, however, do not exist to prevent the movement of people across borders so much as to control and regulate it. For the tiny minority of capitalists, the key question is how to ensure an abundant and cheap labor supply, and how to restrict it in periods when they don’t need it.

See full analysis at:

http://www.socialistworker.org/2006-1/582/582_09_Immigration.shtml

Puerto Rico sues FBI for stonewalling probe of independentista’s murder

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Puerto Rico sues FBI for stonewalling probe of independentista’s murder

By Bill Van Auken
30 March 2006

The government of Puerto Rico went to federal court last week, accusing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Justice Department of obstructing justice by stonewalling a local investigation of the FBI’s killing of a leading figure in the island’s independence movement during a raid last September.

See full article.

New Orleans Rally & March for the Right to Return

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Please join me & PHRF Coalition members at the Rally & March for the Right to Return, A Protected Vote & Reconstruction

Meet: THIS SATURDAY APRIL 1 at 8:30 AM at Convention Center Blvd and Calliope. We will have signs and PHRF t-shirts for those who join us.

Music and speeches by local and nationally known leaders and performers including Bill Cosby, George Porter, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Rev. Al Sharpton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, State Senator Cleo Fields, and others. Food and beverages will be available.

For more information, call the PHRF office at 504-301-0215. On the day of, call Adriana (504) 218-9297 or Khalil 504-296-6516.

www.return-and-rebuild.org
http://www.communitylaborunited.net
www.katrinaaction.org

[from Bill Quigley in Louisiana]

Federal Judge Rules Army Cannot Deploy Soldier Applying For Conscientious Objector Status

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Army Cannot Deploy Soldier Applying For Conscientious Objector Status, Federal Judge Rules

March 20, 2006 — A federal district court has ordered the U.S. Army not to deploy to Afghanistan a soldier who has a pending application for Conscientious Objector (C.O.) status.

See full article at NYCLU website.
http://www.nyclu.org/martin_co_pr_032006.html

Download copy of court decision.

Murdoch censors MySpace

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Get out of MySpace, bloggers rage at Murdoch

London independent | January 9 2006

full article – requires payment

See also commentary on this issue by PrisonPlant.com.

Angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website for young adults, are accusing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites.

The 38 million subscribers to MySpace, which News Corp bought for $629m (£355m) last July, discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens.

The intervention by News Corp in the traditionally open-access world of the web – in particular the alteration of personal user profiles – provoked a storm of angry posts in online “blogs”.

“This is soooo like Fox and News Corp to try and secretly seal our mouths with duct tape,” wrote “Alex” to Blog Herald.

The protests gathered pace, and when 600 MySpace customers complained and a campaign began to boycott the site and relocate to rival sites such as Friendster, Linkedin, revver.com and Facebook.com, News Corp relented and restored the links.

However, MySpace managers promptly shut down the blog forum on which members had complained about the interference. An online notice said the problem was the result of “a simple misunderstanding”.
The explanation did not, however, calm the bloggers. “There was an outcry by some members after MySpace’s acquisition by News Corp. People were afraid they might start monitoring or censoring MySpace,” Ellis Yu wrote to the Blog Herald. “At the time, their CEO said nothing like that would happen. Well, now it has. MySpace was built on an open community and now they’re trying to censor us, putting business interests above its members!”

“MySpace is supposed to be a personal forum!” wrote “makisha” at the blog site Supr.c.iliu.us. “Now it’s owned by some corporation and it’s being sensored [sic]! The beauty of it has been ruined. Better wise up MySpace or you’re going to loose [sic] a good portion of your subscribers.”

A spokesman for MySpace said it would not explain how the blocking of YouTube came about, nor how it was resolved, nor whether in future it would continue to block links to rival websites or censor messages between MySpace customers.

Mr Murdoch, 74, last week appointed 33-year-old Jeremy Philips to run News Corp’s internet strategy and armed him with a $1bn fund to buy more sites.

Bush Requests Funds for US Base Construction in Iraq

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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Bush’s Requests for Iraqi Base Funding Make Some Wary of Extended Stay
By Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
March 24, 2006

WASHINGTON — Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces.

Questions on Capitol Hill about the future of the bases have been prompted by the new emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week with $67.6 billion in funding for the war effort, including the base money.

See full article (requires free registration)

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-usiraq24mar24,1,5954862.story

IDF Officer Fears Arrest Cancels UK Trip

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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IDF Officer Cancels UK Trip for fear of arrest for war crimes.
Judge Advocate-General Brigadier-General Avichai Mendelblit recommends Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi cancel studies leave for fear he will be arrested for alleged war crimes

by Hanan Greenberg

IDF Gaza division commander, Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi, has cancelled a leave to study in England, fearing he would be arrested and tried for alleged war crimes in the territories.

See full article:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3221339,00.html

Coalition for Indigenous Sovereignty – Call to Action: Prevent Military and Police Incursion on Mohawk Territories on April 1

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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URGENT CALL TO ACTION TO PREVENT MILITARY AND POLICE INCURSION ON MOHAWK TERRITORIES

Please forward this email to your networks. If your group has a website, we would be grateful if you posted this call.

March 2006

The Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty – Native Caucus is asking that you take some time to phone, email or fax the authorities below to register your objection to a potential incursion onto Mohawk Territories this spring and at any other time.

This request comes as a result of warnings by community leaders in
Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Kanehsatake and Tyendinega who are preparing for a
joint Canadian Forces/RCMP raid on April 1, the latest in a series of actions designed to destroy the Mohawk tobacco trade.

Our position on this issue is as follows:

In 1876 the Indian Act imposed the band council system of government on the indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America). Among other things, this law:

Deposed already existing leadership to establish band councils and the areas over which they had jurisdiction. The Indian Act was passed without consultation with any indigenous leader, usurped the treaty process (nation to nation agreements) and made First Nations governments null and void, despite the fact that these governments had served our ancestors for millennia before Europeans arrived on Turtle Island. This is akin to the US government passing a law that disbanded the current Canadian government, determined what type of government Canada must have and designated the limitations of its power.

Made First Nations Communities economically dependent on Ottawa. The federal government controls the only sources of revenue for social programs, economic development projects or job creation in FN communities. Ottawa determines through a variety of legal and financing mechanisms what band councils can and cannot do for their communities. Even the process of pursuing a land claim is legislated by Ottawa, funded (or not) by Ottawa and decided ultimately in Canadian courts. Land usage on FN territories is determined by Ottawa. There are many examples in history when the federal government leased or sold First Nations lands or resources and consequently reaped huge profits that did not accrue to the community. Clearly, the poverty that exists in First Nations communities is, and always has been, by Ottawa’s design.

Blatantly discriminated against women by recognizing Native descent through the male line so that First Nations citizenship rights for women were recognized only through their father’s lineage and husband’s status, and by prohibiting them from voting or running for office in band elections. This was a complete contradiction to traditional First Nations practices, in which descent for many communities was reckoned along the female line, and where women had significant authorities in political, economic and social life. While there were many nations and many practices, it is safe to generalize and say that women held positions of leadership directly and/or appointed male leaders and held them accountable. This was completely overturned by the Indian Act.

Although women now have the right to vote and run for band office, almost a century of being excluded from political, economic and social decision-making has left First Nations women on and off reserve in very vulnerable situations. Women are among the poorest in First Nations communities. They have been targeted through various amendments to the Indian Act and thousands were stripped of their status along with their homes, benefits and any treaty rights they may have had. The hundreds of women who are missing from our communities, dead and murdered, is a direct result of a deliberate and calculated attack on the rights and authorities of First Nations women by the Canadian government.

Determined who could call themselves an “Indian” and live in First Nations communities. The Indian Act established an Indian registry and with subsequent amendments there has emerged a complex set of legal categories (status & non-status Indians, Treaty Indians, Bill C-31 Indians, etc.) designed to divide and disempower First Nations families and communities.
Non-status Indians are those who are not recognized by Ottawa as First Nations. They cannot live in their communities, do not enjoy benefits or treaty rights and are not permitted to participate in band council elections. Again, this is akin to the US determining who could be a Canadian and who could not, as well as who could live here and vote in Canadian elections.

Initially through the use of Indian agents with sweeping powers and more recently through purse strings, Ottawa has controlled band councils, band chiefs and the Assembly of First Nations. Whether this current control is perceived of as friendly or hostile is irrelevant and sidesteps the basic assumption that First Nations people are children who cannot manage their own affairs. To recognize that some band councils, their chiefs and police are sincerely interested in serving their communities while others are corrupt may be true but fails to recognize that the band council system is itself inherently corrupt, paternalistic and racist.

The Indian Act was and is an instrument of genocide. Likewise, the system of reserves, band councils and taxes are all tools of genocide. At best, the levying of taxes by Canada or the provinces on commercial activities within and among First Nations communities is an infringement of sovereignty as well as a violation of the treaties that exist, not to mention the inherent rights of First Nations people.

This is particularly objectionable when the levying of taxes applies to transactions involving tobacco. It was First Nations people who developed, cultivated and cared for tobacco plants. Our ancestors were the first to understand and benefit from the use of tobacco in ceremony (even in times when our ceremonies were illegal). Canada now assumes it has a right to control the tobacco trade, which is consistent with its assumption that it has a right to control the lives of First Nations people. Now that tobacco is being used to generate income and sustain First Nations-owned businesses (an anti-genocidal activity), Ottawa wants to step in and crush the initiative.

We reject the portrayal of Mohawk communities as divided between the minions of organized crime and law-abiding citizens. Mainstream media and Canadian authorities would have us believe that thugs are defying legally elected First Nations governments and Canadian laws. Such an analysis does not acknowledge the impact of a band council system, imposed, funded and controlled by Ottawa. It does nothing to educate us on the long history of genocide that remains official policy in this country. It does not examine Ottawa’s historic role in sabotaging activities that contribute to the economic independence of First Nations people.

On these grounds we are asking that you and your organization fax or email the officials below and voice your concerns regarding a potential violation of Mohawk sovereignty, which would follow a systemic pattern of violations over the years. Below is a sample letter that you can edit, cut and paste into your own email if you choose.

Nia:wen / meegwich / thank you for your support. For more information contact: daryljamesbucar@yahoo.ca or amadahy@rogers.com.

Scroll down for the sample letter. To voice your concerns send an email, phone or fax:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa
K1A 0A2
Fax: 613-941-6900
pm@pm.gc.ca

Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill: House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-4275
Fax: (613) 947-9475
E-Mail: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca

SAMPLE LETTER

To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians

I am writing to register my concern regarding ongoing violations of Mohawk sovereignty and continued actions that threaten the health and safety of the residents of Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Kanehsatake and Tyendinega.

I strongly urge you to put a stop to government-sponsored activities that portray these communities as being bastions of “organized crime” engaged in an illegal tobacco trade. Furthermore, I suggest your government cease operating under the assumption that Band Councils and the Assembly of First Nations, which are funded and controlled by the federal government, are the only legitimate representatives of First Nations communities.

Many studies, some commissioned by the federal government (such as the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People), have determined that the issues confronting First Nations communities include sub-standard health care, inadequate and sub-standard housing, inadequate employment opportunities, poverty, violence, racism, etc. These studies clearly attribute this set of deplorable conditions to the actions and inactions of consecutive Canadian governments.

Raiding Mohawk communities and seizing tobacco products does nothing to address the day-to-day issues confronting First Nations people. In fact, such activities actually contribute to worsening the oppressive conditions under which First Nations people live by depriving families of their livelihood as well as assaulting their dignity and violating their inherent rights.

Military and police incursions onto First Nations territories are not a solution to the long standing issues confronting these communities. Moreover such actions shame non-First Nations people, many of whom reject complicity in a centuries-old genocide project.

Your government has the option of creating a disaster that would rival the Oka Crisis, Gustafson Lake and the murder of Dudley George put together. Or you can decide to deal with First Nations communities in a way that is proactive, peaceful and respectful, for the first time in Canadian history. I strongly urge you opt for the latter of the two choices.

Signed,

Thanks to Jean Grossholtz and Michaelann Bewsee for making people aware of this situation.

Demos merge in San Francisco on March 27th

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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On March 27th two separate demonstrations merged in downtown San
Francisco. One was for immigrants rights; the other against the war.

See entire report

Texas Peace March – Irving to Crawford

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Mar. 24, 2006

Contacts – March info: Valley Reed (214) 288-8935 valley.reed@earthlink.net
ExxonMobil info: Nick Mottern (914) 806 -6179 nickmottern@earthlink.net

March website
ExxonMobil War Boycott site

APRIL TEXAS PEACE MARCH, ENDORSED BY CINDY SHEEHAN, HOWARD ZINN,
TO ALSO CALL ON EXXONMOBIL TO “RETURN” $7 BILLION IN WAR PROFITS

A two-week march to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, starting April 1, that will call for an end to the Iraq War and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq – endorsed by peace worker Cindy Sheehan and historian Howard Zinn – will also call on ExxonMobil Corporation to spend $7 billion of its record $36 billion 2005 profit to alleviate war suffering and to compensate thousands more who have documented harm from its operations.

Ms. Sheehan and Mr. Zinn are among a list of endorsers of the march that includes: independent journalist Dahr Jamail; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; Michael Letwin, co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; author Norman Solomon; Sundiata Xian Tellem, co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S. Black Caucus; David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org; Tim Carpenter, National Director of Progressive Democrats of America; and Global Exchange. The march is being organized by the Dallas Peace Center, Peace Action Texas, Crawford Peace House, ConsumersforPeace.org and is endorsed also by the Southern Christian Leadership Council and the Dallas NAACP. (A complete list of endorsers appears below.)

The call for ExxonMobil to spend $7 billion on meeting war-related and business-related human needs is based on the increasingly widely-held view that the conditions created by the Iraq War have contributed significantly to the dramatic profits of ExxonMobil and other major oil companies since the occupation began in 2003. For example, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and colleague, Linda Blimes, writing on the cost of the Iraq War, note that the war has had a major inflationary impact on oil prices, which in turn, has meant that “Profits of oil companies have increased enormously.”

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, responding to an inquiry from ConsumersforPeace.org, estimates that as much as 20 percent of ExxonMobil’s record $36 billion 2005 profit, or about $7 billion, is “a ball park number” for what can be considered war profits for the oil giant. This is an estimate of the amount of profit that is essentially unearned and is traceable to oil prices that have been inflated because (1) the Iraq War has severely depressed Iraq oil production, and (2) there are fears that the Iraq War may spread, possibly affecting oil production in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

ConsumersforPeace.org is promoting the ExxonMobil War Boycott, which seeks immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces and mercenaries from Iraq, reparations for Iraq, impeachment of George W. Bush and prosecution of U.S. officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.

“ExxonMobil has made at least $7 billion extra in 2005 because of the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” said Nick Mottern, director of ConsumersforPeace.org. “This is unearned money, taken from consumers, and it needs to be returned to society,” he continued. “We propose that ExxonMobil write checks to private organizations for relief in Iraq, for war-related injuries of U.S. veterans and to compensate people in the U.S. and elsewhere who have been harmed by ExxonMobil operations.” The beneficiaries would include residents of Beaumont and Baytown, Texas, living near ExxonMobil refineries who have experienced severe health problems, according to Mottern.

ConsumersforPeace.org is developing a list of potential recipients for the $7 billion.

“War profiteering is unacceptable in any war,” said Mottern, “and it is particularly despicable when it is done by the nation’s largest oil company during an illegal war that has so much suffering and has so much to do with oil.”

On April 4, in Waxahachie, Texas, the march will commemorate the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is also the date in 2004 when Ms. Sheehan’s son was killed in Iraq; his body was returned to her on Palm Sunday.

MARCH SCHEDULE

April 1 – 10 a.m. Press conference at ExxonMobil headquarters in Irving, Texas, then march to the Trinity River.
A partial list of those appearing at the press conference:

Texas Rep. Lon Burnham
Dallas civil rights leader Rev. Peter Johnson
Rev. Roy Malveaux, Beaumont, Texas
Valley Reed, chief organizer, March to Redeem Campaign
Maureen Haver, Jumpstart Ford Campaign
Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org

April 2 – 2:30 p.m. Press conference in front of Dallas County Courthouse and Jail, then take DART to Dallas VA Hospital.
4:30 p.m. Rally at Dallas VA Hospital.
April 3 – 10 a.m. March south to Red Oak.
April 4 – 10 a.m. March south to Waxahachie.
7 p.m. Vigil in Waxahachie commenrating the assassination of Dr. King.
April 5 – 10 a.m. March south to Italy.
April 6 – 10 a.m. March south to Carl’s Corner.
8 p.m. Performances by musicians and dancers.
April 7 – 10 a.m. March south to Hillsboro, then southwest to Aquilla Lake.
April 8 – 10 a.m. March to Aquilla.
April 9 – 10 a.m. March to Gholson.
April 10 -10 a.m. March to Lacy Lake View.
April 11 -10 a.m. March to Waco.
April 12 -10 a.m. March to Waco Lake.
April 13 -10 a.m. March to Crawford for the celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of the founding of the Crawford Peace House.

ENDORSERS

After Downing Street
Annie and Buddy Spell, Louisiana peace activists (Annie is president of the Greater Covington, LA branch of the NAACP.)
Anthony Arnove, author – “Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal”; co-editor with Howard Zinn – “Voices of a People’s History of the U.S.”
Arden Buck, Mountain Forum for Peace, Nederland, CO
Association of Humanitarian Lawyers
Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain, NGO Rep. to the United Nations for the American Humanist Society.
Bloomington Peace Action Coalition (Indiana)
Camilo Mejía, Staff Sgt., Florida National Guard, was the first soldier to go public with his refusal to redeploy. He spent seven months in military confinement for his decision. He is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War
Campus Antiwar Network
Charles Jenks, Chair, Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA
Cindy Sheehan, Co-founder, Gold Star Families for Peace
Coalition Against War and Injustice (Baton Rouge)
Consumers for Peace
Covington Peace Project (Louisiana)
Crawford Peace House
Dahr Jamail, independent journalist who spent over 8 months reporting from occupied Iraq
Dallas County Young Democrats
Dallas NAACP
Dallas Peace Center
Democrats.com
David Swanson, Co-founder, AfterDowningStreet.org
Dennis Kyne, Gulf War veteran, activist and author of “Support the Truth”
Dirk Adriaensens, Coordinator, SOS Iraq and member of the Executive Committee of the Brussells Tribunal, Belgium
Don Debar, correspondent, WBAI, New York, NY
Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, National Coordinating Committee – Campus Antiwar Network
Eric Ruder, reporter, Socialist Worker newspaper
Gabriele Zamparini, freelance journalist and film maker living in London; co-editor of www.thecatsdream.com
Global Exchange
Goldstar Families for Peace
Howard Zinn, historian, playwright and activist; author of “A People’s History of the United States” and co-editor with Anthony Arnove of “Voices of a People’s History of the U.S.”
International Socialist Organization
Jacob Flowers, Director, MidSouth Peace and Justice Center
Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out
Jumpstart Ford Campaign, a joint effort of Global Exchange, the Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society
Kären Ahern Digging Deeper Media Collective, member VFP of Western Washington
Karen Parker, J.D., Pres. Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, UN non-governmental organization delegate.
Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Co-founder Voices for Creative Non-Violence
Karen Burke, Campus Antiwar Movement to End the Occupation, Austin, TX
Karen Hadden, Seed Coalition, Austin, TX
Lindsey German, Convener, Stop the War Coalition (UK)
Michael Letwin, Co-convener, New York City Labor Against the War
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center (Memphis)
Mike Corwin, International Socialist Organization, Austin, TX
Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org
Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation, White Plains, NY
Norman Solomon, author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”
Paola Pisi, professor of religious studies (Italy) and editor of http://www.uruknet.info
Phil Gasper, Chair, Department of Philosophy & Religion, Nortre Dame de Namur University; Professors for Peace
Progressive Democrats of America
Sharon Smith, author of “Women and Socialism: Essays on Women’s Liberation”
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Sonya Sofia, Rainbow organization
Stan Goff, Master sergeant, retired, U.S. Army
Sundiata Xian Tellem, Co-chair, Green Party of the United States Black Caucus; former chair, Green Party of Dallas County
Sunny Miller, Executive Director, Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA
Texans for Peace
Traprock Peace Center (Massachusetts)
Thomas F. Barton, Publisher, GI Special
Tim Baer, Director, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Tim Carpenter, National Director, Progressive Democrats of America
Valley Reed, Chief organizer, March to Redeem Campaign
Ward Reilly, SE National Contact, Vietnam Veterans Against the War; Veterans for Peace, Baton Rouge, LA
Wespac Foundation

Affiliations are for identification purposes only.

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