Monday, July 28, 2014

Coalition Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show

The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo has endorsed the following call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice:

Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza:

Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!

Press Conference & Die-in
Wednesday, July 30, 10:00 a.m.

More links and discussion on the Facebook event page.

Boeing Company is a major sponsor of Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show this summer. Many people come to the lake shore every year to see displays of jets and other aircraft.

Boeing weaponry are responsible for many of the over 1000 dead and over 6000 seriously wounded Palestinians in Gaza in the past three weeks. The dead are mostly civilians, including over 200 children. Israel’s fighter jets – the F15s and F16s – as well as Apache helicopters are all made by Boeing.

Boeing has made billions from the sale of weapons for use in Israel's attacks, as part of its eight year old siege of Gaza.

The City of Chicago should drop Boeing from the sponsors of the Air and Water Show. No company that makes profit from the slaughter of civilians should be included.

Protest initiated by: Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice. Endorsed by: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace

Statement by Father Bob Bossie representing
Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo
In 1991, my brother Paul Bossie, organized the first of many protests of Chicago’s Air and Water show. He did so because he knew the 2 million persons who filled the lakefront each year looking for family entertainment were being subjected to a military commercial (or propaganda) with three goals: (1) to recruit our young to learn to kill (2) to promote support for huge military budgets, a large portion of which goes to corporations like Boeing and (3) to foster support for wars around the world.

Boeing Corporation, with headquarters here in Chicago and the second largest weapons maker in the world, knows only too well these goals of the Air & Water show and is most glad to be a sponsor because it supports their bottom line through their weapon sales. In 2012 alone, Boeing received $27.6 Billion of U.S. income tax dollars for weapons.

We know, those in the halls of power in our country know, and Boeing certainly knows that their weapons reign down death and destruction on our sisters and brothers world-wide and destroy the environment upon which we all depend. Today, this is especially true in Gaza where over one thousand Palestinians have been killed and thousands more maimed by, among other weapons, Boeing’s weapons supplied to Israel and used by Israel to foster U.S. interests.

While we in the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo oppose the Air & Water show as a whole as a propaganda tool for death, today specifically we call upon the Chicago city council to rescind Boeing’s sponsorship of this military commercial. This is the least they can do to say NO to the carnage in Gaza and to pay homage, in a small way, to the innocent men, women and children who already have been killed and maimed by Boeing’s weapons.

Boeing is not a sponsor to be proud of.

Thank you.

Related posts

Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

(See Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem)

Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people from Chicago and the surrounding area gather on the lakeshore to watch aerial displays by an array of planes. Most don't suspect that they are being subjected to an intense propaganda effort by multiple branches of the U.S. military.  The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo views this as a perfect opportunity to engage with the public and enlist them in the growing movement against U.S. war, torture, surveillance, and other crimes.  We will join activists from many other peace and justice groups who have had a growing presence at this event in recent years.

(See August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest )

As reported on local TV news, at Fight Back News, and by Progress Illinois, Dozens of activists came to the Field Museum in Chicago last Monday (4/28) to speak out against Boeing's involvement in developing the next generation of killer drone.

(See Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research )

Monday, July 14, 2014

CCSDG Supports Call for Apology to Survivor of U.S. Extraordinary Rendition (i.e. Kidnapping and Torture)

Survivor of U.S. kidnapping and torture:
Abou ElKassim Britel

The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo supports the call by North Carolina Stop Torture Now and others for an apology to survivors of U.S. "extraordinary rendition" (i.e. kidnapping and torture). We will be focusing on this call at our protest during the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show.

This is especially relevant to the work of CCSDG and the work it is doing at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16-17, 2014, because:

(a) The practice of "extraordinary rendition" is intimately connected to the illegal and illegitimate practices of the U.S. government -- kidnapping, torture, and imprisonment "outside the law" -- epitomized by the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. (See "extraordinary rendition" article on Wikipedia.)

(b) The flight logistics and coordination firm employed by the U.S. government in its kidnapping flights was Jeppesen DataPlan, a subsidiary of Boeing. Boeing is a prime sponsor of the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show. (See "Jeppesen" article on Wikipedia.)

Below is further detail about U.S. kidnapping flights provided by North Carolina Stop Torture Now . . . .

Acknowledge and apologize 
for the wrongful imprisonment and torture of 
Abou ElKassim Britel

Since September 11, 2001, over 135 people have been seized, abducted and tortured as part of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program (Globalizing Torture, OSJI). Abou ElKassim Britel, an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent, is one of them.

"The wrong has been done, sadly. What I can ask now is some form of reparation, so that I can have a fresh start and try to forget, even if it won’t be easy ... I want an apology; it is only fair to say that someone who has done something wrong must apologize." – Abou ElKassim Britel

The campaign for apologies to rendition survivor Abou elKassim Britel is gaining steam! We have a growing number of signatures on an e-petition to the governments of the U.S. and the three other countries that helped with his capture, kidnapping, and torture. Would you sign too?

So far, there are signers in California, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, and the greater DC area. There are some from Italy, Morocco, the UK, and other countries.

Here's why we're doing this....

Pending declassification of the Senate torture report, we're trying to help keep the need for torture accountability alive for Americans. Connecting folks to the costs of torture is important. Mr. Britel's appalling experience is a good example of a broader problem. We've been in touch with Mr. Britel and his wife Khadija Anna for several years, and the family continues to suffer seriously in the aftermath of their terrible ordeal.

We're building on previous efforts in the Britel case. The ACLU sued Jeppesen DataPlan on behalf of Britel and four others (and the U.S. Justice Department intervened and shut the suit down). A team at the Constitution Project interviewed Kassim and Anna for the 2013 report of the Task Force on Detainee Treatment.

Recently, a team at the University of North Carolina School of Law submitted a brief and petition to special rapporteurs at the United Nations, requesting UN action vis-a-vis the four responsible governments in the Britel case. To complement the appeal to the UN, we're circulating this petition calling for apologies from the governments of the U.S., Pakistan, Italy, and Morocco.

We would be grateful for your help. Besides giving some heart to Kassim and Anna, we hope this campaign helps point people, especially in the U.S., toward the need for meaningful amends to all survivors of U.S.-directed kidnapping and torture. The world should know there are Americans who want our government to take responsibility for disappearance and torture carried out in our names.

Can you please promote signing the e-petition via Twitter, blogging, an email listserve, etc? Or you can print this version, circulate it among friends and faith / activist communities, and return it to:

Britel Apology
NC Stop Torture Now
P.O. Box 12707
Raleigh, NC 27605

Or, scan and e-mail to: contact [at]

Thank you very much!!

Related posts

For the third year in a row, supporters of the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down GuantanamoNo Drones Illinois, and others will do public outreach at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16-17, 2014.

(See August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest .)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th, 2014: “transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences”

Conditions aboard the HMS Jersey

American's Independence Day is an important occasion to consider how the very behaviors that provoked the separation of the American colonies from England are echoed in current U.S. behavior toward others.

Consider, for instance, this 2010 Independence Day essay by Amy Davidson, which points out that England had a sort of "parallel universe" set up to the north of the colonies, where the usual rules didn't apply.  The colonists referred to the Quebec Act as one of the "Intolerable Acts." Davidson says that the objections of the colonists

also have to do with a fundamental concern: liberty is not something one can simply sneak around. It wasn’t fair that colonists had their rights as Englishmen denied while living under British rule, even if they weren’t technically in England. And they didn’t like the idea of the King’s government setting up what appeared to them as a sort of extraterritorial legal limbo next door. Listening to their words—“at once an example and fit instrument” for the subversion of rights—it is very easy to think of Guantánamo. 

See "The Declaration and Guantánamo" by Amy Davidson, July 2, 2010, in The New Yorker.

Similarly, the King of England was in the habit of detaining and rendering abroad those he took issue with. Hence the language in the Declaration of Independence about “transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences." As pointed out at the website,

This policy was so obnoxious to the Americans that the first Continental Congress on October 21, 1774, adopted a resolution declaring "That the seizing, or attempting to seize, any person in America, in order to transport such person beyond the sea, for trial of offenses, committed within the body of a county in America, being against law, will justify, and ought to meet with resistance and reprisal."

(See the discussion of A Project of the Claremont Institute)

So: the 4th of July -- an important day for thinking about our roots and the standards to which we hold ourselves.

Happy 238th anniversary of our "liberty."