Thursday, March 17, 2005

Indy Media V: Peace events in Oklahoma, Miami, Michigan & Pittsburgh; Steve Peacock on "Army Cancels Special Ops Bible Project"

Rena at Oklahoma Independent Media Center has "Rally and peace walk mark two years of war:"

Events planned for 3/19 and 3/20 in Oklahoma City
End the War Now - Bring the troops home
Oklahoma City:

Rally on Saturday,
3/19 in Memorial Park.
2 pm
Silent Walk for Peace,
3/20 around OKC Memorial,
2 pm
More info:

Miami Independent Media Center notifies you of "Stop the War Now/ US Out of Iraq Rally:"

Title: Stop the War Now/ US Out of Iraq Rally
START DATE: 3/19/2005
Duration: 3 Hours
Location: Miami Torch of Friendship
Location Details: Tourch of Friendship would be about 4th Street and Biscayne Boulevard,N.E., in downtown Miami--in front of the Bayside Marketplace, just south of the American Airlines Arena and the road into the Port of Miami
Event Type: To Mark 2nd Anniversary of this "Pre-emptive War"
Contact Phone: 305 582-4846
DESCRIPTION: Antiwar demonstration planned for Sat. March 19, 2005 (2:00-5:00 p.m.) at the Torch of Friendship on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. Miami For Peace is part of the Coalition Against the War calling this demonstration, along with Veterans for Peace, and Broward and perhaps even Palm Beach people will participate. The call for this demonstration is Stop the War Now/ US Out of Iraq and it is to mark the second anniversary of the launch of this "pre-emptive war," the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Life there is harsh indeed, after two years--for a window in, see ""

At Michigan IMC, "Michigan Gears up For March 18-19" tells us of many events:

In Traverse City, an antiwar demonstration will begin at 12 Noon, location to be determined. Detroit's actions, organized by MECAWI, will begin at 4:30PM on March 18, with a gathering at the Spirit of Detroit (Woodward and Jefferson), followed by a march and rally. Grand Rapids will be having a rally and spirited march [pdf flyer]. In Lansing, GLNAWI will be organizing a day of events on March 19, including a gathering at the capitol, films, and speakers. Check their website for more information.

Let Our Voices Be Heard: Demonstration & March for Peace --Saturday, March 19, 4-6 p.m. Join us for a demonstration and march for peace on the two year anniversary of the Iraq War. In front of St. John's Episcopal Church, 11 Mile at Woodward. Park in lot behind the church. Bring boots, coffins, or other symbols of our losses to represent the more than 1,500 GI's and thousands and thousands of Iraqis who have died in this war.

Binghmton IMC has "Army Cancels Special Ops Bible Project, Seeks to Create Loophole to Evade FOIA Request" by Steve Peacock:

Rather than publicly disclose details about its planned production of 10,000 modified Bibles, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command has withdrawn a purchase order that it placed with the International Bible Society (IBS) to carry out the project.
The Army's abrupt cancellation of its planned contract with IBS is a blatant attempt to circumvent the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Its cancellation of the order for enhanced Bibles couldn’t be more suspect: the agency withdrew the order after receiving my request for related photos and documents I had submitted under the FOIA
What a coincidence, eh?
Here’s how the Army is trying, but ultimately will fail, to find a loophole in the law to maintain the secrecy of this initiative.
But first a little background.
The Army in November 2004 was preparing to award a sole-source contract to IBS to manufacture customized Bibles featuring “Army designed color photographs and text inserts,” according to a government procurement document I had obtained. I had requested a copy of the Special Ops custom Bible or, in the alternative, a CD-ROM containing details and instructions that the Army is sending or has sent to IBS to produce the specially made books. I filed the FOIA request to ascertain how the U.S. government intended to combine military messages and images with scripture.
Unlike many critics of the Bush administration, my object isn’t to take a swipe at Christianity. On the contrary, one of my goals is to determine whether an executive department under the purview of the Bush White House might be planning to infuse Pentagon propaganda and imagery with the sacred text of the faith I embrace. It is my firm belief that my fellow Christians and fellow non-Christian Americans deserve to know whether DoD, like the Commander In Chief, is polluting and co-opting the message of peace delivered by Jesus Christ.
If my informed suspicions were wrong, then the Army had a prime opportunity to prove me wrong.
The Army blew it.
The Army’s Special Ops unit feasibly could have shown the public that, as my critics have claimed, the project involves nothing more than slapping a camouflage cover on a Bible and inserting pictures of soldiers in prayer. However, by slamming the brakes on its Bible-production plans, the leadership at Special Ops reveals how they are trying to weasel their way out of compliance with the law. I will now show how it couldn’t be more clear that the Army possesses something it wishes to keep hidden from public scrutiny.
USA Col. Charles T. Cleveland has advised me that the documents I am seeking – the documents detailing which pictures and what additional text would be added to the Bibles – fall under what is known as FOIA exemption (b) (5). According to letter dated Feb. 10 sent to me by Col. Cleveland, the now-cancelled Bibles have since been categorized as "proposed plans to procure." A consequence of that action is that the Army may deem those records as exempt from disclosure -- or so it claims.

Have you heard about that? I hadn't.

Pittsburgh Independent Media Center lists these events:

"All-Night Candlelight Vigil" Fri, Mar 18th, 2005, 6:00pm - Saturday, March 19th
"Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill" "Ecumenical Service "End the War and Restore Our Communities" Sat, Mar 19th, 2005, 2:00pm- 5:00pm (prior to march at gathering point)
Saturday, March 19th at 2:30pm, "Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill"