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Dragonflyer Newsletter # 24


On June 3, the Canadian Parliament made a historic vote in favor of U.S. war resisters who are seeking a safe haven in Canada rather than fight in the illegal occupation of Iraq.  The Parliament calls on the minority Conservative government to create a program that will allow war resisters to immigrate to Canada, and it also calls for a halt to all deportation proceedings. Unfortunately, the Bush-supporting conservative leaders are planning to ignore the majority vote. If you want to write to them, convincing them of the need to host our brave war resistors until Americans have their wish to withdraw from Iraq, here is the link. http://www.couragetoresist.org


Finally, the international community is banning all Depleted Uranium and cluster bombs. How is it that the United States is not a part of this? If you really want to know, read about how our country is tied into war for profit. In order to change this, we must take action—like our county council is doing to protect Hawaii from the toxic militarization of our beautiful island.



For those of you who would like to learn about the truth behind 9-11, watch this comprehensive documentary that is amazingly informative with undeniable evidence.


We can make a statement to China by not buying their products. Let’s see if we can have an impact by passing the word among us on the Internet—no China products from June 4 to July 4…and beyond if you feel so inclined.
We also want to make sure that no chicken is allowed to come from China. Remember the dog food fiasco? Here is the link to register your disapproval of Chinese imported chicken. http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/t/5915/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1216



You may have heard that Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35--yes, 35--Articles of Impeachment in the House of Representatives.  He stood at the podium for FOUR hours and read each and every article;  you can find the articles here: http://chun.afterdowningstreet.org/amomentoftruth.pdf

Congressman Robert Wexler "enthusiastically" sponsored the articles, and is asking for signatures for the impeachment petition against Bush.  Please take a moment to sign, and there are boxes to check or uncheck if you don't want to be on the mailing list.  I've elected to stay on the mailing list to get updates.  Here is the link:  http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com/

Since Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly stated that "impeachment is off the table" this probably won't advance before Bush is out of office...but, Rep. Wexler is part of Senator Obama's inner circle, and this may be the groundwork that is needed to get the public talking about the crimes of the Bush administration, and then hearings and possible criminal action against him after he and Cheney leave office.  No other president has done more to subvert the Constitution than Bush, and no other administration has so blatantly broken laws and thumbed its nose to Congress and to the American people.  As former terrorism czar Richard Clarke stated yesterday, "we can't let these people back into polite society" without holding them accountable.  No one knows why our leadership (Pelosi and Reid) refuse to put impeachment on the table, as it is required by the Constitution in these circumstances, but this action by Kucinich, Wexler, and others is a step.


My friend, Heather Whitney who is studying law, just wrote me this good

If you haven't already heard, the Supreme Court ruled On June 12th to
restore habeas corpus.  (For those who aren't familiar with the term, habeas
corpus began in the 800's A.D. in England, in the Magna Carta, and is the
foundation for our justice system.  It requires any accused person of a
crime in U.S. jurisdiction to have a hearing, a lawyer, and a speedy trial,
and is encompassed in our Sixth Amendment.)

In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, (and some of you
heard from me when that was passed) which stripped "enemy combatants" of any
of these rights.  An "enemy combatant" is not clearly defined within the
act, and the only person who can designate someone as such is the President.
So, until today, a person who is simply a suspect with no discernable proof
can be designated by one person, the President, and be sent to a brig or to
Guantanamo, with no justice to challenge the accusation. One US citizen was
designated an enemy combatant and scores of non-US citizens.  It was a close
decision, 5-4, which is sad, given the tremendous consequences the Act had
on this foundational principle.

The Court noted that the military cannot pick and choose areas around the
world to set up a Guantanamo-like prison for non-citizens in order to
circumvent habeas corpus; territories and "leased properties" such as
Guantanamo itself are all under the umbrella of the Constitution.  There is
speculation as to whether the administration will accept challenges by
Guantanamo detainees or simply let them go, because there is most definitely
"embarrassing" information about the treatment they received.  Time will
tell, but there are over 200 writs of habeas corpus waiting to be approved.
There have been a few that have been released who were determined to be
innocent, and who told horror stories of their internment.  There are also
several children--you read right--detained.

What a sigh of relief. We are all protected by the Constitution once again.

McClatchy article: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/40935.html

Fed. Appeals Ct. Rules US Citizens Can Be Confined Without Charges (Jose
Padilla)--now overruled:

--and a related tragic article about how Jose Padilla, US citizen, was
driven insane by solitary confinement, a common practice for "enemy

U.S. Detains Children at Guantanamo (16 and under):

Released Guantanamo Detainee Speaks Out (YouTube):

A couple of great movies:  "Taxi To the Dark Side", and "Rendition."


Dragonflyer "Teenage Mascot", Nashira Birch, Has Gone GREEN.

When Nishira was a teenager, she stayed at the Dragonfly to go to high school here. Now, she is in her early twenties, has worked in Africa and India, and is requesting donations as she travels, using her bike, to make a “light carbon footprint” with other like-minded Canadian youth:

Whew! I made it back to Canada to my beautiful hometown of Argenta, catching my breath, working in the garden, hiking, skiing, and generally enjoying breathing clean air again.  I am now out in Eastern Canada (or Central Canada to those of you who are from out here!), just completed an amazing and much needed debriefing and re-entry workshop with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (the organization that sent me to India), and am now visiting some friends.   Next week I take the train from Toronto to Vancouver.  I'm trying to cut more and more airplanes out of my life to decrease my carbon footprint, and it's supposed to be a beautiful 3 day journey...though it will definitely make me realize how expansive Canada really is!

For July and August I will be embarking on a two-month cycling tour of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island (about 1000 kms) with the Otesha Project (check out their website: www.otesha.ca <http://www.otesha.ca> )!  It is a fantastic Canadian youth-run organization that does cycling tours around Canada, mobilizing youth to create local and global change through making responsible daily choices.   The theatre performances and interactive workshops are mostly at schools, but also at parks, and other community venues.  I have heard nothing but amazing things about this organization and have always wanted to do a tour, so I am absolutely elated!

When I came back from India I was somewhat lost personally and professionally and wanted to find something that would inspire me and help me to make sense of the world again, share my learning from India, and practice living my life more in harmony with the rest of the world.  This, and my love for cycling and the great Canadian outdoors, is motivating me to undertake this journey this summer.  

I know that many of you, like me, are always looking for ways to contribute to positive change in the world, but we can often become jaded by the complexities of it all.  For me Otesha feels like a great opportunity to engage in something positive and meaningful.  I am putting out the word about what I am doing, and also letting you all know that I am raising $1,900 to help with expenses for the tour -- $75 of which I have already raised planting squash in an organic garden in Argenta (wahoo!).  I would love your help in raising the rest of it.  Every dollar that you contribute equals 500 meters that I will cycle on tour and one more young person I will reach.  Any amount is welcome, but donations $20 or over are tax deductible, as Otesha is a registered charity.

If you're feeling tight on cash, I'm also on the search for some bike panniers, a reflective vest and any miscellanious bike accessories you may have lying around!

You can donate (securely!) online through my fundraising page at GiveMeaning.com: http://www.givemeaning.com/thon/Nashira.  If you'd rather donate by cheque you can print out the attached donation card, make the cheque out to The Otesha Project with my name in the subject line and mail it to The Otesha Project, 72 Riverdale Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1S 1R2.  I leave July 2, and would like to complete my fundraising before this time.

I will keep in touch throughout the summer as the adventure unfolds. You can also keep updated through the team website which you will soon be able to access at:  http://www.otesha.ca/bike+tours/join+a+cycling+and+performing+tour.en.html

My particular tour starts in Vancouver in the first week of July, goes up the sunshine coast to Powell River, across to Vancouver Island, up to some of the northern-most communities on the island, and back down, across to Tofino and Uculet, and continuing down through the central and southern communities, ending in Victoria.

Thanks for your support!  I hope to see you all again soon and tell you more about India.  
Sunshine and bicycle grease!

:) Nashira

P.S. Want to know more?

Just an example of what impresses me about this organization:  Each cycling team gets Otesha shirts, but they buy the shirts from second-hand stores, get their logo printed on them, and because they are so cheap, they donate $5 for each shirt to Maquila Solidarity Network, an organization that fights sweatshops (http://en.maquilasolidarity.org/).

A little background of the organization (taken from the website):

We know that our current way of life is harming the planet and its inhabitants.

Only hope and action will remedy this.

For a better future, we each must re-evaluate our own actions and BE the positive change we want to see in the world.

A dream born in Kenya has become a charitable organization of hopeful young people uniting as the Otesha Project. Otesha, which means "reason to dream" in Swahili, was created to mobilize youth to create local and global change through their daily consumer choices. We believe that there are alternatives to our culture of overconsumption, and that each one of us has opportunities to have positive impacts every single day.

The Otesha Project's education programs and bicycle tours use theatre, multi-media, and storytelling to engage a wide range of audiences, and have reached more than 72,000 people to date. Otesha's performances focus on re-evaluating our daily choices to reflect the kind of future we'd like to see - rethinking what we really need, conserving resources, and voting with our dollars. We aim to demonstrate the positive effects our everyday choices can have, by living sustainably, changing the world, and having loads of fun--all at the same time!

Programs include:
• Cycling and Performing Tours
• Triple H Program for high school students
• The Otesha Book
• General Education Programming

If you are looking for The Otesha Project UK please click here.

The website has information on all of these initiatives, and much, much more.


Feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested.

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