Friday, March 24, 2006

Army Men in the News

From the City Paper this week:
Bring 'Em Home ·
Just in case Vice President Dick Cheney didn't get the point from the protesters trying to congregate at Hibernian Hall where he spoke on St. Patrick's Day on Friday, Drinking Liberally (DL), a local lefty elbow-lifting club, is against the war. Teaming with several other local organizations like Charleston Peace, DL posted tiny green toy army men in odd spots throughout Charleston County last week. The soldiers had little signs pasted to them that read, "Bring Me Home." Nearly 8,000 little green men invaded stores, offices, and public places in James Island (Monday), N. Charleston (Tuesday), Mt. Pleasant (Wednesday), West Ashley (Thursday), and downtown (Friday). Unfortunately, the war rages on, no one shot Cheney in the face in a hunting "accident," and there were some complaints that the mouth-sized toys posed a swallowing risk for small children who could stumble across them. "We're not putting them in kids' mouths," said one DL member in defense.
—Bill Davis

Also, you can check out the front page article from last week's West Of paper (pdf):

Invasion: West Ashley
The Army Men Project marches into town this week

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Final Week of Army Men Project

We're now heading into the final week of the Army Men Project! The 3-year anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq is coming up on March 19-20. To see more about the Build A Wall Against War action that Charleston Peace is sponsoring on the 19th visit Our partner in the Army Men Project, Charleston Drinking Liberally, is planning a special week to distribute the last of the army men:

The schedule for the Army Men Blitz :
MON MARCH 13 - James Island, Kickin' Chicken
TUES MARCH 14 - N Chuck, KC Mulligans
WED MARCH 15 - Mt Pleasant, Village Tavern
THURS MARCH 16 - West Ashley, Voodoo
FRI MARCH 17 - Downtown, Vickery's

Each day we'll be meeting up at 5:30 PM for a little while, then heading out to distribute the little green men. For more information visit the Charleston DL website. If you still haven't gotten any army men but want to be involved show up to locations listed above next week or email Hope to see everybody out and distributing army men next week!

Charleston Women Say No To War

For International Women's Day, Charleston Peace, ProPeace, and Charleston Democrats participated in CODEPINK's Women Say No To War! Day of Action. We gathered in front of the Custom House downtown to voice our opposition to the war and also to collect signatures for CODEPINK's Global Call for Peace Petition. If you haven't signed yet, you can sign the petition here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Free Speech Pay-In

On Friday, February 24, members of Charleston Peace joined SC Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey In Columbia for a Free Speech Pay-In to pay his $500 fine and join people from around the state who are as angry as he is about what George Bush is doing to our country to bring a dollar and join him to pay what he calls "the rising cost of free speech." For background on the case and why we were there see the previous post US Supreme Court Refuses SC Free Speech Case. To see pictures of the Free Speech Pay-In, visit the Charleston Peace website.

The Cost of Free Speech, by Ed Madden:

A man holds up a sign. He stands beside a public road in a public place. Around him are thousands of people, many holding up signs.

The man holds up a sign that protests the ongoing war in Iraq. He thinks the president and the people in power are responsible for this war.

Half a mile away, in a muddy depression near another road, the man's friends hold up their signs, also handmade, also protesting the war. There is no parking there. The only people aware of their protest are the police who direct them there and forbid them to park.

The man is told that he must put down his sign and go to a specially designated "free speech zone," that muddy depression half a mile away — away from the media, from the gathered crowd, and from the president, whose plane will be landing shortly.

The crowd waiting in line to see the president — more than 6,000 people show up — surrounds him.

The man holds up his sign and explains to the policeman that he is standing in a free speech zone — it is called the United States of America.

He is told he must put down his sign or leave, or he will be arrested for trespassing.

A man holds up a sign on a public road in a public place. And he is arrested.
South Carolinian Brett Bursey's conviction stands, and on Friday he had to pay a $500 fine for holding up a cardboard sign on a public roadway in a public space, at the Columbia airport.

I stood in line in the courthouse on Friday with other folks who showed up to pay $1 toward Bursey's fine. I was there because he stood up for his — and my — right to speak freely. How many people in South Carolina think free speech is worth a dollar? What is free speech worth?

A man holds up a sign.

-Columbia Free-Times, 3/01/06

Find out if the government has been spying on you!

If you want to try and find out whether the US government has been spying on you, People for the American Way has set up a website to assist you in easily filing a Freedom of Information Act request - Recently a list of just a few events the government considered "threats" was released. This list included last year's war anniversary protest in Fayetteville that Charleston Peace attended, as well as a peace retreat in St. Mary's, Georgia, numerous counter-recruitment actions and many other events.
There are few things that the Bush administration hates more than sharing information -- that's why it's willing to use every trick in the book to keep its secrets.

After excessive secrecy helped bring down the Nixon administration, Congress strengthened the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to guarantee citizens' right to know what their government is doing.

If you're concerned the government has spied on you, you can visit right away.

Over the years, People For the American Way has asserted this right by filing numerous FOIA requests. Most recently, PFAW Foundation demanded in court that the NSA reveal how many people it had spied on through its illegal domestic surveillance program and whether it had collected any information on our organization.

In order to bring the power of FOIA to you, People For the American Way launched last week. Designed to make it easy for you to assert your right to know what the government knows about you, the basic information needed to complete a FOIA request takes less than a minute to enter.

In the past five days, over 10,000 people have used this service to try to find out whether the Bush administration has been monitoring their phone calls or reading their email. is part of our four-part campaign to restore our constitutional system based on the principles of transparency, accountability, oversight, and public vigilance. Congress' Republican leadership, under pressure from Vice President Cheney, appears to be retreating from its oversight obligations and its demands for transparency. It's up to citizens like you and me to use tools like the Freedom of Information Act to demand the information necessary to hold
administration officials accountable if they have broken the law.

You can fill out a FOIA request by visiting

Also, please help us spread the word about We can't promise the Bush administration will be forthcoming, but if Americans don't assert their right to know, we may lose it altogether.

Ralph G. Neas

More information:
  • Fayetteville Online: Anti-war rally on threat list

  • See a partial list of events the government spied on last year [via Pam's House Blend - PDF]
  • Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    More MOX in City Paper

    From the City Paper "Best Of Charleston 2006" , out this week:
    Best/Worst Program for Nuclear Disarmament:
    MOX Fuel

    Usually, the CP smiles upon any form of nuclear disarmament. Unless, that is, disarmament means corporations milking our tax dollars to build nuclear processing plants with no set budget, and requires shipping of weapons-grade plutonium through Charleston Harbor on its way to be processed into commercial mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, making the plutonium susceptible to terrorist attacks. Plans to build the nation's first MOX processing plant at the Savannah River Site would no doubt lead to more nuke waste coming through the state and our harbor. This plan also increases the risk of bioterrorism, especially after a handful of environmentalists drove into the middle of a "secured" truck caravan carrying high-level radioactive materials. If it's that easy for peace-loving hippies to infiltrate a shipment, how hard could it be for nefarious terrorists? --Benjamin Schlau

    Women Say NO To War in Charleston

    Join Charleston Peace, CODEPINK, ProPeace, and Charleston Democrats on March 8, to commemorate International Women's Day by rallying against the war in Iraq.

    Wednesday, March 8, 6 PM at the Old Custon House in Charleston

    Contact Ilene Kahn for more information: (843)884-6727

    Sign the CODEPINK Global Call For Peace:

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    City Paper Article on MOX Plant

    Check out the City Paper this week for an article updating the status of the MOX plant slated to begin construction at the Savannah River Site this summer.

    Nuclear Power Costs Ri$ing:
    According to a highly critical status report the federal Department of Energy released in December 2005, the future of the proposed mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility slated to be constructed at the Savannah River Site may be in jeopardy.

    Long the bane of local, regional, national, and international environmentalists, the proposed MOX facility would convert weapons-grade plutonium into a fissionable fuel to be used in nuclear power plants here and abroad.

    A functioning facility would allow nations armed with nuclear weapons, like the United States and Russia, to turn their warheads into electricity while disarming the world. Now, thanks to the DoE's report, the question becomes, "But at what cost?"

    And, according to the report, the answer is an astronomical one.

    In 2002, the projected cost of the contentious facility was $1 billion. By 2004, due to delays dealing with the Russian half of the project as well as management problems, the cost of the SRS site had soared to $3.5 billion.

    "This comes as no surprise to me that this facility is having huge cost overruns," says Tom Clement, the senior adviser with Greenpeace International's anti-nuclear campaign, who came to town last year, shadowing shipments of weapons-grade plutonium from France to South Carolina.

    "I think that what's going on is not unusual for how the Department of Energy functions — when they give their first presentation on anything, their estimates always turn out to be wildly below what a facility will actually cost."

    While he and his campaign take great issue with any weapons-grade material finding a home in the future other than in the imagination, Clement hopes the exploding costs of the proposed facility will attract the attention of the remaining fiscally conservative Republicans in Congress.

    For more information on Charleston Peace's campaign against the MOX shipments last year see:

  • Charleston Peace - Update on MOX fuel

  • April 2005 Articles

  • May 2005 Articles
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Join the Army Men Project!

    Leading into the 3rd anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq, March 19-20, Charleston Peace will be joining the Army Men Project. As stated on their website:
    We’re spreading plastic Army Men around the country and around the globe as small, everyday reminders of the ongoing horrors of the war in Iraq and to serve as tools to foster dialogue, action and resistance to the war. Here in the United States we’re encouraged to forget about the war, to go on with our lives, to “go shopping.” But what if everywhere people went there were little plastic Army Men nudging them to remember that we’re waging war? At Home Depot, on the gas pump, in the 7-11, at the post office, on the hood of the car, in the public restroom, at the movie theatre, in the produce section of the grocery store … in your neighborhood …?

    Help these little messengers appear everywhere— to be green plastic pin-pricks to the American conscience, to help create an environment in which it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the war, the loss of life and the unending destruction. The war is not going away. We want people to realize that by doing nothing they contribute to a war that has cost the lives of almost 2,000 American soldiers and many, many thousands of Iraqi civilians.

    Join the Army Men Project – spread the plastic everywhere!

    In order to bring this to Charleston on a large scale, we need people to support the project. We're asking everyone to sponsor one gross (144) of army men for $3. We're ordering them on Feb. 1 in order to have them ready to be distributed 1 month prior to the anniversary. We're going to be attaching stickers saying "Bring Me Home" along with the Charleston Peace website to publicize our 3-year commemoration March 19. If you can sponsor a set of army men, or if you're intersted in distributing them once they're in, email as soon as possible!

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    US Supreme Court Refuses SC Free Speech Case

    Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld Brett Bursey's conviction for holding up a "No War For Oil" sign when Bush visited Columbia in 2002, a decision which will only encourage further restrictions on the right to protest. Charleston Peace is a member of the SC Progressive Network.

    Today the US Supreme Court declined to hear Brett Bursey's appeal of his Free Speech case, ending a four-year legal battle that began when he refused to go to a "free speech zone" while protesting President Bush's visit to Columbia in 2002. Bursey is the Director of the South Carolina Progressive Network, an 11-year-old coalition of organizations and individuals.

    Bursey was holding a sign that said "No more war for oil, don't invade Iraq" when he was told to go to a distant "free speech zone" or be arrested on local charges of trespassing. "I told the police that I was in a free speech zone called the United States of America," Bursey said.

    The trespassing charges were dismissed four months after the arrest, and the Secret Service immediately brought federal charges.

    Bursey is the first and only person to ever be prosecuted under the federal statute that governs Threats to the President. After being refused a jury trial, he was convicted and given a $500 fine.

    Bursey still owes thousands of dollars for taking the case to the Supreme Court, and also now must pay the $500 fine. "As this ruling limits everyone's free speech, I am looking for 499 other Americans who are as angry as I am over the loss of constitutional rights under George Bush to join me at the federal court house and pay a dollar each." Bursey said he will announce a date to join him in paying the fine.

    For more information visit:

  • Supremes Uphold Conviction in landmark free speech case (Facing South Blog)

  • South Carolina Progressive Network Free Speech Zone
  • Iraq War Information

    I have two favorite websites I'd like to share for information about what's going on in Iraq. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail blogs at from the ground in Iraq. He testified at the World Tribunal on Iraq, and you can sign up to receive his newsletter. They are brief and well written, usually on a single topic (price of oil, assassination of doctors, etc.), and come maybe three to four times a week. For a more academic analytical approach, Juan Cole's blog can't be beat. Dr. Cole is multi-lingual and a true citizen of earth; he reads Kahlil Gibran in the original! He is a leading expert not only on Iraq but also on Israel-Palestine and the rest of the Middle East and Southern Asia. Read his entry from Monday at in which he uses Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech to extrapolate "10 things MLK would do about Iraq." (You have to scroll down; he usually makes multiple daily entries.)

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Charleston Peace Meeting

    Charleston Peace will be meeting this Tuesday, January 17 at 6:30 PM. We meet at Port City Java, 261 Calhoun St. at Cannon Park. We'll be talking about the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. To see what we did a year ago visit the pictures page at the Charleston Peace website.

    Also check out the Army Men Project. The Carolina Peace Resource Center is joining this project and we can help bring it to Charleston. If you want to join in come to the meeting Tuesday, or email Hope to see you there!

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Welcome to the new Charleston Peace blog!

    Welcome to the new blog for Charleston Peace! This blog will be updating the latest in news and events for the peace and justice community in Charleseton, SC and the surrounding area. It's easy to contribute to the blog, just comment on any of the posts, or email us at if you want to post messages. We'll be updating often so check back soon!