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Release Them Unharmed | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Release Them Unharmed

Congress returns to DC today, December 6, after a recess and a coalition of groups, led by our friends at Democrats.com are welcoming them with an antiwar message. This National Call-In Day--organized by Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, After Downing Street and United for Peace and Justice--aims to focus legislative offices squarely on the centrality of the war as the foremost issue that must be addressed.

The message is simple: "I am calling to let Rep. ______ know that I think the Iraq war is wrong and all our troops should be brought home immediately!" The call-ins have already started so please click here right away to find contact info for your elected reps and let them know you expect them to work for a speedy end to the war in Iraq. You can also call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 888-818-6641.

(This same coalition is organizing a series of nationwide "Out of Iraq" events this January 7. Click here for info.)

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Release Them Unharmed

Nearly six days after four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams were abducted in Iraq, their safety remains unknown as peace activists from around the world appeal for their release.

Two of the four abducted are Canadians, one from England and the other from the United States, as identified and confirmed by the Chicago-based international Christian peace organization Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). All of them are long-time peace activists who have all demonstrated a long-term commitment to the ideals of social justice and self-determination.

A British coalition of antiwar groups--including the Muslim Association of Britain, Stop the War and CND--announced yesterday that it would send leading British antiwar campaigner Anas Altikriti to Iraq to appeal directly for the release of hostages.

Echoing the call is an urgent appeal that's being introduced today by an ad-hoc group of concerned writers and activists in the US and Canada. Please read it below and circulate it widely. Then click here to join Arundhati Roy, Rashid Khalidi, Cindy Sheehan, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Nation writers Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill in signing the statement which calls for the activists' immediate release so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers. And, remember, time is of the essence.

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An Urgent Appeal(Click here to add your name.)

Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken this past Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith, but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination.

CPT first came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the US invasion, and it has remained in the country throughout the occupation in solidarity with the Iraqi people. The group has been invaluable in alerting the world to many of the horrors facing Iraqis detained in US-run prisons and detention centers.

CPT was among the first to document the torture occurring at the AbuGhraib prison, long before the story broke in the mainstream press. Itsmembers have spent countless hours interviewing Iraqis about abuse andtorture suffered at the hands of US forces and have disseminated thisinformation internationally.

Each of the four CPT members being held in Iraq has dedicated his life to resisting the darkness and misery of war and occupation. Convinced that it is not enough to oppose the war from the safety of their homes, they made the difficult decision to go to Iraq, knowing that the climate of mistrust created by foreign occupation meant that they could be mistaken for spies or missionaries. They went there with a simple purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to embody a different kind of relationship between cultures and faiths. Members of CPT willingly undertook the risks of living among Iraqis, in a common neighborhood outside of the infamous Green Zone.

They sought no protection from weapons or armed guards, trusting in, andbenefiting from, the goodwill of the Iraqi people. Acts of kindness andhospitality from Iraqis were innumerable and ensured the CPT members'safety and wellbeing. We believe that spirit will prevail in the currentsituation.

We appeal to those holding these activists to release them unharmed so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers.

[Click here and scroll down to see the full list of initial signers.]

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