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What Happens in Vegas Won't Stay in VegasEileen Fleming Salem-News.com
Sin City doesn't keep things as close as it projects...
(CLERMONT, FL) - If all goes as planned, six weeks from this writing, I will be at the MGM Grand in Vegas; one of 150 authors pitching books to Movie and TV Producers at an annual “Book To Screen PitchFest”.
Just before Christmas, I received a phone call from Las Vegas and immediately thought it was from an organizer of that event.
But, when I returned the call I learned it was from Barbara Ann, the Queen of Karaoke who lives in Vegas and you can 'meet' her here:
I met and last spoke with her while in Irvine, California, on October 13, 2007 at the “No More Wars For Israel” conference. Barbara Ann had saved my business card and contacted me seeking help to get her autobiography edited and published.
As I was writing VANUNU’S WAIT for LIBERTY, Remembering the USS LIBERTY and My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012 [my fourth book] I debated with myself if I should include what really happened to me at the “No More Wars For Israel” conference.
I decided to leave it out, but now that I will again meet with Barbara Ann, I am compelled to relate most all of those facts again here:
I flew from Florida to California the evening before I was scheduled to speak at "The No More Wars for Israel Conference".
I was invited to speak because I was told the conference was dedicated to Mordecahi Vanunu and funds were to be raised for him; but when I arrived at the Marriot I learned that the event had been cancelled!
Before I flew, a few friends warned me that I should NOT attend as “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists” were involved.
As I had not yet met any neo-Nazis or white supremacists that I knew of, I seized the opportunity imagining that is what Jesus would have done!
When I arrived, Mark Glenn [the Coordinator who invited me to speak] informed me that three days prior; the Marriott requested payment of $20,000.00, although there had been no such requirement in the contract.
Mark said he was able to secure $8,000 within twenty-four hours, but even after a visit from a representative from CAIR [Council of American-Islamic Relations] informed the Marriott's Events Coordinator that twenty speakers from around the Nation were on their way; the event would not happen at the Marriott as planned.
Dr. Hesham Tillawi, Palestinian American, Political Analyst and TV show host of "Current Issues" reported that when he spoke with Marriott Representative, Diana Harrison, he “asked her if we came up with all the money, would that be OK and she responded, 'The event has been canceled.'"
The event was rescheduled and began nine hours after originally planned at a nearby church.
When I returned to Florida, I learned that Affad Shaikh, CAIR Representative and Civil Rights Coordinator wrote, "to clarify a minor error in what is being reported about CAIR’s involvement with this matter. CAIR was contacted by a speaker regarding the cancellation of this event in Irvine.
"In fact, I was the person who had taken the call. After listening to and understanding that the issue was contractual, I provided the name of an attorney whom they can consult for the matter. The speaker had actually already had two contacts- Sami Mashney and Marian Bishay- both attorneys that had been referred to her by other people.
"CAIR representatives did not speak to any Marriott representatives, meet with them nor discussed this matter with anyone besides the speaker who had contacted and spoken with me. I am not familiar or aware of the existence or lack of existence of prejudicial reasons for the Marriott to act in such a manner.
"I am also not familiar with the conference nor the details of the speakers or topics since very little was told to me about the event by the caller. CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."-Affad Shaikh, Civil Rights Coordinator CAIR. cair.com
My mission has been and remains to tell the truth in pursuit of a just peace between Israel and Palestine and that requires a change in American policy!
I did not agree with many things some of the speakers said during the rescheduled event on that Saturday, but I uphold that all people have the right to think their own thoughts and speak their own minds.
The conference continued on Sunday but I did not attend. However, I made it clear to any with ears to hear that I abhor, detest and denounce any ideology that presupposes any person, race, religion is superior to any other.
What I went to say and what I said on October 13, 2007 at the “No More Wars For Israel” conference follows:
I am not here today as Mordechai Vanunu's spokesperson.
I am here today- because Vanunu, as with everyone in this room and everyone in the world; all possess inalienable rights, God given rights-such as the right of free thought and the right to speak those thoughts.
States and nations have obligations. People have rights.
The year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of Al Nabka, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the statehood of Israel which was contingent upon their honoring inalienable rights such as in Article 13 of the Declaration of Human Rights, which reads:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his homeland.”
These are rights that states and nations have obligations to uphold.
American democracy is based on the self-evident truth that all people are created equal with certain inalienable rights and that, to secure these rights governments are instituted and derive their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes unjust and destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to rise up and alter or abolish it!
I am here today as a global citizen, a patriotic American and Christian of The Beatitudes; AKA: The Sermon on the Mount which is where Jesus promised that it is the Peacemakers who are the children of God and NOT those that bomb, torture or occupy any other.
I am here today to tell you that on April 30, 2007, in Jerusalem, Vanunu was convicted on 14 [out of 21] counts of violating a court order which denied his inalienable right to speak to foreign journalists in 2004 after his release from 18 years in jail for telling the world the truth that Israel was already nuclear in 1986.
Vanunu was also convicted for traveling the few miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem when he hoped to attend Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity, his first Christmas after being released from 18 years in jail [most of it in solitary] on April 21, 2004.
Vanunu has spent the last three years under house arrest in Jerusalem forbidden to speak to the likes of me. In 2006 Vanunu told me, "This administration tells me I am not allowed to speak to foreigners, the Media, and the world. But I do because that is how I prove my true humanity."
Article 19 of the UN Universal declaration of Human Rights asserts that:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
And in that spirit, I videotaped Vanunu in 2005 and 2006 and some of what he says in "30 Minutes with Vanunu":
"The Dimona is 46 years old; reactors last 25 to 30 years. The Dimona has never been inspected and Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have...Twenty years ago when I worked there they only produced when the air was blowing towards Jordan ten miles away. No one knows what is happening now.
In 2006, American Israeli, Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006, told me: "Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control."
Vanunu was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Marrakech in 1954. When he was 9 years old the Zionists came and promised his family the stars and the moon in the land of milk and honey. Instead, the Vanunu's were banished to the desert of Beersheba, a place with "no Coke or Pepsi and the ice cream was just ice."
Vanunu attended Yeshiva; the Jewish orthodox boarding school in the Old City where the mosque was empty for Palestinians had been banished from Beersheba.
He passed all his high school classes except for English and Hebrew studies. At eighteen years old, he had his mind and health checked by the Israeli army doctors and wanted to be a pilot. But he failed the hand-eye coordination test and was assigned to the Engineering Unit, where he learned about land mines, bridges, and explosives.
Vanunu traveled freely as a soldier, and served in the occupied territories near Bethlehem and he told me:
"I felt how poor the people were under occupation and how they suffered without reason, except for the reason of injustice. In the 1970s, Israel built many fortresses and spent lots of money on equipment, but nothing on the people who were oppressed and under occupation.
"I got really mad and upset every time I thought about how much money they wasted, but I kept my mouth shut and kept it all to myself. After a year, I finished my training and was assigned to train more soldiers. For me it was all futility and waste; I saw these children become soldiers and thought, what a complete waste.
"When the Yom Kippur War broke out, soldiers with less than a month of training got called to go with me to the Jordan Valley. There weren’t enough trained troops, and we were lucky we didn’t see any fighting and got to return to base after three days. After a few months, we all went to Syria and the Golan Heights. When Kissinger coordinated the cease-fire, the Israeli army destroyed the area before leaving there. I was promoted to First Sergeant, and they wanted me to re-up. I said no.
"I began my studies at Tel Aviv University when I was twenty-one and this was the first time I met Palestinians as human beings. I began attending political demonstrations inside the university. I was all about equal human rights and respecting all others. By the time I was twenty-three, I began working at the Dimona. It was suppose to be a textile plant, but I was hired for the control room. At the time, I had no idea what it was in control of."
After a year, Vanunu got bored with the routine job at the Dimona but stayed for the steady pay while he studied economics and became involved in university politics and helped establish a group of Palestinian and Jewish students for justice and peace.
After six months, he got called in by security at the Dimona, questioned, warned and then threatened with fifteen years in prison if he didn’t stop his pro-Palestinian human rights university activities.
Vanunu didn't stop.
He graduated with a BA in philosophy and geography, and began to make plans to leave Israel. Because he was a good worker, he was cross trained in many departments and figured out what was really going on underground in the Negev Valley.
Vanunu shot two rolls of film documenting the fact that Israel had gone nuclear, but did not develop them until many months later when he ended up in Sydney, Australia.
One day, Vanunu, who was then a secular Jew and existentialist wandered into a social justice Anglican Church and felt at home. He shared his story of the Dimona with them, and met the church painter who claimed to be a freelance journalist and who wanted to make money on Vanunu's story. Vanunu insisted that all he wanted to do was prevent a nuclear holocaust.
It was only a few days prior to being abducted by the Mossad, that Vanunu was baptized a Christian.
It was not until after his closed-door trial and the start of 18 years in jail; that he began to read the New Testament. For a half hour, twice a day, he would recite the entire New Testament and begin all over again when he finished the Book of Revelation. Vanunu told me:
"I did this for myself, as well as for my captors--not so much the prison guards, but the ones who watched me on camera twenty-four hours a day. Once I covered up the camera that spied on me and was punished with one month in total solitary; no books no radio; there was never any contact with anyone anywhere. It was just them, watching me, constantly watching me. The Shen Beet, you know, like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA— they were watching me.
"They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety.
"They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me and deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night and all day. I chose to read them 1 Corinthians 13 instead."
1 Corinthians 13 says, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.
I am here today to tell you that for the last three years, Mordecahi Vanunu's speech and movement have been restricted under the British Mandate Emergency Regulations -a relic from the British Mandate period in Palestine-before the state of Israel was founded and replaced British rule. Nothing like it exists in any democracy in the world. When Vanunu was convicted, he joked, "Perhaps I should turn to the Queen or Tony Blair for justice."
I am here today to tell you that for the last 21 years, Vanunu has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This year he was nominated by Bishop Desmond Tutu, who in 1984 received the Nobel for his courageous and fearless opposition against the South African apartheid system.
I am here today to remind the world of what Israel promised in 1948:
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the establishment of Israel
I am here today with hope and a prayer that Israel and America will hear the prophets of Israel, such as Micah who reminded the people of what God requires: "He has told you o'man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord." [Micah 6:8]
I am here today to say Happy Eid and happy 53rd birthday to Vanunu.
Six weeks from now, when I am in Las Vegas I will have the opportunity to present a two-minute pitch to Producers and production companies in the Entertainment Industry.
My prayer/wish/hope is not to make a sale, but to further the free flow of information about a TRUE STORY that could be a Political Comic-DRAMA-but is currently NEWS that The Media has ignored.
What I intend to tell them is first to IMAGINE The Blues Brothers meet Erin Brockovich; but the mission from God this time is to report on and challenge so as to change US Policy in regards to Israel Palestine and 9/11 was the catalyst.
I am a nurse by education and writer by vocation.
I had NO interest in politics until September 11, 2001. It was THAT DAY entwined with my spiritual search that compelled me to research and then impelled me to sojourn seven times to both sides of The Wall in Israel Palestine.
While in Jerusalem researching for my first book-an historical fiction- I met Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu.
We began a series of interviews that inspired me to establish an Internet newspaper and public service site- WeAreWideAwake.org when I returned to America. WeAreWideAwake.org has a Google rating of 4 and around 9 million US and Israeli SECURITY/Surveillance cyber drones have visited.
Vanunu had been released from 18 years in jail the year before, but under restrictions not to leave the state and not to speak to foreigners-meaning MEDIA!
In 2010, I published my third book- BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010 with all proceeds dedicated to his support while he waits for his right to leave Israel.
In 2012, I came in third in a three-way race for US HOUSE in the newly gerrymandered District 5 in Florida and accomplished a few missions as reported in my fourth book, VANUNU’S WAIT for LIBERTY, Remembering the USS LIBERTY and My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012
I am now writing my fifth- FAMILY MATTERS and THAT’S LIFE
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