Antiwar Demonstrations

March 15, 2008

Misinterpreting the Winter Soldiers

Yesterday I saw a lady asking one of the security guards why the event was called Winter Soldier. He patiently explained that the name was taken from Thomas Paine's "Crisis Paper", she listened patiently, thought about what she had been told and replied "that is fair." I am not sure if she went away impressed, or convinced, but she seemed to be coming here to support the GIs, so I think she may have been predisposed to support the event.
Unfortunately few of the events critics are willing to give an inch. They have attempted to force the organization to conform to their most biased and hellish visions of a future past. This seems to have three basic components. First, by claiming the organization is subset of VVAW, they avoid having to deal with he fact there is a war going on. That real people, not cartoon characters, extras from a war movie or stereotypes from our deepest fears, are being maimed, killed and shattered. It is much easier to pretend that this is Vietnam volume two than a war in Iraq. While there are VVAW here, providing security, advice, guidance and shoulders to cry on, but this has been organized by and reflects the experience of IVAW members.
Second, that this movement i somehow controlled and guided by John Kerry and Jane Fonda. This is patently absurd and once again avoids the issue of having to address the issue of Iraq. In fact, a reporter claiming to be from what is now been called the Young America's Foundation, but is Young American's for Freedom with a new label cornered John Kerry and tried to get him to say something about the Winter Soldier II. I am not privy to the mind of john Kerry, and I am sure that he is not unaware of this little gathering, but as far as I can tell he has made no attempt to either contact or take credit for what is going on down here.
Third, and connected to the second accusation, is the claim the IVAW are communists. I have been here for three days, and I did not know there were so many communists left in the world. Why IVAW's critics constantly run out this tired old stereotype, in an effort to discredit them is a little bizarre at best and absurd at worst. While I have not gone round and polled the members of IVAW who are here as to who is, or is not a communist, but if I were to do so most would look at me blankly and wonder what the hell I am talking about. Even more than is the case with John Kerry and Jane Fonda, there is no connection between the IVAW and the Communist Party. While some members may have sentiments that mirror what Richard Neville once called the ideological/alphabet soup of the new left and Just because the Workers World endorses the goals of IVAW, this does not mean the members are communist or even have anything close to a coherent ideological critique.
Unfortunately, and a fact which illustrates how little the movement's critics are willing to address these veteran on their own terms, as Veterans of a war which should never have been fought and as members of an organization that should have had to be formed, when the IVAW's critics accuse them of being communists they are using the term in the same it was used by J. Edgar Hoover in Masters of Deceit and the John Birch Society. The communist party envisioned by both had ceased to exist with the death of Stalin and the execution of Beria.
There is only one truth to be gained from the experience of being here, and it hits everyone at different times or stays as a constant, sometimes quietly throbbing at the base of your spine and gnawing at your soul and sometimes pouring out of you like a scream of vomit, THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TAKE PLACE. These are young Americans who are not the wiling lackeys of any organization, who should be living their lives in the full knowledge that tomorrow is an adventure, filled with a myriad of experiences to come. Drunken nights of sex and hedonism unseen and unknown. They should be able to go home at night, when knackered, and be able to relax, drink a beer, smoke a joint or meditate over a steaming cup of tea and pray to whatever god they choose to believe in. They should not have to live the rest of their lives torn up and afraid, because WE DID NOT CARE ENOUGH TO STOP THIS DAMNED WAR.
It is not enough for us to say we are outraged, when doing so costs us nothing. It s not enough to believe that our principled stands offer any kind of resolution or absolution. These are our children, and they have been sent, with our consent/or dissent to half way round the world to wreak havoc in places we may have read about in a history book or seen on a map Our outrage has to mean something more than merely criticizing the architects, planners and lay preachers of this war.
If we do not make them do more than simply apologize for acquiescing, then we will be back here again in 30 years and have to listen to a new generation of American boys and girls searching for the right words to express their shame, anger and horror. I for one, never want to stand under hot summer sun again and watch as a group of young American's gather to have heir photograph taken and realize that every one of them are veterans of a war and most are the same age or younger than my son.
Up to this afternoon, I have mainly been working on a computer and I have not had to think too much about the fact these are young men and women are our children. Then the gathered for their photograph and I could not watch. I broke don in tears. I also just tried to listen to a young man describe what he did at Guantanamo, and I cried again. These are our children and we have allowed them to be sent to war. We have stood idly by while they have been accused of being communists and protestors of a war long gone. We have allowed the men ho have made their money accuse them of being tools and lackeys of Jane Fonda, John Kerry and the now defunct communist party. And we have said nothing and for that we are to blame. If we do not say you are liars and do not deserve to speak again in public without ridicule and denunciation, we will be back here again in 30 years and I for one do not want to have to come.
james.

March 14, 2008

Shutting Down the Machine - Thoughts of an Ex-Marine Officer Turned Peace Activist

Thoughts of an Ex-Marine Officer Turned Peace Activist, by Camillo "Mac" Bica, originally publised in Truthout.org, March 15, 2008


Often as I've marched and demonstrated for peace, I've been verbally assaulted, accused of being un-American, unpatriotic, even treasonous by those who carried American flags, sang inspiring hymns, and boisterously and stridently asserted their patriotism, love of country and support for the troops through bullhorns.
Most of this criticism I dismissed as a failure to understand the nature and the reality of war and the moral and political obligations of citizens in a democracy. I was confident in my patriotism, my love of America and my concern and support for the troops. I had, after all, served honorably as a motivated United States Marine Corps officer in Vietnam. But when this disparagement and denunciation began coming from fellow veterans, I became disquieted and felt the need to seriously ponder the possibility that perhaps I had gone astray, violating some sacred trust or bond. So, what I offer in this essay is a thought experiment in self-examination, an introspective journey into the mind and motivation of a former Marine turned peace activist.
Perhaps my first realization in this exercise was that I allow at least the possibility that war, under very specific circumstances not easily or often met, may be just, moral and necessary. Therefore, I am not an absolute pacifist and, in the strict sense, I am not antiwar.
I realized as well that I believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, and support the fundamental purpose and mission of the United Nations, flawed though it may be, "to maintain international peace and security and to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace." According to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX), (international law), the unjustifiable and unwarranted "use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State," is a crime of aggression. Therefore, I am anti aggression and unjust, immoral and unnecessary war.
Further, I believe in the rights and dignity of all human beings. Rational analysis of the facts has convinced me that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake - unjustifiable and unwarranted - based as it was on false or distorted intelligence, deception and lies. Not even President Bush still believes, if he ever did, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. While the Bush administration has offered, after the fact, various other explanations for the war, e.g., removal of a tyrant, democratization, etc., none seem sincere nor constitute justification under international law. Consequently, the invasion of Iraq is aggression. I am anti the Iraq war.
At this writing, many in our country are celebrating the "success" of the surge and of the "new" military strategy in Iraq. However, military success and improved strategy does not afford a moral and legal basis for continuing, even escalating, the occupation - the aggression against the Iraqi people. How could achieving "victory" in such a scenario, i.e., the triumph of the aggressors over their victims, be legally and morally justified? I am anti the continued occupation of Iraq.
My personal experiences in war led me to conclude that the morally tragic and legally reprehensible incidents such as have occurred at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan were not the anomalous actions of a few aberrant individuals (I do not blame the troops), but were the direct and inevitable consequence of the Bush administration's incompetence, arrogance and contempt for the Constitution and the dictates of international law and treaties. What threatens the fabric and foundations of our way of life in these dangerous times is not some amorphous, enigmatic horde of bloodthirsty terrorists. Rather, it is the assault upon truth, individual freedom and the values of justice and morality we hold sacred. I am anti the Bush administration.
It is clear from history that such criminal behavior, arrogance and hypocrisy - the characteristics of a rogue nation - brings no credibility, prestige or standing in the world, only disdain, animosity, hatred and righteous indignation. Nor do acts of aggression bring glory or vindication to those already killed or wounded in battle. Justice and morality, the values I associate with being an American, require that an unjust and immoral war be ended immediately; that the aggressors possess the moral courage to acknowledge their crime; that they make retribution to the victims of their aggression and apologize to the citizens of the aggressed nation and the rest of the world community for their transgression. I am anti rogue nation.
My respect for the military convinces me that the lives and well-being of our young men and women are not automatically forfeit upon enlistment, relegating them to the status of cannon fodder. Sending inadequately prepared National Guard troops into combat and then failing to provide them with body and vehicle armor is unconscionable and criminally negligent. Repeated combat tours and insufficient time for rest and rehabilitation between deployments increase the likelihood and inevitability of psychological, emotional and moral injury that is devastating and life-altering. Finally, the "stop-loss" provision that prevents our servicemen and women from leaving the military once their term of service has been completed is disingenuous and a violation of contract. I am pro military. I support the troops.
It is apparent that the burden of this war is not being shared fairly by all Americans. Only a fraction of our citizenry is directly affected, while the vast majority go about their consumption-driven lives as usual, oblivious to the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors and Marines and to the death and destruction being prosecuted in their names. It is not support, therefore, nor is it patriotic, to remain silent when our troops are placed in harm's way unnecessarily, to kill and be killed subject to the whims and ineptitudes of our political leaders. I am anti apathy and I have learned that if patriotism means unquestioning allegiance and blind obedience, such patriotism is inconsistent with democracy and with basic human decency. Such patriotism is an abeyance of our human reason. Such patriotism is inhumane and immoral. Such patriotism is to surrender our power to think critically. Such patriotism is a profound failure, both intellectually and morally.
As has been clearly demonstrated by the unconscionable treatment of our wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at Veterans Administration facilities across the country, our returning veterans are not receiving the quality of care they deserve and require to recover from their injuries and experiences in war. I am outraged by this lack of concern and support for those who sacrificed so much for our country. I am pro veterans.
The fundamental moral principle of respect for persons requires that we protect those most vulnerable from being enticed, seduced, brainwashed and deceived into becoming complicit in crimes of aggression and cannon fodder for corporate war profiteers and opportunists. We are morally obligated, therefore, to protect our impressionable young people by striving to ban recruiters from our high schools and colleges and by urging our representatives to rescind the No Child Left Behind Act's military recruitment provision which requires schools, in order to receive financial assistance, to provide military recruiters with students' contact information. Second, we must inform the underprivileged - who see the military as their only alternative to poverty, crime and unemployment - of other educational and employment opportunities available to them other than by joining the military. Finally, we must make clear to all prospective enlistees the realities of military service, the horrors of war and the immorality and futility of the war in Iraq. I doubt this information is contained within a recruiter's motivational packet of hats, tee-shirts, bumper stickers and violent video games. Under this administration, with potential enlistees facing the inevitable prospect of fighting an immoral war of aggression, I am anti recruitment.
The fact that so many of our heroic sons and daughters are languishing abandoned, their emotional and psychological injuries untreated and their needs ignored, is a national tragedy and disgrace. The fact that America has become isolated in the world, respected no longer for our ideals but feared for our brutality, no longer admired for our values of justice and freedom but hated for our hypocrisy and intolerance, should bring a tear to the eye and anger to the heart of every true patriot. I am pro America.
As a result of this exercise in self-examination, I have realized that I am anti aggression. I am anti unjust, immoral, and unnecessary war, but not anti war. I am anti the Iraq war, however; anti the Bush Administration, anti rogue nation and anti recruitment. In addition, I am pro military, pro veteran and pro America. I have realized as well that the outrage I feel regarding the corrupting and disgracing of America by those political leaders and their coconspirators who cherish not our values and way of life but only wealth and power requires - no demands - the true patriot to embrace truth and to cry out in condemnation and protest. Finally, despite the criticisms and disparaging comments and accusations by credulous veterans, I have realized that my activism and dissent are an expression and fulfillment of my moral and patriotic duty. I am confident, therefore, that I am more the patriot today as I demonstrate for peace than when I wore the uniform of a United States Marine.

March 12, 2008

From GI Special 6C4: Longshore And Warehouse Union To Shut Down West Coast Ports May 1 Demanding End To War: They Say Use Union Power To “Force The Immediate And Total Withdrawal Of All U.S. Troops From Afghanistan And Iraq"

Submitted by to GI Special by David Swanson, After Downing Street [Excerpts]


In a major step for the U.S. labor movement, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced that it will shut down West Coast ports on May 1, to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East.
In a February 22 letter to AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, ILWU International president Robert McEllrath reported that at a recent coast-wide union meeting, "One of the resolutions adopted by caucus delegates called on longshore workers to stop work during the day shift on May 1, 2008 to express their opposition to the war in Iraq."
It is doubly important that this mobilization of labor's power is to take place on May Day, the international workers day, which is not honored in the U.S. Moreover, the resolution voted by the ILWU delegates opposes not only the hugely unpopular war in Iraq, but also the war and occupation of Afghanistan (which Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all want to expand). The motion to shut down the ports also demands the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the entire region, including the oil sheikdoms of the strategically important Persian/Arab Gulf.
The Call to Action stated:
"ILWU Local 10 has repeatedly warned that the so-called 'war on terror' is really a war on working people and democratic rights.
Around the country, hundreds of unions and labor councils have passed motions condemning the war, but that has not stopped the war.
We need to use labor's muscle to stop the war by mobilizing union power in the streets, at the plant gates and on the docks to force the immediate and total withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq."

March 11, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Live Screening (London)

  INVEST IN CARING NOT KILLING!

REFUSING TO KILL IS NOT A CRIME
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"To stop this war, for the soldiers to stop fighting it, they must have the unconditional support of the people. ...
How do you support the troops but not the war? By supporting those who can truly stop it; let them know that resistance to participate in an illegal war is not futile and not without a future." (Lt. Ehren Watada, first US officer to refuse to go to Iraq - facing 7 years in prison. His court-martial ended in a mistrial but he is still in legal limbo).

The Winter Soldier hearings are modeled on the 1971 event of the same name organized by anti-war veterans who galvanized the movement that ended the Vietnam war.
Wherever we are, we all suffer from war: the utter theft of our lives and resources. Our survival often depends on soldiers saying “No”!
Soldiers – women and men – who refuse to kill, maim, rape and torture are jailed, assaulted and forced underground. But they have the right and the duty to obey their conscience rather than military orders. With supporters and campaigns, so often organized by women, more and more are determined not to be commanded into killing.

  • Tune in, come to our public showing or organize yours in houses, community centres, places of worship, trade-union branches, Post your event on IVAW’s website and tell us so we can put it on our website too.
  • Write a statement of support for the hearings on IVAW’s website. Send a copy to Payday for our website. If you are a conscientious objector/refusenik or relative of someone in the military tell about your experience. Let Winter Soldier know that the world supports them!
  • Details on Winter Soldier on IVAW's website: www.ivaw.org.

Global Women’s Strike www.globalwomenstrike.net
Payday men’s network www.refusingtokill.net
PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU Tel 020 7482 2496

 

March 09, 2008

Winter Soldier - IVAW Midwest Fundraiser

     
   
 
 

IVAW Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Vermont Appeal

     
   
 
 

March 07, 2008

Shutting Down The Machine - Iraq war veterans answer one last call of duty

This article, by David Gambacorta, was posted to Philly.com, March 1, 2008


The call of duty has brought them together again, for one more vital mission.
Their hair is a little longer, their faces are a little scruffier and their military garbs are a little more disheveled.
But when the signal is given shortly before 10 a.m. today at the Constitution Center, 20 members of the Philadelphia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War will march once more.
They'll trek along Kelly Drive, past the Art Museum and Boathouse Row, across the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and continue out west until they meet about 90 other veterans at Valley Forge on Sunday afternoon.
Along the way, they hope to dispel a few myths about the Iraq war and give regular people an idea of the grim reality that their fellow soldiers still face overseas.
"We wanted to do something in solidarity that could send a message to the American people," said Steve Mortillo, the president of the Philadelphia chapter of IVAW, who served in Iraq with the U.S. Calvary 1st Squadron Infantry Division.
"It's been five years since the war started, and a lot of us have feelings that Americans only should die in combat if it's a cause that's going to save more American lives than it's going to cost."
Today's march also will promote IVAW's Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, a three-day gathering for veterans of both wars that will take place next month in Washington, D.C.
The organization boasts more than 700 members in the U.S., Canada and on military bases overseas.
Mortillo said IVAW's popularity has grown as soldiers - many of whom eagerly joined the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - have become disheartened with the seemingly endless, unnecessary conflict in Iraq, which as of Monday has claimed the lives of 3,973 U.S. soldiers.
"I drank the Cool-Aid for the Iraq war, and I think most people did, especially in the service. We expected that we would go in there, find weapons of mass destruction, oust Saddam and it would all be good," said a 28-year-old veteran who declined to be named but served two years ago as an imbedded adviser in an Iraqi army platoon.
"We didn't really listen to people who were experts on the Middle East who said the Sunnis and Shia have been fighting for 800 years, so the chances are that we're not going to just fix those problems," the veteran added.
While the war has continued to rage on, Iraqi civilians have grown increasingly tired of the U.S. military presence, said Jason Washburn, who did three tours in Iraq as a Marine squad leader.
"Right after the invasion started . . . I really think they believed in us and believed that we were going to help them. To be honest, so did a lot of us," said Washburn, 28.
"I thought we'd get an area secure so the contractors could go into town and start building schools and give these people running water, but that never happened."
Mortillo, 25, said that as the purported goals of the war shifted from finding weapons to spreading freedom, "no one was at the point where they'd stop doing their job, but we all pretty much understood that we weren't there for the reasons they told us."
Both veterans said many of their friends who are still serving in Iraq want to come home, but are troubled by a perceived lack of adequate care for soldiers with physical and psychological problems. *

March 05, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Outreach materials

Fundraising Materials

International Days of Protest March 15 - 22

This table was copied from the World Against war website and includes all actions planned as of March 5th 2008. For more up to date listings click here. They have a snappy interactive world map on their site that was impossible to recreate here. Please support as many of these events as possible, and if you are in DC keep the focus on the Winter Soldier hearings from the 13th - 16th of March.


Australia, Sydney: Sunday March 16th
Austria, Vienna: Saturday 15 March
Barcelona: Saturday, 15th March
Basque Country, Bilbao: Saturday 15th March
Belgium, Leuven to Brussels: 16th March
Belgium: Saturday 22nd March
Canada, Calgary: Saturday 15 March
Canada, Edmonton AB: Saturday March 15
Canada, Grand Forks BC: Saturday March 15th
Canada, Mississauga, Ontario: Saturday 15th March
Canada, Montreal QG: Samedi le 15 Mars
Canada, Ottawa: Saturday March 15
Canada, Toronto: Saturday 15th March
Canada, Vancouver: Saturday 15th March
Canada, Vancouver: Wednesday, March 19
Canada, Windsor ON: Saturday 15 March
Czech Republic, Prague: Saturday 15th March
Denmark, Aalborg: Saturday 15th March
Denmark, Arhus: Saturday 15th March
Denmark, Odense: Saturday 15th March
Denmark: Saturday 15th March 2008
France, Toulouse: Saturday 22 March
Germany, 21-24 March, anti-war actions across the country
Greece, Athens: Saturday 22nd March
Ireland, Dublin: March 15th
Japan, Osaka: Saturday 22nd March
Japan, Saporo: Saturday 22nd March
Japan, Tokyo: Saturday 22 March
Korea, Seoul: Sunday 16th March
London, UK: Saturday 15th March 2008
Northern Ireland, Belfast: Saturday, March 15th,
Norway, Bergen: Saturday 15th March
Norway, Oslo: Saturday 15th March
Poland, Warsaw: Saturday 15 March
Puerto Rico: Saturday 15th March
Scotland, Glasgow: Saturday 15th March
Spain - Madrid - Saturday 15th March
Spain, Elx: Saturday 15 March
Spain, Seville: Saturday 15 March
Turkey: 15th March
USA 19th March: Washington DC
USA March 19: Nationwide local actions
USA: March 13th-16th Washington DC

War Resistors League Call for Blockade of the IRS on March 19

Blockadeirs

click here to download flyers


SHUT DOWN THE IRS / SHUT DOWN THE WAR


On March 19, 2008, we will set up a nonviolent blockade of the national Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, DC, as part of the day of actions against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just as military recruiters supply the bodies for the war, the IRS supplies the funding. Just as some soldiers have the courage to resist the war, we — as tax payers — should have the courage to resist paying the taxes that send soldiers to war. We call on all war opponents to help dramatize our opposition and to disrupt business as usual by joining this nonviolent blockade.

For at least this one day — March 19, 2008 — we need to create a disturbance in the smug complacency of the IRS/Pentagon money-axis.


The Scenario


We will gather in our affinity groups at 7:30 am on Wednesday morning, March 19, at McPherson Sq., 15th & K St. NW. From these areas we will march to the IRS main entrance at 1111 Constitution Ave. (between 10th & 12th Streets), NW, and across from the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Once at the entrance, some of us will sit down to prevent the IRS from opening as usual, while others will hold signs and banners, pass out flyers, talk with passersby, and generally call attention to the cost of the war and our collective responsibility to stop funding it.


Americans Against the War (Paris) Protest the 5th Anniversary of the War

5 YEARS TOO MANY !

Candlelight vigil on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 from 6pm to 8pm at St. Michel Fountain Metro/RER : St. Michel

STOP THE WAR

Results of five years of War on Iraq:
Deaths:

1,173,743 Estimated number of Iraqis killed by US troops
3,970 Official number of U.S. military personnel sacrificed

Iraqi War Refugees

2.2 million Iraqis have fled mainly to Syria and Jordan. Another 2.2 million are displaced within Iraqi borders. According to the U.N., this is the highest number of displaced persons the Middle East since 1948 when Israel occupied Palestine.

Ordeal of Iraqi children

Estimations published by The United Nations Children's Fund in 2007:

2 million Iraqi children lack adequate nutrition and face serious illnesses
One third of children are cut off from outreach health services.
60% of children lack reliable access to safe drinking water.
Hundreds of children have lost their lives to violence.
Thousands have fallen into poverty after losing their main family wage-earner.

An estimated cost of at least $1.2 trillion

Higher taxes, drastic cuts in social services and recourse by banks to quick-money, sub-prime, real estate ventures are some of the ways the cost of this war has impacted the American people.

Americans Against the War-France / www.aawfrance.org

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Groups plan local events for Winter Soldier

This article was originally published by the Socialist Worker online, March 7, 2008


ACROSS THE country, antiwar activists are holding events with members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in the run-up to the IVAW's "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan" event in Washington, D.C., on March 13-16.

  • -- At the University of Vermont in Burlington, more than 200 attended a panel discussion with four IVAW members from the group's Vermont chapter. Several professors canceled classes, some academic departments cosponsored the event, and local media covered the proceedings. A dozen sponsoring groups had tables in the back of the room, and a member of the Campus Antiwar Network chaired the event.
    The testimony consisted of speeches, photographs and videos that documented the horrible human toll of the U.S. war on Iraq. The event helped raise funds to support the IVAW's upcoming Winter Soldier event in D.C.
  • -- In Seattle, more than 25 active-duty soldiers joined a crowd of nearly 100 antiwar activists at a concert dubbed "Soldier, You Are Not Alone."
    IVAW members from four Washington State chapters organized the event. Soldiers who had come but were not already against the war took the opportunity to talk about their experiences with IVAW members and other antiwar activists. One active-duty soldier joined the IVAW on the spot.
    Musical guests set the stage for great discussions with their songs about the Iraq war, soldiers' resistance and the history of U.S. militarism. The concert capped a week of outreach to soldiers at Fort Lewis.
  • -- In Rochester, N.Y., about 140 braved single-digit temperatures to attend a screening of the original Winter Soldier documentary at a local movie theater and participate in a panel discussion with antiwar veterans from the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
    The local chapter of IVAW, Rochester Against War and other civilian antiwar organizations held the event to raise more than $1,000 to support the upcoming Winter Soldier event in Washington, D.C.
    "Forty years later, we haven't learned," said local activist Roberto Resto, a veteran who was wounded during his service in the Vietnam War. "We are back in the same quagmire, the same war. We cannot continue to send young men and women to die in a war for oil and profit."
  • -- In New York City, the IVAW chapter hosted a February 26 screening of the original Winter Soldier documentary at Hunter College with the local chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network. The event drew more than 25 students, veterans and antiwar activists.
    IVAW member Jen Hogg talked about her experiences in the National Guard and introduced the documentary, and IVAW member Fernando Braga explained that a central aim of the upcoming Winter Soldier is to reach out to other veterans and active duty soldiers.

March 04, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Statement of Support (vetspeak.org 2)

This article, by Alex Primm, was posted to vetspeak.org, March 3, 2008


"Going Broke... Going Bonkers... Going East..." By Alex Primm

Alex testified at the original Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit in 1971. He will be at Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan, to be held at the George Meany College of Labor in Silver Springs, Maryland. He will be there in support of the current ranks of Winter Soldiers as they Speak Truth To Power, and to the American People.
This March, 2008, marks our 5th anniversary in Iraq... we invaded on the 19th... shock and awe... the same day Cathy and I jumped the broomstick.
It's two days before the equinox... this can put people on edge... caught between two seasons... especially the season of cold and cabin fever.
Our Ozark college town had a demonstration the day before, more than a hundred showed up. Not me. Good luck, they were trying to stop the war even before it started.
I sort of believed President Bush, that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy who was going to blow up America with his secret weapons.
I believed in GWOT... briefly... the Global War on Terror. What happened to that? It seems to have had a short shelf life indeed...
I wanted Ahmad Chalabi to be right... the guy who was going to make Iraq a model democracy... whatever happened to him... another war criminal?
Has it all come down to Iraq? Who has benefited from the trillions of dollars... the thousands killed?
Iraq and the price of gas... and the price of bread... or heat... or life.
Everything going up... prices... casualties... confusion... frustration.
So why not go to D.C., the center of it all? That's where the Iraq Veterans Against the War are holding their investigation of this war... the Winter Soldier Investigation... numero dos.
Cathy's an intrepid traveler... let's go... it can't hurt. The same energetic attitude she had 25 years ago.
What finally made up my mind was talking with Willie Hager... a Vietnam vet like me... a smart dude with a good sense of balance who can laugh at this craziness because he saw beaucoup daily in Nam.
"You testified at the first WSI," Willie said. "You oughta think about coming to help these young vets now. Help get their stories out."

So, Cathy and I are going East; for memories, and for the future.

March 02, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Patriot missiles: Iraq Veterans Against the War

This article, by Ariell Leve, was originally posted to The Times Online, March 2, 2008


After Vietnam, American veterans testified to the atrocities they witnessed. Now soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are about to do the same

Some of them will be okay. They will live with the secrets. They can dissociate from what happened in combat because it was part of the job. It was what they signed up for. They will keep the secrets out of duty – the silence is part of a code, and they honour that code above all else.
But for others, the secrets they keep are like a poison, slowly releasing toxins of shame and remorse. Who can they tell anyway? They talk to each other – other veterans who have seen what they’ve seen, done what they’ve done, and who can relate to the burden of carrying these secrets for the rest of their lives.
In 1971, the protest group Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered at a hotel in Detroit. More than 100 veterans talked about the atrocities they had witnessed in southeast Asia.
The event lasted for three days and was named Winter Soldier after Thomas Paine’s famous article. “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he wrote of the terrible winter of 1776, when Washington’s ragtag, demoralised army turned the tide of the War of Independence.
The Vietnam vets, spurred on by the court martial of Lt William Calley, who had ordered the infamous My Lai massacre, wanted to turn a tide too – against public opinion, to demonstrate that the execution of hundreds of innocent villagers in 1968 was not an isolated incident as so many believed. The Winter Soldier event received little coverage in America, but was the subject of an internationally acclaimed documentary of the same name.
This month, for four days in Washington, DC, beginning on March 13, there will be a second Winter Soldier gathering – 37 years after the first. Organised by the protest group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 attack on New York will testify about their experiences. They will present photographs and videos, recorded with mobile phones and digital cameras, to back up their allegations – of brutality, torture and murder.
The veterans are not against the military and seek not to indict it – instead they seek to shine a light on the bigger picture: that the Abu Ghraib prison regime and the Haditha massacre of innocent Iraqis are not isolated incidents perpetrated by “bad seeds” as the military suggests, but evidence of an endemic problem. They will say they were tasked to do terrible things and point the finger up the chain of command, which ignores, diminishes or covers up routine abuse and atrocities.
Some see it as their responsibility to speak out – like Jason Washburn, a US marine who did two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq; Logan Laituri, a US Army forward observer in Iraq; and Perry O’Brien, an army medic deployed to Afghanistan in 2003. They believe that, as veterans, they are the most credible sources of information. They say they were put in immoral and often illegal positions. They will speak about what they saw, and what they were asked to do.


Jason Washburn, 28, grew up in San Diego, California. He always wanted to do something to make a difference, and he enlisted in the US marines in December 2001. He wasn’t itching to go into combat, but he wanted the training.
He fought in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003 where, he says, he met little resistance. Most people were surrendering.
“There were massive amounts of artillery strikes before we even invaded. We saw the results of that. Streets full of bodies – women and children – body parts, extremely indiscriminate. I’m talking about rolling through villages here, not military encampments.”
He was told there was a military structure in one village. “I didn’t see it. I didn’t see any army uniforms. Or weapons. All I saw were civilians.”
Washburn speaks slowly and with obvious discomfort. This was his introduction to Iraq.
“I still believed everything we were force-fed: weapons of mass destruction and possibly even a nuclear weapon. We felt, like, we’re going to go in, overthrow this evil dictator and give these people some peace, finally. We thought we were doing a good thing.”
Over the course of his three tours, there were more home raids than Washburn can remember. He explains how it worked. “Usually it was based on a tip – we’re told someone in the home is an insurgent. We would pick up people who had nothing to do with anything, keep them locked up until they came up with something.”
He is glad that he didn’t witness some of the techniques used to get them to talk. “That’s not something I want on my conscience.”
It was not a scientific process. Most tips came from people with personal grudges. Washburn and his platoon would kick down the doors in the middle of the night. He was warned not to be complacent. There could be weapons in the children’s beds. In all of the home raids, too many to count, he never found children with weapons. They would take the father away and they never knew what would happen after that.
By the time Washburn served in Haditha he was on his third combat tour. He was there on November 19, 2005, the day of the massacre when 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed, including women and children.
“My squad was doing medivacs out of the town. I was not there to witness the shooting, but I know many marines who were.”
It was a squad in his unit that went on the rampage after their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
“I have a lot of feelings about this incident. A friend of mine from my first two tours was in that squad. He was the guy they gave immunity to to testify against the squad leader.
“The people on the ground are looking at serious prison time. Like life. The people who were giving orders were only relieved of command. And I don’t think that’s right.”
Washburn says Haditha was not an isolated incident. “It’s the one that just happened to be uncovered.”


The establishment view is that war is hell and terrible things happen for the greater good. That killing is necessary. That there are those individuals acting on their own who will always smear the honourable actions of the military – men like Washburn, traumatised by war, who are emotional casualties whose testimony is to be mistrusted. Some regard him and the Winter Soldiers of 2008 as traitors for daring to question their commanders and for prosecution of the war.
But there are too many like Washburn to shout down. Many of the orders that combat soldiers were given were not written – but they were understood. At the Winter Soldier event, veterans’ stories will be corroborated by other veterans; backed up by the volume of testifiers who have witnessed the same things – in different units, years apart and in different countries.
There will be up to 100 veterans and, at present, 80 of them have submitted testimonies. Most will be enlisted men and women: privates and sergeants. They have been made aware of the consequences of taking part. Not just that they are likely to be denounced by their fellow veterans, but the psychological and perhaps legal consequences they may face by admitting to witnessing, or even perpetrating, war crimes. The National Lawyers Guild, an organisation of civil-rights attorneys, has volunteered to offer advice. Mental-health professionals will also be on hand to offer counselling. Organisers stress that the goal is to hold the policy makers accountable, not their immediate commanding officers. Nobody is permitted to name anyone below the rank of captain.
After the hearings, all the testimonies will be entered into the congressional record. There will be a live video stream on the web. There will also be panels of journalists and scholars to provide context and history.
Perry O’ Brien, who served as a medic in Afghanistan in 2003, is one of the Winter Soldiers on the verification team, which will ensure the testimonies are watertight, lest falsehood undermine the message. The order that O’Brien’s team is hearing most from the testifiers is the “shovel order”.
“Anyone carrying a shovel or any sort of implement that could be used to bury an IED could be considered a target,” he says. “After dark, you can shoot anyone who is outside. Or anyone who puts anything on the side of the road can be considered a target. You won’t find it in writing, but it’s an order indicated to soldiers.”
If not in writing, how can it be proven? “If we have enough soldiers testifying, it will be.”
Washburn says the most dangerous job in Iraq “has to be a taxi driver”. He tells two stories of taxi drivers being shot, both innocent victims. One driver was deaf and didn’t hear the command to halt. The other was at a checkpoint in the Haditha area.
“It was the mayor of one of the towns who was driving, and he was shot and killed. They found out after they shot him. My squad had to apologise to the family. We paid reparations. I don’t know the exact amount. But let’s see: money or a dead husband and father and mayor? People weren’t happy about that.”
During Washburn’s first Iraq deployment in 2003, his unit was told to capture a “rabble rouser”. “We kick down the door and all we find are a few women holding babies and a couple of kids. We were ordered to take the babies away and put sandbags on the women’s heads, tie their hands behind their backs, put them on their knees facing the wall. Here I am zip-tying these women, and my buddy is standing next to me holding these babies asking what do I do with these kids? We stood there, like, oh shit, what do we do? The squad leader came in and shouted, ‘Everybody is bagged and tagged – everybody!’ So we did it.” The babies were put down on the floor. After a few hours everyone was untied.
Inappropriate and immoral actions weren’t just aimed at Iraqi civilians. There was frequent hazing – the mistreatment of soldiers by their comrades. Some were exercises in pure humiliation, common in most military units, like singing I’m a Little Teapot while others stand around laughing. But some were brutal physical punishments, such as callisthenics in a sleeping bag with a gas mask on in scorching heat.
“It’s one thing to do 20 push-ups. It’s another to burn us to the point of exhaustion in combat theatre. There were guys that tried to speak out about it and that made it worse. That would get punished more.”
The futility of speaking out was bolstered by knowledge that complaints would get as far as the commanding officer of the company and no further. “They kept everything in-house.”
Another incident he describes was a step beyond hazing. He and another marine had had a disagreement. The punishment was that they were tied together – and sent out on patrol.
“Outside of the camp, in a war zone tied together, patrolling? Insane,” he says.
Washburn’s anger comes from a feeling of betrayal. “I thought I was signing up to do something honourable.
“What happened at Abu Ghraib,” Washburn says, “is those orders came from the top. If the policy makers and the commanders can dehumanise their own troops, why wouldn’t they dehumanise the Iraqi people?”


So far, the most vocal opposition to the Winter Soldier event has not been from the government, but from pro-war groups such as Vets for Freedom, the largest veterans’ organisation in America.
Their executive director, Pete Hegseth, a veteran who served in Baghdad and Samarra with the 101st Airborne Division, has criticised the Winter Soldier event. In an article in The Washington Independent, he asks:
“Did your company commander tell you to shoot women and children, or to maximise casualties? No! We don’t do that. To talk about systematic brutality is essentially indicting the military as being complicit in war crimes.”
But, as we shall see, there are ways to encourage illegal actions other than direct orders.
Hegseth suggests that speaking out might have more serious consequences: homes in the Middle East have internet access, this kind of information will reach them and affect the attitude towards US troops still over there. But Perry O’Brien doubts that speaking out will foster more anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and Iraq than the killing of civilians and the dismantling of the infrastructure. After serving in Afghanistan for eight months, there was a slow revelation that triggered his shift.
“Everything that we were doing seemed almost designed to create more terrorists. To turn people against America. I couldn’t understand how we were liberating anyone. But I could understand how an Afghan person who was ambivalent about America could easily become an extremist based on their interaction with American soldiers.”
Resolute pro-war organisations such as Gathering of Eagles are gearing up, getting ready to make their presence felt. They are chartering bus-loads of protesters to show up at the event to confront and harass the “traitors”.
The veterans who will be testifying at Winter Soldier are prepared for their integrity and credibility to be called into question.
Before anyone can testify, they must go through the verification process and be interviewed by a team of combat veterans whom they hope will be able to instinctively detect lies. IVAW is particularly vigilant since Jesse Macbeth joined in 2006 and represented them publicly at various events. Macbeth’s accounts of military service as a veteran of Iraq were false, which he admitted in federal court in 2007.
Since then the organisation has demanded proof of service, and every member must have a DD-214 – their Pentagon-issued personal-service record, which proves where and with whom they have served.
Members are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire. Under the heading Killing or Wounding Noncombatants, Prisoners or Unarmed Combatants, they are asked: “Did you witness or participate in any of the following: Civilians hurt or killed at checkpoints? Purposeful killing of civilians or unarmed combatants? Killing or wounding of prisoners? If yes, was this unit SOP [standard operating procedure] or common practice?”
Some other headings include: Mishandling and Mutilation of War Dead; Torture or Abuse; Rape, Sexual Assault or Harassment; Theft or Fraud.
When the testimonies begin on March 13, we shall discover how damaging or revelatory their stories will be. Perry O’Brien has confidence in the process. “Someone coming into our organisation and trying to pretend they observed something they didn’t – they can only maintain that for so long.”
Once the stories are told, each is to be researched by interviewing other members of the soldier’s unit. The verification team has recently decided that anyone fabricating their experience or pretending to be a veteran will be handed over to the authorities and charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, a law signed by President Bush in 2006.


Perry O’Brien admits that he had hero fantasies. He was born on March 24, 1982, and grew up on a small island off the coast of Maine. After two years studying philosophy at university, he decided to enlist in the army as a medic in 2001 – two weeks before 9/11. It was a coming-of-age-ritual, influenced by the movies. He had the romantic idea that he wanted to save lives.
He did not come from a military background. His father works at a hardware store and his mother writes and illustrates children’s books.
In January 2003, O’Brien was deployed to Afghanistan for eight months. While he was there, he had many experiences that made him uncomfortable. Several times he witnessed an Afghan civilian die on the operating table after treatment from a mobile military surgical unit. Rather than prepare the corpse for the family, O’Brien witnessed the surgeons and the medics use the body to practise on.
“One doctor said, ‘Come up and feel his heart!’ This is what a heart feels like.’ ”
Half the platoon, if not more, participated. Daniel Paulsen, 27, was there and corroborates this story. There are photographs as well. Someone had grabbed O’Brien’s digital camera and taken photographs of the heart and the medics walking around and poking it. These photographs were taken for fun.
Eventually the chest of the corpse was closed up. “It was a total violation of our medical oath to use a corpse for medical training,” says O’Brien. “What’s particularly terrible is that these were all doctors that had practices back home – they were familiar with the law and the Hippocratic oath. There was such a huge disconnect between the way they treated Afghans and the way they treated American patients.
“When Americans died, the corpses became these sacred objects that were treated with tremendous care. There was this solemn funerary attitude around them. When an Afghan died, it was [as if they were] treating them like they weren’t human.
“My goal is to expose that these things are happening. And that they are the result of military leadership – part of an unofficial policy of dehumanisation.”
In 2004, while still on active duty, O’Brien attended a protest at Fort Bragg. There he met Mike Hoffman (a founder of IVAW) and joined the organisation shortly after leaving the army. He felt relieved. “Suddenly I knew that I wasn’t the only veteran who was questioning what I had seen and done.”


Kelly Dougherty, 29, is a co-founder and executive director of IVAW. In 1996 she enlisted in the National Guard as a medic while she read biology at the University of Colorado.
On January 10, 2003, she received a call; she had been transferred to a military police unit – and she was being deployed to Iraq.
Dougherty was opposed to the war and surprised by her deployment.
In February 2003, she arrived in Kuwait and then moved to Iraq in March. Her unit was stationed in the south near Nasiriyah, where she often did convoy escorts and patrols.
“You put it out of your mind when you’re over there. And then you get back and reflect on it…
“The soldiers and marines are just doing their jobs, doing what they were trained for or what they were told to do when they got over there. Things that seem really horrible just become routine – and they are implicitly or explicitly condoned, or encouraged, by the commanders and the policy-makers.”
The offices of IVAW in Philadelphia are humble but busy. The group now has more than 700 members in 49 states, Washington, DC, Canada, and on military bases overseas.
I meet Logan Laituri there one afternoon and we sit down over a soft drink to talk. He has a gentle and sensitive manner. His enlistment wasn’t a patriotic stand, but more of a pragmatic decision. He didn’t know what else to do.
He became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg. “I had no accomplishments outside the military. I didn’t feel that I would be missing out on much.”
There was also a financial incentive. “Every soldier knows that you earn a crap-load of money in combat. Above and beyond my pay cheque I earned $800 a month – and all that’s tax-free. And everything is paid for in Iraq. You can save every single penny. That’s a lot of money you can save for your future.”
He was deployed to Iraq in January 2004, having switched to the 25th Infantry Division. When Laituri got to Samarra, they kicked down the doors of a building and found a police officer in uniform. “Through his interpreter he was telling us that he’d been waiting, and he had all the records. I thought to myself it was great initiative and it displayed insight.
“We handcuffed him and someone took it upon themselves to punch him in the stomach – what made me feel worse was watching it and not doing anything about it.”
As he talks, Laituri seems visibly troubled that he stood by watching this man beaten up. And he admits that so many of his feelings of being in Iraq are wrapped up in what he didn’t do: “What I saw happen and I didn’t say or I didn’t correct. I survived at the expense of Iraqis. I could have said something.”
But the fear of being isolated from the platoon prevailed. Beating up prisoners, abusing the bodies of Afghans, innocents shot dead in the crossfire of fear and threat – these things get lost in the mayhem of war – but other acts, if they become institutionalised, can “try the souls of men” and cannot be so easily dismissed.
Laituri was in Fort Irwin, California in May 2006 during a pep talk at the National Training Center. He alleges that a commander made a speech to his company, and that he “made it clear to us that if an innocent person was shot he would stage a scene to protect us”.
The explicit message was: “We would make sure there was a weapon found at the scene.”
Units go into combat believing that they will be protected from any repercussions. They feel like they have a licence to kill and often they do.
In 2007, the officer was relieved of his command after a death on June 23 last year in the vicinity of Kirkuk. He is not currently a suspect and was never charged – but two soldiers who were under his command have been charged with premeditated murder.
Last month a top army sniper testified in military court – under immunity – that he had ordered a subordinate to kill an unarmed Iraqi man, then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to back up a false claim of returned fire.
But who is ultimately responsible: the individual or the officer? The combatant or the culture? And why is it always the junior ranks who are charged?


On a February morning at a cafe in Brooklyn, New York, Perry O’Brien is explaining the difference between the “book way” and the “real way”, and the significance of the “three-stomp signal” that is used to differentiate between the two.
“If someone is giving a briefing and they stomp their foot three times after what they are saying, it means ‘disregard what I just said’. For instance, ‘Make every effort to avoid civilian property damage,’ stomp stomp stomp – [means] ignore that. The idea is that when you get back [from combat], anything that you did the book way can be spoken about – but not what was done the real way.”
It isn’t just between the book way and the real way, he says; it’s become between the honourable way and the immoral way.
Perhaps even more tragic is that now, for many, these lines have blurred. “People join the military wanting to be honourable. They follow a code of conduct – they have to. It’s what separates them from mercenaries.”
The common denominator that links all of these veterans’ stories is a profound disillusionment about the war. All of these soldiers signed up with a belief that what they were doing was noble. Despite the lessons of Vietnam, or maybe because of them, they wanted to participate.
“The book way was we treat everyone the same…” Perry smiles and taps his foot three times. “You are ordered to do things that are clear violations of our conscience and what we know to be moral. It’s not even what’s prescribed by the Geneva conventions. It’s what every human being knows to be right and wrong. We’re asked to do things that violate that and told it’s about the war, but you can never tell anyone because we need to protect them from that.
“I think that certainly it’s our duty to protect American civilians from the physical reality of wars. That’s our goal. To prevent the American public from having to participate in war and get hurt and put their lives at risk. That’s what we volunteer to do.
“But I don’t think we’re protecting America if we’re not telling our stories and keeping what we do secret.”

February 27, 2008

The Surge - Iraq: Divided and Disintegrating

This article, by Patrick Cockburn, was published in CommonDreams, February 27, 2008


Iraq is disintegrating faster than ever. The Turkish army invaded the north of the country last week and is still there. Iraqi Kurdistan is becoming like Gaza where Israel can send in its tanks and helicopters at will.
The US, so sensitive to any threat to Iraqi sovereignty from Iran or Syria, has blandly consented to the Turkish attack on the one part of Iraq which was at peace. The Turkish government piously claims that its army is in pursuit of PKK Turkish Kurd guerrillas, but it is unlikely to inflict serious damage on them as they hide in long-prepared bunkers and deep ravines of the Kurdish mountains. What the Turkish incursion is doing is weakening the Kurdistan Regional Government, the autonomous Kurdish zone, the creation of which is one of the few concrete achievements of the US and British invasion of Iraq five years ago.
One of the most extraordinary developments in the Iraqi war has been the success with which the White House has been able to persuade so much of the political and media establishment in the US that, by means of “the Surge”, an extra 30,000 US troops, it is on the verge of political and military success in Iraq. All that is needed now, argue US generals, is political reconciliation between the Iraqi communities.
Few demands could be more hypocritical. American success in reducing the level of violence over the last year has happened precisely because Iraqis are so divided. The Sunni Arabs of Iraq were the heart of the rebellion against the American occupation. In fighting the US forces, they were highly successful. But in 2006, after the bombing of the Shia shrine at Samarra, Baghdad and central Iraq was wracked by a savage civil war between Shia and Sunni. In some months the bodies of 3,000 civilians were found, and many others lie buried in the desert or disappeared into the river. I do not know an Iraqi family that did not lose a relative, and usually more than one.
The Shia won this civil war. By the end of 2006 they held three quarters of Baghdad. The Sunni rebels, fighting the Mehdi Army Shia militia and the Shia, dominated the Iraqi army and police, and also under pressure from al Qa’ida, decided to end their war with US forces. They formed al-Sahwa, the Awakening movement, which is now allied to and paid for by the US.
In effect Iraq now has an 80,000 strong Sunni militia which does not hide its contempt for the Iraqi government, which it claims is dominated by Iranian controlled militias. The former anti-American guerrillas have largely joined al-Sahwa. The Shia majority, for its part, is determined not to let the Sunni win back their control of the Iraqi state. Power is more fragmented than ever.
This all may sound like good news for America. For the moment its casualties are down. Fewer Iraqi civilians are being slaughtered. But the Sunni have not fallen in love with the occupation. The fundamental weakness of the US position in Iraq remains its lack of reliable allies outside Kurdistan. At one moment, British officers used to lecture their American counterparts, much to their irritation, about the British Army’s rich experience of successful counter-insurgency warfare in Malaya and Northern Ireland. “That showed a fundamental misunderstanding of Iraq on our part,” a former British officer in Basra told me in exasperation. “In Malaya the guerrillas all came from the minority Chinese community and in Northern Ireland from the minority Roman Catholics. Basra was exactly the opposite. The majority supported our enemies. We had no friends there.”
This lack of allies may not be so immediately obvious in Baghdad and central Iraq because both Shia and Sunni are willing and at times eager to make tactical alliances with US forces. But in the long term neither Sunni nor Shia Arab want the Americans to stay in Iraq. Hitherto the only reliable American allies have been the Kurds, who are now discovering that Washington is not going to protect them against Turkey.
Very little is holding Iraq together. The government is marooned in the Green Zone. Having declared the Surge a great success, the US military commanders need just as many troops to maintain a semblance of control now as they did before the Surge. The mainly Shia police force regards al-Sahwa as anti-government guerrillas wearing new uniforms.
The Turkish invasion should have given the government in Baghdad a chance to defend Iraq’s territorial integrity and burnish its patriotic credentials. Instead the prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has chosen this moment to have his regular medical check up in London, a visit which his colleagues say is simply an excuse to escape Baghdad. Behind him he has left a country which is visibly falling apart.

Shutting Down the Machine - 'How I spent my spring break -- stopping the war'

Originally posted to the Out Of Iraq Bloggers Caucus, February 24, 2008


Instead of "Where the Boys Are," the old-time spring breaks that used to bring waves of partying college students to Florida beaches, the theme for some students this spring will be "Bring the Boys Home." (It's not just boys at war any more, of course; that just fit better.) Our Spring Break invites students and young people to Washington DC for a wide range of antiwar actions in March.
Meanwhile, Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, is sponsoring Iraq Action Camp, three days of education, training and action for students March 15-17 in Washington. It's free for college students, but they should register now.
Says Robin Markle of Drew University SDS in New Jersey:

"I don't think we can rely on the government to stop the war, despite what politicians may say when they're on the campaign trail. I'm really excited about the Iraq Moratorium campaign, which invites anti-war activists to hold actions the third Friday of every month in their communities. I think that locally-based grassroots actions like these, with people talking to their friends, co-workers and neighbors, is our best strategy for steadily growing the movement until it's something that politicians can't simply pay lip service to."

Is antiwar action and energy being transferred to the presidential campaign?
Says Kati Kesh of UNC-Asheville:

From my perspective ... it seems that although some students are very much swept up in the election process most students remember what happened in 2006 when they put their faith in the Democrats--the Democrats failed to do anything about the war. Because it's an election year it seems that the student body is becoming more politicized and wanting to be more active about issues such as the war in Iraq.

Upcoming Events - Veterans March For Peace - March 19 - Washington D.C.

This action was originally announced on the Veterans for Peace Website


Veterans For Peace, upon the tragic 5th Anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, is calling for a massive Veterans March For Peace accompanied by direct non-violent civil resistance at various locations along the march route through downtown Washington, DC.
Veterans March For Peace will make public profound grievances with the United States government for the illegal and inhumane war against the Iraqi people and for the abysmal lack of care, services and support for Iraq War veterans and towards veterans from other wars.

Veterans March For Peace will be a dignified passage through downtown Washington, DC, stopping at points relevant to the cause and consequences of the war -- now about to enter its sixth year. Veterans took an oath to defend the Constitution and the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. We intend to fulfill that oath by calling for the impeachment and eventual arrest of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as their collaborators in Congress. We will carry and attempt to issue people's warrants for their arrest on charges of Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Lying to the American people.




Click here to sign up


Dave Cline, former Veterans For Peace National President and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran peace activist for four decades, said regarding impeachment:


"You bet it's our right and our duty! Today's tyrant named George may have little regard for the Constitution, but as members of the military we took an oath to uphold that document. George Bush has repeatedly violated not only the Constitution but federal law, by invading and occupying Iraq. In our system the remedy for such high crimes is clear: he must be impeached."


Veterans March For Peace staging area will be on the west side of 7th Street, NW on the Mall between Madison and Jefferson at 9:00 AM. BY 10:00 AM the Vets will move out in a column of deuces. We will carry the American flag held upside down -- a symbol of distress -- and our organizational flags. Stops will include:


1. National Museum of the American Indian -- brief ceremony honoring, respecting and demonstrating solidarity with our Native American brethren, the original Americans, who fought valiantly to resist an earlier version of racist and expansionist oppression, much the same as that which we oppose and expose today.

2. The Peace Monument where we reaffirm our oath to defend the constitution and the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. Additional points of destination and optional sites for civil disobedience/resistance* on the March will be in this order:


3. Russell Senate Building

4. Supreme Court

5. Cannon House Office Building

6. R and R break (food/drink) back at Mall staging area

7. National Archives

8. Robert F. Kennedy Justice Department Building

9. J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

10. Veterans Administration Headquarters Building

11. Lafayette Park and the White House.


* Veterans March For Peace will, for the most part, be law abiding and orderly. We expect that most of the participants will not choose to risk arrest, but for those willing to further express their discontent with the war and current status quo of our government, there will be numerous opportunities.

In the days before the march begins, and the morning of the 19th, small affinity groups will be formed to plan actions that may result in arrest at the various locations. There will be support groups providing food and water, as well as legal aide tracking all arrestees through the system and waiting for them upon release. Usual periods of being detained in DC range from 5 hours to 24. Both components of the march -- the visible presence, as Veterans wend their way through downtown Washington, DC, and the civil disobedience/resistance actions -- are equally important, but we need to mobilize our numbers. We urge veterans, their friends, supporters and families to take part in what will be a historic march of resistance to an increasingly oppressive system. Please join us.

Upcoming Events - Stop-Loss Congress

STOP LOSS CONGRESS ACTION:

MARCH 10 to 12, 2008 (Monday to Wednesday) in Washington,D.C:

This March, while tens of thousands of Americans in Washington, D.C., and all over the United States participate in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and when soldiers and innocent civilian victims begin another year of occupation, torture, and murder, Congressmembers will be on vacation (from the 15th to 30th, technically a "district work period"), ignoring the killing and suffering they have enabled, supported, and financed.
To intensify the irony, Congress has condoned a widespread stop-loss policy in the military which requires soldiers to involuntarily extend their tours and prolong the killing. It is time to Stop-Loss Congress!

On Monday March 10, and Tuesday March 11, we will deliver "official" stop-loss notices to all members of Congress in their Capitol Hill offices. These will notify them that all of their LEAVES, VACATIONS, PASSES and HOME VISITS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED until further notice. Just as active-duty personnel endure involuntary extensions of their tours of duty, we are notifying Congress that they, too, will have their "tours of duty" INVOLUNTARILY EXTENDED until every soldier and mercenary out of Iraq and home. When all the troops and contractors get home, then Congress can go home, and no sooner.
To sign the Stop Loss Order click here
On Wednesday March 12, we will take nonviolent action on Capitol Hill, to ensure that, while thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis, and foreign invaders die and are injured for life, the members of Congress and their staffs will not go home but remain to DO THEIR DUTY, and immediately end the funding of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. No member of Congress goes home until THE TROOPS COME HOME.

JOIN US!
To Register click here
To Add Your Organization to the List of Participating Organizations click here

Mission Statement
We believe that the time has passed to ask or petition or beg Congress to act under the will of the people. We believe that Congress works for US, and that the time has come to TELL them what they must do. It is time to stop the corrupt and murderous business as usual in the Senate and House of Representatives.
We will participate in non violent direct actions that will deliver our official orders to Congress, and confront them peacefully if they refuse to comply. When we model this behavior to the citizens of the USA, and the world, we hope to inspire them to take similar actions, and take back control of Congress and the Government that is ours.

Upcoming Events - Spend Your Spring Break in Washington

 

SPRING BREAK 2008

 
   
 
 

Iraq Veterans Against the War DC & Ft Meade Outreach

 

The DC and Fort Meade Chapters of Iraq Veterans Against the War doing GI outreach in support of Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan around Fort Meade on February 16th, 2008. Featuring Adam Kokesh, Geoff Millard, Marie Combs, Nick Morgan, and soon to be IVAW member Ray Curry.

 
   
 
 

February 26, 2008

Shutting Down the Machine - Two Weeks That Shook Olympia

This article, by Peter Bohmer, was originally published in ZMagazine online, February 1, 2008


For almost two weeks in November 2007, anti-war activists in Olympia, Washington stopped the flow of military weapons and cargo being unloaded from a Navy ship from Iraq. Tactics and actions included sitting in front of trucks, building barricades on the roads where these military vehicles were traveling, and holding anti-war demonstrations and vigils. A total of 600 people took part in these weeks of historic protests.

Background

For three years prior to the November actions, various anti-war, social justice, and student groups— such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)—had been demanding that Olympia officials take a stand against the war by not permitting the Port to be used for military cargo going to Iraq. To make this a reality people put their bodies on the line each time the Port was used. Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment, was, in part, inspired by the 2005 anti-war Port protests. The recent actions in 2007 were the longest, largest, and most successful in actually stopping shipments.
The main group coordinating these actions was the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), which was formed in May 2006 when Olympians, outraged by the war, attempted to block the deployment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade from Ft. Lewis, 15 miles north of Olympia. (The troops from this brigade returned to Ft. Lewis in October 2007 minus the 48 soldiers killed in Iraq.)
PMR’s goal was to “end our community’s participation in the illegal occupation of Iraq by stopping the military’s use of the Port of Olympia.” Its strategy included civil disobedience combined with public education about the war and how the military’s use of the Port supports the military occupation.

The November Actions

On November 1, 2007 PMR found out from a City Council member and peace activist that the USS Brittin would be docking in Olympia and unloading its cargo. The PMR position had been to try to block outgoing shipments, but not incoming ones. However, on November 4, the night before the Brittin landed, PMR voted 29 to 14 to stop military equipment from leaving the Port. Most of the 14 who voted against the action believed that blocking incoming military supplies would not be understood or supported by the community. The 29 who voted to stop the shipments argued that military equipment was part of the ongoing war that it was being refurbished and repaired at Ft. Lewis to be used again in Iraq as part of a revolving door of war materials to and from Iraq. In addition, participants at this and the next meeting pointed out that the depleted uranium (DU) on the returning military vehicles was a danger to the Longshore workers unloading the ship, to the soldiers and truckers transporting the equipment, and to Olympia residents. On November 5 and 6, there was a vigil and a march of 160 people and a rally at the Port where 2 of the main speakers were Iraq vets—a few members of Veterans for Peace have played a major role in PMR.
On Wednesday, November 7, as Stryker vehicles left the Port, almost 100 people sat or stood in the streets to block the vehicles. The Olympia police cleared the streets using pepper spray and clubs—one participant was hit in the face by a police officer’s club causing his chin to split open.
Over the next few days, divisions between those favoring physical barricades versus those who favored sitting down in front of the trucks diminished as both tactics were seen as having value by most participants. By the third day of actions, more people joined the original organizers in slowing down and/or stopping the weapons and military cargo from leaving the Port. Gender dynamics improved as mutual respect grew through these actions that went on 24 hours a day. Although most of the participants were under 25—and the majority of these were students at Evergreen State College—many older participants gradually joined the protests. There was some tension over definitions of non- violence and over tactics and goals, but anarchists, socialists, peace activists, and black bloc people were able to work together in a functioning alliance.
On Friday, November 9, about 60 people sat down in front of a truck, which kept inching forward, endangering the protesters, until the driver finally stopped. Barricades were erected at the exits and for 17 hours no military equipment moved out of the Port. (This was longer than the street closings at the 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle.) The next day, riot police shot pepper spray into people’s eyes, eventually forcing protesters away from the entrance. Nevertheless, military equipment was temporarily blocked from moving through downtown Olympia and onto the freeway to Ft. Lewis. Olympia resembled an occupied city with police in riot gear and military convoys stopped on the streets. Activists, including key medical and legal support teams from surrounding com- munities, joined the protest. Sixteen people were arrested.
Protests continued Sunday and Monday, as did the transport of the Strykers, although most of the military cargo remained at the Port. Riot police surrounded protesters limiting direct action. Additionally, on Sunday, November 11, 100 people attended a forum at the Olympia City Council where protesters spoke about the excessive police violence—pepper spray in their eyes, being arrested for no cause, being hit, etc.
On Tuesday, November 13 about 20 people again sat down at the Port entrance, this time blocking military equipment for 13 hours. This means that protests had stopped Stryker vehicles from getting to Ft. Lewis for a minimum of 30 hours—a major action and militant statement.
That evening about 200 people gathered at the Port to resist. In the midst of this action, a GI from Ft. Lewis, who was supposed to be transporting military vehicles to the fort, walked out of the Port, saying he was against the war and was refusing to transport the war equipment. This powerful act of resistance was celebrated as a victory for PMR and the anti-war movement as a whole.
Also, on the evening of November 13, 38 women sat down at the Port entrance and refused to move, even when riot police told them they would be pepper sprayed. The women were arrested and held for seven hours.
Around 10:00 PM, a large convoy of Stryker vehicles left the Port as the police cleared the roads by shooting rubber bullets and pepper spray at protesters. Some of the military vehicles were delayed when protesters hastily constructed barricades along the route.
By 1:30 AM Wednesday, November 14, the resistance slowed. Vigils continued as most, but not all, of the military equipment left the Port. The two weeks of actions ended with a march of more than 400 in support of the Port resistance. From November 7 to 15, 63 people were arrested and many more were hit by pepper spray.

Aftermath

The city’s only mainstream newspaper, the Olympian, wrote two major editorials on November 15, calling the protesters “whiners” for complaining about police behavior and urging that protesters be prosecuted and fined. The Olympian focused on the small amount of property damage and disruption of traffic in condemning the actions. There were many letters to the editor praising the protests, some comparing them to the Boston Tea Party as an example of worthwhile civil disobedience. However, the majority of letters to the editor strongly criticized the Port blockade, claiming that anti-war behavior should be limited to voting for anti-war candidates and protests that were non-disruptive and legal. That the mainstream media were critical and misrepresented the actions came as no surprise. But the letters indicated that we needed to explain face to face why we were engaging in civil disobedience and incorporate more people before, during, and after the actions..
For the most part, barricades and human blockades were aimed only at military vehicles, e.g., non-military cargo was let through. Although residents were occasionally inconvenienced, it was important that this not be the aim of an action, that “no business as usual” does not mean disrupting people’s lives unless that cannot be avoided. Protesters decided not to throw anything at the police even when attacked and this was followed with a few exceptions that occurred only in response to police violence.
Although there were and are ongoing tensions in discussing and acting on effective actions, the majority of participants supported a diversity of tactics—from vigils to forums to rallies to legal demonstrations to civil disobedience.
An unresolved question that surfaced was how groups who have significant differences around ideology, strategy, and tactics can work together in an action such as this one. The main organizing group was PMR, which was committed to non- violence. During the actions, there were debates over what is non-violence and what tactics are strategic. For example, PMR members were strongly against using the personal property of non-participants to block military vehicles. Others were less so.
If each group (or individual) does what it thinks is best and ignores another group’s actions, it affects all of us and our movement. There may be some actions that jeopardize people’s safety in ways that they do not want or that discredit the actions of the majority. In this case, such actions should be criticized and we should try to stop them from occurring—e.g., preventing breaking windows of small locally owned businesses. In other words, there should be a diversity of tactics within and between groups, but not anything goes.
Many SDS members wanted a strategy that raised the economic costs of the militarization of the Port and of sending war supplies through Olympia—police costs, transportation costs, port security, etc. These costs have, in fact, been quite large. I believe instead that our aim should be to raise the social (and political) cost of waging this war—to make the war less legitimate by building stronger social movements with more popular support that challenge not only the war, but also expose as increasingly illegitimate those in power and the unjust economic system behind them. This should contribute towards building growing movements for a fundamentally different society.

Next Steps

Did the “Two Weeks that Shook Olympia” help build a stronger anti-war movement in Olympia and did it raise the social costs of waging this brutal war and occupation of Iraq? It is hard to assess this. Most likely the majority of the public did not support it, which means more outreach needed to be done. PMR also needed to make it easier for people to be involved who were not already on listservs. In light of these critiques, PMR is continuing to meet to reflect on what happened and to plan further education, action, and outreach.
It is very likely the military will not use the Port of Olympia again for military shipments. This would be a victory. A bigger victory and ongoing task is for PMR to educate others about how Olympia is being militarized—e.g., by challenging military recruiters in the schools and the deployment of the National Guard. It also means working with the Longshore Workers Union, communities in Washington, and with military resisters to raise the social cost of this war until it is impossible to wage.
As pointed out by local activist and geographer Zoltán Grossman, there are few other locations in the U.S. where a major military base is near such a large progressive community. We should be able to make the argument that ending the war and working for economic justice such as health care for all, free college education, and a living wage is a principled way to support the troops. More than 70 percent of U.S. residents oppose the war. Now is the time to increase militant and dramatic action against this war as well as more traditional demonstrations.

Upcoming Events - 5th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq GI Rights Rally

This announcement was originally posted at GI Voice, February 15, 2008


03/22/2008 - 11 AM: GI Rights Support Rally
At Ft. Lewis, WA

Saturday, March 22nd
Meet at Todd Harry Park
8720 North Thorne Lane SW
Lakewood, WA

Program:

Noon--Resource tables and family friendly activities
1:00 PM--Participatory discussion--civilians, veterans and soldiers
2:00 PM--Speakers and Music (Iraq veterans and more TBA)
3:00 PM--March to the Gates of Ft. Lewis
3:30 PM--Bannering at I-5 and Vigil at the gates
4:00 PM--Return to park

Groups that have participated in organizing this event include:
Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans against the War, GI Voice, Peace Action Coalition Tacoma, Tacoma Students For a Democratic Society, United For Peace in Pierce County, PLU Students For Peace, Tacoma Catholic Worker, Industrial Workers of the World, Tacoma Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi,Internationalist Socialist Organization, Troops Home Now Coalition
The working group for this event is now asking for groups to endorse or sponsor this event. To be an endorser of this event, we ask that you promote the event with your groups members. Sponsors are organizations that contribute work or resources to Soldier You're Not Alone.

From GI Special 6B18: “These Feet Once Marched To The Cadence Of A Drill Sergeant”

“These Feet Once Marched To The Cadence Of A Drill Sergeant. ... They Now Have Blisters From Pounding The Streets Of LA And New York Protesting The War”

By April Fitzsimmons [Sgt. USAF 1985-1989], May 18th, 2007, Madashellclub.net. April Fitzsimmons welcomes your comments. You can email her at [email protected]
These feet once marched to the cadence of a Drill Sergeant. They now have blisters from pounding the streets of LA and New York protesting the war. These feet have not danced since the invasion of Iraq.
But I still do have feet. And all ten toes. Some Marines do not.
These knees bent alongside others, to plant thousands of crosses in the ground for Arlington West, a memorial for the fallen soldiers of the Iraq War. They kneeled next to Stefanie Pelkey as she adorned a cross with memories of her husband Michael, who shot himself on their couch after returning from Iraq. These knees no longer bend for this president, priests or prophets.
But I do have knees. Some soldiers do not.
This chest, my heart’s suitcase, once filled with pride of country, now rises and falls with the body count.
This chest, once laden with Meritorious Service medals, is heavy with shame and remorse. Soldiers emptied their suitcases into the desert, filled the cavity with sand and returned home. It is hard to breathe with this chest.
These arms held an M-16, an anti-war sign and Schnitzer, a Korean War vet, wobbly with cancer.
These hands dealt seven-card stud, clutched a grease pencil to track Soviet Aircraft and flipped the bird to a driver that cut me off.
They reach out to shake the hand of returning soldiers unless they misplaced their hand in Iraq. If that’s the case, the case of the soldier’s misplaced hand, my arm grabs the opposite, before our eyes meet.
These hands that used to fire off snappy salutes, now dial my representatives and scribble madly, the muddled stories of our troops, our outrage and our occupation. They are cramping now, these hands. They are tired.
But I still have ten fingers and two arms. Some Iraqi children do not.
This mouth. This voice.
Always loud, once sang songs in boot camp and recited the pledge. This voice said yes sir, no sir, I do and good-bye sir.
It whispered urgent prayers to god and ghosts.
This voice, contractually suppressed for ten years, questions faulty intelligence.
This voice tells her story of being attacked by a fellow service member, so she can unleash the silenced voices of thousands of women waiting to know that it’s now safe to speak.
This voice sounds out the names of the thousands of Iraqi’s who have died.
This voice calls out to those still serving: Please come home.
But I do still have a voice. Those wives, husbands and children, who have cried themselves to sleep with loneliness, do not.
These ears once had time to listen to Francois Hardy, David Gray and Gustav Holst. Now they must listen to public radio to deter the cacophony of deception.
These ears heard the second plane hit and the call to war. They heard the Texan, the puppet master, and the skirt, mining for morsels of fractions of crumbs of intelligence to pull focus to their Project for the New American Century.
They heard the doctors spin W.M.D.’s, Saddam, Al Qaeda, Iraq, patriotism, yellow cake, fear, winning, terrorists, smoking guns and mushroom clouds.
These ears listened to troops, sick with guilt, unable to serve a fourth tour.
These ears heard how an R.P.G. can slice a man in two.
But I did hear these stories because I still have ears.
Some Marines, the ones that stood next to the heavy artillery, can no longer hear music or their son’s laughter or the call for the next war.
These eyes don’t see terrorists, they see scared people.
They don’t see Senators, they see scared suits.
They don’t see a president, they see a scared man bound for hell.
These eyes brim with tears as mother after mother cradles a folded flag to her chest and falls to her knees.
These eyes look away as a soldier with a burned face and a robotic leg buys a soda at the Circle K where the front-page story is about 8 Marines killed from a roadside bomb.
He plunks down $75 for a tank of gas.
These eyes have begged to go dark, to end what they are seeing. These eyes have fought to wake up from the nightmare.
But I do have both eyes, unlike the man with the purple-hearted eye patch.
This mind. What mind can reconcile this war? Not mine. Not Yours.
This heart. What heart can share this pain? Mine. Yours.

February 25, 2008

Sir! No Sir! Archives - Collapse of the Armed Services

  • Antiwar Petitions
  Fort Hamilton GIs United   GI Petition (Xpress, no. 3)
         
  GI Press Service   target="_blank">Hundreds of GI's Sign Antiwar Ad (GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 11)
Petition (Left Face, vol. 2, no. 1)
         
  GIs United Against the War in Vietnam   EMs Sue the Army (About Face, no. 2 )
         
  Reservists Committee to Stop the War   National Guardsmen, Reservists Sign Anti-War Statement (The Green Machine, no. 6)
National Guardsmen, Reservists Sign Anti-War Statement (Reservists Committee To Stop The War Newsletter, no. 2)
Reservists and National Guardsmen Say 'NO' To The War (Flyer)
 
  • AWOL
    Peace is the GI's Cause (The Ally, no. 9)
 
  • Collapse of the Armed Services
    Breakdown of Discipline (Reservists Committee To Stop The War Newsletter, no. 2)
The Collapse of the Armed Services (Armed Forces Journal, 7 June 1971, 30 - 38)
DoD Document Attempts to Handle `Dissent' (GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 8 )
GI Revolt (Source Unknown)
Why? (The Green Machine, no. 1)
 
  • Combat Refusal
  1968    
   

Place

   
      Ben Luch   GIs in Nam Protest War (WE GOT THE brASS (German Edition), no. 1)
         
      Dong Du base (Cu Chi district)   GIs in Nam Protest War (WE GOT THE brASS (German Edition), no. 1)
         
      La Khe   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
         
      Me Tho   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
         
      Xuan Than   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
     
    Unit    
      9th Infantry Division   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
         
      25th Division   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
   
  1969    
   

Unit

   
      Americal Division   Showdown -- GIs Refuse to Fight (The Ally, no. 19)
GI Antiwar Actions in South Vietnam (As You Were, no. 7)
         
      Company A   Showdown -- GIs Refuse to Fight (The Ally, no. 19)
A Company Returns to War (GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 6)
Company A (AWOL, no. 10)
The Meaning of Company A (GI Press Service, vol. 1, no. 7)
Sir, My Men Refuse to Go! (The Bond, vol. 3, no. 9)
         
      1st Air Cavalry Division   GI Antiwar Actions in South Vietnam (As You Were, no. 7)
         
      3rd Marine Division   Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
         
      2nd Battallion, 27th Infantry  

Cu Chi - South Vietnam. (Fed Up!, December 1969)
GI Rebellion In Cu Chi (Left Face, vol. 1, no. 5)

   
  1970    
   

Unit

   
      25th Division   International Movement News (A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 6)
         
      3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry Division   International Movement News (A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 6)
   
  1971    
   

Place

   
      Fire Base Pace   GIs at Pace Say Hell No to Night Patrol (The Bond, vol. 5, no. 10)
Grunt Power (Up Against the Bulkhead, vol. 2, no. 10)
         
      Khe Sanh   Mutiny at Khe Sanh (All Ready on the Left, no. 4)
         
      Whiskey Mountain   Brothers Revolt (Up Against the Bulkhead, vol. 2, no. 10)
   
  1972    
   

Place

   
      Phu Bai   GIs Say No (SOS News, April 1972)
 
  • Desertion
  Desertion as Resistance   American Deserters Committee Newsletter no. 1
GI Desertion
(AWOL, no. 9)
Where It's At (ACT, vol. 1, no. 1)
Desertion Rates Soar (A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 9 )
   
  Individual Deserters    
      Craig Anderson (The Intrepid Four   The Intrepid Four Speak For Thermselves (The Ally, no. 1)
         
      Edwin Arnett   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
GI Desertion (AWOL, no. 9)
         
      Richard Bailey (The Intrepid Four   The Intrepid Four Speak For Thermselves (The Ally, no. 1)
         
      John Barella (The Intrepid Four   The Intrepid Four Speak For Thermselves (The Ally, no. 1)
         
      Phillip Callicotte   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
         
      Charles Kennette   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
         
      Joseph Knetz   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
         
      Michael Lindner (The Intrepid Four   The Intrepid Four Speak For Thermselves (The Ally, no. 1)
         
      David Osborn  

Revolutionary GI Charged With Desertion (Black Panther Paper, January 9 1971)

         
      Mark Shapiro   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
         
      Terry Whitmore   GIs Desert over Attrocities (The Ally, no. 5)
Ten GIs Get Asylum in Sweden (The Ally, no. 6)
Why I'm Still Alive (Second Front, vol. 1, no. 2)
 
  • Drugs
    GI News and Discussion Bulletin: Conference '71
 
  • Fragging
  Fragging as Resistance   Fragged (All Ready on the Left, no. 4)
Fragging is International (ACT, vol. 2, no. 3)
Nam GIs Resisting (The Ally, no. 11)
Officers Offed (Duck Power, vol. 1, no. 7)
Who are the real enemies of GIs in Nam (A Four Year Bummer, vol. 2, no. 10)
   
  Billy Dean Smith   Billy Dean Smith (About Face! The U.S. Servicemen's Fund Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 2)
Billy Smith Freed (About Face! The U.S. Servicemen's Fund Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 7)
Billy Dean Smith Goes on Trial (About Face! The U.S. Servicemen's Fund Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 6)
 
  • Sabotage
  Airforce   Airmen Fight Back (SOS News, March 1972)
   
  Army   GI's Busted for Bombings (All Ready on the Left, no. 4)
ASU Victory in Wisconsin (The Green Machine, no. 6)
   
  US Navy    
    USS Richard B. Anderson   USS Richard B. Anderson (All Ready on the Left, no. 1)
Ducks Off Destroyer (Duck Power, vol. 2, no. 7)
         
    USS Constellation   CONNIE Investigation Begins (Camp News, vol. 3, no. 12 )
         
    USS Deeley   USS Deeley (All Hands Abandon Ship, no. 4)
         
    USS Forestal   Forrestal Scapegoat (CAMP News, vol. 3, no. 2)
Jeff Allison Guilty! (CAMP News, vol. 3, no. 12)
We Are Everywhere: The Movement Grows in the Fleet (Up Against the Bulkhead, no. 12)
         
    USS Ingraham   USS Ingraham (All Hands Abandon Ship, no. 4)
         
    USS Milwaukee   USS Milwaukee (All Hands Abandon Ship, no. 4)
         
    USS Ranger   Ranger Sabotage Trial (CAMP News, vol. 3, no. 2)
Ranger Trial Begins (CAMP News, vol. 3, no. 12)
We Are Everywhere: The Movement Grows in the Fleet (Up Against the Bulkhead, no. 12)
 

From GI Special 6B16: Winter Soldierizing

n the winter of 1777-78, after suffering three terrible defeats by the much larger British force and marching hundreds of miles, the 11,000-man Continental Army retreated to a winter headquarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Food was in desperately short supply, 2,000 men were without shoes, and many were without blankets. Typhoid fever, dysentery, malnutrition and exposure claimed some 2,500 lives that winter.
American Patriot morale had declined severely and whole militia companies had deserted to return home. Those that remained to weather the arduous winter formed powerful bonds that led them to eventually prevail in our war for independence.
Of these men and the 700 women who fed, nursed and warmed them through that winter, political activist and revolutionary thinker Thomas Paine wrote, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of all men and women.”
Those that endured have come to be called the “winter soldiers.”

As veterans, we once swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” We do not foreswear that oath upon removing the uniform.
Upon that basis in 1971, following prosecution of Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, over 150 honorably discharged, many very highly decorated members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) gathered in Detroit to share their stories. Remaining faithful to their oath beyond their obligated service and harkening back to Paine’s words, they named this the “Winter Soldier Investigation.”
Atrocities like My Lai had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions.
he members of VVAW testified at that time on the systematic brutality and war crimes they had witnessed and inflicted upon the people of Vietnam, stating that unspeakable atrocities such as “free fire zones” were in fact US government policy, violating the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties which are defined by Article VI of the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land.”
Asked by Chairman William Fulbright to present their findings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lt. John Kerry delivered ringing testimony on behalf of the group. He explained, “We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.”
Kerry concluded his testimony, “We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission - to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more... And so when thirty years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say ‘Vietnam’ and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.”
But thirty years have passed and America has failed to turn.
Thirty-two years later, America launched another equally brutal, equally mindless, equally unjustified attack on the nation of Iraq, again in violation of international treaty laws - the UN and Nuremberg Charters - that prohibit wars of aggression, and once more violating Article VI, the “Supremacy Clause,” of our Constitution. So once again winter soldiers are needed.
Thankfully, a current generation of outraged veterans is arising and a Winter Soldier II investigation is scheduled for March 13-16 in Washington, DC, where members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will replicate the model of their VVAW predecessors. All other peace organizations nationwide have been asked to suspend public events during that time so that media attention can be focused on this testimony. Information about the event may be found on the group's Web site: www.ivaw.org.
“Over 30 years later,” IVAW states, “we find ourselves faced with a new war, but the lies are the same. Once again, troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming 'a few bad apples' instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.”www.ivaw.orgIVAW is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand.www.ivaw.orgOur blue-and-white Veterans for Peace bus, “Squadron13 Deployed,” will be there - our gas budget willing - following a 3,400 mile coast-to-coast awareness raising tour taking the southern route around the Rockies. www.ivaw.orgWe will film and post on YouTube as we go and as we witness.

From GI Special 6B16: Action Report

Ft. Dix: “We Spoke With Drivers When They Paused For The Red Light And Overall, They Welcomed The Stuff We Gave Them, And Then Turned Into The Base” “Honks, Thumbs Up, Support, And A Few, Just A Few, Signs Of Disapproval”

From: Elaine Brower, The Military Project
To: GI Special
Sent: February 19, 2008
Subject: Outreach at Dix

February 16, 2008 By Elaine Brower, Next Left Notes
Saturday, February 16th, 6 members of Movement for a Democratic Society’s Staten Island chapter, made a trip to do outreach to the troops at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
We had literature for the troops who were training on the base this weekend - and cookies and brownies too!
We arrived on base, literally at the front gate, at about 1:15 PM on Saturday. I went up to the Visitor’s Center, hoping to get on base, but it was closed. So back to our cars we went.
After driving around the periphery of the enormous facility we returned to main entrance with a new plan: stand right out in front of the Ft. Dix sign on Route 68 - the main entrance to the base - and try to hand out what we had.
We parked in a small welcoming lot behind the huge LED sign “WELCOME TO FT. DIX, US ARMY”, which also announced lots of family activities happening on base.
It was cold, windy and a really large intersection, with cars traveling at the speed of light. We made some makeshift signs on some manila folders I had in my trunk “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, END THE WAR!” and hit the corner.
Immediately, we started handing out our lit and goodie bags, some made by one of the MDS members, with chocolates, homemade cookies, DVD’s of “Sir, No Sir!” and literature which advertised the upcoming Winter Soldier event in Washington, D.C.
We spoke with drivers when they paused for the red light and overall, they welcomed the stuff we gave them, and then turned into the base.
We were there about 20 minutes when 2 DoD Homeland Security SUV’s pulled up right in front of me. The officer rolled down his window and said “What’s up?” I said we were handing out literature for the troops, and home baked goodies. “Do you want one?” I asked. He smiled and said “Not right now.”
He said we couldn’t stand where we were because it was “base property.” I asked where we could stand and he said “Oh, right on the other corner, no problem there.” I thought he was going to say go back to New York! So we gladly just crossed the street, and marked our new territory, directly across from the “Welcome to Ft. Dix” sign.
Then the 2 DoD vehicles saw our cars and called us over to move them. “Can’t be on base property.” I asked “Is there anywhere else we can park them?” figuring they would say in New York City, but he said “Oh, just across the street, pull up on the shoulder and the grass, no problem.” OK, done.
There we were for 2 more hours, handing out what we had, getting honks, thumbs up, support, and a few, just a few, signs of disapproval.
We handed out, to traffic going on the base, about 100 packets and 25 DVD’s.
One woman pulled over her van, got out and asked me if she could take one. Her son had just joined the Marines, and she was against it. She said she was confused because she thought it would be a patriotic thing for him to do, but knows that this war and this government is doing “the wrong thing.”
I gave her what I had and she said she would make copies and give them out on the base and to her son and his friends!
We declared victory about 4:30 PM, cold and exhausted, and just as we packed up our stuff, a County Sheriff pulled up.
He rolled down his window and asked “What’s going on? I received a call saying you were blocking traffic!” He laughed and smiled figuring that would be pretty hard since it was a huge intersection, with cars traveling at lightspeed.
I said we weren’t blocking traffic, just handing out literature for the troops.
He gladly took what we had, and told us “You can stay, just be careful of the traffic.” We told him we were just leaving since it was getting cold, and he said “Oh, I don’t mean to kick you out. Please, stay if you want to.”
We all just looked at each other in amazement, befuddled and just smiled and said to him “Oh, well, that’s ok, we’ll be back.” He said ok, have a good night, and left!
Don’t let anyone say Staten Island is a forgotten borough, I don’t think Dix will forget us, and I wish I could have been a fly on the wall somewhere on that base Saturday night!

From GI Special 6B15: Action Report

My Two Younger, Twin Brothers Are In Iraq” “They Hate It” One Guardsman Said “You Get Messed Up Over There And Don’t Get Treated Right Back Here”

From: Alan Stolzer, The Military Project
To: GI Special
Sent: February 18, 2008
Subject: Railroad Station Outreach

While walking toward [XXXX] Station to make outreach rounds a young man asked me where it was. I told him to follow me. After a few words I asked him if he knew anyone in the military.
“My two younger, twin brothers are in Iraq.”
I told him why I was going to [XXXX] Station (outreach) and asked him how his brothers felt about the war. “They hate it.”
I then gave him copies of the material I was about to hand out (“Sir, No Sir!” DVDs, copies of our last outreach handout and GI Specials).
He took the material gladly and said “if George Bush was here I’d punch him in the face.”
He told me just as we reached [XXXX] how one of his brothers was on his 5th deployment to Iraq and when home recently, scared hell out of his wife awaking from a nightmare shouting “we’re in the wrong house!”
Needless to say the family is very worried and also doubtful about the care he might receive through the VA. There are no plans for treatment. We spoke a bit more and came to the conclusion that the occupation was all about oil and for the need for complete withdrawal of all troops.
Once inside the Station I found two older Guardsmen near the info desk by the waiting room – an area where two troops are usually stationed.
At first they seemed reluctant to talk but relaxed after realizing I was interested in their lives.
Although they rattled off reasons for U.S. presence in Iraq and predicted the military would be there “up to 10 more years” one of them was dubious about continued presence of our troops. I told them about the Military Project, our outreach at armories and overall support of troops.
The dubious soldier was eager to take a DVD and printed material. The other said he’d watch the DVD with his friend.
Up on [x]th Street two more Guardsmen stood 10-12 away from the info desk there which is always attended by a cop. But since the cop was busy and the two troops were standing off I approached.
When I told them about the young man I walked down [x]th Avenue with one responded quickly: “sure,” he said, “you get messed up over there and don’t get treated right back here.”
Both were pleased to take the outreach material.
Later on at Office Depot I asked the cashier if she knew anyone in the military.
Her brother was a vet and hated the war.
That’s worth a GI Special anytime.
I’ve learned that if you’re in the post office, a store, talking to a street vendor or anyone you’re having a casual conversation with; ask if they know anyone in the military.
Even if you don’t have handout material with you it’s still possible to exchange phone numbers, etc.
Since almost two-thirds of the country is against the war it’s highly likely the stranger you’re talking to will be receptive.

From GI Special 6B14: IVAW News

IVAW - New York Chapter – Two generations of soldiers will get together on Thursday to speak out about two wars in which U.S. soldiers were ordered to do things that violated their consciences and the rules of war.
Participants will include veterans from Winter Soldier - a 1971 public investigation that revealed the criminal nature of the Vietnam War – and Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan – a similar event slated to take place next month. In addition, local musician Liah Alonso will perform a song she wrote entitled “Winter Soldier.”
Hosted by the New York chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and New York Society for Ethical Culture, the gathering will be a fundraiser to cover travel costs for New York veterans attending next month's Winter Soldier – slated to take place from March 13-16 at the National Labor College just outside of Washington, D.C.
“Next month at Winter Soldier, local veterans will be joining others from across the country who will be standing up to share their experiences. Their stories will show that wrongdoings in Iraq and Afghanistan are not isolated incidents perpetrated by “bad apples” but widespread occurrences that are the direct result of bad policy,” said Jose Vasquez, president of Iraq Veterans Against the War's New York chapter. “We've heard from the politicians, we've heard from the generals, we've heard from the media – now it's our turn.”
Iraq Veterans Against the War was founded in 2004 to give those who have served in the military since September 11, 2001 a way to come together and speak out against an unjust, illegal and unwinnable war. Today, IVAW has over 700 members in 49 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada and on military bases overseas.

From GI Special 6B12: IVAW News

IVAW - Seattle Chapter

Spearheaded a week of active duty outreach To Ft. Lewis From February 18-24
February 15, 2008 By Kelly Dougherty, Former Sergeant, Army National Guard; Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War; IVAW Newsletter [Excerpts]

IVAW is in high gear!
Our members are focused on reaching out to their active duty brothers and sisters.
Our strategy is built around mobilizing the military community to withdraw its support for the war, and our members are putting that strategy into action.
IVAW’s Seattle chapter is spearheading a week of Active Duty outreach to Ft. Lewis from February 18-24, with support from the Bellingham chapter and other members in the northwest.
he Seattle chapter has been very active - holding weekly meetings and working closely with GIs at Ft. Lewis to spread the word about IVAW’s work to end the war.
As part of this effort, the chapter is hosting a “Soldier, You’re Not Alone” benefit concert on February 21st in Tacoma.
All ages are welcome, and active duty servicemembers get in free with a Military ID.
Spread the word!

IVAW - Fort Hood Chapter

February 15, 2008 By Kelly Dougherty, Former Sergeant, Army National Guard; Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War; IVAW Newsletter [Excerpts]

Our fourth active duty chapter:
Deep in the heart of Texas, soldiers at Ft. Hood who recently returned from Iraq have organized our fourth Active Duty chapter.
Organizing an IVAW chapter on a military base isn’t easy, which is why we’re proud of all our members who are organizing on bases, both active duty and local veteran members who are supporting them.
We welcome our newest members back from Iraq, and into the IVAW family!

IVAW - Mountain Region

February 15, 2008 By Kelly Dougherty, Former Sergeant, Army National Guard; Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War; IVAW Newsletter [Excerpts]

Working together to build IVAW:
Members in the Mountain Region are getting together for an organizing retreat February 23-24, and our members in the Los Angeles area have a retreat planned for this weekend.
hese retreats are organized locally to build member involvement, learn organizing skills, and sharpen IVAW’s strategic impact.
They’re an important part of making sure that IVAW stays strong as we continue our rapid growth.

From GI Special 6B12: An Organizer’s Very Personal Story Of His Work Inside The Armed Forces To Stop An Imperial War

This memoir, by Bill Davis,was published by GI Special February 17, 2008


MY NAME is Bill Davis, and I’m with Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) here in Chicago. I’m the national coordinator.
I’ve been with the organization since I was a staff sergeant in the Air Force in 1970.
I enlisted in Fairmont, West Virginia. I come from a family whose service in the military dates back to the American Revolutionary War. My father was career navy and large numbers of uncles on both sides of the family were career military.
I realized I had probably made a mistake when I arrived at basic training with a hangover in San Antonio, Texas, and got off of the train (because there was a major airline strike in 1966), and immediately this guy started yelling at me. Basic training was not really a big problem for me. I just came out of high school and a year-round athletic program, so there were no physical difficulties.
I got through basic training and was sent first to Amarillo for some technical training and then on to Chanute Air Force Base (AFB) in Illinois, close to Champaign. I got a lot of mechanical training, primarily on ground support equipment but some jet engine too. From there I was sent to Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina and assigned to a field maintenance unit for F-4 fighters, Phantom F-4s. We didn’t have any planes there; they were all in Asia.
So we spent a lot of time waxing equipment, training, painting rocks, and things of that nature.
I joined the athletic program on the base and played football for the base football team. I’d report every morning to my duty assignment and then take off and spend the entire day at the gym and doing things that jocks do.
I tested well so even though I’d never worked on the equipment I understood a lot of the concepts.
I left Seymour Johnson AFB in late 1967.
While I was at Seymour, we flew on temporary assignment to Europe and to North Africa once for bases that were being closed down. The French bases were being closed by De Gaulle because they had pulled out of NATO, and Wheelis AFB (in Tripoli, Libya) was being evacuated because their government wanted us out of there.
I remember daily demonstrations at the gates of Wheelis AFB for the brief period when I was there and thought it was fairly unusual.
I remember the Bedouin tribesmen, with their old muzzle-loading ornate rifles, would fire at every plane that landed and took off. They couldn’t do much damage. It was symbolic resistance on their part.
In late ‘67, I received orders to go to the Philippines.
I went to stay with my mother in Akron, Ohio, while on leave and ended up being there for almost two months, and when I called for my printed orders to travel, they had basically forgotten about me. My unit had picked up and moved to Korea when the spy boat was captured in Korea, so all my records went with them. So no one knew were I was supposed to go.
In a couple of weeks, I received orders for Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, which made my mother very unhappy and even my father, being career military, was disturbed by it.
He told me to be careful because the Vietnamese guerrillas were the most fantastic guerrilla fighters since the Chiricagua Apache.
I thought that was an unusual thing coming from my father, whom I’d always thought was somewhere to the right of Genghis Kahn.
But obviously, I didn’t understand him and had overlooked his working-class background.
I arrived in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, in early January 1968 and was put in a replacement unit to fill in for wherever my particular skills group was needed. The Air Force at least keeps you in your own basic skills group and sends you to do what you were trained for, as opposed to some of the other branches that train you in one thing and then send you to do something else.
Or the Marines, where every marine is a basic infantryman if need be.
I was assigned to a field maintenance unit there with the Caribous, which were the Haviland aircrafts.
I was there for about a week, and I was approached by the executive officer for the base, the commander’s assistant, and asked if I wanted to play football for the Cam Ranh Bay AFB. I was kind of skeptical. How the hell could you play football in Vietnam?
They took me out one evening to this field, and it was like a perfectly laid out football field out in the middle of nowhere on the middle of the air force base. But it didn’t have any grass, it was like sand.
I said, “Jesus, I didn’t come over here to play football. I don’t want to play football in 100 degree temperatures and in the sand.” Now, you could have likely asked me why I went to Vietnam, and I probably couldn’t have given you a straight answer.
Since I didn’t want to play, they drove off and left me there. So, I had to walk back a couple of miles in the dark to the regular part of the air force base.
In a couple of days, I was shipped off to Can Tho army airfield down in the Mekong Delta.
All I knew about Can Tho was that, from what I had read about the history of the French Foreign Legion, the place had been overrun by the Viet Minh. I was a little uncomfortable.
I arrived at Can Tho in time for the Tet Offensive.
By my second day there, we were evacuated to a compound in Can Tho City because the airfield was overrun. It wasn’t defended too well.
I distinctly remember the Vietnamese bodies caught in the wire around the airfield in Can Tho were left there to rot for the Vietnamese to see what happened to people who came onto the airfield.
The Tet Offensive itself was just a total shock to my system.
I’d presumed that at least if we weren’t winning the war at least we were holding our own. While in truth it was a defeat numerically for the National Liberation Front, which took a tremendous hit and gave up a lot.
There was a big reaction in the United States, but I don’t think there could have been a bigger reaction and shock in Vietnam. Nobody had any idea that they were that organized and strong. Everybody thought that they had been pummeled into submission.
It became obvious that there was a lot more to this than we were being told.
The Armed Forces Radio at night would broadcast that a battle had taken place and that there had been heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy and only light casualties on our side. We were not only flying people into combat, we’d be flying in reserves and removing wounded and those killed in action aboard our aircraft.
If we’d make four of five sorties, or runs, with planeloads of wounded or dead guys then I began to wonder what was the basis of determining if a battle had light casualties because they seemed heavy enough to us.
We began to realize that everything they told us on the radio was absolute bullshit.
We didn’t get a lot of information. We got newspapers from home, but they were pretty dated.
You know in 1968, a lot of shit was happening in the United States, and we would hear about it late and sometimes the coverage would be very minimal.
But it became pretty clear to us that there were a lot of people unhappy about this war, and we spent a lot of time sitting around drinking, smoking, and talking these things out.
I remember one analysis we came up with was that this was a lot like the American Revolutionary War, and we were like the Hessians.
We began to see quite clearly that the people we were fighting for didn’t give a shit for us.
They were corrupt. The ARVN (South Vietnamese Army) wouldn’t stand and fight.
Almost every time we took an ARVN group into combat soon thereafter Korean, Australian, or American forces would have to go in.
Some ARVN company would be jumped by a squad of Viet Cong and be in full retreat.
By the time the American, Korean, or Australian forces would go in, the Viet Cong would have disappeared. It was incredible, they’d leave behind two or three guys who would fight to the end and hold off an incredible number of forces. We began to develop a real respect for them.
We’d get up at night on some tower or high building and see everything that was going around, and we’d been in an aircraft and see that there was fighting going on everywhere. There were gunships pouring some steady stream of fire, bombings, and air support.
We’d wonder how the hell can these people survive that and still keep fighting? So we began to develop a real respect for “Charlie,” as we called the Vietnamese fighters.
At the same time, that didn’t mean we were in love with him.
Our main goal was to get out of there alive and to see each other out of there alive.
Particularly among the enlisted men, there was a lot of unity.
It became obvious that a lot of guys were resourceful, intelligent people who could extend themselves and do more than the resources available seemed to allow.
By the time my tour was up in Vietnam, I was solidly an antiwar guy.
We were already receiving papers and information from guys back in the States.
First, there was the LA Free Press and the Berkeley Barb, but then it became things like antiwar literature that guys would pick up at demonstrations.
I went to Korat Air Force Base in Thailand the following year rather than come back to the United States. And to be honest, I didn’t really know if I wanted to come back to a country that was doing this.
Consequently, when I volunteered to go to Thailand, I was sent to a higher echelon sort of unit, a military intelligence gathering unit, which was a component of the automated battlefield.
We’d fly in C-130s and drop loads of these fake trees out in the jungle that had all kinds of sensors in them to detect movement, metal, body heat, human smell, feces, and urine. It goes without saying that it was new technology, so it didn’t work too well.
Plus, your average Vietnamese and Cambodian would look at a fake tree and say, “God, this looks like one of those plastic trees from Denny’s or something.” It looked out of place.
But we’d saturate these areas with them. When any of those alarms were triggered, there would be a coordinated bombing, artillery attack, or both on those coordinates. Easily, many times it was just killing elephants, water buffaloes, or civilians. It was along the Ho Chi Minh Trail area, and the idea was to slow the war effort.
But I don’t think it really had a lot of effect because the Vietnamese people really extended themselves in terms of what they were willing to do and the sacrifices they were willing to make.
Quite obviously, American and so-called Allied forces weren’t willing to make those sacrifices.
We’d determined pretty quickly both in Vietnam and in Thailand that we didn’t want to die.
Why would we want to give up our lives for this bullshit?
In Thailand, I was promoted to staff sergeant, which basically put me in the ranks of career military guys. We formed some pretty tight-knit groups that reached across all kinds of ethnic and racial boundaries.
Maybe the basis of our unity to begin with was smoking marijuana together, but we quickly developed a fairly serious antiwar analysis. We were quite aware that there was an illegal war going on in Cambodia and Laos. Some of us were really upset and outraged about that.
There was no use writing home about it because when you’re in those kinds of units your mail is heavily censored. I didn’t attempt to pass the information on to anyone.
Among our guys, we all took a lot of shit from our various peer groups about hanging out together. The officers and NCOs were always on us saying, “God, you’re a staff sergeant and do all this good stuff. Why do you want to hang out with these drug addicts?”
They would bust the houses we had off base, either the OSI (Office of Special Investigations), which was the air force secret police, or the army’s CID.
The authorities began to see us as a threat, so they began to fuck with us more. We were followed. I know that everything we got was opened. Everything we sent was opened.
We knew they were following us all the time because we’d gone beyond just hanging out and smoking dope.
We’d become outspoken critics of the war.
We all wore black wristbands.
This is when we began receiving literature from Movement for a Democratic Military (MDM).
The issue of being opposed to the war was equally as important as the unfair manner that people were treated in the military and the concept of GI rights and justice.
On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, in Thailand there was a huge march on the base of Black guys, and a lot of the army guys from the adjoining base came over and marched too.
It was amazing that such a huge march could wind all around through the base, and not one symbol of authority anywhere stepped out to stop it.
The problem was that they couldn’t send out the security police, the MPs, to stop them because they were about 50 percent Black.
There was also a rising unity among Latino GIs at that point. A lot of the Chicano stuff was just kicking off in California, and a lot of the guys related to that.
Some of the guys progressed way beyond marijuana, because the air force and the army made prescription drugs easily available. What they didn’t make available cost next to nothing in the Thai drugstores, and guys developed some serious problems with painkillers, speed, and sometimes a combination of both —”trashcan,” as we called it.
Plus, we all drank heavily too because that’s part of the military. They practically gave that shit away, and smoke endlessly and all of that. They busted some of the guys. The problem with drugs is that they make you vulnerable. As some of us became more serious in our antiwar activities, we were less and less doing the drug stuff, but we still all stayed together.
A couple of the guys flew down to Bangkok for a weekend pass and met with some American attorneys who were connected to MDM. We didn’t know a lot about them, just what we had read, but we started calling ourselves that.
Then, we started hooking up with guys from other units that had their own organizations.
One group just called themselves the Surfers, and these guys were all California guys who were in avionics and guidance controls. These guys were into doing some pretty heavy-duty psychedelic drugs that they were getting in the mail from the United States.
These guys were not beyond altering the controls on the aircrafts of some of the pilots that pissed them off.
There was one guy who painted his plane slightly psychedelic and called himself the Iron Butterfly. He flew an F-104. Well, the plane crashed, and they were really pissed that someone would take one of their psychedelic icons and make it into a war machine.
So, you see, there was a whole other type of consciousness. Because they had access to the equipment, they set up a radio.
We had a pirate radio station on base, and we were getting fresh tunes from the United States via reel-to-reel tapes — just hours of music.
With a transmitter taken from a plane and all the stereo equipment that we could handle, we set up a radio station in the lockers. All we had to do was flip the switch, and the radio station was on.
When the Iron Butterflies left and went back to the States, we took over the station.
Our programming was so good that it was being played in the officers’ club, the chow hall, and in the hospital. We really missed a golden opportunity to have a good antiwar discussion program.
But the authorities were out looking for it all the time. They had guys in the back of pickups with headsets driving around. We’d see them off in the distance when we were just sitting out on the barracks’ steps, and we’d always tell whoever was hanging out there that if you see them just go in and turn the radio station off.
Eventually, as our guys started leaving the country and our group got smaller, we turned it over to some other people to run. To their credit, they would do public service announcements of a slightly political nature.
I think these pirate radio stations were pretty common on the air force bases. You really needed to have the right stuff.
The air force barracks had TV antennas because we had this bullshit TV that nobody would watch. Even guys that were restricted to base and couldn’t do anything else wouldn’t watch it — bullshit programs and combat specials.
Who needed to watch combat?
But the antennas were perfect for broadcasting. I’ve heard there were a lot of field operations, using the radio nets that the guys had in the field. They would play music while guys were on guard duty.
I left Thailand and was sent back to the United States to Lockbourne AFB in Rickenbacker, Ohio, south of Columbus. It was a strategic air command base, but I was misplaced.
After two years in Asia, I didn’t belong in a strategic air command unit.
Plus, obviously, I had an attitude.
I didn’t understand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Nobody did. And nothing was right. Everything was a struggle.
I wanted to get close to antiwar people, but everything had changed so much, just the way people looked.
Being in North Carolina before I went overseas and everything, I was pretty much out of circulation for four years in one way or another.
I agreed with a lot of the antiwar stuff and everything, but I really didn’t know how to relate. I was close to Ohio State University.
After I got my feet on the ground on the base, I got an apartment in the university area.
I started walking around and checking things out and the next thing I knew I ran into a guy named Mark Rovick who had worked for (the GI underground newspaper) Bragg Briefs and now was working for a paper called the Sky Dove. The official base paper was called the Sky Hawk.
We got a big circulation of it started at Lockbourne AFB.
I had five months left on active duty. I was an NCO and had a considerably successful record with promotions, and I always did good work and did my job. Knowing that people were dying as a result of it but also knowing that I was keeping people I knew alive by doing it too, it was a very heavy contradiction.
I tried to balance it by just being as outspoken as I could about the war. I slowly made friends in the community.
People told me about Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I was a little hesitant to go to them at first.
In late April 1970, on the hundredth anniversary of Ohio State University, major rioting broke out.
I was at the air force base and I heard about it.
I ran upstairs into the supplies and took all the gas masks and took off for town and gave them out to everybody I knew. I took the whole squadron’s gas masks, like they needed them anyway.
I found myself in the streets in pitched battles against the Columbus police while on active duty.
I was bayoneted in the thigh by an Ohio National Guardsman while I was waiting for a bus back to the air force base. I had a lieutenant in the National Guard put a .45 to my head.
I got my ID out and told him that technically I outrank you. Guardsmen standing behind him were bewildered.
That was before Kent State.
When the Kent State killings happened on May 4, 1970, we actually had a huge brawl at the NCO club on base.
These fucking asshole “lifers” had been in there drinking for half the day, and one said, “Good, we’re finally getting rid of some of them commie students.”
A lot of these guys had never been overseas and never would and were comfy in their jobs. But a lot of us had been overseas, and we got in a big fight at the bar.
The lifers went to the bar every night and listened to the same country music. They got drunk and talked about the same shit. There was nothing more boring than hanging out with these guys.
That’s why I’d always roll my sleeves up and go into the enlisted men’s club because these guys were so bad, just miserable human beings and alcoholics for the most part.
These were the kind of people who were in charge of things.
On the heels of the Kent State thing, I said, “Fuck it, I can’t take this shit anymore.”
So, I went AWOL with a group of friends and traveled around Ohio to different colleges that hadn’t been closed down on the heels of the Kent State thing.
I was making speeches and talking to whatever groups I could and taking part in various antiwar activities.
When the National Guard came back to Ohio State the second time, it wasn’t like the first time.
This time they came back in with armored vehicles, machine guns, and the whole thing. One of the National Guardsman told me that they had been showing them movies about how students planned to kill the Guardsmen.
At this point, I joined VVAW and so too did much of the staff of Sky Dove.
I was court-martialed in June 1970 for three or four AWOLs.
At my court-martial, I didn’t lie, and I told them what I’d done and why I did it.
I had an Air Force shrink who was one of the craziest people I ever met who said I was passive aggressive, and I said, “Well, what does that mean?” He said, “Well, normally you are passive, but if you get pushed then you become aggressive.” “Well,” I said, “isn’t that how people are supposed to be?”
And he replied, “Well, that’s not what the military wants. They want you to be passive-passive and when necessary aggressive-aggressive.”
And I was outta there.
I had to go.
I was found guilty. I was broken a couple of grades in rank. I could have done a couple years of hard labor, but they dropped all that, and I received an honorable discharge.
This was based basically on my record.
Maybe it was some sort of beginning realization that they were having problems with the guys that came back from Vietnam.
You know their attitude was let’s not talk about it but basically sweep it under the rug.
I joined VVAW while I was still on active duty and still a staff sergeant. I was just a member of the chapter up until 1972 when I stepped into a leadership role. I’d met people from every Left organization in the world; and once you became VVAW, everyone wanted you to speak and wanted to work with you.
Historically, VVAW had a number of organizations that wanted to work with it and some that took on an entirely different attitude and wanted VVAW to work with them.
But Columbus was a community under siege because it was such a conservative town.
People from organizations that literally loathed each other came to work together because it was a survival thing. You’d get Progressive Labor Party working with the Yippies, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and whoever.
We all worked together well. It was a tight community. It had to be because police were vicious, racist, and everything you could imagine.
I always said that someone secretly picked up Birmingham, Alabama, from the early sixties and dropped it in the middle of Ohio overnight.
They were hanging union organizers there into the 1950s. They just absolutely loathed us.
So we were always under attack, but they seldom attacked any VVAW facilities or houses. They probably thought we’d shoot them, but most of us didn’t have any weapons. Like the problem with drugs, we felt that weapons made us vulnerable.



“VVAW Had Chapters All Over The World, Even On Ships, And Active Members In Vietnam”

VVAW had a national GI project out of Dayton, Ohio, and we’d get information from there and work with that.
My major focus even when I first joined VVAW was to maintain a relationship with the guys at Lockbourne AFB and keep the paper going.
When we no longer had funding for the Sky Dove, we simply would put inserts into The Veteran or whatever paper VVAW was circulating at the time.
I was banned for life from the base.
A week after I was discharged, I took a job driving a cab and was back there anytime I wanted.
So, I’d go through the barracks and put antiwar literature in all the day rooms, slide it under the doors at night, and leave bundles with guys that I knew.
Also, guys would show up at my apartment that I didn’t even know who had met other guys who told them about me. If nothing else, at my apartment, these guys could relax off base. If they were AWOL, they could hide out.
After 1972, I assumed partial leadership of the Columbus chapter and joined the regional steering committee. I eventually came to Chicago in 1974.
I went to school and worked at Ohio State a lot. I actually tried out for the football team. I didn’t get cut or anything, but [Ohio State football coach] Woody Hayes just made me violently ill, and I had to leave. It was pretty funny. Plus, all these guys were younger, bigger, stronger, and everything. I walked away from it. People thought I was crazy, but I think it was probably the right thing to do.
After that, I’d be outside the stadium before games leafleting for antiwar stuff. All the players and people knew me and wouldn’t give me any shit. Then, of course, once everyone was inside, I’d go inside and watch the game too.
We developed a politics of class consciousness and got people to stop attacking the ROTC guys and set up Central Ohio Military and Veterans Counseling out of the campus area.
We did a lot of outreach and had a lot of spots on rock stations and stuff.
AWOL GIs, people who were in the National Guard and in the Reserves, and even guys in ROTC would come to us for counseling on how to get out of the military. We were good at it. We were hooked into the GI underground, which was sort of like an underground railroad to move guys who were AWOL or deserting.
No one’s really a deserter unless they throw away their uniform and military ID, and it can be proven that they had no intentions of returning. To try Iraq War guys now for deserting is absurd. Particularly, when they come back and turn themselves in.
That was the first thing we’d always tell these guys was that this is never going to end until you turn yourselves in. Then, there were a lot more ways of getting out. Aside from conscientious objector, there were hardship discharges and a whole lot of things you could use. We did upgrade counseling for those who had received less than honorable discharges.
Ohio became one of the strongest areas doing GI work with Wright-Patterson AFB and Lockbourne, along with our VVAW chapters on the East and West Coasts.
We worked in concert in a national coalition with all the GI coffeehouses and organizations.
Of course, there were always some arguments about methods and stuff. Just like the arguments that VVAW would have with other political organizations.
The GI organizations were hooked up with other Left organizations, so if we could put all the politics aside and work with the GIs it was good, but sometimes it got a little confining.
But the work went on, and VVAW had chapters all over the world, even on ships, all up and down Okinawa and Japan, and active members in Vietnam up until the end of the war. We worked with Pacific Counseling Services, which was a National Lawyers Guild project.
As the war started winding down, a lot of the funding for those projects dried up. VVAW was able to step into the gap somewhat.
We combined with Chicago Area Military Project (CAMP). They did counseling, and their fine publication came over to us. My first assignment when I came over to the VVAW national office was to assume editorship of the GI News, which was a supplement for a separate paper, The Veteran. When CAMP stopped, we tried to fill in the gap.
A lot of times, the only way you could keep open the lines of communication and cooperation with other things going on was that you had to go there, and we had to go wherever we had various organizations around the world and meet with people and discuss political disagreements and everything.
We’d go to Japan for anti-nuclear stuff with Gensuikyo and Gensuikin, which were the socialist and communist anti-nuke groups.
Under their sponsorship, they’d help me get around to all the bases in Japan and talk to the GIs.
GIs would come out there in support of demonstrations.
We had some fifty marines arrested in Okinawa on July 4, 1973, for passing out copies of the Declaration of Independence.
It was a military publicity coup.
That one went worldwide.
In 1975, I led a delegation of veterans and peace activists to officially meet with representatives of the People’s Republic of Vietnam
(North Vietnam).
We had a huge veterans-to-veterans meeting. It was tough. It was very difficult because you had a bunch of people sitting around a table who not that long ago were trying to kill each other.
I broke the ice by sending in a whole bunch of Japanese beer; and once everyone got loosened up and talking, it went better.
We had a lot of different organizations represented there. It was the New American Communist Movement, RU (Revolutionary Union), the October League, and the SWP.
By and large, all the young activists pretty much acted in concert.
We’re here as a delegation. We’ve got to be together even though we have our differences.
I was singing revolutionary songs with the Japanese students, and there were a number of old CPers who were anti-nuke and old-time peace activists who were along for the trip and told us, “We tried that. Don’t ever think about revolution or changing things. You can’t do anything.”
So, we’d eat dried fish, squid, and drink beer to keep them away from us.
It smelled so bad that they’d stay up in front of the bus away from us.
The Japanese students thought we were great.
The CPers called us ultra-left commies. It was funny.
At that time, it was hard for anything that you did to not be political.
Everything from now on was going to be political.
Little did I know that that was to be my life.

Here Come the Conservatives - Let's support and protect our U.S. Armed Forces Recruiters (Time to stop talking and start rallying)

This post, by Trueblacman, and the responses were published on the Free Republic, February 24-25, 2008


Trueblacman: Let's support and protect our U.S. Armed Forces Recruiters (Time to stop talking and start rallying) myself

With less than 24 hours to go, I am putting out a general call to all DC Chapter Members, GOE, Rolling Thunder American Legion, VFW, Vets and Lurkers in good standing to stand with me and help send a clear message to maggots on the left that attacks on our Men and Women in uniform will not longer be permitted!
If you are within 4 hours of DC and can take the day off than have your assets as 13th and L Streets N.W. tomorrow at 15:00(3pm)sharp to show the left we will not stand for attack on our recruiting stations and police officers standing by and allowing these types of rampages by punks to cowardly to wear the uniform.
Invited guest include the Washington DC Mayor, Conservative Allies and members of the media.

Response 1:

Most of us have stated that, "We will not permit to happen to our Men and Women to be degraded again as they were after Vietnam."
Here is your chance to send a clear message.

Response 2:

We’ll have some Recruiter Support signs and flags, but feel free to bring your own.

Response 3:

Sorry I’m not going to be there. God Bless and thanks for your your service
Leo from Texas

Response 4

Well if you know some vets in our area give them a call.

Response 5:

Definitely more than four hours away geographically or I WOULD be there. I’ll definitely be there in spirit and cannot thank all of you who carry so much of the burden for us by Freeping all around the DC area on a regular basis.

Response 6

Hey...2 of us will be there!

Response 7

I’m gonna try and be there. Depends on what time I get out of my doc appt. Having a physical done.

Response 8

Out of the country, and did not see the latest news. Was an Armed Forces recruiting station physically attacked? The post would seem to indicate that.

Response 9:

Invited guest include the Washington DC Mayor...
If the Mayor is politically smart, he will make it a point to clear his calendar for the afternoon and be there to voice his full and unconditional support of the US military, as well as his promise to stop allowing rioters to run loose in the streets of DC.
Now, stop laughing, Trueblackman! Barack Hussein Obama says it's OK to dream big and have HOPE!
It's time for a CHANGE in how Washington, DC deals with the radical rioters.

Shutting Down the Machine - International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo

This video was produced by Indymedia and distributed through YouTube


     
   
     

February 24, 2008

Here Come the Conservatives - Gathering of Eagles Plans for Winter Soldier

EAGLES MUSTER, MARCH 14/15, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Who: Patriotic Citizens Standing Up For Our Troops
What: Ivaw Winter Soldier Ii Testimony Truth Challenge
When: March 14, 0800 Hours, All Day
Why: Demand Truth In Any Atrocity Testimony – Times, Dates, Places, Witnesses, Leadership, All Under Oath (1)
Where:  National Labor Colleg, 10000 New Hampshire Avenue,  Silver Spring, Md 20903
How:  Boots On The Ground Rally At National Labor College


EAGLES MUSTER AND MARCH
Who: All Willing To Stand Up For America, Our Troops, And Fallen
What:  Eagles Patriot March – A Muster
When:  March 15, 2008 Muster 1000 Hours At The Elipse, South Of White House, March Begins 1300 Hours To 1500 Hours
Why: To Lift Up America, Our Troops, Fallen, Their Families, And Onor Those  Gone  Before Us (2)
Where: March Route Begins At The Elipse, Proceed East On Pennsylvania  Avenue Finishing At The Us Capitol.

How: Boots On The Ground, Wheel Chairs, Carts, Etc.



Footnotes
1) Winter Soldier False Testimony Of 1971 Betrayed Viet Nam Warriors...It Cannot Happen To Our Current Generation Of Warriors....Sf-180 Will Be Required For Witness Testimony Validation.
2) Anti-America Elements Only Tear Down Our Nation, Our March Will Honor America, Support Our Troops, And Respect Our Fallen, Mia, Families And Sacred Ground.

February 23, 2008

Shutting Down the Machine - Vets shed light on Iraq service

This article, by Leslie Boyd, was originally published in the Citizen-Times (Asheville), February 12, 2008


ASHEVILLE – In the middle of a quiet student lounge at UNC Asheville last week, a group of women sat chatting quietly. Suddenly, a group of soldiers burst into the room, pulling the women out of their chairs and demanding they get down on the floor.
The room was in chaos as the soldiers took the three women to one end of the lounge, barking questions at them and cursing.
The soldiers put hoods over the women’s heads, zip-tied their hands behind their backs and pushed them out the door as they protested that they didn’t have any information.
As the scene quieted down, one of the soldiers came back into the room and stood near where two members of the U.S. Marine Corps had set up a recruiting table.
“My name is Jason Hurd, and I’m with Iraq Veterans Against the War,” he said.
The women were part of the demonstration, which Hurd said was a way to explain that American soldiers are called to interrogate civilians this way, and anyone who enlists and is sent to Iraq likely will have to interrogate people the same way.
Hurd is passionate about telling people what life really is like in Iraq since the American invasion in 2003. He spent a year there with the Tennessee Army National Guard and now works to educate people by telling his story.
He and three other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War from Western North Carolina are planning to attend Winter Soldier, an event in Washington March 13-16, where Iraq veterans will tell their stories. It is named for an event staged by Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971.
The local chapter of IVAW will hold a dance Thursday evening to raise money to attend the gathering, where each veteran will tell his or her story. Iraq Veterans Against the War expects several hundreds veterans from around the country to attend.
For some veterans, telling the story dredges up the pain of their experiences. Others find talking about it helps them.
Steve Casey, who was in Iraq for 15 months in 2003 and 2004, has trouble talking about what he saw and experienced there. He has nightmares every night and he has divorced since he came back because he was not the same person who went to war.
“I watched our guys shoot at innocent people and then brag about it,” Hurd said. “If people knew what war is really like, they would demand we get out of Iraq immediately.”
Mike Robinson, another of the demonstrators, said he came home injured and unable to cope with life. With severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, he couldn’t hold a job and wound up living on the street for a time. He credits his 3-year-old daughter, Sara, for giving him the ability to get up every morning and helping him to return to some semblance of normalcy.
“I was lucky. I got wounded,” Robinson said. “I see people going back three and four times. What kind of life is that? What kind of marriage can you have?”

Shutting Down the Machine Archives - Service Members Sign Appeal Calling for Troop Withdrawal

This article was originally published in the New York Times, February 28, 2007


In a small but growing sign of dissent, a group of active-duty military personnel and reservists, including many who have served in Iraq, is denouncing the war and asking Congress for the prompt withdrawal of troops.
The service members, who number more than 1,600, have sent an Appeal for Redress to their Congressional representatives, a form of protest permitted by military rules. Most of those who signed the appeal, at www.appealforredress.org, are enlisted soldiers in the Army, from the lowest to the highest ranks.
''There is a sense of betrayal,'' said Specialist Linsay Burnett, 26, who recently returned from Iraq with the First Brigade combat team of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. The division is readying for its third deployment.
''These soldiers stand up to fight, to protect their country, but we are now on the fifth reason as to why it is we are in Iraq,'' added Specialist Burnett, who has served as a public affairs specialist and as a military journalist focusing primarily on the infantry. ''How many reasons are we going to come up with for keeping us over there?''
The Appeal for Redress reads: ''As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.''
The protest, which was started in October by two active-duty service members and is sponsored by three antiwar groups, initially drew 65 signatures, growing to more than 1,300 by February. This week, after the CBS News program ''60 Minutes'' reported on the appeal, about 300 more active-duty soldiers joined the campaign, said Petty Officer Third Class Jonathan Hutto of the Navy, a co-founder of the group behind the appeal.
While the 1,600 make up a tiny part of the armed services, the appeal is one of the first official signs of protest from people within the military. An estimated 70 percent of those who have signed it are on active duty; the rest are members of the Reserves or the National Guard, and about 100 officers have signed it.
Describing themselves as supporters of the military but critics of the Iraq war, leaders of the appeal say they believe it is their right and duty under the Constitution to question the war and its mission, a position not widely voiced in the military.
Their decision to speak out and take their opposition outside the chain of command has been criticized by some veterans' groups that argue that soldiers are obligated to follow orders, not change policy. Critics also say that while service members cannot choose where they will be deployed, they can choose to join the military or not.
When the group sent its first letter in October, the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, said it was ''not unusual for soldiers in a time of war to have some misgivings,'' adding that the group constituted a small minority of service members.
In a phone call yesterday with three signatories, including Petty Officer Hutto, the service members said their decision to appeal had not been taken lightly. The military does not allow service members to organize and frowns on dissent.
''The Army has many ways to make your life very difficult,'' Specialist Burnett said, adding that she had come forward largely because ''there are not many voices out there for the men on the ground.''
Jeff Slocum, a chief master sergeant of the Air Force who is scheduled to deploy to Iraq next year, said his high rank was one reason he had signed the appeal. ''I'm not antiwar, I'm not antimilitary,'' said Chief Master Sergeant Slocum, who added that the troops were feeling ''used and abused.''
That 1,600 service members have signed the appeal ''shows just how much we are willing to risk,'' he said. ''We are trying to raise awareness that we need people to be sticking up for us, because nobody else is.''

Shutting Down the Machine Archives - Anti-war to the Corps; Marine Reservist-Protesters Face Discipline

Originally published in the Washington Post, May 31, 2007


Going on a mock patrol can get you in real trouble with the United States Marine Corps.
In a case that raises questions about free speech, the Marines have launched investigations of three inactive reservists for wearing their uniforms during antiwar protests and allegedly making statements characterized as "disrespectful" or "disloyal."
Two of them were part of the guerrilla theater squad of 13 Iraq Veterans Against the War who roamed Capitol Hill and downtown Washington in March, clad in camouflage and carrying imaginary weapons, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. A Washington Post story about that protest is part of the evidence gathered by Marine lawyers.
Adam Kokesh, 25, a graduate student at George Washington University, faces a hearing Monday in Kansas City, where the Marines will recommend an "other than honorable" discharge from the Individual Ready Reserve. He was previously honorably discharged from active duty after fighting in Fallujah and receiving the Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Upon learning he was being investigated for wearing his uniform during the mock patrol, Kokesh wrote an e-mail to the investigating officer, Maj. John Whyte. The combat veteran discussed his service and his critique of the war, and asked this officer assigned to look into his "possible violation" of wearing his uniform: "We're at war. Are you doing all you can?" He concluded with an obscene recommendation about what Whyte should go do.
This earned him the count for a "disrespectful statement."
Liam Madden, 22, who spent seven months on the ground in Iraq, last fall helped launch the Appeal for Redress, a Web site where military personnel can directly appeal to Congress to support withdrawal of troops. Madden, of Boston, is accused of wearing his camouflage shirt at an antiwar march in Washington in January.
He also is accused of making disloyal statements during a speech in February in New York, when he says he wasn't wearing his uniform.
These statements, as summarized by the Marines in legal documents: "Sgt. Madden spends several minutes explaining the 'war crimes' of the Bush administration. Sgt. Madden claims that the war in Iraq is a war 'of aggression' and one of 'empire building.' Sgt. Madden explains that the President of the United States has 'betrayed U.S. military personnel' engaged in the Iraq conflict."
The identity of the third Marine under investigation could not be immediately verified; his or her name had been blacked-out of legal documents reviewed by The Post.
Kokesh and Madden say they have a question about all this: Don't the Marines have anything better to do these days?
Papers drawn up by Marine lawyers indicate the corps sees it as a matter of enforcing clear regulations. Spokesmen for the Marines did not return telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
The case also raises a fundamental question of interest to the roughly 158,000 men and women in the Marines' and Army's Individual Ready Reserve: Are they civilians -- free to speak their minds -- or not?
"This case is about the Marine Corps seeking to stifle critics of the Iraq policy by officially labeling civilian acts of peaceful protest and political speech as misconduct and serious offenses," says Michael Lebowitz, Kokesh's attorney, who fought in Iraq as an Army paratrooper .
In legal documents sent to the reservists, the Marines cite well-known military regulations against wearing uniforms for political activity. Against Kokesh they say a Marine may not insult an officer. Against Madden they cite a military law that covers disloyal statements.
But, counters Lebowitz, unlike other types of reservists who have specific paid duties, Individual Ready Reservists are not paid, have no weekend drill requirements and no chain of command. Therefore, he argues, they are civilians, unless summoned back to duty. And if they are civilians, they can say pretty much what they want.
"For the military to try to punish civilians for speaking out against the war is completely outrageous, says Arthur Spitzer, legal director of American Civil Liberties Union for the National Capital Area, whom Madden has consulted but not yet retained.
It is true that civilians are subject to civilian laws against wearing military uniforms -- but that's not for the Marines to judge, the lawyers say.
Usually, reservists who wear their uniforms improperly are unaware of the rules and the matter is resolved amicably, says Col. John Sessoms, staff judge advocate for Marine Forces Reserve, the top lawyer for the reserves. "These are misdemeanor-type offenses," Sessoms says. "Once counseled, Marines usually conform. They suffer no repercussion."
The cases against Kokesh and Madden are administrative, not criminal. The main repercussion they face is the stain of the "other than honorable" designation, something they may have to explain on applications for employment or security clearance. Whether it affects their Veterans Administration benefits would be up to the VA.
Kokesh and Madden both say they are proud to have served and have nothing against the institution of the Marines. Neither plans to curb his antiwar work, despite the consequences. Kokesh just took part in another mock patrol protest -- wearing his uniform -- in New York City.
"I will not be intimidated," Kokesh says.

February 21, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Fundraisers (Santa Cruz)

This announcement was posted to sfbay.Craigslist, 19 February 2008


A growing movement of resistance exists within the military itself towards the US wars of aggression.
Troops are refusing (re)deployment, refusing orders and taking measures of resistance as dictated by their consciences.
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) recently re-enacted urban missions in Washington D.C. to show the public what the Iraqi people are subjected to on a daily basis by occupying US forces.
Now, to counter the blanket of censorship from the White House and the mainstream media, IVAW will hold a truth forum, The Winter Soldier Hearings, in Maryland next month. These hearings finally give a voice to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans - a voice that has until now been suppressed.
To help fly troops to Maryland to testify about the real truth, Veterans for Peace, the GI Rights Hotline and other local community groups, are holding a fundraiser. The event features outspoken IVAW board member Sgt. Adam Kokesh. He will present a DVD and speak about serving two tours with the Marine Corps in Iraq as well as of his more recent experiences with non-violent civil disobedience in opposition to the war.
Chris Matthews, of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and owner of the Poet and Patriot Pub, will emcee the fundraiser. Also appearing will be Santa Cruz artist activists Cordelia Clancy (PyroDiva), Sandino Gomez (spoken word artist, Resource Center for Non-Violence staffer) and Joe Williams (musician, GI Rights Hotline co-founder).
The original Winter Soldier Hearings, held during the Vietnam War by GI resisters of that era, helped bring an end to the Vietnam War.
We hope you join us to make a stand for peace.
Light refreshments will be served.
Event: Iraq Veteran’s Against the War, Winter Soldier Fundraiser
When: Thursday, February 28, 7:00 pm
Location: Veterans Hall, 846 Front St, Santa Cruz, www.vetshall.org.
Suggested contribution: $10 and up; no one turned away for lack of funds
For more information: www.ivaw.org
TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS contact Daniel Young ([email protected] or 831,750.7882) or Dorah Rosen ([email protected] or 831.335.1861)

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Flyers

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From Clifton Hicks Flickr Portfolio (IVAW - Gainesville Chapter)

To view Clifton Hicks complete portfolio of photographs taken in Iraq and at IVAW - Gainesville actions, click here


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Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - News Report Recorded at the Different Drummer in Watertown

 

News 10 report on upcoming Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanisan Investigation recorded at the Different Drummer in Watertown>

 
   
 
 

Upcoming Events - Washington DC (March 10 - 20)


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IVAW News - Indiana veterans opposed to war in Iraq hold rally

This article, by Amy Lavalley, was originally published in the Post-Tribune, February 16, 2008


VALPARAISO -- The newly formed Indiana Iraq Vets Against the War would like to introduce themselves.
Toward that end, they will participate in a rally in downtown Valparaiso today before holding a forum on their organization and its goals at Valparaiso University.
The chapter is one of 36 across the country and has 15 members from throughout the state so far, said chapter president Vincent Emanuele.
Emanuele, 23, of Burns Harbor, served in the Marine Corps in Iraq in the spring of 2003, and again in the fall and winter of 2004-2005.
Between his times in Iraq, he began reading up on opposition to the war.
"I started to wonder why this was becoming a national topic, being opposed to the war," the Chesterton High School graduate said.
He went back to Iraq and what he saw, including the poor condition of the military equipment used by American soldiers, reaffirmed his position.
"By the time I left, it was solidified in my mind that we needed to get out of there, and I was going to protest the war," he said.
After attending IVAW events in Chicago, he decided to start one in Indiana.
The program at VU will provide the history of IVAW, discuss why the U.S. should end its occupation of Iraq, give information on a March forum in Washington, sponsored by IVAW, and offer news of upcoming events in the region.
If you go
An assortment of peace organizations from the region will hold a rally from noon to 1 p.m. today on the courthouse square in Valparaiso. At 2:30 p.m., in room 140 of Mueller Hall on the Valparaiso University campus, members of the newly formed Indiana Iraq Vets Against the War will introduce themselves and their plans for the coming months. For more on IVAW, check out www.ivaw.org.

February 20, 2008

GI Blog Post - The Moral Authority Trump Card

This was ori=ginaly posted by Lt. Nixon, to the VetVoice blog, February 18 2008


For our generation, the percentage of veterans is incredibly small compared to other conflicts in our nation's history. I don't think anyone here is going to dispute that. So to effectively alter the course of nation's politics, it will be necessary to win over the support of our civilian counterparts in our democracy. Therefore, it becomes important for us to effectively communicate with our civilian friends through various channels of media to encourage folks to understand some of our opinions (as diverse as they may be). While making fun of chickenhawks is quite hilarious and entertaining, I still maintain that we shouldn't put people on a guilt trip because they never served. I'd be battling with a large swath of the population if I chose to attack anyone who wasn't a veteran. If combat veterans were to say that only those who have experienced combat were allowed to talk about Iraq or Afghanistan, well I'd have to stop blogging (I don't count indirect fire as combat). I think we should give respect where it's due, but I'm afraid of trouncing into the "Moral Authority" realm, which can effectively stifle any sort of dialogue. Also, this can lead to personal attacks on your integrity and credentials from the opposition, since you would be attacking someone else simply based on your previous military experience without reason and rationale to back it up.
Boadicaea brought up an interesting tidbit of information concerning the protests in Berkeley providing an example of the use of "moral authority".

The woman with the Marine son on his 4th deployment that gets her photo all the time, clutching his picture, made a young woman next to me cry when she came over, found out the woman's husband was Muslim (American, 3d generation) and snarled at her that he should be tortured. Her photos are always so beatific. She called me a liar about my son's service and screamed that al Qaeda was watching me and they'd go out and kill more service people because of me, REAL soldiers not lies like my so called son. It was said very nasty and it hurt for a long time. She ain't what her pitchers look like!

Of course I respect a mother who has a son in harm's way, but does that give her the right to start calling Ms. Boadicaea a "liar" because they had a political disagreement? Am I not allowed to disagree with Cindy Sheehan when she hung out with notable dictator Hugo Chavez, because she lost a son in Iraq? I maintain that someone's personal integrity should be respected, but I fail to see why it can be used to silence any dissenting political opinion. Mainly, putting up a barrier between "us" and "them" is counter-productive, since that is probably not going to help change the way things work in our country. I'm curious as to people's thoughts on this.

February 18, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan - Statement of Support (VVAW)

This position paper was originally published on the VVAW website


From March 13-16th 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We hope that you'll join in supporting this, because this is a story that every American needs to hear!
This spring, a main priority for Vietnam Veterans Against the War is to support IVAW as they conduct their own Winter Soldier Investigation, in March, around the 5th Anniversary of the war on Iraq. IVAW faces similar challenges that VVAW faced 40 years ago. Faulty intelligence and outright lies have brought our generations closer; shared by eerily similar experiences, politics and atrocities. War crimes have been identified, and once again, politicians and generals repeat history by blaming 'a few bad apples' for such atrocities, rather than examining the military policies that destroyed Vietnam then and are destroying Iraq and Afghanistan now.
January 1971, VVAW held the Winter Soldier Investigation, where veterans testified about war crimes and atrocities they committed or witnessed in Vietnam. This spring, the largest gathering of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. Providing testimonies to war crimes the United States perpetuates with the ongoing wars and occupations, as well as, the increasingly poor treatment of returning veterans by US government agencies here at home. Veterans participating and attending the upcoming WSI will undoubtedly receive backlash similar to VVAW members in 1971. Since IVAW's inception, it has been a concern of VVAW to provide support, understanding the need of many veterans and veterans speaking out against war. VVAW will participate and provide support IVAW deems necessary for this event including: financial, logistical and emotional.
VVAW is committed to getting IVAW members, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, to Washington DC March 13-16th for the WSI. And it's VVAW's goal to raise enough money to help provide housing for these veterans at the event. Your financial support will help us in achieving this! Vietnam Veterans Against the War are seeking members and friends to host fundraisers, provide monetary donations, personal support and spread the word about Winter Soldier Investigation.
Without you, VVAW would not be able to spearhead or continue supporting such prolific events. Please make a generous tax deductible donation and/or provide with fundraising efforts.
To donate on-line, click here

Make/Mail checks to: VVAW
PO Box 2065, Station A
Champaign IL 61825-2065
Memo: IVAW-WSI
Sincerely,
Barry Romo (Vietnam Veterans Against the War, National Coordinator)

SUGGESTIONS FOR SUPPORTING AND FUNDRAISING EFFORTS:

  1. Sponsor an IVAW member to get to Washington, DC for WSI. Expense per veteran to participate in this WSI is approximately $1600./p>
  2. Host a film screening of Winter Soldier or other GI-movement type films, such as Sir! No Sir! or The Ground Truth.
  3. Host a book club reading on Winter Soldier or similar books, discuss the impact and importance of such an event; get others to participate.
  4. Host an 'End the Wars in 08 house party.' Open your home to friends, family and fellow activists to network and continue building relationships of solidarity. To increase interest, attendance and donations, you can use the New Year, the wars, and the significance of the upcoming Winter Soldier Investigation.
  5. Help with outreach in your area, such as: peace and justice organizations, community colleges, universities, local VA and Vets Centers…wherever you might find veterans.
  6. If you know Iraq or Afghan vets who may be interested in attending and/or testifying themselves – talk to them, help get them in contact with IVAW event organizers.
  7. Mentor. Testifying and listening to testimonies will be stressful to many veterans. If you can go to DC, offer personal support to those attending. After the event has concluded you can volunteer to provide support to a vet in your area.

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Fundraisers (Cape Cod, February 9)

The description of this event was originally published, February 13, 2008 on the Falmouth Bulletin website. The video was originally posted to youtube on February 13, 2008


Jpe Bangert speaks in Falmouth:


United front: Anti-war activists pack Moonakis Café
By Sarah Murphy

FALMOUTH - A large crowd gathered in Moonakis Café this past Saturday but, unlike the usual patrons, those in attendance wanted more than pancakes and home fries; they were hungry for change.
Proceeds of the fundraising event will support Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, a demonstration to be held in Washington, D.C. Thursday, March 13 to Sunday, March 16.
Sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the four-day anti-war protest will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences. Panels of veterans and scholars will also cover topics such as veterans’ health benefits and support.
The fundraiser was organized by Moonakis café owner Paul Rifkin of FalmouthPeace.Org and Mike Tork of Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and FalmouthPeace.Org.
Members of Cape Codders for Peace and Justice, the Cape Cod Group of the Sierra Club and Iraq Veterans Against the War were also present to show their support.
The term Winter Soldier refers to Thomas Paine’s description of the Summer Soldier in his collection of articles, “The Crisis,” written during the American Revolutionary War.
“The Summer Soldier fights only when it’s popular, when the weather is good but the Winter Soldier fights year-round under all conditions,” Tork said.
History is repeating itself for Joe Bangert of Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
In 1971, Bangert testified with other Vietnam veterans, including current U.S. Sen. John Kerry, at the Winter Soldier Investigation. Bangert offered first-person accounts of atrocities, which he said, were committed against innocent civilians on behalf of the U.S. government in what he described as an “illegal war.”

Bangert likened the Vietnam War to the Iraq War.

> “We need to fight this beast. We need to build a base of resistance,” he said to the cheering crowd. “We’re not waiting for pie in the sky and the government process. We need to stand up and tell people what is really happening.
“This isn’t the country we want to leave our children. The American Dream has been wrenched away from us.”

Tork echoed Bangert’s sentiments.

“What is going on right now is completely illegal,” he said. “We attacked a sovereign nation. It completely violates the Geneva Conventions.”

Tork said war is not the antidote to terrorism.

“You’re not going to meet terrorism on the ground with an army. You have to fight it with diplomacy and intelligence.”
Pat Scanlon, a musician, activist and member of Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, entertained the crowd with selections from his album “Songs of Peace.”
Scanlon addressed the crowd before he sang “Young Soldier Welcome Home (I Can’t Walk in Your Boots).”
“Every time I hear George Bush say ‘Thank you for your service’ it makes me sick,” he said. “He doesn’t mean it. We really do.”
Liam Madden and Carlos Harris of Iraq Veterans Against the War represented the younger generation.
“We are people who care more about the words in the Constitution than the color of our iPod,” Madden said.

Madden described the potential impact of the D.C. protest.

“It’s not every day that ordinary people get to tell their version of history. No movement begins without the truth,” he said.
“Resistance is not controversial but going along with it is.”

Harris said he feels betrayed.

“We are out there risking our lives and to violate that trust by waging this kind of war is something you don’t recover from.”
When asked if he were optimistic that things would change, Harris said he is waiting for action.
“I can’t afford to be optimistic.”
Joan Power and Jane Richardson, members of FalmouthPeace.Org, show their concern by participating in the anti-war vigil in front of Falmouth Post Office from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday.
“I do it because I believe so strongly in the possibility of peace,” Power said.

Richardson said our government is engaged in a fruitless war.

“Winning this war is impossible,” she said. “We don’t even have a defined enemy.”
Frances Johnson and her husband, Charles, spearheaded the vigil, which started with a small group and continues to grow.
“We’re very upset about what our government is doing,” Johnson said. “We stand every week and we will continue to stand until our government stops invading other countries. Today we had 24 people out there. When the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Charles, a Korean vet, was invigorated by the enthusiasm in the room.
“I haven’t felt the spirit rising this way in a long time,” he said. “We need it. I’m encouraged.”

Upcoming Events - Take to the street March 18-19

This call to demonstrate was announced on the No War, No Warming website, no date given


Take to the street March 18-19

There will be a lot of protest activity and organizing in DC in March, and our goal is to support and compliment other organizing strategies.
Iraq Veterans Against the War is organizing veterans to come to D.C. to give testimony on March 15-16 about the U.S. role in Iraq in an event called Winter Soldier. While many other organizations are discussing their plans and various coalition efforts are underway, a network of individuals and groups is emerging around a common vision of a massive intervention, using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, to intervene and interrupt the power holders in Washington, D.C. and Corporate America.
We can draw inspiration from history and the successes of the No War, No Warming action on Capitol Hill on October 22nd where creative mobile tactics like the bike bloc, polar bear contingent and IVAW theatre, and blockades of key doors and streets, had a significant impact on the hill, got great media coverage and built excitement for what is possible when we take coordinated, determined action.
Imagine many hundreds if not thousands of people on the hill on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19, with scores of well-organized affinity groups engaging in creative action demanding:

  • An end to the Iraq war, bring the troops home now, no war with Iran!
  • A shift in resources to support war veterans, rebuild New Orleans and other communities suffering from racism and corporate greed
  • Environmental justice and alternative economic models to address poverty and create millions of green jobs in a clean energy economy

Within the context of an overall action framework united by common demands and organizing principles, different affinity groups, clusters or organizations can take responsibility for various areas around the Capitol, communicating their particular message in their own way. There could be pray-in's, bike blockades, street theater,poetry readings, puppets, speak-outs and more. Unleash your imagination!
If we begin organizing now with a goal of a thousand or more people in the streets March 18-19 willing to risk arrest, we can have a serious impact! We can then take our experience home and keep building this network and taking actions throughout this important national election year.
Do what you can to be in DC from March 15-19. Let the will of the people be felt!

IVAW News - Upcoming Events (Winter Soldier Panel at the National Conference on Organized Resistance)

Winter Soldier: The Importance of Empowering Veterans and GIs to Speak Out (Location TBA)

Description: This March, from the 13-16, Iraq Veterans Against the War will be revealing the reality of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan through public testimony. In what will be history's largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, eyewitnesses will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. It is important as allies to learn to support and empower the voices of veterans and GIs, both those willing and not yet ready, to speak out. Come learn about Winter Soldier and how to become a more effective ally to both veterans and GIs.
Panelist - Geoff Millard served 9 years with the Armed National Guard of the United States and is currently the IVAW’s Washington, DC chapter president.
(From the NROC Website. For a full list of NROC panels and workshops, click here)

Upcoming Events - National Conference on Organized Resistance

This years conference will be held in Washington DC, from March 7-9 at American University. The following description of the Conference, its history and goals is taken from their website.


About NCOR

NCOR is an annual event that brings together activists from a variety of issues, struggles, ideologies and backgrounds for a weekend of learning and reflecting on the state of progressive movements occurring locally, nationally and worldwide. Through diverse workshops, panel discussions, skillshares, tabling, and the creation of an open and safe space, NCOR seeks to promote organized action amongst participants against the injustices and inequalities that we confront in our daily lives and in the world. NCOR is held on the main campus of American University in northwest Washington, DC.

NCOR Mission Statement

Throughout the past year, resistance has thrived in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, and in our relationships. Oppressed communities organized cooperatively to subvert the systems that only serve the needs of a privileged few.
In both South Central LA and Washington DC, community resistance movements stood between developers' bulldozers and our public lands. Students organized for youth liberation, community power, and their own education. The struggle for dignity in the workplace took many forms, with organized resistance spreading in New York warehouses and Florida fields. Miners on both sides of the border suffered the tragic consequences of an un- organized workplace. The racist legal system exposed itself this year: we couldn't save Sean Bell, but we saved Kenneth Foster, and thousands marched through the streetsof Jena, LA, to save six youths there. Homophobic courts punished queer self-defense against violent bigots in New Jersey, and transfolk in Philadelphia led marches against the brutal murder of Erika Keels. US resistance movements joined forces in Atlanta at the first ever US Social Forum, and a pro-democracy movement in Burma against the military junta caught the attention of the world.
In workshops and presentations communities in struggle will share their stories and organize toward revolution in our lifetime. NCOR in its eleventh year will reflect the global in the local, because the oppressions we face in Washington DC are, on a small scale, the same as those we face everywhere. Come to DC March 7-9th with a new world in your heart.

NCOR and American University

The NCOR Club is the American University student organization that organizes NCOR with partial funding from the AU Club Council and is under the Student Activities department. As a student conference organized by a student club, we are required to function in accordance with Student Activities guidelines in regards to workshop space scheduling, food providers, tablers (no more tabling in the hallways...), financial protocols and various safety regulations. In return for working with the administration and following their guidelines, we have been able to have this conference at AU for 10 years. NCOR is only sustainable if we follow the rules that AU asks of us. They have helped accommodate many of our needs over the last several years, and we work to do the same for them.

February 17, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Iraq Veterans Against The War e-newsletter (Winter Soldier Update)

This e-newsletter - from IVAW National Office - was posted to the Action For Justice Website, Feruary 15, 2008


Iraq Veterans Against The War e-newsletter - Winter Soldier Update

IVAW is in high gear! Our members are focussed on reaching out to their active duty brothers and sisters. Our strategy is built around mobilizing the military community to withdraw its support for the war, and our members are putting that strategy into action.
Soldier, You're Not Alone
IVAW's Seattle chapter is spearheading a week of Active Duty outreach to Ft. Lewis from February 18-24, with support from the Bellingham chapter and other members in the northwest. The Seattle chapter has been very active - holding weekly meetings and working closely with GIs at Ft. Lewis to spread the word about IVAW's work to end the war. As part of this effort, the chapter is hosting a "Soldier, You're Not Alone" benefit concert on February 21st in Tacoma. All ages are welcome, and active duty servicemembers get in free with a Military ID. Spread the word!
Our fourth active duty chapter
Deep in the heart of Texas, soldiers at Ft. Hood who recently returned from Iraq have organized our fourth Active Duty chapter. Organizing an IVAW chapter on a military base isn't easy, which is why we're proud of all our members who are organizing on bases, both active duty and local veteran members who are supporting them. We welcome our newest members back from Iraq, and into the IVAW family!
Working together to build IVAW
Members in the Mountain Region are getting together for an organizing retreat February 23-24, and our members in the Los Angeles area have a retreat planned for this weekend. These retreats are organized locally to build member involvement, learn organizing skills, and sharpen IVAW's strategic impact. They're an important part of making sure that IVAW stays strong as we continue our rapid growth.
Winter Soldier Update:
Spreading the word about Winter Soldier
IVAW allies are hosting house party fundraisers from Los Angeles to Maine! Chapters of Veterans for Peace, affiliates of United for Justice with Peace, students from the Campus Anti-War Network, and labor organizers from US Labor Against the War are rallying their friends and neighbors to support Winter Soldier. All funds raised will go towards transportation and lodging for veteran, GI and civilian testifiers, and towards the live broadcast of their stories across the internet, television and radio. For information on how you can support Winter Soldier, see our How You Can Help Now page. You can find highlights from our Boston fundraising party featuring Howard Zinn and IVAW Board Member Liam Madden on our website.
Watching Winter Soldier
Public events featuring the live broadcasts of the Winter Soldier testimonies are being planned across the country. Planning an event? Be sure to post it on our site for others to see.
Making history
Winter Solider is an historic event, and our Boston area supporters are gearing up to make sure everyone can watch history in the making. That’s why a coalition of leaders in Boston’s peace and justice community want to make sure the stories told this March will be made available to everyone in their city. For more on their organizing efforts to secure a public space for all of Winter Soldier weekend, please contact Paul Shannon, [email protected]
Winter Soldier video now online
We've just posted an 18 minute preview of Winter Soldier on our site. Stop by and check it out, and pass the word - this is a great way to get people ready for the big event.
Winter Soldier is just 27 days away, and we'll have more news every week on how you can support and participate in Winter Soldier events around the country. The Winter Soldier Team is interviewing testifiers, preparing the satellite and website live feeds, and making travel and lodging arrangements for members who will join us for IVAW's biggest event to date. Many of you have stepped forward with donations to help us make this event happen, and we appreciate your support. If you haven't made a contribution to support Winter Soldier, please visit our donation page now!
Peace,
Kelly Dougherty
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War

February 15, 2008

Veterans For peace - Upcoming Events

Fundraisers and Houseparties for Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Hearings, Washington DC, March 13-16, 2008


This March, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will gather in Washington D.C. to talk about their experiences in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Members of Veterans For Peace are encouraged to hold house parties to support this endeavor. The concept is simple: find a location to have a house party, invite supportive people who can donate between $10-$100 (invite people who are not normally in your VFP circles), and educate them about the Winter Soldier campaign. Material can be acquired from IVAW and people holding house parties can get a copy of the original Winter Soldier DVD from the VFP national office.
If you are interested in holding a house party, contact Nate Goldshlag at [email protected]


  • Sunday, February 17 - 2 pm: IVAW Fundraising Houseparty, Vashon-Maury Island Green Party

Screening of the film "Winter Soldier"
A screening to raise funds for Iraq Veterans Against the War's project "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan" which will take place in Washington DC March on 13 to 16, 2008. Veteran and civilian survivors of the modern conflicts in both countries will give public testimony and share the eyewitness stories "...that have been censored from the American public about the true human cost of these wars."
Cost: A hat will be passed for donations to be sent to Iraq Veterans Against the War. Note that the library does not sanction fundraisers.


Maine Veterans For Peace invites you to a fundraising party to benefit Winter Soldier, the public war crimes investigation being organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in Washington, D.C. from March 13-16, 2008.
At Winter Soldier U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will give eyewitness testimony about the war crimes committed by their units at places like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib, atrocities which are endemic to wars of occupation directed essentially against civilian populations. "Once again, " IVAW has noted, "politicians and generals are blaming 'a few bad apples' instead of examining the U.S. military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan." Iraqi and Afghan survivors will also testify.
In order to ensure the success of Winter Soldier, IVAW must raise thousands of dollars for travel and hospitality of witnesses, and for the necessary technical support that will allow the event to be simulcast throughout the country. Maine VFP is asking you to join us to help support this historical initiative that we expect will have considerable impact in readdressing public attention to why these wars must be ended and all our troops brought home now.
Special Guest: Liam Madden will be joining us. Liam served as a Communications Electronics Specialist in the Marine Corps from January 2003 to January 2007. While enlisted he was deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Thailand, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea. During his last year in the Marines, Sergeant Madden co-founded the Appeal for Redress, a campaign of service members demanding that congress halt the war in Iraq. Liam is currently the president of the Boston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and is a student at Northeastern University.
Please join us. Mid-winter fellowship and dancing will be encouraged. There will also be a brief reading by Michael Uhl from Vietnam Awaking, a memoir which provides an account of how Vietnam veterans were organized around the issue of American war crimes in Indochina, which led to the original Winter Soldier in 1971.
Please bring a dish to share. VFP will provide non-alcoholic beverages.
Contact/RSVP: Michael Uhl - 677-6018 or Bruce Gagnon - 443-9502


Other Events

  • Sunday February 17 - VFP Chapters 007 (Los Angeles), 54 (Santa Barbara) and 112 (Ventura): Arlington West Memorial at the foot of Stearns Warf in Santa Barbara.

Arlington West Santa Monica will be set up the morning of Sunday, February 17th. Volunteers are welcome to join in the setting up and the taking down of the memorial. Setting up takes about 4 hours and we begin around 7am. The memorial is taken down beginning around 3:30pm during winter hours. Extreme weather conditions may preclude setup.
click here for more information

  • Sunday February 17, 4:30 - 5 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): Biltmore Village Peace Vigil, All Souls Episcopal Church (Asheville, NC).
  • Tuesday February 19, 5 - 6 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): VFP Peace Vigil at the Vance Memorial, Pack Square (Asheville, NC).
  • Tuesday February 19, 6 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): Run for Peace, Run for Impeachment, the Vance Memorial, Pack Square (Asheville, NC).
  • Sunday February 24 - VFP Chapters 007 (Los Angeles), 54 (Santa Barbara) and 112 (Ventura): Arlington West Memorial at the foot of Stearns Warf in Santa Barbara.
  • Sunday February 24, 4:30 - 5 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): Biltmore Village Peace Vigil, All Souls Episcopal Church (Asheville, NC).
  • Tuesday February 26, 5 - 6 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): VFP Peace Vigil at the Vance Memorial, Pack Square (Asheville, NC).
  • Tuesday February 26, 6 PM - VFP Chapter 099 (Asheville, North Carolina): Run for Peace, Run for Impeachment, the Vance Memorial, Pack Square (Asheville, NC).
  • Thursday February 28 (no time given) - VFP Chapter 93 (Washtenaw, Jackson, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Livingston Counties In Michigan): Axis of Evil Documentary.

Feature-length documentary that interviews 16 journalists, artists, scholars, and activists, including Howard Zinn, Daniel Ellsberg, Bernardine Dohrn, James Weinstein, and others, exploring the concept of evil and how it has been used to justify political and military actions.

IVAW News - Upcoming Events

Upcoming IVAW Events

Saturday February 16

  • 7:00pm: Winter Soldier Fundraising house party, 805 Brice RD, Rockville, MD<
Winter Soldier Fundraiser House party at VFP member Patrick McCann's house.
Patrick can pick anyone up from the Rockville metro on the RED line.
Chapter: Washington DC | Chapter 9
Contact: Patrick McCann
Phone: cell 240-271-2246
Contact e-mail: [email protected]
Location:P-Mac's House, 805 Brice RD, Rockville, MD

Sunday February 17

  • 10:00am: Outreach Postering Mission
We will be meeting at the IVAW office at 715 Princeton Pl NW for brunch at ten o'clock and stepping off at noon for a postering mission putting up "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" posters around Walter Reed, 8th and I, and various other locations around DC for the purpose of active duty outreach. All members and allies are welcome.

  • 2 - 5 PM: House party fundraiser for Iraq Veterans Against the War, 280 South Main Ave. Albany, NY 12208
A house party to raise funds for IVAW's project "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan" to take place in Washington DC March on 13 to 16. Veteran and civilian survivors of the conflicts in both countries will give public testimony and share the eyewitness stories "that have been censored from the American public about the true human cost of these wars." The house party will include speakers, a screening of a DVD about the project, music by John Shoemaker, and refreshments. Cost: Donation

  • 5:00pm: Brooklyn Represent: Winter Soldier Fundraiser, Vox Pop, 1022 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn NY 11218
Join us to raise funds for the NYC Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in support of their historic Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan event in March 2008. We will screen an excerpt of the 1971 film Winter Soldier followed by speakers from IVAW and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. There will also be a raffle for prizes. Tell a friend and bring a veteran!
subway: Q to Cortelyou or F to Ditmas
www.voxpopnet.net
Telephone: 718 940 2084

Wednesday February 20

  • 7:00pm: IVAW benefit, 2350 N. Kenmore 7pm at DePaul University Art Mueseum.
Benefit for IVAW, hosted by the Chicago Progressive Alliance. Screening of the film "Winter Soldier"

Thursday February 21

  • 7:00pm: Winter Soldier documentary showing, Capen Auditorium in Edwards Hall at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
The Central Illinois Chapter of IVAW is presenting the Winter Soldier Documentary to raise awareness of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan and to recruit more members for the chapter. This event is being co-sponsored by Student Peace Action Network, Bloomington Normal Citizens for Peace and Justice, The Indy, ISU Political Science Club, and more.

  • 7:00pm: Winter Soldier NYC, Ethical Culture Society, 2 West 64th St, New York
Ny_winter_soldier1

  • 7:00pm: "Soldier your not alone" Benefit Concert, Hells Kitchen, 3829 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406
Tacoma_ivaw_flyer1

Friday February 22

  • 7:00pm: IVAW Benefit at Yoga Now, 742 N. Lasalle
7:00 - Doors + Pot Luck
8:00 - Screening of “The Ground Truth
9:30 - Address and Q & A by Tyler and other IVAW members.
11 – 2 dance our collective asses off, get lifted

  • 8:30pm: IVAW - Fort Hood Housewarming, 4107 Wildwood Road, Austin, TX 78722
House Party to Benefit IVAW Chapter 38 at Ft. Hood
Featuring Fort Hood veterans and family members with an appearance by Scott Ritter.
$10 suggested donation includes food and soft drinks (please bring other beverages).
Music by Bill Passalacqua.

Wednesday February 27

  • 7:00pm: Public Viewing of original Winter Soldier Investigation film, Cinema Theater, 957 S Clinton Ave, Rochester, NY
IVAW chapter 34 will host a public viewing of the original Winter Soldier Investigation film. This event will be followed by a panel consisting of IVAW chapter 34 members, VVAW members along with other local activists from the Rochester area and surrounding

Thursday February 28

  • 6:30pm: Winter Soldier documentary showing, Joliet Public Library, 3395 Black Road, Joliet, IL 60431
The Central Illinois Chapter of IVAW is presenting the Winter Soldier Documentary to raise awareness of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan and to recruit more members for the chapter.

Friday March 7 - Sunday March 9

  • Irak Konferenz, Venue Undecided, Berlin, Germany

Monday March 10

  • 12:00pm: Stop-Loss Congress, Hart Senate Office Building, District of Colombia, District Of Columbia

Students working with the Washington Peace Center will be delivering Stop-Loss orders to members of congress and then blocking them in their offices while they are going on spring break. Contact Jay Marx, Director, Washington 202-234-2000.


2 PM: Tuesday March 18

  • Iraq Veterans Against the War (speaker event)

Join students and community at Saint Cloud State University's Little Theater in Atwood Memorial Center for an IVAW speak out. We'll be listening to the stories and thoughts of people who have witnessed Iraq first hand. These people know the atrocities and are willing to speak out. Have a problem with the war? Get out and talk about it; questions will be answered after they speak


February 14, 2008

From GI Special 6B9 - The Helmet

This issue of GI Special was distributed February 13, 2008. As soon as it is available in pdf format I will post a link


Helmet

From: J.D. Englehart, Iraq Veterans Against The War & The Military Project
To: GI Special
Sent: February 11, 2008 12:38 AM
Subject: Re: Helmet with peace sign

Thanks for the photo. This is a very powerful photo here.
A sure sign that the tide is beginning to turn.
And I don’t think I’m being idealistic about this.
Even while I was in [Iraq], you would not have made it 5 feet in public with a peace sign on your kevlar, especially one this size and so obvious.
It speaks volumes that so many of his peers and superiors allowed it for so long.
Very reminiscent of another time and another war, eh?
This is truly exciting.


GIs for peace in Vietnam

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Support Your Local GIs

The military project have a package of tools and resources to support GI resistance, including flyers and an organizing manual. Click here to visit their site and download resources.

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Here Come the Conservatives Part 5 (Colonel Riley's First Broadside)

This attack was published on the Eagles Up Website, by Co. Riley (retd.), January 12, 2008. To say he has gotten bent out shape about IVAW and the Winter Soldier Hearings would be an understatement.


Folks,

What follows, promises to be the longest single post in the short history of Eagles UP!

This entire article is under the fold, so that before you click the read more, please read the post below, sent in by our West Regional Coordinator, Doug Lyvere. It has important information about a dedicated PGR brother who had a misfortune recently. Please keep him in your prayers, and forward your sincere words of encouragement.

Now, before continuing, hit the head, grab a beer, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and then read on. This is why D.C. in March must go on.

Some of the following has been posted here before. For continuity, it is reposted in sequence with subsequent responses as follows:

Colonel Riley’s call to arms for March in D.C.
Letter to Colonel Riley from a “Dissenting Patriot”
My lame response to the Dissenting Patriot.
Colonel Riley’s rousing response to the Dissenting Patriot.
I hope you will find this worth your time. If so start or find a thread at the forum to add your comments.

Colonel Riley’s call to arms for March in D.C.

Friends,

Due to the publicized potential pull out of ANSWER and Code Pink; there is some uncertainty as to which groups will be actively supporting a D.C. Eagle action in March. Please let me assure all of you that Eagles UP remains steadfast with our plans to be in Washington, D.C in opposition to Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) Winter Soldiers, and any other rabble that shows up.

The genesis of the Eagles March action was not based on ANSWER or Code Pink activity but on IVAW plans to conduct another Winter Soldiers Testimony. The ANSWER/Code Pink activity came about following the IVAW announcement of the Winter Soldiers event and was billed as a supporting action to IVAW.

For those that don’t remember….Winter Soldiers Testimony of 1971, orchestrated by now Senator John Kerry, was the catalyst, along with Jane Fonda and other rabble, that spurred on American “surrender” in Viet Nam by our Congress, emboldened North Viet Nam leaders, was a direct betrayal, distortion, and false representation of our warriors, and a deceitful, lying, despicable testimony of what was going on in Viet Nam.

Now, IVAW is attempting to again falsely paint our warriors as less than human, killers of innocents, wanton murderers, and all the rest as they did in 1971. We won’t allow this to go unchallenged as it did in 1971………the blood, body parts, lost lives, family pain will be redeemed from the lying, anti-America, Winter Soldiers meeting….the sacrifices by our warriors and families will not be allowed to be massaged into the muck, mire, and dirty lies of the Winter Soldier crowd.

The Winter Soldiers gathering is a major event and must be acknowledged and opposed. The potential harm this group can cause should not be under estimated…..we simply cannot take a chance of ignoring their diabolical mission or giving any false, malicious findings a foothold in the insatiable press who gobbles up any kind of tainted garbage.

We will expose the Winter Soldier Testimony lies, distortions, fabrications, and anti-America testimony for what it is…….a direct attack on dishonoring our warriors and ultimately, the destruction of America.

The event in April has merit, although I think General Petraeus record of success in Iraq has already drowned out the naysayers………be that as it may, before April is March and Eagles Up will mount an effort to challenge the IVAW as originally planned.

Others have suggested the Eagles population in DC in March should be heavily supported by veterans and family members of the war in Iraq…….the hundreds of thousands that have served honorably, witnessed the bravery, compassion, and general human kindness of American warriors…mistakes are made in every war, but to falsely broad brush our brave men and women as blood thirsty, uncaring tyrants as the Winter Soldiers Testimony is poised to report, will simply not be tolerated.

We will keep you informed as planning progresses……..please visit Eagles Up frequently, register and participate in Eagles Up forum….we value you input, suggestions, and support for our nation, our troops, and honoring our fallen and families.

I would urge you to re-read Eagles Up mission/principles statement………Winter Soldiers Event is a direct attack on our troops…….we won’t allow it to go unchallenged.

Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret

Eagles Up - Where there is no offense, there is no effect.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31)

Letter to Colonel Riley from a “Dissenting Patriot”

Colonel Riley,

Sir, the purpose of the Winter Soldier project is not to broad brush our military members as brutal or to in any way diminish the humanity they have exemplified in such a stressful and morally ambiguous environment. It is intended to provide the American public an uncensored view of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. All perspectives are limited and cannot offer a complete view of reality, which is why it is important to take in the widest spectrum of views in order to come to more precise conclusions and make constructive decisions based on them.

Making choices in war can be difficult. Lives are at stake. There is a great deal of personal emotional investment at stake. But I believe our moral courage and intellectual honesty compels us to examine the validity of all views in order to make forward progress. This is often painful, but it is necessary. It is also essential to a healthy, genuine democracy.

I think we must ask ourselves what it is to be American and what it is to be anti-American. Is it American to unconditionally support the decisions of our political leaders? Is it anti-American to question and dissent under the sincere belief that certain policies are hurting our country and are a departure from our values? I think these are legimitate questions we must ask ourselves, for the sake of our country.

I must say I find your language disturbing. Are we supposed anti-Americans truly an “insurgency at home” in your eyes? I think if you were to sit and talk with some of us you will find that despite our differences we share many of the same core values, and that like you, we are struggling to understand the problems our country faces and to find solutions to those problems. Some have a perhaps naive faith in peace; some are perhaps too burdened with a sense of national guilt to appreciate the complexities of political decision-making. On the other hand, it is important to be self-reflective as a nation and not delude ourselves into a poisonous sense of self-righteousness. In any case, in my opinion we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions about each other. Let there be no broad-brushing against any side of such an important and necessary national debate.

I hope you will excuse my intrusion onto your site. I wish you good health and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Dissenting Patriot

My lame response to the Dissenting Patriot.

Dear Dissenting,
Typically, I like to simply write a response that sites one or two passages from a letter such as yours. Unfortunately, your letter is absolutely riddled with far too many quotes for my preferred method of response to be effective. Therefore, I feel compelled to simply insert my refutations at the appropriate places (in red) and summarize at the end.

Colonel Riley,

Sir, the purpose of the Winter Soldier (a name selected for it’s obvious effect of sticking a finger in the eye of all Vietnam Veterans slandered by the distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies as told by John Kerry and others in Detroit in 1971) project is not to broad brush our military members as brutal or to in any way diminish the humanity they have exemplified in such a stressful and morally ambiguous environment. Stressful… yes; but morally ambiguous? How can that be? What is ambiguous about morality in any setting? It is intended to provide the American public an uncensored view of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. All perspectives are limited and cannot offer a complete view of reality, which is why it is important to take in the widest spectrum of views in order to come to more precise conclusions and make constructive decisions based on them. Do you really believe the IVAW (baby sister to the VVAW) desires to convey the widest spectrum of views? And exactly what form of constructive decisions should we expect?

Making choices in war can be difficult. Lives are at stake. There is a great deal of personal emotional investment at stake. But I believe our moral courage and intellectual honesty compels us to examine the validity of all views in order to make forward progress. This is often painful, but it is necessary. It is also essential to a healthy, genuine democracy. You repeat yourself from the previous paragraph. It appears you are pressing this point because you know that most will find it difficult if not impossible to believe there will be any viewpoint but one that is anti-military, anti-government, and yes, by extension, anti-American.

I think we must ask ourselves what it is to be American and what it is to be anti-American. Is it American to unconditionally support the decisions of our political leaders? It is American to uphold your personal honor and to live by the oath you took when you entered the military. Is it anti-American to question and dissent under the sincere belief that certain policies are hurting our country and are a departure from our values? It is in fact anti-American, if not totally traitorous, when the nature of such public dissent is for one’s personal political benefit, acquisition of or defense of one’s political base or position, and most certainly when done in such a manner as to aid and comfort the enemy thus endangering the lives of the brothers and sisters you have forsaken.

I think these are legimitate questions we must ask ourselves, for the sake of our country.

I must say I find your language disturbing. I’m quite certain that any language which accurately identifies the true nature of those who would organize and testify at what is little more than an exercise in self-indulgence for most and perhaps a political stepping stone for a few, should be disturbing to you. Are we supposed anti-Americans truly an “insurgency at home” in your eyes? I think if you were to sit and talk with some of us you will find that despite our differences we share many of the same core values, and that like you, (obviously duty, honor, country would not be among them) we are struggling to understand the problems our country faces and to find solutions to those problems. Some have a perhaps naive faith in peace; some are perhaps too burdened with a sense of national guilt to appreciate the complexities of political decision-making. (Your obvious condescension toward those too naïve or challenged to discern the subtleties and nuance of politics is the same tired song we’ve been listening to since John Kerry first stepped into the spotlight thirty-seven years ago.) On the other hand, it is important to be self-reflective as a nation and not delude ourselves into a poisonous sense of self-righteousness. (I’m sorry we weren’t able to help you in time.) In any case, in my opinion we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions about each other. (Thirty-seven years of the same empty, self-aggrandizing rhetoric leaves very little to question, and certainly can not be considered a rush to judgment.) Let there be no broad-brushing against any side of such an important and necessary national debate. (Your sorrowful gathering of misfits and malcontents is neither important nor necessary. It’s only relevance in a national debate will be to provide just one more media circus the left loves to swarm to.)

I hope you will excuse my intrusion onto your site. I wish you good health and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Dissenting Patriot

I wish you no malice or harm. I truly feel you are to be more pitied than censored.

“These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” --Thomas Paine

The phrase “Winter Soldier,” is a mockery of one of America’s greatest patriots. Your cheap sideshow this spring is a mockery of every serviceman and servicewoman who ever wore our country’s uniform.

Eagles UP!

Michael A. Connelly

Colonel Riley’s rousing response to the Dissenting Patriot.

To Dissenting Patriot,

My first question is "what is Winter Soldier II all about? Exactly what is your view? You think my language is disturbing? I wish you had been with me in my fox-hole in 1969 and you would really understand something disturbing.

This is not about agreeing or disagreeing with policy of the US government, it is about defeating a ruthless, barbaric, murdering bunch of hate-filled Islamic killers.

Whether the war is right or not, we're in it and to surrender would only embolden the enemy as it did in Viet Nam and hasten the destruction of America.

Is Winter Soldier Testimony giving any consideration to gathering evidence on the atrocities of these Islamic killers? Are you going to be fair and balanced and show pictures of the desecrated bodies of all the women, children, helpless and innocent bystanders that have been blown to bits by car bombs, IED devices in Iraq and Afghanistan? Not to mention what has been done to American warriors and civilians.

Don't you realize the Islamic radicals have been hitting America for decades? They have been killing our troops in their barracks, bombing our embassies, blowing up our planes; attacking our ships.....you want an event that will dwarf 9-11? Get weak knees and watch a major city disintegrate taking millions of lives....is there any doubt in your mind the Islamic butchers won't do it if we show weakness?

Would a nuclear detonation in one of our cities be enough to convince you the enemy is real and it's not America? Or would you be one of the arm-chair quarterbacks and complain the leadership should have taken pre-emptive action?

Are you sympathetic to the Taliban and al Qaeda butchers?

Have you forgotten these killers flew our own passenger planes into the twin towers in New York city, the Pentagon, and would have hit the US Capitol or White House had it not been for Americans willing to lay down their lives and cause the fourth plane to crash?

Given what I have experienced by the so-called anti-war movement (and let me ensure you understand that as a warrior, I speak for 99% of all warriors... we are more anti-war than anyone) nothing good will likely come from the planned Winter Soldier II event in Washington DC in March.

The hand-writing is on the wall...WSII is looking for anyone that will confess to any type war-crime whether true or false....mistakes have been made, I recognize that and it happens in all wars.....the WS in 1971 was filled with testimony that was totally false, full of fabrications, distortions, and much from people who had never served in the military.

John Kerry and Jane Fonda should have faced prosecution and still be in prison...my friend served almost six years in the Hanoi Hilton and was aware of Jane Fonda's presence nearby...Kerry and Fonda and other of the "anti-war" movement through their despicable lies were able to convince gutless politicians to surrender the war in Viet Nam that our American warriors had won.

We were spit on, hit with tomatoes, ridiculed, called baby killers, simply because we honored our oath and performed our duty. Did we want to be in South East Asia.........no, but America called, we went.

Winter Soldier has a reputation void of truth and we who hold a different view of America and what she's about will not allow Winter Soldier, ANSWER, Code Pink, CAIR, or any other movement to subject this generation of warriors to the same dishonorable accusations, false testimony, anti-troop bigotry, that destroys the morale, their fighting spirit and puts the security of America in jeopardy.

No one had my back when I and millions more served in Viet Nam...no one spoke up for us...the anti-war movement had free reign of the streets with their despicable messages of surrender, no one challenged the unfounded lies, but no more.

Eagles are soaring and will descend on Washington DC again March 15 by the tens of thousands...we will counter WSII, ANSWER, Code Pink, CAIR, with a

message that America is worth fighting for...just for the record, I'd go to Iraq in a minute if called.

I've had enough of the whining, shrill surrender message and so has the majority of America...it's too bad the majority are too damn lazy to get off their asses and standup for their nation.

God bless our troops and their families.

Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret

http://www.eaglesup.us - Where there is no offense, there is no effect.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Winter Soldier Investigation (1971) - Complete Transcripts of the Original Hearings

I am so tired of reading the innuendos and attacks on the participants in the original Winter Soldier Hearings, and by implication the upcoming Winter Soldier Hearings that I have decided to provide links to the transcript of the original events. Before passing judgement on those who participated in the original event as well as those who are going to participate in the upcoming hearings, why not spend a few hours reading and listening to what they said 37 years ago.
Thanks James


Complete Transcript of the Original Winter Soldier Hearings

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Here Come the Conservatives Part 4 (Colonel Riley is Going to Save the American Soul)

This article, by Col. Harry Riley, was originally published on the Eagles Up Website, February 4, 2008


Our nations best interests, our military appreciation, and honor for our fallen and families, by government bureaucrats and Americans in general continues to deteriorate.
Just a few recent events should be enough to make reasonable America wake up and take notice.
Most recent is the despicable decision by Berkeley, CA City Council to rail against our Marine recruiters and side with a communist based group of women called Code Pink, that don't know their posterior from a hole in ground. The Berkeley City Council openly and formally view our Marine recruiters with disdain, a nuisance, scream for the Marines removal, and assail them as liars, while embracing the misfits of Code Pink.
Recently in Okaloosa County, Florida, a retired Colonel was preparing to board a commercial airline and was told his military identification card was not acceptable as personal proof to board the aircraft. The Colonel took exception but eventually was required to use another form of proof...he used his "concealed weapons" permit to gain access to the aircraft.
The Department of Transportation says personnel at Oakland International Airport did not act illegally when they denied 200 Marines and soldiers returning from Iraq access to the passenger terminal last September. Instead, according to DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovell III, a breakdown in communications between the Department of Defense and Homeland Security officials resulted in the screw-up. Warriors returning from the war zone, their life on the line for a year or so, can't get into an American airport terminal! And DOT calls it a "screw-up"...well it's more than a screw-up, it's incompetence and purposeful opposition to policy but the warriors who bleed, lose body parts, and die, suffer the brunt.
In March, Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) have scheduled Winter Soldiers II Testimony, with the intent of gathering together anyone that will testify to "war crimes"....and it appears they are willing to entertain any veteran. As those of us of the Viet Nam era well remember, the 1971 Winter Soldier Testimony led by now Senator Kerry was nothing short of a fabricated, distorted, deceitful arrangement of lies. Kerry presented the false testimony, none under oath to the US Congress who had an insatiable appetite for anything to discredit the Viet Nam war.
Now, my rub comes with regard to ordinary Americans who seem oblivious, uninformed, an attitude of "let someone else do it", or just plain willing to sit by and allow our nation, our troops, our fallen to be denigrated, physically desecrated, and generally dishonored.
It is useful to write letters to elected officials, send email to leadership, even fax our leaders, make phone calls, sign petitions, and other forms of communications, but you know what? They don't pay attention to these impersonal means of protest........America needs to come to the recognition that we must sound the alarm, rise off the couch, put our boots on, and meet those that have a goal of America's destruction face to face, head -on. It's one thing to voice a position but the tactic that works is "boots on the ground"...we must show up, stand shoulder to shoulder, locked arms in solidarity and determined that America, our troops, and our fallen and families support is the only acceptable message.
No one stood up when John Kerry and his lying malcontents dishonored America and out troops and we know what happened...America lost a war in Viet Nam that we had already won...lying Winter Soldiers and gutless politicians sold out America and millions in South East Asia.
ask you, everyone you know, everyone your email list knows, are we going to let Winter Soldiers II Testimony in March 2008 do what Winter Soldier Testimony in 1971 did to us? Taint, denigrate, dishonor another generation of warriors fighting for America, with testimony concocted from the evil imagination of a few malcontents? Are we going to allow the insidious attitude in government circles by bureaucrats lower our warriors as second class citizens, not letting them in the airport, discrediting military identification cards as so much plastic, allowing government leadership to side with those that have America's destruction as their goal? Not me........not Eagles.........
If you feel as we do, then plan to be in Washington, DC 14 and 15 March to challenge the Winter Soldiers II Testimony to be truthful, under oath, and public. In addition to the Winter Soldier II challenge, EAGLES MUSTER march will also be conducted on March 15. We would hope Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be leading our march in honor of the current generation of warriors.
Right now Eagles Up has submitted a permit with the National Park Service in Washington, DC for a march on March 15, 2008 to voice our support for our nation, our warriors, and honor to our fallen, MIA and families. Our permit has not been approved at this point but it will start at the "Ellipse to the south of the White House...marching down Pennsylvania Ave. and ending at the grassy area bordered by 3rd St.and the reflecting pool at the Capitol building".
www.eaglesup.us and other sites will have information on both events as we draw nearer to March 14 and 15........keep in touch. Make your plans now...lodging information is at www.eaglesup.us
NEVER AGAIN...........
Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Here Come the Conservatives Part 3 Iraq Veterans Attempt 'Winter Soldier' Reenactment

This critique of the Winter Soldier Hearings, by Ronald Winter, was published at the Human Events Website, February 12, 2008


Lost in the shuffle of national politics, snuggled in the underbelly of the anti-war movement, a small group of disgruntled Iraq war veterans -- who may or may not really be veterans -- is attempting to recreate John Kerry’s most despicable betrayal of the Vietnam generation.
The group, Iraq Veterans Against the War, is imitating Kerry’s discredited Vietnam Veterans Against the War by planning a “Winter Soldier inquiry” in March, using a format that is similar to Kerry’s phony Winter Soldier inquiry a generation ago.
In the original Winter Soldier “investigation” on January 31, 1971, members of VVAW met in a Detroit hotel where, during the next three days, more than 100 people who claimed they were Vietnam combat veterans, “testified” to routinely, under orders and as a matter of policy, committing or witnessing atrocities in South Vietnam.
Partly as a result of media coverage of that travesty, Kerry’s group was successful (for a time) in branding Americans who served in Vietnam as war criminals, and tarnishing the image of the American military.
The imitation IVAW Winter Soldier event will be held March 13, 2008, at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. This time however, the generic allegations of murder and other atrocities will not go challenged.
Veterans, both from the Vietnam and current eras, are understandably outraged that once again the American left is working to discredit the honorable service of our military with phony claims of atrocities willingly committed by troops who apparently are either mentally unstable or intellectually unable to differentiate between right and wrong.
Among the organizations working to oppose the IVAW is Eagles Up, headed by Col. Harry Riley, US Army (ret.), a decorated Vietnam veteran and organizer of the highly successful Gathering of Eagles counter-demonstration that opposed Cindy Sheehan and the ANSWER coalition in D.C., on March 17, 2007. Riley is now sponsoring Eagles Muster.
Riley states on his website “No one stood up when John Kerry and his lying malcontents dishonored America and our troops and we know what happened ... lying Winter Soldiers and gutless politicians sold out America and millions in South East Asia.”
Yet, despite the anger of those who support the troops and plan to make a showing in Washington next month, Kerry’s spawn may be doing America a huge favor.
It was years after the false testimony alleging widespread war crimes in Vietnam before Americans learned the truth. By then, South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia had fallen to the communists with whom the VVAW was allied. Only after the damage had been done did the truth leak out, that the overwhelming majority of Kerry’s “winter soldiers” had either not been in the service, not in Vietnam or not in the capacity they claimed.
But this time, the truth will probably be proved and published immediately. Kerry’s clones are publicizing their efforts widely, and even providing the names of troops who say they committed war crimes while in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Suppose America takes their stories at face value? If we do, we have first-hand evidence of criminals who have infiltrated our military, committed crimes against the populaces of Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of America, and thus should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and international law.
Even before that, we need complete identity packages on all who testify. IVAW organizers say they are hoping 100 such criminals will participate. Rather than follow the John Kerry model of alleging very specific and horrific crimes, committed by vague individuals in uncertain times and places, this time there should be specifics.
We must demand that each “witness” who testifies to war crimes be identified by their full name, instant electronic fingerprint checks to corroborate identities, dates of service including time in Iraq or Afghanistan, the job they were assigned while in the military, their chain of command, including immediate supervisors both enlisted and officers, and the time, date, and location of the alleged atrocity.
Some material distributed by the IVAW or its supporting organizations says that lower ranking enlisted men and officers should not be identified to encourage them to testify. We cannot allow them to get away with that. This format flies in the face of each American’s constitutional right to face his or her accusers.
In this case, the IVAW is claiming President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other members of their administration also are war criminals. Thus members of the administration retain their basic constitutional right to face those who are making such claims, just as their accusers have an obligation to be very specific about their allegations.
In addition, the Nuremberg trials against Nazis who murdered millions in World War II established that “I was only following orders” is not an excuse for committing war crimes.
The Nuremberg Principles state in Principle IV, "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." This also nullifies the claim that war crime participants are innocent because they view the Iraq War as an illegal War of Aggression, also defined in the principles.
America maintains volunteer armed forces, thus everyone has a moral choice to serve or not.
If the IVAW wants any credibility in this venture, it must specifically identify the people who are claiming they participated in war crimes. Those claiming they witnessed war crimes, and did nothing to stop these heinous crimes, should be prosecuted as accessories.
America cannot allow another generation of its honorable warriors to be falsely accused, nor for a small minority who may have committed crimes while on duty in the war zones to go unpunished. If they are posers they should be exposed under the Stolen Valor Act, and if they participated in crimes against humanity they should be prosecuted.
Winter Solider participants who testify to committing crimes against the civilian populace in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere should be referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be charged with war crimes for their actions. In fact, since Kerry is their model and mentor, and he is such a strong proponent of International Law superseding American laws, it is feasible that members of this generation’s Winter Soldier investigation could opt to be referred to The Hague for prosecution.
Of course, in that case it would only appropriate to read such participants their rights under the Slobodan Milosevic Doctrine.

Where Is the outrage 62 - Shame on all of us

This article, by John Walsh, was originally published at Counterpunch, February 12, 2008. What is sadly missing from his analysis is any mention of the burgeoning GI Movement.


Antiwarriors: Divided and Conquered

There is an enormous antiwar majority in this country--upwards of 70%. And yet the war goes on and on and on. Who is to blame? We could blame the denizens of the two war parties in Congress. The leading Republican and Democrat presidential candidates have a record - and without exception it is a prowar record. McCain froths at the mouth at the prospect of more war. Hillary was there from the beginning and has voted yea on every prowar resolution in the Senate--from authorizing the war to voting for the trillions that have been used to fund the damned thing.
Comparing the votes of Edwards and Obama is especially instructive. When Edwards had a vote in the Senate, his votes declared him prowar. Once without a vote, he said he was against the war - but there was no voting record to show it. He was for it before he was against it. Obama's record is even less defensible. He said he was against the war until he had a Senate vote. Then he voted for each and every prowar appropriation. Hence, Obama was against it before he was for it. In every case, give them a vote and they vote to kill.
But what about the rest of us? We know that the world is bristling with nuclear weapons; and wars and a war mentality threaten us with their use. Nuclear winter threatens all higher life with extinction, and nuclear winter is still all too possible. In fact nuclear winter would make global warming look like a kiddy sandbox.
And beyond the threat to our very survival, empire and the wars that spring from it threaten our civil and political liberties, without which no change, no progress is possible. The Libertarians especially have raised the point that, once empire crowds out a republic, then the days of liberty are gone. The paleoconservatives agree. And the progressives also agree, recognizing as well that valued social programs cannot be funded with enormous wealth plowed into our empire of 757 foreign military bases and 969 domestic bases, none designed for defense but instead for offense to "project power" throughout the empire.
With such strong and varied antiwar sentiment, is it not remarkable that the antiwar movement has come to nothing? Our country is now embroiled in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in countries on Russia's perimeter, in Iran, in many parts of Africa and elsewhere. And the war parties, Democrat and Republican, are itching for a fight with China. Altogether the situation is pretty miserable.
So why the great gap between popular sentiment and effective antiwar action? I submit that the war parties, Democrat and Republican, very effectively use a divide and conquer tactic--and the antiwar forces play into it, usually quite eagerly. So when some on the left have good things to say about Ron Paul, the sterile lefty ideologues quickly change the subject. If that does not work, those who speak favorably of Paul are excoriated for being right wingers in our innermost thoughts, which we ourselves cannot plumb, we are told, although the psychoanalysts of the left can. And if that does not work, the thought nannies tell us that Ron Paul is a Nazi, another Hitler, who is to be opposed at all costs. That kind of stuff emanates especially strongly from the precincts of the New Republic, which has been calling for Paul's head ever since he dared say "AIPAC" in public. In so doing the asps at TNR are merely repeating the hate campaign against Pat Buchanan whom they and their allies at the National Review labeled an anti-Semite. And so the antiwar left is manipulated into avoiding alliances, which might actually make some headway. Thus we have the spectacle of progressives who eschew alliances that might make--well, progress.
The same is true on the other side. The Paleos and to a lesser degree the Libertarians cannot put aside differences with Greens and other leftists long enough to make headway against war and empire. As soon as common cause begins to be made, then the specter of increased social spending is raised by the Libertarians and of creeping secularism by the Paleos. Because everyone wants only allies that are in complete agreement, no alliances are made. And presto, the ruling war parties have divided and conquered.
Such behavior on the part of the antiwar movement is childish in the extreme. For the sake of ideological purity, we give up on making common cause with others who agree with us only in part. For an impossibly long shot at gaining everything, we sacrifice gaining the most important thing at the moment--an end to war and empire. That is not politics. That is theology--or perhaps more accurately the behavior of spoiled kids. Or perhaps even more accurately behavior unencumbered by the thought process. And it is boring to boot. The crowd one hangs with has all the answers to every question; and no matter how much reality shifts, as with the end of the Cold War, the answers remain the same.
So what is to be done? It is time for the various antiwar groupings and ideologies to get together and to do so in a way that can have an effect on the '08 elections. First we have to begin a conversation to decide on a course of action. And we must do it soon. So far the only places that seem willing to host such a conversation are CounterPunch.com, Antiwar.com and The American Conservative (TAC). There are also lots of smaller grass roots groups like AntiwarLeague.com and the Second Vermont Republic, which have made strides at unifying the various antiwar factions. It is clear, however, that UFPJ, ANSWER, "P"DA, The Nation and others will never serve this function. They will put loyalty to the Democrat Party over all else. Nor will the DemoGreens or the inside the beltway Libertarians ensconced in their high-priced digs at Cato act to break down barriers. They too put party, whether Democrat or Republican, first.
Perhaps with more debate revolving around the question of how we, the antiwar majority, are effectively marginalized, we can move forward. But to do so we all have to suspend some of our ideological certainties and stereotypes of the other and concede that there are more things in heaven and earth than we have dreamed of--or at least embraced in our theories. And we may find we have more in common than we thought. Why not do this? We have nothing to lose and much to gain. So let us hope that this discussion can begin in earnest. And let's move fast; 2008 is slipping away.

February 13, 2008

Battle of Berkeley - Defending the Marines from Pinkos and peaceniks

The rumble in Berkeley, between those vicious angry peaceniks and pinkos , who make up Code Pink, and the few and the proud, the Marine Corps has been largely ignored by the mainstream media but become an obsession among those who brought you the Bush Presidency and the war in Iraq. Reading their descriptions of the battle for Berkeley makes it seem as though that city is awash with al-quaedistas who are picking on the poor old Marine Corps and the patriots who rushed to their defense. Here for example, is the description of the Battle of Berkeley, from FreedomsWatch.org, February 13, 2008.


If I were a headline writer I would describe the situation as CHAOS AND ANARCHY IN BERKELEY today.
Not by our side –by the Marine haters and American traitors.
The cops were openly hostile toward the people who showed up at 5:00 a.m., never stepping in to protect the patriots from the assaults that took place against elderly folks, Gold Star parents, Blue Star families and Joe and Jane Citizen who were waving the flags and showing their pride in the Marines. The police allowed hundreds of Berkeley High School kids (accompanied by their teachers) to gather with CodePink, receive their mandatory face masks and F---k Bush t-shirts, and allowed them to mill around our PA where they tried to cut the power cords to the system.
Berkeley police repeatedly allowed CodePink to violate our permits, and never lifted a finger to stop their crowd from interfering with our activities until the very end, after we screamed blue bloody hell.
When Catherine Moy, the Executive Director of MAF called the police to tell them a riot was erupting in the early hours –THEY HUNG UP ON HER.
Cat called the Highway Patrol, who referred her back to the Berkeley police –WHO HUNG UP ON HER.
It was positively shameful.
Move America Forward’s attorney Jim Sweeney took depositions from ten people who were assaulted by CodePink, International A.N.S.W.E.R. and socialists who showed up en masse.
The City Council has been notified by fax that we are filing a federal lawsuit for deprivation of our civil rights.
We didn’t start this fight, but we are damn sure gonna finish it.
The pro-troops demonstration is still going strong at 7:30 p.m. PST, with all streets around the Berkeley City Council closed off as the CodePinkos continue to receive preferential treatment by the Berkeley PD.
Move America Forward’s sound permit was turned off at 5:00 in the afternoon, while the Pinkos were allowed to use their system to sing Kumbaya and other 60’s peace chants.
Berkeley, the birthplace of free speech, is now officially the center of intolerant hatred for anyone who sticks up for the men and women who are fighting and dying to protect THEIR rights.
Before our sound system was nearly sabotaged, a young man posing as a pro-troop supporter asked to speak to the crowd. I allowed him to talk (about his family’s ‘service’, when he started spewing obscenities about the ‘illegal, immoral, unjust war’ . I grabbed the microphone back, and he tried to clobber me with it.
Gold Star Dad Mark Crowley knocked him to the ground, where he found a faceful of dirt to keep him company.
Our side sang God Bless America, America the beautiful and other stirring songs that seemed to enrage the elderly commies.
25,000 petitions were collected by Move America Forward with the help of other pro-troops groups like Gathering of Eagles, EaglesUp, Vets for Freedom and others. There were Eagles EVERYWHERE today. And Patriot Guard Riders. And American Legion vets. And members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
5,000 petition signatures were also collected by an organization in Washington headed by Nicholas Provenzano, who flew out to Berkeley on the red-eye to deliver to the City Council announcing an economic boycott of Berkeley until it reverses it shameful treatment of our Marines.
Red, White and Blue Americans rushed to our side from Atlanta, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, San Diego, and other parts of the United States.
Our crowds numbered into the thousands throughout the day.
So gratifying. So humbling.
People of all ages, races, and political backgrounds (yes even some incensed liberals) honored our active duty service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in other parts around the world.
We spoke of the sacrifice and the nobility of the military families who support their sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
And we gave a HOOO-AWW especially to our Marines, who find themselves prevented from speaking while under assault, not from a evil enemy abroad, but from the insurgents here at home.
We should be proud and exhilarated by the turn-out and passion of so many people who set aside their lives, showed up, and spoke out.
I don’t know what will happen with the Berkeley City Council, but I would be you that dollars to donuts, they’ll issue some mealy-mouthed WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS, JUST NOT THEIR MISSION crap, and then keep in place all the restrictions that make recruiting on Shattuck avenue all but impossible.
I have no idea how the media will portray this historic event –I can only tell you that 3 TV helicopters were overhead almost all day long, every major media outlet in the Bay Area, as well as national TV and print reporters–but OUR people spoke eloquently, passionately, and with conviction about the hateful attitude that the City of Berkeley has displayed toward the USMC.

February 12, 2008

Protesters off to early start outside Berkeley City Council chambers

This article was posted this morning by the San Jose mercury News. What is odd about their description is the use of peaceniks to describe those opposed to the presence of the Marine recruiters in Berkeley.


A pre-dawn confrontation broke out this morning in Berkeley between peaceniks and pro military groups, more than 12 hours before the City Council considers to rescind its statement telling the U.S. Marines they're unwelcome in this leftie town.
Police were forced to form a line between the two groups to keep them apart shortly after 6 a.m. at the park across Martin Luther King Jr. Way from old City Hall, where the City Council meets.
An hour and a half later, the shouting continued, but there had been no arrests, a police dispatcher said. The Berkeley City Council tonight is scheduled to revisit the council's Jan. 29 approval of a resolution calling the U.S. Marines' recruiting office on Shattuck Avenue "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." The vote was 6-3 in favor.
The 6-3 vote on that item caused a nationwide backlash against the city, prompting Republicans in Washington and Sacramento to introduce legislation to take away money for things like school lunches and police communications equipment.
Just about every City Council meeting in Berkeley includes protesters who show support or disdain for whatever is on the agenda.
But tonight, the city is likely to host the mother of all meetings in its recent history. Councilman Gordon Wozniak, who opposed the council's actions two weeks ago on the recruiting station, said he received 26,000 e-mails on the subject in the past 10 days (24,000 supporting the Marines, 2,000 against), and he is just one of nine council members.
"On a hot issue, we sometimes get a couple hundred e-mails," Wozniak said. "I've never seen anything like this. I'm getting one every five minutes. It's huge."
Today's protests could bring upwards of 500 people from both sides. And hundreds of union members also are expected at the meeting to protest a separate item seeking to regulate a local steel foundry. Sacramento-based Move America Forward and a handful of other pro-military organizations are set to have several hundred protesters in front of council chambers starting at 5 a.m. On the other side, Code Pink, a women's peace organization, was planning to camp out for 24 hours to argue the U.S. Marines should get out of town.
Meanwhile, union workers are protesting a move to put restrictions on Pacific Steel Casting, which many in Berkeley blame for a persistent odor and health problems in some neighborhoods.
All that for a meeting space with a capacity of 123.
To accommodate tonight's expected crowd of protesters and reporters, the city will broadcast the meeting outside on speakers.
Move America Forward is already unhappy with what council members are not planning to do - rescinding four other items the council passed that are seen as a swipe at the Marines. Those items asked the city attorney to investigate whether the Marines are violating city law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation; urged people to 'impede' the recruiting work of the Marines in Berkeley; and gave Code Pink a free parking space and sound permit to protest once a week in front of the recruiting station.
The proposal by council members Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli to rescind the item sending the Marines a letter asking them to leave is No. 25 of 28 items on tonight's agenda, and could come up for debate near midnight. What's more, pro-military supporters will have to sit through another item likely to make them seethe: urging Canada to provide sanctuary for U.S. military war resisters.
"Our organization has taken a stand that the council needs to apologize and rescind all the resolutions," said Danny Gonzalez, communications director for Move America Forward. "We can only hope that one of the council members has the sense to make a change and re-evaluate their stance on all the issues." By only rescinding the one item, the council, in effect, is still "attempting to get the Marines to leave," Gonzalez said.
"They're just trying to get the heat off, and that's not going to work," Gonzalez said. "It's empty; it's not a genuine apology."
Code Pink is going to the meeting to thank the council for its actions against the recruiting station. "We're so pleased the council is taking a strong stand for peace, and we intend to be there in full force to let them know we support them," said Zanne Joi, a Code Pink activist. "We trust the council will not be swayed by this vicious right-wing attack."
Joi said the reaction by people across the country angry the council asked the Marines to leave town shows the tide of public sentiment has long since turned against the war in Iraq.
"This violent reaction of the pro-war forces shows how threatened they are by a small group of people working against recruitment," Joi said. "They claim the Marines fought for our freedom of speech, and how dare we use our freedom of speech against them."

February 11, 2008

IVAW News - James Circello invites President Bush to Attend Winter Soldier Hearings

Posted to AfterDowningStreet.org, January 31, 2008.


To George Bush and the all the other members of his Criminal Administration:
You have been formally invited to the Winter Soldier Investigations being held in D.C. this March by the Iraq Veterans Against the War! We hope to see you there.
Unfortunately you have refused to respond to my last letter, but I have again decided to write you. I now realize it isn't customary or even required to respond to attacks or questions from your employer. You must remember me, I wrote you a huge letter telling you why I would no longer fight in your Wars of Aggression.
You didn't respond. I knew you wouldn't. You just keep that stupid smirk on your face, pronounce some (well.. a lot of) words wrong, continue waving the Crusader's banner and pretend you are doing the work of God.

You, Mr. Bush, are an incredible piece of work.
Admired by few, Hated by so many, how do you sleep at night?

I ask this same question to your entire Administration.
I ask this same question to those that ate from your table and resigned in disgrace and shame.

How dare you, Mr. Bush, in your State of the Union address, claim:

"In the work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that made our nation great. As Americans, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. We believe that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens. And so in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free peoples to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives for their futures."

The "free peoples" of the United States of America have with a clear and mighty voiced demanded your resignation.
They have demanded Congress to begin Impeachment proceedings.
They have demanded an end to - your legacy and greatest failure - your War of Terror.

You, Mr. Bush, are not my President.
You are the Terror that faces this great Nation.

God told me this morning that when history is written, there will be an asterisk next to your name. Is it even fitting to call you the Leader of the Free World?
You are a joke and the reason America is looked down upon.

The people of America will dance in the streets the moment you leave office. The only tears that fall will be from your eyes, when you realize that you will never again be able to walk down any street in America without being called a War Criminal.

I pray that you decide to make a trip to France, and while there you are picked up and arrested for your Crimes against Peace.

Mr. Bush, you have left nothing to be proud of.
Even your father did a better job as President. And he was only around for four years.

At least when he declared war on a country, he made sure it was legal first.
And he listened to his advisors and generals.

You however, have a habit of listening to only those advisors or generals that say what you want to hear, all while pushing the other individuals out of the picture.
Very clever.

In March, the Iraq Veterans Against the War, as well as other Veteran organizations will make their way into the streets and buildings of D.C. to tell the American people what your war was done to them and the people of the Middle East.
They will testify, much like the Vietnam Veterans Against the War did over 30 years ago. They will tell the things you try to keep hidden. They will tell America what you don't want told.
I openly invite you to attend the hearings.

Congressional Men and Women, Generals, Diplomats, Justices, you are invited as well.
I don't need to invite the Gathering of Eagles (red arm bands, reminiscent of the Nazi arm bands, and all) because I know they will be there.

I can be sure that the Gathering of Eagles will also try to intimidate individuals through violence, as they did when they assaulted my dear friend Carlos Arredondo.
And I can be sure that these same individuals will be on the White House lawn shaking hands with Mr. Bush just days after assaulting my dear friend Carlos Arredondo.
Oh, this is true.

So, Mr. Bush, call in your Gathering of Eagle thugs and make sure you fund them well with your war profits, but please keep Dick away. He's scary.

Sincerely Goodbye,
James Circello; Iraq Veterans Against the War

For more information on the Winter Soldier Investigations go to: http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier
P.S. Thankfully we never have to listen to you blunder your way through another State of the Union address. They are always painful.
P.S. I know many of your elites have resigned so they could be pardoned by you and have now vanished, but they are welcome to come to the party as well.
Thank you.

IVAW News - Iraq Veterans Against the War speaking in Tacoma

Eric Salazar, a marine crew chief during OIF and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War with Chanan Suarezdiaz, a Navy Medic with marine corps infantry during OIF 2 and the Seattle Chapter 8 president of IVAW will be speaking at the University of Puget Sound.
Feb. 15, 2008 at 5:30pm
Trimble Forum, University of Puget Sound, 1500 North Warner, Tacoma

Free! Donations to IVAW will be accepted.

IVAW Blog Post - James Circello Responds to

This was originally published on the IVAW website, February 1, 2008. It offers a wonderful antidote to all the chicken hawks who are accusing, most often anonymously, IVAW of being fake soldiers. I can not imagine what it feels like to be ordered to a foreign country and violate every moral code you have been taught since childhood, not the least of which is "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Furthermore, and even less fathomable is how you must feel upon your return, when you decide to speak out about what you have done, you are attacked and your honor and integrity impugned by people who never had the balls to put themselves on the firing line.


James Circello Admits To Being a Traitor, Live on National Television! (And So Can You!)

To the Men and Women who wear America's freest colors,
To The Red, White and Blue, To The Gathering of Eagles,
To LT Emerson,
To Every Anonymous commenter,
Here is the apology you have been waiting for:

It has come time for me to admit my faults. I have tried answering comment after comment on message boards across the length of the internet (internets if you're George Bush), but I have trouble responding to everything.
Some people have nothing but nice things to say about me. Some people wish me death.
And though I sincerely do not fear for my death, I find it quite strange that people would wish death upon someone asking for peace in the world and an end to bloodshed and yet at the same time elevate a tyrant, such as George Bush, to near sainthood.
So this has made me think about my decision over this last year.
The insults I have had directed at me is something that I will never get used to.
I have been called a Traitor to my country and a Traitor to my family, by my Step Father. A wonderful man but still somehow thinks the world is in such a crisis by this new wave of Islamo-Fascist Extremism, or whatever McCain calls it (by the way, McCain, you're a joke). As if somehow this hatred for the West has just appeared and we have done nothing to provoke it. But maybe that is the case. Maybe America isn't to blame for the world's problems. So, I have battled with my conscience and I am ready to come before you as a changed man.
Okay, here I go. I submit. You are right. America is the greatest country on the planet. And I, James Circello, am a traitor. I deserted Legion Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry while serving on the front lines of this War on Terrorism in 2007. If I wouldn't have listened to those Vietnam Veterans that opposed their genocidal occupation of Southeastern Asia during the 1960's and 70's, I probably wouldn't have done what I have done. I let garbage and filth corrupt my mind.
If only I had access to Youtube.com and was able to play loops of George W. Bush speeches, I would have known who the real enemy was. "The Terra-ists"
I regret that I have to admit it to myself and to the Iraq Veterans Against the War that what I have said is nothing more than half truths and lies, the liberal media brainwashing machine has affected my thinking and manipulated me in such a way that I found myself on television talking about the horrible things that members of my unit had done during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
Forgive me, the 2003 LIBERATION of Iraq. I need to get my head back on straight. It wasn't an Invasion, we brought them Democracy. Okay. I have it now.
Okay, I too now have realized that the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees that I spoke of wasn't mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at all. I understand that under the Bush administration, they weren't Prionsers of War and don't deserve the right of the Geneva Conventions. These people that were mistreated were obviously Al-Qaeda and were on their way to get a bus ticket to the U.S.A. to probably spread their crazy religion and blow something up.
Thankfully I was in a unit with certain individuals that recognized this and roughed them up a little bit just so those Al-Qaeda would know who's the boss.
I realize now that when a certain Squad Leader in my platoon shot a man in the back it was only because he feared for his life that this particular man, that he knew to be unarmed, probably had a suicide bomb strapped to his chest and he was running all the way to Boston. Thankfully he was such a great shot.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't deploy to the mountains of Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 2005. Again the Brigade brought Freedom and Democracy to the People of Afghanistan. What I thought to be a War Crime, turns out was just good old fashioned Texas Justice.
You might not remember this, because most of us in America have short term memories and the liberal media uses that fact to their advantage, but those Communists in the media played video of some guys from Legion Company burning the dead bodies of some Taliban fighters. I know that I am not the first person to tell you that "All is fair in Love and War", so what was the problem with burning this Al-Qaeda Islamo-Fascists?
At the time I thought it was monstrous to say the things that they did to the nearby village. I'll put the article here for you to read. You'll forget about it in 5 minutes anyway:


Film Rolls as Troops Burn Dead By Tom Allard (of the Liberal Media) October 19, 2005
US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions.
An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed the burning of the bodies.
It also filmed a US Army psychological operations unit broadcasting a message boasting of the burnt corpses into a village believed to be harbouring Taliban.
According to an SBS translation of the message, delivered in the local language, the soldiers accused Taliban fighters near Kandahar of being "cowardly dogs". "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be," the message reportedly said.
"You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."
The burning of a body is a deep insult to Muslims. Islam requires burial within 24 hours.
Under the Geneva conventions the burial of war dead "should be honourable, and, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which the deceased belonged".
US soldiers said they burnt the bodies for hygiene reasons but two reporters, Stephen Dupont and John Martinkus, said the explanation was unbelievable, given they were in an isolated area.
SBS said Australian special forces in Afghanistan were operating from the same base as the US soldiers involved in the incident, although no Australians took part in the action.
The incident is reminiscent of the psychological techniques used in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.


I am back. Have you forgotten about the incident yet? Well, I have. It was easy to forget when I realized this was just your average High School prank. I mean who is really offended by the term "lady boys". The video claims what was said was translated into the local language by some U.S. soldiers, but what I believe it to be was actually a few locally Afghani men that were fed up with Al-Qaeda being in their town and took the microphone from the U.S. soldiers and made these comments. You prove it otherwise, I'm waiting!
I won't even mention the burning of the bodies and boasting that the bodies were facing to the west. This is just your average bleeding-heart liberal commie trying to get a talking point in. U.S. soldiers, especially from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are not blood-thirsty killers, they are god-fearing patriots sworn to uphold freedom and justice, all the world over. They just don't fear the Muslim God.
This letter is mostly for LT Emerson, he has taken it upon himself to start a campaign to attempt to smear my name. You can stop now. I realized I myself smeared my name when I rolled around in the dog house with these anti-war hippies. Now I have the fleas. Now I have the NSA wiretapping my prepaid cellphone. Now I have Dick Cheney reading (but fortunately losing) my emails (when someone asks him about them). I realize Mr Emerson, that I have been a bad boy and I hope you fully accept this apology.
My apology goes out to all of America, I cannot believe some of the things I have said in the last year. It was so immature of me and I just wasn't looking at the big picture. U.S. global dominance is in America's best interest. Hell, it's in the world's best interest. So today I ask all the anti-war activists to put down you signs, take off your masks, stop flooding the streets to ask for the end of a War that is much needed (ask anyone at Halliburton!).
I also ask you to get a job. Cut your hair. Shave. Take a bath. Throw away your Che shirts and buy a Reagan shirt instead.
Listen I have been wrong before, but I am humbling myself before the world and all of America. I ask you all to help me be more like you. Help me be more American so that I never have to say I am wrong again.
Above all I apologize to my family, because I realize this was always about them. And it was wrong of me to put my emotional state of mind and silly ideas of my own particular sort of Christianity to the forefront. I should have realized that if I am not in the Middle East at this very moment, there is a strong possibility that Al-Qaesa could come to America just to do them harm.
I hate those nasty Al-Qaeda's.
I feel I can no longer faithfully be a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, because now I support it. And as a symbolic act of Patriotism and valor, and an attempt to save face with all the Americans in America, I am announcing my new organization called Iraq Veterans Supporting the War.


Question and Answer period. The fans want to know:
Did James Circello get a DUI in Italy prior to going AWOL?
James Circello's response: I have openly admitted this to every journalist that I have talked to. This is not something I am proud of, but something I am not ashamed to admit. I made a mistake. I made many mistakes. And again, I ask you to help me be more American, because Americans don't make mistakes.
Did James Circello go AWOL because of his DUI?
James Circello's response: I have commented on this as well, but I wish now this was the reason I went AWOL, because I see that the War on Terrorism is a justified, noble battle of unprecedented glory of Good (America!) versus Evil (Brown people, eww!) and unfortunately I am now forced to sit on the bench and watch it from the side lines.
No I didn't leave because of a DUI. DUI's are rather common in the 173rd and nothing to lose your rank over, or career. Hell, in just a few months you can have a DUI, serve your extra duty and then regain your Squad. My best friend did it!
Did James Circello mistreat his soldiers?
James Circello's response: I will let them speak about that. But I somehow doubt they will ever get a voice in the liberal media machine here in America.
Why did James Circello re-enlist after he served in Iraq if he was against the War?
James Circello's response: For everyone with this question, you should call my Mother, thankfully for her she doesn't have the Circello family name so it's hard to find her. But she can tell you how many times I called home during my fits of weakness. Crying at times, I would tell her how I wanted to go AWOL and didn't believe this war was right. Thankfully the shame I felt I would face by going AWOL was intense enough to keep me in the military for 3 more years. So My weakness kept me in the military. However, now that I am beginning to become a complete American, I no longer fear being weak or wrong.
Why did James Circello sleep with another woman if he is so morale and Christian?
James Circello's response: I believe the problem wasn't that this woman and I were never in love, but that I never fully accepted my fundamentalist lifestyle. To this day I regret not making this work. It is my duty as an American to live with a woman that will make me unhappy for the rest of my life. I now realize this and it is my quest to ensure I find just such a woman. I should have waited longer after asking for a divorce. And above all I shouldn't have spread such silly rumors about myself. Being a promiscuous boy is not proper, but it makes for the youngster to idolize you!
Why did James Circello call U.S. soldiers blood-thirsty murderers?
James Circello's response: I never said such a thing, thankfully. Even in my most radical rants, I never pointed a finger at the United States soldiers. I believed they were being exploited and used, but I never called them any names. I know a lot of soldiers call me names, but again... that's the American way!
What stance of Mr Circello's should I believe, was his for it or against it, he re-enlisted???
James Circello's response: Again, please, don't become McCain. I am not a "flip flopper". I just simply had not found the compassion in me at the time to slaughter at will. I am ready now and if the Army will accept me back into its ranks, I will gladly serve.
Umm, Not?


So here today, I make it loud and clear that YES!, James Circello is a coward and a traitor to his country and family.
I am a traitor to the America that believes the U.S. led war of aggression on the men, woman and children of Iraq and Afghanistan is justified and noble.
i am a traitor to the U.S. soldiers who glorify burning dead muslims while his body faces the west. Or to the soldiers who mistreat and dehumanize their prisoners
I am a traitor to the mentality of wishing death upon people. Even my enemies.
I am a traitor against having enemies.
I am a traitor and coward and afraid to murder an Arab based upon xenophobia.
My men are better without me leading them into combat, because God help us, I can not be the American that my enemies are looking for. I cannot murder and be okay with it. And I am so sorry that you can
And I am a traitor to the unwritten oath, that soldiers obviously must take, to remain silent while you witness illegal acts and to furthermore bury the secrets and never speak about them again.
You can join us all at the Winter Soldier Investigation in March where all the Veterans can be traitors together.
Let the Crusader's Banner fly, James Circello; Iraq Veterans Against the War
P.S. Any other questions can be sent directly to James Circello at [email protected] (please allow 4-6 weeks for a response due to James' increased celebrity status and love of the camera) P.S. This letter has been prepared and written for James Circello by the Liberal Media, James Circello has had no part in the making of this letter, nor does he endorse it. But he does endorse Obama.

February 10, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Army to Civilians: Be Less Productive - WTF?

This article, by the irrepressible Army Sergeant, is a response to the next post, from Dennis Keohane who seems to gloat and/or ride to notoriety on the right by slagging off the upcoming Winter Soldier Hearings. I have tried to find Keohane's bio on his site, but it does not seem to exist. So I think he is most likely a civilian and did not serve, not that that makes his opinion any less valid than mine, but it certainly makes it less valid than Army Sergeant, who is currently serving in Uncle Sam's Armed Services.


Alright. I know I promised I'd blog about this maybe the next day, but I'm getting incredibly busy with working on Winter Soldier. If you haven't checked it out recently, you should go there, it has updated. Denis Keohane over at Obiter Dictum is having kittens about this change, but I think he's mostly annoyed in a 'kids, get off my lawn' sort of way. Having been part of IVAW and seen all the leadup to Winter Soldier, I can tell you that Winter Soldier has always been envisioned as veterans telling their stories, and has never been intended to be only about crimes they had witnessed. The website may have sucked previously, but Denis, I do not think it means what you think it means! Personally, of course, I think it's going to be awesome.

And remember, guys, blogger spots are still open for Winter Soldier. Vets are getting to the point where they may not be able to cover the entire weekend if they want table space, and those willing to cooperate/trade out time are going to the top of the list, but active duty, reserve, or National Guard servicemembers still have top precedence. Also, if you have questions, you know where to email them!
Now, to the actual story that had me all pissed off for the last week: controversy at Fort Drum, which has had an awful lot of issues popping up with it. Apparently, VA people at Fort Drum were helping soldiers fill out their disability paperwork when they were requesting Army disability. The Army and the VA calculate their disability ratings differently, but the Army one is the one that gives the money, and is generally known for being stingier. There was a great study a few years back about how the higher rank you were, the more likely you were to get better disability ratings for the same injuries. A possible cause of it might have been the byzantine forms and procedures that soldiers needed to navigate. VA people were helping them turn the descriptions of the injuries from "hurts like a SOB" to "Pain in left blah blah doctortalk"-at least, that terminology change is my guess. Anyway, great! Civilians taking initiative! Awesome!
Not so much, said the Army. Apparently Fort Drum vets were receiving higher disability ratings than elsewhere, and they sent a Tiger Team to investigate. The Tiger Team told the VA to stop helping out, and the VA complied. The Army Times has the details of what happened next: apparently some Congress members are getting involved, and a board of inquiry may be called. I'm just horrified for my Army, personally. I mean, everyone knows in the Army that it's like pulling teeth to get the civilians to do what they're supposed to. Here they do what they're allowed, above and beyond, and they get shut down? What a message to send to the rest of their counterparts. And what a message to send to Fort Drum.
This ties into my great and abiding rage that monetary concerns are affecting how soldiers are getting diagnosed and treated, especially when it comes to disability time. The monetary concerns are why we first started seeing "pre-existing personality disorders" in record numbers, amazingly enough, often in combat troops! Why, someone might almost be fooled into thinking they had PTSD! Except that PTSD forces the Army to pay money and acknowledge responsibility for medical care.
Hopefully all of these eyes looking at the situation will let the civilians with initiative get back to helping soldiers, if it hasn't been choked out of them. Also, anyone injured who's almost to getting-out time: steer clear of Fort Drum, until this thing gets fixed. There are lots of places that will help with paperwork, often vet groups. I know that IVAW has some connections to vet groups, and the DC chapter in particular is reading up on the law to help out soldiers.

Winter Soldier: Iran and Afghanistan - Update (February 4, 2008)

In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
In 1971, a courageous group of veterans exposed the criminal nature of the Vietnam War in an event called Winter Soldier. Once again, we will create a space for veterans to make their voices heard.
Once again, we are fighting for the soul of our country. We will demonstrate our patriotism by speaking out with honor and integrity instead of blindly following failed policy. Winter Soldier is a difficult but essential service to our country.
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.
The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
When: Thursday March 13 to Sunday March 16
For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event.
Live television broadcast via satellite tv, accessible through Dish Network as well as public access stations that choose to carry our broadcast - Friday and Saturday only

  • Live video stream on the web - Thursday through Sunday
  • Live radio broadcast via KPFA in Berkley California and other Pacifica member stations--Friday through Sunday
  • Live audio stream via KPFA's website - Friday through Sunday

Please return to the IVAW website for specific details in the coming weeks.

Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
Help us spread the word: forward this page to a friend.

Shutting Down the Machine - Iraq Moratorium Day # 6 February 15

Alabama

Auburn

Iraq Moratorium Gathering
Alliance for Peace and Justice
Our Alliance for Peace and Justice sponsors Iraq Moratorium gatherings, the 3rd Friday of each month at Toomer's Corner (College St. and Magnolia Ave.) in downtown Auburn, Alabama from 5-6pm. Some signs are available. Bring your own if you wish. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5-6pm, Toomer's Corner, College St. & Magnolia Ave. Event #568

California

Berkeley

Gather to Protest the War
Berkeley - East Bay Gray Panthers & Strawberry Creek Lodge Tenants Assoc.
Gather on the 4 corners with signs, to sing, chant, hand out ribbons & info, play music and enjoy good cheer. Bring your positive attitudes and determination to end the wars and build the movement to end the wars. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 2:00 to 4:00 PM, Corners of University & Acton, (same as above) Event #602

Chico

Street Peace Friday
Chico Peace and Justice Center
Street Peace Friday
Please join us in front of the park in downtown Chico. Add your voices to the millions around the world in opposition to the war in Iraq. Check local weather-- dress accordingly. We will have music and extra signs. Tell your friends, bring your children! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:00pm until 7:00pm, In front of park, 1st and Broadway Event #600

Costa Mesa

Anti -War Demonstration
KPFK Orange County Support Group
This vigil, which happens every Friday, is being coordinated with the Iraq Moratorium on the Third Friday of the month. Participants will hold signs calling for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq, bring all the troops home. Bring your signs & flags or use ours. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5-7pm, Entrance of South Coast Plaza, 3300 Bristol at Anton Event #578

Daly City

Go Black for Iraq Moratorium
reach and teach
Activists around the country will be saying No More Business As Usual on the third Friday of every month. In solidarity with the Iraq Moratorium, Reach and Teach's website will go black for 30 minutes at 12:00PM PDT once a month thereafter until the war in Iraq ends. See what it will look like
Will you join us in this action by having your website go black for 30 minutes on the third Friday of every month and displaying a message to "Pray and Act for Peace"? You can either do this manually yourself by creating your own page and temporarily replacing your home page on your website or we've written some code that you can use. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12:00, web site, Event #596

Gualala

Gualala Peace Vigil
We meet every Friday in a vigil for Peace and a protest AGAINST the American war in Iraq. We stand on the side of CA Hwy 1 and make ourselves visible. We smile. Bring signs, flags, wear black (not required, we're pretty relaxed) [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Noon to 1pm, Hwy 1 in front of the Post Office, Gualala Post Office Event #579

Healdsburg

Iraq Moratorium Peace Vigil
Healdsburg Peace Project
We have an ongoing weekly Thursday night peace vigil that's gone for more than 5 years. Each third Thursday of the month is an Iraq Moratorium event. Please bring candles and signs. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/14/2008 6 to 7 pm, Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg Ave between Matheson & Plaza Event #592

Livermore

Livermore Says No to War
Tri-Valley CAREs
Signs and sign making material provided or bring your own. We stand on the street corner for about an hour and always get a very positive response from the community. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:30, Downtown Fountains, Corner of First & Livermore Event #644

Los Angeles

Make Love not War
UCLA-SDS
The event will be a rally featuring Iraq Veterans Against the War, Speakers, Folk Singer Ross Altman, a live DJ, and Art. Black armbands will be distributed for free. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/14/2008 12pm-1pm, UCLA, 100 Westwood Bvld Event #672

Montrose

Montrose Peace Protest/Vigil
We protest the war every Friday evening, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:30 to 7pm, Oceanview & Honolulu, Event #577

Mountain View

Protest - Counter Military Recruitment
American Muslim Voice, Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, Declaration of Peace - San Mateo County, Global Peace Partners, Gold Star Families Speak Out, Green Party - Santa Clara County, Jewish Voice for Peace - South Bay, Los Altos Voices for Peace, Mountain View Voices for Peace, MoveOn District 14 Council, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, Pacifica Peace People, Peace Action of San Mateo County, Peace Umbrella - Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Raging Grannies Action League, The Rebuilding Alliance, San José Peace Center, San Mateo County Democracy for America, South Bay Mobilization, Veterans for Peace Locals, Womens International League for Peace and Freedom - Peninsula Branch
Picket and Protest
Bring signs and banners (some provided) ~ Street theater by Raging Grannies Action League [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m., New Military Recruiting Center, El Camino Real & Grant Rd. Event #656

Killing/Dying is NOT a Career
Raging Grannies Action League
We have a new "US Armed Forces CAREER CENTER" in Walgreen's Shopping Strip at El Camino Real and Grant Rd. in Mtn. View.
Meet on corner of intersection nearest to the Walgreen's.
Street theater by the Raging Grannies Action League in keeping with our theme:
KILLING/DYING IS NOT A CAREER.
Grannies will bring signs and props and some sign making material.
Bring signs if you can. Demo/street theater from noon to 12:30pm then Grannies will pay a little visit to the new recruiters and others can continue to demonstrate on the corner or join us to deliver cookies and tea to "welcome" the recruiters to the neighborhood, i.e., put them on notice that they are in Raging Granny territory. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 , El Camino Real at Grant Rd., Event #660

Palo Alto

Caltrain leafleting
Peninsula/South Bay Iraq Moratorium Coalition
2-3 people at each station to distribute the pledge and ribbons to commuters using the trains between San Jose and San Francisco. Wear 'Troops Home Now' t-shirts [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7:00 - 9:00 am, Caltrain stations, South Bay/Peninsula Event #559

Leafleting - Farmers Market
MoveOn District 14 Council
Distribute information about Iraq Moratorium, the pledge and ribbons to Market goers. Need five volunteers to man the table and distribute flyers. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 10-12:00am, Street Market, California Avenue Event #561

Rancho Cucamonga

Honk For Peace Rally
Our HONK FOR PEACE rally is usually a lively and noisy event. The rally takes place at the very busy intersection of Foothill Blvd and Haven Ave. We are approaching our one year anniversary of standing at this corner, so motorists begin honking their horns even before they reach the intersection. Perhaps it it is a reflection of the mood of the country...more and more drivers honk their horns and do so with intensity. We welcome anyone from the community to join us. We are there every Friday from 3:30pm - 5:00pm (weather permitting). Signs are always provided. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 3:30-5pm, , Intersection of Foothill and Haven Event #575

San Francisco

Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Peace Vigil
Neighborhood Peace Vigil. (Everybody welcome). Rain or shine. Bring candles and signs, or just show up. One issue focus--end the war in Iraq--support our troops and the Iraqi people by ending the war now. Candles available. Cookies will be served. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Panhandle, Masonic between Oak and Fell Event #553

Bernal Heights Vigil
Join your Bernal Heights neighbors for a monthly vigil to protest the U.S. occupation of Iraq
Place: Cortland Avenue and Andover Street
Day: Third Friday Every Month,
Time: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Bring: flashlight, candles, anti-war signs, friends [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 , Cortland Ave & Andover St., Event #557

Stop the War
Please join Coleridge Park residents and friends in a vigil at the corner of Mission and Virginia. We sing peace songs in English and Spanish,distribute bi-lingual leaflets and have a good time. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12;00 - 1 ;00 PM, , Corner of Mission & Virginia Event #639

Neighborhood Outreach
We are working to get new neighborhood
groups started in San Francisco on Feb. 15-16. Contact us by e-mail to join our ironing board brigades for these two days! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Various, Various, Event #690

Santa Rosa

Peace Vigil
Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
We have held a vigil in Courthouse Square every Friday since September 2001. Please join us. I have Christmas lights on my peace flag now that it's dark. Bring what moves you. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5 to 6:30 p.m., Courthouse Square, 3rd and Mendocino Event #597

Topanga

Out of Iraq Peace Vigil
Topanga Peace Alliance
Join Our Weekly Friday Vigil
Pine Tree Center - 120 Topanga Cyn Blvd – 4:15 PM – 5:30PM.
Optional Social and Eats at Abuelitas after the Vigil. Later we have OUR GENERAL MEETING
Sing-Along at 6:30 PM. Veggie Snack Potluck 7:15-7:30 pm. Call to order and formal meeting at 7:30 with Good News, Actions, Music, and Peace Circle. Please bring food or non-alcoholic drinks to share. All meetings are at THE TOPANGA COMMUNITY HOUSE. 1440 N. TOPANGA CANYON BLVD. 90290
[Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:15pm, Pine Tree Center, 120 Topanga Cyn Blvd Event #589

Venice

Peace & Justice Vigil
Venice Peace Movement, Venice Peace & Freedom
This weekly Friday vigil gathers around the demands: Out of Iraq NOW; No Attack on Iran; Fund Social Needs; Save Lincoln Place [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:30pm, Venice Circle, Event #580

Ventura

Iraq Moratorium Peace Vigil
Peace Coalition of Greater Ventura
Iraq Moratorium Peace Vigil [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:30 to 6:30 PM, In front of Pacific View Mall, Main St at Mills Rd Event #630

Colorado

Durango

Durango Iraq Moratorium
Animas SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)
Join the Animas SDS Student & Youth Anti-War Mobilization on the Third Friday of the month from 4:30-5:30 PM on the corner of 11th St. & Main Ave., Durango, CO., in solidarity with the Iraq Moratorium, and EVERY Friday, same time and place, to protest war and empire, and network towards organized resistance. We hope to see you there.
Peace, Love, & Insurrection...
-Animas SDS [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30-5:30pm, Corner of 11th St. & Main Ave., Corner of 11th St. & Main Ave. Event #583

Connecticut

Cornwall

Iraq Moratorium: Cornwall Edition
After our successful potluck for Moratorium Day #5, we are returning to the United Church of Christ, this time for a free concert of anti-war songs, old and new, by female singer/songwriters.
As usual we will be hitting businesses and offices in Cornwall and neighboring towns with posters promoting the Iraq Moratorium. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7 PM, United Church of Christ parish house, Event #663

Glastonbury

Iraq Moratorium in Glastonbury
Greater Glastonbury for Peace and Justice
Dress warmly for an afternoon on the street corner with signs. We will repeat last month's vigil in front of the Bertucci's shopping complex, the signs will focus on how much money Glastonbury is directly going to pay for the war, and what the town could have bought instead. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 3pm, Griswold and Main St, Main @ Griswold Event #677

Hartford

Moratorium Observance
Hartford Friends Meeting
People invited to skip work/school/whatever and gather for worship, lunch and conversation about future actions we want to take together. Black ribbons available for people to take back to their offices if they join us for lunch. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 10am to 2:30pm, Hartford Friends Meeting, 144 S Quaker Lane Event #646

Norwich

Iraq Moratorium Film Showing
We have arranged for a monthly free movie night to be shown in Otis Public Library in conjunction with the Iraq Moratorium. Although it is not feasible to hold it on Friday nights (the library closes at 5) we will schedule close our free showings as close as possible to the Third Friday of the month.
This month, on Wednesday the 13th at 5:30 PM we will show NO END IN SIGHT, the 2007 Special Jury Prize award winner from the Sundance Film Festival. This movie examines the manner in which the principal errors of US policy largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. It will kick off a monthly free movie night where important documentaries will be shown. Come see the movie. And come stand at the Iraq Moratorium Vigil on Friday, the 15th! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/13/2008 5:30 PM, Otis Public Library, 261 Main Street Event #685

Iraq Moratorium Vigil
Come join us at a peaceful vigil with like-minded Americans who want an end to the war & a safe return of our service men & women.
Wear black, bring signs, or just stand with us in support of an end to war.
The Youth Peace Group at NFA and the War Resisters League have decided to participate in the Moratorium, but will start on Chelsea Parade after school sometime between 2:30-3 PM and they will stay until 4 PM, we will bridge the gap between 4-5 PM and continue the vigil until 6 PM. This is very exciting as we hope to see a large contingent of Americans who want this war to end and no new war to start. There should be quite the diversity of ages and backgrounds.
***THIS JUST IN***
We have arranged for a monthly free movie night in Norwich's Otis Public Library in conjunction with the Iraq Moratorium. See the listing above. Come see the movie. Come stand at the Iraq Moratorium Vigil on Friday!
WE ARE GROWING!!! Politicians and fellow citizens take notice! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 2:30pm ....6pm, Chelsea Parade, In front of NFA Event #603

District Of Columbia

Washington

Funk the War Disco
SDS
Dance party against the War!
Join DC Students for a Democratic Society for an Iraq Moratorium action.

Let's drop beats (not bombs) and take back the streets for peace. The dancing will start at Franklin Park and continue throughout the K St area, visiting the offices of war profiteers along the way. Wear your most outrageous party clothes and be loud!

Meet at 4:30 p.m. at Franklin Park, 14th & K NW; Disco starts at 5:00pm [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30 p.m., Franklin Park, 14th and K Event #659

Florida

Naples

Honk for Peace/Stop the War
Broward for Peace/Arlington South
A group of military veterans and spouses from WWII, Korea,Vietnam and family members who have had loved ones in Iraq, standing on the corner of Pine Ridge Road and US 41 with signs to stop the War in Iraq. A weekly Friday vigil since March of 2005 [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30-5:30pm, Pine Ridge & US 41, Event #576

Pensacola

Silent Vigil
Pensacola Patriots for Peace
Pensacola Patriots for Peace holds a monthly silent vigil at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza each 3rd Friday from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Open to all. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12:00 to 1pm, Dr/ Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, Event #581

Port Richey

Fridays for Peace
Florida Peace Action Network
Large presence, great visuals, drumming, heavy traffic area. Join us for breakfast after the demonstration. Armbands available. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Street Action, Ridge Rd and US 19 Event #657

Georgia

Brunswick

Iraq Moratorium Vigil
GlynnPeace
We will gather outside Rep. Jack Kingston's (R-1) at the Post Office every third Friday of the month.
[Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Noon - 1 p.m., U.S. Post Office (Federal Building), 805 Gloucester Street Event #565

Macon

Iraq Moratorium Vigil
GPJC and MaconPeace
This week's 5:00-5:30 vigil at the corner of College and Washington will mark the Iraq Moratorium. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:00 pm, Washinton Park, College Street Event #599

Illinois

Chicago

Peace Vigil
New Hope's monthly Peace Vigil continues to meet to pray and sing for peace. During candlelighting, we pray aloud or in silence. Join our solidarity with the Iraq Moratorium. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7 p.m., New Hope Church, 7115 W. Hood Event #566

Dekalb

Vigil For Peace
DeKalb Interfaith Network For Peace and Justice
We will raise our voices for peace together as part of our weekly vigil to end the war. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5pm, Memorial Park, Corner of East Lincoln Hwy and North first St. Event #569

Oak Park

Peace Vigil
First United Church of Oak Park
We will have "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER" yard signs to distribute! Bring candles, signs, warm clothes ... we have prayed, sang, stood in silence, "testified" for Peace for 270 Fridays!!! This is a faith based Vigil but ALL are welcome!! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7pm, First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street Event #588

Kentucky

Lexington

Iraq Moratorium Rally
Peace Action Task Group of the CKCPJ
Join central Kentucky's Peace Action Task Group at rush hour on this busy corner near the University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community & Technical College campuses. We will be standing on all four corners holding signs asking for commuters to honk for Peace and to Bring Our Troops home. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4 - 5 p.m., Near the U of KY & BCTC Campuses, Corner of Nicholasville Road with Waller & Cooper Dr. Event #634

Massachusetts

Amherst

Moratorium Vigil
Veterans for Peace chapter (95), Sage, Red Gate affinity Group
Vigil on town common for an hour at 12:00-1. Signs and armbands [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12:00, Amherst Town Common, Event #608

Andover

Vigil
Merrimack Valley People for Peace
Friday night is one of the regular peace vigils that we have been holding since the beginning of the war. On the third Friday of the month we will wear black and hold BRING OUR TROOPS HOME and STOP THE WAR signs. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7-8pm, Old Town Hall, Event #591

Ashfield

Peace Prayer service
We will ring the church bells, inviting other churches to do the same, at 12 noon. This will be followed by a short peace prayer service. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 12 noon, First Congregational Church, Main street Event #613

Greenfield

Moratorium parade and vigil
Veterans for Peace chapter 95
Gather behind Greenfields market at 5pm for candle light procession up main st. Vigil on Town common with speakout. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5pm to 6pm, Downtown Greenfield Town common and behind Greenfields market, Event #610

Northampton

Iraq Moratorium # 6
Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq
black arm bands will be passed out under a banner
of Stop the War - Nat'l Iraq Moratorium Our leaflet: huge suicide rate among our
soldiers Church bells will toll at noon [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 noon to 1:00, Main & State Street intersection, Event #616

West Springfield

National Iraq Moratorium Day
West Springfield Citizens for Peace
The vigil will be on the green oppposite the Post Office. Black arm bands and signs will be available for participants. Hand bells for ringing would be a nice addition. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 noon to 1 pm, West Springfield Post Office, 74 Elm St. Event #664

Maryland

Takoma Park

Iraq Moratorium Vigil
We will be back at the Takoma Metro Station for our monthly demonstration. We will have signs and pass out leaflets. And we'll be having another potluck in March. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 6-7 pm, Takoma Metro Station, Event #573

Takoma/silver Spring

Walter Reed Weekly Vigil
CodePink initiated, community maintained.
We are into our third year in front of Walter Reed. We hold a weekly vigil to ask that the Troops come home NOW, that they get the care they should, and that money be allocated for the wounded, not war. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7-9, Georgia Avenue, between Dahlia & Elder Sts,NW, Event #585

Michigan

Detroit

Iraq Moratorium
SDS of WSU
Answer the Call! Please join us for Detroit's fourth Moratorium march. Meet 4pm at WSU Student Center for rally, 5pm march on Woodward.
For ride share meet at NW corner of 16 & Rochester Rd-- we leave at 3:20 sharp [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4pm rally, 5pm march, Downtown Detroit in the cultural district, Woodward near the DIA Event #674

Lansing

Peace Vigil at Michigan Capitol Bldg.
Greater Lansing Network Against War & Injustice
Lansing area people gather outside the Michigan State Capitol Building each Friday between noon and 1:00 pm - to speak up for peace. Lansing has held a Friday Peace Vigil every week since the fall of 2001. Bring a sign asking for peace in Iraq - or use one of ours. Dress for the weather. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Noon, On the Sidewalk, Intersection of Capitol and Michigan Avenues, Event #571

Minnesota

Duluth

Duluth Peace Vigil
Northland Anti-War Coalition
We'll be holding signs and handing out fliers against the war in Iraq. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Noon to 1pm, intersection of London Rd. & Superior St., London Rd. & Superior St. Event #669

New Jersey

Morristown

Morristown Peace Vigil
Peace Action, Code Pink, etc.
Weekly Vigil for Peace. We have been here every single Friday since September 21, 2001. Third Fridays also observe the Iraq Moratorium. Join us! Bring a sign or use one of ours! [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 6 to 7 p.m., Morristown Green, In front of the fountain on west Park Place Event #590

New York

Hauppauge

Long Island Iraq Moratorium
VFP, Code Pink, Pax Christi, Counter Recruitment Committee, etc.
Gather in community with other Long Island peace activists to vigil in front of the Armed Forces Plaza on the third Saturday afternoon, every month. (Monthly Event!) [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/16/2008 3-4pm, Armed Forces Plaza, Route 347, Veterans Highway Event #584

New York

2013 Isn't Soon Enough
Young Democratic Socialists
The Young Democratic Socialists are hosting a public event to discuss the direction and hopes of the anti-war movement after the Bush presidency. The event will feature Iraq Moratorium endorser Bill Fletcher Jr. alongside of IM pledge signer Frances Fox Piven and Stephen Eric Bronner. Speakers will answer questions and reflect amongst themselves where they see the movement heading. Suggested donation of $6 to cover space rental. No one turned away. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 7-9 PM, Bayard Rustin High School, 351 W. 18th Street btw 8th and 9th Aves. Event #662

Ohio

Chagrin Falls

Peace Vigil
Bring homemade signs. Dress warmly and be prepared to march around the village.
This will be repeated every month on the third SATURDAY [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/16/2008 12:30, In front of Township Hall, Main St. Event #604

Cincinnati

Candlelight vigils
Intercommunitu Justice and Peace Center
We are hoping to continue these candlelight vigils on the third Friday of every month, to continue to support the National Iraq Moratorium Campaign. We're hoping to make February's vigil bigger and better than the previous ones. We know that the February temperature might be very cold, but we're hoping to have a big crowd. Please remember, if you've come to a vigil before, bring someone new this time!!
Do you live in a neighborhood that didn't have a vigil? Are interested in having one next month? Great! Just contact us for more details!
- Clifton: The corner of Clifton and Ludlow, by the Fountain in Burnet Woods
- Winton Place: Along Winton Road, near the corner of Gray and Winton
- Price Hill: Along W. 8th St., the block between Enright and Rosemont
- Northside: Hoffner Park, corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton, will begin at 5:30, directly following the weekly peace witness.
- Mt. Healthy: Heritage Park on Hamilton Ave., right past Cross County/ Ronald Regan, near the Southern entrance to Mt. Healthy.
-Avondale at the corner of Forest and Reading Rc
-Anderson at a sidewalk on the corner of Beechmont and 5 Mile
-Western Hills – at the corner of Harrison and McHenry
* There may also be a vigil in Northern Kentucky, directly following the weekly witness at the Peace Bell.
- Bring any relevant peace signs if you have them. IJPC has several banners and signs and will provide some at each site. IJPC will also provide the candles for each site.
- Contact us for further information. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5:30-6:00, Multiple, Event #686

Tiffin

Weekly Peace Vigil
Tiffin Area Pax Christi
Stand for peace in front of the Seneca County Courthouse at busy downtown corner during evening "rush hour." Signs available or bring your own. We vigil every Friday at the same time and place. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30-5:30pm, Seneca County Courthouse, Corner of Washington & Market Streets Event #593

Tennessee

Nashville

Peace Now
Nashville Peace Coalition
Roadside rally, holding up signs visible to rush-hour traffic. Just the usual, unfortunately. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4 to 6 pm, Hillsboro Village, 21st Ave & Blakemore Event #606

Texas

Austin

BRING OUT THE DOGS!
Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS Austin), CodePink, Texas Labor Against the War, SDS-UT (Students for a Democratic Society at UT Austin), The Rag Blog
MDS Austin is sponsoring a uniquely Austin-weird opportunity for citizens to express
their disgust with U.S. Senator John Cornyn, whose tail-wagging support for the
administration's policies on the war, torture, and civil liberties and dogged defense of
President Bush's veto of affordable health care to millions of needy children has helped
to propel him to an approval rating lower than a weenie dog. “Corn Dog” – Bush’s own
nickname for Texas’ junior senator! – is the president’s ever-obedient lap dog.
This will not be just a demonstration: it will be spectacle! We are inviting progressive
groups to develop — through canine-related costume, music, and street theater — their
own distinctive messages about Cornyn’s flea-bitten record. We are asking people to
bring their dogs and/or to come costumed as dogs. It will be lively and colorful, but the
message will be as serious as a riled-up pit bull!Download Flyer PDF [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
2/15/08 5- 6:30pm, outside Senator John Cornyn’s Chase Tower office, 221 W. Sixth St (between Colorado and Lavaca) Event #501

Utah

Logan

Logan Peace Vigil
Cache Valley Peace Works
On-going peace vigil, every Friday. Candlelight vigil in winter time. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5-6PM, Downtown Logan, East side of Main Street between 100 N and Center Street Event #595

Vermont

Brattleboro

Main Street March
patrtiotic Response to Renegade Government
This is a march to bring the war to the forefront of peoples' consciences. Drummers, horns, bagpipes, puppets dancers and signs are typically present.
We do it every Friday,always focused on ending the war and impeachment (which is the single best way TO end the war) but the third Friday each month is dedicated to be part of the moratorium project. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4-5pm, mainstreet Brattleboro VT, assemble at COOP parking lot Event #570

Wisconsin

Dodgeville

Courthouse vigil
Grassroots Citizens for Peace
The Grassroots Citizens for Peace, a group that has members from Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Spring Green and Barneveld, will hold its monthly vigil in front of the Iowa County Courthouse from 4 to 4:30 p.m. The vigil will be followed by our monthly meeting to plan educational activities and intergenerational events.
[Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4 p.m., Iowa County Courthouse, Event #682

Hayward

Iraq Moratorium Vigil for Peace
Peace North and Veterans for Peace Chapter 153
We will be holding a peace vigil from 4-5 PM in observance of Iraq Moratorium Day #6. Please dress according to the weather and bring signs, candles and a black armband if you have them. Bring a friend, and a Cheesehead Hat if you have one. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4-5 PM, Corner of Hwy's 27 and 63, Event #399

Janesville

Peace walking
Rock Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation
Rock Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation will do “peace walking” at the Janesville Mall in connection with the Iraq Moratorium. We will wear peace t-shirts that say “Honor the dead, Heal the wounded, End the war.” We will meet at the entrance next to Chuck E. Cheese. There are lockers there for coats. We will carry no leaflets or signs or wear any other message besides the one on our shirt. Contact us about purchasing shirts. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4 p.m., Janesville Mall, 2500 Milton Avenue Event #601

Madison

Iraq Moratorium/Impeachment Emporium
Meet at University Ave at Park St. and the UW- Humanities Bldg. Bring your peace signs, anti-war signs, and IMPEACH signs. We meet the third Friday of every month at this site. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4pm, University and Park, Event #673

Mall action
Madison Pledge of Resistance
This will be a somber die-in remembering the human cost of the war. Some individuals may risk arrest in this nonviolent action following the teachings of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. There are also roles for those who do not want to risk arrest. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 10:30 am, Coffee shop area at Sundance Theater, Hilldale Mall Event #679

Manitowoc

Peace Vigil
Lakeshore Peacemakers
A weekly vigil for peace [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30-5:30pm, 8th & Maritime Dr., Event #582

Milwaukee

Vigil for the Moratorium - Donations Accepted
Peace Action Wisconsin, Milwaukee Coalition for a Just Peace
Vigil and rally at downtown's busiest corner, with signs, flags and banners. We leaflet pedestrians to tell them about the Iraq Moratorium and invite drivers to honk their horns in support, with a good response. The last two months we've also marched a few blocks to add some action and keep warm. Put on a few layers and join us. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 5 - 6pm, Right downtown, Water St & Wisconsin Ave Event #586

Ripon

Moratorium Vigil
This is our second monthly vigil. Please join us. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:30-5:30 p.m., Ripon Square, near City Hall Event #667

Superior

Superior Peace Vigil
Northland Anti-War Coalition
We'll be holding signs and handing out fliers against the war in Iraq. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4-5pm, in front of the Public Library, corner of Belknap & Tower Ave. Event #670

Wausau

Picket for Peace and Against the War
Northwoods Peace Fellowship
Join the stalwart for this special Moratorium event. Please feel free to join, if interested, in nonviolent witness of all those affected by the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in reflection on the many costs (physical,emotional,psychological,spiritual, social, environmental, etc.) of living in a society rooted in militarism. In keeping with the practice of nonviolence and in order to respect the dignity of all, we ask that any posters carried reflect peace and not sarcasm or political attacks. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4-6 p.m., Downtown, 400 Block Event #627

Woodruff

prayer vigil for peace
Pax Christi Northwoods
This is an hour of silent prayer for peace held weekly in a small chapel at the church. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 Noon to 1pm, Holy Family Chuch, Highway J Event #574

Wyoming

Laramie

Stand Up for Peace
Stand Up for Peace
Stand Up for Peace on the corner of 3rd and Grand every Friday evening, 4:45-5:15, since January 2003. Come join us. Bring a sign or use one of ours. [Contact,_Updates,_Comments_and_Reports]
02/15/2008 4:45pm, 3rd and Grand, 712 South Second Street Event #594

 

Shutting Down the Machine - March 19: Direct Actions in Downtown SF

This call to action was originally published on the Direct Action to Stop the War Blog, Janyuary 6, 2008


DIRECT ACTIONS ON THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRAQ WAR: DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO

7:30 am Multiple actions at multiple locations.
Market and Sansome
War machine tours of shame leaving from Market and Sansome throughout the day.
Join an existing action against a government or corporate target, or plan and carry out your own! Help send a clear message to the economic and political interests behind this war: We will actively confront you every step of the way until the war is ended.

Shutting Down the Machine - Five Years Later, Direct Action To Stop The War Reemerges

By Scott Campbell, originally published by countercurrents.org, February 8, 2008


After more than a decade of military aggression and genocidal sanctions, on March 19, 2003, the United States launched it's most recent attack against the people of Iraq. The following day, the people of the world took to the streets in protest. More than 20,000 turned out in San Francisco to take part in coordinated, nonviolent direct actions which shut down the Financial District of the city. Additional targets included military recruitment centers, the Bay Bridge and the Federal Building. Actions continued on March 21 and in the end more than 2,200 people were arrested with virtually all charges being dropped.
These tactically successful actions were organized by Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), a grouping of activists and affinity groups who functioned and made decisions in a decentralized, non-hierarchical, consensus-based manner. First coming together in late 2002, DASW organized in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq planning actions for "Day X" when the war started. DASW lasted until 2004 and mobilized for direct actions locally against war profiteers such as Bechtel, Chevron and Lockheed Martin, and nationally, such as at the Miami meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas in 2003 and the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
With the fifth anniversary of the war and occupation of Iraq looming, several Bay Area activists began having informal conversations about creating an action that was something more than what much of anti-war activism in the U.S. has been reduced to - a police-facilitated march and rally. These conversations quickly turned into a packed, 50+ person meeting at AK Press in Oakland on January 6, where the group decided to take on the name Direct Action to Stop the War. Many present were heavily involved in the first DASW, and given the orientation of the new formation - being decentralized, non-hierarchical, and consensus-based - it seemed an appropriate continuity to establish. Since then, those involved have been working hard on all the facets that go into organizing a series of actions, as well as looking to lay groundwork for the future.
Early on, it was consensed that DASW would organize an initial series of three direct actions - one on February 5, the day of the presidential primaries in California, the second on March 15 at the Chevron refinery in Richmond in the East Bay, and the third on the fifth anniversary of the war, March 19, with multiple actions at multiple locations in downtown San Francisco.
Refusing to get caught up in the charade that is the electoral process and with the perspective that popular mobilization, not politicians, will end this war, DASW's first action will be held in both San Francisco and Oakland at 5 PM on "Super" Tuesday, February 5. In Oakland, people will meet at Frank Ogawa Plaza and head toward Barack Obama's nearby campaign headquarters. The meeting point in San Francisco is UN Plaza, with Hillary Clinton's offices nearby. The actions are not targeted at Clinton and Obama specifically, they just happen to be the only candidates with offices in the Bay Area. With the media and campaigns placing such importance on this day, these direct actions offer a prime opportunity to assert that the world, the U.S. and the Bay Area demand the unconditional and immediate end to the war and occupation of Iraq and reject the repackaged version of the same old U.S. imperialism currently on offer from the major candidates.
Saturday, March 15, will feature a rally and direct action in Richmond at Chevron's refinery. Not only has Chevron profited massively off the war on Iraq by refining stolen Iraqi oil and pushing Iraq to privatize its oil fields, but it daily spews cancer and asthma-causing pollution into the adjacent working class communities of color. In a time when the world is in peril due to global warming, Chevron is seeking to expand its Richmond refinery over the objections of the residents but with the blessing of the local government. DASW is teaming up with the West County Toxics Coalition, Greenaction and others to demand an end to Chevron's war profiteering abroad and poisoning of people at home. An 11 AM rally will be held at Judge G. Carroll Park (W. Cutting Blvd & S. Garrard Blvd) and at 1 PM there will be a nonviolent direct action at the Chevron refinery (841 Chevron Way). Periodic shuttles from the local Richmond BART station will carry people to and from the sites.
These two actions will increase momentum for Wednesday, March 19, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the war on Iraq. On that day, Direct Action to Stop the War will be coordinating a series of direct actions, in which we will blockade the offices of government agencies and war-profiteering corporations in downtown San Francisco. We believe that taking direct action is central to the success of the anti-war movement. These past five years have proven the anti-war movement unequivocally correct in opposing an imperial war of aggression with a cost astronomical both in lives and resources. Five years have left more than 600,000 Iraqis dead, according to a Johns Hopkins study, along with more than 3,900 U.S. soldiers. U.S. Office of Management and Budget data states that $2.8 trillion has been spent on the military since 2003. Rather than spend this money on the priorities of the people - universal health care, rebuilding the Gulf Coast or fully funding schools in working class communities - this immense amount of resources has been spent destroying the country of Iraq, and paying well-connected U.S. corporations to make a pretense of building it back up again. We believe that it is time for us to take direct action against the organizations responsible for this war, and make it absolutely clear to them that they can continue to expect this kind of popular resistance until the war is brought to an end.
The past five years have also shown that the ruling elite, whether Democrat or Republican, have no interest in ending a war that has made their corporate backers rich. And it has shown that relying on permitted marches alone as the main expression of anti-war opposition will not effect change. Thus DASW is organizing a framework for multiple direct actions at multiple locations in downtown San Francisco on March 19. People are urged to take the day off work or school and hit the streets at 7:30 AM. Talk to your friends, form affinity groups, pick a target and plan an action. Or show up at Market and Sansome to plug into an action or for frequent "war machine tours of shame." There will be actions for all risk levels and DASW will be conducting direct action trainings in the lead up to March 19 as well as legal support afterwards.
These series of actions are just the beginning. DASW is organizing with an eye toward helping build a broad, radical anti-war movement. Those who make up DASW also recognize that the war on Iraq is an extension of the war at home against working people, communities of color, women, the queer and gender non-conforming communities. Conscious of the privilege many of us have, we are working intently to see not only how the framework DASW has set up can be of use to these communities, but more importantly how DASW can support their struggles in addition to its own organizing efforts.
As momentum builds towards Feb. 5, March 15, March 19 and beyond, DASW welcomes the involvement of likeminded groups and individuals in planning these actions and encourages those outside of the San Francisco Bay Area to step it up as well.
For more information on Direct Action to Stop the War visit www.actagainstwar.net, email [email protected], or call (510) 984-2566.
Scott Campbell is one of the many involved in Direct Action to Stop the War. He speaks only for himself and not for, or on behalf of, DASW.

While the Sir! No Sir! blog does not endorse or oppose any of these actions, I wish Scott Campbell would rethink taking any actions on the 15th of march as it conflicts with the Winter Soldier hearings.

February 09, 2008

Honor Role of GI Resisters - The courage to resist: war resisters fight to stay

This article, by krystalline kraus, was originally published by Rabble News, February 8, 2008


When I was young, I would head down to the nearby park to play one of two games. The first was the ever-popular Cops and Robbers, and the second game was called War.
We always played with a certain level of decency, even for a game named War. If your 'General' or 'Commander-in-Chief' was a real idiot or tyrant, or if the game was severely flawed, you simply took you bike (tank) and went home. No one called you a coward.
Things are not as simple in the world of grownups. There is a big difference between having the enemy throw sand in your face and being shot at or crushed by an armoured vehicle, a big difference between running home with skinned knees and coming home in a box.

War is not a game.

But we Canadians know that. Every time we open the morning paper and see that another NATO solider has died in Afghanistan or elsewhere, suddenly our coffee does not taste so good anymore, as our eyes linger over the soldier's photograph.

The adult version of war

For real soldiers, there are ranks and rules of conduct. There are recruiters and enlistment drives, deployments, engagements, combat, hospitals and the Highway of Heroes. Enemy territory does not include a wooden tower with a plastic slide. The enemy is not armed with fistfuls of sand.
If there are objections concerning the nature of the mission, a sense that perhaps the current Iraq war is unjustified or illegal, these thoughts are wrapped in metal and kept hidden under the tongue. Once enrolled in the army, it is extremely hard to leave. That's Army Strong.

Courage to resist

There are many different reasons for wanting to leave the military. And not just when the going gets tough, because it is a professional given that war is tough. It is tough on the soldiers, their spouses, their families and friends.
Since 2004, some of these U.S. soldiers, now war resisters, have sought refuge in Canada as the solution to their objection to their deployment. This along with their objection to being mislead by their Commander and Chief.

A Canadian legacy

According to Lee Zaslofsky, a key organizer for the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam resister himself, he believes that Canada has a certain historical legacy to live up to by accepting war resisters.
It was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the Liberal Party who opened Canada's doors during the Vietnam war to thousands of Americans war resisters, who were often motivated by the same feeling of objection to an unjust and illegal war.
"Of course, Canada's legacy extends back further to the [American] Civil War and before that when slaves came north via the underground railroad, and even before that with the United Empire Loyalists, so there is sort of a Canadian tradition of welcoming dissenters from the United States and this is another part of that," Zaslofsky explains.
The current War Resisters Support Campaign was established four years ago when American soldier Jeremy Hinzman first came to Canada after contacting a lawyer, Jeff House. House agreed to take on his case for refugee status as a war resister, but felt that a public mobilization was also needed.
The Canadian Peace Alliance became involved in 2004 and the campaign has grown from there, to cities including Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, London, Thunder Bay, Marathon, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Nelson.

Legal and political struggles

The campaign's approach has been two-fold, looking to both the judicial and political systems for the right to stay within Canada and be considered legally and political as a refugee.
On November 15, 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected hearing the deportation appeal by Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, both of whom had first been rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2005. War resisters, such as Hinzman and Hughey and others, are currently facing the risk of deportation.
On the political front, with the help of NDP MP Olivia Chow, the war resisters' case was brought to the federal Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. On December 6, 2007, the Committee voted seven to four in favour of allowing war resisters refugee status and to immediately halt all deportations.
The motion sets the political stage to allow "…conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents) who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations" sanctuary in Canada in the future. The issue is now up for a full three-hour debate before the complete House of Commons.
The War Resisters Support Campaign expects that a united opposition could be the majority force to get the motion passed.
With the ghost of Trudeau pirouetting above them, many are expecting the Liberals to support the motion as well, although party leader Stephane Dion has yet to make a formal statement.
Zaslofsky offers his prognostication for the actions of the parties when the House of Commons resumes, "We know the Tories will oppose it…if Prime Minister Harper wants an election on this, he would be showing that he'd rather call an election and risk his government than offend George Bush."

Courage and cowardice in context

In an address to the war resisters' supporters in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, MP Chow cheered on the resisters for their courage.
She thanked them and praised their strength, "It does take courage, it takes determination, it takes strength, because it is a sacrifice to leave your family back home and come to Canada…And that is why I thank you because I know you will make us proud when you become Canadian citizens."
These war resisters are ordinary soldiers who made a choice to enter the military on, many claim, false pretences, and are now choosing to leave it, dignity intact. According to Zaslofsky, the war resisters "realized their [choice] was wrong and they decided they wouldn't participate…I think that facing up to that is something a lot of human beings have trouble with," he said.
Their bravery in making that difficult decision should be rewarded.
Welcome home.

February 08, 2008

Act Against Iraq Poverty: Please Sign the International Petition!

To: The Iraqi, British and American Governments

We the undersigned are calling upon the international community to take immidiate action against the planned elimination of the Iraqi food rationing system by the Government of Iraq.
We are making this call, in response to the outcry by the Iraqi media, which has informed the international community, that the regime of Jalal Talabani, The Dawa Party and SCII, plan to eliminate the food rations by June of 2008, a system which was first put in place under the UN Sanctions and has since helped to save millions of Iraqi’s from starvation.
Under the rule of Al Ba’ath Party, the United Nations praised the ration system as being “the world’s largest and most effective relief effort” but since the introduction of the US protected regime in 2003, the Iraqi peoples welfare has been subjected to corruption, hatred and abuse.
The Iraqi and Western governments have been repeatedly warned about the growth of poverty in Iraq, along with the effects which have been brought with it, such as the increase in malnutrition, prostitution, substance abuse and people searching for food from local rubbish dumps.
We are asking that people consider the serious consequences, which ending the rations will cause to the people of Iraq and we call upon the international community & their populations to use their influence and demand the Baghdad based regime change its direction and maintain the ration service.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Click here to sign petition

View Current Signatures

The Surge - Iraq’s Tragic Future

This article, written by Scott Ritter was published on the Information Clearing House website, February 8, 2008


Any analysis of the current state of the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq that relied solely on the U.S. government, the major candidates for president or the major media outlets in the United States for information would be hard pressed to find any bad news. In a State of the Union address which had everything except a “Mission Accomplished” banner flying in the background, President Bush all but declared victory over the insurgency in Iraq. His recertification of the success of the so-called surge has prompted the Republican candidates to assume a cocky swagger when discussing Iraq. They embrace the occupation and speak, without shame or apparent fear of retribution, of an ongoing presence in that war-torn nation. Their Democratic counterparts have been less than enthusiastic in their criticism of the escalation. And the media, for the most part, continue their macabre role as cheerleaders of death, hiding the reality of Iraq deep inside stories that build upon approving headlines derived from nothing more than political rhetoric. The war in Iraq, we’re told, is virtually over. We only need “stay the course” for 10 more years.
This situation is troublesome in the extreme. The collective refusal of any constituent in this complicated mix of political players to confront Bush on Iraq virtually guarantees that it will be the Bush administration, and not its successor, that will dictate the first year (or more) of policy in Iraq for the next president. It also ensures that the debacle that is the Bush administration’s overarching Middle East policy of regional transformation and regime change in not only Iraq but Iran and Syria will continue to go unchallenged. If the president is free to pursue his policies, it could lead to direct military intervention in Iran by the United States prior to President Bush’s departure from office or, failing that, place his successor on the path toward military confrontation. At a time when every data point available certifies (and recertifies) the administration’s actions in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere (including Afghanistan) as an abject failure, America collectively has fallen into a hypnotic trance, distracted by domestic economic problems and incapable, due to our collective ignorance of the world we live in, of deciphering the reality on the ground in the Middle East.
Rather than offering a word-for-word renouncement of the president’s rosy assertions concerning Iraq, I will instead initiate a process of debunking the myth of American success by doing that which no politician, current or aspiring, would dare do: predict the failure of American policy in Iraq. With the ink on the newspapers parroting the president’s words barely dry, evidence of his misrepresentation of reality begins to build with the announcement by the Pentagon that troop levels in Iraq will not be dropping, as had been projected in view of the “success” of the “surge,” but rather holding at current levels with the possibility of increasing in the future. This reversal of course concerning troop deployments into Iraq highlights the reality that the statistical justification of “surge success,” namely the reduction in the level of violence, was illusory, a temporary lull brought about more by smoke and mirrors than any genuine change of fortune on the ground. Even the word surge is inappropriate for what is now undeniably an escalation. Iraq, far from being a nation on the rebound, remains a mortally wounded shell, the equivalent of a human suffering from a sucking chest wound, its lungs collapsed and its life blood spilling unchecked onto the ground. The “surge” never addressed the underlying reasons for Iraq’s post-Saddam suffering, and as such never sought to heal that which was killing Iraq. Instead, the “surge” offered little more than a cosmetic gesture, covering the wounds of Iraq with a bandage which shielded the true extent of the damage from outside view while doing nothing to save the victim.
Iraq is dying; soon Iraq will be dead. True, there will be a plot of land in the Middle East which people will refer to as Iraq. But any hope of a resurrected homogeneous Iraqi nation populated by a diverse people capable of coexisting in peace and harmony is soon to be swept away forever. Any hope of a way out for the people of Iraq and their neighbors is about to become a victim of the “successes” of the “surge” and the denial of reality. The destruction of Iraq has already begun. The myth of Kurdish stability—born artificially out of the U.S.-enforced “no-fly zones” of the 1990s, sustained through the largess of the Oil-for-Food program (and U.S.-approved sanctions sidestepped by the various Kurdish groups in Iraq) and given a Frankenstein-like lease on life in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion and occupation—is rapidly unraveling. Like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, present-day Iraqi Kurdistan has been exposed as an amalgam of parts incompatible not only with each other but the region as a whole.
Ongoing Kurdish disdain for the central authority in Baghdad has led to the Kurds declaring their independence from Iraqi law (especially any law pertaining to oil present on lands they control). The reality of the Kurds’ quest for independence can be seen in their support of the Kurdish groups, in particular the PKK, that desire independence from Turkey. The sentiment has not been lost on their Turkish neighbors to the north, resulting in an escalation of cross-border military incursions which will only expand over time, further destabilizing Kurdish Iraq. Lying dormant, and unmentioned, is the age-old animosity between the two principle Kurdish factions in Iraq, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). As recently as 1997, these two factions were engaged in a virtual civil war against one another. The strains brought on by the present unraveling have these two factions once again vying for position inside Iraq, making internecine conflict all but inevitable. The year 2008 will bring with it a major escalation of Turkish military operations against northern Iraq, a strategic break between the Kurdish factions there and with the central government of Baghdad, and the beginnings of an all-out civil war between the KDP and PUK.
The next unraveling of the “surge” myth will be in western Iraq, where the much applauded “awakening” was falling apart even as Bush spoke. I continue to maintain that there is a hidden hand behind the Sunni resistance that operates unseen and uncommented on by the United States and its erstwhile Iraqi allies operating out of the Green Zone in Baghdad. The government of Saddam Hussein never formally capitulated, and indeed had in place plans for ongoing active resistance against any occupation of Iraq. In October 2007 the Iraqi Baath Party held its 13th conference, in which it formally certified one of Saddam’s vice presidents, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, as the supreme leader of the Sunni resistance.
The United States’ embrace of the “awakening” will go down in the history of the Iraq conflict as one of the gravest strategic errors made in a field of grave errors. The U.S. military in Iraq has never fully understood the complex interplay between the Sunni resistance, al-Qaida in Iraq, and the former government of Saddam Hussein. Saddam may be dead, but not so his plans for resistance. The massive security organizations which held sway over Iraq during his rule were never defeated, and never formally disbanded. The organs of security which once operated as formal ministries now operate as covert cells, functioning along internal lines of communication which are virtually impenetrable by outside forces. These security organs gave birth to al-Qaida in Iraq, fostered its growth as a proxy, and used it as a means of sowing chaos and fear among the Iraqi population.
The violence perpetrated by al-Qaida in Iraq is largely responsible for the inability of the central government in Baghdad to gain any traction in the form of unified governance. The inability of the United States to defeat al-Qaida has destroyed any hope of generating confidence among the Iraqi population in the possibility of stability emerging from an ongoing American occupation. But al-Qaida in Iraq is not a physical entity which the United States can get its hands around, but rather a giant con game being run by Izzat al-Douri and the Sunni resistance. Because al-Qaida in Iraq is derived from the Sunni resistance, it can be defeated only when the Sunni resistance is defeated. And the greatest con game of them all occurred when the Sunni resistance manipulated the United States into arming it, training it and turning it against the forces of al-Qaida, which it controls. Far from subduing the Sunni resistance by Washington’s political and military support of the “awakening,” the United States has further empowered it. It is almost as if we were arming and training the Viet Cong on the eve of the Tet offensive during the Vietnam War.
Keeping in mind the fact that the Sunni resistance, led by al-Douri, operates from the shadows, and that its influence is exerted more indirectly than directly, there are actual al-Qaida elements in Iraq which operate independently of central Sunni control, just as there are Sunni tribal elements which freely joined the “awakening” in an effort to quash the forces of al-Qaida in Iraq. The diabolical beauty of the Sunni resistance isn’t its ability to exert direct control over all aspects of the anti-American activity in Sunni Iraq, but rather to manipulate the overall direction of activity through indirect means in a manner which achieves its overall strategic aims. The Sunni resistance continues to use al-Qaida in Iraq as a useful tool for seizing the strategic focus of the American military occupiers (and their Iraqi proxies in the Green Zone), as well as controlling Sunni tribal elements which stray too far off the strategic course (witness the recent suicide bomb assassination of senior Sunni tribal leaders). 2008 will see the collapse of the Sunni “awakening” movement, and a return to large-scale anti-American insurgency in western Iraq. It will also see the continued viability of al-Qaida in Iraq in terms of being an organization capable of wreaking violence and dictating the pace of American military involvement in directions beneficial to the Sunni resistance and detrimental to the United States.
One of the spinoffs of the continued success of the Sunni resistance is the focus it places on the inability of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad to actually govern. The U.S. decision to arm, train and facilitate the various Sunni militias in Iraq is a de facto acknowledgement that the American occupiers have lost confidence in the high-profile byproduct of the “purple finger revolution” of January 2005. The sham that was that election has produced a government trusted by no one, even the Shiites. The ongoing unilateral cease-fire imposed by the Muqtada al-Sadr on his Mahdi Army prevented the outbreak of civil war between his movement and that of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and its militia, the Badr Brigade.
When Saddam’s security forces dissolved on the eve of the fall of Baghdad in March 2003, the security organs which had been tasked with infiltrating the Shiite community for the purpose of spying on Shiites were instead instructed to embed themselves deep within the structures of that community. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade are heavily infiltrated with such sleeper elements, which conspire to create and exploit fractures between these two organizations under the age-old adage of divide and conquer. A strategic pause in the conflict between the Mahdi Army and the U.S. military on the one hand and the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade on the other has served to strengthen the hand of the Mahdi Army by allowing time for it to rearm and reorganize, increasing its efficiency as a military organization all the while its political opposite, the SCIRI-dominated central Iraqi government, continues to falter.
Further exacerbating the situation for the American occupiers of Iraq is the ongoing tension created by the war of wills between the United States and Iran. The Sunni resistance has no love for the Shiite theocracy in Tehran, or its proxies in Iraq, and views creating a rift between the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade as a strategic imperative on the road to a Sunni resurgence. Any U.S. military strike against Iran will bring with it the inevitable Shiite backlash in Iraq. The Shiite forces that emerge as the most independent of the American occupier will be, in the minds of the Sunni resistance, the most capable of winning the support of the Shiites of Iraq. Given the past record of cooperation between the Mahdi Army and the Sunni resistance, and the ongoing antipathy between Sunnis and SCIRI, there can be little doubt which Shiite entity the Sunnis will side with when it comes time for a decisive conflict between the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade, and 2008 will be the year which witnesses such a conflict.
The big loser in all of this, besides the people of Iraq, is of course the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. Betrayed by the Bush administration, abandoned by Congress and all but forgotten by a complacent American population and those who are positioning themselves for national leadership in the next administration, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who so proudly wear the uniform of the United States continue to fight and die, kill and be maimed in a war which was never justified and long ago lost its luster. Played as pawns in a giant game of three-dimensional chess, these brave Americans find themselves being needlessly sacrificed in a game where there can be no winner, only losers.
The continued ambivalence of the American population as a whole toward the war in Iraq, perhaps best manifested by the superficiality of the slogan “Support the Troops,” all the while remaining ignorant of what the troops are actually doing, has led to a similar amnesia among politicians all too willing to allow themselves to seek political advantage at the expense of American life and treasure. January 2008 cost the United States nearly 40 lives in Iraq. The current military budget is unprecedented in its size, and doesn’t even come close to paying for ongoing military operations in Iraq. The war in Iraq has bankrupted Americans morally and fiscally, and yet the American public continues to shake the hands of aspiring politicians who ignore Iraq, pretending that the blood which soaks the hands of these political aspirants hasn’t stained their own. In the sick kabuki dance that is American politics, this refusal to call a spade a spade is deserving of little more than disdain and sorrow.
While the American people, politicians and media may remain mute on the reality of Iraq, I won’t. There is no such thing as a crystal ball which enables one to see clearly into the future, and I am normally averse to making sweeping long-term predictions involving a topic as fluid as the ongoing situation in Iraq. At the risk of being wrong (and, indeed, I hope very much that I am), I will contradict the rosy statements of the president in his State of the Union address and will throw down a gauntlet in the face of ongoing public and media ambivalence by predicting that 2008 will be the year the “surge” in Iraq is exposed as a grand debacle. The cosmetic bandage placed over the gravely wounded Iraq will fall off, and the damaged body that is Iraq will continue its painful decline toward death.
If there is any winner in all of this it will be the Sunni resistance, or at least its leadership hiding in the shadow of the American occupation, as it continues to exploit the chaotic death spiral of post-Saddam Iraq for its own long-term plan of a Sunni resurgence in Iraq. That the Sunni resistance will continue to fight an American occupation is a guarantee. That it will continue to persevere is highly probable. That the United States will be able to stop it is unlikely. And so, the reality that the only policy direction worthy of consideration here in the United States concerning Iraq is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American forces continues to hold true. And the fact that this option is given short shrift by all capable of making or influencing such a decision guarantees that this bloody war will go on, inconclusively and incomprehensibly, for many more years. That is the one image in my crystal ball that emerges in full focus, and which will serve as the basis of defining a national nightmare for generations to come.

GI Resistance Calendar - February

These materials were originally posted in the Sir! No Sir! Timelines and Archives


1967

February 23:

  • Spec 4 J. Harry Muir 3d, a conscientious objector who said he could not serve in Vietnam because he loved peace more than America, was sentenced to two years at hard labor today for the kind of conduct that "loses wars and countries."

1968

February 2:

  • Field Board Hearing held to decide on Andy Stapp's fitness to remain in the armed services. (Fort Sill)

February 4:

  • Steve Mason, and John Cornfield win court injunction preventing their shipment to Vietnam while applying for CO status.

February 15:

  • Pvt. George Davis court-martialed after refusing orders to Vietnam.

February 20:

  • Reported Combat refusal - US 9th Infantry Division (Me Tho Province, South Vietnam)

February 23:

  • Pvt. Kenneth Stolte and PFC Daniel Amick distribute antiwar petition at Ft Ord, which says in part: "We protest. We protest the war in Viet nam. ... Too many of our friends, not to mention the Vietnamese, are being killed for nothing. . . We are tired of it., We are tired of all the lies about the war. We are uniting and organizing to voice our opposition to this war. If you really want to work for peace and freedom, then join us in our opposition. We are organizing a union in order to express our dissension and grievances.".

February 29:

  • Frederick Parese deserts to avoid shipment to Vietnam.

1969

February 2:

  • Stockade Rebellion (Fort Hood).

February 10:

  • 56 personnel in the Women's Army Corps march on the the Inspector General’s office to protest unwarranted barracks restriction (Fort Sam Huston).

February 13:

  • 5 GIs hold an On-Post Pray-In for Peace in Vietnam. (Fort Jackson)
  • Pfc. Robert Teter, Pfc. Steven Kline arrested for organizing Pray-in. (Fort Jackson).

February 15:

  • GI-civilian conference (Newark).

February 16:

  • GI-civilian demonstration (Seattle).

February 20:

  • Shelter Half Coffeehouse business license revoked (Tacoma).

February 22:

  • GI teach-in (First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles).

February 23:

  • Reported Fragging (Duc Hoa, South Vietnam).

February 26:

  • GI’s United Against the War in Vietnam petition to hold meeting on-base (Fort Jackson)

February 28:

  • Pfc. William Hill reduced in rank and transferred because of antiwar activities. (Fort Lewis)

1970

February 2:

  • Willie Williams charged with “conduct discrediting the Armed Services” for making a poster containing a statement from the Black Panther newspaper. (Fort Lewis)

February 10:

  • Editor of Anchorage Troop, George Edge, transferred to Kelly A.F.B. on 24 hours notice. (Fort Richardson)

February 13:

  • Wade Carson convicted for ”attempted distribution of unauthorized literature.” (Fort Lewis)

February 14:

  • Fort Dix coffeehouse firebombed. (Wrightstown, N.J.)

February 15:

  • UFO coffee house temporarily closed again by a restraining order to stop owners maintaining public nuisance. (Columbia, S.C.)

February 16:

  • Steve Gilbert found guilty of charges of AWOL, malingering and refusing to obey a direct order, for his refusal to go to Korea, which he believed was a war zone

February 19:

  • Pvt. Bruce MacLean shipped to Vietnam against his will. (Fort Lewis)

February 21:

  • Willie Williams charged, under Article 134 of UCMJ with "conduct discrediting the Armed Services." Specification one of the charge was "threatening the life of the President of the United States. (Fort Lewis)

February 24:

  • Paul Kurek arrested for “distributing political papers” on base. (Fort Knox)

February 27:

  • West Point graduate, 1st Lt. Louis Font, asks to be released from military because its actions in Vietnam counter his religious beliefs.

1971

February 1:

  • SP/4 Tom Chase, SP/4 Steve Geden and PFC Daniel Kreps charged for the July 26, 1970 bombing of a Western Electric transformer and the central telephone exchange at Camp McCoy

February 25:

  • The Peoples House, the Ft Campbell GI organizing center, is unsuccessfully firebombed (Clarksville)

1972

February 29:

  • KPFK devotes 2 hours to GI movement, first hour has program composed of letters and articles by military dependents and women in the military. Second hour has recording of FTA show

February 07, 2008

Latest from United For Peace and Justice's Plans for March 19

Today, we'd like to highlight the actions that will be taking place on March 19th, the anniversary of the U.S. "shock and awe" assault on Iraq, the day on which five years of horrifying death and destruction began.
March 19, Mass Nonviolent Direct Actions in Washington, DC: We've marched, we've vigiled, we've lobbied -- it's time to put our bodies on the line in large numbers. We encourage everyone who can to join us in DC, on Wednesday, March 19th, to be part of the day of action, or to assist in support work. We are working to have delegations from all 50 states take part in this massive day of action.
March 19, Local Actions Throughout the Country: While we are working hard to have a large turnout in DC on March 19, it is also necessary to be visible and vocal in our local communities on that day.
Congress will not be in session and so our representatives and senators will be in their home districts/states. We are aiming to have at least one action in each of the 435 congressional districts. We encourage those who are not able to make it to DC on March 19 to organize and participate in local actions. These events will vary in location and character -- some will be vigils, others civil disobedience actions, some will be held at congressional offices, others in town squares -- but they will all be tied to the actions in Washington and sending the same message to the policy makers: It is time to end this war and occupation!
Our activities to mark the 5th anniversary are designed to offer new opportunities for people to publicly express their opposition to the war. We believe the anti-war movement must use the 5th anniversary as the beginning of a renewed and bolder effort to finally bring this war to an end. This is a challenging call to action, but it is urgent that we mark the 5th anniversary in as strong a way as possible to help ensure that ending the war in Iraq remains a central issue in the public discourse throughout this year.
We need your help to make all of this happen. Here's what you can do:

Spread the word. Circulate this message as widely as possible! Post a 5 Years Too Many web button on your website or blog.
Make plans now to join us in Washington on Wednesday, March 19th. Visit www.5yearstoomany.org/march19dc for more info and to register to join us in DC. The call for the actions in Washington is included below -- please share it with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, people you go to school with and everyone else you know and encourage them to make the trip to DC.
Get involved in local March 19 organizing. If you can't get to DC, check out what's happening in your area on March 19th and get involved. If you don't see anything listed yet for your area, start planning something now. We have lots of ideas for action you can take locally that day. Post the details of your action on our calendar so others can join you.
Make the most generous donation you can today. Please help give UFPJ the resources needed to organize and support both the DC and local actions. Every contribution you make is immediately put to good use.
Finally, we will soon be sending information about the other major 5th anniversary event we are supporting -- the Winter Soldier hearings being organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War. Please keep your eyes open for email from us with more details on how you can get involved in solidarity activities in your area.

Peace,
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, UFPJ

5years

Take Action in the Nation's Capitol on Wednesday, March 19


March 19th will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Enough is enough! We are organizing creative, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in Washington, DC, to interrupt business as usual for those promoting and profiting from war and empire building. Focusing on the pillars of war , our actions will take place at multiple sites, demonstrating the real costs of war and offering visions for a more just and sustainable world, a world at peace.

Click here to sign up to join us in DC on March 19th.

If your organization would like to help mobilize people from your area to go to DC for March 19, please email [email protected]


Information on civil disobedience trainings, etc. coming soon!


Five years of war and occupation in Iraq ... at what cost?


A country in shambles with 650,000 to 1 million Iraqis dead or wounded, 4,000,000 displaced, families and communities ripped apart. Nearly 4,000 U.S. service people killed and over 40,000 wounded, many then neglected by our government. All the while U.S. corporations reap huge profits as they plan to control Iraq's oil.

Over $1.2 trillion spent on death and destruction while at home millions of uninsured have no access to affordable healthcare, public infrastructure is collapsing, the housing mortgage crisis is growing, unemployment is rising and the Gulf Coast has yet to be rebuilt.

Continued abuses on our natural environment with corporate greed protected. The Arctic and Greenland melting before our eyes, Indigenous cultures and peoples being destroyed, extreme climate events -- all tied to the addiction to oil.


Torture, illegal surveillance, domestic spying, erosion of civil liberties. A criminal administration with a Congress and judiciary no longer offering adequate checks and balances. The Constitution, with its articles of impeachment, rendered irrelevant and disregarded.

And now threats of an attack on Iran and escalation of the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan. False claims of weapons of mass destruction, while all along the WMDs have been right here in the U.S.


These Are the Times in Which We Live. This Is Our Time to Respond.


We Will Not Be Silent!


On March 19 -- Join the Nonviolent Action and Civil Disobedience in Washington, DC

United by common demands and organizing principles, groups are encouraged to participate in nonviolent mass actions and/or organize their own actions in coordination with others. There could be sit-ins, die-ins, blockades, pray-ins, bike blockades, street theater, poetry readings, puppets, speak-outs and more at government agencies, war profiteers, corporate media, military recruitment centers, or other pillars of war and empire in DC. Unleash Your Imagination!

Start organizing affinity groups and local meetings now. For more information about the DC actions on March 19th contact: www.5yearstoomany.org or email [email protected]g

Upcoming Event in London

Haditha


Call To Action (video)

A CALL TO ACTION: March 19, 2008 will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is the time in which we live. This is our time to respond. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.

News from the Israeli Refuser Network

One of the goals of the Sir! No Sir! blog is to provide articles and announcements that can be copied wholesale and used by resisters and activists on their blogs or in zines and newsletters. A second, and equally important theme for this blog, is to highlight acts of resistance that illustrate how the growing GI movement against the war in Iraq is not unique to that conflict. Instead, it is part of a wider network of resistance among active duty soldiers across the globe. In that light, I shall be including information from the Israeli Refuser Network. While this may strike some readers as stepping out of the boundaries of the American GI movement, I believe that resistors are empowered to act when they know: first, that they will not be hung out to dry and second, that they are not alone in their struggle. The following announcements were originally published in the January 2008 Refuser Solidarity Network Newsletter.


BREAKING THE SILENCE COMES TO THE U.S.!

This spring, Americans will have the opportunity to see and hear Breaking the Silence, an exhibit of over 100 photographs and video testimonies by current and former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers documenting their experiences in the Occupied Territories. In February, the exhibit will premiere in Philadelphia, and in March, it will travel to Cambridge, MA, where it will be shown at Harvard's Center for Government and International Studies. Several members of Breaking the Silence will be present in Philadelphia and Cambridge to engage the public on the content and meaning of the exhibit. BTS is looking for additional venues--synagogues, Jewish community centers, schools, house parties, etc--in the Boston or Philadelphia area (or anywhere in between) to host additional presentations by BTS members. In addition, members will provide guided tours for organizations interested in visiting the Boston or Philadelphia exhibit site. The Refuser Solidarity Network believes strongly in the BTS message and exhibition and urges you to support this effort. To donate online, please visit the RSN website, www.refusersolidarity.net, click on the "Donate Now" button below and specify "Breaking the Silence Exhibit" in the RSN Project field. To schedule a tour or a speaking engagement, contact Ben Murane, [email protected]; phone 646-419-2016.
The BTS tour is sponsored by Americans for Peace Now (www.peacenow.org); Brit Tzedek v'Shalom (www.btvshalom.org); Hashomer Hatzair (www.hashomerhatzair.org); Meretz USA (www.meretzusa.org), and the Union of Progressive Zionists (www.upzshalom.org).

COMBATANTS FOR PEACE (CFP) www.combatantsforpeace.org

The Combatants for Peace movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence-Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. Since 2005, CFP has organized meetings between Israeli and Palestinian veterans in which both sides tell about the violent actions that they have taken part in and about the turning point that led them to understand the limits of violence. These combatants' meetings allow each side to understand the other's narrative through reconciliation rather than conflict.

Combatants for Peace continues its participation in Abir Aramin's Garden, a memorial to 10-year-old Abir, who was killed last January by Israeli soldiers near her school in Anata. Abir was the daughter of Bassam Aramin, one of the founders of Combatants for Peace. The project is designed to give the children of Anata the opportunity to play safely in an organized playground and is a cooperative effort by the Aramin family, Combatants for Peace, The Rebuilding Alliance (www.rebuildingalliance.org) and Women of a Certain Age. You can donate to Abir's Garden by visiting the Combatants for Peace Website, www.combatantsforpeace.org, clocking on "Projects," and following the links to Abir Aramin's Garden. You can also read an opinion piece by Bassam Aramin recently published in the Jewish Daily Forward, www.forward.com/articles/a-plea-for-peace-from-a-bereaved-palestinian-fathe, and a transcript of an interview broadcast on the BBC last October, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7064104.stm.
Members of CFP have been spreading their message in the United States. In August, two members of CFP spoke in St. Louis, MO at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace, a 7000-member organization dedicated to abolishing war. Israeli Yonatan Gur and Palestinian Raed Al-Haddar were featured prominently in an article in the VFP newsletter, which you can find at www.veteransforpeace.org (click on "Newsroom," then on "newsletter," in the upper right corner, then on "October, 2007," and go to page 2).
In November, Zohar Shapira and Sulaiman Khatib accepted an award on behalf of CFP from Search for Common Ground, an organization that works with local partners for the peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world. Other awardees at the gala New York City ceremony included Ismael Beah, author of the best-selling book A Long Way Gone: Memories of a Boy Soldier and veteran TV newsman and Public Television host Charlie Rose. Charlayne Hunter-Gault of PBS and NPR presided, and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary had the crowd singing and cheering. At a separate ceremony, Bassam Aramin of Combatants for Peace was presented with the Eliav-Sartawi Media Award at Columbia University for his op-ed in the Jewish Daily Forward (see link, above).
Previous recipients of the Common Ground Award, which was established in 1998, include former President Jimmy Carter, former Senator George Mitchell, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim. You can watch a brief video highlighting past recipients and describing Search from Common Ground at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6433282651809828481. Learn more about the organization at www.sfcg.org.
Finally in CFP news, "On the Objection Front," a 2005 film by Shiri Tsur, will soon be broadcast in Israel for the first time. The film whose Hebrew title, "Ratziti Lihiyot Gibor," literally means "I Wanted to Be a Hero," features interviews with signers of the original Combatants Letter, the Israelis who first refused to serve in the Occupied Territories for reasons of conscience. The film has been shown at numerous film festivals in the U.S., Canada and Europe before finally airing on Israel's YES cable TV channel. The film's website is www.objectionfront.com; click on "English," at the bottom, to watch a trailer with English titles.

YESH G'VUL www.yeshgvul.org/index_e.asp

Yesh G'vul ("There is a limit!") is an Israeli peace group campaigning against the Occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties in the Occupied Territories.
Yesh G'vul arose in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It offers counseling to soldiers who wrestle with the painful choice between serving policies they find abhorrent and defying military discipline. The organization provides moral and material backing for those who elect to refuse, ranging from financial support for families of jailed refuseniks to vigils at the military prisons where they are held. The oldest of the refuser groups, Yesh G'vul continues to oppose illegal military actions in the Occupied Territories.

During 2007 Yesh G'vul focused on the ongoing campaign to end judicial impunity for Israeli officials, army officers and soldiers and bring to trial those responsible for committing war crimes. The legal procedures that YG began more than five years ago, following the targeted killing of Hamas leader Salah Shechade in Gaza city, along with 14 civilians (nine of whom were children), culminated this June, when the Israeli High Court of Justice strongly recommended that the state appoint an independent commission to investigate this incident. In September the state agreed to this recommendation. For more information, go to http://yeshgvul.org/articles_e.asp?id=87a4ba17a1619273bd6356b7c2986841
This judicial process is not over yet, since the state has not named the members of this committee, nor defined its scope or jurisdiction. YG, together with leading Israeli human-rights lawyers Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard, demand that the members of this committee not be linked to the Israeli military establishment and that its jurisdiction allow members to examine top-rank officers and politicians who were responsible for this operation.
Along with its legal activism, YG mounted a public campaign about the implications of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for suspected Israeli war criminals, focusing on the Shechade case. YG organized a petition of well known authors, artists, academics and human rights activists calling for an independent investigation. At the end of October YG held a press conference featuring former Minister of Education Yossi Sarid, Israel Air Force Reserve Brigadier-General Yiftach Spector, the poet Natan Zach and Advocate Michael Sfard. To see a video recording of the press conference (in Hebrew), go to http://www.tv.social.org.il/medini/yes-gvul-mesiba-29-10-07.htm. Yesh G'vul is currently looking for Hebrew speakers to help with the translation into English; volunteers can contact YG at [email protected].
YG activists have also continued to distribute the YG guidebook about war crimes and the IHL to soldiers on their way to service in the Occupied Territories. Thousands of copies of this guidebook were distributed this year and an updated version will be published at the beginning of 2008.
You can see the guidebook at: http://www.yeshgvul.org.il/docs/YGwarcrimes%20booklet.doc.
This year, YG plans to expand this project to include a public education campaign and a war crimes data base and to continue working with Israeli, Palestinian and international partners to create an effective lobby for ending immunity from prosecution.
Although the number of jailed refuseniks decreased dramatically in 2007, YG still operates its 24-hour hot-line, as it has for the past 25 years. YG activists counsel soldiers, both in conscript and reserve service, who are contemplating refusal.
YG also continues to distribute its fifth book about refusal, a collection of essays, photos and art titled "Occupation and Refusal," edited by YG spokesman Ishai Menuchin. The fourth book about refusal, "Refusenik," a collection of letters and statements by Israeli refuseniks from the last thirty years edited by YG activist Pertetz Kidron, was published this year in Turkey and Brazil, after having already been published in Israel, Japan, Greece, England, Italy and Belgium.
Last spring, as they have done for the past decade, YG celebrated Israeli Independence Day by honoring peace and social justice activists. More than 1500 supporters attended the event. The ceremony recognized Tally Fahima, who was jailed for two years after meeting senior Fatah militants in Jenin refugee camp; film director Jad Ne-eman; Second Lebanon War refusenik Amir Paster; human rights lawyer Gabi Laski; African refugee Johnny Bayou and others.
Finally, YG assisted Palestinian farmers who face constant harassment by Israeli settlers during the olive harvest, joined a coalition of peace groups who carried out actions in June marking the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and continues to participate in the coalition against the Separation Wall.

NEW PROFILE www.newprofile.org

New Profile is a group of feminist women and men who oppose the militarization of Israeli society. NP works for a truly democratic civic education, teaching the practice of peace and conflict resolution, rather than training children to enlist and accept warfare.

Last month, New Profile joined more than a dozen peace and justice organizations that issued a press release calling on the Israeli government to end the siege of Gaza. These organizations have joined with the international End the Siege campaign, which calls upon the Israeli government to end the siege and stop other repressive measures imposed on the civilian population of Gaza. The campaign seeks to make the Israeli public and the international community aware of the deteriorating living conditions resulting from the siege and to mobilize governments and communities to stop the boycott of Gaza. You can read the text of this press release at http://groups.google.com/group/newprofile/browse_thread/thread/af5f2b0e848a412b (click on "Show quoted text).
New Profile has also issued a position paper supporting Daniel Ben Simon, a paramedic in the Israeli Red Cross (Magen David Adom, or MDA), who has been suspended from his job for refusing to wear military-style epaulettes that are part of the MDA uniform. Ben Simon maintains that as a profoundly civilian organization, MDA should follow the example of the International Red Cross and define itself as humanitarian, not military. Ben-Simon has appealed to the labor relations court, and New Profile intends to finance legal aid to help him in his struggle against the quasi-military culture of MDA; the cost of such legal support will be around $6,000. You can help defend Daniel Ben-Simon through the RSN web site, www.refusersolidarity.net; click on "Donate Now: and specify "New Profile" in the box marked "Projects you would like to support." Read the position paper at www.newprofile.org/showdata.asp?pid=1202&language=en.
Finally, New Profile has endorsed a public petition condemning the appointment of General Dan Halutz as director general of Kamor, the official BMW dealer in Israel. Halutz was the commander of the assassination of Salah Shechade (see Yesh G'vul news, above) and was responsible for the killing of more than 1000 Lebanese civilians during the Israeli aggression in Lebanon in 2006. You can see and sign the petition at www.al-arabeya.net/halots (scroll down for the English version).
In addition to visiting the New Profile web site, you can learn more about NP, its members and its projects at its message board, http://groups.google.com/group/newprofile. There you can also sign up for the NP mailing list.

NEWS FROM ISRAEL/PALESTINE

In a piece published in Ha'aretz, Nufar Yishai-Karin describes the brutality she witnessed among Israeli soldiers during her time in the Israeli Army. You can read this provocative article at http://yeshgvul.org.il/articles_e.asp?id=e45366a615176116bd9996a5863fff34.
Two articles in Ha'aretz focus on Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, implicated in the Shechade assassination, and explore current efforts to bring those responsible to justice: www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/932411.html and www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/931680.
A longer piece, also in Ha'aretz, features an interview with Yiftach Spector, one of the Israeli army veterans who have called for an independent investigation of the Shechade case (see Yesh G'vul news, above). This in-depth interview with Spector provides a moving account of one man's journey from enthusiastic fighter pilot to peace activist. Read it at www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/932058.html. Another interview with Spector appears in The Electronic Intifada, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2093.shtml.
An article from the web site of Jews on First, an internet-based organization that mobilizes Jews to resist Christian fundamentalist attacks on the First Amendment, exposes the links between so-called Christian Zionists and the campaign for ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, with particular attention to the views of would-be Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Read it at www.jewsonfirst.org/08a/huckabee_christian_zionist.html.
Be sure to check out a new film, "Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority," now available for purchase on DVD; you can watch parts of this award winning film online, find out more about the filmmakers, and purchase a copy at www.occupation101.com.

Honor Role of GI Resisters I

Liberation News Service, as early as November 1967, carried a list of known draft resisters in each issue. The Sir! No Sir! blog is proud to carry a similar list of active duty GIs who refuse to participate in the war machine. This list will not be complete, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that most GIs who split the military are anonymous until they surface, either in Canada or at a court martial hearing.


The Current List of Known Veteran and Active Duty Iraq War Resisters - Part 1

Agustín Aguayo (Seeking C.O. status)

Phil Aliff (Active duty member of Fort Drum IVAW)

Darrell Anderson (Refusenik in Canada, later discharged with less than honorable discharge)

Anuradha Bhagwati (Applied for C.O. status in Marine Corps)

Loren Barrett (Given 11 months in jail and a bad conduct discharge for "Deserting his unit the day before it deployed to Iraq")

Jonathan Barriga (Applied for C.O. status, current location unknown)

Dale Bartell (AWOL to avoid deployment ti Iraq, sentenced to four months in prison and Bad Conduct Discharge)

David Beals (Applied for C.O. status)

Kevin Benderman (Court-martialed for desertion for declaring himself a conscientious objector.)

Michael Blake (Discharged as a C.O.)

James Blanks (Refused deployment to Afghanistan)

Erik Botta (Appealed to federal courts to block the Army from sending him to Iraq on a fifth deployment was excused from active service after being found medically unfit. )

Ivan Brobeck (Refusenik in Canada, returned to U.S., court-martialed and jailed at Quantico, Virginia. He was released in February, 2007 with a bad conduct discharge.)

Peter Brown (Granted C.O. status)

David Bunt (Application for C.O. status rejected, discharged form military in 2005)

Thomas Buonomo (Granted early discharge, after calling for Dick Cheney's impeachment)

Nathan Burden (AWOL, Current status unknown)

James Burmeister (Refusenik in Canada)

Travis Burnham (Applied for C.O. status in January 2003, currently student at Humboldt State University)

Yitav Busira (Israeli Refusenik)

Chris Capps (AWOL in March 2007, discharged May 2007, founder of IVAW in Germany)

Sergei Chaparin (Granted discharge as C.O.)

Eugene Cherry (AWOL as result of PTSD, honorably discharged in July 2007)

Alton Christiana (AWOL, status unknown)

James Circello (AWOL, status unknown)

Travis Clark (Pledged to resist Iraq deployment in USA Today interview)

Justin Cliburn (Pledged to resist Iraq redeployment, current status unknown)

Clifford Cornell (Refusenik in Canada)

Justin Faulkner (Currently receiving treatment for PTSD)

Brad Gaskins (Tried at Ft. Drum for Going AWOL)

Jeffrey Gauntt (Refused deployment to Afghanistan)

Corey Glass (Refusenik in Canada)

Patrick Hart (Refusenik in Canada)

Andrew Hegerty (Refused deployment to Afghanistan)

Lisa Hayes (Honorably Discharged)

Derek Hess (Discharged for refusing deployment to Iraq)

Clifton Hicks (Honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector)

Kevin Hicks (Honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector)

Jeremy Hinzman (Refusenik in Canada)

Brandon Hughey (Refusenik in Canada)

Kyle Huwer (Honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector)

Ryan Johnson (Refusenik in Canada)

Joshua Key (Refusenik in Canada)

Christian Kjar (Refusenik in Canada)

Ben Kogan (Israeli Refusenik)

Vincent J. LaVolpa (Application for C.O. status)

Calvin Chee Keong Lee (Application for C.O. status)

Blake Lemoine (Refused orders to Iraq)

Robin Long (Refusenik in Canada)

Phil McDowell (Refusenik in Canada)

Alex Messing (Israeli Refusenik)

Eilam Oren (Israeli Refusenik)

DeShawn O Reed (Honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector)

Kimberly Rivera (Refusenik in Canada)

Suzanne Swift (seeking medical discharge, current status unknown)

Dean Walcott (Refusenik in Canada)

Ehren Watada (Seeking C.O. status)

Jason Webb (Honorably discharged as a Conscientious Objector)

Mark Wilkerson (Jailed for 7 months for refusing deployment to Iraq, active with IVAW)

Eli Wright (Active duty member of Fort Drum IVAW)

Lennox Yearwood (Threatened with discharge on the basis of behavior that, in their words, is "clearly inconsistent with the interest of national security.")

Steve Yoczik (Refusenik in Canada)

February 06, 2008

GI Blog Posts - Adam Kokesh : An Interview I Did Yesterday With "Russia Today"

This was originally posted to Adam Kokesh, Revolutionary Patriot Blog, February 6, 2008.


Shutting Down the Machine - NYC United for Peace and Justice Alert

**Please forward widely**

Dear Friends,
Earlier in the week, you received an e-mail from UFPJ National Coordinator, Leslie Cagan that outlined the full range of activities that UFPJ is calling for nationally to mark the 5th anniversary of the war.
In conjunction with the national call, NYC-UFPJ is planning a week of activity beginning with Winter Soldier events March 13-16 and culminating with RIVER TO RIVER: STAND UP FOR PEACE on Saturday, March 22.
On Saturday, March 22, we are calling New Yorkers to join us to form a human chain along 14th Street from Avenue A to 11th Avenue. We will gather all along 14th Street at noon and STAND UP FOR PEACE until 1:00 p.m. Then both ends will march towards each other to converge in Union Square for a short rally (permit pending).
Bring your friends, your children, your neighbors, your signs and banners.
The occupation of Iraq has taken an enormous toll on US servicepeople and their families and on the Iraqi people. And as we all know, it has also taken a huge toll on our communities. Imagine what the $490 billion already spent ($16 billion of that from New York City alone) could buy in affordable housing, services for seniors and people with HIV, resources for our schools, college scholarships and job training programs! We want to highlight these local costs of war with our signs and our leaflets to urge New Yorkers to take an active stand against this war!
In the next couple of weeks, there will be fliers to download and stickers that can be picked up at the UFPJ office so that we can all work together to spread the word!
On Wed. March 19, we are also calling for actions in neighborhoods and congressional districts all over the city. This is a time for all of us to become organizers, to reach out to those people who we know are against the war, but who have not yet joined us on the street. Gather together 10 or 20 of your neighbors for a candlelight vigil, a street phone-a-thon to Congress, a meeting with your congressperson or a roving sidewalk funeral procession. The Granny Peace Brigade will be at the Times Square Recruiting Station knitting sock coverings for veterans who have lost limbs. Westside Peace Action will join with others in a walk from W. 86th St to Columbus Circle. Add your event to the growing list of actions around the country! Be sure to post your event at www.5yearstoomany.org so that others can join you and we can help to publicize it!
5 years of death and destruction cannot continue! Let's join together to bring it to an end!

Peace,
Leslie Kielson
NYC-UFPJ Coordinator

February 04, 2008

Shutting Down the Machine - Berkeley City Council: Marines aren't welcome

By Jeff Shuttleworth. Article originally published by FogCityJournal.com, February 1, 2008.


The Marines aren't welcome in Berkeley, the Berkeley City council said in an 8-1 vote Tuesday night.
The council's resolution says that the U.S. Marines Corps recruiting office at 64 Shattuck Ave., which opened about 13 months ago, "is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
Marines Capt. Rick Lund declined to comment on the resolution today except to say, "We have no plans to move."
The resolution also calls for exploring enforcing Berkeley's law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The City Attorney's office will investigate that possible action and report back to the City Council within 60 days, but City Manager Phil Kamlarz says it's "unlikely" that the city has the ability to enforce the city's law against the military.
In a separate but related action, the City Council also voted 8-1 to encourage the peace group Code Pink to disrupt the recruiting office on a weekly basis.
The council's vote gives Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting office from noon to 4 p.m. every Wednesday for six months and a free sound permit during those same hours.
The lone council member to vote against both measures was Gordon Wozniak.
In another related action, nearly 40 members of the anti-war group The World Can't Wait and Code Pink rallied outside the recruiting office Thursday to call for the office to be shut down as well as to allege that the U.S. military is engaging in war crimes.
Stephanie Tang of the World Can't Wait said the organization engaged in a national day of protest in a number of cities across the country as part of "mass, non-violent civil disobedience against war crimes because we're trying to stop war, torture and lying."
Despite steady rain, protesters gave speeches, chanted slogans such as "Shut it down!" and marched around the block where the recruiting office is located.
Although Lund declined to comment yesterday, in the past he has said that the Marines opened the recruiting office in Berkeley because they had to abandon an office that was located in an old federal building in Alameda that was being torn down.
Lund has said the Berkeley office is conveniently located because it's near the downtown Berkeley BART station and the University of California, Berkeley and is close to major freeways.
City Councilman Max Anderson, who attended Thursday's rally and was one of those who supported the resolution against the Marines, said he doesn't see any contradiction that city officials in Berkeley, the home of the free speech movement, are in effect telling the Marines that their brand of speech isn't welcome.
Anderson said, "The military has hundreds of millions of dollars to run ads on TV" aimed at recruiting young people.
He said, "This small counter-demonstration by us should in no way stop them from propagandizing and recruiting," he said.
Anderson said the council's resolution is only symbolic because it doesn't intervene in the Marines' lease with the landlord who owns the building where the recruiting office is located.
But he said the resolution expresses "the popular will of the people" of Berkeley against war and is telling the Marines "this is not fertile ground here" for recruiting.
Also attending today's rally was Sharon Adams, a member of Code Pink and the National Lawyers Guild who is gathering signatures for a petition that would put a measure on the November ballot in Berkeley that would make it more difficult to open military recruiting offices near homes, parks, schools, churches, libraries or health clinics.
Supporters of the measure need to gather 5,000 signatures by the end of July to get it placed on the ballot.
Adams said the measure wouldn't ban military recruiting offices but would require public hearings if they're within 600 feet of schools, homes, churches or similar facilities.
However, the measure wouldn't apply to offices that already are open, so it wouldn't affect the current Marines recruiting office, she said.

Shutting Down the Machine - Group protests Marine recruiters in Berkeley

Article originally published in SF Gate, February 1, 2008


Emboldened by this week's show of support by the Berkeley City Council, anti-war protesters on Thursday cranked up their noisy effort to throw the U.S. Marine Corps recruiters out of town, but in the pounding rain it was hard to tell who won the figurative battle of wills.
On one hand, the protesters mustered one of their biggest crowds yet - 40 people - to yell "Drive out the Bush regime" and other slogans outside the Marines' recruiting station on Shattuck Avenue. Hundreds of motorists honked in support as they passed.
On the other hand, there was nobody working at the recruiting station to hear these entreaties. The recruiting staff took the afternoon off.
And not only did the protesters get soaked to the bone in one of the heaviest downpours all week, several local business owners and their customers seethed under the aural onslaught of bullhorns and chanting from 3 to 5 p.m.
"They need a place to be heard, but it doesn't seem like this is the best one," complained Mike Mathis, who sometimes had to shout to be heard as his hair was being cut at the ZNS Beauty Station, next door to the Marines' office. "This is too small a place for a protest this loud."
Not in the minds of those doing the protest, it wasn't.
The spot was perfect and the noise justified, said Zanne Joy, who has been helping organize peace demonstrations at the recruiting station for four months with the women's anti-war group Code Pink. Anything legal is justified if it succeeds in persuading the Marine Corps to move its recruiting station out of Berkeley, she said, noting proudly that the Berkeley City Council agrees.
The council voted late Tuesday to give Code Pink a designated parking space directly in front of the recruiting station, as well as a sound permit for once-a-week protests. It also approved a separate resolution calling the military recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" and declaring that the office - which opened quietly in December 2006 - is not welcome in the city.
"We were shocked when we learned last fall that this recruiting station showed up here," Joy said. "It's an affront to the city and the people of Berkeley, who have always supported peace."
Since October, the weekly protests by Code Pink have mostly consisted of about a dozen people, so Thursday's crowd was a significant escalation. Joy and representatives from several other protest groups said they intend to mount demonstrations as many times a week as they can, even if the sound permit is good only once a week.
They also began circulating a petition on Wednesday to gather 5,000 signatures to put a measure on the November ballot that would require public hearings before military recruiting offices could open up near schools or homes.
Marine Corps officials did not return calls for comment.
However, ex-Marine Staff Sgt. Bill Hamilton showed up on his own to say he wholeheartedly supports the rights of the protesters to speak , but doesn't like their effort to silence the Marine Corps' voice in Berkeley.
"They don't seem to realize that this recruiting office is only for recruiting potential officers with college degrees, not kids right out of high school," said Hamilton, who drove in from Pleasanton to become the only on-scene counterpoint to the demonstration. "Marines are willing to die so these people can have their say, but I wish they understood the situation better."
Even the City Council is not of one voice on the matter.
The vote to award the Code Pink parking spot was 8-1, and the condemnation resolution was 6-3. On Thursday, the polarized emotions that went into those votes had not abated.
"I'm ashamed of my vote," said Councilwoman Betty Olds, who helped approve the parking spot but not the condemnation. "The protesters should have free speech - this is where Free Speech was born, after all - but to tell the Marines they are not welcome is shameful. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't even go for the parking spot."
Councilwoman Dona Spring, however, said she would love to step up the pressure even more against the Marine recruiting office.
"We're not condemning the men and women who serve, we are condemning the U.S. policy that is teaching the Marines and other military people to torture, oust other countries' political leaders and do other evil things."

Shutting Down the Machine - Stop-Loss Congress

As this action is supported by the Boston and Washington DC Chapters of IVAW, I have no problem announcing the plans to Stop-Loss Congress from March 10-12, 2008


Mission Statement

We believe that the time has past to ask or petition or beg Congress to act under the will of the people. We believe that Congress works for US, and that the time has come to TELL them what they must do. It is time to stop the corrupt and murderous business as usual in the Senate and House of Representatives.
We will participate in non violent direct actions that will deliver our official orders to Congress, and confront them peacefully if they refuse to comply. When we model this behavior to the citizens of the USA, and the world, we hope to inspire them to take similar actions, and take back control of Congress and the Government that is ours.

STOP LOSS CONGRESS ACTION:

MARCH 10 to 12, 2008 (Monday to Wednesday) in Washington,D.C:
This March, while tens of thousands of Americans in Washington, D.C., and all over the United States will be participating in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and involuntarily deployed U.S. soldiers and innocent civilian victims will begin another year of occupation, torture, and murder, U.S. congress members will be on vacation (from the 15th to 30th, technically a "district work period"), ignoring the killing and suffering they have enabled, supported, and financed.
To intensify the irony, Congress has condoned a widespread stop-loss policy in the military which requires soldiers to involuntarily extend their tours and prolong the killing. It is time to Stop-Loss Congress!
On Monday March 10, and Tuesday March 11, we will deliver "official" stop-loss notices to all members of Congress in their Capitol Hill offices. These will notify them that all of their LEAVES, VACATIONS, PASSES and HOME VISITS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED until further notice. Just as they require that active-duty personnel endure involuntary extensions of their tours of duty, we, the people for whom they work, are notifying them that they, too, will have their tours of duty INVOLUNTARILY EXTENDED until every foreign soldier and mercenary is out of Iraq, and home. When all the troops and contractors get home, then Congress can go home, and no sooner.
On Wednesday March 12, we will take nonviolent action on Capitol Hill, to ensure that, while thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis, and foreign invaders die and are injured for life, the members of Congress and their staffs will not go home but remain to DO THEIR DUTY, and immediately end the funding of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. No members of Congress goes home until THE TROOPS COME HOME.
JOIN US!

Shutting Down the Machine - If You're in England, Protest Condi!

ACTION ALERT: CONDOLEEZZA RICE IN LONDON JOIN THE PROTEST ON WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY

The Afghanistan war is at last getting mainstream coverage, as the US led occupiers are having to admit that the attempts to pacify the country, largely by terror bombing raids, are failing. With defeat looming, as it always has for every attempt in history at occupying Afghanistan, George Bush is desperate to get other countries to deploy more forces. But instead of responding to his pleas, the "coalition" countries are falling out amongst themselves, with Canada now threatening to withdraw all its troops, and others, like Germany, saying they will not send troops to South Afghanistan, where much of the fighting is taking place. (See http://tinyurl.com/2q24oh)
As Bush tries to stave off disaster in Afghanistan, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, flies to London next week to talk to Gordon Brown -- George Bush's closest ally -- to find a way to send more troops to Afghanistan. With UK defence minister Des Browne saying recently that Britain could be in Afghanistan for decades (http://tinyurl.com/2lhmqj), Rice will try to get Gordon Brown to commit more troops now, as a lever to get other countries to increase their deployment.
Stop the War Coalition is calling an emergency protest on Wednesday 6 February. We do not yet have details of Rice's meetings with Gordon Brown but we anticipate that our protest will be at Downing Street, the timing to be announced as soon as her plans are known.
PLEASE WATCH OUT FOR OUR EMAIL GIVING DETAILS OF THE PROTEST AGAINST CONDOLEEZZA RICE'S VISIT. WE WILL ALSO POST INFORMATION AS WE GET IT ON OUR WEBSITE: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
Bush's only aim for both Iraq and Afghanistan has been to keep the wars going till the end of his presidency. This aim is unravelling in Afghanistan, which is why Condoleezza Rice will be in London next week. But she will also be here to discuss Iraq, with the recent bombings in Baghdad giving the lie to US claims that the US troop "surge" is bringing stability to the country. And Iran will also be on her agenda, with recent statements by George Bush showing he is still itching to launch an attack.
We must ensure that Rice is left in no doubt that the majority of the British people have consistently opposed George Bush's warmongering. When Rice visited the UK in 2006 it turned into a public relations fiasco, as anti-war protestors followed her everywhere she went (see http://tinyurl.com/2nj5fb). We aim to do the same this time.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE NOT WANTED HERE END THE WARS IN AFGHANISTAN & IRAQ NOW PROTEST WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY (Details of location and time to follow shortly.)

February 03, 2008

It’s time to stop the war ourselves

Manifesto, by Aimee Allison and David Solnit, originally published in the Winter 2008 issue of Yes Magazine


We need a strategy to end the occupation of Iraq and stop the next invasion, in Iran or elsewhere. One reason it's been hard to mobilize people since the invasion of Iraq is the absence of a clear logic as to where our efforts are headed.
What will another march, continued lobbying, or even a nonviolent direct action add up to? How will we actually stop this war and prevent the next one?
As we approach another presidential election, we have to look soberly at the history of candidates who mobilized anti-war sentiment only to reverse course once elected. Woodrow Wilson was elected on his promise to keep the United States out of World War I and Richard Nixon was elected on his promise to bring troops home from the Vietnam War. Most members of Congress who were elected in 2006 on promises to bring the troops home have done little or worse.
The solution is written in the mountain-road blockades and mass mobilizations in Bolivia that have driven out transnational corporations like Bechtel and Suez, and even the country's president in 2003. It is written in the farm-worker-led Taco Bell boycott victory of 2005, and in the immigration-rights boycotts, walkouts, and mobilizations. It's in our own history of workers' and women's rights, environmental, and civil rights struggles. It's called people power.
It's time to stop the war ourselves. A new strategy is emerging from below to make it happen. It can be seen in the Pittsburgh Organizing Group's “Troops Home Fast,” a month-long, around-the-clock vigil held in September 2007 outside Pittsburgh's Recruitment Center, to call for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq and an end to military recruitment in Pittsburgh. The counter-recruiting actions have met with attacks by police dogs, electric cattle prods, “tasers,” and pepper spray, but their organizing has become contagious. Counter-recruitment is the fastest growing and most hopeful strategy of resistance to war in Iraq.
This strategy can also be seen in last summer's gutsy Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) bus caravan, during which veterans traveled to military bases across the country—at times facing arrest on base—to talk with the active-duty soldiers who will fight (or resist) the war in Iraq. One of the first active-duty IVAW chapters formed at Fort Mead, Maryland, in the wake of the caravan.
Kelly Dougherty, director of IVAW, explained their strategy at a recent workshop: “The U.S. war in Iraq is this unstable upside-down triangle. It's supported by a lot of pillars like the military, public opinion, war profiteers, the school system, media, Congress, the president, and the oil industry. If we can weaken those pillars, that will weaken the war as a whole.”
For the vets and active-duty soldiers of IVAW, this strategy has translated into their “Truth in Recruiting” and “GI Resistance” campaigns. IVAW members have been challenging military recruiting, supporting GI resisters, and organizing recent vets and active-duty soldiers.

IVAW News - Another Take on the Winter Soldier Hearings

By Erin Thompson, originally published in The Indypendent, February 4, 2008


Return of the Winter Soldier: Iraq Vets Prepare Atrocity Testimony

During the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion in March, there will not be hundreds of thousands of people mobilizing in the streets of Washington, D.C., for another afternoon protest. That’s because Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has asked antiwar groups not to stage a D.C. mass demonstration from March 13-16.
Instead, the IVAW hopes that antiwar activists and the media will help amplify the voices of veterans and active-duty soldiers, who will testify during those four days about the atrocities they committed or witnessed while serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
During the series of panels, multimedia presentations and testimony, more than 45 current and former soldiers plan to describe the indiscriminate killing and injuring of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of chemical weapons, the torture and killing of detainees, rape — within the military itself and against Iraqi civilians — the denial of medical care to the injured and the mutilation of the dead, and other war crimes. Iraqi and Afghani civilians, as well as reporters not embedded with the military, are scheduled to verify many of the stories that will be described by the soldiers.
The goal of hearings, named the Winter Soldier Investigation: Iraq and Afghanistan, after the 1971 Vietnam-era investigation of the same name, is to show that systematic government policies are to blame for the myriad atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s easy for the military to ostracize soldiers. We want to demonstrate that the policies that are set at the highest level are what’s creating the reality on the ground,” said New York City IVAW chapter President Jose Vasquez. “Soldier after soldier, rotation after rotation, these policies are what’s creating the environment in which these atrocities occur.”
“When other vets are willing to discuss some of the negative things, it shows people that it is not just an isolated event,” said Michael Harmon, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. Harmon pointed to the standard operating procedure of shooting any Iraqi civilian carrying a shovel at night, “because they might have been planting IEDs” and the impunity afforded to soldiers who killed civilians as examples of policies that lead to atrocities.
Harmon remembers watching U.S. soldiers shoot a 2-year-old girl in the leg. “An IED went off and soldiers starting spraying bullets in all directions. The little girl was caught in the crossfire while driving in her family car.”
Harmon, who has coped with substance abuse issues since leaving the military in 2005, was one of the first members of IVAW to be interviewed for the hearings, despite the fact that, “I don’t like to think about the war when I don’t have to. It is just a horrible, misguided debacle.”
While IVAW is taking inspiration and learning from the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation, they acknowledge that they are dealing with a “a different world, a different war,” said Vasquez. To collect testimony, IVAW initially based their questions on the 1971 questionnaire. However, they soon found that many of the questions needed to be updated; the questionnaire is now more than nine pages long, after starting at only two. They are also taking steps to provide psychological counseling to any soldier who testifies, in the hopes of avoiding the sharp increase in suicides that occurred after the 1971 testimonies.
In addition, in 1971, when Vietnam veterans holed up in a Detroit motel to describe a litany of atrocities they had experienced and carried out during the U.S. war in Southeast Asia, there was a near media blackout. A documentary film was eventually created using the testimony, but “had there not been a documentary, I don’t think we’d even know about the [1971 investigation],” said Vasquez.
In this age of instant communication and prolific independent media, IVAW has put out a call to artists, journalists, filmmakers and other media makers to help spread testimony from the hearings.
While IVAW hopes that the experiences of soldiers will help inform the public and politicians’ ideas about the reality of the war, the group’s strategy is mainly on reaching those who can most directly stop the war: active-duty soldiers and their families.
“Our target audience is GIs,” said Vasquez, who explained that by fomenting resistance within the military and within military families, IVAW is in a unique position to undermine the continuation of U.S. war policies. “We thought long and hard about what are we best positioned to do, we realized that there are very few antiwar organizations that have the ability to do outreach among the GIs.”

IVAW News - Winter Soldier Fundraiser

IVAW will hold a New York Winter Soldier benefit Feb. 21, 6-9pm at the New York Ethical Culture Society, 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West. $10 suggestion donation, free for all veterans. For more information, or if you are a media maker that wants to get involved, visit ivaw.org or email [email protected].

February 02, 2008

IVAW News - The CPUSA Endorses the Winter Soldier Hearings

One of the nice things about the post Soviet left is that we are no longer so distracted by stupid internecine fights between what Richard Neville once described as the alphabet soup of the left. Without a specific historical model to fall back on for a solution we can all get behind projects and give the participants our full support. Long gone are the days, when the GI movement was splintered into a myriad of groups identified by ideology and identity, each attempting to maximalize their membership and ideological correctness no matter what the cost for the larger movement. This is not the case with the new GI movement, which is just beginning to come to the attention of a myriad of formerly ideologically incompatible groups and organizations. For example, the following article has just been published in the CPUSA's Worker's World:

Iraq vets call for Winter Soldier investigation

By Dee Knight
Published Jan 17, 2008 1:36 AM

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has announced plans for “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” from March 13 to 16. The event “will assemble the largest gathering of U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in history, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors,” IVAW says, “to offer first-hand, eyewitness accounts to tell the truth about these occupations—their impact on the troops, their families,” the United States “and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
IVAW is asking the larger anti-war movement to call no national mobilizations and no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., on that long weekend. “IVAW would support any events that do not interfere with the Winter Soldier hearings, our strategy, or goals,” they said. “We would encourage our members to continue participating in events of the larger movement to end the occupation of Iraq, as we acknowledge both the significance and the necessity of such actions.”
Thomas Paine, a writer and political activist who promoted the revolution for U.S. independence from Britain in the 18th century, said winter soldiers are those who stand up even in the most difficult hours of struggle. “With this spirit in mind,” IVAW says, “our members are standing up to make their experiences available to all who are concerned about the direction of our country.”
This is the second Winter Soldier investigation: in 1971, members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) gathered in Detroit to share their stories. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW testified at that time on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam.
“Over 30 years later,” IVAW says, “we find ourselves faced with a new war, but the lies are the same. Once again, [U.S.] troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming ‘a few bad apples’ instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Support needed

IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. “We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,” IVAW says. “We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members.”
Workers World spoke with IVAW National Board members Camilo Mejia and Margaret Stevens about the event and other aspects of the organization’s work.
Mejia spent nine months in military prison from May 2004 to February 2005 for refusing to return to Iraq after his first tour of duty there. He has been speaking and organizing since his release. He was chosen to chair the IVAW National Board at its conference last August. He told WW the organization is growing fast—from about 500 in August to more than 700 now, with members in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and on numerous bases both here and overseas, including Iraq.
Commenting on the recent mutiny by a platoon of soldiers in Iraq, Mejia said this type of resistance is increasingly common there. “I refused a mission once,” he said. “We had watched several of our comrades be killed and wounded. I said no—as squad leader—that I would not allow my guys to be used as bait for some colonel to make general.”
Margaret Stevens, who is IVAW’s National Board treasurer, said, “My stint in the anti-war movement began before the official invasion was declared in 2003. As a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard from 1997 to 2004, I counted myself among the soldiers who questioned the goals, values and actions of the U.S. military even during times of so-called peace.”
A resident of Newark, N.J., and a professor at Essex Community College, Stevens says, “We need to develop a strong voice in the northern New Jersey region. Until we can link the fight against imperialist war overseas to the fight against racism and sexism in the U.S., we are missing the point.”
Stevens told WW last August that Mejia’s political statement at the IVAW convention “was that we need to look at the root of the problem—not just the war but the capitalist system. People responded positively to this.” She said the northern New Jersey chapter of IVAW, which had its first meetings in December, has gotten off to a strong start. More than 40 people attended the chapter’s first holiday party, most of them veterans, but also from Military Families Speak Out, the People’s Organization for Progress of Jersey City, and others.
The IVAW, Stevens said, “will have a three-pronged approach: truth in recruiting; mobilization of active duty soldiers; defending war resisters.” There is rich detail on each of these initiatives, as well as ways to help build the Winter Soldier activity, on the group’s Web site: www.ivaw.org.

What is refreshing about the CPUSA stance, as opposed to that taken by Cindy Sheehan and the groups supporting her, such as MoveOn.org, is they do not have their nose out of joint because they have been asked to step out out of the limelight and relinquish the public stage to IVAW. Consequently they endorse IVAW's appeal to the larger anti-war movement to call no national mobilizations and no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., on that long weekend.

February 01, 2008

IVAW News - Upcoming Events [i]

Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:00pm: IVAW- Chicago Benefit

Benefit for IVAW. Movie screening of “Soldiers for Peace” (a movie about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War) at the Acme Coop. Film begins at 7:00 pm 2418 W. Bloomingdale.

Mon, 02/11/2008 - 10:00pm: Chicago IVAW benefit at Danny's

IVAW benefit at Danny’s Bar @ 1951 W. Dickens from 10pm to 2am. A part of Danny's monthly peace party.

Wed, 02/13/2008 - 2:00pm: IVAW Great Lakes at Ohio State University

IVAW members from the Great Lakes region to partake in a panel at Ohio State University about IVAW and the upcoming Winter Soldier Investigation: Iraq, Afghanistan.
Location: Ohio State University, 1810 College Road, Page Hall 60 on the Oval

Wed, 02/13/2008 - 5:00pm: Exact Imagination

IVAW Chicago along with other IVAW members to appear at Exact Imagination art exhibition opening at the Columbus College of Art and Design.
Location: Columbus College of Art and Design, 60 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Sun, 02/17/2008 - 10:00am: Outreach Postering Mission

We will be meeting at the IVAW office at 715 Princeton Pl NW for brunch at ten o'clock and stepping off at noon for a postering mission putting up "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" posters around Walter Reed, 8th and I, and various other locations around DC for the purpose of active duty outreach. All members and allies are welcome.

Tue, 02/19/2008 - 7:00pm: IVAW benefit

Benefit for IVAW, hosted by the Chicago Progressive Alliance. Screening of the film "Winter Soldier" 2350 N. Kenmore 7pm at DePaul University Art Museum.

Thu, 02/21/2008 - 7:00pm: "Soldier your not alone" Benefit Concert

Seattle Chapter 8 will be hosting an Active Duty Benefit Concert called " Soldier your not alone" on Feb 21st @ Hell's Kitchen in Tacoma Washington. This is an all Ages event!! Active Duty allowed in Free with Military ID.Open to the public. Come one come all.

Fri, 03/07/2008 - 8:00pm: Irak Konferenz

This is the current Draft for the Event as it Stands. This is Subject to Change.

Iraq Conference in Berlin - Alternatives to War and Occupation – Five Years On - March 7 – 8, 2008

Friday, March 7th

8 pm - Panel Discussion
“The War on Terror“ - Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran
The Strategy of the US and their allies in Middle East
Ramsey Clark or Dennis Kucinich
NN American Academy, or Nir Rosen (New America Foundation)
Phyllis Bennis / Naomi Klein
Prof. Arno Klˆnne/ Prof. Werner Biermann
Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb Director General of the "Center For Arab Unity Studies“

Saturday, March 8th

9:30 - 10:00 am: Welcome and Introduction
Panel I: 10:00 - 12:15 : 5 Years of Occupation – An Overview
Moderation: Franz Alt (former moderator of “Report“) , Daniela Dahn Introduction
Dr. Hans v. Sponeck former humanitarian coordinator of the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq on the general situation after years of sanctions, war, and occupation- Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General (1967-69)
Overview of the humanitarian situation and human rights – Hana Ibrahim, Women’s Will, Baghdad
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil – the debate on the numbers of victims of war and occupation Les Roberts or Gilbert Burnham, authors of the “Lancet Study“ – the numbers of victims as of March 2003 (Les Roberts is very interested and will hopefully be able to attend!)
How do we define the end of an occupation?
Is the occupation really over from the perspective of international law, as the US and its allies maintain? How do we judge the German support of US troops? How legitimate is the new Iraqi constitution or the new laws on oil?- Prof. Norman Paech (member of the German parliament)
Lunch Break 12.15-13.00 pm
Panel II 1.00 – 4.00 pm: Reasons for the escalating violence
Moderation: Roger Willemsen (author of “Hear Speaks Guantanamo“) or Rolf Becker (actor)
Are traditional conflicts inevitably leading to Civil War?
This panel will explore the question of whether confessional conflicts existed before the occupation, where the main lines of conflict lie, and what the perspectives might be after the occupying troops have left the country
Prof Walter Sommerfeld, Near Eastern Studies, Marburg
Responsibility of the Occupying Power (Violence, Corruption, Religious Tensions) The predominant influence and role of the occupying powers in Iraq as well as the ongoing violence of their troops is completely underrepresented in media coverage. That is the reason why peace and human rights organizations have compiled a report that shows the overarching responsibility of the occupying powers for the spiraling violence in the country.
CÈline Nahory/ James Paul, Global Policy Forum
Increasing numbers of soldiers are leaving the US army because they can no longer stand the blatantly brutal behavior of the troops. Their witness statements corroborate Iraqi accusations of human rights violations by US forces.
Iraq Veteran Against the War
Death Squads, Militia, Terror Units
The Iraqi police as well as the army are contaminated by militia members from the ruling parties. Here we examine their role in abductions and murders all over the country. – John Pace, director of the UN Office for Human Rights (UNAMI) until Feb. 2006
The US has often criticized the criminal conduct of the militias and security forces in Iraq, and has stormed the secret jails of the Iraqi Interior Ministry on several occasions. The question we pursue here is to what degree US forces themselves are involved in the actions they are officially investigating.
– Iman Ahmad Khammas, journalist, Women’s Will Association, Baghdad,
– Tareq Samarree or Abbas Z Abid, survivors of Jadiriyah Prison
Salvador Option“ – the dirty war against the opposition ?
At the beginning of 2005, Pentagon plans for the training and support of Iraqi death- and abduction squads by American special forces were revealed.
Dennis Kucinich, member of the US Congress or Max Fuller, expert on undercover counterinsurgency
Coffee Break 4.00-4.30 pm Panel III: 4.30 – 7.30 pm: Alternatives and Solutions to End the Occupation
Moderation: Wolfgang Heim or Stefan Siller – journalists from SWR1
What is the task in Iraq ?
USA: Robert Malley (former advisor to Bill Clinton) or Jost Hiltermann / Peter Harling, International Crisis Group
Twelve Point Plan to end the war
USA: Dennis Kucinich, member of the US Congress and candidate for the presidential election
Towards Peace in and with Iraq – A Constructive Proposal
Peace Research: Jan Oberg
Programs of the Iraqi Opposition to the Occupation
Iraq: Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb Secretary General "Centre For Arab Unity Studies" and leader of the "National Iraqi Initiative to End the Occupation“
Panel Discussion Robert Malley or Jost Hiltermann, Dennis Kucinich, Dr. Khair El-Din Haseeb, Hans v. Sponeck, Jan Oberg

Sunday March 9th

Workshops: 10.00 AM – 12.00 pm
German Contribution to the Occupation
Here we wish to explore Germany’s role with respect to Iraq, especially looking at logistical support for the US army. Headquarters, army hospitals, army airports in Heidelberg and Stuttgart, Ansbach, Landstuhl, Ramstein are of crucial importance here.
Elsa Rassbach (American Voices Abroad Military Project) and others ...
Grassroots Assistance – Practical Solidarity
With millions of refugees, the complete breakdown of the Healthcare system, and violence against the civilian population increasing by the day – what can we do? Karin Leukefeld (journalist with extensive experience in Iraq), Angelika Claussen (co-director, German section of IPPNW) – or the director of the Center for Torture Victims in Basra (contact Angelika Claussen)
any ideas welcome !!!
Activist meeting 12.30 - 2.00 pm
Contact: It is best to contact Chris Capps-Schubert for details regarding this event.
Phone: This is my number from the United States (0049)-6181-610-4747
Contact e-mail: [email protected]
Location: Venue Undecided
Berlin, Germany

IVAW News - Why I am Testifying at Winter Soldier"

Originally posted to the IVAW website, January 22, 2008


by Clifton Hicks | Tue, 01/22/2008 - 12:26am

Shortly after my seventeenth birthday, when I decided to volunteer to fight in Iraq, I never thought for even a moment that I would find myself faced with the decisions that I have been forced to make in these past few years. I never dreamed that I would ever find myself thoughtlessly going along with things that I would be ashamed to tell my family of, that I would have to choose sides within my own unit, or that I would ever find myself whittled into the form of a pawn on some spoiled rich boy's chess board. No, I never thought that I, the descendant of so many proud soldiers, would ever have to choose between my loyalty to the Army, and my loyalty to the People of the United States.
I have known of the upcoming Winter Soldier Investigation for what seems like many years now, and I honestly admit that I never intended to testify. I had hoped that I would be unneeded, that I could sit this one out, I had hoped that others would come forward to take my place on the line. But those were selfish thoughts. When I nurtured those hopes I thought not of my brothers who had once toiled tirelessly at my side, in the mud and the dust and the filth, nor did I think of my brothers who had been chosen for death while I was unfairly allowed to go on living. I thought only of myself, of my own desires to be anonymous, and to avoid the sight of the ever watchful eye.
But it is not for ourselves that we tell our stories, indeed everything inside of us screams for silence and obscurity, but we must tell our stories for those who cannot. Nearly four thousand of our siblings cry out from beyond the grave for truth, and I must answer them, we must answer them.

IVAW News - How you can help



Winter Soldier/Iraq Veterans Against the War


Posted on the IVAW Website, January 31, 2008




Winter Soldier is the biggest event IVAW has held, and while our members are working hard taking testimony, arranging transportation and housing, and all the other things that are going to make this event a success, we need your support now to make sure we have the resources we need. Please make a donation today.

We need your help to spread the word about Winter Soldier. Please use our Forward to a Friend page to let your friends know about this event, and add a banner to your website or blog.

If you want to get more involved in this project's media aspects, which includes organizing national advertisements as well as issuing press releases and representing the project please join the Winter Soldier media team by contacting Liam Madden at [email protected] or [email protected]

If you are interested in contributing to the DVD that will be produced through this project please contact the video team at [email protected]. The video team is responsible for contacting documentarians and film producers and collecting the proposals that are presented so we can collectively decide what the best option is for this project.

For any logistics challenges you would like to contribute to during the event, including lodging, transportation, linguistic translation, and supplies, or to volunteer at the event please contact Lily at [email protected].

All legal issues should be addressed to Fernando at [email protected] or [email protected] The legal team will be responsible for providing legal council for vets who are concerned about testifying and for explaining the rights and responsibilities of all who provide testimony. You can also read the legal review for Winter Soldier.

For all internal organizing issues please contact Aaron Hughes at [email protected] or [email protected]. This team will be responsible for coordinating our organization's activity around this very important campaign

Solidarity campaign for GI resisters in German prison

Originally posted to Courage to Resist Website, January 30, 2008.


Germans launch international solidarity campaign for U.S. war resisters confined in Mannheim Prison for refusing Afghanistan deployment.
BERLIN, GERMANY (January 30, 2008)—When Iraq veteran and conscientious objector Agustín Aguayo was confined in the U.S. military prison in Mannheim, Germany from October 2006 until April 2007, he received hundreds of post cards and letters from German supporters. On December 21, 2007, when Agustín was awarded a German peace prize in Stuttgart, he told an audience of hundreds how much the letters and post cards—many in broken English—will always mean to him.
Now Germans are launching a nationwide initiative to send postcards and letters to three U.S. soldiers who have been confined in Mannheim since this past fall for refusing deployment to Afghanistan: Andrew Hegerty, Jeffrey Gauntt, and James Blanks (details below). The three GIs are all members of the 173rd Airborne, which is presently deployed to Afghanistan and previously fought in Iraq. The 173rd Airborne is headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, and has units in Schweinfurt and in Bamberg, Germany. Vicenza has been the site of massive Italian and European protest demonstrations against U.S. plans to enlarge the military facilities there.
The letter-writing campaign in Germany was initiated by American Voices Abroad (AVA) Military Project, a network of U.S. citizens in Europe supporting resisting GIs and the anti-base movement in Europe. The campaign was soon joined by the largest German peace organization, the German Peace Society & Organization of War Resisters (DFG-VK, www.dfg-vk.de), and by Connection, an organization supporting conscientious objectors and war resisters from many countries. Post cards for the soldiers in Mannheim will be made available by DFG-VK at information events and demonstrations throughout Germany this spring as part of a campaign demanding that the German military, the Bundeswehr, withdraw from Afghanistan. Connection is sponsoring an online initiative with postcards in English for the GIs in Mannheim (http://www.connection-ev.de/briefaktion/index.html).
According to surveys, a large majority of Germans oppose the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The German government is nevertheless increasing the participation of German forces in the Afghanistan war. In 2007, for the first time, casualties of non-US soldiers in Afghanistan exceeded those of U.S. soldiers. In September 2008, renewal of the mandate for continued participation of German forces in Afghanistan will be voted upon in the German parliament (Bundestag). Several German officers and soldiers have refused orders for combat duty in Afghanistan, but so far none of them have gone to jail.
In addition to providing its own soldiers, the German government allows the U.S. to use German commercial facilities and the extensive U.S. military facilities in Germany—larger than any outside the U.S.—for these wars. Peace activists point out that Germany achieved sovereignty in 1990 and could cancel the Stationing of Forces agreements with the U.S. at any time. Some 13,500 soldiers with a “home base” in Germany or in Vicenza are presently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. An additional 8000 GIs in Europe, most of them in stationed Germany, have received deployment orders for 2008.
Before refusing deployment to Afghanistan this past summer, the U.S. soldiers presently in Mannheim did not contact any of the organizations in Europe that support GIs; the soldiers therefore did not receive civilian legal counsel or media support. To make information regarding support possibilities more widely known to GIs stationed in Europe, Germans in December 2007 started a campaign to distribute the GI Rights Hotline card near U.S. military bases throughout Germany. 2000 cards have been distributed in Germany, and 4000 more are being printed; the cards are also being distributed in Vicenza. The GI Rights Hotline card provides contact information to U.S. counseling services, as well as to U.S. organizations such as Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and organizations in Germany that provide GI counseling and/or support GI resistance. Distribution of the GI Rights Hotline card in Germany was initiated by AVA Military Project together with the DFG-VK, and is supported by Pax Christi and the German branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
The U.S. soldiers in Mannheim would likely enjoy hearing from supporters in the U.S., Italy, and other countries. To write to these GIs, either go to the Connection online post card (see above), or send letters and postcards by mail. From Europe, please use the postage rate for mail to the USA.
ANDREW HEGERTY, age 19, will be confined in the U.S. military prison in Mannheim, Germany, until ca. August 2008 and will receive a dishonorable discharge for desertion and for failure to follow a lawful order. Andrew was stationed in Vicenza, Italy, and was deployed to Afghanistan from May to September 2007. In September, while on leave in Vicenza, he went absent without leave. He visited his family in Wisconsin, then turned himself in at Fort Knox, Kentucky, hoping for a discharge. However, the Army sent him back to Vicenza. There he refused an order to take part in a meeting to prepare to return to Afghanistan. At his court martial in November 2007, in Vicenza, Andrew pled guilty to charges of desertion and failure to follow an order. He told the court, “I’m not really able to pull the trigger and shoot anyone.”

Andrew’s postal address in Mannheim:
Andrew Hegerty, Unit 29723, Box LL, APO, AE 09028-9723, USA

JEFFREY GAUNTT will be confined in the U.S. military prison in Mannheim until ca. April 2008 for going AWOL and for missing deployment. He pled guilty to the charges at a court martial in October 2007 in Vicenza. Jeffrey has not been in combat. He was stationed in Vicenza and left his unit on May 21, 2007, the day before his unit deployed to Afghanistan. On June 19, he turned himself in at the U.S. military base in Rota, Spain. His punishment is ten months in jail, loss of all pay and benefits, and a bad-conduct discharge.

Jeffrey’s postal address in Mannheim:
Jeffrey Gauntt, Unit 29723, Box LL, APO, AE 09028-9723, USA

JAMES BLANKS will be confined in the U.S. military prison in Mannheim until ca. February 2008 for going AWOL, missing his unit’s deployment to Afghanistan, and disobeying orders. He pled guilty to the charges at a court martial in September 2007 in Vicenza. James was stationed in Bamberg, Germany and left his unit on April 20, 2007. His battalion left for Afghanistan on May 17, but James did not return to Bamberg until May 21. He briefly deployed to Afghanistan before traveling to Vicenza to face charges. He will forfeit pay and receive a bad-conduct discharge.

James’ postal address in Mannheim (post will likely be forwarded):
James Blanks, Unit 29723, Box LL, APO, AE 09028-9723, USA

January 30, 2008

IAVA Releases Urgent Issue Reports

Originally published on the IAVA website, January 30, 2008.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
CONTACT: Michael Houston, IAVA (212) 982-9699 or [email protected]g

IAVA Releases Groundbreaking Reports on the Most Urgent Issues Veterans Face New Go-To Resource on Topics Including Mental Health, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Readiness

NEW YORK -Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, today released a series of five in-depth reports on the most urgent issues facing America’s newest generation of veterans and their families. The comprehensive analysis and policy recommendations included in each report should become the go-to resource for lawmakers, journalists, activists, and the American public.

“These groundbreaking reports provide all Americans with comprehensive and easy-to-read overviews of the five most critical issues facing veterans in 2008. They should be mandatory reading for any journalist covering the Iraq War or veterans’ issues. Reporters, legislators and activists should print them out and tack them to the wall above their desks right now,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Executive Director. “The recent tragedy at the VA Hospital in Marion is the type of shortcoming in veterans’ care these reports highlight. Providing new veterans with adequate care is one of the most significant challenges America faces and these reports offer a clear explanation of the most urgent issues.”

IAVA’s newly released reports explore:

  • Mental Health Injuries: The Invisible Wounds of War
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: The Signature Wound of the Iraq War
  • Battling Red Tape: Veterans Struggle for Care and Benefits
  • A Breaking Military: Overextension Threatens Readiness
  • A New GI Bill: Rewarding Our Troops, Rebuilding Our Military

The full series of IAVA issue reports and accompanying Quick Facts can be downloaded at www.iava.org/issuereports.
Next week, IAVA will release its 2008 Legislative Agenda. During the week of February 11, IAVA Member Veteransveterans from across the country will meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to move that agenda forward. To arrange an interview with Paul Rieckhoff or to shadow IAVA veterans for any part of their Capitol Hill push, please contact Michael Houston at (212)-982-9699, or email [email protected].
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation’s first and largest group for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A non-profit and nonpartisan organization, IAVA represents more than 80,000 veteran members and civilian supporters in all 50 states. For more information, please visit www.iava.org.

National Days of Student Action Against the Iraq War

ALL OUT FOR MARCH 20, 2008

This March will mark a grim milestone - the fifth anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Despite the clear mandate from the American people to end the occupation, the U.S. government continues to wage war upon the Iraqi people. Bush’s mocking response to dwindling public support for the war has been the “troop surge,” or simply more of the same, while simultaneously threatening neighboring countries like Iran. For their part, the Democrats refuse to commit to a clear anti-war stance, even as they try to posture as the opposition party. Meanwhile, the threat of domestic recession looms, racist attacks increase, and millions lack decent housing, jobs, education, and health-care.
The war will drag on for many more years–draining billions of dollars and resulting in thousands of more causalities, both American and Iraqi, on top of the hundreds of thousands already killed, injured, and displaced–unless the people stand up and fight for change.
Every year, there have been protests marking the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that was launched on the basis of lies and deceit. Students have historically had an especially important role in the struggles against racism and war, and we continue to do so today. Last March, over 80 high schools and colleges answered the call by chapters of Students for a Democratic Society to come together to send one loud resounding NO to the Bush administration and the Republican agenda, to the Democrats who refuse to carry out the mandate of their constituents, and to the University administrations that so often support war efforts.
This March, SDS is urging all students, as part of the broader community of people of conscience, to voice our opposition to the war in Iraq. As the presidential election nears, candidates need to be sent a clear message: we will not stand for vague time lines and empty promises, we will not tolerate sanctions, threats, and aggression against Iran, and that we will stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are struggling to liberate their country.
We want as many people as possible to join us in this protest; the larger the protest the stronger the impact we have, and the sooner we can help end this war. We are calling on any and all student and youth based organizations that are opposed to the war in Iraq to mobilize their memberships, their campus, their community and hit the streets for the week of March 17-21, with March 20 as the focal point.* We are calling on students to take action on their own campuses, where we have the power to reach the entire student body with our message and build resistance on our own campuses. We are calling on our fellow students and youth to take the lead and do whatever it takes–from rallies, marches, walk-outs, civil disobedience, and direct action–to send a clear message to the U.S. government: Get out of Iraq Now!

U.S. OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!
GET ORGANIZED, GET INVOLVED, GET IN THE STREETS!
SDS March 20th Working Group

January 29, 2008

Conscientious Objectors [US] - Court Upholds Conscientious Objector Status

Original article published in The Boston Globe, January 10, 2008 (found via Lexis Nexis)


A federal appeals court ruled yesterday in favor of an anesthesiologist who asked to be discharged from the US Army as a conscientious objector after the military paid $184,000 for her to attend Tufts University School of Medicine.
In a 2-to-1 vote, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a judge who in October 2006 halted the Army's effort to force Dr. Mary Hanna, 31, of Somerville, to report for active duty, ruling that an Army review board's denial of her request for conscientious objector status "was without a basis in fact."
The court's majority opinion cited testimony from priests, superior officers, and an Army investigator assigned to the case, who all concluded that Hanna, a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian, "sincerely opposed participation in war because of her religious beliefs."
In his dissent, Michael Boudin, chief judge of the First Circuit Court, said that the case presented "a close call," but that US District Judge Nancy Gertner should have deferred to the Army review board, which found the timing of Hanna's claim suspicious and concluded her statements lacked "passion and sincerity."
When Hanna enlisted in 1997, she committed to serve four years of active duty and another four in the Reserve in exchange for an Army-paid scholarship for her medical training. But just before Christmas 2005, as she neared the end of her anesthesiology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Hanna notified the Army that she had rekindled her faith in God and that her religious beliefs were "incompatible with military service."
Hanna, an Army Reserve captain, offered to repay the Army scholarship, plus interest, and wrote in her application for a discharge as a conscientious objector that she was a pacifist and "cannot participate in war in any form."
According to court records, a brigadier general wrote, "The solemnity of her convictions is clear ... and they do not appear to have been born of a desire to avoid service."
But the Army review board voted, 2 to 1, to reject Hanna's discharge, questioning her sincerity and the timing of her request, which was made shortly after another anesthesiologist was discharged on the same grounds.
The US attorney's office, which represented the Army in the case, declined to comment.

"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Summary of Protests Across U.S. IV (CBC News Transcript v. 2)

Transcript posted by CBC News, January 25, 2008.


Demonstrators gathered outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington Friday to demand protection for U.S. soldiers who seek refuge north of the border to avoid deployment to Iraq.
A group of about 50 American veterans of the Iraq war and their supporters said they want the Canadian government to provide sanctuary to men and women trying to escape military commitments in the U.S.
"We believe that these war resisters should be allowed a safe haven from persecution on the basis of resisting an illegal and immoral war and occupation," said Max Diorio, an organizer for California-based Courage to Resist.
In a letter addressed to Ambassador Michael Wilson, the protesters demanded the government bar the deportation of U.S. soldiers who have fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.
Geoff Maillard, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the refugee board that hears the soldiers' applications has wrongly refused to consider the question of whether the Iraq war is legal — a question central to the soldiers' request for sanctuary.
"These war resisters are leaving the U.S. not because they're afraid to fight in a war but because their conscience will not allow them to fight in a war that clearly violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Accord," Maillard said.
Rallies co-ordinated by Courage to Resist and Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign were planned in eight American cities.
U.S. campaigners gathered letters on behalf of war resisters, petitioning Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Steven Harper, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley and Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion, to allow war resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
n November 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear the cases of two U.S. deserters, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who fled to Canada from the U.S. to avoid deployment to Iraq in 2004.
They face possible deportation to the U.S., where they would likely face imprisonment.
Demonstrations expected Saturday in Canada
In December 2007, Parliament's Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration urged the government not remove any war objectors without a criminal record, or their immediate families, if the military service they refuse is related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.
There were as many as 20 active refugee claims by American military deserters in Canada as of May 2006.
An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 U.S. draft dodgers and deserters fled to Canada during the Vietnam War.
Similar demonstrations are expected to take place across Canada on Saturday.

"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Seattle (seattle.indymedia.org)

The original was posted to Seattle Indymedia, January 26 2008

Six activists, including a Canadian woman, met with the Canadian Consul, Kim Blanchett. The delegation delivered a letter to Consul Blanchett asking the Canadian government to give permanent sanctuary to the scores of U.S. war resisters currently in Canada, most of whom have traveled to there in order to resist fighting in the Iraq War.
This event was the first nationally coordinated action in the U.S. in support of war resisters in Canada. In addition to the event in Seattle, actions were organized in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. The purpose of the action is to underscore the hope that many Americans have that the Canadian House of Commons will vote immediately on a provision that would allow war resisters to remain in Canada.
Since the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, many soldiers have been following their consciences – and international law – and going AWOL instead of going to war. GI’s who have publicly refused to deploy – or re-deploy – to Iraq, have been court-martialed and imprisoned. Thousands of service people are AWOL and in hiding in the U.S. and abroad. Hundreds have fled to Canada. The Canadian people have welcomed them with open arms. In addition to this support, however, war resisters need the legal right to remain in Canada. Without it, some war resisters could face deportation and, as a direct consequence, imprisonment in the U.S.
Various anti-war groups participated in organizing this event. Here in Seattle, there were representatives of 10 organizations at the rally. Their unified voice shows the willingness of the peace movement to defend our war resisters.

"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Summary of Protests Across U.S. III (couragetoresist.org)

These reports were originally posted to the Courage to Resist website, January 26, 2008


San Francisco

Thousands of letters and petitions were delivered this afternoon to the Canadian Consulate in downtown San Francisco. The “Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay” letters ask that Canada find a political solution that will allow the approximately 200 U.S. war resisters now seeking sanctuary to remain. Three dozen supporters rallied in the rain, leafleted, and sang along with the Raging Grannies’ as they sang of GI resistance.
Courage to Resist organizers gave a report back from their trip to Canada last month. They met with many of the resisters and attended a Parliament hearing by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration of the House of Commons in Ottawa. In an important preliminary victory, the committee adopted a motion that would allow any war resister to seek sanctuary in Canada in opposition to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations. It’s now possible that the full House of Commons may vote on this resolution with a few weeks. In the meantime, deportation is becoming a real possibility for some of the resisters as most of their legal appeals have now been exhausted.
Stephen McNeil of the American Friends Service Committee and Ying Lee of the Watada Support Committee spoke about the importance of supporting our troops who are resisting an illegal and immoral war by going to Canada.
Pablo Paredes, a former sailor turned Iraq War resister and current GI Rights Hotline counselor, and Mike Wong, a Vietnam War era veteran who chose exile in Canada for five years, hand delivered the letters and petitions to Canadian Consul Nadia Scipio Del Campo, Political/Economic Relations and Public Affairs, on behalf of the larger delegation.
This was one of eight vigils and delegations that took place today at Canadian Consulates across the United States. These actions were initiated by Courage to Resist in collaboration with the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada)—with the support of Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and many other groups.


Los AngelesLos Angeles

Representatives of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Veterans for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and other local groups and individuals gathered outside the entrance to the Canadian Consulate General in downtown Los Angeles for a two-hour vigil on Friday morning in support of Courage to Resist’s “Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay” campaign. The delegation was met, as arranged in advance, by the local consul for Political, Economic, and Public Affairs, Mr. Carl Hartill. Mr. Hartill was already well-informed about the campaign, the activities of the Canadian War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada, the recent Supreme Court decision, and the current legislative efforts in Parliament.
The group presented Mr. Hartill with letter copies bearing the names of people all across the United States who are urging the Canadian federal government to provide sanctuary to U.S. servicemembers who may now be living in Canada at risk of deportation and prosecution upon their return to the United States. Signed original letters gathered locally by Veterans for Peace were also presented, along with printed background information on the campaign and its sponsors. Mr. Hartill indicated that he would forward the materials to Ottawa, along with a report covering the vigil and his conversation with the visitors.


Seattle

From Gerry Condon, Project Safe Haven
About 15 people, representing about 10 different organizations, participated in the one hour vigil. We stood on the sidewalk in front of the building that houses the Canadian Consulate, right in the middle of downtown. The beautiful, big posters provided by Courage to Resist got the attention of many passersby, so there was quite a high rate of people taking flyers, with some expressing support.
Six of us, including a Canadian woman, went upstairs to meet with the Canadian Consul, Kim Blanchett. Everybody felt very good about the meeting.
Thanks to all for your great work on this! Regardless of how much media coverage we may or may not get in the U.S., these actions weren't really aimed at people in the U.S. so much as they were aimed at the Canadian government and people, and our brother and sister war resisters.
But we have achieved a valuable goal in the U.S. too. This is the first nationally coordinated actions in the U.S. in support of our war resisters in Canada. Various elements of the peace movement participated in this together. They are now well educated about the critical need for solidarity at this time. This is also another important step in the re-orientation of much of the antiwar movement to the importance of defending our war resisters.


Minneapolis

While vigilers in Minneapolis held signs and leafleted outside the consulate, IVAW-Minnesota president Wes Davey and vigil organizer Joel Kilgour met inside with Canadian Consul Robert Pengelly and consulate Public Affairs Officer Amy McBeth. Davey expressed his hope that Canada would offer a safe haven to US servicemembers who face prosecution at home for their resistance to an unjustified conflict.
Kilgour delivered several “Dear Canada” letters in support of the resisters - including from District 8 state senator Tony Lourey, Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor Body president Alan Netland, and Melanie McPherson, the first Minnesota soldier to serve time in prison for publicly refusing to fight in Iraq.

"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Washington DC II (WSQT Guerrilla Radio)

Originally broadcast January 26, 2008


     
   
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"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Summary of Protests Across U.S. II (Free Speech Radio)

Originally broadcast, January 26, 2008


     
   
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"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Washington DC I (CommonDreams.org)

This report was originally posted to CommonDreams.org, January 26, 2008.

WASHINGTON — About 50 American veterans of the Iraq War and other demonstrators gathered at the Canadian Embassy in Washington yesterday to demand that the Canadian government allow hundreds of U.S. resisters to the Iraq conflict to remain in Canada.
The protesters presented a letter addressed to Ambassador Michael Wilson to an embassy representative. The letter asks the Canadian government not to allow the deportation of American soldiers who have fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.
Geoff Maillard, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the group was able to hand over both the letter and a supporting petition containing thousands of names.
Maillard said the Canadian government requires the U.S. soldiers who have to fled to Canada to go through a refugee process, but the refugee board refuses to consider the question of whether or not the Iraq war is legal.
He said that argument is central to the war resisters’ claim that they are fleeing a conflict that “clearly violates” international law against wars of aggression.
“These war resisters are leaving the U.S. not because they’re afraid to fight in a war, but because their consciences will not allow them to fight in a war that clearly violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Accord,” Maillard said.
“The fact is that these young men and women are bravely standing up for international law and they are being rebuffed at every turn.”
In November, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear appeals from Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who sought refugee status on the grounds of their opposition to the war in Iraq.
But last month the Commons committee on citizenship and immigration adopted a motion that the government implement a program to allow American war resisters and their families to stay in Canada.
Now groups such as the Oakland, Calif.-based Courage to Resist, which organized the Washington protest and eight similar demonstrations elsewhere in the U.S. yesterday, want the full Commons to consider the matter when it resumes next month.
Max Diorio, an organizer for Courage to Resist, said, “Our message is: ‘Dear Canada - let our war resisters stay.’”
“We believe that these war resisters should be allowed a safe haven from persecution on the basis of resisting an illegal and immoral war and occupation,” Diorio said.
In Canada, Lee Zaslofsky, a spokesman for a group called the War Resisters Support Campaign, said it has organized rallies and other events for today in several cities.

"Let Them Stay" Demonstrations [USA] - Summary of Protests Across U.S. I (CBC News Transcript v1)

CBC News Transcript, posted to web January 25, 2008

Demonstrators gathered outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington Friday to demand protection for U.S. soldiers who seek refuge north of the border to avoid deployment to Iraq.
A group of about 50 American veterans of the Iraq war and their supporters said they want the Canadian government to provide sanctuary to men and women trying to escape military commitments in the U.S.
"We believe that these war resisters should be allowed a safe haven from persecution on the basis of resisting an illegal and immoral war and occupation," said Max Diorio, an organizer for California-based Courage to Resist.
In a letter addressed to Ambassador Michael Wilson, the protesters demanded the government bar the deportation of U.S. soldiers who have fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.
Geoff Maillard, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the refugee board that hears the soldiers' applications has wrongly refused to consider the question of whether the Iraq war is legal — a question central to the soldiers' request for sanctuary.
"These war resisters are leaving the U.S. not because they're afraid to fight in a war but because their conscience will not allow them to fight in a war that clearly violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Accord," Maillard said.
Rallies co-ordinated by Courage to Resist and Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign were planned in eight American cities.
U.S. campaigners gathered letters on behalf of war resisters, petitioning Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Steven Harper, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley and Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion, to allow war resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
In November 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear the cases of two U.S. deserters, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who fled to Canada from the U.S. to avoid deployment to Iraq in 2004.
They face possible deportation to the U.S., where they would likely face imprisonment.
Demonstrations expected Saturday in Canada
In December 2007, Parliament's Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration urged the government not remove any war objectors without a criminal record, or their immediate families, if the military service they refuse is related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.
There were as many as 20 active refugee claims by American military deserters in Canada as of May 2006.
An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 U.S. draft dodgers and deserters fled to Canada during the Vietnam War.
Similar demonstrations are expected to take place across Canada on Saturday.

Challenge the “Politics of the Possible” with Mass Resistance - Drive OUT the Bush Regime!

Call for National Day of Action and "No Business As Usual", on January 31st, 2008, from "World Can't Wait". I always liked the slogan "No Business as Usual" and am glad to see it is coming back into vogue. Here is the list of events as published on the website


STAY tuned for plans on THURSDAY January 31 for "No Business as Usual" protest around the country v. the whole Bush program. Read the Call. Here are a plans for several cities:

NEW YORK CITY:

12:30 PM In front of CNN at Columbus Circle: DEMONSTRATION OF WATERBOARDING.
3:15 PM Times Square Military Recruitment Center Actions will be creative and diverse, possibly involving mass non-violent civil resistance, speaking up for those who are disappeared and violated, tortured and left without hope.
Beginning 4:00 PM through 9:00 PM. Reception at ML King Labor Center/1199, 310 W. 43rd Street, Cafeteria.Warm up, informal discussion videos and speakers, refreshments.

CHICAGO:

12:00 pm at the State of Illinois Building. 100 people in orange jumpsuits! Waterboarding Demonstration!

BERKELEY:

3:00 - 5:30 PM U.S. Marine Recruiting Center, 64 Shattuck Square; Berkeley, CA 94704

click here for up to the minute information:

January 28, 2008

Screaming to Hear Yourself Scream - Responses to Center for Public Integrity's report "Iraq: The War Card" I (The Free Republic)

This and the following posts (Screaming to Hear Yourself Scream II, Screaming to Hear Yourself Scream III) guage the Reading the responses to the Center for Public Integrity's report Iraq: The War Card, on three bulletin boards - Alternet, The Free Republic and Military.com. Reading these one gets the sad and distinct impression that not only was there was more than one report published by the Center for Public Integrity, these were not read beyond the precis published in the press. Consequently, on both sides, these discussions have nothing to do with the report's causes, contents or consequences and everything to do with the ideological blinkers of the participants.
Because the controllers of chat rooms demand adherence to their version on the truth, the resulting discussions devolve into an exercise in ideological purity. Consequently what passes for debate and/or discussion has long since devolved into a predictable set of meta-accusations and deninciations, that plug the study into pre-existing parameters that have nothing to do with the sudy's contents or the consequences of its findings. This is intellectually lazy and obscene.
What is missing from each of these discussions are the consequences of the decision, by this Administration to construct a specific version of the truth, which it then used to justify sending 150,000 U. S. Servicemen into Iraq. No one, be he or she liberal or conservative ever discuss this report through the prism of the war and how the evidence provided may affect those ordered to execute the Administration's policy over the last five years.


The following coments were posted to The Free Republic bulletin boards, January 26th, 2008
These posts were not given titles.


In December of 2004, the Center’s board of directors choose a successor, television journalist Roberta Baskin. Baskin came to the Center after directing consumer investigations for ABC News’s 20/20 and serving as Washington correspondent for PBS’s NOW with Bill Moyers.


ridiculous....... even at worse “false” is only proven after the fact...... the point here is to drive the idea of “lies”.....

Does the study mention that the statements were also made by both Clintons, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Madeline Albright, Joe Biden, etc."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
This is just more political absurdity. The admission is made right inside the "study", that it's purpose is to get more democrats elected in the 2008 elections.
The 'Center for Public Integrity' has none, and the 'Fund for Independence in Journalism' isn't. They are both mouthpieces for the hard-left portion of the DNC.

When does the study of the statements of the Democrats and all the credible intelligence sources of the world come out?

This has been discussed over the past few days on FR. What this article you posted does not reveal is that the “independent” journalism organizations are funded by George Soros and are not exactly “independent” after all. Do a simple google search and you will find out plenty about the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism

Nothing like good ol’ Soros funded “Center for Public Integrity” and “Fund for Independence in Journalism”.
These two win the award for Doublespeak of the Day.

I got an e-mail about this from a high school acquaintance. I e-mailed back that most of the statements being called lies were also made by the previous administration, and many of the countries around the world.

When I read drivel like this, it always occurs to me that there seems to be a dearth of "studies" conducted by "independent" conservative groups.
I typically attribute that to the usual MSM bias, but it does make one pause to wonder where the conservative equivalents of these so-called "think tanks" are, and why their "studies" never hit the front page.

There never was a war that was built on truth. Someone always tells a lie, and others believe it.

We know Saddam Hussein and his regime had WMDs and that they had used them both against Iran and against their own people. Apparently, they had no nuclear weapons...but we also know he wanted them.
To say that the Hussein regime had the chemical and biological weapons programs earlier and that they had eliminated them all before our invasion is not credible. It is much more likely that he either hid thgem, or remove them from the country. Those types of wepaons (cehmical wepaons) were found. In either case, the facts remain, and are indisputable, Huseein had and used WMDs in the past aginst his enemies and his own people and was a proven threat to the region.
Huseein's regime had regular contacts with Al Quida operatives. Whether he actively particpated in the planning of 911 is irrelevent to the that he did communicate with them.
Finally, also without dispute is that Hussein regularly and blatantly violated the terms of the caese fire and peace that he capitualted to after Desert storm. For over 10 years. We were justified in taking him down on that basis alone. And the world is far better for it.
Added to this his thumbing his nose at the resolutions regarding his WMD programs that led to the actual invasion.
The left is insane with envy and anger at Bush because he successfully ended the tyranny...and particularly that he ended the pet food for oil programs that so many socialist governments (and I bet, truth be known, leftisists in this country) were benefitting from. The left just hates Bush irrationally and they will (like many of the enviro-whacko "findings" and reports) will stretch the truth themsleves to try and "prove" to the rest of us how bad Bush is.
Well, I am glad Bush went into Iraq and took Hussein down. He has taken the fight to the enemy in their back yard and the Islamic radicals MUST fight us there and they know it. Hence, they are not able to attack here, and tens, perhaps hundreds, of thosuands of them are being killed in the process. At the same time, Bush, with his policy, has effectively encircled the largest state sponsor of terror, Iran. This is something that also infuriates the left...precisely because Bush has been successful in these aims when they forecasted doom and gloom and defeat...and are still doing so.
The Bush doctrine has also sent a much needed message to the rest of the tin-horn dictators and terorrists around the world, and has helped influence (IMHO) the election of much more conservative governments in Germany and France.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Bush led with 259 false statements... That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements
What's wrong with this statement?
Idiots can't even write intelligent hit pieces.

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
Bill Moyers pack of liars

The 'Center for Public Integrity' has none, and the 'Fund for Independence in Journalism' isn't. They are both mouthpieces for the hard-left portion of the DNC.
We 'ran' them the last time this story was posted. They both have a Soros affiliation.
The study consists of starting with the premise that the statements were false, then counting them. It provides no information whatsoever as to the truth or falsity of the statements.

George Soros made his billions by wrecking Economys and then Cashing in , “ A biblical money-Changer”
Now America’s Economy is on the rocks, and Soros is calling for investment in China’s economy, anyone see a link?
Soros is no friend of any American, and any Think Tank funded by Him cannot be telling the truth.
Soros Hates America.

What this article you posted does not reveal is that the “independent” journalism organizations are funded by George Soros and are not exactly “independent” after all.
Yep. FR thread from last week below.
George Soros Funded Study Says Bush Lied

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study."

The statement demonstrates two areas of supreme intellectual dishonesty on the left.


The issue of WMDs is not what was or was not found, but what was the intelligence consensus on the subject. To have accepted that intelligence consensus, and acting on it, was neither a matter of deception or a lie.
The issue of Al Queda and Saddam is one where the left, and the 9/11 Commission as well, simply choose to cherry-pick the evidence and pretend that a lack of a Saddam-Osama meeting is proof of a lack of cooperation.

“”I got an e-mail about this from a high school acquaintance””

Same here - somewhat gleefully. I sent a reply that Soros had funded the study and she wrote back that she didn’t know that! I also said that obviously nearly everyone in the free world was lying at the time! Facts that don’t fit aren’t brought up.


WMD’s - I like to make the anology that obviously Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman weren’t murdered since no murder weapon was ever found.

Wow. Just wow. Nothing like good Ole’ agenda-driven journalism.
Or the fact that George Soros heavily funded both to generate this lie.
Notwithstanding he also funded the Lancet project that claimed the deaths of nearly a half a million Iraqis by U.S. Forces.
Just gotta love it when the NeoComm’s get caught generating blatant lies.

The people who authored this study are either liars themselves or extraordinarily stupid. Did Bush retroactively manipulate intelligence in both the U.S. and abroad?

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations .. with axes to grind
agenda, yup. driving a late 1930s German model I’d say,,

“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”

>>>>>No it’s not and there’s no way to know that.


Just another transparent Soros project. Nothing to see here.

You mean like the vast right wing conspiracy described the Clinton lies BEFORE the hypocrats discovered they lied about Obamalamadingdong?

They remind me of the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of East Germany.

When I get into arguments about the start of the war, the distinction between a statement that is later proven false and a deliberate lie often is the problem.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," ... "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Quite correct.
The problem is that relating "erroneous information" is only "lying" if you know it is erroneous. I have seen nothing that would confirm that somehow Bush and Cheney had better data than the CIA and the rest of the world's intelligence agencies back in 2003. Plus - do we have absolute evidence that the WMDs were not taken form Iraq in the days and weeks leading up to the war? There is a lot of evidence that says they were. In that case the basic premise of this so called "Study" would itself be wrong and therefore meaningless. In fact, it is simply another, probably Soros sponsored, piece of garbage propaganda.


An added note: This is so typical of the Libs. They invent what amounts to a lie ("Bush Lied) then they repeat this lie daily in their MSM outlets until it becomes material for the history books. It then enters the history books and becomes Liberal Gospel, not to be challenged for accuracy. Global Warming is the most recent example of this technique. It is effective and the Libs are master craftsman when it comes to it's implementation.

“When I get into arguments about the start of the war, the distinction between a statement that is later proven false and a deliberate lie often is the problem.”

That is precisely the problem. Between stories that Saddam deliberately created the impression he had WMD’s, and satellite pictures of convoys of trucks driving from Iraq into Syria just before the invasion, and a lack of desire to investigate these possibilities for political reasons, the whole matter is a big jumble.

Screaming to Hear Yourself Scream - Responses to Center for Public Integrity's report "Iraq: The War Card" II (military.com)

The following coments were posted to the military.com bulletin boards, from January 23rd - 28th, 2008
None of these were given titles, nor they were not signed.


In December of 2004, the Center’s board of directors choose a successor, television journalist Roberta Baskin. Baskin came to the Center after directing consumer investigations for ABC News’s 20/20 and serving as Washington correspondent for PBS’s NOW with Bill Moyers.


ridiculous....... even at worse “false” is only proven after the fact...... the point here is to drive the idea of “lies”.....

Does the study mention that the statements were also made by both Clintons, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Madeline Albright, Joe Biden, etc."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
This is just more political absurdity. The admission is made right inside the "study", that it's purpose is to get more democrats elected in the 2008 elections.
The 'Center for Public Integrity' has none, and the 'Fund for Independence in Journalism' isn't. They are both mouthpieces for the hard-left portion of the DNC.

When does the study of the statements of the Democrats and all the credible intelligence sources of the world come out?

This has been discussed over the past few days on FR. What this article you posted does not reveal is that the “independent” journalism organizations are funded by George Soros and are not exactly “independent” after all. Do a simple google search and you will find out plenty about the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism

Nothing like good ol’ Soros funded “Center for Public Integrity” and “Fund for Independence in Journalism”.
These two win the award for Doublespeak of the Day.

I got an e-mail about this from a high school acquaintance. I e-mailed back that most of the statements being called lies were also made by the previous administration, and many of the countries around the world.

When I read drivel like this, it always occurs to me that there seems to be a dearth of "studies" conducted by "independent" conservative groups.
I typically attribute that to the usual MSM bias, but it does make one pause to wonder where the conservative equivalents of these so-called "think tanks" are, and why their "studies" never hit the front page.

There never was a war that was built on truth. Someone always tells a lie, and others believe it.

We know Saddam Hussein and his regime had WMDs and that they had used them both against Iran and against their own people. Apparently, they had no nuclear weapons...but we also know he wanted them.
To say that the Hussein regime had the chemical and biological weapons programs earlier and that they had eliminated them all before our invasion is not credible. It is much more likely that he either hid thgem, or remove them from the country. Those types of wepaons (cehmical wepaons) were found. In either case, the facts remain, and are indisputable, Huseein had and used WMDs in the past aginst his enemies and his own people and was a proven threat to the region.
Huseein's regime had regular contacts with Al Quida operatives. Whether he actively particpated in the planning of 911 is irrelevent to the that he did communicate with them.
Finally, also without dispute is that Hussein regularly and blatantly violated the terms of the caese fire and peace that he capitualted to after Desert storm. For over 10 years. We were justified in taking him down on that basis alone. And the world is far better for it.
Added to this his thumbing his nose at the resolutions regarding his WMD programs that led to the actual invasion.
The left is insane with envy and anger at Bush because he successfully ended the tyranny...and particularly that he ended the pet food for oil programs that so many socialist governments (and I bet, truth be known, leftisists in this country) were benefitting from. The left just hates Bush irrationally and they will (like many of the enviro-whacko "findings" and reports) will stretch the truth themsleves to try and "prove" to the rest of us how bad Bush is.
Well, I am glad Bush went into Iraq and took Hussein down. He has taken the fight to the enemy in their back yard and the Islamic radicals MUST fight us there and they know it. Hence, they are not able to attack here, and tens, perhaps hundreds, of thosuands of them are being killed in the process. At the same time, Bush, with his policy, has effectively encircled the largest state sponsor of terror, Iran. This is something that also infuriates the left...precisely because Bush has been successful in these aims when they forecasted doom and gloom and defeat...and are still doing so.
The Bush doctrine has also sent a much needed message to the rest of the tin-horn dictators and terorrists around the world, and has helped influence (IMHO) the election of much more conservative governments in Germany and France.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Bush led with 259 false statements... That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements
What's wrong with this statement?
Idiots can't even write intelligent hit pieces.

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
Bill Moyers pack of liars

The 'Center for Public Integrity' has none, and the 'Fund for Independence in Journalism' isn't. They are both mouthpieces for the hard-left portion of the DNC.
We 'ran' them the last time this story was posted. They both have a Soros affiliation.
The study consists of starting with the premise that the statements were false, then counting them. It provides no information whatsoever as to the truth or falsity of the statements.

George Soros made his billions by wrecking Economys and then Cashing in , “ A biblical money-Changer”
Now America’s Economy is on the rocks, and Soros is calling for investment in China’s economy, anyone see a link?
Soros is no friend of any American, and any Think Tank funded by Him cannot be telling the truth.
Soros Hates America.

What this article you posted does not reveal is that the “independent” journalism organizations are funded by George Soros and are not exactly “independent” after all.
Yep. FR thread from last week below.
George Soros Funded Study Says Bush Lied

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study."

The statement demonstrates two areas of supreme intellectual dishonesty on the left.


The issue of WMDs is not what was or was not found, but what was the intelligence consensus on the subject. To have accepted that intelligence consensus, and acting on it, was neither a matter of deception or a lie.
The issue of Al Queda and Saddam is one where the left, and the 9/11 Commission as well, simply choose to cherry-pick the evidence and pretend that a lack of a Saddam-Osama meeting is proof of a lack of cooperation.

“”I got an e-mail about this from a high school acquaintance””

Same here - somewhat gleefully. I sent a reply that Soros had funded the study and she wrote back that she didn’t know that! I also said that obviously nearly everyone in the free world was lying at the time! Facts that don’t fit aren’t brought up.


WMD’s - I like to make the anology that obviously Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman weren’t murdered since no murder weapon was ever found.

Wow. Just wow. Nothing like good Ole’ agenda-driven journalism.
Or the fact that George Soros heavily funded both to generate this lie.
Notwithstanding he also funded the Lancet project that claimed the deaths of nearly a half a million Iraqis by U.S. Forces.
Just gotta love it when the NeoComm’s get caught generating blatant lies.

The people who authored this study are either liars themselves or extraordinarily stupid. Did Bush retroactively manipulate intelligence in both the U.S. and abroad?

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations .. with axes to grind
agenda, yup. driving a late 1930s German model I’d say,,

“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”

>>>>>No it’s not and there’s no way to know that.


Just another transparent Soros project. Nothing to see here.

You mean like the vast right wing conspiracy described the Clinton lies BEFORE the hypocrats discovered they lied about Obamalamadingdong?

They remind me of the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of East Germany.

When I get into arguments about the start of the war, the distinction between a statement that is later proven false and a deliberate lie often is the problem.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," ... "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Quite correct.
The problem is that relating "erroneous information" is only "lying" if you know it is erroneous. I have seen nothing that would confirm that somehow Bush and Cheney had better data than the CIA and the rest of the world's intelligence agencies back in 2003. Plus - do we have absolute evidence that the WMDs were not taken form Iraq in the days and weeks leading up to the war? There is a lot of evidence that says they were. In that case the basic premise of this so called "Study" would itself be wrong and therefore meaningless. In fact, it is simply another, probably Soros sponsored, piece of garbage propaganda.


An added note: This is so typical of the Libs. They invent what amounts to a lie ("Bush Lied) then they repeat this lie daily in their MSM outlets until it becomes material for the history books. It then enters the history books and becomes Liberal Gospel, not to be challenged for accuracy. Global Warming is the most recent example of this technique. It is effective and the Libs are master craftsman when it comes to it's implementation.

“When I get into arguments about the start of the war, the distinction between a statement that is later proven false and a deliberate lie often is the problem.”

That is precisely the problem. Between stories that Saddam deliberately created the impression he had WMD’s, and satellite pictures of convoys of trucks driving from Iraq into Syria just before the invasion, and a lack of desire to investigate these possibilities for political reasons, the whole matter is a big jumble.

Let War Resisters Stay: Demonstrators

Posted to the Common Dreams website, January 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — About 50 American veterans of the Iraq War and other demonstrators gathered at the Canadian Embassy in Washington yesterday to demand that the Canadian government allow hundreds of U.S. resisters to the Iraq conflict to remain in Canada.
The protesters presented a letter addressed to Ambassador Michael Wilson to an embassy representative. The letter asks the Canadian government not to allow the deportation of American soldiers who have fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.
Geoff Maillard, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the group was able to hand over both the letter and a supporting petition containing thousands of names.
Maillard said the Canadian government requires the U.S. soldiers who have to fled to Canada to go through a refugee process, but the refugee board refuses to consider the question of whether or not the Iraq war is legal.
He said that argument is central to the war resisters’ claim that they are fleeing a conflict that “clearly violates” international law against wars of aggression.
“These war resisters are leaving the U.S. not because they’re afraid to fight in a war, but because their consciences will not allow them to fight in a war that clearly violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Accord,” Maillard said.
“The fact is that these young men and women are bravely standing up for international law and they are being rebuffed at every turn.”
In November, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear appeals from Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who sought refugee status on the grounds of their opposition to the war in Iraq.
But last month the Commons committee on citizenship and immigration adopted a motion that the government implement a program to allow American war resisters and their families to stay in Canada.
Now groups such as the Oakland, Calif.-based Courage to Resist, which organized the Washington protest and eight similar demonstrations elsewhere in the U.S. yesterday, want the full Commons to consider the matter when it resumes next month.
Max Diorio, an organizer for Courage to Resist, said, “Our message is: ‘Dear Canada - let our war resisters stay.’”
“We believe that these war resisters should be allowed a safe haven from persecution on the basis of resisting an illegal and immoral war and occupation,” Diorio said.
In Canada, Lee Zaslofsky, a spokesman for a group called the War Resisters Support Campaign, said it has organized rallies and other events for today in several cities.

Agustin Aguayo, conscientious objector and war resister sentenced to 8 months and finally free and his wife and partner, Helga, need your help!

On November 5, 2007, Agustin was represented in The Supreme Court petitioning the court to recognize him as a conscientious objector. Agustin's legal battles continue. Agustin now awaits if the Supreme Court will take his case. He has been fighting to be discharged from the Army since 2004. The Army continues to hold Agustin and our family captive as he is still not discharged. The price we, the Aguayo family, have paid to oppose this war and occupation is enormous!
As it stands now, Agustin Aguayo, is a convicted felon. Finding employment has been difficult, and as of yet, unsuccessful. Helga's health has deteriorated dramatically as a result of the stress of fighting the Army and this war. There have been ups and downs to her health but this current situation has caused a relapse. Our most difficult battle comes while trying to put the pieces back together and be a family, again. Most people, don't know but Helga suffers from constant panic and anxiety attacks as well as psoriasis (http://www.psoriasis.org/about/psoriasis/guttate.php) a condition exasperated by stress which at times has covered her skin 90+%. She has even experienced an aggressive form of Psoriasis (http://www.psoriasis.org/about/psoriasis/pustular.php) that can be potentially life threatening and has for her in the past. Agustin too, has anxiety attacks, and we now know and recognize that Agustin has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To admit all of this publicly is difficult but necessary and ultimately liberating.
Throughout this ordeal, our daughters Raquel and Rebecca have been strong and fought side by side with us, with poise and courage. We are sad to say, that this has taken a huge toll on them. Sadly, Raquel and Rebecca are in crisis and we are seeking help for them in many ways.

After everything they have been thru how can they not be in crisis?!?

  • ANDAfter dealing with a year long deployment and not knowing if their father was safe for a year.
  • ANDAND also see their friends' fathers die.
  • ANDAND live on a military base in Germany away from friends, family, and support.
  • ANDto go to a military school for over 3 years and be subjected to military objectives, values, and lifestyle.
  • ANDsee their mother's health deteriorate throughout the stressful ordeal.
  • AND to see with their own eyes and live thru, the military persecute AND prosecute their father and family to the point of seeing their father dragged away to prison, be convicted and labeled a felon AND live without him for ANOTHER 7 months while he was in prison.
  • ANDcome back to the US to start over again and get back to life, business as usual.
  • AND see BOTH their parents work thru anxiety and panic. We ask you, how can they function and not be in crisis?!?
We put this out their as concerned parents who want to help their children to please send our girls your positive energy, thoughts and prayers. We urge to take a few minutes of your day and act NOW and do something simple for our girls. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE THEM EACH A LETTER. Raquel and Rebecca want to receive letters of support and we believe it would be very healing for them to receive acknowledgment of their pain, to receive a letter. It could be something as simple as:

Dear Rebecca/Raquel:
I am sorry you are sad. I think you are very brave. I think you are a strong person. I just wanted to say I am thinking of you today and hope you have a great day today. Things will get better. You have my support!
We ask the peace community, that has never failed us, to please send an individual letter to each of our girls. Please help our girls heal and let them know they have your support as well!
The girls have expressed the desire to hear from you and especially any other children. They are eager to hear from anyone willing to write to them.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!
Please write to:

Raquel E. Aguayo,
38271 Mariner Court,
Palmdale, CA 93552,

Rebecca S. Aguayo,
38271 Mariner Court,
Palmdale, CA 93552

We all want to stop this war. We all want to honor the heroes that refuse to fight, those that march the streets, and those that create dialogue about this war. But, we often forget the unsung heroes that are hurt the most in this tragedy ... the children. The children are the most affected by this war. I ask you to think of them.
Many conscientious objectors and war resisters have family and children: Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia, Kevin Benderman, to mention a few. Please reach out to them. Please reach out to the Iraqi children . Please do something for the children targeted to fight this war. Please do something for the children -- past, present, future -- affected by this war. They too, have paid or will pay a price -- unwillingly. We thank you for your time!

Helga P. Aguayo & Agustin Aguayo

To read more about our ordeal go to: http://www.aguayodefense.org
To donate to the Aguayo Family Fund http://aguayodefense.org/Donate.html
Mail to: [email protected]

January 23, 2008

IVAW News - Troops Home Now, Healthcare Is a Right, Climate Justice

On Saturday January 26, The Vermont Workers' Center, VT chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Global Justice Ecology Project call for one, united action on Saturday, January 26 in Burlington, at 2:30 PM around the following three themes:
END THE WAR AND BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW
HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT
CLIMATE JUSTICE

January 31 Call to Action

Originally posted on World Cant Wait Website

Challenge the “Politics of the Possible” with Mass Resistance - Drive OUT the Bush Regime!

We will make the future.
We pledge to stop endless war for empire.
We refuse consent to a torture state.
We won't swallow a hateful culture of bigotry & intolerance.
We will not go silently into a fascist nightmare.
We will engage in an act of civil resistance to make a better world.
We are what we've been waiting for.

Your government does not want what you want! You want: an end to illegal wars, torture and indefinite detention, raids on immigrants, assaults on women’s rights, the moves towards theocracy, the fostering of a climate of greed and bigotry, and non-action in the face of a global climate crisis.
But leading Republican presidential candidates want more of the Bush program, and no leading Democratic presidential candidate will reverse what’s been set in place by the Bush regime. Leading Democrats knew – and said nothing for years – about the CIA’s torture tapes and waterboarding.All of us who want the Bush program brought to a halt must, through our actions, create a political situation where the Bush regime is driven from power and its program is so thoroughly repudiated that whoever becomes the next president knows they cannot get away with continuing these crimes.In times such as these, people living in this country must speak up and make their sentiments known, acting independently as THE PEOPLE. Let us not go down in history infamously for standing silent in the face of grave crimes the way the "Good Germans" allowed the Nazis to carry out their atrocities. In solidarity with those being tortured in our name and as the color of resistance, wear and display orange everywhere, daily.
On January 31, make a splash: Hang orange signs in store windows; drop orange banners with messages resisting the Bush program from overpasses and on school campuses. Create the atmosphere of resistance by spreading orange far and wide.
On Thursday January 31: "No business as usual” outside military recruiting centers, FEMA offices, immigrant detention centers, federal buildings and court houses, with creative action that may involve mass non-violent civil disobedience, speaking up for those who are disappeared and violated, tortured and left without hope.

January 21, 2008

Debates Within the Military About IVAW

As opposed to right wing forums and spaces like the Free Republic, the military blogosphere is roiling with debates over the legitimacy and implications of the IVAW's call to organize active duty servicemen. A good example of this debate can be found in response to a posting titled "The Subversives in IVAW" uploaded to the blog "A Soldier's Perspective."

The author of this piece sees his role as "educating the troops" who may be "duped IVAW's efforts enough to act on them," just as he himself had "meticulously studied everything I could, open source and classified, about the Iraqi military, people, customs, and geography," because it is important "to know your enemy and what they are up to." In shedding light on IVAWs motivations he argues they are responsible for aiding and abetting the enemy by killing their fellow GIs and making those who survive unemployable and homeless:

IVAW is basically telling Soldiers that it's okay to get their fellow brothers and sisters killed by disobeying lawful orders in a combat zone. They want Soldiers to be unemployable, homeless, and broke. After all, once they are kicked out of the military on a dishonorable discharge as a Private without pay and benefits, what company in their right mind would hire them? Of course, this would also give them more ammo to fight the system when the already high number of homeless veterans soars to unbelievable heights.

Surprisingly, to me given the content of most neo-conservative chickenhawk attacks on IVAW, and the responses to them, IVAW members and their sympathizers have not let this particular sleeping dog lie. Of the 18 responses published, 7 of them are positive and one of those who posted a negative response is open minded enough to subscribe to the IVAW newsletter. For example, one of the respondents, JD wrote that "I have recently returned from my second deployment to Iraq. I whole-heartedly support the efforts and message of Iraq Veterans Against the War. We need to end our illegal, immoral, and unjustified occupation of Iraq as soon as possible. That would be ASAP for those of you with a penchant for acronyms.."

Likewise Garett wrote that "A lot of current service members are tired of going on more deployments while our politicians get their heads out of their asses and realize this isn't about terrorists or national defense. Corporations and government are using the armed forces to achieve their ends while American soldiers and their families make the sacrifice, and hard working Americans pay for it with their tax money. If you call yourself patriots you might realize that sometimes you have to follow the ideals of soldiers like George Washington and the founding fathers and not blindly obey and trust your own rulers."

While it is impossible to quantify exactly how many active-duty personnel support IVAW, the fact that close to half the responses to the claim the IVAW was a subversive organization were posted by IVAW members and/or their supporters gives one hope. As was noted by Garett, regarding who belonged to or supported IVAW, "actually a large amount of our members are active duty,national guard and reserve."

The fact that IVAW can claim "members [who] are active duty,national guard and reserve" may strike uninvolved readers as a semantic issue, it is not and as the Winter Soldier Hearings draw ever closer it will be essential that active duty members speak out to counter any and all claims that IVAW members are phony-soldiers and fake veterans. These charges have a long and pernicious pedigree in the United States and it is not coincidental that IVAWs opponents are leveling the charge the group is subversive.

Similar charges drove the Red Scare of 1917-1919, when the IWW and other American leftists openly opposed American involvement in the First World War. They were resuscitated by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1940s through the late 1960s and by McCarthy in the US Senate during the hearings he held in the late 1940s and early 1950s. They were first leveled at the GI movement in the 1960s, resuscitated as part of the stab in the back legend during the 1980s and 90s and part of the Swift Boat attacks during the last election. The Pentagon, the Administration and their corporate and political allies have too much to lose to allow active duty GIs to openly challenge them, as they have built their house of cards in the sand on the foundation that they are supporting the troops. The fact that they may not be supported by the troops can not be allowed to stand.

January 20, 2008

The Flap over the Winter Soldier Hearings Continues

What is the problem with the antiwar movement and why does it seem to believe as the following excerpt of a critique IVAW from Socialist Action News and Views, that a mass demonstration in DC would not distract from power of the Winter Soldier Hearings:

The Cindy Sheehan initiative
In November, prominent antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan announced an initiative to try to unite the antiwar movement around a national demonstration in Washington to mark the fifth anniversary as well as a peace summit to be held in late January 2008.
In a column entitled "Come Together, Right Now!," Sheehan wrote that she "left the peace movement in May of this year partially out of frustration over this lack of unity. At the time I was in despair over the fact that our movement had been unable to stop anything because of the egos and the infighting."
But the continued horrors of war, she said, as well as new economic and environmental dangers, inspired her to give it another shot. Sheehan set up two conference calls involving many prominent antiwar groups, including not only ANSWER and UFPJ, but also Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Gold Star Families for Peace, Camp Casey Peace Institute, CODEPINK Women For Peace, AfterDowningStreet.org, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Common Ground Collective New Orleans, Hip Hop Caucus, World Can't Wait, ImpeachBush.org, Cindy for Congress, National Council of Arab Americans, Grassroots America, Democracy Rising, and Voters for Peace.
All participants on the calls agreed to a proposal for bicoastal national demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.... The activities were to be organized by the "Iraq Occupation 5th Anniversary U.S. Mobilization Committee." In an apparent effort to head off unilateral actions by any participants, the announcement said that by signing the call "you agree to coordinate announcements as part of the committee, contribute to these events, and not oppose or take actions that hurt any of these events.
The call also announced Sheehan's proposed peace summit, to be held in San Francisco, Jan. 18-20, 2008, "to bring all of the various groups together so we can strategize and brainstorm more effective ways of challenging war and injustices."
The summit would work out the details of the national demonstrations. As described on the Camp Casey Peace Institute website, attendance would be limited to 125 participants. Other than one rally open to all, with live blogging for those in other cities, all sessions in the proposed agenda would have been held in small groups rather than in open, voting plenary sessions. This process would have been the opposite of that used at the best of the conferences during the Vietnam War era, where large, open, meetings of hundreds or even thousands of activists from the entire spectrum of the antiwar movement voted to set dates, locations, and demands for actions, and steering committees elected at the conference were then left to work out the logistics.
Of course, it was not just Sheehan's proposed summit that failed to live up to this more democratic conception. Since the Iraq War began, not a single open, mass antiwar conference, where the full range of the movement's groups and activists could come together to decide its course, has been convened.
Winter Soldier hearings
The March 15 demo, it was announced, would support the IVAW’s planned Winter Soldier hearings. But soon after issuance of the call, a representative of Mass Global Action (MGA) circulated a letter from IVAW Executive Director Kelly Dougherty opposing any Washington, D.C., actions other than the Winter Soldier hearings during the March 13 to 16 period. The MGA spokesperson asked groups around the country to hold off endorsing March 15 until a conference call between the Sheehan forces and IVAW had been conducted.
The upshot of that conference call was an announcement by Sheehan canceling both the March 15 demonstration as well as the peace summit. Sheehan also announced that the ongoing dissension in the movement had convinced her that further efforts at achieving unity were fruitless. She stated that she would forthwith focus all energies on her run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her San Francisco congressional seat.
The fact that the IVAW objections were the catalyst for the dissolution of the Sheehan initiative for a united mass action must be analyzed. Dougherty's letter pointed correctly to the crucial role of veterans in the movement, but it also mirrored the shortsightedness of many in the movement. Wrote Dougherty, "For many of us, the most frustrating, depressing thing is to see the level of detachment and apathy that is so common among the American people. The antiwar movement seems no closer to ending the occupation, and more and more people seem content to believe that things in Iraq are improving and they no longer need to bother themselves with worrying about it."
The problem, according to her analysis, was that "the voices of those who have been to war, have participated in occupation, and have been the victims and survivors of U.S. foreign aggression are not being heard. Those of us who know, first hand, the brutal realities of war have been ignored and marginalized, and it is well past time that we are given the space and opportunity to tell our stories."
Dougherty continued, "This is why IVAW is holding Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, March 13-16 in Washington, D.C. We will offer first-hand, eyewitness accounts to tell the truth about these occupations; their impact on the troops, their families, our nation, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Certainly the mass media has largely ignored the voices of antiwar veterans and active-duty soldiers. But Dougherty's letter ignores the regular and increasing prominence in antiwar rallies, marches, and forums of IVAW members organized by every wing of the movement. And this prominence could have reached new levels with a program of Winter Soldier hearings buttressed by a huge Washington, D.C., national action.
Instead, for Dougherty, the sole focus of the anniversary had to be the Winter Soldier hearings: Because "Winter Soldier provides a unique opportunity to reveal the reality of U.S. occupation," and "in order to give our veterans the necessary space and attention we deserve to tell our stories, we are requesting that, during Winter Soldier, March 13-16, the larger antiwar movement calls no national mobilizations and that there are no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington D.C."
Dougherty concluded, "IVAW will not endorse any mass mobilizations or DC-based actions that conflict with Winter Soldier. We feel that large-scale activities will compete with Winter Soldier and dilute the voices of those testifying."
This explanation puts things backwards. A well-organized national demonstration could have not only drawn attention to the Winter Soldier hearings, but would have served as a springboard for more military organizing efforts. Every marcher could have held a sign proclaiming support for the hearings, and rally organizers could have worked with IVAW to organize marchers to go back home and build veteran and active-duty troop-support activities.
Equally important, a portion of the movement's platform in Washington could have been turned over to the IVAW to allow veterans’ testimony to be heard by hundreds of thousands of people.

Give me a break. The "movement's platform in Washington could have been turned over to the IVAW to allow veterans’ testimony to be heard by hundreds of thousands of people." Instead these veterans would have been used as props, a backdrop drowned out by celebrities and political neophytes who would have been there to maximize their positions.

A quickie with... Mark Shapiro

Just found this interview with Mark Shapiro who "on July 4th 1968 ... was among a group of seven deserters and a draft resister who turned up on the lawn of the US Embassy in Stockholm to stage a sit-down protest against the war in Vietnam." (The Local, Sweden's News in English, July 9, 2007)

Did you have any sense at the time that the American Deserters Committee to which you belonged might have been under surveillance by US intelligence?
Absolutely. There was quite a lot of circumstantial evidence that we were being watched. We always suspected that certain deserters and draft resisters were not who they claimed to be.
The fact that the number of staff at the American Embassy swelled considerably at that time was also a telltale sign.
If you imagine an infrared light being held over the world in 1968, Sweden would have emerged as a major intelligence hotspot.
What was it that differentiated Stockholm from other cities in Europe?
Aside from France, Sweden was basically the only European country that would take deserters in. Although we weren't given political asylum, we were permitted to stay on humanitarian grounds.
This, along with people like Olof Palme's sympathetic stance towards Ho Chi Minh, made Sweden very interesting to the American intelligence community.
Also, neutrality created an open political market, which led to horrific CIA asset implications in Stockholm. They wanted to keep an eye on groups like us that could affect domestic opinion in the US, as well as observe how Sweden was reacting with the Soviet Union.
They also wanted to ensure that anti-American tendencies in Sweden did not spread to other Scandinavian countries.
Coming back to the present, why did you return to the scene of your original protest all of 39 years later?
Vietnam was the great tragedy of the time for my generation, which is something that many in Sweden understood. The Vietnam experience is an essential recollection in this time of the Iraq war and I am hoping that thousands will turn out next year for the 40th anniversary of the American Embassy protest.
You have said that last time round you and your colleagues wound up in a prison in central Stockholm and had thousands of Swedish anti-war activists baying for your release. Any similarities this time?
Not really. It was just me for starters. And the Fourth of July celebrations were at the Ambassador's residence rather than the embassy.
I turned up in my best suit and walked past some Swedish police cars and the US secret service guys with the neat haircuts and curly headphones. They directed me towards the registration desk where a woman asked for my ID and my invitation.
I told her that I wasn't invited but had been here before. She then asked me to stand over by a nearby table and a security guy was sent over to talk to me.
He asked me: "Sir, what are you here for?" And I said: "I'm here to protest peacefully." Well, it was like I'd threatened to steal his baby. I could almost detect smoke coming out of his ears.
And that was the end of your protest?
Not quite. Two secret service guys quickly arrived over, grabbed my arms and led me back out onto the street. I was actually quite impressed by how professional they were. To an outsider it might have looked like they were just having a chat with a friend.
I then got ready to start handing out my leaflets about next year's demonstration. The Swedish police tried to stop me but I insisted and eventually they let me get on with it.
One American guy said to me: "You should be shot." It took all his powers of restraint not to punch me in the face. But most of the guests going in were actually really nice about it, saying "good for you" and wishing me luck.
So you'll be back next year?
Definitely.

January 18, 2008

An Appeal From United for Peace and Justice

This should most likely go in to the position papers and petitions section of the blog. I think it is too important to be placed there alone, so I am including this appeal here as well as on the petitions weblog

Support the Troops Who Have the Courage to Resist!

January 18th, 2008
Friday, January 25 -- Actions in Support of U.S. War Resisters Seeking Sanctuary in Canada
United for Peace and Justice encourages you to join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Rallies and vigils are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States to underscore that many people in this country hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute the Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. We can all help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!

The following day, Saturday, January 26, the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada) has called for a Canada-wide mobilization to ensure that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters cease immediately, and to support a sanctuary provision. If you are in Canada, we hope you will participate in these important actions, and if you know people in Canada, please pass this email along to them.
Today the fate of approximately 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada is at a very critical juncture. Your support can make a difference. Let the Canadian government know that you support U.S. servicemembers that are taking a stand against the Iraq war. They should not be deported to face prosecution for following their conscience and upholding international law.
On December 6, 2007, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration of the House of Commons in Ottawa adopted a motion that was a critical victory for Iraq War resisters seeking sanctuary in Canada. It's now possible that the full House of Commons may vote on this resolution as early as February. However, in the meantime, deportation is becoming a real possibility for some of the resisters. It is critical to build momentum in the wake of this important first victory.
Yours, in peace and justice,
Leslie Cagan
National Coordinator, UFPJ

January 14, 2008

Support GI Resistance

I posted a shorter version of this essay by Jeff Engelhart, that I found in GI Special, on December 29. I have decided to reprint it in full, because it clearly lays out the case for why GI resistance is not only nothing new, but the only way to end the war. It also explores the importance and central role played by veterans groups like IVAW in the empowerment of active duty GIs looking for a way out of the War

"The morale, discipline and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are…lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States…our army…is in a state of approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous."
- Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr. The Collapse of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces Journal, June 7, 1971

"Mutiny is the conscience of war."
-Common graffiti written by soldiers in the trenches of World War One

Much noise is being made today as to what true GI Resistance actually means. In a confusing, often obfuscating and divisive hodgepodge of arguments, a variety of voices try to pinpoint and isolate a singularly accepted standard of GI Resistance. Sometimes in stark arrogance, members of the antiwar community bicker back and forth as to what supporting resistance entails, without actually considering the point of view of the soldier fighting the war. For instance, words like cowardice, loyalty, and even duty are used by some to attack, condescend, and humiliate war resisters, soldier dissenters, AWOL’s, and deserters. These arguments are seriously flawed, yet each stance tries to establish itself as the only acceptable means of supporting GI Resistance.
There are countless ways to crack an egg, and in a generalized effort to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a plethora of tactics will be needed. Most of us know that by now. But what we fail to realize is that sometimes the means to immediately end a war start with the boots on the ground. So who then are we, as activists, veterans, and concerned citizens, to place moral standards on any soldier who would detriment the war effort in any way she or he sees fit? The question is not what GI Resistance is, but rather how can we support it any way shape or form?
One only needs to open a U.S. history book to find examples of GI resistance throughout our years of war and conquest. As far back as the American Revolution, instances of GI rebellion were common, as underpaid, underfed, and ill-equipped regulars staged mutinies and revolts against what they saw as forced conscription, colonial elitism, and rampant war profiteering. In barbarous wars such our Civil War, soldiers plagued by the torment of battle and butchery deserted in massive numbers. AWOL’s were common throughout World War I, and studies on World War II show that soldiers from both sides had tendencies to deliberately aim astray when firing projectiles at enemy combatants. But it wasn’t until the Vietnam War that the true power of an organized underclass of soldiers showed is amazing potential to end military adventurism.
Through amazing instances of organizing, communicating, and class solidarity, American service members utilized a whole array of tactics to make their stance against a war they saw as immoral and wrong. From civil disobedience to direct action--from outspoken “Rap Sessions”, antiwar coffee houses, underground newspapers, “search and evades” missions, and mass desertions, to more extreme measures as combat refusals, equipment sabotage and assassinations of commanding officers in the field--soldiers challenged the power structure of the military from within, and sent shockwaves through the establishment that were felt all the way to the architects of war in Washington, D.C.
Of course, many people within the movement used a variety of tactics to spread distrust of the political system essential in ending the war. However, it wasn’t until the very moment when the soldiers refused to fight that the powers-to-be had absolutely no other option than to pull the plug on their military aggression in Southeast Asia. The GI Revolt from that time is an amazing display of people-power, and what can be achieved through a well-organized, dedicated effort to tear down systems of oppressive power from within. Their greatest strength came from a decentralized ability to operate sporadically and pop up, much like a fungus refusing to die, uncontrollably in all corners of the American empire. The fertile conditions that nurtured their resistance came from a strong antiwar movement back home, and a tightly-held veteran-soldier solidarity to keep the resistance strongly intact.

Soldier solidarity is where we are failing today.
As activists committed to ending this war, we need to reach out to the troops who are fighting it and show them that we support GI Resistance. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan need to know that at home in the United States there is a dedicated activist community that will support them in resisting this illegal war at any cost.
We need to realize amongst ourselves that GI resistance is resistance by definition. Therefore, any resistance acted out by soldiers must be supported. There can be no ultimatums to supporting resistance. Whether that resistance is in the form of organizing amongst peers, starting underground ‘zines or websites, combat refusals or even acts of sabotage, we as activists must do our part to help aide and assist them, even if our assistance can only be in spirit and emotion.
We must understand that any form of resistance, even cases of AWOL and desertion, play a huge part in undermining the war effort from within. Never are we allowed to judge or discriminate against soldiers who choose to leave the military for whatever reason the soldier deems necessary. If more of the public accepted and supported AWOL and/or desertion as a justified alternative to participating in an illegal war, then perhaps we could expect more and more soldiers to quit their jobs. Ideally, one could picture the perfect scenario in which, on any given morning, the whole army fails to “show up to formation.”
At any rate, accusations of cowardice or treason are completely unacceptable. Furthermore, any soldier or veteran (especially one inclined towards an antiwar persuasion) that resorts to such patronizing derision should be reminded that such chest-beating machismo and arrogant self-righteousness is absolutely detrimental to our ultimate goal of ending the war. The whole idea is to win the soldiers trust and include them, not insult and exclude them.
Iraq Veterans Against the War is proving every day that we are the vanguard organization in the movement to ending the war. But we must remember that our credibility does not derive from media appearances, placements in protest rallies, or the medals on our uniforms. No, it comes from the fact that we are still soldiers, and we never leave another soldier behind. Our credibility lies with the soldiers that are still tied to this war, not with the public who overwhelmingly supports an immediate withdrawal, and not with the politicians promising peace with empty rhetoric. No one but the soldiers have the power to end the war now. And as an organization inherently dedicated to the soldier, our sole function should be reaching out to them, helping them to resist, helping them to come home. That is the true essence of solidarity, the true meaning of “Support GI Resistance,” and when it finally comes together, then we’ll really see the beginning of the end.
posted by Jeff Englehart
Iraq Veterans Against the War
www.ivaw.org

Court Overturns Iraq War Protester's Conviction

Jan 11, 2008 (Reuters)
WASHINGTON

A U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan's conviction for demonstrating without a permit on the White House sidewalk in 2005 and ordered a new trial.
The unanimous three-judge panel ruled that Sheehan's conviction had been based on errors of law by the magistrate judge that eliminated the prosecutor's burden to show her criminal intent.
Sheehan had been assessed a $50 fine and $25 administrative fee following the trial and conviction.
On September 26, 2005, Sheehan and four other members of an anti-war group approached the northwest gate of the White House and requested a meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss the Iraq war.
After they were turned down, they walked a short distance and sat down on the White House sidewalk. By this time, more than 200 other people had assembled to protest the Iraq war.
U.S. Park Police officers then instructed them to leave or face arrest. Sheehan was among those remaining on the sidewalk who were arrested and later convicted.
Sheehan also argued that the National Park Service's regulations governing demonstrations near the White House are unconstitutional under the First Amendment right protecting freedom of speech and expression. The appeals court rejected that argument.

January 13, 2008

US Military Vet on Trial on Wednesday

By David Swanson, posted at the VFP website

Testimony in the trial of a U.S. military veteran and national officer of Veterans For Peace begins tomorrow, Wednesday, January 9th, at 11:00 a.m. ET, in District of Columbia Superior Court, room 313.
Mike Ferner, who served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Viet Nam war, was arrested September 20, in the the visitors' gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives when he and another activist stood up and loudly addressed the members of Congress, "Funding the War is Killing Our Troops!"
Ferner was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with disorderly disturbing Congress, a charge that carries a maximum 6 months jail sentence.
"The government says I was disturbing Congress, but that is not the case," said Ferner, a freelance writer from Toledo, Ohio. "I stood up in the House Gallery to sound an alarm, and you don't knock quietly on the door when your neighbor's house is on fire. You pound and raise your voice as if lives depend on it--and that is exactly what's happening in Iraq. Thousands of lives are being lost, the war is causing untold suffering, and Congress keeps throwing gasoline on the flames."
"We have politely petitioned, called and written Congress to demonstrate we want this war ended, and they keep voting more billions for the war. Clearly we need to ring an alarm to get the point across to these people so far removed from the consequences of their votes," Ferner concluded.

Iraq Veterans Against the War On The Move In North Carolina; Citizens Don’t Like The War

Originally published in Today's GI Special

January 10, 2008 by Ashley Wilson, CITIZEN-TIMES
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina

In the middle of Pack Square , Kindra Phillips stood on a makeshift pedestal dressed as the Statue of Liberty with her mouth gagged. The light green fabric of her costume blew in the wind as honking cars drove by.
Phillips is one of 20 locally active members of Veterans For Peace.
The organization, along with the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, holds weekly demonstrations on Pack Square to get more people involved in anti-war efforts.
The two organizations are working together to launch a radio talk show on WPVM-FM 103.5 next week.
“We just had enough,” said Phillips, who joined the organization six months ago and served in the U.S. Navy for 10 months. “I couldn’t just sit at home and not do anything.”
Two members of Iraq Veterans Against War and one member of Veterans For Peace will host the 30-minute talk show.
The organizations plan to feature news, interviews and guest speakers on the show. They also hope to discuss benefits and resources for veterans and air spoken word and music from area veterans.
“We want to give a voice to veterans because we don’t feel they are represented on a national, local or state level,” said Jason Hurd, Asheville chapter president of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “As much as a stake people put in us, we might as well have our opinions heard.”
Members hope that the radio show will get the same positive community response as that the rest of their work gets.
In addition to the weekly demonstrations, they have collected almost $20,000 to rebuild an orphanage in Afghanistan. They also organize tabling, counter recruitment in area high schools and bus trips for local and national rallies.
“The response we get is normally very positive — much more than when we first started,” said Lyle Petersen, president of Veterans For Peace’s North Carolina chapter. “We used to get gestures and a lot of negativity at the start, but now it’s become more positive.”
For more than four years, members of the organization have been standing on Pack Square . They started the demonstrations on the day U.S. troops entered Iraq.
WPVM is a low-powered FM radio station broadcasting in Asheville and globally on the Internet and is run completely by volunteers and donations.

One year from now

Originally posted to the IVAW website

As we enter 2008, please stop for a moment and consider where we are now, and where we are going. In just over a year, America will have a new President. We will have endured a year of campaign commercials and attack ads. We'll have watched debates devoid of any real discussion of the withdrawal from Iraq that a growing number of Americans now call for. We'll have waited, for yet another year, for our leaders to find a way to say what we know in our hearts: we must leave Iraq.
But what will have changed in the next year that will make that happen?
We must face this fact: we run the serious risk that one year from today we'll be right where we are now, but with another year's worth of casualties, a year’s worth of grieving families, a year's worth of Iraqi anger and suffering built on our occupation of a country we now know was no threat to us. Ending this war in a year is different than ending it now, just as ending it now is different than ending it a year ago, or a year before that. There is a price to pay for every day that we wait.
As a veteran who served in Iraq as a military police sergeant, I see our continued occupation of that country as more than simply a list of numbers. On daily patrols through Baghdad and other cities, your glance darts from one window to the next and you look with suspicion at everyone you pass, waiting to be attacked. Every time you drive, you anxiously scan the roadways and gutters, anticipating the explosion of a roadside bomb that will send burning shards of metal through both vehicles and flesh. Indiscriminate home raids at all hours of the day and night become a common experience, as do the mass detentions of terrified and angry Iraqis. You spend hours at checkpoints, with your finger on the trigger, prepared to make life and death decisions in a country where the line between civilians and combatants is blurred and in constant motion. These things take a toll, on our soldiers, their families, and the Iraqi people.
As members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, we know these things and many of us still face them on a daily basis. Despite what you see on TV, or read in the paper, this is daily life in Iraq.
A year from now, will we have moved any closer to withdrawal? Or will our leaders continue to push such a decision off into the future, where, like so many decisions made by the powerful, the price to be paid rests squarely on the shoulders of the next generation?
We are at a crossroads: we can focus our energy exclusively on an election in which no viable candidate is committed to rapid withdrawal, or we can spend the next year ensuring that whoever takes office, Republican or Democrat, will face a country mobilized to the cause of bringing our troops home.
The veterans and active duty troops of Iraq Veterans Against the War represent the generation that is living with the pain and consequences of our leaders’ daily decision to continue this war. We have watched our closest friends be killed and injured, we’ve seen innocent people dehumanized and destroyed. We are first-hand witnesses and participants of an illegal war and occupation and we are here to tell you that we have had enough.
We have come together, as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, with this message: It is time to put this awful chapter of our history behind us. It is time to do the right thing for the people of Iraq and the people of America. It is time.
We've been here before. In the aftermath of the 2006 elections, the analysts said it plainly: the issue that had brought the Democrats to power was opposition to the war. Hundreds of thousands of people worked phone banks, canvassed their neighbors, made signs, and raised money for that election cycle, but it was not enough to end the war. Why not? The political leadership and the pundits have settled on the excuse that the Democrats don't have enough power in Congress to get it done. But we think it is something else - we have failed to force our leaders into action.
This is not a unique situation in history. Looking back on successful movements, what is the common denominator? Has real change occurred when people relied on politicians to do the right thing, or when a movement of people used their strength to move this country forward?
We propose the second path - organizing Americans to move our leaders to do what must be done. Iraq Veterans Against the War has spent the last year devising a strategy and tactics to bring our troops home. Our plans are not contingent on a particular candidate, or a party, because we're not willing to roll the political dice on something as important as this.
Our strategy is simple: organize the men and women of our armed forces to withdraw their support for the war. Our reason for choosing this strategy is also simple: without the active support of military service members, this war cannot continue. The government has shown that no matter which lever people pull on Election day, they can continue, and even escalate, the war. But without people to drive the trucks, to man the checkpoints, and to go out on nightly raids, no war is possible. Of course, we don't expect to be able to convince the entirety of our armed forces to go on strike, but what percentage of soldiers would need to stand up against this war before our leaders decide that they cannot continue? One percent? Five? We aim to find out.
We're drawing the line, and we're asking you to join us. All over the country, veterans and members of the military are organizing chapters of Iraq Veterans Against the War in cities, in rural areas, and on military bases. Last year at this time, we had eight chapters. Today, we have 37, with more forming all the time. We need your help to support those who are doing this important work on the ground.
We know what our brothers and sisters are going through in Iraq, and we're putting plans in motion to put an end to it. Not a year from now. Not next month. Today.
Peace,
Kelly Dougherty
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War

January 12, 2008

Support GI Resistance

Originally posted to Courage to Resist, January 9 2008

Help stop the war... support the troops with the courage to resist

Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter “Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!” and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you.
Host an event or house party in support of war resisters.
The following day, Saturday, January 26, the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada) has called for a Canada-wide mobilization to ensure that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters cease immediately, and to support a sanctuary provision.
Today the fate of approximately 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada is at a very critical juncture. Your support can make a difference. Let the Canadian government know that you support U.S. servicemembers that are taking a stand against the Iraq war. They should not deported to face prosecution for following their conscience and upholding international law.

December 31, 2007

Join Us - January 11 to Shut Down Guantanamo!

(Statement published by Witness Against Torture, click here to read the original)

Friday, January 11, 2008: The 6 year anniversary of the first prisoners being brought to Guantánamo.
Last year on January 11th, after 500 people processed from the Supreme Court to the Federal court, 150 people risked arrest on behalf of the men in Guantanamo, with 88 being arrested inside the Federal Court in DC. Many of those arrested withheld their identification and took the names of men at Guantanamo. It was a very powerful day, made possible by the contributions of many in the extended Catholic Worker family.
This year, we again are working with many groups on a demonstration in Washington, D.C. The day will begin with a rally at the National Mall co-sponsored with Amnesty International and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture followed by a “prisoner procession” to the Supreme Court. Endorsed by Bill of Rights Defense Committee, CodePink, International Federation for Human Rights, Network of Spiritual Progressives, Peace Action, School of the Americas Watch, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, United for Peace and Justice, War Resisters League, and other groups.
Come to DC or organize a vigil, demonstration or speaker in your own community!