June 14, 2013
Edward Snowden is the NSA whistleblower who blew the lid on PRISM, a secret government program that created a database of American’s communications and which allowed secret wiretapping and surveillance of American citizens communications (phone, email, social media, and just about any online or cell phone communication).
In an interview he has expressed his full support for Bradley Manning, saying that Bradley is “a classic whistleblower” and that “he was inspired by the public good.” Snowden, like Manning, wants the public to know the truth, and he hopes that exposing the disturbing, and Orwellian PRISM spy program will motivate debate and reform. The program was so secretive, he says, and so powerfully controlling and invasive, that he could not support it without the American people making the decision to allow it for themselves. Do we not have the right to privacy? How has the government been willing to design and build such a massive surveillance machine without any public scrutiny? What happened to the Constitution? As Snowden explains, the program has almost no oversight, and few safeguards. He could listen in on anyone.
For more on this story, go here.
June 14, 2013
Close the US Prison at Guantanamo!
Four VFP members have been fasting in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Diane Wilson, co-founder of Code Pink and a VFP member, has not eaten for 44 days. She has been on a water-only fast for most of that time, but included juice while attending to the death of her sister in Texas. Diane has lost over 40 pounds.
Brian Willson, fasted publicly in Portland, Oregon for 28 days, taking in less than 300 calories a day, and losing 24 pounds. Last week, Brian was hit by a car while riding his hand-powered bicycle, and he is following doctor’s orders to suspend his fast and eat while healing from his physical and psychological wounds. Brian will consider re-joining the fast at a later time.
Elliott Adams, former VFP national president, is currently on day 29 of his hunger strike. He is also taking in less than 300 calories a day, and has lost 30 pounds.
Tarak Kauff, VFP Board member, is on day 7 of his hunger strike.
June 10, 2013
Snowden's whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an 'executive coup' against the US constitution.
Written by Daniel Ellsberg
In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.
Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.
June 10, 2013
The court martial of Bradley Manning recessed on Wednesday after three days. Because the court room testimony is proceeding quicker than anticipated, the next of the government's 141 witnesses will not be available until Monday. Lawyers and activists alike welcomed the break, except for a few who had planned to attend the court martial on Thursday and Friday.
The first three days of Bradley's court martial featured testimony from computer forensics experts, infamous hacker Adrian Lamo (who turned in Bradley to Army intelligence after chatting online with Bradley), and a parade of Army witnesses who were his instructors, supervisors and co-workers in intelligence gathering in Iraq. The court proceedings arguably were to Bradley's advantage. His lawyer David Coombs elicited testimony that undercut the aiding the enemy charge as well as other attempts by Army prosecutors to cast Bradley in an unfavorable light.
For summaries and complete transcriptsof the court martial testimony, go to www.bradleymanning.org
Tons of Media Coverage
The virtual media blackout of the prosecution of Bradley Manning has ended, with the beginning of his court martial. You can find tons of media coverage here and a very interesting article in New Yorker.
VFP Board member Gerry Condon, who is anchoring VFP's presence at Fort Meade, reports being interviewed by a dozen radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. This is a BIG story around the world, and many foreign reporters showed up for both the court martial and the rally that preceded it.
June 07, 2013
Dear VFP friends,
Elliott Adams on hunger strike- Sharon Springs man on hunger strike in solidarity with Guantanamo detainees
June 06, 2013
Elliott Adams scoops out a handful of oats from the 50 pound sack on his porch. He's been on hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay since mid May, eating only a handful of oats each day.
SHARON SPRINGS — Elliott Adams wasn’t always so skinny.
Three weeks ago, the Sharon Springs resident and past Veterans For Peace president had a sturdy 170-pound frame, but that was before he stopped eating.
“You got to do what you got to do,” he said, moving slowly through his house Monday afternoon.
Adams is on hunger strike in solidarity with the suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay. He’s hoping his actions will help sway the American public so strongly against the prison that the U.S. government will finally shut it down.
More than 100 Guantanamo prisoners have been on hunger strikes for months with a similar goal in mind, but even after just 18 days, Adams showed clear signs of starvation.
May 30, 2013
Mass Rally at Ft. Meade, Maryland, Saturday, June 1
Military veterans are turning out in force to show support for PFC Bradley Manning this Saturday, June 1, 1 pm at Fort Meade, Maryland, on the eve of his historic court martial, which begins on Monday. The diminutive 25-year-old Manning, who has acknowledged giving classified Army documents to Wikileaks about U.S. conduct of the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, is facing the possibility of life in prison. In what many people see as “overkill,” the Army has charged him with “Aiding the Enemy,” the most serious of 22 charges.
Veterans For Peace is also organizing local marches and rallies on June 1, including in Seattle, Washington, (2 pm at Westlake Park, march to Victor Steinbreuck Park) and London, England (2 pm rally outside of US Embassy). See contact info for Seattle and London, below. Veterans For Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War will also participate in International Days of Action, June 1-8, in over 100 cities around the U.S. and worldwide, to demonstrate widespread support for PFC Manning.
May 23, 2013
There is no military solution to Afghan political problems. Staying longer only costs more lives and money
By Matt Southworth and Matthew Hoh
As President Barack Obama is set to discuss the future of US counterterrorism policy around the world, he should also provide a framework for a swift end to the US war in Afghanistan. It is our belief US troops should not stay one day longer or shed one more drop of blood, and US taxpayers should not spend one more penny to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2014.
It is time to truly end the US war in Afghanistan. It is pure folly and wholly counterproductive for the US to keep fighting in Afghanistan, paying the highest price in life and treasure, for one more day, let alone until a specific calendar date is reached. The current US strategy, which lacks critical political and economic transition elements, will neither accomplish US political objectives, nor provide security for the people of Afghanistan. As violence is currently on the rise, one can reasonably wonder what has been gained from years of remarkable expense and sacrifice.
May 14, 2013
This Saturday, May 18th—Please join us!
The Veterans Peace Council is hosting an Armed Forces Day Conference on the Veterans’ Peace Movement.
The conference is part of an extended project to answer the question: What now for the veterans peace movement?
May 10, 2013
VFP Members Pitch in with Petition, Media and a Visit
by Helen Jaccard, Chair, Environmental Cost of War and Militarism Working Group
Ten years ago May 1, the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico defeated the most powerful military machine ever, through mass civil disobedience and without firing a single shot. On May 1, 2003 the decades long bombing stopped and the bases were officially closed. People from all over the world supported the struggle on Vieques, and the activists and residents have an incredible victory to celebrate.
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