March 19, 2014
Written by Matt Southworth, former VFP Board Member and Iraq veteran.
Anniversaries are often a time to look back and reflect. It was ten years ago today that the United States brought “shock and awe” to Iraq under the false pretenses of Iraqi involvement in 9/11 and possession of weapons of mass destruction.
We in the U.S. have all but forgotten those days, even after nearly 4,500 U.S. service members died in Iraq and over $800 billion were spent. The Iraq War was once the focus of a plethora of media coverage and congressional debate—it was even a campaign issue as late as the 2008 presidential election. The Iraq War, its false justification and the crimes committed to cover up the truth are now distant memories for most Americas, only 53% of whom think the Iraq War was a mistake.
March 17, 2014
Ruthie Cole, Eddie Bloomer, Elliott Adams(VFP member), Julie Brown(VFP member), Michelle Naar-Obed (wife of VFP member Greg Boertje-Obed), Chet Guinn, Steve Clemens were charged with criminal trespass while delivering indicitment on Monday, Mar 19th at the 132 National Guard Base in Iowa;
We come to the Des Moines Air National Guard base, today, as members of faith based and Catholic Worker communities and the Veterans for Peace who annually join for a week of nonviolent resistance to war and injustice. This week, we aim to raise a call against the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) commonly known as drones. We recognize that the slaughter of war always requires war makers to dehumanize the victims. Reliance on drones exacerbates the dehumanization because the technology allows war makers to kill a target without identifying clearly who the person is or what the person has done or is doing.
Therefore today we bring to this base the faces of several who have been killed as well as the desire of a young Afghan friend who says, "We want to live without war."
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "In a free society, few are guilty but all are responsible." If weaponized drones are flown from this base, we, along with RPA crews, share responsibility for consequences including death of targeted victims and whatever trauma is sustained by those who operate the drones.
March 17, 2014
About a hundred protestors from across the country gathered outside the Iowa Air National Guard Base Saturday morning.
Veterans for Peace teamed up with Des Moines Catholic Workers to spread the word against drones.
"We're trying to raise awareness here in Des Moines as to what's going on in Iowa and that's bringing the war directly home to Des Moines," said VFP member Gil Landolt.
People are concerned that it would turn Des Moines into an international target.
"They're bringing drones here to this base, right here in your city, actually flying them out of these air bases in the United States, so they're actually controlling them, they're actually pulling a trigger, they become a legitimate military target," said Elliot Adams, former national president of Veterans for Peace.
March 14, 2014
VFP joined 33 organizations in letter sent to President Obama urging him to expedite the declassification of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on the interrogation and detention practices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
President Barack Obama
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to urge you to expedite the declassification of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on the interrogation and detention practices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The necessity of disclosing this report is underscored by indications that CIA has interfered with the Committee's work.
On March 11, SSCI Chairman Dianne Feinstein confirmed reports that the CIA conducted surveillance on computers used by SSCI staff and detailed additional agency interference with the Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program. CIA Director John Brennan subsequently denied any impropriety. The conduct Chairman Feinstein described would violate constitutional separation of powers and is deeply troubling.
During a SSCI hearing in January, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked CIA Director John Brennan about whether the CIA was subject to the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030), which prohibits accessing government computers networks without authorization. Director Brennan later admitted that the statute does apply to the agency. Allegations of unlawful CIA surveillance of the computers used by SSCI staffers to prepare their report on the RDI program require a thorough, independent investigation.
March 13, 2014
Five U.S. military veterans were found guilty March 12 of disorderly conduct, failure to obey a park sign, trespassing, and failure to obey a lawful order for refusing to leave New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Plaza at the 10 pm closing time last October.
“I hope we all understand clearly that we are winning,” said Tarak Kauff, one of the defendants. “Winning is not determined by what a corrupt and pathetic judicial system determines. We, and everyone else in that courtroom, including the judge and prosecution, knew damned well that we advanced the struggle. Why? Because we held our heads high, we didn’t beat around the bush or try to win the case on technicalities—we owned what we did, were adamantly clear about what and why we did what we did.”
The five—Tarak Kauff, Ellen Barfield, Ken Mayers, Micah Turner, and Jay Wenk—had flex-cuffed themselves together on the plaza Oct. 7, 2013, as part of a memorial vigil marking 12 years of U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan. About 50 people had come to read the names of the dead—civilian and military—from U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and to lay flowers at the base of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Fourteen others were also arrested for refusing to leave, but their charges were dropped.
March 12, 2014
By Ellen Davidson
“Unjust laws need to be broken so they will be removed,” is the explanation U.S. Army veteran Ellen Barfield gave for refusing to leave New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Plaza after the 10 pm closing time last October.
She was testifying in her own defense March 11 during the second day of a trial of five veterans arrested at the plaza on Oct. 7, 2013. The defendants were arrested with 14 others (whose charges were later dismissed) as they read the names of the war dead from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam and laid flowers at the base of the memorial. The five had flex-cuffed themselves together and lay on the ground, and were charged with resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a park sign, trespassing, and failure to obey a lawful order. The first two charges, which involved up to a year jail sentence and therefore entitled them to a jury trial, were dropped by Assistant District Attorney Anthony Amanoff March 6, leaving them a bench trial on the remaining four charges before Judge Kevin McGrath.
March 11, 2014
Fasting can be a way of mourning, of cleansing, of meditation, of focus.
On Tuesday, March 11, the third anniversary of the beginning of the disaster at Fukushima, we will abstain from food from dawn to dusk. Our purpose is tied to the atomic disaster that continues to threaten life on Earth.
The three melt-downs, four explosions, scattered fuel rods and continual gusher of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima have torn a deadly hole in the fabric of our ability to survive on this planet.
Its corporate perpetrators were repeatedly warned by tens of thousands of citizen activists not to build these reactors in an earthquake zone that has been washed by tsunamis. Not only did they build them, they took down a natural 85-foot-high sea wall in the process that might have greatly lessened the damage of the tsunami that did come.
CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained and Deported from Egypt En Route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women
March 04, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator, 860-575-5692, firstname.lastname@example.org
On the night of March 3, 2014, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK Medea Benjamin was on her way to Egypt to join an international delegation of women going to Gaza when she was detained by border police in the Cairo airport, held overnight in a cell, and then brutally tackled (her arm badly injured), handcuffed, and deported to Turkey. During her time in the detention cell she had access to a cell phone, from which she contacted colleagues at CODEPINK about the poor conditions of the cell and chronicled her ordeal via Twitter. When the Egyptian police removed her from the detention center, they used such excessive force she sustained a fracture and torn ligament.
Calling from Istanbul, Benjamin gave the following statement: “I was brutally assaulted by Egyptian police, who never said what I was being accused of. When the authorities came into the cell to deport me, two men threw me to the ground, stomped on my back, pulled my shoulder out of its socket and handcuffed me so that my injured arm was twisted around. I was then forced to sit between the two men who attacked me on the plane ride from Cairo to Istanbul, and I was (and still am) in terrible pain the whole time.”
February 27, 2014
38 organizations have signed the Iran policy organizational letter initiated by National Iranian American Council. The letter was delivered to Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this afternoon.
To: Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
As negotiations proceed between the P5+1 and Iran, the following organizations urge Congress to uphold the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) and refrain from considering any measures that would violate the letter or spirit of the JPOA or renegotiate the basic terms for a final agreement outlined in the JPOA. We urge Congress and the Administration to work together to ensure diplomacy can succeed in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and averting an unnecessary and costly war.
The JPOA advances U.S. national security objectives by freezing and rolling back key elements of Iran's nuclear program as negotiations towards a comprehensive nuclear agreement proceed. Congress has an important role to play to ensure the terms of the JPOA are upheld by Iran. At the same time, it is critical that Congress not cause the United States to violate our own terms under the deal. The Senate’s decision to abstain from considering new Iran sanctions has helped give diplomacy the best possible chance to succeed. It is critical that Congress not legislate new sanctions while talks are proceeding, which would violate the JPOA and, according to a U.S. Intelligence Community assessment, “would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”
February 27, 2014
Pack the Courtroom! 5th Floor. Part JP4
9:30 am 100 Centre St. NY, NY
Submitted by Tarak Kauff, member of VFP Board of Directors
The reading of names of the dead continues as five veterans lie handcuffed together. Those handcuffed are (clockwise from top left): WWII vet Jay Wenk, Ellen Barfield, Ken Mayers, Micah Turner, and Tarak Kauff. Photo by ELLEN DAVIDSON
Nineteen military veterans and their allies were arrested last Oct. 7 at New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza for refusing to leave the park at the 10 pm closing time. The date marked 12 years of invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and the arrestees were reading the names of the dead from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam, as well as from the drone wars in Pakistan and other countries. The aims of the action, organized by Veterans For Peace members, were fourfold:
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