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, email@example.com
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:
Veterans For Peace Responds to the Conviction and Imprisonment of VFP Member Gregory Boertje-Obed and the Transform Now Plowshares Activists, Sr. Megan Rice and Michael Walli
February 21, 2014
From left to right: Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli
Our highest commendations are sent with gratitude and love to VFP member Gregory Boertje-Obed and his courageous and noble colleagues, Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ and Michael Walli, members of Transform Now Plowshares for their extraordinary actions to expose the on-going criminal activity of the US government at the Y-12 nuclear processing facilities in Oak Ridge, TN. We send also our love and support to their families and friends.
February 19, 2014
Urge President Obama to cancel the combined, massive joint US-ROK war game v. North Korea, which will start on Feburary 25, 2014 and continue until April 18, 2014.
The US Military Commander will be in charge of this provocative, threatening war drill, which will bring in more than 5,000 U.S. troops from outside of Korea, as well as mobilizing some 200,000 South Korean troops for field exercise. This will again raise dangerous military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Please support this urgent effort for peace by signing the petition and forwarding to others.
Email President Obama or call President Obama - 202-456-1111(Comments) 202-456-1414 (Switchboard)
Action Alert: Call your Senators and Urge Them to Support the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA)
February 13, 2014
We need Senator Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) NOW!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day set aside to show appreciation for those who are special to us, especially those with whom we have a romance. But it is also V-Day, a day to celebrate and take action as part of a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Stand in solidarity with the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) and ask your Senator to support Senator's Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA).
February 11, 2014
In a campaign reminiscent of Vietnam War days, military veterans and family members will travel to ten west coast cities promoting GI outreach centers in Texas, Washington state, and Germany. The GI Coffeehouse Tour will begin in San Diego on Thursday, February 13 and end in Seattle on Saturday, March 1.
Local communities will welcome the GI Coffeehouse Tour with special eventsfeaturing poets, artists and musicians.Participants at tour stops will learn about GI coffeehouse history, find out what current-day coffeehouses do to support the troops, and join in conversations about the current state of the military and what that means for service members and their families
The GI Coffeehouse Tour will feature the work of Under The Hood Cafe and Outreach Center near Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas,Coffee Strongnear Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood, Washington, andThe Clearing Barrel GI Bar and Coffeehousein Kaiserslautern, Germany, the center for U.S. military installations in Europe.
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