May 19, 2014
Every year Congress has two chances to reduce Pentagon waste -- through appropriations bills and then through authorization bills. This week (May 19) the U.S. House of Representatives will be debating and voting on the military budget for FY 2015 in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
This bill will bring many issues that are important to VFP to a vote. So this week is a crucial time for the veteran peace voice to be heard. Congressional aides say that the volume of calls on an issue makes the difference. Your call matters.
April 23, 2014
During the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014, you cited a number of concrete measures to secure highly-enriched uranium and plutonium and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime that have been implemented as a result of the three Nuclear Security Summits, concluding: “So what’s been valuable about this summit is that it has not just been talk, it’s been action.”
Would that you would apply the same standard to nuclear disarmament! On April 5, 2009 in Prague, you gave millions of people around the world new hope when you declared: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Bolstered by that hope, over the past three years, there has been a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives by governments not possessing nuclear weapons, both within and outside the United Nations. Yet the United States has been notably “missing in action” at best, and dismissive or obstructive at worst. This conflict may come to a head at the 2015 Review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
April 11, 2014
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March 26, 2014
Expanding on last year’s “April Days of Action,” this year anti-drone activists across the country are organizing “Spring Days of Action” throughout the months of April and May. VFP members and chapters that are near drone bases or manufacturers have been doing a great job keeping up the pressure. But if you don’t live near a drone base or manufacturer, there are still lots of actions that you and your chapter can do to actively oppose drones.
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.
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