Veterans For Peace Joins United Peace For Justice for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: Shining a Light for Peace, Jobs, Justice and Freedom
August 20, 2013
VFP Meetup Point in Washington DC
Fri, Aug 23 - Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 8:00pmSat, Aug 24 - 14th and Constitution between 8:00 - 10:00am
We will gather together in Washington DC and in communities across the country to commemorate this great march and to renew our commitment to keep marching for a just future. We are taking an action for peace in Washington DC on Friday night and we will be making our call for peace, jobs, justice and freedom visible throughout the day on Saturday. We hope you can join us.
July 29, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2013
Fasted in protest of treatment of Guantanamo detainees,in solidarity with those on hunger strike
Elliott Adams of Sharon Springs, New York, a Vietnam War veteran who will have been fasting for 80 days in solidarity with Guantanamo detainees, will end his fast on Sunday, August 4 at the new section of the Masjid As-Salam, 280 Central Ave., Albany (next door to 278 Central Ave., the masjid itself). Veteran Tarak Kauff of Woodstock, who will have fasted for 58 days and also began his fast in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners, will also end his fast at the masjid. Both men will eat an iftar meal with mosque members at sundown, around 8:15 p.m., in keeping with the observance of the holy month of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast from dawn to sundown. Adams, a non-Muslim, and Kauff, who is Jewish, will speak beforehand at 7:15 p.m. about their reasons for undertaking their fasts, and then answer questions. Dr. Shamshad Ahmad, president of the Masjid As-Salam, will welcome all who attend and will speak about the meaning and traditions of Ramadan, which this year runs from July 8 to August 7.
The media and public are invited to hear the men's presentations at7:15 p.m.and then to enjoy theiftarmeal with the Muslim community.
Adams, former mayor of Sharon Springs, former president of the national organization Veterans for Peace, and a community activist, has long advocated for closure of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He began fasting on May 17 because of his distress over detainees who continue to be held at the prison without charges or trial, and because of their treatment, saying that it goes against everything he fought for during his years in the military. He has limited himself to 300 calories and 3 liters of water a day.
Kauff serves on the board of directors of Veterans for Peace and is one of the founders of War Crimes Times, the organization’s newspaper. He is also one of the original members of Middle East Crisis Response, a group of Hudson Valley residents who support human rights for Palestinians and an end to the U.S.'s aggressive policies in the Middle East. He began his liquid-only fast on June 7 and has been consuming 300 calories a day.
Six other people in the U.S. are still fasting long-term in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners and with prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, who are on a hunger strike to protest conditions there.
About 10 peace activists in the area have chosen to support the long-term fasters, particularly Adams, through a “rolling fast”: either by fasting once a week for 24 hours or by fasting 24 hours at intermittent times. They have also stood in solidarity with the international movement to close Gitmo by gathering on six different occasions in public demonstrations at various locations in the Capital District, most recently at the corner of Wolf Road and Central Avenue in Colonie.
Among the 166 prisoners still being held at Guantanamo, 86 were cleared for release over a year ago. Over 100 detainees, with no hope of release in sight, began a hunger strike in February of this year; as of this writing, 69 are still on strike, 45 are being force-fed, and 3 are in the hospital. A recent video made by rapper and Hollywood star Mos Def, who volunteered to be force-fed, shows how excruciating the procedure is, and is considered torture by many human rights groups. The British rights organization Reprieve has documented the use of forcible cell extractions of those who refuse food, the use of unnecessary force during the force-feeding process, a new regime of invasive genital searches, and the use of solitary confinement to control prisoners.
On July 23, on the eve of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about Guantanamo, 26 of the nation’s most respected retired military leaders submitted a letter urging members of the committee to support steps to close the facility.
The event at the Masjid As-Salam is supported and organized by numerous peace and justice groups throughout the Capital District. One of those groups, the Muslim Solidarity Committee, notes that August 4 is the ninth anniversary of the arrests of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain in 2004, two Masjid As-Salam members who were later convicted as the result of a phony FBI “terrorism” sting based at the masjid, where Aref was imam. Both are serving 15-year sentences in federal prison. Aref has recently submitted a new appeal.
For background information on Guantanamo, see:
June 21, 2013
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement that temporarily stopped the heavy fighting in the Korean War of 1950-53. North Koreans want an official end to the lingering war with a peace treaty, but the United States refuses to talk about it until the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) first abandons its nuclear weapons. North Korea’s response to this hard-line position of the U.S. is that they cannot disarm themselves first when the nuclear superpower is still waging war against North Korea through increasing economic sanctions, nuclear threats, US-Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) joint war drills, and regime change moves.
North Korea has become more upset recently, when the US imposed additional unilateral/multilateral sanctions on the DPRK’s space agency and trading companies, in the aftermath of the DPRK’s successful launching of an earth-observation satellite in December 2012. The U. S. then falsely accused DPRK that the launch was a ballistic missile test and imposed another UN sanction on North Korea. In reaction, DPRK conducted its third underground nuclear test in February 2013. The U.S., in turn, imposed another harsh UN sanction on North Korea. Furthermore, the US staged a massive, two-month long, combined military drill with ROK (South Korea) against DPRK, starting on March 1. Some 200,000 ROK troops and 10,000 new US troops from abroad are involved in this costly, dangerous war game. In response, DPRK put its military forces on a high alert and began its own military drill. Thus, the tragic Korean War continues on in a vicious circle of satellite launches, sanctions, nuclear tests, sanctions, and war drills.
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
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 28, 2013
MARYSVILLE/BEALE AFB– Five people were eventually arrested around 8 a.m. this morning after dozens of anti-drone demonstrators blocked the entrance to Beale Air Force Base for hours, resulting in hundreds of vehicles being prevented from entering the base.
The CHP had to be called in to clear traffic which had lines of hundreds of cars in several directions after peace advocates from Sacramento, San Francisco, Nevada City and as far away as Fresno protested President Obama's U.S. killer drone program.
Those arrested were briefly held on misdemeanor charges, which could result in six months in jail if convicted in federal court. In a similar action, 31 people were arrested at Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY Monday.
Last October, nine people were arrested at Beale during protests – and five are facing months in prison if convicted in a trial set for Sacramento Federal Court this summer (August 12).
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?
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