November 06, 2011
BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORTERS GO ON TRIAL
Contact: Max Obuszewski  366-1637 or mobuszewski at verizon.net
Helen Gerhardt  518-7387
WHO: On March 20, 2011, thirty three activists, including Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers, were arrested outside the entrance to the Quantico Marine Base in Triangle, Virginia. The arrests took place on Route 1 after a rally condemning the torture of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower, then imprisoned in the Quantico brig. He was kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day at that time for a period of eight months and suffered other indignities. There was no conceivable justification for such degrading treatment, which brought back memories of the abuses committed in Abu-Ghraib.
The arrests took place after the military reneged on a promise to allow veterans to place flowers at the Iwo Jima Memorial near the entrance to Quantico. For whatever reason, the veterans were not permitted near the statue which is open to the public, and they had to throw the flowers, which was quite undignified. These veterans then sat down on Route 1, and soon hundreds of rally attendees also congregated on the road, which was closed by the police. Most of the arrestees were charged with unlawful assembly and malicious obstruction of traffic.
WHAT: After the arrests, John Zwerling, a prominent Alexandria, Virginia attorney agreed to take on the cases pro bono. Since the arrests, some defendants pled guilty and paid fines, one refused and spent a day in jail, and a majority had there charges dismissed. Four defendants, though, Jean Athey, Helen Gerhardt, Max Obuszewski and Col. Ann Wright, decided to go to trial. Gerhardt and Obuszewski, facing a charge of malicious obstruction of traffic, will represent themselves. And Zwerling and his legal team will represent Athey, facing the traffic charge, and Col. Wright, who still faces two charges, including unlawful assembly.
WHEN: Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10 AM
WHERE: Prince William Circuit Court, 31st Judicial Circuit of Virginia, 9248 Lee Ave., Manassas, VA 20110
WHY: These four defendants felt an urgency to bring the issue of the torture of Pfc. Bradley Manning into a Virginia courtroom. They went to Quantico because they felt they had a Nuremberg Obligation to speak out against the torture of Manning and will make this argument during trial. They will also argue their First Amendment rights and the fact that the evidence will show they are innocent of all charges.
Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD), said, "I was at Quantico to express my profound admiration and respect for a young soldier who is accused of exposing the truth. If the stories about him are true, he is being persecuted because he has a conscience, because he could not stand by and do nothing when he saw terrible injustice. What was being done to Bradley Manning at Quantico was an outrage and contrary to the principles on which this country was founded."
Veteran Helen Gerhardt, from Pittsburgh, was deployed for over a year in Iraq with a National Guard Transportation unit that delivered water to Abu Ghraib. Because of her experiences in Iraq and a social conscience, she was determined to join protesters in an act of civil resistance at Quantico Marine Base when she became aware of the cruel and unusual punishment, similar to what was practiced at Abu Ghraib, being inflicted on her fellow soldier Pfc. Bradley Manning. It became apparent that Manning was being tortured and subjected to many months of solitary confinement and humiliation though the practice of forced nudity during morning inspections. She felt it was her imperative duty to follow through on her oath to support and defend the Constitution by peaceably assembling to demand that our government and military obey the law and honor all our human and civil rights.
On March 16, 2011, Max Obuszewski, a long-time peace and justice activist from Baltimore, emailed a letter to Commandant Colonel Daniel J. Choike seeking a meeting to discuss the inhumane treatment of Manning. He received no response, so he brought the letter to Quantico on March 20, but again his request for a meeting was ignored. Instead he was arrested. A copy of the letter is available upon request.
Retired US Army Reserve Colonel Ann Wright said, "I felt the pre-trial conditions of solitary confinement and nudity that PFC Bradley Manning was subjected to in the Quantico brig for many months were outrageous and that public action by veterans and citizens to show their concern for the rights of this soldier was necessary."
Bradley Manning was moved to the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, and now is in general population. His situation has greatly improved, probably because of the protests and pressure generated around the world condemning the inhumane treatment.
November 06, 2011
The trial of the Hancock 38 ended late Saturday evening, November 5. Closing arguments ended just before midnight after 5 days of testimony at the Town of DeWitt Court House near Syracuse, NY. The verdict will be announced Thursday, December 1 at 5 pm. They had been charged with 2 counts of Disorderly Conduct.
At the anti-drone protest last April 22nd, activists from Upstate New York and beyond who had participated in a “die-in” at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base just outside Syracuse last April. The action symbolized the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan by hunter-killer reaper drones and protested the reaper in our midst and everywhere. The defendants also attempted to deliver an indictment focusing on the illegality of the drones to the base commander; the indictment was taken from them and thrown to the ground.
In court, defendants testified to the horrific destruction caused by MQ 9 Reapers and other Unmanned Arial Vehicles used by the defense department in Afghanistan and numerous other countries where we are not technically at war.
Defendant Ellen Grady of Ithaca said, “Our intention was to uphold the law because we know war crimes are being committed at the base. The Nuremberg Principles obligate us to do something in order not to be complicit with the war crimes of our government.” The Nuremberg Principles forbid wars of aggression, attacks on civilians and extrajudicial assassinations, all associated with drone warfare.
November 03, 2011
Members of the New York City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and dozens of other uniformed veterans known as 'Veterans of the 99%' pause in front of the New York Stock Exchange while marching from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zucotti Park where the Occupy Wall Street movement is centered on November 2, 2011 in New York City. The veterans groups, which feature current and former members of the United States military, marched in support of Occupy Wall Street and to pay homage to Scott Olsen, a former Marine and Iraq War vet who sustained a skull fracture after he was injured by police at an Occupy Oakland protest.
October 31, 2011
In Washington DC, a group of veterans are camping out to protest the continued U.S. occupation in Iraq. On Wednesday, one peace activist, Leah Bolger, was arrested after she interrupted a congressional hearing. Bolger is vice president of the group Veterans for Peace, and she talks to Newswire about her arrest during the Super Commitee's public hearing.
October 31, 2011
The Trial of the Hancock 38 started yesterday. Elliott and Ed Kinane were two of the 38 arrested last April @ Hancock Airport opposing the use of drones in warfare and specifically the remote piloting from Hancock Airport of drones in Afghanistan..
October 31, 2011
We just got an update from the Public Affairs person at the hospital Scott Olsen was in.
As of Friday evening, Scott was moved to another facility, which will remain anonymous at the family's request.
He is in fair condition but still cannot speak due to the swelling in his brain. He can, however, write and respond "quickly and accurately," according to the hospital spokesperson.
You can continue to send cards and letters, but please, no flowers or perishables, to the same address as before, Highland Hospital, 1411 E. 31st St., Oakland CA 94602
Our members and supporters have so far contributed nearly $10,000 to the Scott Olsen Support Fund that Scott's family can use for medical and other expenses.
A note to those who want to send a large gift to the fund: A member called yesterday saying he received an automated reply email rejecting his gift...it turns out the service we use can process a maximum of a thousand dollars per transaction. Since then, he has sent in two maximum contributions which is great, but keep in mind -- that just like your public radio station's fall campaign -- we do this one contribution at a time and every one counts!
VFP is an important part of the "occupy" encampments in many cities and we will remain on the front lines, doing everything we can to support this blossoming democracy movement!
Veterans For Peace welcomes your tax deductible contribution!
October 30, 2011
Elliott Adams (518-441-2697)
Ann Wilcox (202-441-3265)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 31, 2011
D.C. SUPERIOR COURT RULES SIDEWALKS TRUMP
The D.C. Superior Court ruled last Friday
Arrested during a White House demonstration on March 19, 18
The defendants argued for their 1st Amendment right to
They called on the US Government to obey the domestic and
During the 4 day trial Richard Duffee, who worked under
The defendants maintained a focus on the US Constitution,
It was a pro se defense (the defendants acted as their own lawyers) ably assisted by attorney-advisors Ann Wilcox, Deborah Anderson and Mark Goldstone.
Judge Russell F. Canan, Jr., Associate Judge of the DC Superior Court found the defendants guilty on all charges, fining them $50 plus $100 court fees. Defendant Bev Rice chose to go to jail rather than pay a fine for an unjust law. The case will be appealed.
October 27, 2011
October 26, 2011
Scott Olsen has been twice deployed to Iraq, is in the hospital in
Photo courtesty of REUTERS/Jay Finneburgh
Veterans For Peace & IVAW member, Scott Olsen, former U.S. Marine
October 25, 2011
Brothers and Sisters
I just got off the phone with VFP Chapter 69 member, Josh Shepherd, who was at 14th and Broadway in Oakland early this morning and witnessed much of what happened.
Josh said that after receiving several text messages with news of the Oakland PD taking down tents and arresting people, he decided to go to downtown Oakland and "see if, as a VFP member, I could help still the anger...to be between the police and the protesters...it seemed unconscionable to me that the police use the cover of darkness like that to do what they were doing."
He got to the front of the crowd (see photo link, above) and said he "felt a lot of tension in the air."
Shortly thereafter a barrage of "less than lethal" ordnance, tear gas, bean bags and flash-bangs was fired. He and the people he was with took off, regrouped, marched through part of downtown and returned to 14th and Broadway.
There, he went to the front of the crowd immediately, waving the VFP flag. He said the crowd seemed considerably calmer. "It might be just my impression, but there seemed to be a considerable desire for peace and the crowd expressed that."
Next, the Oakland PD issued the "you're going to get arrested if you don't leave" warning. Shortly after that, Josh said, "People in the rear of the crowd threw eggs at the police and that was the OPD's cue to fire another barrage."
In that barrage, VFP and IVAW member, Scott Olsen was struck in the head with some sort of projectile and was severely injured. Josh reports that Scott was admitted to hospital and has a fractured skull. His condition is stable but serious.
Here are two videos, one showing Scott, wearing a VFP shirt, being carried away.
The other has some slow motion footage that shows flash-bangs being thrown by the police, including one into a group of people standing around someone in the street. It's unclear whether that person is Scott Olsen or not.
IVAW Director, Jose Vasquez, said they are keeping up on the situation, have issued a press release and are contacting national media. They are asking people to call the Oakland Police Dept.
*What you can do:*
For more information in Oakland
Josh Sheperd 415-819-1045
Adelle Carpenter (Civilian-Soldier Alliance) 503-860-5168
Mike Ferner, Interim Director
Veterans For Peace
216 S. Meramec
St. Louis, MO 63105
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