July 20, 2015
Last weekend, about 100 U.S. Veterans for Peace gathered in Red Wing, Minnesota, for a statewide annual meeting. In my experience, Veterans for Peace chapters hold “no-nonsense” events. Whether coming together for local, statewide, regional or national work, the Veterans project a strong sense of purpose. They want to dismantle war economies and work to end all wars. The Minnesotans, many of them old friends, convened in the spacious loft of a rural barn. After organizers extended friendly welcomes, participants settled in to tackle this year’s theme: “The War on Our Climate.”
They invited Dr. James Hansen, an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, to speak via Skype about minimizing the impacts of climate change. Sometimes called the “father of global warming”, Dr. Hansen has sounded alarms for several decades with accurate predictions about the effects of fossil fuel emissions. He now campaigns for an economically efficient phase out of fossil fuel emissions by imposing carbon fees on emission sources with dividends equitably returned to the public.
July 17, 2015
S. Brian Willson is a Viet Nam veteran, trained lawyer, long time peace activist, and member of Veterans For Peace.
We are fortunate to finally have David Hartsough’s Waging Peace, an extraordinary description of his amazing sixty-year journey as an activist spanning the entire Cold War and continuing to the present. As one of today’s authentic elders, Hartsough offers us a body of experiential knowledge presented in dramatic detail sometimes easily forgotten in today’s digital era of short memories.
July 01, 2015
The Donald and Sally-Alice Thompson Chapter 63 of Veterans For Peace participated in the Annual Albuquerque, NM Pride Parade on Saturday June 13. The members participating were Sally-Alice Thompson, Terry Riley, Willard Hunter, Frank Jerabek, Caroline Monie, Mitzi Kraft, Ravi Wadhwani, and Charles Powell.
June 30, 2015
Each year, throughout the Muslim world, believers participate in the month-long Ramadan fast. Here in Kabul, where I'm a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, our household awakens at 2:15 a.m. to prepare a simple meal before the fast begins at about 3:00 a.m. I like the easy companionship we feel, seated on the floor, sharing our food. Friday, the day off, is household clean-up day, and it seemed a bit odd, to be sweeping and washing floors in the pre-dawn hours, but we tended to various tasks and then caught a nap before heading over to meet the early bird students at the Street Kids School, a project my hosts are running for child laborers who otherwise couldn't go to school.
I didn't nap - I was fitful and couldn't, my mind filled with images from a memoir, Guantanamo Diary, which I've been reading since arriving here. Mohamedou Ould Slahi's story of being imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2002 rightly disturbs me. In all his years of captivity, he has never been charged with a crime. He has suffered grotesque torture, humiliation and mistreatment, and yet his memoir includes many humane, tender accounts, including remembrances of past Ramadan fasts spent with his family.
June 30, 2015
On Saturday afternoon (6/27), after deliberating a couple hours, a six-person jury found the four not guilty of obstructing government administration (OGA) at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, New York, but guilty of trespass, a violation carrying a maximum 15-day imprisonment.
Three of the four arrested are VFP Members - Ellen Barfield of Baltimore, Jules Orkin of Bergenfield, NJ and Beverly Rice of Manhattan. The fourth defendant, Joan Pleune is from Brooklyn, NY.
June 29th was the last day of the four-day trial presided over by Judge Joseph Zavaglia, a corporate attorney. The four were represented by Atty. Lew Oliver of Albany. They were among 31 arrested in the driveway to Hancock’s main gate on East Molloy Rd on April 28, 2013 for “dying-in” with bloody shrouds or for attempting to read aloud to the military personnel behind Hancock’s barbed wire fence a list of children killed by U.S. drones. The activists said they sought to “prick the conscience” of base personnel and the chain of command responsible for the war crime originating there.
A lowpoint in the trial came when Judge Zavaglia did not permit Atty. Pardiss Kebraiaei, a national security and international law expert, to testify. Kebraiaei, who has testified before Congress and the United Nations, had come that morning from NYC where she’s an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Since 2010 Hancock has been the home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard – an MQ9 Reaper drone hub piloting weaponized drones 24/7 over Afghanistan and likely elsewhere. Also since 2010 Hancock has been the scene of twice-monthly anti-drone demonstrations outside its main gate as well as occasional larger demonstrations and scrupulously nonviolent civil resistance organized by Upstate Drone Action, a grassroots coalition. These have led to over 160 arrests, and numerous trials in DeWitt as well as $375 fines, Orders of Protection, and numerous incarcerations. The Hancock witness is a part of a national and international campaign to stop U.S. drone assassinations where drones are piloted and coordinated from, such as U.S. A.F.B. Ramstein, Germany.
June 30, 2015
FREE CHELSEA MANNING!
Veterans for Peace - Chapter 34 NYC continues to march in NYC Pride for Chelsea Manning - Former US Army Intel Analyst, Wikileaks Whistleblower, Trans Woman. The Granny Peace Brigade came out in full force to join us in calling for her freedom!
Members of Chapter 34 made it through 3.5 hours of waiting in the drizzly rain, and 2.5 hours of marching.
June 23, 2015
Rich Moniak, VFP member of Chapter 100 in Juneau AL, discusses Sexual Assault in the Military the proposed Military Justice Improvement Act, and stories of veterans who survived assaults and support it. <Radio Interview>
June 21, 2015
Three members of Veterans For Peace went to services at the mostly African-American New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, N.Y., June 21 to express sympathy and solidarity in the wake of the racist shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., June 17.
June 18, 2015
This week,Chapter 51 of Veterans For Peace held their flagship meeting at the Center for Peace and Social Justice on Genesee St. in Syracuse, NY. The group has been in existence since the early 1990’s, but was inactive for several years. It is in the process of re-chartering and recruiting new members. During the meeting, the group elected a Chair, Sharon Dellinger. Sharon is a Navy veteran. The group also elected a Vice-Chair, David Kashmer, also a Navy Veteran. Associate member Barbara Humphrey, who has been instrumental in revitalizing the chapter, will continue to provide support and guidance as needed.
The group discussed various potential outreach venues and activities in which they could participate. These include marches at the State Fair, tabling at local Farmer’s Markets; film screenings, school visits, interactions with local veteran’s groups such as the S.U. Veteran’s Writing Group, Syracuse Marine Parents, and Military Families Speak Out, marching in the procession for Hiroshima Day on August 6 in Syracuse, and an activity for Veteran’s Day in November. They also discussed ways to increase membership, through direct mailings to current members of VFP in the area, Facebook, and direct contact through events.
June 12, 2015
Author, Ann Wright, VFP Lifetime and Advisory Board Member
South Korea constructs new Naval Base on Jeju Island, U.S. Plans to Expand Military Base on Okinawa and China Builds on South China Sea Atolls
The international community is extraordinarily concerned about the Chinese construction on small islands and atolls in disputed waters off China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan. Over the past 18 months, the Chinese government has created islands out of atolls and larger islands out of small ones.
With the Obama administration’s “pivot” of the United States military and economic strategy to Asia and the Pacific, the Chinese have seen military construction in their front yard.
I’ve just returned from my third trip to Jeju Island, South Korea. Jeju is called the Island of Peace. However, its where the South Korean military has almost finished construction of a new naval base, the first military base on this strategically located island south of the mainland of Korea that is littered with U.S. and South Korean military bases, leftover from the Korean war and that are a part of the U.S. “defense” of South Korea from “aggression” from North Korea.
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