September 23, 2016
by Craig Wood
The 440 mile ride from from Minneapolis, Minnesota to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation encampment in North Dakota was smooth and pleasant - well, there were some cops.
A gruff policeman we met at a gas station west of Fargo was helpful with directions, but had nothing good to say about thousands of entrenched protestors at Standing Rock showing opposition to the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). He warned us about area volatility and made a sour face about "third-world living conditions" at the encampment.
We took the famed Lewis and Clark Highway (1806) south from Bismarck and were stopped at a roadblock about 20 minutes later by nearly a dozen nation guardsmen wearing combat gear. One asked "do you know what's going on down the road?" I nodded and he waved us through after seeing donated supplies in the back of the truck and cautioning us about pedestrians walking along the side the road. This was not the friendly tourist information booth I recalled from my childhood when my sister and I rode out west with my mom and dad in a station wagon.
September 07, 2016
It is now Labor Day evening, bringing to a close three days of yours truly promoting peace at the annual Cleveland National Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport, as I have done for the past several Labor Day weekends. The event attracts folks who more or less rubber stamp everything the military does. In other words, it's a tough crowd, but I did my best during four hours of presence on each day of the long weekend to win "hearts and minds." I felt there needed to be a voice for peace to serve as a counterweight to the star-spangled, red-white-and-blue dog-and-pony show that is the air show--which essentially is a public relations and marketing ploy that also serves as a recruiting tool.
As usual, I positioned myself at the optimal spot for maximum exposure of my peace message to people in vehicles and pedestrians, standing at the northeast corner of the intersection of East Ninth Street and North Marginal Drive, across from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
August 01, 2016
At the January 2015 Board meeting in Los Angeles, the Board listened to a presentation by Chuck Searcy of the Hoa Binh, Vietnam Chapter 160, and Paul Cox of VFP Chapter 69, San Francisco. The presentation centered on whether VFP should consider entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Project RENEW as the fiscal non profit sponsor. Project RENEW, established in 2001, is a cooperative partnership between the government of Quang Tri Province and international NGOs dedicated to restoring the environment and neutralizing the effects of war. VFP's fiscal sponsorship of RENEW would help facilitate RENEW's receipt of donations from individuals, groups, corporations or government entities like USAID.
At the time of its January 2015 meeting, the Board was aware that RENEW was interested in applying for a grant from the Leahy War Victims Fund, and that such a grant would be administered by USAID. The purpose of obtaining funding from the Leahy War Victims Fund was to provide assistance to the victims of Agent Orange. After discussing options, the Board voted 120 in favor of becoming RENEW's fiscal sponsor. The Board held a separate vote on whether VFP would act as fiscal sponsor should USAID ultimately agree to accept RENEW's grant application and issue funds to support RENEW's efforts to assist victims of Agent Orange.
July 27, 2016
It was a time of conflicted feelings last night when Ken Jones (North Carolina) and I made it into South Korea and were met by Will Griffin (San Diego) who had arrived here in May. Sadly our two Korean-American friends Hyun Lee and Juyeon Rhee were denied entry into South Korea. They were put on a plane and sent back to the US. Hyun and Juyeon, both who live in the New York City area, were to be our guides and translators during our three-week trip to Korea. They help coordinate the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea in the US.
162 -Year-Old “Friendship Treaty” between USA & Ryukyu Kingdom Continues to Overshadow Okinawa Today
July 11, 2016
"162 years ago today, a Treaty of Amity was signed between the USA and the sovereign nation of Ryukyu, now better known as Okinawa before it was unilaterally and illegally forced into a territory of Japan. While this treaty affirms the historical independence of the Ryukyu Islands from both Japan and the USA, it also brings clarity to the historical context of Okinawa today, where the vast majority of Okinawans remain staunchly opposed to its continued US military occupation disproportionately concentrated on this small island chain, due to the continued colonial rule by both Japan and the USA where popular will expressed in local elections, legal challenges, non-violent civil disobedience and protest has been ignored for decades.
July 09, 2016
Seven Anti-drone activists were arrested, cited and released,while protesting drone killing, and honoring the life of Muhammad Azam, a recent drone victim.
Next Occupy Beale Action: July 25 & 26, Mark your calendar!
July 07, 2016
Anti-war supporters staged a demonstration in Westminster as Sir John Chilcot presented his long-awaited report on the UK's role in the Iraq war.
Organisers estimated around 150 protesters gathered opposite the building in which families of some of the British soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict were reading the report for the first time.
Ex-soldiers who served in Iraq joined leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, CND and other groups to demand "truth and justice" and called for Tony Blair and others to face the full force of the law.
One protester wore a mask of the former prime minister with fake blood on his hands.
Former soldier Ben Griffin who served in Iraq in 2005 called for Mr Blair and former foreign secretary Jack Straw to face criminal trials.
He said: "I was involved in attacking civilians in their homes, taking men who were then tortured by American soldiers in prisons.
"We were responsible for an occupation during which many of the Geneva conventions were broken."
Mr Griffin, a member of the Veterans for Peace group, added: "I'm sure the establishment would like to hold a lowly soldier to account for those crimes.
"But, however, it should be the people at the top. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, General Jackson, the head of MI5, the head of MI6. Those people should have criminal proceedings brought against them."
June 27, 2016
Lawrence Deems Egbert, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., a resident of the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, died of a heart attack Thursday evening, June 9th. He was the oldest and the longest-surviving of the three sons of Lawrence D. Egbert, Sr. and Lyn Forsyth Egbert. He is survived by his wife, Ellen Barfield, his five children: Louise Egbert Treitman (Rick Treitman), Lexington MA; Ruth Egbert Walker (Ron Walker), Stillwater, OK; Dave Egbert (Imane Daher), Parkville, MD; James Egbert (Peg Murphy), Eureka, CA; and Ben Egbert (Thomas Lymenstull) of Dallas TX, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his former wife, Dorothy Staples Egbert, of Stillwater, OK and was predeceased by his former wife, Marcelle Hechemy Egbert. He was 88 years old.
Dr. Egbert was a retired professor of anesthesiology and public health. He earned several degrees from Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from the University of Maryland. He was a veteran, having served both in the Army and Navy, and was stationed in Japan after the Second World War.
Lawrence was born in Champaign, IL and grew up in Washington, DC. He was a nationally-recognized anesthesiologist, publishing several important articles about patient care and racism in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He worked at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He also served for several years as visiting faculty at Pahlavi University Medical School in Shiraz, Iran and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
In later years, he became an anti-war and anti-nuclear activist, a member of the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders. He was also strongly opposed to the death penalty and was a nationally-known expert on lethal injection. In recent years he was the medical director of Final Exit Network—an organization that provides education and compassionate presence to those facing end of life choices. He was arrested and faced multiple trials for his work with FEN. He was active for much of his life in Unitarian Universalist district governance and social change committees, especially UUs for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He was attending a Quaker Meeting in recent years.
Lawrence has lived with his wife Ellen in Baltimore for nearly twenty years. He did not own a car or a cell phone. He bicycled nearly everywhere he needed to go, rain or shine. A memorial service is tentatively planned for August 27th in Baltimore. Donations in his memory can be made to Physicians for Social Responsibility, Final Exit Network or Veterans For Peace.
June 17, 2016
All NC VFP members are invited to be part of an exciting opportunity to appear in a VFP music video to be distributed nationally (and beyond) to spread our anti-war message. You don't need to sing well -- or even at all!
Here's how it works:
We will assemble at 8:45 a.m. (sharp!) Saturday, June 25, in Raleigh.
Please park in the parking lot behind Subway.
If you're coming from a distance, we can provide homestays for you so that you can come in on Friday night (6/24) and be ready for the filming on Saturday morning. (Please contact me directly at 585-314-1413 if you’ll be needing Friday night accommodations.)
Once we're all assembled, we'll sing along to the chorus of an original song written for VFP by Pat Scanlon of Boston. The music will be played on a boom box, and we'll just sing lustily along. Our voices will never be heard on the final video. The actual sound track will be provided by a 40-voice chorus that recorded the song this past weekend in Massachusetts. But here's the tricky part: in order for it to look like we're really singing, we need to have about 40 folks in the video, so we need ALL HANDS ON DECK!
You'll need to be wearing a VFP shirt (any and all colors welcome.) We'd also like you to wear a VFP hat, or the hat of your service outfit, if you have one of those. We'll have some extra shirts on hand for those of you who might not have one, or you can order one from the VFP web site, if you've always wanted one of your own. Pat writes: "Only VFP banners, signs, flags, clothing and hats are to be in the film. The one exception will be for IVAW shirts and hats. Also, generic peace flags are acceptable." (If you have more than one VFP shirt, please bring any extras you might have to lend to a member who might not have one. Any and all shirt colors welcome!)
Our videographer, Ahmed Selim, tells me that the taping will take about two hours, since he'll be shooting us from many different angles and in several different locations. (We all can go out for lunch together when we're done.)
In the meantime, please listen to the chorus part of the song at:
We’ll be singing just the chorus, not the verses!
I suggest that you play this over and over until it sticks in your ear. Play it when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night and whenever you think of it during the day. That way, it will come naturally to you when we get together for the final filming.
And please familiarize yourself with the lyrics (below). You don't need to memorize them. I'll bring a "teleprompter.”
Please let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if we can count on you to be there (and if you'll be needing a homestay).
"They call us all Extremists 'cause we're out here in the street.
How Un-patriotic! Veterans For Peace!
They say we gotta watch them like never before,
'Cause there's nothing more dangerous than veterans against war."
June 13, 2016
“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
We would like to let others know about the good work you are doing.
Please tell us about your recent activity by following the link below:
Application for Outreach Travel Funds
Veterans For Peace
Affiliates & Projects