April 29, 2010



Canadian Bill C-440 would allow U.S. Iraq War Resisters to stay legally in Canada

See below for how you can help.

In June 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to cease deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters and allow them to stay legally in Canada. All three opposition parties joined together to pass this historic motion, which reflected the wishes of the majority of Canadians.

The motion was non-binding, and shamefully, the Conservative Harper government ignored it. The following month, war resister Robin Long was deported from Canada. Robin was court-martialed and incarcerated in a military prison for 15 months. The lengthy prison sentence meant that Robin – who has a son in Canada – cannot return to the country for up to 10 years.

In February of 2009, war resister Cliff Cornell was deported from Canada. Cliff served nine months in the brig at Fort Lejeune.

In March of the same year, Canada’s Parliament passed a second motion, re-affirming its support for U.S. war resisters. Again, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government ignored the will of Parliament.

Now there is an opportunity to put the weight of law behind these two non-binding motions. Gerard Kennedy, a Liberal Member of Parliament, has put forth a “private member’s bill” – Bill C-440 – calling on the Harper government to stop the deportations and allow U.S. war resisters to stay.

A private member’s bill is legislation coming from an opposition party (i.e., not the government). Such bills face many hurdles and are not easily passed – but C-440 stands a better chance than most.

The War Resisters Support Campaign (WRSC) is working with M.P. Kennedy to demonstrate the wide support for war resisters throughout Canada, and to ensure that a majority of Members of Parliament vote for the bill.

Debate on Bill C-440 begins on May 25, 2010. A vote in the House of Commons will take place some months later, then the bill will go to the Senate. If this bill becomes law, Iraq War resisters will be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Meanwhile, while working on this political campaign, the WRSC must continue to fight each individual war resister’s case in court. This has been a long, arduous battle. The Conservative government has tried to exhaust the Campaign’s resources. Undaunted, the WRSC has won several significant victories: a second Immigration and Refugee Board hearing for war resister Joshua Key, a court-ordered review of a decision in war resister Kimberley Rivera’s case, and many stays of removal. However, many war resisters are still at risk of deportation, including Patrick Hart and Jeremy Hinzman and their families.

Many U.S. supporters have asked what they can do to support the our efforts. As a U.S. citizen, the most important thing you can do to help war resisters in Canada is donate funds. The WRSC is constantly fundraising for legal defense, refugee application fees, work permits for war resisters and other necessary expenses. Our entire effort depends upon the donations of volunteers and supporters.

There are three ways to donate. No amount is too small (or too large!).

1. To mail a donation, please make a check or money order payable to the War Resisters Support Campaign. Mail it to:
Box 13
427 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario

2. To give online, follow this link:


3. Regular donations provide stable funding for the Campaign which allows us to plan ahead and deal with emergency situations as they arise. Please consider making a commitment of $5 or more per month to help sustain the ongoing work to win asylum for war resisters. To set up a monthly donation, fill out the form here --


-- and send it to:

Box 13
427 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario

The War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada)

-Thanks to Laura at We Move To Canada

This is NOT a video of people trying to stop the drones from killing Afghanis and Pakistanis from Syracuse

It is a video of non-violent protesters trying to stop armed Israeli occupiers from completing their dirt work.

Palestinian teen killed by Israeli Army

April 27, 2010

Re-deploy Eric Jasinski, one our wounded soldiers? It's right to resist - for his safety, the safety of his unit and the Iraq and Afghanistan people

Is it right to re-deploy wounded soldiers? Eric Jasinski, veteran of the Iraq war, stood for his sanity, his safety and the safety of his unit when the Army's care for his PTSD was too little too late.

April 20, 2010

Cruel treatment of British Soldier, Joe Glenton, who refused to fight in Afghanistan

Soldier Joe Glenton, who was court martialled on 5 March and jailed for nine months for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, and for speaking out at anti-war demonstrations, is being subjected to cruel treatment by army prison staff.
By Chris Nineham
Stop the War Coalition
11 April 2010

Joe Glenton, the British soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan in a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable, is receiving cruel treatment at the hands of military prison staff, following his court martial and sentence to nine months imprisonment.

The prison authorities are trying to force him to sleep under an unwashed or dirty blanket - a punishment that often leads prisoners to get body lice - and to wear boots despite the fact he has broken his toe.

He has also received no treatment for his Post Traumatic Stress disorder despite the fact that the Judge who sentenced him 36 days ago assured the court he would receive treatment in prison.

Problems started after complaints that he was not receiving books sent by supporters. On Thursday 8th April he was told he was to be disciplined after claims he insulted an officer.
Joe denies the claims. The authorities refused his lawyers' application that he be represented at the disciplinary hearing.

Joe has refused to accept the 'blanket treatment', part of a punishment called One Bravo, despite threats of solitary confinement.

Joe's mother Sue Glenton said today:
"We are seriously concerned for his welfare. This kind of bullying and victimisation is simply unacceptable. It is hardly going to help his mental state."
John Tipple, Joe's legal caseworker, said:
"This kind of treatment is from the 19th century not the 21st. We are determined to test its legality in court at the first opportunity. The military should not be allowed to get away with this cruel and degrading treatment."
Most people in Britain oppose the war in Afghanistan. It is extraordinary that Joe Glenton, already being punished for his anti war views by a nine month prison sentence, is now being picked on by the military in prison. Stop the War will be organising protests outside the military prison where Joe is being held and at his appeal hearing against his prison sentance on Wednesday 21 April (details below).

You can email your protest about the prison's treatment of Joe to:mctcwelfare@hotmail.com.
Joe's appeal hearing is Tomorrow, April 21, 2010
Send messages of support to:
Email: defendjoeglenton@gmail.com

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training
Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU, UK
Joe would welcome any books for him to read while in prison.

Protest at Joe Glenton's appeal hearing
Calling for his immediate release
Wednesday 21 April 9.30am
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London WC2
-thanks to Stop the War Coalition
-see We Move To Canada

Open letter by Eric Jasinski from the Bell County Jail - Share

Please, please read this letter. After that, please pass it on to others. We as the American people need to know how badly veterans are being treated.

Introduction: Eric wrote me this open letter while in the Bell County jail and asked that I share it with the public.

I had been sitting for the last week, hoping against hope that the authorities at Fort Hood would DO THE RIGHT THING. It is now April 20th and they have yet to act on our very reasonable clemency request (submitted 14 days ago). Our request was simple, either release Eric early on mental health grounds or transfer him to the Psych ward at Darnell Army Medical Center to complete his sentence.

Based on Fort Hood's decision to ignore Eric Jasinksi while he is suffering in jail, I am now publishing his statement. It is verbatim what Eric wrote in his own handwriting while in jail. (I left the grammar issues intact so you could see how upset and raw his emotions were when he wrote this.)

Please share this statement with everyone you know. We as Americans need to see how combat vets are being treated today. Eric is in jail; he has PTSD and was denied the care he needed. His "desertion" was an act of desperation, the act of a soldier who had no other options.

His incarceration is black mark of shame on Fort Hood, the US Army and our nation.
- James M. Branum, Civilian defense attorney

DISCLAIMER: To comply with military regulations, all statements below are the opinion of Eric Jasinski. They do not reflect the views of the U.S. Army.
Since entering the jail I feel my mental state is greatly declining. I do have access to my medication (zoloft, seraquil, periactim, ambien) but even my medication is beginning to have no effect. Even after taking a seraquil all day and then taking 200 mg of seraquil and ambien, I still can't fall asleep. I sleep on and off throughout the day and night and when I am in isolation mode (I suffer from severe anxiety and social isolation from chronic PTSD), I cannot get any privacy to wind myself down. The thin plastic mattress on my steel bunk makes my insomnia that much worse.

When I am taken out of jail back to Fort Hood for any appointments I am led around in handcuffs and ankle shackles in front of crowds of soldiers in the offices I am going to, which is overwhelming on my mind. My guilt from treating prisoners in Iraq sub-human and I did things to them and watched my unit do cruel actions against prisoners, so being humiliated like that forces me to fall into the dark spiral of guilt. I now know what it feels like to have no rights and have people stare and judge based on your shackles and I feel even more like a monster cause I used to do this to Iraqi people.

Even worse is the fact that this boils down to the military failing to treat my PTSD but I am being punished for it when I got to the R&R center on Fort Hood on 8 April because I felt like I was entering a crisis that landed me in the mental ward, on Fort Hood for 21 days in December 2009. I was told to wait until Monday 12 April and not do anything dumb by a psychiatrist. I feel as if I am being a threat to others or myself and still the Army mental health professional blow me off just like in 2009 when I felt like I had no choice but to go AWOL, since I received a 5 minute mental evaluation and was stop-lossed despite my PTSD, and was told that they could do nothing for me. The insufficient mental evaluation from a doctor I had never seen before, combined with the insufficient actions by the doctor on 9 April show the Army is not trying to make progress. The Army is simply trying to label us as outcasts and put together useless programs for public relations just like Vietnam.

I have tried to "do the right thing" as those in the Army say and all they do in return is destroy me even more mentally and publicly say that they are going to look out for me while behind closed doors the exact opposite is happening. The Army works off of a "good ole boy" system and I have fallen out of the graces of the machine. So I have been tossed in the trash just like the brave and honorable resisters of Vietnam. The machine never stops and it never changes.

Eric Jasinksi
IVAW member
You can donate to the Eric Jasinski Defense Fund

-thanks to Bruce Beyer

Stop military use of Depleted Uraniam (DU)

The United Nations has declared DU an illegal weapon. The European Union has passed a resolution calling for a moratorium and global ban on the production and use of depleted uranium munitions. Information and research is being suppressed and discredited by our government and military much as the toxic defoliant Agent Orange was during and after the Vietnam War. Similar to Agent Orange – now irrefutably recognized to have caused rampant death, disease, and environmental damage among U.S. troops and Southeast Asian lands and peoples – depleted uranium munitions as used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans presents a national and world public health threat we must confront.

Depleted uranium is a chemically toxic radioactive heavy metal 1.7 times the density of lead. It is the uranium waste remaining after the process of enriching uranium to be used in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. Thousands of tons of the waste are recycled to weapons manufacturers by the government for use in M-16 shells, tank shells and other munitions and to manufacturers of military tanks and vehicles as up-armored shields. As effective as DU is as a penetrating explosive weapon and shielding device, its effects are much more far-reaching as long-term poisonous residuals in human bodies, soil, and air. When a depleted uranium round hits a hard target, as much as 70 percent of the projectile can burn on impact, creating a firestorm of depleted uranium oxides. The toxic residue of this firestorm is an extremely fine insoluble uranium dust. The dust can spread by the wind, be inhaled and absorbed into the human body and absorbed by plants and animals, becoming part of the food chain. The breathable uranium oxides are passed through to offspring, and may result in birth defects. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years DU and its effects last virtually forever.

-Thanks to Veterans For Peace

An Open Letter of Reconciliation & Responsibility To the Iraqi People

Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord from Bravo Company 2-16, the company depicted in the Wikieleaks "Collateral Murder" video, have created an open letter to the Iraqi people.

-thanks to IVAW

April 17, 2010

Good News! Army surrenders. Marc Hall accepts Chapter 10 discharge

As CNN and Army Times is reporting, Marc accepted a chapter 10 discharge this morning. This will allow the Army to not look like idiots at trial, and will free Marc within days. The discharge will be Other Than Honorable, but Atty David Gespass will work on the upgrade and to ensure Marc gets VA care for his service related injuries. Regardless of the Army's spin, and they have come out of the gates slandering him, we won. Congratulations to everyone who undertook this fight for justice.

Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist, an organization dedicated to

supporting military objectors, noted,

“Spc Marc Hall pled guilty today to producing a hip-hop song the Army didn’t like in exchange for his freedom. It’s utterly outrageous that Army spokespersons continued to slander Marc today. Despite the Army having stacked everything against Marc—including moving the scheduled trial from Ft. Stewart, Georgia to Iraq—supporters overcame each obstacle in order to provide Marc with a fighting chance for justice. In the end, we won.”

-thanks to Victor and Jeff for the good news.

For further details about the case contact:
-David Gespass, attorney for Spc. Hall, 205-323-5966, thepasss@aol.com
-Jeff Paterson, advocate for Spc. Hall, 415-279-9697, jeff@couragetoresist.org

April 16, 2010

Free Marc Hall - drop the ridiculous charges and give him the honorable discharge he has earned

In a few more days (April 27th) Marc Hall’s court martial will begin. Thanks to all the people who helped put together his defense. Thanks to those individuals and organizations who donated money to help fund his defense. Special thanks to Courage To Resist for all the work they have done.

I listened to an Iraq war veteran speak at Buffalo State the other night. He was part of a counter-recruitment program put on by the Students for Peace.

We always talk about the responsibility we have for what is going on and when did we know and not do the right thing. When did we really know.

The speaker had three words for us for when we realized what we needed to do and we did nothing, “SHAME ON YOU”. Since then the phrase goes around in my head and finds places in my life where I can easily squeeze it in. Not because I did something wrong, but because I didn’t do something right.

I know you can’t do everything and shouldn’t even try. But I’m sure there were times when you knew you should have done it. Sometimes you did and sometimes you didn’t.

This brings me back to Marc Hall. He was stop-lossed after serving a tour in Iraq. He wrote an angry hip hop song protesting the stop-loss policy and sent it to the Pentagon last July. He sought PTSD treatment. In December, he filed formal charges with the Inspector General for lack of adequate mental health services. He was arrested and jailed.

For five months the said nothing about the song; five days after he filed charges, they arrested him for the song.

About a month ago, he was shackled and shipped to Kuwait where he is being held in prison waiting for his court martial to begin in Iraq - a war zone - the very same country where he developed his PTSD. The trial begins on April 27th. We were unable to raise enough money to cover all the costs he needs to support his case. Not enough people cared or realized what was happening or the importance of Marc’s trial. There is almost no coverage of this in the media.

If you didn’t contribute because you just didn’t care, SHAME ON YOU.

The Army has all the money and resources it needs to send him anywhere; to lock him up for as long as they like and to make sure he doesn’t have a reasonable chance to defend himself as adequately as he could if it were a fair trial.

Many of us contributed to the prosecution’s effort when we paid our taxes. That is why they have limitless resources. When it came to contributing to his defense, where were all the people who claim to be against these wars.

The Army wants to shut Marc down; they don’t him to set any precedent of resistance to the illegal wars. As more and more soldiers say ‘no’, the military grows more concerned that they won’t have the troops to fight.

(I’m sure the huge numbers of troops refusing orders in Vietnam led to the US decision to withdraw from that country and the military doesn’t want to see that happen again in these occupied countries.)

If we want to end the war, we need the soldiers to refuse to fight (especially since Congress won’t). If we want them to refuse to fight, we must support them when they do.

Below is a letter demanding the Army drop all charges against Marc Hall and give him the honorable discharge he deserves.

Write a letter or print this letter, sign it and send it to the addresses below. Let the military know we care about correcting this injustice. Let them know we don’t want the Generals running the country.

If you can afford it, send a donation for his defense to Courage To Resist immediately.

Thank you,

Dear General Charles Campbell,

I am writing to protest the extraordinarily unjust court martial of SPC Marc A. Hall, which is scheduled to be held in Iraq on April 27. The facts of this case clearly show that Specialist Hall, who was in combat in Iraq for 14 months, is being retaliated against for his persistent assertions of inadequate mental health care. Instead of being given much needed treatment for his PTSD, Specialist Hall’s time of discharge from the Army was involuntarily extended and he was ordered to return to Iraq.

While Specialist Hall's hip-hop song critical of the Army's "stop-loss" policy serves as a pretext for this trial, it is telling that the Army took no action against SPC Hall for five months after he sent his protest song to the Pentagon. Yet on December 12, five days after Specialist Hall filed a complaint with the Army Inspector General, he was charged with eleven counts of violating "good order and discipline” at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

I believe these charges are without merit and clearly retaliatory. At Specialist Hall’s recent arraignment (Article 32 hearing) in Kuwait, the Army’s presiding legal officer dismissed 5 of these charges as being without merit and raised serious questions about the prosecution’s overall case. She then recommended a Special Court Martial, which can give a maximum 1-year jail sentence. But the Army command rejected this recommendation and is pursuing a General Court Martial, which could theoretically sentence Specialist Hall to many years in prison. And for what?

Why was Marc Hall shipped off to Kuwait, and why will his court martial be held in Iraq? His lawyers in the United States specifically requested that he be given a fair trial in the U.S., where expert defense witnesses and supporters could attend a public proceeding. Instead the Army has treated Specialist Hall like a terrorist and subjected him to an “extraordinary rendition.” He has been removed 8.000 miles from his legal counsel and from any public oversight of this highly questionable prosecution.

Today SPC Hall is jailed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He is now charged with six specifications of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – the vague rule that outlaws anything "to the prejudice of good order and discipline." This is no way to treat an Iraq war veteran.

I strongly urge you to return SPC Marc A. Hall to Fort Stewart, Georgia immediately, and to drop all charges against him. SPC Hall is deserving of an immediate Honorable Discharge, based on his original four year enlistment. Giving Specialist Hall a punitive discharge would deny him the medical care he needs for the wounds he suffered in the Iraq war, and would only compound the Army’s outrageous treatment of this Iraq war veteran.

I am sending a copy of this letter to President Obama and I will be contacting my Congressional representatives about this matter. You will be hearing from me and others until Marc Hall is granted the just treatment he needs and deserves.


General Charles Campbell
1777 Hardee Avenue SW
Fort McPherson, GA 30330-1062

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

From a Veteran to the Freedom Fighter Who Shot Me

This is from a veteran who describes his blog as:


Dear Freedom Fighter Who Shot Me,
Today is April 14, 2010. Six years ago today I was occupying your land and your communities near Karabillah, Iraq. That particular day I was in a four vehicle convoy travelling from Al Qa'im to Husaybah. I was the gunner standing in the turret of the final vehicle facing the rear, and we ran into the guerilla ambush.

The US Government and the US corporate media would say that you are a terrorist, but you are not a terrorist. I was a terrorist. For that I must offer my deepest apologies and ask your forgiveness. I must also thank you. The bullet that you used to protect yourself from me changed my life. That day, you shot holes through everything I had grown up believing about America fighting for freedom and liberty. Your bullet, like a seed, penetrated far beyond skin and muscle, and sank deep into something in the core of my being where, over time it grew to be something much greater. It grew into a world view that included people outside of the United States of America as human beings and equals. It grew into an understanding of my place in the world and my part in the suffering of other people and the part that the United States Empire plays in the world as one of the greatest enemies of freedom and justice that exists.

We were told that we would be going to Iraq to liberate people. I now see this as an absolute lie. It is you, who was there that day fighting for the liberation of the Iraqi people. The United States Empire is a weapon of oppression, not a force for justice. Occupation will never be liberation.

I oppose all ruling class wars, but this war is particularly unfair. The United States Empire is a military super power and many of the countries in the Middle East that the United States Empire attacks exist in third world conditions as a results of US foreign policy, neo-liberal globalization, free market economics, sanctions, and US military attacks. Since the United States disbanded the Iraqi military, this is nothing but military super power attacking civilians. I can say with full confidence, with no hesitation that you had every right to be a part of that attack and to shoot me that day. I am thankful that I was wearing a canteen full of water that slowed the impact and possibly spared my life, but even had that round lain me silent forever, you would be free of guilt. You have a right to resist. You have a right to protect your family, your community, and your way of life.

I know an apology seems so small and meaningless at this point, but I hope it can be a start.

You are brave and courageous. Thank you for opening my eyes. Thank you for allowing me to see that I am just like you, and you are just like me. Thank you for telling me that I was on the wrong side. I will probably never know who you are, but I hope you and your family are safe somewhere. I know there can never truly be justice for what has been done to the people of the Middle East, but I hope that we do all we can to get as close as possible, to stop the killing, and reduce suffering and as we have bled together, we can begin to heal together and together we can put an end to these wars. Power to the resistance! Solidarity! Salaam!

Peace, Love, and Anarchy,
Bobby Whittenberg

-thanks to VETER(A)NARCHY

April 13, 2010

Iraq Vets: Coverage of Atrocities Is Too Little, Too Late

by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Report

The WikiLeaks video footage from Iraq taken from an Apache helicopter in July 2007 showing soldiers killing 12 people and wounding two children has caused an explosion of media coverage. But many Iraq vets feel it is too little and too late.

In contrast to most of the coverage that favors the military's stated position of forgiving the soldiers responsible and citing that they followed the Rules of Engagement (ROE),
Iraq war veterans who have spoken to the media previously about atrocities carried out against innocent Iraqis have largely been ignored by the mainstream media in the United States.

Also See: Iraq War Vet: "We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us"

This includes Josh Steiber, a former US Army specialist who was a member of the Bravo Company 2-16 whose acts of brutality made headlines with the WikiLeaks release of the video "Collateral Murder."

Steiber told Truthout during a telephone interview on Sunday that such acts were "not isolated incidents" and were "common" during his tour of duty. "After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up," Steiber was quoted as saying in an earlier press release on the video, "Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are."

Steiber was not with his unit, who were the soldiers on the ground in the video. He was back at his base with the incident occurred. While not absolving of responsibility those who carried out the killing, Steiber blames the "larger system" of the US military, specifically how soldiers are trained to dehumanize Iraqis and the ROE.

"We have to address the larger system that trains people to respond in this way, or the same thing will probably happen again," Steiber told Truthout.

However, Steiber explained that during his basic training for the military, "We watched videos celebrating death," and said that his leaders would "pull aside soldiers who'd not deployed, and ask us if somebody open fired on us in a market full of unarmed civilians, would we return fire. And if you didn't say 'yes' instantly, you got yelled at for not being a good soldier. The mindset of military training was one based on fear, and the ability to eliminate any threat."

Steiber was released from the military as a conscientious objector, and is now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

"I saw many instances, frequently, of the military killing civilians," Steiber added, "One thing we were told was that if a roadside bomb went off, anybody in the area was considered an enemy. Obviously those are innocent civilians since most of them, if not all of them, are not involved with the bombing. So I would consider those innocent civilians as lives lost. That policy came down from high up [the chain of command]."

When Truthout asked Steiber how many times this happened with his unit, he said, "Between five and ten times, and each time we'd end up killing people."

The group to which Steiber belongs, IVAW, sponsored the Winter Soldier hearings that took place March 13-16, 2008, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The hearings provided a platform for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to share the reality of their occupation experiences with the media.

While the hearings garnered major coverage from foreign media outlets, they were ignored by mainstream US media outlets. The censorship of that event is reflective of an overarching censorship by the mainstream media in the US of veterans from both occupations who have tried to tell their stories to the public.

Garret Reppenhagen, who testified at the Winter Soldier hearings, served in Iraq from February 2004-2005 in the city of Baquba, 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) northeast of Baghdad.

"There are so many incidents like this that happen in Iraq it's bound that eventually one of them hits the vein of public attention, like this one," Reppenhagen told Truthout of his opinion of the WikiLeaks footage, "Film helps - like this, and Abu Ghraib - the video and film documentation helps spurn public attention. So, it's sad that these instances happen, and they are occurring and it has to do with how we conduct ourselves in this conflict - clearly there are things that need to be done for soldiers to adhere to the Geneva Conventions."

Reppenhagen doubted the media uproar caused by the leaked video would change how soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan conduct themselves. "I still doubt enough support will be garnered to change how we operate in theater. Eventually I hope there'll be a critical mass of people coming out and telling their stories about these things."

Bryan Casler, a corporal in the Marines, who served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, has also spoken out publicly about atrocities committed by US soldiers he'd witnessed in Iraq.

"First, my response to the video is utter disgust," Casler told Truthout, "You watch it and the first thing you see is them blow away a group of men who are obviously not hostile - obviously breaking any ROE they had. Then you watch them blow away a van coming to rescue the wounded people ... a van that happens to have kids in it."

Casler admitted that he has experienced some frustration in not having had mainstream media coverage when he has spoken out about what he witnessed in Iraq. "You have to share this, because as an Iraq veteran, and talking with other vets, we know this is happening all the time. This is damning video for a propaganda machine trying to say we're over there trying to save the Iraqi people. But this isn't happening just in Iraq, but anywhere the military is engaged in fighting with the local population."

The US military's response to the WikiLeaks video has been to claim that it was an isolated incident, and the soldiers were properly following their ROE.

In an interview on the ABC News "This Week" program on Sunday, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the soldiers were operating in "split second situations," and that, "It's unfortunate. It's clearly not helpful. But by the same token, I think - think it should not have any lasting consequences."

Casler begs to differ with Gates' response.

"The argument about this being just a few bad apples - pilots are known for keeping their cool in tough environments, but the whole time you have to remind yourself, it's not these pilots committing the atrocities - these guys had years of training and practice to do this, and loads of money making it happen," Casler told Truthout, "This is what they are trained to do. American taxpayer money was paid to make them into this. This is not a few bad apples."

In a response similar to Steiber's, Casler added, "I don't think anybody is murderous by nature - this is why the military trains you every day, both when you're deployed or not, because people are not naturally killers - so the training is to have no barrier to killing. And that's what you see in the video."

When asked how he felt about the incident getting the coverage it has, Casler said he was pleased.
"I'm happy the average person might see this," he told Truthout, "So I'm happy this is finally getting the coverage it deserves, and every vets story coming back needs this type of coverage. The military is censoring what is happening over there - but this video blows this apart. I hope more videos like this get leaked to the media, because people need to know about this."

Casler may not have to wait long.

WikiLeaks.org is now poised to post another damning video of US forces slaughtering civilians - this time in Afghanistan.

On May 5, 2009, US aircraft bombed a number of homes in the Afghan village of Abdul Basir Khan in Farah Province. According to Afghan officials, the death toll was upwards of 140 civilians. The Pentagon initially claimed the entire incident was fabricated, but then later conceded that people were killed by the airstrike, but that "no one will ever" know the exact number. They also claimed that the pilots had no idea civilians were in the area.

More recently, on April 12, four Afghan civilians were killed in Kandahar when US troops fired on a bus in Afghanistan. The slaughter sparked furious protests and an expression of "regret" from the military. The Afghan government said a woman and child were among the dead, and that at least 18 others were wounded in the shooting.

After serving a tour in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia became the first conscientious objector to the Iraq war.

Mejia claimed that he left his post in order to avoid duties that he considered to be war crimes, particularly citing the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers. He was court-martialed and listed as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International while serving his prison sentence.

"It was sad," Mejia said of his reaction to the WikiLeaks video from Iraq,
"You talk to other people, and they are shocked and can't believe it. The fact that people are surprised and it's getting so much coverage like it's isolated and new - this is stuff we've been talking about for a long time, we know this is happening."

Mejia, in addition to talking with people about atrocities he committed and witnessed in Iraq, told Truthout he was surprised at the reaction to the video, given that he and others had shared similar information at the Winter Soldier hearings two years ago.

"We're talking a couple of years from when we talked about this stuff and exposed it - and here it is getting coverage ... it's like we live in a twilight zone where people don't pay attention to when things actually happen, but then longer after the fact, when somebody else says the same thing, it's huge news," Mejia added.
Two of the Iraqis shown being murdered in the WikiLeaks video were employees of the Reuters news agency: photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh.

While most mainstream media in the US has reported on the Pentagon's statements saying that two internal investigations have cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing, and that they were following the ROE, international media like Al-Jazeera English have reported on reactions from the families of the victims of the attack.

In particular, the families of the slain Iraqi civilians are seeking justice for the deaths, and want the military personnel responsible for the deaths to be taken to court.

Two young children, whose father was killed in the attack, could not understand why they were targeted. "We were coming back and we saw an injured man," said Sajad Mutashar, whose father was killed in the attack while he and his sister were wounded, "My father said, let's take him to hospital. Then I heard only the bullets ... Why did they shoot us? Didn't they see we were children?"

His uncle, Satar, is demanding that the pilot be taken to court. "Nobody gave the children anything, their rights are gone and the Americans didn't even compensate for the destroyed car. I sold it for $500 to spend the money treating them," Satar told Al Jazeera.

The family of Saeed Chamgh, one of the Reuters employee killed in the attack, is also demanding justice for his death.
"The pilot is not human, he's a monster," Safa Chmagh, Saeed's brother, said, "What did my brother do? What did his children do? Does the pilot accept his kids to be orphans?"

Salwan Saeed, Saeed's son, said,
"The American has broken my back by killing my father. I will not let the Americans get away with it. I will follow the path of my father and will hold another camera."

Mark Taylor, an international law expert and a director at the Fafo Institute for International Studies in Norway, told reporters the evidence so far "indicated that there's a case to be made that a war crime may have been committed."

Taylor said US authorities, and especially the US military, have to take a closer look at this investigation. "There are questions about the way the investigation was conducted and whether or not it was done in a proper manner," he said, adding, "There are precedents of US soldiers being prosecuted for crimes in Iraq, for crimes of murder, rape and manslaughter. So it's not unprecedented that this could go forward both in military courts as well as in civilian criminal courts in the US."

Taylor believes the case raises larger questions about the laws of war, and added, "I think what this video shows is really a case that challenges whether the laws of war are strict enough."

Marjorie Cohn is a former president of the National Lawyer's Guild, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and co-author of the book "Rules of Disengagement: The Politics of Honor and Military Dissent." She spoke with Truthout about possible war crimes committed by the soldiers in the WikiLeaks video.
"I think there's clearly enough there to warrant an investigation," Cohn said, referring to the need for an investigation of war crimes committed by US soldiers in the video, "I'm distraught and disappointed the US government refuses to launch an investigation about whether or not there've been violations of the law."

Cohn cited the three possible violations to Truthout. "What I thought after watching the video, is that it looks like there were three possible violations of the Geneva Conventions. There were civilians standing around, there was no one firing at the US soldiers, and at least two people with cameras ... there may have been people armed, like there are many people armed in the US, but this does not create the license to fire on people. That's one violation of the Geneva Conventions - targeting people who are not a military necessity who do not pose a threat."

Cohn said that the second and third possible violation of the laws of war are evident in the scene on the tape when the van attempts to rescue the wounded and a later scene of a US tank rolling over a body on the ground. "The soldiers shot him and those in the van, another possible violation of the Geneva Conventions - preventing the rescuers," she added, "Third, when the wounded or dead man was lying on the ground, and a US tank rolled over him, effectively splitting him in two - and if he was dead, that was disrespecting a body - another violation of the Geneva Conventions."

In that scene that occurs at 18:50 into in the full version of the WikiLeaks video, a soldier is heard saying, "I think they just drove over a body." To this another soldier is heard laughing before he respond, "Really?"

Shortly thereafter, a soldier is heard saying, "Well, they're dead, so."

Cohn concluded, "So I see several possible violations, certainly enough to warrant an investigation by the US military."

April 12, 2010

More Josh Stieber with Amy Goodman

This link will take you to Democracy Now with Amy Goodman interviewing Josh Stieber about the wikileaks video. Josh is firm in telling us that these soldiers were doing exactly what they were trained to do. This was not an aberration. If we are outraged about what happened, we need to point a finger toward the military policies and procedures. This is what happens all the time.


Soldiers and veterans have been telling us this over and over since Vietnam right through the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars. If we didn't like what happened, we shouldn't be there doing what we do. And we shouldn't. The military puts a lot of effort into desensitizing the soldiers and training them to have a very specific reaction to a specific situation.

The training is mentally and morally brutal as they try to insure that soldiers like Josh will follow the script automatically. They failed with Josh. He is a strong sensitive man. Individuals that don't have as much moral strength are likely to swing to the other side of the pendulum. And they do. All the extra effort to win recruits like Josh leaves somebody else morally helpless.

The training of our troops needs to be different and we need to end our imperialist policies of warmaking and occupation. You can't expect the soldiers to do the right thing if you train them and then command them to do the wrong thing. The blame starts with the commander in chief and the generals and works its way down the line.

When soldiers refuse to do it anymore, we lock them up and take away their benefits even though they served in the past. We need to listen to the soldiers. Let them out of the service when they realize they cannot kill people. It's a good thing when people come to that realization.

Visit Josh's blog, Contageous Love Experiment

a u.s.-style construction boom canada can do without

This is a post from L-girl on We Move To Canada:

There's a building surge in the state of Delaware.

Why Delaware? Because that state is home to Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies of US soldiers arrive for burial. The military is investing millions of dollars in the base, because they're expecting a lot of business.

In the past year, as the remains of 462 service members along with nearly 2,000 relatives have passed through Dover, the experience on the flight line has become as common as it is excruciating. Now, to meet the demand and to accommodate what Dover officials expect to be increasing casualties from Afghanistan, the military has embarked on a building surge at this main entry point for the nation's war dead.

In January, Dover opened the Center for the Families of the Fallen, a $1.6 million, 6,000-square-foot space of soft lighting and earth-toned furniture where parents, spouses, children, siblings and other relatives assemble before they are taken to the flight line. On May 1, there is to be a groundbreaking for a new $4.5 million hotel for families who need to spend the night. The same day, ground will also be broken on what Dover officials are calling a meditation center, a nondenominational space with an adjacent garden where relatives can pray or be alone.

The building boom is under way as the Iraq war is winding down — some 50,000 American troops are set to withdraw from the country between now and August — and as President Obama has set July 2011 for the start of withdrawals from Afghanistan. But most of the 30,000 extra troops Mr. Obama ordered to Afghanistan are still due to arrive this summer, bringing the total American force in that country to nearly 100,000. Heavy fighting is expected in the months ahead.

Here in Canada, the Harper Government continues to lay the groundwork for Canada's continued presence in Afghanistan past the 2011 planned and promised withdrawal date.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Saturday repeated the government's official line that the country's soldiers would be withdrawn from combat in Afghanistan next year, but he also suggested some Canadians might stay.

Canada is willing to continue mentoring Afghan police after the troop disengagement begins in summer 2011, MacKay said as he wrapped up a three-day trip to the Central Asian country.

Canada currently has 48 civilian police — RCMP and municipal officers — and 40 military police mentoring Afghan police officers in Kandahar. On Thursday, MacKay announced 90 more troops would be sent to help train local police and the national army, but at the time he said those new trainers would be brought home in 2011.

"After 2011, the military mission will end," MacKay said Saturday. "What we will do beyond that point in the area of training will predominantly be in the area of policing."

Call them soldiers or police. Pretend they're peacekeepers, pretend they are welcome. Call them nannies, why don't you, since those wild Afghan children can't be trusted on their own.

Dress them up in whatever costume you will. They will still be occupiers, they will still be unwelcome in Afghanistan, and so their lives will be at risk. Not because Afghanistan poses a threat to Canada's security. And certainly not because Canada is liberating women. (It's not, and the Harper Government clearly
doesn't care about women's lives.)

Canadian lives - young people, people with futures, people with all their limbs and senses who deserve to grow old with their loved ones - will be at risk simply
to do the US's bidding.

Canada Out Now
thanks to We Move ToCanada

Buffalo fundraiser for Marc Hall's defense. His trial is April 27th in IRAQ

Buffalo Veterans For Peace will be screening the commercial film,

“Stop-loss”, on Tuesday, April 13

at Hallwalls (Tupper & Delaware) in Buffalo at 7pm.

It will be followed by a panel discussion with
-John Curr, director of WNYCLU & disabledGulf War Vet
-Bruce Beyers, Vietnam War Resister
-Russell Brown, Vietnam Veteran

Marc Hall Defense Donations will be greatly appreciated

April 11, 2010

Amy Goodman: Collateral damage in Iraq looks like murder

by Amy Goodman
A United States military video was released this week showing the indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians in Baghdad. The nonprofit news organization WikiLeaks obtained the video and made it available on the Internet. The video was made July 12, 2007, by a U.S. military Apache helicopter gunship, and includes audio of military radio transmissions. Two Reuters employees, a journalist and his driver, were killed in the attack, along with at least eight others, and two children were injured. The radio transmissions show not only the utter callousness of the soldiers, laughing and swearing as they kill, but also the strict procedure they follow, ensuring that all of their attacks are clearly authorized by their chain of command. The leaked video is a grim depiction of how routine the killing of civilians has become, and is a stark reminder of how necessary journalism is, and how dangerous its practice has become.

After photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, were killed, Reuters demanded a full investigation. Noor-Eldeen, despite his youth, had been described by colleagues as one of the pre-eminent war photographers in Iraq. Chmagh was a father of four.

The video shows a group of men in an open square in Baghdad, leading the two Reuters employees to a building nearby. Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh are shown, each carrying a camera with a telephoto lens. A U.S. soldier in the helicopter says: “OK, we got a target 15 coming at you. It's a guy with a weapon.” There is much back and forth between two helicopters and ground troops in armored vehicles nearby:

“Have five to six individuals with AK-47s. Request permission to engage.”

“Roger that. Uh, we have no personnel east of our position. So, uh, you are free to engage. Over.”

Sustained automatic-weapon fire erupts, and most of the men are killed instantly. Noor-Eldeen runs away, and the cross hairs follow him, shooting nonstop, until he falls, dead.

The radio transmission continues, “All right, hahaha, I hit 'em ...” and then, “Yeah, we got one guy crawling around down there ...”

Chmagh, seriously wounded, was dragging himself away from the other bodies. A voice in the helicopter, seeking a rationale to shoot, said: “Come on, buddy. All you gotta do is pick up a weapon. ... If we see a weapon, we're gonna engage.”

A van pulled up, and several men, clearly unarmed, came out and lifted Chmagh, ostensibly to carry him to medical care. The soldiers on the Apache sought and received permission to “engage” the van and opened fire, tearing apart the front of the van and killing the men. The weapon used was a 30-millimeter machine gun, used to pierce armor. With everyone in sight apparently dead, U.S. armored vehicles moved in. When a vehicle drove over Noor-Eldeen's corpse, an observer in the helicopter said, laughing, “I think they just drove over a body.” The troops discovered two children in the van, who had miraculously survived. One voice on the military radio requests permission to evacuate them to a U.S. military hospital. Another voice commands them to hand over the wounded children to Iraqi police for delivery to a local clinic, ensuring delayed and less-adequate treatment.

The U.S. military inquiry into the killings cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing, and Reuters' Freedom of Information requests for the video were denied.

Despite the Pentagon's whitewash, the attack was brutal and might have involved a war crime, since those removing the wounded are protected by the Geneva Conventions. WikiLeaks says it obtained the video “from a number of military whistle-blowers.” Wikileaks.org, founded in late 2006 as a secure site for whistle-blowers to safely release documents, has come under attack from the U.S. and other governments.

WikiLeaks has broken numerous stories and has received awards. It and members of the Icelandic Parliament are working together to make Iceland a world center of investigative journalism, putting solid free speech and privacy protections into law. The words of legendary journalist I.F. Stone still hold true: “Governments lie.”

Because of that, we need courageous journalists and media workers, like Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, and we need whistle-blowers and news organizations that will carefully protect whistle-blower identities while bringing their exposes to public scrutiny.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America

-thanks to the Citizen

April 10, 2010

Josh Stieber on the Wikileaks video

Here is part of an Glenn Greenwald interview with Josh Stieber. You can listen to the INTERVIEW HERE. You should take the time to listen.

GG: Now, did you actually know any of the individuals involved in the incident depicted on the video?

JS: Yeah, I mean, I would have been on the mission that day and, I guess, something that goes to show how if it is, you know, a common thing, is that I had declined a couple of days earlier to follow a command that I didn't feel right in following so, so I was not allowed to go on this mission, or else I would have been in that video.

And then if you just look at the discussion coming up, like, on military.com, and other websites with a lot of military people on it, like they're defending it saying, you know, this is how things work, and how there are people make a big deal about it, this is what things look like, so I think even from people in the military, and people who argue that, you know, war is an effective way of solving things, even in the situation that they're saying, this is what things look like and don't criticize us for doing our jobs.

April 9, 2010

Free Marc Hall -Virtually Secret Trial April 27th in Iraq

If you oppose the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Stand up to the Generals

Support Marc Hall

the wars will end

when the soldiers refuse to fight

support our gi resisters

About to get out of the Army after serving 14 months in Iraq, Marc learned he was stop-lossed and going to be sent back to the war he opposed. He recorded an angry hip-hop song and sent it to the Pentagon. Nothing happened for several months as he sought PTSD treatment at Fort Stewart in Georgia. After filing an official complaint against the Army for inadequate mental health services, they locked him up in a Georgia jail December 12th. A few weeks ago they shackled and shipped him to a prison in Kuwait awaiting a virtually secret court-martial in Iraq on April 27th. The Army is trying to deny him a reasonable defense by sending him far away to a war zone without adequate access to defense resources. Help raise money for his defense.

The decision to try him in Iraq is typical of the work of Major General Cucolo, the same general who discriminated against women by making it illegal for woman soldiers to become pregnant in Iraq. He also locked up Alexis Hutchinson when she refused deployment to care for her infant son.They put her in jail and her baby in foster care. This action was reversed because of an outpouring of support. { Read more about Alexis [HERE] and [HERE] }

Let the Army know that we don’t believe the way to treat

a soldier’s PTSD is through jail and extraordinary rendition of one of our own.

Let the Army know we won’t allow them to destroy an artist

because the military doesn’t like the lyrics to a song

Buffalo Veterans For Peace will be screening the commercial film,

Stop-loss”, on Tuesday, April 13 at Hallwalls in Buffalo at 7pm.

discussion panel: WNYCLU director & disabled Gulf war veteran, John Curr;

Vietnam War Resister, Bruce Beyers & Vietnam veteran, Russell Brown

Donate to Marc Hall’s defense