March 30, 2011

Close the SOA and Resist U.S. Militarization Sunday, April 10: March on the White House and Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action

Join hundreds of solidarity activists, torture survivors, unionists, people of faith, students, mothers, veterans and others from April 4-11 in Washington, DC to take a stand for justice, to close the SOA and to resist the U.S. militarization of the Americas. Join Father Roy Bourgeois and others in the fast to close the SOA in front of the White House and Congress, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition's Anti-Militarization Conference at American University from April 8-10 (register now) and take part in the March to the White House on Sunday, April 10, 2011 (gather at Dupont Circle in DC at 2:45pm).

For a full schedule of events, visit
www.SOAW.org and download the Days of Action poster to mobilize your community to come out to DC in April.


Getting to DC - Ride Board
If you are driving to Washington, DC for the Days of Action and you have space in your car or van, please post the information on the
Ride Board. If you are looking for a ride, you can post your request on the Ride Board as well.
Call for Volunteers
Mobilizations like the April Days of Action are a key element of every successful movement for social change. To pull them off, it takes hundreds of grassroots organizers around the country and people who can volunteer their time and energy in Washington, DC in the lead-up and during the mobilization. We are looking for people who can help build signs and puppets for the march to the White House on April 10, people to help with outreach in DC, and
other tasks. Please contact Mike Baney at MBaney@soaw.org or (202) 234 3440 if you are able to help with some tasks before and during the Days of Action. Thank you!

Stop the SOA Repression in Honduras and throughout the Americas!
In the last week and a half, public school teachers and the pro-democracy people's movement in Honduras have faced brutal repression by the post-coup, military-backed regime of Pepe Lobo. The School of the Americas graduate-led state security forces are trying to privatize public education and weaken the teachers movement, one of the pillars of the pro-democracy people's movement that came together after the June 2009 SOA graduate-led military coup in Honduras.

The April 10 March to the White House will include a Honduras Solidarity contingent and during the
April 11 Lobby Day, we will raise the growing human rights crisis and SOA repression in Honduras with Members of Congress, we will demand an end to military and police aid to that country, and the closing of the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). The latest alert by COFADEH underlines the need for us to speak up and take action. Join us in Washington, DC for the Days of Action from April 4-11, 2011.


Stay Connected
Join SOA Watch on
facebook and twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
While online social media can’t be a substitute for grassroots organizing, we can use YouTube, facebook and twitter as additional avenues to get the word out and to reach people. To learn more about grassroots organizing including creating egalitarian structures, building community and developing allies, organizing actions, holding meetings, speaking publicly and fundraising, visit SOAW.org/organize
Join or start a local SOA Watch group:
http://soaw.org/about-us/regional-soa-watch-groups

facebook: www.facebook.com/Schooloftheamericaswatch
twitter: www.twitter.com/soawatch
YouTube: www.youtube.com/closethesoa

March 29, 2011

Disarm Now Plowshares sentenced - 6 to 15 months, plus one year supervised release

The Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there were sentenced today at the Tacoma Federal Courthouse, receiving sentences of 6 months to 15 months confinement, plus one year supervised release. About two hundred fifty people gathered at the courthouse to support the Plowshares activists with their presence, song, and prayer. After the trial, they sang peace songs and processed out as a group,celebrating the beacon of hope the five activists have been for their community.
Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and others testified on behalf of the defendants. Bishop Gumbleton, retired bishop of Detroit and founding president of the peace group Pax Christi, testified that the Catholic Church has spoken out very strongly against nuclear weapons, saying that no use of nuclear weapons can be justified morally. “We must abolish these weapons before the earth is destroyed.” Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson, testified that never in his life has he encountered such unselfish people as those who participate in the Plowshares tradition of direct action against nuclear weapons. Regarding their decision to live a life of civil resistance, he said, “Their consciences tell them they have to do it. God will bless them for it and the courts of the United States should too.”
Speaking as part of the Disarm Now Plowshares legal team, Anabel Dwyer and Bill Quigley laid out the broader legal picture of the case. “The problem is that nuclear weapons and the rule of law can’t exist side by side,” Dwyer said. “The other problem is, we cannot disarm nuclear weapons unless through the rule of law. We are in a conundrum here.” Quigley submitted that lawyers are obligated to “understand difference between law and justice and to narrow that gap.” He encouraged the judge to look back one hundred years and consider how many of the laws of that time were “legal but manifestly unjust.” Dwyer is a Michigan attorney and Board Member of The Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP), and an expert in humanitarian law and nuclear weapons. Quigley is the Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and Professor at Loyola New Orleans.
Each of the five co-defendants, Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, read statements in court. They focused on the personal responsibility they feel to disarm nuclear weapons, and their desire to prevent pain, suffering, and death for “those deprived by our wars and military budget of a human way of life.”

Character witnesses spoke to the defendants’ solidarity with Native people,children, working people, and the wider Tacoma community. Rosella Apel, age 11, said in her character witness for Steve Kelly, “I have a clear image that when I grow up I’m going to do the exact same thing that these five have.”

Crane and Kelly have each been sentenced to 15 months prison and one year supervised release. Greenwald has been sentenced to six months prison, one year supervised release, and 60 hrs community service. Bichsel has been sentenced to three months prison, six months electronic home monitoring, and one year supervised release. Montgomery has been sentenced to two months prison, four months electronic home monitoring, and one year supervised release.
Roger Hunko, standby counsel for the Plowshares activists, disagreed with the outcome of the trial but expressed his respect for Judge Settle as a fair man. Dwyer was also impressed by the judge's civility and his thoughtful attention to the case, but she too disagrees with the judge’s decision. “Every citizen has the right to ensure nonviolent complete nuclear disarmament. Trident is grotesquely illegal and criminal, and Disarm Now Plowshares should not be in prison for pointing that out.”

For more information about all sentencing-related events please see the
Disarm Now Plowshares Website at disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com.

Contacts:
Chrissy Nesbitt, 610-316-3243, chrissy.nesbitt@gmail.com
Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190, subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net
Jackie Hudson, 360-930-8697, gznonviolencenews@yahoo.com
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370


-thanks to MaryAnne Coyle and Disarm Now Plowshares

March 28, 2011

March 27, 2011

Bruce Beyer: You cannot make bargains with those who make war. War Resister, Patrick Hart, returns to a stiff prison sentence in USA.


This isn't about Bruce, It's about his friend, Patrick Hart. Bruce, speaking from experience makes an important observation.

And it's about us. We need to support this man who is another victim of the Obama war policies. Now we know how Obama plans to deal with the brave men and women who refused to continue to carry out Bush's (and now Obama's) immoral, inhumane and illegal war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is temporariy being held in a prison in Kentucky while they decide which Federal Prison he will spend the next couple of years. Lets write him and let him know we support his choices.

His current (very temporary) address is:
Patrick Brendan Hart
c/o Christian County Jail
410 W 7th St.
Hopkinsville, KY 42240

See the 2006 Artvoice Story about him, Brave Hart.

On March 27th, 2011 Bruce Beyer wrote the following :
“I posted this because I’ve been thinking about my friend and Iraq war resister Patrick Hart. Pat was sentenced last week to 25 months in prison for his refusal to deploy to Iraq. After five years in exile, Patrick voluntarily returned to the US. He came back quietly in hopes of avoiding hard time yet he has received the longest prison sentence of all IWOT resisters. I don’t know if there is a lesson to be drawn from this but I am reminded of a Bob Marley son, ‘Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your rights!’ Patrick is in there for us, we need to be out here for Patrick. FREE PATRICK HART! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!


October 20, 1977 (l to r) former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Vietnam era draft resister Bruce Beyer, for Marine Corps. POW Col. Edson Miller . After 7 1/2 years in exile, I voluntarily returned to the US and surrendered to US authorities. It took months of planning, fund raising, and organizing to make this day possible. Most of the people walking with us were Vietnam veterans. Hundreds of people wrote letters in my support and US District Court Judge John Curtin reduced my sentence from three years to thirty days. In the months preceding my return, my father tried to convince me to return quietly with contrition. He hired an attorney who said he could "work a deal, if I just kept my mouth shut". You Cannot make bargains with those who make war.

March 24, 2011

Hero - Anuradha Koirala, CNN Hero of the Year 2010 Winner



-thanks to MaryAnne Coyle

"Hey, Ya'll - How you doing? I'd Like to Dedicate this show to the American Deserters in Society" Jimi Hendrix (Former Paratrooper of the 101rst ABN)

This video was recorded in Stockholm in 1969 and sent to me by a friend who went to Sweden and Canada to avoid incarceration for draft resistance and related activities.


It's appropriate to post this now and rededicate it to Bradley Manning and the men and women in prison, in Canada or living underground because they refuse to participate in the illegal and immoral wars anymore. Let's keep these courageous men and women in our hearts when we visit your local marine recruiters with our signs and banners to demand the marines stop torturing Bradley Manning at Quantico.




March 23, 2011

Chris Hedges in DC on March 19th Part 1

Chris Hedges speaks the truth and then some in Lafayette Park on March 19th prior to the mass civil resistance and arrest at the White House:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:

Daniel Ellsberg speaking at Bradley Manning Support Demonstration outside the gate to Quantico March 20th

Part 1:


Part 2:

March 21, 2011

Police brutality against Col. Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg at Free Bradley Manning Protest

In the video a man pleads with a cop to treat the nonviolent protestors humanely. Unfortunately the truth is that this is what the Marines and these robot VSP cops are taught to do.

We did it to the Vietnamese, the Iraqis, the Afghanis and many more including our own soldiers and protesters. We should not forget that the police attacked and killed Black Panthers in the 60's who fed and clothed the people in their communities when nobody else would. The Ohio National Guard murdered four students at Kent State and several days later the Mississippi State Police together with Jackson city cops murdered a high school and Jackson State student. The cops, in various forms, beat and killed protesters in communities across the country. It is what these people are trained to do and in fact what they do. We are kidding ourselves if we expect these troops, be they the Virginia State Police or the Marines to treat people with dignity anywhere. But we can work on it, It's our job.


Bradley Manning supporters walk to place flowers on the monument at the Quantico gate. Bradley is being held and tortured here by the Marines. Shortly after the walk 35 people were arrested.


We all went to Quantico to demand that the Marines stop torturing Bradley Manning and set him free. Remember that he is only there because he exposed this very behavior and policy in Iraq.

At the gate in Quantico, I looked through the masks of the VSP to see if there was any love or hope in their eyes. I could see none. They are trained to show none, so I don't know what the cold, nervous stares meant. Perception is a huge thing in these confrontational situations. We all see something different.

These men and women hiding in the hard protective shells, isolated from the people, are responding mechanically to orders from elsewhere. Some of it is pure habitual response after having gone through repetitive, hateful training. The results are My Lai, Falluja, Jackson State and "Collateral Murder" to name a few.


Most of the demonstrators outside Quantico were veterans. We have been there and know what happens. With regret we did it or saw it happen in the past and have the memories burned in our brains. Although we may want these troops to treat people like human beings, we shouldn't expect a miracle at a time like this, it will take time. This is our job. These are the gunmen who are carrying out Obama's policies. As he kills innocent men, women and children around the world with his military we should be prepared for him to expect them to do the same to us.


I looked into the eyes of the people demonstrating. Beautiful! I know many of them. Strong, committed, loving people trying to non-violently effect some change to the gross injustice. Singing, smiling, caring . . . and the robots attack.

We should demand justice for Bradley now more than ever.


End the torture.
End the Wars.
End the Lies.

Sunday's arrest at Quantico where Bradley Manning is being held and tortured

March 17, 2011

Drones Set to Invade National, State Parks

The following article is from Wired's Danger Room:

By Richard Wheeler

When I was a kid going to summer camp in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, I counted myself lucky if I saw a black bear once or twice in a season. But campers may soon be able to regularly see something bigger and badder when climbing the High Peaks: Reaper drones flown by the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing based in Syracuse, New York.

And drones aren’t just buzzing over the Adirondacks. The proposal to begin training missions there is part of a bigger push to build a drone infrastructure for flying missions throughout the United States. So new drone bases are being built. The FAA is setting aside airspace for drone flights. And you can even get an accredited college degree in roboplane repair or operations. (No word whether you can get advanced placement credit for using drones in Call of Duty, but check this space for updates.)

Today, most U.S. drones operate overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, with rumors of drone use in Yemen, Somalia, and other regions around the Horn of Africa. Most of these are flown by the military — and a few by the CIA. But because of United States law and regulation, neither of these groups can easily fly drones within the United States.

National Guard units and civilian contractors could fly these missions, if only there was enough space and adequate facilities to train the operators and technicians required to do so. But that would require shifting resources and building new facilities. In other words, an opportunity for Congresscritters to bring home the cash for their states and home districts. The race for a piece of the growing drone pie has begun.

The latest example is the amendment proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to the “FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Act” (S.223) that would increase the number of “National Airspace System” test sites from four to ten. At least one of these sites would have to include a “significant portion” of public land.

The Adirondacks, in Schumer’s home state, clearly fit this bill. And not surprisingly, there is also a proposal to use the Juniper Military Area, located in Wyden’s home state of Oregon, as another drone test area.

But Schumer and Wyden are, if anything, playing catch-up in a race that has already seen the establishment of unmanned aerial vehicle test and training sites at Grand Forks Air Force Base in Grand Forks, North Dakota; the National Air Intelligence Center in Springfield, Ohio; Langley AFB in Hampton, Virginia; Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, South Dakota; Mountain Home AFB in Mountain Home, Idaho; and Whiteman AFB in Knob Noster, Missouri. Thanks to President Teddy Roosevelt and the establishment of the National Parks system, we can probably expect that the other 42 states not already mentioned will be competing to serve up some of their public land as drone proving grounds.

In addition to test and training sites, Federal education and stimulus money is being used to create nonmilitary drone education programs. The Department of Aviation at the University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks and the operator of the test and training site at Grand Forks AFB, now offers the first Bachelors of Science program in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations. The Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Northland Community and Technical College, located in Thief River Falls, Minnesota just 40 miles east of Grand Forks, will soon offer courses in the repair of UAVs. Garrison Keillor will probably announce a new drone shop class at the high school in Lake Wobegon next.

Although it is hard to predict where the drone infrastructure will grow, if other defense contracting projects are a reliable guide, the drone-ification of America will probably continue until there is a drone aerodrome in every state and a drone degree program to go with it. Drone Scout jamborees and merit badges cannot be far behind — coming soon to a summer camp near you.

Photo: USAF


War resister, Chuck Wiley, paid high price, faces deportation from Canada.

Chuck Wiley, a former American military man, is speaking to various groups
in Nova Scotia this week about his opposition to the war in Iraq.
He expects to be jailed as a deserter if Canada deports him the U.S.
photo: Christian Laforce / Chronical Herald Staff


I met Chuck on a Skype call. He is an amazing man. This article is from the Chronical Herald in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Chuck who was close to retiring from what would have been a 20 year military career, chose to leave to Canada rather than participate any more in an illegal, immoral war.

'It’s legally wrong, it’s morally wrong'

By the time he reached the age of 38, Kentucky native Chuck Wiley thought he would be retired from the United States military and working at a civilian power plant "until I was too old to get out of bed."


This article is from back in mid-February and was posted by the times union. Currently Hancock is involved in the remote killing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and who knows where else. They are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the deadly Reaper drones.


Come to the demonstration in Syracuse at Hancock on April 22nd. If you can make the time, join one of the walks to Syracuse from Ithaca or Rochester.


Big eye' has Adirondack sights

Plan for drone flights spurs privacy concern

By DENNIS YUSKO Staff writer

Published 12:00 a.m., Saturday, February 12, 2011

  1. pastedGraphic.pdf
    Map of military flight corridors for the MQ-9 Reaper drone in the Adirondacks. (New York Air National Guard)


Campers in the Adirondack Mountains could spot a strange, new bird in the sky this summer: military drones.

The New York Air National Guard wants to start launching regular surveillance flights of MQ-9 "Reapers" above the Adirondacks in August or September to train drone crews for bombing and intelligence missions. Airmen with the 174th Fighter Wing would fly the unmanned planes via satellite from command centers at Fort Drum and the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse. Flights would take off from Fort Drum in Jefferson County and be guided from Syracuse.

The fighter wing wants to drill in the Adirondacks to prepare flight controllers and videographers for drone combat missions in Afghanistan, which the unit has conducted since November 2009.

"The airspace is second to none," Col. Kevin Bradley, commander of the fighter wing, said in a phone interview. "We're going to do the same training procedures that we use to support the soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan."

The Reapers would not carry weapons and would make less noise than the unit's F-16s that had previously used the mountain airspace for training. But they would be equipped with powerful day and night cameras that could focus on random vehicles and locations for training, leaders of the air wing have said.

The training still requires approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. Air National Guard officials explained their plans to members of the Adirondack Park Agency last month. Initial flights would start above 18,000 feet and stay within 30 miles of Fort Drum, Bradley said. The trips would then extend into established military flying corridors within the Adirondack Park that could reach as close to the Capital Region as Lake Luzerne in Warren County.

The FAA does not presently allow drones to take off from Hancock Field, citing safety concerns about them sharing airspace and runways with commercial aircraft.

On Thursday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced his support for naming Hancock Field a national drone test site, and increasing the number of such sites in the country from four to 10. That designation would equip the base with FAA-approved technology that could potentially lead to drones flying out of Syracuse, and "jobs and millions of dollars in high-tech investment to Syracuse," Schumer said.

The proposed Reaper flights over the six-million-acre park would expand the Department of Defense's use of drones to the country's eastern half, and reflects the increased reliance on remotely piloted planes. But some activists are concerned that domestic drones could violate Americans' privacy. Others feel their use abroad has engendered hatred against the U.S.

The New York American Civil Liberties Union will track any drone use in New York, and intends to press the fighter wing for information on what images it would collect, said Melanie Trimble, director of the ACLU's Capital Region Chapter. It also wants to know who would have access to pictures taken and what the military plans to do with them.

"The whole idea raises significant privacy concerns," Trimble said. "No one that is out fishing or hiking in the Adirondacks should be afraid that their image is going to end up in a database."

Known as "the big eye in the sky," the MQ-9 has a 66-foot wingspan, can drop 500-pound bombs and stay in the air for more than 15 hours. They're effective in Afghanistan and other places where anti-aircraft fire is minimal. They have killed high-ranking terrorists, but also civilians. The CIA is reportedly using drones in Pakistan.

Anti-war protestors picket the Syracuse base regularly. Some activists in the Adirondacks and Capital Region say that drones cause more problems than they solve.


Martha Swan, a teacher who lives in Westport, Essex County, believes drone warfare is "deeply disturbing and highly immoral." The remote-controlled bombings, initiated from the safety of the United States, claim the lives of innocents, which she said doesn't make America safer. She also objects to military's recording of images at home during training flights.

"It's kind of a Big Brother thing," she said.

Drone sites in the U.S. could also become targets for those wishing to harm the U.S., said John Amidone of Albany, a member of Veterans for Peace.

Unmanned aircraft are frequently used along the southern U.S. border, and were used for a month in northern New York by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2009, according to reports. Police agencies in several states now use different versions of them, as well.

About 50 companies, universities and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs in the U.S., according to the FAA.

The Air Force and Air National Guard have reported 10 significant or "class-A" accidents involving Reapers, including seven caused by human error.

The Air Guard anticipates performing one training sortie a day in the Adirondacks, with most flights lasting about five hours, Bradley said. Any surveillance would be archived, destroyed or taped over, he said.

Leaders of the park agency and the Adirondack Mountain Club, which represents outdoor enthusiasts, view the drone training exercises as a necessary price for military readiness. The park agency has asked the Air Guard to avoid flying above areas where people congregate, its spokesman Keith McKeever said.

The flying of drones will affect users of the Adirondacks far less than some of the F-16s, A-10s and helicopters that have flown there in the past because the unmanned crafts operate higher and quieter, said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the mountain club.

Fort Drum is expected to receive its first two Reapers this spring, with 12 more coming over the next three years, Bradley said. Two drones at the Hancock base are used for maintenance instruction.

Bradley says he appreciates all opinions, but said that the MQ-9 is not a "marauding" aircraft. "It is quite an amazing value to America in terms of its capability," Bradley said. "If you talk to any soldier who has been on the ground with a remotely piloted aircraft, they'll probably tell that it's saved lives."



-thanks to the timesunion

March 16, 2011

As we watch the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan and the world, hopefully we can see the madness of nuclear weapons with more clarity than we let on in the past. The weapons are created and purposed to cause a disaster and/or create fear of one. The plowshares community has seen that clarity and put their bodies on the line. Read MaryAnne's letter, click on the link and figure out how each of us can support them.


MaryAnne's letter:

Dear All,


This is part of my project of letting people in different regions and parts of the country know what other people are doing so they can figure out where/if they can help out to bring about a more peaceful, clean, and just world. Many of us are so busy and active in our personal lives and community responsibilities that we are unaware of what goes on in other communities or regions and if there is anything we can do to work together and help each other out.


Five of the non-violence community members will be sentenced on March 28 in Tacoma, WA for a trespass onto Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base. After they got onto the base, they proceeded to the nuclear weapons housed there and proceeded to try to pound them into plowshares. I was one of many people who asked if there was anything we could do to defray the personal costs of our community's membership. Leonard put together the following guidelines about writing a pre-sentencing letter to Judge Settle, the magistrate who presided over the trial and who will conduct sentencing. Please copy this url:

http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/support-us/
into your browser and follow Leonard's instructions.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
MaryAnne Coyle

March 15, 2011

Major Veterans Peace Groups Unite for March 19th Civil Resistance at the White House


Details for March 18th, 19th, & 20th


The US is responsible for this many people being killed from March 6th to March 12th

4439 in Iraq. In Afghanistan 1502 --- 866 Others.
From Mar 6 to 12:
53 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.
In Afghanistan were killed:
Pvt Kalin Johnson 19, Lexington SC
Spc Andrew Wade 22, Antioch IL
Cpl Loren Buffalo 20, Mountain Pine AR
Cpl Stephen McKee 27, Northern Ireland
Sgt Eric Trueblood 27, Alameda CA
Pvt Andrew Harper 19, Maidsville WV
Cpl Ian Muller 22, Danville VT
Sgt Daehan Park 36, Watertown CT
196 Afghani and Pakistani sisters and brothers were killed.

We are all responsible to STOP the madness!
DO IT NOW!