July 30, 2012

From Courage To Resist-US war resister in sanctuary of Canadian church

By Bob Meola, Courage to Resist. July 8, 2012

Join us in helping Rodney with his monthly food and phone expenses. Please donate via our friends at vancouverwarresisters.org with a one-time or monthly PayPal contribution.

War Resister Rodney Watson wishes he could be with his parents and other family and friends in his home town of Kansas City, Missouri. He’d like to see his wife and four year old son more than just on weekends in Vancouver, B.C. too. He’d also like to take his young family home to the United States and have his wife and his son meet his parents. But he can’t. Rodney has been living in the sanctuary of United Church in Vancouver since September 18, 2009. He eats and sleeps there and still cannot leave the Church without the risk of being deported back to the United States and to a military brig. After a tour of Iraq, in which he witnessed the senseless brutality of the war and the same racism toward the Iraqi people by U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors that he knew so well from experiencing it as an African-American, growing up in the United States, Rodney was stop-lossed.

Army Spc. Rodney Watson joined the Army in 2004 under a three year contract. In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq. He signed up to be a cook and instead was made to search vehicles and Iraqi civilians for explosives, contraband and weapons before they entered the base. In 2006, when his tour of duty there was over, he was informed that his contractual obligation to serve in the Army was being extended , without his consent, and he would not be discharged from military service at the agreed upon time. Rodney was a victim of the Army Stop Loss program. Rather than continue to serve in the Army and face re-deployment to Iraq in a war he knew was illegal and immoral, Rodney deserted and took refuge in Canada.

Presently, Rodney finds himself in a legal limbo that has meant no change in his case for quite a while. His lawyer will soon be re-submitting an application for him to be granted asylum on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds so that he can stay in Canada and be able to resume being a father to his four year old son and a husband on a daily basis. Because Rodney is confined to the church, he only sees his wife and his son on weekends.

Rodney recently told me, “Any conscientious objector to the Iraq war should not be punished because our leader, George Bush, himself went AWOL. No Iraq war Veteran should be punished for waking up and going AWOL after George W. Bush went AWOL from the National Guard and then later led us into a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction. He should be locked up and not any of us awakened veterans from that Iraq war. The war criminals are free while I’m sitting in sanctuary in a church not able to go out in public. Thousands more [war resisters] are underground in the states who had disagreement with that war. It doesn’t make any sense to be punished for your conscience. I’m not a pacifist but the Iraq war was an unnecessary aggression and it was for natural resources and based on lies.

“If there is anything I can say to my fellow troops who are waking up to the lies and corporate greed and corruption, it is that I salute you and real change is not made by silence. I salute you for standing up and speaking out.

“I still love America. It’s my home. I miss my home. We’re in a state of endless war. I would like to be able to cross any border freely as a free man. There should be amnesty for Iraq war veterans. There are soldiers, here in Canada, who have come with their families from the states and soldiers who have made families here. There should be amnesty for those who have woken up to the lies and the corruption of the Iraq War.

Join us in helping Rodney with his monthly food and phone expenses. Please donate via our friends at vancouverwarresisters.org with a one-time or monthly PayPal contribution.

“I’m treated like a dangerous criminal because I decided that war wasn’t worth killing over. Why are we punished for saying we don’ t want to risk our lives for it anymore? I have a very deep feeling that there is going to be some kind of atonement for this. This is not right. This war was evil. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush are running around free. If that’s not an axis of evil, I don’t know what is. “I thought I’d be protecting my country when I joined the Army. It was a lie.

“Being a deserter and a refugee has put a strain on my marriage and family. My wife is presently going to school to become a nurse’s aide. I risked my life for a stupid war that was wrong. I have no fear of risking my freedom and my life again for what is right—for truth.

“I just feel in my heart that I have every right to speak my mind against this war that I was involved in because I was actually there and I lost my friend there and I risked my own life for a war that was based on lies.”

Rodney appreciates the support he has received from Courage to Resist, the War Resisters’ Support Campaign, and donations from individual Quakers. It is fundraising for him that has sustained him. Rodney welcomes anyone who wants to connect with him to do so at his Facebook page, War Resister in Sanctuary.

Bob Meola is a member of the Courage to Resist Organizing Collective, the War Resisters League National Committee and the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee. As a City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner, he authored the city's resolutions honoring Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters, making Berkeley a sanctuary city for war resisters and urging Universal Unconditional Amnesty for war resisters.

May 4, 2012

work to ground the killer drones

"Looks like the beginning of a Ghandian wave!"

On Wednesday, Ed Kinane and Dick Keough of Syracuse were arrested at Hancock Field. They were standing with their signs across from the gate at the base as they have for two years, twice a month. At the beginning of these vigils a couple years ago, they were told by the sheriff and deputies that as long as they stayed off the road and didn't cause a safety hazard or attempt to enter the base it was ok.

 However the base seems to be getting rattled by the presence of the demonstrators. As soldiers and other workers leave leave their jobs each day, they see the signs informing and reminding them of the crimes they are committing and the victims they are killing with the drones . The demonstrators stand there from 4:15 to 5pm.

 Thirty-three people were arrested on April 22 as they walked orderly in single file to deliver an indictment for war crimes to the base. Most of them never made it there, victims of a mass violation of their first amendment rights. On May 2nd, Ed and Dick were arrested by the Onondaga County Sheriffs Department. They were told the base had filed a complaint to have them removed. The sheriff's deputies obliged. Before they were arrested they had a lengthy discussion on first amendment rights, But ultimately the armed men handcuffed the peaceful protesters and put them in their vehicles. Theactivists said they have been coming here for years and would continue, leaving at 5pm as usual. At three minutes before five the cop told them they had to leave now or be arrested. Dick said it wasn't 5 o'clock yet. If the Air Force had sent its soldiers into the civilian streets to round up citizens, it wouldn't look good since they weren't doing anything wrong. So they had the Sheriff's deputies do the dirty work.

What this amounts to is the military taking over the civilian streets and the deputies bowing to their new masters. During our arraignments, the judge gave us a document showing us an email and his response to it. The email demonstrated an illegal attempt to influence the court by one of the town's councilors asking the judge to dismiss the case.

 "...I am of the opinion we do not spend Town resources on what is a federal issue. As head of the budget committee I am asking that we do not spend any dollars on prosecuting this nor additional court room security. Please advise and let me know what has been charged to the Town to date and how we can dismiss at no more charges. Thank you, Kerry Mannion."

 As the resistance to the killer drones grows here in upstate NY and across the country, and the militarization of our police forces increase, we can expect the military to increase efforts to suppress opposition. I hope the actions by people like Ed and Dick inspire others and becomes the norm in America.

 As Paul Frazier put it, "Looks like the beginning of a Ghandian wave!"

April 16, 2012

Bizarre response to drone protest this past weekend

the video starts out choppy; stick with it.
Brian Terrell:
I was arrested yesterday at Whiteman AFB (drone control center) before this bizarre drill team routine was performed. This is NOT Monty Python! It is a gasp of dying empire, quite literally scared silly by its own citizens. "Come out, come out, where ever you are," Kathy Kelly sings to reassure these frightened children. "What a world, what a world..."

love to all...

April 9, 2012

Peace Activist, Leah Bolger, Protests the Congressional Super Committee.

Leah Bolger:
"I will be pleading guilty at a hearing on Thursday, 12 April, 2012. There will be a press conference at 8:30 am that morning in front of the DC Superior Courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave NW, Washington DC."

"It will take every one of us." - Paul Gilding

-thanks to Bryan Waters

Obomba and his military & corporate continue to kill innocent people

I can't figure out why people aren't outraged by the killing and brutality like this during the Bush administration as it continues under Obomba.


Blackwater in Iraq (1 of 5) from Harper's Magazine on Vimeo.

Published on Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Common Dreams
Videos Show Blackwater in Iraq Running Over Woman, Firing into Traffic
- Common Dreams staff

Videos posted by Harper's Magazine show the private contractor formerly known as Blackwater in Iraq running over a woman with a car, smashing into Iraqis' cars to move them out of the way and firing a rifle into traffic.

The behavior by Blackwater seen in the videos adds even more fuel to evidence that the company "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

The videos are included in a piece by Charles Glass entitled “The Warrior Class” that looks at the rise of private security contractors. Glass had been shown the videos by a former Blackwater employee.

Describing the video dated April 2006 that shows the woman being hit by a Blackwater vehicle, Glass writes: "A woman in a black full-length burka began to cross the street. The vehicle struck the woman and knocked her unconscious body into the gutter. The cars slowed for a moment, but did not stop, nor did they even determine whether the victim was dead or alive. A voice in the car taking the video said, 'Oh, my God!' Yet no one was heard on the radio requesting help for her. Most sickeningly, the sequence had been set to an AC/DC song, whose pounding, metallic chorus declared: 'You’ve been… thunderstruck!'"

Glass writes that the tape he was shown ended with the inscription, "In support of security, peace, freedom and democracy everywhere."

Blackwater in Iraq (5 of 5) from Harper's Magazine on Vimeo.