Friday, April 17, 2009

Why We Resist........................

Marine to refuse May 18th recall for redeployment


"I am refusing my orders to report. I am preparing to be court-martialed for this and I am asking for your support." Please donate to Benji's defense fund:

Benjamin "Benji" Lewis, USMC Corporal. April 16, 2009

Hello, my name is Benji Lewis. At the age of eighteen I was fighting alongside other marines in Fallujah. Shortly after my first tour, indeed scarce months later, I found myself again in Iraq for a second tour. Four years of active duty in the Marine Corps earned me an honorably discharged just over two years ago. However, the Marine Corps is ordering me back through an involuntary activation on May 18th. Based on what I saw and came to realize during my time in the military I now think that both current occupations are unjust. I am refusing my orders to report. I am preparing to be court-martialed for this and I am asking for your support.

Courage to Resist on Democracy Now!


Project Director Jeff Paterson with Fr. Louis Vitale on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. April 14, 2009

Watch video. Excerpts (beginning at 40 min.):

In order to to feed the surge (President Obama) is implementing in Afghanistan, we are seeing a marked increase in the number of inactive Ready Reserve call-ups. These are people that have served their four years inside the military and often have done a number of deployments already to Iraq, and they’ve survived that.... And they’re just simply receiving letters in the mail saying, you know, “You’re ordered to report” in x number of days and for—to ready for yourself for deployment. And these people are, in large numbers, simply refusing that call up. And we are working with them to help them refuse that call up and give them all the options available to them....

IRR resister to contest discharge at hearing


Friends of Matthis Chiroux. April 14, 2009

"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year." -US Army Sgt. Matthis Chiroux

(ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m.

I'll have a "draught dodger!"; Resisters in Canada overview

Rivera family
War resister Kimberly Rivera and family

By Mike Ferner. April 8, 2009

For the second time in 10 months, Canada’s House of Commons told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, including Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, to stop deporting U.S. soldiers resisting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vote united the three opposition parties, the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party in a close 129-125 vote.

Two weeks ago, the War Resisters Support Campaign rallied for former Army soldier, Kimberly Rivera, the first female U.S. soldier to go to Canada. Nearly 100 people filled the chairs and lined the aisles at the Steelworkers hall in Toronto for Rivera, her husband and three children, the youngest born in Canada six months ago.

The morning after the March 25 rally, Rivera was due to be deported back to the U.S. to face an Army court martial, but Federal Judge James Russell agreed with Rivera’s argument that resisters who speak out against the war publicly in Canada receive harsher sentences, and granted her a temporary stay.

35 Letter writing parties held to support resisters


By Courage to Resist. April 10, 2009

Congratulations, letter writing party organizers!

All over the United States and in several foreign countries, more than 35 enthusiastic activists stepped up to organize letter writing parties in support of GI resisters. The organizers took this opportunity during the week of March 16th-23rd as a way of protesting the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After contacting Courage to Resist, organizers received packets of information containing resisters’ profiles and addresses, sample letters to resisters, President Obama, and Canadian Prime Minister Harper along with our newsletter and some buttons and bumper stickers.

Iraq veteran: Why I'm against Obama's Afghanistan


By Benji Lewis, Courage to Resist for AlterNet. April 8, 2009

I am a veteran of Iraq who served two tours in the U.S. occupation of that country. I experienced firsthand the horrors of that war, and like many others, came to see it as nothing more than a chance for a very few to make vast profits in a short amount of time. Now, because of those selfish and irresponsible actions, the citizens of not only the U.S., but of the entire world, are asked to pay for the fallout of war in blood, sacrifice and currency.

But this is old news.

Army charges resister with desertion; general courts martial


Cliff Cornell was denied sanctuary in Canada; will face general courts martial and years in prison at 
Ft. Stewart, Georgia

Donate to Cliff's legal defense here ]
56 people have given $2,270 as of March 10. Goal: $3,000

By Friends of Cliff Cornell. Updated April 6, 2009

The U.S. Army has charged Specialist Clifford Cornell, with desertion. Cornell, 28, surrendered himself to authorities at Fort Stewart, Georgia on February 17, after being denied refugee status in Canada. The Arkansas native left Fort Stewart four years ago, when his artillery unit was ordered to Iraq. According to family and friends, Cornell did not want to kill civilians, and said that Army trainers told him he must shoot any Iraqi who came near his vehicle.

Resisting Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) recall


Courage to Resist. February 3, 2009 [PDF leaflet]

“If you get recalled my best advice is to follow your heart. Personally, I would not report.” 
–Career military veteran and former IRR trainer (anonymous)

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), sometimes called the Inactive Ready Reserve, is composed of former military personnel who still have time remaining on their enlistment agreements but have returned to civilian life. They are eligible to be called up in "states of emergency".

Despite the recent inauguration of an “anti-war” president, the Army is currently undertaking the largest IRR recall since 2004. Over the last seven years however, thousands of IRR soldiers and Marines have questioned this "emergency" and have simply refused and ignored involuntary activation—without any real consequences.

GI Coffeehouse provides haven for war resisters

Coffee Strong's Michael William

By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist. Published by AlterNet. March 5, 2009

The milk frother screams as a couple of young soldiers in camouflaged combat uniforms peruse the lit table. All around them are the familiar surroundings of a coffeehouse: posters on the wall, tables and chairs, and shelves stuffed with used books. Yet this café, just across the street from the sprawling Ft. Lewis Army Base in Washington, is not your ordinary coffeehouse. "Support War Resisters: Iraq Veterans Against the War," reads a huge banner on the wall. GI Rights handcards sit next to the cash register and manuals about "getting out" cover the lit table. Social movement history books fill the bookshelves, and a picture on the wall shows a soldier throwing a grenade with a caption that reads, "What am I doing here?" The sign on the front window declares "COFFEE STRONG. Veteran Owned and Operated."

Resister speaks from prison: Let GI resisters stay in Canada


By Robin Long. March 24, 2009

In 2004 when Jeremy Hinzman applied for refugee status in Canada the Conservative government stepped in at his Refugee Hearing and said that evidence challenging the legality of the war in Iraq can’t be used in this case. The U.N. Handbook for Refugees and the Nuremburg Principals say:

a soldier of an army that is involved in an illegal war of aggression has a higher international duty to refuse service. They also have the right to seek refugee protection in any country that is signatory to the Geneva Convention.

By refusing to allow him, and by precedent all other claimants, the right to use the argument that the war was illegal, the decision closed the door on that legal avenue for refugee protection.

Also: Members of Canadian Parliament visit Robin Long in jail

An appeal for support


By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist Project Coordinator
February 24, 2009 [PDF leaflet]

We are entering a critical period for G.I. resistance. The recent elections showed that a clear majority of Americans are fed up with the war. Now that Obama has been elected on the anti-war ticket, the peace and anti-war movement must define what that means. It is vital that we push for a real end to the war, including a pullout of all "non-combat" troops and independent contractors from Iraq.

Resister Brandon Neely on being a guard at Guantánamo


When the Army recalled Brandon Neely from the Individual Ready Reserve, Brandon did not answer the call. Today he is president of the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and is speaking out."I have seen and done many horrible things, either at Guantánamo or in Iraq, and I know what it is like to try and move on with your life. It's hard."

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(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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