Veterans Arrested At Senate Confirmation Of “Torture Memo” Author Steven Bradbury

FB/ Medea Benjamin

By Medea Benjamin for Code Pink – At the Senate confirmation hearing for Steven Bradbury as general counsel for the Commerce, Science and Transportation Department, members of Veterans for Peace and CODEPINK protested Bradbury for his authorship of the “Torture Memos” under the Bush administration. Three members of Veterans for Peace were arrested for speaking out at the hearing: Tarak Kauff, Ken Ashe and Ellen Barfield. All three veterans, in response to why they protested today, affirmed that Bradbury should not hold any kind of position in the United States’ government and called on the senators to oppose his nomination. “Anybody whose moral compass is so broken that they would condone torture doesn’t deserve a position in the US government,” stated Ken Ashe as he was handcuffed by Capitol Police. “I disrupted the hearing for a man, Steven Bradbury, who should be on trial for war crimes,” said Tarak Kauff as he was pulled out of the hearing by police. “He sanctioned, condoned, and confirmed torture practices that were used by the Bush administration, practices that disgraced our country.” “I am a veteran. I am deeply concerned about our soldiers, who are at risk for torture if our nation tortures,” said Ellen Barfield.

Veterans& Peace Groups Push For Reduced Military Spending

Veterans spoke of a need to end decades long wars in the Middle East. Photo: John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Veterans rallied this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial calling for a new global peace initiative. Veterans For Peace (VFP), CODEPINK Women For Peace, and Iraq Veterans For Peace, were among a dozen anti-war groups calling on the Trump Administration to invest funding in diplomacy and peace instead of increasing the military budget by $54 billion dollars. Veteran speakers urged the Trump Administration to begin closing U.S. bases on foreign soil, to redirect a portion of the military budget to education, healthcare and infrastructure, and to ban nuclear weapons. Veterans spoke at the Lincoln Memorial of the impact of wars while nearby organizers set up a Swords to Plowshares bell tower for the public to leave messages. The three day rally was joined by hundreds of combat Veterans and followed by a peace walk on Tuesday past the MLK Memorial to the White House. They paused to read a Martin Luther King Jr., speech from 1967 about ending the Vietnam war, before proceeding to the White House. The rally was organized amidst growing global tensions as drumbeats of conflict reverberate across the Middle East and in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Veterans Are Training To “Re-Deploy” To Own Communities To Defend Against Trump’s Attacks

The sun sets behind members of Veterans For Peace as they conclude their visit to Al-Araqeeb. Photo by ELLEN DAVIDSON

By Staff of Other 98 “Never have we seen so many veterans wanting to translate the skills to serve frontline communities fighting back against Trump’s destructive platform,” said Matt Howard, a Marine Corps veteran who deployed twice to Iraq. Howard is the Co-Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a grassroots organization of post-9/11 active duty service members and veterans. IVAW was originally formed in 2004 as a space for vets to speak out against, and rectify their involvement in, the unpopular and unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 13 years since IVAW formed, the group has covered a lot of ground, organizing around reparations for Iraq, health care for returning service members, and against the redeployment of vets living with PTSD. Increasingly, IVAW is expanding on what it means to be “anti-war,” by focusing on the root cause of war—militarism—and turning their sights to related symptoms of militarism, including militarized police, Islamophobia, and even climate change. Most recently, IVAW was making headlines for another “deployment:” heading to Standing Rock to support Indigenous water protectors facing violent police repression as they tried to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of vets showed up, “because we were called,” Howard notes.

Veterans Oppose Trump Policies, Wars; Rally At Lincoln Memorial

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By Staff of World Beyond War – On Tuesday, May 30, at 11:00 am, veterans and supporters will mass at the Lincoln Memorial. Speakers include Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, David Swanson, Medea Benjamin, Chris Hedges, Brian Becker, Col. Ann Wright, Mara Verhayden Hilliard, Michael McPhearson, and Matt Hoh. Music will be provided by Lyla June Johnston, Pat Scanlon, Ariel Zevon, and the Fugs, who will lead an attempt to exorcise the White House as they did 50 years ago. “Donald Trump and company are hell-bent on destroying what’s left of our democracy, the environment, and whatever chance we have of world peace. Veterans will not be silent while he does it,” says Matt Hoh, former Marine Captain (two tours in Iraq) and State Department official, who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over U.S. strategic policy and goals. Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf has sent a letter to President Trump requesting a meeting to discuss military policy and to refocus spending on peace and issues at home.

Support US Army Private Ryan Johnson, Imprisoned War Resister

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By Staff of Courage to Resist – We at Courage to Resist are reaching out to you to help imprisoned Army soldier Ryan Johnson and his wife Jenna. We’re helping them get on their feet upon Ryan’s expected May release from Miramar Brig in Southern California. Your support is critical to help them begin their next chapter. Ryan Johnson hasn’t gotten many easy breaks. He lost his father at the age of three. Growing up he would face years of abuse at the hands of a new stepfather. As a teen Ryan escaped into patterns of drug abuse, self-harm, and finally dropped out of high school. Now he endures insult of military imprisonment after literal injury serving the US armed forces. This pall of unfortunate circumstances doesn’t mean there isn’t light in Ryan’s life. He has persevered, with his compassion, kindness, and conscience intact.

Memorial Events In Honor Of Military Veteran And Water Protector Killed By Police Last Month


By Staff of Sabal Trail Resistance – Please join Sabal Trail Resistance (STR), Vets For Peace and other activists in honoring James “Jim” L. Marker by continuing to stand against the oil and gas pipelines that he lost his life fighting on Feb 26, 2017. Community Remembering on Sunday, March 26, 1pm at the Pruitt Memorial site in Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, on mile north of the Withlacoochee River. Enter at Pruitt Trailhead, off of SR 484. Park in picnic area, hike 0.5 miles to memorial site.(Please bring a song, story or poem to share, along with food or beverage to share.) Demonstration at Dunnellon Compressor Station construction site on Monday, March 27, 10 a.m. Located along SR 200. Click here for map image. Parking will be on the shoulder of the road. (Please bring signs, banners, drums, etc. with the message “Kill Pipelines NOT People”)

Vets Return To Standing Rock To Form Human Shield Against Police

The veterans camp at Standing Rock. Photograph by Sam Levin for the Guardian.

By Sam Levin for The Guardian. US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over. Army veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river. The growing group of military veterans could make it harder for police and government officials to try to remove hundreds of activists who remain camped near the construction site and, some hope, could limit use of excessive force by law enforcement during demonstrations. “We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,” said Elizabeth Williams, a 34-year-old air force veteran, who arrived at Standing Rock with a group of vets late on Friday.

Why I Answered The Call For Veterans To Go To Standing Rock

Dark Sevier / Flickr

By Kevin Basl for Other Words – At Standing Rock, for the first time, I felt like I was finally serving the people. I lay among friends, huddled and cold in our sleeping bags. We listened to the lashing wind and the drums and prayer chants coming from the sacred fire, and we reflected on why we, four Iraq War veterans, were here. Police floodlights shone from the drill site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, scheduled to cross under the Missouri River, the water source for millions of people. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux, concerned not only about polluted water but also the desecration of sacred sites, began resisting the pipeline in 2014. In mid-2016, finally…

Why They Went: The Inside Story Of The Standing Rock Veterans

Wesley Clark drives to the Standing rock camp, Dec. 4, 2016.

By Adam Linehan for Task Purpose – On the morning of Dec. 5, Wesley Clark Jr., the leader of a loosely formed protest group, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, woke up to the buzz of his cell phone in a hotel room in the Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. It was 6:30 a.m. The caller had some troubling news. Just before dawn, one of the veterans down in the protest camp, where members of the group had bedded down for the night, had apparently disappeared. He was last seen walking in the direction of the Missouri River. There was a suicide note. So we do have his name, social security number, and emergency contact info?” Clark said into the phone, his voice hoarse after just a few hours of sleep.

Powerful Veterans Group Pushes Trump On Marijuana Rescheduling

Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

By Tom Angell for Marijuana – The nation’s largest military veterans organization is pushing President-elect Donald Trump to reschedule marijuana after he takes office early next year. Top officials from the American Legion, which passed a resolution endorsing the reclassification of cannabis under federal law earlier this year, sat down with Trump’s transition team last week to discuss key priorities for the more than 2 million military veterans the organization represents, including marijuana policy reform. The group “initiated a call-to-action on fairly new Legion priorities…

Chronicle Of Veterans At Standing Rock


By Susan Abulhawa, via Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today. North Dakota – At Standing Rock, so much was not what it seemed from the distance of news headlines and reports. Up close, one could see the ideological tension in romanticized groups where some are driven by moral imperatives and others by personal glory. A hidden truth about the rank and file of the U.S. military was also laid bare. There are many untold contradictions behind the drama that unfolded at Standing Rock. Although this remains a people’s struggle against the capitalist interests of a corporate military state, there are moral inconsistencies that bear telling.

Forgiveness Ceremony Unites Veterans And Natives At Standing Rock Casino

Wesley Clark Jr., middle, and other veterans kneel in front of Leonard Crow Dog during a forgiveness ceremony at the Four Prairie Knights Casino & Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Monday.

By Jenna Amatul for The Huffington Post – Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.

Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock To Act As ‘Human Shields’

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By Nika Knight for Common Dreams. As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, U.S. military veterans on Friday began arriving at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp. The 2,000 veterans, which include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), plan to act as an unarmed militia and peaceful human shields to protect the Indigenous activists from police brutality. “I signed up to serve my country and my people and I did that overseas,” Indigenous U.S. Navy veteran Brandee Paisano told the CBC. “I didn’t think I’d have to do it here, on this land, so here I am. This is what I need to be doing.” The “deployment” is officially planned for December 4-7, but veterans who have arrived early have already taken their stand in front of the militarized police blockade stopping traffic into and out of the camp

‘Where Evil Resides’


By Adam Linehan for Task and Purpose. On Dec. 4, if everything goes according to plan, hundreds of veterans will muster at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The mission: To stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. “Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Wes Clark Jr. declares. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?” Clark Jr. is one of the most vociferous opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial 1,170-mile project that, if and when it is completed, will shuttle an estimated 470,000 barrels of crude oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois. “It’s immoral, and wrong, and dangerous to us all,” Clark Jr. adds.

Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis of Sick Vets

Matt Rota, special to ProPublica

By Charles Ornstein for Pro Publica – A Pentagon consultant was recommending that Air Force officials quickly and discreetly chop up and melt down a fleet of C-123 aircraft that had once sprayed the toxic herbicide Agent Orange across Vietnam. The consultant also suggested how to downplay the risk if journalists started asking questions: “The longer this issue remains unresolved, the greater the likelihood of outside press reporting on yet another ‘Agent Orange Controversy.’”