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.
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”)
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.’”
By Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress – In the days since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem as a way to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States, journalists, fans, and NFL players both past and present have expressed their outrage. Most of their criticism focuses in on the disrespect that Kaepernick was supposedly showing the flag and the U.S. military members who have fought and died for our freedom.
By Tom Dispatch and Ann Jones. Today, citizens of the United States directly bear the burden of more than 150 years of warfare. As of May 2016, the VA was still paying benefits to one dependent of a Civil War (1861-1865) veteran, 88 dependents of Spanish-American War (1898-1902) veterans, nine dependents of veterans of the military campaign along the Mexican border early in the twentieth century, thousands of dependents of World War I (1917-1918) veterans, hundreds of thousands of World War II (1941-1945) veterans and dependents, hundreds of thousands of Korean War (1950-1953) veterans and dependents, around 1.8 million Vietnam War-era (1964-1975) veterans and dependents, and millions of veterans and dependents of the Gulf War (1990-1991) and of the ongoing War on Terror campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere (2001 to the present).
By Debbi Baker for The San Diego Union Tribune – There is a debate playing out in the pages of the Union-Tribune Thursday morning over the MCAS Miramar Air Show which will roar into and over San Diego skies next month. A local veterans group says the annual aviation extravaganza glorifies war and the machinery used to kill, maim and destroy, and it is calling for the show to end. Marine Corps officials, however, argue the three-day event showcases what it takes to lead the nation and the world.
By Brendan James for Slate – One after another, reporters and pundits, hacks and flacks all began circulating George W. Bush’s response from more than a decade ago to the protest of a dead soldier’s parent. It was a lesson in manners for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who had just attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, themselves the parents of a dead soldier, for having denounced the candidate as an unpatriotic bigot at the Democratic National Convention. “Compare Trump to Bush addressing Cindy Sheehan,” tweeted a Daily Beast editor, echoing dozens of others.