#DeplatformSixDays

https://action.cair.com/a/no-to-six-days-in-fallujah

Tuesday, May 4th at 4pm PDT
Veterans For Peace Twitch Channel

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Veterans For Peace are calling calling on Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation) and Valve not to host or digitally distribute the soon-to-be-released video game “Six Days in Fallujah,” developed by Highwire Games and published by Victura.  

CAIR and Veterans for Peace believe at its core, the game is an “Arab murder simulator” that glorifies violence that took the lives of over 800 Iraqi civilians, justifies the illegal invasion of Iraq and reinforces Islamophobic narratives.  

Join Veterans For Peace and CAIR for a discussion on May 4th on the upcoming game titled “6 Days in Fallujah” and the truth behind the deadly U.S. military assault on Iraq.  Panel consists of CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert McCraw, CAIR Research and Advocacy Coordinator Huzaifa Shahbaz, veterans of the war on Iraq, Ross Caputi and Chris Velazquez with an introduction by VFP Executive Director Garett Reppenhagen. 

Sign the petition

Mark your calendars for May 4th and join Gamers For Peace on the VFP Twitch channel!

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Veterans Deliver Letter to Special Climate Envoy John Kerry

Veterans ask Kerry to recognize U.S. militarism is a key contributor to the climate crisis.

Add your name to the petition and join Veterans For Peace asking John Kerry to place militarism at the center of the climate conversation and the movement for climate justice! 

VFP National Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 14th

Contact: press@veteransforpeace.org, 314-899-4515

April 15, 2021

Veterans Deliver Letter to Special Climate Envoy John Kerry
Veterans ask Kerry to recognize U.S. militarism is a key contributor to the climate crisis.

Veterans For Peace delivered a letter to Special Climate Envoy John Kerry on April 14th, asking Kerry to recognize that militarism is a key part of the climate crisis and the need to promote redirection of military expenditures to address the climate crisis and provide for human needs.

Executive Director Garett Reppenhagen, OIF veteran, Board President Adrienne Kinne, Army veteran, and Vince Dijanich and Steve Morse, Viet Nam veterans, met yesterday with Senior Advisors to the U.S. Special Envoy, Elan Strait and Stephanie Epner to discuss concerns and deliver a letter signed by over 200 climate, environmental, peace and veterans organizations.

Veterans ask Climate Envoy Kerry to:

  1. Include military Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in all reporting and data on GHGs (they never should have been excluded).
  2. Use his public platform to promote major reductions in the military and its expenditures, including eliminating hundreds of overseas bases, rejecting nuclear modernization and endless war.
  3. Promote bilateral accords with Russia and China to stop funding fossil fuel projects and promote cooperation toward green economies.
  4. Fight for the US to pay its fair share to the Green Climate Fund.
  5.  Promote a Just Transition with union jobs and prevailing wages for workers displaced from the fossil fuel and weapons industries, and for low-wage workers.
  6. View grassroots climate, environmental justice and anti-war groups as allies and work with them as partners.

[Full Text of Letter]

John Kerry famously testified before Congress 50 years ago how as a soldier he could not hold his silence on the destructive nature of the war on Viet Nam, ” says Steve Morse, Viet Nam veteran, “We feel that we too cannot be silent on how U.S. militarism is a key contributor to the climate crisis.”

The climate crisis is past the point where the U.S. can just take symbolic action, nor can we accept military greenwashing. Electric powered humvees and biodiesel navy fleets are still capable of devastating the environment. Veterans see first hand the cost of war and John Kerry is uniquely positioned to seriously push to greatly reduce the military’s reach around the world,” says Adrienne Kinne, Army veteran, 1994-2004. “It is imperative that the U.S. end the squandering of financial, material and human resources, and minimize the Pentagon’s carbon bootprint.

[Interviews are available upon request]
####

Veterans For Peace is a network of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars.

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Changed your mind and want to get out of the Delayed Entry Program (DEP)?

If you signed up for the Delayed Entry Program DEP (or the Army’s “Future Soldiers Training Program”) and then changed your mind, watch out for recruiters who say you can’t get out of it, or that you must report to boot camp to be released. Neither is true. To quit the DEP, there are simple steps you should take before your date to report for basic training. Don’t expect your recruiter to help you, and you should NOT go to a military base if you are told to report there to get released.

For free help getting out of the DEP, first talk to a counselor by contacting the GI Rights Hotline, (877) 447-4487 and leave a message that you want to get out of the Delayed Entry Program with your name and contact phone number and YOU WILL BE CALLED BACK.

If you need to talk about your situation quickly, call Call the Military Law Task Force @ 619-463-2369 and talk to a counselor ASAP.

FIND OUT MORE AT:https://nnomy.org/depjustdontgo

#DelayedEntry #FutureSoldier #NotYourSoldier #DEPJustDontGo #NNOMYpeace

FAQ: Here are the Facts on Getting Out of the Delayed Entry Program

Provided by NNOMY – The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth

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Stop Police Militarization. Abolish the 1033 Program.

The Federal 1033 program allows any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency to acquire military weapons from the Pentagon.

According to Defense Logistics Agency reports, neither the Corvallis Police Department nor the Benton County Sheriffs Office participate in the 1033 program. Our VFP chapter is working to ensure that does not change.

Meanwhile, please join Black Alliance for Peace in calling for the 1033 program’s abolition.

Here is their recent press release with a link to sign their petition. President Biden can do this with the stroke of a pen. A 1033 fact sheet follows the press release.

BAP Demands Biden Abolish—Not Just Alter—1033 Program

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order to alter the Department of Defense’s 1033 program because of his supposed commitment to racial justice an affront. The gratuitous militarization of police forces across the United States through this program has helped to turn these agencies into brutal weapons of repression. Therefore, nothing short of complete abolition of this program is acceptable.

BAP has demanded abolition of the 1033 program since BAP’s 2017 founding. It now asks the public to sign a petition demanding the Biden administration and Democrats commit to abolishing this racist and brutal program.

Continue reading here.

1033 program fact sheet here.

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Task & Purpose: The Pentagon tried to bury an alarming survey about widespread racism in the ranks

Posted at Task & Purpose here, Jan. 28, 2021.

What many of us have known for years…CONFIRMED!

From the article: “Overall, about one in five active duty members (17.9%) indicated experiencing racial/ethnic harassment and/or discrimination in the 12 months prior to taking the survey,” according to a copy of the survey. “Black (31.2%) and Asian (23.3%) members were more likely to indicate experiencing Racial/Ethnic Harassment/ Discrimination than other active duty members, whereas White members (12.7%) were less likely.“Overall, Total Minority (24.4%) members were more likely to indicate experiencing Racial/Ethnic Harassment/Discrimination, whereas White members (12.7%) were less likely.”

click for the full story
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MLK’s act of faith on health care

An commentary piece from our Linus Pauling VFP Chapter President, Rick Staggenborg, which appeared in the Jan. 16 edition of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

My two passions are working to oppose war through Veterans For Peace and promoting universal health care through Health Care for All Oregon. I do outreach for HCAO within the faith community of Albany and around the state, trying to convince others that we need to create a system that provides care based on need rather than ability to pay. I am frequently asked, “Isn’t that a political issue?” The short answer is yes and no. The longer answer is the subject of this essay.
Reverend King once said: “A nation that year after year continues to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” He also said: “Of all the forms of injustice, inequality in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Dr. King’s faith drove him to oppose racism, poverty, and war, which he recognized are intimately intertwined. Though he realized addressing these problems would involve political action, he knew it was his spiritual duty to speak out.
Working for social change involves politics, but it is our duty to do so if we profess to care for others as we would want them to care for us. We must remember the lesson of the good Samaritan. Like the traveler who he helped, anyone can fall victim to illness or injury. People of good conscience cannot ignore their suffering when they can help.
Losing access to health care can happen to almost anyone under 65. The economic disaster brought on by the pandemic has made clear that having a job does not assure you can get care when you need it. The great majority of those without insurance are employed, often as essential workers. They just don’t make enough to afford insurance. Even if they can afford the premiums, they often cannot pay the out-of-pocket costs, so they forego needed care. Millions more have fallen through this crack in the system in the time of COVID.
Over 40,000 Americans die needlessly every year for lack of access to health care. Over 60% of all bankruptcies are primarily due to medical bills. One wonders why anyone who claims to have faith should be more concerned about the miniscule chance that any nation would dare to attack America than the fact that our fellow citizens are dying of treatable disease.
In a representative democracy, the government’s actions should reflect the values of its citizens. When it does not, it is the duty of those citizens to push for change. In a democracy, we cannot escape responsibility for the actions of our government. When we spend trillions of dollars on wars without end, it is the height of hypocrisy to say that Americans must fend for themselves if they get sick and go bankrupt if they cannot afford medical bills.
It took political action by people of faith to end slavery, achieve (nominal) equal rights under the law and to make war illegal (though most don’t know it, after the carnage of WWI, a mass movement led by people of faith resulted in the signing of the Kellogg-Brian Treaty outlawing war). It will take political action to create a system of universal health care and to stop endless war. King died only months after his 1967 Riverside speech in New York City opposing the war in Vietnam. In it, he made the connection between war, poverty and racism in a way that alarmed other leaders in the civil rights movement, who feared the political consequences. To honor his sacrifice, we must do the hard work of pushing our government to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

Rick Staggenborg, a retired Veterans Affairs psychiatrist living in Albany, is President of the Linus Pauling Chapter of Veterans For Peace and a co-convener of the HCAO Faith Caucus.

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Just Released: Brown Univ. Costs of War study finds Afghan civilian deaths up dramatically after Trump 2017 ROE changes

“…new rules of engagement (ROE) ushered in by the Trump administration three years ago coincided with a 95 percent increase in [Afghan] civilians killed by U.S and allied airstrikes compared to the previous decade.”

Study: “Afghanistan’s Rising Civilian Death Toll Due to Airstrikes, 2017-2020.”

By Neta C. Crawford. Released December 7, 2020 by the Brown University “Costs of War” Project.

Summary: “When the United States tightens its rules of engagement and restricts air strikes where civilians are at risk, civilian casualties tend to go down; when it loosens those restrictions, civilians are injured and killed in greater numbers.

“In 2017 the Pentagon relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes and escalated the air war in Afghanistan. The aim was to gain leverage at the bargaining table. From 2017 through 2019, civilian deaths due to U.S. and allied forces’ airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically increased.

In 2019 airstrikes killed 700 civilians – more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002. [emphasis added]

“After the U.S. and Taliban reached a peace agreement in late February 2020, U.S. and other international air strikes declined – and so did the harm to civilians caused by those strikes. The Afghan government is now negotiating with the Taliban and as part of a broader offensive, perhaps aimed at increasing Afghan government leverage in the talks, air strikes by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) have increased. As a consequence, the AAF is harming more Afghan civilians than at any time in its history.

“The uptick in civilians killed by AAF airstrikes between July and September 2020 was particularly striking. In the first six months of this year, the AAF killed 86 Afghan civilians and injured 103 civilians in airstrikes. That rate of harm nearly doubled in the next three months. Between July and the end of September, the Afghan Air Force killed 70 civilians and 90 civilians were injured.

“As with the international air strikes, some of this harm could be avoided by tighter rules of engagement, as well as better training. A negotiated ceasefire might also yield results at the bargaining table and at the same time avoid escalating harm to Afghan civilians from airstrikes.”

Read the full study here.

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Far Right Militias Are Recruiting Vets. We Must Organize Against This Trend.

By Rory Fanning, Truthout

Published November 11, 2020 at Truthout.org

After nearly four years of Donald Trump, far right and white supremacist forces are emboldened in the United States. As a war veteran, I know very well that veterans are far from immune to this problem — in fact, the war machine conditions vets to embrace white supremacy. Meanwhile, the military carries out racist practices of recruitment, targets working-class communities of color and carries out inherently racist wars abroad, feeding the connection further.

Killing another human being is the most unnatural thing a person can do, which is why the U.S. government has spent so much time and energy researching ways soldiers can overcome their instinct to avoid killing. In order for soldiers to kill, racist indoctrination needs to be part of the training. The otherization of the enemy that happens through military training is how many soldiers ultimately come to squeeze the trigger on combatants and innocent civilians. Most people can’t kill another human unless they feel they have some sort of moral imperative for doing so. Racism is one of the ways the U.S. military compels soldiers to kill — by declaring their targets to be less than human.

I saw it myself when I was in the military. The people of Afghanistan were never referred to as Afghans. They were only mentioned in the most derogatory terms. We never discussed Afghans in a positive light. We focused only on the extreme and violent acts committed by a microscopic percentage of the Afghan population. Of course, there was zero acknowledgment of the exponentially larger atrocities the U.S. military has committed throughout American history. The results of this training have been devastating.

This summer, the Military Times conducted a poll among active-duty soldiers. Soldiers identified white nationalism as a “national security threat on par with al-Qaida and the Islamic State Group, and more worrisome than the danger posed by North Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq.” This same Military Times poll reported that 57 percent of troops of color have personally experienced some form of racist or white supremacist behavior; and that one-third of all active-duty soldiers see signs of white supremacist or racist ideology in the ranks.

Vets returning home from deployments, oftentimes to dire employment situations, now only made worse by the COVID pandemic, are primed to be manipulated by far right hate groups and militias. We are seeing this play out. The numbers are disturbing. Veterans make up 25 percent of all militia members in the U.S., according to a recent report from The New York Times.

The Oath Keepers is one of the largest far right anti-government organizations in the country, with tens of thousands of members according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Oath Keepers see vets as critical to their organization as they actively prepare for Civil War.

And when we talk about far right paramilitary groups that vets are drawn to, police departments are the largest among them. Police departments, evidenced by their overwhelming support for Trump and their disproportionate targeting of Black and Brown people, reinforce the racist indoctrination these vets were exposed to in the military.

Research done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that there are twice as many police and prison guards as there are auto workers in the U.S. Seven percent of the population are veterans; yet vets make up 19 percent of all police. This reality makes the decision to sign up for the police force an all too convenient option for returning vets.

However, active-duty troops and veterans are not a homogeneous body. Some of the fiercest anti-racists I know are veterans. Thousands of them participate in groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War. Many sign up to fight with noble intentions. They believe they are defending freedom and democracy. They, too, are victims of the U.S. war machine and propaganda. Many become disillusioned by the day-to-day reality of the military, and they return home ready to share their experiences and fight systematic oppression. And there are hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown active-duty soldiers and vets.

The left should embrace vets willing to renounce their training. Veterans can be incredibly effective in the fight against white supremacy, not only because they have proven that they are willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than themselves, but also because they have an understanding of how deep and sophisticated the white supremacist project runs in this country, not only domestically but also abroad.

The problem lies in ignoring the increasing minority of vets who gravitate toward white supremacist groups.

Radical policy changes need to be enacted if we hope to push back on the growth of white supremacy among vets. Challenging U.S. imperialism and combating white supremacy are part of the same struggle. We challenge U.S. imperialism by providing alternatives for high-school age students who see the military as their only option after graduation. We fight for the development of programs like the Green New Deal, which would provide jobs for thousands of returning vets currently stationed in one of the 800 military bases around the world. We organize for student debt abolition and free education. Too many high-school age students sign up for the military because they can’t afford college. And we work to defund and abolish the police and prison-industrial complex — agents of white supremacy that suck in veterans as both employees and prisoners.

The far right and the influence it has over some vets will not go away under a Biden administration. Racism thrives in desperate economic situations, and our profit-based system, enthusiastically endorsed by Biden, is incapable of solving the economic crisis now facing this country. Organized and widespread pressure needs to be imposed on the next administration if we ever hope to see real change. If we fail to come together on these issues over the next four years, the stage will be set for someone even more dangerous than Trump in 2024. Such a person will undoubtedly mobilize sympathetic, military-trained followers.

—————-

Rory Fanning

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America, and co-author with Craig Hodges of Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter. He regularly speaks at high schools and universities about his walk across the U.S. and his experience as a war resister. Follow him on Twitter: @RTFanning.

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

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Free Webinar: AFRICOM & Human Rights in Africa

When: Friday, December 4 at 11 am (PST). The program will run about two hours.

Register: For more information, including bios of the panelists, and to register (click here).

AFRICOM is the acronym for “Africa Command” and is one of the Pentagon’s “11 combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war.” [1]

World BEYOND War (WBW) is working with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), U.S. Section, and the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) in hosting a webinar on AFRICOM on December 4th.

The webinar will feature first-hand reports from WILPF members living in Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya. Additional speakers include Amanda Sperber, award-winning investigative journalist who will be speaking about Somalia, and Margaret Kimberley representing BAP and their initiative: Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM.

The U.S. military established AFRICOM on October 1, 2008. They claim that combat operations in Africa are to counter violent extremist organizations which they say are finding safe haven throughout African countries. However, the truth is that the U.S. uses military force to impose control of African land, resources and labor to service the needs of U.S. multinational corporations and the wealthy in the United States.
Despite the Pentagon’s claims that AFRICOM has a “light footprint,” recent documents reveal that the U.S. has at least 29 military bases in 15 countries across the continent.

This webinar is endorsed by our Veterans For Peace Chapter and the Albany Peace Seekers, among many other groups.

We encourage our VFP members to attend. We will discuss the topic at our December 12 chapter meeting.

[1] https://www.defense.gov/Our-Story/Combatant-Commands/

Posted in Foreign Policy, Human War Toll, Linus Pauling Chapter Actions, Pentagon Budget | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Lawyers Guild: MLTF PROVIDES LEGAL RESOURCES ON 2020 ELECTION RESPONSE FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND ADVOCATES

Responding to broad concerns about the possibility for unlawful orders regarding the 2020 election, MLTF is providing new and expanded resources for attorneys, GI rights advocates, and servicemembers.

News Release – October 29, 2020

https://nlgmltf.org/military-law/2020/legal-resources-for-military-personnel/

The Military Law Task Force (MLTF) of the National Lawyers Guild shares the concerns of many in the public and the legal community, that US servicemembers may be given illegal orders or face real conflicts with their moral, political, or religious beliefs in the context of the 2020 Presidential election and its aftermath. In particular, we are concerned that National Guard members and other military personnel may be used in voter suppression or repression of progressive demonstrations.

The Task Force is troubled about the lack of effective legal alternatives for servicemembers dealing with possible illegal orders and believes it is essential that members of the military are fully informed about their rights under the law. We are also concerned that servicemembers are given almost no information about options available to them under military regulations to avoid direct orders that threaten the integrity of our democracy and violate the Constitution of the United States.

For this reason, the Task Force has set up a system for free, confidential telephone consultations with attorneys to discuss possible illegal orders and related issues. Servicemembers can call the MLTF, at 619-463-2369, for referral to a volunteer attorney. In addition, the Task Force has now posted legal resource material for servicemembers, attorneys, legal workers and law students on this website. An audio Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar presented by MLTF attorney James Branum is available on the website.   A comprehensive legal memo is included as part of the CLE which discusses the law regarding illegal orders and alternative methods of avoiding compliance with such orders.

The Military Law Task Force wants servicemembers to be fully informed as they make these choices and urges anyone who is activated or deployed, or might be facing a future deployment, to call us for referral to a civilian attorney or counselor to discuss their options.


For more information and resources, please visit:

nlgmltf.org (619-463-2369)
girightshotline.org (1-877-447-4487)
couragetoresist.org
aboutfaceveterans.org
veteransforpeace.org
centeronconscience.org

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