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Veterans For Peace National Convention in Miami to Feature Alice Walker, Phil Donahue

Veterans For Peace
216 South Meramec Ave
St. Louis MO 63105
http://veteransforpeace.org
(314) 725-6005(office)
(314) 725-7103 (fax)
For Immediate Release - August 1, 2012

Veterans For Peace will hold its 2012 National Convention in Miami, Fla., August 8-11. The event, which includes speeches, films, workshops, and musical entertainment, is open to the public and will feature prize-winning novelist Alice Walker, film producer Phil Donahue, activist Roy Bourgeois, and many other speakers.  The text of a public service announcement follows the list of speakers below.

The theme of this 27th annual convention will be "Liberating the Americas: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean."

"No region in the world these days," said Veterans For Peace President Leah Bolger, "is as much on the forward march toward liberation. We are in the third century of the struggle to abolish the Monroe Doctrine. Advances (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay) exist side-by-side with setbacks engineered by U.S. imperialism (Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, etc.). We in the United States have a moral responsibility to change our government's view of Latin American and Caribbean nations as being our 'backyard' and sources of cheap labor and natural resources. It is time for our government to stop bullying the region and show respect and recognition for rights to national sovereignty."

The full schedule and registration information are available at http://vfpnationalconvention.org

Alice Walker
Pulitzer prize winning novelist and poet, teacher, and activist.  Ms Walker will be a keynote speaker at the banquet Saturday, August 11th.



 



Phil Donahue
Media personality, writer, and film producer.
Mr. Donahue will present the film “Body of War,” which he produced, Wednesday, August 8th.

 

 

 

 




Father Roy Bourgeois
Activist and priest, founder of the human rights organization “School of the Americas Watch.”  Father Bourgeois will be a keynote speaker at the banquet Saturday, August 11th.




Marleine Bastien
Haitian-American activist and Congressional candidate, Executive Director of “Haitian Women of America.”  Ms Bastien will be a speaker at the opening plenary Thursday, August 9th.

 

 



Ann Wright
Retired Army colonel and former diplomat, author and activist.  Ms Wright will co-facilitate a workshop about drones with Medea Benjamin, and will moderate a panel on Military Sexual Trauma.

 




Medea Benjamin
Activist and author, founder of anti-war organization “Code Pink,” and fair trade advocacy group “Global Exchange.”  Ms Benjamin will co-facilitate a workshop about drones with Ann Wright and will speak at the Friday evening event.

 

 


Leah Bolger
Retired Navy commander and activist, President of Veterans For Peace.   Ms Bolger will speak at the opening plenary on Thursday, August 9th.


 

 


David Swanson
Author, activist, and radio host.  Mr. Swanson will co-facilitate a workshop entitled, Misleading America:  U. S. Military Expansion Since the End of the Cold War.


 

 



Mike Reid
Executive Director of Veterans For Peace.  Mr. Reid will host the Saturday Banquet.


 



Paula Caplan
PH.D., Fellow, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School;Associate, DuBois Institute, Harvard University.  Ms. Caplan will facilitate the plenary workshop on War Trauma.


 

 



Camilo Mejia
First veteran from Iraq to publicly challenge the morality of the war and refuse to fight.  Author of The Road from Ar Ramadi.   Mr. Mejia will emcee the opening plenary on Thursday, August 9th.

 

 



Charlie Clements
Carr Center's Executive Director, widely respected human rights activist and public health physician.  Dr.   Clements will host an Academy Award winning documentary about his experiences as a guerrilla doctor in El Salvador in the 1980's, Witness to War.

 



Bruce Gagnon
Executive Director of Global Network, deeply involved in JeJu Island Action.  Mr. Gagnon will co-facilitate the workshop entitled,  Obama’s Pivot Toward Asia-Pacific:  Dangerous, Destabilizing and Costly.


 



Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Producer of film, American Autumn:  An Occudoc.  Mr. Trainor will host a showing of the film on Thursday, August 9th.

 

 



John Lindsay Poland
Research and advocacy director of Fellowship of Reconciliation and founder of Colombia's Peace Team.  Mr. Poland will host the workshop entitled, The Pentagon in Latin America and the Caribbean.




 

PSA text:

Veterans For Peace invites you to attend its 27th annual national convention August 8 - 11 at the Miami Marriott - Biscayne Bay (1633 North Bayshore Drive, Miami). The convention features Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker and Father Roy Bourgeois (initiator of the School of the Americas Watch at Fort Benning, GA) at the culminating Saturday night banquet with steel pan entertainment provided by pannist David DeSousa. Phil Donahue hosts Body of War, his film about Iraq veteran Tomas Young on opening night Wednesday. Marleine Bastien, Leah Bolger, DeAnne Graham and Camilo Mejia present at the opening plenary Thursday morning, and Medea Benjamin, Max Rameau, Dr. Jill Stein, and Rep. Frederica Wilson speak at the "Veterans Meet the Community" program Friday evening at Trinity Episcopal Catherdral, next door to the Marriott.

Movies (free and open to the public) are featured each day at lunch and in the evening. All activities except Friday night's event will be in the 3rd floor ballroom of the Marriott. Banquet tickets are $60, 4 for $200, or a table of 10 for $450. Exciting and informative workshops and plenaries take place all day Thursday and Friday (War Trauma/PTSD, Agent Orange, No War on Iran, Close Down the School of the Americas, Active-Duty GI Resistance, etc). A one-day pass is $25. For more information (including a schedule of events, workshops, and plenaries) visit www.vfpnationalconvention.org, or contact Patrick McCann at 240-271-2246 or unityact2@aol.com.

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Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

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Talk Nation Radio: Leah Bolger on the Upcoming National Convention of Veterans For Peace

Leah Bolger is the current, and the first female, president of Veterans For Peace, which is holding a national convention in Miami, Fla., August 8-12, 2012.  The event is open to the public and speakers include Alice Walker, Phil Donahue, Roy Bourgeois, Marleine Bastien, and many others.  Bolger explains the work of Veterans For Peace and its dedication to eliminating war. See http://veteransforpeace.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Veterans For Peace/Veterans Peace Team Calls on Police to Cease Aggression Against Peaceful Protesters

In June, U.N. envoys called on the U.S. government to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. However, the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to demand redress of grievances by the government continue to be met instead with police violence and efforts to intimidate and deter protesters.

Veterans For Peace Supports U.N. Committee in Questioning U.S. Recruitment, Killing of Children

Leah Bolger, President of Veterans For Peace, applauded a United Nations Committee this week for raising concerns about the recruitment of children into the U.S. military, the U.S. killing of children in Afghanistan, the U.S. detention and torture of children labeled "combatants," and the provision of weapons by the United States to other nations employing child soldiers.

While the United States is one of only three countries, along with Somalia and South Sudan, not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has ratified and made part of its law the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which requires special protections for any military recruits under the age of 18.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked for additional information related to the Second Periodic Report of the United States to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, (OPAC). The United States has until November 16, 2012, to respond.

The Committee cites concerns regarding the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs operating in U.S. schools, the recruiting provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery(ASVAB), a test administered to 660,000 children in 14,000 U.S. high schools each year. 

The Protocol calls for the recruitment of minors to be done with the "informed consent of the child's parents or legal guardians." Two programs operate in U.S. high schools that clearly violate this section of the treaty. One is the administration of ASVAB.  The other is the No Child Left Behind Act's requirement that schools provide recruiters with children's names and contact information.  The law lacks any mechanism to enforce a requirement that schools offer parents a way to opt out.

"Our military," said Bolger, "spends billions of our dollars every year on advertising and recruitment.  We have rallies that combine the military with Cub Scouts, complete with giant inflatable soldiers entertaining the kids.  We send impressive uniformed officers into kindergartens.  We send recruiters into schools where the vast majority of the students are minors.  Our military sponsors NASCAR race cars, flies jets over football games, and invests in Hollywood movies and video games that make killing look like the coolest and most extreme sporting event.  Students are tested in many of our public schools, and the results fed to recruiters without the knowledge of the students or their parents.  We invest so much in recruitment of every soldier, that we could have spent the money paying them to rebuild our country."

"That we are doing this to children," Bolger added, "is beyond outrageous.  We object to cigarette companies targeting the young and vulnerable.  Should we not object as strongly to the war machine doing the same -- particularly when we are legally committed to protecting our children from recruitment?"

The U.N. Committee also requests information on Afghanistan and Iraq, writing, "In view of the large number of children who have died in the on going armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . please inform the Committee of measures taken by [the United States] to ensure respect for the fundamental principles of proportionality and distinction between military objects and civilians and to establish accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.  Please also provide precise information on the results of any investigation conducted into the killing of children reported by UNAMA [the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] over the reporting period."

The committee requests that the United States provide information on children detained since 2008 and currently held in U.S. prisons in Afghanistan, as well as on particular children who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo, including Omar Kadr and Mohammed Jawad.

"That the United Nations continues to raise these concerns is heartening," said Bolger.  "But the international community can hardly keep up with the changes in U.S. policies and attitudes.  President Obama has targeted and killed children, including U.S. citizens with drone strikes, as part of a program already objected to by another branch of the United Nations.  Have we no shame?  As we contemplate new wars justified in the name of human rights, have we, at long last, no remaining shame?"

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

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Forgotten Casualties of the Vietnam War

 

By John Grant


Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500.
- Apocalypse Now

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: The Tragic Death of Brian Arredondo

By Linda Pershing, with Lara Bell, WarIsACrime.org

Brian Arredondo never really recovered from his brother’s death in the Iraq War. When they were kids, Brian adored his older brother Alexander and tagged along with him whenever he could. They were often seen playing together in parks and schoolyards in communities surrounding Boston, Massachusetts, and Bangor, Maine, where they grew up. As teens the two boys were perfect targets for military recruiters: first-generation Americans on their father’s side (he emigrated from Costa Rica), working-class youth (Alex attended a technical high school where much of the curriculum focuses on job training), living with their mother after their parents divorced when they were young. Promises of career training, male camaraderie and “becoming a man,” appeals to patriotism, a $10,000 signing bonus, and funding for college enticed Alex Arredondo to join the marines, just a month before September 11, 2011.

A Movie About What Really Happens to the Troops When Congress Is Done "Supporting" Them

Here's a movie of the sort that Hollywood should be required to make every time it makes a glorification of war.  Here's a movie of the sort that the military ought to be required to pay for every time it dumps another million into recruiting fresh blood.  This is what happens when our government is done using a man to kill.

The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth

 

By John Grant


Vietnam, a story of virtually unmitigated disasters that we have inflicted on ourselves and even more on others.

           -Bernard Brodie, 1973
 

This Memorial Day Let’s Start Caring for Our Nation’s Veterans: No More Ducking the Real Cost of US Wars!

 

By Dave Lindorff


Whether he ever said it or not, I’m going to borrow from a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln and alter it a bit to say: “American politicians must love war veterans -- they keep making so many more of them.”


Let There Be Light

Afghanistan Good Enough: When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards

 

By John Grant

 

If all else fails, lower your standards.

 

This has been my philosophy for years. My wife likes to joke it’s how she picked me; instead of prince charming, I’m “prince somewhat-charming.” So you can imagine how delighted I am that the United States of America and its NATO military allies have decided to apply that philosophy to US foreign policy in Afghanistan.

They're calling their version “Afghanistan Good Enough.”

No Country for Young Men as Old Men Play for Time: The End in Afghanistan is Totally Predictable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”

 

That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.

Waiting for the world to change

World War II veteran Samuel Winstead arrives today on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. following a seven-day, 350-mile bicycle Ride for Peace.

It has been a long time coming.

At 86, the First Marines Division serviceman has had decades to think about his course of action decrying war since returning in the autumn of 1945 from the Pacific where he fought at the Battle of Okinawa and saw more than half of his comrades killed on the island of Peleliu. But it was Winstead’s grandson, Sam, about to embark on his third tour of duty, who lit the fire that took the North Carolina native on the road from Raleigh for an end to war once and for all.

His blue eyes tearing and the sweat still on his brow from the day’s rigorously hilly 60-some mile bike ride up U.S. 522 from Gum Spring, Winstead and his support crew stopped overnight in Culpeper Wednesday. Sitting at a picnic table outside Red Carpet Inn, the World War II veteran talked about the letter his grandson sent him that spurred him to action.

“Granddaddy, I’m in Iraq and really distressed. I don’t know why we are here. The Iraqis don’t want us here. My comrades are stressed and make such outlandish statements. I don’t trust them. We have destroyed this beautiful country along with the artifacts of the world’s oldest civilization. Is it true that America has placed my generation in a $15 trillion debt to tear the world apart?” said Winstead, recalling the correspondence. “He said, ‘I don’t understand it.’ So I just decided I believe I’ll do something, damn it, whether it’s right or wrong. Maybe if I decide to ride up to Washington I’ll get some attention.”

Sam’s Ride for Peace Day 3 Tuesday, May 1st

The Grayhaven Winery, Gum Spring, VA

With farewell waves from our host Connie Moss and her daughter Rose, Sam’s Ride for Peace pedaled north toward Gum Spring, fortified by Connie’s hearty breakfast.  With fair skies and a fine tailwind, Sam, Joe and Fred made good time pedaling to Amelia where they stopped for lunch.

That’s where Michael Davis caught up with Sam.  Michael, aka “Micky Dee” is a Viet Nam Vet who chased the Ride for Peace from his home in Hillsborough, NC.  Mike is a poet/artist/blogger (see www.bicycleinn.com) and his fresh legs added energy to the ride.  Our support drivers, Ted Zeller and Wally Ewalt split up to drive Mike’s pick up toward Gum Spring so Mike could join the bicyclers.

Our 1st volunteer host in Gum Spring, Shepherd Johnson, met us in down town Gum Spring to photograph the cyclists’ arrival.  It was Shepherd that introduced Sam to Deon Abrams, one of the proprietors of the Grayhaven Winery.  Deon was attending a dinner at the South African Embassy in Washington DC, but his wife Max, son Azra and Max’s parents Chuck and Lynn Peple gave Sam and his crew a grand reception that included a wine tasting for the parched bicyclers.

We brought 2 volumes to contribute to the Grayhaven’s library.  “The Military Industrial Complex at 50,” edited by David Swanson is a collection of papers presented at the Charlottesville Conference last September.  Chuck Peple, himself an accomplished author and artist, is presently reading the Nuremberg Papers recounting the trial of Nazi Germany leaders following the end of WW II.  The Nuremberg Trials were based on Germany’s violations of the Kellogg-Briand Treaty which outlawed war in 1929.  (See Swanson’s “When the World Outlawed War.”)

The other book contributed to the Grayhaven Winery was Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa by Kenneth Broun.  Deon Abrams, a native South African, had catered an event at Montpelier earlier this year that featured a dramatic presentation of “A Conversation Between Nelson Mandela and James Madison.”  The drama featured a dialogue between Madison, a substantial contributor to the writing of the US Constitution and Mandela, a principal author of the new South African Constitution, hailed as a model for emerging democratic movements across North Africa as a result of the Arab Spring.

Chuck Peple and Sam shared recollections of their times spent on Okinawa, Sam during WW II, Chuck in the 50’s.

Max served up a grand dinner under the magnificent Maple tree.

Day 3 of Sam’s Ride for Peace was in the books.  Next overnight stop in Culpeper, then Middleburg and Leesburg, on the way to the Rally for Peace at Lafayette Park in Washington DC, 2:00pm Saturday, May 5.

Reporting by John Heuer
919-444-3823
www.ncveteransforpeace.org

Michael Davis, Sam Winstead, Bert Gurganus, Joe Winstead, Fred Mauney and John Heuer-  Photo by Shepherd Johnson

Sam’s Ride for Peace Day 2 Monday, April 30

Blackstone, VA

The original 7 riders who departed the NC Capital in Raleigh on Sunday, April 29 were reduced to the 3 elder bicyclists, 64 year old Fred Mauney, 68 year old Joe Winstead, and 86 year old WW II Marine veteran Sam Winstead for Day 2 of Sam’s Ride for Peace.  Mr. Winstead, a retired farmer from Person County, NC, launched the 7 day, 360 mile bicycle Ride for Peace bound for Washington DC.

The riders departed the Scottish Inn in Henderson, NC at 8:00am with advance scouts Wally Ewalt, 77 and Ted Zeller, 79 marking the route ahead, and Bert Gurganis, 64, driving the caution vehicle behind the bicyclists.  At least that was the plan.  Somehow Bert got ahead of the riders without realizing it, and the geezers breezed past their turn on Nutbush Rd, sailing northwest on NC 39.  It was a beautiful morning and the cyclists made great time.  It was just in the wrong direction, and out of cell phone range.  By the time Bert intercepted them they were well off course and had to be ferried to South Hill to get back on the right track.  After lunch at the Horseshoe Restaurant, the riders resumed their heading north to Blackstone.  For the afternoon ride, Bert kept Sam & company in sight.

After an impromptu visit to Bobcat Radio station 93.5 FM for a live broadcast interview with host Jack Daniel, the crew arrived at the home of Connie Moss who was hosting the riders and support crew while in Blackstone.  Connie treated the visitors to a burrito dinner with all the trimmings, fresh baked brownies and strawberries for dessert.  The party included Connie’s children, Rose, Cory and Coulter, friends Callie and Dan (with fresh produce from their farm), Kay and Mike, who walked across town instead of driving as a tribute to Sam’s Ride, and Blackstone photographer Jill.  Kay returned Tuesday morning to help Connie fix a hearty breakfast before the Ride continued north toward its May Day host, the Grayhaven Winery in Gum Spring.

Sam’s Ride for Peace is scheduled to arrive at Lafayette Park in Washington DC on Saturday, May 5th for a 2:00pm Rally for Peace.  Intermediate stops are planned for Culpeper, Wednesday, May2, Middleburg on Thursday, and Leesburg on Friday, before riding the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Trail into DC on Saturday.  Find more information on Sam’s Ride for Peace at www.ncveteransforpeace.org.


Reporting by John Heuer
919-444-3823

U.S. And South Korea Assault An Idyllic Island: Not For The First Time

By Brian Willson

Originally published by Veterans For Peace

The beautiful island of Jeju in South Korea is packed with natural and cultural treasures and designated a UNESCO world heritage site. But it has the misfortune of appearing to the U.S. military strategically positioned to play a part in surrounding China.

Most Americans are unaware of Jeju or of the U.S. policy of increasing its military presence in Korea, Japan, and the rest of the Pacific -- even moving the Marines into Australia. But for the people of Jeju, attempting to nonviolently resist the construction of a new military base, there is an eerie sense of déjà vu.

In fact Jeju's history is central to how the United States became the militarized nation it has been for over half a century.

Veterans for Peace (VFP) recently sent members to Jeju to monitor the local resistance to this militarization, but they were refused entry by Korean security officials who gave no reasons other than following orders. VFP represents thousands of U.S. military veterans who have participated in various overt and covert U.S. interventions violating the sovereignty of countless countries. This aggressive foreign policy, little mentioned in our history classes, has caused incalculable harm to people, cultures, and the environment. Our personal experiences summon us to carefully re-examine the nature and patterns of U.S. foreign policy. Our clear understanding of past and present imperial adventures compel us to passionately and tenaciously oppose further militarism, war and aggression which we see as severe obstacles to the continuation of our species.

In examining U.S. interventions since World War II, historian William Blum has recently catalogued the following disgraceful record: (1) attempted overthrow of more than 50 governments; (2) attempted suppression of populist and nationalist movements in 20 countries; (3) interference in democratic elections in at least 30 countries; (4) bombing of citizens in 30 countries; and (5) attempted assassinations of more than 50 foreign political leaders.

Shockingly, when all the empirical evidence is scrutinized, the U.S. has militarily intervened nearly 400 times since World War II in nearly 100 countries, while covertly intervening thousands of times. Millions of human beings have been murdered, maimed, and displaced as a result of this egregious, unlawful behavior. Adherence to international and Constitutional law, and honest diplomacy, have been thwarted over and over.

One of the darkest, virtually unknown chapters of U.S. intervention occurred in the southern portions of Korea prior to the Korean War. In 1945, a Joint U.S. Army-Navy Intelligence Study reported that the vast majority of Koreans possessed a strong desire for independence and self-rule, and were vehemently opposed to control by any successor to the hated Japanese who had ruled them since 1910. A subsequent U.S. study reported that nearly 80 percent of Koreans wanted a socialist, rather than capitalist system.

Despite the conclusions of these internal documents, U.S. President Harry Truman, after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, imposed a purportedly temporary partition at Korea’s 38th Parallel dividing a 5,000-year homogenous culture. He then commanded U.S. General Douglas MacArthur to “govern” the people living south of the 38th Parallel. In October 1945, needing a trusted Korean with “an [U.S.] American point of view” to be the U.S. strongman, MacArthur flew 71-year-old Korean-born Syngman Rhee from the U.S. to Seoul on MacArthur’s personal plane. Rhee, a Methodist who had lived in the United States for 40 years, was to be a surrogate ruler of Korea that was largely Buddhist and Confucianist.

Rhee unilaterally chose to hold separate elections in 1948 to “legally” create an artificially divided Korea, despite vigorous popular opposition throughout the Peninsula, north and south of the 38th Parallel, including residents of Cheju Island (now called Jeju, hereafter identified as such). What is referred to as the April 3 (1948) uprising on Jeju in response to these elections, actually lasted into 1950, and is the single greatest massacre in modern Korean history. The Jeju uprising in 1948 may be seen as a microcosm for the impending Korean War.

A CIA National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Rhee was so unpopular that the newly-established Republic of Korea (ROK) would not survive “without massive infusion of U.S. aid.”

The U.S. Embassy described the repression in response to the Jeju opposition to Rhee as a “scorched earth” campaign of “extermination.” Secret protocols placed all Korean Constabulary, police, ROK forces, and paramilitary units under USAMGIK’s (United States Army Military Government In Korea) control.

CIA documents concluded that politics under the USAMGIK and Rhee regime were dominated by a tiny elite class of wealthy Koreans who repressed dissent of the vast majority, using “ruthlessly brutal” policies similar to those of the previous Japanese machinery hated by most Koreans.

Then U.S. Military Governor of Korea, John Reed Hodge, briefed U.S. Congressional Representatives that “Cheju was a truly communal area that is peacefully controlled by the People’s Committee.” Despite this understanding, he commanded three U.S. military officers (among others) – Colonel Harley E. Fuller, Captain John P. Reed, and Captain James Hausman – to advise and coordinate the “extermination” and “scorched earth” campaign. Koreans who had collaborated with the hated Japanese occupiers now served in the U.S.-trained Korean Constabulary and police. Right wing paramilitary units became a brutal element of Rhee’s security apparatus. U.S. advisers accompanied all Korean Constabulary and police (and additional ROK units after 1948) in ground campaigns; U.S. pilots flew C-47s to ferry troops, weapons, war materiel while occasionally directing bombings; and U.S. intelligence officers provided daily intelligence. Additionally U.S. Navy war ships, including the USS Craig, blockaded and bombed the Island, preventing supplies and additional opposition forces from arriving, while preventing flight of boatloads of desperate Islanders.

Hodge’s successor, General William Roberts, declared it was of “utmost importance” that dissenters “be cleared up as soon as possible.” The repressive Japanese organization, “National League To Provide Guidance” (Bo Do Yun Maeng), was expanded by the Rhee regime. Used to systematically identify any Koreans who had opposed Japanese occupation, the League now worked to identify those who opposed the de facto brutal U.S./Rhee rule. Thousands were murdered, jailed, and tortured, and many dumped into the sea as a result.

The Governor of Jeju at the time admitted that the repression of the Island’s 300,000 residents led to the murder of as many as 60,000 Islanders, with another 40,000 desperately fleeing in boats to Japan. Thus, one-third of its residents were either murdered or fled during the “extermination” campaign. Nearly 40,000 homes were destroyed and 270 of 400 villages were leveled. One of Robert’s cohorts, Colonel Rothwell Brown, claimed that the Islanders were simply “ignorant, uneducated farmers and fishers,” a weak excuse for repressing those who, Brown asserted, refused to recognize the “superiority” of the “American Way.”

U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and George Kennan, head of the State Department’s Policy Planning, agreed in 1949 that suppression of the internal threat in South Korea, (i.e., Koreans’ passion for self-determination), with assistance of the newly created CIA, was critical to preserving Rhee’s power, and assuring success of the U.S.’s worldwide containment policy. The 1949 Chinese Revolution made repressing the neighboring Korean’s passion for self-determination indispensable for success in the emerging “Cold War,” complementing successful U.S. efforts using CIA covert actions to thwart any socialist movements in Europe following World War II.

The 1949-50 National Security Council study, known as NSC-68, laid out U.S. aims to assure a global political system to “foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish.”

The Korean War that lasted from June 1950 to July 1953, was an enlargement of the 1948-50 struggle of Jeju Islanders to preserve their self-determination from the tyrannical rule of U.S.-supported Rhee and his tiny cadre of wealthy constituents. Little known is that the U.S.-imposed division of Korea in 1945 against the wishes of the vast majority of Koreans was the primary cause of the Korean War that broke out five years later. The War destroyed by bombing most cities and villages in Korea north of the 38th Parallel, and many south of it, while killing four million Koreans – three million (one-third) of the north’s residents and one million of those living in the south, in addition to killing one million Chinese. This was a staggering international crime still unrecognized that killed five million people and permanently separated 10 million Korean families.

Following the Korean War, Dean Acheson concluded that “Korea saved us,” enabling the U.S. to implement its apocalyptic imperial strategy laid out in NSC-68. In Korea, this meant that the U.S. consistently assured dictatorial governments for nearly 50 years, long after Rhee was forced out of office at age 85 in 1960. Since 1953, the U.S. and South Korea have lived under a Mutual Defense Treaty, Status of Forces Agreements, and a Combined Forces Command headed by a 4-star U.S. general. The fact is that despite claims to the contrary, Korea has never assumed sovereignty since the U.S. imposed division of Korea in 1945. The U.S. has possessed more than 100 military bases and nearly 50,000 troops on Korean soil, and even today has dozens of bases and 28,000 troops stationed there. For decades, the U.S. maintained its main Asian bombing range south of Seoul.

Despite this gruesome history, Koreans began to successfully assert some semblance of democratic governments in the 1990s. However, despite creation of a constitution that protects free speech and basic human rights, Koreans once again are experiencing egregious repression. The Korean residents of pristine Jeju Island vigorously oppose the construction of a deep-water port to host Korean and U.S. guided missile-equipped Aegis Destroyers at the village of Gangjeong. The South Korean government headed by reactionary President Lee Myung Bak is ruthlessly repressing their legitimate, constitutionally-protected free speech. This is not acceptable. The residents of Jeju have a long history of living in peace and harmony. They were brutalized in the late 1940s for wanting independence, and are being brutalized once again for attempting to preserve self-determination. It is déjà vu.

We have been following the daily brutal repression by as many as 1,500 Korean police and security forces of Jeju’s 1,500 residents whose voices of passionate and nonviolent opposition have been completely ignored. When we called the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. to ask why this deep-water port construction continues in Gangjeong over objections of more than 90 percent of its residents, the answer has been, “Don’t call us, call your own (U.S.) government.” Political pressure from the U.S. continues to interfere with sovereignty of the Korean people as their own government disrespects, then represses, the free speech of its own citizens despite protections inscribed in the Korean constitution.

We read reports in the Korean press of more than 2600 politicians, journalists and civilians being secretly, illegally spied upon during the current Lee administration. In January 2009, Korea Broadcasting Service (KBS) aired a program that disclosed a secret deal made by the CIA-style Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), Korean police, and components of the Jeju Island government, to quash any opposition movement to the planned construction of a Jeju deep-water military port, saying such opponents are, in effect, traitors. It is being built by the huge South Korea conglomerate, Samsung, despite watchdog Public Eye citing its history of over 50 years of environmental pollution, trade union repression, corruption and tax flight. Samsung’s power in South Korea is so great that many citizens speak of the “Samsung Republic.”

And we note that the NIS has raided Korean citizens and organizations, even on the mainland, who support the valiant villagers of Gangjeong on Jeju Island who resist the militarization of their Island, of their coastline, of their villages.

The stakes are much higher now that U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen a dangerous policy to militarize the Asia-Pacific region, due to obvious U.S. political intentions to encircle resource-rival China. Jeju, only 300 miles from China’s mainland, is located in a strategic sea route between Japan, Korea, and China. Obama recently dispatched U.S. troops to a northern port of Australia (2,500 miles from China) as part of this plan, while possessing existing jet landing strips in Okinawa (400 miles), Guam (1,900), and new landing bases in Afghanistan (1,000) and Turkmenistan (1,500), and increased strategic relationships with Singapore (1,200) and Philippines (750).

The immensely biodiverse Jeju Island is a most inappropriate location for a deep-water port to host highly armed U.S. and Korean Navy war ships. Former Korean President Roh Moo Kyum designated Jeju as “Jeju Island of Global Peace” when he formally apologized for the April 1948 massacre. A popular tourist vacation spot, famous for honeymooners and sometimes called “women’s Island” due to its matriarchal history, it is also called the “Island of the Gods.” It is Jeju’s incredible unique ecosystem that makes the island so inappropriate for militarizing a deep-water port in quiet coastal village of Gangjeong. It is sheer madness to blow up sacred lava rocks to make way for violent war machines. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated no less than three World Heritage sites on Jeju, including the Gureombi Lava Rocks being blown up for construction of the Navy destroyer port that are being covered with cement along the coast. UNESCO has also designated nine Geo-Parks on Jeju, as well as designating it as a protected Global Biosphere Reserve that includes Jeju coastlines and its fragile coral reefs.

The Korean government has claimed the deep-water port will also host commercial cruise ships. Their huge weight and 1,000-foot length makes them twice as heavy and long as the 500-550 foot Aegis Destroyers. The port will not be capable of hosting these tourist ships, revealing this dual-use claim as fanciful propaganda.

Our military experiences tell us this plan by Korea and the U.S. to host missile-equipped Aegis Destroyers as part of its global anti-ballistic missile system on the pristine Island of Jeju is extremely threatening to world peace, destroys the peace of the residents of Jeju and Gangjeong village, and flaunts Korea’s Constitutional assurances of protecting free speech of its citizens. We urge the Korean government act decisively to end its continued deference to pressures from the United States, and instead commence pursuing Korea’s legitimate dignity and sovereignty.

##

This article is written by S. Brian Willson, VFP Member of Chapter 72 in Portland, OR.

Photos of Jeju Island are from http://savejejuisland.org

S. Brian Willson, commander of an Air Force security unit in Viet Nam, a trained lawyer and criminologist, and former dairy farmer, has been a long time activist critiquing the US criminal injustice system while investigating its criminal interventions abroad. He is a long time member of Veterans For Peace and recently authored his psychohistorical memoir, "Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S.Brian Willson" (PM Press, 2011).

 

 

 

Veterans For Peace Among 33 Arrested Outside Drone Base in New York State

Three members of Veterans For Peace -- Russell Brown, John Amidon, and Elliott Adams -- were among 33 peaceful protesters arrested on Sunday outside Hancock Air Field in New York State.  Almost all of the 33 were arrested preemptively, as they walked single-file and silently along a road, prior to reaching the military base, at which they intended to approach the gate and deliver a written statement.

Here is video of the walk:

And of the arrests:

Here is a news story featuring a photo of Elliott Adams being arrested: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/military_protesters_turned_awa.html

VFP Logo

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones reported that the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department made the arrests in Mattydale, NY, two blocks from the entrance to the base.  "Those arrested included an 87 year old woman in a wheelchair, parents (accompanying their children), a member of the press, and the group's attorney Ron Van Norstrand. Cameras, camcorders and phones were confiscated by the Sheriff's Department." http://blog.upstatedroneaction.org

Elliott Adams is Past President of Veterans For Peace, and current Nonviolent Training Coordinator.  He had also been arrested in 2011 as one of the Hancock 38 protesting at the same base.  Adams commented after this weekend's arrest:

"Once again local law enforcement obstructed me from complying with the Nuremberg principles. As a veteran of several war zones I understand the importance of international law like the Geneva conventions and the remarkable UN Charter. But as I tried to serve an indictment to those committing war crimes I was arrested preemptively.

"As veterans we know how important international laws like the Geneva conventions are. We know that weaponized drones are continuously being used to commit war crimes and even crimes against peace.  The Nuremberg Principles obligate us, as citizens, to stop our government from committing these crimes.  Our arrest on Sunday was a clear case of trampling on our 1st Amendment right to 'petition our government for a redress of grievances.'

"It is outrageous," Adams remarked, "that on the other side of this fence people are being murdered, albeit at long distance, and the Sheriff will not even investigate. On this side of the fence we are arrested for a 'violation of permit requirement.'"

Three women succeeded on Sunday in reading aloud at the base gate an indictment addressed to "the Service Members of Hancock Air Base."  The Indictment states, in part:

"By giving material support to the drone program, you as individuals are violating the Constitution, dishonoring your oath, and committing war crimes.  We charge the chain of command, from President Barack Obama, to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, to Commander Colonel Greg Semmel, to every drone crew, to every service member supporting or defending these illegal actions, with the following crimes: extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression, violation of national sovereignty, and the killing of innocent civilians."
http://warisacrime.org/content/indictment-drone-warriors

Adams' statement, made in court at the trial of the Hancock 38 last November is available online:
http://warisacrime.org/content/elliott-adams-member-hancock-38-and-new-hancock-34-made-statement-trial-november-1-2011

As is his statement at the sentencing hearing:
http://warisacrime.org/content/elliott-adams-sentencing-statement-november-11-2011

Adams told the judge: "I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time.  I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom."  The judge, however, gave Adams a suspended sentence and probation conditions.  Adams has not ceased protesting drone wars.

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

##

Member of Veterans for Peace Alters Afghanistan Discussion on CNN

Scott Camil, a veteran of the second-longest U.S. war in history, that on Vietnam, radically changed a discussion of the longest war in U.S. history, that on Afghanistan, on CNN on Sunday.

CNN's Don Lemon tried repeatedly to explain troops posing with body parts as an inscrutable result of war, without questioning the justification of that war.  Repeatedly, Lemon instructed viewers not to judge soldiers. 

A guest to whom Lemon devoted a great deal of time, Dr. Terry Lyles, followed Lemon's leads and was praised by Lemon as the best guest he'd heard from on the topic.  Lyles suggested the problem was one of public relations: "We need to do a better job," he said, "you know, with them psychologically to help them understand that the world is watching.  Be careful about what you do and what you capture while what you're doing every day is very difficult."

VFP Logo

Scott Camil took a different tack, saying: "Well no we don't know what it's like to be in combat unless you've been in combat, but I think the real question is: you're nit picking when you're talking about things like people posing with bodies.  The real question should be why are we at war in the first place? Why are we killing so many people in the first place? The concern over posing with someone that's dead, it seems to me the fact that that person is dead and that we're killing people is more important than what happens after they're dead." 

Camil's comment was so effective that the next panelist to speak shifted to his topic.  Holly Hughes remarked: "Scott hit the nail on the head because now we've opened a dialogue.  What are we talking about now?  Shouldn't we be more upset that we're out there killing people? . . . Maybe we need to assess why we're there in the first place." 

Camil continued: "What I understand is what it's like to be in a war zone and I understand the behavior in a war zone.  And I would say that, first of all, that war is really an institution made up of criminal behavior.  When we as civilians want to solve our problems, we're not allowed to murder people and burn their houses down.  I don't see why war is an acceptable means of conflict resolution.  And furthermore, the majority of people that die are innocent civilians."

Some fundamental truths are rarely spoken on television.

Watch the video:

Scott Camil was honorably discharged with 13 medals including 2 purple hearts following 20 months voluntarily spent as a Marine in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967.  He testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971, and was a founding member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc. He is an active member of Veterans For Peace and serves as the President of Chapter 014 in Gainesville, Florida.

Veterans for Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

A Conspiracy of Whores

 

By John Grant

 

Whore: (verb) To debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.

-The New Oxford American Dictionary

 

It’s a challenge to make adult sense of the absurdities coming out of Colombia right now.

D.P Lindorff Sr. Dies: Radar Pioneer, Engineering Professor, Jungian Analyst and TCBH! Contributor

 

By Dave Lindorff, Jr.

 

David Plimpton Lindorff, an occasional contributor to ThisCantBeHappening! and perhaps the last survivor of the Radiation Lab, a top-secret World War II project in Cambridge, MA that led to the placing of radar on aircraft, died March 15 in Storrs, CT at the age of 89 as a result of complications from ataxia. 

 

Afghanistan: The Wheels Are Coming Off

 

By John Grant

 

When does a determination to look on the bright side turn into a state of denial? That is, when do leaders of a secrecy-obsessed US government admit the decision-making surrounding the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan was misguided from the beginning and the endgame is a mess because of it?

While the leadership of America is mud-wrestling with itself in the election "silly season," the nation is watching the wheels come off its military occupation of Afghanistan. It feels like that special effects TV ad for a new SUV in which, as the SUV speeds forward, thousands of its parts magically come flinging loose until we see nothing but the truck chassis speeding ahead.

Veterans For Peace Elects First Female President!

Retired U. S. Navy Commander to take the helm

Veterans For Peace, a non-profit educational organization, has elected Leah Bolger, a retired U.S. Navy commander to serve as its first female president in its 26-year history.  VFP has over 5000 members organized into more than 125 chapters across the country and seeks to educate the public about the true costs and consequences of wars and militarism. 

Bolger, who retired after 20 years of active duty service in 2000, received her commission from Officer Candidates' School in Newport, RI in 1980.  Her service included four overseas tours including Iceland, Bermuda, Japan and Tunisia.  She received her masters degree in National Security from the Naval War College in 1994, and was appointed as a military fellow at the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997.

In 2006, Bolger formed a VFP chapter in Corvallis, Oregon, and served as its president for three years until she was elected to the national Board of Directors.  She then served as the national vice-president until her recent election as president.

According to Bolger, "After more than ten years of illegal and immoral wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the drumbeat for war on Iran growing louder by the day, there has never been a more important time for veterans to stand up and speak out about the truth of war and to oppose it in every way we can.  Veterans can speak with the voice of experience about the futility of war and violence.  War itself is not inevitable, but once started, the killing of innocent people is certain.  I support the words of fellow VFP member, the late Howard Zinn in saying:  "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."   I am proud and honored to be the President of Veterans For Peace at this critical time, and it is my hope that VFP will some day succeed in its ultimate goal of abolishing war.  I call on my fellow military brothers and sisters to join Veterans For Peace in our struggle against war and militarism."

 

 

Another War on Iraq Veteran Fails to Immediately Stop Doing What He Was Trained to Do

AP: Police investigators say a highly decorated Iraqi war veteran shot and killed his wife before fatally shooting himself in their Daytona Beach apartment.

Authorities found the bodies of 28-year-old Jason Pemberton and his 25-year-old wife Tiffany on Sunday after a neighbor called police about a dog on the couple's balcony. Police say the shootings likely occurred Saturday.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood says neighbors told them they frequently heard arguing in the apartment.

Pemberton's uncle, Darrell Pemberton of Evergreen, Ala., told the Daytona Beach News-Journal his nephew earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and other medals during three tours of duty. The uncle says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and received a medical discharge from the U.S. Army in 2009 due to a back injury.

Droning on... and on, across whole countries... with secret military & CIA programs...

In Air America: Under the Imperial Eye, Chris Floyd reports on the recent revelation that Iraq's supposedly "sovereign airspace" is constantly under surveillance by a network of drones operated by the State Department. Apparently the only reason this news came to light is because of a publicly available government appeal for private bids on the project. Neither we nor Iraqis were meant to know:

"Iraqis were outraged this week to find they are being spied upon by a fleet of American drones hovering constantly in their supposedly sovereign skies, long after the supposed withdrawal of American forces."

Marine veteran accused of killing four homeless men

A former Marine who is suspected of killing four homeless men in Orange County, California recently visited his homeless father to warn him of the dangers of living on the streets.

Refugio Ocampo, 49, told The Associate Press that his son, Itzcoatl Ocampo, visited just days before being arrested on Friday.

READ THE REST.

Are you a veteran of the Gulf War (1990-1991)?

We seek men and women who served in the Gulf region during the first Gulf War (1990 -1991) for a research study.  Veterans with or without Gulf War Illness are eligible.  This involves one visit to Massachusetts General Hospital during which various tests for nerve injury will be performed, including removal of a small skin-biopsy from your lower leg under local anesthesia.  Payment for participation is offered. For more information, please contact Siena Napoleon (snapoleon@partners.org) at 617-726-9391.  

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