By Rena Guay, Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. September 30, 2013
Thanks to help from the Task Force, I was able to attend the first days of the Manning court-martial, and also attended the June 1 rally outside the main gate to Ft. Meade, which was organized by the Bradley Manning Support Network (now the Private Manning Support Network).
I wanted to witness the court-martial for myself and more clearly understand the case and the support campaign developed around it. MLTF executive director Kathy Gilberd reflects the general consensus among military law professionals (and progressive activists like me) that the Manning court-martial is “one of the most important cases in our military’s history.”
Tucson, Arizona ~ November 1-3
This fall, Courage to Resist will be joining our fiscal sponsor, the Alliance for Global Justice -- and dozens of allied groups and a multitude of activists from around the United States -- for a three-day conference to network and strategize towards a more unified, effective movement for change. Titled "Tear Down the Walls," the gathering recognizes the many facets of social and economic justice transformation called for in our laws and policies, from literal walls such as the U.S. border and prison cell blocks, to divisive forces such as militarism, oppression by race, gender, the criminalization of the poor--the list goes on and on. But most of all, "Tear Down the Walls" will be geared towards erasing the artificial obstacles that prevent those interested in transformative change from working more closely together, across the issues.
André Shepherd's political asylum case to be heard in Luxemburg soon
September 16, 2013. Connection-eV (Germany)
"It is good to see that there is progress in the case", declared André Shepherd today. "We hope that the European Court not only has the will, but the courage to take a stand for the right to freedom of conscience. Other soldiers should feel assured that their decision not to participate in wars or crimes in violation of international law will be supported."
Several days ago the Munich Administrative Court issued a formal decision to request that the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg clarify several fundamental questions pertaining to the asylum request case of the American GI war resister André Shepherd. The Court of Justice is asked to examine "the degree to which an involvement in military hostilities is necessary, in order to offer the right of refugee status to a military deserter, who will be punished for his desertion”. The case before the Munich Administrative Court has been postponed until the European Court of Justice issues a decision on these matters.
Courage to Resist. September 11, 2013
In the past few years, tens of thousands of service members have resisted illegal war and occupation in a number of different ways—by going AWOL, seeking conscientious objector status and/or a discharge, asserting the right to speak out against injustice from within the military, and for a relative few, publicly refusing to fight. We're motivated by a "people power" strategy that we believe can weaken the pillars that maintain war and occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria.
By supporting GI resistance, we hope to diminish the number of troops available for unjust war and occupation. However, Courage to Resist believes in "informed resistance." It's important for service members contemplating public resistance to have a basic understanding of both the benefits and consequences of doing so.
Support the troops who have the courage to resist attacking Syria!
A Courage to Resist interview with Alex Bacon, Coffee Strong co-founder and staff member
Courage to Resist recently contributed $500 to the reopening of Coffee Strong. We ask our supporters to also consider contributing to Coffee Strong. Donate here.
By Bob Meola, Courage to Resist. September 11, 2013
In November, 2008, the day after the presidential election, a few people—recent veterans and their civilian supporters started Coffee Strong, a GI coffee house outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis McChord, a combination of the Army’s Fort Lewis and the Air Force’s McChord Air Force Base. They had met at Evergreen State College as students. They had seen films and read about the GI Resistance of the Vietnam era.
“We wondered what our experiences would have been like, if [as service members] we’d had resources like Oleo Strut [the GI Coffeehouse in Killeen, Texas during the Vietnam War],” said Alex Bacon, a co-founder and present staff member of Coffee Strong.
August 21, 2013. Pvt. Manning post-sentencing press conference hosted the Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist. Featuring a statement from Bradley Manning, his family, and attorney David Coombs reacting to the 35 year prison sentence.
August 22, 2013. "The next stage of my life" by Pvt. Chelsea Manning
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.
Thank you, Chelsea E. Manning
In response to her request, the Bradley Manning Support Network has been renamed the Private Manning Support Network, and we'll be using "Chelsea Manning" and female pronouns here on forward. Chelsea has communicated that continued use of past images of her are fine, as updated images may not be forthcoming anytime soon. Additionally, for her mailing address and petitions to authorities, we'll still need to use her legal name, "Bradley E. Manning." - Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist project director. August 23, 2013
Attorney David Coombs reacts to 35 year prison sentence for WikiLeaks whistle-blower Pvt. Manning. Exclusive interview with Alexa O'Brien, 21 August 2013.
Month-long sentencing phase now determines fate
By the Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist. July 30, 2013
“We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,” shared defense attorney David Coombs following today’s verdict. “Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire,” he said to dozens of emotional supporters outside of the Fort Meade, Maryland military courtroom. Coombs expressed subdued optimism going into the expected month-long sentencing phase of the court martial that will determine how long Bradley Manning will remain in confinement.
Bradley Manning had previously accepted responsibility for providing classified information to WikiLeaks, actions covered by ten of the 22 charges. Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found him guilty of 20 of those 22 charges, so PFC Manning still faces the possibility of over 100 years behind bars.
Courage to Resist. July 25, 2013
Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network published a full-page ad in The New York Times today, the nation’s “newspaper of record.” The ad featured a bold “WE ARE BRADLEY MANNING,” with a field of names in the background, including Alice Walker, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Joan Baez, Tom Morello, Shepard Fairey and Graham Nash–alongside the hundreds of donors who made this possible.
The ad states, "We are American military veterans, artists, journalists, educators, homemakers, lawyers, and citizens. We live in red states and in blue states, in communities urban and rural. We ask you to consider the facts, and join us in declaring: Enough is enough. Free Bradley Manning now... We will not relent until this American hero is free."
By Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor. July 22, 2013
As his fellow First Cavalry soldiers stow their gear in Afghanistan, a 22-year-old Army private moves vehicles and cleans buildings at Fort Hood after declining to deploy on the grounds that his conscience won’t let him kill — a move resulting in fierce backlash within the military community.
Amid the era of the all-volunteer force and after 12 years of war, the “conscientious objector” application recently filed by Private Second Class Chris Munoz is a rarity compared to the 171,000 CO claims made during the divisive, draft-based Vietnam War. Only about 100 such claims are submitted annually, according to a federal report. But that number is rising, says a national organization that helps objectors.
“We are getting more calls. There seems to be a lot of folks having problems of conscience,” said Bill Galvin, counseling coordinator at the Center of Conscience & War, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
By the Oklahoma Center for Conscience. July 1, 2013
Update: War objector Army PV2 Christopher Munoz was ordered to deploy on July 4, 2013. He reported as ordered, but refused to deploy as a matter of conscience. His attorney James Branum shared, "We are very grateful for the dignified way his NCO’s treated him... We do not know yet what punishment he may face because of his actions."
Killeen, Texas: A soldier seeking a discharge from the Army based on a conscientious objection to war has been told by the command at Fort Hood that it still intends to deploy him to Afghanistan sometime in the coming weeks. Private Second Class Christopher Munoz, 22, applied for a C.O. (conscientious objector) discharge on June 25, 2013. He has also asked for his deployment to be delayed until request for discharge would be given a fair hearing.
Members of the public are encouraged to sign a petition to the command asking that PV2 Munoz be exempted from deployment until his CO claim has been fully adjudicated. Please sign the petition here, and for more information, please visit www.christophermunoz.me
Please help Courage to Resist support the troops that refuse to fight with your urgently needed tax-deductible donation today. Donate today.