War resister Kimberly Rivera struggles with privacy and proper care for her family
By Bob Meola and Michael McKee, Courage to Resist. March 10, 2014
It was her maternal instincts that first landed Kimberly Rivera at odds with her role serving in Iraq. Six years later, the army used her most basic human right as an expecting mother to make an example of other soldiers who might fall out of line.
After returning to the United States after five years in Canadian exile with her family (husband Mario and four children), Kimberly, then pregnant with their fifth, was arrested and sentenced to 10 months in brig. Despite public pressure for leniency and Amnesty International recognizing her as a prisoner of conscience, Kimberly was denied even a meager 45-day early release to give birth and bond with her new son outside of prison.
In a campaign reminiscent of Vietnam War days, military veterans and family members will travel to ten west coast cities promoting GI outreach centers in Texas, Washington state, and Germany. The GI Coffeehouse Tour will begin in San Diego on Thursday, February 13 and end in Seattle on Saturday, March 1. Visit gicoffeehousetour.org for tour dates, locations, and times.
Local communities will welcome the GI Coffeehouse Tour with special events featuring poets, artists and musicians. Participants at tour stops will learn about GI coffeehouse history, find out what current-day coffeehouses do to support the troops, and join in conversations about the current state of the military and what that means for service members and their families.
The GI Coffeehouse Tour will feature the work of Under The Hood Cafe and Outreach Center near Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, Coffee Strong near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood, Washington, and The Clearing Barrel GI Bar and Coffeehouse in Kaiserslautern, Germany, the center for U.S. military installations in Europe.
The tour will raise much needed funds for the three GI outreach centers, which provide counseling on military discharges, veterans benefits and conscientious objection to war, as well as safe spaces for soldiers to share their experiences and begin healing the psychological wounds of war.
Campaign to raise $7,500 for Sara's legal assistance underway!
By Sara Beining. February 4, 2014
After deploying to Iraq in 2006 and spending a year as an analyst in Baghdad, my (now EX) husband and I went AWOL, suffering from PTSD. My ex-husband received an other than honorable discharge after he was apprehended in 2010. I am now facing charges and General Court Martial - the highest level of court martial and the harshest penalties received for going AWOL. I am a mother, a college student, and a organic gardener. I need help raising money for my lawyer to fly in for the pre-trial hearing as well as the trial, as well as funds for purchasing the "dress blues" - Army service uniform - for trial.
Let's come together as a community to meet Sara's modest needs at this important time. Stay tuned for additional actions that you might take to support Sara and her child. Recently she shared on her public IVAW profile page:
I enlisted in the Army at 17, I think, as part of the D.E.P. I spent a year messing around, getting in trouble, and realizing that I was not making good decisions before I decided to go through with heading on to Basic Training and then AIT to become an intelligence analyst (96B).
Video of a presentation by attorney David Coombs, Seattle, Washington on December 11, 2013. Transcript of presentation by Mr. Coombs, Oakland, California on December 9, 2013 below.
By Courage to Resist. December 13, 2013
Yesterday, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera stepped out of the Miramar military confinement facility in San Diego, California, to the embrace of her husband Mario and their newborn son Matthew. "Kim is officially released and here with me. God bless all of you for your help and support. Love you all," exclaimed Mario last night. Courage to Resist, Amnesty International, and tens of thousands of individuals worldwide unsuccessfully appealed to Fort Carson Senior Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Bills last month to use his clemency authority to grant Kim an early release. Shortening her sentence by only a couple of weeks would have allowed Kim to have her baby in a civilian hospital, and not be separated from her newborn. Kimberly served a ten month military prison sentence for having taken her family to Canada in order to refuse redeployment to Iraq in the early days of the illegal and immoral invasion. The Rivera Family now faces significant fiscal challenges getting their lives back on track.
David Coombs, attorney for American prisoner of conscience US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, will speak at three upcoming West Coast events hosted by the Private Manning Support Network. Mr. Coombs continues to represent the heroic WikiLeaks whistle-blower recently sentenced to 35-years in military prison.
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7:00pm -- Los Angeles CA
Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:30pm -- Oakland CA
Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:00pm -- Seattle WA
Courage to Resist. December 2, 2013
Since 1990, many thousands of people from all walks of life have gathered each November to protest the School of the Americas at Ft Benning, Georgia. The three-day convergence has served as a valuable time for educating, inspiring and mobilizing as well as a chance for people working on various social justice issues to network with one another.
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist. November 26, 2013
Under public pressure, Balboa Medical Center reversed it's stated policy and allowed Mario Rivera to be at wife's side during the delivery of their son Matthew last night. War resister Kimberly Rivera is currently serving a ten month military prison sentence for having taken her family to Canada in order to refuse redeployment to Iraq in the early days of the illegal and immoral invasion.
"We wanted to say a quick thank you to all who wrote letters and place phone calls in response to our previous call to action . Mario was allowed to be in the delivery room during the birth of his child! Kim and Mario’s son Matthew was born healthy and strong. Kim is doing well too and is being allowed to breastfeed while in the hospital. We do not yet know if she will continue to be allowed to breastfeed once she is back at Miramar but we are hopeful that the authorities will do the right thing," shared Kimberly's attorney James Branum today.
Michael McKee, Courage to Resist. November 20, 2013
Members of the Courage to Resist collective and the Private Manning Support Network joined organizers and activists from across the country earlier this month at the Tear Down the Walls Conference hosted by the Alliance for Global Justice in Tucson, Az.
Campaign assistant Farah Muhsin and organizer Michael McKee facilitated a workshop on GI resistance and the Manning case, informing supporters of the next steps in the fight to win justice for Chelsea Manning.
By Bob Meola, Courage to Resist. November 13, 2013
In February, 2014, Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center will be five years old. Under the Hood is a GI coffeehouse founded in the spirit of the Oleo Strut and the other GI coffeehouses of the Vietnam era. The Oleo Strut was just a few blocks away from Under the Hood’s current location at 17 North College Street in Killeen, Texas.
A lot of what goes on at Under the Hood has its parallels with Oleo Strut. Under the Hood has become more than just a coffeehouse and is now called Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center. “Then [the Vietnam War era] there was a coffeehouse at every base,” said Malachi Muncy (photo right), manager of Under the Hood.
“Many of them opened as places for soldiers to decompress but developed into other things. Between 1968 and 1972, the Oleo strut became a stronghold of veteran activism, setting up the organizing of boycotts of businesses that exploited soldiers, leading peace marchs, and even publishing an underground newspaper.”
495 supporters from around the world write letters in support of clemency application
By James Branum and Courage to Resist. November 4, 2013
Fort Carson, Colorado – Imprisoned war resister PFC Kimberly Rivera has submitted a clemency application seeking a reduction by 45 days in the 10 month prison sentence she received for seeking asylum in Canada rather return to her unit in Iraq.
Please help Courage to Resist support the troops that refuse to fight with your urgently needed tax-deductible donation today. Donate today.