Mailing party Monday night, Oakland CA

stamp-courage150We’d love your help with a big newsletter and fundraising mailing Monday night, July 21, at our workspace in Oakland, California. We’ll supply the pizza and beverages, in exchange for your labor in support of Chelsea Manning and GI war resisters.

Monday, July 21, 2014, from 6pm-8pm
55 Santa Clara Ave, Oakland CA 94610

Can’t make it Monday night? We could actually use your help during the day Monday (July 21) or Tuesday (July 22) as well, 10am-6pm. Call us at (510)488-3559 to RSVP or for more info.

US Navy nurse courageously refuses to force feed prisoner

feedtube250Associated Press. July 16, 2014

A US navy nurse has refused to force-feed prisoners who are on an extended hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the first protest of its kind at the detention centre, a rights lawyer and US official has said.

The unidentified nurse declined to participate after deciding the practice was a criminal act, said Cori Crider,a lawyer for the British legal rights group Reprieve who spoke in a phone interview from London.

“This guy is basically a hero, and he should be permitted to give care to detainees that is ethically appropriate,” Crider said.

It is the first time a nurse or doctor is known to have refused to tube-feed a prisoner, said Col Greg Julian, a spokesman for southern command, which oversees Guantánamo. He said in a phone interview that the nurse was a lieutenant and had been assigned other duties at Guantánamo.

“It’s being handled administratively,” he said.

The Guantánamo spokesman, Capt Tom Gresback, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Crider said she learned about the case during a phone conversation with Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a 42-year-old Syrian prisoner she represents who has never been charged and has been a candidate for release and resettlement since 2009.

She said Dhiab, who is on a hunger strike, told her in the 10 July call that he had got to know the nurse well and that the nurse had been the leader of a medical group for two to three months.

“Even before his decision, though, you could tell he was very compassionate,” Crider quoted Dhiab as telling her, according to notes she shared of their conversation.

Dhiab said other medical officers had told prisoners that they did not like force-feeding but had no choice, Crider said.

“But this one soldier stood up and refused to do it. This takes real courage,” Crider quoted Dhiab as saying. He added, according to her: “Refusing to force-feed us was a historical act and a strong statement. We were all amazed.”

The US military maintains that it uses humane methods to keep hunger-striking prisoners alive, but a federal judge recently ordered officials to review Dhiab’s case after he complained of abusive force-feeding. Saying the manner in which Dhiab was being fed caused “unnecessary suffering”, the judge issued a temporary order prohibiting the procedure, but later lifted it to protect him from starvation.

There was a push last year for doctors who force-feed hunger striking prisoners to reject the practice for ethical reasons, but it was unsuccessful, according to Guantánamo officials.

The American Medical Association’s president has said that force-feeding hunger strikers violates core ethical values, and a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine urged Guantánamo’s prison doctors to refuse to participate.

Hunger strikes at Guantánamo began shortly after the prison opened in 2002, with force-feeding starting in early 2006 following a mass hunger strike. A new strike began in February 2013, with more than 100 of 154 prisoners in custody participating at one point.

There are 149 prisoners at the detention centre, and Crider has said the legal team believes roughly 34 are on hunger strike and some 18 meet the guidelines for feedings.

The US military has refused to reveal the number of hunger strikers since December.

New call to resist illegal war

A NEW CALL TO RESIST ILLEGAL WAR AND ILLEGITIMATE AUTHORITY

By Courage to Resist. July 3, 2014

Courage to Resist calls on all U.S. military personnel to resist any effort to pursue a new military attack on Iraq via troops, bombs, drones or any other means.  In keeping with our Mission Statement, we affirm that, just as there was never any legitimate reason for the United States to send military forces to Iraq in the past, there is not now any reason for the United States to participate militarily in the affairs of the people of Iraq.  The refugees being created every day by the wars in Iraq need humanitarian aid.   The solution to the problems in Iraq lies in the nations and parties involved talking it out.
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GI Resister Spc Shepherd at European Court of Justice

In late 2008, US Army Specialist André Shepherd filed an application for political asylum in Germany. On June 25, 2014, the European Court of Justice will hear his case.

Please consider making a donation towards André Shepherd’s defense at www.betterplace.org/en/projects/9032

By Connection e.V. (Germany). June 10, 2014

37-year-old André Shepherd was deployed to Iraq for six months as an Apache helicopter mechanic. After returning on leave to his unit stationed in Katterbach, Bavaria, he seriously deliberated the effects of U.S. military action on the civilian population in Iraq. After some time, he decided to go AWOL, and then seek refuge in Germany. He based his application for political asylum on the European Union Qualification Directive, which is intended to protect those who refuse to participate in a war or other activities that violate international law, and who may expect persecution as a consequence.

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Welcome home Sgt. Bergdahl!

Bowe Bergdahl and the moral rot of American exceptionalism
By Winston Warfield, CounterPunch. June 8, 2010.

“The future is too good to waste on lies,” Bowe wrote. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american (sic). The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
From “America’s Last Prisoner of War”, by Michael Hastings. Rolling Stone, June 7, 2012

Nothing exposes the decadence of American militarism and the ideology of American exceptionalism better than the explosion of emotion sweeping the internet, Congress and the news media over the prisoner exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban. He is being vilified as a deserter and personally responsible for the deaths of fellow soldiers missioned to find him [a claim debunked by the NY Times]. The American right-wing located in the Republican party, some liberals like Chris Matthews and Dianne Feinstein and some of his fellow soldiers are all calling for his head in a display of vengeful nastiness bordering on psychotic. Bergdahl’s motivations for walking away from the bizarre U.S. counterinsurgency expedition in Afghanistan, a “dirty war” seemingly without purpose or end, are being lost in the fog of infantile political temper tantrums.

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Pride 2014: We stand with Chelsea Manning

San Francisco, CA Sunday, June 29
SF PRIDE! 2014
Chelsea Manning Parade Contingent

Organized by Courage to Resist & Chelsea Manning Support Network
Meet up 9:30am at Howard & Beale Streets
www.facebook.com/events/298467196976692/

This summer, we are once again marching in celebration of our heroic US Army WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning in Gay Pride events across the United States. Last year, our San Francisco Pride contingent was awarded the “Most Fabulous” award–the highest honor given. Over 1,500 people made the contingent one of the largest in the history of SF Pride, the largest Gay Pride parade on Earth. This year, Chelsea is an official Grand Marshal of SF Pride! Chelsea Manning contingent are also confirmed for Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City.

For information about other cities:
chelseamanning.org/featured/pride-2014

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Berkeley objector day peace flag raising

Thanks to all of our friends who joined us on May 15th to celebrate International Conscientious Objectors’ Day and Berkeley C.O. and War Resisters’ Day with us! We’ll just a brief report and photo posted soon.

Peace Flag raising ceremony, first at Civic Center flagpole at 2180 Milvia Street, corner of Allston Way and then at the flagpole at MLK, Jr. Civic Center Park, 2151 MLK, Jr. Way (between Center Street and Allston Way, across from Old City Hall), Berkeley. With Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Sponsored by City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. Endorsed by War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist.

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The Trials of Muhammad Ali

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Excerpts from Dave Zirin’s “Knocked the Hell Out by ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’”, The Nation. Posted May 1, 2014

The Trials of Muhammad Ali is the best documentary ever made about the most famous draft-resister in human history….What makes The Trials of Muhammad Ali, by Academy Award–nominated director Bill (The Weather Underground) Siegel so special, is that it succeeds where so many have failed. Finally we have a film that presents an honest, thorough excavation of Ali’s politics in the 1960s. Siegel, perhaps because he has experience chronicling the often messy movements of that era, is able to communicate Ali’s journey of rebellion against racism and war with nuance and without a hint of condescension.

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Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning celebrates formal name change

Chelsea ManningBy Chelsea Manning. April 23, 2014

Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.

It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.

But there is another question I’ve been asked nearly as much, “why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?” This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.

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Portrait by Alicia Neal of how Chelsea Manning sees herself (image above-right). Commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network with direct input from Chelsea herself.

Chelsea Manning: Defending Democracy DC event

On April 13th, Chelsea Manning’s new legal defense team, Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward, gave their first public presentation alongside NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, FBI whistle-blower Mike German, and Courage to Resist organizer Emma Cape. Video of this event is now available on YouTube here.