Dahr Jamail, Truthout. October 13, 2009
Attorneys and veteran's groups are alarmed by recent reports that two US Army soldiers imprisoned at the Fort Lewis Regional Correctional Facility (RCF) have been subjected to human rights abuses and violations of their constitutional rights.
Travis Bishop, who has served a tour of duty in Iraq and is now recognized by Amnesty International as a "Prisoner of Conscience," resisted deployment to Afghanistan. The other soldier, Leo Church, recently went absent without leave (AWOL) from his unit in order to prevent his family from going homeless.
The civilian defense attorney for both soldiers, James M. Branum, told Truthout that both soldiers have been strip-searched while possibly being filmed. Bishop and Church have also been watched by female guards during strip-searches, while using the restroom as well as while in the showers. Both soldiers have been denied one in-person visit by their attorneys and all phone calls with their attorneys have been illegally monitored by guards.
Solidarity statement to U.S. war resisters and Afghanistan occupation veterans from Zoya, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). October 10, 2009
Our message to all the soldiers who are fighting and veterans who were fighting in Afghanistan:
We thank you because we think that you believe that you are struggling and fighting in Afghanistan for bringing democracy and peace for our people. But unfortunately we think that you are also the victims of the wrong policy of your government. And that's that reason that we think you should condemn this war, which is just bringing more sorrow and pain and blood for the majority of the population and the civilians of Afghanistan. And it's not helping to bring democracy and security in the country.
By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Project Director
I’m writing today out of urgent necessity. Over the past 12 months, we’ve continued to support GI resisters to the best of our abilities, yet many of our supporters reduced the amount of their contributions—for a number of understandable reasons. As a result, Courage to Resist has depleted nearly all of our resources.
By Manifest Positivity. September 23, 2009
Courage to Resist organizer Michael Thurman introduces folks to our mission in support of war resisters recently at the Power to the Peaceful music festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Michael was recently discharged from the US Air Force as a conscientious objector.
Leo Church has been transfer to Ft Lewis, Washington to serve the remainder of his eight month sentence. Leo welcomes your letters of support while he is jailed. Haskell Leo Church, Box 339536, Fort Lewis WA 98433.
By Army Spc Leo Church. September 1, 2009
For over eight months I waited in Ft. Hood, Texas for my lawyers to barter for my freedom and the prosecutors to decide what they found to be fair for my case. My problems started not long after I finished Basic and A.I.T. when I received a call from Angie, the mother of my children, Alyssa and Kaitlynn, saying that the three were homeless and living in a van in Arlington, Texas.
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout. August 16, 2009
Sergeant Travis Bishop, with the US Army's 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, pled not guilty at a special court martial on Thursday to two counts of missing movement, disobeying a lawful order and going absent without leave (AWOL). Friday, in a trial full of theatrics from the jury, prosecution witnesses and the prosecution, he was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 12 months in a military jail.
By Dahr Jamail and Sarah Lazare for TomDispatch. August 10, 2009
Echo Platoon is part of the 82nd Replacement Detachment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Soldiers in the platoon are relegated to living quarters in a set of dimly lit concrete rooms. Pipes peep out of missing ceiling tiles and a musty smell permeates beds placed on cracked linoleum floors.
For soldiers who have gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and then voluntarily turned themselves in or were forcibly returned, the detention conditions here in Echo Platoon only serve to reinforce the inescapability of their situation. They remain suspended in a legal limbo of forced uncertainty that can extend from several months to a year or more, while the military takes its time deciding their fate. Some of them, however, are offered a free pass out of this military half-life -- but only if they agree to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq.
By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist for Truthout. August 3, 2009
An interview with two former soldiers who describe how they helped prevent their unit from deploying to a war zone.
What do you do if you are a soldier being asked to fight a war you do not believe in?
For two former soldiers whose unit was ordered to deploy to Iraq in April 2005, the answer came in the form of work slowdowns, letter-writing campaigns, and one-on-one organizing with fellow soldiers. The result: they helped prevent their unit from deploying to a war zone.
By Courage to Resist. August 5, 2009
Update: Victor Agosto was released from jail on August 28, 2009 and expected to be processed out of the Army completely by the end of September!
By Courage to Resist. August 12, 2009 update
Army Spc. Victor Agosto was court-martialed and convicted Wednesday, August 5, at Fort Hood, Texas for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan. He was sentenced to only 30 days in incarceration--which has been outsourced to the local county jail. Victor's supporters hope that he will soon be discharged "for the good of the service" following his return to his unit in a few weeks.
By Courage to Resist. July 14, 2009
Courage to Resist organizers and supporters have been reaching out to military personnel for a few years now. However, we have always had a last-minute scramble to figure out what materials to use when heading out to a nearby base, event, or going through an airport where GI’s are likely to be.
To help solve that problem and make outreach efforts easier, we're now producing and distributing GI outreach info cards and stickers by the thousands that highlight contact information for Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the GI Rights Hotline. We're asking for your help in get these into the hands of military personnel!
Also: New GI resister buttons are available featuring recent objectors (set of four for a $10 donation), and we've updated the Courage to Resist info cards (4"x9") with new photos of resisters as well. GI Outreach packs, resister buttons, Courage to Resist cards, and more, are all available from our orders page.
Please help Courage to Resist support the troops that refuse to fight with your urgently needed tax-deductible donation today. Donate today.