Courage to Resist. May 28, 2008 update
GI Resister Army PFC Ryan Jackson will be court martialed Friday, May 30th for resisting war—”Free Ryan Now!”
- Join the vigil outside Fort Gordon (Augusta, Georgia) Thursday, May 29th, 7pm at Gate 1 (Selete “Read more…” below for info about attending the trial).
- Donate to Ryan’s defense. We are still $1,000 short of the total projected expenses.
- Write Ryan directly at: Ryan Jackson; 1050 Remount Rd, Bldg 3107; Charleston SC 29406-3515
- Read Ryan’s letters from the Charleston Naval Brig where he has been held in pre-trial confinement.
Ryan was formally charged with multiple counts of AWOL stemming from his attempt to be released from the Army prior to Iraq deployment. He will face a Special Court Martial—with a maximum one year prison sentence—on Friday, May 30. Since voluntarily returning to Fort Gordon on April 14 and formally applying for a conscientious objector discharge, Ryan has been held in pre-trial confinement at the Charleston Navel Brig.
Following his arraignment, Ryan was able to call friends for a couple of hours. Primarily, he wanted to express his gratitude for everyone’s support, and making him feel that his stand against war, and his time already spent in the brig, meant something. In addition to Courage to Resist members, he was also able to talk to Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace representatives prior to returning to the brig.
Write to Ryan
Courage to Resist collected and forwarded over a 100 messages of support to Ryan. At this time we are asking that you send messages directly to Ryan at the Charleston Naval Brig:
1050 Remount Rd, Bldg 3107
Charleston SC 29406-3515
If he is sentenced to additional brig time beyond that which he has already served in pre-trial confinement, he will be returned to the Charleston Naval Brig for the remaining sentence.
Donate to Ryan’s defense
Ryan asks that donations to his legal and political defense be made to Courage to Resist.
To donate by check, note “Ryan Jackson” on the memo line, and send payable to Courage to Resist/IHC, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610. All donations are tax-deductible.
Courage to Resist is committed to covering Ryan’s legal defense, and helping him launch his upcoming career of peace activism when he is finally released from the Army. He is currently being represented by civilian attorney James Branum, co-chair of the National Lawyer’s Guild Military Law Task Force, and Fort Gordon JAG officer Captain Kenny.
Attend Ryan’s court martial
Friday, May 30 on Fort Gordon—10 miles west of Augusta, Georgia. (map)
Supporters are planning a Thursday evening, May 29 vigil outside Fort Gordon to demand Ryan’s immediate discharge as a conscientious objector from the Army. More info to come.
All military court martial proceedings are open to the general public—but that doesn’t mean the military always makes it easy. If you plan on attending, contact the Fort Gordon Public Affairs office for information at 706-791-7003. The trial is likely to last only Friday, but may extend into the evening. There is a very slight chance it will continue Monday, June 2.
Generally speaking, plan on arriving at the post’s main gate by 7:30 am. Inform the guard that you are a visitor attending the court martial of Ryan Jackson. If driving, ensure that you have a valid driver’s license, proof of vehicle insurance, and vehicle registration. A photo ID is required for all persons entering Fort Gordon either walking or riding in someone else’s vehicle.
Fort Gordon is 10 miles west of Augusta, Georgia. It is approximately 142 miles east of Atlanta, 80 miles southwest of Columbia, South Carolina and 122 miles northwest of Savannah, Georgia.
Media interested in attending Ryan’s court martial need to contact Fort Gordon Media Relations at 706-791-6001.
“Since I joined up with Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War, my life has changed. I plan to write a book about all of this, and to make positive change in my community when I get out,” said AWOL PFC Ryan Jackson, before turning himself in at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on April 4. He had been absent without leave since December when a local commander vetoed his pending discharged from the 35th Signal Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
25-year old PFC Jackson joined the Army in 2005, and aspired to join the Special Forces. While stationed in Korea, inspired by the writings of Vietnam and Iraq war objectors, Jackson began to rethink his involvement in the Army.
“I feel ashamed every day,” Jackson wrote in his recent conscientious objector (CO) application. “I feel ashamed for taking part in the killing of others, and for allowing my comrades to be killed themselves. By putting on a uniform, I am showing my support. … I can no longer be a part of the Armed Forces or any organization of a violent nature.”
After two and a half years of honorable service, Ryan says he could no longer ignore his conscience. “Once my beliefs started to evolve and change, I became a different person,” he explains. “It starts to take a hold of you, giving you hope that you can make a difference, that you can change what you are doing, and that it is not too late!”