By Courage to Resist. August 14, 2009
We recently helped expose the outrageous treatment of dozens of soldiers at Fort Bragg, NC with “Echo Platoon – Warehousing soldiers in the homeland” (Sarah Lazare and Dahr Jamail, Tom Dispatch. August 10, 2009).
The Army reacted swiftly, not by improving the situation, but by formally charging the most outspoken soldier, Spc Dustin Stevens, with “desertion”.
The Army has since begun an investigation into these “allegations”; however, it is clear we will need to hold the military accountable for the treatment of our soldiers in Echo.
Please sign the petition (text below) to ask that the Army free objector Spc Stevens, and end the illegal pre-trail punishment of the Fort Bragg 50.
To: Commanding General, Fort Bragg NC
To: Commanding Officer, 82nd Holdover Unit, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg NC
At this time, we request that petitions and letters not be sent directly to these officers, but to Courage to Resist.
Free Army conscientious objector Dustin Stevens now!
In May 2002, after five months in the Army, 19-year-old Spc. Dustin Stevens refused to graduate with his 82nd Airborne Division training unit. “I knew in my heart and in my mind, I couldn’t kill anybody and couldn’t be a part of an organization that did so,” he explains. Instead of discharging Spc. Stevens as a conscientious objector, his command simply ordered him to go home and await discharge papers. In January 2009, during a routine traffic stop, Dustin was shocked to learn that there was a warrant for his arrest. He was immediately arrested, turned over to military police, and has been held on restriction at Fort Bragg, North Carolina since. We respectfully request that the Army immediately discharge Dustin Stevens.
End illegal pre-trial punishment for Dustin Stevens and the Fort Bragg 50!
Dustin Stevens is one of about 50 soldiers being held at the 82nd Holdover Unit awaiting likely AWOL and desertion charges. They live in a legal limbo of poor living conditions, verbal abuse, and arbitrary punishments while waiting for up to a year to be actually charged and court martialed. The result is that these soldiers are subjected to many months of unjust and illegal punishment prior to their day in court. We respectfully request that the Army improve living conditions, reassign sadistic supervisors, end all informal punishments, and expedite resolution for these soldiers so that they can return home to begin rebuilding their lives as soon as possible. Also, we respectfully request that if eventually convicted by courts-martial and sentenced to time in the stockade, these months they have already “served” count towards sentencing.
Mike Ferner – Veterans for Peace national president
US Army Colonel Ann Wright, ret. – former US diplomat
Marjorie Cohn – National Lawyers Guild national president
Shazia Shakib – organizer for women’s rights, Kabul, Afghanistan
Howard Zinn – historian / author, “A People’s History of the United States”
Carlos and Melida Arredondo – Gold Star parents of Marine L/Cpl Alex Arrendondo KIA, Iraq (04)
Elaine Johnson – Gold Star mother of Army Spc. Darius Jennings KIA, Iraq (03)
Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi – Father and step-mother of US Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
Judith LeBlanc – United for Peace and Justice organizing coordinator
Medea Benjamin – cofounder, Global Exchange and CODEPINK
Ray Parrish – Vietnam Veterans Against the War staff GI counselor
Clare Bayard – War Resisters League organizer
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz – professor emeritus, California State University
Michael Eisenscher – Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice coordinator
Jeff Paterson – Courage to Resist project director
Cynthia Thomas – Under the Hood café director, Killeen, Texas
James Branum – Attorney / Mennonite Minister
David Swanson – After Downing Street co-founder
Selena Coppa – Active duty US Army Sgt., Iraq Veterans Against the War member
Gerry Condon – Vietnam-era GI resister at Fort Bragg / Project Safe Haven director
Nancy Mancias – CODEPINK Women for Peace / Labor asst. organizer
Michael Thurman – US Air Force conscientious objector (09)
Lawrence Mosqueda – professor Evergreen State College
Edward Hasbrouck – resisters.info
David Wiggins MD – US Army conscientious objector
Susan Quinlan – BAY-Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth organizer
Brandon Neely – Iraq War veteran, former Army Military Police Officer
Ward Reilly – Infantry Veteran (71-74), Veterans for Peace member
Robert Meola – Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission chairperson
S Brain Willson – Former Cmdr, USAF Combat Security Experimental Ranger Unit, Viet Nam (68)
Sean Donahue – Freelance journalist
James Circello – March Forward! organizer
Kimberly Rivera – US Army Iraq War resister living in Canada
David Hughey – father of Brandon Hughey, Iraq War resister living in Canada
Julia Breitkopf – peace activist, Vienna, Austria
Margarita Asencio-Lopez – peace activist, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Raymond Camper – Iraq Veterans Against the War member
Tom Palumbo – Veterans for Peace activist
William Creighton – Veterans for Peace, president SF Bay Area chapter
Chris Lombardi – freelance journalist
Geoff Lobenstine – GI Rights Hotline organizer
Kenneth Braley – punkforpeace.com
Judith Kelly – Pace e Bene, training facilitator
Carl Davison – Iraq Veterans Against the War member
Eddie Falcon – Iraq Veterans Against the War member
Ryan Lockwood – Iraq Veterans Against the War member
Candice Davis – Veterans for Peace, member Seattle chapter
Camilo Mejia – Iraq Veterans Against the War former chairperson of the national board
Marti Hiken – National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force
and many more…
- To donate to Dustin’s defense fund without signing the petition:
- Write to Dustin directly:
Spc Dustin Stevens
82nd Replacement Detachment Bldg.
C-8750 Lae Street Stop-A. | Fort Bragg NC 28310
- Spc Stevens is doing a limited number of media interviews. Interested journalists and radio shows should contact Spc Stevens via Courage to Resist.
Spc Stevens and the Fort Bragg 50 in the news
- Echo Platoon – Warehousing soldiers in the homeland
By Dahr Jamail and Sarah Lazare for TomDispatch. August 10, 2009
- My time in Echo
By Army Spc. Dustin Stevens, Ft. Bragg. July 22, 2009
- War resisters held in legal limbo
By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist for Truthout. June 16, 2009
- Audio: Army arrests objector who thought he was discharged
By Courage to Resist. 20:12 min. May 14, 2009