Courage to Resist. March 28, 2011

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You might already have been a regular supporter of Courage to Resist. Or, you may first have heard of us in regards to our support of accused Wikileaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning. Regardless, on behalf of our organizing collective, I want to say thank you for your interest, and hopefully support, of our collective work in the hopes of a better world.

“God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms—if not, we’re doomed as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens. I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

That’s an excerpt from an online conversation attributed to US Army Intel Analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, now charged with blowing the whistle on the “Collateral Murder” video, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and many official cables embarrassing to the US State Department. The chat log referenced above is both the only known “evidence” against Bradley, and the catalyst for an international campaign to save his life.

It’s beyond ironic that leaked US State Department cables have contributed to revolution and revolt against dictatorships across the Middle East and North Africa, yet Bradley Manning is threatened with execution—or at least life in prison—for being the source. Millions of Americans—and far more internationally—understand Bradley’s contribution towards not only freedom of information, but literally freedom itself. We are really going to need your help to give Bradley a fighting chance.

I’m asking you to support Courage to Resist today so that we can continue to fight for not only Bradley, but also for the other US military war objectors facing retribution for their acts of conscience. Iraq War veteran Andre Shepherd continues to fight for political asylum in Germany. Jeff Hanks continues to fight for a discharge and real treatment for his severe combat-related PTSD. And Rodney Watson remains in sanctuary in a Vancouver, Canada church, fighting deportation back to the US and “military injustice.” Congratulations to Fort Hood soldier Kyle Wesolowski who was finally discharged as a conscientious objector this week!

In order to do all of this, we’ve ramped up our staff.

We recently brought on staff Emma Cape. She’ll be focusing her energies on outreach efforts in support of Bradley Manning. Emma is currently working on an organizer/action toolkit for the upcoming redesign. A recent graduate of Bowdoin College, Maine (with a focus on Public Policy), Emma recently worked as a grassroots organizer trying to blunt the effect of “Big Oil” in statewide elections.

Michael Thurman won a Conscientious Objector discharge from the US Air Force in 2007 with our assistance. Today, Michael is helping manage the “Stand with Bradley Manning” petition and public statement ( We’ve already mailed over 20,000 individual letters to Army officials!

Alisha Bermejo recently made the leap from a dedicated volunteer to tackling the role of Office Manager. Alisha graduated with a degree in Global Studies from California State University Monterey Bay in 2007. Most recently, she had worked as a canvasser for nuclear disarmament.

The Army continues to use the Individual Ready Reserve system to rope soldiers back for another deployment—years past their active duty discharge. With your assistance, we remain the primary source for accurate information for these former troops. For example, here’s a note we got from “Chris” last week:

My three year Army contract was about to expire when I first heard about the eight year obligation in the small print. But I knew that I was done. For the next nine months I received many letters and so-called deployment schedules. Recruiters called me constantly about mobilizations. Others claimed to be career counselors. One said he wanted to welcome me to my new unit! I thought I was joining the Army to do something noble, but now I just feel lied to and used. I did my time, yet they won’t leave me alone. My head was spinning from all this until I found you guys. Thank you!

Today I’m asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more to Courage to Resist, or if possible to become a sustainer at $15 or more a month. Regardless of the amount, it’s your tax deductible gift of any amount that is critical to our efforts in support of the troops who are refusing to fight and/or bravely speaking truth from within the military.

Jeff Paterson
Courage to Resist project director
Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee

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p.s. I hope you’re able to become a monthly sustainer, or are able to make a larger-than-you-first-thought contribution, so that we can continue to build support not only for Bradley Manning, but other military war objectors as well.