Friday, May 30, 2008

Update

Okay, since nobody posted any news from the Gitmo35 trial yesterday, here's something I blogged over at Pax about the guilty verdict...

ntodd

[Update on the update: all given suspended sentences today, 'cept for Ashley who got some probation for being a naughty girl previously. I suspect somebody at the house will provide deets later, after they finish partying. WHOOHOO!]

['nother update: more details and clarification on sentencing in the comments...]

[From the Post:

Eleven members of a group found guilty of an illegal demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in January over conditions at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were sentenced to jail yesterday.

Thirty-four members of the group, Witness Against Torture, were convicted Thursday in D.C. Superior Court of misdemeanor charges stemming from the Jan. 11 protest on the Supreme Court plaza. Twenty-three of the defendants were given one year's probation.

Four of the 11 who received jail time were initially given probation by Judge Wendell P. Gardner Jr., but the four said they wanted to be jailed instead. The jail terms ranged from one to 15 days.

All were fined $50 and prohibited from going near the Supreme Court for a year.

FWIW.]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gitmo35 Trial

Good luck to everybody in DC Superior Court. I wish I could be there for what might be the last day of their trial--yesterday went very well, I thought, and the defense was hopeful that they could present five witnesses (all defendants) and give their closing in fairly short order.

I was looking for coverage online and found a few brief pieces. Not much new, but I figured folks might want links to see how the trial is being reported:
  • Post-Standard (Syracuse): Guantanamo protest puts CNY man on trial
  • Legal Times: Protesters on Trial for Demonstration at Supreme Court
  • ACSBlog: Guantanamo Prisoner Protestors On Trial Over High Court Demonstration
I'll note the prosecutor seemed to be fairly good at establishing a connection between defendants to show they were trying to bring attention to "a movement," which is the crux of the law they are accused of violating:
It is unlawful to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages in the Supreme Court Building or grounds, or to display in the Building and grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement.
I could see a suppressed smirk on her face when she would ask, "where did you get the orange jumpsuits?" At least she hasn't tried to charge them with sedition...

ntodd
(www.paxamericana.net)

on the Trail ..... Arizona McCshame FREE ZONE

McInsane & Liar Bush were in town on MAy 27th 2008 to raise needed funds for Bubble Boy John our long time egocentric selfish Corporate owned Senator in the running for the highest position in the land! The active political segments of the Vast Arizona community came out onto the sunny streets with great energy No MAs Meurtas, CODEPINK, END the WAR Coalition,Vets for peace,Az Advocacy,Equality Arizona,Green PArty Dems, Republicans against the Occupation,PDA STATE PARTY, and more WITH THIS MESSAGE........
ONE UNITED STRONG VOICE- NO YOU DON'T REPRESENT US!!!
WE OPPOSE THE JOHN MCCAIN AGENDA of Permanent WARS OF CHOICE! WE SAY NO TO MANY YEARS OF LACKLUSTER LEADERSHIP!
There were various actions all over town:3 ATTENDED BY Liz
State Democratic party hosted a press conference at 1000am to start the day
with our PEACE Friends on the Stump for the first time EVER Dennis Stout Vets for Peace Radio Host About Face every saturday Dan O'neal Pda State Coordinator,and Miss Shero Kyrsten Sinema has been our Budding star & CONSTANT source SUNSHINE in theArizona Social Justice Community!SUPPORT KYRSTEN SINEMA!!!
The dems commented at this press event on Mccain's record of taking jobs out of az
1,200 Lockheed Martin Jobs Outsourced to France recently.Second point Mccain has no idea how to solve the economic problems statewide or otherwise!Check his public record!!!!!!!!!
Next event was 25 miles east of Phoenix in Mesa Arizona (BUSH only appearance) to Silverado a small cable company that seems to keep looking more improved as the surrounding neighborhood declines!We surrounded the 2 entry points with over 400 people that came from everywhere statewide with creative signs and great enthusiasm!!Air Force One ARRIVED 235PM POLICE MOTORCADE escort ( as 30Mesa Bike police were on show waiting)
made it to back of building in Mesa at 250pm-ish where CODEPINK Liz was posted reporting to the coalition the second by second relay of info.......there were 2 helicopters in the sky
http://www.azcentral.com/ check it out
Bush took an extra long time inside the plant we waited and waited until almost an hour went by
then we shouted as the motrocade went past and chanted go to JAil!
going to speak as CODEPINK NATIONAL to promote the McShame Campaign and request Arizona step up the pressure on a potential President nominee???
This was our major press event of the year run Mccain out of the Homestate with our passionate creative presence-It Rocked with Fury
Jeanne & Victor outdid all other events as they made a super prop bed for McShameful John and Bush could be in bed together ! Liz was McInsane Rae RAe played BUSH with blow upfaces! It was a great Media Hook In to keep the media watching throughout the streets of downtown Phoenix where we had other major events coinciding ie MLB baseball game!We had a secuirty team escort and direct the bed up and back for awhile as we hit the working people's sense of humor ................
Thanks to all our teams of coalition members the Volunteers made it all Smooth!!
http://www.phoenixcodepink.org/
http://www.therealmccain/
call Mccain everyday 602.952.2410
we pray for JOHNNY!

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Here I sit on The Vermonter, once again leaving The Beltway for more bucolic climes. I really enjoyed this "slow" week at the Pink House and want to thank all my dear friends, old and new, for teaching and inspiring me not just while I'm in DC, but when I'm far away as well.



Though I can't stay longer, or come down more frequently, you all are always in my heart. I'm looking forward to Pinking the DNC with everybody in August. Until then, see you in the funny papers...

Peace and love,
ntodd
(www.paxamericana.net)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Guantanamo 35

AFP:

Trial proceedings began Tuesday at a US local court for 35 people who were arrested in January during a demonstration calling for the closure of the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


Protesters had gathered inside and outside the Supreme Court without prior authorization on January 11, the sixth anniversary of the "war on terror" prison, as part of the "Witness Against Torture" movement.


They face charges of either "unlawful free speech" or "causing a harangue," or in some cases, both. The counts each carry a maximum of 60 days in jail.


As part of the protest, they did not carry identification and are representing themselves in court under the names of various real-life Guantanamo detainees.


At the proceedings in DC Superior Court, the defendants, some dressed in orange to show solidarity with the detainees, waived their right to a lawyer. Some announced they would mount no defense at all and would not even speak.


Prosecutors offered to drop the charges but the 35 protesters chose instead an act that "symbolically grants the Guantanamo prisoners their day in court -- which the Pentagon has denied them for years," the group said in a statement.


"We will not exercise our rights when our country continues to deny the rights of others," Matthew Daloisio, who took the name of Saudi prisoner Yasser al-Zahrani, said in a written statement. Zahrani committed suicide in 2006.


At 715am, six of us left the Pink House and walked down to the Supreme Court to participate in the pre-trial demonstration and press conference. We already were wearing our orange jumpsuits, but didn't have our hoods on yet--we also unfurled a wide banner to make even the short 10-block commute a mini-parade.


Three of our troupe are defendants, so when we arrived at the gathering place they got into the prisoner group whilst Ellen, Lorena and I held the banner right in front of the SCOTUS building. Then demonstrators dressed in fatigues ordered prisoner silence and bade the group to move out. We fell in line behind the Guantanmo 35 and marched slowly to the DC Municipal Courthouse.


Once at our destination, the named Gitmo prisonsers were commanded to kneel in a grassy area behind the podium set up for the PC. Lawyers and other spokespeople talked about the protest, the purpose of going to trial, etc. Hopefully with the amount of media that was there we'll get some more coverage that will provide information about some of the folks since there was no A/V and we were a bit too far away to hear with all the construction and other city noise (I also didn't get any photos, staying in character, so I hope there will be more photos and video available later).


Police escorted us along the planned route, and while we mostly followed crossing signals, there were a couple times when lights changed while we were still in the intersection so we blocked traffic, which is a good thing.


Two little slices of the action that stuck with me:

  • At one intersection a loud man in a car yelled, "GET A JOB! DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIVES! GET OVER IT! AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, TAKE A SHOWER!" Man, that ignorant crap never gets old.

  • A bike cop courteously moved his wheel out of Lorena's way on the extreme left of our banner. Really, that's a small thing, but he was paying attention and rather than force her to break banner discipline for even a moment, he turned his handlebars so the tire was parallel to us rather than perpendicular.

It wasn't super hot this morning, but still an uncomfortable temp for me in general (being from Vermont) and made worse with the canvas jumpsuit and mesh hood. Visibility was low with the hoods over our heads, but the organizers had escorts alongside the procession to warn of curbs and obstacles so we successfully navigated the treacherous sidewalks with no injuries.


The reason I bring up the discomfort is that it was only the merest taste of what Gitmo prisoners experience, and I knew there would be an end to it for me by around 915am--I also didn't have to sit in stress positions during the presser since we wanted the banner to be visible. The people be held by our government have no such hope as things stand, so we were there to support the people willing to go to trial as proxies and who might go to jail in solidarity with detainees who have been denied their basic human and civil rights.


ntodd


PS--If you do see any pics/vid of a CodePink banner being carried by three people, I'm once again the middle person.


PPS--A few links for background:

(x-posted at Pax Americana)

[Update: WaPo has an article and a short video. Al Jaz provides a report as well. Looking for more coverage...]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gandhi Peace Brigade / Leslie Arrested at Petraeus-Odierno Hearing

Dear Friends,

Please watch this YouTube of Leslie and her three COURAGEOUS CODEPINK sisters as they disrupt the Petraeus-Odierno Confirmation Hearing:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCOBsHFV5vk.
Also, here are the Generals as they feel the sorrow and rage of the "Mothers of the World": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASkl7BmoVqw.

Leslie, Toby, Pat and Erica were arrested and charged with "Unlawful Conduct on Capitol Grounds". Everyone but Erica spent the night in jail and each of them now faces a possible sentence of six months in jail. Leslie successfully ended her 23 day hunger strike and will continue to advocate for PEACE WITH IRAN!

General Petraeus lied during his testimony when he said,"We know from having captured massive weapons' caches in Basra, some of which bear markings that denote that they were made in January or February of 2008, some which contain fuses made only in Iran, others which follow the chain to get to Iran, and then into the hands of the "Special Groups" from Syria through Lebanese Hezbollah in the case of RPG29's. This is all very clear. It's evidence, not supposition ..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF9nGj27cEA.

He is clearly preparing the American people for a war by accusing Iran of killing our troops. Colin Powell also presented "evidence" of WMD's to the United Nations before we attacked Iraq. There is no proof Iran is supplying these so called "Special Groups" with any "ammunition, explosives, or weapons". Two weeks prior to Petraeus' testimony (May 7) Major General Kevin Bergner cited a cache in Baghdad of "20,000 items of ammunition, explosives, and weapons" but not one came from Iran. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/09/8826/
You can be sure,"If American inspectors had found so much as a slingshot" with Iranian markings on it, you would have heard about it. http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,168154,00.html

Leslie and I will be approaching Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to talk with him about Petraeus' blatant lies and misrepresentations regarding Iran. We are hoping to block his Senate confirmation as the permanent head of Central Command. Please call Senator Carl Levin (202-224-6221) and tell him how you feel about Petraeus' confirmation.

Peace and Freedom,
Jes & Leslie


Photos of CodePink Protesting General Petraeus Confirmation

http://flickr.com/photos/codepinkalert/sets/72157605263277444/show/

PREVENT A WAR WITH IRAN!
Talk with your Mayor or your City Council:

http://www.codepink4peace.org/article.php?id=3215

Bush Intends to Invade Iran Before the End of his Term
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x3316593


Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran
http://www.newiranpolicy.org/

Ray McGovern | To Admiral William Fallon (USN ret.), With Respect
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/20/9068/


Clinton, You Invoked A Nightmare!
by Keith Olbermann
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNdbvvva1Zg


Jes & Leslie ... A Journey for Peace and Freedom: http://www.jfpf.org/

If you would like to be added to The Gandhi Peace Brigade Group List,
please
let me know: jes_richardson@yahoo.com Thank you. Jes

On the McCain trail


On the McCain trail…
Medea Benjamin

On May 22, three of us from San Francisco CODEPINK, Nancy Mancias, our new intern Katelyn and I, went to Stockton, CA to see John McCain. He was speaking to a crowd of about 400 Republicans (although the organizers said there were 1,500). We went “undercover” (not pink), I in a brown suit, Katelyn in a US Army shirt, and Nancy, in her blue suit with red-white-and-blue lapel pin, looked very Republican.

We decided that I would go in by myself, and Nancy and Katlyn would follow together. With our banners and bibs tucked in our clothing, we made it through security with no problem.

Inside was an orgy of red, white and blue—HUGE American flags, little flags given out to everyone at the entrance, and hats, ties, shirts, sweaters, even shoes screaming “I am a patriot—I wear the colors”!!!

The whole event was tightly choreographed. Select representatives of different constituencies—veterans, Asian Americans, farmers, youth—were carefully positioned behind the podium. An organizer then handed out signs made to look handmade, with slogans like “Asians-Americans for McCain” and “Farmers love Mac.” All very tacky. Even the initially enthusiastic father standing next to me commented to his son, “That’s not right, handing out signs looking like they’re homemade when they’re really not.” Welcome to McCain’s Disneyland.

We had to wait two hours for McCain to show up, listening to dull politicians proclaiming their love for the Senator, mariachis singing “Cielito Lindo” to a crowd of white people, paunchy elderly flagbearers leading a hearty pledge of allegiance with a special emphasis on “under God.”

One moment was particularly painful. A young Latino soldier terribly burned and disfigured by an IED in Iraq was brought on stage for recognition. He didn’t say a word, but was introduced as someone who “bears no grudges and is a happy guy.” Even after many rounds of reconstructive surgery, you could barely make out this poor young man’s features and his hand had melted into a permanent fist. He did not look like a “happy guy.”

The emcee prepped the crowd for McCain by teaching them the proper call and response. “When I ask, What’s the greatest country in the entire world?, you answer: ‘USA, USA’. When I ask, What’s the freest country in the history of the world?, you say ‘USA, USA.’ When I ask, Who do we want for president?, you respond ‘We want Mac, We want Mac.’” In addition to chanting, the crowd practiced waving their flags and McCain signs wildly in the air.

Adding to the patriotic fervor were the bikers of Rolling Thunder--a pro-war group of Vietnam Vets who have been constant “counter-protesters” at CODEPINK events. They often show up at the Berkeley Marine Recruiting Station when CODEPINK is there, revving their $35,000 Harleys and calling us communist bitches. Their t-shirts say lovely things like Will Kill for Oil and Jihadi Crusader, and some of them tell us the “solution” is the Middle East is a nuclear bomb to kill all the Arabs. This is the same group, by the way, that met with George Bush over the Memorial Day weekend and anointed him an honorary member.

So Rolling Blunder, as we call them, gave the crowd a treat. They drove their monster bikes right into the building, revving their motors to the cheering crowd. And when McCain finally appeared, the first thing he did was thank Rolling Thunder and ask them to start their motors again. Over the deafening sound McCain smiled broadly and said, “Isn’t that wonderful?” Thinking of our soldiers dying for oil in Iraq, I failed to see the wonder.

Then McCain launched into his the-world-is-out-to-get-us-so-we-have-to-get-them-first spiel. When he began ranting about Iran and chastising Obama for advocating diplomacy, I slipped on my McCain=Endless War bib and yelled out, “But Senator, Iran is not a threat to us, just like Iraq was not a threat. Stop the killing, stop the war.” To drown me out, the crowd starting yelling “We want Mac, We want Mac.” The people around me grabbed my banner, and pushed and pulled me like a yoyo until the police saved me by escorting me out.

McCain continued his painfully militaristic message, prompting Nancy and Katlyn, who were still inside, to jump up on the stage and unfurl their “McCain=Perpetual War” banner. Nancy was dragged to the ground by a McCain zealot, and both were quickly escorted out as they yelled, “No more war, no more war.”

The police and even the secret service who came out to question us were very nice--perhaps because we provided a brief respite from the boredom of the canned event. They took our IDs and checked to see if we were on the “most wanted list”—which I guess we weren’t. Since the job of the secret service is to make sure that we’re not a physical threat to McCain, one of the agents questioned me about our motives. “The war in Iraq,” I said, pointing to the sign on my chest. “I just returned from the Middle East and saw the horrible consequences of our policies, like five million Iraqi refugees. I want to end this damn war and stop another one in Iran.”

“Oh, you’re just protesting the war,” he shrugged, “then I guess there’s no problem,” indicating that we were free to leave. No problem, indeed—just people being killed and maimed every day and a presidential candidate advocating more of the same!

Nancy, her brazen self, asked one of the secret service guys if he would take our picture. He obliged, and we put up our peace signs and smiled for the camera. They escorted us out the gate, saying “Have a nice day, ladies.” “We’ll see you on the campaign trail,” I replied.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Impeach Picnic on the Mall


Morgan & Erica Join the Peace Team the weekend!


Ground Zero friends from Santa Barbara came out for a stellar performance
with many new songs!The visitors walking by just ate it up!


Walking Man Pat just celebrated another Bday!!

Miss Erica New CODEPINK Recruit
from New York jumped in all day to
enjoy the Beautiful day with
Pink Peace Passion Team!







Sir Rove Bravely Runs Away

A little bird told us that Karl Rove would be taping a segment with George Stephanopolous over at the Newseum this morning, so we planned a little early Sunday action. Of course he's had plenty of encounters with The Pink Police, as he mentioned in the May issue of GQ:
[S]omeone called you a cancer.
Right. Oh, sure.

You must get that all the time.
Uh, I get it some. When I go to campuses. But did you hear what I did? I just let him rant. And when he was finished, he had no question, he just wanted to accuse me of undermining the Constitution and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. And I said, "Thanks for your thoughtful rant." And he sat down. And I said, "Now do you feel better about yourself?" And he said, "Yeah." And I said, "Well, I want you to feel better about yourself." And everybody laughed, and we went on.

But is it hard when people—
No. No. Look, everywhere I go, people say nice things to me. I don't live for that. I appreciate it, and I'm grateful for their kind words, but I don't live for it. And similarly, when people say ugly things? It doesn't affect me. I mean, the other night Juan Williams and I were walking Fox and the [Code] Pink ladies came over with a bullhorn and started screaming, you know, angry things, and Juan was literally taken aback. But look [they] want their words to affect me. And as a result, I'm not gonna let 'em.
(Note: the print edition has the full quote on page 168, but the web version leaves off the Code Pink reference.)

Yes, clearly it doesn't affect him so much he never brings it up in interviews and doesn't run away from the "angry things." Got it.

Anyhoo, we'd planned a two-pronged approach: I (NTodd) was to act like a journalist and camp out with the regular press waiting to get a statement after the taping, hoping to delay him a bit; Liz and Lorena donned the Pink Police uniforms ready to take the criminal away to face Lady Justice whilst all the cameras were rolling. Then we got word that Rove chickened out and was sneaking out the back, so Liz and I booked it over there ahead of the other media, but it was clear he'd already scarpered off. Of course if you've already seen Liz' pictures, you understand how scary "the [Code] Pink ladies" were.

Here are the questions I didn't get to ask:
Mr Rove, do you still think Hillary is the stronger Democrat [sic] candidate after her Kennedy assassination remark?

Do you think she has a better chance against McCain because her campaign uses the same underhanded tactics you did to beat him in 2000?
I'm sure the answers would have been enlightening. Despite the no show, this did once again show just the kind of person Rove is: spew lies in a safe, controlled media environment and shrink away from confronting reality and real citizens.

The side benefit of my not wearing the pink for a change--not to mention carrying a camera, a recording device, and a spiral notebook (thanks, Des!)--was getting an interesting glimpse of how people react to Pink Action. I talked shop quite a bit with a visitor who produces a news magazine for a Boston TV channel (I won't say which), and early in our conversation he observed, "Man, those Code Pink people are relentless!" I agreed.

When he found out I was there to "cover" the Rove appearance he asked, "What do you think they're going to do? Harass him?" He rolled his eyes. I explained in my role as a detached reporter with some experience seeing Code Pink in action that they just want to get him on record answering some straightforward questions (*ahem*).

I later learned that his son is a Marine and had been in Fallujah. He was down here visiting him and other family--his son is receiving daily treatment for "a variety of things" in Bethesda, presumably as a result of his service. One might understand his skepticism of Code Pink in that context, particularly if they don't internalize the fact that we're fighting to bring people like his son home and to get them the care they need. I would've done a bit more educating but didn't want to give the game away.

People walking or jogging by mostly just gave a passing glance, maybe pointed to our Pinkers, but a few engaged with Liz, who as always obliged. Even though it was a fairly quiet action--fitting for a Sunday morning--the message was visible, reminding people that we haven't stopped pressuring all enablers of the regime, even ones who have allegedly left the stage (which of course explains why ABC called in a GOP strategist to comment on the Democratic primary race).

ntodd

PS--In addition to the photos Liz posted, I have a few at Pax Americana.

Pink Police Subpoena Karl Turd Blossom Rove











CODEPINK Demands Karl Rove come out of the Newseum
with Hands UP and face the consequences
of outing a CIA operative & charges regarding false
imprisonment of Seligman of Alabama!
We Demand Karl Rove turn himself over to the
PINK POLICE IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!








Saturday, May 24, 2008

Furman State College May 31 Join US

Commencement, Sat., May 31. JOIN CODEPINK MILITARY FAMILES PEACE COMMUNITY!! WE NEED YOU!!
STAnd up for Peace & Protest BUSH CRIMINAL thx CODEPINK DC HOUSE

Stop the Killings & Destructions:Website for We Object Protest for Sat.,May 31,at Furman Univ.Details: http://www.weobject.info/index.html
McBush Endless War & Lobbyists prey on Soldiers,Families,and Children to Continue with NO End? NO!
Veterans Attest to PTSD Neglect by VAWednesday 21 May 2008by: Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t ReportA British Soldier in Basra 2007 (Photo: Michael Yon) Recently released documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are further proof the VA has failed to adequately address the crisis in veterans' mental health care, according to a former VA employee turned veterans' advocate. In March, Norma J. Perez, the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) coordinator at a VA facility in Temple, Texas, wrote an email (PDF) to her subordinates stating: "Given that we have more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, R/O [ruling out] PTSD ... we really don't or have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD." In response, VA secretary James Peake said that the VA is "committed to absolute accuracy in a diagnosis and unwavering in providing any and all earned benefits. PTSD and the mental health arena is no exception." Peake placed the blame on Perez, saying that the memo revealed the mistake of a single employee, not VA policy. However, the VA has been under fire from Congress and veterans' rights groups for more than a year for allegedly covering up and underreporting the mental health care crisis among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A lawsuit that is currently awaiting a final ruling seeks to force the VA to move quickly in addressing the mental and physical health needs of veterans. Paul Sullivan, the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), the veterans' rights organization which brought the lawsuit, said the Perez email exemplifies a larger trend. "The bottom line is that VA under the Bush administration has dropped the ball. The email sent by Perez proves our lawsuit was correct - VA is short staffed for mental health care and VA intentionally misdiagnoses veterans in order to save money. VA was illegally and unconscionably turning away suicidal veterans in need of emergency mental health care. We are asking the court to order VA to stop this outrageous practice," Sullivan said. New VA documents obtained exclusively by VCS using the Freedom of Information Act indicate the VA is only paying disability benefits for PTSD to 33,247 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, although 67,717 have been diagnosed with PTSD. According to Sullivan, VCS is calling for an investigation into this apparent discrepancy. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in September 2007 stated that the VA's "lack of early identification techniques" led to "inconsistent diagnosis and treatment" of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. According to the GAO, early diagnosis is essential in preventing PTSD's consequences - which could be deadly. Firsthand Accounts of PTSD Crisis Kristofer Goldsmith, a former Army sergeant who was forced to stay in the military beyond his contract because of the "stop loss" order given by the president, testified about his experience with mental health care at Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. "We were told that if we were to seek mental health, we would be locked away and our careers would not advance. If I admitted that I had severe chronic depression, if I thought I had PTSD ... my career could have been ruined," Goldsmith said. He received an adjustment disorder diagnosis after experiencing a panic attack in March 2007. Because he was not granted the PTSD label - despite displaying many symptoms of the disorder - he was ordered to deploy to Iraq for a second tour. What Goldsmith described as a "sharp downward spiral" came to a head the day before he was scheduled to ship back to Iraq with his unit. "The day before I was supposed to deploy, Memorial Day, I went out onto a field in Fort Stewart and tried to take my own life ... I took pills and drank vodka until I couldn't drink anymore. The next thing I knew I was handcuffed to a gurney in the hospital. The cops had found me and literally dragged my body into an ambulance," Goldsmith said in his testimony. Finally, in October 2007, months after his suicide attempt, Goldsmith received a PTSD diagnosis from the VA. According to Goldsmith, his experience was far from unique. "While undergoing psychiatric treatment, I heard of many people being diagnosed with personality disorder and adjustment disorder instead of PTSD," Goldsmith told Truthout. "I believe this is a way for the Army to hide the levels of PTSD among its ranks, through the usage of misdiagnoses." Suspicions about the VA's motives for misdiagnoses flared up over a year ago, when a series of news reports revealed many of the 22,500 soldiers diagnosed with "personality disorder" since 2001 were actually suffering from PTSD. Taken in conjunction with a rising suicide rate among veterans, the reports sparked a flurry of investigations and Congressional hearings. "My concern is that this country is regressing and again ignoring legitimate claims of PTSD in favor of the time and money saving diagnosis of personality disorder," said Congressman Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, at a July 27 hearing. "I want to know how the VA deals with veterans who have been labeled with a personality disorder. Does the burden fall on the veteran to prove that he or she doesn't have a personality disorder? Will such a diagnosis prevent the veteran from receiving health care once initial VA coverage ends? What extra barriers does this veteran face?" Misdiagnosed vets are not only often deprived of proper treatment, Filner noted; they also miss out on condition-related benefits and subsidies. PTSD has attracted a lot of legislative attention over the past year, and new funding may soon become available for veterans with that diagnosis. Moreover, special programs geared toward PTSD are already in motion at many VA facilities, and vets without an official diagnosis are not eligible for those treatments. For Iraq veteran Joe Wheeler, a delayed VA diagnosis meant two years of paying for his psychotropic medications out of pocket, at a time when his tenuous mental health made it tough to hold a job. Wheeler's doctors immediately diagnosed him with PTSD, but without an official VA acknowledgment of his condition, he was left without benefits. "I was never told why my diagnosis was delayed," Wheeler said. "It's a faceless bureaucracy; most people within the VA don't understand the system themselves. And it's designed to be adversarial. They make it hard so that it costs them less money." Wheeler no longer seeks treatment at the VA, preferring the financial strain of private treatment to the psychological strain he endured under VA care. With a different doctor - and along with the switch, a new medication - every few months, his experience at the VA was a saga of fits and starts; not exactly a recipe for recovery. Recent studies back up Goldsmith's and Wheeler's charges of VA negligence in PTSD diagnosis. According to Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, the committee has uncovered "widespread inadequate evaluation of veterans claiming service-connection for PTSD due to combat exposure and military sexual trauma." "Veterans often report to the Committee that during exams they were not asked about their military experience and received superficial evaluations," Akaka wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Peak last week. "Veterans' advocates report the reluctance of some VA examiners to provide a diagnosis of PTSD, even for veterans previously diagnosed with PTSD." Akaka added that while the VA's own "Best Practice Manual for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Compensation and Pension Examinations" recommends a three-hour evaluation session for every potential PTSD sufferer, average exams clock in at 30 to 35 minutes. Following the release of the Temple VA memo last week, Akaka requested the Office of the Inspector General begin an investigation into the PTSD diagnosis methods at Temple. "This incident is both disturbing and disappointing, and provides further evidence that VA's mental health program requires significant attention," Akaka said in a statement on Friday. "Psychological war wounds are difficult to diagnose and harder still to heal, but they are no less real than any other service-connected injury. I continue to be concerned that VA's mental health system is unprepared for the rising demands.
Misusing, Abusing, Destroying, Neglecting Our Own
May 24,2008,
Wade Fulmer, Member of Military Famlies Speak Out www.mfso.org & Vietnam Vets of America

The DOD, Bomb Bomb Iran Administration and Congress continue funding surges of lies and wars while dumping our wounded, mentally harmed, and suicidal returning troops into overwhelmed, underfunded, broken Military and VA Medical Centers & Benefits Processing Administration. These are the warfuls of no end in site wars who continue the stop-gaps, extensions, repeat deployments, multiple destructions of the same troops 3, 4, 5, and to be more times to Iraq and Afghanistan. DOD has reported traumatic brain injuries and mental harms at fractions of the true numbers, ignores its own doctors who assess soldiers as NOT deployable due to physical or mental conditions, seeks to develop a drug to numb the consciences of our loved ones so that they can be deployed time and time again only to return more seriously mentally harmed and to be discarded by the services. This is the DOD that follows the orders of the Deceiver and Thief in the White House and his criminal cronies who squander Congress' funding of hundreds of billions of dollars on preferred contractors while our service men and women and families are misused, abused, and neglected in the six and seven years of failed policied no end wars. While the McBushites promise a hundred years of whatever violence and suffering it takes to declare, again, 'mission accomplished', our nation suffers, destructs, and is made less safe by policymakers of war rather than for peace. The Washington 'axis of evil' is that of the DOD, Administration, and Congress that Leaves NO CHILD UNRECRUITED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our loved ones, military families, and families of culture suffer. WE must act to meet our responsibility for our military services people, to bring them home safely, quickly, demand the best care for them, and to vote out the status quo warfuls, and hold accountable the war criminals of death that no lies will send our services men and women who seek noble duty to another contrived, unnecessary, horrific war of bloodshed, torture, and betrayal of our and global families. The purpose of Armed Forces Day is to honor Americans serving in our military services. That honoring will be done during two vigils this Saturday to remind the soon to vote Change public that our services people must immediately have the Care that still is not being provided, that they must be returned Home now to their families with no additional deployments, and that the endless wars that Congress has funded continuing harms, ongoing bloodshed, mental disabilities, brain injuries, PTSD, suicides, the 3 Trillion Dollar Wars of lies and carnage and mutiplied mental tortures.
Endless Destructions of our and sovereign nations' families and children Must End!!!
Protest to End the Wars,Sufferings,& Destructions wrought by the Betrayer McBushites!
THEY CARE ONLY FOR THEMSELVES. DO WE CARE? WE MUST FUND THEM HOME NOW

CODEPINK Disruption of Petraeus and Odierno Confirmation

Dear Sweet Sisters and Brothers,
Leslie and I will be saying more about this action in the Gandhi Peace Brigade newsletter, but we wanted to get this YouTube out to you ASAP.
POWER TO CODEPINK!!
Peace and Freedom,
Jes & Leslie

CODEPINK Disrupts Petraeus/Odierno Confirmation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCOBsHFV5vk

Generals Feel the Anger of the Mothers
http://rawstory. com/news/ 2008/Petraeus_ confirmation_ interrupted_ by_Code_Pink_ 0522.html

Lorena healthcare not WARFARE






CODEPINK says WELCOME Lorena S
We are so pleased you have arrived & THANK YOU for nonstop
efforts to put up our YOUTUBE of the 4 arrests at Petraeus may22 2008!!!
Happy Birthday Toby--
Nickelharpa Performa

call Conyers IMPEACHMENT hearings have never been more urgent!!
1202.225.3121









Friday, May 23, 2008

Ride A Bike Get off the OIL ADDICTION


CODEPINK pedal pushers advise the OIL execs to set an example
with riding BIKES to work
since Congress has weak flawed energy policies that undermine our
national security & keep Congress in te Lobbyists pocket then
We must protect our country through creative local means
Conserve,Promote Renewable Energy, Reduction in the consumption are more forward looking approaches


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Photos Dramatic Petraeus Disruption







Peaceful activists continue to get arrested

for speaking out when Powerful Government officials Lie

and fracture the truth -

FUNDING THIS WAR IS KILLING OUR TROOPS
CODEPINK WOMEN FOR PEACE:
want a change in foreign Policy
to represent the will of our people!
We put our comfort zone on the line each day
in the halls of SHAMEFUL Congress as we inject
some heart and humor into the Heartless Reps
that make harmful decisions
Take action with CODEPINK as we
pursue a vission of a better world!!
CODEPINK for a CHANGE in direction!
Join Us in DC for the summer of Change

05.22.08 Petraeus Odierno Confirm Hearing









General Casey



















CODEPINK incurred 4 arrests of women for peace that represented the Mothers of Iraq/Iran in the Petraeus Odieno Confirmation Hearing today!
We were standing up for the women that have lost so much and continue to suffer everyday as a result of illegal US occupying FORCES in IRAQ!Petraeus is taking over for Adm.Fallon who was forced into resignation recently by the BUSH Madcowboy White Collar Criminals!
Iraqis want US out of IRAQ NOW!
Lead US out Of Iraq not into another unsustainable neverending miserable debacle that prolongs instability,insecurity,injustice,and fear throughout the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Generals Lie Our Soldiers Die!! Not another Dollar Not another Death in our name with our taxdollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Promote Security through PEACE & Negotiations-

CALL today everyday 1202.224.3121
CONGRESS BRING OUR TROOPS OUT OF HARMS WAY!



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fabulous Potluck 05.21.08






The CODEPINK kids chalked for PEACE all over the backpatio !!

Ann Wright's Blog #2 from Japan

Blog 2 Codepink-Japan
I have ended a 14 day speaking tour of Japan--from the very northern island of Hokkaido to the southern- most island of Okinawa, organized by a tremendous Codepink lady from Osaka, Japan, Hisae Ogawa. Hisae and two other Codepinkers from Osaka visited Washington, DC in September, 2007 and stayed at the Codepink house and then went to New York City for talks at the United Nations.
In 12 speaking events with from 100 to 10,000 persons in the audience, I’ve been honored to speak about our work for peace in our own country and for the world, the need for the US to end its military occupation through bases around the world 60 years after World War II and stopping violence against women inside the military as well as against women who live outside US military bases.
Here are some of the events of the second week in Japan:
Mother’s Day in Japan - Pink Paper carnations
Mother’s Day is not generally celebrated in Japan. But, after seeing photos of Codepink’s Mother’s Day events in front of the White House in 2006, several women’s groups in Tokyo and Niigata decided to use Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 Mother’s Declaration as a means of thanking mothers for their protection of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, renunciation of war.
Led by women in the Japanese Fellowship of Reconciliation, women’s groups handed out a paper folded like a flower holder with the carnation drawn at the top and colored pink, Inside was printed Howe’s Mother’s day poem—and Article 9, Renunciation of War. They handed out thousands of the “flowers” to women on the streets of Tokyo and the conservative city on the Sea of Japan, Niigata.
In a celebration of Mother’s Day, over 160 women and men gathered at the civic center in downtown Niigata, where Codepink Japan founder and 30 year women’s activist Hisae Ogawa and I spoke about the US war on Iraq and the need for the United States to have an article 9! The previous day we had spoken to the Tokyo chapter of Fellowship of Reconciliation at their weekend workshop on non-violence.
Article 9 states:
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of forces as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870
By Julia Ward Howe
Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe our dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil At the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace... Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God - In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality, May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions, The great and general interests of peace.
Women’s Symposium “Women’s Power of building Peace-Weaving Together Women’s Initiatives Worldwide”
During the Global Article 9 conference in Tokyo, I spoke on the Women’s Symposium panel, one of 4 major symposiums following the one-day plenary session. Over 500 women and men attended the 2.5 hour women’s conference.
Other panelists were:
Ellen Woodsworth, former Vancouver, Canada, City Council member and co-founder of the World Peace Forum (2006)
Takada Kimiko, (Japan), President of the New Japan Women’s Association
Jung Gyunglan, (Korea), Chair of the Women Making Peace International Committee
Florence Mpaayei (Kenya), Director of the Nairobi Peace Initiative
Takasato Suzuyo (Japan) Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
Nishino Rumiko (Japan) Chair, Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan and Director of the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace
A great portion of the panel discussion centered on violence perpetrated on women during war, from the “comfort women” during World War II, to violence on women living around military bases, to violence on women in the military. I was asked to speak on sexual assault and rape of women in Japan by US military personnel and of women in the US military and was one of three panelists who spoke on these horrible actions by members of our military.
Beate Sirota Gordon
The Article 9 conference had many remarkable speakers, but to me one of the most memorable was 82 year old Beate Sirota Gordon, who as 22 year old Japanese linguist on General MacArthur’s staff in 1946, was secretly charged with writing the civil rights section of the new Japanese constitution. Having lived in Japan with her parents before WWII began, she was very familiar with the lack of rights for women in Japan. She set about to change that status and wrote into the Constitution that women should have rights equal to men—and remarkably, in the later hours of negotiations, it was grudgingly accepted by the conservative male Japanese constitutional committee.
The story of her involvement in writing the equal rights part of the Japanese constitution, and the role of other members of MacArthur’s staff in writing other parts of the Japanese constitution, was kept quiet until ten years ago. Her story is chronicled in her book “The Only Woman at the Table.” Although living in NYC, Gordon speaks frequently in Japan, in Japanese, to packed auditoriums of admiring women—and men for her role in establishing equal rights for women into their constitution.
I wish she had been at the table during the writing of our constitution!!!!
Japanese Women’s Association
In Tokyo, Hisae and I met with the 40 woman staff of the New Japanese Women’s Association, one of the largest women’s organizations in Japan. I told them about Codepink’s extraordinary growth with chapters all over America and the world. They were interested in the organizational structure of Codepink, the use of the internet to move actions nationally and globally and the lack of dues, but rather fundraising through sales of t-shirts, books. One of their newsletters from 2004 had a photo of the Codepink contingent in the August, 2005 huge march in New York City.
Peace Museum-Kyoto
Did you know there are 120 peace museums in the world and over one-half are in Japan? Remarkably, there are only two peace museums in the United States but, not so remarkably, we have hundreds of museums about wars, the Revolutionary war, the Civil war, World Wars I and II, the Vietnam war, and military units that fought them (on virtually every military base).
We visited one of the big Peace Museums and research facilities for peace in the world, the Kyoto Museum for World Peace at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, the first peace museum to be established by a university. Its permanent exhibitions cover Japanese aggression and damage caused by Japan’s Fifteen Year war to modern world wars and conflicts. Its “Building Peace” section questions whether absence of war, or structured violence, is peace, or whether peace is a purposeful condition planned, orchestrated and funded by citizens and governments.
( http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/eng/profile/peacemuseum/index.shtml)
(http://www.museumsforpeace.org/organizations_Museums_for_Peace.htm)
Peace Boat
And did you know that there is a boat that travels all over the world for peace?
It’s the Peace Boat and its first voyage was organized in 1983 and since then they have had over 50 regional and global voyages, carrying over 30,000 participants onboard to more than 100 ports of call.
Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. Peace Boat seeks to create awareness and action based on effecting positive social and political change in the world through the organization of global educational programs, responsible travel, cooperative projects and advocacy activities. These activities are carried out on a partnership basis with other civil society organizations and communities in Japan, Northeast Asia, and around the world. Peace Boat carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. Activities based on Japan and Northeast Asia are carried out from eight Peace Centers in Japan.
(www.peaceboat.org)
Okinawa—Land of Protests Against US Militarism
Save the Dugongs--Stop the New US Marine Air Base
The southern island of Okinawa is protest-central for Japanese discontent against the large continued US military presence for the last 63 years, since the end of World War II. 23,000 US military and 25,000 military families members live and work on 34 bases on the island of Okinawa. While the US has returned 30 bases to the Japanese Self Defense force, the remaining bases including two major airbases (with loud aircraft noises), and four large marine bases (with artillery and helicopters) are continuing sources of anger for the most of the Okinawan population. Those Okinawans who are making money from the presence of US military, are not so opposed to the occupation.
Okinawans have protested loudly about the US military presence for decades. As a result, the US Marines have been pressured to close one air base that is in an extremely congested urban area. But the location where they want to build a replacement airbase by dumping dirt into the ocean, is in the pristine, coral laden waters of f another Marine base where the endangered marine mammal, the dugong, lives. Okinawans’ protests have been critical in the postponement of construction of the new airbase for 10 years. Now a US federal district court have stepped in and ordered the Department of Defense to conduct an environmental impact study on the area proposed for the airbase.
Each day ten to twenty Okinawans take to the waters in the area called Henoko in kayaks and zodiac boats to watch and photograph what the Marines do. They took us out in one of the boats to see the waters, look for dugongs and observe the activities of the Marines.
Their activist camp provides a base and educational center for the groups, Japanese and international, that come to help. A second activist tent on the beach is filled all day with very politically astute senior citizens who chat with visitors about their refusal to allow their bay to be filled in for a marine air base, and who keep eagle eyes watching their bay.
The Marines have placed very sharp concertina wire on the beach to keep activists away from their activities. The activists have decorated the wire with colorful pieces of cloth with statements: close US bases, save the dugongs
Sexual Assault and Rape of Okinawan and Japanese Women and Girls
Since 1945 when US military stormed onto Okinawa, Okinawan women and girls have been sexually assaulted and raped by US military personnel. The Okinawans know the history of every assault. 30 women were raped in 1945, 40 in 1946, and 37 in 1947. The first conviction of a US military soldier for rape was in 1948. According to reports compiled from police records and other sources by the organization Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, hundreds of Okinawan and Japanese women have been sexually assaulted and raped by US military since 1945.
In the latest incidents, in April, 2008, the U.S. military in Japan charged a Marine with rape and other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in the alleged sexual assault of 14-year old girl in Okinawa. Staff Sergeant Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, was charged with the rape of a child under 16, abusive sexual contact with a child, making a false official statement, adultery and kidnapping.
In February, Japanese authorities released Hadnott after the girl dropped the allegations against him, but the Marine Corps conducted its own investigation to see if Hadnott violated codes of military justice. The rape accusation against Hadnott stirred memories of a brutal rape more than a decade ago and triggered outrage across Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said that Hadnott’s actions were “unforgiveable.”
The incident also led to tight restrictions, for a time, for American troops and their families at the U.S. base on Okinawa. The U.S. military in Japan also formed a sexual assault prevention task force after the incident.
On May 15, 2008, a U.S. court-martial sentenced Hadnott to four years in prison after convicting him of abusive sexual conduct with a Japanese teenager in Okinawa. Four other charges, including rape of a child under 16, making a false official statement, adultery and "kidnapping through inveigling," or trickery, were dropped in a plea bargain.
On May 16, 2008, charges were dropped against a soldier accused of raping a 21year-old Filipino woman in February 18, 2008. The Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office said Friday his office did not have sufficient evidence to indict Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr., 25, of the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Three points at issue were the place where the alleged act took place, the relation of the two individuals and the circumstances before and after the alleged event. The Army will conduct its own investigation, said Maj. James Crawford, a U.S. Army spokesman at Camp Zama, Japan.
According to police, the woman was hospitalized for more than a week and received outpatient treatment for two weeks. At the time of the incident, the woman had been in Japan only three days, police reports said. Hopstock remains restricted to Kadena Air Base and is closely supervised by officials.
On May 9, 2008, a US Marine charged in the gang rape of a 19 year old woman in Hiroshima in October, 2007, was convicted of “wrongful sexual contact and indecent acts” and sentenced no more than one year in jail and a dishonorable discharge. He was also convicted of “fraternization and violating military orders about liberty and alcohol” but cleared him of rape and kidnapping charges. Three other Marines will be court-martialed later this month on charges of gang-raping the young woman.
In early May, 2008, another young 14 year old Japanese girl reportedly was “groped” by a US military service member.
In 1995, three American servicemen kidnapped and gang-raped a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl. In August 2006, one of the perpetrators of the 1995 rape, strangled and raped a 22-year old female college student in Georgia, after which he killed himself.
In 2002, Marine Major Michael Brown was charged with attempting to rape a Filipina bartender at a club on a US military base. Following a 19-month trial, on July 8, 2004, Brown was convicted by the Japanese District Court of "attempting an indecent act" and "destruction of property" but was acquitted of the rape charge. The court gave Brown a one-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, and fined him US1,400. The Japanese Judge said Brown was given a light sentence because the 21-year Marine veteran had no prior criminal record. Brown appealed the verdict to Japan's Supreme Court which dismissed the appeal in July 2004. Brown was transferred by the U.S. military to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia in August 2004.
In October, 2005, Brown was arrested and charged with kidnapping an 18-year old girl from a flea-market in Milton, West Virginia. Brown was subsequently indicted in January, 2006 on felony kidnapping and grand larceny charges and, as of May, 2008, currently awaits trial scheduled to take place in Huntington, West Virginia. In the meantime, the USMC demoted Brown to Captain and allowed him to retire at that rank on February 1, 2006.
In 2006, a U.S. civilian military employee was jailed for nine years for raping two women on Okinawa.
While the vast majority of US military personnel do not commit criminal acts while in Japan, the continued presence after 60 years of such a large number of US military, and the horrific crimes committed by a small minority of US military, mean that America’s military presence in Japan and Okinawa is deeply resented.
End of Trip Observations—Will America Ever Stand For Peace?
On my last evening in Japan, I spoke in Nago, Okinawa, Japan, the southernmost island of Japan and the most US militarized. After the talk, in contrast to most evening meals, Hisae Ogawa (the organizer of my visit) and I had dinner with five men, all my age, 61 or so, Vietnam veteran age—except they were not Vietnam veterans, nor veterans of any war.
After the disastrous World War II, Japanese men (and women) have been spared the obligation of serving in any wars. Because their constitution (written by Americans) says that war is not the Japanese national doctrine for resolving international disputes or for ensuring their national security, the Japanese people have been given 60 years of peace.
I was struck by the questions of the Japanese men—only one generation removed from their fathers who fought to expand economic resources for the Japanese emperor and empire in the late 1930s and 1940s.
These men questioned why young men and women of the United States would join the US military when it was fighting a war for economic resources (oil-their words) and a war based on lies (their words.) The Japanese men were amazed by the levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (80%) in Iraq war veterans and were astounded by the Veteran Administration’s cover up of the number of suicides by veterans (18 per month, or 216 per year, and 12,000 per year attempting suicide). They also questioned why any woman would join the military when statistics reveal that one in three women in the military will be raped by fellow service members during their enlistment.
I responded that, despite an unpopular war, some young men and women find the US military their only option for jobs and future education. Military recruiters flood high schools-there are few other options for many with marginal grades, much less a criminal record.
The Japanese society has moved from one of the most militaristic and warlike in the 1930s and 1940s to now, a nation at peace despite the Bush administration’s pressure on the Japanese government hard for military and financial contributions for the “war on terror.”
Some will say the reason the Japanese people have not had to go to war is because the United States has taken on the role of defending Japan from attack. Yet, most Japanese would ask pointedly: “Attack from whom? From those the United States threatens?” They say, “Let us live in peace and our example will hopefully make the entire world more peaceful.”
I wonder if it will take a series of disastrous events such as what the Japanese people endured when they were led by civilian and military leaders into successive invasions and brutal occupations (known for rape and torture of local citizens) of other countries, before Americans will decide that aggressive wars of choice, invasions and occupations known for rape and torture of local citizens are not the answer to world problems.
Japanese are very protective of their right to a peaceful country.
Will American ever strive for a different world-- one of peace, not violence?
Peace!
Ann

Separate Oil from STATE Skyrocketting Oil Prices







CODEPINK Capitol Hill Peace Activists joined with environmental community to speak out
against Congress for a weak Energy Policy that keeps US dependent on foreign natural resources
ie OIL and direct our outrage toward the OIL CEO's that rake in billions in profits without paying a fair share in taxes!
We Shouted out before the hearing up until the gavel went down:
STOP OIL WARS
Promote renewable energy
SHAME ON YOU WAR Profiteers
Why do Oil Ceo have record profits
Ride a bike everyone
reduce use
Buy Local
Consume less OIL






Tuesday, May 20, 2008

05.20.08 Pakistan Hearing Negroponte


ERika Pat Elen Des Gael Liz waited for Senators
in the tunnel!



Negroponte Testifiying at a Pakistan Hearing
John Negroponte questioned the GAO report
which stated 96% of the US Funding to PAkistan
went to Military& Defense Related - only 1% of all US
funding in the past 5 years was directed
toward development needs building economies!



The girls Lobby Hard all day


video

Gael & Senator(NJ) Menedez post Pakistan Hearing

There were so many hearings today.The group split up

and attended a wide range of topics ranging from Voting Rights that Sen.Kennedy made happen

while suffering with health issues(seizure)Leahy chaired.

Pakistan with Negroponte Mister Terror himself.

Senate Approps witnesses Robert GAtes & Adm Muellen

Gitmo Hearing with a detainee scheduled to testify - Ellen will report back on that one tonight

http://www.house.gov/ CAll Steny Hoyer No More Money For WAR be fiscal 202.225.4300

Call Pelosi Impeachment 202.225.5965

Call Conyers 202.225.5126 Supboena Rove Now Impeachment Cheney/Bush

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday on Capitol Hill w constituents








CODEPINK had a Capitol Hill presence on a slow Monday!
We went to our representatives offices regarding the
SUPPLEMENTAL IRAQ WAR SPENDING BILL?Feinstein Boxer Feingold Kohl
We asked questions of the staffers regarding votes, timelines,the date of intended vote,and if anyone has a plan to GET OUT OF IRAQ???????
Thanks to Russ Feingold and what is he doing now?? Feingold has been Quite lately
We received many smiles through the halls ............and CODEPINK was there to observe the staffers this afternoon..........the word is A vote is expected before memorial day
www.senate .gov
202.224.3121 Get US Out of IRAQ NOW~

Point Reyes Codepinkers invite Liz




























Brenda Hillman & Betsy Rose invited CODEPINK house resident Liz to speak at
the Point Reyes Activist Panel over the weekend.It was an honor to represent
CODEPINK DC & speak about my stories in hopes of inspiring others to jump
out of the comfort zone to join our efforts in DC!My job is to inspire everyday folks to feel confidence thus take action in Dc & locally.SPeak UP everyday & follow your heart.
Brenda had Chad her assistant pick me up at the SFO airport on thursday night.I stayed at Kierstan's luxury suite in Albany California for the duration of my stay though Brenda assured me the Story book cottage on Point Reyes was available.The next day Brenda & Bob Haas(celebrity Pulitzer Prize & winner of National Book Club Prize Winner) picked me up to prepare for the event later that evening.We(Betsy Rose Brenda Bob) had a great dinner at the local Tomales Market as we had extra time because Jerry double booked the Dance Hall so we had to adjust our plan.
Brenda,Janet Weil, Betsy Rose, Liz Az-DC were the featured speakers.Betsy Rose also performed several songs to break it up and added some heartfelt depth to our evening of inspiration!Thanks for the uplift!
It was a dismal turnout 25ppl but we felt thankful for everyone that showed up!

I covered a few of the more recent stories of our Capitol Hill activities as well as spoke about why i do this type of work as a volunteer!We care about our troops being abused with this illegal war/occupation.We want our taxdollars to be directed toward domestic programs that will make US Stronger i.e. education, headstart,women's domestic shelters,High Speed Rail,family planing programs that help the women of our country with Pro Family issues etc.............
It was so great t get out of DC and discuss my year of ACTIVISM with CODEPINK NATIONAL team!
Special Thanks go out to Matt DAve Betsy Brenda Bob Janet Celeste ZANNE Keirsten Kiely
Chad and all the peacemakers!!! Keep on Putting our Message into the mainstream and never stop....we are right and the troops are counting on US to make CONGRESS wake up!!
Support Our Troops with the truth - Peace & Diplomacy-
Fully Fund the Troops home safely Now Congress-
re-election is coming soon
www.codepinkalert.org-
Join US in DC over the summer























Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gandhi Peace Brigade/ An Open Letter to Chairman Conyers

Dear Chairman Conyers,

We've met on seven occasions. I'm usually with Leslie, the sweet lady with the pink bonnet. She calls this her "Conyers Bonnet" because she bought it especially for the meetings with you. She likes to wear her "Sunday Best" when she comes to visit because she respects you and appreciates what you've done with your life. As you know, she usually does the talking and I do the filming, but it's time for me to put down the camera and share some thoughts.

Quite honestly, If it weren't for Leslie I would have returned to California a long time ago, but she refuses to give up hope. She thinks you'll eventually see the light and do the right thing. I don't know what Nancy Pelosi has hanging over your head, but if you haven't listened to your conscience by now, I don't think you will.

Leslie wasn't with me during the Judiciary Hearing a few weeks ago. She hadn't gotten any sleep because she was worried Bush would use the additional $70 billion the Democrats wanted to give him to bomb Iran. I brought her "Conyers Bonnet" and propped it up in the chair next to me to acknowledge her presence. When there was a break I moved in your direction. Capitol police blocked my way, but I managed to get within earshot and I asked if we could talk. You invited me up and there we were eye to eye. I explained why Leslie wasn't there and then I said,"Now that Fallon is gone, you are the only person left who can stop a war with Iran. Please start the impeachment hearings for Cheney NOW!"

In your letter
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051308A.shtml to President Bush you say,"Late last year, Senator Joseph Biden stated unequivocally that 'the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach' the president. We agree with Senator Biden, and it is our view that if you do not obtain the constitutionally required congressional authorization before launching preemptive military strikes against Iran or any other nation, impeachment proceedings should be pursued."

I'm sure you know it would be easy for the Bush Administration to fabricate a Tonkin Gulf incident to go to war with Iran. They have been priming the American people ever since Petraeus presented Congress with his unsubstantiated allegations about Iran that have proven to be untrue http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42373. And why wouldn't Cheney/Bush want to create another war? It would benefit McCain, it would create a dust storm to cover Bush's debacle in Iraq, and it would curtail investigations of their war crimes.

Do you honestly believe Congress will start impeachment hearings once a war begins? "We need to protect the troops!" will once again echo through the halls of Congress as our elected officials fall obediently behind our resurrected war president. No one knows better than President Bush that "you don't switch horses in the middle of a river." The problem with this metaphor ... how do you get rid of a cowboy who keeps creating rivers?

If we bomb Iran, retaliation would most likely come quickly. Blocking the strait of Hormuz would cut off 30% of the world's oil supply
. Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Gulf states oil facilities would also be targeted. Gas would cost us $5/gallon the next day and continue to rise. Our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan would be at risk. If Israel becomes involved, this would drag us into a much larger conflict.

Start impeachment hearings for Cheney NOW! Nothing else will stop them from attacking Iran. Impeachment hearings would also enhance Obama's chances of winning the election because McCain would be forced to address the issues. It would become abundantly clear that McCain is simply offering us another four years of Bush's failed policies.

Do the right thing, Chairman Conyers ... Stand
up to Nancy Pelosi and PUT IMPEACHMENT ON THE TABLE!

Peace and Freedom,
Jes & Leslie



Lies of Aggression
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19937.htm


Of War and Golf

by Keith Olbermann

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24657636#24635229
If the above link doesn't work, try this one:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051508A.shtml

Planned US Israeli Attack on Iran: Will there be a War against Iran?


CODEPINK PHOTOS:
Jes Puts Hillary On The Table
http://www.flickr.com/photos/codepinkalert/sets/72157605079747242/show/
Protesting the War Supplemental and Nancy Pelosi
http://www.flickr.com/photos/codepinkalert/sets/72157605077974378/show/




Jes & Leslie
... A Journey for Peace and Freedom: http://www.jfpf.org/

If you would like to be added to The Gandhi Peace Brigade Group List,
please
let me know: jes_richardson@yahoo.com Thank you. Jes