Posts Tagged West Point

The Price for Protesting War at U.S. Military Academy

Richie Marini, Alison Beth Levy, Elaine Brower, Matthis Chiroux, Gideon Oliver and Tarak Kauff after sentencing for 2009 anti-war protest

Richie Marini, Alison Beth Levy, Elaine Brower, Matthis Chiroux, Gideon Oliver and Tarak Kauff after sentencing for 2009 anti-war protest

Six anti-war activists and leaders, aged 30 through 75 were sentenced on March 19 to eight hours “community service,” and $125 court costs for a disorderly conduct conviction arising from a protest 300 people made December 1, 2009, when Obama announced, inside the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a huge expansion of US troops to Afghanistan.

Elaine Brower, Matthis Chiroux, Tarak Kauff, Alison Beth Levy, and Richie Marini agreed to serve the time, washing Highland Falls, NY, ambulances and police cars, and pay the fee.  Beverly Rice asked that she be able to send funds instead to the National Lawyers Guild, and when that was denied, she took jail time, on the basis of conscience.  Her sentence was ten days at the Orange County jail, where she was taken immediately.  The sheriff says Bev, 75, will be released early.

The case had gone on for more than 3 years.  After one of two disorderly conduct convictions was overturned on a pro se appeal, a new judge delayed sentencing because court records were “lost” in Hurricane Irene.  He then forced the defendants to appear two more times with an attorney before sentencing.  The courtroom in Highland Falls was packed with mostly young people charged with traffic and other violations, at least one in an Army uniform.  Everyone listened quietly as most of the defendants made pre-sentence statements to the judge.

Elaine Brower said she had been outside the gate at West Point to “petition my government” to stop the war.  “My son did ten years in the Marine Corps, two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.  He has done horrible things” as part of the U.S. war on those countries. She said “I am seeing that injustice in the eyes of my son who is emotionally wounded.”

Elaine went on to say that “we have no recourse” to get the government’s attention except our legally permitted right to assemble.  “They keep sending young men and women to kill.  We protested at West Point when Bush was president, and we had to be there when Obama expanded the war on Afghanistan.  And we’ll be here when the next president invades a sovereign nation.  Humanity and the planet come first.  Crimes are crimes, no matter who does them.”

Richie Marini’s statement included:

The United States has an incredibly violent history as we stand here today on land acquired through Genocidal means and can claim title to the only country to ever use an atomic weapon of mass destruction against another. The United States government continues down this trajectory of violence today with it’s use of torture, extraordinary rendition and drones that murder innocent civilians every day. It commits these violent acts to sustain itself by creating new markets, obtaining resources and enslaving people into it’s system in order to prevent itself from collapsing at the expense of innocent lives abroad…

Despite the penalties imposed upon me here today I will continue to work effortlessly to organize the citizens of Highland Falls and elsewhere to put stop the crimes of this government. As an Humanitarian, this is the greatest service that I can do for the citizens of Highland Falls, the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere… Read more

Beverly Rice being transported to jail, 3+ years after anti-war protest at West Point

Beverly Rice being transported to jail, 3+ years after anti-war protest at West Point

Bev Rice said she would not apologize for the protest:

A total of 2177 American soldiers have been killed during the eleven years we have been fighting in Afghanistan.

1230 have been killed since we were arrested three years ago? How many more have been wounded? How many more have been sent home suffering emotional and mental illnesses? Consider, 22 veterans commit suicide each day! Consider also the sorrowful loss for the family and friends of our dead and wounded soldiers. I consider these each and every day.

I am proud to have been involved in the protest, and to have participated in the defense of the West Point Six.  We need more people willing to speak the truth, and put themselves on the line to stop the crimes of our government.

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Anti-War Group Accepts Wisdom of Nobel Prize Award

worldcantwait.net Contact: (866) 973-4463  Debra Sweet

Anti-War Group Accepts Wisdom of Nobel Prize Award
Obama War Escalation Speech Convincing: War = Peace

The U.S. organization “The World Can’t Wait,” having organized weeks of protest against President Barack Obama’s escalation of troops to Afghanistan, said today:

We’re surprised to learn President Obama will be traveling to Oslo, as it was our understanding that he had given his Nobel acceptance speech at West Point on December 1.  The speech, echoing 8 years of George Bush’s justifications, and stating his aim to ‘win’ the war was enough to convince us that aggressive war means peace.

We hope the Nobel Committee is satisfied that the increase of U.S. troops to Afghanistan is enough to merit the prize, given their statement in October that “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

We concur with the Nobel Committee that doubling the size of the prison at Baghram airport, setting up “black” detention sites, and stepped up counterinsurgency in Helmand and Kandarhar provinces, are outstanding examples of the kind of “cooperation between peoples” it cited in awarding Obama.  And Obama’s commitment to international diplomacy is only underscored by his administration’s refusal to take the military option off the table towards Iran, and by enacting the largest military budget in world history.

To those cynics who point out that Obama is now Commander in Chief of two pre-emptive wars widely considered to have been launched in contravention of international law, we point out that while General Stanley McChrystal publicly demanded 80,000 more troops, Obama pledged an increase of only 30,000.  And, now, Secretaries Gates and Clinton have made the strongest assurances that there is no date or plan to withdraw them.

To those who cringe at the use of un-manned robot drones on the sovereign country of Pakistan and fear that killing civilians will only make more people hate the United States, we remind them that the hundreds of innocents are being killed by a commander who won the Peace Prize.  So shut up.

To those who find some irony in the prize being awarded on December 10, International Human Rights Day, and are concerned that Obama, who promised to close Guantanamo, has released fewer detainees than the Bush administration, and has revived the military commission trials decried by the world, we remind you that this President is committed to the rule of law.  Remember, as former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice said, “If the President does it, it can’t be against the law,” and quit your whining about international law and standards.

Further, we are encouraged and gratified to learn that the Committee has decided to rename its Peace Prize in honor of George Orwell in coming years.

Those who reject doublespeak, are invited Thursday, December 10, to join the War Resisters League & World Can’t Wait at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza (East 47th & 1st Avenue) marching down 42nd Street to Times Square Recruiting Station with symbolic coffins, in an anti- war protest as President Obama receives the Peace Prize.

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