Category Archives: In Action!

Check out updates from WRL’ers and our partner antimilitarist organizations.

IVAW Women’s Retreat this weekend!

Dear Supporters,

My name is Joyce Wagner. I am a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, and I am a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. This Labor Day, IVAW women will hold our first ever retreat in support of women veterans.

Your donation today will help us make this important gathering happen. (Write in Women’s Retreat in the Designation Code area.)

You have heard about the realities for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – the physical injuries sustained, the psychological trauma endured, the pressure of being separated from your family, the nagging weight on your conscience that you are part of a large and grave injustice.

Now imagine that you are a woman soldier.

In addition to these realities, if you are a woman service member, you are very likely to have been raped or faced continued sexual harassment by men in your unit. You likely have been passed over for promotion. As you risk your life in the line of duty, you may be ridiculed, insulted, or continually made to deny your woman-ness. You must constantly prove that you are not weak, that you deserve to have your back watched (by those same peers who may be sexually harassing you). And you may grow to distrust other women, just to fit into the hyper-masculine culture of the military.

The women in IVAW have faced these realities, and we are coming together to share our stories, heal from our experiences, and become powerful leaders to help women veterans end the wars. Together, we will explore the sexism and misogyny at the root of war and militarism, and we will begin to explore practical solidarity with the women of Iraq and Afghanistan, with whom we share a common humanity.

Your donation to support this retreat will help pay for food, lodging, and travel expenses for a woman veteran to attend. To donate now, click here, and write Women’s Retreat in the field marked “Designation code.”

I deployed to Iraq twice and took part in the April 2004 assault on Fallujah in which we used white phosphorus on civilians. I joined IVAW because I believe I have a responsibility to help create solutions for the damages I have caused others. It has been a long road toward regaining my humanity, and the women in IVAW have been my greatest support in my personal healing and my development as a grassroots leader. Today I am a mother, graduate student, and chapter president of Pittsburgh IVAW who is hosting this retreat.

Since IVAW’s founding, women have been organizing in the trenches and playing critical leadership roles within IVAW, but we are often the only woman in our chapter. It is time for us to come together to support each other’s leadership as IVAW prepares this fall to launch our first strategic campaign. We know that strengthening women’s leadership within IVAW will strengthen our GI and veteran’s resistance movement.

So far, we have raised one-third of the $10,500 needed to get all of our women to the retreat. Will you help us by donating today?  $350 will provide full sponsorship for a woman member to attend. But any amount helps, so please give whatever you can afford.

Please give today.

Thank you.

Joyce Wagner
Marine Corps Veteran, Mom, President of IVAW Pittsburgh

P.S. Don’t forget to write in “Women’s Retreat” as the Designation code when you make your gift.

Is the Iraq War Over?

On the U.S. Occupation of Iraq:

Please read and forward this statement written by the Organizing Network of the War Resisters League, made up of our Local and Affiliate groups all over the country, on the “end” of the Iraq war.

And please urge your local Congressional reps to sign on to Rep. Barney Frank’s “Dear Colleague” letter calling for a review of the military budget as a part of the work of the federal Deficit Reduction Commission. Act now!


Although we have been told that the Iraq war has officially come to an end, we, the local and national organizers of the War Resisters League, attest to the fact that the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues. This occupation directly inflicts danger and harm on the Iraqi people and stands in the way of Iraqi self-determination.

The War Resisters League fully endorses the Iraq Debacle statement, alongside partner organizations including CODEPINK, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Military Families Speak Out, Under the Hood GI Coffeehouse, and Courage to Resist.  We agree that the U.S. never attacked Iraq to support the people of Iraq. Rather, the intent has been for U.S. military control of the “strategic area” of West Asia for the benefit of U.S.-based and multinational companies, an extension of the Bush era project of global interventionism. This has taken a great toll primarily on the Iraqi people, but also on the people of the U.S., who have seen a growing war economy and increased militarism at home, including ongoing military recruiting with in communities of color and immigrant, poor, and rural communities, increased racial profiling against Muslim and Arab-Americans and unlawful detentions, including of U.S. citizens, within and outside of U.S. borders. Furthermore, it has taken a serious toll on the members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who continue to return home traumatized and injured, if at all, only to be deployed again to fight in these unconscionable wars.

We furthermore wish to underscore the central role of oil in the U.S. “strategy” in Iraq, which is to maintain thousands of troops and military contractors on the ground to support civilian U.S. forces stationed at permanent U.S. bases in the country. U.S. and multinational oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Halliburton, and KBR, have all “won” contracts to Iraq’s formerly nationalized oil fields.

We also wish to publicly support all Iraq war resisters, including those who are refusing to deploy or are fighting deployment in the U.S. Although the government and the mainstream media have reported that there are no longer any U.S. combat troops being sent to Iraq, 5,000 service members of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas were deployed to Iraq in the early morning hours of August 23rd. We support the resistance of those who have been protesting their deployment, including veterans, military families, and civilian activists at Under the Hood GI Coffeehouse.

As the war in Iraq has now officially shifted to a plan for a permanent U.S. occupation (all former “coalition” forces have completely exited the country), it remains the responsibility of the people of the U.S. to continue building a cross-sectional movement to push for a real end to the U.S. presence there in solidarity with the Iraqi people.

To find out more about organizing with WRL, email Kimber Heinz, WRL Organizing Coordinator, at kimber@warresisters.org.

WikiLeaks in Baghdad

Check out this article, posted in The Nation, from our friends at Civilian Soldiers Alliance and IVAW

WikiLeaks in Baghdad

Sarah Lazare and Ryan Harvey
July 29, 2010

One by one, soldiers just arriving in Baghdad were taken into a room and questioned by their commanding officers. “All questions led up to the big question,” explains former Army Spc. Josh Stieber. “If someone were to pull out a weapon in a marketplace full of unarmed civilians, would you open fire on that person, even if you knew you would hurt a lot of innocent people in the process?”

*To read more about Civilian Soldier Alliance, IVAW, and WRL organzing, click here to read about their efforts at the US Social Forum!

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Updates from Bradley Manning Solidarity March

Oklahoma Center for Conscience recently had a successful solidarity march in support of Bradley Manning!

Check out this video from the local news, and some pictures from the march.

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Gara’s “A Few Small Candles” published in Japan

Larry Gara a historian, teacher, activist, and WRL contact, is the author of the important memoir, A Few Small Candles, a collection of stories from ten World War II conscientious objectors. This book, highly influential in the  peace movement, was translated to Japanese and published in Japan this summer! To learn more about conscientious objectors, check out the new issue of WIN Magazine on Counter-Recruitment.

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Uranium Mining is a Sham!

“Uranium Mining is a Sham!” is one of the chants sung by over 100 anti-nuclear and anti-mining activists gathered together at the Los Alamos national laboratory, the birthplace of the nuclear bomb.

WRL organizers have just returned home from New Mexico after spending time at the Disarmament Summer encampment in Chimayo, New Mexico, organized by the youth-led anti-nuclear network Think Outside the Bomb, along with TEWA Women United, the Indigenous Uranium Forum, and the Multicultural Alliance for  Safe Environments.  Eight activists were arrested during a sit-in in front of the doors to the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) building, the home of nuclear weapons planning.

At the action at the Los Alamos lab, activists together carried a bright blue cloth deemed “the living river” as we entered the ground of the lab, symbolizing the power of water as a life-giving force and the destruction of the nuclear fuel cycle of many of our waters. For the group of us who agreed before the march to do a direct action on the grounds of the lab, we were inspired to see 120 people behind us in our symbolic march on paved-over Native land towards the CMR building.

For people who don’t know much about the current status of the global nuclear arms race and have only heard tales of the Obama administration focusing on disarmament, particularly as it pertains to those “dangerous” countries of Central and South Asia, know this: the Obama administration’s talk about disarmament is a sham. Activists on the ground have been calling the U.S. government’s strategic shifts towards more “advanced” nuclear weapons capabilities and increased federal investment in nuclear power contracts a “nuclear renaissance,” as bomb-making remains front-and-center of our strategy for national defense and global domination.

The U.S. government has proposed the largest nuclear weapons budget ever for fiscal year 2011, which includes plans for the creation of “Prompt Global Strike” a conventional weapon system that, like nuclear weapons, could strike anywhere in the world within a hour through the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In addition, the federal government has pledged $54 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear power facilities, which has direct affects on communities that are targeted for their construction. The nuclear fuel cycle results in some of the most serious health and environmental impacts the world has known.  People living in Albuquerque drink purified and bottled water because what comes out of the tap is laced with plutonium. Communities near the test sites, processing plants, and uranium mines are living with the long-term effects of exposure to uranium and plutonium, which includes cancer, birth defects, and many chronic health problems.

After a 30 year hiatus, the uranium industry has now applied to open or re-open 22 New Mexican mines on Native land, many on sacred sites, in direct opposition to a Navajo ban on mining operations. There are still hundreds of abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico, largely located on Navajo and Pueblo lands, and state and federal agencies are only now beginning to inventory those mines and begin the cleanup process. We must stop the cycle of destruction of uranium mining now before contracts are given to new companies and end the disastrous effects of the nuclear fuel cycle as the Obama administration moves forward with its “nuclear renaissance.”

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Army Weak: Soldiers Expose Deployment of Unprepared Troops

Check out this article from WRLer, Clare Bayard!

Army Weak: Soldiers Expose Deployment of Unprepared Troops

by Clare Bayard

Army Reserve members facing imminent deployment to Afghanistan are publicly charging that their company is not properly trained or mentally fit for battle. Several members of the Indiana-based 656th Transportation Company, which is due to activate August 22nd, are requesting a Congressional inquiry into the unit’s lack of readiness. Alejandro Villatoro, a sergeant in the company, is amongst those coming forward.

Sergeant Villatoro says, “The main reason I am doing this is that I want people to know the lack of training and education our soldiers been receiving, and the focus on the mission is just not adequate to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. All I am asking is more time to reevaluate the training and mental health of these soldiers before sending them into war.”

At risk to themselves, these soldiers are going public with firsthand experiences of failures in military training, mental healthcare, and leadership, which many veterans charge are problems endemic to the military.  This comes as the Afghanistan War falls under increased scrutiny in the wake of the Wikileaked “War Logs” information.

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Oklahoma Citizens March in Support of Bradley Manning

If you are in the Oklahoma City area this Thursday, take part in this event put together by a new WRL affiliate group, Oklahoma Center for Conscience:

March to Support Alleged Whistleblower Bradley Manning

Manning, an Oklahoma native, faces 52 years in prison for exposing war crimes

This Thursday, August 12, Oklahomans will show support for and solidarity with Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking documents about the Afghanistan War, with a march at dusk near the state capitol.

The Army intelligence analyst, originally from Crescent, Oklahoma, is being held in the brig at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.

The action is being organized locally by the Oklahoma Center for Conscience, with support from the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

James M. Branum, an attorney that works with OCC on military law cases, calls the Pentagon’s treatment of Manning “extreme” and designed to set up the case “as an example of the punishment waiting for others who would consider exposing violations of military regs and international law.”

“We are saying that exposing war crimes is not a crime,” he said.

The whistleblower behind the Vietnam era’s Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr. Manning a hero.  ”I admire the courage of Bradley Manning for sacrificing himself to make the public aware of the futility of the war in Afghanistan,” says Ellsberg.

WHEN: Thursday, August 12, 8pm

WHERE: From the Corner of NE 16th and Lincoln to Oklahoma State Capitol, Oklahoma City


**To learn more about Bradley Manning click here


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Defend Bradley Manning, War Crime Whistleblower

The Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist have established a legal defense fund for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking intelligence documents to WikiLeaks. He is charged with eight violations, including allegedly leaking the “Collateral Murder” video to WikiLeaks (for a detailed account of the actions depicted in the video, read this article from The Nation). Manning is currently being held in the Marine Corps base at Quantico, VA. If convicted of the charges against him, he faces up to 52 years in prison, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and benefits and unspecified fines.

Manning’s legal fees and expenses may run an estimated $50,000 to $200,000. WikiLeaks, who published and promoted the “Collateral Murder” video, has promised a significant donation to his defense, but that is not enough.

Let the world know that if Bradley Manning leaked these documents, revealing war crimes is not a crime!

YOU CAN HELP by donating to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund to assure Bradley has the proper defense necessary in this grueling case, and by also signing the petition online.

Address letters of support to:

Inmate: Bradley Manning
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, VA 22134
USA

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Hiroshima/Nagasaki 65th Anniversary Weekend

This weekend is the 65th anniversary of  the US’s atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This devastating action caused the deaths of over 200,000 civilians and has left long term environmental and health hazards on the people in these regions.

As the nuclear clock is ticking once again, we join in solidarity to work for an anti-nuclear world.

For those in NYC this weekend, the WRL NYC Local is organizing a Hiroshima/Nagasaki exhibit on Saturday August 7th from 12pm-5pm in Tompkins Square Park.

Please join us to remember this tragic event and to work together to make sure that this never happens again!

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