Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Washington Peace Center Endorses IRS Blockade

For Immediate Release March 17, 2008

Malachy Kilbride, 202-841-2230
Jay Marx, 202-234-2000

Washington Peace Center Endorses War Resisters Action on Anniversary of Iraq War

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One of the region's oldest peace and social justice organizations, the Washington Peace Center, will join with one of the nation's oldest pacifist organizations this week to clearly state that there should be no more tax dollars spent on the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, March 19, the War Resisters League will set up a nonviolent blockade of the national Internal Revenue Service headquarters in downtown Washington, as part of the day of actions against the war of terror. The Washington Peace Center fully supports this action, and will continue to highlight the immoral waste of U.S. tax dollars on violence and empire while the federal government continues to ignore serious social concerns at home.

According to government budget reporting, 54 percent of current federal income tax dollars in the U.S. are dedicated to pay current and past military expenditures. This includes an estimated $200 billion for the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal year 2009.

"The amount of money going to illegal and immoral war and occupation is simply outrageous," said Washington Peace Center Board President Malachy Kilbride. "I think people of conscience will feel the need to confront this unjust and morally bankrupt tax structure."

March 19 marks five years since the U.S. attack and subsequent war on the sovereign nation of Iraq. This year, the day will begin in Washington with a brief rally in McPherson Square (15th and K Streets, NW) at 7 a.m., and then a march to the IRS building at 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW.

Ruth Benn, WRL member and staff person explained: "Just as some soldiers have the courage to resist the war, we — as tax payers — should have the courage to resist paying the taxes that send soldiers to war. We call on all war opponents to help dramatize our opposition and to disrupt business as usual by joining this nonviolent blockade."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ghosts of War visit the Senate

The following UPI report was one of the best I saw. 10 were arrested inside the Senate on Wednesday, and about 18 were arrested outside Congress the same day! Both were beautiful actions, and I was proud to be part of the preparation and training.

Protesters disrupt Senate floor debate
Published: March 12, 2008 at 6:13 PM

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Anti-war protesters temporarily halted proceedings on the U.S. Senate floor Wednesday by yelling slogans that interrupted budget resolution debate.

"We are from the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance," the group chanted repeatedly as Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., was speaking, The Hill reported.

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., debate floor manager for the Democrats, asked the sergeant-at-arms to remove the protesters. Capitol Police officers removed at least 10 protesters from the chamber after they shouted at lawmakers to stop funding the war in Iraq.

The disruption lasted about 10 minutes. Security officers tried to clear news media from an adjacent hallway, prompting an exchange during which reporters questioned officers for keeping them from reporting the scene.

The exchange brought Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, who listened to Capitol reporters complain about being barred from witnessing how police handled the protesters.

Gainer said inhibiting the media from covering the protest was "not the message" the Senate wanted to send.

"I never would expect our officers to manage the press while they're engaged in their duty," Gainer said. "To the extent we were imperfect, we will try to improve."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Winter Soldier II: New York to D.C.

By Michael Kramer
New York

More than 200 Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) supporters attended a preliminary Winter Soldier hearing Feb. 21 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan.

The local event was successful in building momentum for the national Winter Soldier 2008 hearings, scheduled for March 13-16 at the AFL-CIO affiliated National Labor College in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Silver Spring, Md.

Winter Soldier will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and will expose the criminal nature of both wars.

The political unity of military veterans from different generations was in evidence as IVAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace shared the stage and program.

Bill Perry, who testified at the original Winter Soldier hearings in 1971, described the war crimes he witnessed while serving with 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Fernando Braga told about the anti-Arab racism that was part of his pre-Iraq deployment training at Fort Dix, N.J., while a member of the New York Army National Guard.

IVAW member and war resister Ryan Johnson was able to take part in the program from Canada via a live video feed. He is a member of the Winter Soldier Organizing Committee and described the situation of more than 50 absent without leave war resisters in Canada as they courageously struggle for human rights and against deportation. There is now an IVAW chapter in Toronto.

More ominously for the Bush administration and Pentagon generals, an IVAW chapter has recently been formed on the Fort Hood, Texas, army megabase. This base has more than 33,000 residents and is home to the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division.