March 01, 2006

Wed. March 1st : Antiwar Leader Speaks in NYC

This from my inbox - K

Campaign to Stop Military Recruitment in NYC Schools and Stand-up to the war in Iraq

Todd Chretien is running for Senate on the Green Party ticket in San Fransisco against Sen. Diane Feinstein. He is the co-author of the successful ballot measure to kick military recruiters out of the schools in San Fransisco and has appeared on "The O' Reilly Factor" to defend the victory. He is a member of the California Green Party and the International Socialist Organization.

Event Information:   

Wed. March 1st 7PM,
Synagogue for the Arts
49 White Street -

(btw. Church & Broadway, 3 Blocks south of Canal  A/C/E/1/2/3 to Chambers St.)

Todd will be joined by:
- City Council Member Annabel Palma, co-sponsor of NYC counter-recruitment bill
- Jim Murphy, Veterans for Peace,
- Bill Harmon, Iraqi Veterans Against War
- Karri Kokka, NYC Public Highschool Teacher
- Mitch Jeserich, WBAI's Wakeup Call
- Campus Antiwar Network Speaker
- NYC Highschool Student

Read more about San Francisco's Propostion 1:

Read more about Todd's Senate campaign for "A million votes for Peace":

See Todd on "The O'Reilly Factor"

Posted by Kat Aaron on March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack (1)

February 28, 2006

tomorrow at noon: U.S Military out of El Barrio

courtesy of my inbox:

Rally/Resist!!! - U.S Military out of El Barrio! - Wed, March 1st @ 12noon!

No more Boricua Body Bags! Come join the people of El barrio/East Harlem to demand the removal of the u.s. military from our community(s):

Wed, March 1st, 12noon
103d St. (between Lexington & Park aves)
(Take the number 6 train to 103d Street and then turn/walk left)

Boricua Body Bags

"This is a war that's been going on since the invasion of North America." - Pedro Pietri

In Puerto Rico and in Puerto Rican ghettos in the u.s, military recruitment of boricua bodies is
big bizness. While inferior inner-shitty schools mis-educate young people (or don't educate at
all), social programs are cut, and decent job opportunities dwindle (or don't even exist)
"careers" in the military are promoted as the only way out of a life of poverty for Puerto Ricans

Until the so called "Korean War" in the 1950s, soldiers from the island of Puerto Rico were
grouped in their own unit, the 65th Infantry Regiment. Used as cannon fodder by u.s.
commanders in that war against Korea, the regiment argued against this treatment and was
dissolved, and the Puerto Rican soldiers were dispersed into other units.

There are no "Puerto Rican armed forces," besides independentista ones like the Ejercito Popular
Boricua, a.k.a. Los Macheteros, but they are classified as "illegal" by the u.s. government
and therefore exist only in clandestinity. So the only "legal" armed force in Puerto Rico
is the u.s. military, whose commander in chief, the president of the united states, is elected
without the input of the people of Puerto Rico who do not have the right to vote for u.s.
presidents or u.s. congress either. In spite of this fact, since 1917, when the united states
government imposed u.s. citizenship on the people of Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans have fought and
died in all u.s. wars. And since World War II, Puerto Rico has suffered more casualties per
capita than any other US jurisdiction, and the rate is among the highest in the ongoing
conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon statistics.

In the so called "Vietnam conflict", Puerto Rican draft-aged men were con-scripted into service
with the u.s. military even though Puerto Rico did not have a voting representative in Congress
and most of the PR draftees did not speak English. More than 100 men were tried in Puerto
Rico for refusing to comply with draft laws during the so called "Vietnam War". If they
appealed, their appeals court was in Boston, where the appeal was heard in English. Puerto Ricans from the island and in the u.s. were also disproportionately represented in front-line combat units. They, like other poor people, also bore the brunt of casualties, during that war, as they continue to do today.

Besides the available use of expendable Puerto Rican bodies to fight and die for the united states, the u.s. has always considered Puerto Rico a strategically important military position in the Caribbean, even before invading the island in 1898. Puerto Rico's location gives the u.s. military access to North, Central, and South America, as well as a perfect location to train troops, test and store new weapons and defend u.s. interests in Latin America.

With the closure of u.s. military bases in Panama after the canal was transferred to Panama in 1999, Puerto Rico now has the highest concentration of u.s. military forces in Latina America and has the 17th largest National Guard among the 50 states and other "u.s. territories", and the percentage of reservists in P.R. exceeds the national (u.s.) average. Also, components of the u.s. Southern Command (USSouthcom), responsible for u.s. military activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, and United States Army South (USARSO), have relocated to Puerto Rico and the u.s. military occupies 25 percent of the land in Puerto Rico.

Currently there is no draft system, so the u.s. military is considered "all volunteer".
However, the ability to change this law resides with the u.s. government, which, of course Puerto Ricans have no control over.  So, if the u.s. should need to reestablish obligatory military service, Puerto Ricans, who have no voice in diplomatic discussions, or in u.s. foreign policy, would have to fight u.s. war(s) against their will, just as they did in the past.

Also, we see that although there is no "draft", the u.s. still sends a disproportionate number of non-white troops and other poor people to fight (and die) in its wars. The Pentagon's personnel records reveal that in East Harlem in 2004, over 90% of the enlistees into the u.s. military (not including the marines who did not provide sufficient data) were Latino and the percentage of recruits from East Harlem was 15 times higher than that of the wealthy (and largely white) Upper East Side which is located right below East Harlem in Manhattan. In the South Bronx, which has the largest population of Puerto Ricans in New York City, the number of recruits into the u.s. military last year was 38 times higher than that of the Upper East Side. Aggressive recruitment in ghetto schools, combined with advertising geared specifically towards the inner-city "hip hop generation" show clearly that the u.s. military continues to target poor non-white youth to fight its war(s).

In the last century, the only nation that has ever threatened the Puerto Rican people or
invaded P.R. is the united states itself, so the u.s. military presence in the island, and the use of so many Puerto Ricans by the u.s. military is both harmful and destructive to the Puerto Rican people or the Puerto Rican nation.

An independent Puerto Rico would reclaim the land on which u.s. military bases sit and use it for P.R. economic development, and provide futures for Puerto Rican youth that do not involve killing and dieing for colonialism. A real Puerto Rican armed force would be dedicated to protecting Puerto Rico's freedom and sovereignty, not to invading countries in the Middle East or anywhere else.

Posted by Joshua Breitbart on February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

February 02, 2006

Out of Jail, Into the Army


    Facing an enlistment crisis, the Army is granting "waivers" to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records -- and trying to hide it...

    Through the use of a little-known, but increasingly important, escape clause known as a waiver. Waivers, which are generally approved at the Pentagon, allow recruiters to sign up men and women who otherwise would be ineligible for service because of legal convictions, medical problems or other reasons preventing them from meeting minimum standards...

    According to statistics provided to Salon by the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, the Army said that 17 percent (21,880 new soldiers) of its 2005 recruits were admitted under waivers. Put another way, more soldiers than are in an entire infantry division entered the Army in 2005 without meeting normal standards. This use of waivers represents a 42 percent increase since the pre-Iraq year of 2000...

    [E]xamples from the Air Guard files suggest a wider problem:

    • After his parents filed a domestic-abuse complaint against him in 2000, a recruit in Rhode Island was sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to have "no contact" with his parents, and required to undergo counseling and to pay court costs. Air National Guard rules say domestic violence convictions make recruits ineligible -- no exceptions granted. But the records show that the recruiter in this case brought the issue to an Air Guard staff judge advocate, who reviewed the file and determined that the offense did not "meet the domestic violence crime criteria." As a result of this waiver, the recruit was admitted to his state's Air Guard on May 3, 2005.


    • A recruit with DWI violations in June 2001 and April 2002 received a waiver to enter the Iowa Air National Guard on July 15, 2005. The waiver request from the Iowa Guard to the Pentagon declares that the recruit "realizes that he made the wrong decision to drink and drive."

    • Another recruit for the Rhode Island Air National Guard finished five years of probation in 2002 for breaking and entering, apparently into his girlfriend's house. A waiver got him into the Guard in June 2005.

    • A recruit convicted in January 2004 for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and stolen license-plate tags got into the Hawaii Air National Guard with a waiver little more than a year later, on March 3, 2005.

    Taken together, the troubling statistics from the Army and anecdotal information derived from the files of the Air National Guard raise a warning flag about the extent to which the military is lowering its standards to fight the war in Iraq. The president may be correct in his recent press conference boast that "we're transforming the military." But the abuse of recruiting waivers prompts the question: In what direction is this military transformation headed?

Posted by MikeBurke on February 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack (1)

January 24, 2006

4 months for Recruiting Station Protest

Anti-war activist Daniel Burns received a six month prison sentence on Monday (Jan 23) for his involvement in a 2003 protest at an upstate New York recruiting station.  Burns is one of four non-violent peace activists known as the St. Patrick’s Four, convicted of pouring their own blood on posters, the flag, and the walls of an Ithaca recruiting station in March 2003.  The action was a protest against the looming war on Iraq.

According to the website, "Burns was the first of the St. Patrick’s Four to appear for sentencing in Binghamton, NY. Peter DeMott, Clare Grady and Teresa Grady will also be sentenced individually this week."

According to Newsday, Burns said "My conduct was honorable" at the sentencing hearing. 

Burns said the federal government was being hypocritical for prosecuting him while carrying out an illegal war in Iraq and conducting illegal wiretaps on American citizens.

"It is the U.S. government that is guilty of much larger crimes," said Burns.

Newsday went on:

The U.S. Attorney's Office decided to prosecute the four after a county court jury deadlocked over whether they should be convicted of trespassing and criminal mischief, misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

The four anti-war protesters, however, were acquitted of the most serious charge against them _ conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States, which carried a maximum sentence of up to six years in federal prison.

Newsday also reported that Burns is being investigated by the State Department for "illegally" travelling to Cuba to protest outside the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. 

Posted by Kat Aaron on January 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (1)

January 22, 2006

Pittsburgh Organizers Announce April Counter-Recruiting Conference

Pittsburgh activists are planning to hold a regional counter-recruiting conference April 7-9.

"Our hope is to attract a wide range of folks from communities working against or concerned about military recruitment and excited about the potential of CR efforts to help put an end to our nation's endless wars," says the Pittsburgh Organzing Group (POG), which is convening the conference. "We hope to increase collaboration between groups and individuals working on CR, share skills and get to know each other better."

POG was formed in 2002 to oppose the Iraq War. It garnered national attention on August 20 of last year when a demonstration outside a local military recruiting station resulted in six arrests and saw the police use tasers and snarling dogs against protesters. || Nov. 18

Posted by J.Tarleton on January 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBack (0)

December 14, 2005

Students Denounce Pentagon Surveillance of of Counter-Recruitment Activities

From the Campus Antiwar Network:

    SANTA CRUZ, CA – According to a document obtained by NBC News, the Pentagon has been spying on 1,500 “suspicious incidents,” including anti-war and counter-recruitment meetings and actions throughout the nation over the past 10-month period. Among the first pages of more than 400 released, 10 college anti-war protests were listed, including UC Santa Cruz Students Against War (SAW)’s counter-recruitment protest of April 5, 2005, which was the only one to be labeled both credible and a “threat.”

    Despite having dealt with both undercover police and university agents involved in the acts of surveillance and repression, the news came as a little shock to many SAW members, reaffirming long-held beliefs about the nature of the U.S. military. 3rd year student Jen Low noted the hypocrisy of the government’s messaging, reminding us that, "the notion of the Pentagon spying on peaceful protesters is a major threat to the freedoms that they claim to protect."

    While the Department of Defense has not commented on the allegations, student activists assert that the rising unpopularity of the Iraq War and the inability of military recruiters to meet their quotas make the counter-recruitment movement a strong candidate for repression by a “homeland security” apparatus run amok.

    This repression does not end with the surveillance from the Federal government. In fact, local officials and college campuses have also been monitoring and repressing anti-war and counter-recruitment activities. In August, community members of the Pennsylvania Organizing Group (POG) peacefully protesting at a military recruiting center near the University of Pittsburg were violently attacked by police. Most recently, at Hampton University in Virginia, students disseminating information against military recruiters on campus were threatened with expulsion. Other schools that have witnessed incidents of extreme repression against student activists include the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Kent State, Harold Washington College, Holyoke Community College, George Mason University, San Francisco State University, City College of New York, and Seattle Central Community College.

    UC Santa Cruz is widely known to have one of the largest antiwar and counter-recruitment movements in the country. On April 5, 2005 over 300 students marched into a campus job fair, occupying the building and holding a teach-in until all military recruiters left. On October 18, 2005, over 200 students rallied outside of another job fair, while two dozen UCSC students blocked recruiters on the inside by engaging in a ‘Queer Kiss-In’ to protest discriminatory military recruitment.

Posted by MikeBurke on December 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

December 05, 2005

Protests tied to Supreme Court case

December 6 is a national counter-recruitment day of action connected to the Supreme Court's hearing of FAIR v Rumsfeld. The case will determine the constitutionality of the "Solomon Amendment" that allows the federal government to cut off funds to schools that bar military recruitment on their campuses.

CAN has gathered an impressive list of endorsers for its call to action, inlcuding Cindy Sheehan, Howard Zinn, Dahr Jamail, war resisters Pablo Paredes and Camilo Mejia, and the entire Berkeley, CA, city council. In New York, the plan is to protest at the military recruiting station next to the Borough of Manhattan Community College (199 Chamber St.) at noon.

Posted by Joshua Breitbart on December 5, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

December 02, 2005

“Bring in 10 people and you can earn $20,000"

From USA Today:

    The Army National Guard, battling a falloff in recruiting, is offering troops a finder's fee for lining up new soldiers. The Guard Recruiter Assistant Program, launched this week in five states, offers National Guard members $1,000 for enlisting a recruit and another $1,000 when the prospect shows up for basic training. “Bring in 10 people and you can earn $20,000,” says Lt. Col. Mike Jones, deputy division chief for recruiting and retention at the National Guard Bureau.

Posted by MikeBurke on December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (55) | TrackBack (5)

November 23, 2005

Reports on the November 16 Protest in Brooklyn

At least in New York City, the November 16 protests against military recruitment seem to have achieved their goal. The shuttered gates at the Flatbush Avenue recruiting stations suggested that the military is willing to cut and run from at least some battles.

Read a report on NYC Indymedia and Sarah Ferguson's article from the Village Voice. (Photo by Fred Askew.)

Posted by Joshua Breitbart on November 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0)

November 22, 2005

Vanity Fair: The Recruiter's War

I've been xeroxing and faxing this article for weeks. Either because I missed it or because they don't post it until the issue is off the newsstands, I've only just found this September 2005 Vanity Fair article, The Recruiters' War. It doesn't have much to say about counter-recruiting, but it makes it very clear just how thin the recruiters are stretched and how far they will go to satisfy their superiors' demands.

Posted by Joshua Breitbart on November 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack (0)