Welcome ToVeterans For Peace Corporal Jonathan Santos Memorial Chapter 111
VA Healthcare Panel at St. Luke's
Thursday, November 21, 7 pm The United StatesVeterans Health Care System Panel Discussion.
St. Luke’s Community Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham (near St. Joseph’s Hospital)
Featured Panel: Dr. Bridget Cantrell, internationally known psychologist/author specializing in treatment of veterans and their families, Doris Kent, a Gold Star mother working with homeless veterans at the Whatcom County Opportunity Council and volunteering as a navigator for accessing health and support services at the Bellingham Veterans Center, and Bill Distler, VFP Chapter 111. Vietnam Veterans for Peace has also been invited to send a representative.
The U.S. Veterans health care system features many components that if incorporated into Obamacare would result in more comprehensive health care reform.
Sponsored by United for National Healthcare 360-398-2295
Opposes U.S. attacks in Syria
A letter I wrote last week when an attack on Syria seemed imminent.
Stay on Obama. He hasn't stopped the sales job for a punishing military resolution. Keep the pressure on Congress!
Published: September 11, 2013
At a press conference in Sweden, while taking his sales job for attacking Syria on the road, President Obama said "the world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent." But you never get the full meal deal during a sales pitch. What I believe Mr. Moral Authority is leaving out is the weaponry the U.S. plans to deploy when given the green light, or not, by Congress.
If the administration truly abhors the "the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders," in John Kerry words as he "Colin Powell-ed" us during remarks at the State Department last week, it would not be planning to bomb anyone, anywhere. Each Tomahawk cruise missile carries a single 1,000-pound bomb or 166 smaller cluster bombs. And each of these explodes into over 200 sharp steel fragments, capable of shredding any child -- or family -- within 400 feet.
Do the math. Then join us in the streets, or phone your Congressional representative, and loudly and clearly oppose another pointless war holding another sovereign nation accountable for anything when this country continually neglects to set its own red lines on killing.
VFP-111 Joins with Community
at No War With Syria Rally 2
A enthusiastic gathering of over 150 organized by Bellingham’s peace coalition and represented by banner and sign holders from across generational and political spectrums – progressives, anti-war activists, county Tea Party supporters, Republicans and Dems - occupied Bellingham’s Five Corners intersection at Lakeway and Ellis for over an hour beginning at noon on Saturday. And after an enthusiastic midtown response from hundreds of drivers opposing war in Syria, the crowd marched on both sides of Holly Street to the Farmers Market where members were tabling for another week to gather signatures for a petition demanding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict. Organizers are hoping for the best but planning for additional actions and demonstrations this week following a less than favorable vote in the Senate or House, and even worse, a possible attack on Syria with global repercussions.
Thanks to Herb Goodwin and Gene Marx for photos of the event, and Tim Hardin for the audio - 1969's "Simple Song of Freedom."
The terrible and widespread killing in Syria will become even more terrible and more widespread if the U.S. military (or a coalition of allies) launches an attack.
We can't idly sit by and watch the already suffering Syrian people suffer even more at the hands of the US-NATO war machine. We must act for peace now. Toll
Contact your Rick Larsen (WA-02), Suzan DelBene, (WA-01), Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell immediately. Get others in Bellingham and Whatcom County to do it as well. Growing numbers of Republicans and military personnel agree with us so reach out beyond your normal circles. The toll free number (866) 481-9186.
This Syria attack would be illegal, immoral, dangerous, destabilizing and expensive. Just because there is a Democrat in the White House does not make a violent attack acceptable. If Bush or Romney were president and tried to pull this nonsense the outcry would be even greater than at present. We can't give any president a pass on this madness.
Get out on the street and hold a sign - even if you are alone. Another Bellingham No War With Syria Rally will be held this Saturday, at 5 Corners. And there will likely be another huge turnout. Join us.
Keep calling the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 to be put on hold until operator is available.
Keep the pressure on. We stopped them last week, we can do it again. We have to.
VFP-111 Gitmo Rolling Hunger Strike Continues
On Friday, June 28, a VFP-111 Gitmo hunger strike ad hoc committee determined that a rolling fast by our membership and supporters might best demonstrate our solidarity with Veterans For Peace hunger strikers Elliott Adams and Tarak Kauff, both on open-ended fasts, just passing 52 and 35 days respectively, to end forced-feedings and torture at Guantanamo Bay prison. The Gitmo detainees, having been cleared for release or held without charges, have surpassed 150 days this past week. Many of them are still being cruelly force-fed by US forces, in spite of world-wide outcries and condemnations by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World and the American Medical Associations, all opposing any force-feeding of prisoners as a violation of medical ethics.
Like our VFP brothers and other hunger strikers around the country VFP-111 advocates for the closure of Gitmo and an end to torture. But until President Obama actually lives up to his unfulfilled promise, or at least ends the illegal detention of detainees by exercising his authority to restart transfers out of Guantanamo, beginning with those previously cleared for transfer, the time for long-overdue action is now. Lives are in the balance, with each new day more critical than the last.
On a global scale thousands of solidarity fasts have been implemented to not only draw attention to a hell hole like Gitmo, but to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones and take action. Recent hunger strikers among our ranks, Diane Wilson and Brian Willson, only ending their efforts after a White House arrest and a traffic accident, have been such inspirations for decades. This is our time to follow their lead as a chapter.
While rolling hunger strikes are not new, our planners agreed that this nonviolent tactic may be more of a risk health wise to some of our membership than to others. For this reason it was decided to promote such fasting, but only with the type and duration being left up to the individual participants. Examples of such fasts are found on Close Gitmo and Witness Against Torture.
The success of a Chapter 111 rolling fast will likely never be measurable, but every one begins with the first participant passing their fast, after completion, to the next person or persons, in relay-style. And whether it is a week-long or midnight to midnight version, or a half day, or a couple of meals, we should each act as if it makes a difference, because it does.
A "Gitmo Rolling Fast” Doodle poll for July was created to schedule all participants. The link to the poll is http://doodle.com/htwqydktuhee6s6g. Select a day, even an overlapping day, once you enter the site. If you would would prefer to remain anonymous that’s understandable, just enter "anonymous". If you have a question or comment, just email one of the VFP-111 Rolling Strike contacts. Besides me, the contacts are Michael Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org or Ellen Murphy email@example.com.
Remember, this action is in its fledgling stage. Street theater, vigiling/bannering, outreach and media efforts, even non-violent civil disobedience could be integral to its success. We welcome any and all suggestions.
One of the best war films of all time, Carl Foreman's "The Victors" boasts a huge international cast, presenting a series of short stories about the various members of an infantry squad as it treks from Sicily to Germany during the final weeks of WWII, crosscutting their interpersonal relationships with those they share with the enemy and other victims of war. This classic's underlying message on the futility of war, so soon after WWII, clearly hampered the distribution of this uncut version.
Admission is free.
VFP-111 Support for Bradley Manning
The first week of the Bradley Manning trial culminated with a VFP-111 presence near the entrance of the Farmers Market on Cornwall Ave, distributing hundreds of Courage to Resist fliers and engaging a steady stream fair goers. Most were supportive, but surprisingly many had no idea of the unfair trial and its impact. That’s why we were out all week and will continue to get the word out.
The hands down response from one of Bellingham's PFC Manning detractors?
“I’m sorry. I don’t support what you’re doing. Bradley Manning’s actions were irresponsible, and besides, I’m a Democrat.”
Thanks to everyone who participated, and especially our supporters – Keith, Peter, Mary, Miaca, Eleanor, and Elizabeth. Stay tuned.
VFP-111 at Seattle Anti-Drone Rally
A crowd of between 100 and 150 gathered in Westlake Plaza on Wednesday, April 17, as part of the National Anti-Drone campaign organized by a No Drone coalition that includes VFP, CodePink, and A.N.S.W.E.R. Following the plaza rally, which included a variety of speakers, including VFP-111's Bill Distler, and music by Jim Page, the coalition marched through downtown Seattle.
The march probably drew more attention than the issue due to the huge police escort accompanying the entire route in the middle of rushhour. Dozens of cycle police and motorcycle officers, with a full array of lights and sirens blaring, led the way on the roundtrip back to the plaza. An obvious overkill, but the Machine was definitely slowed down.
Report from Shannon Airport, Ireland
By Gene Marx
Gene Marx, Ben Griffin, and Barry Ladendorf
Almost fifteen years have passed since the ink had dried on the pages of the Good Friday peace accords, when saner minds actually prevailed to end The Troubles. The Celtic Tiger was restless then, but nonetheless it could have
hardly been argued that if peace was a place, it was here, in Ireland.
Since then the world lost its way. In spite of grass so green it’s said you can see the blue, and red deer, spring lambs and border collies still setting the
pace in the meadows of County Clare, there can be no doubt that the
bloodied, ragged edges of empire had spread like a cancer, enveloping even the proud heritage of Irish neutrality.
This month marks ten years since the start of the illegal war and occupation in Iraq, but more notably the beginning of Irish complicity in the inevitable
bloodshed by cowed politicians allowing Irish airspace to be used to
transport US troops and munitions, ultimately selling out their constitution
by disavowing its "devotion to the ideals of peace... adherence to the
pacific settlement of international disputes...and the recognised principles of international law" all for the sake of war-profiteering.
On March 20, 2003, the day after the US invasion of Iraq, continuing
through the US-led war and occupation in Afghanistan, over 2 million armed US troops have been allowed to transit through Shannon Airport on their
way to the United States’ illegal wars of choice in the Middle East and Asia.
To make it worse, a blind eye was turned by the Irish lower House,
Dail Eirann, to the transportation of munitions cargoes, including depleted
uranium, as well as suspected rendition flights, in total disregard of calls for inspection of these aircraft.
This year Veterans For Peace decided to get actively involved by supporting
the efforts of the Irish anti-war activists of Shannon Watch, the Peace and
Neutrality Alliance, and the Irish Anti-War Movement, to end the US military invasion of Shannon. On March 10, US Veterans For Peace members Barry
Ladendorf from San Diego, California, and Gene Marx from Bellingham,
Washington, joined forces with Irish VFP recruits and organizers, Ed Horgan, Tim Hourigan, John Lannon, and Dolan Roche, along with VFP London's Ben Griffin, to stand united with Shannon Watch.
In spite of attempts by dozens of airport police and Ireland's National police An Garda to intimidate the visiting VFP delegates on the airport confines with credential checks and vehicle tails, the new Shannon Watch allies from VFP
successfully joined the ranks of our cold and wet, yet enthusiastic
Irish hosts at the airport perimeter for a two-long demonstration. A non-stop chorus of car honking, with waves of peace signs from supporters and
commuters, saw the new coalition out to a successful conclusion.
VFP Membership Committee members Marx and Ladendorf were invited to
speak at the University of Limerick the following day before returning home.
While the numbers of anti-war activists have declined in Ireland since
Shannon’s peace camp days and direct actions of the Pit Stop Ploughshares, current Irish core-groups and activists are no less deterred by Obama militarists than they were with the Bush cabal and more dogged than ever in their determination to restore Irish neutrality and end the US occupation of Shannon Airport.
Latest Title: To provide that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.
Latest Major Action: 1/4/2013 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
Rain or Shine
VFP-111 Still Exposing True Cost of War
Last Wednesday, July 18th, members of VFP-111 brought the war economy road show back to the Fairhaven, displaying for commuters the tally for war in Afghanistan since 2001. More than a few drivers did a double take at the $290 billion price tag unfurled on Fairhaven Parkway.
This Wednesday the Chapter will be at another corner TBA - 3 to 4 pm.
As the tally keeps climbing on the financial collateral damage, the Veterans For Peace National Campaign How Is the War Economy Working for You? continues to be a fixture at prominent intersections near you to relentlessly raise awareness.
Coffee Strong is the second antiwar GI Coffeehouse to open its doors in the US since Vietnam, and serves as a safe space for military veterans, active duty soldiers and progressive minds to discuss issues like the wars, deployment, PTSD, and the hardships of military life. Coffee Strong is completely funded by community donations.
Bellingham City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Opposing
U.S. Military Intervention in Iran
Monday night, July 14, 2008, after almost an hour of testimony and a unanimous City Council 7 to 0 vote, Bellingham became the first community in Washington State to take a stand against possible U. S. military intervention in Iran.
Testimonies during the public open discussion period unanimously supported the city of Bellingham's opposition to Bush Administration rhetoric, equating recent sabre-rattling by proponents of a pre-emptive strike against Iran to the misinformation force-fed a gullible post-911, flag waving public during the run-up to shock and awe in Iraq. It was obvious from the first speaker that blind patriotism wasn't going to sell this time, in spite of the Bellingham Herald's, eleventh-hour attempt to editorialize the Council's supposed misplaced involvement in national issues in its Monday edition, calling a city of Bellingham resolution on such issues "meaningless".
"It's about as meaningless as Schindler's list," said Marie Marchand, Executive Director of Whatcom Peace and Justice.
The Resolution Opposing Military Intervention in Iran, inspired by the version introduced by Mayor Bob Kiss of Burlington, Vermont at June's Mayoral Conference in Miami, was sponsored by Councilman Terry Borneman, a co-sponsor of Bellingham's successful Troops Home Now! resolution in 2006. Local Veterans for Peace and Whatcom Peace and Justice organizers Gene Marx and Marchand choreographed the groundwork and outreach resulting in Monday night's successful conclusion. Also speaking in support of the resolution was Doris Kent, Gold Star mother of local VFP Chapter namesake, Corporal Jonathan Santos.
Bellingham joined thirteen other cities with similar resolutions and organizers were hoping this effort would lead to a groundswell of support in Washington State and elsehere.
"Bellingham has once again - as in 2006 - been given the opportunity to define itself, for the rest of the State," said Marx, a Vietnam vet and parent of a two-tour Iraq veteran. "I am immensely proud of Bellingham - again - and proud of the courage our city council demonstrated tonight."
To thank the Bellingham City Council, phone (360) 778-8200 or email at www.cob.org/contact/council.aspx. Additional updates on Cities for Peace (www.citiesforpeace.org).