06 March, 2007

notes from the resistance - "here I stand"

Agustín Aguayo, from the Guardian:
A U.S. Army medic who jumped out a window of his base housing and fled to California to avoid a redeployment to Iraq was convicted of desertion Tuesday at a court-martial. He could be sentenced to seven years in prison.

Spc. Agustin Aguayo, 35, who refused to return to Iraq because he believes war is immoral, admitted the less serious charge of being absent without leave but was unsuccessful in contesting the more serious desertion charge.
. . .

"I respect everyone's views and your decision, I understand that people don't understand me," he testified before the judge, Col. R. Peter Masterton. "I tried my best, but I couldn't bear weapons and I could never point weapons at someone."

Aguayo added: "The words of Martin Luther come to mind, 'Here I stand, I can do no more'."
from an interview with Agustin's wife:

GILLIAN RUSSOM: Is it true that he saw the movie Sir! No Sir! shortly before he refused to deploy?

HELGA AGUAYO: Yes. One of the workers at the GI Rights Hotline in Germany gave my husband a copy of Sir! No Sir! He was hypnotized by it. When he was watching it, it just revved him up for what he knew he might have to face.

He had already made the decision when he was in Iraq. But seeing other soldiers come out and seeing this movie about soldiers who actually stopped the war gave him the knowledge to stand by his decision.

. . . Activists can absolutely help. Courage to Resist started this campaign "Free Agustín Aguayo" up in Seattle, and we loved it. In Germany, the German peace activists went out to the base on his birthday and demanded his freedom.

The more people who stand up and say, "We stand by him," it sends a clear message. Not only to the military, but to soldiers who want to do the same thing, and to kids who are thinking about enlisting. They need to know the realities of what war does to families and communities. And if people want to help us on a personal level, we need fundraisers.

GILLIAN RUSSOM: Why do you think that Agustín and the other military resisters are important for the antiwar movement?

HELGA AGUAYO: They're important because they're taking a stand that all the Americans who are against the war can't really take. They're making it difficult for the Army to continue their mission.

My husband's a paramedic, and medics are needed desperately in Iraq. I think that these soldiers who stand up and say, "I won't do it," are frustrating the plans of these particular units.

It's important for the antiwar movement to adopt these soldiers and say that this guy has taken a remarkable step. We need to support him because he's doing what we would do if we were in his position.

. . . more information on the Agustin Aguay case
War Protesters Arrested at Washington Port:

Police arrested three people early Monday during a protest of Iraq-bound Army vehicles at a Washington state port.

Several dozen people showed up at the Port of Tacoma to protest the shipment of Stryker vehicles and other equipment from Fort Lewis. Caitlin Esworthy, Walter Cuddeford and Jeffery Berryhill were arrested for investigation of assault.

Zoltan Grossman, a geography professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia who was observing the protest, said he didn't know what prompted the arrests.

Esworthy is an Evergreen State student, and Cuddeford is a Navy veteran, he said.

"There were no rocks, no weapons. People were not carrying anything but signs," Grossman said. "We were on public space, on gravel, and there was a white line that police had told us not to cross. I didn't see any of the protesters cross that line."

Last May, hundreds of protesters objected to similar shipments at the Port of Olympia. Police pepper-sprayed some protesters who pulled down a port gate, and about three dozen people were arrested over several days.
Occupying America - one Congressional office at a time:

SACRAMENTO – With giant puppets of mourning women looming behind them and displays of American and Iraqi casualties nearby, speakers will address how the horror of the Iraq war impacts the people of Iraq and their loved ones Tuesday, March 6. . . at the Federal Building
meanwhile, inside the Federal Building:

SACRAMENTO A "Peace-In" enters its 9th straight week Monday at Rep. Doris Matsui's office here – the longest-such anti-war action in the country – and those participating say that more Americans are being killed and maimed every day while Rep. Matsui cannot seem to make her mind why she says she's opposed to the war, but will vote to continue to fund it.

The "Peace-In" began Jan. 8 and members of the Sacramento Coalition to End the War – a broad based and growing coalition of religious, veteran and peace groups – have occupied Matsui's office every business day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"In the last week, another 15 U.S. soldiers have died," said Karen Bernal, Sacramento mother of a seven year old. "Last week we gave Rep. Matsui a list of questions, including how voting for more funding is going to protect the troops. We are looking forward to receiving those answers today. Every day this war continues, is another day that a loved one is killed, another life that can never be brought back," she added.

One day Matsui says she cannot vote against the funding because she wants to protect the troops, and the next day she says we can't leave because we have a responsibility to the Iraqi people, noted another mother, Patricia Daugherty, whose son is 23.
. . .

Today, there are also actions planned at neighboring Rep. Mike Thompson's offices (Woodland, Napa, Ft. Bragg and Eureka) aimed at getting Thompson to also commit to voting against more funding for the war. Thompson's constituents are expressing dissatisfaction with the bill he has introduced, HR 787, that Matsui has signed on to.

"HR 787 gives control over ending the occupation to President Bush," said Davis resident Mikos Fabersunne, father of two teenagers. "Given that Bush wants to keep troops in Iraq, I don't see how HR 787 would end the occupation. It also leaves an unspecified number of troops in Iraq indefinitely."

& in Napa, CA, from Crosses4Peace:
Live Highway Blogging combines 2 new 21st century ideas to improve upon an idea older than America itself – protest. Memorials similar to the Crosses of Lafayette are being erected all over the country, but they often encounter problems with local municipalities because of ordinances limiting the size of signs or public displays. Freeway bloggers, on the other hand, typically hang large banners from overpasses or billboards near freeways with fairly concise political messages like, "Impeach" or "We’re all wearing the blue dress now." This is usually a misdemeanor, and the signs are typically removed within 24 hours – fewer in Napa.

Summer Mondeau of Crosses4Peace.org explained, "From necessity and the first amendment came invention. By standing at the memorials with our signs, our crosses and our American flag at half staff on public property, we are a peaceable assembly petitioning our government for redress. That’s VERY legal." Their right to assemble on Cal Trans’ right-of-way was challenged by American Canyon City Councilman Ed West, whose son was killed in Iraq ; but CHP has twice confirmed that the memorial event IS legal so long as the display is on a highway, not a freeway.

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Blogger GoMommyGo said...

Thanks for the mention. I googled and discovered this delightful surprise. Thanks for supporting our peacework.

9:13 AM  

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