G.I. Resistance

G.I. Resister Victor Agosto: "I Will Not Obey any Order I Deem to be Immoral or Illegal"


US Army Specialist Victor Agosto, who publicly refused to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan, was to receive the harshest court-martial possible for his decision - one that would land him in jail for up to one year, followed by a dishonorable discharge. However, within hours of the publication of a Truthout report about his story, Agosto received word from the military that his court-martial had been reduced.
The military had at first agreed to a less punitive court-martial for Agosto, but then, in a move that surprised both he and his lawyer, opted to push for a more stringent court-martial.Agosto's lawyer, James Branum, who is also the legal adviser to the GI Rights Hotline and co-chair of the Military Law Task Force, was in negotiations with the Army in efforts to seek a lower-level court-martial, so that Agosto would suffer the minimum penalties possible.


“This is Where We Take Our Stand”: New Web Series Features Soldiers' and Veterans' Iraq and Afghanistan War Testimony

press release from Displaced Films

This year, people will be able to be part of a historic new web-only series that features a behind-the-scenes look at "boots on the ground" testimony from American soldiers and veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Warped Tour Fans: We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour!


The military needs fresh recruits. They are in our high schools, they are on our college campuses, and they are in our cities. They are preying on youth. They make war seem like a video game. But it’s not a game; it’s real life. It is real for the over one millions Iraqis that have been killed. It’s real to toddlers in Afghanistan who were blown to pieces by U.S. air strikes in May. These are not policy mistakes; they are crimes against humanity.


One-third of female G.I.'s report being raped or sexually harassed by their fellow soldiers. They often suffer dehydration in Iraq, because if they drink water after a certain time in the evening they will have to go to the bathroom by themselves in the dark and run a risk of being raped. New photos reportedly show the U.S. Military raping Iraqi prisoners. Guantanamo Bay, despised around the world for its brutal torture remains open, the torture prison of Bagram in Afghanistan is doubling in size and laws remain in place that authorize the military to torture.


Some youth don't really believe all the hype about spreading “freedom” and “democracy” to the Iraqis, BUT they think that joining the military is the best “career option,” the only way to pay for college. Murder, Rape and Torture are not career options. What is the military buying and selling? They are buying young peoples’ futures and selling death and destruction all over the world! They have no “right” to be in our communities (or anywhere else) - since their “right” to recruit is in conflict with the right of the Iraqi people to live, and to be free from unjust occupation. So we have to decide: Do we think American lives are worth more than Iraqi lives...Which “right” do we respect?


Covering a Protest March via Twitter

 From Gamepolitics.com

 Saturday May 3, GamePolitics utilized Twitter to provide live coverage as anti-war demonstrators staged a rally and march against the U.S. Army Experience Center in Philadelphia. The experimental recruiting facility located at Franklin Mills Mall uses an elaborate video game setup equipped with high-end gaming PCs and Xbox 360s to attract potential recruits.
For those who didn't catch yesterday's Twitter feed, I've pasted it below as it offers a detailed chronological picture of how the protest evolved; ultimately it would end with the peaceful arrest of seven protesters by police.
Here's the Twitter feed, including my answers to some questions by readers at the end. My tweets are in blue:
# LIVE Twitter coverage of protest march against US Army video game recruitment center in Phillly today. Please RT: http://tinyurl.com/cy9olkabout
# Heading down to Philly now to cover protest march against Army video game recruitment center


Confessions of a War Resister

By Mathis Chiroux

Yesterday was a great victory for me, the entire peace movement and for troops and civilians all over the world. I faced the military for my refusal to deploy to Iraq, and I walked away a free man with a general discharge from the Army’s Individual Ready Reserve.

This does not affect my discharge from Active Duty Service, however, which is the term of enlistment from which my G.I. Bill does derive. My benefits are mine, and I will use them to attain education, as all people have the right to do and should not have to fight in any armies to realize.

The hearing was attended by my three JAG attorneys, my civilian representation, James Branham, Prof. Marjorie Cohn, the President of the National Lawyers Guild, and my mother Patricia, both of whom testified on my behalf. The hearing was also attended by Mike McPherson, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace, Bill Ramsey, of St. Louis Instead of War, and Alexandra, by beloved. 


Mathis Chiroux: Military Resistance is Righteous!


By Mathis Chiroux
Editor’s note: Mathis Chiroux recently was called to appear before a board of U.S. Army officers in St. Louis Missouri, and answer for his public refusal to participate in the activation and deployment orders for Iraq he had received in the summer of 2008. Mathis' hearing resulted in a “general discharge under honorable conditions”. The following is a statement Mathis issued shortly after the hearing concluded.

On Apr. 21, I stood before the Army. I looked a board of officers in the eyes, and I told them I thought they were sending people off to participate in war crimes. And what did they say? Get out of here, Sergeant, and keep your damn G.I. Bill!!!

Indeed, folks! The Army awarded me a recommendation for a general discharge under honorable conditions from the Individual Ready Reserve for my refusal to deploy to Iraq last summer. This landmark decision means not only am I a free man, I’m free to continue school this fall with the “new” G.I. Bill that I earned while on active duty.

Though this discharge is identical to the one I refused in exchange for having this hearing, I can now rest easy knowing I never submitted, I never backed down and the Army has heard my story.


Resistance to an Abhorrent Occupation: Press Release of Matthis Chiroux

  GI resister Matthis Chiroux’s “Army Separation” hearing is today in St. Louis. Anti-war activists from the St. Louis area are gathering to support Matthis, who publicly refused deployment to Iraq last summer. Below are: a press release issued by Matthis Chiroux, and an interview done with him by Stephen Dohnberg.

ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m.

Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, refused to participate in what he described as "an illegal and immoral occupation" May 15th, 2008, in Washington D.C., after nine other veterans testified to Members of the U.S. Congress about atrocities they experienced during deployments to Iraq. Chiroux also vowed to remain public in the U.S. to defend himself from any charges brought against him by the military. (see matthisresists.us for a record of that speech and others by Chiroux)

"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year," said Chiroux, adding, "Soldiers have a duty to adhere to the international laws of war described as supreme in Art. 6 Para. 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which we swear to abide by before the orders of any superior, including our former or current president."


Matthis Chiroux Interviewed: Rise up, People!

 The following interview with Matthis Chiroux was conducted by Stephen Dohnberg and first appeared on digitaljournal.com

“Readers may remember Sgt Chiroux as one of the 'Hempstead 15', a group of 10 veterans and 5 citizen protesters who were arrested during the night of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University, Long Island, NY. Before the Oct 15/08 event, Iraq Veterans Against the War presented requests to ask one question of candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. 
The IVAW were rebuffed, and in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, the members broached security lines. During the melee, Sgt Nick Morgan was stepped on by a police horse. Morgan's case is still in the courts. As one veteran noted, "the candidates have all the time for Joe the Plumber, while Nick the Vet gets his skull crushed."
In a curious twist, charges of "misconduct" for Chiroux's refusal to redeploy were not brought against him until three days after the Hofstra Debate protest, despite his initial refusal to deploy after witnessing the May 15,2008 testimony of 9 other soldiers who described to members of U.S. Congress what they perceived as atrocities and illegal conduct contravening international law and rules of engagement.
When I met with Matthis in Washington,D.C. on Mar 21 during the ANSWER Coalition's march of the Pentagon, he informed me that his lawyer had quipped "I don't even know how you aren't in jail now!"
In a press release prepared for the Misconduct hearing, Chiroux stated "I go now to St. Louis to honor my promises and convictions"


Iraq veteran: Why I'm against Obama's Afghanistan

By Benji Lewis
This article originally appeared on Courage to Resist
I am a veteran of Iraq who served two tours in the U.S. occupation of that country. I experienced firsthand the horrors of that war, and like many others, came to see it as nothing more than a chance for a very few to make vast profits in a short amount of time. Now, because of those selfish and irresponsible actions, the citizens of not only the U.S., but of the entire world, are asked to pay for the fallout of war in blood, sacrifice and currency.
But this is old news.
Yet, even as we deplore the war in Iraq and the unconstitutional actions of the former administration, we are sucked back into the propaganda of the ‘first war,’ the ‘good war,’ as if the Bush administration was so unpatriotic that it had no interest in Afghanistan. Even as we acknowledge that Iraq is a war for oil and profit, we ignore the history of Afghanistan and the oil resources of the Caspian Sea that would be opened up through this conquest. Even as we sit on the brink of a depression we are willing to pour our money and resources into a so-called ‘ten year plan’ that will cost unknown sums of money that we will not get back. Exactly as it is happening in the Iraq war, the fruits of our labor will be siphoned off into the banks of contractors and industrialists, and for whose benefit? Certainly not ours, for we have only some false hope of revenge to attain.


Donate to Bring the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour to High Schools Now!

In the wake of protests of 6 years of the Iraq occupation, we are receiving requests from students and teachers to bring the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour to their schools. We can’t get to them without your help! $12,000 is needed by April 15th. Donate today to bring Iraq & Afghanistan veterans into high schools across the country.
Thousands of students need to be reached in the next two months, encouraged to not join the army and to forge a student movement to get recruiters out of the schools as part of halting all the wars.
This tour is needed to reach these youth now:
Friday, Barack Obama announced he is sending 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 17,000 troops he announced last month. This is not change! This is an escalation of a crime against humanity. What are these troops being sent to do? What are the youth being recruited for? The murder, rape, and torture of innocent men, women, and children; to kick down doors and terrorize families… all so that the U.S. can tighten its stranglehold on the land, resources, and shipping routes of Middle East.
Where will these troops that Obama is sending come from? The military recruiters have budget of billions to recruit youth who are in high school now. They roam the hallways and lunch-rooms, call students at home, and set up at malls where kids hang out. The military cannot fight this expanded “war on terror” in Afghanistan without this fresh cannon fodder. Military recruiters now have almost unlimited access to reach high school students because the “No Child Left Behind” law ties funding for schools to whether recruiters can get to students.


G.I. Resister James Circello: Why I Will be Marching on the Pentagon

By James Circello

If we were to ask everyone planning to travel to Washington this month to march on the Pentagon, I’m sure we would get several different answers. For many people in the United States, they will be taking to the streets to demand an end to the sixth year of war on Iraq. But that is not the entire truth—in reality, the war is nearing its 19th year. Here are a few of the reasons why I will be marching.
"I encourage everyone to do as much as you can and join me in Washington D.C., on March 21 to say loudly and clearly: From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine, occupation is a crime."
I was sent to Iraq in March of 2003 as part of the invasion force in a war that I did not believe in. I was stationed in Italy, and due to the fact that we were really unable to stay current on the news, I had no idea that so many people here in the United States were opposed to the war as well.
While in Iraq, I was able to witness the extent of the devastation caused by the almost 20 years of constant bombardments and the genocidal sanctions placed on the people of that country.


Main G.I. Resistance


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.