Please Forward Widely -- Please Forward Widely
PUT THE IRAQ WAR ON TRIAL - NOT GI RESISTERS
Picket May 10th @ 5:00 Support GI Resisters!
On Tuesday, May 10th at 5:00 Vermont Military Families Speak Out and other anti-war organizations will be holding a picket in Burlington in front of the Federal Building (corner of Elmwood and Pearl Streets).
We are picketing to support Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman, two GIs standing trial beginning May 11th for refusing deployments to Iraq. Their applications for conscientious objector status have not been accepted.
Please join us at this picket. Bring signs, banners, friends, co-workers! We ask everyone who is against this war to join us in supporting these men who are refusing to take part in this unjustified and brutal war.
If you haven't signed the petition for Pablo Paredes, you can do it now at http://www.defendpablo.org
. In just the last 5 days the number of signers has increased from less than 200 to over 4,000! --background information below--
Vermont Military Families Speak Out
Endorsed by: American Friends Service Committee, Burlington Anti-War Coalition, International Socialist Organization, Vermont Peace and Justice Center, Students Against War (UVM), U.S. Labor Against the War, Vermont Nonviolent Student Activism Coalition, Vermont Green Party, Enosburg Area Candlelight Peace Vigil, Johnson Anti-War Coalition
Letter of Solidarity from Vermont Military Families Speak Out to Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman
May 5, 2005
As members of the Vermont chapter of Military Families Speak Out we stand in solidarity with Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman. Each man will stand trial on May 11th for refusing deployment to Iraq to fight the unjustified war that tears that country apart today. Their applications for conscientious objector status have not been accepted.
Petty Officer Third Class Pablo Paredes refused deployment on December 6, 2004. He stated at the time, “I don't want to be a part of a ship that's taking 3,000 Marines over there, knowing a hundred or more of them won't come back. I can't sleep at night knowing that's what I do for a living." Since then he has actively opposed the war appearing at many rallies.
Sgt. Kevin Benderman refused redeployment after having served a year in Iraq. A! fter seeing first hand the carnage that the war wrought on the Iraqi people he stated, “I was there for six months and I did not see the first weapon of mass destruction. I did receive orders from the company commander to shoot children if they threw small rocks at us and that was when I figured out that the entire thing was way over the line.”
These two men have become powerful voices in the opposition to the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. Their refusal to take part in the war machine has given credence to the demand for immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Because of this the military is trying to make an example of these men by imprisoning them. We believe that the war itself should be put on trial not the soldiers who refuse to fight it. Join us in demanding the freedom of Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman.
--Vermont Military Families Speak Out
CALL FOR NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR GI RESISTERS: MAY 10
Please circulate widely:
Call for a National Day of Action for GI Resisters on May 10, 2005
May 1, 2005
We urge you to join us in a "National Day of Action for GI Resisters" on Tuesday May 10, 2005. This is the day before the US military is planning to bring sailor Pablo Paredes and soldier Kevin Benderman before military court martial tribunals for their opposition to the Iraq War. They face forfeiture of pay and benefits, and military jail time.
On December 6, 2004, Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes refused to board his ship as it left the San Diego Naval Station in support of the Iraq War and occupation. At the time of his refusal, Pablo said he hoped his protest might inspire other GI's to refuse to take part in the war.
On January 5, 2005, Kevin Benderman refused to deploy for a second tour of duty in Iraq with the Army's Third Infantry Division. At the same time seventeen other soldiers from his unit went AWOL, two tried to kill themselves and one had a relative shoot him in the leg to avoid deploying.
Both men applied for discharge from the US military as conscientious objectors. The military has wrongly rejected both claims.
It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of Pablo, Kevin and the thousands of other courageous men and women who have followed their conscience to uphold international law and to take a principled stand against the unjust, illegal war and occupation of Iraq. It's time we had their backs.
Objection and resistance by military servicepersons is a healthy and important assertion of Democracy in a country where the decisions to invade Iraq, to maintain an occupation, and engage in widespread human right violations and torture were made undemocratically in violation of international law and based on continuing lies and disinformation.
Please join us by organizing a public demonstration, vigil or rally of support on May 10. Every action, no matter how large or small is important.
* Send letters of support and donations to cover legal fees to Pablo and Kevin via their websites listed below.
* Come to San Diego, California (Pablo) or Fort Stewart, Georgia (Kevin) to show your support during their trials.
* Write letters to the editor, and help educate your organization, church, union, school, co-workers and community.
Resisting illegal occupation and war is not a crime! The right to conscientious objection is being systematically violated by the military. Those objectors who are publicly asserting their rights are being singled out for punishment. We demand that military personnel retain their right to follow their conscience, publicly dissent and that their basic democratic rights be respected.
A better world is possible.
* Monica Benderman - spouse of Kevin Benderman
* Victor Paredes - brother of Pablo Paredes
* Aimee Allison - Gulf War CO; Oakland City Council Candidate
* Medea Benjamin - CodePink, co-founder; Global Exchange, founding Director
* Leslie Cagan - United for Peace and Justice, Nat'l Steering Cmte
* Stephen Funk - former Marine and first public Iraq War resister
* Susan Galleymore - MotherSpeak; military mother; Courage to Resist
* Lynn Gonzalez - San Diego Military Counseling Project
* Jack Heyman - Int'l Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, Exec Board member
* George Johnson - Veterans for Peace, Nat'l Exec Board member
* Ragina Johnson - College Not Combat
* Naomi Klein - activist; writer
* Sharon Lee Kufeldt - Veterans for Peace, Nat'l Exec Board VP
* Barbara Lubin - Middle East Children's Alliance, Director; ANSWER, Nat'l Steering Cmte member
* Efia Nwangaza - Afrikan Am Institute for Policy Studies
* Siri Margerin - United for Peace and Justice, Nat'l Steering Cmte; Iraq Peace Panel Project
* Steve Morse - GI Rights Program Coor, Central Cmte for Conscientious Objectors
* Jeff Paterson - Not in Our Name; former Marine and 1991 Gulf War resister
* David Solnit - People Powered Strategy Project; Courage to Resist
* Vida Shahamat and Brain Barry - South Bay Mobilization Against the War
* Aryeh Shell - Courage to Resist; Popular Education and Action Collective
* Samina Faheem Sundas - American Muslim Voice
* Fernando Suarez del Solar - father of Marine Jesus Suarez killed in Iraq
* Fr. Louie Vitale, O.F.M., St Boniface Church; Korea War veteran
* Bob Wing - War Times
* Howard Zinn - historian; author
(organizations listed for identification purposes only)
More info about Pablo Paredes:
Sign online petition to support Pablo Paredes:
More info about Kevin Benderman:
For May 10 actions, leaflets, and more:
Informant: Ashley Smith