ADDED AFTER POSTING: DESPITE THE FACT THAT THIS STREAMED AND HAD PEOPLE LEAVING COMMENTS IN THE COMMENT SECTION OF THE STREAM, THIS WAS NOT LIVE. I DID NOT KNOW THAT. I HAVE NO IDEA IF THERE WAS A GLITCH OR WHAT BUT I AM DESCRIBING SOMETHING THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY AIRED SEVERAL WEEKS AGO. MY APOLOGIES.
I don't make any claims not to have a streak of paranoia but those of us who came of age around the time of Watergate have more than enough reason to be paranoid and nothing that Bush did in his eight years occupying the White House or that Barack's done in his two years as president has reassured me that paranoia isn't, in fact, a strength in these double-speak and deadly days.
So Debra Sweet spoke and explained they'd be talking amongst themselves for just a little bit. She noted you could donate to Bradley's defense fund at Courage to Resist and she also noted that World Can't Wait was going to make the event tonight available on DVD -- great gifts.
During this time Matthis Chiroux and other people working in Killeen, Texas for Under The Hood (GI Coffee House next to Fort Hood) explained their actions of resistance. They were on a screen projected behind a seated Deborah and Elaine. And then?
Dolph Lundgren is a cyber criminal. Do you allow Dolph Lundgren to manhandle your unicorn? Or do you deny it?
It was a Noton Virus commercial. On the live stream, they show you a commercial every now and then which helps keep the live stream free.
How often? I think it's like every 20 minutes.
Who is Bradley Manning? Let me just copy the standard paragraph that C.I. wrote and uses to save having to do a new intro to Bradley every time she needs to talk about Bradley at The Common Ills:
Bradley Manning. Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. This month, the military charged Manning. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press.
We assume Bradley did it. We do not know that. When the word "alleged" was falling out of the conversation and it became "Bradley Manning is the WikiLeaker!," C.I. made me so proud standing up and saying, "Woah!" She pointed out that even WikiLeaks didn't know if Bradley was the leaker, that Bradley had never spoken publicly, that we did the government's job for them if we lept to guilty on charges the government was bringing and that Angela Davis would have been behind bars if we'd gone around saying, "She's guilty!" back when the FBI was doing their witchhunt on her. If Bradley speaks and says he did it, great. Then we can say that. If not, then we need to use alleged. And it's also true that he could be guilty but want to plead innocent. If, for example, he did it and he thinks he can get away with fighting the charges and denying them, more power to him. More power to him.
Matthis talked about the actions they're doing in Texas and he said, "Debra, you know me, and the type of messages I put out tend to be very direct. These things are resonating with folks, they are identifying with the truth. Which in our current situation are very radical."
They noted that near the end of this month, Fort Hood will be deploying another group of soldiers to Iraq.
ADDED AFTER POSTING: THIS WAS THE AUGUST DEPLOYMENT AND HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE. AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES. I THOUGHT I WAS WATCHING THE LIVE STREAM THAT WAS PROMOTED. IT WAS NOT A LIVE STREAM.
"We need bodies here," Matthis said. "We need people standing here with us." He's referring to a protest like they did last month. I'm grabbing this from C.I.'s August 26th snapshot and I'll use "--------" at the top of the excerpt and at the bottom to set it off so you'll know where it starts and where it ends:
Early Monday morning, a major action took place as a group of activists joined in an action to block a troop deployment at Fort Hood in Texas. They chanted and held a huge banner "TELL THE BRASS: KISS MY ASS YOUR FAMILY NEEDS YOU MORE." The group was originally longer but the time on Sunday for the troops to leave in their bus was repeatedly changed. It left early in the morning and several dedicated activists were still present. Stephen C. Webster was present to report for Raw Story (and was among those harassed by the police) amd reports that the activists managed to halt the deployment "for approximately 10 seconds while police and military personnel shoved them out of the road," that those participating feel it was a success (it was, my opinion) and that "not a single one of them was arrested." One of those participating in the action was Matthis Chiroux who explains (along with others at the link) why he participated:
"I am a former Army sergeant and war resister. I was press-ganged into the Army by the Alabama Juvenile "Justice" System in 2002. While in the military, I occupied the nations of Japan and Germany for more than four years, with shorter tours in the Philippines and Afghanistan. I was a Public Affairs noncommissioned officer specializing in strategic communications. In reality, I was a propaganda artist. I was discharged honorably to the Individual Ready Reserve in 2007.
"While I have always been against the war in Iraq, I began resisting it actively in 2008, after I received mobilization orders for a year-long deployment to Iraq. I refused those orders in Congress in May of 2008, calling my orders illegal and unconstitutional. I believed appealing to Congress would end the war. When 13 Members signed a letter of support for my decision and sent it to Bush, I thought we had won a victory for peace. This was more than two years ago. The president has changed, and the wars and destruction drag on.
"Today, I am blocking the deployment of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment with my fellow vets and military family members because the wars will continue to victimize our communities until we halt this bloody machine from within. I am putting my body on the line in solidarity with the people of the Middle East, whose bodies have been shot, burned, tortured, raped, and violated by our men and women in and out of uniform. I cannot willfully allow Americans in uniform to put their lives and the lives of Iraqis in jeopardy for a crime. We are here because we have a responsibility to ourselves as veterans and as humans of the world. I will not rest until my people, ALL PEOPLE, are free."
The others participating who write of their actions are Bobby Whittenberg-James, Crystal Colon and Cynthia Thomas. Monday, World Can't Wait reported, "Five peace activists successfully blockaded six buses carrying Fort Hood Soldiers deploying to Iraq outside Fort Hood's Clarke gate this morning at around 4 a.m." Alice Embree (The Rag Blog) reports:
"Under darkness at about 4 a.m. this morning, buses carrying the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) to planes were stopped by a group of five protesters that included two Iraq veterans, one Afghanistan veteran, and one military spouse whose husband had been deployed to Iraq three times.
"The Fort Hood Disobeys group clambered down from a highway overpass where supporters held banners and signs. Holding banners that said, "Occupation is a Crime" and "Please Don't Make the Same Mistake We Did. RESIST NOW," the protesters spread across Clarke Road. Police with automatic weapons and dogs beat them out of the roadway. They were not arrested."
You can find photos of the action taken by Malachi Muncey here, photos by Jeff Zavala here, Cindy Beringer (US Socialist Worker) quotes attorney James Branum stating, "The most amazing thing was troops in buses raising clinched fists as buses drove by the protest. Solidarity!"
In a video Jeff Zavala made about the issue several of the activists share their thoughts. This is an excerpt:
Geoff Gernant: I think it's important people resist the occupations -- the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. And I think it's important to do that in a such way that it's the people themselves resisting in a direct action and not doing something like lobbying Congress or writing letters to Congressmen or relying on politicians to do something -- which they've shown that they're not willing to do which is end this war. We all need to start doing, actively opposing it ourselves. And I've been involved in activsim here, Under The Hood, for like a year or so.
Crystal Colon: Because I think it's time that people do something about these wars. I don't feel like there's enough support for the wars in the American population. But there aren't enough people actually getting out there and doing something about it, trying to stop it. And I want to be one of the people that goes out there and says, you know, "This is exactly what I think, this is how I feel about this and I am going to try and stop you from doing this anyway I possibly can. I came out to Under The Hood -- I've been here since June for two months just organizing around Fort Hood, doing all the protests that we've done, like the one at the East Gate and the Col Allen banner that we made specifically for the 3rd ACR. I just really want these soldiers to know that this is not something that they have to do because I know if someone would have done this for me when I was in, I wouldn't have gone back a second time. I probably wouldn't have gone the first time if someone would have done this for me back in '06. So I really just want soldiers to know there's support for them out there, that what they're feeling -- If they're feeling like this is not what they want to do, this is against their moral values and it's against their feelings and they feel like this is not the right thing for them to do, we are there to support them and that's what I want them to see.
Bobby Whittenberg: War in our time always kills innocent civilians, it kills children, it kills women and it destroys families both in the Middle East and here in the United States. The United States has always been predatory, has always been violent -- a country built on the land of slaughtered Native people. It was built by slaves. The United States is always killing innocent people to take things that do not belong to them. I do not lend my consent to the actions of the United States government. I'm here today to say no more. A lot of us have just been talking and, you know, holding signs -- that's great. But we decided that it's time that we moved beyond that and what we're planning is totally non-violent but it's definitely a sign to say that we've had enough and that we can't trust the politicians, the capitalists to end these wars because they make them more wealthy and consolidate their power. So if we want to see any change, we have to do it ourselves. They always say, if you want something done right, do it yourself. Right? That's what we're doing, do it yourself.
End of snapshot excerpt.
So that gave you some links to find out more about what's going on. Matthis was talking about how some felt certain actions -- last month at Fort Hood, WikiLeaks or whatever -- were 'too radical.' He noted that they were popular and the soldiers departing were responding to the signs.
And we don't need -- this is me speaking -- anymore of these bulls**t candlelight vigils. Or these 'silent' protests. Or these e-actions. Matthis is correct.
Elaine asked, on behalf of the audience, whether, instead of the next national mobilization being in DC, they should instead go to Texas, to Under The Hood and Matthis and the people there loved the idea. (I love it too. And there was something about a Texas action during Vietnam that C.I. spoke of when we were in Texas last spring. We were speaking to a college audience and they said that they never had activism in Texas. And C.I. just gave them a whole list of things including some major thing against Vietnam. I wish I could remember what it was but C.I.'s the one with that amazing memory.)
So that's the Matthis report. I think others tried to grab the webcast as well. I know they did. Whether they were able to or not, I don't know. But I signed up for Matthis and I've captured the bulk of his participation at the start.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"