Facing desertion charge, years in stockade
Iraq War resister Cliff Cornell
was denied sanctuary in Canada. He now faces a General Court Martial
at Fort Stewart, Georgia—pre-trial "Article 32" hearing Tuesday, March 10. Please donate to Cliff's legal defense.
GI Café provides haven for war resisters
We interview Coffee Strong workers Seth Manzel and Michael William. Fort Lewis' anti-war GI coffeehouse
free Americanos and more to enlisted.
Pentagon march 3/21, resister outlines why
resister James Circello: "I encourage everyone to...join me in Washington D.C., on March 21 to say loudly and clearly: From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine, occupation is a crime."
Army charges Iraq War resister with desertion
Cliff Cornell was denied sanctuary in Canada
[ Donate to Cliff's legal defense here ]—26 people have given $1,100 as of March 2. Goal: $3,000
By Friends of Cliff Cornell. March 3, 2009
The U.S. Army has charged Specialist Clifford Cornell, with
desertion. Cornell, 28, surrendered himself to authorities at Fort
Stewart, Georgia on February 17, after being denied refugee status in
Canada. The Arkansas native left Fort Stewart four years ago, when his
artillery unit was ordered to Iraq. According to family and friends,
Cornell did not want to kill civilians, and said that Army trainers
told him he must shoot any Iraqi who came near his vehicle.
Cornell’s attorney and supporters believe the Army’s charges are
excessive. “Cliff Cornell is a conscientious objector who voluntarily
turned himself in to Army authorities,” said attorney James Branum..
“The Army is engaging in overkill in order to make an example of my
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson disputed Spc. Cornell's claims
that he would have been expected to kill civilians. ''Indiscriminately
shooting people is not what the Army does,” Larson told the New York
Times. “That's not how we train and not how we fight.” The Army is
leaning toward trying Cornell in a General Court Martial, which could
sentence him to years in prison.
“This is outrageous,” said Jeff Paterson of Courage To Resist, a war
resister support group that has established a legal defense fund for
Cornell. “The U.S. war against the Iraqi people remains illegal today,
just as when George Bush and Dick Cheney started it,” said Paterson.
“President Obama should bring all our troops home now. And he should
grant amnesty to Cliff Cornell and hundreds of GI’s who refused to take
part in an occupation that has killed untold tens of thousands of men,
women and children.”
GI Coffeehouse provides haven for war resisters
Coffee Strong's Michael William.
Photo: Jeff Paterson/CTR
By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist. Published by AlterNet. March 5, 2009
The milk frother screams as a couple of young soldiers in
camouflaged combat uniforms peruse the lit table. All around them are
the familiar surroundings of a coffeehouse: posters on the wall, tables
and chairs, and shelves stuffed with used books. Yet this café, just
across the street from the sprawling Ft. Lewis Army Base in Washington,
is not your ordinary coffeehouse. "Support War Resisters: Iraq Veterans
Against the War," reads a huge banner on the wall. GI Rights handcards
sit next to the cash register and manuals about "getting out" cover the
lit table. Social movement history books fill the bookshelves, and a
picture on the wall shows a soldier throwing a grenade with a caption
that reads, "What am I doing here?" The sign on the front window
declares "COFFEE STRONG. Veteran Owned and Operated."
Opened four months ago, COFFEE STRONG provides a free Americano, as
well as wireless internet and computer use, to all military enlisted
persons. More importantly, it provides a space off-base for soldiers to
question their service, talk about the war, and explore the
possibilities of GI resistance. When GIs walk in, they are met with
information about topics ranging from GI resistance to counseling and
advocacy services for veterans. And they are greeted by a barista who
is himself a young veteran against the war.
COFFEE STRONG follows in the tradition of the GI coffeehouse
movement of the 60s and 70s, when anti-war activists and resisting GIs
set up coffeehouses at several military bases throughout the U.S. --
from Colorado Springs, CO to Tacoma, WA, to Maldraugh, KY -- to provide
a physical space for anti-war GIs to congregate, speak freely, and
strategize their role in the anti-war movement. GI resistance during
the Vietnam War was a key factor in forcing the United States to end
March on the Pentagon 3/21, resister outlines why
James Circello (left)
By James Circello. March 2, 2009
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.
The smell was often unbearable. Stagnant water and sewage filled
neighborhood streets due to the intentional targeting of Iraq’s sewer
system and its water treatment facilities. Barefooted kids ran through
these streets—not minding it all—because it is all they had ever known.
The infrastructure had been reduced to rubble. Garbage lined what
were once grand streets and avenues. Human needs were unable to be met,
not because of what U.S. propaganda called a "brutal tyrant," but due
to strict economic sanctions on the people of Iraq.
This was the true face of occupation.