Please help other resisters today

ImageBy Robin Long, Iraq War resister.
July 22, 2009

"As someone who has benefited from the wonderful work that Courage to Resist is doing, I ask that you please consider helping them to help other resisters today."

For the last four years I’ve been resisting the Iraq War. First in Canada, and for the last year in a military brig. The time that I served would have been harder if I hadn’t received so many letters of support while in the brig. It made my time go by faster. I would have felt so disconnected if people hadn’t stood in solidarity with me, and raised money for me to phone my family.

Courage to Resist has been there at every step of my journey. They were there when I got deported from Canada by finding me a lawyer and raising the money to pay for my defense. The sentence I received at my August 2008 court martial would have been much longer if it wasn’t for my attorney James Branum. And they were there while I was in the brig organizing letter writing parties for me and other resisters.

When I was finally released from the brig last week, Courage to Resist was there to welcome me “home” and help me get back on my feet.

If organizations like Courage to Resist weren’t there, I would have felt very isolated, and without a civilian lawyer, completely at the mercy of the Army. Also, time in the brig would have gone by a lot slower, and I might have come out of this with a broken spirit.

Courage to Resist needs your help to do all of these things today, because there are many more resisters who still need help. They need people to volunteer and they need to raise funds to pay for the defense of others going through court martials. As someone who has benefited from the wonderful work that Courage to Resist is doing, I ask that you please consider helping them to help other resisters today.

Peace, Love, Light,
Robin Long

US Army Spc Robin Long traveled to Canada in 2005 to resist deployment to Iraq. In July 2008 Canadian authorities deported him—the first such deportation since the Vietnam War. Following a brief trial at Fort Carson, Colorado, he has been imprisoned for the last year. Robin was released last week from Naval Consolidated Brig at Miramar, just north of San Diego. His freedom has been celebrated at a number of events over the last few days (photos). Robin will be attending a massage therapy school beginning in the fall.

Project Director Notes

By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist. July 21, 2009

Sarah Lazare, our project coordinator, just returned from Fort Bragg, NC where she met with Army Spc Dustin Stevens and other soldiers being held for AWOL related offenses. Some, like Dustin, consider themselves war resisters. Others “simply couldn’t do it again” after repeated deployments. All face daily informal punishment in legal limbo that can last up to a year while they await court martial. Sarah is writing an in-depth article about this now. With your help, we’ll be able to improve this situation.

Army Spc Victor Agosto and Sgt Travis Bishop are scheduled to be court martialed at Fort Hood, Texas in August. Supporters are encouraged to attend these trials on base and show support for two courageous men who have refused to deploy to Afghanistan.

Since the last newsletter, Army Spc Cliff Cornell was sentenced to 12 months in the brig. Cliff was deported from Canada in February where he had lived since 2005 when he resisted deploying to Iraq. Please write to Cliff while he is jailed.

If you’re attending the National Conventions of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War at the University of Maryland August 5-9, make sure to attend our “Supporting GI Resistance” workshop. In May, I participated in similar workshops at the GI Rights Hotline conference in Atlanta. Important: Folks need to use the new 877-447-4487 Hotline number as the old 800 number no longer forwards.

For three weeks in March, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to return to Japan and Okinawa. The last time I was there, it was 1988 and I was a 20-year-old Marine artillery controller. This time I was speaking to peace activists across the country about GI resistance. Japanese activists worked with anti-war US troops during the Vietnam War, and there is talk about jump starting similar efforts today.

To that end, we have produced a new GI outreach pack with leaflet, info cards, and stickers. Please help us get these into the hands of service members who are “sick and tired of endless war.”

Along with nearly every non-profit, we are certainly being challenged by the economic meltdown affecting us all. While we continue to win new supporters, average contribution amounts are down about 20%. In response, staff members have taken voluntary reductions in paid hours—but have continued doing the work as needed. Rest assured we are committed to fighting like hell to support the courageous men and women who refuse to fight unjust occupation wars—yet we can’t do it without your support.

Please consider a contribution of $50 or more, or become a sustainer at only $10 or more a month. Regardless of the amount, it’s your tax deductible gift of whatever you can afford that is critical.

Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Project Director

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