Thank you for your support this past year!
What next?

By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Project Director.
Updated December 19, 2014

Thank you for supporting Courage to Resist and Chelsea Manning this year!
Insanely, our government is on course to increase military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, in the coming year—despite a clear and vast majority opposed to endless war in the Middle East. That means that US military service members continue to need our help.

I’m asking that you consider donating again, this time as part of your end-of-year, tax-deductible gift giving, so that together we can meet the challenges ahead.

> > Please donate today. Support the resistance. < <

saraRecent victories

Last week, Iraq War resister Sara Beining was sentenced to time-served for refusing to return to Iraq. Sara went AWOL years ago after returning from Iraq and became a well-known anti-war organizer. With your help, Courage to Resist was able to pay for her civilian defense attorney James Branum, who won the best possible outcome for her during sentencing at Fort Carson, Colorado, on December 9th in front of a courtroom full of supporters. She initially faced a decade in prison for her courage to resist.

andraLast month, US war resister in Germany André Shepherd received a favorable opinion from the European Union’s top court. André was a US soldier before he sought political asylum in Germany. The European Court of Justice Advocate General found that those endangered by prosecution or punishment for refusal to perform military service involving an illegal war or committal of war crimes, should be protected by the European Union. This is a best-case situation for André heading into his asylum hearing. André, upon reading the findings, declared, “The final opinion gives me new reason for optimism.”

Meanwhile, dozens of US war resisters continue to live openly across Canada, despite the efforts of the conservative ruling government. A number of them are expected to face deportation proceedings next year.

We are also working with a number of other conscientious objectors and war resisters daily; however, we can’t yet tell you their stories. For many, their choice to resist is a personal decision, and for some, speaking out publicly doesn’t help their situation or objectives.

Chelsea Manning

chelsea manningChelsea Manning’s first appeals hearing is coming up next year, and the bulk of the work to prepare for those arguments before the US Army Criminal Court of Appeals is happening now. That work costs money, yet those of us tasked with supporting the legal team are very challenged to meet their needs and pay the bills in the wake of the initial trial.

“This appeal is far from a mere formality,” noted Chelsea’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander recently. “What the military has done to Chelsea is wrong and it is unconstitutional. Her conviction, as it stands, is nothing short of dangerous to a free society. We hope that you will support our fight to overturn this conviction through appeals, and thus prevent a deeply undemocratic and flawed precedent being set for our country’s future.”

> > Please donate today. Support the resistance. < <


In memoriam 2014

Tomas Young (1979-2014)
Tomas Young enlisted in the Army following the September 11 attacks, volunteering to go to Afghanistan. He was sent to Iraq in 2004, and was left paralyzed by a bullet on the fifth day of his deployment. In 2008, he explained that “many of us volunteered with patriotic feelings in our heart, only to see them subverted and bastardized by the administration and sent into the wrong country.” Tomas was the subject of the great documentary Body of War.

Jacob George (1982-2014)
“I’m a bicycle ridin, banjo pickin, peace ramblin hillbilly from the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas!” Jacob George was also a veteran of three combat tours in Afghanistan—Operation Enduring Freedom. To overcome those demons, Jacob cycled thousands of miles. “A Ride Till the End,” he called it, to promote peace and justice. He rallied fellow veterans to take political action. And he stood strong for military resisters—especially those who were prosecuted for refusing to do the things he himself had participated in. Jacob took his own life in September.

Ethan Kreutzer (1985-2014)
A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Bay Area, Ethan Kreutzer was a regular volunteer at the Courage to Resist office in Oakland, California, whenever he was in town. Ethan served in the Army from 2002 to 2004, and was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He left a lasting impression on everyone he came into contact with and couldn’t stay in one place for too long due to his wandering soul. Ethan took his own life in October, hammering home the devastating veteran suicide epidemic—12 to 22 every day.