Veterans Oppose Drums of War

News Conference/Action: Friday, June 27, 2014

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

Time: 11 AM to 12 NOON
Place: Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, SW 3rd Avenue between Madison and Jefferson, Portland, Oregon

Veterans and their allies will hold a picket line and news conference opposing the renewed US military intervention in Iraq this Friday, June 27 from 11 am to Noon at Portland’s Federal Building at SW 3rd and Madison. Organized by Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, the speakers will include veterans of various wars making connections among the current US policies at home and abroad, past and present.

“We have bombed Iraq into a failed State and it is no surprise it is disintegrating before our War Foreign Policy Eyes,” said Daniel Shea, a US Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. Veterans For Peace has a membership that spans the combat years of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and many interventions in between, so they know the monstrous face of war and the ugly truth, all wars were unnecessary.

Shea added: “Wars are the designs of empires and tyrants coveting land, minerals and power. The Empire sometimes wars to divide one people against the other least they unite and rebel against their masters and if they do rebel they must be severely punished. Iraq had been forced to surrender under the iron heel and to accept the cruel hands of a false Democracy but now has dared to rebel against our puppet Nouri al-Maliki. There is only one solution and it is an Iraqi solution: the U.S. must get out and stay out.”

The message for Friday’s action is clear: No More War! No More Dead & Wounded! Stop Wasting Lives for Lies and Care for the Veterans here and now!

The action is organized by VFP Chapter 72 with support from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against War, Military Families Speak Out, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and American Friends Service Committee. All are part of a community that supports peace and demand political not military solutions to resolving disputes and belligerent conflicts.

More info: Daniel Shea djshea@hotmail.com 503-750-7649

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Hats off to Ben Griffin and Veterans For Peace UK!

UK_picVery exciting to see this news story published May 31, 2014 on Mail Online, about the efforts of the Veterans For Peace UK chapter, under leadership of Ben Griffin: Soldiers secretly join pacifist group that forbids bearing arms in remarkable breach of military law

According to the article, VFP UK has 120 members. Speaking about the group’s “illegal” members (those still on active duty), Griffin is quoted in the article:

“These men have taken the brave step of joining us because they have come to the conclusion that war is not the answer to our problems.

“Given the issue with Queen’s Regulations and membership of political organizations we were not actively seeking to recruit serving troops. But we were not going to turn them away and will not do so in future.”

The group is refusing to disclose the names of those members.

 

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Full Disclosure Radiozine

Facilitated by community radio producer extraordinaire, Jimmy Tardy, a couple of our chapter’s Vietnam veterans have launched a special “radiozine” series on KBOO (90.7 FM). The two shows aired thus far are in the Vietnam: Full Disclosure vein. In a nutshell, this national VFP campaign is about offering an alternative, more honest commemoration of the American War in Vietnam in response to the US Department of Defense’s thirteen-year effort, kicked off in 2012, to mythologize and trumpet the Vietnam War as a noble cause, to culminate in 2025 with the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of that war!

Jimmy Tardy, Mike Hastie and S. Brian Willson have taken it upon themselves to bring some of the stories the DoD won’t be sharing, to listeners in Portland and around the globe, via KBOO community supported radio technology. And they’re off to a rocking start. (Descriptions below, by Tardy, are excerpted from the KBOO website.)

Kent State: May 4, 1970

Kent State: May 4, 1970

Full Disclosure: Joe Lewis | KBOO

This show, aired April 30, 2014, features a conversation with Kent State shootings survivor Joe Lewis. Joe was the closest shooting victim to the National Guard unit that opened fire on students protesting the announced expansion of the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia.

Full Disclosure: Larry Colburn | KBOO

Larry Colburn was one of the door gunners on Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson’s helicopter when the three-man crew intervened in what may have been an everyday massacre by American troops in Vietnam, the one that occurred on March 16, 1970 in My Lai, Vietnam. When the American public, including new soldiers being sent to Vietnam, found out about My Lai after pictures of the aftermath were printed in Life magazine, it sparked such an outcry that many people feel it deserves a place as one of the nails in the coffin of the Vietnam War. In this segment, Jimmy Tardy, Brian Willson, and Mike Hastie talk with Larry Colburn about My Lai, what it represents, and what it felt like to be in the middle of this historic, heroic moment.

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A Memorable Memorial Day

Many many thanks to everyone who contributed to making VFP Chapter 72′s “People’s Peace Park Picnic” a great success. (Click here to view photo album.) ALL who turned out played a part, but we would like to take this opportunity to name a few names…

First of all, we want to thank all the musicians who came and contributed their fine voices to the cause of peace—Camilla Rose; Karyn Ann Patridge; George Neidhart (a.k.a. Grandpa Wally, a Korean vet who, besides being willing to come strum his banjo, also provided key encouragement and advice to organizers ahead of time); Larry Lotz; and our own Grant Remington, past president of VFP Chapter 72.

“Yesterday was among the best events we’ve hosted at the Park, and we’ve been doing it for seven years.  There was such a strong feeling of family, as well as of peace, and of all those we gathered to remember—and the musicians had a big part in creating and sustaining that sensation.”

—VFP Chapter 72 outgoing president Chris Knight

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Nancy Hiss and her husband Dan Berkman for chalking “Peace” in many languages around the Peace Memorial Park’s peace sign circle, a creative act which has become a Memorial Day tradition. (Thanks to the gods for bringing sunshine to the park to facilitate  the chalking as well as a really wonderful picnic atmosphere.)

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Sara Kirschenbaum for bringing her cool car and the book containing her 100 Letters for Peace project, for which her car serves as Letter #100.

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Carye Bye for mentioning the Peace Memorial Park in her Circle Portland edition of “Hidden Portland” guides.

We also want to acknowledge the VFP members who organized this first of what we hope may become an annual Peace Memorial park event: Becky Luening for the spark of an idea and for making the flyer and helping with promotion; Dan Shea for coordinating musicians and helping with social media outreach; Malcolm Chaddock for arranging for the generator, and generally making himself available to pick up the slack; Sarah Hobbs for inviting photographer Tyler Austin to the event; Chris Knight for providing and helping set up the sound system as well as canopy, tables, and chairs, and for managing all this during the event; and to Bob Projansky for creating and bringing a special sign to help explain the Peace Memorial Park’s raison d’être.

And MANY MANY THANKS to all the volunteers who have been turning out, month after month, to transform the park from an annual to perennial garden while keeping on top of the mulch, the weeds, the watering, etc. If you want to learn more about this special project of VFP Chapter 72, click here.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout, though modest, and in response to all the positive feedback, hope to build on this event for a second People’s Peace Park Picnic on Memorial Day 2015. (Promises have already been made to arrange for a porta-potty next year.)

Last but not least… Special thanks to the picknickers (you know who you are) who were moved to share personal stories and feelings at Monday’s gathering. We urge you all to continue to raise your voices to call out the true nature of war and to engage in creative actions that help foster movement toward peace and reconciliation, and greater recognition of our interdependence and common humanity.


YouTube videos captured by Dan Shea at the MEMORIAL DAY 2014 People’s Peace Park Picnic hosted by Veterans For Peace chapter 72. Musicians, artists, veterans and friends gathered to memorialize all victims of war, and raise our voices in songs of peace and healing in the spirit of the late great Pete Seeger.

 

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May 23 Guantánamo Day of Action

A 15-minute video produced by Joe Anybody and a small selection of photos by Daniel Webb document the May 23, 2014 Guantánamo rally held at Director Park in southwest Portland, Oregon. This is just one of the actions that took place in more than 40 cities on that Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo. Marking one year after Obama said he was going to close the Naval detention center, protestors called on the prez to end indefinite detention, transfer the dozens of cleared detainees, and make good on his commitment to close the facility this year.

Singing in the Rain: Megan Harrington [photo by Daniel Webb]

Singing in the Rain: Megan Harrington
[photo by Daniel Webb]

The Portland action drew a small but scrappy crowd, despite steady rain. Cosponsors included Amnesty International, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), Veterans For Peace, and closegitmo.net. Megan Harrington of Amnesty International took the lead on pulling this action together; the response to her call was impressive considering the relatively short notice.

VFP72 members Malcolm and Sarah brought VFP flags to the event. Responding to a call from Mike Horner to help pick up signs, Becky stuck around for the rally and provided reinforcement for the singing/chanting led by Megan. Regulars from last year’s long-running Close Gitmo solidarity actions in front of City Hall turned out in force: Jimmy, Nan, Charles, Kevin, Mike and Tom. Among other familiar faces was Kelly Campbell from Oregon PSR, who joined in with her husband and son. The hour-long rally was witnessed by a huge group of elementary aged kids on a lunchtime break during their downtown field trip, as well as many passersby, some of whom stopped to capture pics or videos on their smartphones.

Below are words of the three songs/chants we cycled through, for future reference. You can also hear them in the background of Joe Anybody’s video (link above).

Songs for May 23rd Director Park Rally

[1]
“We Who Believe in Freedom
We who believe in freedom cannot rest,
We who believe in freedom
cannot rest until it comes!
We gotta close Guantánamo today.
We gotta close Guantánamo today.
Stop torture now!”

[2]
“Our brothers on a hunger, hunger strike
Can’t let them, let them, let them die
If we do then we lose our dignity
America stand up and sing with me!”

[3]
“We’re gonna have a nation
that don’t torture no one,
but it’s gonna take courage
for that change to come.”

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Join us on Memorial Day for a picnic to end all war!

PeaceParkPicnic2014

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Thank you Emily Green & Street Roots!

…for publishing this important cover story and helping to shine the light on the lingering effects of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam as well as at home. And thanks for helping us expose the DOD’s attempt to rewrite history through their commemoration of the war. Excellent coverage…keep up the GREAT work!

Street Roots 5/9/14 cover

Click on the cover to go to the story on the Street Roots news site.

 

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FREE Film Festival May 17 & 18 at PSU

Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 and Students United for Nonviolence (SUN) present
A FREE film festival at 5th Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall Street in Portland

VIET NAM: FULL DISCLOSURE
An Honest Look at the American War in Viet Nam

Click here to download the PDF flyer for this event.

Clarence Fitch

Clarence Fitch

Saturday, May 17, 2:00 PM
ANOTHER BROTHER
Tami Gold 1998 • 50 mins.

A moving biography of one ordinary yet extraordinary veteran of the Vietnam War. Like many veterans in the hardships he endured, Clarence Fitch was uncommon in his ability to transform these experiences through a life of political activism. His gripping personal story provides a unique window onto the Vietnam War, racism in America, and social problems which have ravaged America for decades.

NOTE: VFP member Mike Hastie will introduce the post-screening discussion of this film.


hearts_and_mindsXSaturday, May 17, 3:30 PM
HEARTS AND MINDS
Peter Davis 1974 • 112 mins.

Released one year after the withdrawal of US troops but before the fall of Saigon; winner of the 1974 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Drawing from many different sources, Peter Davis confronts the failed politics behind U.S. involvement in Vietnam and effectively illustrates its disastrous effects in a this collage-style documentary. Described as explosive, persuasive, and shocking, this emotionally charged film is sure to leave an impression on the hearts and minds of viewers.

NOTE: PSU Conflict Resolution Professor Tom Hastings will introduce the post-screening discussion of this film.

PLEASE BE AWARE: This film contains disturbing images of war and violence.


sirnosircoverXSunday, May 18, 2:30 PM
SIR! NO SIR!
David Zeiger 2005 • 84 mins.

This highly acclaimed, award-winning documentary—an instant classic—tells an almost entirely forgotten story of the military men and women who helped bring an end to the Vietnam War. Contrary to the popular image of long-haired hippies spitting on returning soldiers, SIR! NO SIR! vividly demonstrates that GIs were the heart and soul of the anti-war movement.

NOTE: VFP member Dan Shea will introduce the post-screening discussion of this film.


LighterThanOrangeSunday, May 18, 4:15 PM
LIGHTER THAN ORANGE
Matthias Leupold 2014 • 72 mins.

WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING!
A brand new release made by a German photographer, this film gives Vietnamese veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the American war a chance to tell their stories. After 10+ years of non-stop fighting, these survivors returned home eager to rebuild their lives and their families. But peacetime confronted them with new challenges: numerous miscarriages, stillbirths and children with incurable illnesses and debilitating deformities, caused by their exposure to the chemical defoliants sprayed by U.S. and allied forces during the war. The fates of the individuals featured in this film are unique but they are not alone: an estimated 4 million Vietnamese people are still affected by the lingering effects of Agent Orange. The soft styling of this striking film humanizes these war veterans—our former enemies—and helps to cushion the intensity of their stories.

NOTE: VFP associate member Becky Luening will introduce the post-screening discussion of this film.

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VFP72 to Table at George Mann Benefit for Single Payer

Photo of George Mann with groovy hair

Photo by Gerry Collen

Come on out and support a good cause and hear some music played by George Mann.

Friday, April 25, 6:30pm
SEIU#503 Ballroom
6401 SE Foster Rd.
Portland Or 97206

Click here to learn more about Health Care for All Oregon.

Everybody In! Nobody Out! Health Care For All Oregon benefit featuring New York Folksinger George Mann who is on a West Coast Tour with local labor band General Strike and also appearing with George will be the Mad As Hell Doctors to brief us on the importance of a Publicly Funded Health Care For All Oregon.

Tickets at the door $10 – $15 Sliding Scale, No One Turned Away

George Mann is a former union organizer, and activist based in New York, George Mann
sings songs from the last century of labor and social activism, and his own songs are powerful and funny takes on the state of the nation. Funds raised from his performances will go to benefit HCAO and its chapters.

Sponsors: Oregon Health Care for All Oregon, SEIU, KBOO 90.7 FM Community Radio, National Lawyers Guild Portland, Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 and Education Without Borders.

Click to download flyer.

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Thom Hartmann in Portland May 2nd

Radio personality, author, and former Portland resident Thom Hartmann will speak on The Crash of 2016, and the transformational opportunities it will provide:

Friday, May 2, 2014, 7–9PM
First Unitarian Church of Portland
SW 12th Avenue & Main Street

VFP Chapter 72 is a cosponsor of the event and will be tabling beginning at 6:00 PM.

  • UPDATE: Here’s a photo of our tablers in action!
VFP72 members Barb, Mal, Karen and Dan (plus Jenika, who snapped this pic) peopled the chapter's table at the May 2, 2014 Thom Hartmann event.

VFP72 members Barb, Mal, Karen and Dan (plus Jenika, who snapped this pic) peopled the chapter’s table at the May 2, 2014 Thom Hartmann event.

 

Click on the graphic below to download the PDF flyer. Click here for the Facebook event page.

may2ndhartmannflyer-final

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