Upcoming Events from the United National Anti-War Coalition

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Call to Action, Events

UNAC

Friday, Oct. 24

Join the Black Agenda Report Team on Friday Oct. 24 at Harlem’s Historic Riverside Church For Our 8th Anniversary Celebration

Join us Friday, October 24 at Harlem’s historic Riverside Church, as the Riverside Church Social Justice Ministry & Black Agenda Report proudly presents

After Ferguson: Naming Names, Refuting Shame, Human Rights VS the Police State & the Black Political Class

For more information: http://events.blackagendareport.com/

Read the recent article on the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak from BAR Executive Editor, Glen Ford: http://blackagendareport.com/node/14470

Saturday, Oct 25

End U.S. Wars Around the World and at Home

A panel discussion sponsored by New York City UNAC. Saturday October 25 at 2 PM, Manhattan Theater Club, studio 3, 311 W. 43rd, St. 6th Floor, Manhattan, NY. More information to follow.  Panel discussion with: Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report, Sara Flounders of the International Action coalition, Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN USA, Larry Adams of People’s Organization for Progress, Greg Butterfield, recently returned from Ukraine, a Palestinian speaker.

Join the Facebook event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/755491327837906/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Saturday, Nov 1

Rally and March to the White House

Join the rally and March to the White House being organized by the Black is Back Coalition called, “peace through Revolution.” Saturday, Nov. 1. Gather at 12 noon at Malcolm X Park and march to the White House.

For more information: http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/the-call/

Sunday, Nov 2

Fighting for Peace: US Intervention in the Philippines and the People’s Resistance

A Webinar Report-back

Sunday, November 2, 2014

3pm Pacific/5pm Central/6pm Eastern

Register here to participate online: http://tinyurl.com/BAYANPeaceMission

New York Location TBD

GUEST SPEAKERS:

Amirah Lidasan, Spokesperson for Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People)

Ramon Mejia, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Juyeon Rhee, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development

News of the murder of Filipina transwoman Jennifer Laude on October 11 by a suspected US Marine in Olongapo City has put the question of US military presence in the Philippines via the Visiting Forces Agreement under international scrutiny.

This past summer 3 peace activists from the US– a veteran of the US invasion of Iraq, and 2 activists with the US Out of Asia-Pacific Coalition– traveled to Mindanao in the Southern Philippines to see the face of increasing US militarization, counterinsurgency, and people’s resistance on the ground. There they spent time with peasant and indigenous communities, and the Bangsamoro, an oppressed Muslim minority in the country struggling for self-determination despite a strong US pacification campaign. Come listen as they report back on their findings. Discuss ways to support grassroots communities in the Philippines defending themselves from state-sponsored violence, militarization and intervention.

Sponsored by: BAYAN USA /  International League of Peoples Struggle /  Iraq Veterans Against the War / US Out of Asia-Pacific Coalition.  For more information:www.bayanusa.org

 

I, Too, Cry Justice for Jennifer

By Ramon Mejia

Former US Marine, Iraq Veterans Against the War

As a former US Marine, I am disgusted to learn about the killing of Filipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City, with USMC Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the prime suspect. I am disgusted that my so-called brethren continue to kill, pillage, rape, and burn the essence that is humanity.

I will forever be haunted by my participation in committing gross human rights violations against the Iraqi people in 2003. It caused me post-traumatic distress that I am still healing from. As a result, I have committed the rest of my life to working for peace for all peoples facing US military intervention.

News of Jennifer’s killing comes just a few months after my return from the Philippines, where I participated in a peace mission looking into the impact of US military intervention in the country.

Visiting Olongapo City and later the Bangsamoro territories of Mindanao, I learned about the violent and oppressive history of US military presence in the Philippines. It’s a history that spans over a century, beginning with a war in 1898 that annihilated over a quarter of the Philippine population. It is also a history of permanent US military basing that has not only undermined Philippine sovereignty, but endangers the lives and livelihood of the Filipino people themselves.

The Visiting Forces Agreement, or VFA, signed in 1998, allows the rotational US military basing throughout the Philippines. Tied to the VFA are numerous documented incidents of abuses committed by US military personnel in the Philippines that have gone unprosecuted because these military agreements are one-sided and protect the US military.

I learned of numerous incidents—including the case of Buyong-Buyong Isnijal, an unarmed Filipino civilian shot and killed by a US soldier in Basilan back in 2002, the gang rape of Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas by 4 US Marines in 2005, the death of Gregan Cardeno, the Filipino interpreter hired by US troops but was found dead in 2010 the morning after he called his wife with fear in his voice telling her he could not perform the tasks being asked of him, the US drone strike that killed 15 Tausug villagers in Jolo Island in 2012, and the list goes on.

This year, President Obama signed a new military agreement with Philippine President Aquino. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA, essentially expands US military basing throughout the Philippines.

Both governments claim that increasing US military presence in the Philippines is needed to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines and protect the country from the looming military threat and territorial incursions of China.  Some have even invoked the fact that the US military delivered humanitarian relief for victims of Typhoon Haiyan last year.

But the truth is U.S. foreign policy is not devoted to enforcing high moral standards. It only works to extend political and economic hegemony. It fulfills a safeguard for U.S. corporate interest.

As someone who participated in the so-called “humanitarian intervention” of Iraq, I and many other US war veterans can attest that the US military is not and will never be in the business of helping others. The US military is the business of war and hegemony. We are trained to kill and to do so we must dehumanize the population in the countries we invade and occupy.

The EDCA is part of a larger US military pivot to the Asia-Pacific region announced by the Obama government in 2012.

This pivot will not be a boots-on-the-ground invasion. Based on what I saw in Mindanao, it will be robotic in form and will rely heavily on drones and unmanned surveillance systems. It will rely on counter-insurgency and pacification of resistance movements under the guise of a so-called “peace process” and/or “development projects”.

The VFA serves as a major obstruction to justice for Jennifer Laude, just as it continues to obstruct justice for Buyong-Buyong Isnijal, Suzette Nicolas, Gregan Cardeno, and countless others.

There is a vibrant movement for genuine national sovereignty in the Philippines that is also calling for justice for Jennifer Laude.  With my experiences both in Iraq and the Philippines, I believe peace starts with respect for the sovereignty of nations. It must start with a position of non-intervention, non-interference, and respect for self-determination.

Just as the Filipino people are calling on their government to abrogate the VFA, so must we here in the US pressure our government to do so. We cannot tolerate our tax dollars funding US policies that enforce neocolonialism overseas.

U.S. military authorities must cooperate fully with Filipino investigators in solving the murder of Jennifer. The first step in doing so, is to surrender Pemberton to the Philippine authorities.

I stand in solidarity with the Iraqi and Filipino people.  I, too, cry justice for Jennifer.

In Solidarity,

Ramon D. Mejia

Volunteer Organizer

Iraq Veterans Against the War

ramon.mejia@utexas.edu

Stop Attacks on the Right to Protests

Several months ago, Greenpeace activists hung two 60-foot banners from the headquarter of Procter& Gamble in Cincinnati, OH.  The protest was to call attention to P&G’s palm oil procurement policies, which are linked to the destruction of Indonesian rainforests.  For their action, the Greenpeace activists are each being charged with 2 felony charges: burglary and vandalism.  If convicted on these felonies, the activists can be sentenced to many years in prison.

This attempt to prosecute the protesters is part of a growing trend of stiff sentences for those who protest and resist the criminal practices of our government and the corporations that they represent.  For more information on the case, please go here: http://greenpeaceblogs.org/protest

Please sign the petition calling for and end the the prosecution of the Greenpeace activists. https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1715

 

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