Charges dropped against the Hempstead 15!

This morning all charges were dropped against the Hempstead 15, members of Iraq Veterans Against The War and their supporters who were accused of disorderly conduct for an act of civil disobedience they engaged in on October 15th during the last Presidential debates at Hofstra University in NY.

Nick Morgan (center) was trampled by a mounted policeman’s horse, and there will be a lawsuit. The vets are very grateful for everyone’s support.

I am guessing there will be a more formal announcement made in the future, but for now those of you who really deserve it can contemplate the thousand words embodied in these happy smiling faces, and know that by REALLY being there to support these troops you helped get some justice done today.

Thank you.

Nassau D.A. Kathleen Rice to dismiss charges against the Hempstead 15

Thanks are due to Docudharma for putting the Hempstead 15 action alert up on their front page, but that alert will now need to be modified slightly. 🙂

It is with joy that I pass on the following announcement from Matthis Chiroux:

Action Alert update: Court dates and petition to support the Hempstead 15

The following just went out this morning via the Veterans for Peace list:

…and then, I took off my coat.

I’ve worked with and around CodePink for about two and a half years now. I’ve never been arrested for participation in any political actions but I have been present when others were arrested, and done back-end court support (relaying phone messages at the house and once, since I’d driven down, I was asked to wait for the call to pick some of those arrested up when they were released). I’ve been there for the 1am call, the 3am call, the bleary-eyed women shuffling through the front parlor with their coffee or tea at 7am: “Was Lori released yet?” “Laurie Arbeiter?” “No, Lori Purdue.” My own courtroom exposure has been limited to some car-related foo and a potential juror selection.

A very strange merging of those two worlds occurred this morning as I found myself travelling to “Criminal 2” in the Hempstead Courthouse to show support for Iraq Veterans Against The War member Adam Kokesh. It felt very odd, doing this show of political solidarity for a national-level peace activist where I live.

I have a lot of respect for Adam Kokesh. He’s very, very smart. (He’s also quite the hysterically funny wiseass.) Unlike myself, he’s an effective public speaker. When I’m pissed off, my speech centers are the first thing to shut down. Not him – he’s so well spoken he could easily pull off being a statesman should he ever decide to go down that road. Most importantly about Adam Kokesh, his head and heart are both in the right place, he’s courageous, and he scares the sweet jumping bejesus out of a set of people in this country who the Gods only know could stand to be a little scared right now of an angry American people. In my book, Adam Kokesh is a hero, and I was going to be there to show support for him.

The courtroom was tiny. Adam was sitting in the front row with his lawyer. I patted him on the shoulder to let him know he had a supporter and he looked up. As we smiled grimly at each other, the baliffs in the room reacted nervously. My hair is really really long and wild these days, even after I brush it. I look pretty scary and scruffy to people who don’t know me (and perhaps to some who do). I am not sure how much my 2002 oath to not cut my hair while Bush remains “President” of the United States is common knowledge – those who don’t know about it probably think I’m just a weirdo. The Java jacket looks like a motorcycle jacket, and I had the ever-present Victory ball cap on and black sweats.

Most of the people who showed up to support him were middle aged or elderly women, two might have been with him and two others were activists from other LI peace activist organizations. Unlike myself, they were dressed respectably, “acting their age”. Adam himself was wearing a jacket with the USMC seal on the back, a Vets for Peace patch on the shoulder and a couple of other little blingblings on it. I dunno, maybe this whole “look like a biker” thing has something to do with being ex-military, but whatever.

Another thing that usually makes me a lightning rod for attention in a courtroom is that there’s something about being in one of those places that sets off my “pay attention to every damn thing in the room” alarm, and when I start doing that the baliffs, whose job it is to do the exact same thing, tend to notice me noticing. Then we sit there and notice each other noticing the noticing. It’s real fun.

So, smirking a bit more because I knew what I was going to do next was going to kick the whole “hypervigilance” thing in the room up to the next level, I sat down… and then I took off my coat. Slowly, ritually, like Superman, I pulled the edges of my coat until the snaps released and what I had on underneath came into view like the full moon from behind a cloud.

The Hempstead 15: Arraignment protest photo diary

Today about 50-75 people came out to protest the arraignment of the Hempstead 15.

(This is the courthouse side of the street, more people were initially on the other side.)

The incident at Hofstra was a SET UP!

With more time to process what happened at Hofstra, and with what I already know about the relative motivations and effectiveness of the Nassau County Executive, I have come to the realization that the incident between the local police and Iraq Veterans Against the War was a setup. The objective was to put veteran anti-war groups like IVAW and Veterans For Peace at odds with local DEMOCRATIC politicians who must bear the brunt of the bad PR and possibly (at the County level) punitive damages.

So I got a reply from the Nassau County Executive…

Because I am lazy I didn’t feel like typing it all in, so here it is in all it’s quasi-original glory instead, with my address covered up to protect what shreds of privacy I may still have.

Letter to Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi

It has taken me some time to process my emotional reaction to the events of October 15th. On that day, a complete atrocity occurred. American blood was shed on American soil once more – not by foreign terrorists but by the soulless, brainwashed agents of Bush’s police state, acting against the very veterans who define this country’s freedom and swore to defend the US Constitution with their lives. US combat veterans returned from service in Iraq and Afghanistan came to petition their presidential candidates with legitimate and valid questions concerning the ending of the Iraq war and the treatment of veterans at home, only to experience disrespect and physical injury at the hands of Nassau County police officers and their shadowy, unidentified, badgeless Department of Hopeless Insecurity supporters.

Debate Avoids Wars – Video Loaded – Outside the Debate

No need for any narrative by me, let the video’s speak for themselves, and follow the links at bottom for more.

Police Outside Debate Charge, Injure, Arrest Veterans

Veterans Occupy National Archives Building and Much More

“Arresting Bush and Cheney for war crimes will honor our oath to the Constitution,” vets say.

Remarks of Two OEF and OIF Veterans, DNC 2008, and Success!

In case you missed these powerful words from Two of our Countries Dedicated Veterans of the Current Occupation Theaters.

Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan can be Proud of these two, your brother and sister Veterans, as can the Families of All who are Serving and have Served, for You All are the Only Ones Sacrificing as this Country refuses to understand that Sacrifice!

The ‘Honorable Cause’ is the protection of your brother’s and sister’s as they protect you, in any conflict theater this nation sends those that serve it, wrong or right!

This Country must Now make it Right for All of You, it has Shirked It’s Full Responsibility for far too long, from Korea to the Present Day, that must End!!

Iraq Troop Is Back Behind The Camera

Crossposted from Fire on the Mountain.

IVAW member Casey J Porter has been vlogging from Iraq for month’s now. I’m not about to try and better Casey’s description:

The latest film, Deconstructed, continues to show the realities of war. Featuring statements from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Former President Bill Clinton, The O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly, amongst many others, this is a look into the arrogance and lies of those who promoted, and continue to promote this war interlaced with combat footage straight from Iraq.  Included are scenes of Soldiers not only speaking their minds, but speaking the truth about the continued occupation of Iraq.

Also featured are some of the harsh realities of combat and in the midst of that combat, good Soldiers continuing to make the best out of it by helping their “adopted” child at their combat outpost.  This is an honest look into the minds of Soldiers, and an honest look into their lives during a deployment.  

This is Deconstructed.

[The usual hat tip to Jeri Reed.]

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