Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Virginia may create 'veterans courts'

Published: February 8, 2011

By Jeannette Porter
RICHMOND - The House of Delegates has unanimously passed a bill that could provide treatment instead of jail for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and run into trouble with the law.
House Bill 1691, introduced by Del. Christopher P. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, allows localities to establish "policies and procedures for service members who are nonviolent offenders." The initiative is popularly known as "veterans court," although no separate court is established. Such programs exist in 18 states.
"It would afford veterans charged in nonviolent crimes the opportunity to be addressed in a separate docket that has access to treatment programs that are specifically designed for veterans that may have post-service disabilities," Stolle, a medical doctor, said in an e-mail.

His bill enables localities to coordinate judicial and treatment services to seek prompt identification and placement of eligible participants; intensive offender supervision, counseling and treatment; and prompt response to non-compliance with program requirements.

The measure would direct the Virginia Department of Veterans Services to cooperate with localities in this effort.
The bill would not fund such efforts; localities would be responsible for that.

Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are considered the "signature injuries" of the Iraq and Afghan wars, according to a recent Virginia Tech report on the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, a network of community-based services for veterans suffering from stress and brain injuries.
Unlike the visible injuries of earlier conflicts, these afflictions attack a veteran from the inside.

"They can manifest in a lot of ways," said Jack Hilgers, director of development for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. "Traumatic brain injury often manifests through drug and alcohol abuse. The veteran attempts to self-medicate."

Even visible wounds from Iraq and Afghanistan may be more severe than those of previous combats, because improved medical technology and faster battlefield reactions mean that more wounds are survivable now than ever before.

Del. Harvey B. Morgan, R-Gloucester, a pharmacist and a co-patron of HB 1691, said veterans are surviving with more severe penetrating injuries and corresponding challenges in pain management.

Veterans in pain, reliving their trauma, may fall back on the reactions that kept them alive in a combat situation, said John Clickener of Tappahannock, a retired Marine infantry officer and the state legislative coordinator for the Virginia Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America.

"Those skills don't work in a civilian situation," Clickener said. "We have men and women who have served three, four, even five tours of duty. There are no 'lines' in this war - nowhere is safe. And the dwell time (time between tours of duty) has been reduced. The normal social filters are not working for many of these folks."
An estimated 820,000 veterans live in Virginia. About 260,000 of them have served since 2001, meaning they most likely served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Estimates of the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury range from 20 percent to 40 percent of the returning population, Hilgers said.

"The bill will afford responders from law enforcement officers to magistrates and commonwealth's attorneys the opportunity to be aware of the exceptional circumstances" affecting some veterans, Clickener said. HB 1691 would cover all veterans, not just those from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Senate is considering similar legislation.
Senate Bill 1063, introduced by Sen. John C. Miller, R-Newport News, is a little broader than Stolle's bill; it would include "other individuals who are offenders or defendants in the criminal justice system and who need access to proper treatment for mental illness."
"Under the Virginia Constitution, you can't have a special class of citizens," Miller explained in a phone interview.

"The Hampton Roads area has more veterans than any other part of the commonwealth. Judges in my district came to me last year with this idea, and we brought together stakeholders like community service boards and the VA, trying to find a way to get these people the help they deserve."

That help must provide an alternative to jail, Hilgers said.
"We've got enough people in jail," he said. "These veterans want to do something about their condition. They don't want to be a burden."

Many states and localities have modeled their veterans courts after the program in Buffalo, N.Y.

"The Veterans Court in Buffalo has a zero percent recidivism rate," Hilgers said. "You offer veterans a chance to do something to not be a burden; you put a potentially productive person back into the community."

Stolle said that by creating veterans courts, Virginia would be demonstrating its support for military personnel in a significant way.
"We often talk about supporting our troops," Stolle said. "To me, supporting our troops means more than waving the flag when they come home. Supporting our troops means providing the help they need when they most need it. I think this bill is a small step in helping those veterans most in need.

"The website for the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court is

The 18 states with veterans courts are:
Alaska Arizona
Arkansas California
Colorado Florida
Georgia Illinois
Michigan Minnesota
Missouri Nevada
N.Hampshire New York
Oklahoma Pennsylvania
Texas Washington

Read more:

The Philadelphia Veterans Court represents the latest problem solving court initiative, in Municipal Court, addressing a holistic Treatment Court approach to dealing with justice involved Veterans. The Judicial leadership in Municipal Court recognizes the tremendous service members of our Armed Forces provide to our Country. This initiative started with the premise of providing Veterans involved in the criminal justice system with a program and services to overcome the challenges they face.
Veterans are directed to representatives of the Veterans Administration, who are on site in one of our courtrooms. The VA staff schedules eligible Veterans for an assessment to determine appropriate needs and levels of care, and directs them to benefits to which they may be entitled. The assessment determines the Veterans suitability for an array of VA programs, including any required treatment (alcohol, drug, mental health or medical) as well as housing, job training and job referrals. After consultation with a defense attorney, if an eligible Veteran chooses to accept the terms of the offer from the Philadelphia District Attorney to participate in this voluntary program, we pair the VETERAN with a Mentor. The Mentor will assist the Veteran in working toward a successful resolution of the criminal charges, including a change in life choices, so that future contacts with the criminal justice system can be avoided.
To learn more about becoming a mentor, vist our Veterans Court Mentor page.
This collaborative initiative between the Court, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Veterans Administration and numerous Veterans agencies, although a bit more challenging than normal criminal case processing, will witness a tremendous benefit to Veterans, as they overcome the burden carried from service to our country, now exacerbated by involvement with the criminal justice system.
We are extremely fortunate to have Philadelphia Municipal Court Judges presiding, who are Veterans, and fully aware of the burdens and the sacrifices these Veterans made.
Janet Ditomasso Director, Veterans Court Coordinator
408 Criminal Justice Center
1301 Filbert Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 683-7275

VETERANS COURT - A Proposal for Legislation to Establish Veterans Court

What are Veterans Treatment Courts?
Veterans Treatment Courts are hybrid Drug and Mental Health Courts that use the Drug Court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in Drug and Mental Health Courts, with the addition of theU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans' Benefits Administration, volunteer veteran mentors and veterans and veterans' family support organizations.

NADCP is working with national experts and our federal partners to help the Drug Court community


Read up on them here:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Presentation of ‘Winter Soldier’ by Fiachra 'O Luain Bangert

Presentation of ‘Winter Soldier’
by Fiachra Ó Luain

‘War at Home’ category Berlin Film Festival
8th of February 2008

The name ‘Winter Soldier’ in a homage U.S.A. founding father Thomas Paine’s 1766 phrase:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

This quote came from the American revolutionary war when in Valley Ridge, Pennsylvania, the American Continental army wintered from 1777 through to 1778. This was a time of great suffering for George Washington’s army, but it was also a time of retraining and rejuvenation. The fighters at Valley Forge were suffering terribly from hunger, frostbite, and missing their families. Many deserted. In a mood of desperation and despair, George Washington called in the best of the revolution's writers -Tom Paine- to raise people's sprits in the middle of the winter, which is when he coined the term "Winter Soldier" to describe the few men who remained in the trenches of the revolution through the toughest of times.

Based on the Nuremburg Principles the ‘Winter Soldier Investigation’ took place in Detroit, Michigan from the 31st of January until the 2nd of February 1971. This film was made out of reels and reels of footage filmed in a Howard Johnson hotel over the three days with over 125 veterans from all over the country. It was an act of collective confession. Noam Chomsky also attended a number of these war crimes trials by these veterans, who he said were “really impressive people doing wonderful work”.

It is the testimony of U.S. servicemen returned from Vietnam who spoke of war-crimes that they had witnessed and indeed committed. This was only one month after the My Lai massacre became public. My Lai was a U.S. military action in which the whole population of a village was systematically asassinated. This was also immediately after the military draft had ended, and with it the large scale student opposition to the war which up to that point had been growing steadily, though of course the broad societal rejection of the war was still smouldering. This made the soldiers at home and abroad feel more vulnerable of being scape-goated for the crimes of the Whitehouse and the Pentagon.

Lt.. Rusty Calley was the highest ranking officer to be charged with responsibility for the My Lai atrocity. A lieutenant is the lowest rank of officer in the United States Army. The Pentagon’s statement on the matter was that My Lai was “an isolated instance of abherrent behaviour.” The soldiers felt that Lt. Calley was being used as a scape-goat to detract attention from the larger picture of the genocidal warfare being played out from Washington. These are the consciences, the voices, the prayers and the tears of soldiers who were asked to go beyond their call-of-duty. Men and women who personally paid the price of becoming a player in a racist test-ground for the Military industry-complex as the Vietnam war was.

‘Winter Soldier The Film’ was edited in New York following the investigation in Detroit. My father was one of the Winter Soldier Collective who made this film. ‘Winterfilm’ had their headquarters in a loft at 405 E. 13th Street near Avenue A in Manhattan. The film was edited in the summer of 1971 at the Peter Styvesant Familial Estate in Allamuchy, New Jersey. My father ( Joe Bangert ), tells me that it made him think when he saw a tiger's head labelled 'Indochine- 1890' mounted over the fireplace in the main dining room of the mansion where the editing was done. Another aspect of 'Winter Soldier' that has never been written about was that as they were editing the film at 'Tranquillity Camp' in Allamuchy two of the female editors had miscarriages. Such were the psychological effects of editing this film going over hundreds of hours of testimony and inevitably learning each frame by rote, each phrase and utterance.

I know from my own family’s experience that these people who were courageous enough to make such a film still suffer for their sacrifice of bringing the reality of the war home, fighting for a future worth living for.

On one particular evening 'Winter Soldier' was screened in the uptown apartment of then Senator Jacob Javits. David Frost showed up with Diane Carole and Zufikar Ali Bhutto, the father of the late Benazir who was also present. After the screening Mr. Bhutto said: “What is amazing about this country, is that it is possible to see such a wonderfully honest film while this war actually still goes on.”

This film first came to Europe via ‘L'Assemblie Mondiale pour la Pas y la Independence de la Peuples Indochinoise’ being shown in the Palace of Versailles. This was during the hiatus in negotiations between the Vietnamese and the Americans at all levels, including the Whitehouse. It was a time when the cynicism of a war-mongering Nixon administration became untied and started losing its grip on the control of their citizens’ minds. Delegates from more than 80 countries attended. Jean Paul Sartre was present along with soldiers from both sides of the war. My own father Joe Bangert, went with George Katsiaficas and John Kerry, along with others from the the Vietnam Veteran’s Against the War.

In the metro on his way to Versailles a copy of the film was snatched from my father’s bag by a CIA agent who later dissappeared into the crowd: though he was found out later to be the Philip Agee who at the time worked for the CIA posing as a leftist in the Liberation New Service though he consequently opposed the agency with his book ‘Inside the Company’. Luckily there was a second print of the film also taken to Paris. The screening went, drawing tears from international eyes and engaging hearts at a continental level in the negotiation that followed.

The Vietnam Veterans Against the War was the main organizational force behind this film, but we have to remember that here as well as in any and every movement it is about the people, individuals from every walk of life, each with their own personal reasons who take the time to think, travel, write, argue, discuss the reality of an unjust war in attempt and determination to end it. This film is about the right of each person to have their voice heard, particularily if they have been asked to kill or be killed for any reason. The Anti-Vietnam War Movement was a massive movement in every country in the world, none more so than in Germany. This is clearly evident from the exhibition here in the Amerika Haus.

The Vietnam War was parralelled in so many other countries with similar struggles. It became the metaphor for a much larger struggle for freedom of expression and the right to hope and transform the world for the better like the Anti-Nuclear movement did in Germany long into the eighties, inspiring the citizens of my own country to also successfully do so in Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford in an unprecedented movement of all strata of Irish society that lasted three years before ultimate final victory.
‘Winter Soldier’ is a film that is relevant to the U.S.A., Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom and France, it is relevant to Darfur, Chad and to Afghanistan and Australia.

It is a rescue of the soldier. A rescue of morality. A rescue of our human selves.
Our voices, before any other, are the parts of us that allow us become more than a lone soul in the ether-drift. Our ears are needed to recognise this process as the sound of the bedrock being hit by those who dig deep to build futures for humanity, to fortify our relevance and keep in tune with the world that owns us.

One of the participants in Winter Soldier was a young John Kerry, the man who gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee marking a move in the establishment consensus towards ending it. Thirty three years later that man ran for President against George W. Bush but failed to win. In 2004 just as in 1971 a whole industry developed to try to discredit the testimony shown here today, gloating in a few items they found - which in the words of Chomsky “could well have been planted by infiltrators”. John Kerry lost in 2004 perhaps because he failed to speak out and convince in the way he did in Washington D.C. in April 23rd 1971.

That is great problem of our times: For all of our technology we cannot always communicate. There remains a lot to be said. There are many simple truths to be told. If they were told, listened to and acted upon we could all easily overcome the foregone gloomy conclusion that if a large-scale war breaks out we could not do anything about it other than fall in line behind our respective governments’ positions.

This is “the great urgency of now” that Barack Obama cites from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we can all help each other make the difference that is needed if we listen and act as humans, we always have and we always will, the question is when, sooner or too late?
On the 30th of April 1975 the Vietnam War finally ended, after a decade long campaign that started off as being very unpopular. For example in October 1965 a demonstration in which Noam Chomsky was going to speak at in Boston Common was broken up by counterdemonstrators, many of them from universities such as Harvard. Chomsky recalls of the events:

“Not a word could be heard. There were hundreds of state police. For once I wasn't sorry to see them. That day the radio was full of bitter denunciations of the demonstrators who dared to say a critical word about the bombing of North Vietnam --awful, but a sideshow; it was the South that was always the main target, but in those days talking about that was like talking Greek to a speaker of Swahili. The next day the Boston Globe, the supposed paper of the liberal intellectuals, chimed in with its own hysterical condemnations.”

Carol Chomsky and their daughters also needed police protection when in the very beginnings of the resistance to the war an angry group of people stoned the Women’s meeting they had organised to discuss the war. They just stood in silence while they were attacked with cans of food. People now call the Vietnam War the first defeat of the United States of America but I would rather call it the first victory of its kind for American soldiers and their colleagues who were brave enough to speak their truth and state the obvious in a very graphic way that could not be ignored. By naming and opposing the atrocites that they had witnessed and themselves commited, they ended them.

We as Europeans cannot help end this war until we stop blaming Americans as a whole for the war we resisted in 2003 while everyday we become more tangled up in the overall plan for a large scale war ourselves. It is again time to give recognition to the Americans who do make a difference, as was done in 1968 and until the end of the Vietnam war. We must all realise what we can do ourselves and offer the resisters in the United States an arm of support and exchange by helping stop our own countries’ collusion with the focus group of the most cynical corporations who seized power in Florida in 2000. One obvious thing that needs to be done is the establishment of a War Crime Tribunal in The Hague to examine and deal with those responsible for what happened in the run-up to the war in war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Each country needs to make its efforts and we cannot let them hide behind Bush when he is gone but perhaps some countries will have more to answer for than others.

It saddens me to tell you that the very leadership of Ireland has wilfully broken the country’s constitution time and time again. Along with Frankfurt, Shannon airport is the single biggest gateway for the U.S. military to the Middle East as they send their troops and armaments. This is a very constitution, one that makes us the only European country to have a referendum on such issues as the Nice treaty and also soon on the Lisbon Treaty. We rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001 with no consequence other than being asked to vote again on the exact same treaty again in 2002.

Our defense minister Willie O’Dea who allows the U.S. military send over half of the American troops in Iraq through our regional civilian airport in Shannon putting Irish citizens at risk in a war that they do not agree with. Minister O’Dea has shares in and is a political ally of an oil company that operates in Iraq called ‘Petrel’, personally providing them with seed investment in another venture of their’s with ‘West Africa Diamonds’. Africa - where most of our Irish U.N. peacekeeping troops are now stationed - more including friends of mine who will soon be deployed to try stop the bloodshed in Chad.

We would always like to think that when our soldiers leave home it is for the best reasons but it is not always like that. That is why it is important for citizens and soldiers alike to speak out. Efforts to point out the Irish government’s collusion in the illegal war against Iraq have been quite successful, even validated in the Supreme Court. Yet somehow although the accusations have been upheld, the same courts have so far failed to punish those guilty of International War Crimes. The fact is that activists in Ireland are still being tried by judges who at least in one instance are personal allies of George Bush, one who was invited to his inauguration. I just speak from an Irish point of view but every land has its own tale about these last eight years and it’s time to spill the beans on the planners, perpetrators and facilitators.

Nearly upon us is the 5th anniversary of the February 15th demonstations that gathered millions of people in the largest worldwide protest in human history. At the moment the real struggle against the war is coming from inside the U.S.A. and the U.S. military. Like servicemen and women, veterans of the Iraq invasion who watch the strings being pulled for an attack on Iran. For example last week’s sabotage of the underwater communication cables that connect Middle East, South Asia and Africa to the rest of the world and to eachother. These are operations that can only have been commited by United States Navy submarines according to an article by Richard Sauder.

And let us also keep in mind that the Internet is a stated objective for some military experts in Washington D.C. While just before their last budget the outgoing U.S. administration signed a $22 billion dollar deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia. This and the whole backdoor approach of the Bush-Cheney Administration towards an attack on Iran, sucking in Pakistan and the whole region, including both Israel and Palestine, is another simple truth that needs to shouted and stopped right now. It must be shown up, spelled out and denied. Perhaps the best people to do this are those who know about it personally.

In very many cases the same men and women who are asked to perform the very deeds that could condemn us all if their human reaction and voice were absent. Such is the importance of this film.
This film is a call on citizens and patriots of all countries to put our flags aside and stamp out this international treachery, as right now, as it was in the early seventies, we are late and it is now an emergency matter.

The same is happening again and the same or similar and up-dated response is again needed from those soldiers of honour, Winter Soldiers. The Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently organizing: “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan” This event will take place in Silverspring, Maryland, just outside Washington D.C. over the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It will be the biggest gathering of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans so far, alongside Iraqi and Afghan survivors. Eyewitnesses will share in this public investigation and a film will be made of what comes out.

Please watch this film with your utmost attention and if it rings true to what is also happening right now perhaps you could support the Iraq Veterans Against the War in any way you can. This ia film about soldiers coming home to themselves as they courageously spell out a far-too-long unspoken truth.

‘Winter Soldier’ is all about standing up and speaking one’s truth without fear of the consequences in a rearguard defense of society’s morality and is about the answer being the latter when people in their position ask themselves the question:
“Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?”

Further information is available at:
DISTRIBUTION Winter Soldier is distributed by: Milliarium Zero P.O. Box 128 Harrington Park, N.J. 07640 Email: 201.767.3117 800.603.1104201.767.3117 800.603.1104

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why VFP Likes General Smedley D Butler!

George Herbert Walker and his Son-in Law Prescott Bush worked direct to finance Hitler with the Union Banking Corporation. The reason Auschwitz was located where it was is because it was close to Fritz Thyssen's coal, steel, and railroads. Through the Union Banking Corporation, Prescott Bush, and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, along with German industrialist Fritz Thyseen, became Hitler's banker. War is A Racket!

This made it possible for I.G. Farben to synthesize fuel from coal gasification, to make aviation fuel, gas for their tanks and war machines, and for synthesizing rubber for making tires. They also made Zyklon B gas, which the Germans used to annihilate two million Jews according to the trial testimony of the Auschwitz camp commander.

Fritz Thyssen published a book titled I Paid Hitler in 1941. It described how Hitler used the money he received from Fritz Thyssen through Prescott Bush, sponsored the Storm Troopers of Ernst Roehm as early as 1933, allowing them to build up to 4,500,000 strong to take over Germany.

Another Blogger connects the dots ... between General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC and Prescott Bush pictured with his son George Hubert Walker Bush, grandaddy to George W. Bush

Click and read above link!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Century of the Self BBC DocU-education

The Century of the Self

You see it, you want it, you buy it, on credit of course!

Not because YOU NEED it, but because we have been manipulated into agreeing with the psychology of advertisers who show us this that these products will make us feel happy inside, if we only buy them today before the sale ends with 0% interest and no money down!

The Pursuit Of Happiness of the individual, marries the corporate concept dictum of -- " buy our products first and feel happy now."

General Motors Sign and Drive

Here is a BBC video series that should be view by all interested in the politics of elections or the Selling of a Candidate!

"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy." - Adam Curtis

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings profoundly. His influence on the 20th century is widely regarded as massive. The documentary describes the impact of Freud's theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their "engineering of consent".

Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the "father of the public relations industry". Freud's daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, one of the main opponents of Freud's theories.

Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.

The business and, increasingly, the political world uses PR to read and fulfill our desires, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to us. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people's rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population. He cites a Wall Street banker as saying "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. [...] Man's desires must overshadow his needs."

In Episode 4 the main characters are Philip Gould and Matthew Freud, the great grandson of Sigmund, a PR consultant. They were part of the efforts during the nineties to bring the Democrats in the US and New Labour in the United Kingdom back into power. Adam Curtis explores the psychological methods they now massively introduced into politics. He also argues that the eventual outcome strongly resembles Edward Bernays vision for the "Democracity" during the 1939 New York World's Fair.

To quote the BBC site:

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?


Watch them for Free by clicking the links below. Each segment is about an hour long. John Bangert

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:
Part Four:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The Veterans Day 18

Ann Smith, Arthur Brien, Bruce Macdonald,
Dick Smith, Doug Stuart, Henry Deeks, Joe Bangert, Kathleen Dailey, Ken Farr, Mark Alston-Follansbee, Mike Tork, Nate Goldshlag, Pat Scanlon,
Paul Brailsford, Sev Bruyn, Terrence Rothman,
Tony Flaherty, and CodePINK's Trish Gallagher

This letter from Nate Goldshlag!

Hi folks,

The Veterans Day 18 have been arraigned on charges in Boston of disturbing a public assembly, which we did not do. In the description of the charges it is alleged that we were "loudly chanting anti-war slogans" which is absurd since we had gags in our mouths.

I have gotten lots of emails asking how people can help us. At this time the best support you could give us is to write, call, fax, and email the Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino. Or do all four. The thing that is best is regular mail, then calls, then fax, then email. Let's inundate the Mayor's office with outrage at our arrests. Please do this in the next day or so, while the story is hot. And please forward this email to friends and political mailing lists, far and wide. If you live outside Massachusetts please write anyway. This story has gone out worldwide.

Mayor Menino's contact information is given below. And to make it really easy we are including a template of a letter you could write. Feel free to copy and paste it into a Word document and modify it as you see fit, or write your own.

Phone 617.635.4500 Fax 617.635.2851


Address given below in letter

Thanks for taking the time to do this. And apologies if you receive this email more than once.

Best Regards,
Nate Goldshlag
Co-Coordinator, Smedley D. Butler Brigade Chapter 9 Veterans For Peace

P.S. Here are some interesting links:

  1. Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC:
  2. VFP member's blog on Democratic Underground:
  3. Paul Rifkin: YouTube

Mayor Thomas Menino

Mayor’s Office

City Hall Plaza

Boston, MA 02201

Dear Mayor Menino,

I am writing to express my outrage at the arrest of 15 veterans and 3 supporters on Veterans Day for silently, peacefully protesting the exclusion of Veterans For Peace from speaking at the city-sponsored Veterans Day event on City Hall Plaza. The pictures of these gagged and silent men and women being carted off, which have gone out around the world, are an embarrassment to a city that calls itself the Cradle of Liberty, and to its Police Department.

What has happened to free speech in Boston? Why is Veterans For Peace being prevented from speaking at this event, which always features pro-war, pro-Bush administration messages? Why are these men and women being charged with “loudly chanting anti-war slogans” when it is obvious to the world that these gagged people did no such thing?

The only thing these real patriots are guilty of is their expression of free speech and dissent against this illegal and immoral war. You were in a position to prevent this travesty from occurring but did nothing. Your lack of intervention serves only the interests of those who would eliminate our constitutional rights - the American Legion and George Bush. Shame on you.