Saturday, February 28, 2009

Constitution Revolution Trailer - Calling All Remaining Patriots!

Something big is coming with this . . . get ready.

We are coming together to make it clear that as a movement, we are young, we are strong, we are calling for no less than a revolution, and we are not going anywhere until we get it. Consider this our muster. It is time to stand up and be counted.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama Pushes Back Iraq Timeline

Is anyone reading this surprised? I sure hope not, but I'll bet some of my liberal friends who endorse the concept of interventionism (and like good Democratic Party ditto-heads support a 17,000-troop surge in Afghanistan) are willing to forgive President Obama going back on his campaign promise. Even as aides say that he is trying to end the war by removing “all combat troops,” or at least reclassifying a remaining residual force of at least 30,000 troops as “non-combat,” Obama just announced that he is pushing back his promised timeline by three months.

I was in Iraq on a Civil Affairs Team. We were not “combat troops.” Too bad no one told the guys who were shooting at us. One of the most common causes of death suffered by American troops in Iraq is IEDs, which often take out the driver of a vehicle. You think it will be any comfort to the families of soldiers who die after Obama removes all the “combat troops” from Iraq (and replaces them at least in part with more mercenaries) that their perished loved ones were classified as “non-combat?”

The excuse offered is nothing new. After listening to “ground commanders,” (like Bush listened to Petraeus!) Obama has agreed to give them more time to cement security gains, strengthen political institutions, and make sure Iraq does not become more unstable again. Wasn't that what “THE SURGE” was for? Aren't we the cause of the instability? Raise your hand if you still think Obama is going to give us any kind of substantive, principled CHANGE in our foreign policy.

From the article in the New York Times, there is a direct anonymous quote that is very telling: “'The president has been struck by the fact that there has been a meeting of the minds in a lot of ways among his military advisers about what would be a safe and responsible way to redeploy our troops while protecting our interests in Iraq,' said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no decision had been announced.” This means that the Obama administration accepts the premise that it is appropriate to use force in Iraq to protect “our interests.” This is the fundamental immorality of our foreign policy.

All of this amidst a backdrop blowback denial. According to another recent New York Times article, after four years at Guantanamo, Abdallah Al-Ajmi was released into Kuwaiti custody, as there was no evidence to convict him on. The Kuwaitis tried him but also released him after a full acquittal. American officials were disappointed, but expected him to, “move on, to put his Guantanamo experience behind him, to get a job and settle down after his time in one of the toughest prisons on the planet.” Yeah, right. Last March he killed 13 Iraqi soldiers near Mosul with a suicide car-bomb.

I learned from my time in Iraq, that by the very nature of the occupation, we are making enemies faster than we can kill them. The dynamics in Afghanistan are the same. We must get over the idea that people in the middle east are going to be any more grateful for our government's intervention abroad than we are of it at home. Through both ground assaults and drone attacks, Obama has already killed dozens of Pakistanis. Do you think the brown people that we continue to dispose of so carelessly care about the skin color of our president? No. They were burning his effigy in protest next to Bush and the American flag before Obama even took office. Although I have no fear of a loving God, Jefferson's famous words are very appropriate. "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Photo from AP Photo by KM Chaudary: Pakistani protestors chant anti American slogans after setting on fire the effigies of U.S. President George W. Bush, center, Republican Tom Tancredo, left, and U.S. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, right, at a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday, August 5, 2007. Protesters criticized to Tancredo and Obama for allegedly making irresponsible statements on military strikes against Muslims and bombing on the Islamic holiest sites, Mecca and Medina.

Whatever It Takes

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hofstra Update - Police State Out of Control, Out of Touch With Reality, and Out of Excuses

Iraq Veterans Against the War and supporters have come to water the tree of liberty. Our work is far from done. While I still firmly believe that our most effective weapons for change are nonviolent, if you think this revolution will be a bloodless one, you have already been proven wrong.

Thomas Brinson, a good friend of mine, fellow Veterans For Peace member, and Long Island resident sent out the following letter after meeting with a representative of the Nassau County Police Department Internal Affairs Unit. Apparently, the mounted officer who trampled a group of people on the sidewalk, leading to Nick Morgan getting his face stepped on by the horse in question and Nadine Lubka getting her nose broken on the pavement, is claiming that he was going into the crowd to save one of his fellow foot-soldiers in riot gear. The idea that one of the riot cops from the line that was beating back protesters was trapped in a peaceful crowd is ludicrous. This phantom robocop, was of course not wearing a name-tape because it, "could be ripped off and used as a weapon." If this doesn't make your blood boil, I don't know what would.

Of course, we are still working on Nick and Nadine's civil suits and I will keep you posted here on any progress made.


I met yesterday with Sgt. Rich Harrison of the Nassau County Police Department Internal Affairs Unit concerning the statement I submitted following the fracas at the October 15th Presidential Debate at Hofstra. He is in charge of an ongoing NCPD investigation into what happened. I've attached my statement which is both an eyewitness account of what I saw as well as an analysis of why I believe the NCPD behaved as they did toward our peaceful, nonviolent protest.

Essentially, I reiterated and emphasized the following from my testimony:

* We were following police orders to back up across Hempstead Turnpike and up onto very limited sidewalk space at the southeast corner of California Street after the nonviolent civil disobedience action of IVAW that had previously been negotiated with NCPD.
* The BSO (Bureau of Special Operations in unidentifiable Robocop gear) initiated the violence by coming up on the sidewalk to forcibly arrest Geoff Millard who from what I could tell did nothing to merit arrest.
* In the scrum that followed Nick and others were injured by a mounted policeman who came up on the sidewalk densely crowded with peaceful, nonviolent IVAW members and their supporters.
* That it is my strong opinion that Geoff was targeted because of his high profile as a national leader and spokesperson for IVAW.

Sgt. Harrison revealed the following:

* that Bill Perry's You Tube videos were a prime source for his investigation, to include the extraction of numerous still photos from the videos in his file
* that the horses were spooked by the numbers of shouting people and the flashing lights from cameras; they were not and perhaps should have been outfitted with shields to partially blind them
* that a decision was made to keep Hempstead Turnpike open to traffic, which was the rationale to disburse the crowd that was much larger than had been anticipated
* that it was perhaps a tactical error to try to force the crowd up onto a restricted sidewalk area with little space for egress in that the corner of Hempstead and California is mostly blocked by walls and shrubs with only one three-foot sidewalk leading diagonally away from the corner
* that the mounted policeman whose horse injured Nick made an individual decision to go up on the sidewalk into the crowd because he thought he saw a BSO Robocop down on the ground in trouble — his motivation was to protect the cop and move the crowd away from him
* that in a democracy it is unfortunate and needs to be addressed the non-identification of the heavily armed BSO Robocops — that they don't use nametags for safety reasons (they could be ripped off and used as a weapon) and that the coveralls are not individually assigned to members of the BSO unit but are randomly worn by different members at different actions.
* that he is hopeful that his final report will result in better training of both mounted police and BSO units.
* that Nick's notice of claim in a civil suit against the NCPD is most reasonable and appropriate, compared to many artificially inflated claims made by many citizens injured by the police during arrest actions

When he asked me what I would recommend and like the report to address, I responded with the following:

* Re-examine the protocol to confront peaceful, non-violent protestors with a show of extraordinary force from the get go -- perhaps in a democracy it would be more prudent to hold the mounted police and BSO Robocops in reserve until the tactical situation dictated their deployment.
* Re-examine the decision to use force, ie the mounted police and BSO Robocops physically pushing into the crowd, with no prior warnings to clear Hempstead Turnpike
* By whom and what motivated the decision to initiate the forcible arrest of Geoff Millard, a prominent national spokesperson for IVAW, who with other IVAW members and supporters was peacefully following police orders

It is still my strong personal belief that just like the preventative detention arrests of activists, charging them with local anti-terrorist crimes, as well as the arrest of Amy Goodman and her associates at the RNC in Minneapolis, this action was strategically intended to send a strong message to veteran protestors — we the state and the forces of law and order have the power, and we will use it against you, so be good little, loyal citizens, and shut the F up!

Would appreciate it if you could pass on this information to Geoff and Nick — I don't have current emails for them.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas Brinson, Founding Facilitator
Long Island Veterans For Peace, Chapter 138
SPC Raheen Tyson Heighter Memorial Chapter
VFP National Board of Directors
VVAW Long Island Contact
II Corps Vietnam, 67-68
Peacekeeper, Nonviolent Peaceforce,
Mutur, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, 2003-2005

To All Members of the Military, Law Enforcement, & Intelligence Services from Gary Franchi

Gary Franchi is calling on you to honor your oath to the Constitution over your illegal orders, and when necessary to bring our government back within the bounds of the Constitution. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Resting Up For Two Months On The Road: My Eduvacation in Costa Rica

I just landed in San Jose yesterday and I already have a sunburn! This place it beautiful. If you're a fan of the TV show “Lost,” (or you've seen an episode even if you didn't like it) you've probably noticed a distinct vividness to the cinematography. A certain vibrancy in the visuals. Well, Costa Rica is like that in real life. The show is primarily shot in Hawaii, which I've visited, but it doesn't match the kind of color in the air vitality of Costa Rica.

It also happens to be one of the most libertarian countries in the world with arguably the most successful libertarian party in the world: Partido Movimiento Libertario de Costa Rica (Libertarian Movement Party of Costa Rica or PML, link to google translated page). Costa Rica is naturally fertile soil for the philosophy of freedom with a naturally libertarian culture and a constitution that eliminated the military in 1949. This global first was made possible by a revolt in response to a military coup, but also by the strength of provincial militias and the relatively high rate of gun ownership. Thanks to the proportional representation system, the PML already controls 6 of 57 seats in the National Assembly.

Don Rasmussen of r3VOLution Consultants (formerly with the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign and Campaign For Liberty) invited me down here to learn about the PML and get some R&R before my next long stint on the road. Last night we hung out with his “Tico family” that hosted him years ago when he was here as an exchange student. I got to meet and converse extensively with Carlos Aguilar Leon, a young up-and-coming libertarian activist. His mother, Ricios Leon Dobles, who I also met, is a former vice-mayor of Heredia. With the exception of their current beach-head in the national legislature and lack of an oppressive two-party system, their movement is very similar to ours, with the same social hurdles, ideological obstacles, resistance from the benefactors of big government, and the same unwavering commitment among those at its core to the values of liberty.

The PML was founded in 1994 by Otto Guevara. In their 2006 election, he received 8.4% of the popular vote in his bid for the presidency against the popular former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias. That's a tough race for a libertarian, but 8.4% is far better than any of Bob Barr's most deluded supporters could have hoped for, and well above the 0.4% that Barr actually took. Guevara is a Harvard graduate, and has previously served in the Costa Rican National Assembly. Don and I are very excited to be meeting with him tomorrow as ambassadors of the American freedom movement. Read Don's article about Costa Rica and the PML at The Freedom Revolution.

Meanwhile, back in the homeland, there is a serious effort underway to get Peter Schiff to run against Chris Dodd for his US Senate seat. It looks like it would be tough race, but the line up of Schiff's puritan philosophy of a true free market against Dodd's corrupt version of corporatism would be juicy enough to make it a race worth supporting for our movement. For those of you wondering about his positions outside of the economy, take heart in this quote from the man himself: “I have no faith in government. There is no evidence that they're going to do the right thing.” I guess that makes him one of us! If you haven't yet, please pledge to contribute to the Schiff money-bomb scheduled for February 21st. You can use the widget at the top-right of this page or click here to go straight to their site.

We do plan to get a couple days of surfing in (embarrassing photos to come) before I fly back home, but then it's back to business. I'll be in California for a week, San Diego, LA, and San Francisco before visiting my Mom for her birthday on Valentine's Day in Pebble Beach. Then on to Colorado for a week. Ok, yes, I will take a day or two for Ron-ski and get some snowboarding in. Then Texas for the Freedom and Liberty Movement State convention. I went to their regional convention in Houston a couple weeks ago, and the way they are organizing there from the bottom up before there is even a name for the new organization let alone a structure is truly amazing. I will also be helping out with Winter Soldier Austin on February 28th. Then it's on to DC for a few days for a workshop, then up to Nashua for the New Hampshire Liberty Forum and on to an event at Kent State. Then I'll be in St. Louis supporting Matthis Chiroux resisting deployment at his US Army separation hearing. Then of course, back to DC to mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq, and finally, back to Santa Fe. Did I mention that I will be driving the whole way?