Sunday, March 16, 2008

Winter Soldier 2008

Some things you will not see on corporate news; soldiers' flag covered coffins, reporters embedded with Iraqis and Winter Soldier. There is terrific coverage from independent media like Free Speech TV, though. I spoke briefly with Asheville's IVAW chapter president, Jason Hurd, Friday night. He could not speak long, they were about to have a debriefing about the days events. We will air some of the testimony on WPVM's Veterans' Voices in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are a few of the independent media's coverage of Winter Soldier in no particular order:

Veterans groups offer different views of conflict
Winter Soldier: Military Command Failures at War, Deserting Vets at Home
Winter Soldier: Bitter truths from those who know

Excellent blogger coverage at Third Estate Sunday Review

Winter Soldier Testimonials

Winter Soldier Testimonial from

A CNN search does not find one thing about Winter Soldier. There was more important news, I guess. After all, there was a crane collapse in NY, they are attacking Obama's church, tornado in Atlanta, abandoned puppies found a home and Paris Hilton is looking for a new BFF.
How can we get these people out of their comas?

The BBC is actually reporting about the Bleak picture of Iraq conditions.

Philly IVAW march to Valley Forge before Winter Soldier

Is this the beginning of something bigger? Some greater movement towards national consensus? Will it get uglier before we see the olive branch of peace extended? There are simply too many questions in this world gone mad.

The chickenhawks certainly have their feather's ruffled about this:

Michelle Malkin just squawkin'
This ain't hell make snide remarks

Highlights of Testimony

For the best, honest coverage, visit

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Governor Spitzer's Terrorist Attack

Across the country, the story about Governor Spitzer is front page news. He slept with a high-priced prostitute. So what? Prostitution is the oldest profession and legal in Nevada. So once again, I say, so what? I do call your attention to a few coincidences. The story yesterday on Democracy Now! was about abortion and the bill, the same Governor Spitzer was proposing to keep abortion safe and legal in New York no matter what the supreme court may do down the road. We know these anti-choice people play very dirty. How many abortion doctors are killed and clinics bombed before they are deemed a terrorist organization? They spew Bible verses as they gun down doctors. Please tell me, in what way this is different from the "terrorists" 'ol W is out to get?

Another coincidence, Democracy Now! could not be aired this morning on WPVM. They were having "technical difficulties". I checked Democracy Now!'s website and I could not stream it either. Is AT&T blocking the stream? Is the satellite provider at the station blocking the stream?
Too many coincidences for me. I wonder who is responsible for the story that broke about Governor Spitzer? I think it's the terrorists.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Do you promise to tell the truth?

Lawyers lined the side of the prosecution in the court room yesterday. Besides the DA, they had the city attorney, the state DA and a handful of others. The DA, being whispered advice from the city attorney, started with Officer Crisp, who was not so truthful. He stated that Jonas "darted across three lanes of traffic". Well this one wasn't a lie but an exaggeration. He did cross the street, but that section of the road has a light on each side of the bridge and, before 8am on the Haywood Road bridge is not exactly what you would consider heavy traffic. The "three lanes of traffic" apparently included the turning lane. He also did not indicate any specific car or pedestrian hampered by "the protester". When asked by our attorney, Bill Auman, if he questioned Jonas if he was a part of the Climate Convergence group that had protested the Bank of America just two days prior or if he was a member of Veterans for Peace or any other local activist group. Crisp stated that he did not ask him any questions. Which was a flat out lie.
When Sergeant Riddle took the stand, being a seasoned man on the force for over thirty years, he told his untruths using the "I don't recall" response. Auman asked Riddle if he said "I'm sick of this crap" and "You're gonna' get your fifteen minutes of fame, buddy". "I don't recall sayin' that". In my opinion, Riddle has been on the force too long and is overdue for retirement. A friend of ours was pulled over by Riddle one evening. Our friend had a doll holding a sign that said "Impeach Bush and Cheney" propped up to show out the back of his hatchback. He told our friend, "I like your doll" in a sarcastic tone. When asked why he was being pulled over, Riddle barked at him about having a reason and told him that his head light was out. He says that Riddle appeared agitated, as he did when he was arresting Jonas.
The circus went on, with WLOS filming everything. (How can I get a copy of that?) The Asheville Citizen-Times was there along with reporters from the Asheville City Paper and the Mountain Express. Additionally a handful of bloggers took notes and absorbed the spectacle. Our attorney had about five arguments, all technicalities, why the case should be dismissed. One by one the judge overruled our lawyer. The prosecution centered it's case on highway blogging being a dangerous distraction to motorists. But, Jonas wasn't arrested for endangering motorists, which they did not prove anyway, he was arrested for blocking the sidewalk. A fact they also did not prove.
In the end, the judge sided with justice and found that they did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jonas broke the ordinance. He was found not guilty. When Jonas was questioned by WLOS whether he would resume highway blogging he stated he would and he would bring a buddy. "Blog with a buddy". Good advise for any protester.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

And now for the verdict.........

Today was a beautiful day. For some. For a couple of homeless men, not so beautiful. As we awaited Jonas' case to be called this afternoon, we listened as one man was convicted of trespass and sentenced 10 days in jail along with another man found guilty of "soliciting alms". As I listened I forgot about my husband's minor city code violation charge. Yet these charges never make the papers, never are discussed during political debates and these men are never on Oprah.
But truth and justice prevailed on our side today. Today, it was a beautiful day for us. Jonas was found "not guilty" today of the charges! Our lawyer, Bill Auman, could not have done a better job.
There are already articles about it:

Asheville Citizen-Times
Mountain Express
Asheville On The Ground

I will write more later. I need time for this to sink in.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Local IVAW President Arrested in Alabama

Local IVAW president, Jason Hurd, was arrested during a Mock Raid at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa last week. Jason said that they were detained and questioned by campus police for over five hours followed by an evening in the county jail. They were eventually released on a $2500 bond. The ACLU, the NAACP and the National Lawyers Guild are all interested in this free speech case. Jason and hundreds of thousands of IVAW members and supporters will descend on DC next week for Winter Soldier, where many men and women will testify about their experiences during their tour(s) in Iraq.

IVAW Winter Soldier PSA

Students, Iraq Vet Arrested During Mock Raid
By Chapin Gray
Tuscaloosa, AL - Four protesters from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) were arrested here, Feb. 29, at the University of Alabama for performing a mock raid meant to demonstrate the effects of the U.S. occupation on Iraqi civilians.
No one was harmed during the protest that lasted only a couple minutes, and employees were notified of the performance 30 minutes beforehand. After protesters dressed as Iraqi civilians were 'arrested' by protesters in military costume and hauled away, Jason Hurd, president of the Asheville, North Carolina chapter of IVAW - who was invited by the Tuscaloosa SDS chapter to speak on his experiences in Iraq, gave an impromptu speech, explaining that the purpose of the action was to demonstrate what life in Iraq is like under the occupation. Hurd also invited stunned and curious onlookers to his talk scheduled for that evening.

However, the talk had to be cancelled, because as four of the protesters - Hurd, Alyse Deller and Christine Jackson from Tuscaloosa SDS, and Jeremy Miller of UNC-Asheville SDS - were approached by campus police, then taken into a building on campus, where they were detained for over four hours before finally being charged with disorderly conduct. The were then hauled away in handcuffs to the Tuscaloosa City Jail. Bail was set for a total of $2,500. Hurd and Miller were also charged with trespassing and banned from campus property.
During the four-hour interrogation, police insinuated that the protesters were terrorists, and threatened to hand over their case to the F.B.I. The University had said that it plans to investigate SDS-Tuscaloosa, which was hosting the Iraq Veteran. The Dean of Students sent out a campus-wide e-mail statement following the incident, saying the University "cannot condone and will not tolerate behavior that mimics a true emergency on our campus."

The incident has sparked intense debate at the University of Alabama and in the Tuscaloosa community. Local activists from the Tuscaloosa Peace Project were outraged upon hearing of the arrests and immediately lent their support by offering bail money and facilitating contact with the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is interested in the case and showing support for the protesters. The organization also criticized the university's actions as not only unwarranted, but also as repressive and in violation of students' rights. In addition, IVAW is considering publicly condemning the university's actions.

"The circumstances surrounding the protest made it evident that this was street theater, but with our society having been carefully crafted into a people on edge, individuals have become rife with hair trigger fear of 'the other,' especially upon seeing actors in Islamic-style clothing," said Diane MacAteer of the Tuscaloosa Islamic Society. "We believe that more than anything else, this was an ill-intentioned use of the recent campus violence in other states as an excuse to quash anti-war protests, especially those that depict the victimization of Muslim families in war zones and allow students to identify with the Iraqi people and reduce support for the war."

While many have criticized the protest, claiming it was 'too alarming,' others are appalled that students can be arrested for expressing their opposition to an unjust and illegal war, and feel as though the students' rights have been violated.

"If you are one of those people who was frightened, you had a glimpse of what it feels like to be an Iraqi man, woman or child who experience things like this and worse everyday," said J VanBolt, a University of Alabama student who witnessed the mock raid. "I think the one thing everyone - whether you agree with what SDS did or not - can take from this is that people don't like to be scared and have their lives interrupted! Try and imagine what it would be like if things like this happened to you everyday, and instead of just watching you were actually involved. That is life for people in Iraq."

To show support with the SDS-Tuscaloosa and the four arrested, you can call the University President, Dr. Robert Witt, at (205) 348-5320 and ask that all charges be dropped. You can also contact Tim Hebson, Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs or Todd Borst, Assistant Director of Judicial Affairs

"The outpouring of support that we have received has been so amazing and empowering," said Jenae Stainer, a member of SDS-Tuscaloosa. "We appreciate it all, and hope that people will continue to stand with us as we fight to protect our freedom of speech."