Captain Brittany Ramos-DeBarros: “They Want Us To Believe The Lie…”

by Jerry Alatalo

nited States Army Reserve Captain Brittany Ramos-DeBarros, veteran of the war in Afghanistan, faces retribution from her military superiors. She speaks out about her experience in Afghanistan and what she has learned with respect to the truth of why America initiates wars, which, from the military’s harsh reactions, suggests a continuing emphasis on secrecy, silence or non-transparency fueling the U.S. soldier/war organizational culture.

During a public event speech which put her in legal jeopardy, Captain DeBarros told the crowd gathered:

“They want us to believe the lies that the precious lives of our soldiers are being spent for the protection of our freedoms. But I spent a year witnessing the bravery and beauty of the Afghan people – men and women, fathers and mothers, risking their lives and their families to overcome oppressive organizations that we funded and enabled.”

While appearing for a new documentary promoted by Veterans for Peace, Brittany DeBarros describes the essential experience of contrariness as someone both in the U.S. military and speaking out against American involvement in war:

“It feels like a moment where your life feels like … the sum of your life means, could be made explicit in that moment. And you have to make a decision about what matters enough to you to put yourself at risk, and what risk you’re willing to take in order to defend that.”

Her and a growing number of American veterans of war are frustrated in the near absence of awareness in the people of the United States with regard to current levels of military engagement now occurring by their armed forces:

“People don’t realize that we’re at … almost at the height of what our bombing campaigns have been, – that we’re dropping a bomb every 12 minutes when you average out the numbers.”

“What is driving a lot of our actions is very likely not what we think, which is freedom and, you know, protecting our country and bringing democracy to the world, and liberating oppressed peoples, as it’s been sold to the American people.”

Captain Brittany DeBarros and her fellow veterans opposed to war feel,  – after learning about the lies they and their fellow Americans have been told regarding military operations in Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere around the Earth – that their voices are just as important to become heard as the generals, admirals, Secretaries of Defense, Presidents … and so on.

“I believe what I heard someone else say, which was: ‘If someone can stand in uniform as an officer and as a leader, and speak about why we should be in war, – why shouldn’t I as a leader be able to stand in my uniform and say that we shouldn’t be at war?'”

She also expresses her shocked amazement and frustration in knowing that, not taking into account the nation’s civilian population of 330 million-plus being unaware, even her own fellow soldiers are often-times “out of the loop” on the true levels or magnitude of military operations being carried out by United States armed forces around the world.

“When there’s that little awareness … awareness-raising is ground zero.”

***

For more information, please visit AboutFaceVeterans.org 

(Thank you to The Peace Report at YouTube)

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Round the Hometurn Towards Adoption of a Strong Ban Treaty on 7 July

“A treaty to comprehensively and categorically ban nuclear weapons is within our grasp, and should be in our hands in less than a week.” … Writes co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Tilman Ruff.

IPPNW peace and health blog

by Tilman Ruff

On Wednesday 26 June, the UN conference to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons undertook the first read-through of a revised draft treaty text prepared by the conference president, Costa Rican ambassador Elayne Whyte. Now two weeks into this final round, many in the room expressed some frustration at this further exchange of positions and views. With the clock ticking towards the conference end and target date for adoption of an agreed treaty text on 7 July, many delegates expressed their desire to get stuck into negotiating treaty text, paragraph by paragraph, line by line.

Between Wednesday 28 and Friday 30 June, the negotiating work of the conference proceeded in earnest, with 3 and occasionally 4 separate working groups considering different treaty elements. Though these sessions were closed to civil society, the sense of urgency and commitment was palpable, with delegates meeting late into the night.

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Standing Rock Smoke Signals.

By Jerry Alatalo

Header8Alphabet Veterans for Peace has sent out the call to its membership across the United States to support the water protection efforts at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Thousands of men and women veterans from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy have already arrived or are on their way to the camp, where some 11-12,000 people of all races have gathered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Arrival of the veterans has created in the minds of many images recalling the atrocities of Wounded Knee where hundreds of innocent Native Americans became victims of mass murder by U.S. government/military forces – leading to calls for restraint and caution to avoid any repeat of that or other historic tragedies. The most remarkable and disturbing aspect of the months-long events in Standing Rock has been the excessive use of violence against those opposing the pipeline’s construction, with opposition efforts carried out using Gandhian-style peaceful protest – prayers, unified purpose, wisdom, and non-violent civil disobedience.

The land on which the thousands protesting the pipeline have gathered was promised by treaties made with the U.S. government in the 1800’s to the Lakota Sioux/Standing Rock tribe. The specific language in those treaties said, “for as long as the sun shines…”. The U.S. Congress in 1954, depending on one’s interpretation, either took possession of the land beneath the camp by “eminent domain” or stole it, with the intended purpose of flooding it as part of a hydroelectric dam project. The dam project never materialized.

The standoff will have to become resolved in the courts, and the water protectors are working to avoid unnecessary violence if law enforcement personnel receive the orders on December 6 to clear the camp and its thousands of residents – now, including a large contingent of U.S. military veterans standing in solidarity for support of the environment, morality and legal justice.

While those who call for the pipeline’s construction have told the American people the project will benefit “all” as part of the nation’s drive toward “energy independence”, apparently the project, if completed, would result in 100% of the fossil fuels transported through those pipes being exported to foreign countries for profit. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent with law enforcement operations to clear the way for private investors to profit, jeopardizing the environment in the process – in particular the drinking water for millions of citizens whose sole source is the Missouri River and/or massive Oglala Aquifer.

U.S. Marine Corps-Korean War veteran and member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, 80-year old Buzz Nelson, has been closely associated with events at Standing Rock; his grandson is the chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, David Archambault. He recently sat down for an interview with fellow Marine Dan Shea, veteran of the Vietnam War, to share thoughts, concerns, and reasons for optimism surrounding the historic events in North Dakota.

For more thorough, in-depth information on the legal situation in North Dakota and effective ways to support the men and women of Standing Rock, please visit: www.LakotaLaw.org

(Thank you to Jim Lockhart at YouTube)

“Warriors For Peace”: S. Brian Wilson With Regis Tremblay.

By Jerry Alatalo

Veterans For PeaceAlphabet We feel very fortunate to have a number of months ago come across the film productions of Mr. Regis Tremblay while visiting the YouTube channel of Veterans For Peace. Just recently, Mr. Tremblay finished the first in his new series of films titled “Warriors For Peace: Veterans Speak”. We are honored, humbled and pleased to share his first work in the series to a wider audience – an extraordinary biographical film documenting the remarkable life of Vietnam veteran, author and renowned peace activist S. Brian Wilson.

After Mr. Tremblay posted the completed film on his YouTube channel on September 27, 2016, as of today it has received over 400 views. Perhaps those who view the film will share the opinion such an artistic work of excellence, rare in its level of raw power as a personal and historical documentary, deserves an audience of millions.

Whether young, middle-aged or older, beginners and accomplished video/film creators who view “Warriors For Peace” will likely gain a sense of encouragement and enthusiasm after experiencing Mr. Tremblay’s work, while persons who consider themselves peace activists will become deeply moved by the life of S. Brian Wilson.

Some viewers may find clear, direct parallels between Nicaragua and the mercenary forces called the contras of the 1980’s with Syria and mercenary forces ISIS, Al Nusrah and others here in late 2016.

Mr. Wilson’s life story is one that truly resonates with the world today, will certainly motivate a new generation of men and women with serious concerns about the negative consequences of military violence, and serve as profound model and inspiration to those intent upon ending war on Earth.

“Warriors For Peace”, the first in a new series by Regis Tremblay on the life of S. Brian Wilson is a true artistic achievement, and meets or surpasses all measures of what makes for a great documentary film. Any and all accolades, honors or awards the film receives in the future are justly deserved.

Thank you to S. Brian Wilson and Regis Tremblay for their deeply moving, spiritually transforming and collaborative effort for peace.

(Thank you to Regis Tremblay at YouTube)