Mohammad Ali

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Ramstein

Located in southwestern Germany, the U.S. government’s Ramstein Air Base is serving key functions for nonstop war that has been hugely destructive in many countries. The Ramstein base is essential to drone warfare and many other forms of military intervention, from Pakistan and Afghanistan to the Middle East and Africa.

Please become a signer of the petition at this link and share it with your friends. This is a global campaign to close the Ramstein Air Base and challenge agendas for perpetual war.

The petition is scheduled to be delivered to the German government in Berlin by U.S. drone whistleblowers in a presentation sponsored by RootsAction.org, in coordination with a conference organized by World Beyond War. The petition will also be delivered to the U.S. government in Washington.

Sign the Declaration of Peace.

Find events all over the world that you can take part in.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Support World Beyond War’s work by clicking here.

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The Golden Rule

 

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

The historic peace boat, Golden Rule, has been restored by Veterans For Peace and is sailing again for a sustainable, nuclear-free world.  She will be sailing through the waterways of the Pacific Northwest this summer, making multiple stops in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, from June through October.  The Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project invites you to join us in making this voyage a profound success.  We want to amplify the voices of those who are struggling for peace and against nuclear weapons, nuclear power and dangerous unsustainable carbon-based fuels.

The VFP Golden Rule Project is partnering with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), KBOO Radio in Portland, Living Islands, Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jane Addams Peace Association, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, VFP Chapters and many other organizations to sail the original Peace Boat on it’s educational mission in the Pacific Northwest this year.

If you can help with outreach, media, or planning for an event, please let us know!  Many communities are really excited that the Golden Rule is coming to town!  Please come to an event, take a tour of the boat, or go sailing with us – it’s a lot of fun!

The story of The Voyage of the Golden Rule 2015 is captured with many great photos in our Golden Rule Newsletter.

You can support the 2016 Northwest voyage and the mission of the Golden Rule by donating through the website or by sending a check to VFP Golden Rule Project, P. O. Box 87, Samoa, CA 95564.

We will post updated schedules and news on the website, http://www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org/ and the  Facebook page

Sailing for a Nuclear-Free World and a Peaceful, Sustainable Future!

Helen Jaccard
Project Manager
VFP Golden Rule Project

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Our Goals

Welcome to Veterans For Peace

Veterans For Peace is an international organization made up of military veterans, military family members, and allies. We accept veteran members from all branches of service. We are dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war. Our networks are made up of over 120 chapters across the United States and abroad.

Statement of Purpose

We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others
  • To increase public awareness of the costs of war
  • To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
  • To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
  • To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
  • To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.
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Notes From Mike Hastie

This is a picture of a little girl that I took at a orphanage just
outside of Hanoi. She caught my eye, because she had a face and a soul
that seemed to have wisdom. She would look into my eyes, and my camera
lens as if to say, I have a story that needs to be told. When I was at
the orphanage, I was at times overwhelmed at the health problems so many
children had. I saw great suffering among so may children just starting
out in life. As I have done so many times before, you realize the
urgency of documenting what you see. It becomes a mission to bear
witness, and that focus became the focus of my camera. Sometimes you
have to block out the intensity, only to feel the pain later. This
little girl was probably a victim of generational Agent Orange exposure.
Her body was covered with rashes, and scabs, especially on both legs,
that were wrapped with cling bandages. I could see the blood that had
seeped through both dressings. No doubt, this child has had to overcome
a lot of pain, and no doubt there is still much pain and suffering ahead
in her young life. She will constantly have to deal with the potential
of infection. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for her to sleep. So,
with all of this said, this is the legacy of Agent Orange, and a world
class war crime that keeps on giving unfathomable pain and suffering. A
big part of me just wants to keep hating my government, and we all know
the avalanche that leads to. You hate and you hate and you hate. I live
in a country that doesn’t care about this child. But, at the same time,
I know if some Americans knew the truth, they would do something. I
think that is what I hang on to. I have sent out many pictures in the
past 24 hours. I took them, but they do not belong to me, they belong to
everyone who has looked at them. I like to think the pictures belong to
this child, one amongst millions of other Vietnamese who have the same
story. So, with that said, feel free to use these images as you see fit.
It is community property now, and that was the way I felt when I was
activating the shutter button on my camera. War is a disease, and war
crimes are brought to life when they are seen through the lens of a
camera. You tell the truth, because you can’t live with yourself if you
don’t. That is called a moral conscience, and why so many people don’t
see this, is the most complex question in our lives.
Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
May 13, 2016DSC_1223

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My Lai

My Gift at My Lai

On the morning of March 16, 1968,
U.S. military soldiers entered a quiet
hamlet at My Lai, near Quang Ngai,
and systematically murdered 504
innocent Vietnamese citizens,
of which the vast majority were
women and children.
The barbarity of the killing was
a relentless frenzy, as everything
in sight was destroyed.

The U.S. Government made every
attempt to lie about the My Lai
Massacre, and for the most part
succeeded, because only one U.S.
soldier was held responsible, and
his name was Lt. William Calley.
The rest of the U.S. Military High
Command who were mainly responsible,
were silently escorted away from
prosecution.
Like the rest of the Vietnam War,
there has never been any account-
ability by the U.S. Government for
the unfathomable number of war crimes
that were committed on a daily basis
throughout the war in Indochina.
Today is March 16, 2016.
Today is the 48th anniversary of
The My Lai Massacre.

In late March 1994, I arrived at the My Lai
site with three other Vietnam veterans.
We were there for about four hours,
which was about how long it took
U.S. soldiers to murder 504 civilians
in 1968.
The four of us traveled by vehicle from
Quang Ngai to the massacre site, which
took less than thirty minutes. None of
us said a word during the entire drive.
The most powerful emotion I was feeling
was shame.
Being at My Lai was one of the most
difficult experiences of my life.
The blatant lie of my core belief system was
fully exposed.
Going through the war crimes museum,
and touching the engraved names of the
504 victims, left an indelible shocking memory.

Shortly after leaving the museum a Vietnamese man,
who was of age to have fought in the ” National
Liberation Front ” against the United States military,
unexpectedly came up to me and shook my
hand, and said something in Vietnamese
that I did not understand, but more important,
he had a forgiving kind look on his face.
His compassion was an intimate gift I never could
have imagined.
His presence was unmistakable, and profoundly
healing over time.
It was in that moment, that I later realized,
I was born in America, but my heart is
Vietnamese.

In ten days, on March 26th, I will be traveling
back to Vietnam with three other close friends,
to once again make that drive into My Lai.
It has been twenty-two years since I was there.
I am now a member of Veterans For Peace,
a national organization committed to peace and justice.
We are currently involved in bringing ” Full Disclosure ”
to the American people about the truth of the Vietnam War.
Without our efforts, and the efforts of so many other people,
the truth of the Vietnam War will be buried, enabling future
U.S. generations to repeat that history.
As George Santayana once wrote:
” Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”

In loving memory to those who perished
at My Lai–the truth will never be forgotten.

Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
VFP Full Disclosure
March 16, 2016

Photograph by Mike Hastie
The infamous ditch at My Lai,
where nearly 100 Vietnamese
were murdered at point-blank
range with automatic weapons.
Automatically…

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Donate while you shop

Spokane Veterans for Peace

We are now part of the Amazon Smile program, where if you shop at Amazon, and can donate to us at the same time. This doesn’t cost you anything! So check it out here andspread the word!

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Vietnam War: Full Disclosure

Brothers and Sisters,

We have been working on an exclusive edition of Full Disclosure – Truth About America’s War in Viet Nam, specifically designed to counter the Pentagon’s Vietnam War Commemoration revisionist campaign to mythologize that war. The 24-page paper is loaded with the unadorned truth about the American war in Vietnam from those who fought in it and from those who fought against it. We are especially proud to be featuring two perspectives the Pentagon refuses to seriously acknowledge — the Vietnamese people and the G.I. Resistance movement. We are confident that this one-time publication will become a valued resource as well as a collector’s item. The paper will go to print the week of March 21st. Don’t miss out.

In Solidarity,

Becky Luening, Doug Rawlings, Ellen Davidson, Ken Mayers, Mike Ferner and Tarak Kauff

You can order an individual issue, 5 issues or a bundle of 80 here. 

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From Our Friends Across the Pond

Veterans For Peace UK Recruitment Video

Veterans For Peace UK has produced an amazing recruitment video. You can watch the video below or on their website at http://www.veteransforpeace.org.uk.
sdvfp_fb_og_img

Veterans Day Again

The one thing I never want to see again
is a military parade.
— Ulysses S. Grant
We’ve seen far too many military parades
with their missiles, marching bands
and mechanized young men.
We’ve witnessed enough high-stepping
soldiers in their polished black boots
marching to the sounds of brass.
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From Dana Visalli

The Greatest Danger in the World By Dana Visalli (here is the pdf:Story2)

I am on a journey through Vietnam with a group of American Vietnam War veterans who now live in Vietnam and work to address some of the profound human problems still caused by a war that ended 50 years ago. Known as

VFP Hoa Binh Chapter 160, these men work to help people still being maimed by the estimated one and a half bil- lion pounds of bombs (“ordnance”) dropped by the United States on Vietnam during the war that did not explode at the time they were released (7 million tons, or 14 billion pounds of bombs were dropped on Vietnam and an estimat- ed 10% of them failed to detonate). In addition these American veterans work to help some of the approximately 1 million people (a Red Cross of Vietnam estimate) people born with genetic defects or otherwise disabled or in poor health due to exposure to the 20 million gallons of toxic herbicides sprayed on South Vietnam’s tropical rainforests food and crops. The primary herbicide used was Agent Orange, which contains the known carcinogen dioxin.

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denies that dioxin is a mutagen (causing mutant genes), the rate of birth defects in Vietnam as quadrupled since the war.

We visited a number of the victims of unexploded ordnance and toxic herbicides, which brings home the human dimensions of suffering, misery and death that are the inevitable legacy of war. The primary causes of exploding war-era ordnance today are farmers work- ing in their fields and scrap metal collectors. Scrap metal can earn a villager as much as $75 a year–a meaningful sum of money to the impoverished and one of the only sources of income available to them. Nguyen Xuan Thiet in Quang Tri Province made part of his annual income to support his family by collecting and selling scrap metal. In 2005 he found a mortar, and while moving it it exploded, blowing off both of his legs and one of his hands. For two years after coming home from the hospital he was completely incapac- itated. The VFP-sponsored Project RENEW has now supplied him with prosthesis that allow him to walk. His family is so poor that they continue to collect scrap metal for in- come in spite of the tragedy that befell the father.

Friendship Village just outside of Hanoi is a facility for victims of Agent Orange that was initiated by an American Vietnam War veteran, George Mizo, who later died his own ex- posure to Agent Orange. The village currently cares for 150 people, many of them chil- dren severely disabled with genetic birth defects assumed to be from Agent Orange. Education begins at the most basic level, teaching the physically and/or mentally impaired children how to use the toilet and otherwise keep themselves clean. More advanced stu- dents might learn to cook and how to engage in a trade that will offer them some income.

There are currently about 125,000 children in Vietnam with birth defects thought to be related to Agent Orange, so the work of Friendship Village barely scratches the surface of the depths of need. This is the third generation of such children; the dioxin–induced defor- mities are expected to last for several more generations before the chemical breaks down adequately to no longer be a threat to human well-being.

We also visited the Tran Van Tram family of seven . The first son born to the parents of this family, now 30 years old, was a healthy child. The other four children born have se- vere mental and physical birth defects. They can neither stand nor walk, so they crawl about the house with rigid legs. Because their brains never fully developed

nothing they cannot engage with the world around them. They can neither take care of themselves, interact with others nor do work of any kind. These chil- dren are between the ages of 18 and 28, so the parents have had to care for their totally incapacitated offspring for all of those long years, mostly with no help whatsoever. Vietnamese peasants are often poorly educated and live with many superstitions, so it is common for them to feel their disabled children are a pun- ishment for some misdeed in life.

There is an intense rainy season in this part of Vietnam, and therefore for these children to use the nearby outhouse they had to crawl through a trail of mud to get there; impoverished peasants cannot afford home improvements. Project

Nguyen Xuan Thiet lost both legs and a hand while working with scrap ordnance.

A young woman with bulging eyes

and other genetic issues has learned how to construct paper flowers to sell.

The Tran Van Tram family; the two parents and three of the children

RENEW discovered the travail of this family had and has worked to ease their burden, including building a covered cement path to the toilet facilities for the children. The father spoke to express his profound appreciation for this small gift from the American Vietnam veterans. When the mother joined the family for a group picture, she cried inconsolably. The father said she was crying tears of joy, but it is more likely she was overwhelmed from her years of toil to care for her four incapacitated children, and moved by the presence of the only concerned foreigners she had ever encountered.

RENEW has enabled this mother of a child disabled By Agent Orange to acquire a means of income- a cow and shed where it can stay out of the rain.

A young couple in Aloui had a daughter with severe birth defects 17 years ago; then four years ago the father died of a blood disease. Because her daughter cannot control here bodily functions, nor can she stand nor walk, she is spending her life on a wooden pallet in the family’s kitchen/barn building (the fami- ly pigs are close by). RENEW discovered this family and devised a plan to allow the mother to gain access to an income and meaningful work. They supplied the family a pregnant beef cow, and instructed them on how to care for the animal. The original cow was val- ued at $800, and the calf can be sold after one year

for $700–a princely sum in rural Vietnam. They are also instructing the family in how to raise productive forage for the animals, and built a roofed loafing pen where the cattle can stay under cover in the rainy season. In this way a family that had been
devastated by the after effects of the war was given renewed hope for a de-

cent life.

Beyond the inestimable amount suffering and death inflicted on the Vietnam- ese people by the war and its after effects, the destruction wrought to the land, the air and the water of Vietnam by the United States was extreme. ‘Not since the Romans salted the land after destroying Carthage has a nation taken such pains to visit the war on future generations’, wrote Ngo Van Long of the US war against Vietnam. The damage was not the accidental by-product of war, but part of the attrition strategy which deliberately aimed to drive the peasants into the cities in order to deprive the National Liberation Front of a population and food base and safe jungle havens. ‘Tell the Vietnamese,’ said General Curtis LeMay, ‘that we are going to bomb them back to stone age.’

Much of Vietnam was turned into “free fire zones”, into which hurtled immense tonnages of explosives and herbicides. The intention was to crush a peasant army by the profligate use of technologically advanced weapons and techniques. This involved truly massive rural area bombing, chemical and mechanical forest destruction, large-scale crop destruction, destruction of food stores, the destruction of hospitals, and large-scale population displacements; in short, the massive, intentional disruption of both the natural and human ecologies of the region. 5 million hectares, over 40% of the area of South Vietnam, were obliterated or badly damaged.

Machinery known as Rome plows was popular with the American troops. These were large bulldozers equipped with sharpened ten-foot wide blades. Several of them would smash through the forests, linked together with huge chains, uprooting everything in their paths. The Rome plows completely

removed the trees and significantly disturbed the topsoil of 325,000 hectares, or 3% of southern Vietnam’s forests.

The flora and fauna of Vietnam have suffered profound losses due first to the destruction of the country’s forests during the war, followed by the needs of a growing population of impoverished and traumatized people afterwards. Here

17 year old daughter in Her life-long living quarters

A typical view of Vietnam’s hill country, with the Mid-slopes in scrub from American herbicide spraying and the lower slopes cleared for crops.

Gray-shanked Douc, 600 left in In the world.

Golden-headed Langur, about 60 extant

is a sampling of the current condition of some of the large mammals in Vietnam: 1) The Lesser Short-horned Rhi- noceros- extinct in Vietnam as of 2011. 2) The Indochinese Tiger- an estimated 10-20 left in Vietnam as of 2010. 3)

The Kouprey- a very large ungulate weighing up to 2000 pounds, it was first discovered by the scientific community in 1937, and is now extinct in Vietnam. 4) The Saola- A forest-dwelling bovine found only in Laos and

Vietnam, it was discovered by science in 1992. Only one has been seen in Vietnam in the interim, and it died in captivity. 5) The Asian Elephant- Formerly abundant in Vietnam, there are an estimated 75 wild elephants in the country and they are expected to be extinct there within 10 years. 6) Primates- Five of Vietnam’s 19 primate species are on the list of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates, including the Golden-headed Langur (about 60 left in the world), Delacour’s Langur (about 200 left), the Gray-shanked Douc (600), the Tonkin Snub- nosed Monkey (250), and the Eastern Black-crested Gibbon (110).

If one absorbs the fact that we committed genocide against the 3.5 million of the Vietnamese people that we slaughtered in the American War (this number being one of the most recent estimates), and ecocide upon the natural environment of Vietnam, and takes into account that there was no reason whatsover for the war, one comes to fully appreciate just how dysfunctional and destructive the human mind and so-called ‘leadership’ can be. It is important to recall that the Vietnam War is not an isolated event. As I wrote about in my previous essay in this series (which can be read online by googling ‘War is God’s Way of Teaching Geography’), just before the destruction of Vietnam we obliterated North Korea; 15 years after Vietnam we were bombing Iraq. Today we are bombing five countries at the same time.

The greatest danger in the world today to the ecological integrity of the biosphere and the sanctity of life is the United States government and the masses of mindless young men who do its bidding, being incapable of thinking for themselves and starving for the identity of the uniform. If that seems like a radical statement, re-read the previous paragraph. At a deeper level the problem is the superstitious, almost religious response of the human mind to external authority. We know power corrupts, but we persist in putting mere mortals in positions of extreme power. The global situation will improve only when we take responsibility for our own financial, ethical and ecological lives, and cease to allow ourselves to be led around by the nose by so-called leaders who are inevitably corrupted by the positions of power into which we ourselves put them.

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Howard Zinn

Every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people them- selves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection….If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody. Etienne De La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience, written in 1552

History shows that most human beings would literally rather die than objectively reconsider the belief systems they were brought up in. The average man who reads in the newspaper about war, oppression and injustice will wonder why such pain and suffering exists, and will wish for it to end. However, if it is suggested to him that his own beliefs are contribut- ing to the misery, he will almost certainly dismiss such a suggestion without a second thought, Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition

Dana Visalli is a biologist living in Washington State; email dana@methownet.com, web page http://www.methownaturalist.com,

Resources:
Film: The Boy with No Face- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2O7Sp-DoPo (full film)
Film: Lighter Than Orange- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSn02VKm6Ek (3 minute trailer; highly recommended) Book: Kill Everything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse (required reading)
Book: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose (on the question of authority)
Essay on Etienne de la Boetie’s book The Politics of Obedience http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard29.html Friendship Village- http://www.vietnamfriendship.org/

VAVA- Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange http://vava.org.vn/?lang=en
RENEW- Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War- http://landmines.org.vn/

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