The following is an excerpt from Stephen Dohnberg's interview with Matthis Chiroux, "Matthis Chiroux Interviewed: Rise up, People!" (Digital Journal via World Can't Wait):
SD: Your initial court date was changed - why?
Chiroux: My former JAG attorney volunteered for Iraq service and was deployed a number of weeks ago. Thus, I had to get a new lawyer and a new court date. I think the Army may have been hoping I'd already bought tickets for people to be in attendance and it would have wiped out my finances. Lucky for me, I'm a last minute kinda guy. My replacement is a JAG attorney. Thomas M. Roughneen
SD: It's not on a military base - is there a meaning to that?
Chiroux: No. No meaning, I don't think. This is the home of the U.S. Army's Individual Ready Reserve, though, so any other Army IRRers who refuse to deploy and demand hearings will have them in the same place. We're going to try to demonstrate to the military how foolish prosecuting folks and bringing activists to their doorstep over and over again would be.
SD: What is the official charge you face?
Chiroux: "Misconduct." They're trying to throw me out of the Army for it. I'm happy to be discharged from the Army, but will not submit to my refusal to deploy being characterized as misconduct.
SD: Are you confident about your prospects?
Chiroux: I'm pretty confident I won't go to jail, as they'd have to upgrade this hearing from administrative to judicial, but I highly doubt the military will tell me I'm right and send me home to celebrate. That's why GI Resistance is so important to ending U.S. Imperialism. The forces that be refuse to do what's right, so we need to make them do right by leaving them no other choice.
SD: What kind of punishment do you face ? What is the maximum and minimum?
Chiroux: Well, this isn't a court-martial, so the worst thing I face right now is something other than an honorable discharge. That could change though if the Army get's a bug up their ass and decides to Court Martial me.
More information is in "Resistance to an Abhorrent Occupation: Press Release of Matthis Chiroux" (World Can't Wait):
(ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m.
Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, refused to participate in what he described as "an illegal and immoral occupation" May 15th, 2008, in Washington D.C., after nine other veterans testified to Members of the U.S. Congress about atrocities they experienced during deployments to Iraq. Chiroux also vowed to remain public in the U.S. to defend himself from any charges brought against him by the military. (see matthisresists.us for a record of that speech and others by Chiroux)
"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year," said Chiroux, adding, "Soldiers have a duty to adhere to the international laws of war described as supreme in Art. 6 Para. 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which we swear to abide by before the orders of any superior, including our former or current president."
Following Chiroux's refusal to deploy, the military did not contact him until after he and 10 other IVAW members marched on the final presidential debate Oct. 15, 2008, in Hempstead, N.Y. demanding to question then Senators Obama and McCain regarding their war policies and plans to care for returning veterans. After the veterans were brutalized and arrested by police, (one suffered a fractured skull and is currently suing the police for damages) the Army charged Chiroux with "misconduct" for refusing to deploy, announcing their intentions to discharge him from the reserves as a result.
"I go now to St. Louis to honor my promises and convictions," said Chiroux. "Obama or No-Bama, the military must cease prosecuting Soldiers of conscience, and we will demonstrate to them why."
Following the hearing, Chiroux and other IVAW members will testify about their military experiences which led them all to resist in different capacities the U.S.'s Overseas Contingency Operation (formerly the Global War on Terror).
For more information, see matthisresists.us and ivaw.org.
That'll be next week. In England, two call out the Guardian of Manchester's 'reporting:
President, National Gulf War Veterans and Families Association, and chief scientific adviser to UK Gulf war veterans
Iraq did not lose an opportunity to capitalise on high oil prices in 2008 as your reporters claim (Basra's failed oil bonanza, 16 April). Except for the contentious initialisation of a Shell gas deal, the people have so far marshalled enough opposition to ward off multinational oil vultures' attempts to stake out 25-year rights to Iraq's resources on the back of shock and awe.
Your reporters derive some of their wisdom from one Andy Bearpark, who was private secretary to Thatcher, then "diplomat" in charge of the "reconstruction" of Iraq in 2003, and now director general of the British Association of Private Security Companies.
The convergence of gunboat diplomacy, neoliberal debris, mercenaries acting under the mantra of "security companies", and voracious resource-hungry multinationals is the last blend to benefit Iraq.
Iraq's reconstruction will get under way in earnest when the mercenaries and the American troops follow the British out.
Kamil Mahdi Sami Ramadani
The letter is paired with garbage. Malcolm Hooper wants to piggy back his pet cause onto the current war. That's really disgusting. In England, an inquiry of some sort has been promised by Gordon Brown's government into the Iraq War and it will not begin prior to the end of July (and Brown and company will probably attempt to delay it even after British troops leave Iraq -- all but approximately 400 are set to leave by the end of July). Hooper wants to hop onto that inquiry and make it all about his pet cause, the first Gulf War. Grow the hell up, you pathetic piece of trash. The inquiry is into the lies that led up to the illegal war. You want to deal with the injuries and other issues from the first Gulf War, you do that, but not at the expense of the current and ongoing illegal war. It really is disgusting when people attempt to utilize an ongoing, illegal war to advance their own pet causes.
In the US we saw the Democratic Party and their mouthpieces (John Nichols, Katrina vanden Heuvel, et al) push Iraq War as if it mattered but really just trying to create a rage that would allow the Democratic Party to notch up some election wins. The Iraq War is an illegal war, it's past time people stopped treating it as a boat for them to cross the river with, dragging their cause a long the way.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4266. Tonight? 4273.
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i hate the war