Monday, March 10, 2008

DISSENT: Voices of Conscience

UPDATE: I wrote an accompanying piece on Toledo Talk this morning

I spent a fascinating two hours at the University of Toledo Law Auditorium this evening listening to retired Colonel Ann Wright document the take-over of our government by a small knot of cunning idealogues bent on using our military might for their own purposes.

The subtitle of her book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience is: Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq. Her book names these brave and patriotic Americans and details what punishment they incurred for speaking the truth.

One such person was army Specialist Joe Darby who was given a CD of photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. After seeing the disgusting photos he handed the CD to the Criminal Investigative Division of his command. From there the photos made it up the ladder and into the news. For revenge against the soldier, Donald Rumsfeld used his name on national TV and immediately his life and that of his wife back in the states was in danger. He had to be flown out of Iraq and is now in the Federal Protection Program with a new identity and lives outside of the United States.

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Diaz, a Navy lawyer in Guantanamo, was court martialed, given a 6-month term, and dishonorably dismissed from the Navy because he released the names and home countries of the prisoners there.

These are but two examples of the way whistle-blowers were silenced and punished for telling the truth about this phony war. The author, a 29-year veteran of the Army, was arrested while demonstrating against the war on two occasions found her entry to Canada blocked when she tried to fly there late last year. "You have been arrested," said the Canadian customs agent. These were misdemeanors, carrying fines of $35 which she paid, but she was on the government watch list.

Colonel Wright wonders why detention centers are being built in various locations all across America. Will they be used for illegals or for citizens who have been 'identified' by the government as suspect. One man said to me at the end of the program, "Did you think of NAZI Germany during her remarks?" Indeed I did.

Next week is the 5th anniversary of the preemptive invasion of Iraq and there will be many events in the Toledo area to recall that ugly March day in 2003.

• Arlington Midwest [set up of 5000 wooden tombstones] 11 Am March 18 Lucas County Courthouse

• 5th Anniversary Ceremony March 19 Lucas County courthouse 8AM; candelight vigil 6:30 PM

• Sir! No Sir! Thursday March 20 6:30 PM Sanger Library [film remembering Vietnam War]

• Rally and March for Peace 11 AM Saturday March 22 Jefferson and Summit

For more information visit the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition website:

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