Veterans on the March — Stop endless war; Build for peace! — Memorial Day in DC, May 29, 30

Veterans On the March!

Stop Endless War • Build for Peace!

“War is a racket: A few profit, the many pay!”– Major General Smedley Butler, USMC

May 29 and 30, 2017  Washington DC

May 29, 2017:  Letters to the Vietnam Memorial Wall • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

May 30, 2017: Lincoln Memorial • White House

Details below

Veterans For Peace Demand Peace at Home • Peace Abroad!

1. Dismantle the U.S. Empire at Home and Abroad

2. Close U.S. Bases on Foreign Soil – Bring the Troops Home

3. Ban Nuclear Weapons

4. Redirect the Pentagon Budget – Money for Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Sustainable Green Energy

5. Dismantle Corporate Control of our Government

6. Dismantle the School to Prison/Military Pipeline

7. Stop Persecution of Migrants and Immigrants

8. End Sexism and Gender Discrimination in the Military

9. Respect and honor First Nation Sovereignty and Treaties

10. End Racism and Racist Violence

Schedule:

Monday, May 29: Meeting at 9 AM at the Bell Tower, adjacent to the Wall for a briefing by Doug Rawlings and an opportunity to read some of this year’s letters; 10:30 AM, we deliver letters to The Wall; from 11:30 to 12 we proceed ½ mile to MLK Memorial; at 12:30 we begin a public reading of MLK’s Riverside Church address, his Beyond Vietnam speech. After the MLK event we gather back at the Bell Tower to engage with the public. At 6:30 PM we meet for a social gathering at Busboys & Poets.

Tuesday: May 30: 11 AM rally at Lincoln Memorial w/hour of short, uplifting speeches, then after the rally VFP will be going to the White House fence to demand our meeting with the president. We will read the letter from VFP President Barry Ladendorf asking for a public meeting, which will have been sent previously to the White House.

We will have legal support and musical accompaniment.

To RSVP for the event, please fill out this form.

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Housing in the DC area: http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/masshousing

For more information contact Tarak Kauff, VFP National Board Member, takauff@gmail.com, 845 679-6189 or 845 706-0187

For more information on the Letters to the Wall project contact Doug Rawlings,  rawlings@maine.edu, 207 500-0193

 

Hundreds of Veterans and allies gather at the White House December, 2010 to demand PeaceHundreds of Veterans and allies gather at the White House December, 2010 to demand Peace

In response to President Trump’s outrageous budget proposal, including a $54 billion increase for the Pentagon, VFP and other veterans groups will not be silent. Planning for this was started in response to VFP’s galvanizing statement about Trump’s Military Budget and our desire and responsibility as veterans, citizens and human beings to express our strong resistance to his policies and our commitment to find a better way to peace.

The Trump administration recently fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, in violation of international and U.S. law. After that, the largest non-nuclear bomb was dropped on Afghanistan, an impoverished country that has suffered enough already. Trump has been making threats towards North Korea that could initiate a nuclear war – WWIII. He says, he will not tell anyone ahead of time what he will do.

Donald Trump and his administration appear to be destroying this planet with utter disregard for our children and grandchildren.

Veterans cannot be silent. On May 29th and 30th Veterans For Peace and other veterans groups will be in Washington, DC, to make our collective veterans’ voices heard loud and clear and we invite you to join us!

On Memorial Day,  Veterans For Peace will gather for a solemn and respectful occasion to deliver letters at the Vietnam Memorial Wall and to remember all combatants and civilians who died in Vietnam and all wars. We will mourn the tragic and preventable loss of life calling for people to abolish war in the name of those who have died and for the sake of all those who live today.

On the 30th we will boldly and loudly demand an end to war, an end to the assault on our planet, an end to abuse and oppression of all people and to stand for peace and justice at home and abroad.

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/take-action/stop-endless-war-build-peace-memorial-day-dc/

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President Putin on Victory Day: This sacred holiday, remembering the millions who sacrificed and died and saved their country from the threat of Hitler’s genocide

From Kremlin.ru

May 9, 2017

After the reception, Vladimir Putin met with Slovenian veterans to congratulate them on Victory Day. “We are very grateful for what you are doing at home to honour the memory of Russian soldiers,” Vladimir Putin said.

The President also spoke with members of the Aleksandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army who were invited to the reception. Mr Putin congratulated its members and leader Colonel Gennady Sachenyuk on the holiday.

* * *

Speech at the Victory Day reception

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear veterans, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Let me extend my heartfelt congratulations on Victory Day!

This is a holiday of pride, joy and grief. These sincere, unabashed feelings unite millions of people, all generations.

There is no other day when we all have such a strong sense of the value of life and the importance of love for the Fatherland, when remembrance of the war becomes universal and extremely important both for those who fought and laboured on the home front, for those who were born after the Victory and for very young people, for our children and grandchildren living in the 21st century.

This sacred holiday is celebrated by all of Russia. And it is clear why.

It is not just the many millions of victims which our people sacrificed on the altar of Victory. If our country would have succumbed to the terrible tragedy and, like many other European countries, suffered defeat, a totally different fate would have awaited us than the enslaved countries of the European continent. It was not only a question of the existence of our country, it was a question of the existence of our people as an ethnos.

 And we are well aware of this from the documents of the Nazi party and the fascist state which are still stored in archives. Those who were not used for slave labour would have been subject either to physical elimination, plain and simple, or resettlement to remote regions without any infrastructure where they would have been doomed to gradual extinction.

This is what we must always remember when we talk about the truth of the Second World War, the Great Patriotic War, when we speak about the victims which our people sacrificed on the altar of Victory, as I already mentioned. This is something we must never forget. This is the most important thing.

This is why we reach out to veterans on Victory Day. The most heartfelt congratulations and words of gratitude are extended to you. The flowers, gifts, concerts and fireworks, these are all for you.

We revere your valour and self-sacrifice, modesty and strength of spirit. We revere your entire generation which steadfastly endured such an arduous, long, rough and heroic road to Victory.

The defeat of Nazism was an epochal event for the entire world and for our country – a great celebration of liberation from tragedy, death and destruction, a day of triumph for a people who defeated a brazen, treacherous and brutal enemy, a people who paid an enormous price in blood and lives to determine the outcome of the deadliest war and bring it to a victorious close.

Our gratitude to the generation of victors is immeasurable. We will always keep faith with your covenants and your heroic legacy, and we will pass down this inheritance to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thank you. Thank you for everything!

I would like to propose a toast to the victors, to peace in our land, to great Russia!

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54469

How Ukraine and Donbass appreciate the deeds of veterans — yearly cash assistance payments in contrast

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
4th May, 2016
 
Donbass, which today is the subject of a humanitarian, financial and transport blockade by the Ukrainian authorities, as well as being constantly shelled and destroyed, has already paid a one-time cash assistance to veterans for Victory Day, but the Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman is still looking for reserves.
Last week the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a decree that establishes the amount and procedure of payment of a one-time annual cash assistance on May 9th to combatants, war invalids, participants of war, persons who have special merits from the Homeland, and persons subject to the law of Ukraine, “On the status of war veterans and guarantees of their social protection”, as well as victims of Nazi persecution.
According to the document, the participants of war will receive 170 UAH. However, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said at a Cabinet meeting broadcasted to the whole country that this amount is too low for veterans, so he search for some reserves, and now the combatants in world war II will receive 400 UAH.
Note that this money is not enough for veterans to even pay monthly utility bills, and when you consider today’s gas prices, which the same Groysman raised, it is not enough to pay even half the community.
However, the Cabinet’s website published a resolution dated May 3rd, 2016, which clearly states: to pay 170 UAH to war veterans and former prisoners of concentration camps, ghetto, other places of forced detention, people who were violently exported for forced labor, children of guerrillas, underground workers, and other participants of fight against the national socialist regime in the enemy’s rear. And there is not a single word about 400 UAH.
At the same time, Donbass, which today is suffering a humanitarian, financial, and transport blockade by the Ukrainian authorities has already paid a one-time cash assistance for Victory Day. Moreover, the amount of the payments, given the time at war, is pretty decent in the DPR and LPR.
The relevant decrees of the heads of the two Republics was published at the official sites of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
Thus, invalids of war, persons categorised as disabled war veterans, former minor (which at the time of conclusion was 14 years of age) prisoners of concentration camps, ghettos, and other places of detention that are recognized as being disabled from general disease, labour mutilation, and for other reasons are paid:
  • Disabled of group I – 6,000 rubles (about 2,400 UAH);
  • Disabled of group II – 5,200 rubles (about 2,050 UAH);
  • Disabled of group III – 4,700 rubles (about 1,900 UAH);
  • Combatants during the great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 and war invalids of groups II and III over the age of 85 years and more – 6,000 rubles (about 2,400 UAH).

 

In addition, persons having the legal status of a combatant and a former minor (those who at the time of conclusion did not attained the age of 18) prisoner of a concentration camp, ghetto, and other places of detention, as well as children who were born in the specified places of their parents’ forced detention with the appropriate license are paid the amount of 2,000 rubles (about 800 UAH).
Persons who have special merits from the Motherland received a grant in the amount of 6,000 rubles (about 2,400 UAH). And the families of the victims and wives/husbands of deceased disabled veterans and participants of hostilities in the war and participants of war and victims of Nazi persecution received 1,000 rubles (about 400 UAH) from the state.
In addition, veterans in the two Republics were given food packages. Thus, we can see how the veterans are today cared for in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and the attitude of the Rada towards the people who were involved in the feat that we are able to live today because of. And this is not to mention how today there are parades in Kiev with the St. George’s ribbon and honorary awards for veterans.
As a reminder, it was earlier reported that under the government of ex-Minister Azarov, veterans received a lump sum payment of between 1,720 to 2,200 UAH.

“We’re Not Afraid!”: Veterans will march in the center of Kiev on May 9th

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
29th April, 2016
 
A likely ban on the celebration of Victory Day in Ukraine would be an insult to the veterans of the great Patriotic war. However, they intend to march on Khreshchatyk, even if far-right extremists open fire on them.
According to the head of the Kiev organization of veterans of Ukraine, Nikolai Martynov, the Verkhovna Rada adopting the law on the “condemnation of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibition of propaganda with their symbols” takes the celebration of the victory away from the veterans. He made such a statement during an interview with the Ukrainian version of “The voice”.
“The presidential decree takes away the concept of the great Patriotic war, […] takes away the celebrations on May 9th, and focuses on 8th May — the Day of remembrance and reconciliation. When Viktor Yushchenko came to power, he asked us about reconciliation. We said that the leadership of the organization cannot resolve the issue personally and offered to ask the veterans. We interviewed them, and at that time we were told by 99.9% that there cannot be reconciliation with those who are not rehabilitated. What is reconciliation? We signed a contract  with Nazi Germany. She surrendered,” — quotes RT.
Martynov also stressed that the decree is unconstitutional, because this decision was made without a referendum. In the case of approval of the law by the President, according to the head of the Kiev organization of veterans of Ukraine, the ban in the country will fall on the Day of Defender of the Fatherland.
“My office has a copy of a Victory banner — a veteran banner. And opposite in the city centre there are trash cans. So I’m afraid if the “Pravy sector” come, they can tie this banner around their neck and suffer in the dustbin. An element of intimidation is also felt by veterans. Lawlessness comes from the SBU, some law enforcement bodies” — said Martynov to the website “Politnavigator”. He also fears that on 9th May, they may be attacked by extremists from the “Right sector”.
His words were confirmed by veteran-soldier and retired Colonel Dmitri Stadnyuk. “We will never agree with the fact that you cannot celebrate May 9th […] We will openly go to downtown. Let them try to shoot at us. We’re not afraid. We will fight, if you will bring us to such a state,” — he said.
As a reminder, the Ukrainian Parliament, on April 9th, passed a law condemning communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibition of propaganda with their symbols.” Its goal is to “prevent the recurrence of crimes of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes, any discrimination on national, social, class, ethnic, racial or other grounds in the future, restoration of historical and social justice, and the removal of threats to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national security of Ukraine”.
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British veterans urge military disobedience and will throw down medals in Downing Street Syria protest

From RT
December 7, 2015

Special Forces veteran Ben Griffin has called on military personnel and munitions workers to disobey and block the bombing of Syria ahead of a Downing Street protest in which ex-services personnel will throw down their medals in disgust at the war.

If you work in a bomb factory, walk out. If you fill up bombers with fuel, stop it. If you fly missions over Syria, don’t release your bombs,” Griffin, who served with the Parachute Regiment and SAS in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, told RT on Monday.

Our attack on Syria will make things worse. You only need to look at the outcome of our attacks on Iraq and Libya to see that.

We have no confidence in the government of this country to do the right thing, so we call on the public to resist participation in the ongoing slaughter,” he added.

Griffin made his comments ahead of a planned protest by other decorated British military veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Libya.

According to a blog by ex-services group Veterans for Peace UK (VFPUK), four military veterans of recent wars will cast off their medals outside Downing Street on Tuesday in protest at MPs’ decision to bomb Syria.

The action is set to take place at 1:00pm GMT on Tuesday and aims to oppose what the group terms “yet another attack on a Middle Eastern country.

MPs voted on Wednesday to extend UK airstrikes from Iraq into Syria, despite widespread public opposition to the move.

Writing on the VFPUK website, Daniel Lenham, a Royal Air Force (RAF) veteran of Iraq and Libya, said he was casting off his decorations “in protest at the decision to bomb Syria.

We will hand back medals given to us for participating in previous attacks on the Middle East,” he said.

David Smith, who served with the Royal Green jackets infantry regiment, said: “I want to express my utter disgust at the decision to unlawfully bomb Syria, god help all those who are likely to suffer as a result of this action.

I renounce all forms of state sanctioned warfare and violence.

VFPUK claims to have 265 members, some of whom served as along ago as D-Day. The group hopes “to convince people that war is not the answer to the problems of the 21st century,” according to its website.

veteransforpeace.org.uk

https://www.rt.com/uk/325018-syria-airstrikes-medals-protest/

WW2 vets in Kiev demand repeal of law calling fascists freedom fighters

Posted on Voice of Sevastopol, April 14, 2015

About a hundred people gathered in central Kiev on Tuesday, among them Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Army, to protest the Ukrainian parliament's decision to recognize the wartime Nazi collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army as freedom fighters, and to defend a local war monument, LifeNews has reported.

Veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA) at the monument to Stepan Bandera during the Heroes Festival in Lviv.

Veterans called the parliamentarians’ decision a betrayal to the memory of the country’s ancestors, and a crime of historical magnitude.The protesters gathered at the monument General Nikolai Vatutin, the Soviet commander who organized the liberation of Kiev from Nazi forces in 1943, before being killed by Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) insurgents in 1944.

The protesters demanded that city authorities halt plans to take down the monument in central Kiev, located just a few hundred meters from the parliament building. Ukrainian media had earlier reported that city authorities planned to take down the monument, located near the country’s parliament building, as “a relic of the Soviet legacy.”

Protesters gathered at the monument to General Nikolai Vatutin, considered by both Soviet and Western military historians as one of the greatest commanders of the Second World War.
Protesters gathered at the monument to General Nikolai Vatutin, considered by both Soviet and Western military historians as one of the greatest commanders of the Second World War.

The demonstrators placed flowers before Vatutin’s grave, observing a minute of silence, and spoke to reporters. Two people unveiled a banner reading “Vatutin died for our Ukraine. Hands off his holy grave.” A woman held up a sign reading “To the enemies of N. Vatutin: You can destroy monuments, burn books, lie about the great generation of the victors, but you will never extinguish the people’s memory about the heroism and exploits of our Soviet fathers and mothers.”

Soviet Army WW2 veteran Ivan Zubov, delivered an emotional appeal, speaking to a reporter: “We, the defenders of Ukraine and Kiev, became the witnesses of the crimes before history and before us. Ukraine today is being governed by Nazis, fascists, Banderovites. We could never have imagined that we would be governed by those against whom we fought and spilled our blood. I hope that in time each of these criminals will bear legal responsibility for their actions.”

Anatonina Pashinina, chairwoman of a local veterans’ association, noted thatUPA had killed GeneralVatutin, shooting him in the back. “How now can they be considered heroes? I simply can’t understand this. In our association’s chapter, there are 1,200 veterans on the registry. 50 are still alive, and they are very upset. They know how theUON-UPA behaved during the war. They saw the crimes they committed with their own eyes…They see, when they listen to the news now, that those who had shot them in the back are now on equal terms. Tears well up in my eyes over this injustice, and for them it is doubly insulting.”Lyudmila Bodrova, Kiev resident and war child, told reporters “this is not only blasphemy; the word that comes to the tip of the tongue is ‘crime’. Recall that on the eve of May 9th, May 8th has been designated the Day of Reconciliation –that is, those who shot our soldiers in the backs are supposed to reconcile with one another? Where else would this be considered possible? Such a thing cannot be.”

More photographs from the gathering can be found here.