Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Marine Mom's take on flagged draped coffins...

Flagged Draped Coffins

US flagged draped coffins
our children inside
Iraqi flagged draped coffins

their children inside,
Afghani flagged draped coffins
their children inside

As I hold a lily to place on our children’s coffin,
my heart is torn.
So many Marines I have broken bread with,
Thanksgiving dinner,
Christmas dinner
I remember their eyes with so much innocence
Their families spread far and wide
For that day,
we became their family
I became their mom
These children who returned home in flagged draped coffins.
Not knowing what war and occupation would bring them
I mourn for what should not have been,what should not be
Trusting their government not to lie
Not to send them into harm’s way,
unless it was absolutely necessary
I see their innocent faces each time I see a flagged draped coffin,
I go to lay a lily upon them
But then I hesitate
I hear my son’s words
“Mother,” he told me with a tear stained face,
Innocence no longer there
“I thought what we were doing was right,“
“I was told we were going to liberate the Iraqi people.”
“I trusted our leaders.”
“Baghdad,”“We set it free,”
“We set it free by shelling them with our artillery.”
“As we began to secure the city,to safeguard the innocent civilians,”
“I saw three children playing,”
“I thought, ‘Yes that is why we are here.’”
“I saw a girl, maybe ten or eleven,
just the age of my sister,
playing with her younger brother and sister”
“Twirling something in the air.”
“Pink and Purple streamers she twirled it by.”
“Her brother and sister laughing.”
“Laughing at the pretty toy,”
“Delivered by the US military. “
“I realized at that moment,
it was a bomblet from our artillery.”
“Unexploded ordinances.”
“Cluster bombs.”
“In the moment I went to run,”
“to scream,”“to shout, “No, No’”
……it detonated.
“In an instant,half her face and arm gone.”
“Her brother and sister lay dead before her”
He said, “At that moment, I knew all I had been told was a lie”
“You cannot liberate or bring democracy with a howitzer,” he cried.
That thought would haunt him for years,
as he would bring a gun to his mouth
and call me to say he didn’t deserve to live.
Not live with the guilt of all the children killed
I think of that little girl,
Her brother
Her sister
I am so overwhelmed with sorrow and shame.
That our soldiers and Marines so trusting,
so patriotic,
have been so misled
I brought my sons up to be Patriots
The occupations are not patriotic,
There is no honor
It is genocide.
As I lay the lily on the Iraqi coffin,
I make a vow
We must stop the killing of all these innocents,
perpetuated by the war profiteers,
military industrial complex,
our government
No more “patriots” will I raise

Monday, April 27, 2009


Editors Note: This alert came in by e-mail, from a friend. It is from one of the folks who visits Robin in the MCAS Miramar Brig, on a regular basis; my friend Dawn, an MFSO activist from Orange County, Ca., who I met when I was in California for the VVAW West Coast Tour, and who escorted me into the Miramar Brig for a visit with Robin, while we were all in San Diego. Best of Birthday Wishes for you, Robin, from the VetSpeak family...we're thinkin' of you, Brother; you are not alone, in this fight.WH

Cover message:
PLEASE pass on and let us flood him with some good birthday cards! Thank you to all.

Peace, Dawn

Original E-mail:

From: A Marine Mom
Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:50 PM
Subject: Robin's Birthday May 2nd!!!!

If you could find some time this week (soon) I wanted to let everyone know it is Robin's birthday this week! I am almost sure he will be 24. (does anyone remember being 24??)
Robin Long, PO Box 452136, San Diego CA 92145-2136 I know this would be a great pick me up for him.
Thanks to all!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Homeland Security Secretary Napalotino Apologizes to Veterans

Ed Note: During the debate on this topic over the last three or four days, one thing became crystal clear; Veterans on both the left and the right, and as exemplified in Ms Napolitano's apology, veterans' organizations as well, disagreed on the importance of this story. We of course thought it was very important, that's why we posted the above article. We, and the many others who responded with outrage must have hit an exposed nerve with the administration. The apology that we, and others called for, particularly the American Legion, came via CNN from Secretary Napolitano, herself. If the Veterans had remained silent, and there was no need for any apology, as some have suggested, I am sure that the Secretary would have remained silent on the subject. This is a good start on the road to Change, for Veterans.

Good move on her part, and appreciated, and respectfully accepted by those of us who called for it, originally. Sometimes the squeaky wheel get's oiled. The sad note is, that General Shisenki, Secretary of the Dept of Veterans Affairs, still maintains his silence on this well as on the recent documented reports of records shredding at Regional VA offices, and the infections with HIV and Hepatitis of Veterans at VA hospitals and VAOPCs in Miami, Fl; Memphis, Tenn; and in Georgia, as well. A fact that we cannot, and will not overlook in the months to come, here at

Apology by Secretary Napolitano:

During the furor, many who wrote in said that this was nothing new, that this treatment of Veterans had been going on as long as anyone remembered. Of course, that's no excuse, as far as we are concerned, but it would seem to be borne out by this poem of Rudyard Kipling's, from the 19th century British colonial era. (Submitted by Dave Collins, VVAW, Texas Hill Country)WH

Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homeland Security Terrorist Alert re Sec. Napolatino

Deja Vu: Veterans As Terrorist Threats re FBI COINTEL program, Circa 1971-1973

Deja Vu = Nothing New
Willie Hager
The more I see of Change!, the more things look the same, to me. New Boss, same as the Old Boss? Well, I don't know about the Boss being the same, but his team sure hasn't changed much, especially about perceiving Veterans as terrorist threats, it doesn't appear.
I have referenced deja vu in many articles and pieces that have been published here at, and in/on other venues. My use is always with reference to the fact that the government's thinking about, and treatment of Veterans hasn't been about the Veterans' care, but about their political containment, and pacification...often drug induced with psychotropic pharmaceuticals, sometimes locked down. But always, to guard the governments political turf, and the VA budget from pragmatic analysis of critical issues regarding Veterans' care and claims, and is suspiciously similar to the Nixon enemies list, which counted Vietnam Veterans as a grouping to be feared.
Of course, another example would be the, already forgotten, recent Walter Reed Hospital scandals. I reported, on these pages in March of 2007, that the Walter Reed flap was a repeat of an expose' that was done in Life magazine, May of 1970. Yet when the recent scandal broke, the government acted as though it was all just one big, ooops; ain't 'bout nuthin' but a thing. They said it just required some minor adjustments to the current Walter Reed delivery paradigm, to bring it in line with the peculiarities of Iraq's special type of warfare. As you can see by clicking on the above links, we have revealed on these very pages, with copious documentation, that nothing was further than the truth.
Where is our Advocate General, VA Dept. Secretary Shinseki, while his cabinet co-appointee, Janet Napolitano was disrespecting America's combat Veterans? Napolitano would have you believe that Veterans are the problem, rather than the trauma of having participated in morally and politically corrupt, and illegally initiated military operations, under the guise of patriotism; The assessment also said that "returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their home communities could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or might engage in lone acts of violence"...the report is signed by Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Dept. of Homeland Security.
Yo, Shinseki! Does Napalotino outrank you in the political inner circle? You're a Veteran. Does Napalatino think you might be a terrorist threat? Are you afraid to speak up for the Veterans who have earned your after combat attention and care? The media told us you were one of the guys, after all. Where is the Obamanator on all of this? A few days ago, he was schmoozin' the troops in they are described as terrorist threats by one of his cabinet members, and he is silent. Was he just pandering to the troops in Iraq? Is there no-one in the Obama administration who will speak up for us? Will the Democratic leadership stupidly abandon that privilege to the right wing-nuts and "spokespersons" of conservatism?
This is not a conservative or a liberal issue...this is a Veterans issue. This is a ramping up by the administration (or some lackeys, thereof) for the purpose of curtailing dissent regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. Dissent by those who now fight there, and who have fought there over the past six years. Just as they (the government) did with Vietnam Veterans Against The War, when the VVAW dared to oppose Nixon and his thugs (domestic enemies) re Vietnam (foreign enemies), FBI VVAW Files . This is political correctness, and political repression, at it's very worst.
The right wing would have you believe that they are the Veterans' champions on this issue. Don't be fooled, again. They are simply exploiting a major political blunder by the politically correct Democrats, who are looking for a diversion from the fact that Obama has upped the ante in Afghanistan, what with the escalation of US forces there, much to their dismay. The Democrats are simply ignorant of, or uncaring of, objective truth. The left wing would like to have Veterans to blame for their political failures, just as would the right. New Bosses, same as the Old Bosses, in this regard. Every political party loves a whipping boy.
This is also a screen for the fact that the government is operating on false premise mental health paradigms, regarding their after action mental health care; identifying the "...return of military veterans having trouble 'reintegrating into their communities'...'', as the causal factor for concern for Americans regarding terrorists, rather than as the result of the lack of proper treatment for the problem, to include proper diagnosis and treatment models. Fact is; they are treating what they call PTSD as a chronic clinical psychosis, rather than an adjustment anxiety disorder, Is Iraq like Vietnam? PTSD and the Readjustment Blues . A mistake they have been making since Post Vietnam Syndrome was re-named, and redesigned, in DSM-III, in 1980.
It was Robert Jay Lifton and the Veterans of VVAW, themselves, who first identified this problem, naming it Post Vietnam Syndrome. It was a problem that was manifesting itself in self-destructive, and anti-social behavior among returning Vietnam Veterans, alienated by the political corruption and/or apparent ineptness of their leadership, morally conflicted, and then rejected by their countrymen, upon their return to "The World", from Vietnam. Does Shenseki know about all of this? If so, why haven't we heard from him, about it?
These are not terrorists, Mr President, Madam Secretary, and still a General Shinseki; they are Winter Soldiers.
(Photo: Answer Coalition)
I, for one, anxiously await y'all's response, or not, to this ignorant indignity that has been suffered on the honorable members of the US armed forces currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to all combat Veterans who have honorably served their country. Either way, we ain't forgettin' it. Fats in the fire, folks, time for some Truth. We'll act accordingly, and patriotically, and in the true spirit of the Winter patriots, not as always.
Semper Fi...
(poster courtesy

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Veterans & the INS: Yet more lies...


Incarcerated in Dept. of Homeland Security/ INS Prisons Nation Wide
Jan A. Ruhman
Veterans Activist
A scandal of deception and broken promises of citizenship in exchange for military service to past immigrant veterans has been exposed. Happening at the same time, the DOD targets 9,000 non-immigrants who have “status” (entered the U.S on a non-immigrant visa), and who temporarily reside in the U.S., in a “pilot” military recruitment program that is designed to entice the young dreamers, who have extended their visas one or more times, and who are more educated than their countrymen without “status” who come seeking farm and day labor jobs and employment in the service sector, with promises of U. S. Citizenship for military service.

Not possible, was what came to my mind when I first read the anguished cry for help from the fiancé of just such a veteran in an email forwarded to me by Vetspeak Honcho Willie Hager. He had received it from an active VVAW Member of the San Diego Chapter who obtained it from a local reporter. He asked if I could look into it to determine if it was credible or not before VetSpeak could consider running a story with just the data in hand. What I heard from the fiancé of a USMC Gulf War I combat veteran, who was honorably discharged at the end of his first enlistment was, quite simply, unbelievable.

My subsequent research, done in cooperation with a dedicated and knowledgeable Immigration and Criminal Defense Attorney, our face to face interviews with veterans incarcerated in DHS/INS Prisons and on bond, after reviewing the details of the record of their arrest reports, and the transcripts of their court cases during the defining and development stages of this issue proved this one woman and this one case was, in fact, just the tip of the Iceberg of a national scandal of major proportions.

While holding open the front door to non-immigrants with promises of U.S. Citizenship in exchange for Military service, American combat veterans and cold war veterans who have served the nation, are being unceremoniously thrown out the back door and denied U. S. Citizenship that had been promised them decades earlier. At this very moment, all across America, veterans are being arrested, processed and deported to their country of birth at an ever increasing and alarming rate, often on over blown charges for property and drug offenses.

At this point I think it is important to provide a definition of the word “veteran” and to point out exactly what a veteran is. A veteran is a patriot, the dictionary defines patriot as ”devoted love, support and defense of one’s country” That is what America’s Veterans of all wars do. They take an oath “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, the bill of rights, our civil liberties, our freedoms. They go into harms way for us… prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice“.

American Military veterans who have served our nation in times of war and peace have “quietly” been deported since 1996 when the Immigration Reform Act (IRA) was passed by the Republican Controlled Congress and “broadly” redefined Aggravated Felony (AG) and took away certain applications for relief. This simple change in the definition of AG in the law has directly affected tens of thousands of veterans who served their nation. Quite simply, they are facing forced deportation or have in fact already been “quietly” and unceremoniously deported over the past 13 years.

A trail of lies has been uncovered at point of recruitment and in boot camps. Statements concerning U. S. Citizenship being “automatic” were related by many veterans we interviewed. Other veterans, who were more educated, knew different and applied while in the military but then deployed to a combat zone and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) didn’t have their application follow them. Many, who knew they had to apply, simply found that (as is the case with many veterans upon discharge, especially those suffering from PTSD), navigating the “system” is not psychologically or emotionally possible, for them.

At present, it is estimated that over 3,000 of our fellow veterans are incarcerated and face deportation in Department of Homeland Security/INS Prisons nation wide. They are being processed through court rooms in rented industrials parks that more closely resemble fast food franchises turning out lunch than justice. Many are being held under “mandatory detention” with no option to pay bail to be released while fighting their case.
Each month the human misery and degradation suffered by these veterans, their families and loved ones continues to grow.

Many of them are in their mid to late 50’s and served during the Vietnam War era. Many more are in their mid to late thirties and are vets who served in Gulf War I. Some served in Kosovo and in the future, if left unchecked, this horror show of ingratitude and deception will include OEF & OIF Vets.

All of these veterans need your help. They are fighting this battle alone and against the unlimited resources and power of the government’s legal system. A system that is processing them for “forced” removal from the country they love and call home. The country they were willing to fight to defend, and possibly die for.

Contact your Congressperson and demand justice for these patriots. Write “Letters to the Editor” helping to expose this national scandal. Identify DHS/INS Prisons in your area (there are over 300 DHS/INS or “private contractor” Prisons nationally) and help us gather names and other data to support a campaign to demand Congressional Action to put an end to this injustice. Reach out to a veteran’s family locally and help publicize the issue. Become involved locally by gathering data in your area, donating financially to the legal defense fund to help fight the battle in the DHS/INS Courts or in any other way please contact
Semper Fi...
For more information, and case reports:

Sunday, April 05, 2009

In From The Front... For Immediate Release...

For Immediate Release


Canadians call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to use his authority to act...

OTTAWA-On Monday evening the House of Commons voted, for the second time in 10 months, to let Iraq War resisters live in Canada. The vote on a motion from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration directs the Government of Canada to immediately stop the deportation of U.S. Iraq War resisters andestablish a program to facilitate permanent resident status for the resisters and their families.

"It's time for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Harper to follow the will of the majority of Canadians and act as directed byParliament," said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "It could be as simple as Jason Kenney using his discretion as minister to grant the resisters' applications to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds".

The vote in Parliament comes less than a week afterMembers of Parliament from all three opposition parties held a press conference calling on the Harper government to stop the deportation of Kimberly Rivera,the first female Iraq War resister to come to Canada.

Kimberly Rivera, a former U.S. soldier, deployed to Iraq in the fall of 2006. While home on leave she decided she could no longer participate in the war. She and her family sought refuge in Canada in January 2007. Kimberly, her husband Mario and their three children -including a Canadian born daughter - were ordered to leave Canada by March 26 or face deportation. They won an 11th hour stay from the Federal Court Wednesday evening. Though The Honourable James Russell's written decision was not immediately released, his verbal ruling explained that war resisters who are deported to the U.S. face disproportionately severe punishment for being public about their objections to the Iraq War.

"This was the fifth time that the court ruled that Iraq war resisters face harsher punishment if they're sent back to the U.S.," said Robidoux. "The courts have spoken, Parliament has spoken and Canadians have made their views clear. These conscientious objectors should not be sent back to the United States to face jail time for opposing the Iraq War." A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies last June found that 64 per cent of Canadians want the government to allow Iraq War resisters to become permanent residents of Canada.

For further information, please contact: Michelle Robidoux, Spokesperson, War Resisters Support Campaign, 416-856-5008; or Ken Marciniec, Communications Volunteer, War Resister Support Campaign, 416-803-6066,

Saturday, April 04, 2009

US Iraq War Resister Kimberly Rivera Granted Emergency Stay of Removal

Ed Note: This e-mail was forwarded to me for posting by Jan Ruhman, our Operations Coordinator, Vietnam Veterans Against The War SoCal Organizing Coordinator, and VP of Veterans For Peace, San Diego. He is actively involved with the G.I. Rights movement there in SoCal. He is a regular visitor with Robin Long, and has submitted several reports on Robin's case to VetSpeak's pages during Robin's incarceration at the Miramar, MCAS, Brig, in San Diego. This related case of Kimberly Rivera's is a healthy sign of the political power of a growing a G.I. Rights movement that is now challenging and impacting the deportation laws of Canada, and the long arm of the Pentagon. Never give up... Never surrender...WH

From: "An Angel"
Subject: US Iraq War Resister Kimberly Rivera granted emergency stay of removal (from Canada)
To: "vetlist"
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009, 6:28 AM

I just checked the Canadian’s war resister website. There’s not much info yet but good news for now for the Rivera family.

Canucks – Gotta love em. You can help by phoning or emailing the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney. Click here ->

Kimberly Rivera received word late on March 25th that the Federal Court granted her a stay pending a decision on whether or not they will review a decision by Immigration officials rejecting her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

The decision means that Kimberly, her husband Mario and their three children will not be facing a deportation on March 26th. It is a very important decision that recognizes that US war resisters who speak publicly against the war in Iraq face differential treatment by the US military.

It is urgent that Canadians send a very strong message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Jason Kenney to say that this family and other Iraq war resisters must be allowed to stay. It is the will of Canadians and the will of our Parliament that we welcome war resisters into our country. The Conservative government must respect this view and implement the motion passed by Parliament in June 2008 calling for an end to all removal proceedings against US war resisters and for them to be allowed to apply for permanent resident status in Canada .

Imagine Peace,