HEMPSTEAD 15 ACQUITTED

27 November 2008
(forward from Wendy Barranco, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Los Angeles)
 
In a remarkable reversal, the Nassau County District Attorney's Office has agreed to dismiss all charges against the Hempstead 15 following a six month adjournment in what's called an "ACD" (Adjournment to Contemplate Dismissal).

Additionally, they have agreed to consolidate all of our court cases on one date (TBD) so that we and our supporters may be seen and heard together as we prepare to move forward now to federal court where our lawyer, Jonathan Moore is filing a civil case on behalf of Nick Morgan and others.

This is a decisive victory for activists and veterans everywhere, and for the Constitution. The outcome of these criminal proceedings would not have been possible without you, our supporters and allies. It was the calls, the demonstrations, the petitions and the grass-roots exposure that made the difference. For an event which received no real attention from main-stream media outlets to have been captured and brought to so many around the country and the world by a few hardworking organizers and supporters signals an evolution in our power as a movement to inform and impact our system.

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photo credit: mathieu grandjean
We'd like to thank those videographers, bloggers, e-mailers and Facebookers that have stuck with us up until now and we hope will stay with us to the end. We'd also like to thank Democracy Now as well radio programs across the country for their dedication to covering this case in every stage of its development, ensuring we didn't go entirely missing from the airwaves. As well, we must thank Newsday for their relentless coverage and powerful OpEds. Justice ultimately came about through the efforts of so many, and Iíve not room to begin to thank them all.

What happened at Hofstra will forever remain with all in attendance and those who suffered most. May it be burned into America's conscience as well, but let it be a turning point. A moment in time from where clear divergence emerged.

Police and veterans from across this Nation have contacted us with their support and ultimately the same message: "We're tired of this!"

So it is with great determination and much momentum we move forward, Nick and several into a civil case, and myself into a fight with the Army.

Shortly after our action at Hofstra, I was sent notice by the Army that I would be prosecuted for my refusal to reactivate and deploy to Iraq last summer. The Army wants to separate me on grounds of misconduct which I vowed to fight in May and continue to stand by firmly. I'll know more on my exact hearing date soon, but with a good amount of support, I believe we can win this thing and prove once and for all that servicemembers have a right to refuse participation in the occupation of Iraq.

If you've not already, please consider joining the Facebook group "I support Matthis Chiroux's decision not to go to Iraq." Most of my updates from this point forward through Facebook will come from this group. Please pass it around to your friends, as well.

As soon as I know what day the Hempstead 15's final hearing in Nassau will be, I'll let everyone know. Let's have one last blow out to make clear to our government and the world that we will not be silent!

You made this for us, and we are forever in the debt of our global movement.

Peace and Solidarity,
 
Background information from Independent Media Center:
 

Anti-War Veterans and Supporters Arrested and Trampled While Trying to Enter Final Presidential Debate

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HEMPSTEAD, NY ó Ten members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a group of military veterans who are calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, were arrested along with at least five civilians outside the final presidential debate at Hofstra University on Wednesday, October 15. The group had been trying to get answers for their questions from the candidates. "Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans," said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.

The veterans and their supporters were met by riot police as well as police on horseback. After a tense standoff for five minutes, police used their horses to attack the crowd, knocking over and trampling several ó including Army Sergeant Nick Morgan (pictured), who suffered a broken cheekbone. Read Reports by Ben Dean-Kawamura | by Alex Kane | Photo by Bill Perry

The questions IVAW wanted to ask were:
* (To Obama): "As President of the United States of America, are you prepared to back up your own words [about the illegality of the Iraq War] and the U.S. Constitution by supporting service members refusing to participate in what you describe as an illegal occupation?"
* (To McCain): "What promises are you willing to make, as a veteran, as a senator, as a presidential candidate, to the veterans of the United States, to prove that you will ensure the V.A. is fully funded, staffed and capable of preventing troops from suffering as they are now?" Demands in full: IVAW Send Letter to Schieffer, Plan Protest at Hofstra Univ. Debate

MORE COVERAGE: Photos by Jamie Lehane | Video from DN! | Video from IVAW | IVAW Press Release
 

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