Ann Wright speaks to Australians

At a meeting at the Teacher’s Federation on Tuesday 16 Feb Ann Wright spoke to around 40 people from many parts of Sydney.  Her main message was do not trust your government to act in your best interests.  Question, resist and protest.

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Ann Wright bio plus

Ann Wright

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named Ann Wright, see Ann Wright (disambiguation).
Ann Wright
NLN Ann Wright.jpg

Wright in Staten Island, New York in November 2011
Birth name Mary Ann Wright
Born 1947 (age 68–69)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Battles/wars Sierra Leone Civil War

Mary Ann Wright (born 1947) is a retired United States Army coloneland retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone.[1] She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[2][3] Wright was also a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of theGaza flotilla.

 

 

Early life[edit]

Wright grew up in BentonvilleArkansas, in what she referred to as “just a normal childhood”. She attended the University of Arkansas where she was recruited in the U.S. Army.[3] Wright earned a master’s and law degrees, while she worked for theU.S. Army.[3] Her law degree comes from the University of Arkansas and her master’s degree in national security affairs is from the U.S. Naval War College.[4]

U.S. Army[edit]

Wright earned a master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and later participated in reconstruction efforts after U.S. military actions in Grenada and Somalia.

Wright was stationed at Fort BraggNorth Carolina, from 1982 to 1984. One of her duties during that time was to draw up contingency plans for invading several countries, one of which was Iraq. She would later express dismay over what she considered the dismissal of such carefully laid plans in the actual invasion of Iraq in 2003.[citation needed]

Wright went on to serve 13 years in active duty in the U.S. Army, and 16 years in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. She was placed in the Retired Ready Reserve, meaning the President could call her back to active duty in a time of need.

U.S. State Department[edit]

In 1987, Wright went to work for the Foreign Service within the U.S. State Department.[5] Over the course of her State Department career, Wright served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan (which she helped open following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, an assignment she volunteered for), Sierra Leone (an embassy which she helped close and then reopen again), Micronesia and Mongolia, and also served at U.S. embassies in Uzbekistan (which she helped open), Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, and Nicaragua.[6]

Wright’s eventual resignation was not the first time she had spoken out against policy. In an interview, Wright said that she spoke out against United Nations bombing tactics waged in Somalia, in the effort to kill rebel leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Wright also says that she didn’t agree with policy on multiple occasions, but continued her State Department work despite her own disagreements with the policy.[7]

Resignation[edit]

Wright submitted her resignation letter to then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 19, 2003, the day before the onset of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Her letter was published on the internet the following day.

In her resignation letter, Wright listed four reasons she could no longer work for the U.S. government under the Bushadministration:

Wright was the third of three State Department officials to retire from service in protest in the month prior to the invasion of Iraq, the other two being Brady Kiesling and John H. Brown. Wright says that she did not know the other two, and had not read their resignation letters at the time she submitted her own.

Peace activism[edit]

Protesting with Code Pink in 2006.

Since her retirement from the State Department, Wright has become a prominent figure in the movement opposed to the occupation of Iraq. She has attended many conferences and given numerous lectures on her political views and on her experiences before and after her resignation.

Wright has worked with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on several occasions, most notably by helping organize the Camp Casey demonstration outside George W. Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch in August 2005,[8] and by accompanying the southern leg of the Bring Them Home Now bus tour. She also volunteered at Camp Casey 3, the Veterans For Peace shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims in Covington, Louisiana, during the bus tour. She marched with Sheehan in 2006 with the Women Say No to War campaign, which was meant to deliver a petition with over 60,000 signatures of citizens against the war.[9]

Wright has willingly been arrested while taking part in anti-war demonstrations, the first such arrest occurring in front of theWhite House on September 26, 2005. She has said in interviews that she does not remove the arrest bracelets attached to her wrists upon the processing of her arrest, but rather collects them.

On October 19, 2005, Wright interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, shouting at Secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice, “Stop the war! Stop the killing!” Wright was uneventfully escorted out of the hearing room.

Wright served as one of five judges at the January 2006 sessions of the International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration. She was also one of three recipients of the first annual Truthout Freedom and Democracy Awards.

Wright was one of three witnesses called to testify at an Article 32 hearing on behalf of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who on June 22, 2006 refused to deploy to Iraq with his unit, asserting that the war violates both the United States Constitution andinternational law.

On April 1, 2007 Wright was cited, along with 38 other anti-nuclear activists, for trespassing at the Nevada Test Site during aNevada Desert Experience event protesting against the continued development of nuclear weapons by the United States.[10]That evening Wright appeared on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the Geneva Conventions and how they applied to Iran in its taking of 15 British hostages. The discussion grew heated, and Wright stated that she had served 29 years in the military. During the course of the exchange, O’Reilly questioned Wright’s patriotism and when she pointed out she had served 29 years in the military and O’Reilly had never served at all her microphone was cut off.

On April 17, 2007, Wright attended a hearing of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. She was ejected from the hearing room after speaking out of turn in response to comments made by Republican Congressmember Dana Rohrabacher.[11] On September 11, 2007, Wright was arrested, and later convicted, for disrupting a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at which general David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker were testifying.[12]

Wright took part in a September 15, 2007 protest march and die-in on the steps of the United States Capitol Building, organized by the ANSWER Coalition and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). She was arrested for stepping over the wall after several IVAW and Veterans for Peace members were arrested.[13]

On October 3, 2007, Wright and Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin were denied entry to Canada because their names appear on an FBI database, called the National Crime Information Center, due to arrests related to their anti-war activism.[14][15] Wright and Benjamin were told that if they wish to enter Canada in the future, they will have to apply for resident’s permits.[15] In regards to the incident, a Canadian MP, Olivia Chow, was “alarmed to learn that Canadian border police are enforcinig rules that have been determined by the FBI and other U.S.-based agencies.”[16]

In December 2008, Wright has recently expressed her dissatisfaction with the current U.S foreign policy toward Palestine.[17]

In 2009 Wright began work as a leading member of the steering committee for the Gaza Freedom March.[18]

In August 2014 she was among the signatories of an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[19]

Gaza flotilla[edit]

Stop the bombing of Syria by Australian Forces

media release

Press Release

August 21, 2015

 

Peace activists across the nation are united in their anger at the announcement that Australia will now join the US in bombing targets in Syria. The Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is a network of peace groups with affiliates in every State and Territory. It has consistently opposed the use of military power to solve international problems and believes that Australia has lost its independence through too close an alliance with the USA.

 

Nick Deane, spokesman for IPAN says

 

“After more than a decade, it should be clear that military intervention in the Middle East has been an utter failure. It has achieved no worthwhile outcome in Iraq, instead reducing that once prosperous nation to destitution. Many respected observers attribute the growth of fundamentalist militarism to the large scale Western interventions in the Middle East over the past few decades. Intervention hasn’t worked and it isn’t working. It is time for us to admit this and seek new strategies. Why persist in repeating the patterns that we can all see to be failing?

 

Significantly, once again, our nation’s military commitment has been ramped up without any debate in our Parliament. One back-bencher (Dan Tehan) floats the idea, and the next week the government follows his suggestion.

 

Increasing our military activity in this way, which will undoubtedly mean the deaths of more civilians as a result of our government’s actions, is not in Australia’s best interests. Besides, this is blatant ‘mission creep’, whatever its proponents might say.

 

It is time for the Defence Establishment to wake up to the realization that increased military activity does nothing more than add fuel to the fire that is ISIS.

 

If we genuinely want to live in a peaceful and independent Australia, we must end our proclivity for engaging in military action whenever it suits the interests of the USA.”

 

Don’t be Yanked into War Games

yanked singleJuly 6, 2015

 

Don’t Be Yanked Into War Games

“Don’t be yanked into war games” is the call of a protest to be held in Sydney’s CBD today to protest against the coming Talisman Sabre war games.

 

“Talisman Sabre is a joint United States-Australian rehearsal for war that takes place every two years in Australia, primarily on the central coast of Queensland at ShoalwaterBay, north of Rockhampton,” said Nick Deane from Independent and Peaceful Australia (IPAN).

 

“The 2015 Talisman Sabre war games will involve 22,000 US troops, 12,000 Australians as well as military from New Zealand and Japan engaged in nuclear-weapons-capable land, sea and air warfare practice.

 

“Held in July, they will be the biggest military exercises ever to take place in Australia – and this in a time of regional peace,” he said.

 

Peace and environmental activists will gather in Town Hall Square at 12 noon and then walk to the DefencePlaza in Pitt Street where they will sing their protest to the military and Defence Department bureaucrats.

 

“Our message to the government is simple,” Denis Doherty from the Anti-Bases Campaign coalition (AABCC) said.

 

“The exercises deepen Australia’s military involvement with the world’s most aggressive nation, the US. Australia can no longer operate independent of the US in military matters.

 

“They send a clear message to China that if conflict breaks out between the US and China, Australia will take part with the US, Denis Doherty said.

 

“Activities associated with preparing for war cause extreme damage to the environment. TS2015 is no exception. During the exercises two years ago, unexploded bombs were dropped on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

“Preparing for war diverts money from alternative, peaceful activities and takes it away from essential social services.

 

“The Talisman Sabre war games are not in our best interests and should be cancelled,” Denis Doherty concluded.

 

 

 

Talisman Sabre 15 and US Navy

Media Release

7/3/2015

Talisman Sabre a threat to the Reef

While the USS Antietam and other US Ships are berthing at Garden Island in Sydney Harbour to be part of the  military exercises in and around the Great Barrier Reef.  Talisman Sabre is being held in the southern most part of the Reef around Rockhampton this month.  This area is the most damaged part of the reef.

“It is ironic that the day after Australia gets a strong warning to do more to protect the Reef, the Prime Minister is rejoicing in the presence of another country’s navy ships as they prepare to threaten the Reef.  This exercise will cost around $100 million and is about the same as the amount spent on protecting the Reef.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Anti-Bases Campaign.

“We ask how can exercises of many navy ships and submarines be of benefit to the ecology of the Reef?  Does bombing, straffing and transporting of dangerous goods over the reef protect the Reef?  A previous exercise dumped ammunition into the sea near the reef during a storm.

“We reject the use of the military for disaster relief and the sinister inclusion of civilian elements of this society in this exercise, it will mean that this society will be becoming more militarised.”

“This exercise is designed to increase tension with China with the inclusion of Japanese forces in the mix.

We call for an immediate cancellation of the exercise for the good of the Reef and this society.

We will hold an anti-Talisman Sabre demonstration outside the Defence Plaza Pitt St on Monday July 6 at 12 noon.

For more information

 

 

 

National Conference for July 2015

IPAN Public Forum advertIPAN National Conference advert

 

IPAN, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, aims to provide a national network of all the groups in Australia with a common interest in peace.

It has organised the events detailed below, which will take place in Brisbane, at about the same time that the Talisman Sabre military exercises begin a bit further north.

Note the excellent panel of speakers assembled to address the forum on July 8.

 

If peace groups are, collectively, going to have an impact on events, it is necessary for each group to think about how it can contribute to the main objective – of securing an independent and peaceful nation. With that in mind, having a voice within IPAN might be worthy of serious consideration.

 

To have a voice within IPAN, groups are asked to ‘affiliate’.

 

A constitution for IPAN will be presented for ratification at the conference.

 

The first step is to make sure that as many groups as possible are present at the conference.

 

Please think seriously about coming up to Brisbane!

Please distribute this message widely!

 

Nick Deane

IPAN-NSW media on Australia’s involvement in war in Iraq

 

October 3, 2014

 

The NSW branch of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN-NSW) condemns the PM’s announcement of renewed Australian participation in the Middle East and warns that military intervention is doomed to fail.

 

Spokesperson for IPAN-NSW, Mr Nick Deane, said –

“The policy of military intervention in the Middle East has a proven track record of failure. After 13 years, it has only served to harden the resolve of fanatics.”

“What is more, the growing US military presence in Australia has weakened our capacity to make independent decisions about going to war. The Force Posture Agreement made last August signified the lasting presence of US marines and the integration of Australian forces into the American attack formation.”

“We are now less free than ever to choose whether or not to be implicated in whatever military misadventure the USA decides to pursue.”

 

According to Mr Deane, the decision to send Australia to war again has had too much influence from the USA and not enough from the Australian Parliament. He said –

“RAAF assets were pre-positioned in Saudi Arabia nearly three weeks ago – that’s time during which parliament could have publicly debated the pros and cons of our participation in the spreading conflict. Non-violent responses to ISIS were not given proper consideration before Australia resorted to going back to waging war. It is clear that the decision had more influence from the USA and less from the parliament than most Australians would think appropriate.”

 

“The decision to go to war is so serious as to require the broadest possible participation. Here in Australia we’ve made a habit of tightening the circle of decision-making, giving too much authority to the National Security Committee of Cabinet. This has given disproportionate influence to our American allies.”

 

“Just as millions protested the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we can expect the Australian people to express their outrage at more bombing. The cost will run in many millions of dollars that should have been spent on health, housing, education etc. at home.”

 

Nick Deane

 

Stop Anti-Muslim Feelings

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Australian Anti-Bases Coalition, one of the largest peace organisations in Australia, I send all the members of your mosque warmest greetings on the occasion of your Eid-al-Adha festival.

We are ashamed and concerned by recent attacks on Muslims, especially Muslim women, and express our opposition to racism and our support for all members of our community, regardless of their religion or country of origin.

With every best wishes

 

Denis Doherty

F35 decision: expensive, risky, irresponsible

F35 decision: expensive, risky, irresponsible

 

We condemn the decision to buy 58 F35 jets at $12 billion as profligate spending by a government which, despite its election promises, is about to cut funding for health, education, renewable energy programs, pensioners, the ABC and the CSIRO. The decision makes a mockery of Hockey’s claim of “no more age of entitlement”. Now add ‘except for the military and Lockheed Martin’.

Denis Doherty from the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) said: “The government is spending at least $26 billion on buying the planes, maintaining them and building new facilities for them.

“Some commentators estimate that with the two planes already purchased, 12 on order and the 24 which may come later, Australian taxpayers will be up for well over $50 billion.

“The F35s have been shunned by other countries because of their flaws, delays and cost over runs,” Denis Doherty said.

A Pentagon military spokesman has commented that the F35s have parts breaking and falling off “way too regularly” and that the software is “a risky, risky business”.

“The public has never been told why we need these planes,” Mr Doherty said.

“Australia’s main security challenge is climate change, not military attack.

“A F35 taking off from a warship uses about as much fuel as a motorist does in two years.

“How can this be called ‘defence’ of Australia and our region? In fact it will contribute to more cyclones and floods and increase insecurity and arms sales in the region.

“We will continue to campaign to reverse this irresponsible decision by every means at our disposal.”

 

For more information Denis Doherty 0418 290 663