Ann Wright bio plus

Ann Wright

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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]

Peace groups welcome Australia’s rejection of US request for more military commitment in Middle East

Media Release

1/14/2016

syria bombing pcard canada final1The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign welcomes the Turnbull Government’s rejection of the US request for more troops to fight Islamic State (IS), maintaining that Australia is already sending enough troops and military equipment.

“However, we condemn the Australian Government for maintaining its forces in a pointless conflict and supporting destabilizing the Middle East and Syria in particular,” AABCC spokesman Denis Doherty said. “These policies have contributed to increasing violence and the spawning of IS and other fundamentalists terrorist groups.

“We condemn former Defence Minister Andrews for his intemperate comments about the need to send Australian ground troops.

 

“Australian bombing will create more deaths and misery, more refugees and more terrorists,” Mr Doherty said.

 

“Bombing Syria is not in our country’s interests. It will cost millions of dollars and will risk our country’s security. We ask, where is the support for a negotiated settlement in Syria?

 

“We reiterate that the new Canadian Government has decided to stop its bombing of Syria and to use the money saved to help refugees.  We ask simply, why can’t you do the same?”

Demo organised by IPAN and Anti-Bases – Stop the bombing

Protesting the use of Australian forces to bomb Syria.  Demo Sept 21

 

BOMBING SYRIA WON’T WORK
It means more death and destruction, more refugees,
ISIS flourishing

 

Sydney peace activists will this afternoon picket the DefencePlaza in Pitt Street to express their anger that Australia has joined the US in bombing targets in Syria.

 

“We are here today because September 21 is International Peace Day,” Denis Doherty from the Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition said.

 

“Bombing targets within Syria is a major escalation of Australia’s military commitment,

 

“It will undoubtedly add to the chaos and suffering in Syria.

 

“It will mean the deaths of more civilians and probably increase in the numbers of refugees desperate to leave the region,” he continued.

 

“Intervention hasn’t worked and 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?

 

“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,” Denis Doherty said.

 

“Many respected observers attribute the growth of fundamentalist militarism to the large scale Western interventions in the Middle East over the past few decades.

 

“We hope that the new Turnbull Government will realise that increased military activity adds fuel to the fire that is ISIS and worsens the refugee crisis the world is facing.

 

“Its time to end the government’s policy of engaging in military action whenever it suits the interests of the USA. Military power does not and cannot solve international problems,” Denis Doherty concluded.

 

PROTEST PICKET
STOP BOMBING SYRIA

DefencePlaza

270 Pitt StreetSydney

4.30-6.30pm

 

For further comment, please contact Denis Doherty on 0418 290 663

Visit our websites: www.anti-bases.org, www.ipan-nsw.org

Facebook: ozantibases

NO TO THE BOMBING OF SYRIA AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PM

Alarmed by the rush to war by the Prime Minister and the Opposition we have put together an open letter to the PM

please use this letter to either copy or to inspire you to make a better letter to the PM but do it quickly.

 

August 31 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

Do not allow Australian forces to bomb Syria

 

We urge you not to extend the bombing by Australian forces to Syria on the grounds of a common humanity which abhors indiscriminate bombing of civilians and armed militias.  There is no moral reason for such bombing and all it will achieve is the intensification of the misery of the Syrian people.  Your recent simple sentence “they (ISIS) do not respect borders so why should we?” smacks of primary school boy morality and not the mature response of a national leader and statesman.

 

Beyond the issue of morality, there are real hard nosed reasons why you should not bomb Syria.

  1. It would be an extension of armed military excursions into a sovereign state which are illegal under international conventions.  We could find ourselves prosecuted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  We are signatories to that court but the US is not.
  2. We will put ourselves at odds with our near neighbours Indonesia and Malaysia which are predominantly Muslim countries while we appear to be anti-Muslim or Islamaphobic.  They may retaliate by trade sanctions or non compliance on regional issues with Australia and so on.  We are being belligerent against our own interests.
  3. It will undermine our international reputation for fairness and humanity which at some time has been as high as Norway’s reputation for peace building and humanity.
  4. Your government found half a billion dollars for the bombing of Iraq at a time when the Australian people were told to pull their belts in because there was no money left for necessary programs – “always money for war, never for bread:. Any deployment to Syria would also be massively costly in terms of treasure and putting Australian lives in harm’s way.  We paid the last of the WW1 widows in 2010. We were still paying for that war nearly 100 years after it finished and now we will be paying the Middle East casualties for many decades to come.
  5. ISIS has had some tacit and in come cases active support from states including the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey. Now we find ourselves mixed up in their sectarian and conflicting national interests. There will be no benefit to Australia, only pain.
  6. US interventions in Iraq starting many decades ago that saw the rise of Saddam Hussein to the present have failed. We see a country in chaos and ruins. This history should lead an astute leader to be cautious about accepting a request from them to participate in the war on Syria.  We call on you to be more a statesman and less subservient to another country’s interests.
  7. As noted by Malcolm Fraser, former Liberal Prime Minister and Minister for the Army during the Vietnam War, the big empires we have aligned ourselves with – Britain and the United States — have lied to us to get us into their wars. This is another example. We call on you to be an independent Prime Minister looking after the interests of the Australian people, not those of US corporations.

 

Finally we wish to point out what you could do about the influence of IS and Syria.

  1. In relation to IS, Islamic communities in Australia have been calling out for funding for counter extremism education programs yet this money has not arrived.  Instead major funding has gone to invade the privacy of Australian citizens and on the police and secret services.  Community education and the promotion of tolerance would be more effective than bombing IS in Syria..
  2. Act as an honest broker in the Middle East.  Close the borders to all foreign fighters regardless of side and stop all arms shipments to Syria.  Work with the US, Russia and China to resolve the issues in Syria diplomatically rather than making them worse by joining the US bombardment.  Look for countries in the UN who will sponsor a ceasefire.  Call for peace.  Call for an end to flow of Syrian refugees too many of whom are dying as they flee towards Europe or Australia.

We call on you to be statesman not a warmonger who will bring more terrorism down on our shoulders.  Say no to the bombing of Syria.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denis Doherty

For the Anti-Bases Campaign

 

 

cc: The Hon Warren Truss MP, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, The Hon Joe Hockey MP, The Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, The Hon. Bill Shorten,
The Hon. Tanya Plibersek

 

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