ABC: Veterans return medals during protest

This report from ABC local news in Chicago features Ash Woodson, a Wisconsin veteran who took part in a ceremony organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War in which Iraq and Afghanistan vets threw their war medals in the direction of the NATO leaders meeting in McCormick Place in Chicago.

Democracy Now: U.S. Vets Return War Medals at NATO Summit

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returned their war medals to NATO on Sunday, at the conclusion of a mass march through Chicago's downtown that took the marchers to the security perimeter surrounding the NATO summit at McCormick Place. One by one, the veterans explained why they were returning their medals, dedicating their action to "my brothers and sisters affected with traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder," "the 33,000 civilians who have died in Afghanistan that won’t have a monument built for them," "the one-third of the women in the military that are sexually assaulted by their peers," "Private First Class Bradley Manning, who sacrificed everything to show us the truth about these wars," and "the children of Iraq that no longer have fathers and mothers." Read more... Photo: Navy vet Todd Dennis of Madison throws back his Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Photo by David Soumis.

Chicago Tribune: NATO protest takes aim at wars and other issues

Tens of thousands of people came to Chicago on Sunday to protest the annual meeting of NATO, joining in a mass march through downtown that ended in a ceremony just blocks from where NATO officials were meeting. Iraq and Afghanistan vets returned medals they had been awarded in both wars, throwing the medals in the direction of McCormick place, the site of the NATO conference. Ash Woolson, a former sergeant in the Wisconsin National Guard who served in Iraq, took part in the medal turn-in protest. "We don't want to be carrying the burden of the blood that has stained these medals any longer," said Woolson, 30, who now teaches photography at the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin. Lillian Moats, who came from her home in Downers Grove to join the march said, "If we weren't spending such outrageous amounts on war, we'd have money for human needs. It seems like our country's priorities are upside down." Read more... (Photo by Madison Capitol Protesters)

Chicago Examiner: Episcopal church to host NATO protesters

WNPJ member group Grassroutes Caravan was featured in a report by the Chicago Examiner about the decision by Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago to offer NATO protestors camping space on its property the weekend of the NATO summit, May 19th and 20th. Trinity is the religious congregation closest to McCormick Place, where the NATO summit will take place, and Grassroutes Caravan is the " the first group of protestors to takeTrinity up on their offer." Grassroutes Caravan's "Mobile village of resilience" comprising up to 50 cyclists leaves Madison on May 13th and will arrive in Chicago on May 18th. Along their route, the caravan intends to "engage with locals as we ride, providing our "people power" by volunteering in community gardens, helping out with ecological restoration projects and otherwise giving back to those who would host our tent village on their land." (photo: Chicago Tribune) Read more...

Ride and Party with the Grassroutes Caravan!

Join the Grassroutes Caravan for a fundraiser and kickoff on Saturday, May 5, 11 AM-Midnight at the Evolution Arts Collective (202 S Dickenson St.). Workshops, music, games, a silent auction... it will be loads of fun for a good cause, to help the Cycles of Revolution: ¡Brake the Banks! Ride get to Chicago in time for the May 20th NATO protest. There is still room for you to join the ride! Rider applications are due on May 5 as well, so go to the Grassroutes Caravan website to fill one out. The ride leaves Madison May 13 and will stay in Milwaukee for a day, then head south (you can join the ride en route if you can't make it for the whole week). Contact for more info!

Gearing Up to Protest NATO

NATO, the US-sponsored coalition that brought you the war in Afghanistan, will be holding a major conference on May 20 in Chicago. Tens of thousands of peace-loving people from all over the country and the world will converge on Chicago for the mass march and rally calling for an end to NATO's wars. WNPJ will be taking a bus down to the protest on May 20; Click here for details on the WNPJ bus. Peace Action Wisconsin also has buses from Milwaukee, and National Nurses United is sponsoring a free bus from Madison on Friday the 18thThe Voices for Creative Nonviolence Walkers left from Madison on 5/3 (see photo below). A full schedule of events happening in Chicago this week is available from the Occupied Chicago Tribune. If you can't make it to the protest yourself but want to support those who can, you can also donate to sponsor a low-income bus rider using the paypal button on this page.

Vietnamese diplomats pay tribute to Dr. Judith Ladinsky

VietNamNet reports:

A delegation of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US, led by Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong, paid tribute to the late Dr. Judith Ladinsky (pictured)  in Madison on Sunday. Dr. Ladinsky, a WNPJ Peacemaker of the Year in 2011, died in January at age 73.   Ambassador Cuong expressed his condolences to Ladinsky’s family and thanked for her enduring support for the Vietnamese people, especially when Vietnam was under the US embargo. As Chair of the US Committee for Medical Cooperation with Vietnam since 1980, Ladinsky brought scientists from both countries together, which laid the foundation for bilateral cooperation in health care, agriculture, education and social sciences.

Say "No!" to long-term bases in Afghanistan

The NATO meeting planned for Chicago in May has taken on even greater importance, now that the Obama administration has announced plans to sign a "Strategic Partnership agreement" with Afghan President Karzai at the summit, giving the U.S. the right to station tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan indefinitely. President Obama has talked about 2014 as the year when the Afghan military would take the lead in all military operations as U.S. troops withdraw, but the agreement planned for Chicago would enable the U.S. to keep troops -- by some estimates, more than 20,000 troops -- in Afghanistan far past the 2014 date, while allowing the U.S. to maintain multiple bases in Afghanistan for years to come.
Take Action: Help send a clear message that we do not consent to long-term bases in Afghanistan and a never-ending U.S. occupation of that country. On May 20th, a large, permitted march will make its way from Daley Plaza in the heart of Chicago's downtown, to McCormick Place, the site of the NATO summit. The marchers will be voicing a view held by more than 70% of Americans, that it's time for us to leave Afghanistan. 1) WNPJ is chartering buses from Madison to Chicago leaving the morning of May 20th and returning the same day, 2) Voices for Creative Nonviolence is organizing a Peace Walk from Madison to Chicago, leaving Madison on May 2nd and arriving in Chicago in time for the May 20th protest 3) Brake the Banks! Cycles of Revolution is planning a "mobile village" of bike riders, leaving Madison on Sunday, May 13th and also arriving in Chicago in time for the May 20th protest.

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