Paradise – American Made

The vision – renovating half of the motel units to be used as for-profit units. This profit, along with the profit generated by restaurant business would be turned back into the veterans’ project, making it possible to develop similar properties in other areas of the country. The remaining rooms would see several renovated to become living quarters for those veterans who choose to stay with us indefinitely as counselors for others, as trainers, and as staff. The balance of rooms are to be used for temporary housing for veterans who choose to apprentice at the property for 3 to 6 months learning a new trade (motel management, maintenance, restaurant management, cooking, computer skills, landscaping, mechanics, horticulture, and any others that develop along the way.) The veterans would operate the restaurant, the service station, and the motel, caring for the property under our supervision and that of counselors and a motel manager who have already committed to assist us. It would become their work, their effort and their pride.

Source: Kevin and Monica Benderman, BendermansBridge, American Made

Hinzman and Hughey

Two U.S. Army deserters who lost a Federal Court of Appeal hearing in their bid to stay in Canada haven’t lost hope and will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, their lawyer says.

“This is not a setback that will dissuade us,” solicitor Jeffry House said of last week’s appeal court ruling.

Still, his clients Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey “are very disappointed,” the court didn’t conclude they should have refugee status.

Source: U.S. deserters plan Supreme Court bid. 2 soldiers who fled to Canada denied refugee status. May 08, 2007 04:30 AM. Leslie Ferenc, Staff Reporter. Toronto Star

Ehren Watada

SEATTLE — A second court-martial is scheduled to begin July 16 for an Army lieutenant who refused to go to Iraq with his Fort Lewis-based Stryker brigade and spoke out against the Bush administration.

The first military trial for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada ended in mistrial after three days when the judge said he didn’t believe Watada fully understood a pretrial agreement he’d signed and that would have cut his sentence to four years.

Source: Army lieutenant’s second court-martial set for July. Melanthia Mitchell, Associated Press, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Feb 28, 2007. Archived at Thank You Lt Watada.

Gold Star Families for Peace

They call themselves Gold Star Families for Peace. Organized less than two months ago, it is part support group and part activist organization, with members united by grief and the belief that their loved ones died in a war that did not have to happen. They represent a small percentage of the families that have lost someone in Iraq — 50 families out of more than 1,450.

Source: February 22nd, 2005 4:15 pm. For Some, a Loss in Iraq Turns Into Antiwar Activism; Gold Star Families Band Together to ‘Make People Care.’ By Evelyn Nieves / Washington Post. Archived at

Cindy Sheehan


November 4, 2004

Dear George,

You don’t mind if I call you George do you? When you sent me a letter offering your condolences on the death of my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, in the illegal and unjust war on Iraq, you called me Cindy, so I naturally assume we are on a first name basis.

George, it has been seven months today since your reckless and wanton foreign policies killed my son, my big boy, my hero, my best-friend: Casey. It has been seven months since your ignorant and arrogant lack of planning for the peace murdered my oldest child. It has been two days since your dishonest campaign stole another election…but you all were way more subtle this time than in 2000, weren’t you? You hardly had to get the Supreme Court of the United States involved at all this week.

Source: Casey’s Peace Page

Camilo Mejia

FORT STEWART – While Army Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia faced his desertion court-martial this past week at Fort Stewart, his mother, Maritza Castillo, stood vigil for two nights in front of the base with about two dozen family members and friends.

She planted herself outside the main gates, holding up a sign expressing how she felt: “Follow your conscience and give peace a chance.”

Source: Mother and soldier son follow their conscience. Even in jail – “I will never abandon him.” Lewis Levine. For Savannah Morning News. Web posted Saturday, May 22, 2004.

Kathy Kelly

I was routinely cleaning toilets in my dorm at Pekin Federal Prison Camp when the loudspeaker summoned me to the Administration Building. “You’re going next door,” said the guard on duty. “Someone wants to talk with you.” During a five-minute ride to the adjacent medium-security men’s prison, I quickly organized some thoughts about civil disobedience and prison terms, expecting to meet a journalist. Instead, two well-dressed men stood to greet me and then flashed their FBI badges. They had driven to Pekin, Ill., from Chicago, where they work for the FBI’s National Security Service.

Source: A Visit from the FBI: A Change Gonna Come. CounterPunch (May 20, 2004)