Cross-posted at: www.girightslawyer.com
This letter was written a few minutes before Afghan war resister Travis Bishop was shackeled and taken away after his court-martial at Fort Hood.
To everyone who still cares:
I can not say that a year in prison doesn’t scare me: I am terrified. I just cried in the bathroom so no one could see.
But still, though I am terrified, it would be scarier still to know that my fellow soldiers who feel as we feel would never find out what we are trying to accomplish had I not gone to prison.
Everyone who hears or reads this should know that I love you all, and my life is forever changed because of you.
Victor and myself are starting something big . . . and it is now up to all of you to continue on.
With all of my heart,
Travis Bishop faces up to one year in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan
Local activists plan to show support at his trial and at the gates of Fort Hood
Contact: James Branum, 405-476-5620 or 1-866-933-2769
Cynthia Thomas, 254-768-8300
BACKGROUND: The trial of conscientious objector and combat veteran Sergeant Travis Bishop will be starting on Thursday, August 12, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.
SGT Bishop is facing charges for missing movement, AWOL (absence without leave), and disobeying orders, because of his decision to not deploy with his unit to Afghanistan.
Bishop had been struggling with questions of conscience since his first deployment to Iraq, but never seriously considered refusing to deploy until he saw another soldier in his unit, Victor Agosto, refuse to deploy. SGT Bishop then did research and found out that he was in fact a concscientious objector. Unfortunately, he did not know that it was possible to file for conscientious objector status in the military until only days before his scheduled deployment.
Due to the short time remaining before his deployment, SGT Bishop left his unit and remained away for about a week, which he used to draft his conscientious objector application. SGT Bishop’s CO claims are rooted firmly in his Christian faith and his growing belief in the non-violent teachings of Jesus Christ.
Since returning, SGT Bishop has begun the process of seeking CO status, however his unit decided to simultaneously prosecute him for his “crimes” of conscience. If convicted in this special court-martial, SGT Bishop could face up to one year in military prison, a Bad Conduct Discharge, loss of pay and reduction to the lowest rank.
Trial Information for Spectators: Supporters of SGT Bishop are encouraged to attend the public trial. It will be held on Fort Hood (contact us for directions to the courtroom). The first day will start at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, with the second day starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. Spectators are reminded to not bring any cameras, recording devises and signs into the courtroom, and to conduct themselves with dignity during the proceedings. Also be sure and arrive early as you will need to get a pass to enter base (except from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.).
Trial Information for Press: Press planning to attend the trial are required to contact the Ft. Hood Public Affairs Office.
Post-Trial Demonstration Plans: If SGT Bishop is found guilty, a solidarity vigil/demonstration will be held at the East Gate of Fort Hood starting at 7 p.m. on Friday. Participants are welcome to bring signs but are asked to leave all weapons and illegal drugs at home. We are committed to providing a non-violent witness on Travis’ behalf.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Donate to support other soldiers like Travis by giving to the Under the Hood GI Coffee house
Reprinted from: GIRightsLawyer.com
Statement written by Victor Agosto
to be read at tonight’s protest at the East Gate of Fort Hood
Thank you for being here this evening.
I have learned that nothing is more frightening to power than a direct and principled challenge to its authority. The truth is on our side and those who have incarcerated me know it. This is something that no amount of pro-war propaganda can change.
My only regret is that I did not begin refusing orders sooner. My only apologies are to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope that someday they can forgive me for my contributions to their distress.
Thank you for coming here to protest my incarceration. I am humbled by your demands for even greater concessions by the United States Army. I am completely content to spend a month in jail for the sake of my conscience. But it seems that reducing my sentence from a year in jail to thirty days in jail is just not enough for you people. This dedication to justice is something that draws me to people in the peace movement.
I look forward to continuing to work with you, the Texas peace community, to bring about the end of these horrendous occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. I thank you for making me feel that I can comfortably call Texas my home, something that seemed unimaginable three and a half years ago when I first arrived at Fort Hood. You have treated me with a compassion and kindness that I do not deserve. Your dedication to the cause inspires me to continue struggling for world peace.
– Victor Agosto
Reprinted from: GIRightsLawyer.com
SOLDIER OF CONSCIENCE TO BE COURT-MARTIALED
SPC VICTOR AGOSTO REFUSES DEPLOYMENT
AND FACES INCARCERATION FROM ARMY
- CONTACTS: James M. Branum 405-476-5620 or 866-933-2769
- Cynthia Thomas 254-768-8300
SPC Victor Agosto, a Soldier stationed with 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 69th Air Defense Artillery, Rear Detachment, is scheduled for court-martial on Aug.. 5 at Ft. Hood, TX. A victim of the highly unpopular stop/loss policy, SPC Agosto, whose contract was over at the end of June, was told that his next assignment would be deployment to Afghanistan. At the end of April, with support of local residents, Agosto went public with his intent to refuse the orders to Afghanistan, on the basis of the occupation being “immoral and unjust.”
Instead of going ‘underground’ and trying to escape punishment from the Army, Agosto chose to remain at Ft. Hood as a tangible symbol of GI resistance. Refusing all orders that directly support the war, he has found himself in an overwhelming struggle to maintain his honor and position. His court-martial will culminate with the sentencing portion of the trial, at which, it is believed that the Army will enforce the highest form of sentencing it can impose.
SPC Agosto’s attempt to raise awareness and support has not fallen on deaf ears, even in a military community; he has found supporters and friends who are willing to help. As the unit serves overseas, he continues to voice his dissent for an “unjust” war. There will be demonstrators present the day of his arraignment, located off-post due to military regulations concerning demonstrations on military posts.
SPC Agosto’s attorney, James Branum will be available for interviews and to read a public statement by Victor.
Wednesday, August 5
7:00 to 8:30 pm Demonstration for awareness and outreach to Soldiers at Ft. Hood, East gate
To read more about Victor Agosto go to