Archive for August, 2007

Vermont ACLU: ‘Know your rights on recruiters’

August 24, 2007

From the Times Argus:

As a new school year begins, we’d like to remind parents of their right to control the release of student information to military recruiters, colleges and others.

So-called “student directory information,” which includes things such as name, age and extracurricular activities, can be made publicly available under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) unless parents choose to “opt out” and withhold the disclosure of their child’s information.

Military recruiters may also obtain the names and contact information of high school students.

However, last year the Vermont Legislature passed a law that gives families separate “opt-out” rights. A family may tell a school it doesn’t want recruiters to get their student’s information, but it’s OK if others — such as colleges — do.

Before this Vermont law was passed, some schools told families “opting out” was an all-or-nothing proposition. You couldn’t say “no” to recruiters but “yes” to others. This is no longer the case. Schools must notify parents of their separate opt-out rights.

To exercise an opt-out right, a simple letter to the school principal or guidance counselor will do. Or, families can download an opt-out form from the ACLU Web site (www.acluvt.org) and submit that to the school.

The ACLU would like to know of schools that do not provide notice of these separate opt-out rights. We can be contacted at info@acluvt.org.

It’s important that students be aware of the range of opportunities available to them. But it’s also important that they be able to explore opportunities on their own terms, with their rights to privacy protected.

Allen Gilbert

Executive director

ACLU of Vermont

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Boston: 68-year-old suspected of leaving fake bombs at military recruitment stations

August 23, 2007

From the Boston Globe: 

STAMFORD, Conn. —A city man was arrested Tuesday on charges that he twice left a fake bomb package at a military recruitment office, police said.

Francis Monaghan, 68, was charged with two counts of first-degree breach of peace, a felony, and two counts of reckless endangerment, said Lt. Sean Cooney.

“He made certain incriminating statements,” Cooney said. “He did express some anti-war feelings. We think that was at least partially his motivation.”

Monaghan was being held on $100,000 bond.

An envelope slipped into the recruiting station mailbox on Bedford Street Monday morning contained batteries and other “bomb-making components,” Cooney said.

The package was nearly identical to an envelope left at the same U.S. Army/U.S. Air Force station last months, police said.

Both bore “unusual writing” and were placed in the station’s mailbox, Cooney said.

Pittsburgh: School board enacts policy limiting recruiters

August 23, 2007

The phone number for author of this story, Bill Zlatos, is listed at the end.  Consider calling him to ask why no student, parent or member of a peace group is quoted in this article.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

After a monthlong battle, the city school board adopted a policy Wednesday night that restricts military and other recruiters in schools.

In response to complaints about military recruiters by parents and peace groups, the board voted 8-1 to adopt five guidelines that take effect this school year, with school board member Mark Brentley dissenting.

The new rules do the following:

* Require recruiters to register with the principal or an administrator upon arrival.

* Require a district employee to escort recruiters around a school unless they can show proof of having state and federal clearances or a statement from their employer that they have such clearances.

* Prohibit them from sponsoring contests, drawings, lotteries or from exchanging gifts unless they are of scholarships or are of minimal value.

* Ban them from using exhibits that violate the district’s weapons policy or using video games that depict weapons or violence.

* Limit them to meeting students in areas designated by the principal.

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Florida: District policy limits high-school access for recruiters

August 23, 2007

It’s neat that the the school district, prompted by a counter-recruiting group, took the initiative on this. From News-Press.com:

Military recruiters will be relegated to high school career centers, and then they can only show up by appointment.

It’s a marked change in school policy from last year, when some high schools allowed military recruiters wide latitude in reaching out to students. At some schools, recruiters were allowed to set up tables in the cafeteria during lunch. Others limited access to the career center.

“Every school was doing things differently,” said Herbert Wiseman, the Lee County School District’s director of middle and high school operations. “The superintendent thought we needed to get everybody on the same sheet of music and develop a process document that everyone could follow.”

The new policy also covers recruiters for colleges and universities, employers and groups opposed to military recruiting, such as the Wage Peace Project.

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Washington: 19-year-old who slashed 42 recruiter tires charged with felony

August 21, 2007

The sad thing here is that he should have been more careful. Might have avoided being caught and the threat of up to ten years of prison time. Note to activists: direct action can be really effective. Do it in an organized and non-alcohol-influenced way, like these folks did.

From the Kitsap Sun:

The 19-year-old Bremerton man who slashed 42 government tires in retaliation of the Iraq war was charged with a Class B felony Monday in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Jason C. Chavez, currently a student at a Colorado college, was charged with first degree malicious mischief for causing more than $4,200 worth of damage to 13 government service vehicles that were parked in front of the U.S. Army recruiting business in Silverdale.

Vandalism to military recruiting offices and equipment is not uncommon, but Lt. Col. Kenneth Swanson, Seattle Army Recruiting Battalion Commander, said he was surprised by the magnitude of Chavez’s destruction.

“That’s not a protest, that’s an act of anarchy,” he said. “I hope Mr. Chavez gets his justice due under the Constitution that is protected by the U.S. Army.”

Just after midnight on July 29 Chavez was seen slashing tires in the parking lot along the 2800 block of Bucklin Hill Road. Witnesses called 911 to report a man dressed in black was slashing tires in front of the Army recruiting office with a knife.

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High-tech Army advertising blitz tops $200 million this year

August 21, 2007

armystrong_4c_pos_300x.jpgFrom PRWatch.org:

“Army Strong, as the Army’s latest recruiting campaign is called … has a definite emphasis on electronic communications, from opportunities to chat live on the Web site with soldiers … to interactive sections showing what boot camp is like, the different specialties the Army trains people for, and more,” writes PR Week. Army podcast subjects range from soldiers’ experiences to “the latest results for the Army’s NASCAR team.” The $200 million-per-year campaign is led by McCann-Erickson, along with other Interpublic Group agencies. Army outreach to Hispanic communities is handled by Weber Shandwick, and to African Americans by Carol H. Williams. The Army’s racially-targeted outreach includes Spanish-language ads, “participating in Hispanic- or African-American-focused trade association conventions or job fairs,” and “awarding research contracts to historically black colleges and universities.” Meanwhile, the U.S.-led Multi-National Force-Iraq is seeking a new PR firm, for “rapid reaction information operations support” to encourage Iraqis “to support their fledgling government,” reports O’Dwyer’s PR Daily. The U.S. government is also “reviewing proposals for a multimillion-dollar PR blitz for its electricity sector rebuilding” in Iraq. Both searches are being conducted via non-public websites, as information about the Iraq PR contracts has been deemed “sensitive.”

Open letter: the Dream Act’s ‘military option’

August 21, 2007

An open letter to Latino and Latina students and all leaders of immigrant rights organizations from founder/director of the Guerrero Azteca Peace Project.

From People’s Weekly World:

In the wake of the failed immigration reform, passionate discussions have arisen among various organizations both for and against the DREAM Act.

It gives me great joy to see students taking nonviolent action to find a solution to the immigration question. Many of them came to the United States as children and have finished their high school education. Now, because they lack legal documents, they face an uncertain future that may deny them the opportunity to attend college or find a decent job. The DREAM Act offers them a light at the end of an otherwise dark and uncertain road.

I see students on fasts, in marches, lobbying elected officials, all in the name of the DREAM Act’s passage. But beware. Be very careful. Because our honorable youth with their dreams and wishes to serve their new country are being tricked and manipulated in an immoral and criminal way.

Why do I say this? Simply put, the DREAM Act proposes two years of college as a pathway to permanent residency, but it also includes a second option linked to the so-called war on terror — “two years of military service.” Our young people may not see that this is a covert draft in which thousands of youth from Latino families will be sent to Iraq or some other war-torn nation, where they will have to surrender their moral values and become war criminals or perhaps return home in black bags on their way to a tomb drenched with their parents’ tears.

How many of our youth can afford college? How many will be able to take the educational option? Unfortunately very few, because the existing system locks out the children of working families with high tuition and inflated admissions criteria. Most will be forced to take the military option to get their green card. But what good is a green card to a dead person? What good is a green card to a young person severely wounded in mind and body?

I ask our undocumented youth to read the following passages regarding the plans of the Pentagon and the Bush administration:

In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 10, 2006, Under Secretary of Defense David Chu said: “According to an April 2006 study from the National Immigration Law Center, there are an estimated 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented alien young adults who entered the U.S. at an early age and graduate from high school each year, many of whom are bright, energetic and potentially interested in military service. … Provisions of S 2611, such as the DREAM Act, would provide these young people the opportunity of serving the United States in uniform.”

More recently, Lt. Col. Margaret Stock of the U.S. Army Reserve, a faculty member at West Point, told a reporter that the DREAM Act could help recruiters meet their goals by providing a “highly qualified cohort of young people” without the unknown personal details that would accompany foreign recruits. “They are already going to come vetted by Homeland Security. They will already have graduated from high school,” she said. “They are prime candidates.” (Citations from research by Prof. Jorge Mariscal, UC San Diego.)

As you can see, our undocumented youth are being targeted by military recruiters. And equally important is something that few people have mentioned — there is no such thing as a two-year military contract. Every enlistment is a total of eight years.

Given these facts, I invite all young people who are filled with hope and dreams and energy to fight for human rights and for a fair pathway to legalization. But they must also demand that the military option of the DREAM Act be replaced by a community service option (as appeared in earlier drafts of the legislation) so that community service or college become the two pathways to permanent residency. Only then will they avoid becoming victimized by a criminal war as my son Jesús Alberto did when he died on March 27, 2003, after stepping on an illegal U.S. cluster bomb. Through education or community service our undocumented youth can contribute to their communities, and their future will be filled with peace and justice.

Montana: Parents call on school board to reign in recruiters

August 20, 2007

Gotta love the headline, “Community fires first shot against military recruiters in schools.” From the Sandy Post:

Members of the Oregon Trail School Board heard testimony from two Sandy residents who oppose military recruiters in schools at the district’s Monday, Aug. 13, board meeting.

Peter Wylie and Patty Caldwell called for the board to possibly ban military recruiters, offer an opt-out form to prevent recruiters from acquiring student information and provide equal access to counter-recruitment information.

“We need to put the opt-out form in the hands of every student and mail an opt-out form to every family in the district,” Wylie said. “Or you could just not let recruiters into the high school at all. In times like these we don’t need our children to be sucked into a war by military recruiters.”

The board is expected to revisit the issue at a future meeting and possibly form a policy concerning military recruiters. The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at the City Council chambers at City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd.

Georgia: Peace Action Team, new faith-based counter-recruitment group

August 20, 2007

Playing catch-up here with some of this news. From the Americus Times-Recorder:

A newly formed group, Peace Action Team (PAT) holds a forum from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lake Blackshear Regional Library to discuss military recruitment in the area high schools. The event is free and open to the public; high school students and parents are encouraged to attend.

PAT is a group of concerned Christians who have come together in Americus to explore and implement ways of equality, peace and justice for all.

The forum will be facilitated by Christina Repoley, peace education coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The local PAT is collaborating with AFSC to develop ways to inform high school students and parents about the degree of access military recruiters have in the public schools and the methods often employed to entice students to enlist. The forum will also help equip those interested in working with the public schools and young people to counter military recruitment and find viable alternatives to military service.

A 20-minute video — “Before You Enlist!” — will be screened at the forum that documents the risks and misconceptions of military life, explores conscientious objection, selective service registration and U.S. militarism around the world.

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London: Students protest military recruitment

August 20, 2007

From Tiscali News:

britainprotest2.jpg

Caption: “LONDON – ‘School Students Against War’ demonstrate against the military recruitment of people under the age of 18 that they claim is occurring in UK schools outside the office of marketing consultants ‘Kids Connection’ on Parkway on August 2, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Rosie Greenway/Getty Images)”