3 new videos
PSU - Agustin Aguay and wife
speak at a discussion in
Portland Oregon on July 9 2007
Chants and Speech at Recruiter Center
March and Rally Resist the War - Courage to Resist
PORTLAND MARCH AND SPEECH'S July9 2007 Portland Or
The follow is from a post on Portland Indy Media
Agustin Aguayo Indy
Fighting for peace and saving lives, not for war and killing
author: Bette Lee
Aguayo is a real hero because he refused to fight and kill when he was stationed
in Iraq. During the entire year that he was in Iraq, he refused to load his weapon, even though his decision placed him in
grave danger. The military responded to his CO application by court-martialing him and throwing him in the brig. His compelling
story is an inspiration to anti-war activists and war resistors in the military.
Agustin Aguayo is a true hero because he followed his conscience and fought for peace and saving lives,
instead of war and killing. During his entire year in Iraq, he refused to load his weapon, even though his decision placed
him in grave danger.
Aguayo, an immigrant from Mexico, enlisted in the US military in 2002 when he was 30 years old, believing
that he would do positive things for his country. He was recently in Portland on a speaking tour. Supported by his wife Helga
and their 12-year old twins Raquel and Rebecca, he told his compelling story to a well-attended forum at PSU on July 11, sponsored
by Students United for Non-Violence, PDX Peace Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Intl. Socialist Organization, Education Without
Borders, and others.
He said, "As an immigrant, it was very important to show my patriotism...and my way to give back."
He described himself as being apolitical and naive at that time. He trusted what the government told him about the war in
Iraq. By serving as a medic in Iraq, he believed at first that he would be helping people, not harming them.
a year in Iraq, he realized that he didn't help anyone. He was appalled at how the US army dehumanized the Iraqis. He experienced
first-hand the killings and injuries of the Iraqis and US soldiers. He recounted one incident when he witnessed the death
of a young soldier, whose legs had been blown apart. Another young soldier was already dead from a horrible injury. He was
ordered to put them in body bags. "I felt so much pain," he said. "Life is so precious and fragile. I couldn't accept their
deaths." Later, he emailed his wife that the incident left him "scarred for life."
and soft-spoken man, he was deeply troubled by the "unethical behavior of the army all the way up the ranks." He was shocked
and dismayed when his platoon leader in Iraq told him, a medic, "If it moves, you fire at it." One of the doctors told him
and the other medics that they have to "finish the job" if they use their weapons. What he saw made him even more determined
not to take part in any of the "unethical" actions. He volunteered often to be the driver on patrols, and he kept his gun
Asked if his actions put his fellow soldiers in harm's way, he replied, "We need to step back and see who is
really responsible for putting them in harm's way."
While he was in Iraq, he read books about Iraq, which changed his
beliefs about the war. He began to realize that the war was wrong and immoral, that it was motivated by profit and greed to
benefit a few corporations, and had nothing to do with improving the lives and security of both the Iraqi and American peoples.
He began to oppose the war after he experienced first hand how their lives had been shattered. He wrote in his statement to
the US Court of Appeals that, "Many men came back with missing parts, and countless physical and emotional scars...I have
personally seen my comrades come back to commit suicide, drink themselves to death, and develop a strong addiction to drugs."
It was obvious to him that their lives had been destroyed by the war. He concluded that "all war is evil" and does not solve
problems. Watching the movie, "Sir! No Sir!" about the GI resistance against the militaryand the war in Vietnam reinforced
his determination to resist the war. He also wrote, "When you know better, you do better."
Aguayo had already applied
for conscientious objector status in 2004 before his first deployment to Iraq, after he realized during his military training
that he could not kill another human being. His application was denied by the Pentagon on the grounds that he was not convincing
enough, even though his investigating officer recommended approval of his CO status. Aguayo challenged the ruling in a federal
court, but his case was denied on August 24, 2006. Meanwhile, his wife Helga and their two daughters, and his mother started
a grassroots campaign on his behalf.
One week later, he was ordered to a second deployment to Iraq with his unit in the
1st Infantry Division. He refused to deploy, and on Sept. 2, 2006, he turned himself in at the US military base in Germany.
He told the Army officials that he was ready to be court-martialed and imprisoned. But the Army informed him that they planned
to forcibly board him on a plane to Iraq even if they had to put him in shackles and handcuffs. Aguayo said he never intended
to go AWOL, but he had no choice. With the help of the Mexican consulate (he holds dual citizenship), he returned to the U.S.
On Sept. 26, 2006, he held a press conference in Los Angeles, where he expressed his convictions against war and killing.
Then he turned himself in, for the second time, at Fort Irwin, California. He was sent back to Germany, where he was confined
in a brig. On March 6, 2007, he was court-martialed and convicted of desertion and missing movement. Facing a possible sentence
of 7 years, he and his family wept with relief when the judge gave him a sentence of 8 months. Having already served 161 days
in the brig, he was released on April 18, 2007.
Since his return to the U.S., he has been on a tour to speak out against
war and about his experiences in Iraq. He sees that his mission is to tell the truth to high school students, especially those
who are poor and "at risk" of being recruited. According to Helga, at one high school in Los Angeles, all of the students,
who were thinking of enlisting, changed their minds after they heard his story.
Aguayo continues to fight to overturn
the army's convictions against him. After his appeal was denied by the US Circuit Court in Washington, D.C., he and his family
are contemplating taking his case to the Supreme Court.
His actions have inspired many soldiers in Iraq, who have sent
him letters of support. He spoke of the growing resistance among the ranks; many have chosen to go AWOL, and some have fled
The GI resistance against the American war in Vietnam was crucial in ending that horrific war, although we
should never forget that in the end, it was the Vietnamese resistors who won the war . It is crucially important to support
war resistors like Aguayo, and many more like him, who have the courage to speak out and take action against the war. Aguayo
and his family were immensely grateful for the support they have received from the anti-war activists everywhere on their
tour. "It's become bigger than us," Helga said.
For more information on how to support Aguayo, go to http://www.aguayodefense.org or www.couragetoresist.org
read full article on Augstins website
Amnesty International declares Augie a prisoner of conscience.
RELEASED FROM MANNHEIM - APRIL
18, 2007 - BUT NOT FREE
Augie was released from Mannheim TODAY! However,
it is not a moment of rejoice. It could take the Army 12-24 months, from now, to discharge Augie. His case is not technically
concluded until the Commanding General takes action (meaning he approves what happened at the court martial). And, because
Augie got a bad conduct discharge in a general court-martial it goes through an automatic appeal process.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Essentially, he is still property of the Army
and since he is still in the Army, he has to obey Army Regulations. For example he cannot protest in uniform. During this
time he could potentially be charged with anything else. As it stands now he has two federal convictions meaning two felonies:
one for missing movement and the other for desertion. We do not accept this. We demand that Augie be recognized as a CO and
will continue to fight this in court. If needed, we will take it to the Supreme Court.
Augie's actions have inspired countless
other soldiers. We have received many letters in support of soldiers in Iraq, as well as soldiers awaiting subsequent deployment
orders as well as many other conscientious objectors in the military. I think Augie has done a great deal to stop this war
and for that I have the most respect for him. He is an honorable man that stands by his convictions and follows through no
matter what! He will go on a Victory Tour across the nation. We urge you to consider sponsoring a stop in your city. Funds are still needed to continue our fight. Please consider donating to Agustín Aguayo's Political and Legal Defense Fund.
PORTLAND INDY MEDIA
FROM MARCH 7 2007 TRIAL
160 days sentence
I Respect and am anxious to meet Agustin soon.
Please participate in this love and effort
Join with me and his family and friends.
In hopes we can ease some pain and
Encourage the patriotic position he has taken to: