26 October 2006
Meeting held in Portland
Meeting began at 7:04 pm
Doug noted that since the Portland Veterans’ Day Parade publicity, controversy, VFP has received at least 10 requests for membership. Doug read a letter from Lee Runge. There was a brief discussion on the increased interest in VFP. We are getting interesting feedback.
Michael Uhl reported that the first GI coffee house since Vietnam is being set up at Fort Drum in New York. Information can be found on the Citizens Soldier website.
Secretary report: Minutes of September meeting were accepted. Motioned by Jack, seconded by Michael. Unanimous approval.
Treasureres report: We have $3978 in the bank.
Each Wednesday at 12:30 pm there is a demonstration in Monument Square against the use of torture. Literature is distributed. All are welcome to attend.
At BIW Oct. 7. Thirty people participated in a demonstration.
On Oct. 30, 1,500 people marched in Bangor following a rousing speech by Doug Rawlings. The march was protesting our involvement in Iraq. The VFP cross float led the march. Dud Hendrick participated in drag. It was noted that there were lots of high school age people participated.
Veterans Day Parade discussion: There was discussion regarding the American Legion decision to bar VFP from marching in this years Veterans’ Day Parade and the subsequent actions by the AM. Legion, VFP & the Portland City Council which led to an agreement that VFP would march in the parade using one banner. VFP would be positioned in the parade near the front, 15th position, and would have the use of the city podium ten minutes after the conclusion of the formal veterans’ day speeches. Jack, Doug and others are to be congratulated on their excellent work to create this win/win situation for VFP and the citizens of Portland. The question of insurance was discussed and Michael moved that we not get insurance, seconded by Jack, agreed by all. Doug said he would check about the cost in any event. It was requested that all meet at Longfellow Square to march in the parade. Black is the attire of the day. Ten minutes after the formal ceremonies Doug will give a speech, followed by Jack speaking and presenting a $100 check to Portland West. This is the money returned by VFW when they refused to honor our application for a flag dedication to a deceased Iraqi child.
The AWOL in Canada counseling memo from the war resisters league was discussed. Points made were this needs to be approached cautiously and in coordination with the Canadian movement. Michael noted that the legality of participating as an organization needs to be thoroughly investigated before participating. He noted that over 100 soldiers have filed for petition of redress under the unified code of military justice to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq. Stan noted that individuals may make that offer but not an organization. Michael noted that the pattern of punishment is not consistent and is shifting. This is an area that will have further discussion and Doug suggested that this be discussed with VFP national with regards to a sanctuary movement.
January retreat: Hopefully in the Brunswick area and perhaps inviting other groups to participate in a peace retreat. Jack felt that we could have a full day discussion following a social event the evening before. It was agreed that beginning on Friday night and ending Saturday would be best. Stan will check on Chewonki.
VFP school calendars: Rob Shetterly has agreed that we can use his art work for the calendars. We would need to choose 13 paintings. One for the cover and one for each month. They would be 8 1/2 by 11. We would sell the calendars, probably for $10. Stan wondered if perhaps we could get them printed in Canada.
It was voted following discussion to pay Seth Berner a $300 retainer for legal services based upon his involvement in assisting VFP with the Portland school board. Moved by Stan, seconded by Jack, approved unanimously to give Seth $300. Jack to present to Seth.
FBI report tracking, Chris Bean at Bates. Annual FBI conference is well attended. Joel Bolduc organized the FBI conference and it was co-sponsored by VFP and Peace Action Maine. Stan will make contact with appropriate party. Michael Uhl noted that Michael McPherson will attend the ACLU conference.
The ballots for national VFP officers and directors will be counted in mid–November.
Ron Fisher, a retired Captain at acersnow.org says that the military tribunal act is null and void. More information at DFPA@AOL.com.
Dud spoke about the Blue Hill and Deer Isle’s impeachment progress. Nancy Gallant has asked if VFP will help with bumper stickers and buttons. Stan moved we offer $100, seconded by Jack, approved unanimously.
Arthur Whitman noted that he has a new email address. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was noted that Ray McGovern will be speaking at the St. Laurence Arts Center in Portland on Sunday 29 Oct at 7:00 pm. Ray is a member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Reminder, gather between 9 & 9:30 at Longfellow Square for the Veterans Day Parade. Wear black, walk quietly, and no signage except for the lead banner.
Michael Uhl suggested we do a PTSD symposium follow-up in March. It was agreed that this would be discussed at our 30 Nov. meeting in Augusta.
Next meeting 30 November at 7 pm at the Bucher School in Augusta.
Please join Richard and Rita that Thursday, from 5 to 6 pm at the Augusta rotary.
Meeting adjourned at 9:06 pm.