They will present photographs and videos, recorded with mobile phones and digital cameras, to back up their allegations – of brutality, torture and murder.
The veterans are not against the military and seek not to indict it – instead they seek to shine a light on the bigger picture: that the Abu Ghraib prison regime and the Haditha massacre of innocent Iraqis are not isolated incidents perpetrated by “bad seeds” as the military suggests, but evidence of an endemic problem. They will say they were tasked to do terrible things and point the finger up the chain of command, which ignores, diminishes or covers up routine abuse and atrocities. (From the London Sunday Times, see full article in context link below)
Kelly Dougherty is the Executive Director of IVAW. She served as a Military Police Officer in Iraq, she will testify about her experiences working at check points in occupied Iraq. She will also discuss leading the IVAW organization through exponential growth in the last year.
Captain Luis Montalvan is the highest-ranking IVAW member. He served in the US Army for 17-years and will be testifying about accountability and corruption in the US military. CPT Montalvan is from Brooklyn, New York.
Jason Hurd was born in Kingsport, TN and enlisted in the US Army in 1997 at 17. In 2004 he deployed to central Baghdad with Bristol, Tennessee’s Troop F 2/278th Regimental Combat Team after a 5-month long train-up. He served as a medic in Baghdad. He will testify about the practice of shooting civilians from convoys, as well as the abduction of young male Iraqis. He is the president of IVAW’s Ashevile, NC chapter.
Selena Coppa is a Military Intelligence Sergeant in the US Army and a mother. She will be testifying at Winter Solider about the breakdown of the military in recent years due to mismanagement in Iraq and beyond. She is in charge of active duty outreach and blogs from Activedutypatriot.blogspot.com
MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST: I’m at a press conference held by Iraq Veterans Against the War, where a number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have talked briefly about the mismanagement that they witnessed in the war and the violence against Iraqi civilians.
KELLY DOUGHERTY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IVAW: We’re united by three missions: one, the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq; veterans’ benefits and health care; and reparations for the Iraqi people. Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan is our largest event to date, and we’re bringing together veterans and service members and civilians to show their eyewitness accounts of the occupations.
CAPTAIN LUIS MONTALVAN: The leaders who have perpetrated the failed strategies and the occupation of Iraq have been consistently incompetent, negligent. They have mismanaged to the degree that it is clearly in keeping with what we in the military describe as dereliction of duty.
JASON HURD: The Iraqi civilians bear the brunt of the violence in Iraq, and as a result of the US occupation, they suffer greatly. During my tour in Iraq, my unit opened fire regularly on unarmed civilians while we conducted convoy operations. My unit opened fire indiscriminately on a building where we knew civilians to be inhabiting.
SELENA COPPA: I have come to believe that the best way for me to protect my country is as a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The current occupation of Iraq is hurting America, it is hurting our military, and it is hurting our service members and our families. I would stand up again and again to defend my country whenever and wherever and however it was required. The occupation in Iraq is not defending my country; it is not supporting the oath that I swore.
PALEVSKY: Winter Soldier is a three-day testimonial of over 100 soldiers who were on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We will be covering all three days, so please stay with us.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.