Friday, April 17, 2009

Resignation as Secretary of the Board of Directors [Edited]

Removed by order of a majority of the Board of Directors of IVAW.






The Star Chamber Lives!

22 comments:

Thus Spake Ortner said...

Good times, good times.

I wouldn't want to be your email inbox right now. But I do like your principled stand if not your positions.

texastrey1836 said...

I'm really saddened by this. This is a very one-sided account of a multifaceted debate within IVAW. Selena, alas, has chosen to go public without (stating) all the facts.

familyguy.2007 said...

I'm glad you're standing up, but I am sad that IVAW is spending so much time fighting with each other. While the board of directors seems to be focused on fighting with each other, those of us in the local chapters are still trying to reach out. I have had a very hard time even getting to anyone in the national office who knows anything about the chapter funds! We are trying to work - but as long as the national office has its head up its 5th point of contact, we are hindered.

JuniorAG said...

First saw Mejia on "The Ground Truth" & he struck me as a drama queen. I could have respected him if he had served out his tour & then, upon return to CONUS, spoke out against the war. An NCO doesn't leave his troops in harms way because the politicos are clueless (as usual), IMHO. Good luck & may God bless.

streetsweeper said...

WHOA! Sarge? *checking fer a fever* You've taken a stand??? Not to be cornfused with Ghanistan. *checking fer a fever*....Sarge? Sarge??

"Presidio....Mike Papa two zero two request you send delta one, Effin a Road, HHC barracks...under reacting female wearing a unicorn costume, unknown age, heart rate low, b/p 180 over 72...code three".

Army Sergeant said...

Family Guy:

Have you tried reaching out to Alex Bacon? Remember, he oversees the national office, and we (the board) oversee him. If you have problems dealing with him, feel free to give me a call-my phone number is accessible from the IVAW portion of the website if you don't remember it.

Texastrey:

I'm sorry you're saddened by it. However, I've been saddened by attacks on members in my organization for a long time. I would be irresponsible in my duties as a leader in the organization if I allowed it to continue without taking a stand. If you are unaware of the deliberate harm done by members who refuse to take their ISO hat off in IVAW business, then it is you who are wearing blinders.

ADGorby said...

Selena--

Keep up the good fight! IVAW needs more transparency and less pushing of agendas that have nothing to do with our points of unity...

While I cannot comment on the behind the scenes tension amongst the board, I strongly agree with you that there is an infected vein within IVAW that pushes a socialist agenda. (Note: I have always enjoyed my conversations with Camilo and am not personally aware of his political ideology.)

My position has always been that some folks push the socialist agenda because of the fact that socialist organizations prey upon IVAW members and provide monetary support to these members. Speaking tours, books, travel expenses, and other perks... I tend to think of socialist organizations as parasitic. While they raise some extremely valid critiques of capitalism, the way in which they latch onto stronger organizations such as IVAW is disturbing.

While these members pushing a socialist agenda are few but outspoken, they wouldn't dare bite the hand that feeds them, even if that means that pushing a socialist agenda that weakens IVAW and weakens the anti-war movement.

While down in Savannah GA as a GI Rights Hotline counselor for the Summer Base tour, an IVAW ally put out some ISO material and I literally exploded. She left shortly after being confronted and giving me some weak excuse as to why it was appropriate. Of course, another IVAW member defended the material, unable to grasp why such material was inappropriate for an organization that is interested in growing. This is something that needs to be addressed within IVAW.

I remember thinking after this incident; heck, I am going to start handing out the New Testament at IVAW functions given its important role in forming my beliefs as a conscientious objector to war (to clarify for any readers, not a pacifist). While I love to discuss my faith, I don't feel a cult-like need to shove it down people's throats.

Thank you for starting the conversation and thank you for your level-headed leadership within IVAW. I am confident that the overwhelming majority of IVAW members proudly support your efforts.

Andrew Gorby

streetsweeper said...

You done fine, woman. Keep standing your ground.

*salute*

slgardiner said...

Damn, sorry to hear about this, but I am not surprised. Sectarian socialist organizations have been trying to hi-jack peace and justice groups in the U.S. going back to the 1950s. Before the end of the Cold War it was hard to tell them where to get off, since they would come back with accusations of "Red Baiting."

Many of these people are deeply committed to some worthy ideals, but the political in-fighting that occurs when people trying to build a broad coalition to do what needs doing--stopping a war that should never have been started--are undermined by "leaders" with some other agenda is classic.

Keep up the good fight.

The Sniper said...

It's like watching the sun come out from behind the clouds.

Jose Vasquez said...

Selena,

I appreciate your principles although I don't see the utility of resigning from a position on the executive board when your main objection is that people you disagree with have too much influence. Wouldn't the interests you seek to represent be better served if you were part of the decision making process at that level?

Also, there are some gross inaccuracies in your description of how Haymarket was selected as the publisher, Aaron Glantz's affiliations, and the editing process.

It is amazing how creative people can be when they don't know the story; they simply make one up that fits their views. In the interest of transparency and fairness, I'd like to respond to these claims.

1) You say regarding Camilo, "It is his pernicious influence that had Haymarket Books, a known ISO tool, to be chosen as the publisher for the Winter Soldier book."

I think it's fair to say that Haymarket is the ISO publisher of choice. No secret there. However, Camilo had very little to do with the initial contacts, negotiations, or final decision to go with Haymarket. I, on the other hand, was part of this process from the very beginning.

The short version of the story is John Stauber (Center for Media and Democracy) spoke to Aaron Glantz informally (Independent jounalist; KPFA Radio Host) to encourage him to approach Anthony Arnove (Haymarket; ISO) about the possibility of publishing an account of Winter Soldier. Aaron in turn sent a query to the IVAW Board (2007). I responded to Aaron on behalf of the board and was subsequently assigned the role by the board to explore publishing options with Aaron as a co-editor.

We looked at a few other progressive publishers but Haymarket was the only one that could guarantee a release date within 2008, the year of Winter Soldier. In addition, they had other books related to our topic (Cortright "Soldiers In Revolt"; Mejia "Road to Ar Ramadi") so they understood the importance of getting the books to GIs.

So, that's basically it. There were no evil strings attached and Camilo's "pernicious influence" was non-existent. Unless, of course, you count the board voting to go with Haymarket. In that case, you would have to hold all eight members who voted accountable. I recused myself from this vote since I was the one making the proposal. And I'm sure as hell not in the ISO.

2) "They, in turn, and Aaron Glantz, an ISO member, excerpted pieces of our testimony."

Aaron Glantz would find this statement pretty hilarious. To tell you the truth I do too. I spent several weeks with Aaron at my home going over the testimony. Let me tell you, Aaron is no fan of the ISO and most certainly not a member. If you want more details I encourage you to email him directly.

Regarding "excerpting" of testimony that is only partly true. He an I edited the testimony so that the narrative read smoothly. In addition, we had a limited page length because IVAW wanted the book out ASAP. That meant we had to cut portions of testimony and in a few cases an entire testifier. Those were difficult decisions that the board empowered Aaron and I to make. Haymarket's role was limited to copy editing, layout, and cover design.

3) "Patriotic IVAW members and those who loved America were often left out of the book, or their testimony was cut down to make it only what the ISO wanted us to say."

Give me a break. Are you seriously claiming that none of the testifiers in the book are patriotic Americans? Really? If so, you should read it again. Don't let your hate for the ISO cloud your vision.

And again, ISO or Haymarket had no say over who Aaron and I omitted or how we edited the testimony. So if there is a problem with the book feel free to blame us. I stand behind the decisions we made.

Very respectfully,

Jose

texastrey1836 said...

Selena still hasn't taken on the inaccuracies in her blog post. I'd like to see her either explain them or put out a new blog post laying out the facts (as opposed to innuendo.)

Army Sergeant said...

Jose,

Thanks for your additional clarity on the subject of Haymarket. However, while your information clears up some issues about the Haymarket process, it does not clear up my concerns with Camilo's ethics or lack thereof-for example, you speak of recusing yourself. That you would recuse yourself, but the published Haymarket author would not recuse himself from a vote about Haymarket really doesn't sit well with me.

I am certainly not claiming that none of the published testifiers are patriotic-simply that many of the more patriotic elements in their testimony were removed. This may have been a process you and Aaron Glantz engaged in on your own, and if so , I'd really be interested in talking to you about why precisely you would do that. You should have my number.

I do hear your point, that it doesn't provide balance to step off of the e-board. But I'm not sure much balance is going on at all currently, and I don't want to endorse the behavior-or be liable for it.

Dizzobs said...

I truly appreciate you coming forward and stating what you see going on. I have been a member for a little over a year now and have been concerned at how things have been going in IVAW sense the national conference. Thank for your candor. Peace from Texas.

repp said...

ISO is a cult driven by dogmatic ideology and IVAW is filled with polarized views of conservative members that fail to have a larger strategy against the true depth of the roots of America's failing foreign policy. With these power groups involved this organization will become devoured in back stabbing and internal conflict.
IVAW is a sinking ship. Jump out like rats.

Jose Vasquez said...

Selena,

I'm happy to talk to you offline about how those tough editing decisions were made.

I think you know me well enough to know that my approach to IVAW work is generally fair, open-minded, and democratic. So I personally have no interest in silencing any veteran, patriotic, revolutionary, or whatever. Our diversity is one of our strengths.

One minor point to add:

The original publisher for Road from Ar Ramadi was actually The New Press. They are a progressive publisher but to my knowledge would not consider themselves "socialist." They released the book in 2007 as a hardcover. Haymarket reprinted it in 2008 as a paperback.

This is important only in that any claims about Camilo having some deep connections at Haymarket are kind of diminished given the fact that his account was first published elsewhere.

Keep up the good work on the active duty front. I think your connections with Milbloggers are very important and I encourage any such dialogue.

In struggle,

Jose
jose@ivaw.org

TSO said...

Dude, am I the only one in America to buy that piece of shit book?

Can I apply to be reimbursed for it? I mean, I did give it a book review on my website.

Army Sergeant said...

If you join IVAW, maybe.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

OK, I will join, but I am doing so with the DD214 that shows my service in the Spanish American war.

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