ARMY SOLDIER REFUSING AFGHANISTAN DEPLOYMENT; COURT MARTIAL LIKELY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2009

CONTACT: Victor Agosto, 254-291-1102
Camilo Mejía, Iraq Veterans Against the War Board Chair, 786-302-8842
Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist Project Coordinator, 217-816-2918

* SPC VICTOR AGOSTO AVAILABLE FOR LIMITED INTERVIEWS.

ARMY SOLDIER REFUSING AFGHANISTAN DEPLOYMENT; COURT MARTIAL LIKELY

Sign a petition to support Victor
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5966/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=383

Fort Hood, TX – Victor Agosto, a Fort Hood, Texas soldier, is publicly refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan. "There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect,” Agosto told his command.

Having served in the Army since 2005, including a tour in Iraq, Agosto can no longer bear to serve and says that he is, “ready for the consequences, whatever they are.” On April 30th he told his commanding officer that he would not deploy with his unit to Afghanistan, and since May 11th, he has been refusing all orders directly connected to his unit's deployment.

Agosto is waiting to see what the military will do to him. A possible outcome is military court martial and years in prison. Agosto hopes that a strong legal defense, as well as an outpouring of public support, could mitigate his punishment.

Nonetheless, Agosto says that it is a “liberating feeling” to refuse deployment. “I don’t have this weighing down on my conscience anymore,” he says.

Agosto is not the only GI refusing to fight in Afghanistan. Travis Bishop, also stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, is currently refusing to deploy with his unit. And countless others have gone AWOL or escaped to Canada rather than fight in Afghanistan.

Agosto has received overwhelming support from Under the Hood Café, an anti-war GI coffeehouse just outside of Fort Hood. He has also been met with a groundswell of support from national peace and anti-war communities, and even from troops in his own unit.

“Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) strongly opposes the criminal and immoral US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and we fully stand behind servicepeople who refuse to serve in those two conflicts,” said Camilo Mejía, IVAW Board Chair. “In refusing deployment to Afghanistan, Victor Agosto is following his conscience and deserves the support of all service men and women and the American people.”

“Victor Agosto, and any other soldier who acts out of conscience, deserves the support of all Americans,” says Buff Whitman-Bradley, organizer with Courage to Resist, an organization that supports troops who refuse to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Those in the military who are resisting are particularly courageous because the consequences for them can be very severe.”

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Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a national membership organization consisting of veterans and active duty service members who have served in the US military since September 11, 2001. IVAW currently has over 1,700 members spread throughout the 50 states as well as Canada, Europe, and Iraq, and has 54 active chapters, including six on military bases. To learn more about IVAW visit us at www.ivaw.org.

IVAW National Convention 2009
August 5th - 9th in College Park, MD
Info and registration online at www.ivaw.org/convention2009

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