ACTION ALERT: Prominent Americans Risk Jail; Call for US Military to Refuse Illegal Orders

October 5th, 2007 - by admin

Don’t Attack – 2007-10-05 22:43:26

NOTE: Please read the following petition carefully before you sign. As the petitioners state:
“We knowingly and willingly make this plea, aware of the risk that, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining sections of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from government employment.”

• You may sign the petition at


Leading Americans Ask US Military to Refuse Orders to Attack Iran

Country music legend Willie Nelson, literary icon Gore Vidal, Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired US Army Colonel Ann Wright, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, author and radio host Thom Hartmann, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Steven Jacobs, and dozens of other prominent Americans have signed a letter asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all US military personnel to refuse orders to launch an aggressive war on Iran.

The letter has been posted as a petition for others to sign at

The text of the letter follows:

ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all US Military Personnel

Do not attack Iran. Any preemptive US attack on Iran would be illegal. Any preemptive US attack on Iran would be criminal.

We, the citizens of the United States, respectfully urge you, courageous men and women of our military, to refuse any order to preemptively attack Iran, a nation that represents no serious or immediate threat to the United States. To attack Iran, a sovereign nation of 70-million people, would be a crime of the highest magnitude.

Legal Basis for our Request –
Do Not Attack Iran:

The Nuremberg Principles, which are part of US law, provide that all military personnel have the obligation not to obey illegal orders. The Army Field Manual 27-10, sec. 609 and UCMJ, art. 92, incorporate this principle. Article 92 says: “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the law of the United States .”

Any provision of an international treaty ratified by the United States becomes the law of the United States. The United States is a party and signatory to the United Nations Charter, of which Article II, Section 4 states, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state….”

As Iran has not attacked the United States, and as the US is a party and signatory to the Charter, any attack on Iran by the US would be illegal under not only international law but under the US Constitution which recognizes our treaties as the Supreme Law of the Land. When you joined the military, you took an oath to defend our Constitution.

Following the orders of your government or superior does not relieve you from responsibility under international law. Under the Principles of International Law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, complicity in the commission of war crime is a crime under international law.

The Bush Administration’s charges against Iran have not been proven. Neither the development of nuclear weapons, nor providing assistance to Iraq would, if proven, constitute justification for an illegal war.

An attack on Iran might prompt the formidable Iranian military to attack US troops stationed in Iraq. Thousands of our soldiers might be killed or captured as prisoners of war. A US attack against Iranian nuclear facilities could also mean the deaths, from radiation poisoning, of tens of thousands of innocent Iranian civilians.

The people of Iran have little control over their government, yet would suffer tremendously should the US attack. Bombing raids would amount to collective punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention, and would surely sow the seeds of hatred for generations to come. Children make up a quarter of Iran’s population.

Above all, we ask you to look at the record of our actions in Iraq, which US intelligence admits is “a cause celebre for jihadists” – a situation that did not exist before we attacked. We must face the fact that our rash use of military solutions has created more enemies, and made American families less safe. Diplomacy, not war, is the answer.

Know the Risks Involved in
Refusing an Illegal Order or
Signing This Statement:

We knowingly and willingly make this plea, aware of the risk that, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining sections of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from government employment.

We make this plea, also aware that you have no easy options. If you obey an illegal order to participate in an aggressive attack on Iran, you could potentially be charged with war crimes. If you heed our call and disobey an illegal order, you could be falsely charged with crimes including treason. You could be falsely court martialed. You could be imprisoned. (To talk to a lawyer or to learn more about possible consequences, contact The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Courage to Resist, Center on Conscience and War, Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild 415-566-3732, or the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487.) **

Final Request:
Our leaders often say that military force should be a last resort. We beg you to make that policy a reality, and refuse illegal orders to attack Iran. We promise to support you for protecting the American public and innocent civilians abroad.

Our future, the future of our children and their children, rests in your hands.

You know the horrors of war. You can stop the next one.


Daniel Ellsberg, Thom Hartmann, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Cynthia McKinney, Willie Nelson, Cindy Sheehan, Norman Solomon, Elizabeth de la Vega, Gore Vidal, Ann Wright

The Signatories

* James Abourezk, former US Senator, (D) South Dakota

* Stacy Bannerman, Author, “When the War Came Home”, Military Families Speak Out Charter Board member

* John Bonifaz, constitutional attorney and author of “Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush.”

* Amy Branham, Gold Star Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, US Army Reserves, Nov. 1981-Feb. 2004

* Blase Bonpane, Ph.d, Director OFffice of the Americas

* David Clennon, Actor/activist

* Tim Carpenter, Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America

* Daniel Ellsberg, author of “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers”

* David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate

* Jeff Cohen, author/media critic

* Elizabeth de la Vega, former federal prosecutor and author of “US v. George W. Bush”

* Karen Dolan, Director, Cities for Progress/Cities for Peace

* Anne Feeney, activist/folksinger or Local 1000, AFM

* Mike Ferner, Navy corpsman; Secretary, Veterans for Peace

* Bob Fertik, President,

* Laura Flanders, Radio Host on Air America

* Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

* Lila Garrett, KPFK Host of “Connect the Dots”

* Liberty Godshall, writer, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council

* Hon. Jackie Goldberg, California Assembly Member (AD 45), retired.

* Kevin Alexander Gray, writer, and organizer with the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project

* Representative Betty Hall, Hillsborough District 5, New Hampshire General Court

* David L. Harris, MD

* Tom Hayden

* Thom Hartmann, author and Air America radio host

* Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice and Peace

* Jenny Heinz , member of CodePink, member of Granny Peace Brigade

* Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Los Angeles

* Michael Jay, Steering Committee, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

* Charles Jenks, co-founder and editor of, Justice Through Music

* Antonia Juhasz, author, “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time”

* Jerry Kass, playwright and professor at Columbia University

* Dr, Nazir Khaja ,Chairman, Islamic Information Service, Los Angeles, CA.

* Mimi Kennedy, National Chair, Progressive Democrats of America

* Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun and Chair, the Network of Spiritual Progressives

* Summer Lipford, Gold Star Mother,NC 28677

* David Lindorff, Author, “The Case for Impeachment”

* Alice Lynn, Delegate, California Democratic Party (41st AD)

* Ben Manski, Executive Director, Liberty Tree

* Ray McGovern, Army infantry/intelligence officer, 1962-64; CIA analyst 1964-90.

* Cynthia Mckinney, former Congresswoman

* Barbara Mills-Bria, Be The Change-USA

* Bill Moyer, Executive Director, Backbone Campaign

* Willie Nelson, Entertainer, Peace Activist

• Annie Nelson, Sustainable Biodiesel/Peace Activist

* Honorable Eric Oemig – Washington State Senator

* Geov Parrish, Executive Director, Peace Action of Washington

* Jacob Park, Founder, A28.

* Brad Parker, Officer of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party

* Bill Perry, Director, Delaware Valley Veterans For America

* Gareth Porter, investigative journalist and historian

* Marcus Raskin, member of National Security Council Staff under President Kennedy

* Dorothy Reik, President, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

* Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Agent and former Chief Division Counsel of Minneapolis Division of the FBI

* Bill Scheurer, Editor, PeaceMajority Report

* Randi Scheurer, IL-Dist. 8, Congressional Candidate

* Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace

* Alice Slater, Abolition 2000 New York

* Gar Smith, co-founder, Environmentalists Against War

* Norman Solomon, Author and syndicated columnist

* David Swanson,

* John Stauber, Co-author, “Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq”

* Jonathan Tasini, PDA NY

* Ethel Tobach, Ph. D., member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility

* Tina Richards CEO Grassroots Americaredith, Gold Star Mother, Proud Mom of Lt Ken Ballard- KIA 5.30.04

* Gore Vidal, Author

* Marcy Winograd, President, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

* Ann Wright, US Army Colonel (Retired) and US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.

* Kevin Zeese on behalf of Voters for Peace and Democracy Rising Velvet Revolution

** These resources are publicly available, and our offering them does not indicate that these organizations support this petition.

War Hero, Former Star Wars Director, Calls on US Military to ‘Refuse Illegal Orders’

Environmentalists Against War recently published a similar public call issued by By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret. It can be found on the EAW and also on the investigative Web site,

See: An Open Letter to the New Generation of Military Officers Serving and Protecting Our Nation
By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret

Col. Bob Bowman, former director the Pentagon’s “Star Wars” programs under presidents Ford and Carter, has put forth this challenge to all who receive this email as what he calls “a last ditch effort” to avert a catastrophic war with Iran. Please read the following very carefully and contact your government representatives.

“It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.” — General Peter Pace, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff addressing the National Press Club, February 17, 2006

ALSO OF INTEREST: Chris Hedges, in his recent speech, “The New Quagmire,” concluded by calling on the anti-war community to mount a Tax Strike — i.e., pledging to resist payment of taxes if Bush attacks Iran.

Others have been proposing a similar action for several years in the form of a “No Dimes for War Crimes” tax protest. Unlike Hedges’ nonviolent tax action, “No Dimes for War Crimes” does not require the execution of yet another illegal war. War crimes are already being committed in the name of American taxpayers. The above petition clearly spells out the moral and legal need for nonviolent tax resistence.