Travis Bishop’s new blog

Posted in Press Releases on May 3, 2010 by James M. Branum

Just wanted to let everyone know that Travis has a new blog set up at TravisBishop.wordpress.com. This will likely be the last post at this location.

But for now, I want to say my deepest gratitude to the many, many people that stood behind Travis during his case. There are so many people who stood with us and we are forever grateful that we weren’t in this fight by ourselves.

Most of all though, I want to thank Travis for taking the stand he took. I am awed by his courage and for his willingness to suffer for what is right.

This fight ain’t over though. We are gearing up for the appeals process and hope you’ll continue to stand with Travis. More information on the case and how you can support it can be found at the website for the Oklahoma Center for Conscience.

Thanks,
James M. Branum, civilian defense attorney for Travis Bishop

Thank you message from Travis Bishop

Posted in Press Releases on May 3, 2010 by James M. Branum

From: Thank you!

Here’s the deal: I’ve been trying so hard to write a ‘Thank You’ letter to everyone that supported me throughout this ordeal, and it’s so damn difficult to articulate everything that everyone has done for me. I’ve been trying so hard not to leave anyone out, and it’s impossible. So I will do the absolute best that I can, and if anyone feels left out, please contact me and I will apologize.

Amnesty International, Courage To Resist, Veterans For Peace, Christians For Peace, Disposable Warriors and a host of other organizations are responsible for rallying supporters to my cause. I am deeply in your debt. Thank you so, so much for believing in me and supporting me.

GI Coffeehouses Under The Hood Café, (Ft. Hood), and Coffee Strong, (Ft. Lewis), were instrumental in protesting my incarceration and getting the word out to everyone who would listen. Words cannot express my gratitude.

James Branum and Chuck Luther, you both should know just how much you mean to me. You guys were in my corner during my darkest times in that facility, and you always brought me good news and hope for the future. You are my best allies and my dear friends. Thank you both so much.

To every individual supporter and sympathizer, I thank you so much for your letters, comments, thoughts and prayers. I absolutely drew all my strength from each and every one of you. I wish I could thank every one of you personally.

I know for a fact that I left people out, and all I can say is that I love, admire and respect everyone who supported me. If I left you out, please accept my apologies. Some of my things were lost in transit so I don’t have everyone’s names anymore. Please forgive me for the lateness of this thank you letter.

Again, thank you to everyone. You are all the reason that I was released early. The only one who DIDN’T get me out early was ME.

Hopes and prayers for the future,

-Travis

Press Release- Afghanistan War Resister Travis Bishop Released From Fort Lewis Brigade

Posted in Press Releases on March 25, 2010 by James M. Branum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Afghanistan War Resister Travis Bishop Released From Fort Lewis Brigade

Media Contact: Seth Manzel, Director, Coffee Strong 253-228-8912

A celebration of Bishop’s release with local supporters will take place at Coffee Strong in Lakewood, WA on Sunday, March 28.

March 25, 2010
Fort Lewis, Washington – War Resister and conscientious objector Travis Bishop was released from the stockade at Fort Lewis Thursday morning.

Bishop originally was sentenced to 12 months in prison during his court-martial at Fort Hood, Texas for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan for reasons of conscience. He later received a three-month reduction in sentence due to a successful clemency application to the Commanding General at Fort Hood, as well as receiving extra time off for good behavior. Bishop served a total of seven months and 12 days of confinement. He also received reduction of rank from Sergeant to Private and a pending Bad Conduct Discharge.

While under confinement, Travis Bishop was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience and updated his blog from the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility. He also received support from hundreds of people from around the world who wrote letters of encouragement for him and also to military authorities calling for his release.

Bishop spoke out about the inhumane conditions at the Fort Lewis stockade, which produced some reform in treatment of prisoners at the facility. Bishop was placed on the facility’s “most difficult” prisoners list for these efforts.

Local supporters of Bishop are planning a celebration to take place at Coffee Strong, beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 28. Coffee Strong is located at 15109 Union Ave SW, Lakewood, SW, next to Subway. Staff will provide refreshments and Bishop will speak at that time for public comment only. He will not be available prior to 3 p.m. on March 28.

For more information or to schedule an individual interview with either Bishop or his defense team, please contact Seth Manzel at 253-228-8912 or attorney James Branum at 405-476-5620.

Celebrate the soon-to-be liberation of Afghan War Resister Travis Bishop!

Posted in Press Releases on March 23, 2010 by James M. Branum

You are invited to a celebration of the release of war resister
TRAVIS BISHOP
from the Fort Lewis Stockade

Friends and local supporters of Travis Bishop are invited to a celebration starting at 3 p.m. On Sunday, March 28th at Coffee Strong, (15109 Union Avenue Southwest, Lakewood, WA, near Fort Lewis).

This event will be Travis’ first public speaking event since his release from the stockade at Fort Lewis.

Local supporters are encouraged to come and show your support. Admission is free but donations are welcome to help Travis with his legal fees and to help him get reestablished in his civilian life.

BACKGROUND: In 2009, Travis Bishop received a 12 month sentence in a court-martial at Fort Hood for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan for reasons of conscience. He was sent to the notorious NWJRCF (Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility) at Fort Lewis to do his time.

While in the brig, Travis Bishop was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience and wrote a blog from jail.
He also received support from hundreds of people from around the world who wrote both letters of encouragement to him but also wrote letters to the Fort Hood Commanding General asking for Travis to be released from prison. Bishop also spoke out about the bad conditions at the Fort Lewis brig, which resulted in some reforms at the facility as well as Travis being placed on the facility’s “most difficult” prisoners list.

In February 2010, Travis Bishop was granted a 3 month reduction in his sentence by the Fort Hood Commanding General as a result of a successful clemency application. He is scheduled to be released this week from the stockade.

Following his release, Travis hopes to continue to speak out about conscientious objection, as well as to pursue a career in country
music.

PRESS: Members of the press are encouraged to come to the celebration. Individual interviews with either Travis or his defense team can be scheduled by contacting Coffee Strong at (253) 581-1565 or James Branum at (405)476-5620.

For more information:

Lt. Colonel (Chaplain) Ron Leininger’s Testimony at the Travis Bishop court-martial

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 9, 2010 by James M. Branum

In celebration of Travis’ soon-to-be release (we expect by the end of the month), I wanted to share this extra special excerpt from the record of trial. This excerpt is the transcript of Chaplain Leininger’s testimony at Travis Bishop’s court-martial.

What is worth noting is towards the end, where in my cross-examination, I got Chaplain Leininger to say that civil law is God’s law, that is was “sad” that people break the law in civil disobedience to injustice and that those who broke the law during the civil rights era for the sake of justice “thought they were doing the right thing.”

LIEUTENANT COLONEL (CHAPLAIN) RON LEININGER, HHB, 69th ADA Brigade, U.S. Army, was called as a witness for the prosecution, was sworn, and testified as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION

Questions by the trial counsel:

Q. Sir, have you ever met the accused, Sergeant Bishop before?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. What the purpose of that meeting?

A. As part of his conscientious objector packet, per the regulation, he’s required to meet with a unit chaplain, an Army chaplain, for a conscientious objector interview by the chaplain, and that was the only time that I’ve met him.

Continue reading

WAR RESISTER TRAVIS BISHOP GETS THREE MONTH REDUCTION IN SENTENCE

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 by James M. Branum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WAR RESISTER TRAVIS BISHOP GETS THREE MONTH REDUCTION IN SENTENCE
Hundreds of letters from supporters credited with large part in victory

February 10, 2010

FORT HOOD, Texas – Sergeant Travis Bishop received word this week that he was given a 3 month suspension, of the 12 month sentence he received last year for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan based on his Christian religious beliefs against war.

Lt. General Robert Cone, commanding general of Fort Hood approved the sentence reduction on February 4th after considering Sgt. Bishop’s clemency application.

Sgt. Bishop’s clemency application included a legal brief (alleging problems at trial, problems with the processing of Bishop’s conscientious objector claim, and mistreatment at the Fort Lewis brig), a hand-written letter from Sgt. Bishop, and 433 letters (signed by a total of 538 people from 21 different countries) from members of Amnesty International calling for Sgt. Bishop to be released.

Sgt. Bishop’s civilian attorney, James M. Branum, estimates that Sgt. Bishop will be released no later than March 31 based on the amount of good behavior credit Sgt. Bishop has earned.

In an emotional response, Sgt. Bishop asked his legal team to relay this message to the public, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and supported me! This is amazing and unprecedented.”

Sgt. Bishop went on to say that his plans after release are to see his family and friends and then “to try to start this new life that I’ve been granted. I think it is safe to say my life has been completely changed by this. I won’t be going to what my life was like before. Lots of changes are in store for me.” Sgt. Bishop said he hopes to continue to speak out against war and will be returning to Texas to pursue a career as a country musician.

Sgt. Bishop also said he had no regrets and that he urges others who are feeling moral conflicts with war to follow their conscience, but to not wait as long as he did to get help.

According to Mr. Branum, there are many who had a role in securing Sgt. Bishop’s early release. These people include:

* Jeff Paterson, Sarah Lazare and everyone else at Courage to Resist
* Chuck Luther (fearless G.I. Advocate and head of Disposablewarriors.com),
* CPT Glendening with the US Army Trial Defense Services (trial co-counsel)
* Cynthia Thomas (director of the Under the Hood G.I. Coffee house in Killeen),
* Victor Agosto (fellow Afghanistan war resister)
* Michael Kern, and the rest of the Fort Hood chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War,
* the many Texans who traveled to Fort Hood to attend Travis’ trial and to protest in the weeks he was being held in the Bell County jail,
* Dahr Jamail and Eric Thompson (who provided compelling first-hand account reporting from the trial),
* Legrand Jones (post-trial co-counsel at Fort Lewis),
* the London office of Amnesty International,
* Seth Manzell (director of Coffee Strong, the GI coffee house at Fort Lewis),
* Gerry Condon, president of Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace, and all of the other local supporters of Travis in the Tacoma-Seattle area,
* the 538 people who wrote letters of support for Travis
* the many people who have written letters to Travis while he has been in the brig at Fort Lewis.”

Supporters of Sgt. Bishop are urged to continue to write him (instructions on how to do this can be found at http://www.couragetoresist.org) and also to donate to help cover his post-trial defense costs (you can do this at http://www.couragetoresist.org/travis/)

###

For more information or to schedule an interview about this subject, please contact James Branum (lead defense counsel for Mr. Bishop, 405-476-5620) or Cynthia Thomas (Director of the Under the Hood G.I. Coffee house, 254-768-8300). Fort Lewis Brig policies generally forbid inmates from doing interviews with the press, but you are welcome to see if an exception can be made by contacting the Fort Lewis Public affairs office at (253)967-0147 or (253)967-0152.

Travis Bishop’s Christmas Wish

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2009 by James M. Branum

As you can imagine, imprisoned war resister Travis Bishop is pretty discouraged that it is almost Christmas and he is still in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan. I get to talk to him fairly often on the phone but he is definitely discouraged. More than anything, Travis just wants to go home. The conditions and continual harassment at the Fort Lewis Brig have really worn him down, and it is really hard for him to keep his spirits up.

So, in our phone calls we’ve been brainstorming on if there is any other way we can lobby for Travis’ release from prison (the formal 1105 clemency application will likely not be heard for another month), and I think we’ve come to an idea that is worth doing.

We are asking that supporters of Travis send a Christmas card to Fort Hood Commander, Lt. General Robert W. Cone. (if anyone wrote the CG earlier as part of the Amnesty International letter drive, there has been a change in general since then)

In the card, please express your holiday greetings and then ask Lt. General Cone to release Travis Bishop from confinement. Please keep the notes on the card polite and preferably short. If you are a religious person, please feel free to remind the General that the Christmas holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and that Travis in prison for following the teachings of Jesus.

Please send your cards to:

Lt. General Robert W. Cone
Commanding General
III Corps HQ
1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave.
Bldg. 1001, Room W105
Fort Hood, TX 76544-5005

After you do that, please send a Christmas card or letter to Travis. His address is:

David Travis Bishop
Box 339536
Fort Lewis, WA 98433

Note that the Army will likely reject your first letter, and maybe your second also. Please keep trying to send Travis mail as he really wants to hear from you. When your letter is rejected, sometimes Travis gets to see the envelope. If so, he is then able to add your name to his approved correspondence list.

Thanks & Happy Holidays!