Archive for August, 2009

Travis Bishop’s rebuttal of the denial of his C.O. claim

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by James M. Branum

* DONATE NOW: Travis Bishop Legal Defense Fund at CouragetoResist.org


This post was updated at 4:50 p.m.

We just submitted the rebuttal of the denial of Travis Bishop’s C.O. claim by the hearing investigating officer. (this rebuttal and the IO’s recommendation will now proceed to the convening authority at Fort Hood, and then to the US Army Conscientious Objector Review board)

Travis has asked me to post his rebuttal in its entirety online.

Part 1 of Travis Bishop Rebuttal (PDF download – 28 pages)

Part 2 of Travis Bishop Rebuttal (PDF download) – handwritten personal statement by Travis

Part 3 of Travis Bishop Rebuttal (PDF download) – this part was the Amnesty International statement on Travis Bishop

Correction of Travis Bishop Rebuttal (PDF download) – a correction memo to add an all important missing word

I also need to give some credit where credit is due…

1. Thanks to members of the MLTF and the GI Rights Network for sending me sample rebuttals from past cases to review, as well as their advice and suggestions.

2. Huge thanks go to Thad Crouch and Larry Egly for gathering the supporting letters.

3. Thanks to Rena for last minute typo editing.

4. And thanks to all who posted encouraging notes to facebook while I was writing this.

We will later post the documents provided by the other side in this case, but first must redact all of the SSN’s and other information. (these documents are in the public record, but I still want to protect the privacy of those who wrote statements)

Video: COL Ann Wright speaks out about the Travis Bishop case

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 30, 2009 by James M. Branum

Another unjustly incarcerated prisoner at Bell County – Leo Church

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 28, 2009 by James M. Branum
Leo Church

Leo Church

While in the Bell County jail, Travis Bishop met another inmate who also was mistreated by the U.S. Army, Leo Church.

Leo received 8 months jail, primarily because he put the safety and welfare of his children over his obligation to the Army. Leo tried to get help from his unit, but they refused and in the end threw the book at him.

Leo should not be in jail, so he and his family asked if I could take on his case for post-trial clemency and appeals. Leo also wants to speak out about his experiences, so that the public can know what Army families are forced to go through these days.

If you would like to know more Leo’s case and how to support him, please visit his website at FreeLeoChurch.wordpress.com

Amnesty International declares Travis Bishop a “prisoner of conscience,” launches international letter writing campaign

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by James M. Branum
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URGENT ACTION APPEAL – From Amnesty International USA

To read the current Urgent Action newsletter, go to
http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/newslett.html
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For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa22109.pdf

24 August 2009

UA 221/09 – Prisoner of conscience/Conscientious objector

USA       Travis Bishop (m)

Travis Bishop, a sergeant in the United States army, is serving a one-year prison sentence for refusing to serve with the army in Afghanistan because of his religious beliefs. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for his conscientious objection to participating in war.

Continue reading

Rebuttal Statement by Travis Bishop, August 21, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2009 by James M. Branum

Travis received word today that his C.O. claim has been recommended for disapproval by the investigating officer. Travis has 10 days to rebut this finding (which I am assisting him on as we speak), however Travis has drafted a personal rebuttal statement, which he has asked me to share here. (once completed, we will also scan and post (1) the full C.O. packet, (2) the recommendation for approval by his psychologist, (3) the recommendations for disapproval by members of the  command chain, Chaplain Lenninger (an absurdly ridiculous statement by a man who was proven in Travis’ court-martial to not understand the basics of the C.O. regs or the role of faith and conscience in any kind of meaningful way), (4) the final recommendation for disapproval by CPT Mein (the investigating officer). and (5) our full rebuttal.

Rebuttal Statement

21 Aug 09

To whom it may concern,

To say that my claim to be a conscientious objector is insincere and completely false is confessing blind ignorance to the words of my claim itself. My feelings and my ever-broadening belief structure are echoed through every paragraph and question on my C.O. Application. And continuing to ignore my words, (my words and mine alone), shows complete disregard to the C.O. Process itself. Those who continue to ignore my words are not doing justice to the C.O. Application process.

As to my videos: I am a war resister, and a conscientious objector. I do not have to choose. As to my cheerful demeanor, my decision was an incredibly difficult one, but once made, I still felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I am allowed to feel good about that.

The statement made by SGT Carter is 100% false. Carter was facing UCMJ charges for marijuana abuse and it is my firm belief that his statement was coerced, and that his statement would lessen my punishment. He was chaptered out of the Army as an E-4 for marijuana abuse. I think that is the lightest sentence for drug abuse I have ever heard of. I never told him that I intended not to deploy. He lied in his sworn statement, and I believe his “punishment” is a testimony to that.

My timing is regrettable, I know that. But to say my claim insincere based on timing is wrong. 100% wrong, and an insult to the C.O. Process. I have lost friends, good friends, alienated family members, And yet I press on. Someone who is insincere does not pay the prices I have paid, and yet I am here, writing this rebuttal.

I have been punished for my crimes. The UCMJ saw fit to put me in jail. And now I will be there the next year of my life, and nothing will change that. But it is still important to me to be classified as a C.O., even though it will not affect my sentence. And why is it so important to be recognized as a C.O.? Why do I still fight for this title? It’s simple.

Because I truly am a conscientious objector.

My statements are mine and mine alone. I am handwriting this statement in a jail cell, no lawyer to “coach” what I am saying. This is all me.

A lot of soldiers, I’m sure will see the C.O. Process as a way out; a loophole. But I do not. Regrettable timing or not, as soon as I realized what a C.O. was, and that my belief structure was the same as a C.O.s, I applied to be one. Do not listen to the indoctrinated words of the recommending authorities. Listen to mine. Or come to my prison. Look into my eyes. Grant me this status, for it is who I truly am.

Thank you.

(signed)
PVT David T. Bishop
Bell County Law Enforcement Center

Prison Blog Post from Travis – August 20, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 by James M. Branum
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First off, hello to all those who still support me! Your support, kind words, and well-wishings have truly kept me going through this difficult time.

I want to assure everyone, well-wishers and nay-sayers, that I am still 100% confident that my decision was a smart one. Though I suffer a harsh personal loss, the gain for this movement is incredible. Already I have heard of others who have been influenced by mine and Victor’s decisions and actions, and it warms my heart.

Ultimately, the goal is to end these wars. And keeping that in mind, remember that my decisions are mine and mine alone. My hope is that others learn from mine and Victor’s sacrifices. They are small when compared to the ultimate gain.

To my supporters, Thank You and write me right now while I’m in Bell County even!

To those who think I was coerced, influenced or made to do this, please write me to. I would love to personally explain how I feel.

Yours,

Travis

You can write Travis at: Travis Bishop, Bell County Jail, 113 W. Central Ave., Belton, TX 76513

Statement by Travis Bishop – August 14, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 by James M. Branum


This letter was written a few minutes before Afghan war resister Travis Bishop was shackeled and taken away after his court-martial at Fort Hood.

To everyone who still cares:

I can not say that a year in prison doesn’t scare me: I am terrified. I just cried in the bathroom so no one could see.

But still, though I am terrified, it would be scarier still to know that my fellow soldiers who feel as we feel would never find out what we are trying to accomplish had I not gone to prison.

Everyone who hears or reads this should know that I love you all, and my life is forever changed because of you.

Victor and myself are starting something big . . . and it is now up to all of you to continue on.

With all of my heart,

Travis