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News :: International
Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
07 Dec 2005
I went to see Camilo Mejia speak last night. He was extremely articulate, and spoke with a lot of feeling about his life before during and after his time in Iraq, from the misleading contract he signed to get into the service, to the firefights on the streets of Iraq, through his desertion while on home leave and time in prison as a conscientious objector.

Probably the most shocking thing he told us was about a prevailing attitude amongst officers that provoking responses from the armed resistance by violating operating procedures intended to avoid inflaming local anger is a way to quickly gain medals, combat experience, promotions, and yes, mo money. He described an incident where one of his comrades fired at a car approaching a checkpoint after which everyone else, including him, started firing, "lighting up" the vehicle leaving the driver dead, his body unrecognizable. He explained how before he even knew what was going on he had unconsciously lifted his rifle and squeezed the trigger, a reflex that subsequently led him to reflect even more deeply on the injustice he already perceived. He also recounted his first experience upon arrival in Iraq, which was to relieve a unit that had set up a quasi POW camp (quasi because it didn't meet the standards for such) and his role in depriving prisoners of sleep and generally treating them like animals.

When asked how many "other Camilos" there were, he said that up to 6000 servicemen and women are listed as AWOL, meaning they have not reported for duty. That is not surprising, but it IS underreported, if at all mentioned in the mainstream media and elsewhere. He also described his time in the military prison, explaining that because of the attention his case was receiving on the outside, he was treated fairly well. On one occasion, he recounted, inmates were lined up to receive some experimental flu vaccine, told it was because a refrigerator had broken and they shouldn't be allowed to go to waste. Then they were given a consent form from the pharmaceutical company, which he quite rightly refused to sign, after which he was placed in solitary confinement. When his family did not get their usual call that Sunday, his mother got on the phone, raised some hell, after which the prison commander personally made sure he could call his family.

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Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
07 Dec 2005
This dishonorably discharged individual is quite misguided and that has been proven across the country. He is obviously firing from the hip.

Funny that the rest of the military population knoew what they were getting into when they signed the papers. Did he honestly not ask the most important question that EVERYONE asks - how long total???????????

So he admits to violating EPW's basic human rights? Quasi in military terms means NOT stationary or not a fixed site.

Last count there was around 3300 AWOL for the entire military. Of that number half are due to personal problems such as divorce. Of that 1650 half have criminal issues. Most involving drugs/alcohol. Of that 825 there are a few other AWOL for other reasons. So 700 out of the force is a relatively small number, isn't it?

He is misguided and trying to mislead the American people with his lies. Those that served and were not substandard soldiers see right through him.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
07 Dec 2005
Oh he also said that morale among the troops was extremely low, that almost no one believes in the mission, just in staying alive and helping their friends do the same. This isn't suprising given the fact that many soldiers, like Camilo, have brains and hearts that survived basic training ("what do we do? KILL KILL KILL!") and can read all the same news we do on the internet and rightly conclude that they have been betrayed by their leaders and that what they are doing in Iraq is not honorable or just.

In fact the troops are just one player in the monstrous crime taking place in Iraq. Money-grubbing contractors drove Col. Ted Westhusing to suicide, and his suicide note says it all:

I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied,” it says. “I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.

“Death before being dishonored any more.”

That is the judgement of a West Point graduate (3rd in his class) and Professor. A devout Catholic with a wife and children driven mad by the illegality of this war. A man who wrote his PhD dissertation on the meaning of honor.

Veteran, for your sake I hope you are just misinformed, and not perpetuating the myth of this war as a noble cause knowing what so many have already learned, something that can no longer be swept under the rug.

The war itself is a crime. It was engineered not by leaders but by opportunists from around the world. These perpetrators, up to and including the POTUS, will be held accountable for these crimes, and more--let there be no doubt.

The truth has a funny way of making itself known--as conspirators have found out since even before Lady Macbeth was driven mad by visions of blood on her hands. Continuing to pretend that this tragedy is anything but will not make it so. We will not rest until justice prevails in America and the world, and Saddam, Bin Laden, Bush, Cheney and everyone else involved in this murderous struggle for personal enrichment and power is safely behind bars.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
07 Dec 2005
hmmm, that's interesting, Veteran. so you obviously went to hear Camilo speak because the above paragraphs don't mention anything about how the recruiters misled him into how much time he'd serve...

more "lies" for your personal enjoyment (from veterans to Veteran):

You're right, all of them misleading, lying, because they're making so much money out of it. They have so much to gain from opposing the war.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
As posted earlier. Morale continues to be high with many soldiers currently serving in Iraq reenlisting in Iraq. My good friend who happens to be a Platoon Sergeant just had six guys reenlist in Iraq and two more reenlist to stay in the military but switch MOS's. On top of that, every one of all my friend's comments are postive in that the mission is going well and the Iraqi people are wonderful.

Obviously, war sucks and no one knows that more than a combat soldier. We know that even more than those of you who never left MA yet scream about it. Imagine that a person serving in a particular situation would have a better opinion/point of view than those that have not.

This person has stated many times that he was mislead, says it above, in regards to his time in service as well as stop loss. Every single person going into the military ALWAYS, ALWAYS asks that one question - HOW LONG TOTAL! First question I asked when I first enlisted. First question I am asked when I speak with young adults. First question any recruiter of any branch of the service is asked.

Did I go see him? No, I did not and would not. I have a beautiful family, working on my second degree, volunteer for two charities and a job. Some things are more important than story telling.
08 Dec 2005
Nothing wrong with being a CO. I had one of my guys do it - the right way.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
I see Veteran. You filter the feedback you hear to include only the positive. To you, the news doesn't exist if it doesn't match your preconceived notions (the real fantasies) about war. You keep on saying that those who haven't left massachusetts shouldn't comment on the war. Well, Veteran, I bet I've lived in more places around the world than you have. I have met plenty of people who serve in my life, including some of my best friends and family. That is why I make a point of informing myself by actually listening to people who DO return from Iraq with stories to tell. While your friends parrot to you the propaganda they are ordered to regurgitate, those of us who are willing to walk through the cold night to hear a soldier speak get confirmation of what we have been learning through our intense research of the last 4 years--the war was a pack of lies FROM THE BEGINNING, and something that starts so ignominiously does not suddenly bloom into a righteous flower of peace and freedom. It degenerates into random senseless violence and cruelty. The opinion of five or six of your GI Joe wannabe friends (if indeed they exist outside of your PR firm's imagination) are like a few drops of water in a barrel of oil and blood--IRRELEVANT. Viewpoints like yours that insist on lying to young people about the morality of their actions serve only to further divide America. Why do you do it? As a veteran, should you not also be a patriot? What kind of love do you have for America when you can sell out everything it stands for your boy George's political gain?
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Insults will get you no where.

Members of the US military are smart, educated and well trained. They are taught to think on their feet and stand behind every single decision that they make - good or bad. You assume that my friends are misleading me? My friends are honorable men who serve in elite units. Their modest words are true. Do you have truth in your life with your friends? Or do you distrust everything that is spoken? Military members, especially combat soldiers, share a bond that you can only mock and never understand. Military members also have no need to lie because the information is quickly and easily verified. They neither parrot or mimic anyone for any reason. To suggest that is stooping to a new low. You seem to insinuate that members of the military are ignorant. Is that true? They are unable to think for themselves? Not in my life time. Most soldiers I dealt with already had a degree or were working on a degree. Additionally, those that exit Honorably use their college money to gain new information by earning degrees. I am working on my second - FREE of charge - thanks to the United States military. Actually, almost free, I have to pay for my books during summer semesters.

The number of "homes" that you claim to have had means nothing. The number of times you walked into the cold night to listen to this individua speakl means nothing. Your view is completely biased and that makes alot of this basically pointless. I KNOW war is bad! You can't preach that to someone who has been there. You think you have the ability to whine but you don't You have the right but not the ability.

This individual is not offered or allowed the title soldier. As I stated, I had a guy who filed for CO status. He did it when his mind was made up that it was the best thing for him and the unit. he was neither shunned or harassed. He continued on in the unit, even deploying south of the border with us, in a non-combat role. Once the paperwork had gone through all the proper people he was allowed to move on. He did it by the book and in the right fashion. None of us held any anger or hostility towards him. He was a fine and honorable soldier who acted like a mature adult.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
"This individual is not offered or allowed the title soldier. As I stated, I had a guy who filed for CO status. He did it when his mind was made up that it was the best thing for him and the unit. he was neither shunned or harassed. He continued on in the unit, even deploying south of the border with us, in a non-combat role. Once the paperwork had gone through all the proper people he was allowed to move on. He did it by the book and in the right fashion. None of us held any anger or hostility towards him. He was a fine and honorable soldier who acted like a mature adult."

Your comment, Veteran, shows you don't know anything about Camilo's case. He DID file for CO status and it was denied to him. He was imprisoned as a deserter instead. He DID ask how long he would serve and did so for months short of 8 years, at which point he was shipped to Irak. Then he was told that because of the "stop loss" program, his service would be extended another 30 years.

"This individual is not offered or allowed the title soldier."

You should know well, as a Veteran, that this is the lowest thing you could say about a soldier who served in a war. What war did you serve in? Is Camilo not allowed to talk about the horrors he witnessed in Iraq? Think again before making such a shameless statement! Shame on you!
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
No matter how much anecdotal evidence you serve up, "Veteran", it is simply that (at best).

Did I say members of the military are ignorant? No, but you raise a good point. A lot of them are. Then there are those who are so brainwashed by what the military tells them is the reality that they become confused and suffer from cognitive dissonance--that is believing two contradictory "facts" at once. This happens when trusting people are lied to by those in authority. To base your views and suggestions on what a group of five people tell you about their experience is like basing your opinion of the Nazis on a few guys chillin' in the occupied Riviera--makes for a nice postcard, but where's the rest?

The military has a right to exist as an organization of self-defense for our country. Those who sign a contract take the government at face value the assurances that war is always a last resort. The actions of the current administration and congress have violated the rights of EVERY SINGLE MAN AND WOMAN IN UNIFORM. You are happy to let this slide. You have no concept of what it means to be faithful to our servicemen and women.

"Didn't read the fine print? TOUGH LUCK, soldier, GO KILL! What? You say this war was based on lies? SO WHAT!! FOLLOW ORDERS SOLDIER!! You say following orders will lead you to violate the Geneva Conventions? Sorry grunt, those were yesterday's conventions. You say that when you're captured you don't want to be tortured? Grin and bear it, boy, you're a soldier--and we put you at risk for torture because we have to torutre the enemy in order to protect the homeland. You say you can best protect the homeland at home? Not when the homeland needs oil--besides, the homeland now includes Israel, soldier, and they need all the protection they can get for their semisecret undeclared, uninspected nuclear weapons. What? You didn't sign up for this? Shut up soldier, and go kill. But why do you need me with all of these mercenaries around being paid more than me and having better equipment and no oversight? Ever heard of the free market, soldier? To fight for your country includes fighting for the right for others to sell their services while you volunteer yours, soldier--and if you wanted to go into the oil business, why didn't you study geology? Too late to change your mind now..."
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Camilo's courage to stand against this war based on lies and oil profits is much greater than someone who's willing to sell his dignity by blindly "following orders".
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
It's obvious that you caanot understand what the topic here is.

Some of it shows that you have extreme issues with gathering factual information. You gather info but not correct info. 30 years for stop loss! That is priceless.

To gain CO status is a long process. One reason for that is that it doesn't happen often. You cannot wait till a deployment is right around the corner and apply. Doesn't work that way.

Never attended brainwashing while I was in, not to long ago. To say that soldiers or Marines or anyone else is ignorant clearly shows your ignornace. Enough said on that.........

Unable to see the other side, just your side.

Have a good day.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Correct, irrelevant. Veteran either doesn't know, or pretends not to know, that the military is falling apart because of the lies and bogus mission it was sent on. I would be SO PISSED OFF if anyone, including my government, used me to destroy a country and kill its people en masse for their lies, schemes, and money. Risking their lives in a pointless conflict so that the world's billionaires and millionaires can continue to set up their kids in nice houses and jobs, while reaping great returns on their moolah by investing in companies that provide the military (and, through back channels, the enemy) with the tools of the trade. Don't worry soldiers, as soon as they make enough money to satisfy their greed, the stop-loss orders will end and you can go back to your state school (military won't pay for a private school) and play catch up with the children of the elite.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Sorry Vet, but anonymous "experts" don't have that much credibility here. maybe you should stick to the NSYNC sites where the kids are more likely to believe your misinformation.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Uninformed always resort to insults and ideas of knowing. You know not what you speak yet you think you do.

On the contrary, the military is not falling apart. Inservice reenlistments are happening daily. New and bright young officers are taking over. The troops are supported and their host countries welcome them. Things are not half as bleek as you would like them to be.

You cannot expect anyone to fully believe what you THINK to be the truth when there are hundreds of thousands that have lived the truth. Sit back and complain instead of being able to hear two sides of the issue. Every side has a right and wrong you just choose to always see your side as right.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
"Mejia said he was hoping for an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector. But, Warfel points out, Mejia did not register his objections to the war or file any paperwork until after he went AWOL."

More to the story than is posted! Can't gain CO status when you never apply for it!
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Veteran, you are the one here who says things that don't fit reality, and you always seem to base it on personal experience, i.e. no real effort to find out what is really going on. What are your thoughts on Col. Ted Westhusing's suicide for example? Or on the corruption that led him to it? On Rumsfeld's and the neocon's plan to "reform" the military by outsourcing duties to their crony companies? Have you no opinion or thoughts on things like that? Your side is so far behind on points in the argument over this war. you have to do better than to spew saccharine non-truths if you want to be taken seriously. You show a deep lack of understanding of the context of this conflict. With your ideological blinders on you speak as someone from Planet Bush, where failure is great success, war is freedom, and a global criminal enterprise managed by thugs and gangsters is a "war on terror". Please, Veteran, cease your support for something you clearly cannot grasp the full scope of, and stop lying to our children. Your ship isn't sinking--it sank on 9/11/01, when all respect for the truth died. As educational as it is for us to document the last rants of a crumbling criminal conspiracy, your comments are quite insulting to the real veterans who are standing up to call out the liars and criminals having their way with the USA.
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
God I love BIMC
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Was not aware that we were keeping track of a score. War is not a gmae that you guys play on your Gameboys. You complain with only one eye open and one ear hearing.
The next time you are invited to speak at a school or a lecture about your first hand eperiences I will gladly attend. I have spoken to hundreds of people in class rooms and lecture halls. All my experiences can be backed with truth. I actually had one person once ask me to prove a point. He quickly and quietly apologized when I produced 8x10 glossy's. I will also point out that those that fear the truth fear themselves. You fear that you may be wrong and yet you want to know the truth. It is easier to believe in a mob than as an individual. Military members have teh inboard ability to work/think as a team or work/think as an individual. We don't mislead we present the truth.
Your quick run to 9-11 and how you stopped trusting is comical. You look for a scapegoat to whine and insult your country and found it in the deaths of 3000+ great and INNOCENT civilians.

Lastly, in regards to the deserter that this article is about, I went to and continue to go to school for free. Are you going to tell me that the bills I DIDN'T and DON'T recieve are real? His claims are mostly phony and when you look at his time table - they don't add up. It's ok to be scared, it's not ok to go AWOL.

Have to go now. I am writing a paper for the school that I attend and don't have to pay for thanks to my recruiter!
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Veteran, darlin', Camilo DID apply for conscientious objector status and in fact, his case is STILL PENDING. Is exactly for this reason that Amnesty was able to declare him a prisoner of conscience.

From Amnesty International:
"Camilo Mejia is Amnesty International's first prisoner of conscience in the USA since the first Gulf War, when the organization campaigned for the freedom of a number of prisoners of conscience in the USA.

Camilo Mejia's trial and sentencing went ahead despite a pending decision by the army on his application for conscientious objector status and despite his previous efforts, based on his nationality, to secure his discharge from military obligations. Amnesty International believes that in these circumstances he should not have faced a penalty for "desertion" and calls upon you to take steps to secure his immediate and unconditional release.

While recognizing that Camilo Mejia went absent without leave from the army, Amnesty International considers that he did take reasonable steps to secure his discharge from military obligations through legal means, including applying for conscientious objector status."

I quote w/sources. Can you?
Re: Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Speaks Out
08 Dec 2005
Just one question Veteran, when you say military people this and military people that, you're not including all the ones who despite all their wonderful training stripped prisoners naked, smeared them with feces, beat and killed them, and on top of all that, took pictures? Are these the 8X10 glossies you show the kids? The way you make the military piss wine and walk on water is absurd and everyone reading this (including you) knows this.

The bills you don't receive are (not) sent by the state school you attend. Not the private school. And you know what Vet--I'm sorry to burst your bubble but in education like everything else in your cutthroat capitalist world, you get what you pay for. And for all the people like you who were lucky enough to survive and get a job in public relations/creative writing there are a bunch of poor kids who have come back to medical bills the gov won't pay, nightmares that won't go away, and the sick feeling every day of the rest of their lives that in the prime of their life someone lied and made them into a murderer.