Environmental Press # 347

Subj: Re: 'Umbrella' lobbying
Date: 12/5/2003 1:29:54 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: <advocate@militaryadvocacynetwork.com>
To: <jbeimdiek@juno.com>
Cc: <verpaphila@aol.com>

Jan,

Thanks for your note. Jack is one of our dearest, closest friends. We have been aware of both your tragic loss, for which we are deeply sorry, as well as your good works for years. It has, however, been a bit since I've checked out your site updates, so I'll get to that this weekend.

We've known Jeff since the inception of VERPA, and I recently ensured that Barb's latest VERPA letter went out to everyone I could get it to, as well as taking it with us to DC and getting it into valuable hands there as well. As an independent advocate, I have worked with many advocacy groups and agencies over the years, and greatly respect that each has it's own "specialty" -- VERPA's being Feres, and yours being Military murder. So there is no reinventing any wheels here --- I've always believed that each of us should independently do what we do best in the military advocacy
world... but that there are times when we should come together to lobby as a greater, unified group (ie Feres, UCMJ, investigation oversight, etc...). To that end,

 

my site is not anything new -- merely a clearinghouse and resource base for existing advocacy groups to be accessed by those surfing the net for assistance and information regarding key military issues.

Thus, the Petition was written as an "umbrella" type of vehichle to get to the core of UCMJ, investigations, accountability and oversight issues for which we need immediate hearings, drawing ALL of Congress into the dialogue. To divide these "issues" among ASC, VA, Judiciary or individual committees lessens,diminshes and separates the core problems. If everyone can jump in together; get this Petition and Letter to Congress linked to their sites; garner as many signatures as possible during this Holiday recess; and individually prepare our information, policy packages and issues for Congressional Hearings as proposed in the Petition, I think we finally have a chance of making Congress see, as they did while we were in DC, that there is SOMETHING VERY WRONG in our Military -- much of which is directly linked to lack of accountability and civilian oversight.

As Senator Saxby Chambliss (Chairman,SASC Subcommittee on Personnel) said last week, there is indeed something very wrong with our military, but he is concerned that the problems are "too big" to address. I countered that one eats an elephant 'one bite at a time', and that if they will merely call for hearings, there will be advocacy groups lined up to Baltimore, ready to offer insights and solutions. This request hasn't been to achieve an enormous bitching-fest: hearings would recognize and identify sytemic problems with common core roots; identify areas of reform; and then to work together to ensure that offered solutions are not merely left at policy or
program level, but rather actually implemented, enforced and independently overseen by civilian and Congressional panels or agencies.

So I urge you to sign, post and circulate the Petition. Any questions, please email me.

Thanks,

beth hills


Good Morning, Beth,

Jack Shannon, a member of MAMMA, forwarded your request to have a 'link' to your petition posted. MAMMA has a 'Support' page at: http://www.geocities.com/gold_star_mother/mammasupports.html (take a peek). If such a position is acceptable, let me know and I'd be happy to 'honor' your request. Feel free to 'tour' the site...and let me know if a 'link' elsewhere would be better.

As for your "... secondary goal is to become an umbrella lobbying mechanism for various military advocacy groups, agencies and individuals to work together on common issues and goals, such as civilian oversight and repealing Feres.", you are urged to contact Barb Cragnotti, the VERPA Legislative Coordinator, at: barbcrag@hotmail.com and compare notes. It's always a shameful waste of time and talent to have people with similar 'goals' run parallel courses and NOT connect. The 'wheel' doesn't need to be reinvented. <grin>

If you have any questions or would be willing to 'promote' the 'Accountability' issue, please, feel free to contact me. I can be reached by e-mail at: jbeimdiek@juno.com or mamma538@juno.com, by phone at: (218) 233-6695 or by fax at: (218)233-5114. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless America and her Defenders! Jan Beimdiek, Directing CEO of MAMMA (M+others Aligned for Military & > Murder Accountability) http://www.geocities.com/gold_star_mother/publicalerts

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