(Emphasis in bold is mine.)
Dear Friends and Supporters:
Wow what a year this has been! I cannot believe that so much time has passed since I first applied for asylum. I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of you for you love and support during this difficult but exciting period.
First I want to give everyone an update as to where we stand. As of right now, the Federal Office in Germany is continuing its fact finding mission in order to reach a decision as to whether or not I should receive asylum. I realize that many of you are wondering why this decision should take so long. We must understand that a decision of this magnitude cannot be taken lightly. Remember that a yes decision would pretty much be a de facto admission that the War on Terror is illegal and immoral. The ramifications of such a decision would be huge, especially since it would come from a strong ally of the United States. A move like that could provide a safe haven for the War resisters in Europe, it would be a huge embarrassment for the Administration, and could potentially put more pressure on the American Government to pursue War Crimes against humanity instead of continuing the ongoing persecution of War Resisters for making a sound moral decision. If the German Government decides no, then we are in a rather curious situation since as of this date there continues to be evidence that this war was one of aggression, and that it violates American, German, and international law. It would be interesting to see the explanation as to how such a decision could be reached, as well as the World´s reaction to such a decision. I understand that this is a potential political time-bomb given the long history of friendship between the two nations. Nevertheless I believe in true justice and that friends should be able to tell each other when they are in error.
Over the last year I have traveled the country giving talks and making appearances in order to raise awareness on this very important issue, as well as having a strong media and internet presence thanks to the help of very dedicated people. Looking back I feel as though we have been successful; however we must continue our efforts to reach the general population. It is difficult for the average person to fully connect to the Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan mainly because they are so far away. Our job is to get the people to realize just what is happening on the ground in those countries, so that we may be able to put a stop to the madness that reigns there. I must continue to stress that the peoples of those lands do not hate us because of our beliefs and “freedoms”. They are opposed to us simply because we have invaded their lands. It would be the same situation if some invading force made their way into your hometowns. You would fight tooth and nail in order to get them out, and that is what is happening in these countries. I am not happy that our soldiers are dying for reasons that have yet to be disclosed. No one should have to die for nothing, especially not under false pretenses. My heart bleeds for every man woman and child who has to suffer on all sides of the conflict, because we are all victims of some very twisted policies. In order for us to help spread the message, I charge each and every one of you to please spread the word about this asylum case and to urge your friends and colleagues to contact the German and American Governments to withdraw from these lands NOW! Only with a united front can we even hope to achieve success. That is why we are continuing to ask for your support in this very important cause.
Since today is Thanksgiving in the United States, I wish to take the time to thank everyone for their tireless efforts in helping me fight this battle. Through donations of time, effort, and money we were able to achieve things that one year ago I did not dream were humanly possible. From the Winter Soldier Conference in March, to the Ethecon event in Berlin last weekend, we have spread our message to people from all walks of life. I am especially pleased that we were able to speak to schoolchildren about what it really means to be a soldier. This is very important since these children must make a decision that could potentially affect the rest of their lives. I want to make clear the importance of giving people the proper information so that they can make good decisions concerning their lives. For far too long we have been told what to believe and what to think about the world around us. It is time for us as human beings to wake up from our slumber and to see the world for what it really is by using our own minds. I wish to especially thank Connection e.V., Military Counseling Network, Iraq Veterans Against the War (in the U.S. and Europe), Tübingen Progressive Americans, the DFG-VK, Stop the War Brigade and Ethecon for helping spread the message of peace. There have been many other organizations and individuals that I have not listed that have also made major contributions to the case. I wish to express my deepest appreciation to all of you and ask God to bless you in the future.
Unfortunately the American War on Humanity is continuing. President Obama is set to send an additional 38,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, as well as going back on his promises to withdraw from Iraq. The death toll in the conflict is steadily rising and soldiers from many countries are dealing with mental trauma from this unjust war. The peoples of these lands are still fleeing their countries in search for a safe haven, and basic services are way below acceptable levels for a functioning society. When looking at the situation it is very easy to get discouraged. However there is reason to hope. The voice of opposition is growing stronger by the day, as our ranks are continuing to be filled with people from all over the world who are fed up with the crimes that are continuously being committed. We must continue to press on. Only when we stand together as one and demand that this comes to an end, will we be able to heal the wounds of the past, and be able to start building a better world for our children. I wish you all good luck and God bless you in all of your endeavors.
Sincerely André Shepherd