Controlman Pablo Paredes has been tapped to become G.I. Rights Coordinator
at the nationally-known Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
In May 2005, a court martial convicted Paredes for believing the military
action in Iraq is "illegal and immoral." He was found guilty of missing his
deployment to the Persian Gulf and sentenced to three months hard labor
without confinement. Military prosecutors had sought nine months
incarceration. Meanwhile, he was demoted from Petty Officer Third Class to
Seaman Recruit, the Navy's lowest rank and his status as Conscientious
Objector was denied. He is currently seeking CO recognition through the
Federal Court System.
"Pablo Paredes embodies the type of person CCCO has fought to protect for
more than five decades," said Steve Morse, CCCO's current G.I. Rights
Coordinator and himself a Conscientious Objector. "He is a man of conscience
who's been willing to put himself in harm's way for principle. Although it's
true that the majority of Americans now consider the military effort in Iraq
a grave mistake, that wasn't always the case. People like him have helped
others see the light on this issue."
Wendy Carson, CCCO's Development Coordinator, added: "Organizations from all
over the country constantly seek our expertise in areas of
counter-recruitment and of lessening our reliance on militaristic economics.
Pablo's presence can only serve to raise our profile and make us even more
effective. He's a great fit and a great person. We're lucky to land him."
Seeking a positive direction in life, facing personal financial challenges
and confronting the rising costs of education, Paredes in 2000 joined the
U.S. Navy. In December 2005, he arrived at the pier at Naval Station San
Diego but refused to board the amphibious ship, Bon Homme Richard, which was
part of Expeditionary Strike Group 5 bound for Iraq. Instead, he announced
his opposition to war in general, to the Iraq War in particular, and to
being a party to death and destruction by transporting Marines to the war.
In May 2005, Paredes formally pleaded "not guilty" to charges of
Unauthorized Absence and Missing Movement stemming from his refusal. As
rationale, he said, "Like all members of the military, I have been trained
to recognize my personal responsibility for participating in war crimes.
Since the war is itself illegal and has been characterized by repeated and
consistent violations of international laws and treaties, of the Geneva
Convention rules of war, and of generally accepted standards of human
rights, I have a reasonable belief that my training required me to avoid
participating in these crimes."
Paredes will assume the G.I. Rights Coordinator position on August 31, 2006.
For more than 50 years, the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors(CCCO) has battled unchecked government power, helped men and women of
conscience avoid injuring or killing others, and stemmed the flow of raw
human material to the U.S. military-industrial complex. Founded in 1948,
CCCO began as a response to what was assumed to be a temporary draft law.
Three years later, it started counseling conscientious objectors (COs).
During the Vietnam Era, it provided discharge option information and
obtained CO rights through the 1965 Supreme Court ruling US v Seeger.
Its Military Out Of Our Schools (MOOS) program undercuts unscrupulous
recruitment efforts by providing activists winning strategies to gain equal
access in schools to discuss alternatives to armed forces service.
Meanwhile, its toll-free GI Rights Hotline fields more than 3,000 calls
every month from military personnel and family members seeking information
about discharges, grievance and complaint procedures and servicemembers'
civil rights. ###