Governor focuses F-35 assault on working class Vermonters and their children
Vermonters with plenty of money, like Governor Phil Scott, don’t have to even think about the things that hit working class families: Low paying jobs. High-priced essentials, including food, housing, gasoline, and health insurance. Costly child-care. Outrageous tuition and student debt. A vetoed minimum wage bill. Obstacles to forming a union. The economic draft and the escalating drum beat toward war.
On top of extraordinary stress hitting working class Vermonters come hundreds of Governor-Phil-Scott-directed 115-decibel F-35 training flights a month. Each one viciously assaulting the densely populated Chamberlin neighborhood adjacent the Burlington Airport runway and cities in the immediate flight path: Winooski and the Chase Street neighborhood of Burlington. No coincidence that all the area’s wealthy neighborhoods are far outside any noise or crash danger zone.
The Air Force said 6,663 civilians live in the extreme-noise-zone of the F-35. More than 1,700 written report and complaint forms submitted by 700 Vermonters show that the F-35 training in Vermont cities is hurting and injuring Vermonters on a mass scale.
Children particularly assaulted
Writing personally to Governor Phil Scott and to Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, the state’s leading pediatric neurologist described severe damage to children from the 115-decibel training flights in densely populated cities. His April 23 letter has so far gotten no response.
The state of Vermont has the power
State authority over the conduct of state national guard training is expressly provided in the US Constitution (Art 1, Sec 8, Cl 16) and a corresponding federal law (32 USC 501). The constitution goes further, requiring the states to conduct that guard training “according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” The federal law requires state guard units to conform to the discipline for the US military.
Military’s own rules violated
That military discipline includes Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 2311.01 that requires members to comply with the law of war during all armed conflicts. “In all other military operations members of the DoD components will continue to act consistent with the law of war’s fundamental principles and rules,” including “the principles of military necessity, humanity, distinction, proportionality, and honor.” That means that the same law-of-war rules we’ve been hearing about for the Russians apply equally to Vermont National Guard training operations right here in Vermont.
Each one of those five fundamental principles is violated by the F-35 training operations in Vermont cities. “Distinction,” for example, requires Vermont National Guard commanders to protect the densely populated Chamberlin neighborhood of the City of South Burlington and the Cities of Winooski and Burlington by conducting the F-35 training operation far away from populated areas.
No exception exists in Department of Defense rules when the prime targets of the 115-decibel F-35 training flights are black, brown, and white working class families, as compared to people who live on 300-acre estates in Middlesex, like Senator Patrick Leahy, the chief architect of the illegal F-35 training in Vermont cities.
The rule of law overlooked
The fact that the F-35 training in Vermont cities is illegal means that Vermont must use its constitutional authority over the training to put a stop to it.
Training to commit war crimes
But the F-35 training in Vermont cities is not just an ongoing criminal act daily directed at working class Vermonters. The hundreds of reckless F-35 training flights each month in Vermont cities that assault Vermonters train pilots to disrespect law-of-war principles. Pilots trained to hurt and injure civilians in Burlington cannot be relied upon to uphold the rules protecting civilians during a deployment to Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, or China.
Pilots subjected to such illegitimate “training” as conducted in Vermont cities are disqualified to serve in any further military capacity, must be prohibited from any deployment, and must be separated from the military.
A minuscule fraction of the damage an F-35 jet loaded with bombs and missiles can do to civilians when US forces deviate from the law of war during an armed conflict was provided in this video released by Wikileaks. The gun-camera footage was taken by a US Apache helicopter in a Bagdad suburb in 2007: https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/
Long train of abuses
Governor Phil Scott issues the order to conduct the daily 115-decibel F-35 training in densely populated cities. But Senator Patrick Leahy and his staff had a “central role” in foisting the F-35 basing on these cities according to an investigative report in VTDigger. While Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch “have supported from the sidelines and helped to deflect any public criticism.” How long will working people allow such a long train of abuses to pile up?
Write or call your public servants and demand an immediate halt to F-35 training in cities.
Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <Jason.Gibbs@vermont.gov>
Vermont National Guard's Complaint Line: 802-660-5379 (Note: the Vermont Guard told a reporter that it received over 1400 noise complaints. But the Guard won’t release what people said).
Instead, or in addition, submit your report & complaint to the still-active online F-35 Fall 2021-Winter 2022 Report & Complaint Form: https://tinyurl.com/5d89ckj9
See all the graphs and in-your-own words statements on the F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (513 responses): https://tinyurl.com/3svacfvx.
See links to the graphs and in-your-own words statements on all four versions of the F-35 Report & Complaint Form since Spring 2020, with a total of 1670 responses from 658 different people plus 70 more on the still-active form.
Senator Patrick Leahy 800-642-3193 Chief of Staff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Congressman Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <email@example.com>
Burlington City Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <email@example.com>
Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
S. Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle <email@example.com>
Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
VT Senate President Becca Balint <email@example.com>
VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attorney General TJ Donavan <DonovanTJ@gmail.com>
States Attorney Sarah George <Sarah.email@example.com>
Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <email@example.com>
Major J Scott Detweiler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wing Commander Col David Shevchik email@example.com
Vermont National Guard Inspector General Lt. Col. Edward J Soychak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Col. Pamela D. Koppelmann <email@example.com>
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <Frank.Kendall@us.af.mil>