Sign on to the petition calling on the ACLU to take action to protect constitutional rights

The petition calls on the Vermont ACLU to review the facts and law and send a letter to the Adjutant General

What is the Vermont ACLU:

“The state's premier guardian of liberty, working in the courts, the legislature, and in communities to preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

As reported here on October 1, the Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard rejected the request for accreditation by

We call on the Vermont ACLU to:

  1. Consider that has been reporting on the brutal daily assaults on civilians with the 115-decibel F-35 training flights of the Vermont Air National Guard in the state’s most densely populated cities.

  2. Consider that the rejection of accreditation of by the Adjutant General violates free speech and freedom of the press.

We petition the Vermont ACLU to:

Send a letter to the Adjutant General requesting accreditation of the reporter for and an immediate stop to F-35 training flights in populated areas.

Sign on to the petition:

Supporting information:

Violates free speech. The rejection of accreditation retaliates against for its watchdog journalism; for divulging severe harm to civilians from F-35 training flights in a populated area; and for identifying the laws and military regulations violated by Guard commanders and Vermont political leaders.

Violates press freedom. In over 80 articles published since October 31, 2020, has produced some of the most trenchant reporting on F-35 training in a populated area. By excluding the reporter from from its news media events, the Adjutant General prevents its questions from being asked and denies the public the responses to those questions. By excluding its reporter, the Adjutant General does not just punish He warns all other news media organizations of a severe consequence of engaging in watchdog journalism on the F-35 issue.

As one example, lack of accreditation was how the Adjutant General prevented from being present at an August 5 news media roundtable to timely receive the blistering 113-page National Guard Bureau report into sexual abuse in the Vermont National Guard that was handed to other reporters. Notice that it even existed was embargoed from until after accredited reporters from VTDigger and Seven Days had published their articles on August 8. The article on, “Sexual abuse of female Guard members and mass abuse of civilians with F-35 both rooted in failed Guard leadership,” which appeared on August 10, was thus, substantially delayed and disadvantaged by the lack of accreditation to attend the news media event.

What is is an online news report, currently with over 250 subscribers, that practices watchdog journalism. It focuses on the egregious conduct of Vermont Air National Guard commanders and Vermont’s top political leaders, particularly their choice to train with the F-35 in Vermont’s most densely populated cities where the Air Force itself disclosed that civilians, including children, would be severely hurt. It posted F-35 noise v. time profiles recorded by a sound engineer who used a calibrated recording sound meter on public streets as the F-35 flew over: readings exceeded 115 decibels. Its articles revealed the pain and injury the F-35 training in densely populated cities hundreds of times a month is inflicting, as reported in online surveys by hundreds of civilians. The articles showed how inflicting such harm on civilians violates Vermont reckless conduct laws, US laws, including the UCMJ and the US War Crimes Act, the US and Vermont constitutions, Senate ratified treaties and the military’s own regulations.

An article on identified the Vermont political and military leaders responsible. An article showed how the senior senator corrupted the Air Force decision-making process. An article showed how the state’s leaders foisted the F-35 against the will of the people, as expressed in town meeting votes in Burlington and Winooski.

In view of the abuse of adults and children and the violations of law, articles call for immediately halting the F-35 training flights in a populated area and for investigation and criminal prosecution of the political and military leaders responsible, no matter how high up in office they may be.

What criteria do military regulations require for accreditation? Army Regulation AR 360-1 requires the commander to accredit a reporter if he or she meets one condition: reporters must have “a legitimate need to gather news about military affairs” (Page. 74). By avoiding any improper criteria (such as viewpoint or watchdog reporting style), AR 360-1 properly requires commanders to uphold the 1st amendment. Unfortunately, the Adjutant General did not follow AR 360-1.

Does meet the requirements? meets the sole criterion in AR 360-1 for accreditation. Over 80 news articles about the F-35 training flights published on since October 31, 2020 provide a solid basis upon which to conclude that it has a legitimate need to gather news about military affairs, particularly the use of the F-35 in a densely populated area.

Is the reporter for qualified? The reporter, James Marc Leas, is a patent attorney and an independent journalist. Articles of his have appeared in the Vermont Bar Journal and in the Vermont Law Review. 20 of his articles were published on, 17 on, 39 on VTDigger, and 60 on Also see his available online Burlington Free Press opinion pieces and scanned copies of his op-ed pieces in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Hartford Courant, Poughkeepsie Journal, Technology Review, IEEE Institute, and Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Suppressing and concealing information: The violation of the 1st amendment adds yet one more to the growing list of reasons training with the F-35 in a populated area should be abolished: damage to hearing; impaired learning and degraded cognitive development, attention deficit; high crash risk and catastrophic consequences of a crash in a city; increased incidence of heart disease and stroke; PFAS poisoning; and disproportionate impact on low income and black and brown populations.

Scrupulous enforcement of the 1st amendment is essential to prevent further assault on press freedom and enable watchdog journalism to continue. Also essential to the most important function of newspapers in a democracy: to highlight government abuse and hold the responsible government officials to account. Particularly government officials who are so blatantly assaulting civilians, disrespecting democracy, and violating the law with impunity.

The signers of this petition call on the ACLU to investigate and take action. The ACLU has expertise at upholding the 1st Amendment, opposing injustice, and preserving rights and liberties. Petitioners ask the ACLU to review the facts and law and send a letter to the Adjutant General.

Sign on to the petition:

Write or call your public servants:

Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <>

Vermont National Guard's Complaint Line: 802-660-5379

Add your own report & complaint to the online F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form:

See the responses to the F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (so far 501 responses):

Senator Patrick Leahy 800-642-3193 Chief of Staff <>

Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <>

Congressman Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <>

Burlington City Council <>

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <>

Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <>

S. Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle <>

Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <>

VT Senate President Becca Balint <>

VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <>

Attorney General TJ Donavan <>

States Attorney Sarah George <>

Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <>

Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <>

Major J Scott Detweiler <>

Wing Commander Col David Shevchik <>

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <>