Selena Coppa

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Selena Danielle Coppa
Born (1983-02-25) February 25, 1983 (age 31)
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 2001–??
Rank (Sergeant)
Other work Political Activism

Selena Danielle Coppa (born February 25, 1983) was a military intelligence[1] Sergeant in the United States Army. She is primarily notable for her organizing and activism against the US Occupation of Iraq while serving as an active duty military member, including serving on the Executive Board of Iraq Veterans Against the War. In 2009 it was announced that she was heading a committee responsible for gaining and training more active duty anti-war soldiers.[2][3] She has the somewhat unusual status of being a war resister strictly holding to legalities, and has been identified as a primary "force multiplier" for other servicemembers attempting to resist the war through legal means.[4]

Military service[edit]

Coppa enlisted in the Army in 2000 under the Delayed Entry Program and began her service as a Military Intelligence soldier in February 2001. Much of her work during the war was classified, and she has generally refused to speak about those matters, citing legal restrictions.

Protest activities[edit]

In February 2007, Coppa became active with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), though she did not come to prominence until January 2008, when she took over the GI Outreach Team for IVAW. She began coordinating the active duty wing of IVAW, flying and driving around the country, and visiting military bases to speak, distribute information, and organize other soldiers.[5] She rose to international media attention [6][7][8][9] in March 2008, when she testified at the Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland.[10] One of only two active duty participants, she chaired the Breakdown of the Military panel.[11] Shortly after testifying, she was reassigned to Germany but still made regular appearances inside the US, including at the Winter Soldier on the Hill hearings before Congress in May 2008 [12] and on the State of the Union Base Tour.[13] She was a main organizer of the DNC and RNC protests. In early 2009, she was named to the IVAW Board of Directors, and was subsequently elected to the Executive Board. She later resigned from this position, whistleblowing and citing ethical concerns about another executive board member. She was removed from the board after refusing to recant the charges.[14]

Military repercussions[edit]

Coppa reported suffering informal harassment by her unit and was also investigated by CID with no charges filed shortly after Winter Soldier.[15] Shortly after being named to the Board of Directors, she was also placed under investigation and threatened with court-martial and potential discharge for her blogging and other activities.[14][16][17] Coppa was represented by military law expert Michael Lebowitz, who successfully defended her against charges of disloyal statements and dereliction of duty. Coppa later received company-grade nonjudicial punishment for appearing in uniform at a protest march during participation at an IVAW-led march two years prior.

Print and film[edit]

Coppa was a main character in the documentary filmseries "This Is Where We Take Our Stand", appearing in several episodes and the introductory and closing sequences. Coppa has also been an active blogger on both her own blog called "Active Duty Patriot" and the nonpartisan blog "Military Pundits".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sasser, Bill (July 30, 2008). "Strained by War, US Army Promotes Unqualified Soldiers". Salon. 
  2. ^ Hughes, Aaron (Spring 2009). "IVAW GI Organizing". The Veteran. 
  3. ^ Lynn, Barry (January 23, 2009). "Culture Shocks, with Barry Lynn". CultureShocks. 
  4. ^ Sharrock, Justine (June 8, 2010). "Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things". Wiley. 
  5. ^ Hover, Chelsea (February 17, 2008). "Fort Hood soldiers breaking the silence in war in Iraq" (Fort Hood Outreach). News 8 Austin. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Felix y Selena, Dos Caras De La Contribucion Hispana a la Guerra de Irak" (Spain media coverage). EcoDiario. March 15, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Kisah Seorang Sersan dalam Pasukan AS" (Indonesia media coverage). Kabar Indonesia. March 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "US veterans urge soldiers to speak out against Iraq war" (AFP media coverage). AFP. March 13, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Five Years of War" (CCTV media coverage). China Central Television. March 14, 2008. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Andy (March 2008). "The New Winter Soldiers: Veteran Voices Speak Out Against the War". Christian Science Monitor. [dead link]
  11. ^ Flanders, Laura (March 2008). "Winter Soldier Day 4: Breakdown of the Military Part One". FreeSpeechTV. 
  12. ^ "Antikriegsorganisation in der Army: Sterbefeld Deutschland" (Taz media coverage). Die Tageszeitung. 7.07.2008. 
  13. ^ "STATE OF DISUNION: WAR VETERANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST MILITARY ABUSE OF TROOPS IN LOCAL STOP ON NATIONAL TOUR" (East County media coverage). East County Magazine. November 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "US-Sergeantin in Wiesbaden leistet Antikriegsarbeit. Jetzt wird gegen sie ermittelt." (Junge Welt media coverage). Junge Welt. April 11, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Zip it, Soldier" (Mother Jones media coverage). Mother Jones. September 29, 2008. [dead link]
  16. ^ "A Duty to Resist : A U.S. Sergeant in Wiesbaden is working for peace. Now she’s being investigated." (Common Dreams media coverage). Common Dreams. April 19, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Social Media: The Good, Bad, and Ugly" (Army Times media coverage). Army Times. 27 July 2009. 

External links[edit]