S. Brian Willson
I was born on July 4, 1941, five months prior to the official entrance of the United States into World War II. That this is the day U.S. Americans annually celebrate our Independence was exciting to me during my youth. My European ancestry is German, English, and Scotch, and my "American" roots are rural and agricultural, religious (Baptist), politically conservative (reactionary Republican), and economically modest (lower working/middle class)…
1964, B.A. in Sociology (minor in Mathematics), Eastern (Baptist) College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania
1968, M.S. in Correctional Administration (Criminology and Penology), The American University, Washington, D.C.
1972, J.D. (Juris Doctor) in Law, Washington College of Law of The American University, Washington, D.C.
1988, Ph.D. (Hon.) in Humanities, New College, San Francisco, California
1990, LL.D. (Doctor of Laws) (Hon.), City University of New York Law School at Queens College, Flushing, New York
S. Brian Willson
This site contains essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.
*everything is at the center of the cosmos at every moment
Fake U.S. History: How “American Exceptionalism” Hides Shame, Creates Stupidity and Dangerous Imperialism
By S. Brian Willson
Global Research, December 22nd, 2019
The culture and nation state of the United States of America is founded on the egregious and forceful dispossession of others. You might even call it an earlier version of fascism – institutional dehumanization for private profit. A myth, or grand lie, was created that we are an exceptional people, effectively pre-empting openly experiencing the important feeling of social shame and, in turn, blocking any accountability or genuine inquiry into our genocidal origins built on stolen land and labor, that murdered millions with impunity.
Thus, we live by fantasy of our superiority, which functionally makes us stupid, as if in a stupor. Applying the legal exclusionary rule to the culture at large, the USA is the “fruit of the poisonous tree”, as with most “civilizations”, founded on forcefully stolen land and labor, thereby lacking any moral or legal validity.
When I was a child in rural upstate New York in the 1940s and 1950s, I enjoyed small town life and the tranquility of a luscious surrounding nature. I had pictures of baseball stars plastered on all four of my bedroom walls. I recited a grateful prayer in my little sanctuary before going to sleep each night: “Thank you God for allowing me to have been born and raised in the United States, the greatest country in the history of the world, endowed by our Creator to bring prosperity to the impoverished, and Christianity to the heathen”. It was a wonderful story, greatly enhanced by our nation’s celebrated reputed victory over Fascism in Europe. Life was good, or so I thought.
Having been born on July 4, 1941, I was a patriotic baby of the World War II generation. My family was lower middle class, devout Baptists and, like my parents, I believed that the FBI under the “leadership” of J. Edgar Hoover protected our democratic Christian freedoms from the Russians. The Cold War propaganda was nothing short of spectacular, virtually all unchallenged by anyone I knew.
S. Brian Willson
But there was another factor operating. Coinciding with the celebrated post-World War II victory, the nation experienced a unique 35-year blip in its history – an age of a large middle class imbibing in insatiable consumerism and optimism. My family replaced their icebox with a new electric refrigerator after the war, bought their first automobile, and by 1958 had purchased an 11-inch B&W television set. It was proof that we are an exceptional people, and God’s chosen people to boot. However, this optimism was tempered by fear of the Soviet Union that severely prevented genuine liberal dialogue and critical thinking education.
1950s: “Positive Thinking/Prosperity Gospel” – Norman Vincent Peale and US Exceptionalism
Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), a Dutch Reformed minister, wrote The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952, a bestseller for 186 consecutive weeks, a book prominently in our home library, as it was in the Trump family home in Queens, New York. Peale also wrote a monthly magazine, Guideposts, which my parents read regularly. Peale served as a guru for the post-depression, post-World War II generation with his cult-like, self-help “bible” for achieving material success with divine blessings. Peale described himself as a “missionary to American business”, opposing unions and the New Deal. Thus, he was exceedingly popular with ambitious US Americans, especially White folks, both the rich, and those seeking riches.
Donald L. Trump, as a 6-year-old child began to regularly attended Peale’s New York City church with his parents. Peale officiated at Trump’s first marriage with Ivana Zelnickova, and both Trump’s sisters were married at Peale’s church. To this day, Trump lauds Peale for his success, unrestrained self-confidence, and from whom he learned modern branding. In Trump’s 2015 book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, he proclaimed that “I am a Christian…I love God, and I love having a relationship with Him…[and] the Bible is the most important book ever written”.
Many theologians considered Peale as “God’s salesman”, critiquing him as a dangerous con man and fraud since he convinced people to believe that all basic problems were personal, unrelated to social, political, or economic contexts. Personal failures, Peale, said, were a sign of spiritual weakness, preaching that everyone has the power to make oneself happy and rich. It fits perfectly with US American exceptionalism and Trump’s narcissism.
Viet Nam – Great Awakening of the Grand Lie
I was in Viet Nam in 1969 where I turned 28 years, having been drafted in 1966 during my fourth semester of law school. It was there that my Disney bliss rapidly evaporated. The entrance sign to my squadron’s in-country headquarters said, “Welcome to Indian Country”. This reminded me of the slogan, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian”, hinting the same plight for the Vietnamese. Incidentally, Trump, five years my junior, enjoyed five deferments enabling him to avoid Viet Nam.
While performing auxiliary duty as a USAF Combat Security officer, I documented the immediate aftermath of atrocities committed from the air that annihilated inhabited, undefended villages. I was sickened from the sight of hundreds of villagers lying dead and suffering horribly in their villages. I wondered who the fuck am I, a 6’ 3” White man, 9,000 miles from my rural farming village in New York State? These Vietnamese were in their homevillages. Village life was the essence of Vietnamese culture and we were systematically destroying it. I felt depressingly unauthentic, like a dumb ideological robot, and began to realize that being a privileged White man was in fact an emotional and intellectual disability. White male supremacy was a powerful force, as it enabled a kind of mindless “sliding” through life, pre-empting the need to ask serious questions. However, my discovery of empathy began to radicalize me. I wondered whether we had become sadistic criminal psychopaths? Or have we always been? Hmm?
Accumulating high body counts, from babies to grandparents, and every age in between, was politically comforting to US politicians and to a large number of their taxpaying constituents. We simply created a fiction that we were killing the “enemy” to satisfy the emotional, and political momentum of stopping the bogeyman – Communism – when in fact we were murdering innocent Vietnamese peasants. Mass murder was normalized. When the US war ended in 1975, 13,000 of 21,000 Vietnamese villages had been deliberately wiped out. Huge B-52 bombers left 26 million bomb craters, while targeting and destroying almost 950 churches and pagodas, 350 clearly marked hospitals, nearly 3,000 educational institutions, over 15,000 bridges, 18 power plants, 40 factories, 10 million cubic meters of dikes, and 25 million acres of farmland. The US also chemically poisoned food supplies and forests. Our cultural corruption is so extreme we proudly ordered B-52 death machines flying five miles high blessed by God-fearing chaplains to bomb unarmed, mostly Buddhist peasants living nine thousand miles across the Pacific. What?
Big Pharma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): The Deadly Toll that Permanent War Takes on US Soldiers, Awaits the Rest of Us
Several million peasants were gruesomely, senselessly murdered, with countless additional millions permanently maimed. It was barbaric. It was genocidal. I felt personal shame for my participation, and intense anger of betrayal. At times I felt suicidal. My White male conditioning had made me “disabled”, i.e., a kind of stupidity whose mind hadn’t even thought to seriously ask whyI was putting my life on the line in a small country across the seas I knew nothing about? I had been part of a massive conspiracy to violate international law and destroy a sovereign people. Huh?! But I had been conditioned to think that “America” was nonetheless, exceptional.
Criminal Cruelty to Prevent Vietnamese Autonomy
US premeditated policy intended to destroy Vietnamese self-determination. As historian William Blum has succinctly concluded: “the thread common to the diverse targets of [US] American intervention…in virtually every case involving the Third World… has been, in one form or another, a policy of ‘self-determination’: the desire …to pursue a path of development independent of US foreign policy objectives”.
The US war (as with virtually all wars), was based on a Grand Lie, in this case that the majority Vietnamese were being invaded by other Vietnamese who the US called “Communists”. And it was maintained by grotesque lies – every day – such as identifying all dead Vietnamese as a victory (body counts), all carried out by heinous war crimes. Official reports abounded about our making progress in the war – lies. The fictional“democratic” South Vietnamese government created by the US and CIA was so unpopular the US military was forced to invade and occupy South Viet Nam for 10 years with nearly 550,000 troops supported by countless daily bombing missions and unprecedented use of chemical warfare. We murdered millions and it still didn’t work. How demonic can you get?
Fake history about Viet Nam was confirmed in the 1971 release of The Pentagon Papers. Despite this, the highly publicized Burns-Novick 2017, The Vietnam War
TV documentary, claimed the war was “begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings”. Lies die hard.
Ralph McGehee, former starter on three Notre Dame national championship football teams in the late 1940s, a cum laude graduate, became one of the 700 CIA officers in Viet Nam. He was shocked when discovering the daily intelligence he was gathering was totally bastardized in official reports. Depressed about the dishonest intelligence system, he became suicidal. McGehee reported that the repressive, oligarchic government of US puppet Nguyen Van Thieu was so unpopular and corrupt that most Vietnamese were organized, committed, and dedicated to his defeat, and a Vietnamese Communist victory.
Cold War Redux
Now 78, fifty years out of Viet Nam, I am aghast that we are living through an even more virulent, Cold War. Cold War I propaganda cast an overwhelming toxic spell on the minds of three generations, including many intelligent people. Relentless rhetoric accomplished a near total indoctrination of our entire US culture. Virtually all systems colluded and cooperated to preserve unquestioning belief in the unique nobility of the US American system while instilling rabid, paranoid fear of “enemies” — in our midst as well as “out there”. We rationalized pathologically inexplicable behavior around the world, as well as at home. Indoctrination is so pervasive it generates a universally compelling mythology that conceals its own contradictions.
Today, the corporate and social media narrative managers so tightly control propaganda that once again our minds are saturated with rages against the evil “adversary”, Russia. The neoliberal religion of privatization makes everyone and everything for sale as a commodity, dictating both domestic and foreign policy. It is enforced at home by an overreaching national security state of surveillance (our Fourth Estate), and abroad with the most brutal “wholesale” terrorist machinery in history. The US government, and its compliant military, enables obscene profits for its Military-Congressional-Intelligence-Banking-Wall Street-Drug Complex. The US population de facto consents to destroying Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syrian and others, i.e, with diabolical imperialism.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us. – US author Stephen King.
In George Orwell’s novel, 1984, the Ministry of Truth rearranges facts and rewrites history. on the face of the building in which it is housed are engraved the slogans: “War Is Peace; Freedom Is Slavery; Ignorance Is Strength”. Language is one of the most important tools of the totalitarian state. If all citizens accept the lies that the ruling party imposes – if all records tell the same tale – then the lie passes into history and becomes truth. All that is needed is an unending series of victories over our own memory. This is called Reality control. In Orwell’s Newspeak, doublethink is the official state language. Everything becomes pretend, the lies told over and over in many different forms throughout time. Meanwhile, wars easily continue, facilitated by deceit and lies, elaborate propaganda mind-control systems that permeate our education institutions and Hollywood and are promoted by the concentrated monopoly of corporate mass media. Our collective minds are systematically colonized to accept the unacceptable.
This McCarthy-like new Cold War dangerously speeds the world toward nuclear holocaust. I raise the question: Are we stupid? Can we not see that our behavior is leading to our ecocide/suicide – climate catastrophe and nuclear war?
US Exceptionalism Has Been Fatal – Creates Stupid, Shameful Monsters
The origins of the Grand Lie of Viet Nam, and the horrific cruelties committed there, are discoverable in the very origins of US America. The psychological and cultural conditioning growing up in US America, especially for a Eurocentric White male like myself, is emotionally and intellectually comfortable. But the noble “exceptional” history we have been taught about ourselves proves to be fantastic fakery which continues to serve as a comfortable escape from experiencing and feeling the horrible truth of the collective shame of our unspeakable criminal genocidal origins. Capitalism itself would not have existed without centuries of egregious colonial plunder of millions of Indigenous Americans, or millions of enslaved Africans. So, not only does the lie of “exceptionalism” enable us to avoid extremely unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but it also discourages asking enlightening, delving questions, about who we really are as a people. This makes us dangerously stupid. Why mess with the apparent successful myth of being exceptional? But thoughtlessness – a suspension of critical thinking – today leads to a dangerous, nuclear, arrogant war-making society. Not unintelligent, but stupid. And the power brokers, and many in the population, have a vested interest in remaining stupid to protect the comfortable original lie, that requires countless subsequent lies, in turn, to preserve that original lie. We have told ourselves a nice story. But it is a lie and as long as we continue to believe in our superiority we deepen our stupidity.
Thus, throughout our history we have lived by a slick Grand “American” lie, granting us comfort and security in our “superior” cultural identity. Spellbound and flattered we live by our favorite mythological maxims: “Founding Fathers”, “democracy”, “Constitution”, “Rule of Law”, and “greatest country ever”. Our political-religion of US American predatory corporate capitalism (privatization)blocks experiencing the most critical of all social emotions – empathy– that ties all humanity together, something I so painfully, but thankfully learned in Viet Nam. The Grand Lie is so huge and pervasive we do not generally recognize it.
Cultural analysts such as Lewis Mumford have described how unchecked “power punctuates the entire history of mankind with outbursts of collective paranoia and tribal delusions of grandeur mingled with malevolent suspicions, murderous hatreds, and atrociously inhumane acts”. So, in effect, much of human civilization history is based on institutionalized dehumanization, a form of Fascism. Mumford again: “A personal over-concentration of power as an end in itself is suspect to the psychologist as an attempt to conceal inferiority, impotence, and anxiety. When this inferiority is combined with defensive inordinate ambitions, uncontrolled hostility and suspicion, and a loss of any sense of the subject’s own limitation, ‘delusions of grandeur’ result, which is the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”.
The US nation, as a criminal enterprise, is a perfect example of what Mumford described as a civilization maintained by “collective paranoia” without sense of “limitation”, the result being “delusions of grandeur”, the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”. Built on forceful dispossession, deceit, and fantasy, the USA lives with a DNA of selfishness, arrogance and violence that began long ago, and we seem content to leave it be, increasing our dangerousness to ourselves and the world.
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Viet Nam veteran, trained lawyer, author, BLOOD on THE TRACKS: The Life & Times of S. Brian Willson (PM Press, 2011); Don’t Thank Me For My Service:
My Viet Nam Awakening To The Long History of US Lies (Clarity Press, 2018); subject of documentary:PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson(Bo Boudart Productions, 2016); essays: www.brianwillson.com
Brian Willson is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
 Simon & Schuster, pp 130-1.
 Chris Lehman, “The Self-Help Guru Who Shaped Trump’s Worldview: How the Commander-in-Chief Succumbs to the Perils of Positive Thinking”, In These Times, December 13, 2017; Gwenda Blair, “How Norman Vincent Peale Taught Donald Trump to Worship Himself”, PoliticoMagazine, October 6, 2015.
 William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II(Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), 15.
 Ralph McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA(New York: Sheridan Square, 1983), 125-26, 147-157.
 George Orwell, 1984: A Novel(New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1949).
 S. Brian Willson, “The Pretend Society,” http://www.brianwillson.com/the-pretend-society
 Norman Soloman, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (Hoboken,NJ: Wiley & Sons, 2005).
 David Model, Lying for Empire: How to Commit War Crimes with a Straight Face(Monroe, ME:Common Courage Press, 2005); Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses ofPropaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq(New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2003); John R. MacArthur, SecondFront: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992).
 Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare1945-1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Herbert I.Schiller,
The Mind Managers(Boston: BeaconPress, 1973).
 John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling(Vancouver,Canada, New Society, 1992); Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society(New York: Harper & Row, 1971).
 Carl Boggs and Tom Pollard, The Hollywood War Machine: US Militarism and Popular Culture(Boulder,CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2007).
 Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly(Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).
 Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development(New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1967), 204.
 Mumford, 1967, 218.
The original source of this article is Global Research:
Copyright © S. Brian Willson, Global Research, 2019
Sent from S. Brian Willson: email@example.com
Envisioning Nonviolent Revolutionary Alternatives:
Mahatma Gandhi’s two-prong program: (1) noncooperation, & (2) constructive alternative
December 29, 2014: https://www.brianwillson.com/904/
Gene Sharp: A Dictator’s Worst Nightmare. June 25, 2012: https://www.brianwillson.com/gene-sharp-a-dictators-worst-nightmare/
Making War Obsolete: Nonviolence. March 1, 1999: https://www.brianwillson.com/making-war-obsolete-nonviolence/
The Imperative of Revolutionary Nonviolence. January 1, 1994: https://www.brianwillson.com/the-imperative-of-revolutionary-nonviolence/
The Most Dangerous of Rogue Nations: The United States: https://www.brianwillson.com/category/the-most-dangerous-of-rogue-nations-the-united-states/
Äîðîãîé Áðàéàí Óèëñîí!
ÃÑÃ ñ÷àñòëèâ ïîçäðàâèòü âàñ ñ 78 äíåì ðîæäåíèÿ è ïîæåëàòü âàì êðåïêîãî çäîðîâüÿ, òâåðäîãî àíòèìèëèòàðèñòñêîãî äóõà è íîâûõ òâîð÷åñêèõ óñïåõîâ â ðàçîáëà÷åíèè áåñêîíå÷íîé «âîéíû ÑØÀ ïðîòèâ ÷åëîâå÷åñòâà» (×îññóäîâñêèé, Õîìñêèé è äð.), íåðàçðûâíîé ñ èõ áåñêîíå÷íîé ëîæüþ è íàñèëèåì. Ìû, ÃÑÃ øèðîêî öèòèðóåì âàøè àíòèìèëèòàðèñòñêèå ðàáîòû â íàøèõ êíèãàõ, îñîáåííî â «Íàóêå Ãëîáàëüíîãî Ìèðà» (ÍÃÌ: https://peacefromharmony.org/docs/global-peace-science-2016.pdf).
Åñëè âû íå áîèòåñü ðóññêèõ (ñîçäàííûé Àìåðèêîé ðóñîôîáñêèé ôåéêîâûé ðàñèçì çàïóãàë è çîìáèðîâàë áîëåå 70% àìåðèêàíöåâ) è íå ïðåíåáðåãàåòå íîâûìè íàó÷íûìè ìèðîòâîð÷åñêèìè êîíöåïöèÿìè íà îñíîâå ñôåðîíîâ (ÍÃÌ) – ìû áûëè áû ñ÷àñòëèâû ñîòðóäíè÷àòü ñ âàìè, îòêðûòü âàøó ïåðñîíàëüíóþ ñòðàíèöó íà ñàéòå ÃÑÃ «Ìèð èç Ãàðìîíèè» è îïóáëèêîâàòü âàøè íàèáîëåå çíà÷èòåëüíûå ðàáîòû.
Åñëè áû âû ìîãëè íàïèñàòü â 1-2 äíÿ íåñêîëüêî ñòðî÷åê î íîâîé, äåâÿòîé «Ãàíäè êíèãå» ÃÑÃ (è ïîó÷àñòâîâàòü â íåé ëþáûì âàøèì ïîæåðòâîâàíèåì), ìû áûëè áû ñ÷àñòëèâû îïóáëèêîâàòü åãî â íåé è âêëþ÷èòü âàñ â ÷èñëî åå ñîàâòîðîâ (https://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=848). Ìû âêëþ÷èì âàñ â íàø ïî÷òîâûé ëèñò è ñåòè, åñëè âû íå âîçðàæàåòå. Ìû ðàäû òàêæå ïîñëàòü âàì îäíó èç èëëþñòðàöèé ýòîé êíèãè, ñ èñïîëüçîâàíèåì ðèñóíêà Ôðýíêà â íåé. Ìû æåëàåì âàì ñ÷àñòëèâîãî äíÿ ðîæäåíèÿ. Ìû îáà – ðîâåñíèêè, îäíîãîäêè, ïîýòîìó ÿ îñîáåííî ðàä ïîçäðàâèòü è îáíÿòü âàñ äðóæåñêè è ïðèãëàñèòü â ãîñòè â Ñàíêò-Ïåòåðáóðã.
GHA is happy to congratulate you on your 78th birthday and wish you good health, solid anti-militaristic spirit and new creative successes in exposing the endless “war of the USA against humanity” (Chossudovsky, Chomsky etc.), inseparable from their endless lies, aggression and violence. We, the GHA, widely quote your anti-militarist works in our books, especially in the “Global Peace Science” (GPS: https://peacefromharmony.org/docs/global-peace-science-2016.pdf).
If you are not afraid of Russians (created by America Russophobic fake racism intimidated and zombied more than 70% of Americans) and do not neglect the new scientific peacemaking concepts based on the spherons idea (GPS), we would be happy to cooperate with you, open your personal page on the GHA website “Peace from Harmony” and publish your most significant works.
If you could write in a few days a few lines about the GHA new, ninth “Gandhi book” – “Gandhica” (and participate in it with any of your donations), we would be happy to publish them in it and include you among its co-authors (https://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=848).We would include you in our mailing list and network, if you do not mind. We are also pleased to send you one of the illustrations of this book, using the picture of Frank in it. We wish you a happy birthday. Both of us are of the same age so I am especially glad to congratulate and embrace you in a friendly way and invite you to St. Petersburg.
Happy Birthday to S. Brian Willson, Who Turns 78 Today.
Brian is Living Permanently in Nicaragua & Has Been Made a Citizen of Nicaragua by President Daniel Ortega.
He is Currently Back in the U.S. Visiting Friends in Portland, Oregon.
If you would like to send Brian a birthday message, his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org or: email@example.com
Brian’s website, where you can read his incredible essays about The American Way of Life is: www.brianwillson.com
If you haven’t seen the amazing film about his life: "PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson"
You can order it from Cinema Libre Studio at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/payingthepriceforpeace
"PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson" - Is one of the best anti-war films I have ever seen.
It won The Grand Jury Documentary Feature Award at The Awareness Film Festival held at The Regal Cinema at LA LIVE in October, 2017.
You can read the fabulous endorsement statements below.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson
Produced & Directed by Bo Boudart ~ Narrated by Peter Coyote ~ Editor Susan Utell ~ Associate Producer Frank Dorrel
Vietnam veteran S. Brian Willson paid the price for peace as he was run over and nearly killed by a military train during a non-violent protest atThe Concord Naval Weapons Station in California on September 1st, 1987. The train was carrying weapons that were to be shipped to Central Americaand used to kill innocent civilians in Nicaragua,
El Salvador & Guatemala. Since then, Brian has not stopped calling attention to the US government’sdefiance of international law through waging endless illegal wars.
“PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” exposes the truth about the United States’addiction to war and the lies it perpetuates in order to wage ongoing violence.
Brian’s story is very moving, inspirational, historical and educational.
This Important Film Also Features:
Daniel Ellsberg, Ron Kovic, Roy Bourgeois, Medea Benjamin, Blase Bonpane, Martin Sheen, Alice Walker, Amy Goodman, Jack Ryan, Ramsey Clark, Camilo Mejia, Phil Donahue,
Col. Ann Wright, David Hartsough, David Swanson, Chelsea Manning, Charlie Clements, Charlie Liteky, Duncan Murphy, George Mizo, Bruce Gagnon, Daniel Ortega, Cindy Sheehan, Leah Bolger, Holly Rauen, Michael Lindley, Ed Ellis and others.
Music by Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Creedence Clearwater, Barry McGuire & Malcolm Payne.
Endorsements for: PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE
S. Brian Willson has paid the Price For Peace in lifelong regular installments and his commitment assures us that truly one heart with courage is amajority. – Martin Sheen: Actor & Activist.
I love Brian. And I love this film. I wish that every American, interested in truth, could see it. Since his time in Vietnam, Brian’s life has been about revealing the dark side of US foreign policy. This very important film, which includes many of Brian’s friends in the anti-war movement, also talks about how U.S. militarism is one of the biggest contributors to Global Warming. – Daniel Ellsberg: Author, Activist & Former Military Analyst, who revealed The Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971.
After viewing PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE, I cannot remember a film that has touched me so deeply, that resonates so intensely with the power of commitment, love and sacrifice. I have come to know the life and work of S. Brian Willson though his great book BLOOD on THE TRACKS as well as a few personal meetings over the years. The film dramatizes his extraordinary life and work in new ways, assembling the voices and experiences of so many who have been impacted by his incredible journey. Willson’s presence on the American scene has been nothing short of transformative. As an author of several books on the destructive impact of United states militarism, I have found dozens of invaluable sources on the topic, but none more so than this film and the book that so powerfully capture Brian’s unique contributions to the struggle for peace and justice. As a veteran myself (though fortunately not in any war) and someone raised in a military family, I especially value his truth-telling about a system that is anything but virtuous or peaceful. There is a fierce and direct honesty about the way he describes the terrible costs and consequences of the military machine throughout U.S. history. As someone engaged in antiwar work since the 1960’s, I see in Brian’s life-story, an enduring inspiration for those of us struggling to end the long U.S. addition to war and finally, to dismantle a warfare state that threatens the survival of every living thing on the planet. Never has a film been more urgently needed.
Carl Boggs PHD: Professor of Social Sciences at National University LA, Author of several books on US military & foreign policy including: THE CRIMES OF EMPIRE, THE HOLLYWOOD WAR MACHINE & ORIGINS OF THE WARFARE STATE.
“S. Brian Willson is an international hero revered for his lifelong, unrelenting refusal to accept any apology for the US empire and its murderous military machine. This documentary should be seen by everyone, particularly the younger generation who may not yet be familiar with Willson’s life and his challenge to every US resident to take responsibility to end the US militaristic madness”.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Historian & Author of: “An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States”
“PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” is truly an important and essential work of history and art. It is so much greater than a biographical documentary of Brian Willson, although it triumphs in its telling of Brian's story. And it is much more than a terrifically put together and well edited visual narrative and history, which it certainly is. For these reasons alone, it is a film worth watching: gripping, inspiring and powerful in its retelling of Brian's life before and during the Vietnam War and his commitment to peace and justice and especially his sacrifice after Vietnam. It is the history of the peace movement after the Vietnam War, especially in the 1980s. And for those of us who were children during that time, this is the sacred history of those who have come before us. Stories of men and women who accompanied Brian in his peace work are plentiful in the film and they provide a rich accounting and record of the acts of many who bodily, intellectually and spiritually opposed the madness of the militarism of the Reagan years; a madness that goes on. To say I learned a tremendous amount is an understatement. If there is required viewing for those of my generation and younger, so that we can know, acknowledge, respect and follow those who have come before us in the Peace and Justice Movement, it is “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE”. Invest the time in watching it. You will have a wonderfully rewarding experience. - Matthew Hoh: Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy, Marine and State Department veteran of Iraq and Afghan wars.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is perhaps the most compelling film I have watched in my life. I have seen it several times now. Each time I capture more and more gems falling from S. Brian Willson's mouth, as well as from the numerous other individuals featured in the movie. The film is about waking up. Brian Willson reveals how he "did everything right and it was all wrong". Essentially, he came to understand how he and the public, had been fed a pack of lies regarding patriotism and the U.S involvement in the Vietnam war, as well as other areas of conflict, in particular Central America. The film exposes what happens when you stand up to power. Expect strong resistance and stronger repercussions when you dare to question the status quo, bear witness and take action by speaking up, doing civil disobedience and exposing the egregious lies, deceptions and cover-ups put forth by the power structure. They will go to all lengths to suppress and destroy people powered movements. However, as we begin to unearth and face our willful ignorance and see things as they really are, something magnificent happens. There is no turning back. We are inspired to take action because it is the right thing to do. I was impressed that Brian Willson is very forgiving despite the travails he has endured. He understands that people who mean well have been misled throughout their lives and does not judge. At the same time, he does not give up and continues to live his life as a socially responsible person, paving the way for others as an inspiration to awaken from our trance, get on the side of oppressed and to value the life of each and every person.Please do not assume that this film is outdated or yesterday's news. No! It is more relevant now than ever if we want to live in a world with genuine peace, justice and respect for all. - Patricia Todd: Librarian, Anti-War Activist and Animal Rights Activist
These are very challenging and dangerous times. We need people who can inspire us to resist. I highly recommend seeing: ‘PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson’. Brian and the other people in this very important film, show us and lead us in resisting wars being waged by the United States. These illegal and immoral wars have devastated and killed millions of innocent people in the third world”.
Father Roy Bourgeois: Naval Officer in Vietnam, former Maryknoll Priest and Founder of The School of The Americas Watch.
“PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” is the remarkable story of a remarkable man willing to give his life for peace. Brian Willson risked his life for the people of Central America, who were being killed by U.S. bullets and bombs. Brian paid the price for peace with his legs and almost his life. The rest of us are paying the price with our souls”.
Col. Ann Wright: Retired United States Army Colonel and U.S. State Department Official.
“There are few in this world who would unselfishly risk their lives for humanity’s sake. S. Brian Willson is one such individual. He paid an enormous price in an effort to help the innocent civilians of Central America by unmasking the truth about US. foreign policy and militarism. His is a dramatic, inspiring, emotional story of one man’s commitment to resistance and nonviolence.”
Joan Baez: Singer and Long-Time Activist.
"I had the privilege of seeing an early copy of PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE and then the honor of interviewing Brian Willson on my KPFK public affairs show about the movie and about his life. Now, I've spent over 50-years in the anti-war movement, met and worked with some of the great national leaders in that movement, including many who sacrificed much to win the peace we all sought. But no anti-war movie that I've ever seen and I've seen dozens, and no one single individual that I've ever met, has had a more profound impact of my emotions and my thinking about war and anti-war movements and what it means when one person truly and completely, "puts it all on the line," than the movie PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE. If you have the good fortune to see this movie, you too, will get to know Brian Willson and through him learn what one extraordinary person can do to inspire others and thereby advance the cause of peace for all human kind."
Jim Lafferty: Executive Director of The National Lawyers Guild/LA, Host of The Lawyers Guild Show on KPFK 90.7 FM Radio.
I recall being in Baghdad with Gulf Peace Team members from Europe, India and Australia, during the 1991 Desert Storm invasion of Iraq. Wanting badly to raise concern, worldwide, for suffering Iraqis who had meant the U.S. people no harm,we listed people we hoped to reach who might eventually join us in the Middle East. Brian Willson topped our list because we knew that communities of people worldwide respected his courage and credibility. "Paying The Price For Peace" educates audiences about Brian's lifelong commitment to abolish war. The film also introduces a cast of interesting people, kindred spirits with Brian Willson, who believe that nonviolence can and must change the world.
Kathy Kelly: Co-Founder of Voices For Creative Nonviolence. Has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of “Other Lands Have Dreams”.
“Brian Willson’s courage, integrity and dedication for peace and justice and to a sustainable society, have been an inspiration to all of those who seek to change the course on which we are lurching towards destruction. This film should be seen and pondered and its lessons should be taken to heart by those who hope to create a more decent world”.
Noam Chomsky: Professor Emeritus MIT, Linguist, Public Intellectual and Author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy.
See how courageous, non-violent, civil disobedience to the crimes of war can motivate you to become a more challenging citizen against militarism and corporatism that a People’s Congress can stop”.
Ralph Nader: Activist, Lawyer, former Presidential candidate and Author of “Breaking Through Power.
"PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is an extraordinary film. It not only portrays the inspiring dedication of Brian Willson to peace, justice and truth, but it connects his heroic life with the indispensable struggle of many brave people against war and war making, enabling us to feel the suffering that American militarism has brought not only to ourselves, but to many innocent peoples around the world and most poignantly to the peoples of Vietnam, Nicaragua and Iraq".
Richard Falk: Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University,Author or Co-Author of 20 Books, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights and Chair of The Board of The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Brian Willson and I went to Nicaragua in 1988 to witness the Sopoa Peace Summit between the Contras and the Sandinistas. The love and respect shown him by the people there was heartfelt and heartwarming. He had knelt in front of a train in the well publicized protest of the shipment of weapons to be used against the citizens of Nicaragua by the Contras, who were trained and equipped by the United States, who wanted to destabilize the Sandinista Government. In hospitals full of children and farmers, who had lost limbs because of land mines planted by the Contras, he was obviously and immediately one of them. He done it for them and they loved him for it. Brian’s courage, compassion and commitment to fighting for freedom and justice and human rights is an inspiration to the rest of us and a lesson in how to handle Adjustments in our Plans. Please take the time to watch this amazing film.
Kris Kristofferson: Singer, Actor & Songwriter
“The documentary on Brian Willson’s life, “Paying The Price For Peace”, is an important must-see film for anti-war activists and should be required viewing in all social science/ethics classes in colleges and secondary schools nationwide. Acknowledging permanent war is the first step to peace”.
Peter Phillips PH.D: Professor Political Sociology Sonoma State University, Past President of Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored.
What an inspiring movie! From sea to shining sea, our country is filled with gleaming statues of war heroes. This powerful movie is a monument to a peace hero – telling the dramatic story of Brian Willson’s journey from soldier to lifelong activist for peace and justice. And the movie shows that Brian’s brand of heroism is infectious and inspires other heroes." Jeff Cohen: Co-Founder of RootsAction.org and Co-Producer of ‘All Governments Lie’.
"Brian Willson became a catalyst for one of the longest anti-war demonstrations in the country. His story is a case study of those who put their lives on the line for peace and justice every day. This film will capture the attention of everyone, especially those new to our history of struggle.”
Barbara Trent: Director/Producer of The Academy Award Winning Film: “The Panama Deception” & “Coverup: Behind The Iran-Contra Affair”.
"This film makes crystal clear what is at stake in our relationships with war. Brian Willson shows us the power of love in action as an antidote to the poisons of militarism. Beyond any realm of politics, these are profoundly human and spiritual matters. Paying The Price For Peace takes us to the heart of the imperative to overcome the cruel madness of war." - Norman Solomon, Author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death", Co-Founder of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and Co-Founder of RootsAction
I watched PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE and was moved to my core! It touched me so deeply and it also touched on every indiscretion ever perpetrated by this industrial-complex! A powerful, beautifully conceived, masterful film that must have a global audience!
Maria Florio: Earthworks Films Inc: Producer of: “Broken Rainbow” (Academy Award Best Documentary Feature) - “Tibet: Cry of The Snow Lion” & Other Films
“Paying The Price For Peace” is a moving tribute to one man’s extraordinary courage and conviction. Young people who watch this film will come to understand the sense of moral outrage that made S. Brian Willson and a generation of activist Vietnam veterans, the unwavering heart of the anti-war movement in the United States for the past fifty years. This is a very powerful film. - Joel Andreas: Author of ADDICTED To WAR, Professor of Sociology at John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Brian Willson doesn’t just speak truth to power but lives this same truth without regard for the consequences, a true prophet in the classical sense.
Jack Ryan: 22 year veteran FBI Agent, fired for refusal to investigate Brian as a terrorist, for fasting in protest of US illegal policy in Nicaragua.
This film: “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE“ shows what absolute commitment and dedication of one’s life to peace and the absence of killing really means. What an incredible man Brian Willson is! - Helen Caldicott, MD: An Australian physician, author and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons and military action in general.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE engages our heart and lifts our spirit. It is a tale of commitment, courage and leadership. It describes how political deception makes us accomplices to policies we never knew about or agreed to and underscores the importance of struggle and community. S. Brian Willson has the lead role in the film. And the story is certainly about him. But it is also about you and me. What will we do differently because we saw this film? What will our next steps be?
Sabina Virgo: Founding President, AFSCME 2620, Community and Climate Organizer/Activist, Writer and Speaker.
Paying The Price For Peace is a MUST SEE film by everyone who wants peace and an end to all wars. Brian Willson not only believes that “Our lives are not worth more and their lives are not worth less,” he acts on that belief even risking his life to stop American bombs being shipped to kill people. Millions of people all over the world who have lost loved ones in America’s wars have expressed profound gratitude that Brian Willson and other Americans understand their grief and their suffering and are willing to risk their lives to stop the madness of war. Be prepared to be inspired and challenged to take your next step in creating a world where we can give up the insanity of killing one another and live as brothers and sisters in peace. Together we can end the madness of war!
David Hartsough: Author of “WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Nonviolent Activist”, Founder of: PEACEMAKERS and Co-Founder of: WORLD BEYOND WAR.
ADVISORY: This film is not easy to watch. "Paying The Price For Peace" is somber and at times, horrifying. But your fortitude and patience will be rewarded with historical insight and inspiration. "Paying The Price" shows how people who appear to be very ordinary can perform extraordinary, even heroic actions. There are precious nuggets of information here. To me, one of the most valuable is Brian Willson's account of his time as an Air Force Ranger in Vietnam. His job was to assess the "success or failure" of bombing missions in Binh Long Province. Could there be a better witness to the horrors the U.S. inflicted upon the Vietnamese than an officer trained to investigate "the targets" and evaluate the destructive results in military terms? What he saw should have been enough to stop that war instantly. Brian's brief account reveals, in several small fishing villages, the criminal insanity of the entire war. Those five minutes of "Paying The Price” are worth more, in my opinion,than five hours of the Ken Burns/PBS documentary “The Vietnam War”. “Paying The Price” goes on to show how Brian and other Vietnam veterans carried the lessons they learned from that war into their opposition to the U.S. wars in Central America and the Middle East. I'm grateful that this film preserves the history of these brave, determined, patriotic Americans. – David Clennon: Actor and Agitator
“PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is as powerful as it is important, as inspiring as it is shocking and throws a strong light on an incredible man who suffered so much, yet continued to stand when almost anyone else would have crumbled”. It is quite literally awe inspiring.
Paul Haggis: Academy Award Winning Writer and Director of “Crash” and Writer of “Million Dollar Baby”.
The OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS was proud to be participant in the Nuremberg Actions at Concord Naval weapons Station in California. And today the Nuremberg precedent is more important than ever. We must not obey illegal and immoral orders from anyone including the President of the United States. After the horror of the attack on Brian Willson at that site I was privileged to travel war ravaged Nicaragua with Brian. We flew at tree top level in a worn helicopter to see the devastation of Reagan's illegal and immoral CONTRA WAR. The people of Nicaragua came out as one to welcome their hero who had PAID THE PRICE FOR PEACE, Brian Willson.
Blase Bonpane, Ph.D: Director, Office of the Americas, Host of World Focus, heard on KPFK 90.7 FM
“Brian Willson declared his independence from every bomb dropped, every threat leveled, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed and every veteran maimed. Brian Willson sat down in order to stand up. For all I have done, Brian Willson shames me to do more, to be better. Thank you Brian. I love you”.
Cynthia McKinney: Former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia and the Green Party Presidential Candidate in 2008.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is a great film about the life and pure dedication of a great activist. Brian Willson began as an All-American boy. He stayed true to his patriotic upbringing. When faced with the enormous contradictions of the Vietnam War, he told the hard truths about the moral depravity of that war. From then on, Brian remained determined in speaking truth to power, about US war making in Latin America and beyond. He paid the ultimate price for peace when he sat on the tracks blocking a weapons shipment to Central America. A humble man always, Brian inspires all of us to keep working for peace.
Bruce Gagnon: Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
“Thank you to director Bo Boudart and his team for this very inspiring story of S. Brian Willson. PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE will help future generations to be motivated by his courage and fortitude”.
Medea Benjamin: Co-Founder of CODEPINK, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and a Life-Long Anti-War Activist.
Brian Willson and the other well-known anti-war activists in “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” have walked the walk and talked the talk for a long time.
This is a monumental film that everyone should see in order to understand the true nature of U.S. foreign policy.
Ed Asner: Actor and Activist.
“A Hero’s story of courageous sacrifice, dedication, excitement, adventure, commitment and solidarity”.
David Swanson: Author of “War Is A Lie” and Founder of World Beyond War.
The story of Brian Willson's life is more than just a remarkable documentary about an extraordinary man. It is proof that human beings can make profound changes in their own values and beliefs if they will only open their eyes.
Would that we all could profess the words of Brian: "We are not worth more, they are not worth less."
Leah Bolger: Spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2000 at the rank of Commander. Was elected the first woman President of Veterans For Peace in 2012.
"PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson” calls the question in the title -- what are you and I willing to do to back up our principles with action? The fight for peace cannot be passive, it must involve moral and physical confrontations and challenges in high visibility struggles. In my case, I organized a militant demonstration against the war in Vietnam, against Harvard University and spent 18 months in prison. When I came out I was even more committed and have continued the struggle including those of prisoners and political prisoners to this day and beyond. Others are still in prison for their anti-war and Black Liberation heroism and need our help. Brian was badly injured and could have lost his life. He certainly could have felt that he had already paid more than enough price for peace and stopped his anti-war work. But in the film and in his life he is such a vital life force, at peace with his own choices, but never at peace with U.S. imperialism and its War Machine. In the film I learned about Brian and his friends and comrades, such dedicated fighters challenging the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador and elsewhere. I had of course heard of them, but never really grasped their level of discipline, organization, consciousness and commitment. We live in an Empire and too many people today want to talk about "domestic" issues (whatever they are) without daily confronting the abuses of our government against Third World people inside and outside the United States. Paying The Price For Peace and the wonderful, inspiring life of Brian Willson forces that conversation and again calls the question--which is why it's such a great film. I plan to see it again soon!
Eric Mann: Director of The Labor/Community Strategy Center, Host of ‘Voices From The Frontlines’ - heard on KPFK 90.7 FM Radio.
As an Army medic in Vietnam, I have often said that Lying Is The Most Powerful Weapon In War. "Paying The Price For Peace" is a primary example of how lying is the essential ingredient of any war. If you do not follow the deceit of the money trail and who profits off of war, you will be forever lost in the rhetoric. one of the most profound statements I have ever read about the Vietnam War, was written by Brian Willson. Brian witnessed four atrocities in Vietnam, after U.S. jets bombed four Vietnamese villages killing hundreds of innocent civilians. When Brian walked into the first village, he looked down at a dead Vietnamese mother holding three dead children who were scorched by napalm and these were his words:"In that moment and it only took a second, I got it." That was the profound lying war in Vietnam and that is why "Paying The Price For Peace" is such a monumental accomplishment in telling the truth.
Mike Hastie: Army Medic Vietnam, Veterans For Peace & Photojournalist.
“What makes PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE so powerful is hearing the voices of so many veterans, women and men, who know what war is and have had the courage to walk away. They invite us to remember, however much the national “security” state would like us to forget, that every one of us can be brave. Courage (like cowardice) is a habit we can learn by practice. And there’s no better teacher than Brian Willson”.
Rebecca Gordon: Author of “Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post 9/11 United States”.
"Paying The Price For Peace" is an amazing must see film. Brian Willson has been on an incredible life's journey. As a young conservative Republican, who believed what he was taught in this country, he enlisted in the Air Force, became an officer and was sent to Vietnam in 1969. one of his first assignments was to access the success of targets we had bombed. Brian witnessed a fishing village with close to 100 people in it who were all either dead or dying. There were no soldiers and no weapons. Just women, children and a few old men. In the next week he witnessed 4 other villages that had been bombed with the same results. His life was changed forever. When he spoke out to his superiors about what he had seen, he was sent back to the United States. In the 1980's Brian decided to go to Central America to see just what our country was doing there. That led to his involvement with 'Veterans Fast For Life' in 1986 and then blocking trains at The Concord Naval Weapons Station in California in 1987, where he was run over by a train carrying weapons to be shipped to Central America and used to kill innocent people. He lost both legs but survived and became much more well known to people in the anti-war movement. This film covers all of these actions so clearly and also includes many other well-known anti-war activists in this country, who are on a similar journey as Brian, which is to reveal the true and brutal nature of US foreign policy. If you care about the human race, please see this film.
Frances Fisher: Actress and Activist
“There are few peace activists who have the dedication of Brian Willson, as there are few activists who inspire me more. I hope Brian’s story can inspire a new generation of activists to fight with all they have for peace, justice, our planet and humanity”. I highly recommend seeing this important and very moving film.
Cindy Sheehan: The Peace Momwho set up Camp Crawford asking President George Bush Jr.,“What Noble Cause Did Her Son Casey Die For”. Casey was killed in Iraq. Hosts Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox an Internet Talk Radio Show.
At a time when the peace movement is in disarray and at a time when progressives have given the United States a free pass on endless war and drone killings, Brian Willson is an example for the peace movement all over the world. If we are to survive as a species, we will all have to: Pay The Price For Peace. - Regis Tremblay: Directed & Produced both: “30 Seconds To Midnight” and “Ghosts of Jeju”.
Paying The Price For Peace" is a powerful work that all of us can learn from. S. Brian Willson's commitment to the ideals of our democracy is an inspiration to all of us and a great example of a "fearless individual" in pursuit of the truth." –
Joseph C. Stillman: Producer/Director of: “CITIZEN CLARK:A Life of Principle” - a film about former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
"This is the true story of S. Brian Willson and thousands of Americans who stood up and protested against U.S. Imperialism, as it committed crimes against humanity in its overt and covert wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iraq and other countries. A must-see for the younger generation who have been fed lies in the mainstream media about why the U.S. has to invade nations all over the world resulting in millions of deaths and destruction of these countries".
Joan Sekler: Director & Producer of: UNPRECEDENTED: The 2000 Presidential Election and Locked Out.
S. Brian Willson is a truly rare and heroic Vietnam veteran who came back from that imperialist war with a clear understanding of its causes and implications for the future. Along with valiant members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and the Veterans for Peace (VFP), he has stayed the course over the past few decades trying to educate Americans to the truth about what Washington has done in Indochina, Central America, and around the world in endless wars that have left millions of people dead, maimed, and displaced. “Paying the Price for Peace” is not simply the story of one man’s life and grievous injury suffered during protests to stop American shipments of arms to kill and maim Nicaraguans in the 1980s. It is also a story of the larger struggle in this nation against the National Security State that lays waste to people and nations abroad, destroys democracy at home, and appropriates trillions in financial resources that could heal this nation and the world. PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is a deeply moving and powerful film. It is not to be missed.
John Marciano: Professor Emeritus, SUNY Cortland. A long-time antiwar and trade union activist, he is the author of “The American War In Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?”
HEADS UP! DO NOT MISS THIS FILM: “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson”. I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS FILM! To quote one of my favorite directors, Paul Haggis. "It is awe inspiring!" As someone who has participated in actions in the Peace Movement for many years but who was very late to the game by many of my fellow peaceniks' standards - I very much appreciated the massive amount of historical information that the producers, Frank Dorrel, S. Brian Willson and Producer-Director, Bo Boudart managed to effectively pack into an hour and a half film and the way they were able to clearly state and connect the U.S. and other political dots that have happened in the political shadows around the world through the 60s/70s/80s etc - and reveal how our government's policies and decisions birthed and are connected to so many tragic current events. "We are not worth more; they are not worth less" is the mantra of S. Brian Willson and the theme that runs throughout this compelling film and his memoir, "Blood on the Tracks." EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is that the film reminded me what my intuition has told me since I was a small child: To stand up and tell the Truth! Nothing is more painful and damaging to myself and/or others - to the world - than maintaining the status quo . for appearance sake. Presidents may come and go, fame may come and go - but the real power does lie with the people - when we are willing to risk - organize - make our voices heard - and stand for change! WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! A President - an Individual in Power- a Government saying something is so - over and over and over again - DOES NOT MAKE IT SO! Truth is Truth and if we are blessed to hang around on Planet Earth long enough, it always reveals Itself! Seeing the film reminded me of who the True Heroes are in our world - those thousands upon thousands of people around the world who we will likely never know - who are willing to tell the truth - uncover the lies - risk their life - who live as if this "GIFT OF LIFE" really matters. The film introduces us to many of these peace activist individuals who have risked on so many levels - including (but not limited to) S. Brian Willson, Daniel Ellsberg, Father Roy Bourgeois, Ron Kovic, Medea Benjamin, Colonel Ann Wright, Alice Walker, Blase Bonpane Martin Sheen, Duncan Murphy, Charlie Liteky, George Mizo, Holley Rauen, Jack Ryan, Camilo Mejia, David Swanson, David Hartsough, Veterans For Peace and many others. If you think your small acts don't make a difference, think again! They do! You do! I lived next door to Martin Sheen in Pt. Dume in the 1980s. Having him as a neighbor, just knowing who he is as an ordinary man who chooses to use his Power for Good - always risking - always speaking Truth to Power - constantly inspired me - actually had me sleep better at night! THANK YOU MARTIN! GO TO: www.payingthepriceforpeacecom- to purchase a copy of the DVD. Invite your friends and neighbors over, watch it together, unite your Power for Good and move out into the world in action, buoyed by each other! Or purchase BrianWillson’s memoir: "BLOOD on THE TRACKS." It is jam packed with Information and Inspiration: https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=330
Candace S. Carnicelli: Director of Common Peace, Center for The Advancement of Nonviolence
Bo Boudart’s very important and well made film: “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” - won The Grand Jury Documentary Feature Award at The Awareness Film Festival held at The Regal Cinema at LA LIVE in October of 2017. It is narrated by Peter Coyote, (who also did the narration for Burns’ Vietnam series) and is essential viewing for everyone concerned with issues of war and peace – as we all should be. After Brian Willson’s unbelievable act of courage to stop the imperialist Contra wars in Central America, Nicaragua’s first lady, the poet Rosario Murillo, visited him in the hospital. Today Willson lives in Nicaragua, where he is rightfully hailed as the hero he is. In chronicling the U.S. peace movement for about half a century, PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE performs an invaluable service. I can’t think of any other comparable documentary that provides as comprehensive an overview as this very moving and inspirational film.
Ed Rampell: Film critic and historian who writes for The Hollywood Progressive. He is the author of the 2005 book: “Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States.”
This is a documentary that all people should watch. Even those whose instinctive reaction is to preemptively dismiss it will, I predict, change their minds about the film after seeing it. And that is one of the reasons it is so inspiring: it reinforces the idea that every human being has the ability and should have the right to change her or his stance on a topic after absorbing new information. Brian Willson went to war and learned that it was not what he had been told to believe. He realized that his ultimate power came not from bearing arms, but from bearing witness to the truth. As a result, he has proven that contesting those who abuse their own power at the expense of the rights and lives of others is the one fight that can achieve peace and do so peacefully.
Richard Castro, COO & VP Distribution & Acquisitions, Cinema Libre Studio
“Brilliant documentary about S. Brian Willson, an incredible anti-war hero. This film should be a strong contender for an Oscar”.
Michael D. Knox, PH.D: Chair US Peace Memorial Foundation.
"Paying The Price For Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson" is an important film that links the price that Willson paid and continues to pay in his struggle for peace with the price that the US Empire continues to impose on all the nations and peoples who stand up for their own freedom, dignity and right to a better future without exploitation or oppression. As well-documented in the film, Brian and his life are a moving example and challenge to all of us to overcome complacency and complicity and to make the struggle for justice and peace a central aspect of our lives."
Michael Novick: Editor, "Turning The Tide: A Journal of Inter-communal Solidarity"
S. Brian Willson stands courageous, strong and tall among the very best of our inspirational heroes. "Paying The Price For Peace" is both a beautiful portrait and engaging account of an iconic champion of deep conscience, intelligence and humanity.It also provides terrifying examples of the brute force, violence and militarism used in attempts to silence voices of peace, justice and brotherhood. Presente, one and all, for this brilliant film.
Maureen Cruise RN: Peace Advocate, Director Health Care for All-Los Angeles Chapter
I was so moved by this extraordinary film PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE.I wish every American would watch it and learn from Brian Willson's life and understand that we CAN make a difference and turn things around! What a stirring presentation of our true heroes and heroines of Peace! I hope you get a broad release for the film. It deserves an Academy Award, not only for the breakthrough reporting with a difference, but for the great cinematography as well.
Alice Slater: Long Time Anti-War Activist & Organizer, Director of The New York Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Member of the Coordinating CommitteeWorld Beyond War
Brian Willson is a Witness for Justice and against Injustice. Witnesses Testify for the Truth, a precondition for Justice, in turn a precondition for PEACE. That’s what Brian’s and our protestifying is all about. What a gift to be part of this movement of Protest.
Ray McGovern: Served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. In January 2003, Ray co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose how intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is very educational, real and painful to watch, but necessary to learn. Thank you Brian for your courage and sacrifice. The price of a war is not peace. It is pain, blood and physical and mental mutilation. Thanks to Brian and the otheranti-war activists in this excellent and very moving film for showing us a reality of our history that many forget, but ‘The Powers That Be’ will repeat over and over again.
Fernando Suarez del Solar: Founder & Director ofGuerrero Azteca Peace Project. Fernando’s son Jesus, was one of the first Marines killed in Iraq, when he stepped on an unexploded U.S. cluster bomb.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is an empowerment story that just happens to be the life and times of one hell of an American. When I think of S. Brian Willson, I think of Leonard Peltier. I think of Mumia Abu-Jamal. I think of Cesar Chavez. I think of all of the brave soldier warriors who fought for justice in an unjust world. Brian is an Hero, no doubt. - William “Wil B” Bannister: Political Art/Activist and Host of “Mashed Politicos”
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is the story of a true Peace Hero, S Brian Willson. Through his courage and passion he has himself created feelings in others of human unity, peace and love beyond arbitrary borders. You never sense physical pain in him even when he puts his body on the line many times for principles of peace. He often experiences the consequences, yet even then he moves others by showing his joy at being free. In the central event of the film, his courage and strength in the face of pain takes an attempt of military authorities to intimidate demonstrators and turns it into a massive movement of over ten thousand people that stops arms shipments to Nicaraguan Contras for many months. His story will move anyone who cares about making our world a safer and more humane place to live.
Nuri Ronaghy & Alan Shorb: Co-Founders of US Department of Peace
Although Brian Wilson’s story is a tragic tale, one that may make the viewer weep and wish to revise history, it is also an inspiring story of relentless resistance to an empire binging on war and weapons shipments. Brian, once an enthusiastic military man, goes full circle as he confronts the avarice and brutality of US foreign policy and literally puts his life on the line to shake up the world of casual complicity. I recommend this film be shown in high schools throughout the country to teach young men and women, the targets of military recruiters, the cost of war and the price a brave man paid for peace.
Marcy Winograd: High School Teacher & Former Congressional Peace Candidate
If you stand up for what you believe then you must see: “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE”, a powerful film that packed the house and created a most inspiring discussion on the importance of activism.
Nick Angotti: Co-Founder & Executive Director of the: PEACE on EARTH FILM FESTIVAL in Chicago.
The documentary “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE” is a compelling portrait of Brian Willson’s courageous anti-war activism, both in the U.S. and Central America. An inspirational, must-see film! Dennis & Christie Davis: Documentary filmmakers, “Women At War: Forgotten Veterans of Desert Storm” and “Beyond Babylon”
The greatest honor Bob Dylan has ever received is S. Brian Willson having used BLOOD on THE TRACKS as the title of his own autobiography. Brian’s life, as documented in both the book and subsequent film - “PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE: The Story of S. Brian Willson”, is the answer to the question, “Can one person make a difference?” Brian is the conscience of the peace movement, the one man who let the world see what the empire is willing to do to save itself and what may be necessary to stop it. S. Brian Willson is the answer to the questions that have been blowing in the wind all these years. We can only be grateful that Brian is still here and still speaking truth to power. Keep on, Brian! - Ross Altman PH.D: Singer Song-Fighter, Sings to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Sings old labor songs, antiwar songs, civil rights songs, topical/protest songs, traditional songs & love songs.
Bo Boudart has made a terribly beautiful and compelling documentary, narrated by Peter Coyote. PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is a chronicle of the life of Brian Willson - a surviving martyr to whom attention must be paid, if humanity is to survive. It is the most important film of its time and it is vital that it reach the masses, especially of Americans, who are unaware - largely willfully - of the prodigious, obscene suffering caused by our relentless, brutal, insatiable and unsustainable consumerism. Not an easy film to watch, but indispensable.
Jeanmarie Simpson: Theatre Artist and Activist, Wrote & Starred in “A SINGLE WOMAN” - about the life of Jeannette Rankin (the first woman elected to Congress), Member of Women’s International League For Peace & Freedom
Brian Willson dared to let himself be moved and changed by what he saw of how the war he was participating in affected real people. The film tells that story. Or perhaps we should say, tells its beginning, for his development and ours -- does not stop with any particular action but, in a story the film also presents, is part of a community's striving towards peace.
Joe Maizlish: Vietnam-Era Draft Resister, Mediator, Therapist, Still Striving.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is a great film about a great hero. Emotional, essential and inspirational. Don’t miss it!
Harvey Wasserman: Host of California Solartopia on KPFK-Pacifica and Green Power & Wellness.
This is an incredibly powerful documentary. The life and times of Brian Willson and his comrades is both extraordinary and mundane. A man by circumstance moved to action. It’s difficult to conceive that after watching this film, the viewers can’t help but to be similarly moved in some manner.
Ramsey Kanaan: Founder of PM Press. Publisher of “BLOOD on THE TRACKS: The Life & Times of S. Brian Willson”.
“PAYING THE PRICE FOR PEACE is FANTASTIC! I REALLY LOVE this film. It is one to be Seen by ALL. I mean ALL. EVERYONE! For the History ALONE! So well done”.
Julie Webster: Teacher, Poet, Videographer and Anti-War Activist.