Anti-war coffee shop targeting U.S. military

By Aaron Klein

How about some anti-war activism to flavor your coffee?

A slew of radicals are behind Under the Hood, a coffee shop near the Fort Hood, Texas, Army base that is a central site of anti-war activities targeting enlisted soldiers.

Under the Hood opened its doors in 2009. It hosts the Fort Hood chapter of the Iraq Veterans Against the War organization, or IVAW, one of the nation’s largest anti-war groups.

As WND recently reported, IVAW aided in the petition for conscientious objector status of Pfc. Naser Abdo, the Muslim soldier arrested earlier this month after reportedly admitting he planned a terror attack on Fort Hood soldiers.

Find out what’s planned for your neighborhood, in “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America”

More than a year after the Fort Hood shooting massacre by Muslim U.S. Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, Abdo was caught with a bomb in a backpack and weapons stashed in a motel room meant for another attack at the base.

Abdo was eventually granted conscientious objector status after he wrote in an application that he was conflicted about “whether going to war was the right thing to do Islamically.”

Besides aiding in Abdo’s petition against being deployed, IVAW featured the volunteer recruit in its newsletter, branding him a “Muslim peacemaker.”

IVAW holds many of their events at the Under the Hood café.

In May, the anti-war coffee house, together with IVAW, staged a march to the reception desk of Fort Hood’s commander, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., purportedly to demand better mental health services for soldiers.

A joint Under the Hood and IVAW barbeque last year was replete with anti-war activists, including one photographed carrying a sign that read “We support our troops when they disobey their officers.”

In 2009, after Hassan killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Under the Hood and IVAW released a joint statement implying such acts were the result of “eight years of senseless wars” which have “taken a huge toll on our troops and their families.”

“As upset as we are about this incident, this shooting does not come as a shock,” read the statement on the Islamic shooting.

“It’s time to admit that the wars in southwest Asia are in no one’s best interests. Bring the troops home now!”

Anti-war activism

Under The Hood says it provides support services for soldiers, including referrals for counseling, legal advice and information on so-called GI rights.

The section on the Under the Hood cafe’s website for GI rights forwards to a “GI Rights Hotline,” which says it is a “a consortium of more than twenty non-governmental, non-profit organizations located in more than fifteen states and in Germany.”

That list of organizations includes the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild; Quaker House, another anti-war cafe and the War Resisters League.

The National Lawyers Guild has a long history of defending communists and Weather Underground members.

Under the Hood is blunt about its political activism, stating outright on its website the cafe is an “anti-war” establishment.

This weekend, the cafe is screening “Grounds for Resistance,” a documentary about the “Coffee Strong” cafe, another anti-war coffee shop located outside the Fort Lewis, Wash., Army base.

Coffee Strong’s advisory board includes Noam Chomsky; Eva Golinger, an advisor to Venezuela President Hugo Chavez; and Antonia Juhasz, associate fellow with the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy.


Under the Hood describes itself as being part of the tradition of The Oleo Strut, a famous anti-war GI coffee house during the Vietnam War.

Under the Hood was founded in 2009 by Cindy Thomas, a member of the radical anti-war group Code Pink.

A Code Pink alert states, “Iraq Veterans Against the War, CODEPINK, and numerous other peace groups in Central Texas have helped to make Under the Hood a reality.”

Thomas herself noted that through Code Pink she became involved with Iraq Veterans Against the War, where she says she was contacted by a longtime activist who had been at The Oleo Strut during the Vietnam days.

The activist “wanted to offer his fundraising abilities to help start a similar coffeehouse for Iraq veterans,” she wrote.

Oleo Strut and other GI coffee houses were started in the late 1960s with the help of Students for a Democratic Society and Weather Underground members Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden through their “Summer of Support” project. The two were instrumental in raising money to start The Oleo Strut.

From correspondence discovered by WND, it appears that the activist who contacted Thomas about opening a cafe at Fort Hood was longtime organizer and former SDS member Tom Cleaver.

The Veterans for Peace website quoted Cleaver as stating, “GIs stopped the war in Vietnam and they can stop the war in Iraq.”

Writing about the opening of the cafe at the radical Ragtag blog, Cleaver recalls how actress Jane Fonda helped him found The Oleo Strut.

Wrote Cleaver: “I was quite happy this Spring to be able to bring 40 years of additional experience to bear on helping the GIs to organize the project, getting them an Austin law firm to do the work they needed to set up the Fort Hood Support Network pro bono, and to work with Jane Fonda to come up with the initial funding to get the site, equip it and operate it for the first several months.”

With research by Danette Clark and Brenda J. Elliott