BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
SECRETARY OF STATE AND ANGER CONDI RICE CALLED THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING AND ASKED US TO MEET HER AT THE MAIN WHITE HOUSE GATE AT APPROXIMATELY 5:30 PM.
"THIS IS BIG!" SHE PROMISED.
WHEN WE ARRIVED, SHE WAVED US THROUGH THE GUARDS AND GATE AND HURRIED US TO JUST OUTSIDE THE OVAL OFFICE.
"HEAR THAT?" SHE ASKED.
WE HEARD THREE VOICES. WE HEARD MUSIC. WE HEARD THAT 1 OF THE VOICES WAS BULLY BOY SINGING ALONG WITH A SONG.
[BARBARA STREISAND (WITH BULLY BOY SINGING ALONG)]
YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS
YOU DON'T SING ME LOVE SONGS
YOU HARDLY TALK TO ME ANYMORE
WHEN I COME THROUGH THE DOOR AT THE END OF THE DAY
[BARBRA AND BULLY BOY]
I REMEMBER WHEN YOU COULDN'T WAIT TO LOVE ME
USED TO HATE TO LEAVE ME
NOW AFTER LOVING ME LATE AT NIGHT
AT WHICH POINT, WE COULD NO LONGER HEAR ANY MUSIC BECAUSE BULLY BOY'S GUT WRENCHING SOBS DROWNED OUT EVERY THING ELSE.
"EVER SINCE VLADIMIR PUTIN TOLD BULLY BOY THAT THEY COULDN'T BE EACH OTHER'S RULERS WIVES AND SAID THAT BULLY BOY WAS PROVOKING A NUCLEAR RACE, HE HAS REFUSED ALL VISITORS AND PHONE CALLS. ALL HE DOES IS STAY IN THERE, IN THE DARK, PLAYING HIS BARBRA STREISAND CDS. HE ASKED ME IF I THOUGHT SHE'D SING TO HIM IN PERSON AND I EXPLAINED THAT I DIDN'T THINK SHE VOTED FOR HIM. HE WAS SHOCKED. IN PREPARATION FOR HIS UPCOMING TRIP TO LATIN AMERICA, HE'S HAD AIR FORCE ONE STOCK UP ON COPIES OF THE WAY WE WERE," CONDI EXPLAINED. "I TRIED TO SHAKE IT UP A LITTLE BY SUGGESTING HE WATCH MAHOGANY BUT HE SAID 'THAT'S NO GOOD! IN THAT FILM, DIANA ROSS LEAVES BILLY DEE WILLIAMS!' WHAT ARE YOU GONNA' DO?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, Watada faced a court-martial that lasted from Monday through Friday. Kelly Dougherty (Iraq Veteranst Against the War) reports what she observed noting that the prosecutions witnesses' testimony backed up Watada:
What actually happened, though, was that Lt. Watada's two commanders each testified that Lt. Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada was never ordered not to go public with his opposition to the war. Furthermore, all three men testified that if an officer is given an order he believes to be illegal, in this case participating in the occupation of Iraq, he is obligated to refuse it. Even if the order is found to be legal, all men agreed that they would not expect an officer to act in a manner that violates his conscience.
On Judge Toilet (aka Lt. Col. John Head) and his "Winken, Blinken, and Nod" to the prosecution as Toilet began floating the idea of a mistrail, Dougherty recalls:
It appeared to me, though, that Judge Head really wanted the prosecution to agree with him that the stipulation Lt. Watada signed was indeed a guilty confession and therefore he did not need to testify at all. When the prosecution agreed with the defense, the judge gave them a 15 minute recess to think things over. Afterwards, when the prosecution still agreed that Lt Watada had not made a confession and should take the stand, the judge gave them another recess. He said he'd give them 40 minutes, but if they needed more time to just let him know. Judge Head also made it clear that if the prosecution did not return with the answer he wanted, he would declare a mistrial. From a layperson's point of view, it seemed like the judge waas to prosecute the government's case himself. After the repeated recesses, the judge did declare a mistrial, Lt Watada never testified, and the case was rescheduled for March 19, or the fourth anniversary of the war. That was a surprise ending that none of us attending the court martial expected.
Yesterday, Ruth's Report and The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The court-martial is over" addressed the mistrial and what it means for Ehren Watada.
Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Currently facing a court-martial (March 6th) is Agustin Aguayo who self-checked out of the military in September of last year and returned less than thirty days later (September 2nd through September 26th) but is being charged with desertion. Stars and Stripes reported last week that Aguayo's is prepared "to plead guilty to being absent without leave, but not to a more serious charge of desertion" and notes that "Desertion charges are typically not filed unless a servicemember has been AWOL for more than 30 days, though there are provisions for the more serious charge during times of war, officials have said." As the military moves to court-martial him (in Germany) a civilian court still hasn't weighed in. On November 21, 2006, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC heard Aguayo's appeal and they have yet to issue a ruling on the validity of his being denied c.o. status. Aaron Glantz noted (November 20, 2006 broadcast of The KPFA Evening News) that Aguayo's case is the first of it's kind hear in "a federal court since 1971". If the prosecution sticks with the desertion charge and if Aguayo is found guilty, he could face as many as seven years behind bars.
Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, has not only spoken out for her husband but for other war resisters as well. Most recently, Jason Farbman and Sam Bernstein (Socialist Worker) reported on Helga Aguayo addressing Watada supporters in Tacoma the day before Watada's court-martial began: "All war resisters should be supported. They will ultimately bring an end to the war." Jeff Paterson reported that she was there with their two children and her mother-in-law. Someone who knows something about marriage to a war resister was honored at the Grammys yesterday with a lifetime achievement award, Joan Baez. From 1968 to 1973, Baez was married to David Harris who was convicted of draft refusal and impisoned from 1969 to 1971. During that time, along with speaking out and activism, Baez wrote "A Song for David" (One Day at a Time):
And the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.
Through the same troubled waters
We carry our time,
You and the convicts and me.
That's a good thing to know
On the outside or in,
To answer not where
But just who I am.
Because the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.
Another woman who knows about marriage to a war resister is Brandi Key, the wife of Joshua Key. Joshua Key's book The Deserter's Tale documents his time serving in Iraq, what he witnessed and why he decided to self-check out. Nathan Whitlock (Toronto Star) reviews the book: "In 2003, Key spent seven months in Iraq, raiding the houses of Iraqi families, driving in heavily armed motorcades through hostile neighbourhoods, fighting an enemy that could attack and disappear at will, and watching with growing despair as his fellow soldiers, his army and, by extension, his country, abandoned all moral legitimacy. At the end of that seven months, Key walked away, going AWOL and going underground with his young family before eventually crossing the border into Canada in search of a new life. . . . The turning point for Key comes when he arrives at the scene of a supposed firefight, only to discover a group of U.S. soldiers kicking around the heads of Iraqi men like soccer balls. [Joshua Key:] 'We had become a force for evil, and I could not escape the fact that I was part of the machine'."
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