Friday, March 23, 2007


Starting with news of war resistance.  Yesterday, a family in Toronto who had taken in US war resister Joshua Key and his family when they came to Canada seeking asylum explained how they were visited by three police officers (in plainclothes) saying that they were searching for Joshua Key.  This echoed an earlier attempt to harass US war resister Kyle Snyder; however, Key and his family now live elsewhere, so the 'police' were unable to detain him.  Today, Leslie Ferenc (Toronto Star) reports that not only does the Toronto Police say it wasn't them, there's "no record of local officers being dispatched" to the home.
Omar El Akkad (Globe & Mail) adds another detail to the story: "The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command has confirmed it is looking to question an army deserter now living in Canada about explosive allegations he made in his autobiography."  El Akkad quotes Chris Grey as the person confirming.  So were the three 'police' officers actually Toronto police are were they the US military?  
The incident echoes an earlier one.  Bill Kaufmann (Calgary Sun) reminds readers that it was February when police officers "barged into"  Kyle Snyder's home "hauling him out in his underwear in cuffs without a warrant and valid legal reason.  His crime that actually isn't one in this country: Refusing to rejoin his U.S. Army unit to maintain the futile occupation of Iraq.
. . .  Snyder claims federal officials told him they'd been getting pressure from the U.S. military to do something about his two-year presence in B.C. Canada Border Service Agency won't comment, but if it's even remotely true, what does it say about over sovereignty?" Immigration official, Joci Pen has confirmed Synder was arrested at the request of the US military.
The US military maintains that they only want to discuss Joshua Key's new book, The Deserter's Tale, apparently they're not just the military, they're also an international book club.  Maybe they grew interested when they read John Freeman's (Mineapolis Star Tribune) review? Or maybe it was the shout out from Newsweek that made them thing, "We need to read this book!"  Or maybe it was the recommendation fo the John Birch Society?  Joshua Key's  The Deserter's Tale has received good word from around the political spectrum.
Snyder and Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Dean Walcott, Joshua Key, Agustin Aguayo, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.
[. .  .]
Turning to politics, the Apologist, Tinker-Toy-Sell-Out-Boy, wants to tell everyone 'how it is.'  How what is?  How it is to be a Party Hack?  Party Hack doesn't know how it is because Party Hack's not fought to end the war.  Party Hack's fought to work for congressional candidates, party flacks' fought for his right to write really bad books, he just doesn't know a damn thing about the war.  Thanks for sharing, Hack, now WalkOn,
CBS and AP report that Pelosi measure passed, 218 to 212.  Yesterday, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich took to the House floor to offer "10 Consequences of A 'Yes' Vote:"
1) Keep the war going through the end of President Bush's term;
2) Provide money to fuel an attack on Iran;
3) Force the privatization of Iraqi oil;
4) Escalate the insurgency;
5) Increase the number of troops causalities in the middle of a civil war;
6) Increase the number of civilian causalities;
7) Create a demand for more troops;
8) Enforce cutbacks of the agenda of many in Congress because money that could be used for schools, healthcare, seniors and the environment would continue to be spent for war;
9) Forces the destabilization of the Middle East;
10) Erodes the public's confidence in Congress
CNN reports that before today's vote, Dennis Kucinich declared, "Four years ago we were told we had no alternative but to go to war.  Now we're told we have no alternative but to continue war for another year ot two.  The fact of the matter is we do have alternatives. . . .  Congress has the power to stop funding the war.  That's what we should do.  That's what we should have done and that's what I'm going to continue to work toward.  We have to get out of Iraq, period." notes US House Rep Mike McNulty's statement on why he voted against the Pelosi measure:
In the spring of 1970, during my first term as Twon Supervisor of Green Island, I testified against the War in Vietnam at a Congressional Field Hearing in Schenectady, New York.  Several months after that testimony, my brother, HM3 William F. McNulty, a Navy Medic, was killed in Quang Nam Province.  I have thought -- many times since then -- that if President Nixon had listened to the voices of reason back then, my brother Bill might still be alive.  As a Member of Congress today, I believe that the Iraq War will eventually be recorded as one of the biggest blunders in the history of warfare.  In October of 2002, I made a huge mistake in voting to give this President the authority to take military action in Iraq.  I will not compound that error by voting to authorize this war's continuation.  On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9th, 1970.
David Swanson ( compiled a list of the Democrats who voted against the Pelosi measure -- Kucinich, McNulty, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Mike Michaud, Diane Watson and Lynn Woolsey -- and provides background on each of the eight.
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes that Republican Ron Paul voted against the Pelosi measure because he has long opposed the illegal war, notes six Democrat War Hawks voted against it (John Barron, Dan Boren, Lincoln Davis, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson and Gene Taylor) because they love an illegal war and that US House Rep Paul Kanjorski missed the vote due to illness while Mel Watt missed the vote but says he would have voted for it if he'd been there.
As the Des Monies Register reported, Brenda Hervey knows what's at stake -- her step-son Michael Hervey was injured while serving in Iraq, so, on Monday she was at the offices of her senator Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin asking that they refuse to continue to fund the illegal war. Hervey is a member of Military Families Speak out, so is Laurie Loving who shares some of the letter she wrote to her US House Rep Mike Thompson: "It is not ridiculous to expect the Democratic leadership to end this war by not giving it one more penny.  No money, the war ends.  There will be money to bring the troops home. . .  The House leadership is trying to get members who oppose the war, you, to support the appropriations bill by claiming it has provisions to support our troops.  In reality, the bill allows the president to indefinitely extend the withdrawal date of August 2008 if the troops are 'engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and/or if the troops are 'training members of the Iraqi Security Forces.'  This provision could be used to keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for years."  A toothless, non-enforceable date of August 2008?  Why would that be?  So when Bully Boy uses the override they provided him with, they can point to that for the November 2008 election?  Would they then say/lie, "We tried"?
They didn't try.  They treated it like it was all a game and the only thing that mattered was setting up their own finger pointing for the 2008 elections.
These are some of the voices shut out by public radio and when I say "public radio," I'm, sadly, not talking NPR which did give Medea Benjamin the mikeFree Speech Radio News?  Well yesterday, the 'report' was an editorial about how tough it is to be in Congress (health care for life -- our hearts bleed for those poor Congress members).  And, in the best of the Sunday Chat & Chew 'balance,' listeners got to hear one person speak for themselves -- a Congress member who supported the weak Pelosi measure.  That passes for "Free Speech Radio News" to someone.  (Someone really dense and unfamiliar with the history of Pacifica Radio.)  Now when you shut out the voices of the people as well as Congress members opposed to the measure, there's no way you can tell your listeners (and The KPFA Evening News demonstrated that yesterday and all week) that the so-called "benchmarks" come with an out-option for the Bully Boy to excercise.  (Kat wrote of this yesterday.)  These voices were apparently judged unimportant and the issues not worth raising.
Rae (rae's CODEPINK road journal) writes of taking part in an action at Nancy Pelosi's DC office yesterday:
I am crying because the Democrats' support of another $100 billion for the war means that thousands more kids my age will be killed--kid soldiers and Iraqi kids. Pelosi's support of Bush's request for money for war is a death sentence for thousands of kids. After weeks of cute, colorful, passionate actions in the halls of Congress, from caroling with the choir to valentine delivery to dog bones for Blue Dogs to pink aprons and brooms cleaning House, today was an action of a different tenor. I felt like the floodgates had come down and the halls of Congress were gushing with a bloody river. Maybe it sounds dramatic. But it felt like we were drowning in tears, in pain, in the realization of something very, very wrong. And the tragic part was that the two secretaries in Pelosi's office sat there chuckling and picking up phones, and the press liaison came out and answered reporter's questions with a blank face. My heart was pounding so loudly that I wondered why it didn't just crack the walls of the marble building. Those walls felt more sturdy and guarded than usual. How have our Democratic leaders become so enchanted by the Republican language? Pelosi has helped them back into a corner where Bush will emerge victorious. And the tragic thing is that they will tout this as a victory if it passes tomorrow.
I visited Anna Eshoo's office after the action, and her press secretary tried to explain to me why Anna is going to vote for this supplemental. He gave me the analogy of a football game, where one must work strategically one play at a time to get the ball up the field to the goal. Here's why I think that's a bogus comparison: The compromise that Pelosi and the Dems are voting for is not one step towards peace; it is one step towards prolonging violence and destruction, and killing innocent lives for nothing. The press liaison listened patiently to my opinion, and then told me that we have the same goal, just different tactics. But I am quite certain now that we don't have the same goal. The Democrats want to win. I want to see the killing stop. I want to welcome our soldiers home with open arms and fully equipped medical services. I want to see justice done to the administration. The Democrats, well, they want to win--this vote, the election in '08, the power. If Pelosi would have just come out and said, "Look, I know that this bill (or ammendment like Lee's) may fail, but I am going to take this stand because I believe in the courage of my convictions, because I am more committed to the will of my constituents and the integrity of justice." But we'll never get to find out what Dems would have done if the supplemental had been straight with Bush's desires. And now it's a mess.
It is a mess.  And who usually gets stuck cleaning up the messes?
Women of the one world
We oppose war
Women of the one world
Dancers, sweepers, bookkeepers
We take you to the movies
Take you to the movies
Women of the one world
One world
-- "Women of the One World," written and performed by Laura Nyro, Live at the Bottom Line
Let's note Anna Quindlen (UPS via Herald News) conclusions from last month: "The people who brought America reports of WMDs when none existed, and the slogan 'Mission Accomplished' when it was not true nor likely to be, now say that American troops cannot leave.  Not yet.  Not soon.  Not on a timetable.  Judge the truth of that conclusion by the truth of their past statements.  They say that talk of withdrawal shows a lack of support for the troops.  There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders.  Not one more soldier.  Not one more grave.  Not one more day.  Bring them home tomorrow."

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