Thursday, May 03, 2007


Starting with real news.  Gregory Levey (Salon) becomes the first at a US news outlet to break the silence on a development that has angered Canadians, raised issues of sovereignty, and been an intimidation tactic (at best) meant to clamp down on war resistance.  Levey recounts what happened to Kyle Snyder the day before his wedding to Maleah Friesen -- being carted off by Canadian polilce from his home, in his boxers and handcuffs, at the orders of the US military as well as "three men wearing trench coats" visiting the Toronto home of Winnie Ng looking for US war resister Joshua Key who identified themselves as Canadian police.  We've gone through this all before, but for late comers, Winnie Ng has always been consistent in her statements on this.  It's the Canadian police that have changed their stories repeatedly (short version: None of our officers were there; one was there but he didn't identify the other two -- US military -- as police officers . . . we don't think . . .). Levey notes that "While 3,101 soldiers went AWOL between October 2005 and October 2006, more than 1,700 soldiers deserted in the six months between October 2006 and early April, according to figures released recently by the Army.  According to the War Resisters Support Campaign, the number of soldiers coming to Canada over the past six months has risen correspondingly."  US war resister Corey Glass (who considered returning to the US following Darrell Anderson's lead but reconsidered when he saw how the military lied to Kyle Snyder) speaks with Levey: "Corey Glass, a former National Guardsman who worked in military intelligence in Iraq before deserting to Canada in 2006, says he once considered it his duty to serve.  But he says that in Iraq, he was directed to 'sanitize' intelligence reports.  'I was told to pretty much go with the story you're given, take out the real details, and paint a picture for the commander,' he told Salon.  Eventually Glass came to believe that 'they used lies and plays on words to get us over there, and ordered us to commit crimes, in my opinion, against another country'."
Again, that was Salon that broke the US silence -- not the New York Times and certainly not The Nation magazine. US war resisters within the military are not being silent (even if some in the press -- big and small -- are), as Courage to Resist reports, Agustin Aguayo is supposed to join with war resisters Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Robert Zabala for a speaking tour from May 9th through 17th in the San Francisco Bay Area. The announced dates include:
Wednesday May 9 - Marin           
7pm at College of Marin, Student Services Center, 835 College Ave, Kentfield. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Pablo Paredes and David Solnit. Sponsored by Courage to Resist and Students for Social Responsibility.

Thursday May 10 - Sacramento        
Details TBA

Friday May 11 - Stockton    
6pm at the Mexican Community Center, 609 S Lincoln St, Stockton. Featuring Agustin Aguayo.

Saturday May 12 - Monterey      
7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd, Carmel. Featuring Agustin Aguayo and Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chp. 69, Hartnell Students for Peace, Salinas Action League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Courage to Resist. More info: Kurt Brux 831-424-6447

Sunday May 13 - San Francisco 
7pm at the Veterans War Memorial Bldg. (Room 223) , 401 Van Ness St, San Francisco. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes. Sponsored by Courage to Resist, Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69 and SF Codepink.

Monday May 14 - Watsonville           
7pm at the United Presbyterian Church, 112 E. Beach, Watsonville. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala. Sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Watsonville Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Watsonville Brown Berets, Courage to Resist and Santa Cruz Veterans for Peace Chp. 11. More info: Bob Fitch 831-722-3311

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto          
7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka  
7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197

Thursday May 17 - Oakland    
4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Aguayo wants to take part in that but may not be released in time. If the military is thinking they'll clamp down on war resistance by holding Aguayo, they obviously aren't factoring the passion this tour will create and the questions of, "Where's Augie?"  All are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Dean Walcott, Camilo Mejia, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, 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.  In addition, the documentary Sir! No Sir! traces the war resistance within the military during Vietnam and it will air at 9:00 pm (EST) on The Sundance Channel followed at 10:30 p.m. by The Ground Truth which examines the Iraq war and features Jimmy Massey and Iraq Veterans Against the War's Kelly Dougherty among others. (Filling in for Rebecca, Betty  wrote about Sir! No Sir! last night.)
In other news of resistance, Noah Shachtman (Wired) reports: "The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned.  The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war.  And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say."  Veterans for Peace refuses to play along with censorship and notes:
Resistance is NOT futile.  It has been happening with soldiers in Iraq for a while, but the movement is growing!  Ronn Cantu is one soldier who has been speaking out, and he's been doing so for quite a while.  He is currently stationed in Baghdad and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a signer of the Appeal for Redress.  He runs the online forum, "" where he encourages people to post their feelings on the war.  Many that use this forum are using it as a tool to voice their opposition to the war.
Lately, more active duty and deployed military personnel are using their rights as citizens to express their outrage at this war.  Despite the fact that the military is trying to silence active duty by telling them they have no rights, many brave men and women are speaking out.  Active duty military DO HAVE RIGHTS and are allowed to speak out against this illegal war - and many more are beginning to do just that!  Two more blogs from active duty in Iraq have surfaced.   Active duty blogs [
Burst Assunder | Army of Dude]
Turning to the trash -- Democratic leadership caving.  Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "On Capitol Hill, the Democratic-controlled House has failed to override President Bush's veto of an Iraq war spending bill that sets timetables for the withdrawal of [some] troops from Iraq.  After the override failed, President Bush hosted Congressional leaders from both parties at the White House to discuss a compromise bill.  The Washington Post is reporting the Democratic leadership is now backing down and had dropped their demand for including a [non-binding] timeline to bring troops home from Iraq.  Democrats appear to be deeply divided over how far to give in to the White House."  How far to give in?  That appears to be the eternal question for Democratic leadership -- they appear to have lost not only their spines but their will to fight.  Joanthan Weisman and Shailagh Murray (Washington Post) report that, like a lousy poker player who doesn't even know how to bluff, Dem leaders met with Bully Boy Wednesday and right away Dems were "offering the first major conession: an agreement to drop their demand for a timeline to bring troops home from Iraq."  The Post quotes US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating, "We made our position clear."  For anyone paying attention -- non Party Hack -- they certainly did.  (For those confused, Steny Hoyer and Pelosi's position is supine.)
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) observes "the Democrats are seriously contemplating a compromise on an already compromised bill.  Now, rather than insist on a deadline for withdrawal that was fudge-able in the first place, they appear to be ready to settle for no deadline at all, just some unenforceable benchmarks for the Maliki government.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyner expects a new bill to pass in the House in two weeks and to become law by Memorial Day.  'We're not going to leave our troops in harm's way . . . without the resources they need,' he said.  But resources for what?  For continuing the occupation?  Or getting the hell out of there?  Nancy Pelosi wasn't exactly crystal clear in her statement on the President's veto.  The Speaker said the original bill 'honored and respected the wishes of the American people to have benchmarks, to have guidelines, to have standards for what is happening in Iraq.'  Those weren't the wishes of the American people.  Their wishes were to bring troops home within a year."
Mike Ferner (CounterPunch) observes that, "MoveOn and the DemBoosters are ringing some kind of dizzy alarm: 'Emergency Iraq Rally . . . show our leaders we mean business tell Congress this is the key moment to stand strong against the President's veto.' Come again?  For all the wrong reasons The Pretender has briefly delayed the next payment of war money and created a momentary crisis among the Empire's leadership.  OK, so don't pin a medal on the guy, but at least define the current state of affairs as one to take advantage of: get serious about occuyping local Congressional offices, tying up traffic, shutting down universities, resisting as if, well, as if lives depended on it."
Mark Hull-Richter (AfterDowningStreet) (rightly) calls the vetoed bill "wimpy" and offers that "what smacks of the most unbelievable doublethink of our time, Move-On, which is supposedly opposing the 'war' aka OCCUPATION in Iraq, is furious that Bush won't take the money!!!!  Can you believe this BS?  Here's what to do:  Call your Representative and tell them:  DROP IT!  If Bush doesn't want the money, even with minor, mild, advisory strings, tell him to pay for the damned thing himself.  NO MORE MONEY."
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes "that rather than having a lame duck president we have a lame Congress.  The only thing that will end the war is constant, organized and focused pressure from Americans who oppose the war.  Two peace moms have called on anti-war activists to come to Washington, DC after Mother's Day.  Cindy Sheehan is organizing a 'Mother of a March' on May 14, 2007.  She is inviting 'all mothers and all people who have mothers' to join her.  This will be a kick-off to a 'Summer of Action' behing spearheaded by Marine Mom Tina Richards.  This summer peace activists will swarm Congress from May 14 to July 31 to urge an end to the war.  You can see an interview of Tina Richards about the 'Summer of Action' [. . .]"

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