Thursday, September 06, 2007


Staring with war resisters, Carolyn Nikodym (Canada's VUE Weekly) reports that the bands Nikki's Trick and Skull Device are getting the word out on war resisters in Canada via a cross country tour in Canada and that war resister Patrick Hart is Skull Device's lead guitarist. The tour is called "The Refuse and Resist Tour" and kicks off September 8th with a performance at The Office, 16 Cumberland Street South, Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Nikodym writes, "Patrick Hart's days in Canada are numbered.  The AWOL American soldier applied for refugee status here.  His application was denied.  He filed an appeal.  His appeal was denied.  It's his story, and similar stories of the other 30 or so soldiers seeking asylum in Canada, that the Refuse and Resist Tour wants to spread."  Nikodym explains how, after nine years of service, Hart decided he couldn't fight in the illegal war and he, Jill Hart and their child Rian made the decision to leave Fort Campbell and go to Canada.  Meanwhile People's Voice (Political Affairs) lists fifty-two reasons why the conservative Tory government in Canada needs to go including: "12. Nothing on Iraq disaster Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a direct result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which violated the most fundamental principles of international law. Nearly half a million Iraqis have fled their homes and registered for government aid. Even though most Iraqis feel their situation was better before the U.S.-led invasion, Harper, who supported the American-led Iraq War in 2003 even before becoming PM, has said nothing about the disastrous military occupation of that country. [;] 13. Ignoring war resisters Canada has granted asylum to only 14 of 740 U.S. refugee claimants in the past three years -- all of them babies born in the United States to foreign couples. All claims filed by U.S. Army war resisters have been rejected, even as the Iraq disaster rages on."  Currently, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are waiting to hear if Canada's Supreme Court will hear their appeal on their refugee status.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.  The G.I. Rights Hotline link has been included in the snapshots forever now, but please note that this is a new website.  The new website is still being upgarded (but working) and with the new website comes a new phone number (877) 4474487 which is "GI RGHTS" the name but missing the second "I".  To make sure everyone's aware that there is a new number and a new (toll free) number, we'll included this notice in the snapshot all week.  Again, The G.I. Rights Hotline is a new and improved (and new and improving) website that will begin replacing the old site.
In yesterday's snapshot, Zach was quoted regarding NOW with David Brancaccio having profiled war resisters and used the term.  This week (Friday night on most PBS stations), NOW with David Brancaccio takes a look at another issue in today's military:
Roughly one in seven of America's active duty military soldiers is a woman, but a NOW investigation found that sexual assault and rape is widespread. One study of National Guard and Reserve forces found that almost one in four women had been assaulted or raped. Last year alone, almost 3,000 soldiers reported sexual assault and rape by other soldiers.

On Friday, September 7 (check your local listings), in one of the only national television broadcasts of the issue, NOW features women who speak out for the first time about what happened. One woman recounts her ordeal of rape by her superior officer. Many more don't report the incidents for fear of how it will affect their careers. The shocking phenomenon has a label: military sexual trauma, or MST.

NOW meets women courageously battling to overcome their MST, bringing light to an issue that's putting the army in shame. A NOW exclusive investigation. The NOW website at will offer the latest statistics on MST and insight into the challenges of reporting sexual abuse in the military
That's this weekend (Friday on most PBS stations) on NOW with David Brancaccio.  Today on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman spoke with student Kot Hordynski about what it's like to be part of a group spied on by the US government (Students Against War):
KOT HORDYNSKI: Uh-huh. Yes, of course. I mean, you know, it was a pretty startling notion to realize that our peaceful protest made it onto a government database. But we realized that we had to do something about it, and so we organized, and we started speaking with the ACLU and basically trying to get to the bottom of how our group made it onto that list.
AMY GOODMAN: And what did you find out?
KOT HORDYNSKI: Well, you know, not very many conclusive things so far. The government has, of course, come out now and said that the TALON database will be closed. They've also in the past have said that all of those groups that made it onto the list that were peaceful groups that didn't belong there were put there on by mistake. But, you know, I think in many ways, as much as the TALON closure is a really good thing, I think that in many ways it's too little, too late, because I think, you know, in many ways the damage has been done. And I think --  
AMY GOODMAN: Did it damage your group? Did you get distracted from organizing?
KOT HORDYNSKI: No. You know, I think we were actually very fortunate that we didn't. We didn't get distracted, and I think as soon as we realized that this was something that was a lot more real than we had thought, that government spying was actually happening in this country, I think we realized that that meant we had to persevere and that we had to keep on doing what we were doing, because, you know, if we were doing these things that we saw as right and they were being seen as something that was a deviation from the party line, we knew that we had to keep on doing these things. But I think in a lot of other instances, you know, things like this could have a really chilling effect on society.
AMY GOODMAN: Tell me what you actually did, what Students Against War did -- yes, protesting the war, but the whole issue of focusing on recruitment.
KOT HORDYNSKI: I think, you know, simply put, if we stop recruitment, we stop the war. That's why we do counter-recruitment work. We focus a lot in the local community around the Santa Cruz area. There's a lot of recruitment that goes on in high schools, not only on college campuses. And so, what we did was we formed a group that would organize against recruitment wherever it happened. And so, even though not much recruitment goes on at the UC Santa Cruz campus, we thought that if recruiters were going to be there, it was our duty and our responsibility to confront them.
This follows up Goodman's interview yesterday with Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU on, among other topics, the government documents the ACLU obtained via FOIA about Iraqi civilians killed by US forces (Afghanistan civilians as well, just FYI). Today's broadcast also included excerpts of a discussion with Paul Ehrlich and Reagan loving George Shultz on global warming and global warring (in addition the excerpts taped last night, Goodman also interviewed Ehrlich).  Ehrlich from that disccusion:
I think Stanford Professor Gretchen Daily said it very well: if you think we're invading Iraq -- or would we be planning to invade Iraq if their major export were broccoli? We would just have left it. I'm not saying that this was in George Bush's head. God knows what was in his head. But certainly everybody who knew the history knew what would happen. We're now in a situation where the knowledgeable people haven't got a clue what to do, even though every person I know personally, Republican and Democrat, were opposed to the idea to begin with. Now we're in a mess where we're waiting for General Petraeus to come back and see if he's going to betray us.
Turning to retired generals,  Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today, "A panel of retired US generals is urging the United States to disband and reorganize the Iraqi police force because of infiltration by sectarian militias.  The generals also report Iraq's security forces will be unable to fulfill their essential security responsibilities independently for at least another twelve to 18 months."  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) explains that the national police force as well as the Iraq Interior Ministry are "riddled with sectarianism and corruption" by the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq headed by James Jones (Marine general) in there 150-plus page report which also finds the Iraqi army at least  a year to 18 months away from being able to handle "internal security".  Tim Reid (Times of London) reports, "The 20 member-panel also said today that the Iraqi Amry was incpable of acting independently from US forces for at least another 18 months, and 'cannot yet meaningfully contribute to denying terrorists safe haven'."  In a bit of  bad timing, news of the panel's   report comes as Paul Bremer tries to stay in the news.  In Tuesday's snapshot, we noted:
Edmund L. Andrews (New York Times) reports that the former "top Iraq envoy" was not flying solo. Paul Bremer has provided the paper with correspondence which "shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to 'dissolve Saddam's military and intelligence structures'". Andrews writes, "In releasing the letters, Mr. Bremer said he wanted to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush's comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House." In one reply, Bully Boy lays it on thick writing, "Your leadership is apparent. You have quickly made a positive and significant impact. You have my full support and confidence."
Today L. Paul Bremer III learns that even writing so recklessly self-serving doesn't work out so well.  In today's New York Times, A25, he contributes "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army" which should contain the sub-heading "By Myself -- I Didn't Do It By Myself!"  The usual cast of criminals shows up -- Walter Slocombe, Paul Wolfowitz (no mention of his 'companion'), Donald of Rumsfled, Tommy Franks (& Beans), Bully Boy, etc.  Bremer wants to refute 'conventional wisdom' (someone tell him to put the gun down because conventional wisdom is the only thing keeping his public name on life support!) and spread the blame around.  That in and of itself is fine (if true) but Bremer admits he was for it then: "And it was the right decision."  He's not done: "Moreover, we were right to build a new Iraqi Army.  Despite all the difficulties encountered, Iraq's new professional soldiers are the country's most effective and trusted security forces."  Really?  What is that, a predicition?  Since they can't even "take over internal security" for at least 12 months more, what scale is Bremer grading on?  Conventional wisdom? 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

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