THE COWARDLY DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE COULD NOT BLOCK A REPUGNANT NOMINEE FOR THE FEDERAL COURTS DESPITE BEING THE MAJORITY IN THE SENATE. 12 DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE AND AN INDEPENDENT -- THAT WOULD BE JOE LIEBERMAN -- SIDED WITH REPUBLICANS TO END CLOTURE. IT'S BEING HAILED AS WIN FOR THE BULLY BOY.
BUT WHILE THE DEMOCRATICALLY CONGRESS CAN'T STAND UP TO HOMOPHOBIC, RACIST JUDICIAL NOMINEES, THEY CAN STAND UP TO CODEPINK. WITH READ PAINT ON HER HANDS, CODEPINK'S DESIREE ANITA ALI-FAIROOZ CONFRONTED CONDI RICE, ANNOUNCING THE TRUTH, "THE BLOOD OF MILLIONS OF IRAQIS IS ON YOUR HANDS!" FOR THIS ACTION, NOT ONLY WAS SHE ARRESTED BUT WAR HAWK TOM LANTOS HAD ALL MEMBERS OF CODEPINK KICKED OUT AFTER WHICH HE PUT HIS HEAD BACK IN HIS ASS AND USED HIS TONGUE IN AN ATTEMPT TO DISLODGE AN OBJECT. ASKED WHY, HE RESPONDED IT WAS THAT "OR RUN OVER ANOTHER KID'S FOOT! WOO HOO!"
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT SECRETARY OF STATE AND ANGER CONDI RICE SEEMED UNAWARE THAT THE CODEPINK ACTIVIST WAS PROTESTING HER.
"I WORE MY BLOOD FUR TO THE HEARING," EXPLAINED RICE PICTURED BELOW, "I THOUGHT SHE WAS APPLAUDING MY FUR AS WELL AS CONGRATULATING ME FOR ALL THE BLOOD ON MY HANDS. YOU MEAN SHE WAS TRYING TO INSULT ME?"
Starting with war resisters. Judge Benjamin Settle has extended Ehren Watada's stay. Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His reasons for that are because the war is illegal. He attempted to work through this matter with the military but when it became obvious they were stringing him along he made the decision to go public -- and went public in June 2006. In February 2006, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) presided over a rigged hearing that was supposed to pass for a court-martial despite the fact that Watada was not allowed to explain why he'd chosen to do what he did -- refuse to deploy. Judge Toilet tried real hard to rig the perfect frame up and when it didn't go the way he wanted, Judge Toilet flushed the court-martial, declaring a mistrial over defense objection and despite the fact that double-jeopardy had attached. Judge Toilet immediately scheduled a court-martial for March and then someone tutored Toilet a little on the law. The court-martial was supposed to begin the first week of this month; however, federal judge Settle issued a stay through October 26th. On Friday, Settle extended the stay through November 9th. Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) noted on Friday, "Seattle decided he had jurisdiction to hear arguments that Watada would be subject to double jeopardy, since his first trial in February ended in a mistrial, over his objections, after testimony had been heard by a panel of officers." The panel was the jury -- Watada wisely decided to go with a jury for the court-martial and not allow a judge (in this case Judge Toilet) to make the ruling.
Meanwhile on the subject of war resisters in Canada, Free Speech Radio News noted yesterday, "Canada has, in the past, been a destination for conscientious objectors to US wars. But some anti-war activists have found out from experience that Canada is using the FBI's National Crime Information Center database to stop war resisters at the border." Brad McCall was the first to go public with the new system and how he was handcuffed while attempting to enter Canada September 19th of this year. He was followed by others making reporting similar incidents at the border. A number of actions are ongoing regarding US war resisters in Canada. Citizens of Canada can sign the War Resisters Support Campaign petition as well as refer to this action page of the War Resisters Support Campaign. In the United States, Courage to Resist has a letter you can sign to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley and Stephane Dion of the Liberal Party. If you click here you can sign electronically. If you need a physical copy, you can go to "Supporting War Resisters" and print up a scan of the letter.
Tonight the War Resisters Support Campaign has an event, Michelle Mason's breakthrough documentary . Breaking Ranks will be screened at the University of Toronto's Claude Bissell Building from six to eight p.m. followed by a question and answer session with war resisters.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, 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, Blake LeMoine, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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 National Lawyers Guild's convention begins shortly: The Military Law Task Force and the Center on Conscience & War are sponsoring a Continuing Legal Education seminar -- Representing Conscientious Objectors in Habeas Corpus Proceedings -- as part of the National Lawyers Guild National Convention in Washington, D.C. The half-day seminar will be held on Thursday, November 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the convention site, the Holiday Inn on the Hill in D.C. This is a must-attend seminar, with excelent speakers and a wealth of information. The seminar will be moderated by the Military Law Task Force's co-chair Kathleen Gilberd and scheduled speakers are NYC Bar Association's Committee on Military Affairs and Justice's Deborah Karpatkin, the Center on Conscience & War's J.E. McNeil, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee's Peter Goldberger, Louis Font who has represented Camilo Mejia, Dr. Mary Hanna and others, and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's James Feldman. The fee is $60 for attorneys; $25 for non-profit attorneys, students and legal workers; and you can also enquire about scholarships or reduced fees. The convention itself will run from October 31st through November 4th and it's full circle on the 70th anniversary of NLG since they "began in Washington, D.C." where "the founding convention took place in the District at the height of the New Deal in 1937, Activist, progressive lawyers, tired of butting heads with the reactionary white male lawyers then comprising the American Bar Association, formed the nucleus of the Guild."
Turning to Iraq and starting with the refugee crisis which Prensa Latina reports the United Nations says is increasing "due to the border conflict with Turkey" with refugees already constituting 4.7 million Iraqis -- 2.3 million displaced internally, 2.4 million displaced externally. Among the externally displaced is Riverbend and her family who have settled in Syria. Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) reports, "By the time we had reentered the Syrian border and were headed back to the cab ready to take us into Kameshli, I had resigned myself to the fact that we were refugees. I read about refugees on the Internet daily. . . in the newspapers . . . hear about them on TV. I heard about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongins in bags instead of suitcases and they don't have cell phones or Internet acess, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn't really welcome in any country -- including their own . . . especially their own. . . . The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative -- a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, 'We're Abu Mohammed's house -- across from you -- mama says if you need anything, just ask -- this is our number. Abu Dalia's family lives upstairs, this is their number. We're all Iraqi too . . . Welcome to the building.' I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003." Yesterday, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees spokesperson Ron Redmond spoke to the press declaring that Syria continues to receive refugees but "in much smaller numbers than before" due to the new visa regulations Syria has imposed (obtain visa in Baghdad -- the Syrian embassy is located in a very violent neighborhood -- etc.) and that the UN estimates northern Iraq to now be "home to over 800,000 internally displaced Iraqis." Peter Apps (Reuters) notes that more violence in northern Iraq "could further increase the number of people fleeing their homes and cut off one of the remaining ways out for refugees desperate to leave Iraq, aid workers say." The tensions between the regions go far back. In yesterday's press briefing, US State Department flack Sean McCormack declared of the tensions, "It's not something that was invented over the past four years. But we now have an opportunity with an Iraqi Government that has an interest in playing a positive role in the region, an opportunity to arrive at a solution." Now the US State Department thinks there is "an opportunity" to address the situation? and what were they thinking in 2004? The War Comes Home's Aaron Glantz reported on the situation for Pacifica in April of 2004 noting a meet up in DC between the Turkish government and the US government when then US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Meyers stated, "This is an issue the coalition forces inside Iraq take very seriously. Let me assure you that there is very close collaboration with Turkey and that they [the PKK] will be dealt with appropriately."
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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