DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES BARACK OBAMA AND JOHN EDWARDS HAVE HIT ON A NEW CAMPAIGN STRATEGY: "VOTE FOR US BECAUSE WE SAY NO TO WAR WITH IRAN!"
JOHN EDWARDS, WHO VOTED FOR WAR WITH IRAQ, SAYS HE HAS LEARNED HIS LESSON. IF HE WERE IN THE SENATE TODAY, WHICH HE IS NOT, HE WOULD NOT HAVE VOTED FOR THE KYL-LIEBERMAN AMENDMENT.
BARACK OBAMA, WHO IS IN THE SENATE TODAY, SAYS HE WOULD NOT HAVE VOTED FOR THE KYL-LIEBERMAN AMENDMENT EITHER . . . IF HE HAD SHOWN UP FOR THE VOTE.
ONE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT ON THE ISSUE OF "I HAVE LEARNED!"
THE OTHER WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT ON THE ISSUE OF "I MISSED A VOTE I WON'T SHUT UP ABOUT SO I OBVIOUSLY THINK IT IS IMPORTANT BUT I AM TOO BUSY CAMPAIGNING TO DO THE JOB I WAS ELECTED TO IN NOVEMBER OF 2004 SO VOTE FOR ME FOR PRESIDENT AND MAYBE I'LL FINALLY GET DOWN TO DOING THE JOB PEOPLE EXPECT FROM ME!"
WHEN CALLED FOR COMMENTS, JOHN EDWARDS BEGAN EXPLAINING TO THESE REPORTERS ALL THE THINGS HE HAS LEARNED THE HARD WAY BUT THESE REPORTERS SAT THE PHONE DOWN AFTER 20 MINUTES.
WHILE EDWARDS CONTINUED SPEAKING, WE CONTACTED BARCK OBAMA WHO EXPLAINED, "CAMPAIGNING FOR PRESIDENT IS HARD. REAL HARD."
HARDER THAN BEING A SENATOR?
"OH, THAT'S EASY," LAUGHED BAMBI. "THEY PAY ME WHETHER I SHOW UP OR NOT!"
BOTH CANDIDATES IT WAS EASIER TO CAMPAIGN ON A WAR THAT HADN'T STARTED THAN ON HOW THEY WOULD END THE ONGOING ILLEGAL WAR.
Starting with war resistance. Ted Rall (Rall.com) offers his reflections on resistance during Vietnam and resistance today: "Soldiers who want antiwar Americans to march to demand that they be brought home should take a cue from Vietnam veterans. They marched with peace protesters and threw their medals at the Capitol. Soldiers serving on the front refused orders. Some fragged their officers. Vietnam Veterans Against the War claimed more than 50,000 members by 1971. That year saw numerous dramatic acts of dissent by U.S. troops, including 50 veterans who marched to the Pentagon and demanded that they be arrested as war criminals. Fifteen vets took over and barricaded the Statue of Liberty for two days. These acts swayed opinions and helped convince lawmakers it was time to withdraw. Some soldiers in Iraq have offered resistance. After being denied conscientious objector status, Petty Officer Third Class Pablo Paredes went AWOL in 2004. He was sentenced to two months in the brig and three months hard labor. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada refused to be sent to Iraq in 2006, telling the media that the war's illegality would make him a party to war crimes. Army Specialist Darrell Anderson, faced with a second tour of duty after being wounded by a roadside bomb deserted and fled to Canada. 'I went to Iraq willingly,' said Anderson. 'I wanted to die for my country. I thought I was going to go there and protect my family back home. All I was doing was killing other families there.' The Army decided not to prosecute him. Several other deserters have applied for political asylum in Canada, but they're only a fraction of the thousands who went there during the 1960s and 1970s."
In the October 18th snapshot, we noted someone considered AWOL (and noted he "may or may not be a war resister"): "Robert Przybyski" -- the last name is missing an "l" (my fault) Przybylski. John Vandiver (Stars and Stripes) provides an update, "Capt. Robert Przbylski, the Baumholder-based officer who has been absent without leave since Oct. 10, remains missing but does not appear to be in any danger, authorities reported Wednesday. . . . Army officials remain tight-lipped about the circumstances involving the captain's disappearance."
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 the US where there is an opposition party in Congress: CODEPINK. The only voice of sanity in the halls of Congress attended the House Foreign Relations Committe hearing yesterday as Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice prepared to deliver her usual non-performance as Congress delivered their own. The Let's All Pretend It's Still A Democracy road show was interrupted by CODEPINK's Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz who, with red pain on her hands, spoke the truth no one elected can or will, "You've got the blood of millions of Iraqis on your hands." (See As Cedric and Wally's joint-post yesterday.) "Stylish" Condi pretended not to notice. White House flack Dana Perino pronounced it "despicable. And unfortunately, it seems that increasingly Congress is being run by CODEPINK." Oh, if only. Instead War Hawk Tom Lantos had all of CODEPINK kicked out of the hearing and Congress returned to its usual ineffective posture. CODEPINK's Desiree Fairooz, Lis Hourican, Lori Purdue, Medea Benjamin and Zool Zulkowitz were arrested but "The Deputy Chief of Staff of the House Foreign Relations Committee contacted the Capitol Police later in the day to again relay that their is a policy of that committee to not arrest Citizen protesters but to instead escort them out of the room." The arrest of Benjamim effected a planned action today.
Staying with CODEPINK, Tuesday Karen Miller (Free Speech Radio News) reported, "The original purpose of the database was to share information about dangerous criminals, sex offenders, fugitives and members of terrorist organizations among different levels of law enforcement. It has since become apparent that peace activists have been added to the watch list. Medea Benjamin of the anti-war group, Code Pink, was recently refused entry into Canada when she was on her way to attend a peace rally. That's why Code Pink members decided to protest today in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington DC. Benjamin has been arrested a number of times for anti-war actions, but she says Canada's decision to bar entrance to some activists is troubling: 'One, the FBI should never be putting non-violent misdemeanor offenses on a criminal database. Second, Canada should not be using a US database to say who can come into a country.' At today's protest, Code Pink delivered over 20,000 petitions from US and Canadian citizens collected over the last 2 weeks urging Canada to change its policy." From the October 4th snapshot:
Yesterday, Wright and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin attempted to enter Canada "crossing near Buffalo to attend a conference sponsored by a Canadian peace coalition in Toronto." As CODEPINK notes, "At the Buaffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. . . . The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience." Benjamin explains, "In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women's Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world. For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country." Wright declares, "The FBI's placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies. The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country."
AP reported yesterday that Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin "plan to fly to Ottowa on Thursday at the invitation of several members of Parliament." Due to the arrest, Medea Benjamin was not able to fly to Ottawa. Ann Wright did. The Canadian Press reports that Wright "is being detained at Ottawa airport" and that "while other passengers passed through Customs, Wright was held back." AP quotes CODEPINK's Dana Balicki stating, "She's being turned away from the border and she's being banned from Canada for the next year."
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