DESPITE SUPPORT FOR THE ILLEGAL "ENEMY COMBATANT" STATUS BULLY BOY HAS CREATED AND DESPITE HIS SUPPORT FOR MILITARY TRIBUNALS, MICHAEL MUKASEY WILL MOST LIKELY BE CONFIRMED AS ATTORNEY GENERAL.
TODAY U.S. SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER MADE A BIG-TO-DO ABOUT HOW MUKASEY IMPRESSED HIM WITH AN ANSWER IN PRIVATE. SCHUMER LEFT PRIVATE THE FACT THAT HE HAS LONG BEEN A SUPPORTER OF MUKASEY.
IN JUNE 2003, HE RECOMMENDED TO THE BULLY BOY THAT MUKASEY BE CONSIDERED FOR THE SUPREME COURT. ON MARCH 18TH OF THIS YEAR, SCHUMER WAS SINGING MUKASEY'S PRAISES ON NBC'S MEET THE PRESS
PROVING THAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE WILLFULLY STUPID, THEY WERE IMPRESSED WITH ANSWERS. THEY WERE IMPRESSED WITH ALBERTO GONZALES' ANSWERS AS WELL. OF COURSE, IT TURNED OUT THAT ALBERTO LIED.
WHEN STOPPED FOR COMMENT, SCHUMER DECLARED, "OUR NEW MOTTO IS, 'FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, I'M PROBABLY A DEMOCRAT. FOOL ME OVER AND OVER, I AM A DEMOCRAT."
AFTER GIVING SCHUMER TWO BIG ONE DOLLAR BILLS FOR A TINY, SINGLE FIVE DOLLAR BILL, THESE REPORTERS THANKED HIM.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Peter D. Brown received conscientious objector (CO) status. Courage to Resist has an AP article up which explains, "While in Iraq, Brown applied for discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. Though a chaplain appointed by the Army and an investigating officer both concluded that he was sincere and recommended an honorable discharge, the Army disagreed and denied his request. The ACLU and its New York chapter sued in July, asking a federal court to order the Army to reverse its decision. Before the court could act, the Army reconsidered and granted Brown's request Aug. 28, NYCLU spokeswoman Jennifer Carnig said. The announcement was delayed until after Brown's return from Iraq in September." Alexa James (New York's Times Herald-Record) reports that although the US government claims that 425 CO applications were evaluated from 2002 to 2006 with 53% of those applicants receiving CO status, the ACLU's Deborah Karpatkin "said those numbers are skewed. Conscientious objectors, she said, are subject to harassment and hostility. 'You have to be tough,' she said. '(Brown) was an officer. He was a West Point grad . . . he came out of mainstream Christianity." Lower Hudson Valley's The Journal News notes, "Brown successfully petitioned in federal court in Washington, D.C. for release from the U.S. Army". AP notes that Peter "Brown currently works in a non-combat capacity processing detainee information, according to 2nd Brigade Combat Team spokesman Maj. Webster Wright III." The New York Civil Liberties Union (NY ACLU chapter) issued a news release yesterday explaining the military's sudden decision to avoid a legal show down in a civilian court and quoting the legal director of the ACLU of the National Capital Area and co-counsel in Brown's lawsuit Arthur Spitzer explaining, "The ACLU's founder, Roger Baldwin, went to prison in 1918 because the World War I draft law made no provision for conscientious objectors. Civil liberties have advanced when the Army itself can recognize that a West Point graduate can be a sincere conscientious objector -- even if it took a lawsuit to wake them up." Had the military not rushed to a decision, Brown might have, like Robert Zabala and others, required a civilian court to declare him a CO -- something made necessary by the nonsense the military pulls -- some of which Deborah Karpatkin noted above but it also includes the military refusing to follow their own rules on COs such as playing games with the issue of religion when religion is not a requirement for CO status -- by the military's own guidelines.
Meanwhile, Veterans for Peace notes the new documentary Soldiers of Conscience which features war resisters Aiden Delgado, Camilo Mejia, Joshua Casteel and Kevin Benderman. The documentary, directed by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg of Luna Productions in Berkeley, is narrated by Peter Coyote and playing at various festivals over the next weeks. Right not it is playing at the Hamptons International Film Festival (East Hampton, NY -- Oct. 17th through 21st), October 21st at 9:00 pm it plays in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Film Festival, October 22nd at 5:50 pm and October 27 at 7:50 pm it plays at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Arkansas, October 24th at 10:10 pm it plays in Stanford at the UN Association Film Festivals, it plays at the Starz Denver Film Festival (November 8th through 18th), and on November 16th, at 6:30 pm it plays in Olympia, Washington at The Capitol Theater. More information is available at the Soldiers of Conscience website.
And Ish Theilheimer (Canada's Straight Goods) reflects on his own experience as a war resister during the Vietnam era:
It was 40 years ago today, I stood on the steps of a courthouse in New York City and joined with up to 2,000 other young American men (Wikipedia says 1,000 -- they are wrong) in returning our draft cards to the US government to protest the immoral and disastrous war in Vietnam. We were among the waves and waves of protesters who eventually forced the end of the war.This particular action led to most of us being punitively drafted, which led to my adopting Canada as a new home. Now, with deep integration of immigration and policing, it is much harder for American war resisters to get into and stay in Canada as I was fortunate enough to do. It was hard enough for us in the laid-back '60s and '70s. I feel for today's deserters. Because they were volunteers, and generally not middle class, they don't get the public support we got. The Bush administration has been able to keep their protests in check.Our act of mass civil disobedience on October 16, 1967 didn't change a lot, but it contributed to the mass effort. Those punitive draft calls most of us received may have triggered an important change, though.The Supreme Court later declared these call-ups illegal because they were not due process of law. According to Wiki, "The charges of unfairness led to the institution of a draft lottery for the year 1970 in which a young man's birthday determined his relative risk of being drafted."That protest, on October 16 1967, was the pivotal turning point in my life. In many ways the fallout made my life a lot harder, though not as hard as being a prisoner, a soldier, a casualty, or a Vietnamese war victim. With all the things I might have done in life, I don't regret, for a moment, this one action.
Another war resister from that era, Gerry Condon (Soldier Say No!) observers, "There is a taboo in the antiwar movement against actually calling on the troops to resist. Only Iraq Veterans Against the War have begun to cross the line. What is behind this taboo? I believe there are a number of factors. One is fear of the perceived legal jeopardy. . . . Another part of the taboo against calling on the troops to resist is that many antiwar organizations, especially the larger and more established, are organized as nonprofit organizations (501c3) for purposes of receiving tax-deductible organizations. They fear they might lose their nonprofit status if they advocate actions the government would consider illegal. To my knowledge, this has not happened. But nonprofits' boards of directors tend to be pretty conservative about such matters. Many of them also wrongfully believe that their nonprofit status will be jeopardized if they engage in any advocacy or support legislative proposals. . . . I believe it is time for the antiwar movement to relocate to the gates of every military base in this country, and abroad. Democracy has failed in Washington. Seventy percent of the U.S. people want the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. But the Congress says no way. And the leading presidential candidates of both parties say no way. In this election cycle, the antiwar movement should not spend one ounce of its energy backing any candidate who is not credibly committed to ending the war and giving Iraq back to the Iraqis. Instead of wasting our enery on the politicians, we in the antiwar movement should take democracy into our own hands. The slogan 'Troops Out Now' should be directed at the troops themselves. We should encourage and assist our citizen soldiers to vote with their feet. As Bertold Brecht famously suggested, the war machine cannot function if the troops won't fight. Even the drones and the robots require humans to direct and repair them. This is somewhat of a revolutionary proposal. But it now appears that nothing short of a revolutionary movement will bring an end to the Iraq War." That's an excerpt from Condon's piece. And Gerry Condon didn't just resist during Vietnam and then turn his backs on others. He's been there for war resisters of today including Kyle Snyder. Snyder, after serving in Iraq, self-checked out and went to Canada. In October 2006, he returned to the US to turn himself in on October 31st only to check back out when the military lied to him yet again. Condon was there for Snyder. And war resisters need even more support these days. In the October 5th snapshot, we noted Brad McCall who was arrested when he tried to enter Canada September 19, 2007 (he got in on his second attempt). McCall told Charlie Smith (Vancouver's Straight) that he was "driven to a jail in Surrey" and that, to the Canadian Border Services Agency, "I told them, 'Why are you playing the part of the hound dog for the U.S. army?' They didn't know what to say. They just started stuttering and mumbling." Brad McCall isn't the only one that's happened to. Andrew MacLeod (Canada's Monday Magazine) reports, "Four weeks ago an American soldier was jailed for two days while crossing from Washington State to B.C., says Michelle Robidoux, a WRSC organizer from Toronto who was visiting campaign supporters in Victoria this week. Officials with the Canada Border Services Agency called his base, then encouraged him to go back. Eventually he was allowed to make a refugee claim and enter Canada. Then last week another soldier arrived at the border and was refused entry to Canada after an official called his base. He was told he would never be allowed to return to Canada, says Robidoux. 'In both cases, the border guards called the military base where these fellows were stationed to consult the COs to see what their status was,' she says. 'These are things we believe the B.C. border guards are not entitled to do . . . People's military status in the United States should not be a concern for the border guards here'." The Canada Border Services Agency refused to confirm to MacLeod whether this was a change in policy or the behaviors of individuals.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, 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."
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Staying on the topic of peace. Yesterday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) interviewed Yoko Ono about the Imagine Peace Tower, other activism, art and much more. Today, Goodman (via Truthdig) explores the legacies left behind and the ugly legacies resurfacing (such as illegal spying on citizens by the US government):
John Lennon would have turned 67 years old last week had he not been murdered in 1980, at the age of 40, by a mentally disturbed fan. On his birthday, Oct. 9, his widow, peace activist and artist Yoko Ono, realized a dream they shared. In Iceland, she inaugurated the Imagine Peace Tower, a pillar of light emerging from a wishing well, surrounded on the ground by the phrase "Imagine Peace" in 24 languages.
The legacy of Lennon is relevant now more than ever. The Nixon administration spied on him and tried to deport him, all because he opposed the war in Vietnam. Parallel details of the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program and the Pentagon's participation in domestic spying, with mass roundups of immigrants, are chilling, and the lessons vital.
Ono conceived the peace tower 40 years ago, at the outset of her relationship with Lennon. She grew up in Japan, surviving the firebombing of Tokyo. She told me, "Because of that memory of what I went through in the Second World War, it is embedded in me how terrible it is to go through war."
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Iraq and Turkey"
"yoko is the good ... oh, but the bad"
"Yoko Ono, Ralph Nader"
"Dennis Kucinich, Yoko Ono, etc. "
"Law and Disorder, Naomi Wolf, Peter Brown"
"Congressional Dems do the Cave Dance again"
"THIS JUST IN! DEMS KEEP CAVING!"
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