CLARENCE THOMAS AND HIS GHOST WRITER HAVE RELEASED A NEW BOOK ENTITLED MY GRANDFATHER'S SON. RUMORS ABOUND THAT THE SEQUEL WILL BE ENTITLED THAT WHITE WOMAN'S HUSBAND OR THE ART I FOUND IN THE TRIPLE X FILM THE ADVENTURES OF BAD MANA JAMA.
JOAN BISKUPIC (U.S.A. TODAY) REVEALS HERSELF TO BE BOTH A SELF-HATING WOMAN AND SCARED OF BOTH THE TRUTH AND THOMAS AS SHE 'REPORTS' THAT "HE WRITES OF HIS MISERY WHEN FORMER EMPLOYEE ANITA HILL ACCUSED HIM OF TALKING TO HER ABOUT X-RATED MOVIES AND MAKING PORNOGRAPHIC REFERENCES." THAT'S A CUTE WAY OF CONDENSING THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT INFLICTED ON ANITA HILL.
EDWARD LAZARUS (LOS ANGELES TIMES) GETS A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE TRUTH BY TERMING IT "CRUDE SEXUAL ADVANCES TOWARD" HILL BUT THAT'S SO WEAK IT HONESTLY MAKES US FEAR FOR ANY WOMAN WHO WORKS WITH THE MAN. LAZARUS THEN PROVES HIMSELF TO BE A SUCK UP EXTRAORDINAIRE AS HE FAWNS OVER THE IDIOT WHO REFUSED TO SPEAK ON THE COURT FOR YEARS -- THOUGH HE WAS HAPPY TO TAKE TO THE CONSERVATIVE LECTURE CIRCUIT -- WRITING THAT THOMAS "HAS LONG SINCE ESTABLISHED HIS ONCE-DOUBTED LEGAL AND INTELLECTUAL BONA FIDES" -- IN WHOSE INSANE WORLD DID THAT HAPPEN? -- AND REFERRING TO HILL'S GOING PUBLIC WITH THE WORK PLACE HARASSMENT SHE HAD TO ENDURE DAILY AS THOMAS' "MISERY."
APPARENTLY THE PERIOD LEFT THOMAS UNABLE TO GET OFF TO THE PORN HE RENTED ON A DAILY BASIS?
TONIC FOR THE FAWNING: READ JANE MAYER AND JILL ABRAMSON'S STRANGE JUSTICE: THE SELLING OF CLARENCE THOMAS.
Starting with war resistance. Saturday, Patrick Maloney (London Free Press) reported that twenty-year-old James Stepp became the latest US war resister to move to Canada's London -- driving from Ohio with wife Vicki and their two children Cheyenne and Tilford and joining war resisters Tim Richard, Linjamin Mull and Matt Lowell who are also putting down roots in the city. Maaloney quotes Stepp declaring, "We miss our friends and we miss our family very much. But it's just something that had to be done. . . . The culture in America is you're either with us or against us. Especially in the military. I just ask people to understand why I did it. I would rather be an outcast in my own country than commit war crimes and live in comfort knowing I had done that."
Another war resister in Canada should have been actively pursued by journalists last week. James Burmeister went to Canada in May of this year and went public on his reasons for self-checking out. Among those reasons were the "kill teams" of US snipers who left US property (any US Army property -- not, as the mainstream media narrative last week insisted, just weapons and materials to make weapons out of) lying around as traps for Iraqis who would then be shot for touching US property. While the US media -- All Things Media Big and Small -- played dumb, Mina Al-Oraibi (Asharq Alawsat) spoke with Burmeister: "Burmeister says he refuses to participate in the practices of what he described as 'small kill teams', which include 'four of five soldiers, with a couple of snipers, who would go out on the streets and put something out, like a camera. Then they'd put a sign out [that said] if anyone touched it, they would be killed. But a lot of these people do not read English, so they would touch it to see what it is, and then they would be shot. [This is justified by] saying the American army has the right to shoot anyone trying to steal its property'." Mina Al-Orabi also speaks with war resister Matthew Lowell who notes that, unlike Burmeister, he's not sure his family in the United States supports his decision: "I do talk to my family, although they haven't come to visit me at all. As far as them supporting my decision, I am not fully certain." He explains, "I tried to get out legitimately before deciding to go AWOL [Absent Without Official Leave]. Nothing I did worked through; I came to Candada first in September-October 2003. At that time, I didn't know about applying for refugee status or a work permit and just got a job that paid under the table." After which, Lowell went back to the United States, turned himself in, checked out from Fort Knox and eventually, November 2005, returned to Canada and states, "Call me what you want. I left my country, my friends, my family, all because of my conscience and morals. What kind of person would I be if I agreed to participate in the slaughtering of people who didn't agree with my way of life, who didn't threaten my family, my friends, and everything that I know? When I joined the military it was to defend all those that I hold dear. I volunteered for the military on those grounds, so why if we aren't defending, should I have to kill? At least I can still hold my head up high and carry myself with pride and respect."
In Friday's snapshot, we noted that three war resisters had published their stories in book form this year: Aidan Delgado with The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq, Camilo Mejia shared his story in Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia and Joshua Key told his story in The Deserter's Tale. Today, a fourth war resister joins that list. As Elaine noted Friday, Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience is Kevin Benderman (with wife Monica Benderman) telling his story. Kevin Benderman saw a kangaroo court in July 2005 -- his court-martial on trumped up charges -- and no applause from the military brass for any commendable actions such as refusing an order in Iraq to shoot at little kids who were throwing rocks. Prior to and during Kevin Benderman's imprisonment, Monica Benderman went to many book stores attempting to find books about COs (Kevin Benderman attempted to be granted CO status) and other forms of resistance. She found basically zilch at the time. Kevin Benderman's story is one that needs to be told. And they're getting it out.
Of course some will not know about it. For instance, The Nation has refused to review any of the three books already released. A weekly magazine, purportedly against the illegal war, that has pages and pages, and wasted pages, of really bad writing about really bad books but it can't be bothered -- thus far -- in reviewing books by war resisters. Amazingly, what a weekly -- with pages and pages of book reviews each issue -- can't do (really, what they won't do) ISR and The Progressive have been able to. This month, ISR proved they can continue to do so as they reviewed Mejia's Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (not available online -- we noted it in last Monday's snapshot -- it runs on pages 73 and 74 of the print edition and is written by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field). That's the September/October edition of ISR. The October issue of The Progressive also reviews Mejia's book. JoAnn Wypijewski review ("Dilemmas of a War Resister") runs from pages 39-44 and uses the book as a starting off point to address multiple issue about the illegal war. Wypijewski notes, "Mejia seems to have found his voice, in life and in the book, in the course of saying no. At the end of his court-martial -- his description of which captures the sinking experience of witnessing justice reduce to procedure -- he tells the panel of jurors:
"Yes, you have the power to convict me, to sentence me, to discharge me with a bad conduct discharge. . . I have been a bad soldier according to you, and you have that much power, but [remember] I am part of the military. . . I am one of you, and this is my family too. We're all on trial. Not just me, sitting here, but everybody here in uniform, everybody in this country. . . . Now I feel free."
This review isn't available online. The October issue isn't up yet at the site. The Progressive makes selections available each month. There's a great deal in the October issue (and I wish I'd gone through it last night because it could have easily fit into "And the war drags on"). But we're going to leave it with that for this snapshot and hopefully pick up later in the week. We'll also note Wypijewski later in this snapshot on a different topic. For now, we'll note that both The Progressive and ISR have reviewed two of the now four books by war resisters. Aidan Delgado's only came out last month and Kevin Benderman's is out today. One is a monthly, the other a bi-monthly. Both were able to do what The Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel's weekly Nation magazine won't. Just as the magazine refuses to cover war resisters.
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, 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, 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 [(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.
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Staying with the US Congress. Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian addressed the US Congress on WBAI's Law and Disorder today (Ratner and Boghosian host the program along with Dalia Hashad and Michael Ratner) with Ratner noting that the measures to end the illegal war have not been pushed by Democrats and the excuse offered : "What they said they were afraid of was a filibuster. . . . If they'd been forced to go through with it then the Republicans would have been forced to filibuster and they [Republicans] would have been seen as obstructing it."
Heidi Boghosian: Why? Why didn't they push for this?
Michael Ratner: Other than the fact that Democrats play softball compared to the Republicans who play hardball, you know this was never an issue when the Republicans were there. When the Democrats said we'll filibuster -- when the Republicans ran the Congress -- you know what the Republicans' reaction was? We're going to change the law, we're going to change the way Congress runs, and we're going to make it so you can't filibuster anymore. And so that was the Republicans' reaction but the Democrats instead of saying "We're going to force you to filibuster on the Iraq War and it's your problem," they just basically caved. So we're here with the Iraq War for a very, very long time, I'm afraid.
Now in last week's Democratic presidential nominee 'debate' broadcast on MSNBC, 'front runners' Barack Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton all refused to pledge the illegal war, if elected president, by the end of their first term. As we noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review yesterday, Joe Biden -- author of the now rejected amendment (which doesn't mean the Senate won't stick with it) -- attempted to say yes and no: "Candidate Joe Biden hedged the answer. He said yes and he said no. He declared, 'Just from Iraq. You're going to bring all troops home from Iraq. If in fact there is no political solution by the time I am president, then I would bring them out because all they are is fodder. But -- but -- if you go along with the Biden plan that got 75 votes today and you have a stable Iraq like we have in Bosnia -- we've had 20,000 Western troops in Bosnia for 10 years. Not one has been killed -- not one. The genocide has ended. So it would depend on the circumstances when I became president.' He would bring them all home . . . unless his plan to partition Iraq into three sections came to be and since it won the support of 75 idiots in the Senate, it's very likely that Iraq will be carved up into three areas if the US has the last say. In which case, Biden's answer is 'no'."
Michael Ratner: The war of course is more complicated. The most cynical of people say that the Democrats don't want to vote to actually do anything about the war in part because they want the Republicans to lose the election based on the war. Of course I don't see why a filibuster wouldn't have done that same thing by the Republicans. But I actually think in some ways that it's a cyncial, political maneuver that Nancy Pelosi and others, and Reid -- the Senate Majority Leader, Pelosi of course in the House -- have basically made a calculation: the Democrats can win and they can win the presidency if things remain approximately the same around the war.
HeidI Boghosian: Hmm-hmm. The status quo.
Michael Ratner: And meanwhile Iraqis are dying every day and American soldiers are dying every day.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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