THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL RACE IS HEATING UP!
NOT REALLY BUT IF WE DIDN'T PRETEND IT WAS, THE PRESS WOULD HAVE NO EXCUSE TO KEEP OFFERING TIDBITS ABOUT IT.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SAM BROWNBACK IS ON THE VERGE OF ANNOUNCING HE WILL BE DROPPING OUT OF THE RACE.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT BY PHONE TODAY, HE SAID, "BROWNBACK CAMPAIGN! HELLO! HELLO? ARE YOU A VOTER? ARE YOU A DONOR? HELLO? HELLO? PLEASE, TALK TO ME!"
MEANWHILE BARACK OBAMA TRANSITIONS FROM A MESSAGE HOPE TO ONE OF GREED. SO DESPERATE FOR FUNDING TO HIS EVER FALTERING CAMPAIGN, HE'S NOW CHARGING 15 BUCKS A HEAD FOR VOTERS TO HEAR HIM SPEAK.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, SENATOR OBAMA DECLARED, "IT'S APPARENTLY ILLEGAL TO BUY A VOTE BUT NOTHING WRONG WITH ME GETTING A LITTLE SUMTHUN' SUMTHUN' FOR MYSELF. YOU FEED ME, HOUSIES?"
WHEN THESE REPORTERS CORRECTED HIM THAT IT WAS "YOU FEED ME" AND "HOMIES," SENATOR OBAMA EXCLAIMED, "CRAP! NO WONDER BLACK VOTERS HATE ME!"
Starting with war resistance. Tomorrow is Iraq Moratorium day and many participating will be supporting a war resister. As Bill Simpich (East Bay Indymedia) notes, "A signature event for the Iraq Moratorium nationally this month is solidarity with Lt. Ehren Watada, who is facing a second trial in Tacoma, Washington for refusing to fight in the Iraq war. On October 19, federal judge Benjamin Settle will be determining if Lt. Watada must endure a second trial in the next few weeks, or whether double jeopardy may bar his case from going any further. Between 5-6 pm [in the Bay area, see the calendar of iraqmoratorium-sfbay.org.], Jack Hirschman, poet laureate of San Francisco, will be reading poetry in front of Sen. Feinstein's office at Post and Market (right near Montgomery BART). Members of the Watada Support Committee will also be addressing Lt. Watada's latest battle for freedom and to stop this illegal war." Iraq Moratorium is tomorrow and every third Friday of the month; in addition, they have also had a presidential candidate sign on, former US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel.
Again, that is tomorrow. Today Vietnam war resister Gerry Condon (Project Safe Haven) will be speaking in Newport, Oregon. The Newport News reports "a potluck dinner" starts at 5;30 this evening, then a showing of Michelle Mason's documentary Breaking Ranks and a presentation by Condon at the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Dr. Condon is quoted declaring, "It's really tragic that our nation has been dragged into another unjust, unnecessary and unwinnable war. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed for no good reason. This war violates the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva Conventions on War, the UN Charter, and U.S. law. Those who refuse to be part of this illegal war should not be punished for obeying international law and following their own consciences. U.S. soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are seeking to remain in Canada as political refugees. The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to make a landmark ruling on their status in November. . . . Iraq War resisters are getting a lot of love and support from the Canadian people. Now it's time for people in the U.S. to step up to the plate."
Today Gerry Condon's speaking, tomorrow show support for Watada and on Saturday, war resister Camilo Mejia addresses the national conference of the Campus Antiwar Network being held at the University of Wisconsin Madison. IVAW member, co-founder of the Madison Chapter of IVAW and CAN member Todd Dennis (The Badger Herald) writes about Mejia's brave stand and how the mood has changed since then, "While Mr. Mejia was in jail, eight Iraq veterans formed Iraq Veterans Against the War in August 2004. Mr. Mejia was elected to become the chair of the board at IVAW's annual convention this past August. This weekend, CAN will be having its national conference, and Mr. Mejia will be the headling speaker. Everyone is invited to hear him talk about his experiences in Iraq and about being a member of both IVAW and CAN this Saturday at 8 p.m. in 3650 Humanities."
Meanwhile Robert Parry (Consortium News) notes the difference in reception when service members speak out against the war as opposed to non-think tankers, "Last summer when two pro-Iraq War pundits returned from a Pentagon-guided tour of Iraq, the New York Times gave them prime op-ed space to re-invent themselves as harsh war critics who had been won over by George W. Bush's 'surge.' . . . By contrast, a few weeks later, the Times editors buried a report by seven U.S. non-commissioned officers who were on 15-month tours in Iraq and offered a more negative assessment. The Times' editors stuck their account, entitled 'The War as We Saw It,' at the back of the Aug. 19 'Week in Review' section. . . . Now, senior Washington Post editors, who have been major Iraq War enthusiasts from the beginning, have given even more dismissive treatment to an anti-war op-ed written by 12 former Army captains who served in Iraq. On Oct. 16, the fifth anniversary of Bush's authorization to use force in Iraq, the Post's editors accepted the article from the captains but did not deign to publish it on the newspaper's influential op-ed page. The article, entitled 'The Real Iraq We Knew,' was consigned to the Post's Web site." Parry reprints the column in full and, just to be clear, "The War as We Saw It" did get attention from the paper -- after they discovered two of seven had just died that week. At which point, Times' management was suddenly available to the press to give quotes about . . . Well, not about people they knew. But about an op-ed they ran. Prior to that, the Times gave it no build up and running it on Sunday is not build up before someone decides to disagree with Parry. Yes, the Sunday edition of the paper has the largest circulation. People buy it for various sections and do not read all of them. For those interested in news, Sunday is the weakest day because they put the paper to bed early (strange that newspapers don't want to address that while addressing every over imagained techonological breakthrough). The 12 who wrote the column that the Washington Post didn't print are Jason Blindauer, Elizabeth Bostwick, Jeffrey Bouldin, Jason Bugajski, Anton Kemps, Kristy (Luken) McCormick, Luis Carlos Montalvan, William Murphy, Josh Rizzo, William "Jamie" Ruehl, Gregg Tharp and Gary Williams.
Robert Przybyski may or may not be a war resister. But, as John Vandiver (Stars and Stripes) notes, it is known that he has been missing from his base in Germany "for more than a week" and that he "was recently named a company commander within the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The 2-6 is deploying to Iraq along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade next March." Vandiver notes that the military released his name to the media but has refused to release a photo and has not "said whether there are any leads in the case or if it is thought that foul play could be a factor."
What also is known is that there is a military recruiting center in Berkeley and Jessica Kwong (The Daily Californian) reports, "The City Council plans to voice its disapproval of the center's mission through its Peace and Justice Commission, which is spearheading a proposal to make Berkeley a sanctuary for officers who choose not to serve in the Iraq conflict, meaning the city would not assist in locating or prosecuting war resisters." Commission chair Steve Freedkin explains, "There's a growing number of the military and members of the armed forces who are seeing that the Iraq war is immoral. As we saw in Vietnam, when there starts to be a strong opposition in the military, it has a huge impact on public policy."
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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In other reality news, Mark Seibel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the (US) Office of Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction which "said that poor security prevents U.S. and coalition civilian officials from meeting with many of their Iraqi counterparts, yet Iranians can travel unmolested in the region." AP notes on the report, "Teaching local officials in Iraq to govern themselves and provide their citizens with basic services will take 'years of steady engagement'." Meanwhile Mother Jones wonders "U.S. Out How? Introduction" which wrongly claims the Pottery Barn has a you-break-it-you-buy-it policy (they do not, Colin Powell was wrong) and argues, "Bush broke it. We own it." Which is so filled with xenophobia you'd expect it from The National Review and not Mother Jones. No American "owns" Iraq. If you come over to my home and burn it down, accidentally or intentionally, you do not "own" my home or the land it was on. You do "owe" me. The idea that a nation inhabited by millions could be "owned" by a foreign country (that would be the US) is insulting and it's appalling that Mother Jones wants to be so glib. (Hopefully, they were being glib. If not, they are being xenophobic.)
In the real world (where it's not 2004 and such crap doesn't fly), Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) interviews Molly Bingham and Steve Connors about their documentary Meeting Resistance:
AMY GOODMAN: Our guests are Molly Bingham and Steve Connors -- Molly, a US journalist; Steve Connors, a British journalist. They co-directed this new film that's opening in Washington, D.C. and in New York this weekend called Meeting Resistance. When you were interviewing these people, the resistance fighters, Molly, did they tell you when they were about to attack something? I mean, you had footage of actual explosions.
MOLLY BINGHAM: Actually, that footage of explosions came from us working as journalists the way everyone else was in Baghdad. We responded to bombings that we heard around the city in a way everyone else did. When we were interviewing the Iraqis and the one Syrian who were engaged in the insurgency, we actually specifically didn't ask about tomorrow or this afternoon. We didn't go out on bombing attacks with them for quite a few reasons, but the most important of which, I think, is that the film is really about who they are and what their backgrounds are and what their motivation is. You can see the consequences of their actions every day on the news. And we just thought, given how complicated it was ethically in this particular conflict, I think quite unfairly, to be seen to be talking with the other side, we thought that having -- if we had gone out with them on attacks, it would have overridden the entire understanding that we had come to by interviewing them and understanding who they are.
STEVE CONNORS: Could I just add to that? We were invited to go out with them. You know, they said, "Do you want to come out with us while we're attacking Americans?" And, you know, I don't have the same ethical problems, in many ways, as Molly does, you know, because she's an American and I'm not. But, ultimately, the decision came down to one thing, which was there was some important information in this film, and we didn't want to lose that to this criticism of us going out on attacks, which I've done in ten conflicts, gone out on attacks with both sides. It's not, you know -- for most journalists, it's not a big deal.
In the interview, Goodman brings up "Home from Iraq," a speech Bingham gave that was turned into a column in May of 2005. Common Dreams has it archived.
Closing with TV. Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Valerie Plame shares her story with Katie Couric. On Friday, PBS's NOW with David Brancaccio looks at immigration in America and "catches up with two New Jersey mayors who have sharply different -- and politically surprising -- approaches to dealing with undocumented immigrants in their communities" -- Democrat Don Cresitello (Morristown) wants to use federal enforcement powers, Republican Bob Patten has created "Sanctuary City". (Friday on most PBS stations, check local listings).
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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