Monday, November 19, 2007


Starting with war resistance.  Last Thursday the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of US war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, Aaron Glantz (reporting for IPS) quotes war resister Ryan Johnson explaining, "The Canadian government decided not to fight an illegal war. Canada was going to go into the war in Iraq, but then decided that because the U.N. did not sanction it, Canada would not participate in the war in Iraq. That's a major reason that I came to Canada. Canada felt the same way I did about the war in Iraq."  Thomas Walkom (Toronto Star) observed that, "If Canada's federal government had the inclination to face down Washington just a bit, both men -- who almost certainly qualify for permanent resident status –would be welcomed, not as refugees but as landed immigrants. That's how Canada treated U.S. draft dodgers and deserters from the Vietnam War. And it worked out fine."  Meanwhile war resister Brad McCall has started his own website.  McCall went to Canada after he learned of abuses in Iraq from returning US soldiers.  When attempting to enter Canada, he was stopped at the border and arrested.  He is in Canada now and is speaking out. 
Turning to the topic of Iraq War resister Ehren Watada who saw a court victory two weeks ago, Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) observes, "Judge Settle's response marked a rare civilian intervention into military court proceedings.  Settel, who served as a military lawyer in the 1970s, was recently appointed to the federal bench by President Bush.  Though Watada's term of mililtary service officially ended last December, the Army has not release him.  He is now performing administrative duties at Fort Lewis, Wash."  Settle is US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle.  Ben Terrall (Dissident Voice) notes that the preliminary injuction issued by Settle resulted in a gathering in San Francisco's Chinatown and quotes Ying Lee of the Watada Support Group declaring, "At the time that we called the news conference we did not know that the judge was going to give his decision yesterday." Lee went on, "The decision was due by today, so he was early (…) we are very appreciative of a United States Federal judge respecting the constitution and saying the trial cannot proceed."  Ben Hamamoto (Nichi Bei Times) also covers the San Francisco support rally and
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, 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 voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at Culture Project and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Zinn will take part in the November 18th presentation (the official opening night -- but performances are already taking place) and musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who recently appeared on Democracy Now! addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $21 for previews and $41 for regular performances (beginning with the Nov. 18th opening night). The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers. 
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.  
The plan had been to fold the above into a summary; however, e-mails really want it included in each snapshot in full so, despite saying that we'd fold into the snapshot via a summary, it will instead run in full in each snapshot until their next announcement on the Winter Soldier Investigation at which point we'll run that one in each snapshot.
Turning to Iraq.  McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim noted Saturday, "Today , Sahwa ( Awaking ) council members in Hour Rijab in Doura found 30 unidentified dead bodies in a deserted house in the area which were transferred to A Shiite mosque first then to Doura police station. - Police found ( 4 ) unidentified dead bodies in the following neighborhoods in Baghdad : ( 2 ) two were found in west Baghdad ( Karkh bank ) ; 1 in Doura and 1 in Amil. While ( 2 ) bodies were found in east Baghdad ( Risafa bank ) 1 in Sadr city and Suleikh."  On Sunday,  China's Xinhau reported the second attack in two weeks on officials with Iraq's Finance Ministry when the vice-finance minister's convoy was attacking in Baghdad with a roadside bomb that claimed the lives of 5 civilians and left nine more wounded as well as wounding one of the vice-finance minister Salman Mgotar's bodyguards.  In Baghdad.  It's important to repeat that: "In Baghdad."  The reason it's important is that it's time to for the press to make like Moondoggie, grab their boogie boards and ride the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk. First to paddle out, Cara  Buckley and War Pornographer Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) explaining that US military flacks are saying violent attacks are down while then noting "But since the source for the data is American military reports, and not the Iraqi government, the figures do not provie an exhaustive measure of sectarian violence."  While spitting out the press releases they're fed, the two refuse to acknowledge that had the 'security' so 'improved' they'd be able to travel in and out of the Green Zone without either the paper's team of black-shirted bodygaurds or a military escort.  For the record, they cannot.  To cover their own butts (Gordo's got a lot to cover), they tack on: "Even as military officials announced the figures, Iraq had one of its deadliest days in weeks, with at least 22 people killed."  Apparently having paddled out too far from shore to hear that warning call, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) so desperate to stay ahead of the curl, she misses that basic point in a report she files this morning ignoring the violence to tell readers that the worst is over.  Save it for after the pig roasting lua, Tina, when it's time to for a group sing-along to "Morning Has Broken."
Susman does find the time to mention what AP reported this morning, that Iraq's Olympic soccer team is minus three members and an assistant coach -- all of whom are now "seeking asylum in Australia" after vanishing "at dawn Sunday from the home of colleagues in Australia, where they were staying after playing Australia's Olympic team."  Olympic defectors?  It's all very cold war.

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