Saturday, October 20, 2007

THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY STEPS INTO IT AGAIN!

 
 
ADDING THAT HE WAS SPEAKING "VERY SERIOUSLY," BULLY BOY'S WORDS CAUSED A CLAMP DOWN AT THE WHITE HOUSE AND REPEATED ASSURANCES THAT HE WAS BEING "RHETORICAL" TO WHICH ONE REPORTER, ONE OF THESE REPORTERS, SHOT BACK, "GET HIM TO SPELL IT!"
 
WHILE THE WHITE HOUSE ATTEMPTS TO DENY THAT THE BULLY BOY SEES WORLD WAR III AS LIKELY, THE REALITY IS THAT IN MAY OF THIS YEAR ON CNBC, BULLY BOY DECLARED WORLD WAR THREE STARTED ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001.
 
REACHED FOR COMMENT, SECRETARY OF STATE AND ANGER CONDI RICE DECLARED, "THAT IS ABSOLUTELY THE LAST TIME WE LET HIM DO SHOTS BEFORE FACING THE PRESS."
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  War resister Camilo Mejia speaks Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin.  Janet Parker (The Capital Times) notes, "This weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, energy is building among student activists who are hosting a national event, Students Rising: The 5th Anniversary Summit of the  Campus Antiwar Network.  Their featured speaker will be brave conscientious objector to war, Camilo Mejia.  In 2004 Staff Sgt. Mejia applied for a discharge from the Army.  He was the first known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and occupation.  His public talk will be in the Humanities Building, Room 3650, at 8 p.m. Saturday." Pablo Paredes is another war resister.  On Wednesday, he was in Berkeley with CODEPINK and other activists to protest the recruiting center on Shattuck Ave.  Henry K. Lee (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the right wing activists descending upon the area to demonstrate their support for recruiting centers to send more people off to die in an illegal war and points out one right winger made a fool out of himself.  The right-winger's son died in Iraq (this isn't in the article) and -- the then under-age son was able to join the military only because he signed a waiver.  Instead of addressing that, he elected to scream at Pablo Paredes, "Are you a soldier?  They wouldn't let you looking like that!"  A soldier?  Paredes was in the navy and was a Petty Officer Third Class.  Lee writes, "Paredes said later that he had served five years in the Navy and that people of color like himself bore the brunt of military service. 'I think the color of my skin shouldn't make me be on the front line,' Paredes said, adding that he left the Navy because he refused orders and opposed the war in Iraq."  Along with Mejia, Stephen Funk and Aiden Delgado, Paredes is one of the early faces of war resistance and they -- and many others including Carl Webb -- demonstrated from the start that the movement was not "White" -- despite the mistaken claims of many.
 
Demonstrating further the diversity is the fact that one Iraq War resister is the first officer to publicy refuse to serve in the illegal war.  That officer is Ehren Watada.  Today is Iraq Moratorium day and many participants will be showing their solidarity with Watada whose legal status is on hold as federal judge Benjamin Settle reviews issues arising from the first court-martial of Watada (in February) when Judge Toilet (aka John Head) declared a mistrial over defense objection which should have prevented any further court-martials due to the double-jeopardy clause in the US Constitution.  In a letter to People's Weekly World entitled "Watada's Leadership," T. Kyoshi Nagano explains how Watada's refusal to engage in an illegal war was upholding the highest of military standards by juxtaposing Watada's statements with those of US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
 
Watada: "I refuse to be silent any longer.  I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our agression.  My oath of office is to protect and defend America's laws and its people.  By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today."
 
Gates: "For a real leader, the elements of personal virtue -- self-reliance, self-control, honor, truthfulness, morality -- are absolute.  They are absolute even when doing what is right may bring embarrassment or bad publicy to your unit or the service or to you.  Those are the moements that will truly test the leader withing you -- test whether you will take the hard parth or the easy path, the wrong path or the right path.  The willingness always to take the right path, even if it is the hard path, is called character.  In every aspect of your life, whether personal or professional, you must always maintain the courage of your convictions -- your personal integrity." 
 
T, Kyoshi Nagano observes, "There is a tradition in the Japanese American community to act on personal belief from volunteer 442/Nisei Linguist (while their family and friends were in camps), the NoNo Boys and the Vietnam War resisters.  There are words, yet actions speak loudly."  While the federal court examines the issue of double-jeopardy, a stay has been issued through at least October 26th. 
 
New war resisters pop up daily and some go public and some don't.  One who has decided to go public is Michael Espinal who self-checked out and went to Canada after serving in Iraq.  Denis St. Pierre (The Sudbury Star) reports that Espinal "witnessed -- and participated in -- authorized missions that saw hundreds -- perhaps thousands of innocent Iraqis killed, injured, imprisoned and humiliated, their homes destroyed, their families ripped apart. In Espinal's view, he and his colleagues committed numerous human rights abuses and criminal acts.  When his first tour of duy in Iraq ended, he resolved not to return. . . .  Espinal and his partner, Jennifer Harrison, who are expecting their first child in April, have been living in Sudbury for the last few weeks.  They are the first Americans to attempt to settle in the city with the help from the War Resisters Support Campaign.  War Resisters is a country-wide coalition of community, faith, labour and other organizations and individuals helping U.S. soldiers who seek asylum in Canada rather than fight in Iraq." [Note: They are posting video to go with the text.  If you click on the link try later.  There's also an excerpt of the article in this entry.]
 
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." 
 
Each Wednesday, CODEPINK protests at the military recruiting center in Berkeley.  As Medea Benjamin explained to Kristin Bender (Alameda Times-Star), "Our message is very clear. We are peaceful people. We don't want to send our sons and daughters into this war. I think the sentiment of Berkeley is on this side of the street."  Bender notes, "The Golden State in 2001 was the nation's largest source of new enlistees, with 23,503 residents joining the military in 2001.  But in 2006, 2,400 fewer residents heeded the call, and today California ranks second behind Texas in recruitment."  Aimee Allison and David Solnit address counter-recruiting in their book Army Of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World (published by Seven Stories Press and available at Courage to Resist). Speaking with Matthew Rothschild last week on The Progressive Radio, Allison noted, "One of the things that I think the military recruiters on the ground rely on are sustained access, regular access to high school kids in particular so they can develop relationships.  For the recruiter, they become father or friend or guide and take students out to Burger King and, you know.  But of all of the messages that they learn, that recruiters learn, through their hard sell and sustained selling techniques, they never mention the word 'kill.'  And the reason why is because it's very deeply ingrained in human beings not to kill.  And we've all had these kind of, someone makes us mad and  there's a reason we don't act on that because our church, and our family and our society condition us against that kind of violence.  So it's the center of the recruiters' message to tell them all the things they can do with their life without letting them know about what the military really is and that is an institution designed to train someone to kill on command and that was the most surprising thing for me in my own experiences."  CODEPINK's actions (and the actions of many others throughout the US) are an attempt to break the myths and silence. 
 
A backdoor draft currently exists and is more popularly known as "stop loss."  In addition, the US government has set up the framework that would be utilized should the draft be reinstated -- including Selective Service boards.  Kyle Knight (University of Southern Indiana's The Shield) explores what would quickly happen if the draft were reinstated, "First, all 20 year-olds must report to their local draft board then 21, 22, and so on. Other aspects of the draft also differ from Vietnam. The S.S.S. states that no one can cite school as a possible deferment.  At most, the student could postpone until the end of the semester and not until they finish their degree. The S.S.S. states 'beliefs which qualify a registrant for C.O. status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest.'  To claim conscientious objector you must appear before your local draft board and present a written statement on the influence of your beliefs on your life and how you arrived at them.  You can even include someone to speak on your behalf, then the Selective Service Appeal Board will either reject or accept your claim. If accepted you must engage in one of two alternative service choices."
 

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

THIS JUST IN! THINNING OF THE HERD!

 
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.
 
 
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." 
 
[. . .]
 
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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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

THIS JUST IN! NEW DEMOCRATIC SLOGAN!

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.

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."

[. . .]

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"
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"Congressional Dems do the Cave Dance again"
"THIS JUST IN! DEMS KEEP CAVING!"

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

THIS JUST IN! DEMS KEEP CAVING!

 
"WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN."  THE MAINSTREAM PRESS SHOULD REALLY TRY SINGING THAT WHO SONG AND MAYBE IT WOULD SEEP INTO THEIR BRAINS.
 
 
Senate Democrats will want some hard promises from attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey when he appears before them this week. Whether Mukasey is willing to make them may spell the difference between a smooth path toward confirmation and yet another debate over the administration's most contentious practices.
 
 
 
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT THE CENTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PRESIDENT MICHAEL RATNER DECLARED:
 
It is shocking to see those who should know better supporting and in some cases practically fawning over the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General.   There is simply no excuse for anyone who cares about fundamental rights and civil liberties to support Mukasey's nomination. What has surprised me is that some of those people I assumed were allies in the fight to close Guant├ínamo, end arbitrary detentions carried out under the rubric of "enemy combatant," stop torture and say no to kangaroo courts for alleged terrorists,  are willing to look the other way and let the President's nominee become Attorney General.
 
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE SCRATCHED ITS ASS AND MUMBLED SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF "WHO KNEW THE DEMOCRATS WOULD CAVE?"
 
WHAT THE PRESS DIDN'T KNOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DOES.  WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE COWARDLY DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED CONGRESS HAS SUCH LOW FAVORABLES IN POLL AFTER POLL.  THIS IS THE DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED CONGRESS THAT WILL NOT CUT OFF FUNDING FOR THE ILLEGAL WAR BUT WILL TAX SMOKERS TO FUND S-CHIP.  THEY DID NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT CHILDREN OR THEY WOULD HAVE MADE THE GOVERNMENT PAY THE BILL.  INSTEAD, THE DEMOCRATS ATTACK SMOKERS WITH A FLAT TAX.  THEY ARE WORTHLESS.
 
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, SENATOR LEAHY RESPONDED, "I AGREE.  I MAKE IT A POINT TO ALWAYS AGREE.  I HAVEN'T HAD AN INDEPENDENT THOUGHT OR URGE IN DECADES."
 
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  Another member of the US military who went to Canada has gone public.  Ariel Troster (Capital Xtra) reports on Bethany "Skyler" James, a 19-years-old and out lesbian, who drove to Canada with "her friend Jeremy Daniel (also a soldier)".  Troster reports James didn't plan to hide who she was but hoped to keep low key until "I was ridiculded daily by the other soldiers and even received hate letters," leading James to be out -- "even hanging a rainbow flag in her room at the military base, despite a rule which prohibits anyone who 'demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts' from serving in the US army."  Troster observes, "You would think that by disclosing her identity, Skyler would have received a 'get out of the army free' card.  By outing herself, she was clearing contravening regulations in a way that should have earned her a discharge.  But according to Skyler, it isn't that easy.  The US military is so desperate to enlist more troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they are willing to turn a blind eye to even the most blatant homosexual conduct -- leaving people like Skyler to endure the double injustice of fighting in wars they don't agree with, while also being subjected to harassment and intimidation from their fellow soldiers."  James was to be deployed to Afghanistan which may provide a different set of complications for her than other war resisters in Canada since Canada sends troops to Afghanistan (it doesn't send troops to Iraq). When she and her friend decided to make the trip, they went online for information, to the War Resisters' Support Campaign. 
 
On Sunday, columnist Janice Kennedy (The Ottawa Citizen) addressed Canada's refusal to honor their history of peace:
 
 Remember when Canada was a haven for peace lovers? That was during yesterday's Vietnam debacle, as opposed to today's Iraq debacle. Our more conservative citizenry might prefer not to be reminded of such heady times (weirdo hippie freaks, and all), but Canada actually distinguished itself by welcoming Americans who could not support, much less fight in, a war they knew was immoral.
In Lyndon Johnson's America, to be a "draft dodger" or "peacenik" could be both unpopular and dangerous. In Canada, the same person was mostly (if not universally) recognized as a person of principle and conviction.
The Americans sent 8.7 million troops to Vietnam over the course of a pointless war that ended for them in total defeat in 1975. Fifty thousand young Americans died needlessly, as did 1.3 million Vietnamese, north and south. The deep scar across the American psyche remains angry and livid to this day.
It was Pierre Trudeau who made the tough decision to risk U.S. governmental wrath and welcome Vietnam war resisters. (Yes, yes, I hear you: Of course it was Trudeau, the coward who refused to fight the Nazis, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever. You can choose to keep your viewpoint fixed in 1940, or else you can see a man who learned, grew and became a leader with vision, conviction and moral courage.)
There was an unanticipated reward for our acceptance of the estimated 30,000-40,000 American war resisters who came to Canada. Many of those who ended up staying and making their homes here -- a disproportionately bright and educated lot -- also ended up enriching Canadian society immeasurably. Untold contributions over the past four decades in science, business, journalism, the arts and the academic world have been made by those very people.
On the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, Montreal Gazette journalist Jack Todd -- who made that profound border-crossing himself -- spoke with the CBC. "That decision to come to Canada in 1970," he said, "is the bravest thing I ever did, and I'm damn proud of it ... I think we were right, and what we did was an important thing."
 
The refusal to support today's war resisters effects James and many others including Joshua Key, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Ryan Johnson, Ross Spears, Phil McDowell, Kimberly Rivera, Patrick Hart, Robin Long, Dean Walcott and many others.
 
Meanwhile war resister Camilo Mejia, chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, will be in New York City participating in the latest readings of  Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States presented by the Culture Project (55 Mercer St., NY, NY, 10013).  Adam Hetrick (Playbill News) reports that this adaptation will be Rebel Voices and quotes a press release that states the adaptation provide "an important testimony to the strength of the individual voice, as told through first-hand accounts from people who have shaped the course of U.S. history, often struggling against seemingly insurmountable odds.  The Rebel Voices include Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X as well as lesser-known figures like Maria Stewart, a pioneer Black abolitionist from the early 1800s; Stella Nowicki, a union organizer in the 1930s; and such contempary voices as Iraq war resister Camilo Mejia and Patricia Thompson, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina."  Other participants will include Lili Taylor, Ally Sheedy, Staceyann Chin, Allison Moorer, Wallace Shawn and David Strathairn. Preview performances start November 10th.  The official opening is Sunday November 18th and Zinn will be present for that performance.  Currently, the production is scheduled to run from November 10th through December 16th.  For more information (times, ticket pricing, etc.) visit Culture Project.  Last week, IVAW's Amadee Braxton was among thirty people ("30 for 30 Tribute to Change: Building Paths to Social Justice") honored by Bread & Roses.  Also among the thirty honored was Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families Speak Out Celeste Zappala -- the latter of which she is a co-founder of.  A full list of those honored can be found here.
 
In June 2006, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  Watada could not serve in the Iraq War because it is an illegal war.  Sherwood Ross (OpEdNews) reviews the the illegality of the war and and notes international law expert Francis Boyle who testified at Watada's Article 32 hearing (the mockery of justice that was the Feburary court-martial of Watada refused to allow the defense to mount a defense which is why Boyle and others weren't allowed to testify).  Watada's second court-martial was halted by Judge Benjamin Settle who issued a stay through at least October 26th and will hear arugments on October 19th.  Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith (reposted at David Swanson's AfterDowningStreet) explain, "The double jeopardy clause of the US Constitution ensures that no American can be tried twice for the same offense.  But at a time when our civil liberties are rapidly eroding, a drama is unfolding in Washington State over whether that constitutional protection applies to a US soldier. . . .  Watada has consistently maintained that the Iraq War is illegal under international law and the US Constitution, and that to participate in it would make him guilty of a war crime. . . .  The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no person shall be 'subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.'  As the Supreme Court explained in a seminal 1978 double jeopardy case, United States v. Scott, 'The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offence." 
 
In other war resisters news, Reuters reports Peter Brown ("who served in Iraq for more than a year and was a graduate of the elite U.S. military accademy West Point") has been granted conscientious objector status.  NYCLU (the NY chapter of the ACLU) handled Brown's case and have a press release on it quoting Brown stating, "I'm relieved the Army recognized that my religious beliefs made it impossible for me to serve as a soldier.  In following Jesus' example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me." and quoting NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman declaring, "The NYCLU and ACLU have long championed the cause of religious freedom, including the religious freedom of Christian and other conscientious objectors in the military.  Peter Brown's discharge is an important moment in that history, and more importantly, it is a victory for religious freedom in America."
 
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, 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.
 
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." 
 
[. . .]
 
Peace was among the topics today when Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) interviewed Yoko Ono in a broadcast exclusive that explored the Imagine Peace Tower, her past and present activism and, of course, her collaborations with and marriage to John Lennon: 
 
AMY GOODMAN: As we were playing that song ["Imagine"] for our TV viewers, Yoko Ono, we were showing images. One of them was a poster that said, "The war is over!" Explain.
 
YOKO ONO: Well, one day I thought, well, it's great to say "War is over" and have all these people -- well, this was the first idea, that I would have many famous people partying in Ascot House, and then somebody would just come in and say, "War is over." And they all say, "Oh, my god, the war is over, if you want it." But the thing is, then, you know, we decided to do it as a poster, and then John decided to do it on a billboard. And it just became "War is over! If you want it." It was much better than having a party and then having some TV camera crew to come and film it and all that, because it was a much better idea, so we just did it that way.
 
On John Lennon . . .
 
AMY GOODMAN: What you think he would be doing today?
YOKO ONO: Well, I think that we'll be doing exactly what we've been doing then. I think this time it's not the bed-in; we can't repeat the act. But probably he will be in Iceland with me, standing at the Imagine Peace Tower. And I really felt that he was standing with me. And Ringo was there, and I thought it was very nice that he came, but he even gave me a little sort of rubber bracelet. And it's a white rubber bracelet. I said, "What is this for?" "Oh, it's for peace, and I'm sort of giving it to people." And that was very nice of him. And also Olivia, Olivia Harrison, she's an incredibly intelligent woman, and somehow she was kind of overshadowed by George Harrison, of course, but they were doing things together. And I just know that now, because she's been so helpful with the awful situation in many ways.
 
 
 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"


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Monday, October 15, 2007

THIS JUST IN! LARRY DISHES ON MITT!

 
U.S. SENATOR LARRY CRAIG WILL APPEAR WITH THE BALDING MATT LAUER WHO DID GOLF WITH POPPY BUSH THOUGH HE TRIED TO LIE ABOUT IT BUT THAT'S ANOTHER STORY.
 
IN THE INTERVIEW, REPUBLICAN SENATOR CRAIG IS EXPECTED TO EXPLAIN HIS ARREST AT AN AIRPORT'S MEN'S ROOM FOR ATTEMPTING -- HE PLEADED GUILTY -- TO INITIATE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH A MAN IN THE NEXT STALL.
 
BUT THESE REPORTERS HAVE LEARNED SENATOR CRAIG'S OTHER STATEMENTS MAY GARNER MORE ATTENTION.
 
 
APPARENTLY THAT'S THE LATEST LINGO FOR "I HEARD BELLS" OR "I SAW STARS." 
 
 
Starting war resistance.  Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden has written a must-read essay entitled "Moving Forward Together: Common Orientation" that looks toward future actions for IVAW: "During the National Strategy sessions held earlier this year, members analyzed why the war in Iraq was being fought and the institutions that enabled the U.S. government to continue the illegal occupation of Iraq.  Clearly, the U.S. military is the single most important entity to the U.S. government's capacity to wage war and extend the occupation.  We acknowledged that IVAW was in a unique position to remove the support of the military by utilizing three primary methods: 1. Organizing Active Duty resistance.  2. Truth in Recruiting.  3. Counter-Retention.  . . .  The U.S. is perpetuating the occupation of Iraq to dominate world energy supplies and to project military power into the Middle East, ie, the war is being fought for neo-imperialism.  It is important to note that this is not a problem that rests solely on the doorstep of the Bush administration, as we have seen from the prevailing position of ALL presidential front runners, no major candidate or party is calling for an end to occupation.  This is not because the democrats simply don't have the votes; in fact, they are basing their presidential campaigns on the grounds of a continued, albeit modified, occupation that perpetuates the same policy of controlling oil and projecting power.  Even if they did promise to 'Redeploy,' it would be foolish to disregard the lesson taught to the people of 1968 when Richard Nixon was elected on promises of 'peace with honor.'  As history reveals, politician's empty promises often provide little more than broken hearts and shattered lives."  That is an excerpt of Madden's essay.  Read it in full by clicking here.
 
Iraq War resister Ehren Watada went public with his refusal to deploy to Iraq in June of 2006.  In February of this year, a rigged court proceeding still didn't seem a sure thing leading Judge Toilet (aka John Head) to call a mistrial over defense objection.  Ignoring the Constitutional ban on double-jeopary, a second court-martial was to begin last week.  A US district judge issued a stay (through at least October 26th) last week.  In a wide ranging article, Peter J. Swing (New America Media) examines Watada's life and the lives of his parents Bob Watada and Carolyn Ho [the link also provides video].  Watada began studying up on Iraq and the Iraq War, at the suggestion of his superiors, when he learned he would be deployed there.  Swing reveals that Watada felt there was little he could do when he heard a man call into a radio program about his brother being shipped to Iraq and wonder why people weren't working to end the illegal war.  Watada tells King, "I just snsapped.  I said, 'I can do something about it.'  Though I may suffer for it, though it may just be a blip on the radar, at least I know that I can do something about it."
 
War resister Camilo Mejia is the chair of IVAW and he spoke in Wayland, Massachusetts on Friday.  Gabriel Leiner (The Milford Daily News) reports that he spoke of how, even now, he "hasn't found a single answer as to why we invaded the country. . . . To this day I still don't believe we found any reason worth invading for."   Mejia also advised, "There are so many ways people can protest the war in their daily lives.  It can be something as simple as holding signs or wearing T-shirts, or as drastic as squirting blood on a recruiter's desk."   Mejia tells his story Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (New Press) published in May.
 
September 26th, Iraq veteran Josh Gaines publicly shipped his Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medla and National Defense Service Medal to former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declaring that chemical weapons had been used (white phosphorus and "incindeary projectiles"), the contractors are "all about contracts and the profits are made by civilians who did not volunteer for this war but promote the very idea of occupation" and "I'm returning my National Defense Medal because I truly believe that I did not help defend my nation and I'm returning my Global War on Terrorism Medal because I do not believe that I helped defeat terrorism in Iraq."  Wisconsin Radio Network has audio of the speech in full.  Gaines is no longer the only one to return his medals.  Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reports: "An Iraq war veteran has returned all of his war medals to protest what he describes as the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Specialist Mike Sanger returned the medals on Friday to the office of Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore of Kansas. Sanger said he choose to target Moore's office because the Democrat has supported the continued funding of the war. Since returning from Iraq, Sanger has become a vocal war critic and now serves as president of Iraq Veterans Against the War in Kansas City. During the war Sanger received the National Defense medal, the War on Terror medal and a combat medal."  At Moore's office, Sanger read off the names of the service members from Kansas who had died in the illegal war and cited his two sons (the oldest is three-years-old) and not wanting them to ever participate in an illegal war as among his reasons for returning the medals.  Last week, Mike Belt (Lawrence Journal-World) profiled Sanger and details why Sanger turned against the illegal war (began in Iraq with what he saw first hand), notes that he suffers from PTSD and that his wife Danielle and he have "two sons, ages 3 and 1."
 
 
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.
 
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." 
 
 
 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"


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