Friday, May 02, 2008


Starting with war resistance.  Kyle Snyder is an Iraq War resister living in Canada.  He is one of many.  A variation in Snyder's story is that he self-checked out twice, going to Canada both times.  At YouTube, a video is posted of him explaining that (March 17, 2007):
Kyle Snyder: I just recently traveled back to the United States, on October 31st.  I had to drop my refugee claim.  If any of you have been following my story, I was a refugee claimant in 2005 after deserting the Iraq War.  I believe the Iraq War to be illegal and immoral on many fronts and I'm currently writing a report on that and why I think that is illegal and immoral.  I witnessed what I believe to be war crimes and I witnessed what I believed to be a true occupation for oil resources and not a liberation or a bringing of democracy to the people of Iraq.  And I refused to take part in that war.  So I basically want to tell you my story about that trip to the United States.  Like I said, I dropped my refugee claim meaning I had to go to the Canadian government, CBSA -- Canada Border Services Agency, and sign pieces of paper saying that I was returning to my home country to receive a discharge from the United States military. I worked for two months just west of here in Wetaskiwn, Alberta trying to receive a discharge from a major at Fort Knox, Major Bryan Patterson -- who somehow doesn't exist to the media now.  When I turned myself in, I was very, very scared.  I was very scared because I had dropped my life here in Canada, I had left my job, I had left my family.  I left my friends.  All on the chance that I would be discharged when I turned myself in.  The lieutenant walked in and said "Don't worry, we'll discharge you within three to five days."  That never happened.  They put me in a room with a mirror and a phone that was not connected to any wall.  There was no phone connection.  They denied me access to my lawyer and said they wanted me to -- they ordered me after two years of not serving in their military to return to my unit.  Which is now based in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  My unit wanted to re-integrate me into the military and send me back to Iraq a second time.  The 94th engineers are deploying for a third time to Iraq.  They're one of five units that are deploying to Iraq a third time -- since the surge that Bush ordered while I was in the country.  I did the only thing that made sense to me at that point: I refused to sign the orders.  I have documents saying the soldier refused to sign. And I went AWOL a second time. I did not catch the Greyhound Bus, instead I went out to eat and enjoy Halloween.  And I did the only thing that made sense, again, and I pointed out the atrocities of the Bush administration in New Orleans, where we rebuilt a veterans' home, a Vietnam veteran's home.  And I was almost arrested in New Orleans shortly after rebuilding this home with Iraq Veterans Against the War.  Anyway, I spoke at 20 different high schools in Chicago, primarily African-American and Latino community schools that were going to be shut down by the American government because there was no funding to them.  Recruiters feed off of schools in America like this.  And I did anti-recruitment work in these schools.  Basically pointing out to the government again that if a recruiter can walk onto a campus legally, why is there not a steel worker standing next to him, why is there not a carpenter standing next to them, why is there not any of these? My plan was to receive a discharge, come back to Canada in time to spend Christmas with my family.  I couldn't do that.  Instead, I bought my fiancee a ticket back to Wetaskiwin, Alberta so she could spend Christmas with her family and I stayed in the United States and I didn't know what was going to happen.  I decided to come back to Canada just this January and I can no longer apply for refugee status even though I was only gone for five weeks.  I know people that go on vacation for longer than five weeks and come back to the life that they had.  So now I don't know what I'm going to do other than apply for permanent residence status and I don't know how I'm going to be able to stay in Canada.  And I really, really need you guys' help to support me in my staying in Canada.  And I really want to thank all of you for being here today and calling for the Canadian troops out of Afghanistan especially and calling for the United States out of Iraq.  It means so much to me that you guys are doing that.  I have one more announcement to make.  I'm really pleased to announce that there are enough war resisters in Canada that we can start a chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War in Canada.  So we'll be doing that very shortly and we'll putting up a website for donations and for anything, just events that Iraq Veterans Against the War will be doing here in Canada in the near future.  So I just wanted to announce that.  Thanks.
US war resisters in Canada who are hoping to be granted safe harbor status and the Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.         

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, 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, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
As Paul Reynolds (BBC) observes, today's a fifth anniversary, "President Bush did not say "Mission Accomplished" on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln off San Diego on 1 May five years ago. But the banner above him did."  CBS and AP remind, "Five years after that speech, after the meaning of the phrase "mission accomplished" and when is a job truly 'done' has been endlessly parsed, and after responsibility for creating and hanging the sign was first denied and later accepted, the White House said Wednesday that President Bush has paid a price for the banner, with its affirmative message becoming a target of mockery and a symbol of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly war -- a war in which major combat operations are still being waged.  While the White House distanced itself from the message soon after the event, Mr. Bush was not averse to repeating it. Speaking to troops in Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar the following month, Mr. Bush said, 'America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished'."  Dan Froomkin (Washington Post) breaks it down -- when Bully Boy gave his speech, the US troops death toll was 139 and the number wounded was 542 while today 4,064 are dead and 29,395 are wounded. US Senator and presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain made the news today with John Whitesides (Reuters) reports that "McCain said the administration mishandled the war's early stages and raised public hopes by calling the remaining insurgents in Iraq 'dead-enders' in their 'last throes'."  Helen Thomas noted the anniversary yesterday in Dana Perino's White House press briefing.
Helen Thomas: How does the President intend to commemorate "Mission accomplished" after five years of death and destruction?
Dana Pernio: What you're referring to is the banner that ran -- that was aborad the ship five years ago.  President Bush --
Helen Thomas: I'm talking about the anniversary tomorrow.
Dana Perino: Yes, I get -- no, I understand.  That's the anniversary of when that banner flew on that ship.  President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said "mission accomplished for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission."  And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner.  And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.  I think what's important is what the President would -- how the President would describe the fight today.  It's been a very tough month in Iraq, but we are taking the fight to the enemy.  The President, you heard him say yesterday, believes that fighting terrorists, jihadists, al Qaeda, and the Iranian-backed militias --
Helen Thomas: Is every Iraqi a terrorist?
Dana Perino: -- and the Iranian-backed militias --
Helen Thomas: We're fighting the Iraqis, we're bombing their homes.  What do mean?
Dana Perino: Helen, we are going after terrorists and al Qaeda and Iranian-backed Shia militia who are killing not only innocent Iraqis but our soldiers as well, and we're doing so in --
Helen Thomas: We're bombing homes with children.
Perino would continue spinning and Helen Thomas' final comment would be, "We're going after Iraqis who are fighting for their own country."
[. . .]
Turning to the US presidential race.  This morning on  NBC's Today Show, Meredith Vieira interviewed Barack and Michelle Obama.  (Click here for audio and video available today and for podcasting available throughout.) Meredith's interview will also air (in extended form) on MSNBC Saturday.  Michelle Obama tried to steer the interview and schill for her husband stating that her husband was "trying to move us as a nation beyond these conversations" -- these conversations?  About the crackpot mentor, pastor, inspiration, friend, et al Jeremiah Wright.  Michelle's part of the co-interview because, clearly, Barack can't handle it alone.  She really took control during the interview (in most instances that was a good thing or the campaign's talking point would never have gotten out -- as defocused and meandering as he is, she's like a laser beam).  However, Michelle Obama is not running to become president and the question is about the nominee's judgement skills.  Equally true, if the country wanted to 'move on,' Michelle and Barack would not be guests on Today's first hour to talk about the subject.  She refused to answer Meredith's question about Wright ("Do you feel that Rev. Wright has betrayed your husband?") even when Meredith repeated it.  Barack lied about his own and Michelle's life and should have just kept his mouth shut because the question was to Michelle and she was the smarter of the two.  "I should have said angry and frustrated instead of bitter . . . I should have said people rely on their religion instead of cling to . . ."  Can he please stop lying?  (No, he can't.  Listen to his I-Can-Big-State lies.  It's embarrassing.  He's either lying or completely stupid.)
Transcript is available at Time.  Word substitution does not change what he said.  Key passage: "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."  Point, anti-immigrant sentiment and anti-trade sentiment are not seen by Barack as 'good' things so let's all stop pretending that anything changes with a word substitution.  He was spitting on Small Town Americans.  He stated that they cling to God, guns and racism.  That's the reality of the insult. 

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