Monday, November 06, 2006

Joshua Key, Marjorie Cohn, Law & Disorder, Iraq

Monday. Again. Where does the weekend go? Let me talk about The Third Estate Sunday Review latest edition:

Breaking: News of US war resister Joshua Key -- they added this after C.I. saw it. Canada said no to Joshua Key's request for asylum. He's appealing it. Canada, you used to be cool. What happened?

Editorial: The lack of passion in independent media (print division) -- I helped with this. I stayed for both editions. Both editions? Hold on for that. I really love this editorial. :D It's about Kyle Snyder and other war resisters and how our left magazines won't cover them. And what they will cover -- their usual yada-yada-yada they got plenty of space for. Stuff that matters? Not so much.

TV Review: Shadowing the Dick Wolf -- I think this is incredible. Mainly because I know they had nothing. They'd written a review and then had to write another at the last minute. I mean, at the last minute. They did their usual "Don't expect much" disclaimer. I actually think this one is better than the one they slaved over and prepared for. Oh, it's Law & Order SVU that they're reviewing.

The never ending book discussion -- and was it! :D That's got to be the longest one we've ever done. I really like this one a lot. Wally and me talk about Cindy Sheehan's Peace Mom -- Rebecca, Elaine and Ava do too. And they cover this really cool book about the alternative press during Vietnam. And C.I. and Dona discussed Amy Goodman and David Goodman's new book. And during all of that, there's all this stuff in there too. Race and gender and pretty much anything you can imagine. So check it out.

Death of the Press -- Is the press dead or dying or something else? (Mainstream.)

The Life of the Independent Press -- The core six wrote this about the book on the independent press during the Vietnam era.

Variety ad we'd like to see this winter -- Dona said we need a short piece because the book discussion was so long. This was a last minute thing and Ty and Jess were saying that we needed to use an illustration. And then Ava said we should work in another plug for Sir! No Sir! and pointed out that the cover of the DVD was already so Elaine and Wally were trying to think of mock ads and C.I. goes "'For your consideration . . .' and the pull quote is from Kissenger." What's "For you consideration"? That's ads that get run each year where people try to get nominations for films (Oscar nominations). So that was a quick one.

Meet the Donkaphant Harold Ford Jr. -- We were going to wait on this one but then it became time to write it. Especially when new content was needed like yesterday. Everyone worked on this one.

Hurry Candidate -- This one was funny. Check it out.

Here's what's going on -- The message. We were all yawning and tired and Jim goes, "You know what? I don't think we've got it." He had this idea that we'd done some stuff but not what we could have done. So there was work getting stuff ready for their print edition so it could go out and then they were trying to figure out what to do. The book discussion was edited for the print edition so one thing they did was put the full thing up online. They did new illustrations and we worked on some stuff while everyone could still work, then it was a two hour nap for those of us coming back to work on the other stuff. At one point, I was like, "Ava and C.I. do not have another review in them." Jim knew they did. They went through some stuff they'd gotten awhile back and found some of the SVU episodes and stuff. Then they checked to see what had aired and found out the first episode was aired on Saturday night.

So it was something and then some. Long, long, long. But they got two editions and I do think the online one is better but I think they were both good.

Remember how Marjorie Cohn went from president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild to president awhile back? Well she's go a thing up I wanted to note. This is "The Banana Election"

The announcement of Saddam Hussein's death sentence two days before our midterm elections brings to mind the opening scene of Woody Allen's film Bananas. Howard Cosell is covering the impending assassination of a dictator in an unnamed Banana Republic. On one side of the street, Cosell thrusts a microphone under the dictator's nose and asks how it feels when one is about to be assassinated. After the dictator responds, the assassin takes aim, shoots, and the dictator falls down dead. Cosell then crosses the street to interview the successor, Woody Allen. Everything goes according to script.
Sunday, as Saddam's verdict hearing convened, a pert blonde reporter from Fox News took her place in the second row of the courtroom. Although she often had trouble getting a seat during the trial, the U.S.-Iraqi-powers-that-be made sure she was prominently seated for the show. After the verdict, the reporter told millions of Fox viewers how frightened she was to be so close to Saddam. The network juxtaposed the verdict report with a discourse on the perils of radical Islam. Ironically, tyrant that he was, Saddam ran a secular government in which radical Islam was not permitted to flourish.
Saddam's verdict was choreographed in much the same way as the fall of his huge statue in the Baghdad square after Bush shocked-and-awed him out of power. Scenes of celebrating Iraqis filled American television screens with only brief forays into Tikrit or the Sunni area of Baghdad where angry Iraqis took to the streets notwithstanding the curfew policed by U.S. soldiers on Sunday.
In spite of the carefully produced event, many Iraqis found little solace in bringing Saddam to justice. Operation Iraqi Freedom has brought death and destruction to their country. More than 650,000 civilians have died, kidnappings and torture are rampant, and women who leave their Baghdad homes without a veil can be beheaded.

Now something else I wanted to note was Law & Disorder which began the first of four episodes on the destruction of our democracy and the creation of the police state. They focused on a lot today and what stood out to me was the way Bully Boy used that 'war act' for Osama to declare war on two nations and how he never caught Osama. There were a lot of points that most people who have been paying attention will agree with. They all shared, at the beginning, where they were when they got the news of the WTC being hit. Michael Smith was supposed to be there having breakfast with a friend, but the friend cancelled so he slept in. They heard the loud noise and his wife was asking what that was and he goes it's just a car accident. He goes outside and can see the first tower had been hit. Michael Ratner was out jogging. Heidi Boghosian was with told by a friend and thought it had to be a joke. When she found it was real, I think she said she was in the East Village, she and a friend went up to a rooftop. Dalia Hashad was visiting her mother in California and found out when she turned on the TV. She said her first thought was that she hoped there wasn't any Arab involvement because she was remembering what happened after Oklahoma City and how Arabs were blamed for that at first. She knew that if there was involvement, Arab-Americans would be targeted and they were, she was right. She talked about how the government would lie and get away with it after the roundups started. You'd go to a prison and be told that the client you were there to see wasn't there and they were there. Arab-Americans and Arab-immigrants were targeted and no one stood up for them. (She didn't say the last part but I'm bet she'd agree with it and it is true.) Everybody was scared and frightened and ready to let anything happen as long as someone lied and told them they were 'safe.' No one really cared and I wonder about how much we care now? I just remember that Michael Ratner, while he was running, thought the first plane was either an accident or he thought it was the pilot wanting to kill himself. He saw a second plane flying low by the river and thought it was like carrying water and it was flying to low to drop water to put out the flames. By the way, how come that didn't happen? How come they weren't doing that?
So that was part one and the next three episodes (Mondays) will be about the police state so if you're interested take a listen.

Be sure to get your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz to check out what Elaine has to say. Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, November 6, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, a US war resister is denied refugee status in Canada while another remains 'underground,' and as this and more fails to get coverage, we're all supposed to pretend that a verdict will bring about that long promised 'turned corner.' Operation Happy Talk -- remember wave breaking takes places in shallow water as well as deep. For examples of the former, pick up any daily paper today.
On Sunday,
Tom Godfrey (Toronto Sun) broke the news that the Canadian government had denied refugee status to US war resister Tom Godfrey. Joshua Key became the third war resister denied asylum by the Canadian government. The two who came before, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, are still awaiting word of their appeal.
Key's case was seen as the strongest of the three due to what Key saw while serving in Iraq. One example can be found in Michelle Mason's documentary Breaking Ranks, where Johsua Key states: "As we got down the Euphrates River and we took a sharp right turn , all we seen was heads and bodies. And American troops in the middle of them saying 'we lost it.' As soon as I stepped and I walked out the back of my APC, I seen two American soldier kicking the head around like a soccer ball. I stepped right back inside the tank and I told my squad leader . . . 'I won't have no part of this'."
In December 2003, Joshua Key returned from Iraq on leave and decided to self-check out. He, Brandi Key (his wife) and their children moved to Philadelphia where they lived 'underground' with Joshua doing welding jobs and Brandi waiting tables. The story of Jeremy Hinzman's war resistance was something Joshua Key learned of online. In March of 2005, the Key family crossed the border into Candada where Joshua, Brandi and their four children have have made their home since.
Tom Godfrey (Toronto Sun) notes that Jeffrey House, the attorney for Joshua Key, states he's "filed refugee claims in Canada" for "[a]t least 35" war resisters. None have yet to be awarded refugee status by the Canadian government which is in stark contrast to the Vietnam era. House tells Godfrey that he believes Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board "doesn't want to hurt relationships with the U.S. by granting refugee status to deserters".
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Joshua Key, in his own words (France's Le Monde translated by New Socialist):

My name is Joshua Key. I was born in 1978 in Guthrie, in central Oklahoma. My family worked on a ranch. We had a hard time making ends meet, but I loved the outdoor life, amongs cowboys, and where we didn't have to wear shoes until we started school. I married Brandi after high school. We were the same age, and from the same background. I dreamt of becoming a welder, but I didn't have money for school. So I looked for work doing anything. But there was no future in Guthrie, which has no industry. We went to Wisconsin, then returned, as we found nothing. Our future seemed dim, and we already had two children. It was then I met the recruiters from the Army. It was February, 2002. They knew how to talk to me, that's for sure!

On the topic of military talk, Kyle Snyder remains 'underground.' Last Tuesday, US war resister Kyle Snyder turned himself in at Fort Knox after self-checking out and moving to Canada in April of 2005. Jim Fennerty, Synder's attorney, worked out an agreement regarding Snyder's return with the US military. Fennerty had done similar negotiations for war resister Darrell Anderson when he returned to the United States.
While Darrell Anderson had a Purple Heart and family members who would be actively and strongly making their voices heard, Kyle Snyder grew up in foster-care and appeared to have less of a support network than Anderson.
Courage to Resist is asking supporters to call 502-624-2707 to speak to Major General Robert M. Williams and tell him "Discharge Kyle Snyder!" In addition, Brett Barroquere (AP) reported on the reaction in Canada to the US military burning Synder yet again and notes that war resisters Corey Glass and Patrick Hart have no faith currently in their own fates should they return.
Last Friday,
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) interviewed Kyle Snyder who explained: "I had jointed the military October 22, 2003, and I had originally joined for basically, the verbal promises that were given to me at the time then, too. I was 19 years old." When the verbal promises were again broken last week, Kyle Snyder self-checked out again. Snyder, Hinzman, Key, Anderson, Glass, Hart and Hughey are part of a movement of war resistance within the US military that also includes Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Aidan Delgado, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Ivan Brobeck, Robin Long, Ryan Johnson, Clifford Cornell, Katherine Jashniski, Agustin Aguayo and Kevin Benderman.
While the US government fights war resisters,
AP notes the rumors tha Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Iraq, may be pulling his own self-checkout according to an unnamed White House official. Possibly the White House had to drop the ignorant 'stay the course' motto because of the high turnover at the top?
In Iraq,
Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) surveys the chaos and violence and notes: "Iraq has not been this bad in decades. The occupation is a failure. The various pro-American, pro-Iranian Iraqi governments are failures. The new Iraqi army is a deadly joke. Is it really time to turn Saddam into a martyr? Things are so bad that even pro-occupation Iraqis are going back on their initial 'WE LOVE AMERICA' frenzy. Laith Kubba (a.k.a. Mr Catfish for his big mouth and constant look of stupidity) was recently on the BBC saying that this was just the beginning of justice, that people responsible for the taking of lives today should also be brought to justice. He seems to have forgotten he was one of the supporters of the war and occupation, and an important member of one of the murderious pro-American governments. But history shall not forget Mr. Kubba."
Riverbend notes the shutting down of two Iraqi TV stations.
Al Jazeera reports: "Iraq's interior ministry has ordered two televesion stations off the air" on charges of 'inciting violence.' In July, that was a popular talking point for the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki. As noted last night: "That's the four-part 'plan' that you don't hear much about, that you never heard much about other than empty praise and the first two-parts. One of the 'steps' was curtailing press freedom. You didn't hear much about that because it's kind of hard to pass the lie of 'democracy' off at the same time Nouri al-Maliki's going to destroying the press."
As all outlets cover the topic of the day, the reality of life in Iraq goes little noted. Some of the small reporting coming out of Iraq includes the following.
AFP reports that a bus bombing killed two people and left ten more wounded. AP reports a mortar attack in Baghdad with "no immediate reports of damage or casualties." New Zealand's Newswire reports that, in Baghdad, "mortar rounds slammed into areas around Baghdad's Green Zone".
In Amil,
AP notes, three people were wounded. Borzou Daragahi (Los Angelse Times) reports that two firefighters were shot dead in Baghdad.
On today's
KPFA's The Morning Show, Alieen Alfandary noted that "the bodies of 50 murder victims were discovered yesterday, the bulk of them in Baghdad."
In other news of violence,
the US military has announced five deaths today bringing the total US military deaths in Iraq to 18 for the month thus far. Iraq Coalition Casualty Count places the death toll for US troops in Iraq since the start of the illegal war at 2836.
AP reports on "Desert Crossing" -- a series of war games by the US government ("70 military, diplomatic and intelligence officals") in 1999 which found that a war in Iraq "would require 400,000 troops, and even then chaose might ensue." No word yet on if or when the aspect of starting an illegal war might cause chaos was also commissioned.
In deployment news,
Friday's snapshot noted Jamie McIntrye (CNN) reporting that convicted prisoner abuser (for Abu Ghraib) Santos Cardona was being redeployed to Kuwait. On Saturday, Reuters reported that press attention had been followed by the announcement, by the military, that Cardona "would return to his base at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Army offered no explanation as to why Mr. Cardona's unit commanders had plan to deploy him, given his record in Iraq."
In peace news,
Jenna Russell (Boston Globe) notes that a number of anti-war vets are gearing up for the Veterans Day Paradeparade seasons including Members of Veterans for Peace in Portland (ME) and Veterans for Peace in Machester (NH) and quotes Doug Rawlings: "War is not just flags flying and people in uniform. The reality is, death and destruction go along with it. We're tired of the pagenatry glorifying war." Remember that as a Veteran's Day offfering, David Zeiger's documentary Sir! No Sir! is available on DVD at the discounted price of $14.95. That's a limited time offer. The amazing documentary documents the war resistance within the military during the Vietnam era. How powerful is the documentary? Henry Kissiner should declare: "See this film! It changed my life! After one viewing, I confessed to international war crimes!"
In other peace news, historian
Howard Zinn spoke with Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari on today's KPFA's The Morning Show and he noted that, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's elections, his hope was that Americans were waking up: "I have no doubt that the Bush administration and the Bush program, they're on their way down and I hope the American people are waking up." Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States will be presented this Thursday at 7:30 pm, Berkeley Community Theatre (1930 Allston Way) and participants will include Alice Walker, Mos Def and others.
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:

Nov 6, 2-4:30PMBoston, MALocation: University of Massachusetts/BostonSponsor: The Institute for Asian American StudiesWilliam Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social ConsequenceTime: 2-4:30 pm
Nov 6, 7PM Worcester, MA. Location: Clark University – University Building, Lurie Room Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapter 10 Contact: Bob Flanagan, 508-755-1479,
IrishBob54@aol.comNov 7, 4:30PM Portland, ME Location: Meditation Center Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Chapter 1 Contact: Doug Rawlings, 207-293-2580,,
Nov. 7, 6-9PM Brunswick, ME Location: Morrill Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street Pot luck supper and speaking engagement Time: 6 - 7:30pm
Nov 8, 7PM Albany, NY Sponsor: VFP National Location: TBAContact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697,
Nov 9, TBA Philadelphia, PA. Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109 Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star MothersContact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350,
BpVetforPeace@aol.comNov 10, 7:30PM New York City, NY Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church West End Avenue and West 86th Streets, Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, ltbrin@earthlink.netGeorge McAnanama, gmacan@aol.comNov 11, 11AM-5PM New York City, NY Veterans Day Parade Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, ltbrin@earthlink.netNov 12, TBA Long Island, NY TBANov 13, 7PM Ann Arbor, MI "The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada Location: TBA Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works,Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922,