Friday, November 03, 2006
Kyle Snyder, Iraq, Joshua Frank, Center for Constitutional Rights
Friday at last! :D Now watch the weekend fly by in a hurry. :( Ain't that the way. But right now, it's a happy time. I'm excited because tonight we discuss Iraq and one topic I know we'll be hitting hard is Kyle Snyder. I hope you're talking about him too and, maybe it's Friday that has me so happy, but I'll even say thank you to Amy Goodman (to Juan Gonzalez as well but I don't have any problem with him) for interviewing Kyle Snyder today. I do wonder where the rest are?
And if you can't interview him, you can certainly interview other war resisters. You can go to or call Canada and get their reaction. You can call up Camilio Mejia and asks him what he thinks it all means. You can bring up some history expert (Howard Zinn would be a good one) and interview them about what this means from a historical perspective.
But we don't get much coverage like that. Today Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales lived up to what independent media is supposed to be and I will sincerely say "Thank you" for that.
Eddie e-mailed and said even if I don't have time to listen to Michael Ratner and Michael Smith and Heidi Boghosian and Dalia Hashad (hope I spelled everyone's name right, we were all helping set up folding chairs for the meeting and we're all starting late, I'm trying to do this post in less than fifteen minutes and I type too slow for that so I doubt I'll be able to) (their show is Law and Disorder and it is on my blogroll at the top of my site), I could note something from the Center for Constional Rights, "CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ARGUES TO COURT THAT MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Synopsis:"
On November 1, 2006, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) joined attorneys in filing a brief in Al Odah v. United States of America, together with Boumediene v. Bush the two cases representing men held at Guantánamo Bay that have reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The briefs were the first written arguments to challenge the Military Commissions Act (MCA) in court and argue that either the retroactive suspension of the detainees' right of habeas corpus does not apply to pending cases, or that it is flatly unconstitutional. CCR represents Australian citizen David Hicks, one of the petitioners in Al Odah, as well as hundreds of other detainees at the island prison and coordinates their representation by hundreds of pro bono attorneys.
The brief states: "The Court should promptly affirm [the Lower Court's] denial of the Government's motion to dismiss these cases and, at long last, allow the district court to decide 'the merits of the petitioners' claims' as mandated by the Supreme Court" in CCR's landmark victory Rasul v. Bush. The brief goes on to argue that the Suspension Clause of the Constitution--which states that "the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless... cases of rebellion or invasion… require it"--bars Congress from suspending that right, except under very particular circumstances.
"This is the first opportunity we have had to challenge the constitutionality of the MCA in court," said CCR senior attorney Barbara Olshansky, "and the Constitution is quite explicit on this point: No rebellion, no invasion, no suspension. It's that simple. We at CCR are confident that the court will find in favor of our clients, and in favor of the Constitution."
The government must now file a response to the brief, which is due by November 13. The written briefs will then be followed by oral arguments, on a date to be determined by the court. Until the court issues its decision, all pending habeas corpus cases will not move forward.
CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman said, "The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that the hundreds of men detained at Guantanamo Bay have the right to their day in court. President Bush and the Congress have done their best to delay justice for these men; now the courts must insure that justice is not denied."
Eddie's right and thanks for e-mailing me that, bud. I read his e-mail and that's probably the only one I will read tonight because I just don't have time. Sorry 'bout that but I'll pick it up on Monday for sure if not sooner. All four hosts are members of the Center. (Also of the National Lawyer's Guild, I think -- and that's on my blogroll too -- or should be -- if it's not, e-mail me so I can get it up there next week.)
CCR does great work. They don't avoid the hard issues, they don't kiss butt and play deaf, dumb and blind. They're out there every day. I hope to start listening to the show again when the hell of a semester is over but, even if I don't, Eddie's right that I can note some stuff from CCR. If you've got the time, check out Law and Disorder. It really is a great program.
Let me put this in before I forget, get your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz to see what's on Elaine's mind tonight. Yeah, I did a link to her even while rushing. She's my girlfriend, want to make something of it? :D
Now a question? Is Joshua Frank a Jewish name? I wonder that only because he sounds like he could be one of Ruth's children. Seriously, read "Ruth's Report" and then read Joshua Frank's "DNC Deja Vu:"
The Nation magazine, despite an editorial last year which claimed they would not support pro-war Democrats, has provided virtually no coverage of third party antiwar campaigns. After an editorial staff meeting with Sen. Hillary Clinton's antiwar challenger Howie Hawkins, The Nation still wouldn't write a word about his campaign, even though he is receiving over 20% of the independent vote here in New York. Nor would the magazine discuss Kevin Zeese's antiwar unity run in Maryland, where Zeese has brought together a unique alliance of Green, Populists and Libertarians. Then there is Aaron Dixon, an ex-Black Panther who is running perhaps the most electric antiwar campaign in the country against Sen. Maria Cantwell. Dixon's camp has been met with utter silence from the liberal antiwar movement -- perhaps because several progressive philanthropists like Dal LaMagna, support her campaign. And the list of forgotten candidates goes on.
Predictably MoveOn.org and the liberal blogsphere like DailyKos would never engage in a debate about the legitimacy of building an independent antiwar movement, let alone a third party. Instead they'd rather throw their energy into campaigns like Ned Lamont's disaster in Connecticut. Since Ned defeated Sen. Lieberman in the primary he has changed his tune on Iraq from reasonable opposition to all-out war hawk. But that's where working within the Democratic Party will get you: nowhere.
So perhaps it is not "why" Peace Now and others in the liberal establishment have silenced antiwar candidates, but "how". We know why: they are professional liberals who see the Democratic Party as an indispensable ally in the quest for grants, careers and cocktail party networking.
However, the more theoretical among these liberal careerists have a popular front philosophy: where they align with the liberal bourgeoisie against the reactionary capitalists. But when push comes to shove the liberals of the ruling elite always prefer repression to democracy -- something ol' Karl Marx recognized during the 1848 democratic revolutions in Europe and the Left in the US should have recognized when the industrial wing of the Republican Party sabotaged Radical Reconstruction last century.
It's like they're on the same wavelength! :D (As far as I know, they aren't related. But he writes like he could be Tracey's cousin. Ruth's whole family is just like Ruth but Ruth and Tracey are the most outspoken. You can see a lot of Ruth in Tracey. Her father, Ruth's son, jokes that that the activism gene skipped a generation.)
Joshua Frank's a pretty cool writer. I know his stuff up at CounterPunch and one of the fifty or so books I have from C.I. (I'm so far behind in pleasure reading) is a book by him. I'm looking forward to this semester being over so I can read some stuff I want for a change. (If anyone dropped by and think, "What's the joke about Jewish?" Ruth's Jewish. And she always talks about how her family is very Jewish-Left.) (She actually has a funny routine she can do about that. She should write it down in one of the reports.)
Friday, November 3, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US war resister Kyle Snyder tells his story to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now!, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone mistakes himself for Jackson Pollock, Bully Boy finally wins at a poll but it's doubtful he'll be happy, nearly 60 corpses are discovered in Baghdad, eight US troops have died since Wednesday, John Dimitri Negroponte heads to Iraq for a surprise visit, and the US air force goes on a spending spree because, hey, it's not their money.
On Saturday, US war resister Kyle Snyder returned to the US from Canada where he'd self-checked out to in April 2005. Tuesday, he turned himself in at Fort Knox only to learn that the arrangement between the US military and his attorney, James Fennerty, was being tossed aside. At which point, Kyle Snyder self-checked out again.
Today, he spoke with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez for Democracy Now! detailing his experiences in Iraq and Canada. Synder detailed the promises of recruiters and how they mirrored the empty promises of the agreement the military offered Synder's attorney: "They can verbally promise anything, but once you are in their custody they can do anything they want with you." Between the broken promises of recruitment and return came the assignment to tasks he wasn't trained for. This is the point of the stand Melanie McPherson has taken. McPherson was trained to be a journalist for the military (at Fort Meade, MD) in April 2000 and then, just as her contract was winding down, she gets orders to report to Fort Bliss to ship out to Iraq. She reports on July 23 of this year and discovers she'll be serving in Iraq as a military police officer, something she has not been trained. McPherson tells her own story here (scroll down).
Jim Fennerty was also a guest and he explained that the military wants to send him (Snyder) to Fort Knox (KY) and that he can't get a call returned from Fort Leonard Wood (MO). Fennerty also addressed the issue of another of his clients, Ivan Brobeck. Brobeck is from Virgninia and went o Canada after serving seven months in Iraq. Like Synder, Brobeck arrived in Canada in April 2005. Unlike Snyder, Brobeck is in the Marines. Fennerty spoke of the different processes in the different branches of the US military and that "Ivan will be taken into custody" and "he'll be placed in the brig" at which point he would most likely face a court-martial.
Snyder stated to the following when asked by Goodman what he would say to other soldiers: "To the soldiers that are in Iraq, for the third or fourth time. A lot of them are scared to make decisions about moral and consientious choices, they're told by their commanders that they can't make these decisions Just follow your heart if you feel that you need to be in Iraq and that you're doing the right thing, that's fine and I understand that. But if you feel like you're doing the wrong thing, please speak out. The G.I. resistance is very important in changing the policits of this country right now and I feel that as G.I.s start coming out that's what's going to stop this war. And that's the only thing that's going to stop this war. As far as the soldiers that are in Canada right now, I love every single one of you, just know that whatever happens here, just keep that in mind, and I'll be keeping in contact with them."
On those still in Canada, Brett Barrouqere (AP) spoke with US war resisters Corey Glass and Patrick Hart who are currently in Canada. Glass is now reconsidering his own decision to return from Canada and both Glass and Hart consider the war to be based on lies. Glass states, "After what they did to him [Kyle Snyder], I don't see anybody going back." Hart says, "I could see going back under some kind of amnesty program or something like that. But I don't trust them."
More 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. In addition Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. On the latter, 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 other news of deployment status, Jamie McIntrye (CNN) reports that Santos Cardona will be sent to Kuwait and not Iraq, the Army has decided, due to the fact that Cardona was the "U.S. Army dog handler who was convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison". As to how he's been allowed to remain in the service? In June, Santos was "sentenced . . . to 90 days hard labor and a reduction in rank . . . found guilty of derelecition of duty and aggravated assault" (AP). The prosecution had recommended a discharge for bad conduct but apparently the actions fit into someone's understanding of 'service' and Cardona has managed to remain in the military instead of being drummed out of the service. On a similar note, AP reports that Steven D. Green has been indicted in a civilian court (he was discharged from the military before the allegations were public) in Kentucky for the "premeditated murder in the death of Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi, her father, mother and 6-year-old sister in the central Iraqi town of Al-Mahmudiyah. Green is accused of raping the teen and then killing her after rounding up and killing her family with the help of other soldiers in his unit."
And in Iraq today.
CNN reports that mortar rounds in Baghdad claimed the lives of three and left six wounded. Reuters notes four police officers dead in Madaen from a roadside bomb, two young males dead from a landmine in Kut, and three people dead from a roadside bomb in Baghdad. (CBS and AP note: "Police Lt. Thaer Mahoud said the death toll in the rush hour bombing of a crowded market in Baghdad's Sadr City district Thursday had risen to 11 on Friday, with 51 reported wounded." Yesterday, the known dead from that bombing was seven.)
Reuters notes that "Resan al-Sayab, a local singer" was shot dead in Baghdad, while, in Kirkuk, a preacher (Sunni) and a gas station worker were shot dead (the preacher Thursday night), the shooting death of "a bodyguard of Shiite cleric Sadiq al-Hakim" near Najaf, and a cab driver shot dead in Baghdad.
Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that 56 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the corpse of Abdul Majeed Ismael Khalil, freelance journalist, was discovered in Baghdad in addition to the 56 other corpses and that a severed head was found as well.
Today the US military announced "Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Nov. 2 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province," "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died from injuries sustained due to enemy action Thursday while operating in Al Anbar Province," "Three Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldiers died at approximately 2:15 p.m. Thursday when the vehicle they were riding in was strcuk by an improvised-explosive device in eastern Baghdad." That makes eight reported deaths for US troops since Wednesday. Iraq Coalition Casualties currently lists the toll for the month thus far as 11 dead (and 2829 dead since the start of the illegal war) which would indicate more announcements will be made later today or tomorrow. All as Italian troops prepare to leave Iraq and the so-called coalition continues to suffer from shrinkage.
Activst, author and Vietnam vet Ron Kovic (Truthdig) reflects on the wounded US troops in Iraq, noting that he was paralyzed January 20, 2968 while serving in Veitnam, and describes the moments after: "They are being put on a helicopter, with the wounded all around them. They try to stay calm. Some are amazed that they are still alive. You just have to keep trying to stay awake, make it to the next stage, keep moving toward the rear, toward another aid station, a corpsman, a doctor a nurse someone who can help you, someone who will operate and keep you alive so you can make it home, home to your backyard and your neighbors and your mother and father. To where it all began, to where it was once peaceful and safe. They just try to keep breathing because they have got to get back. . . . They are alone in their rooms all over this country, right now. Just as I was alone in my room in Massapequa. I know they're there -- just as I was. This is the part you never see. The part that is never reported in the news. The part that the president and vice president never mention. This is the agonizing part, the lonely part, when you have to awake to the wound each morning and suddenly realize what you've lost, what is gone forever. They're out there and they have mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives and children. And they're not saying much right now. Just like me they're just trying to get through each day."
As for the man responsible for so many US troops wounded and dead, for so many Iraqis wounded and dead, the polls haven't been very kind to him of late. However,
the Guardian of London is reporting that Bully Boy is 'Top of the Pops' in a new poll [ICM polled Isreal, Canada, Mexico and England for the poll]. Before Laura breaks out the good china and heats up the Frito Pie, the survey found that 69 percent of British respondents "believerd US policy had made the world less safe since 2001"; that 71 percent of British respondents felt the illegal war "was unustified, a view shared by 89% of Mexicans and 73% of Canadians"; and it "ranked President Bush with some of his bitterest enemies as a cause of global anxiety."
Anxiety was in the air as John Negroponte made a surprise visit to the heavily fortified Green Zone area of Baghdad. What exactly was the Director of National Intelligence doing in Iraq? Advising the death squads? Paying them off? He was a long way from Honduras or Nicaragua. John O'Neil (New York Times) reports that Negroponte had no public statements (proving he's smarter than the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone). Al Jazeera reminds that Negroponte "had served as the American ambassador to Iraq before the current envoy Zalmay Khalilzad." For those who've forgotten, it was his security detail that fired at the car carrying Giuliana Sgrena who had just been freed from her kidnappers. Nicola Calipari was in the car and killed. Sgrena sustained serious injuries. As AFP notes, the trip followed Stephen Hadley's (National Security Advisor for the Bully Boy administration) trip by three days and followed the video conference held last Saturday.
Staying in the Green Zone for news of the Giddiest Gabor, as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, Willie Caldwell made a surprising remark yesterday. Apparently inspired by the 140 million dollars a painting by Jackson Pollock fetched the other day, Little Willie decided to jazz it up a bit. Briefing the press yesterday, the Giddiest Gabor began with a presentation including slides ("Slide please"). The presentation included the following prepared remarks (note, this was not in response to a question, this was part of the presentation): "A transition is not always a pleasant thing to watch as it happens. But when common goals are achieved, speed bumps and differecnes of opinion along the way are soon forgotten. Every great work of art goes through messy phases while it is in transition. A lump of clay can become a sculpture; blobs of paint become paintings which inspire." As most know, there's no scarier stage than when a starlet fancies herself an artist.
Meanwhile, after requesting what Reuters called "a staggering 50 billion in emergency funding for fiscal 2007," the US air force quickly handed out contracts. Lockheed Martin got 30 million, DRS got $6.3 million, L-3 got $42 million and Boeing got a whopping $229.8 million. The whisper-it-to-the-press-but-don't-attribute 'reason' for the request in emergency funding is that, otherwise, wounded and dead US troops might not make it home. The shopping spree calls that 'reasoning' into question.
In more money being burned news, Thom Shanker and David S. Cloud (New York Times) report that the Pentagon is created a new office which will include the "rapid response unit" that they hope and pray will make all the reality vanish the way those waves of Operation Happy Talk used to. Remember the discolored fingers? Remember the any-day-now turned corner? Even most of the press sees new attempts at waves as a wipe out so the Pentagon intendes to dispense with the messenger and lie directly to the people.
Until then, some reality news still comes out. James Glanz (New York Times) reports that Stuart W. Bowen Jr. will be outed from his post as Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction next October as a result of Congressional legislation that no one in Congress appears able to explain or even able to figure out when that section entered the bill.
In election news, Carol Britton Meyer (TownOnline) reports that, in Massachusetts, Mary Sochacki, Shirley Brown, Katharine Sangree, and Chartis Tebbetts were among those members of the South Shore Peace Forum gathering signatures to put a resolution on next Tuesday's ballot "calling for an immediate end of the war in Iraq".
In other peace news, US war resister Mark Wilkerson reflects on his time in Iraq and notes: "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.' And in that regard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conlcusion I can come up with as to why this happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as though the American soldiers, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors." Wilkerson still awaits news on what the army intends to do now that he's returned from his self-check out.
Wilkerson isn't the only war resister who has said no to war and still awaits a decision/ruling. Keeping the issue front and center, 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 3, TBA St. Paul MN. Location: Quaker Peace Center -- 1725 Grand AvenueSponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 Contact: Barry Reisch, (H) 651-641-1087 © 612-269-8934 email@example.com
Nov 4, 11AM Milwaukee, WI. Location: Great Lakes Arlington EventContact: Mark Foreman, 441-760-9991, firstname.lastname@example.orgSponsor: VFP Chapter 102 * See the unveiling of a new "Arlington"
Nov. 5, 2PM Boston, MA Encuentro 5 33 Harrison Ave. 5th floor (Chinatown)Sponsors: Asian American Movement Ezine Asian American Resource Workshop Boston Hawaiian Club Chinese Progressive AssociationMassachusetts Global Action New England Japanese American Citizens League
Nov 5, 7PM Cambridge, MA. Location: Unitarian Church, Harvard SquareSponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade and Chapter 45, Samantha Smith Chapter Contact: Lee VanderLaan, 978-257-2350
Nov 6, 2-4:30PM Boston, MA Location: University of Massachusetts/BostonSponsor: The Institute for Asian American Studies William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequence Time: 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.com
Nov 7, 4:30PM Portland, ME Location: Meditation Center Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Chapter 1 Contact: Doug Rawlings, 207-293-2580, email@example.com,
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
A full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
center for constitutional rights
like maria said paz
mikey likes it
the common ills
the new york times
david s. cloud