Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Adam Kokesh, Flashpoints, Susan Rosenthal

Tuesday. How's it going for you? Probably not too good because the Supreme Court took a hard hit today and when that happens, when one group in our country doesn't believe they are bound by Court decisions, we all suffer. Yeah, I'm talking about Adam Kokesh and how all the issues in his case were already decided in Schacht v. United States. But the US military think they are above the Supreme Court.

In a democracy, the civilians control the military, not the other way around. The military has to answer to the Court, has to respect and follow the findings of the Court. They refused to do so and democracy took a bit hit today but you didn't see that and you won't -- not in reporting, not in editorials. Is it that the press staffed by idiots or are they just doing another cover up?

Whatever it is, nothing has changed in the press. They can claim otherwise, they can claim they learned their lessons from WMD and their phoney lead up to the illegal war reporting, but when they can't note the FACT that the Supreme Court already decided this, let's all stop pretending that the press is (a) independent or (b) has learned their lesson.


The illustration is Adam Kokesh and he is suffering personally but we all suffer from the US Supreme Court is ignored by the US military and the US press. The military and the press worked together to render the Court obsolete and don't pretend that didn't happen.

It's the same way the press refused to call out the US military (and CIA) violating the laws by torturing people. Ann Wright is on Flashpoints Radio talking to Dennis Bernstein about torture interrogations. Barbara Fast is training the military on interrogations. She's the one whose permission allowed Abu Ghraib. She imported the techniques of torture from Guantanamo.
(Thanks to the gang for calling me and putting the phone up to their speakers.) This is all happening because of a press that refuses to do their job. Ann Wright was talking about the need for Congressional hearings and I agree with her on that but I also think the bulk of the press has refused to do their job. For 5 years, the US government (which we're supposed to be the boss of) has illegally held prisoners without trial and tortured them. The press refused to call it out. At best we got an editorial from a paper that offered wishy-washy reporting.

Bully Boy hasn't destroyed the country alone, the press has aided him every step of the way. And don't forget the Democrats.

This is from Susan Rosenthal's "How Cindy Sheehan Unmasked the Democrats:"

Cindy Sheehan is the Founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace. When her son Casey was killed in Iraq in the spring of 2004, she threw herself into the campaign to end the war.
Sheehan became a thorn in the side of President Bush, following him wherever he went. She camped outside the White House and established "Camp Casey" next to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her challenge to the president was simple and heartfelt:
"You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died so you can spread the cancer of imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that."
Democrats and liberals loved Sheehan when she attacked Bush and the Republicans, but they turned on her when she held them to the same standard.
The Democrats were swept into Congress on a wave of popular revolt against the war. Despite their anti-war posturing, they gave Bush billions more dollars to continue the war. Outraged, Sheehan condemned the Democrats as heartless hypocrites [. . .]

I had an e-mail asking me if I was going to write about Cindy Sheehan. Beau e-mailed and I hadn't planned to. I thought C.I. covered it all in "Cindy Sheehan" and if anything else needed saying, I think Ma said it in "Baked Ziti in the Kitchen." Rosenthal's article is pretty good so I've excerpted it but I really don't know that I have anything to add to any of this. I'm sad that's she's stepped away. I think she was one of our most important voices. I really enjoyed her books, her writing, her speeches and her activism. She cut right to the important stuff. We're the worse for her departure. I appreciate all she did and all she gave. She touched me and I think she touched a lot of America. I will miss her.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, June 5, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, reporters (big and small) reveal their lack of knowledge and stupidity (possibly "reveal" is the wrong word, try "flaunt their lack of knowledge and stupidity") while covering Adam Kokesh's hearing, at least 91 Iraqis are reported dead today, the US military announces the death of another service member and which Iraqis are fleeing and which are leaving?

Starting with
Adam Kokesh and let's go over a few basics. If you're reporting (even just reading from the AP wire), you have no excuse to fail to note that, in the hearing, Adam Kokesh was questioned as to whether or not he voted in the 2004 presidential election or whether or not he could be considered "a card carrying member" of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Carey Gillam (Reuters) could note that, others played dumb. Neither was pertinent to the hearing nor acceptable questions for the US military to note and the "are you a card carrying member" of any organization or group has historical antecedents in this country so don't even call yourself a member of the press if you stuck to reading the AP wire. (Yes, I've read the e-mails, I'm aware there's a long list of posers.)

Iraq Veterans Against the War notes the following:

Iraq Veterans Against the War scored a victory for free speech today in Kansas City, MO. A panel of three Marine Corps officers recommended today that Adam Kokesh receive a general discharge under honorable conditions. Adam and his attorney will, however, appeal this finding on the grounds that Adam is entitled to his full honorable discharge. In a seemingly hypocritical contradiction, the Marine Corps panel, as well as the prosecution's key witness, Major Whyte, agreed that the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not apply to members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Regardless of this, several other honorably discharged IVAW members are facing a similar hearing based on their stance against the war. IVAW members will continue to tell the truth about our experiences in Iraq and in the military and fight to bring our brothers and sisters home from Iraq now.
Adam, Liam Madden and Cloy Richards appeared on Good Morning America on Sunday, June 3rd.
Click to watch the video and other video coverage.
More updates will follow. To donate to the IVAW legal defense fund,
click here (check "Legal Defense Fund" in the Current Special Project section).
For the latest on Adam's hearing,
click here.

Okay, let's speak slowly because there is confusion thanks to bad reporting (or 'reporting'): the panel and Cry Baby Whyte both admitted that the UCMJ did not "apply to members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)." If you can absorb that, then you know only real issue remains.

David Montgomery (Washington Post) (the only reporter other than Gillam who doesn't embarrass themselves) reports that Kokesh "protested the war while wearing parts of his uniform during a theatrical demonstration in Washington in March." It was street theater and though Heather Hollingsworth apparently never heard of the Supreme Court, that's no excuse. With UCMJ not covering Kokesh, there's nothing to resolve, the Supreme Court ruled on this in 1970. As we explained Sunday at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Schacht v. United States addressed this. UCMJ does not cover Kokesh, that was admitted in the hearing. That immediately means the issues were resolved in Schacht v. United States. Kokesh is not classified active duty. He participated in street theater. The US military may not have liked Kokesh's actions but the Supreme Court's already informed them that no one really gives a damn what they think of theatrical productions. Justice Huge Black writing for the majority of the Court: "The street skit in which Schacht wore the army uniform as a constume was designed, in his view, to expose the evil presence in Vietnam and was part of a larger, peaceful antiwar demonstrations at the induction center that morning." The skit? Three people (including Schact) -- two in military drag, the third dressed in Viet Cong drag. Water pistols loaded with a red liqud, fired when one of them said, "Be an Able American." The victim would fall to the ground, one of the actors would shout, "My God, this is a pregnant woman." The Court of Appeals noted, "Without noticeable variation this skit was reenacted several times during the morning of the demonstration." This is quoted in Justice Hugo's opinion. In fact, let's move to the conclusions. First, remember the military hearing thought they could reject that Kokesh was involved in street theater. The military thought the same before and the Court set them straight:

The Government's argument in this case seems to imply that somehow what these amateur actors did in Houston should not be treated as a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f). We are unable to follow such a suggestion. Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world. Here, the record shows without dispute the preparation and repeated presentation by amateur actors of a short play designed to create in the audience an understanding of and opposition to our participation in the Vietnam war. Supra, at 60 and this page. It may be that the performances were crude and [398 U.S. 58, 62] amateurish and perhaps unappealing, but the same thing can be said about many theatrical performances. We cannot believe that when Congress wrote out a special exception for theatrical productions it intended to protect only a narrow and limited category of professionally produced plays. 3 Of course, we need not decide here all the questions concerning what is and what is not within the scope of 772 (f). We need only find, as we emphatically do, that the street skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of that section.

Are we clear? I know Heather Hollingsworth (AP) isn't but is everyone else clear? Operation First Casualty is street theater and it has been performed repeatedly (in NYC on Memorial Day). Now let's move to the issue of the fatigues. Remember, Kokesh is not active duty, remember UCMJ -- by the hearing itself -- does not apply to him. Justice Black, writing for the Court:

This brings us to petitioner's complaint that giving force and effect to the last clause of 772 (f) would impose an unconstitutional restraint on his right of free speech. We agree. This clause on its face simply restricts 772 (f)'s authorization to those dramatic portrayals that do not "tend to discredit" the military, but, when this restriction is read together with 18 U.S.C. 702, it becomes clear that Congress has in effect made it a crime for an actor wearing a military uniform to say things during his performance critical of the conduct or [398 U.S. 58,63]
policies of the Armed Forces. An actor, like everyone else in our country, enjoys a constitutional right to freedom of speech, including the right openly to criticize the Government during a dramatic performance. The last clause of 772 (f) denies this constitutional right to an actor who is wearing a military uniform by making it a crime for him to say things that tend to bring the military into discredit and disrepute. In the present case Schacht was free to participate in any skit at the demonstration that praised the Army, but under the final clause of 772 (f) he could be convicted of a federal offense if his portrayal attacked the Army instead of praising it. In light of our earlier finding that the skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f), it follows that his conviction can be sustained only if he can be punished for speaking out against the role of our Army and our country in Vietnam. Clearly punishment for this reason would be an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech. The final clause of 772 (f), which leaves Americans free to praise the war in Vietnam but can send persons like Schacht to prison for opposing it, cannot survive in a country which has the First Amendment. To preserve the constitutionality of 772 (f) that final clause must be stricken from the section.

Is anyone confused still? The US military was told (STRONGLY) by the Court that they had no say over theater productions, they were told theater productions included street productions. The only reason there's any doubt about this is because DUMB ASS 'reporters' and 'news readers' didn't learn their damn history, don't know their Constitution and apparently will dumb down American without anyone ever calling them out on it. This issue was addressed by the Supreme Court in 1970. The hearing yesterday made it very clear that UCMJ did not apply to IRR. The minute that was made clear, there was no longer any question about it, Schacht v. US was the only ruling that mattered.

David Montgomery (Washington Post) notes Kokesh may appeal and that, following the next step (marine corps has to endorse the recomendation) his attorney Mike Lebowitz states they may appeal (civilian court) because "There's still a First Amendment issue involved. We have a lot to go on if we take it to federal court." Indeed they do and bad reporting serves no one. If you're last name is Montgomery or Gillam, chances are you did the people a disservice by failing to inform them of what was at stake which, while very personal to Adam Kokesh, effects all Americans. As Rebecca (rightly) notes the US military's actions need to be called out and when the US military thinks it does not have to obey the Supreme Court, the US press should be up in arms.

Turning to news of war resistance,
AP reports on brothers Leif, Leo and Luke Kamunen who self-checked out while on Christmas break [we noted Randy Furst (Minneapolis Star Tribune) report on the brothers yesterday], that the three had signed up for the National Guard and that Chris Beron (recruiter) denis Luke Kamunen's statements that Beron told him he wouldn't be going to Iraq. Apparently, AP's never heard the many reported stories of When Recruiters Lie (which predate the current illegal war). The brothers reveal that they hadn't even discussed the decision with each other -- Luke: "We saw each other a couple days later and we're saying, 'What, you didn't go back either?" To restate from yesterday, Luke is discharged now, Leo and Leif plan to turn themselves in at some point in the future.

Meanwhile, Common Ground reports on an upcoming event in Canada,
Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion. The multi-day event will be held from July 4th through 8th at the Brilliant Cultural Center in the community of Brilliant, part of the city of Castlegear, British Columbia, Canada. "We invited you to participate in the second annual Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion weekend, which honours the courage and contribution of US war resisters who came to Canada during the Vietnam War as well as the courageous US war resisters who sought safe haven in Canada after resisting the war in Iraq. The event also honours the thousands of Canadians who helped them resettle in this country, both then and now. US war resisters who came to Canada during the Vietnam War offer our world an important model of non-violence, as do those US war resisters arriving in Canada today during the US War in Iraq." Who'll be there? US war resister Kyle Snyder will speak, Daniel Ellsberg will be the keynote speaker, Leonard I. Weinglass will take part, Tom Hayden, Michelle Mason (director, Breaking Ranks, which will be shown at the multi-day festival), David Zeiger (Sir! No Sir!) and many more.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to Iraq,
Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports there is no new information on the 2 US soldiers who have been missing since May 12 but, video claims or not, the search continues for Byron Fouty and Alex Jimenez. While they remain missing, displacement continues in and out of Iraq with UNHCR's Jennifer Pagonis declaring today, "The situation in Iraq continues to worsen, with more than 2 million Iraqis now believed to be displaced inside Iraq and another 2.2. million sheltering in neighbouring States." Though not fleeing, some college students are planning on leaving. Damien Cave (New York Times) reports on 30 Iraqi colleges from seven different colleges -- 26 of whom "said they hoped to flee immediately after receiving their degrees" and "did not expect Iraq to stabilize for at least a decade." Much more difficult to leave is Falluja. Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports that the city slaughtered in November 2004 is adding even more checkpoints (they already use biometric data throughout the city), curtailing movement within Falluja as well as in and out of the city, imposing a curfew which has now lasted two weeks and Ahmed Alwan (Muslim Scholars Association) tells al-Fadhily, "This kind of collective punishment only means slow death to the people of the city and is adding to their agonies that have continued since April 2003."

Today has seen at least 91 reported deaths in Iraq.


CNN notes 15 people dead (thirteen wounded) from a car bombing in Falluja. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that killed 3 Iraqi soldiers and a Baghdad car bombing that killed 1 person. Reuters raises the death toll from the Falluja bombing to 19 (twenty-five wounded) and notes a Mahmudiya car bombing that killed 1 person.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman was shot dead in Baquba as she "was escorting a sick lady," 1 person was shot dead in in Diyala Province in an attack on a mini-bus and "A civilian was killed and his car burnt when gunmean attacked him near Al Ahrar bridge" (Baghdad). Reuters notes Abdul Raheem Nayef was shot dead in Jbela. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports a woman carrying a bomb was shot dead in Baghdad -- upon which her bomb exploded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 33 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 8 corpses discovered in Diyala. Reuters notes 2 corpses were discovered in Iskandariya.

Counting corpses discovered, that is at least 91 Iraqis who have died.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when his patrol was attacked with small arms fire in a southern section of the Iraqi capital June 5." This brings ICCC's total number of US service members who have died since the start of the illegal war to 3496 and the toll for June thus far to 19. The ever rising death toll comes as Dan Balz and Jon Cohen (Washington Post) report on a new ABC-Washington Post poll that finds increasing discontent with the Bully Boy and the Democratically controlled Congress "has left satisfaction with the overall direction of the country at its lowest point in more than a decade" with many voicing disasisfaction with the direction of the country (six out of ten) and most saying that the illegal war has not increased the safety of the US (53%).

In media news, as independent media continues to be under attack, News Dissector Danny Schechter's "
Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of
Mediachannel.org which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"

Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). June 7th, he will discuss his book with Amy Goodman at The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:15). Admission is $5 per person and students (with ID) can attend for free. Pilger will sign copies of his book afterwards and Amy Goodman will sign copies of her latest book (written with her brother David Goodman) Static. "For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or
boxoffice@newschool.edu. For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or ruth@nationbooks.org For more information, click here or e-mail pilgerny@gmail.com." He will also be interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Thursday June 7th.June 11th, Pilger will be in Los Angeles at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (244 S. San Pedro St.) and will discuss his book and show his documentary beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). The price of admission to the even is five dollars. "Directions, maps, and parking info at: http://www.jaccc.org/directions.htmPresented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office: 213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or ruth@nationbooks.org For more information, email pilger.la@gmail.com." June 13th finds him in San Francisco showing his film and discussing his book at Yerba Beuna Center for Arts (beginning at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm) and the price of admission is $15 general and $5 for students. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at http://www.ybca.org/. In person tickets at YBCA Box office located inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third. (Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.) For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or ruth@nationbooks.org For more information, email pilgersf@gmail.com." From San Francisco, he moves on to Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists. To attend the conference, the fee is $85. For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker, International Socialist Review, and Haymarket Books. For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail info@socialismconference.org For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or ruth@nationbooks.org. For more information, email info@socialismconference.org." The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.