Friday, May 18, 2007

Law and Disorder: John Ehrenberg, Liz McIntyre

Friday at last! Weekend, weekend, cry when it ends, weekend! :D

Let me talk about this week's Law and Disorder and don't you say, "Mike, they didn't have an episode!" Not on WBAI (they did a two hour special during the fundraising and Ruth may write about that this week). There was a new episode and this included a segment where John Ehrenberg (author of Servants of Wealth: The Right’s Assault on Economic Justice) spoke at the Left Forum this year with a speech that was called "Bush & Co.'s War on Civil Liberties and What it Means For Our Future." This was a really great speech and don't expect me to summarize it. He was looking at "the contemporary right" as "a political project" for some time and he was trying to provide context to it. Here's an excerpt:

And it's happened from the grassroots to the top of the movement. . . What we're witnessing . . . from the grassroots all the way through you're seeing a much more organized, a much more excited, a much more militant and a much more aggressive right wing. And what I mean by that is that you have to look not only at the Bush administration which is arguably the most radically right wing administration certainly in the country's recent history. But you have to look also at the Congress. The Congressional Republicans beginning, certainly from 1994 on, that's 13 years now, . . . you're dealing with a radically right wing Republican party from which as we all know from last elections whatever remnants of east coast Republican moderation have been long expelled. and at the grass roots itself, this is a very, very radical movement. So one of the questions is why? What's going on to produce this tendency? And how does it advance this right wing theory . . .?
. . .
In some sense this whole intensification of this radical project really took a leap forward after 9-11 and we all know that this is what happens in times of terrorism and what happens in in times of crisis and war is that already existing tendencies tend to get exaggerated and tend to get intensified and that's certainly what's happened here.
And it does seem as though a lot of people around the president a lot of the people in Congress and a lot of people at the grassroots were generally freaked out and super worried about what had developed after 9-11 and sought ways in which to cope with a new environment of threat and of danger. On the other hand these tendencies always had been there in the radical right and they were intensified and used for people for whom 9-11 was a present and for whom Osama bin Laden turns out to be their great ally. So when you look at the various pieces of the contemporary right there are authoritarian tendencies in almost all of them. And the contemporary right is a coalition like most political movements and it's a coalition of some elements who in some sense disagree with each other and are in conflict with each other and historically have been at war with each other and on the other hand come together around certain shared projects. There are lots of elements of this coalition there are signs now that they're beginning to fray a little bit. But for our purposes for the purpose of trying to figure out the war on civil liberties there are a couple of elements of these coalitions that are important. One of them are are the moral authoritarians. Originating in the south, people who have long been calling for a strong Christian state to regulate people's private behavior and legislate morality and get the country back to God. And we can go back to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and all those guys coming out of the south these people were able to blend religious revivalism and excitement on the one hand with old fashioned political authoritarianism on the other. So that's one piece of it. These people are mostly worried about domestic affairs and they mostly arose as a reaction to the, to what they perceived as the catastrophic breakdown of authority in the sixties and particularly as it manifested itself in the women's movement and racial matters.
So as they call for a restoration of male authority and as they call for a restoration of racial peace
they were not afraid to call on the state as their chief alignist.
And when you read people like Falwell and as unpleasant as it is it makes sense to do it they're calling for a Christian state and they're calling for a Christian government.
So that's one piece of it. Another piece of it for our purposes tends to focus on foreign policy and these are the neoconservatives and in some respect the neocons and the Christian warriors of the south share certain presumptions but they also disagree about lots.
Many of the neocons are Eastern, cosmopolitan, Jewish intellectuals. Many of them, as they themselves point out, were defenders of the New Deal, they see themselves as social reformers. They were friendly to FDR. They didn't much like Lyndon Johnson and the war on poverty, but in foreign affairs these are authoritarian state-ists. Their major concern was with the restoration of American authority in the international sphere and the restoration of presidential authority when it comes to conducting foreign policy. We'll come back to that in a second.
When it comes to certain issues the Southern based moral authoritarians on the one hand and the neocons in matters of foreign policy on the other don't agree about a whole lot. The necons have no use for the moralizing Christianizing project of the American south and the people in the south are suspicious of the neocons secularism and their tendency at times to support social reform. So even as there are wide areas of agreement around presidential authority and the restoration of the state there are serious disagreements and you can see now as this movement begins to fray apart you begin to see some of the consequences of this disagreement.

For those able to listen online, you can hear it at Law and Disorder. That was the second segment and the first segment was an interview with Liz McIntyre about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Heidi Boghosian (National Lawyers Guild) conducted the interview and it was about how elderly people with alzheimers being implanted with chips. If you think, "Oh good! They can track them if they get lost!" Forget it. McIntyre explained that the chips do not track. This is just an effort by the manufactorers to get in on a 'ground floor' and start establishing a 'presence' because they are losing money. Heidi pointed out it was like turning the elderly into "bar coded packages of meat." To sell it, they're saying it will contain their medical history and conditions. But they have a waiver everyone has to sign that states they can't sue if the databases are down -- which does happen and has happened. Certain radio waves will interfere with it and "get this" (McIntyre said) that includes in ambulances. This was a good segment and this is something they've covered before (with McIntyre who's been a guest before -- at least twice she's been on before, I think).

Beau wondered if Tony was embarrassed by the story I told yesterday? He was so mad and so pissed and he's never speaking to me again. Joke! :D Tony said I could write about it or I wouldn't have mentioned it.

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

Friday, May 18, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, day 7 passes with no news of the whereabouts of the 3 missing US soldiers, the US miliarty announces more deaths, America's ABC announces the death of two of their journalists in Iraq . . .

US military announced that they were continuing the search "for three missing U.S. Soldiers who are believed to have been abducted . . . Saturday in Quarghuli Village". The soldiers remain missing. One identification that has been made is the fourth soldier killed on Saturday. CNN reports that he has been identified as Anthony J. Schober of Reno, NV.
CNN lists the three missing soldiers as being: Byron W. Fouty, Alex R. Jimenez and Joseph J. Anzack Jr. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes: "The manhunt has involved an extraordinary array of resources, including helicopters, drones, manned aircraft, forensic experts, FBI interrogators and dogs that can sniff for bombs and bobieds."
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, yesterday, "the wear was showing, not just on the soldiers obsessed with finding their comrades but also on the hamlets that dot the region southwest of Baghdad, which is blessed with groves of elegant date palms and riddled with pro-Al Qaeda insurgents. Hundreds of local men have been detained for questioning, leaving women, children and legions of ferociosly barking dogs in charge of Iraqi towns such as Rushdi Mullah, a community of 86 households under a virtual siege by troops looking for their buddies."

snapshot noted: ". . . protests take place in Baghdad, . . ." That was it (my apologies). The protests were described yesterday by Thomas Wagner (AP): "In northern Baghdad, about 200 Iraqis marched down a street in the mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab, shouting slogans and carrying banners demanding that the thousands of US soldiers conducting a security crackdown in the capital stop creating forward operating bases in neighbourhoods and searching homes for suspected insurgents and militiamen." Thursday protest resulted from the tensions that Susman describes today. Today was day seven of the 3 US troops being missing and, only on day seven, did the New York Times decide it was front page news (Damien Cave's "Hunt for 3 G.I.'s in Iraq Slowed by False Trails"). Also in the paper is Paul von Zielbauer's report on the just revealed story (AP broke this yesterday) about the army's investigation of the June 2006 attack and kidnappings (2 US soldiers) and later deaths revealed that the dead "had been left for up to 36 hours without supervision or enough firepower or support to repel even a small group of enemy fighters." No one in the Times draws the obvious comparison from the June 2006 events and the attack last Saturday. This despite the fact that the report on the 2006 attack noted the 25 minute arrival by the "quick reaction force." Last Saturday's attack took one hour before other troops arrived. Or one hour until Wednesday when the US military changed their story and began insisting that it took 30 minutes. The report on the 2006 attack wasn't criticizing the responders -- it was noted that the distance plotted was too great -- a command issue, not an on the ground issue. The same thing appears to have happened with last Saturday's attack.

As the war drags on, some work to end it.
Judith Scherr (The Berkeley Daily Planet) reports US war resister Agustin Aguayo took part in "a gathering Tuesday morning outside City Hall sponsored by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, Courage to Resist and the Ehren Watada support committee. The event was to celebrate the city's first Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters Day, an event to be observed annually every May 15." Monday, pre-trial motions begin for Ehren Watada -- the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the first officer to be court-martialed (in February, it ended in a mistrial and double jeopardy should prevent him from being court-martialed again). Also on Monday, airs Questioning War-Organizing Resistance from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST and will address the issue of war resistance with guests including Pablo Paredes, Michael Wong, Jeff Paterson and Camilo Mejia. More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC).

Camilo Mejia's just released
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) traces his journey. From pages 224-225:

Through media contacts from before I went underground, I had gotten the contact information for a man named Steve Robinson, a retired Special Forces veteran who led an organization called the National Gulf War Resource Center, which provides support to veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Steve in turn put me in touch with Tod Ensign, the director of the soldiers' rights organization called
Citizen Soldier.
Thus a couple of weeks after the end of my leave I found myself on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue outside the address that Tod had given me over the phone. Looking at the building from the street, I thought at first I had arrived at the fancy headquarters of a well-funded organization. Once inside, however, I found that the
Citizen Soldier offices were quite modest. Furthermore, far from the uptight, heartless image I'd always had of attorneys, Tod turned out to be a down-to-earth kind of guy, with a big smile and a physical resemblance to Christopher Walken -- a similarity only enhanced by his heavy New York City accent. As a young attorney in the sixties and seventies, Tod had been involved in the Vietnam GI resistance movement, and had helped underground soldiers living abroad with safe passage back to the United States, a legal defense, and the means to get their stories out to the media.
As soon as I spoke with Tod the door to a new world opend up before my eyes. I went from feeling powerless and alone to realizing that there was a whole network of people and groups, from women's rights organizations and antiwar veterans to military families and religious groups, who all felt as I did about the war.
Tod and I discussed how I was going to handle my absence from the military. We agreed that I should do everything I could to avoid getting arrested and then give myself up voluntarily while insisting in court on my right to be legally discharged from the service. This strategy of surrendering myself would defeat the charge of desertion, which is roughtly defined as unauthorized absence from the military with the intent to remain permanently away.

Mejia has been taking part in a speaking tour that wraps up today:

Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Tod Ensign, who Camilo Mejia wrote of, also started up the
Different Drummer Cafe where a group of Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke in March. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Matt Hrutkay today:

About a week and a half ago I was browsing through the VA Web site. They have a section in there devoted to PTSD. It has a guide for VA medical providers, doctors, psychologists, etc. that are dealing with people coming back from Iraq having these issues. And they have in there an encouragment to physicians to diagnose people with "adjustment disorder," "anxiety disorder," and "personality disorder." The reason they're doing that is so they can claim that there was a pre-existing condition before I joined the army and my issues have nothing to do with being blown up twenty-one times.
According to statistics, 18 percent of soldiers coming back from Iraq suffer some form, mild or severe, of PTSD. That's 18 percent according to an army physician at the VA. Of those, add to that people like me who have multiple symptoms of this but still get diagnosed as it being "my own problem." Add to that, people who are scared to go to mental health clinics because of their chain of command, because they're scared they won't get promoted. Because they're scared their buddies will make fun of them. I think you can then see how much prevalent that issue is and what the numbers are probably more likely to be. I'm not going to say what percentage really have PTSD coming back because it would be a guess. But I think it's clear from my own experience that this issue is probably the most prevalent issue facing returning soldiers and it's being compltely ignored.

CODEPINK is in DC for the summer of activism and Rae Abileah shares, "Today when I was at Congress for a meeting I stopped by the underground subway between the House buildings and the Capitol as many Congressmembers were walking through to vote on something. Though I didn't have a specific bill to ask them about, I did shake many of their hands, and to every one I asked the question, 'Have you done something today to staop the war in Iraq?' 'Help us bring our troops home!' Because it is possible to walk these halls of Congress and feel very distant from the mere idea of war, it felt very effective be a constant voice about the conflict outside the passageway to the Capitol. Imagine if every time there was any vote in Congress, every member going from their office to the Capitol was confronted with the message that it is time to bring our troops home and get out of Iraq.
Our Congresspeople are for the most part behind the times in terms of public opinion about the war. Not only do we have to 'push' them to do the right thing, support key legislation, stop the war... we have to 'pull' them, by leading them towards the right direction. I envision hundreds of people here on a daily basis helping to pull Congress away from the Bush Agenda and towards peace. To increase our numbers from a dozen to a hundred... we need YOU! Click on the links to the right to find out how to join us in DC! Or raise a ruckus at your Congressperson's nearest office!" The links she was referencing are:

Apply to Join Us in DC
DC Pink House Info
DC Sumer Trainings
CODEPINK Women for Peace
Cindy Sheehan and a number of other individuals and organizations are working to make this summer one of activism and volume so that Congress not only grasps that the people have turned on the illegal war but that it is time to end it.

United for Peace & Justice notes:

Peace activists are surging on Washington DC -- to bear witness as Congress again takes up Iraq War funding and the Pentagon budget, and continues to hold hearings on civil liberties, torture, and more.
Click here for the latest legislative information.
May 15-July 31: SWARM on Congress
June and July: CODEPINK DC Activist House
UFPJ hopes you will get the word out: There is plenty to do in Washington, and a steady flow of people into the nation's capital will have a tremendous impact in the coming months. UFPJ endorses these efforts, and encourages other creative actions and projects, both in DC and around the country. (If you are organizing an action, please post it on our events calendar.)

Turning to Iraq, two journalists who worked for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) were killed in Iraq yesterday: Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf.
AFP reports they were "ambushed and killed as they returned hom from work at their Baghdad office" and notes: "At least 170 journalists and media professionals have been killed in the fighting that has gripped Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to the watchdog Reporters without Borders." AP quotes Terry McCarthy (ABC correspondent in Baghdad) stating: "They are really our eyes and ears in Iraq. Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out. . . . . Without them, we are blind, we cannot see what's going on." ABC notes:

Aziz is survived by his wife, his two daughters and his mother. Yousuf leaves behind his fiancee, his mother and brothers and sisters. Mike Tuggle, an ABC News producer who worked with Aziz, remembers a game of pool they played on his first trip to Baghdad.
"I had some down time and got into a game of pool with Alaa. He beat me badly. Just before he hit the last ball in he looked up at me and said, 'My name is Alaa Uldeen, but you can call me Aladdin, because I have his magic on the pool table," Tuggle wrote in an e-mail message.
"The balls they just disappear," Tuggle continued, "And his face lit up with that big smile of his."

In Iraq today . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack at Abu Dhaba killing one ("5 were injured including children"). Reuters reports: "A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle at an Iraqi police checkpoint in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four police said."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad, that following an explosion in Baghdad's Al Hurriyah, two people were killed (6 wounded), two police officers were shot dead in Al Wajihiya (2 more wounded) and Bku Shukr Saber ("Kurdish Iraqi army officer") was shot dead in Kirkuk.


Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports five corpses discovered in the Babil province. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 15 corpses in Baquba.

Today the
US military announced: "While conducting operations two MND-B Soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in separate attacks in the southern section of the Iraqi capital May 17. Three soldiers have been returned to duty." And they announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province, Friday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle."

IRIN reports on the educational crisis in Iraq and quotes Baghdad University's Professor Fua'ad Abdel-Razak, "Violence and lack of resources have undermined the education sector in Iraq. No student will graduate this year with sufficient competence to perform his or her job, and pupils will end the year with less than 60 percent of the knowledge that was supposed to have been imparted to them."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick post

Thursday and one day to the weekend! :D I'm starting late because of Tony. My brave bud is in the garage these days. His folks converted it to a room. And he's out there for because he's mister big college student. But he had mice! Or at least one. He got some poison and laid it out.
It says 4 to 5 days. He laid it out Sunday night. Well one (hopefully th eonly one) died. He didn't want me to clean it up but he did want me to be there while he did! :D He couldn't face it alone. So I was over there and then we hung out a bit.

Last night, I filled in for Rebecca with "Guest post by Mike" and Tony pointed out that Kat's "The Bono Times?" really works with it. I called her today and we laughed about being on the same wave length.

Okay, I'm starting late and I've got to study for a test so this is going to be quick. This is from James Vicini's "CIA leak destroyed Plame's career, her lawyer says:"

Bush administration officials destroyed Valerie Plame's career by disclosing her identity as a secret CIA operative, a lawyer for Plame and her husband said on Thursday in urging a federal judge to rule that their lawsuit can go forward.
"In the end, it's about egregious conduct by the defendants that ruined a woman's career," Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said as Plame sat silently in the courtroom.
But lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney, one of his former aides, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, White House political adviser Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed.

In case you forgot, Valerie Plame was a CIA agent and she was outed by the administration. Scooter Libby stood trial for lying about his actions when Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating this. He got convicted for lying. Richard Armitage showed up when things were getting hot to say, "I blabbed! I blab all the time! Can't keep a secret! Just a cheap gossip!" He says he told Bob Woodward and Bob Woodward says Armitage told him that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. Robert Novak outed Plame in print. Karl Rove was involved and it's a pretty good guess that Cheney ran the whole thing.

Joel Seidman's "Lawsuit resumes against Cheney, others. CIA leak civil judge says only president has 'unique' immunity:"

Kester said the Vice President's immunity to the lawsuit was "absolute."
But Judge Bates interjected that only the President has the "unique" immunities.
Erwin Chemerinsky, the Wilson's attorney said the case is about, "egregious conduct by defendants that ruined a woman's career."
In March at a House of Representatives hearing, Valerie Wilson testified and said, "My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White house and the State Department"
She described how it felt to see her true identity exposed in the morning paper, her career destroyed she said.
"I felt like I had been hit in the gut, it was over in an instant, I immediately thought of my family's safety."
Mrs. Wilson, whose identity was leaked to reporters in 2003, after her husband began criticizing the Administration, claims her constitutional rights were violated by the administration and is demanding compensation.
Several administration officials, including Armitage and Rove, disclosed Mrs. Wilson's identity to reporters.

So that's what's what with Plame. Attorneys for Armitage and Rove tried to argue that Cheney had immunity and the judge said no. So the case should be moving forward.

Now it's time for C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:

Thursday, May 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 3 US soldiers remain missing, protests take place in Baghdad, Chatham House issues another report (one the domestic mainstream will probably get behind this time), recruiters caught lying on tape and more.

This morning,
ICCC was reporting that the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war reached 3400. Today the US military announced: "Three Soldiers were killed and one was wounded when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdady May 17." So the 3400 marker has been surpassed -- 3403 is the current total. Michael Munk (Democracy Rising) calculates that the US military has seen "at least 55,471 casualties" during the same period. Meanwhile, for the sixth day, 3 US soldiers remain missing following a Saturday attack. Tina Susman and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) report: "Evidence indicated that the attackers used grenades and other hand-held explosives, and converged from several directions . . . Drag marks leading to tire tracks showed that the missing men were pulled from the area to vehicles about 45 away. The military is trying to determine whether the two Humvees were sufficient to guarantee the troops' protection and whether the patrol had taken necessary precautions. Those precautions would include not being positioned at a spot previously used by U.S. troops". As CNN noted yesterday, "Caldwell said the division headquarters is 'looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better." And possibly, a year from now we may know one way or another if the 7 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi were sitting ducks (4 of the 7 US soldiers and the Iraqi translator are dead) and who's responsible for that?

Almost a year ago a similar abductiion happened in the same region (and the ones claiming credit for the kidnapping also cited the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer). In that case, the 3 US soldiers were killed.
CBS and AP report: "Three U.S. soldiers slaughtered in a grisly kidnapping-murder plot south of Baghdad last June were not properly protected during a mission that was not well planned or executed, a military investigation has concluded. Two military officers have been relieved of their commands as a result of the litany of mistakes, but neither faced criminal charges, a military official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday." Yet despite that reality, the New York Times is not only not interested in front-paging the story (the story has never made the front page), they also aren't interested in pursuing how it happened. Just like they aren't interested in Abeer, war resisters . . .

Democracy Now! has regularly explored is war resisters and today
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with Agustin Aguayo who explained where his status currently stands: "Technically, I'm still in the military, because I have the right to an automatic appeal to the court-martial. And that is a long process. It could be up to two years. I have a rehearing in the courts in my civil suit against the Army in D.C., and I would like to be reddemed and I would like to be recognized . . . I'm challenging that I was wrongfully denied conscientious objector status. And so, I'm still essentially in the military. However, I don't have to report to any duty station. So I'm essentially free to live my life. And from here, I would like to share with others my experience. I think it's vital, it's crucial that people understand from a different perspective what is actually taking place, what I saw, what my conclusions were and why I couldn't return."

Aguayo joined Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Robert Zabala in
the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it which has two more scheduled date remaining:
Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them).

Always speaking truth to power,
Iraq Veterans Against the War. In March, a group spoke at
Different Drummer Cafe. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Adrienne Kinne

Since leaving the military and now that I've finished my degree in psychology, I've been working in VA (Veterans Adminstration) hospitals. I've worked at VA hospitals in Georgia and Virginia and now in Vermont and I've seen so many different soldiers. For the first time our VA hospitals are seeing active-duty soldiers because our Department of Defense hospitals cannot keep up with demand. I've seen a lot of people come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious injuries and a lot of serious things going on with their health. And it really makes me mad -- and I'm not here speaking as a VA employee, but I'm certainly allowed to speak about my experiences there. Not in any official capacity, but it makes me mad when I hear veteran after veteran telling me the difficulties they have getting their services. It makes me embarrassed to work for the VA and I don't want to feel that way because I actually want to work in the VA to help our veterans. It's just so frustrating.
There are so many things that are tied together. I saw one soldier who was stationed overseas and he was an MP and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because he saw our government do things to people that no person should ever have to see our government do. He said that he couldn't go into details because it's all classified, but he still felt that he was bound to military doctrine where you can't tell anything to anyone. But he has nightmares every night because he saw us tortuing people. He was at one of our secret, non-existent prisons and he saw people tortured and he cannot cope with what he has seen.

Turning to today's violence . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 dead from 4 Baghdad mortar attacks (8 wounded) and a police officer died from a Baladroz bombing (one more was left wounded). Reuters reports the death of a police officer from a grenade hurled into his Hilla home (three members of his family were injured) and a Baghdad bridge bombing that left two dead and five injured. AFP reports "in Najaf a street cleaner was killed when he lifted a bag of trash and set off a hand grenade." Thomas Wagner (AP) reports that Thursday saw the third day in a row of attacks on the heavily fortified Green Zone: "Terrified pedestrians raced for the safety of concrete bunkers. Motorists abandoned their cars and sprinted for cover. Sirens wailed and loudspeakers warned people to seek safety."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers shot dead in Baghdad (1 wounded), a seucirty worker for a clinic was shot dead in the Diyala province, an electrical engineer was shot dead in Basra, and an Iraqi police officer was shot dead in Salahuddi. Reuters notes a "police major" who was shot dead (so was his son) in Basra. AFP notes a police officer shot dead in Baiji and an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Kirkuk.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the corpses of Emad Ahmed Shareef was found in Kirkuk and 3 corpses in Baquba (one of which was a woman -- all "were shot many times in the head"). Reuters reports 2 corpses discovered in Latifiya. AFP reports the corpse count on Baquba has risen to 9.

On the heels of their previous report castigating Tony Blair for putting the interests of the US ahead of England, Chatham House issues another report. This one is entiteld (PDF format warning) "
Accepting Realities in Iraq." Chief points include that a series of civil wars is taking place in Iraq, that US political leaders (including the White House) have repeatedly lowered expectations on Iraq in the last year, that regional neighbors (Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) have more influence than does the US, that there is no "military solution," that power brokers must be reached out to and that Iraq is facing the possibility of collapse. "Muqtada al-Sadr cannot be ignored" is the heading of one section and before Bully Boy thinks Chatham House is on board with him there, they argue instead that efforts must be made to reach out to al-Sadr and that it is foolish to ignore his base, popularity and influence (they also argue that the Jaish al-Mahdi would continue with or without al-Sadr as its leader). Elsewhere in the paper, they argue for the Joe Biden option (splitting Iraq up into three regions and calling it a federation). At nine pages-plus of text, they make many recommendations and it's largely what one would expect from Brookings or any other centrist think tank in the US. They ignore serious realities and, it needs to be noted, they need to learn to source properly. The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune are owned by the same company and IHT has a stronger European presence (than does the Times) so it may make sense to source to IHT over the Times; however, Sudarsan Raghavan and Karin Brulliard work for the Washington Post, not the Boston Globe. Iraqi popular will is not merely discounted, it's ignored which either suggests Gareth Stansfield (author of the report) is unfamiliar with it or that he has no interest in what the people of Iraq might want for themselves. This is the attitude throughout in spite of the occassional sentence such as this: "In effect, Iraqi solutions will need to be found to Iraqi problems." Most alarming is that Stansfield seems completely unaware of the issues for Iraqi women.

Yifat Susskind (
MADRE), at CounterPunch, observes the attacks on women and their rights in Iraq and notes: "The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. . . The US also destroyed the Iraqi state, including much of the judicial system, leaving people more reliant on conservative tribal authorities to settle disputes and on unofficial 'religious courts' to mete out sentencing, including 'honor killings'." To repeat, Chatham House says nothing about that which doesn't seem to demonstrate "Accepting Realities in Iraq." The BBC's James Robbins characterizes the report as "unremittingly bleak." Imagine how much more so if it had really expored realities?

On the subject of the oil law,
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) covered it Sunday noting that it "was in serious trouble among Iraqi lawmakers" despite the "vital" importance the US government has placed on it. Andy Rowell (Oil Change) notes that London, Wednesday, was the site for a protest "oustide the Shell AGM".

In activism news,
Matthew Rotchschild (The Progressive) reports on Tim and Yvette Coil (husband and wife) who, in March, happened upon military recruiters attempting to enlist at their public library (Slow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Ohio) and, after getting permission from libary employees, began leaving cards warning people from enlisting. The military recruiters -- apparently never have been taught about freedom of speech -- made a scene, dragged in the library director and Tim Coil (Gulf War Veteran) was arrested. The case goes to trial June 5th. (Contact info can be found here.)

Also on the topic of recruiting,
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) notes Nashville's WTVF report (audio-video here) of recruiters asking a local man, Jay Mallard, to lie about being on Zolfoft (the man signed up, lied and killed himself) which led WTVF's news team to set up three cameras: "In each case, our undercover producer told recruiters that he was put on Zoloft by a physician for depression. Asked whether he could function without it, he said he wasn't sure. And there, inside those Army recruiting stations, we got the same advice described by Private Mallard's family. . . . Over and over, the recruiters tell us that it's OK to lie."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cindy Sheehan, Patrick Seale

Hump day. And it just been hard to figure out what to write tonight. I've been talking about that with Elaine and probably could have done two posts (even with my slow typing) if I'd just started. I really do admire the way C.I. does entries because it's never, "Oh, what am I going to write? What do I have to say?" It's always, "I have X amount of time and can't waste any getting bogged down." I mean, I could be having fun right now if I'd just buckled down. So live and learn and whine tomorrow -- my new motto.

This is from Patrick Seale's "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan and Iraq -- Both Countries Want the U.S. to Go:"

Afghanistan will be high on the agenda when NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visits President George W. Bush at his Texas ranch on May 20-21. The message de Hoop Scheffer has to convey is sombre: NATO is losing the war against the Taliban. A fundamental policy review is urgently needed.
The most important new development is that the Afghans themselves, sickened by war and mounting civilian casualties, want the United States and other foreign troops to leave. As President Hamid Karzai himself admitted, Afghan patience with foreign troops is "wearing thin" five years after the U.S. invasion. "It is difficult for us to continue to tolerate civilian casualties," he said at a press conference earlier this month.
On May 8, the Senate in Kabul approved a bill that called for negotiations with the Taliban, a ceasefire, and a date for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The proposed legislation demands that foreign forces should not engage the Taliban unless they are themselves attacked or have first consulted with the Afghan army, police and government.
The bill reflects a growing popular rebellion against heavy-handed American army tactics and aerial bombardments, which have brought death and destruction to many parts of Afghanistan. The bill has to be approved by the lower house of Parliament and by President Karzai before becoming law.
At much the same time in Baghdad, 144 members of Parliament -- out of a total of 275 -- signed a petition calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The petition is now being developed into a draft bill by the legal and foreign affairs committees of the Iraqi Parliament.
Following talks with the Pakistan government last week, de Hoop Scheffer himself declared that military force alone would not defeat the Taliban, but that reconstruction was the key to a durable peace in a country shattered by more than 25 years of conflict and civil war.
The problem, however, in both Afghanistan and Iraq is that, without security, no serious reconstruction can take place. The question arises, therefore, whether the violent campaigns against insurgents in both countries by U.S. and other foreign troops contribute to security or are themselves a cause of insecurity.

Do you realize that Bully Boy has two illegal wars that are just crapping out? It's awful that people are dying and he needs to be impeached but what does he talk to his family about at things like 4th of July? I've got an uncle who got fired from his job 3 years ago (he's got a job now) and it was right before Thanksgiving. Before we all got together, we were all warned do not talk about it, do not talk about it, DO NOT. So what do his parents do? Do they fax everyone a list of what can be talked about at 4th of July?

If they do, what's that list look like? I can't think of much that's not awkard for him. So they just stand around all day and then Jeb says something like, "Hey, nice sunset." Bully Boy howls, tears run down his face, he points at Jeb and says something in a high pitched voice no one can understand before running off. Mama Bush says, "Jeb! You know Bully Boy's increased global warming! How could you!"

And you saw on the news Tony Blair coming here and saying that the US didn't need to do this or that and need to keep butting in everywhere? I guess Poodle Tony's being consisent -- he's butting in to our business and telling us we need to butt in. Butt out, Tony. You're a joke in England and nobody likes you here. He's a weak little boy that everyone laughs at.

This is from Cindy Sheehan's "Kent State 37 Years Later:"

First of all, I would just like to say that I am not only in favor of impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney, but of trying them for war crimes and locking them both up in Guantanamo for the rest of their lives! I also agree with Tom (Hayden) that an "anti-war" movement is basically a self-destructive movement, because when our objectives are achieved, the movement is over. That is why we must call ourselves a "peace" movement so our movement will never end. There will always be a need for people who commit their lives to peace as strenuously as they commit their lives to the anti-war movement.
I can't begin to tell you how honored I am to have been invited here to speak on this historic occasion with the other speakers who have also felt the sting of war and the pain of loss and lingering regrets. I am indescribably moved to be adopted into the Kent State family and invite you all down to Camp Casey in Crawford this August to join our family!
Before the program started I took the chance to climb the hill and spend time at the places where Allison Krauss, Jeff Miller, Bill Schroeder and Sandy Scheuer each fell and I would like to share some thoughts that I had up there with you.
My first thought was of the randomness of violence. The four students who were killed that day just happened to occupy the same space as a National Guard bullet at the same time. Unlike those wounded, some pretty badly, those that perished that awful day were struck by the bullets in vitally important parts of their bodies. The places where the four fell, never to get up again, are marked in memorium to the stupidity and permanence of violence. One day, I hope to travel to Sadr City, Baghdad to see and stand in the spot where my son, Casey's, brain collided with an insurgent's bullet, taking his life by the same shapeless and dark entity that stole the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, on the same day: April 04.
This same entity took the lives of the young people here thirty-seven years ago, and at: Jackson State a few days later, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the myriad of South American countries that the USA has violently intruded in over the years. This thing, this force is hatred fueled by ignorance; hatred exploited by the corporate war machine and hatred perpetuated by the corporate prostitutes that run our government. Hatred that is systemic and endemic in our society because we don't see the other side as human--or we see our "enemies" as less human than ourselves. Kent State is not the first place that bottles, sticks, and rocks have been met with bullets and tear gas---it happens still notably to our Palestinian brothers and sisters and before in Northern Ireland among other places where people are oppressed.
I am sure when the students at Kent State were met with the Ohio National Guard many years ago they only saw riot gear and the faces of "the man." I just hung up the phone with a Vietnam combat veteran who at the time had just returned from a tour of duty in 'Nam. He recalled being ashamed and disgusted that he wore the same uniform as the National Guard who slaughtered the students. Soldiers do have hearts and souls and especially during the Vietnam quagmire many of them understood that their government was as Martin Luther King Jr had said three years and one month before the slaughter here: "the biggest perpetrator of violence." I am also equally sure that the National Guard troops did not see the students who were their age, their color, their nationality, as their brothers and sisters. Being so far away they could not look in the eyes of the young people they were about to murder and see the heart-light there that matched their own.
Just as in My Lai, Haditha, Fallujah, etc, no one was ever punished for the crimes against humanity that were perpetrated here on this sacred ground thirty-seven years ago today. If there is one lesson we failed to learn in 1970 that we must learn today, it's that wearing a uniform, badge, or a five-thousand dollar suit does not give a person the right or authority to kill another human being.

Is Cindy Sheehan going to run for Congress? I saw that online yesterday and I think we need people like her in Congress. I'm glad she said that about calling it the peace movement. Elaine and C.I. use that term and it can really grate on the nerves when someone calls it the anti-war movement and I asked Elaine about that awhile back and she said what Cindy's saying here. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for Cindy Sheehan. There was some 'left' guy online trashing her this week and I saw that and thought, "She really is powerful." She's got to be for him to be trashing her and whining about the 'rush' to support Cindy Sheehan. That 'rush' has been going on since most of us saw her stand up in Summer of 2005. He's just whining because he can't stand up and no one cares what he thinks. She's launching the Summer of Action and I think we're going to see some real action. (I'm not saying we haven't before. It's been building and building. And each summer we see more activism.)

Okay, I've got to stop because I'm doing something else tonight and I'll mention it tomorrow. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the 3 missing US soldiers remain missing, Congress sings along to Aimee Mann's "Going Through the Motions," the State Department doesn't want to go the Green Zone, and Chalabi chuckles.

In his newly published book,
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, war resister Camilo Mejia shares how empty talk went over in Iraq (p. 138):

Now that people were realizing bullets fly two ways in war, the gung-ho attitudes that had predmoninated when we were back in Jordan were seldom heard. Pretty much everyone wanted to go home. This new attitude was evidenced by rumors in the unit about how this politician or that officer was trying his best to get us out of Iraq. We called such rumors "cheese," so if anyone had supposed news regarding our departure from Iraq they would announce it by saying: "Guess what the latest cheese is?" This would generally be followed by a story about how some senator back home had written a letter to the Pentagon questioning why we'd been in Iraq for so long, and how come this, and how come that. It never amounted to anything except empty rumor.

Proved again today as the US Senate . . . did nothing.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) laid it out yesterday: "I don't give a damn who 'goes on record' against the war. I care who actually tries to end it. To do that will require voting for bills to end it, AND VOTING AGAINST bills to fund it. Otherwise, you're 'on the record' both for and against the war." Today some Senators went on the record as a proposal by Senator Russ Feingold and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would have ended funds for US combat operations on March 31, 2008. Police actions and 'terrorism' fighting would have still continued under the proposal. As Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse (New York Times) reported this morning, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton waited until yesterday to weigh in and only after "Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, seeking to draw more attention to his presidential candidacy, began broadcasting advertisements on Tuesday in states with early primary elections, highlighting his support for the legislation. 'Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me,' he said. Hours later, at least two of his colleagues did."

The full text of Senator and 2008 presidential contender
Chris Dodd's advertisement was: "Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq's civil war. That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the president's blank check and set a time table for bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me. I'm Chris Dodd I'm running for president. I approved this message because we can't just wait for a new president -- we should have the convictions to stand up to this one."

So that's what it takes to get Hillary and Barack semi-off their butts? Today, the vote was taken.
Noam N. Levey (Los Angeles Times) reports that 29 senators voted for it and 67 voted against it and notes that Senator and presidential contender Joe Biden was one of the 29 voting for the Fiengold-Reid proposal. "I'm not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy," CBS and AP quote Joe Biden stating, "about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on." William Branigin (Washington Post) observes, "It was one of a series of largely symoblic votes today on war spending proposals, testing support for restrictions on President Bush's war policy on Iraq ahead of negotiations with the House on legislation to provide stopgap funding." Also voted on was Senator John Warner's proposal that set timetables . . . Woops! He changed it before the vote so that Bully Boy would be able "to waive the restrictions on U.S. funding." But remember, John Warner swore come September he will get tough. That leaves him three months to grow a spine. Russ Feingold issued a statement: "Today the Senate took another step toward acknowledging the will of the American people, who want to end this misguided mission in Iraq. A majority of Senate Democrats are on the record clearly stating that the President's Iraq policy is a failure and that we need to take real action to change course. Keeping 150,000 American troops in the middle of an Iraqi civil war both hurts our national security and impedes the ability to reach a political solution in Iraq. We must continue to rachet up the pressure on the Preisdent and supporters of this irresponsible war to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can refocus on those who attacked us on 9/11."

Something isn't right
I don't know how I know
But baby, it's despite
Your dog and pony show
I can hear it coming
You're only going through the motions, baby
With your engines humming
You're just going through the motions, baby

-- "Going Through the Motions," written by Aimee Mann off her CD
The Forgotten Arm

And while they do that, 3 US soldiers remain missing. On Saturday, an attack in Al-Taqa, outside Mahmudiya, a "
stationary observation post" that was apprently left unaided and left out in the open for too long, came under attack. 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator were killed. 3 other US soldiers were missing and are assumed captured by an organization that the US military assumes has ties to al Qaeda. Sudarsan Raghavan and Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) noted the US military's identification thus far: James David Connell Jr., Daniel W. Courneya and Christopher E. Murphy are dead while Anthony J. Schober, Alex R. Jimenez, Joseph J. Anzack Jr., Byron W. Fouty are identified as missing -- one listed as missing is dead but the miltary has yet to be able to determine which one. For Joe Anzack's moter this is a replay. Louis Sahagun and Ashraf Khalil (Los Angeles Times) spoke with Theresa Anzack who explained that only three weeks prior, she had been infored that her son was dead. Joseph Aznack, Joe's father, spoke on NBC's Today this morning that "his son was not the soldier who was killed."

One family member who does know the fate of her loved one is Jennifer Courneya whose husband Daniel Courneya who is among the three declared dead thus far.
Speaking to
Joe Mahoney and Rich Schapiro (New York Daily News), Jennifer Courneya, while turning her late husband's fatigues in to a military supply store, noted of her husband, "He was so funny, very loving. He was talking about starting a family." She also shared her feelings "that we don't need to be [in Iraq] anyway" and that her husband "told me in a letter I just got yesterday if he had met me before he went in the service, he would have never gone. He really didn't want to be there." If you wonder why the widow is left out of the press you see, consider that the outlets can't deal with what she has to say. (Jennifer Courneya is being left out of a lot of coverage on the death of her husband -- even coverage that finds the time to interview students at a high school he went to.)

CNN reports that the hunt for the missing includes dropping 150,000 leaflets and "offering a $200,000 reward for any information about the location of three missing American soldiers, or the identity of their kidnappers". The Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Little Willie Caldwell, insists to CNN that the soldiers attacked Saturday had support and maintains that the support was only 1640 feet away. For that to be true, they'll need to explain why 'support' came in the form of the "unmanned aerial vehicle" which, for the record, apparently got there much to late to deteact the missing soldiers or where they might have gone. Little Willie does admit that "the patrol was 'static throughout th enight with concertina wire somewhat around their position'." Somewhat? And a commander rushes in to say Little Willie was wrong, it didn't take an hour to get to the burning wreckage, it took only 30 minutes. Only 30 minutes? Did they travel by tricycle? "500 meters" is 1640 feet. "500 meters" is less than 1 mile (it's .31 miles). They're scrubbing the store to change the one hour to 30 minutes and that might fool some but it's not fooling all the rank and file serving in Iraq -- some grasp this was something that could have and should have been avoided. Not a screw up by the ones who were stationed, but by the ones who stationed them there and the real question is how far up does the screw up go? Little Willie says the military is "looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better."

"There's no one left to call me, 'Mom'."
Erin Allday (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on Mother's Day for Karen Meredith whose son Kenneth Ballard died in Iraq three years ago and spent her Sunday addressing the First Unitarian Universalist Church: "He left the day after Mother's Day, and he said he'd make it up to me when he returned. Today is my third Mother's Day that I will not pick up the phone and hear his voice." Also speaking were Iraq Veterans Against the War's Sean O'Neill and war resister Pablo Paredes: "My mother was a very moral person. She instilled in me a sense of brotherhood. War is the antithesis of motherhood."

Paredes, Camilo Mejia,
Agustin Aguayo and Robert Zabala are taking part in the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197
Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them). Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript of four members who spoke last March at the Different Drummer Cafe. This is from Matt Howard's talk:

I was given a whole pallet of humanitarian rations on my truck, so the first thing I started to do is hand them out to all the children I saw standing on the sides of the road in the south of Iraq. My first sergeant came up to me and said, what the hell do you think you're doing? Those aren't for the children. I got all the way to Baghdad and all the way back to Kuwait and was ordered to bury these things. Our commanding general said that we don't want to give the Iraqis the wrong impression of why we are there.
So let's cut through the bullsh*t, we were never there to help the people. Our first objective was to secure the oil fields in the south of Iraq. Now we hear that it's for the hearts and minds? We've got to be honest. Coming out of the military I'm told that I'm really courageous for speaking out. No. I feel I have a moral responsibility to speak out. The sh*t I've seen you're not going to see on the news or read it in the newspapers. We as veterans have a responsibility to tell the truth of what we've seen in Iraq and let it be known. Speak about the reality of actually what's happening on the ground. The reality that we will never quell the insurgency, they are fighting a foreign military occupation. We are treating them like sh*t. We go and clear an area and they just go somewhere else and when we leave they come back, and this will go on and on until we finally admit that we're not supposed to be there. We never should have been there in the first place. This war was based on lies. As I like to say, you can't win a crime, you can only stop it.

Someone explain it to the US Congress (the Bully Boy isn't listening and won't): YOU CAN'T WIN A CRIME, YOU CAN ONLY STOP IT.

Until you do, the chaos and violence drags on.
Reuters reported this morning that, on Tuesday, a truck bombing -- using chlorine gas -- killed 45 people (60 wounded) in Abu Sayda. Today?


The Telegraph of London reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone for the second day in a row. AP reports that the nine mortar rounds killed 2 and left 10 wounded ("No American casualities were reported"). Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the Green Zone victims were "eight Iraqis and two non-American foreigners," and notes: a roadside bombing in Baghdad that claimed 1 life and left 3 wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life and left 1 person injured, a mortar attack in south Baghdad that left one person wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack the injured one person, a Diyala car bombing that killed an Iraqi soldier, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that killed Riyadh's deputy mayor and a city board member, a Hawija roadside bombing that wounded a police officer ;


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Diyala shooting death of a member of the Kurdstand Democracy Party, the Baghdad shooting death of a police colonel, an attack on a Diyala police house that left 3 guards dead and 2 more injured, and, in Basra, "a child was killed and two civilians injured when policemen shot" into a crowd of "people who were furious as they have no power suppy since yesterday".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the head of a police officer in the Diyala province and 5 in Basra.

Remember that no "American casulities were reported" in today's attack on the heavily fortified Green Zone?
Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) notes "the unease is growing among career State Department employees in Baghdad over what many fear is inadequate security in the Green Zone, a 4-square-mile sector in downtown Baghdad where acess is strictly limited and that until recently had a reputation for being relatively secure." And life just outside the Green Zone? Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) speaks with serial liar and war starter Ahmed Chalabi and Cockburn notes: "Mr Chalabi's own justification for encouraging the US to invade is simple. He says he favoured the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the US but not the subsequent occupation of Iraq to which he attributes all the disasters that followed. It is not an argument that goes down well in Washington or London." Chalabi also brags of "the US and Britain . . . having unwittingly committed a revolutionary act in the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. 'The US found that it had dismantled the cornerstorne of the Arab security order'."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Law and Disorder, Media Matters

Okay, tonight I'm talking about Law and Disorder and that's not this week's Law and Disorder, it's the week before. I got behind. But as Billie wrote me today, "You do know they're doing episodes, right?" Yeah. I knew about last week but didn't have time to get to it. But if you hear it WBAI, you need to know that because WBAI is in fund raising mode. (Ruth says Heidi Boghosian, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith and Geoff Brady were all on Monday for two hours raising money. Ruth may end up doing a report this week, by the way.) But even though they're in fund raising mode at the station, Law and Disorder is producing new episodes because they air on more than just one station. So even if you heard the two hour broadcast Monday (I didn't), that's not this week's episode.

And if you're tired of fund raising or they don't have your show on, do what Billie did today, just go over to Law and Disorder and you can listen to episodes. Billie listened to three. Heidi Boghosian was discussing (remember this is last week's episode) the justice system in Texas with Will Harrell who is with Texas ACLU and National Lawyers Guild. Billie wanted me to add to something Will Harrell said. He was talking about Paris, Texas and saying it was "rural." It's not a big city and she agrees it's rural but she wants it noted that they have Health & Human Services and other things there. She wrote, "Remember Big Sandy, that's in East Texas and that's rural." Big Sandy was one of the places we went to speak. Paris is close to Houston if I remember right (we didn't go to Paris when we spent the week in Texas talking about the war). Billie wanted it noted that it's "rural" but there's way more rural. She listed several towns that were smaller. And she wanted me to note that if you talk racism in East Texas, you really need to talk about some of the towns in Van Zandt county. She wrote about a town called Grand Saline that had no African-Americans there until one family moved in during the 90s and that made the national news. They also have a section of the town called "Pole Town" that some think is "Po Town" but it's "Pole Town" and called that because they used to lynch African-Americans from the pole back at the start of the 20th century. Makes you wonder why a Hack Actor would have a BBQ place out there? Or maybe it tells you why he would? Betty wrote about Big Sandy (which she really enjoyed, the people and the place, we spoke to a lot of African-Americans there) and Billie wanted to be sure that anyone that hasn't been to East Texas didn't get confused because between Betty's words and my pictures, people listening might think that Paris is like Big Sandy. Paris is bigger and has more business than Big Sandy.
(Billie wasn't questioning the issue of racism. She's African-American and agreed with the points Harrell was making. But she wanted to be sure that if people who only knew rural East Texas from Betty's piece and my pictures knew that Paris was bigger than Big Sandy.) So Will Harrell was talking about the 14 year old African-American female, Shaquanda Cotton, who got put into prison (for 7 years) for allegedly shoving a hall monitor while a White kid burned down the family home and she ended up with probation. He was talking about how there were sections of Texas where the civil rights movement had never registered. I think most people know the story and since I used so much of Billie's e-mail, I'll move on to the next guest.

Deborah Small (Break the Chains) was speaking, at the Left Forum, about the drug laws and prisons and how we're putting away all these people for drug use and how the media creates a craze (like crack) that's really not realistic. She talked about how cocaine wasn't the drug of choice for most drug users in NYC who were African-American, it's pot. (I can't spell the "m" word and am too lazy to look it up.) So now these "Oh we've got a crack epidemic! We've got a coke epidemic! We've got to have tough laws!" means that 70% of the drug arrests are African-American youths and it's for pot. So these people (people my age and younger) are being thrown in prisons for pot. She said, "We spend more money locking young men up now than we do in sending them to college." She also said, "We've basically sent a message to youth of color that we would rather incarcerate you then educate you." That was a really good speech and you should check it out. We also got the woman singing "Seven Nation Army" (White Stripes song that I love). Then they went back to Deborah Small's speech where she talked about the slave labor that prisons are used for, getting prisoners to construct furniture and other stuff.

The last segment was Joel Kovel speaking at the Brecht Forum and he's an author who wrote Overcoming Zionism. He talked about the importance of access to the water, aquifiers and stuff. It was good but I meant to ask Rebecca about it and forgot.

This is from MediaMaters' "Sunday Shutout: The Lack of Gender & Ethnic Diversity on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows:"

Not only are the Sunday morning talk shows on the broadcast networks dominated by conservative opinion and commentary, the four programs -- NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday -- feature guest lists that are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male.
And the top-rated Sunday show -- Meet the Press -- shows the least diversity of all. The NBC program is the most male and nearly the most white (Face the Nation beats it out by 1 percentage point), and it has the highest proportion of white males to all other guests.
A breakdown of the guests who appeared on the Sunday shows in 2005 and 2006 shows that men dominate these shows. In fact, men outnumber women by a 4-to-1 ratio on average.

Men outnumber women by a 4-to-1 ration? Isn't that the same as The Nation as we've documented over and over at The Third Estate Sunday Review? Yes, it is. And I'm going to agree with Elaine's "Ron Jacobs, Paual Rothenberg, feminism," Ava and C.I. have added heat to this issue. Ma (Trina's Kitchen) agrees with that too and told me I had to note that post by Elaine. (She said she didn't care if I noted her or not but Elaine's post had to be noted. :D)

That's awful that the Sunday chat & chews do that. It's awful that The Nation does it. It needs to be called out and until it is forget about anything changing. But that's the thing, Ava and C.I. have called this nonsense out and they've got this intense, devoted following. I mean, I've got complaints about yesterday's post saying I didn't write enough about Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The 'boys' are back in town." :D They're superstars! :D

On the snapshot. Before I get to it. Wally called and wanted me to share this. C.I. had an idea for something and wanted to be sure it wasn't something Wally and Cedric were planning to address. It's the last item in the snapshot and Wally had to promise (1) they weren't planning on using it and (2) they had something planned before C.I. would use. So here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and read to the end for the funny:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, 3 US soldiers remain missing, war resistance gets active (within the military and outside of it), and Bully Boy finds his soul mate (maybe hooked them up?).

Starting with war resistance. Today is International C.O. Day.
Susan Galleymore (Raising Sand, KZSU) interviewed two war resisters of the current illegal war, Camilo Mejia, Agustin Aguayo, as well as David Harris (Vietnam) and Aimee Allison (Gulf War). Both Mejia and Aguayo spoke of the promise of advancement outside the military -- of joining because of promised college benefits and the chance to advance for themselves and their family (Aguayo has two twin daughters, Camilo has one daughter). Late yesterday, Paul McNulty, Deputy AG, stated he would be stepping down and cited "financial realities" resulting from "college-age children" -- well, gee, McNulty, get your kids to sign up. No, that's not why McNulty stepped down but it's a good cover because college costs a lot of money (a great deal more since the Bully Boy began occupying the White House). It's not only dishonest it's insulting at a time when we have a poverty draft (for more on that see Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq).

In fact, we need to stop there and really absorb that. At a time when the poor, working poor and economically struggling enlist to have a shot at college it is appalling that the comfortable McNulty wants to slink off, he uses that excuse.

Mejia spoke with Galleymore about the difference in economic status that resulted from his moving from Latin American (Costa Rica) to the United States. Mejia tells his story in
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia. In the book, he covers his return to the United States (as a small child, his mother brought Camilo and his brother to the US before deciding to move to Costa Rica) (pp. 14 -15):

Furthermore, the staff did not understand that even though I was in eleventh grade in Costa Rica, I was a senior. They insisted that I take two more years in order to graduate, and I ended up having to attend night school in an attempt to do two years in one. A good portion of the students in the night classes were troublemakers who had been kicked out of day school for disciplinary reasons.
I also had to work for a living for the first time in my life. My mother had rented out our apartment in Nicaragua, and my father was still sending some child support money, but even with this extra income my mother's salary as a supermarket cashier wasn't enough to pay the rent and put food on the table. So I got a job at a fast-food restaurant, where I swept the parking lot, put the chairs down from the tables, and cleaned the bathrooms every single morning before moving to the kitchen to flip burgers for six hours. After work I had a two-hour break before going to night school, so my days started at five-thirty in the morning and didn't end until I returned home from school at ten at night.
Graduation was also very different from what I'd imagined. There was no prom night for me, nor did I have any friends with whom to celebrate. I just walked into the school principal's office and he handed me my diploma. I think he said "Congratulations and good luck, son." I went to the local supermarket and sat outside on a bench, staring at m diploma and wondering if this was all that happened when you graduated.
The following year, after I attended a community college for two semesters, the government terminated my federal student financial aid, claiming I made enough money at my dead-end job to pay my own tuition. I found myself without any real prospects for the future. It seemed as though I was working my butt off for a life that offered nothing at all.
It was these circumstances that led me to join the U.S. Army in Miami at age 19. The recruiter didn't really have to work hard to get me to sign the treacherous contract. The army offered financial stability and tuition, the military held out the promise of helping me claim my place in the world.

Joshua Key, Ryan Johnson and many other war resisters can tell that story. Many within the military today can tell that story. It's why Casey Sheehan joined up. So for McNulty to hide behind "college-age children" as he abandons the sinking ship isn't just laughable it's insulting.

Donna Jones (Santa Cruz Sentinel) notes that Mejia and Aguayo are on a speaking tour with war resisters Robert Zabala and Pablo Paredes and reports: "Paredes, a former Navy petty officer, disputed the Army's figures on resisters, saying the counseling hot line he staffs has received 40,000 calls. Many apply for CO status, but get discouraged in the face of delays and intimidation, Paredes said, adding the military definition is very low." Aguayo noted, on Raising Sand Radio, that his struggle to be granted CO status continues (the DC Court of Appeals turned down the motion on Feb. 16th). Jones provides the Army's released figures relating to CO's (an undercount, to be sure): 2001 - 18 approved and 5 denied; 2002 - 17 approved and 6 denied; 2003 - 31 approved and 20 denied; 2004 - 30 approved and 30 denied; 2005 - 23 approved and 38 denied; 2006 (first 9 months only) - 33 approved and 9 denied.

Tonight and through Friday,
the speaking out tour continues:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Friday May 18 - Berkeley7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

And speaking out goes on around the country on campuses, on streets . . . At the GI coffeehouse
Different Drummer Cafe, Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adrienne Kinne, Matt Howard, Drew Cameron and Matt Hrutkay used their voices. Eric Ruder (ISR) captures the discussion and we'll note Drew Cameron (and try to note each of the four this week): "The thing that is most important for us who have been there, for us who are affected by this, for us who know what's going on -- it's just like Matt was saying -- we've got to be honest, we've got to be truthful about what we did, what we're doing, and how we're being treated. . . . So when we get back and we have problems and we need educational opportunities and we need health care, what happens? They are creating veterans every single day who are pissed off and think: I'm done with this. I've got the VA, I can rely on that a little bit, that'll be alright. But instead, we get a cold shoulder. They say, we'll see you in three months or six months. They are creating veterans every single day who come back from combat and there's no suport structure. There's no reaching out. A lot of people have to wait until it gets really bad. When I got back from active duty I moved up to Vermont from Oklahoma and no one told me this is where the VA is, this is what you have to do, this is how you get your benefits, this is what you're eligible for. Nobody told me any of that, I had to find out on my own. I had to go to the clinics and ask do I get this or that. Where's the outreach and support? What happened to all the stuff we were promised? All the stuff that we deserve, where is it? They don't care. That's the biggest realization that I've come to. They do not care. They. Do. Not. Care."

And they don't. If they did, if the administration did, if the Congress did, they'd be addressing the PTSD epidemic. Instead they ignore it.
Military Families Speak Out notes: "Servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to their combat experiences are routinely re-deployed to comabt, and/or kept in combat, according to Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a nationwide organization of 3,500 military families who have been speaking out in opposition to the war in Iraq." Aaron Glantz (IPS): "At the beginning of May, Corporal Cloy Richards tried to kill himself. 'He punched out all his windows and cut major arteries,' his mother Tina Richards told IPS. 'he had to go to the hopsital because he almost bled to death.' Cloy Richards, who lives in rural Salem, Missouri, has served two deployments in the Marine Corps in Iraq. The military lists him as 80-percent combat disabled. His mother says he has knee and arm injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and currently has a claim pending with the Army for a traumatic brain injury. 'It's something that affects us every single day,' Tina said, 'when he's 23 years old and he can't even climb the stairs. He has bad nightmares where he thinks he's back in Iraq." And that's why Tina Richards speaks out and calls for action. US House Rep David Obey can scream his head off at her in his public tantrum (and have the usual Party Hacks defend him) but get a damn grip, his life, as 'tough' as it ever may be, is nothing compared to the Richards family live with every day and live with as a result of an illegal war that Congress shows no will to end.

Monday, as
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) reports, Tina Richards joined Cindy Sheehan and over 250 others to march "through Washington, DC to Capitol Hill. When they reached the Cannon House Office Building they formed two circles blocking the street to traffice. The demonstration was the 'Mother of a March spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan whose son died in Iraq. The march kicked off a 'Summer of Action' where anti-war demonstrators will SWARM on Congress from today until June 31 advocating an end to the war." CODEPINK notes that over 30 were arrested in the action including Cindy Sheehan and Tina Richards (link has several photos as well as text and click here for audio & video). Have you been to jail for justice?

Turning to Iraq, the 3 US soldiers who have been missing since a Saturday attack outside Mahmudiya (that left 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator dead) remain missing.
CNN notes that the attack took place at a "staionary observation post" and that there is confusion as to who is missing: "Four other soliders -- three missing and one of the dead -- remain listead as 'duty status whereabouts unkown.' The military can't yet sort out precisely who was kidnapped because one of the four bodies is so badly burned that it can't be immediately identified." CBS' Mark Strassman "reports all the soldiers involved in the ambus were from Fort Drum, in upstate New York." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) notes of the ongoing search: "Helicopters had logged more than 255 hours and other US security agencies had deployed their assets in the race to locate the soldiers, whom the military still assumed were alive, [Lt. Col. Christopher] Garver said. Other aircraft and jets zoomed overhead, and satellite technology had been tapped, as soldiers scoured the hostile area."


CBS and AP report: "At least one mortar or rocket slammed into the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Tuesday, wounding five American Embassy contractors, a spokesman said." Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that left 5 dead and 15 wounded, aan Abu Saida bombing that left 12 dead and 22 wounded. Baghdad mortar attack that left 4 dead and 4 wounded, and a mini-bus bombing that left 1 dead and 4 injured. Reuters reports 2 dead and 4 injured in a Mahmudiya roadside bombing and 1 dead, 4 Iraqi soldiers injured in Mosul from a bombing, and 2 wounded from a Hawija roadside bombing.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Colonel Raed Mohamed Shihab shot dead in front of his house and 2 people shot dead in Al Khalis. Reuters notes a Tikrit shooting that left two dead and one wounded.


Mohmmaed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In Iraqi legislation news,
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports 'progress' on Iraq's constitution plan which translates as the proposed changes (including the privatization of the oil) is being sent to the parliament for a vote. Sunday, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported on the troubles some aspects face if put to a floor vote. The laws aren't any closer to being passed. Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) notes last week's stand by the Iraqi parliament "against the US occupation and for a rapid withdrawal of American troops. This is the perfect opportunity for a face-saving and orderly US withdrawal based on the request of a soverign government. To reject the offer would paint the US as a naked imperialist without a fig leaf of legitimacy."

on tonight's broadcast of The Bachelor: White House Bully Boy hands a rose to Army Lt. Gen Douglas Lute and says, "You defeat me. Be my war czar." Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) first reported on the search April 11, 2007. 34 days later -- can you say "shotgun wedding"? -- Bully Boy has his man.