Tuesday! :D I'm already counting down to the weekend. I know I tend to treat the weekends like Christmas mornings. :D The "presents" are the free time.
Okay, I was talking to C.I. today about something and I see The Huffington Po-Po is already acting like it's great news. It's lousy news. Let me do the background.
THE most agonizing decision we make as a nation is whether to go to war. Our Constitution ambiguously divides war powers between the president (who is the commander in chief) and Congress (which has the power of the purse and the power to declare war). The founders hoped that the executive and legislative branches would work together, but in practice the two branches don’t always consult. And even when they do, they often dispute their respective powers.
A bipartisan group that we led, the National War Powers Commission, has unanimously concluded after a year of study that the law purporting to govern the decision to engage in war -- the 1973 War Powers Resolution -- should be replaced by a new law that would, except for emergencies, require the president and Congressional leaders to discuss the matter before going to war. Seventy years of polls show that most Americans expect Congress and the president to talk before making that decision, and in most cases, they have done so.
Congress passed the 1973 resolution in response to the Vietnam War. But it is ineffective at best and unconstitutional at worst. No president has recognized its constitutionality, and Congress has never pressed the issue. Nor has the Supreme Court ever ruled on its constitutionality. In fact, courts have largely shied away from refereeing war-powers disputes between the two political branches.
BBC notes: " The call is the main conclusion of a 12-month-long study of war-making powers by a team of constitutional and legal experts." Ben Pershing (Washington Post) wonders, "What are the odds that a proposal such as Baker and Christopher's would become law? The prospects are unclear, though it's worth noting that another war powers overhaul is already in the legislative hopper awaiting action." That's a good question, but let me ask another one: Why would we believe Baker or Christopher are really trying to be 'helpful'? And with this already a Congressional issue (as Pershing points out) is anyone else seeing this as an attempted run-around? "Oh, look, we have this official plan! Just implement it!" Since when do we trust James Baker? Did we all forget Naomi Klein's reporting on him back in 2004?
And if you really want to think about it, what does Baker always do? Provide cover for the Bush family. So pushing for the existing law to be scrapped (as opposed to letting Congress build on it or something similar) means: "Bully Boy wasn't at fault. The law was weak!" I'm not in the mood for anymore excuses for Bully Boy's illegal war. He broke the Constitution, he broke the law. And I'm not real big on new laws (whether it's the crystal meth laws that are harmful to citizens or whatever) when the existing laws could cover it. New laws on like the crystal meth ones really seem to exist to attack a people or to distract from reality. So think about it and make up your own mind but I am very, very opposed to Christopher and Baker and all their official-dom.
Did you catch Joshua Key and Jeff Paterson on KPFA today? Except for Paterson wrongly saying that Carter did something on his first day that he didn't (and thank you to C.I. for giving me credit in the snapshot but really C.I. has led on what Carter did and what Ford did, but thank you), I thought it was a really good interview.
I like Josh and when I saw the trailer for Breaking Ranks (summer 2006), I wrote about the US forces using an Iraqi's decapitated head as a soccer ball. He writes about that in his book and he talks about it on film and to reporters and he is always consistent. Which, if we were Judy Judy and he was before us, would mean we would say he was truthful. I believe he's truthful but I'm just pointing out that for like two years now he has been consistent and that is one of the things that Judge Judy always uses when determining who is telling the truth.
(I'm not a big fan of Judge Judy. I have a great-aunt who watches. She hates Judge Judy and argues back at the TV. :D)
I also thought Aimee Allison asked some good questions of Jeff and especially Josh. She asked about his family and that doesn't usually get asked (think about another interview this week). She asked about what he saw and she asked about what he thought and what he felt. I just thought she did a really good job.
I thought Jeff Paterson did too. And, like C.I., I have a lot of respect for Jeff Paterson. But we really aren't in the mood for the facts about Carter and Ford being wrong. Jim said, like a month or two ago, that when they are wrong, we need to correct the record because this is such an important issue. I didn't realize that we had written so many editorials and articles recently on them until C.I. provided links in the snapshot.
Am I participating in the protests tomorrow? Tony asked me and I asked Tony, "Do they have one in our area?" :D I'm so lazy. I told him to find out if they do and if they do, holler and I'll be there.
My grandfather asked me to remember to highlight Great Britain's Socialist Worker. I had forgotten. Partly due to the US version (unrelated as far as I know) which my grandfather pointed out is not the UK version, "They called out Barack [the UK version]. They didn't offer [Shaon] Smith's nonsense providing cover for a War Hawk." :D No, they didn't.
And what a solid suggestion that was because there's an article I would've missed otherwise. This is James Connolly's "Rising up against imperialism and war:"
In the final column in our series Dave Sherry looks at how class struggle polarised Ireland
In 1910, the year that James Connolly returned to Ireland from the US, the British Liberal government introduced a Home Rule Bill for Ireland.
Unionist bosses mounted fierce resistance under the leadership of Tory lawyer and landowner Edward Carson.
Carson wanted to secure British profits in Ireland. He knew that Irish labour could be defeated if workers could be persuaded to look to their religion and not their class.
Bosses in the Home Rule Party opposed British rule but rejected republicanism and the notion of armed struggle. Sinn Fein, a more radical bourgeois nationalism led by Arthur Griffin, sought a complete break with Britain.
But in 1913 Ireland split across class lines. The employing class united to join with the British state to try and break the militant Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). Dublin was the key battleground.
The Dublin employers had a powerful federation of 400 firms, led by William Martin Murphy, owner of the Dublin Tram Company and member of the Home Rule Party. In August Murphy locked out his workers with this ultimatum -- resign from the ITGWU or stay sacked.
Sinn Fein leader Griffith sided with the employers.
As the other bosses followed suit, workers fought back. In response to starvation and police brutality they formed a workers' defence force -- the Irish Citizens Army.
Connolly and ITGWU leader James Larkin campaigned among British trade unions for food and money to feed strikers' families and for sympathy strikes.
Food arrived in boatloads and massive sums of money were raised.
But when thousands of English railway workers struck in support of the strikers, they were ordered back to work by their union leaders. In December the British TUC withdrew all official support. The workers were defeated.
The lock-out proved that a "Free Ireland" run by the likes of Murphy and Griffith would offer working people nothing.
Mass strikes had shaken the ruling class. But the years up to 1914 saw a series of defeats for workers. In 1914 Connolly had to confront the spectre of partition, the outbreak of war and the collapse of the Second International of world socialist parties.
Throughout these terrifying times Connolly remained a revolutionary socialist. Alongside Russian revolutionary Lenin and a tiny handful of individuals he defended internationalism.
But he was isolated. The ITGWU was split over the war and in Belfast Connolly could not get members of his own Socialist Party to openly protest against the war.
In this desperate situation he looked to strike a blow against imperialism and inspire European opposition to the slaughter.
In 1916 he made an alliance with a group of Republicans who opposed partition and the war.
Connolly pushed for a rising against British rule. He hoped it would open the way for an Irish Workers’ Republic and ignite a European revolution.
On Easter Monday 1,000 Republicans along with a few hundred socialists and trade unionists took over the key buildings in central Dublin. The conspiratorial methods used meant small numbers took part in the rising.
For six days they fought the might of the British Army. Central Dublin was bombarded by heavy artillery and 1,500 people were killed.
The rebels were forced to surrender to prevent the further slaughter.
But Britain's rulers were worried that it might inspire rebellion in other parts of their empire and they resorted to terror. The execution of Connolly and the other leaders fuelled a growing animosity to British rule.
For all its weaknesses the 1916 rebellion was the first blow against an imperial power -- far more significant than all the gestures from anti-war pacifists like Labour leader Keir Hardie.
Connolly grasped that to fight war you had to fight against your own ruling class.
In his defence of the Easter Rising, Lenin wrote, "Their misfortune was to have risen prematurely, when the revolt of the European working class has not yet matured."
Connolly didn't break from syndicalism or from some aspects of the Second International, and failed to build any kind of socialist organisation that could carry on his fight for a workers’ republic after his execution.
But he was one of the finest socialists of his generation. His contribution to the socialist movement is considerable and his anti imperialism is an inspiration today.
Also in the James Connolly series: » James Connolly: a socialist rebel against the empire» When Irish workers united and revolted
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As an Irish-American, I found that very interesting. I also had an e-mail from someone I don't know about Sharon Smith. (Maybe it was Sharon Smith?) Amy Goodman did one of her many boo-boos and it effected Sharon Smith (specifically her husband). Could I help get the word out? Why bother? Goody was wrong. I get that. But Goody and Smith both enlisted in the Barack campaign. Facts didn't matter to Smith in a Democratic primary (especially when she had her freak-out over Hillary after the primaries were over). She felt she could tell any lie and didn't give a damn. She wasn't concerned about anyone's family then. She just wanted to LIE and she did LIE. Think about it, she'd tried to slap down Joshua Frank when he was supporting Ron Paul (exactly why was it her business who he supported) and she went through the primaries having a fit over Hillary and repeating lies. So facts don't matter to Sharon Smith. Except now that it's her husband. So two Barack groupies had a falling out. Boo-hoo. I'll just laugh from the sidelines.
I do that a lot now. Laugh at the LIARS. Why was a Democratic primary even Sharon's business? But if it had been, her business should have been holding all candidates to a standard and TELLING THE TRUTH. She didn't. She never told people about the Samantha Power BBC interview. She LIED for Barack. And she's not a Democrat. It wasn't her business.
She still lies for Barack. Maybe she can snap out of it or maybe she was just born to be a LIAR. I don't know but she's on her own. She can kiss my Irish-American ass. Lying (and intentionally lying) isn't something I applaud. Or support.
These days, I get to laugh at all the radicals who LIED for Barack. He caved on illegal spying, public financing, Iraq and (it looks like) abortion. He wants to give more money to churches (more tax payer money) and it appears he wants them to be free of laws forbidding discrimination in hiring and firing practices.
Not quite the candidate Sharon Smith, Amy Goodman, et al spit-polished for months, is it? So I laugh at them. They could have told the truth and had standards. They didn't. It was more important to them to LIE. You know what goes around comes around and I guess Sharon Smith's learning that when people don't tell the truth about her or her family, it hurts. Call it karma. Call it justice. Me? I'll just keep laughing.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US State Dept isn't sure what talks with Iraq are determining, the US military announces another death, war resister Joshua Key explains what the recent court decision means for him, and more.
Starting with war resistance. "It's seems to be a, you know, it's sort of an uphill battle still," Joshua Key explained of the struggle US war resisters face in Canada attempting to win safe harbor status. Key was appearing on KPFA's The Morning Show, hosted by Philip Maldari and Aimee Allison. Allison, co-author of Army Of None with David Solnit, asked about Judge Robert Barnes decision regarding Joshua Key's claims for refugee status at the top of her interview.
Aimee Allison: What does it mean on the heels of this recent decision in Canada that you've won the right to at least make your case to authorities in Canada to stay permanently with your wife and four children?
Joshua Key: Well I look at it as the way things were going it was getting pretty iffy so I look at it as a big win cause it will make our steps go forward and we can keep progressing and it gives hope for here.
Aimee Allison: So tell us about the process you've been in. You've been in Canada for more than two years now and are applying for refugee status. In other words, you have to make the argument to authorities in Canada that as a refugee you have a right to apply and stay safely in that country because to return you would be to put you in danger. Talk more about this process and where you are in the process right now.
Joshua Key: We've been here for three and a half years. We've been in the refugee process since we've been here. I went to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and was denied. Then I went to an appeals court and then I got the verdict for that and I won so now it goes back to the Immigration and Refugee Board to argue it there again. And that's where I'm at right now.
Aimee Allison: Talk to me about how your wife and four kids are doing?
Joshua Key: Well they're doing good. I mean, we -- I mean like I look at my wife honestly misses back home so does my children they miss seeing their families their grandma and grandpa and their aunts and uncles. So it's hard on that sense. On the sense of just living, it's probably like living back home to a big extent just a lot more rules here but we keep going.
Aimee Allison: And when you came to Canada, you obviously -- particularly because your book The Deserter's Tale that you co-wrote with Lawrence Hill -- talks explicitly about what you call war crimes that you witnessed in Iraq and tell us a little bit more about what you keep in your mind that keeps you fighting to stay in Canada?
Joshua Key: Well I look at it as it was an illegal and immoral war. I knew that after my time there. It took me a long time to realize what exactly were doing. But with me being in Canada it gives me an easier sense of living. I suffer with Post Traumatic Stress but I know I did the right thing by leaving and walking away and coming somewhere and then fighting not just to stay in Canada but to eventually hoping to get the Iraq War done with.
Aimee Allison: And are there other people with your same situation in Canada? How many of them? How many people are there?
Joshua Key: There's I would say thirty in my exact situation. I don't know the exact current numbers. There's presumably a lot more hiding in Canada which I've met myself. But it's -- there's a lot of us in the same boat right now that's fighting to survive, fighting to live in peace on that sense.
[. . .]
Aimee Allison: I want to talk to you a little bit about your experiences in the mililtary which have led you to take such a serious step of leaving the country and trying to stay in Canada permanently. What was it that you saw or experienced in Iraq that crystalized your opposition to war and really led you to take the step that you're taking now?
Joshua Key: There was many different occassions, many different scenarios in Iraq that made me come up with my decision. When I first went to Iraq I believed in the mission and was there for weapons of mass destruction and the evil tyrant Saddam Hussein. It took months for my mind to get changed and that was basically for our actions that we were doing -- conducting and raiding homes, traffic control points. And you know one incident really sticks with me and it was always does, nightmares and everything, but we were on a QRF mission which was like a quick reaction force for the army. We were in Ramadi, Iraq and we were called out about two o'oclock in the morning to calm down some kind of an uprising or such. We were on the banks of the Eurphrates River. We were going and we took a sharp right turn, on the leftside of our armored personel carrier, I seen four decaptiated Iraqi bodies When we parked our APC I was told to get out and see if I could find evidence of a firefight and such. When I got out there was already American forces on the ground. I don't know who they were with. To the right of me one was in the middle and he was screaming that they had lost it there. There were other soldiers around him, sort of comforting him. I looked to the lefthand side and I seen soldiers kicking one of the heads around like a soccer ball. I got inside of my APC and told my team leader I would have nothing to do with that. Nothing was said the next day I said 'Where's the mission statement? Can I see the mission statement?' add what I seen to that mission statement? And I was told that it was none of my concern and none of my business. And that's when I realized it was my concern and my business cause I was the one there doing it.
Aimee Allison: That's Joshua Key a former private first class in the US army who left in 2005 to Canada with his family and is trying to stay there and be granted refugee status. I'm also joined by Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist. Joshua, Americans, it has been said, are "fatigued" about discussion about the war. They're "fatigued." They don't want to hear about it and, in fact, the discussion about the Iraq War has been very limited even in the presidential campaign. What do Americans need to know about what's happening right now?
Joshua Key: They need to know the truth. They need to know the truth and the exact reason why Americans are dying there? Why is it? It might be a question people don't want to ask. It might be a question people avoid. It's always the truth that people avoid. But I think it needs to be there and it needs to be brought more attention exactly what's happening to American soldiers there. So.
Aimee Allison: And are you working closely with groups such as Courage to Resist from Canada who are trying to support your case and others?
Joshua Key: I work with a little bit here and there. I sort of look at myself as I'm all over the place. But any organization that is fighting for us to be here or fighting for the Iraq War to end, I try to be involved with.
Jeff Paterson will hopefully be included in a snapshot later in the week. Included meaning quoted at length. Courage to Resist is an organization we link to and note (and will note it this snapshot shortly) but so that Elaine doesn't get stuck with grabbing a topic (she handled critiquing Jeffry House's appearence on Democracy Now! yesterday brilliantly), one comment by Paterson needs to be noted today. ". . . And, like in the Vietnam war, have an amnesty program so these people can come back without military tribunals and this stockade prison time and dishonorable discharges. . . That was the first thing Jimmy Carter did when he became president. So there's a basis for that to happen again." No. People need to know what happened before so they can know what is possible (and expand beyond that). But we need to be factually correct. When we aren't, it allows the argument to be discredited. Jimmy Carter didn't grant amnesty to deserters during Vietnam on his first day in the White House. (Or ever.) What he did do was grant amnesty to draft dodgers. Gerald Ford was the president who offered a conditional clemency that applied to draft dodgers and deserters. We have been covering this at Third repeatedly because it is important. You can see "Editorial: What did happen, what can happen" (June 29th), "Editorial: What's your acceptance level?" (June 22nd), "Where are the demands? Where is the knowledge?" (June 15th), "Editorial: Know Your History! You Have The Right! " (June 8th). You'll find out about Ford's program in those. You will find about Jimmy Carter's refusal to do anything for deserters. You will find out his 'excuses' and how Tom Wicker (New York Times) and others called him out for that in real time. Mike and I have repeatedly covered what Ford did and what Carter did and have provided multiple links. Click here for Mike doing just that in May. You can go to this May 23rd snapshot and find the following:
Here's how PBS's The NewsHour (then The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) reported Carter's program on January 21, 1977 (link has text, audio and video):
"Just a day after Jimmy Carter's inaguration, he followed through on a contentious campaign promise, granting a presidential pardon to those who had avoided the draft during the Vietnam war by either not registering or traveling abroad. The pardon meant the government was giving up forever the right to prosecute what the administration said were hundreds of thousands of draft-dodgers. . . . Meanwhile, many in amnesty groups say that Carter's pardon did too little. They pointed out that the president did not include deserters -- those who served in the war and left before their tour was completed -- or soliders who received a less-than-honorable discharge. Civilian protesters, selective service employees and those who initiated any act of violence also were not covered in the pardon."
Then US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman was among the four guests (and, in the seventies, with demands being made, there were two women and two men brought on for the report) and stated, "I'm pleased that the pardon was issued, I'm pleased that it was done on the first day and I'm pleased that President Carter kept a commitment that he made very clear to the American people. I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extended to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separated from them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people."
Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford had two different programs. There's no reason to confuse the two (though one historian did just that in 2000 and that appears to be why so many are confused today). That is not a minor point. Iraq Veterans Against the War Matthis Chiroux announced June 15th that he would not report to duty (as he'd stated he wouldn't on May 15th). Chiroux had completed his tours of duty and been honorably discharged. Then he was told he was being called back in and sent to Iraq. Gil Kaufman (MTV News) does an indepth exploration of what this meant in terms of day to day life for Matthis. Chiroux left the military after being discharged and intended to go to college, "he assumed the GI Bill benefits he earned would help pay for college but was 'horrified' to learn in January that because of his salary in the Army and his stationing overseas, he was going to be denied federal and state tuition assistance. He also found out that he was not eligible for subsidized student loans because of his GI Bill benefits. In the end, his benefits as a veteran totaled around $1,000 a month, not even enough to pay for his apartment in Brooklyn. If Chiroux had not served in the military, he said he would have been eligible for Pell Grants that might have helped him pay the $7,500 he laid out in January for school." For those not familiar with the Pell Grant system, they are "grants" -- meaning no repayment. So serving in the military meant Matthis couldn't qualify for those and the GI Bill wasn't paying for his college expense. He had to take out loans for $7,500 and then was informed ("three weeks after school started") that he needed to :withdraw from classes and report to Fort Jackson on March 8." Army flack Major Nathan Banks -- in the limelight so often these days, tells MTV that Chiroux is a deserter. Actually, if Matthis is considered AWOL -- a big if -- it would take thirty days after he was considered AWOL for him to be classified as a "deserter." So someone might want to train their spokesmodels a bit more before deploying them to the press.
Iraq Veterans Against the War asks that you:
Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to publicly support Matthis.
Contribute to IVAW's legal defense fund to help Matthis and other resisters.
Send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux at email@example.com.
Back to Courage to Resist which is planning "July 9th actions at Canadian Consulates nationwide:" Join a vigil and delegation to a Canadian consulate near you on Wednesday, July 9th to support war resisters! On the eve of Corey Glass' possible deportation, we will demand, "Dear Canada: Abide by the June 3rd resolution - Let U.S. war resisters stay!" More details and cities to be confirmed soon!
Washington DC - Time TBA - 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW (map). Sponsored by Veterans for Peace. Info: TBA San Francisco - Noon to 1pm - 580 California St (map). Sponsored by Courage to Resist. Info: 510-488-3559; courage(at)riseup.net Seattle - Time TBA - 1501 4th Ave (map). Sponsored by Project Safe Haven. Info: 206-499-1220; projectsafehaven(at)hotmail.com Dallas - Time TBA - 750 North St Paul St (map). Sponsored by North Texas for Justice and Peace. Info: 214-718-6362; hftomlinson(at)riseup.net New York City - Noon to 1pm - 1251 Avenue of the Americas (map). Sponsored by War Resisters' League. Info: 212-228-0450; wrl(at)warresisters.org Philadelphia - Time TBA - 1650 Market St (map). Sponsored by Payday Network. Info: 215-848-1120; payday(at)paydaynet.org Minneapolis - Time TBA - 701 Fourth Ave S (map). Info: TBA Los Angeles - Noon to 1pm - 550 South Hope St (map). Sponsored by Progressive Democrats LA. Info: pdlavote(at)aol.com Help organize a vigil at one of these other Canadian Consulates: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Anchorage, Houston, Raleigh, Phoenix, or San Diego. Please contact Courage to Resist at 510-488-3559. Veterans for Peace issued a joint call with Courage to Resist and Project Safe Haven for July 9th vigils at Canadian Consulates: "Dear Canada: Do Not Deport U.S. War Resisters!" Contact us if you can help organize a vigil, or can otherwise get involved. Locations of the 22 Canadian Consulates in the United States.That's tomorrow (and Paterson discussed it on The Morning Show today) Raleigh, North Carolina has been added and its demonstration will take place from noon to one at 3737 Glenwood Avenue. To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail http://firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail http://email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here. The War Resisters Support Campaign noted yesterday that, "On July 4, former US soldier Robin Long was arrested by police in Nelson, BC, where he is legally residing, on a warrant issued by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). A hearing is scheduled in Vancouver tomorrow (Tuesday, July 8). The CBSA is claiming that Long did not report as required to its Kelowna office by phone last Thursday and that he was staying with various friends in Nelson without reporting a change of address. Long has denied the allegations and the CBSA does not dispute that he reported in on schedule on July 3."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Yesterday, puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki floated the idea that a treaty -- (popularly called "Status of Forces Agreement") needed to replace the UN mandate that provides legal cover to the occupation which expires Dec. 31st -- with the White House might need to include a withdrawal timeline. Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) interviews "a prominent leader in Mr. Maliki's political paty" (Ali al-Adeeb) who tells her, "We think that what is suitable for withdrawal is when our soldiers are ready and well armed to take the responsibility." Meanwhile CBS and AP report that Mouwaffak al-Rubaie (Iraq's National Security Adviser) has declared, "We will not accept any memorandum of understanding that doesn't have specific dates to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq." Memo? It's the treaty. Call it a SOFA (wrongly) or a memo (the White Houe's preferred choice in recent weeks). Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) provides the basics, "The talks are focused on two accords. One would provide a framework for future diplomatic, economic and security relations. The other, known as a Status of Forces Agreement, would provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to remain in the country." US Congress members Bill Delahunt and Rose DeLauro explain the basics in the Washington Post today noting "constitutional scholars testifying before the oversight subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have stated 'the authority to fight' that the administration seeks from Iraq does indeed require congressional approval. Requiring international legal approval of combat is what makes this agreement anything but what the administration incorrectly calls it: a 'status of forces agreement.' . . . If the U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31, so does domestic authority for our troops to fight, along with their immunity from Iraqi prosecution. This is precisely the 'legal vacuum' that constitutional scholars Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathway detailed in an April 5 op-ed, 'The War's Expiration Date'. . . " Delahunt and DeLauro are advocating that the UN mandate be renewed for six months which would carry it into 2009 and allow the next US president to determine what to do as opposed to Bully Boy tying the hands of everyone to follow with a treaty on his way out the door. Despite the fact that al-Maliki floated the idea of a US withdrawal being part of the treaty yesterday, White House reporters traveling with Bully Boy have not bothered to even ask about the issue. In Toyako, Japan yesterday, Dana Perino and Dan Price took questions -- no one asked about Iraq. They did so again today in Toyako and, again, no questions about Iraq. Russia and Zimbabwee were popular questions but no one could bother giving a damn long enough to ask the White House what it means when Nouri al-Maliki is floating the idea of a US withdrawal. At the US State Dept yesterday, press spokesperson Sean McCormack was asked and insisted "this falls in the categoy of ongoing negotiations. And I'm not going to talk about every single development -- every single development within the -- in the negotiations. I've seen Prime Minister Maliki's remarks. I've seen some reports about it. . . . I know our negoiators have talked about timelines. I'll let them talk about timelines. I'm not going to do it." Which should have resulted in headlines this morning of "State Department Reveals White House Talking Timelines." Today the press flack director, Gonzalo R. Gallegos, was sent out to address journalists and was asked about Iraq's National Security Advisor's remarks. "Well, I'll tell you," Gallegos responded. "You know the US Government and the Government of Iraq are in agreement that we -- the US Government -- we want to withdraw. We will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based. You know [US] Ambassador [to Iraq Ryan] Crocker said before we're looking at conditions, not calendars here. We're making progress and are committed to departing as evidenced by the fact that we have transferred over half of the country's provinces to provisional Iraqi control. and we're planning on removing the fifth and final surge brigade at the end of the month here, if things go according to plan." When asked if this was statying "you're opposing any timetable in this agreement," Gallegos responded, Well I've said what I've said there." Asked about the Memorandum of Understanding and what it was about, Gallegos refused to term or name (the treaty) and instead insisted that, whatever it is, "we're working towards. I think when we reach it, we have made it very clear that we are going to be open about it and discuss and describe it to you all in great detail." In other words, after the fact, the American people can know what the White House has imposed on al-Maliki (and imposed on the US) and the Constitution and Congress will be circumvented and the law broken. If you doubt that, Gallegos clarified, "So when we get to there, when the agreement is finished, wrapped up and done, we'll be discussing it more broadly with you all." Speaking at the Fort Lewis Army base today, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates echoed McCormick from yesterday ("depends on the situation on the ground"). Meanwhile AFP reports King Abdullah II of Jordan's trip to Iraq this week has been postponed.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Bahgdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Salahudding roadside bombing which "targeted Tikrist police chief" resulted in 1 guard being killed and a Kirkuk roadside bombing resulted in two people being wounded. Reuters notes 4 contractors killed in a roadside bombing outside of Mosul Monday.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a group of men and women protesting the Labor Ministry over not receiving their salaries resulted in "guards of ministry of labor and social affairs" firing indiscriminately and ten people being wounded in Baghdad, Entisar Ibrahim was shot dead in Baghdad and, dropping back to Monday, Dr. Salih Abed Hassoun ("dean of college of law of Al Qadisiyah University") was shot dead. Reuters notes 2 people shot dead in "Mosul on Monday" and, also on Monday, "a member of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic party" was shot dead in Tal Afar.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died as a result of an improvised explosive device that struck his vehicle west of Baghdad at approximately 9:30 a.m. July 8." This announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4115.
Turning to the US presidential race. Anthony Schinella (Massachusetts' Belmont Citizen-Herald) reports on a poll the paper conducted online to determine public support for the presidential candidates (with the exception of Bob Barr and Ralph Nader, all about to be listed are the presumptive candidates -- Barr's running for the Libertarian Party and has secured the nomination, Nader is running as an independent). Who won? John McCain (GOP) with 60%. Barack Obama (DNC) won 28% of the vote. (Remember Barack lost Massachusetts to Hillary Clinton even with Governor Who, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy prosituting themselves out for Barack.) Cynthia McKinney polled at 1%. Bob Barr polled at 4% and Ralph Nader at 7%. As Ruth noted yesterday, "independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has a rally coming up Saturday at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. They are asking for donations of $10 ($5 for students) and it will run from one in the afternoon until three." The Richmond Times Dispatch adds to call (434) 432-1611 for details. Sue Sturgis (Raleigh Eco News) notes, "An attorney who formerly served on staff at the U.S. Department of Labor, Nader founded the consumer and environmental watchdog organization Public Citizen in 1971. He went on to start dozens of other advocacy groups including the Clean Water Action Project and Multinational Monitor magazine. . . . In this race as in his past White House bids, Nader is criticizing the Democratic nominee's willingness to court the right, highlighting Sen. Barack Obama's recent flip-flopping on telecom immunity, gun control, the death penalty, campaign finance and faith-based funding. . . . Charges of pandering aside, Nader's environmental platform is much more earth-friendly than either Obama's pro-coal and pro-nuclear positions, or Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's, which focuses solely on a market-based cap-and-trade approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Nader calls for the adoption of a carbon pollution tax, rejects nuclear power in favor of solar energy, and seeks stronger protections against toxic pollution. He also promises to work to end corporate personhood, perhaps the most fundamental challenge to abusive power in America."
Meanwhile Brian (Memoirs of a Godless Heathen) explains he's changed his support in the presidential race: "Thus, I can no longer throw in my support for Obama. He can no longer count on my vote (the very first one I will ever cast) in November. I am now supporting Ralph Nader for President. Mr. Nader is the most compatible with my sensibilites. His unyielding advocacy for freedom of the American people make him the most desirable of all the candidates. So am I wasting my vote? I don't think so. I realize that Nader will not win, but voting for the winner is not what a voter should strive for. I am voting for the person who I believe can best do the job. This November, I will have the satisfaction of voting for someone I like, rather than the lesser of the two evils. I may be just one vote, but breaking the hold of this two-party system requires people like me to make the choice to do so. Will I be helping John McCain's campaign? No, because I will not be voting for John McCain. If Ralph Nader was not my choice, I would not vote, plain and simple. Thus, I am not taking a vote away from Obama, since I wouldn't have voted for him anyway." Meanwhile Cedric's "More distance from Barack" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TOO GOOD FOR THE PARTY!" note just how much space Barack is trying to put between himself and Democrats.
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