Fort Benning, GA Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski, on active duty with the 111th ASG since January of this year, will make a public statement against war as a conscientious objector in the face of orders to participate in weapons training and deploy to the Middle East. She will be joined by several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace. Jashinski applied for a discharge as a Conscientious Objector in 2004. The Army recently denied her claim and ordered her to weapons training and deployment this week.
Speakers at the press conference include Aidan Delgado, an Army Conscientious Objector and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Iraq Veterans Against the War supports the right of every soldier to follow their conscience. Today's revelation that chemical weapons were used against citizens in Falluja is evidence that the war is illegal and immoral.
Jashinski's counselor, Persian Gulf War Army Conscientious Objector Aimee Allison, will speak at tomorrow's press conference. Speaking today, Allison stated, "As the first woman GI to publicly take a stand against this war and to declare herself a Conscientious Objector, Katherine's actions are very significant. She is showing remarkable courage."
Jashinski's lawyer, J.E. McNeil with the Center for Conscience and War, will also discuss her legal status and the case. She comments, "Denying Katherine CO status is yet another in a long line of actions by the military to defy its own rules in order to get the numbers of soldiers they need to continue this war."
Katherine is actively supported by Code Pink, a women-initiated grassroots peace group. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink adds, "I applaud Katherine's courageous stand against the continued U.S. role in bringing violence to the Middle East."
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of School of the Americas Watch will also speak. Jashinki's statement comes on the eve of a national demonstration at the gates of Fort Benning calling for the closure the U.S. Army School of the Americas. "U.S. foreign policy as it exists today is fundamentally out of alignment with Americans values of peace and justice."
I thought I was finished with this entry when Brad's e-mail came in on the above. It's from Courage to Resist's "TODAY! Army Natinal Guard Spc. Katherine Jashinski refuses to deploy" (Milwaukee Indymedia).
Brad sees the Thursday entry focused on the occupation as "a document of the resistance to the war." If that happens, credit the members who hunt down things that would otherwise go unnoticed. They certainly go unnoticed in the mainstream media. A document of the resistance to the war would be a great site. Something that rounded up everything going on (around the world). I don't think these entries are that. I think they're a peek at what's going on. And again, applause to the members, all I do is go through the e-mails that come in requesting a highlight.
Brad's e-mail came in just as this was about to post so we'll move on and I'll leave it as was intended. (The next item was going to be the top item. It's still worth reading. But it fell to second place due to Katherine Jashinski.)
[Harold] Pinter's prize will be regarded as an insult, and his views as an outrage, only by Americans who've managed to remain stone ignorant of the way this administration has isolated us from the rest of the civilized world. Only in the United States can you find media that remain enthusiastic, supportive or silent while the body count mounts in Baghdad and Mosul and tales of torture from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib erase, in a few short months, a century of American prestige and credibility. America, the hope of the free world--no empty boast 50 years ago--is the crushing disappointment of the free world today. Even "free" begins to ring hollow here as corporate leviathans tighten their stranglehold on this country's markets, media and impressionable minds. Most Americans, who do not read foreign newspapers (or even Harper's, The New York Review of Books or The New York Times), are astonished to discover that the third of America still wed to the president's "vision" of the Middle East is part of an imaginary coalition with no other active members except the Israeli Right and Tony Blair's immediate family.
Like most Britons I know, Pinter finds Blair appalling and his subservience to the White House mortifying. Pinter's protests are far less subtle than his plays. He loaded all his contempt for the one-sided alliance into a recent poem titled "The Special Relationship," a montage of torture chambers, bombs and mutilated bodies. It requires some understanding of the hyper-rhetorical British--who don't hate their prime minister but treat him like a favorite cousin with a head injury--to comprehend that this fierce invective is something less than full-fledged anti-Americanism. Schadenfreude is unavoidable when any bully is thwarted and shamed. But if Europeans love to see us stumble, they would hate to see us fall. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought relief and satisfaction to Western Europe; watching the United States of America slip into debt, disgrace and disarray fills them with crushing anxiety. No one pretends that a post-American chaos, a struggle for power among rabid dwarfs, would be an improvement over even the worst of Houston hubris and petroleum geopolitics.
This prize of Pinter's is surrounded by a dense forest of irony. Pinter, whose first photograph after the Nobel announcement showed him bloody and bandaged from a nasty fall, is no believer in happy endings. His great theme as a dramatist is the impossibility of communication between human beings: "He uses language to convey miscommunication and lack of understanding rather than shared comprehension," Sarah Lyall wrote in The New York Times. This insistence on verbal and, by extension, moral impotence is Pinter's legacy from the late Samuel Beckett, who has been described as his friend and mentor. If Beckett and Pinter represented a "school" of literature--the thought would sicken them--their school would teach that humans persevere and infrequently prevail in the shadow of unconditional annihilation and pointlessness. (A lesser but by no means negligible writer of the same school is the American Kurt Vonnegut, who asserts that the subject of all great books is "what a bummer it is to be a human being." In A Man Without a Country, a new book of essays Pinter might endorse, the 82-year-old Vonnegut--who once attempted suicide--claims to be suing a cigarette company whose lethal product has somehow failed to put him out of his misery.)
The above sent in by Durham Gal is from Hal Crowther's "Harold Pinter: No belief in happy endings" (Raleigh-Durham Independent). It's Thursday, we're highlighting indymedia. The focus of this entry, the occupation of Iraq and the reactions.
Molly e-mails to note Anna Thompson's "Peace Activists Disrupt Dick Cheney's Speech in Knoxville" (Tennessee Indymedia):
Knoxville, TN: Approximately one hundred fifty peace activists gathered outside the Howard Baker Center on Tuesday to protest the visit of Vice President Dick Cheney in Knoxville. Cheney, one of the principal architects of the war in Iraq, was in Tennessee on Tuesday at a time when public support in Tennessee and nationwide has plummeted for the war in Iraq to 39%. About a half dozen activists got into the Thompson Boling Assembly Center and Arena where Cheney was present and yelled anti-war slogans at the Vice President before being forced to leave.
In step with the rest of the Bush administration, Cheney ignored the peace activisits, whose perspective reflects the opinion of 61% of Tennesseans that the war in Iraq is bad for the country and bad for the Iraqi people.
[. . .]
Also present for the ceremony was United States Senator Lamar Alexander, who helped to form the Corrections Corporation of America while he was Governor of Tennessee during the 1980's. CCA is now the largest private prison company in America and is involved in several lawsuits regarding mistreatment and deaths of prisoners.During Cheney's address the peace activists yelled anti-war slogans at the Vice President and held up a large banner on which the words "Peace Now" were written. They were led out of the arena without incident.
Keith e-mails to note Steve Peacock's "Veterans for Peace Hold Vigil in Montrose" (Binghampton Indymedia):
The Veterans for Peace organization held a vigil yesterday in downtown Montrose, Pa., an event that drew several dozen people from across Northeastern Pennsylvania and New York's Southern Tier. The Veteran's Day demonstration called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, while urging the Congress to step up its investigation of allegations that the Bush Administration intentionally misled the American people about its justifications for invading that nation.
This is a photo essay so be sure to check out the pictures if you're interested.
Oliver notes Cannon's "Judge orders $1 fine to Wausau Tank sitter." (Madison Indymedia):
Vietnam Vet Wayne Olson who was arrested in Wausau for sitting on Tank with peace signs this summer is ordered to pay $1 fine for trespassing.See report at link below:
At the court hearing the judge was outraged that Wausau PD felt the need to send 4 squads cars and threatened Wayne with a tazer. The judge was also upset that the officers just did not let him come down at 1pm; like Wayne had told them he had planned to (They arrested him at 12:40). And it came out in the hearing that the off duty National Guard member who called the police was using Government Computers to “find a vacation spot” for him and his wife. Taking this all in consideration, the Judge still found that Wayne was trespassing and ordered him to pay a $1 fine.
Micah e-mails to note James Ridgeway's "And Another Thing, You Donkey Heads: Cheney falls way down the rabbit hole over Democrats' dissent" (The Village Voice):
Cheney’s temper tantrum against the Democrats at a Republican dinner Wednesday night reflects the growing pressure both he and Bush are coming under for the war in Iraq. The latest developments--allegations that Shiites tortured Sunni prisoners in a secret jail as Americans stood by--is sure to raise charges that far from trying to quell hints of civil war and hold Iraq together, Bush-Cheney are now embarked on another devilish twist, this one aimed at breaking the country apart, by sparking a civil war that can only end in a partition.
The BBC captured Cheney’s fit this way:
The vice-president called the Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while US soldiers died in Iraq.
"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone--but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," he said.
Instead of marshalling support for the Bush administration, Cheney’s remarks resulted in a stinging demand by a conservative-minded Democrat to get the troops out of Iraq.
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