Tuesday, November 7, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, another US war resister returns to the US from Canada, Halliburton puts on Cher's Living Proof CD and plays dumb, and prison abuse back in the headlines.
"In Iraq, I found myself being the problem instead of the solution" -- Ivan Brobeck quoted by Alison Bodine (Fire This Time). Today, he became the latest US war resister to return from Canada to the United States. Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, VA is where he expects to be processed. Brobeck enlisted in the Marines and, as Jim Fennerty explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) last Friday, there are different processes for different branches and Fennerty believes that Brobeck will "be placed in the brig" and very likely face a court-martial -- which wasn't the case for Darrell Anderson whom Fennerty also represented. Courage to Resist has posted the twenty-year-old war resister's open letter to the Bully Boy. Speaking with Nora Barrows Friedman on yesterday's Flashpoints Brobeck shared: "I'm sort of trying to teach them to open their eyes. It's easy to forget basic stuff in Iraq."
Ivan Brobeck in is own words via Pacific News Service:
I was in the Marines. I joined in June 2003, and after boot camp in March of 2004 I was sent directly to Iraq. This wasn't at all unsettling to me. You see, I went into the Army because I wanted to fight the bad guys. In school during history classes I learned that the Army and Marines had done all these wonderful things, and it all sounded so patriotic and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to fight for freedom.
I didn't care, and I still don't care, if I died fighting for a good and noble cause which is what I wanted to do.
In Iraq, I found myself being the problem instead of the solution. A problem in a normal town, in the life of normal people, like the people here in Toronto, trying to go about their life and risking getting shot at by me. Innocent people getting killed for misunderstandings, and for even more trivial things. I found myself in situations with my partners where we had to shoot at speeding cars, at people that probably were just trying to get out of our way.
All these insurgents, as they call them, they're not. They're people who have nothing left. There was this guy who was mad at us because we had killed his family. Wife, children, everybody but him had been killed. He was seeking some kind of retribution. That is not an insurgent, that's a desperate man.
My ethnic background is Salvadoran; my mom is from El Salvador. So the fight against tyranny is something that is dear to me, considering the history of El Salvador. I believed that the war in Iraq was a just war, and it was not. Now, before I get involved again, I really have to see somebody overcoming my country with weapons in hand.
Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Ehren Watada Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Joshua Key, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman are among those who have been part of a movement of war resistance within the military.
Focusing on one US war resister mentioned above (also a Fennerty client), Kyle Snyder returned from Canada last week only to discover that the same military that lied to sign up, was still lying. Noting the ABC News investigation that found the lies of recruiters continue, Elaine commented: "Will anyone get in trouble for the above? No. But kids will be lied to. Young adults and peole who aren't even 18 yet will be lied to over and over. They'll believe the lies. They'll assume no one in uniform would say something if it wasn't true. My friend, who's back from Iraq and speaking to students so that they don't end up over there, has so many stories like this. He's speaking about twice a week now and there is never just a handful of students who are able to share the kind of lies they've been told, it's always a large number."
Why do recruiters lie? Because they can get away with it. Because they won't be punished. They can sign up someone, someone who is not even able to legally purchase a beer, to a 'contract' that could result in the loss of life and they can do so with any lie that can tumble out of their mouths because there is no accountability.
Information on recruiters and protecting schools can be found at Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, Counter-Recruitment and Alternatives to the Military Program and Campus Anti-War Network. 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. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home.
"When the money's gone/ Will you be my friend?" asks Cher in "When The Money's Gone" (Living Proof) and it's a question Halliburton may be wondering about the White House. James Glanz (New York Times) reports that a new scandal has emerged over their 2003 no-bid contract "to deliver gasoline to Iraq" which might seem simple easy enough but KRB [Kellogg Brown & Root] were charging "as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,8000 fuel trucks". Al Jazeera reports: "The audit of 15 noncompetitive contracts paid for by US government agencies with Iraqi oil money was unable to account for $22.4 million in funds, a UN-led watchdog said on Monday." The report for the IAMB [International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq] is available online, PDF format, and the auditing was done by KPMG.
Within Iraq, Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on the charges, brought by the Interior Ministry, "of 57 employees, including high-ranking officers, with human rights crime for their role in the torture of hundreds of detainees once jailed in a notorius eastern Baghdad prison known as Site 4". Kirk Semple (New York Times) notes that Site 4 is not the only Interior Ministry run prison that's been found to be a source of abuse. As they day has progressed the number charged has increased. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that those now charged include "[a] general and nearly 100 other members of Iraq's police force". The BBC reminds that Site Four was a "secret prison" until May when "Iraqi and US officials found the jail at a building in east Baghdad belonging to the Shia-Muslim dominated ministry." Discovered in May and dealt with in . . . November. On top of that, CBS and AP note:
"CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick reports that the Iraqis plan eventually to retrain all of their police batallions." Retrain all.
Crackdown, shake-up, country break up . . . But outside the press eye. The show trial still provides gas bags to pretend they're reporting. The US election allows people to shout out "IRAQ!" and act like they've offered coverage on it. Once again, it's time to treat the Iraq war as an after thought apparently.
A few of the events that actually got some coverage.
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that mortar attacks left 22 wounded in Baghdad. Reuters notes a bombing in Basra took one life and left seven wounded while three were killed and eight wonded from a roadside bomb in Falluja.
Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk. AP notes that "sniper attacks and a roadside bombing in Karmah" claimed the lives of six Iraqi soldiers.
Sky News reports that 15 corpses were discovered in Suwayrah. AP reports that they were all found "blindfolded and bound at the wrists and ankles, before being shot in the head and chest." Reuters notes that two corpses "and a decapitated head" were discovered in Falluja.
And the Whack-a-mole goes on. Having attempted to seize the city of Falluja in April of 2004 and the slaughter that followed in November 2004, the checkpoints requiring bio-metric i.d.s to enter, et al., it may come as a surprise to learn, via Jay Price and Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers), that there is 'concern' over resistance in Falluja yet again.
While the US military and White House attempt to ignore the fact that it's the same fight over and over (and that the war is lost), the deaths continue to pile up on all sides. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 10:40 p.m. Monday from wounds he received after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device in northwest Baghdad." The announcement brought to 19 the number of US troops killed in Iraq this month. Meanwhile, in England, Lee Glendinning (Times of London) reports on the British military announcing a Monday death: "The soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died after the army base came under small arms fire, the Ministry of Defence said." The death brought to 121 the number of British soldiers who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and comes a day after mothers of two soldiers who died in Iraq took their case to the Court of Appeal.
Michael Evans (Times of London) reports that Beverley Clarke and Rose Gentle pressed their case yesterday as to the legality of the illegal war. Both women lost their songs (Trooper David Clarke and Fusilier Gordon Gentle) in Iraq. The BBC reports that outside the court, Rose Gentle stated: "Why can't Tony Blair be man enough to stand up and say he will give an inquiry and stop a lot of court cases going ahead? Ehat has he got to hide? Our boys are being killed day-by-bya. It we dod succeed in this case it will be a bonus. If we don't, we can say we tried and we fought for the boys and have got more backbone than the MPS who didn't stand up for them in last week's vote."
Another mother for peace, Cindy Sheehan is taking part in the Gold Star Families for Peace sit-in at the White House in DC. Today's actions including organizing exit poll teams (for the day's election) and the plan to hold an event this evening in Lafayette Square Park while tomorrow will include the delivery of a petition opposing an attack on Iraq. Other DC actions this week include Military Families Speak Out's plan to deliver a petition to Congress and Rummy demanding troops home now and an end to the backdoor draft.
Finally, Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:
Nov 7, 4:30PM Portland, ME Location: Meditation Center Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Chapter 1 Contact: Doug Rawlings, 207-293-2580, email@example.com,
Nov. 7, 6-9PM Brunswick, ME Location: Morrill Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street Pot luck supper and speaking engagement Time: 6 - 7:30pm
Nov 8, 7PM Albany, NY Sponsor: VFP National Location: TBAContact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov 9, TBA Philadelphia, PA. Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109 Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star MothersContact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350, BpVetforPeace@aol.com
Nov 10, 7:30PM New York City, NY Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church West End Avenue and West 86th Streets, Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, email@example.comGeorge McAnanama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov 11, 11AM-5PM New York City, NY Veterans Day Parade Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, email@example.com
Nov 12, TBA Long Island, NY TBANov 13, 7PM Ann Arbor, MI "The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada Location: TBA Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works http://michiganpeaceworks.org,Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922, firstname.lastname@example.org
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