Thursday, December 14, 2006

Other Items

Frustrated by the Bush administration's piecemeal financing of the Iraq war, Democrats are planning to assert more control over the billions of dollars a month being spent on the conflict when they take charge of Congress in January.

The above is from Carl Hulse's "Democrats Plan To Tighten Reins On Iraq Spending" (New York Times). Tim Johnson is addressed inside the paper (by Kate Zernike) and apparently noting it in Hulse's story might bring the front page nonsense back down to earth. So it's ignored. The real power of the purse is snapping it shut, not requesting a new billing cycle. But Democratic leadership wants to offer this nonsense as some sort of an 'action.' This was covered better by Sandra Lupien on The KPFA Evening News yesterday where she noted that Bully Boy will probably is expected to ask for an additional 100 billion dollars in funds at a time when the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have already been funded with approximately 379 billion dollars. Remember those figures when 'fiscal's on the right, center, 'left' and left start preaching the tighten our belts nonsense.

On yesterday's broadcast, Max Pringle noted death penalty charges had been dropped against Jesse Speilman. Who is Jess Spielman?
Among those charged in the rape and murder (and attempt to burn her corpse with kerosene) of fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. They are also charged with the death's of Abeer's parents Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen and her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza.

Steven D. Green had left the military when the March 12th crimes in Mahmoudiyah were exposed. He will be tried in a civilian court and entered a plea of not guilty on November 8th. Others charged were still serving in the US military. They include Spielman, Paul Cortez, Bryan Howard and James P. Barker (Anthony W. Yribe was charged with dereliction of duty for failure to report the events -- he was not charged with being a participant or a planner of the crimes).

On November 15th, Barker confessed to his part in the crimes in court (and named Green as the 'ringleader'). His confession places himself himself, Cortez and Green inside the house, has all three raping Abeer and places the blame for all four deaths on Green. [Barker was sentenced to 90 years in prison.]

Barker told of how he and Cortez took turns holding Abeer down and raping her. Fourteen-years-old, her parents and sister taken to another room and shot dead while she's in the living room being passed between two rapists.
According to Barker, after killing Abeer's parents and sister, Green returned to the living room, raped Abeer and shot her dead.

It's not a surprise that the Times can't cover this today. (See "The New York Times rendered Abeer invisible yet again.)" Illustrations from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Justice for Abeer and her family?"

Vic notes this press release from Canada's New Democratic Party, "Canadians call for sanctuary for U.S. war resisters:"

NDP MP Bill Siksay Tables Petition in House of Commons
OTTAWA -- NDP MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) today tabled a petition in the House of Commons signed by 7212 Canadians and residents of Canada calling on the government to provide sanctuary for American war resisters. The petitions were circulated by the
War Resisters Support Campaign and include names of people from every region of Canada.
"This is not the first time a huge petition on this subject has been presented in the House, and it likely won’t be the last," said Siksay. "To date tens of thousands of Canadians have expressed their support for brave Americans who have said 'no' to the illegal war in Iraq. They have done this by signing petitions, writing letters to elected officials, participating in demonstrations, and providing support and shelter to war resisters who have come to this country.
"Canada has refused to participate in the war in Iraq. In the past, most notably during the Vietnam War, Canada has been a haven. It should be again," concluded Siksay.
Full text of the petition:
To the Members of Parliament in the House of Commons Assembled:
During the period of 1965-1973 more than 50,000 draft-age Americans made their way to Canada, refusing to participate in an immoral war. At the time, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said: "Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war… have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
Thirty years later, Canada is faced with the same moral choice -- to give refuge to those who refuse to be accomplices to the US-led war on Iraq which many legal opinions have deemed illegal under international law.
There are currently at least two young people who have made their way to Canada in objection to the US government's war on Iraq. Jeremy Hinzman was a soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division. He and his family arrived in Toronto in January 2004 and are currently seeking refugee status. Brandon Hughey, a 19 year old American solider, arrived in St. Catherines two months later and is also seeking refugee status.
Regardless of the technical decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, we believe Canada should not punish US war objectors for exercising their conscience and refusing to fight. If they are returned to the United States, they face incarceration and possibly even the death penalty. Canada must not facilitate the persecution of American war objectors by returning them to the United States.
The majority of Canadians did not support this war. The Canadian government did not support this war.
We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to demonstrate its commitment to international law and the treaties to which it is a signatory, by making provision for US war objectors to have sanctuary in this country.

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