Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Other Items

Words matter. Especially when a word turns a person from a living, breathing, human being--or a person who in death deserves to be properly mourned--into a mere number. A number which can be escalated and ratcheted up without the public even noticing or having a proper sense of loss and fear. A number which can be escalated without any consequence to greedy politicians and the greedy corporations that prop them up.
We don't need Democratic Congresspersons who pander to the warmongering Republicans and pro-war Democrats. The American people voted "No to war" in this 2006 election. We need a bill that says, "Save our youth. Honor our service people who have completed their tours. Stop exposing American men and women to the stress and violence of a preemptive, illegal, war based on lies. End the war. Bring our PEOPLE home now."

The above is from Kimberly Wilder's "What Does It Mean To Support Our Troops?" (OpEd News). Third Party noted it and noted, "I'm not sure what to excerpt." That's because Wilder's taking on a marketing slogan that was used to silence dissent. We don't put the slogan up here, as Third Party knows. Third Party also wondered if Kimberly Wilder was someone who'd been noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review because the name sounded familiar?

Yes, she has. This is the most recent:

The Green Party in Suffolk County is always busy and creative. They have a contest going on right now. Are you creative? They'll be giving out two $100 prizes -- one to someone 18 or over and one to someone under 18. Read on:

Press Contacts:Roger Snyder, Green Party of Suffolk Chair(631) 351-5763 rogersnyder@pobox.com
Kimberly Wilder, Green Party of Suffolk Press Secretary(631) 422-4702 votewilder@yahoo.com
The Green Party of Suffolk invites everyone to showcase their artistic talent and their commitment to ending the War in Iraq by entering its "Bring Home Our Troops Poster Contest." The contest is designed to help achieve the goal of ending the War in Iraq and bringing our American troops home immediately.
The Green Party of Suffolk invites everyone to showcase their artistic talent and their commitment to ending the War in Iraq by entering its "Bring Home Our Troops Poster Contest." The contest is designed to help achieve the goal of ending the War in Iraq and bringing our American troops home immediately.Two prizes of $100 will be awarded, one for youth 17 years and younger, the other for adults 18 years and over. Rules and a release form are available on-line at http://www.gpsuffolk.org/. Or, you may contact the Green Party of Suffolk County at (631) 351-5763.
The deadline for entry is March 1st 2007. Winners will be announced at the Green Party of Suffolk Fundraiser in Setauket on March 16th. Winners do not need to be present to claim their prize.
The Green Party is an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. The Green Party's values are: non-violence; grassroots democracy; social and economic justice; and ecological wisdom. In New York, voters can enroll in the Green Party by checking off the "other" box on a voter registration form, and writing in the word "Green."
Local greens designed the Bring Home Our Troops Poster Contest as a way to encourage people to share a vision of peace.
In addition, Kimberly Wilder, in her own personal capacity, has decided enough is enough on the nonsense of the under counting of the D.C. rally and march (we're in full agreement).

Please, please, do contact the New York Times. There are too many people who spent too much time, energy and money going to D.C., to let the Times get off easy on this one:
It appears that the New York Times got the talking points, or marching orders, or whatever, from the gentlemen's agreement in D.C.
Instead of all those citizens and activists going to D.C. to demand pulling out of Iraq, the New York Times says the focus was against the surge. How did the The Times get that? Did they do a sign survey? The people who I know who went to D.C. want an end to war, now, immediately.

That's her opening. You can read more and other pieces by Wilder at her website On The Wilder Side.

That contest referred to above is nearing the deadline and there will be two winners, one for those 17 and younger and one for those 18 an older. Again, the article excerpted at the top is worth reading. Bumper sticker slogans don't provide much other than cover for those who choose to pretend things are going better than they actually are. With reality that bumper stickers avoid, Martha notes Dana Priest and Anne Hull's "Army Fixing Patients' Housing" (Washington Post):

Walter Reed Army Medical Center began repairs yesterday on Building 18, a former hotel that is used to house outpatients recuperating from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan and that has been plagued with mold, leaky plumbing and a broken elevator.
The facility's commander, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, said Army staff members inspected each of the 54 rooms at the building and discovered that outstanding repair orders for half the rooms had not been completed. He said that mold removal had begun on several rooms and that holes in ceilings, stained carpets and leaking faucets were being fixed.

Walter Reed, the Army's premier medical facility, has turned into a holding ground for wounded soldiers during 5 1/2 years of sustained combat. Almost 700 outpatients suffering from physical injuries and psychological problems live on the 113-acre military post or in nearby quarters. Many linger there for 18 months or longer as they move through the Army's numbing bureaucracy.
A Washington Post series over the weekend described "The Other Walter Reed," where overdoses, suicide attempts and depression among outpatients are the parallel narrative to the spit-polish hallways of the renowned hospital.
Building 18, in particular, symbolizes the indifference and neglect that many of the wounded say they experience at Walter Reed.

The series had two parts, "Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility" and "The Hotel Aftermath" (Hull and Priest were the reporters on both pieces).

Rebecca called to say Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar are both guests on Democracy Now! this morning (those who listen to it on the radio -- I do -- will hear it shortly) and notes this from Raed in the Middle:

But more importantly, I spent the weekend translating this leaked copy of the Iraqi oil law with niki (thank you salam for sending me the link). Translating legal documents can be really hard!We just finished the translation, and you can download it by clicking here or herePlease feel free to widely distribute this document. It's important to start a stronger debate and to try to educate Iraqis and Americans about this catastrophic law that will facilitate the further looting of Iraqi oil, and will achieve nothing other than increasing the levels of violence and anger in Iraq.
This law legalizes PSAs (production sharing agreements) in Iraq. Iraq will be the only country in the middle east with such contracts privatising Iraqi oil and giving foreign companies crazy rates of profit that may reach to more than three fourth of the general revenue. Iraq and Iraqis need every Dinar that comes from oil sales. In addition to the financial aspects of this law, it can be considered the funding tool for splitting Iraq into three states. It undermines the central government and distributes oil revenues directly to the three regions, which sets the foundations for what Iraq's enemies are trying to achieve in terms of establishing three independent states.

Today, the US military announced: "On Feb. 19, an MND-B unit was conducting a combat security patrol southwest of the Iraqi capital when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing three Soldiers and wounding two others." And Reuters notes: "A bomb in a truck carrying chlorine gas killed at least five people north of Baghdad and injured scores more, including many women and children poisoned by the gas, police said on Tuesday.
The truck bomb exploded near a restaurant at a rest stop on a main highway in Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of the capital."

And Vic notes this from Edward C. Corrigan's "US War Resisters and the Legality of the Iraq War" (Media Monitors Network):

Jeremy Hinzman lost his "conscientious objection" refugee case at the IRB. He then applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the Immigration and Refugee Board decision rejecting his claim. However, the Federal Court upheld the negative decision but the case has been referred to the Federal Court of Appeal.
The key issue is whether or not the legality of the war is a relevant issue to the claim for protection. It will be interesting to see the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal. This legal question may ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Finally, Agustin Aguayo's court-martial is set to start March 6th in Germany, Dominick notes this from AP:

The mother of a Mexican-born U.S. Army medic who refused to return to Iraq and could receive a seven-year prison sentence has come to Mexico to seek help from the government in defending her son.
Susana Aguayo on Monday asked Mexico to appoint a lawyer for her son, Agustin, who faces a court-martial next month at a U.S. military court in Germany on charges of desertion and missing a troop movement. His application for status as a conscientious objector was denied, and he went absent without leave in September after being ordered to return to Iraq.
In an open letter to Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Susana Aguayo asked for "consular assistance."
"It is urgently necessary that the Mexican Ambassador in Berlin, Jorge Castro Valle, provide a lawyer to give him legal aid ... before it's too late," the letter said.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.