Thursday, March 22, 2007

And now they try to bully Joshua Key . . .

A war resisters' support group says Toronto police officers came looking to question a U.S. army deserter, and it accused police of doing the U.S. military's "bidding."
The Toronto-based
War Resisters Support Campaign issued a press release yesterday saying that three plainclothes officers visited the home of a Toronto family on March 13 looking for Joshua Key. Mr. Key, 28, is a former combat engineer with the U.S. army who fled to Canada in 2003 after serving in Iraq.
The family gave Mr. Key shelter when he arrived in Canada four years ago. According to the group, the officers identified themselves as being with the Toronto police and said they wanted to ask Mr. Key some questions about allegations he made in his autobiographical book, The Deserter's Tale.
In his the book, Mr. Key describes several incidents involving American U.S. troops in Iraq, including one in which he says he saw soldiers playing soccer with the heads of decapitated Iraqis.

Omar El Akkad's "Police doing U.S. army's 'bidding,' group says" (Canada's Globe and Mail). If you've been following this issue -- probably many haven't -- where is Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now!, et al. on this? -- we all know The Nation won't have a damn word to say -- you remember that Kyle Snyder's Feb. wedding didn't come off because the local police showed up on the orders of the US military -- Canadian police taking orders from the US police. So now they're going after Joshua Key as well? There's a press conference today.

Media conference
Thursday March 22, 10 a.m.
Friends Meeting House (Quakers)
60 Lowther Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
2 blocks north of Bloor St. West, at Bedford Road
(Parking available off Bedford Rd.)
TORONTO, March 21 /CNW/ - Advocates supporting US war resisters in Canada
are increasingly concerned by the compliance of Canadian law enforcement with
requests from the US military. On February 23, police in Nelson, BC arrested
US war resister Kyle Snyder, allegedly at the request of the US Army. He was
released hours later. No charges were laid.
On March 13, three plainclothes officers came to the home of a Toronto
family who had housed US war resister Joshua Key two years ago. They said they
wanted to question him about allegations he made in his recently published
memoir, The Deserter's Tale. They identified themselves as members of the
Toronto Police. The same day, the Canadian Peace Alliance received a call from
the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, also looking for Joshua Key.
"These incidents raise serious questions about who is giving direction to
Canadian law enforcement," said Lee Zaslofsky, Coordinator of the
Resisters Support Campaign
. "In both Nelson and Toronto it seems that local
police forces did the bidding of the US military. We want to know why."
Shirley Douglas, well-known actor and activist, said, "There is nothing
preventing this government from regularizing the status of the war resisters
today. The police incidents underline the urgent need for Canada to enact a
provision to allow US war resisters to stay in this country. As June Callwood
has so often reminded us, "From the time of the United Empire Loyalists who
fled to Canada in the eighteenth century, to the draft resisters of the
Vietnam era who came here more than thirty years ago, Canada has been
providing refuge for Americans. We have a moral obligation to continue to do
Speakers at the press conference include: Winnie Ng, who housed US war
resister Joshua Key; US war resister Jeremy Hinzman; Jane Orion Smith,
Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Carolyn Egan, President,
Steelworker Toronto Area Council; Eduardo Sousa, Council of Canadians; Lee
Zaslofsky, War Resisters Support Campaign; and others TBA.
For further information: Lee Zaslofsky, (416) 598-1222; Michelle
Robidoux, (416) 856-5008

That is today. Possibly someone will cover it but don't hold your breath, Canada has refused to grant any of the refugees asylum and where is the left media? Apparently bored or afraid. Giving it the same silent treatment they do the criticism of MoveOn. MoveOn is not left. It was never left. It was the easiest road, the attention seeking (from the beltway) group. And it's getting really embarrassing to listen to the radio this week and hear no one calling that out, in report after report. It's really embarrassing. It's embarrassing that Lynn Woolsey has to defend herself (right now as I type) because Pacifica -- in all its programs -- has failed to do their part to educate listeners about what MoveOn is. As Kat has noted, Pacifica can't even tell their listeners what's in the Pelosi measure (with exceptions -- Robert Knight, Dennis Bernstein, among them). The news crew doesn't seem to have one damn clue. And that's a HUGE problem. And it's a HUGE problem when they pimp MoveOn. I'm talking about the news crew here, not the hosts of public affiars programs. It's one thing to roll your eyes when the New York Times is repeated as gospel by a host, it's another thing when it's coming out in the actual news reports.

What's going on, and Frances Fox Piven and Tom Hayden addressed this Tuesday on KPFA's The Morning Show -- even if the news crew wasn't listening, is that the Democratic leadership is stringing the war along (it is now their war) for the 2008 election. This nonsense of reporting that the Pelosi measure will mean troops come home is embarrassing as well as inaccurate. It will not bring anyone home. One example, only one, all Bully Boy has to do -- per the bill -- is state that for "national security" reasons, the troops need to remain in Iraq and they can -- per the bill. The bill is nonsense.

(Just like the nonsense that allows no one to ponder whether pure as snow Obama was involved in the attack Hillary commercial -- apparently, before he became Man Wonder, and before he was Boy Wonder, his pack of admirers weren't paying attention; however, Jack Ryan did not expose his own personal life. Those who believe Obama's not capable of campaign dirty tricks need to move beyond the myth and look at the reality. Of course, it's always a staffer, it's always someone with the campaign. If, indeed, that's true, that would go to leadership -- that someone repeatedly has campaigners who will not follow guidelines and orders.)

How could they educate, Pacifica, their listeners? Well how about we stop hearing that "some criticism" has greeted MoveOn and we start hearing the criticism?

On Sunday, March 18, Sheldon Rampton and I wrote "Iraq: Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?", an article now widely circulated online. It has helped to focus debate on whether the Democratic Party is really attempting to end the war in Iraq, or is content to simply manage the war for supposed electoral advantage in 2008.
The liberal advocacy group
MoveOn has 3.2 million members. Yesterday MoveOn misleadingly claimed that the results from their recent member survey showed overwhelming support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill on Iraq. "The results are in from our poll on whether to support Speaker Pelosi's proposal on Iraq: 84.6% of MoveOn members voted to support the bill," according to MoveOn. However, this claim flunks the smell test and is far far from accurate. MoveOn is engaging that oldest of PR games known as 'lies, damned lies and statistics." The truth is that 96% of MoveOn's 3.2 million members did not even bother to vote in their member survey. Most of MoveOn's members probably ignored and failed to open the email, since nothing in the subject line indicated it was particularly important. MoveOn informed this reporter that about 126,000 people voted in what I pointed out to them was a very biased pro-Pelosi poll. The MoveOn question essentially provided a choice of Pelosi and peace (Yes), or Republicans and war (No). Gee, guess how that one gets answered?
The real news is that 96% of MoveOn's huge list did not vote with them to support the Pelosi bill. When MoveOn says 84.6% of their members chose Pelosi's bill, they mean 86.4% of the measly four percent of their members who bothered to open their email and respond. A polling of members in which 96% do not vote is no polling at all. Unfortunately MoveOn, while claiming to represent their overwhelmingly anti-war membership, is being unaccountable and anti-democratic.

The above is from John Stauber's "96% of MoveOn Members Did Not Show Support for the Pelosi Bill" (Common Dreams). Whose going to book John Stauber or Sheldon Rampton first? Do they need a Kennedy connection and a movie broadcast on HBO? Until Stauber and Rampton are brought on, Pacifica's running scared of MoveOn. There's no reason to, MoveOn's membership isn't the 3 million it's billed as, MoveOn's membership has largely MovedOn. Common Dreams, CounterPunch and others can question but apparently Pacifica's too scared to. Which must be why Stauber and Rampton's explosive piece, published Sunday, has not led to them appearing on KPFA despite the fact that both are frequent guests.

We're closing with Julian E. Barnes' "Report calls for unity on postwar rebuilding" (Los Angeles Times):

Congress should force the State and Defense departments to cooperate in planning and overseeing any future wartime reconstruction to prevent the kind of problems that befouled rebuilding efforts in Iraq, according to an investigative report to be issued today.
The failure of a comprehensive, unified planning effort before the Iraq invasion -- and shifting oversight of the reconstruction program afterward -- hindered America's ability to effectively rebuild Iraq, says the report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
"Those planning programs shouldn't be balkanized; they should be unified," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general. "There is fairly universal agreement that the United States government was not well poised to execute the kind of relief and reconstruction operation that was presented in Iraq."
The report outlines the continuing problems in planning and overseeing Iraq reconstruction. Bowen said reform should be modeled on the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act that forced the Air Force, Army and Navy to better coordinate how they fought wars.
Bowen said he was not advocating any specific changes or new positions. Instead, he said, he is recommending that Congress find a way to ensure that the State and Defense departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, have "unity of command" when it comes to wartime rebuilding.

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