Friday, March 23, 2007

The US military posed as Toronto cops?

They told her they were Toronto police officers and wanted to speak with her former houseguest about his new book.
But the unannounced March 13 visit from three men in suits and trench coats raised a red flag for Winnie Ng. It was too suspicious and she wondered why they really wanted to find U.S. war resister Joshua Key.
"They took me by surprise," said Ng, among a number of Canadians who have opened their homes to U.S. war resisters and consciencious objectors who crossed the border to escape having to fight in Iraq. About 40 are in Canada.
"They asked about Joshua and (his wife) Brandi – asked where they live and said they weren't there to arrest him, but to talk about his book," Ng said. The visit took her off guard, she says, so she didn't note names or badge numbers. And though they were polite, Ng said she couldn't help feeling "gentle intimidation."
There is no record of local officers being dispatched to Ng's home last week, Toronto Police spokesperson Const. Victor Kwong confirmed yesterday. "Toronto Police Service was not involved in this."

The above is from Leslie Ferenc's "U.S. deserter hunted in T.O.? Trio told woman they were Toronto police, but weren't" (Toronto Star). We're on the topic of war resister Joshua Key and the case has new turn. Joshua Key served in Iraq and then self-checked out. He and his family, wife Brandi Key and their children, attempted to figure out what to do because, having seen what was being done in Iraq, he couldn't return (as he notes in his book, The Deserter's Tale, he knows from right from wrong). Online, he learned of Jeremy Hinzman who was already in Canada seeking refugee status. (So don't say coverage doesn't have an impact.) In March of 2005, he and his family crossed the border into Canada and have attempted to make their life there. So that's the basic backstory for anyone who's arriving late. As Ferenc notes, the Toronot Police says it wasn't them. Who was it?

From Omar El Akkad's "U.S. Army criminal branch seeks to talk to deserter: Questions raised about allegations in Canadian resident's autobiography" (Globe & Mail):

The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command has confirmed it is looking to question an army deserter now living in Canada about explosive allegations he made in his autobiography.
"I can [confirm] for you that CID is attempting to locate and speak with this individual," army spokesman Chris Grey said in an e-mail yesterday.
"We are attempting to contact him to follow up on some of the allegations he has made to [determine] if there is enough credible information to investigate further. We take any and all allegations of criminal wrongdoing very seriously."

Who came to Toronto searching for Joshua Key? It appears it was the US military. It appears it was the US military posing as Canadian police. Lying. Dishonoring the uniform and breaking how many laws in the process? Joshua Key's attorney, Jeff House, will agree to a meeting provided an audio recording or a transcipt of the meeting is kept and provided to Key and House but, despite contacting the US military with that offer (left as a message), he's received no return call. Which calls into question the US military's claim that, like a traveling book club, they just wanted to meet with the author of a book they'd read. The article also notes that it's "odd" that the US military would side step Canada's Foreign Affairs department. One wonders what the declared intent was when they crossed the border?

The book that supposedly has so enthralled them is The Deserter's Tale -- worth reading.

So where to start with other news? A highlight. Seth notes "Democrats are Exploiting Antiwar Sentiment for Political Gain" from the Green Party:

Green Party of the United States
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Contacts:Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Greens condemn Democratic resolution for U.S. troop withdrawal by 2008, calling it a phony antiwar posture to give Democrats an advantage in 2008
If Democrats (including MoveOn) really oppose the war, they should demand a cutoff of war funding and the immediate return of all U.S. troops, say Greens.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders strongly criticized a proposed Democratic resolution in the U.S. calling for withdrawal by September 2008, and demanded that Congress take action to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq with legislation that would effect an immediate withdrawal.
The Green Party of the United States has opposed the U.S. war on Iraq since late 2002, when President Bush announced plans for an invasion, and has called for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for a list of high crimes and misdemeanors, including lying to the American people to justify going to war.
Cres Vellucci, member of Veterans For Peace, Vietnam War veteran (military information specialist), and press secretary of the Green Party of California:
"The Democrats' resolution is piece of phony and meaningless antiwar posturing. By proposing a plan that effectively delays the withdrawal of U.S. troops until September 2008, Democrats are trying to set themselves up as the 'antiwar party' in the 2008 election, since it's obvious that President Bush intends to keep U.S. forces in Iraq throughout 2008 and long after. If Democratic Party leaders really believe the Iraq War is a disaster -- as do the Green Party and most Americans -- they should support legislation compelling a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces and reducing war funding to the amount it takes to bring our troops home safe and sound."
Anthony Gronowicz, Ph.D., 2005 Green Party Candidate for Mayor of New York City:
" has limited its support to the bill for delayed withdrawal, and has refused to publicize alternative legislation. As the war enters its fifth year, Democratic leaders and their supporters in MoveOn are willing to keep American military personnel in Iraq another 18 months. That means another 18 months of Iraqi civilians, U.S. troops, and U.S. contractors, facing death and injury, so that Democrats can gain a political advantage in the 2008 election."
Nan Garrett, co-chair of the Green Party's National Women's Caucus:
"The fact that Democrats are about to approve another $120 billion for President Bush's war shows that they're as ready to indulge the Bush Administration's imperial designs as they were in October 2002, when many of them voted to surrender Congress's constitutional war power to the White House. The result has been mass death and mayhem, destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and civil society, a brutal civil war, empowerment of repressive theocratic movements in Iraq, and rage against the U.S. around the world, especially in Muslim nations. Even worse, if President Bush acts on his threats to attack Iran or Israel launches an assault on Iran with U.S. support, we'll see a regional war for years to come that's likely to turn into a global confrontation, possibly nuclear, as Saudi Arabia and other nations are drawn into a wider Sunni-Shiite conflict and powerful countries like Russia and China choose sides. Congress must act as quickly as possible to head off the Bush-Cheney agenda. The first step is to end the occupation of Iraq."
Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, Deputy Mayor of New Paltz, New York and a member of the Green Party's Peace Action Committee (GPAX):
"Democratic leaders in Congress are using passage of the 'hydrocarbon law' in Iraq as a benchmark for withdrawal of U.S. troops. The new law would privatize and allow foreign control over Iraqi oil resources, and would subject Iraq to World Bank and IMF structural adjustment policies that impoverish people while enriching corporations. In other words, Democrats are happy to prolong the war for the very reasons that President Bush launched it in the first place -- profits for U.S. oil companies, as well as U.S. political and corporate dominance in the region and the strategic interests of Israel."
MORE INFORMATIONGreen Party of the United States 1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.202-319-7191, 866-41
GREENFax 202-319-7193
Green Party News Center
[. . .*]
"Dems Aren't Urgent Enough About Withdrawal"By John Nichols, The Nation, March 9, 2007
"Iraq: Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?"By Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy, March 18, 2007

[*We don't link to that RS article which is insulting on so many levels. Normally, I don't edit a press release but I don't need calls all day from friends at RS or who have left RS complaining that we linked to the crap.]

The party hack has a laughable claim in a Washington Post article. We'll again note, you're not a journalist if you go back and forth. If you work on campaigns and then you're a journalist and back and forth and back and forth, you're nothing but a hack. I could cite fifty independent media critiques of New York Times reporters who had done just that. The same critique should be applied to independent media. And those who don't apply it -- or worse, run his 'reporting' -- look like hypocrites.

So the Apologist wants to provide a lecture on realism (I heard about that last night, I hadn't read the article). And we're all supposed to say, "Thank you for your faux pearls of wisdom"?
Not so fast. Why doesn't he go back to writing his Thomas Friedman-like columns where he's screaming war on Hugo Chavez?

Party hacks are party hacks. And, something to watch for, who will note the Green Party's statement? They haven't bothered to invite John Stauber or Sheldon Rampton on to discuss their article from the start of the week. Possibly, they feel it's "generous" to refer to it in terms of "some critics"? That's what you've gotten (with the exception of Common Dreams, BuzzFlash and CounterPunch).

So Pelosi strong-armed and got what she wanted. Big surprise. Congress always caves. That's why people have to demand. The Apologist doesn't understand that (any more than camera operators understand how to film that face made for radio -- there's no way to, not since Shannon Doherty has a face been more off balance and he lacks her charisma). The Dems have fallen in line and, it bears noting, created the kind of pork bill they haven't been able to since before the days they were driven from Congressional power. There are countless stories in that, but don't expect them to be covered. We've noted here before that we've killed off one Cokie only to see a hundred Cokie's sprout in her place. The new James Carvilles received far less attention.

Melanie highlights this from Corporate Crime Reporter on The Apologist:

After graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1998, he worked in various Democratic Party campaigns, did a stint at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, D.C., was the press spokesperson for Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), and then moved to Montana, where his wife now works for Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Melanie was surprised to see AIPAC in the credits (that's not a full list). Why? It fits perfectly. (Melanie was shocked considering that he has three print outlets -- three magazines supposedly very distinct, supposedly with a brand, supposedly with their own 'independent' missions.) It's interesting because, once upon, the opinion journals tried to offer thinkers. Now it's little party hacks who write 'book' that don't sell. (The Apologist didn't write a book. He took a PowerPoint presentation and had it printed in book forum.)

Well, as with the Democrats, it's their war now. They've never demonstrated that they care all that much about, but they own a parcel of it now. They kept their non-thinkers close by, just to avoid anyone asking the uncomfortable questions.

And in other corruption news, AP is reporting:

Former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles will plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, The Associated Press has learned.
[. . .]
The former No. 2 official at the Interior Department has agreed to a felony plea admitting that he lied five times to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and its investigators about his relationship with Abramoff, people involved in the case told the AP.

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