Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Agustin Aguayo to be released today


American Voices Abroad (AVA) Military ProjectU.S. citizens living overseas supporting U.S. military personnel stationed overseas
Berlin, April 17, 2007 An Army spokesperson confirmed late today that U.S. soldier
Agustín Aguayo, 35, will be released from the U.S. military detention facility in Mannheim tomorrow, but will likely remain in Germany for at least some days for processing at his "home base" in Schweinfurt.
Most of Aguayo's unit in the Army's 1st Infantry Division has been deployed to Baghdad since September.
Aguayo, a 35-year-old Mexican-American combat medic and the father of two preteen daughters, has been confined in Mannheim since October 3rd. He has served an eight-month prison sentence (with some time off for good behavior), following his conviction at a U.S. Army general court martial in Germany on March 6, 2007, on charges of desertion and of "missing movement."

Per the March 6th decision, he is also to receive a bad conduct military discharge.
According the military spokesperson, Aguayo has filed an appeal within the military justice system of the conviction of desertion, and he will challenge the bad conduct discharge. He will not be discharged from the Army until his military appeal has been considered, which could take up to a year. However, he may request extended leave which, if granted, would enable him to join his family in California.
In a separate civil court proceeding, Aguayo filed papers in the U.S. Courtof Appeals in Washington, DC, earlier this month for a rehearing of his civil appeal challenging the Army's refusal to grant him an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector (CO).

The above press release can be found in full at "U.S. War Resister Agustín Aguayo to Be Released April 18th from U.S. Military Prison in Mannheim, Germany" (AfterDowningStreet). You can refer to Lori Hurlebaus' "Army Spc. Agustin Aguayo's fight against war" (Courage To Resist) for more on Aguayo.

In Iraq Sinan Salaheddin (AP) is reporting that 66 are dead from four bombs (150 wounded) in Baghdad. Update, 127 is what Salaheddin just filed. 127 dead and I doubt there will be any calls for "a moment of silence" or that KPFA will provide a two hour special or that we will grasp for any "teachable moments" or any other excuse someone wants to offer for being part of a feeding frenzy when the victims are White.

In other news, Iccho Ito has been shot dead. Cadeo wonders if it's "normal" for the rest of the world to follow news of a US campus shooting but for the US to show little to no interest when the mayor of Nagasaki is shot dead? If by "normal," the issue is that this is how the press always responds, then yes. If by "normal," the comparative silence is supposedly justified, then no. (Language warnings) Mike's "No moment of silence here" and Rebecca's "not much" offer their takes on the feeding frenzy. This is being tied back into Iraq, it's not off topic. Some sites are promoting the nonsense of a "moment of silence" on Friday and as Mike has stated there has been more than enough silence in the last years.

At one site, it's not enough to promote silence they put forward the lie: "We need to Step Forward as a Community of Americans, As We Did After 9/11." As we did after 9/11? Who is "we"? Muslim Americans were targeted, rounded up, jailed and many deported. Go sell you hazy, guazy, s**t somewhere else because it's not being purchased here. The limited "pull together" was b.s. and it prevented real issues from being raised, it allowed the Patriot Act to be pushed through and only a dumb ass would hail that as a time to return to. Only a dumb ass who didn't pay attention to anything but what came on their warm TV screen. We don't need more "silences."

And the feeding frenzy on this one story -- TWO FRONT PAGE STORIES ON THE NEW YORK TIMES!!!!! EXTRA!!! EXTRA!!! READ 'EM AND WEEP!!!! -- is nothing but a waste of everyone's time as America yet again plays "Get Caught Up in the Drama!" (See Kat's "Where is the Iraqi refugee crisis?" for more on that as well.) You have questions about how it happened, by all means follow up. But this nonsense of a moment of silence is, as Rebecca points out, the same nonsense that is (rightly) ridiculed in Heathers. It's a Dateline type of story, it's really not news. "Oh, look what I have of the killer's!" "I heard the killer was angry!" It's a lot of drama, it's not news. It's the OJ car chase, but it's not news.

And anyone urging people to silence their own voices (for a moment or any length of time) really doesn't grasp that there's been more than enough silence over the issues of violence in the last few years. It's a nice little self-stroking that lets the idiots who never follow anything other than E! pretend like they're following the news! The same crowd comes along for one story (OJ, Robert Blake, the Death Watch on the Pope, . . .) and then fades away.

In the meantime, there are people in pain because of this violence, people who suffered very real losses, and, in the words of Joni Mitchell: "Wouldn't they like their peace, don't we get bored?" Apparently not until every headline can be ripped from this. It's not news, it's tabloid. It's a lot of people getting to leave their empty lives (I'm referring to 'reporters' as much as the public, probably more so) and pretend they care about something -- something easy to care about because the event is over.

The Iraqi refugee crisis, as Kat notes, that doesn't rate a two hour call in special on KPFA.
Don't kid this is about news. It's about the feeding frenzy. "What if I miss the story! I can't miss the story!" So the press piles on even though there's really nothing there -- there are private moments which families should be allowed to have in private -- and it becomes the wall to wall.

Noam Chomsky for the hour on Democracy Now! today. If no where else, you can listen, watch and read that and not have to see the press at their most craven as they pick at the bones in an attempt to boost their circulation and ratings.

Yesterday was the first of two day conference in Geneva on the displaced in Iraq. That is news. It's not even a story in the Times today. Nor is anything Nora Barrows-Friedman reported on for Flashpoints yesterday. Instead we get day three of hand wringing and drama. Let's stop pretending that this easy crap -- easy to file, easy to recite -- that keeps coming over our airwaves and to our doors and porches (in the case of print) is news. It's tabloid and it's not just trash because of its content, it's trash because of the whole ambulance chasing nature of it.

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