Thursday, June 21, 2007

"The Intimidation of a Vet" (Ron Jacobs)

Ron: Liam, What exactly is the military trying to do to you?
Liam: The Marine Corps notified me that I was being recommended for "Other then Honorable Discharge" from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for two alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
1. Wearing a partial USMC camouflage uniform at a political protest
2. Making Disloyal Statements at a speech in New York City. I said that "The War in Iraq is, by Nuremberg standards, a war crime and a war of aggression" and "the president has betrayed U.S. service members by committing them to a war crime
In essence, they are trying to apply the UCMJ to members of the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) who aren't supposed to be subject to it. Further, they are attempting to silence political opposition to the war by intimidating vets and GIs.
Ron: Just to clarify, are you still in the reserves?
Liam: I'm still a member of the IRR
Ron: Why do you think they chose you? Is this also happening to other service people or vets?
Liam: I believe they chose to target me because they perceive me as a figure head for the veterans who are speaking about the illegality of the war Two other members of IVAW are being targeted. Adam Kokesh and Cloy Richards are both former Marines who have been under investigation by the USMC and Adam has already faced his discharge board
Ron: Historically, is this that unusual for the military to come down on you?
Liam: Normally people aren't discharged from the IRR. It is simply a list of names the military can call upon in times of national crisis. When they don't want someone on the list they typically just cross them off. However it is not unusual that the government cracks down on those who are questioning the motives of their actions. For example, COINTELPRO, the imprisonment of Eugene Debs, and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ron: What is the status of the case? When do you have to go to court or whatever?
Liam: They haven't scheduled a date yet

The above is an excerpt from Ron Jacobs' "The Intimidation of a Vet: An Interview with Liam Madden" (OpEd News). Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh are all members of Iraq Veterans Against the War -- an apparent concern to the US military since Kokesh's kangaroo 'hearing' included those presiding over it asking if he was a "card carrying member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War. The attempts to target and punish those who speak out includes inventing 'crimes' and creating punishments and 'rules' out of thin air.

In the New York Times this morning, Alissa J. Rubin offers "Shiite Rivalries Slash at a Once Calm Iraqi City:"

Diwaniya is the capital of the almost completely Shiite farming province of Qadisiya, known for its marshy fields where farmers grow aromatic ambar rice, similar to India's basmati. Even in town, many people patch together a livelihood with seasonal jobs working the rice fields or tending date palms.
It is a poor province, and poorer now because of a recent decline in the farming sector, making it fertile ground for groups allied with the anti-American cleric, Moktada al-Sadr. The cleric, whose legendary father was beloved here, has reached out to the poor, both in town and in the country.

A recent decline is touched on but not explored. Despite the fact that it goes a long way to explaining not only what is currently going on but what has gone in province after province throughout Iraq. In fact, the free fall, what Naomi Klein rightly noted as "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine) goes a long way towards explaining Iraq today. It's at the root of most of current events. Martha notes Joshua Partlow and Robin Wright's "Top Iraqi Officials Growing Restless" (Washington Post):

Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a senior Shiite politician often mentioned as a potential prime minister, tendered his resignation last week in a move that reflects deepening frustration inside the Iraqi government with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Other senior Iraqi officials have considered resigning in recent weeks over the failures of their government to make progress after more than a year in power, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Abdul Mahdi said he was provoked by the second bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra on June 13, in which he said corrupt police abetted Sunni insurgents. "The two minarets were as important to us as September 11, and we should be accountable to the people," Abdul Mahdi said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We should be doing more to move in a positive direction -- on corruption, accountability and defending the important sites."

Instead, the 'benchmark' is privatization/theft of Iraqi oil. And that also impacts events in Iraq because it demonstrates what the priorities are and what they aren't. And the US pressure on the puppet Nouri al-Maliki to push this proposed legisltation (drafted with Americans) through and the US administrations very obvious displeasure that al-Maliki has been ineffective in doing so goes a long way towards explaining why others in the puppet government sense it's time to start getting out.

Today, in Iraq, Reuters reports a truck bombing in northern Iraq that has already claimed the lives of at least 18. In the United States, Ted Kennedy has joined John Kerry in fighting to stop the harrassment of missing US soldier Alex R. Jimenez' wife.

The e-mail address for this site is