Monday, July 09, 2007

Other Items

Nine members from Iraq Veterans Against the War, from all different states, ages and military backgrounds, stopped in Washington Park Friday not to wave signs in the air, not to play peace music over loudspeakers, and not to make speeches through megaphones. They said they aren't protesters. "We're going out in the communities with fliers, interacting with military members that would like to talk to us," said Jimmy Massey, IVAW regional coordinator for the South. The group set off from Georgia last month on a summer bus tour last that will end in New York. Groton, home of the Naval Submarine Base, was their ninth stop. "This is not a protest tour. We are here to reach out and have dialogue with active personnel," said Jim Goodnow, the bus driver. The nonprofit organization, founded by Iraq War veterans in 2004, is made up of veterans and active-duty servicemen and women who are working to bring soldiers home from the war. The group provides outreach to communities and is a network for returning service members: those who may have a hard time adjusting or who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Massey.

The above is from Amy Renczkowski's "Veterans Group That Opposes Iraq War Makes Stop In Groton" (Conn.'s The Day). Iraq Veterans Against the War will be taking other actions throughout the summer to continue addressing the illegal war. You can click here to read their blogging of the bus tour and you can click here for photos of the tour. Among those participating was Adam Kokesh and clicking on his name takes you to his site which contains information on the tour and a great deal more.

Another event took place in Canada. I'm only seeing an Associated Press report on it thus far. This is from AP's "Major opponent of Vietnam War criticizes U.S. role in Iraq at draft resister meeting:"

Daniel Ellsberg, the former U.S. Defense Department official who leaked secret Pentagon documents during the Vietnam war, called President George W. Bush a "rogue emperor" who must be reigned in by U.S. allies before he can cause any more conflicts The United States is in violation of international conventions against war crimes and torture as it wages war in Iraq and against purported terrorist foes, Ellsberg told former draft resisters at an event Sunday. He called Bush a "lame duck president who seems to be taking (that status) as a license for freedom" to do as he wishes. Ellsberg was speaking at the second annual Our Way Home Reunion for U.S. Vietnam War resisters held in Brilliant, British Columbia, about 400 miles (643 kilometers) east of Vancouver.

Again, during Vietnam, US service members were granted asylum. Canada officially sat Vietnam out as it has done with Iraq; however, to this day, not one of the war resisters seeking refugee status has been granted it. Jeffry House who represents many war resisters in Canada -- Corey Glass, Joshua Key, Jeremy Hinzman, etc. -- was also at the conference and knows about the issue. During Vietnam, House went to Canada as a war resister. House was supposed to take part in a panel discussion last week with Iraq war resisters Brandon Hughey and Kyle Snyder as well Michelle Mason who made the brilliant Breaking Ranks -- a documentary about US war resisters (of the Iraq war) moving to Canada.

In the United States, an event will be coming up. Veterans For Peace will be holding, August 15th through 19th, their "22nd Annual Veterans For Peace Convention" in St. Louis, Missouri. Note, we will refer to it here as a their conference. This issue arose last year with friends who attended and feel that it should be billed as a conference. We've noted the official title (we've also noted the dates already at least twice) and that's the last time we will. Future references will refer to it as their 22nd annual conference.

Returning to news of Saturday's bombing in Amerli, Sudarsan Raghavan's "In Iraqi Hamlet, 'A Funeral Service In Every House'" (Washington Post, and, FYI, New York Times, on the front page) examines the losses:

"What was left of my father were bits and pieces, which I and some of the neighbors collected into a bag while we wept," Ahmad, 39, said Sunday, the trauma plastered across his face. Last year, he said, Sunni militants killed his brother Ali and his nephew during a pilgrimage to the Shiite holy city of Karbala.
"And today I lost all my family," he said.

Lloyd noted the above and Martha noted Shankar Vedantam's "Gates Defers Travel Plans To Help With Iraq Report" (Washington Post). Vedantam reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be in DC working with the White House for a progress report presumably to be presented Monday -- the first date of significance (thrown down by Congress) is July 15th which falls on a Sunday. Gates was to go China, that is on hold. David E. Sanger covers whispers in the New York Times on the topic of Iraq. Someone forgot to tell Sanger a progress report was being assembled, someone forgot to tell him Gates was working on it. We're not linking to Sanger's whispers. CORRECTION: GATES WAS HEADED TO CENTRAL AND LATIN AMERICA.

Olive notes "Blair defied ministers on Iraq: diaries" (ABC's Australia built from AFP and Reuters):

Tony Blair's closest aide has revealed the former British prime minister overrode Cabinet colleagues who had doubts about going to war against Iraq, in diaries published today.
The Blair Years by Mr Blair's former press chief, Alastair Campbell, also gives behind-the-scenes insights into the ex-prime minister's relations with US President George W Bush and describes strains with French ex-president Jacques Chirac and former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, among others.

Among other items in the article is that when Tony Blair learned of statements by Donald Rumsfeld (then US Secretary of Defense) that the US would begin the illegal war with or without England, Blair "went bonkers about it."

Staying on the United Kingdom, the photo is of Christopher Read who was 22 years-old. Read died, after hospitalization at the Basra Field Hospital, on Saturday from "injuries that he sustained during a large scale operation in the early hours of the morning". For the photo and more information click here (UK Ministry of Defence) and you'll also find the death of Ryan Francis mentioned. Ryan Francis also died on Saturday. He had been 23 years-old and the UK Ministry of Defence informs that his friends called him "Franky" and that a Basra roadside bombing is what killed him. Though there is repeated talk that the British will turn over Basra that has still not taken place. Ryan Francis should be the second photo and Christopher Read the first (not sure how they'll end up when they post).

To date, 159 British soldiers have died in the Iraq war since it began. The US military death total currently stands at 3606 since the illegal war began. If you're scratching your head, yes, the 3600 mark was passed this weekend. I am not sure that the 3606 count includes this death the US military announced today: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and three other Soldiers were wounded when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol during combat operations west of the Iraqi capital July 8."

Lauren notes Ava and my "TV: Global Boring" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) and asks if it's possible for a link to Alessandra Stanley's "Sounding the Global-Warming Alarm Without Upsetting the Fans" (New York Times)? Yes, and we'll note this from Stanley:

So much star power assembled in so many places to assure fans that all they need do to save the planet is change a light bulb, choose paper over plastic, or, as Cameron Diaz recommended, turn off the shower while shaving their legs.

I'm dictating this or we'd note more from Stanley's review today. One thing we will point out is that she notes the "NY" concert took place in New Jersey. That is correct, but as pointed out in our note to our review, the event was promoted as "New York." The rock press will stress New York. For instance, see Rolling Stone's "Police, Pumpkins, PSAs: Live Earth New York, Onstage and Backstage." I feel the need to note that since Stanley is so closely watched by some (I don't mean in a good way). Stanley is correct in every way about the location. Some, including Ava and myself and the rock press, will emphasize it as the NY leg because that's how it is promoted but should anyone think "Oh, Stanley made a mistake!" -- she didn't. If I'm really stressing this and confusing any member, I'm not talking about this community. Outside of this community there are those who are bound and determined to make Stanley the latest subject for Bash the Bitch. So I'm really emphasizing Stanley is correct about this location before something starts online with the usual torch carries screaming, "The woman made a mistake! Burn her!" Stanley is correct.

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