Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ian Williams reports on war resistance (and look where he does it from)

By 1969, all an American GI had to do was cross the border and register as an immigrant, since Trudeau's government guaranteed no one would be sent back. Since then, Canada has raised its immigration barriers. Would-be immigrants have to apply from their own countries and are required to show education, training and financial assets before emigrating to Canada--a process that can take two years.
Today arriving GIs must apply for political asylum on the grounds of persecution for refusing to take part in an illegal war. Three years ago, former Private First Class Jeremy Hinzman was the first American to apply for this status. His case is being laboriously fought by the Canadian government, which is now conservative and has so far persuaded the courts to ignore the question of whether or not the Iraq War is illegal. The lower level Immigration and Refugee Boards and courts have ruled against Hinzman, who, if successful, would reportedly be Canada’s first ever certified political refugee from the U.S.
Hinzman headed north with his wife and toddler at the beginning of 2004. Now working as a bike courier in Toronto, he has already survived several of Ontario’s ferocious winters. "The government didn't roll out a red carpet for us," Hinzman says, "but we like it up here, and there's a lot of support for what we have done."

The ex-soldier adds, "We've adapted pretty well. The fact that there is free healthcare is a big plus, but in general it’s not that different from home. Everyone has equal opportunities. We're not rich, but we're not poor--comfortable."
Hinzman has no regrets. He joined the Army for the college funding, but was so horrified by the bloodthirsty values of basic training that he applied for conscientious objector status. Pending his appeal, he served in a noncombatant post with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. After returning home, Hinzman heard that his application had been denied and that he was being deployed to Iraq. So he flew the coop to the Great White North.
"It was an illegal war," Hinzman insists. "We did the right thing by deciding to fight it. Canada refused to fight in the war. To me that said they thought the war was illegal and immoral. When we came here, we knew that the chances were we may not be able to go back to America."

The above is from Ian Williams' "Hell No, They Won't Go!" (Op-Ed News) and Brady notes it while wondering if I'd seen it. No, but I had heard of it. And if you can't make the connection on why this is newsworthy besides the excerpt you need to study the byline. You should ask yourself -- in this age of 'new content! new content!' -- why the piece by Williams appears at Op-Ed News and not at the magazine he writes for. When Rebecca's mother-in-law saw the laughable "I am for peace!" whine by The Peace Resister this week she called me (Rebecca's mother-in-law and my mother were very good friends, I've known Rebecca's mother-in-law since I was a child, just FYI). She was under the impression that the only pressure to The Peace Resister was external. No, the pressure is internal as well. I'll hold further comments for The Third Estate Sunday Review because Rebecca (and her mother-in-law) had already stated we need to address the whine there. Williams' article -- which would be a credit to any magazine or magazine's website -- also includes Kyle Snyder and a look at the current history as well. Hinzman and Brandon Hughey both will find out shortly whether the Supreme Court in Canada will hear their appeal so we went with Hinzman. You should be asking yourself why you have to go to Op-Ed News and other places (no, I'm not naming where it originally appeared) to read Williams' article as opposed to being able to find it at the magazine he writes for?

Late to the party and confused? See "The Nation ignores war resisters even as it publishes the child of one," "the nation magazine ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one,""The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," and "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one."

A number of e-mails have come into the public account asking why we aren't noting ___ or noting ____ meaning dailies. Why? We don't need the text equivalent of Cokie, Sam and George passed off as reporting. If you missed Robert Parry's excellent article yesterday, you should read it today. It's subheadline should be "Your information is being managed by the mainstream again."

We have noted McClatchy Newspapers (and others) throughout the week. This is from Leila Fadel's "Ordinary life hardly the norm in Baghdad:"

"Ordinary" isn't a word that residents of Baghdad use to describe their lives.
Gunmen are driving people from neighborhoods in the city's southwest. Electricity, depending on which block you live on, is available as little as two hours a day. Running water, if it's available, is unsafe to drink.
Car bombings are down, but most residents won't leave their neighborhoods, frightened that they'll encounter Shiite Muslim militiamen or Sunni Muslim extremists who'll kill them.
Some markets are reopening in the southern neighborhood of Dora under the watch of U.S. soldiers, but no one from outside the neighborhood visits.
As for schools, it's hard to say: The school year hasn't started yet.
Yousef al Mousawi, a 28-year-old Shiite resident of Sadr City, told this story Friday: Two days ago, his friend Mustafa was kidnapped from his computer shop. He was later found dead, shot in the head. It wasn't unusual. In his neighborhood -- controlled by the Mahdi Army militia, loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr -- he sees bodies every day.
Traffic jams terrify him, he said. He was wounded by a car bomb last year and has traveled the region since for medical treatment.
"The Mahdi Army isn't just killing Sunnis now, they are killing Shiites as well," he said. "I go to university, I'm afraid of suicide bombers and car bombs. I come home and I'm afraid of the Mahdi Army. We're living in fear, endless fear."

I would love to go with the excerpt but fair use requires it be stopped there. If you use links, please use it to continue reading Fadel's article. (I know others repost in full. That's their call. Here we try to do just do excerpts unless it's a press release.)

This is dictated. We're so far out of DC and trying to get back there for the rally. People are supposed to be gathering outside the White House in about a minute. Fingers crossed, we'll be there for when the event gets underweigh. But, quickly, Alissa J. Rubin's "Sheik's Allies Vow Revenge for His Killing" is the only thing in the New York Times this morning that qualified for possibly being noted. It runs on A6.

Do you see a link? No, because I'm not asking that one be inserted. The US military announced four deaths yesterday. Iraqis were killed in bombings and drive-by shootings yesterday. Do you see an article on that? No, you see Rubin writing about the funeral of a 'friend of the White House'. It's really interesting whose lives get noted and whose lives don't. Just like the 'vehicle accident' that claimed 7 lives initially (7 US service members and, we're now told, at least 2 Iraqis) on Monday wasn't news to the paper . . . until they found out two of the service members had been part of the collective that wrote the column for the paper. Then you had them running to the press with statements and David Stout showing up with an article.

When 7 US service members were announced dead, it wasn't worthy of an article in the New York Times. It only became worthy for what can politely be termed self-serving reasons. ("We are the story!")

So today we finally get some sort of coverage from Iraq and it's all about the funeral of a sheik who was friends with the White House and it contains no information that wasn't reported elsewhere on Thursday and Friday.

Glad that Rubin filed from Iraq and wish more from that heavily financed 'desk' had filed this week. But is it worth linking to? Nope.

Now maybe if the Times finds out that one of the four US service members who died yesterday were part of the collective writing the op-ed, you'll get the editorial page editor making comments to the press and a story on the death (just that one -- the same way the 'vehicle accident' was turned into a story on just the two who took part in writing the column) but today they just aren't interested. And so we're not interested in them.

Lastly, there were e-mails about the Patrick Cockburn link -- to the story about Petraeus' presidential ambitions -- that appears to be a technical problem with CounterPunch. They've got the link going to another story currently. (And Mia pointed out that if you try to use the link to the story you're taken to you still don't get Cockburn.) If they've fixed it by Sunday, we'll note it then. If they haven't, I'll see if it's available somewhere else.

Violence continues each day in Iraq, whether the dailies choose to report or not. Reuters notes a Baghdad car bombing today that has claimed at least 8 lives and left at least 15 wounded "near a police checkpoint" and "near a market".

And Reuters notes Khalid Rasheed and two people with him were shot dead in a home invasion carried about by assailants wearing "police uniforms and driving an ambulance", that a roadside bombing outside of Kirkuk left two people wounded, a Balad Ruz roadside bombing has left seven injured and an attack on police col. Adil Abdul-Kareem in Baquba has left 2 of his guards killed and three more injured.

The e-mail address for this site is