Sunday, December 09, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

The Canadian Supreme Court refused to even hear the case of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, the first two war resisters to have publicly travelled to Canada in order to refuse to fight the war in Iraq. They are expected to face deportation proceedings. The War Resisters support campaign held protests in eight Canadian cities and is appealing to supporters to bombard Canadian MP's with letters and faxes asking for a parliamentary provision allowing Hughey and Hinzman to remain in Canada.

The above is from Stuart Neatby's "November in Review" (The Dominion). Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are among the war resisters that will be making their case this week before the Canadian Parliament. The War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist have launched campaigns to force the Canadian parliament to step up and do the job that the Canadian government once did: provide a haven to war resisters. You can still use the links to register your support and, on a campus last week, someone asked if you had to donate? I had no idea what he was talking about. On Courage to Resist's page there's the option to donate. If you have the money to give, by all means feel free to do so. They are actively working to end the illegal war. However, no, to show your support for war resisters by using their e-mail form you do not have to first to donate.

So the hearings are this week on the 11th. Also on the 11th, in the US, from The Ithaca Journal's "Briefly in Tompkins:"

An Ithaca interfaith forum, "Witness to War: U.S. Out of Iraq," will address the consequences of the $2 billion a week that the United States is spending on war and occupation in Iraq.
Speakers will present the perspectives of Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria, anti-war U.S. soldiers at Fort Drum and peace activists from Central New York who were arrested and jailed for their protests. The public is invited to the free forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Unitarian Church Annex, 208 E. Buffalo St. Plans for upcoming regional anti-war protests will be also be announced.
Speakers include: Ithaca College professor Beth Harris, with a report from "War and Displacement" delegation to Syria and Jordan; Peter DeMott of the Ithaca Catholic Worker organization, with an update on civil disobedience at Blackwater USA headquarters; Finger Lakes for Peace in Iraq representative Ellen Grady, with an update on Civil Disobedience at the Bath office of Republican Congressman Randy Kuhl's office; Michael Blake of Iraq Veterans Against the War with an update on harassment of anti-war soldiers at Fort Drum.

Callie e-mailed with a request which we'll note and then explain. IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 15th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

That runs every day during the week in the snapshot. Callie pointed out that, come Monday, we often are noting things that went up over the weekend and that's due to the fact that a lot of people are not around on the weekend for various reasons. She writes she may be the only community member that is the inverse but due to her nursing schedule at work that recently flipped, she now only has time to check in on the weekends. "I may not be the only one," she writes. She probably isn't. It's a good point and thank you to Callie for raising it. What we will do between now and IVAW's investigation is include the announcement every day. It's already in the snapshot each day. But on the weekends, it will go into at least one entry (in full) each day. IVAW's organizing something very important and we can't run the announcement too often even if we included in every entry.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3882. Tonight? 3886 announced. 1,122,406 was the number of Iraqis killed in the illegal war last Sunday. Tonight? Just Foreign Policy lists 1,129,698.

Turning to some of the reported violence over the weekend and starting with today.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded two people as well as one that claimed 1 life and left two more people injured, a Kirkuk bombing that wounded one police officer and, in the continued targeting of officials, a roadside bomb that claimed the life of the police chief of the Babil province, Brig. Gen. Qais Al Mamouri, in Hilla and wounded two more people. Adrian Croft (Reuters) notes that there have been multiple attempts on Mamouri's life over the years and quotes a historian specializing in Iraq's history, Reidar Visser, declaring, "For several years, Mamouri stood out as an honest figure of authority in the mixed governorate of Babel, and had fought hard against militias regardless of their sectarian affilaitons." Reuters notes a car bombing in Baiji that claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers with seven more injured and, in Shirqat, the home of a man who was part "of a neighbourhood patrol" was bombed leaving three of his family members wounded.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 men shot dead by police in Diyala during a house raid with 1 police officer killed, three more wounded and ten cars destroyed and three people injured when US helicopters were called in and began firing. Reuters notes that Col. Omran Mousa, Iraqi army, was shot dead in Kut.


Moahmmed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad today.

On Saturday, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported 3 Baghdad roadside bombings that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left six police officers and one civilian wounded, a Biji truck bombing that claimed 6 lives and left sixteen people wounded, 1 man shot dead in Kirkuk, a Baghdad attack on 2 "employees of the general inspector of ministry of interior" that killed 1 of them and left the other wounded and 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Reuters also notes: "The government announced a ban on official vehicles driving without number plates in a bid to counter death squads and gangs who use unmarked government vehicles in attacks."

Community note. Isaiah's attempt to draw a non-descript GOP candidate in the latest comic and having no success. He's going to try again tomorrow and if it doesn't work, pick another theme. I doubt by tomorrow he means when the morning entries are going up. If he does and he's successful, it will go up tomorrow morning. If not, it will most likely go up on Tuesday morning.

Returning to the topic of Iraq, Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, visited the country on Sunday. Adrian Croft (Reuters) reports:

Britain now has just 4,500 troops in Iraq -- a tenth of the force that Brown's predecessor Tony Blair dispatched in 2003 to help the United States topple Saddam Hussein.
The British force is expected to be cut to 2,500 by mid-2008, leaving just a token foreign presence in the vast Shi'ite south of Iraq, even as Washington has sent an extra 30,000 troops this year to northern and central areas.

Now we're moving to US politics, Mike's father asked that we note this from the Boston Globe's "Primary Voices," Jan McElroy is the author:

Barack Obama continues to condemn Hillary Clinton and all the other Democratic candidates for their Iraq vote claiming he was against it from the beginning. But he wasn't even in the Senate then. He didn't have to vote. He was at home in Illinois as a soon-to-be-elected newbie Senator and hadn't yet actually set foot in the Senate. At the same time his friend Oprah was hosting surrogates from the Bush/Cheney administration allowing them to beat the drums of war, selling their stories about Saddam Hussein having connections to Al Qaeda and 9/11 and accusing him of having weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to use against America. As shown on PBS's Bill Moyer's Journal in the story "Buying the War," when a women in the audience questioned their information by simply stating "I don't know what to believe." Oprah cut her short by saying, "We're not trying to propagandize, we are just showing you what is." And in a curt sarcastic tone designed to ridicule the questioner for challenging the administration's view, Oprah angrily added, "You have a right to your opinion," which draw a laugh from the audience. It wasn't funny, as she was acting as an enforcer for the attitude sweeping the country that if you didn't buy into their pro-war scenario, you were anti-American and unpatriotic for doing so. If Obama had had to vote in the U.S. Senate, I would guarantee you, he would have voted with most of the other Democrats in a set-up by Bush that was scheduled right before the November elctions to force Democrats into a vote they could not refuse without being branded as unpatriotic or worse.

Would he have voted for the resolution? No one knows. Including Barack Obama who told the New York Times in the summer of 2004 that he didn't know how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate at that time. It is cute, however, to see the heaviest panter over Obama write about the objection to Oprah's apperance and, while creating the image of the childless Oprah as a 'soccer mom,' refuse to address the reality that, along with all the books the Big O has allegedly sold, she also sold the illegal war. But, hey, that's The Nation for you, right? I fully realize that Patti's already compared African-Americans to dogs so her record of 'awareness' is, at best, spotty, but the term for Obama is bi-racial and it's a real shame that advances made with the terms bi-racial and multi-racial are shoved aside by a law professor so desparate to sell a candidate.

Pru gets the last highlight, Simon Assaf's "World against war conference: global movement plans next moves" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Delegates representing millions of anti-war campaigners across the world this week pledged themselves to organising demonstrations, protests and rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
The call for protests in the week of 15 to 22 March 2008 emerged from the World Against War conference held in London on Saturday of last week.
The conference, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, brought together over 1,200 international and British delegates to debate the threat of war on Iran, and the bloody occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Delegates also discussed a series of "proxy wars" in Somalia and Lebanon -- as well and the dangers of a "new cold war" between the US and Russia.
Tony Benn, president of Stop the War, welcomed those attending, saying, "It is vital that our movement remains united and confident that we could win."
Speakers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the US reinforced his point and spoke of the how the anti-war movements were creating a global force for peace.
Ibrahim Mousawi, editor of Lebanon's pro-resistance newspaper Al-Intiqad told the conference that the massive demonstration in London against Israel's war on Lebanon last year was proof that ordinary people are not "blinded by media portrayal of resistance groups as 'terrorists'."
Hassan Jumaa, the leader of the Iraqi oil workers' union, condemned the occupation of his country and the attempts to seize its natural resources. He said his union was committed to "independence and self determination for the Iraqi people".
Hans von Sponeck, the former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that although he did not want an immediate withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq, the occupation had to be dismantled.
Sponeck attacked plans for a "soft partition" of Iraq, and argued that permanent US military bases in the country would spell disaster.
The strength of the peace movement, he said, was its ability to transcend national borders and build a "people to people movement -- something that politicians could not do."
Lindsey German, the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, wrapped up the opening session by decrying "the permanent state of war" that began six years ago.
Answering those in Britain who argue that the movement has finished its work now that British troops are withdrawing from Iraq, Lindsey said, "This is far from over. British troops are still in the south.
"The US 'surge' has led to the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad and increasing repression. And it's certainly not all over for the people of Afghanistan where civilian casualties are growing dramatically.
"It hasn't even begun for the peoples of Iran," she warned. "We commit today that we are the people who will campaign to stop any attack on Iran."
Hwan Young Kim from South Korea addressed the session on global reports.
He said the anti-war movement had forced the Korean government to begin withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, and was now pressing for withdrawal from Iraq and Lebanon as well.
Kate Hudson, chair of CND, said, "We represent the vast majority of people around the world who are opposed to war." Nancy Romer of US Labour Against the War -- part of the United for Peace and Justice campaign -- condemned what she called the "savage capitalism" at the heart of US imperialism.
The conference was informed that as they met, Turkish troops had begun a massive bombardment of Kurdish northern Iraq. Delegates roundly condemned Turkey’s actions.
Khaled Hadade, general secretary of the Lebanese Communist Party, spoke of the alliance in support of the resistance between Islamists and the left across the Middle East.
"We support the resistance movements not because they are Islamists," he said, "but because the left is completely opposed to imperialism."
The Communist Party fought alongside Hizbollah during Israel's war on Lebanon last July. It is now part of the opposition to US meddling in the country's affairs.
The final session heard from Javier Couso, the brother of a journalist killed by US troops in Iraq, and Rose Gentle, whose son was killed during his deployment in the south of the country.
They both called for justice for the victims of war.
In its final declaration the conference called for the immediate withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, justice for the Palestinians, and for an end to Israeli aggression throughout the Middle East.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Unions join fight against the war» Czechs say no to US missiles» Europe fights against war» Resisting attack on Iran
For videos of the speeches and the conference declaration go to
Sixth Cairo Conference27 to 30 March 2008
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