Thursday, February 14, 2008

Other Items

Brad McCall is running from the United States government, and wants everyone to know. McCall, a Dothan native, now lives in a house in Vancouver, Canada, with several anti-war sympathizers who took him in about six months ago after he ran away from the Army.
His critics call him a coward. His supporters say he is brave. He simply calls himself a war resister.
But you can't call him a draft dodger. He joined the Army on his own in Louisville, Ky., in 2006, and said he supported the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. But after a few weeks in basic training he said he changed his mind when he heard the stories from soldiers returning from a tour in Iraq.
"They were telling us all of the things they did over there; things where you would have thought you were listening to the Nazi tribunals," McCall told the Dothan Eagle in a telephone interview.
"Innocent people were dying, more of them than the terrorists. That’s when I realized I couldn’t go over there and be a part of that."
And that's when McCall said his political views changed as well.
“When I joined up, I agreed with our mission, which was we were fighting terrorism," he said. "And I agreed that we were looking for weapons of mass destruction, taking a tyrant out of office and bringing freedom to a people that had never known freedom before.

"But now I see the war as being about money to line the pockets of politicians and corporations. It’s a battle over (expletive), pretty much."
He said he also believes the terrorists have been provoked by the actions of the United States.

The above is from Lance Griffin's "Dothan native flees Army, war, ends up in Canada" (The Dothan Eagle) and it's noted that "a Canadian Court" will decide his refugee status this month which will most likely be followed by "a long appeals process." Remember that Canada's Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals on the issue of safe harbor status for war resisters in Canada. The country's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters like McCall may have. You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

Billie wants it noted that Barack Obama's commercial running in Texas puts forward the false claim that he's proposing "universal health care" (he's not). The words appear in writing during the commercial. "I've got a plan to cut costs and cover everyone," he declares in the ad and his plan does not cover everyone. Billie notes that Hillary Clinton has two advertisements playing -- in one she's speaking, in another it's an announcer with a voice over "but the same looking down his nostrils ad by Bambi plays non-stop." If you're around a TV this morning, watch the Today show where Meredith's past slaps her upside the head as a guest appears -- one she attempted to ban on air while with The View -- the ban resulted in more complaints (phone calls, e-mails) than anything else Meredith ever did, resulted in a clear division among the co-hosts and resulted in Barbara Walters making an unscheduled appearance the next day to explain there would no ban and offer an apology for what took place the day before (which Bill had attempted to stop on air when Meredith had been proposing the ban). It should make for amusing viewing to those familiar with the story.

Turning to the Los Angeles Times, read over Garrett Theroff's "Sunni anger in Iraqi province" and see what phrase is missing:

The 26-year-old Sunni Arab man sat in the restaurant of a fashionable Baghdad hotel, his business suit covering marks where he said a power drill had penetrated his thigh and acid dissolved his calf. The former Iraqi SWAT commander had traveled to Baghdad for meetings with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and other high-ranking officials in which he plans to provide an account of torture he says he endured on the orders of Maj. Gen. Ghanim Quraishi, the Shiite Muslim police chief of Diyala province.
In an interview, Hisham Mahdi Salih said he was abused as part of the police chief's sectarian campaign against Sunni officers. And though American military officers have questioned portions of his story, the captain's account has become a rallying point for Sunni protests that erupted in the last week in one of Iraq's most turbulent regions.
The challenge, involving more than 10,000 protesters, threatens to unravel the U.S.-funded citizens security group in Diyala, a largely Sunni force. In recent days large numbers of the group's members have refused to patrol or operate checkpoints unless Quraishi is ousted.
American military officials have said that without the nearly 3,000 volunteer fighters in Diyala -- many of them former insurgents who joined the American side during the last eight months -- security will not improve in the region, a crossroads between Baghdad, Iran and insurgent strongholds to the north.

The phrase would be "'Awakening' Council." Of course the "protests" are actually a strike and it started at the end of last week in Diyala Province as well as in Anbar Province (in the latter province, the strike is over the recent elections).

Greg notes James Cogan's "US Defense Secretary sides with military opposition to troop drawdown in Iraq" (World Socialist Web) and we'll note this section:

In the working class Shiite suburbs of Baghdad, the US military has essentially ceded control to the Sadrist movement in exchange for an end to its operations against Sunni opponents and its assistance in hunting down Shiite insurgents who attack the occupation forces. The US sponsorship of large Sunni-Baathist militias, however, has produced open opposition to Sadr’s collaboration. Factions of the Mahdi Army have called in recent weeks for an end to the ceasefire. Sadr has refused, making it likely that there will be substantial break-aways from his 60,000-strong militia and the emergence of new Shiite resistance groups.
For their part, the Sunni militias are becoming increasingly frustrated by their continued marginalisation from political power. They are coming under constant attack by groups who oppose their collaboration, and have clashed with government or US forces several times over the past month. Last week, in Diyala province, the Awakening Council announced it was suspending all cooperation with the occupation following the murder of two girls, allegedly by Shiite police.
In Anbar, the US military faces the prospect of an even greater collapse of its deals. This week, the 20,000-strong tribal Awakening Council militia issued a threat to use armed force to seize control of the provincial government. The divided and dysfunctional Iraqi parliament has not been able to agree on a date for new provincial elections, leaving the Anbar government in the hands of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP). The IIP is one of the few Sunni parties that agreed in 2003 to collaborate with the occupation. It is hated among the tribal forces, which lost thousands of fighters in the bloody battles for Fallujah and Ramadi in 2004.
A host of other flashpoints are looming. In particular, tensions are mounting between Kurdish factions and rival Sunni, Shiite and Turkomen groups in the volatile city of Kirkuk and an intra-Shiite civil war is possible in the oil-rich city of Basra.

The e-mail address for this site is