Friday, March 14, 2008

Winter Soldiers Investigation continues

One particular reporter asked about IVAW's connection with CodePink and A.N.S.W.E.R. and if those particular organizations had sponsored the work of IVAW. Kelly Doherty, former MP in Iraq, and Executive Director of IVAW, stood up at the microphone with her serious stare, calm demeanor and beautiful porcelin skin and green eyes, and eloquently told the reporter that from the inception of the organization, VFP had helped support them in their fledging moments in 2004. She, along with 3 other Veterans, had stood on a stage in Boston, denouncing the war. Some members did protest alongside anti-war groups such as those mentioned, and many others, but their closest affiliation and allies were groups such as Veterans for Peace, Military Families and VVAW.
In the evening, live broadcasting took place and a panel discussion with some of the "oldies but goodies" took place. Barry Romo, original founder of VVAW and union organizer for the last 39 years, David Cortwright, author and historian of the GI resistance in Viet Nam, Tod Ensign, longtime veteran’s rights activist and Gerald Nicosia, friend of Ron Kovic, author of "Born on the 4th of July" and wounded in Viet Nam.
Ron Kovic's statement was read to the crowd and his passion for supporting this new group of resister's was overwhelming. He said that by stepping forward "they were not just saving lives, they were saving the life of our nation." Kovic expressed his disbelief that he is now seeing all over again what happened back when he was fighting an illegal and immoral war, and that the empire must be broken with this new generation of resistance fighters.
David Cortwright author of "Soldiers in Revolt," agreed that only with resistance from within the military who "listen to their conscience” would end this war, as this resistance ultimately did that in Viet Nam.
Tod Ensign, Director of Citizen Soldier, author and supporter of the Different Drummer Café ( in upstate New York formed to replicate the coffee houses of the 60’s, passionately spoke of the young breed of soldiers he is meeting who eerily remind him of the past. He spoke of the similiarities between the anti-war candidate Richard Nixon, and his "secret plan" to end the war and those 2 democratic candidates who also have a plan to end the occupation of Iraq, but he says "who the hell knows what that is!"

The above is from Elaine Brower's "Iraq and Afghanistan Soldiers Testify at "Winter Soldier 2008", Day One" (OpEdNews) about Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldiers Investigation which began last night and continues through Sunday (details at the end of this entry). Pay attention to see who makes time for it and who doesn't and that will demonstrate who's against the illegal war and who just talks a game (let's not call it a 'good' game).

Meanwhile Erica Goode's "Kidnapped Iraqi Archbishop Is Dead" (New York Times) notes the passing of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho:

The body of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop who was kidnapped in the northern city of Mosul last month as he drove home after afternoon Mass was discovered Thursday buried in a southeastern area of the city.
The death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Mosul, evoked expressions of grief and anger from the Vatican and world leaders, including Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani.
Officials of the Chaldean Church in Iraq said they had received a call telling them where the body was buried. The cause of death was not clear. An official of the morgue in Mosul said the archbishop, who was 65 and had health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, might have died of natural causes.

In addition, Goode reports on the death of journalist Qassim Abdul-Hussein al-Iqabi who was 35-years-old and was working for The Citizen before being shot dead while en route to work in Baghdad yesterday becoming one of "at least 127 journalists and 50 technical and other media workers" killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

As noted last night, Katrina and her wacky crowd threw all the weight behind "American tax dollars!" for their alleged Iraq coverage in the new issue of The Nation. Poor, pathetic Katrina. In the real world, Aseel Kami offers "Trauma, povert shred young Iraqis' dreams" (Reuters):

As a teenager, Mazin Tahir dreamt that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would bring new freedoms and democracy with the fall of Saddam Hussein.
As a young adult, his hopes have been replaced by despair after five years of unremitting violence.
"It's sad, or funny. The Iraqi dream has turned into a nightmare," said Tahir, who was 15 when the Americans came.
"When I was young I dreamt of getting rid of the dictatorship and replacing it with democracy. Saddam has gone but Iraq is in worse shape. There are killings every day, politicians are like thieves ... it's like a curse from God."
Tahir had his life before him when the invasion started and his heart was full of hope. Now, like many others who grew from teens to adults during the occupation, he just wants to get out.

Today, IVAW's hearings will be broadcast at the Iraq Veterans Against the War home page an on KPFA with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz hosting and the KPFA live stream will also be available at Glantz' War Comes Home as well as on KPFK, WBAI and at the Pacifica Radio homepage which notes its live coverage will be from (EST times) 10 in the morning to seven at night on Friday, nine in the morning until seven at night on Saturday and ten in the morning until four in the afternoon on Sunday that should apply to all Pacifica stations that are broadcasting the hearings. Viewing options and meet ups can be found at Iraq Veterans Against the War.

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aaron glantz