Sunday, June 01, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

War Resisters Day of Action -- Monday, June 2nd
On Tuesday, June 3rd, at 3 p.m.,
Canada's Parliament will vote on an historic motion to support U.S. Iraq War Resisters in Canada.
The motion calls on the Government of Canada to stop removal orders against those who refuse to fight in Bush's illegal war in Iraq, and has the support of all three opposition parties. We have an excellent opportunity to win this motion, but we still need your help.
Calls and e-mails are making a difference--and we need to continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that this historic motion passes.
On Monday June 2nd:
Call and email your local Member of ParliamentTell them you expect them to support the motion and appear for the vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Click here to find your M.P.'s contact info.
Continue calling and e-mailing:
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley

phone 613.996.4974fax 613.996.9749
email and
Prime Minister Stephen Harperphone 613.992.4211fax 613.941.6900
Tell them you want the Government of Canada to
• rescind the deportation order against US war resister Corey Glass
• support US war resisters, not Bush's war in Iraq
• support the motion to allow Iraq war resisters to remain in Canada

The above is from the War Resisters Suport Campaign. Though Amy Goodman can't be bothered with it (it takes sooo much energy to chat up John Cusack and do wrap arounds for old programming), Corey Glass is due to be deported in 11 days if he hasn't left Canada by then. Action on the part of the Canadian Parliament can prevent that and grant all US war resisters in Canada safe haven -- something that happened during Vietnam for US war resisters -- "draft dodgers" and "deserters" though our crap-ass US peace 'leaders' and 'independent' media have repeatedly ignored the latter category creating the idiot right-wing talking point of, "Well there's no draft!" For more reality see John Hagan's "Let's provide a haven for those who chose not to fight in Iraq" (Globe & Mail). Meanwhile Ryan Jackson's James Branum contributes "Resister Ryan Jackson convicted, sentenced to 100 days" at Courage to Resist on Friday's court-martial:

At the hearing, we argued that Ryan's actions were an act of civil disobedience that stemmed from his belief that all war is wrong and Ryan himself gave a moving statement in which he expressed his own views on the immorality of war and the necessity of breaking the law for the sake of conscience.
At today's court-martial hearing at Ft. Gordon, GA, Conscientious Objector Ryan Jackson was given a sentence of 100 days in prison. With time already served, he has only 29 days remaining!
Ryan was also sentenced to a Bad Conduct Discharge, demotion to E-1 (private), and reduction to 2/3 pay for multiple specifications of being AWOL (as well as minor count of having postive drug test for marijuana).
You can find pictures taken after his court-martial, pictures from a vigil/protest held in Ryan's behalf by local Augusta residents, and the text of a statement that Ryan wrote while in prison for his supporters

The silence that greets war resistance in Panhandle Media ensures that the illegal war drags on . . .

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 hit the 4,082 mark. And tonight? 4085. Which includes the first fatality of the month that just started: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed when an explosively formed penetrator detonated in northeastern Baghdad June 1." Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates that 1,213,716 Iraqis have been killed due to the illegal war since it began, up from 1,213,716 last week.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 2 lives today (five people wounded), a Kirkuk roadside bombing wounded eight people and a Diyala bombing claimed the live of 1 "woman and 2 children". McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported Saturday's violence included an Al Anbar Province bomber killed himself and claimed the lives of 9 police officers in the process and a Baquba roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left eight wounded.


McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported Saturday "a 10 year old girl" was kidnapped in Baghdad.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person was shot dead in Mosul and "an American military convoy was attacked" in Baquba. Saturday McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported "the head of the Diyala morgue, Ahmed Foad" was shot dead in Diyala Province.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad today. McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim reported Saturday 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

New content at Third went up earlier than usual this morning:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: To the convention!
TV: Grime & Grit TV
TV: Basic cable rejects
War resistance ignored
What the hell's wrong with Nancy Pelosi?
Reality on the Democratic Primary
Agustana's Sweet and Low

It's time for the end of the month parade of how things are 'better" in Iraq. They aren't. Saif Rasheed's "Iraq: The lucky ones" (Babylon & Beyond, Los Angeles Times) probably underscores that best as he writes of returning to Baghdad and encountering a member of the Iraqi parliament:

Last week, I saw him for the first time since I returned to Baghdad. He was at the convention center where the parliament meets for sessions.
After I finished interviewing him, he told me: “So you returned to Baghdad?”
I said: “Yes, after my work visa was rejected, I moved back to Baghdad.”
He said: “It is better that you and your family have returned because Iraq needs educated and opened-minded people like yourself. The only people left in Iraq are the religious, sectarian-minded ones.”
Then he talked about how his family was still abroad.
I thought to myself since it was "better" for me to stay here with my family, shouldn't he do the same?

Meanwhile Baghdad's once thriving Jewish community is no more. UPI reports the 130,000 community has dropped to less than ten and that "The Jewish Agency for Israel estimates there are seven" currently in Baghdad. UPI cites the New York Times and that's Stephen Farrell's "Baghdad Jews Have Become a Fearful Few:"

The community of Jews in Baghdad is now all but vanished in a land where their heritage recedes back to Abraham of Ur, to Jonah's prophesying to Nineveh, and to Nebuchadnezzar's sending Jews into exile here more than 2,500 years ago.
Just over half a century ago, Iraq's Jews numbered more than 130,000. But now, in the city that was once the community's heart, they cannot muster even a minyan, the 10 Jewish men required to perform some of the most important rituals of their faith. They are scared even to publicize their exact number, which was recently estimated at seven by the Jewish Agency for Israel, and at eight by one Christian cleric. That is not enough to read the Torah in public, if there were anywhere in public they would dare to read it, and too few to recite a proper Kaddish for the dead.

Amy Goodman's never covered the dwindling Jewish population (not even when the British 'helper' was insisting last summer that there were no Jews in Baghdad -- curious since he also presents himself as the only one providing them with help -- insisting before a religious committee in official testimony). Katrina vanden Heuvel's The Nation can't be bothered with it. Who would have thought, after all the self-righteous statements whenever a Schindler's List or similar film (or documentary, The Sorrow & The Pity) that we'd arrive at the point where Panhandle Media has so much intense hatred towards the whack-job government of Israel that they would ignore Jewish suffering? A government is not a people (and haven't we learned that in the US). People are not responsible for their governments (they don't even elect them as the DNC proved yesterday awarding more delegates to a candidate not on the ballot in Michigan -- by his own choice -- than to the candidate who won the primary). Jews were thrown under the bus by the Obama campaign (though he's lying desperately to try to get their votes in the general if he ends up the nominee) but Panhandle Media threw Jews under the bus long ago. (If someone's surprised by that and thinking, "But look at the names in Panhandle Media" -- along with self-loathing, there are a number of names, Matthew Rothschild for one, who do not believe in a religion, do not practice a religion so they broke with the Jewish faith long, long ago.)

Hillary won Puerto Rico. By a landslide. No surprise. She is the people's candidates. She is the one who connects with Latinos. Barack doesn't. He's a cream puff, as Ava's pointed out, and the Latino community does not regard cream puffs as "strong." He can't connect with them and they are the largest growing segment of the US population. If the DNC robs Hillary of the nomination she's won, you better believe they'll have a problem with Latino voters that will last far beyond this election cycle. She's won Latinos, she's won elderly voters, she's won the working class, she's won women of all races and ethnicities. She is ahead in the popular vote and she's won the big states. She's a fighter and the people, the regular people, are on her side. The elites of Panhandle Media, who have spent two years ripping her apart and lying for Barack Obama (they love his attacks on Israel more than anything) ignore realities. Lie about them. We'll come back to it. This is from her victory speech in Puerto Rico:

Thank you so much. I have four words for you: Te quiero Puerto Rico!
Never before have these beautiful islands had such an important voice in a presidential election. And I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I cannot thank you all enough. Bill and Chelsea and I are so grateful to the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and your kindness, and I hope that we have helped to draw attention to the concerns of Puerto Rico and we have also helped to spotlight the beauty and the spirit of this wonderful place.
I am grateful for this show of overwhelming support. I came to Puerto Rico to listen to your voices because your voices deserve to be heard. And I hear you, and I see you, and I will always stand up for you.
And I want you to know that this election is really about your future. You voted even though some tried to tell you that your votes wouldn't count. You voted for the person you believe will be the stronger nominee and the strongest president. And you are not alone. You are joining millions of people across the United States, more than 17.6 million, plus the votes that we've received today. People who don't always make the headlines; who don't always feel like your voices are being heard.
I believe that the people of the United States need a champion in the White House, someone who will be a president in their corner and on their side. I believe you are voting because you want a president who will stand up for universal health care. Who will stand up for action to address the housing crisis, who will stand up for better jobs to protect Social Security. You want to cut through the speeches and the sound-bites to real solutions.
And so today you've come out strong. You have defied the skeptics. More people across the country have voted for our campaign, more people have voted for us than for any candidate in the history of presidential primaries.
We are winning the popular vote. Now, there can be no doubt, the people have spoken and you have chosen your candidate. And it's important where we have won. We are winning these votes in swing states and among the very swing voters that Democrats must win to take back the White House and put this country back on the path to prosperity. Together, we've won the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, West Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, and, yes, Michigan and Florida.

Panhandle Media couldn't tell you about Barack's use of homophobia in South Carolina to scare up voters, could they. Amy Goodman interviewed (in January) the co-author of the only article Panhandle Media produced on the subject -- while it was in the issue of The Progressive on sale -- and refused to discuss the subject. The co-author of the story and Goody played dumb. The Obama campaign really needs to shut down the race quickly and among the reasons are this month his putting homophobes on stage -- over huge protests -- in South Carolina and allowing them to 'preach' their hatred from the stage, of an official Obama campaign event, won't play well.

Why? It's Gay Pride Month. Here's Hillary's statement:

As we begin Gay Pride Month, I join the LGBT community in celebrating an historic year in which our country continues to make progress towards the fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Still, we have so much work to do. I look forward to working with the LGBT community to make sure that all Americans in committed relationships have equal benefits and that nothing stands in the way of loving couples who want to adopt children in need. We need to expand our federal hate crimes legislation and pass a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And finally, we need to put an end to the failed policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice – the traits that define our men and women in uniform – have nothing to do with sexual orientation.
To each and every LGBT American, I say this: You have done so much to help this country understand your lives by simply being open and honest about who you are and living your lives with dignity. Thank you for your courage. It is time that we recognize your hard work. I know that this country is ready for changes in the law that reflect the evolution in our hearts. You deserve a government that treats you with the respect you deserve.
America deserves a President who appeals to the best in each of us, not the worst; a President who values and respects all Americans and treats all Americans equally no matter who they are or who they love. That is truly the promise of America.

Watch and see which Panhandle Media programs and outlets 'honor' the month by still refusing to report on Barack's 'winning' tactics in South Carolina. And don't hold your breath for the LGBT set in Panhandle Media to say a damn word. As self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders has proven, they prefer to stay in their closets of silence.

No excitement greets Bully Boy in the US but people are excited elsewhere. Pru notes Simon Assaf's "Let's give the warmonger George Bush a warm welcome" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

George Bush is a dangerous and desperate man -- and now he is coming to Britain.
The US president is expected to visit London on Sunday 15 June as part of his European tour. The Stop the War Coalition is organising a protest to make him feel as unwelcome as possible.
Bush’s adventures in the Middle East and Afghanistan have left behind a trail of death and growing instability. Now he is on the warpath again, desperately attempting to rally his allies for an attack on Iran.
On his recent trip to Israel, Bush said, "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."
Fearing the continued defiance of Iran and Syria, Bush declared that, "Every peaceful nation in the region has an interest in stopping these nations from supporting terrorism."
This fanciful speech to the Israeli parliament failed to hide the realisation that US strategy in the region is fast unravelling.
No sooner had Bush finished his speech than the Israelis revealed they had been holding secret peace talks with Syria -- which the Bush administration has described as a "state sponsor of terror".
In the past it was easy for the US government to delude itself that its project for the region was on course. But events in Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq have exposed the limits of US power to the world.
As Bush was touching down in Egypt to attend the economic summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, the Lebanese resistance swept away the US-backed militias in Lebanon, ending Bush’s dream of the "young democracy born out of the Cedar revolution".
Bush was confident that ordinary Lebanese had tired of the resistance, and now wanted them disarmed. He pushed the US-backed government of Fouad Siniora into an ill-timed confrontation with Hizbollah and its allies.
The resistance swept away pro-US militias in a few days.
Desperate White House ­officials frantically begged the Israelis to launch an attack on Lebanon as the resistance closed in on Siniora's Beirut palace.
The Israelis, having had their fingers burnt attempting to de‑claw Hizbollah in the summer of 2006, were not up to the task. Ultimately the Lebanese government accepted peace terms offered by the Hizbollah-led opposition in talks days later.
The US rout in Beirut follows a similar humiliation in Palestine’s Gaza Strip in June 2007. Then the US hit on the idea that they could initiate a "hard coup" against the elected Hamas government using Palestinian troops trained in Jordan and Egypt.
When it came to the crunch these fighters either fled, surrendered or swapped sides.
Even in Iraq, where over 140,000 US troops and a similar number of their Iraqi allies have a free hand to shoot anyone who gets in their way, things are looking bad.
The latest US attempt to clip the wings of rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has failed, despite a seven-week siege of his stronghold in the poor Shia Muslim neighbourhoods of Sadr City.
After US troops fought desperate and unsuccessful battles to enter the area, Iran negotiated a truce with the Iraqi government that allows Sadr’s followers to retain their arms.
This pattern of failure is repeated in Afghanistan. For a year the US secretary of defence Robert Gates toured European countries, begging them to bolster the occupation.
The Europeans eventually offered some troops, but it was not enough. A furious Gates threatened to strip Nato -- the military alliance that runs the occupation of Afghanistan -- of its power, before diverting 7,000 US Marines from Iraq to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
This desperate move is in danger of unravelling attempts by the Pakistani government to reach an accommodation with tribal leaders in the troubled border regions.
The prospect of US troops pouring into Pakistan as part of a "hot pursuit" of Afghan resistance fighters has enraged millions of Pakistanis, and is a factor in the humiliation of Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf in recent elections.
Chris Nineham of the Stop the War Coalition told Socialist Worker, "The US is escalating the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
"The Stop the War Coalition is asking all its activists to turn Bush's visit into a massive display of opposition to his wars -- and to our government's shameful support for them."
The following should be read alongside this article: »
US threats to Middle East oil producers backfire on Bush
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