Tuesday, June 24, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, a bombing in Sadr City, and more.
Starting with war resistance. May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Corey Glass is an Iraq War veteran and a US war resister. He went to Canada seeking asylum -- the kind of welcoming Canada provided to war resisters ("draft dodgers" and "deserters") during Vietnam. After being told he was being deported, he's been 'extended' through July 10th. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign will hold a "Rally to Stop the Deportation of Parkdale Resident Corey Glass" July 3rd, begins at 7:00 p.m. (with doors opening at six p.m.) at the May Robinson Building, 20 West Lodge, Toronto: "In 2002, Corey joined the Indiana National Guard. He was told he would not have to fight on foreign shores. But in 2005 he was sent to Iraq. What he saw there caused him to become a conscientious objector and he came to Canada. On May 21, 2008, he got his final order to leave Canada by July 10, 2008. Then on June 3 Parliament passed a motion for all the war resisters to stay in Canada. However the Harper government says it will ignore this motion." Meanwhile the Vancouver branch of the War Resisters Support Campaign needs help housing war resisters in that area:
Dear friends; the two things that we need help with most right now in Vancouver are housing for war resisters and your participation in our outreach and lobbying in Conservative ridings and keeping up the media visibility.
AND LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Yesterday we noted the death of two US service members. Today Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports a split in the who of the shooting with Iraq's Ministry of Interior stating the shooter was "a local official and said he emerged from the building with the Americans" while eye witnesses insist the shooter "was a former council member who joined the Sunni Muslim insurgency after he was outsed from his job in sectarian fighting in 2006." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) identifies the shooter as "a council member" and notes that three other service members were injured as was 1 Iraqi translator. Citing eye witnesses Rafi Sleiman and Abu Dawood, London names the shooter as Raed Hmmod Ajil. Mohammed al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) reported yesterday that Raed Mahmoud Ajil was the council member who did the shooting. Those deaths took place as the Government Accountability Office released a report yesterday which James Glanz (New York Times) sums up as detialing a decline in violence and that "several crucial measures the Bush administration uses to demonstrate economic, political and security progress are either incorrect of far more mixed than the administration has acknowledged." 2 US service members killed yesterday, more today and we're supposed to accept that there's been an improvement in violence?
Really? In Berlin today, US Secretary of State delivered the following statement: "The attack in Sadr City that killed State Department employee Steven L. Farley, along with Department of Defense civilian and military personnel today, is a terrible reminder of the dangers that our colleagues face daily in advancing our critical foreign policy goals. Steven Farley's devotion to public service was reflected in his many years of duty in the United States Navy Reserve, and to his hometown of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Farley was mobilized shortly after September 11th, and served with distinction on the staff of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the western Pacific. Along with thousands of other citizen-patriots, he volunteered to serve in Iraq, joining the State Department in April of 2007. He was one of the hundreds of dedicated men and women serving on Provinicial Reconstruction Teams, helping the citizens of Iraq to rebuild and revitalize their local governments after years of Saddam's tyranny. Our heartfelt sympathy and gratitude go out to Steven Farley's family and his wife Donna, and to the numerous men and women who worked alongside him in Iraq. I have conveyed my sympathy to Ambassador Ryan Crocker, I salute the courage and commitment of all of our colleagues in Iraq." That's included in full because it's the first time this year (or last) that Rice has remembered she's the head of the State Dept. (On her last visit to Iraq she forgot/refused to acknowledge the work done by the State Dept and, judging by her comments and whom she praised, appeared to think she was heading the Defense Dept.) So what's Rice talking about? James Hider (Times of London) explains: "Four Americans were killed today when an explosion ripped through a Baghdad council meeting they were attending as part of efforts to boost reforms in Sadr City, one of the capital's most sensitive trouble spots." The US military announced: "Two Coalition forces soldiers and two civilians serving with Coalition forces were killed after an explosion inside the District Advisory Council building in a southern neighborhood of Sadr City district at approximately 9:30 a.m. today. One Coalition forces soldier and three DAC members were also wounded in the attack." The announced deaths brought the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4106 with the total for the month so far to 22. AFP notes 6 Iraqis died in the blast and that the wounded include 1 "US soldier, three members of the district council and seven other Iraqis". CBS and AP report: "Tuesday's blast occurred in the office of the council's deputy chief as Americans and Iraqi officials were gathered nearby about half an hour before a meeting to elect a new chairman, said Hassan Karim, Sadr City's top administrator." Ernesto London and Saad al-Izzi (Washington Post) offer, "A spokesman for Sadr's office in Sadr City suggested that U.S. officials staged the bombing to 'create chaos and strife.' He said the explosion occurred in an area where only U.S. and Iraqi security forces can drive into." Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) points out that, "The explosion shattered the relative calm that has been seen in Sadr City since a truce in mid-May ended fighting there between the Mahdi Army and the Iraqi government." Alissa J. Rubin and Graham Bowley (International Herald Tribune) note: "The neighborhood meetings are held regularly and well publicized, and they therefore can make relatively easy targets. The visit by the American troops to the meeting had been unexpected, however, the council spokesman, Ahmed Hassan, said. 'American forces do not attend regularly and that is why we were surprised this morning,' he said. 'The explosion happened inside the room where some members of the council and Americans were' in discussion, he said."
Turning to some of today's other reported violence . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded one person, a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded two people and a Ninevah Province car bombing that left 2 people dead (plus the driver of the car) and fifty-seven people wounded. Reuters notes the number wounded from the Mosul car bombing has risen to seventy-three.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mayor in Kirkuk was shot dead. Reuters notes a police officer (who was also a college student) was shot dead at the University of Mosul.
Reuters notes 4 college students kidnapped in Mosul -- two of which were later released.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpses discovered in Mosul.
Turning to US politics. In "The Triumph of double-think," Joseph (Cannonfire) examines the way The Cult of Barack requries that up be up until Barack says it is down. He specifically examines Barack's NAFTA nonsense -- Barack's lying about Hillary Clinton's stand, Barack's printed handouts and the way, and when it was revealed that Barack's 'tough' talk on NAFTA publicly came as his campaign's Austin Goolsbee rushed to assure the Canadian government that these were just words tossed out and Barack didn't mean of them. He goes into how an effort then took place to smear Hillary with an unsourced whisper claiming it was her campaign in talks with the Canadian government and charts how that lie was repeated online. But it wasn't just repeated online. Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! is available online, on radio and TV. March 9th, Ava and I observed:
Noting that Nichols was in Canada, Goody let Nichols smear Hillary Clinton with a false whisper (that two days later still hasn't panned out) presented as a "revelation" by never-a-journalist John Nichols. Remember how Bambi talked big and strong in the Texas debate about NAFTA? Probably not because he mainly repeated the answers Hillary had already given. But he did. He talked big, he talked strong. Down with NAFTA! But his campaign also talked to the Canadian government and assured them that, basically, you have to say certain things to get elected, you know, you have to put one over on those stupid American voters.
[. . .]
So informed viewers were most likely laughing when Goody declared that she had "covered the Barack Obama aspect of that quite a bit." She did two headlines. One minimized what had taken place by leaving out the fact that his campaign had offered non-stop denials over a series of days that only ceased when AP published the memo, the other that attempted to act as if the leaking of the memo was the story. (Yes, this is the same Goody who grandstanded recently on the shutting down of Wiki-leaks. Leaks are only good when they don't effect her candidate. And again, she calls this distract-from-the-discovered-lie-by-launching-an-investigation-into-the-leak nonsense out when the White House does it.)
Yes, John Nichols of The Nation. And Amy Goodman. Who had nothing for the March 7th Democracy Now! broadcast. But he smeared and he lied with encouragement from Goody. "So this story just gets deeper and deeper and more complex," lied Nichols from Canada, 'hunting down' the story that was a non-story. But it was never about reality. It was about launching a smear, an unfounded rumor against Hillary because Barack had been caught lying. Saint Barack wasn't so saintly and it was really important to spread rumors and lies about Hillary to take the focus off that fact. As Joseph explains, "Even though Austan Goolsbee initially asserted that he never spoke about NAFTA with Georges Rioux of the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago -- and even though the Obama campaign officially denied the CTV report -- all parties now admit that Team Obama lied. Lied. The Canadian government conducted an investigation which confirmed the existence of the Goolsbee/Rioux meeting and sought to assign blame for the leak." Hillary's campaign was never in talks with the Canadian government about NAFTA. Barack's campaign was telling the government to ignore what Barack was saying, that it was just words. And now? Nina Easton (Fortune magazine) reported last week, "In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine's upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally repopen negotiations on NAFTA. 'Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,' he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA 'devastating' and 'a big mistake,' despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy. Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? 'Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself,' he answered." The article also notes Goolsbee's being dispatched to "the Canadian counsul general in Chicago" February 8th to provide "assurances that Obama's rhetoric was 'more reflective of political manuevring than policy'" according to a new memo that Fortune got a hold of. Yes, Barack lied. He lied to get votes when he needed them. He was caught out in the middle of lying and he denied it. His Holler Monkeys had to distract from the damaging revelation so they tried to drag Hillary into it and smear her with lies. Now that he thinks he has the nomination, Barack admits he never meant what was he was saying -- something he had Goolsbee tell the Canadian government in real time. He LIED to American voters while telling the Canadian government he was LYING. And he thinks he's qualified to be the leader of the United States?
Ralph Nader is running for president with Matt Gonzalez as his running mate. AP reports that they turned in over "50,000 signatures" yesterday and are now should be on the Illinois ballot in November. Team Nader notes:
Tomorrow, Senator Obama has a choice.
He can vote to defend the American people and the U.S. Constitution.
Or he can vote with the snooping Bush White House and the telephone companies.
The bill in question grants immunity to the phone companies that illegally participated in the White House's warrantless wiretap program.
Obama says he will seek to remove the immunity provision - but will vote for the bill if that doesn't succeed.
Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) calls the bill a capitulation to the phone companies and to the White House.
According to Senator Feingold, under under this bill, "the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S."
Last October, Obama said he would "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."
Now he says he will vote for it.
Liberal Democrats are surprised and outraged that Obama would flip-flop this way.
But we're not surprised.
From the beginning, we saw through Obama's "Change You Can Believe" mantra.
Obama is just another corporate candidate.
At times, he might sound like a progressive.
But he's not.
That's why we're here.
We're here to give the American people a choice in November.
You can support the corporate candidates - Obama and McCain.
Or you can shift the power from the corporate candidates and the corporations to the people.
Increasingly, progressives and liberal Democrats are seeing the light and breaking away.
What's your breaking point?