Thursday, June 05, 2008

Other Items

Since the United States invaded Iraq some five years ago, various enlisted Americans have arrived in Canada, seeking refuge from their military duty. The opposition parties, questioning the legality of the war and fearing for the welfare of those who've sought safe haven, have suggested we find a way to let them stay. The present government, and various levels of the judiciary, have said we've no obligation to offer sanctuary.
"We believe that the invasion of Iraq was unjust and that the resulting humanitarian situation has had a massive impact," one former sergeant told the committee in Decemeber. "I and many resisters didn't come here to have an argument with the Canadian government. We respect the Supreme Court's decision, but we also believe, as do tens of thousands of Canadians, that there can be a political solution to this."
Apparently feeling likewise, Liberal Jim Karygiannis and New Democrat Olivia Chow put together a motion and got it to a vote. A non-binding vote the ruling party will almost certainly ignore, but a vote all the same.
"Who are all these people on the other side?" Conservative Rick Dykstra chirped as everyone settled in. "I don't recognize them."
A night earlier, the Liberals had largely surrendered the Commons so as to spare Canadians a summer election. For such a perfectly selfless act of servitude, they were, once more, ridiculed by the government side--jibes that might mean more if the Conservatives, as just noted, ever bothered to recognize the votes these Liberals do honour.

The above is from Aaron Wherry's "The Commons: A remarkable, if insignificant, vote" ( We're going to focus on the motion again because it was historical and it has received so little attention. Where is Panhandle Media? Oh, they always have something 'better' to do, don't they? From Ontario Now's "Canada Rules U.S. Deserters Can Stay:"

The majority of the Canadian House of Commons voted on a non-binding motion to allow deserters to stay permanently in Canada.
The NDP part put forth the motion, which was voted against by the Tory party MP's.
The Tory’s were outvoted by the other three opposition parties, 137-110 in the vote on Tuesday held in the House of Commons.
"There is a lot of support by ordinary citizens to allow U.S. war deserters the right to stay in Canada," said Olivia Chow.
Ms. Chow is a Toronto New Democrat MP who moved the motion on the floor of the House of Commons, and who actively campaigns in support of allowing deserters to remain in Canada.

Travis Lupick, in "U.S. war resisters win battle in House of Commons" (The Straight), explains that the NDP's MP Bill Siksay sees the motion as part of Canada's opposition to the Iraq War and that the motion was also put forward in 2007 ("but it was rejected by Conservatives, Liberals, and the Bloc Quebecois").

Brad McCall has been living in Vancouver with his girlfriend since September 2007. He made a refugee claim at the Canadian border after abandoning his army company in Colorado Springs because he didn't want to commit "war crimes" in Iraq.
Reacting to the news, McCall told the Straight that he planned to celebrate, and then field interviews and prepare for the next battle.
McCall said that he was hopeful that the Conservative government will abide by the House's recommendation, but cautioned that the war resisters had not won yet.
"I think they [the Conservatives] will probably just ignore it and see if anybody notices," he said.
The Straight last spoke to McCall in December 2007. For that story, a Vancouver coordinator for the War Resisters Support Campaign estimated that there were approximately 200 American war resisters in Canada.

Chris Cook takes a look at Canadian media's reaction to the news in "Canada's War Pimp: Canadian Broadcast Corporation" (Pacific Free Press):

This is huge news for the millions of anti-war activists in the United States, and the world, but you would not know it watching the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) news flagship, The National. Though last night's program found more than twenty of its allotted 48 minute broadcast window to devote to Barack Obama's as yet to be ratified "victory" in the Democratic Party's primary race for November's scheduled presidential election, not one second was granted to a story that could have both an earth-shaking effect on Canada's relationship with the United States, and could prove literally a matter of life or death for thousands of refugee soldiers in hiding in Canada and the States.
It could, should the Conservatives honour the will of the House, also mean the beginning of the end to the immoral and illegal wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Joining the CBC's dead air on this issue is Canada's biggest private communications company, CanWest Global. Perusing today's edition of Victoria's only daily, Canwest's Times-Colonist, not one mention of Harper's first defeat in the House, or the ramifications of this historic vote: Blank. It was, as Harold Pinder might say, something that; "...never happened; even as it was happening, it never happened."

From yesterday's snapshot: " Janice Tibbetts (CanWest News Service) offers an overview of the resistance today explaining how Canada's Federal Court of Appeals refused to grant the first two public war resisters in Canada, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who went on to appeal that decision to Canada's Supreme Court and were denied on November 15, 2007." Tibbetts' article may have been filed after Cook wrote. Following Cook's lead, let's check with Panhandle Media in the US.

CounterPunch? As of this morning nothing on war resisters. However, Dave Lindorff does contribute a screed against feminists. That's the same Lindorff who supported Barack because Barack was "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs". Most of Lindorff's online articles can't pass a basic fact check and if he's going to spew hate at women, I'm more than happy to go back to the period when he and In These Times parted over questions of factual accuracy in Lindorff's works and review each piece -- it's a rare one that gets the basic facts correct. Whack-job Lindorff has time to whine about women (and get his facts wrong) but he's got no time to write about war resisters? Haven't we seen that over and over, non-stop for the last three years from Panhandle Media?

At Matty Rothschild's alleged Progressive? Not a damn word. Of course. Time to get a few knives in Hillary, time to start carving up John McCain. But no time for actual news.

At The Nation? Well don't count on Katrina vanden Heuvel to address it, she was watching Wife Swap last night. But the magazine has how many blogs now? Has it reached 800? All covering the horse race. Anyone write about the motion that passed not yesterday but on Tuesday? Of course not. They had 'better' things to do.

At In These Times? Oh, come on. No. And that's no fault of ITT's. It's to The Nation what Iraq is to the US. (And due to its client-state status and the fact that Joel is the only one who wrote about war resisters in 2007, it gets a link.)

And the Queen of Panhandle Media? Mike addressed trashy Amy Goodman in his post yesterday. Here is 'anti-war' Goody's full coverage (or "fool coverage"):

The Canadian House of Commons has passed a motion urging the government to allow U.S. war resisters to stay permanently in Canada. The non-binding motion calls on the Canadian government to stop all removal or deportation actions. Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign said: "This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq war." As many as 200 U.S. war resisters are currently living in Canada.

Four sentences. She must have tired herself out from all the 'effort.' Trash. Speaking of, let's not forget Jay Hill, doing damage in the House of Commons for over 14 years now. Apparently, he smoked something growing on the farm before deciding to go into public service -- the only explanation for his putting his name a column that includes this: "Yet opposition MPs attempt to compare U.S. military deserters today to draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. There is no draft in the United States today. Just like here in Canada, its citizens join the military with full knowledge of what to expect, including the possibility of going to war. Before signing-up, recruits are fully aware they can be assigned to any mission, anywhere their commanders and their government may choose." Hill, maybe Tom Hayden or some other crackpot tutored you. But in the real world, it's been addressed. During Vietnam, Canada took in "draft dodgers" and "deserters." The issue was that illegal war, not whether or not there was a draft. Find another faux talking point.

Elliot Robins spoke with Ryan Johnson for "War resister motion passes" (Kootenay Western Star) earlier this week:

"We're pretty excited," said Nelson-based U.S. war resister Ryan Johnson. "It's a big step for war resisters here in Canada. We have a direct show of support from Parliament and it could be a very important thing to help end this [Iraq] war."
[. . .]
"The U.S. wasn't under attack by Iraq," Johnson said. "What's going on in Iraq isn't a war, it's an occupation."
Johnson joined the U.S. army in November 2003 and went AWOL in January 2005. Johnson arrived in Canada on June 5, 2005 and has lived in limbo since that time.
"It's pretty hard to start your life based on the hope that a country that you've never been to before will suddenly decide to change its entire law around something to allow me to stay here," he said. "My life has been dramatically changed by our [Johnson and his wife, Jenna] decision to come to Canada, but even if I was deported, I wouldn't take back my decision to have come here."
Although Johnson said his future is unclear, he did indicate that he would like to stay in Canada.

From Team Nader, "Gaza, Obama, AIPAC:"

There is one clear choice this year for peace in the Middle East.


Thanks to your ongoing support, the Nader/Gonzalez peace in the Middle East campaign is aiming to be on the ballot nationwide in November.

Only Nader/Gonzalez stands with the courageous Israeli and Palestinian peace movements.

Only Nader/Gonzalez stands with the majority of Jewish Americans and Arab Americans which polls repeatedly show support a two-state solution as a way for peace in the Middle East.

Only Nader/Gonzalez would reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Doubt it?

Then just listen to Barack Obama's speech from this morning to the militarist and right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Did Obama make one mention of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza's 1.5 million people and the UN-documented resulting humanitarian disaster there?

He did not.

Instead, Obama talked about "a Gaza controlled by Hamas with rockets raining down on Israel."

Did Obama mention U.S. government supplied Israeli firepower resulting in Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza at a ratio of 400 to 1 (Palestinian to Israeli)

He did not.

Many peace loving Israelis and Jewish Americans will be disgusted by Obama's speech today.

Like the editor at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz who wrote that the Israeli government has "lost its reason" through the brutal incarceration, devastation and deprivation of the innocent people in Gaza.

Obama told AIPAC today that "we must isolate Hamas." (In its current form.)

Did he mention that a March 2008 Haaretz poll showed that 64 percent of the Israeli people want direct negotiations for peace between Israel and Hamas, while only 28% oppose it?

He did not.

Instead, Obama said this morning that "Egypt must cut off the smuggling of weapons into Gaza."

Did he say that Israel must stop bombing the people of Gaza?

He did not.

Obama this morning told AIPAC that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

Did Obama mention that this pledge undermines the widespread international consensus two-state solution peace plan?

He did not.

So, in a nutshell:

In this critical election year, Nader/Gonzalez stands on these issues with the majority of Israelis, Palestinians, Jewish-Americans and Arab Americans.

Obama/McCain stand with the hard-line minority position of AIPAC.

With your generous help, Nader/Gonzalez will work to make the voices for peace heard throughout this election year.

Together, we will make a difference.


The Nader Team

The e-mail address for this site is