Tuesday, July 1, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, war resisters have greater support in Canada than some may have thought as a new poll indicates, tag sale on Iraqi oil continues, the Nader-Gonzalez campaign raises over $10,000 yesterday, and more.
Starting with war resistance. As Canada gears up for actions to demonstrate support for US war resisters, a new poll is released. The Angus Reid Poll finds: "A majority of Canadians would agree with the decision to let American military deserters stay in Canada as permanent residents, a new Angus Reid Strategies survey reveals. . . In the online survey of a representative national sample, three-in-five Canadians (64%) say they would agree to give these U.S. soldiers the opportunity to remain in Canada as permanent residents. Quebec (70%) houses the highest proportion of respondents who agree with the motion, while Alberta (52%) has the fewest supporters. A gender breakdown reveals that while both males and females would agree to let U.S. military deserters remain in Canada, females are much more sympathetic (69% versus 57%)." The findings come as Canada is on the verge of deporting the first US Iraq War resister. 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. Douglas Glynn (The Barrie Examiner) quotes Corey stating, "The motion is not legally binding, though the majority of Parliament voted for it. I realized innocent people were being killed. I tried to quit the military while in Iraq," he said, "but my commander told me I was just stressed out and needed some R and R (rest and relaxation), because I was doing a job I was not trained to do. I went home on leave and said I was not coming back." So that's where it stands currently.
Canada's War Resister Support Campaign is calling for a "NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, Wednesday July 2nd:"
STOP THE DEPORTATION OF U.S. WAR RESISTER COREY GLASS
On July 2nd…
DetailsU.S. Iraq War resister Corey Glass is still facing deportation on July 10th, despite the Parliament of Canada having voted in favour of a motion to let Corey and other U.S. war resisters stay.
The federal government and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration must respect the will of Parliament and implement the motion which calls on the government to "immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members […] to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and … the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions … against such individuals."
On July 2nd, the War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on all supporters to call Minister Diane Finley and ask her to:
Here are the numbers to call:
MP Diane Finley's constituency office (Simcoe):
In the US, Courage to Resist is planning "July 9th actions at Canadian Consulates nationwide:"
Washington DC - Time TBA - 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW (map). Sponsored by Veterans for Peace. Info: TBA
To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.
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).
Turning to Iraq, where UPI notes the (five) attempted assassinations of (five) judges yesterday. You might think it was a big story. Not to the New York Times where Sabrina Tavernise and Andrew E. Kramer offer up seven sentences on the assassination attempts -- seven sentences that begin in paragraph 20 of a 25 paragraph story. The two conclude, "The attacks seemed to be calculated to intimidate rather than to kill. It was not clear who was responsible." More attention, to be fair, than PBS' The NewsHour gave it last night with Ray Suarez offering, "In Iraq today, bombings in Baghdad targeted five judges; all escaped unharmed." And for public television's NewsHour, that was that. The Gulf Daily News leads with the assassination attempts, "Only one of the jurists was injured in the attacks, which happened four days after senior judge Kamil Al Showaili of the country's Higher Judicial Council was assassinated while driving home in mostly Shi'ite east Baghdad. Police said it was unclear whether Al Showaili's slaying was related to the latest attacks." Of al-Showali, RTT notes he was "[t]he President of the same court" and "one of Iraq's most important judges, charged with handling criminal cases for eastern Baghdad." Jordan's Al Bawaba explains of the attacks "police believe may be part of a Shiite campaign to force them to free jailed militants or reduce their sentences."
On the diplomatic front, Jordan Times reports that Nayef Zeidan was sworn in yesterday as Jordan's ambassador to Iraq. Previously, Zeidan was Jordan's ambassador in the United Arab Emirates. Jordan's embassy in the Netherlands notes, "The Jordian embassy in Baghdad has been run by a charge d'affaires for three years and the Kingdom has not sent an ambassador, citing 'security concerns'." This follows King Abdullah II's public statements in May -- as the US White House pressured Arab countries -- that Jordan would
wound send an official emissary to Iraq. The Jordan Times points out, "Several Arab countries have linked sending back their ambassadors to the restoration of security in Iraq. So far, Bahrain and the UAE have decided to send back ambassadors to Baghdad after the security situation improved following two 'successful' military campaigns against Al Sadr militia and Al Qaeda." King Abdulla II, speaking with Lally Weymouth (Washington Post) last week, offered, "I am actually optimistic for the first time on Iraq. I think that Iraqi society is moving in the right direction. It's the first time that I have felt that Iraqis have, as much as they can, bound themselves together into a unity." From Jordan to another country that shares a border with Iraq, Turkey. The Turkish Daily News reports, "Turkey has proposed establishing a joint industrial zone with Iraq in the border town of Ovakoy, a province in the country's southeastern Anatolian region, State Minister Kursat Tuzmen told reporters yesterday." Today's Zaman quotes Tuzmen declaring, "We may establish a joint industrial zone at Ovakoy, on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Both Turkey and Iraq could freely conduct industrial and commercial activities there. We may concentrate on energy production and sales at the planned industrial zone at first, and later extend its scope to other fields." The comments are similar to ones Tuzmen made Sunday while attending a business forum in Baghdad's Green Zone. Last week, Tuzmen was also stating Turkey would be increasing trade with Catalonia. Meanwhile Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that alcohol is being sold in Iraq ("retail only") and speak with Yazidi Dawood and Christian Saif (who didn't want their full names noted for publication) about their experiences selling alcohol (previously Saif had a store fire bombed and nine of the thirteen stores his family owned were taken over by "Islamist insurgents".).
As noted yesterday, the TSC (technical service contracts) -- which were no-bid contracts -- are on hold. Sudarsan Raghavan and Steven Mufson (Washington Post) report Iraq's plan, announced by the country's Minister of Oil Hussain al-Shahristani, to up "production by about 60 percent, or approximately 1.5 million barrels a day" via opening eight fields (six oil, two natural gas) up to foreign partners and the bidders are "35 companies -- including firms from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and India". The New Zeland Herald estimates this move "could lead to the biggest foreign stake in Iraq since the industry was nationalised more than 30 years ago" while also noting "concerns that a dominat role for Western firms could feed perceptions that US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein to grab the country's natural resources." Doug Smith and Said Rifai (Los Angeles Times) explain, "The bidding will proceed even though parliament has not yet ratified a national oil law to regulate foreign contracts" and note that the announcement took place during a "testy news conference" when the Ministor of Oil "renewed his criticism of the Kurdish regional government for signing deals with foreign companies that offer them a share of oil they extract." Gina Chon and Russell Gold (Wall St. Journal) add that Shahrastani called the "20 separate oild eals, with companies including Hunt Oil," to be "a clear violation of the rules." Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "Major oil firms have been positioning themselves for years to gain access to Iraq's vast oil reserves, which are estimated at 115 billion barrels -- the world's second largest after Saudi Arabia." Janet McBride (Reuters) wonders, "Are U.S. and British firms obvious choices as partners because of their expertise? After all before the U.S.-led invasion Iraq often preferrred Russian firms. Or are U.S. and British firms repeating the benefit of their government's policies?"
Turning to some of today's violence . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that left five people wounded, a Diyala Province roadside bombing that wounded "one policeman, three children and four men" and aother Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 3 brothers and left their father wounded a Nineveh Province truck bombing that claimed the life of 1 person (plus the bomber) and left twenty-five people wounded and, dropping back to Monday, a Diyala Province car bombing that claimed 4 lives and left nine people wounded." Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and a Sulaiman Pek bombing apparently attempting to assassinate "the mayor of the town of Sulaiman Pek" that resulted in the death of 1 bodyguard.
Reuters notes Iraqi soldiers shot dead 2 people in Baghdad.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad today.
Hugh Eakin (New York Times) reports one of the more alarming incidents of violence Iraqi documents from Saddam Hussein's rule that are considered historic, important for humanitarian and historical purposes and document human rights abuses are not in Iraq. They are now in the United States and under the control of the right-wing Hoover Institution. An Iraqi exile (Kanan Makiya) 'claimed' themwhen he returned to Iraq after the start of the illegal war. He set up the Iraq Memory Foundation. The files, which were never Kanan Makiya's to claim, were being held in the Green Zone until Makiya decided to take them out in 2006. Whether he had permission is unclear but what is clear is that the Iraqi government wants those documents back and most outside 'experts' believe the papers should be housed in the Iraq National Library and Archive.
Meanwhile James Glanz (New York Times) reports that at least 13 Americans have died in Iraq from electrocution caused by the shoddy work done by KBR which knew of the problems but did not fix them. Meanwhile, Adam Kokesh (Revolutionay Patriot) posts an e-mail from a service member stationed at Camp Falluja in Iraq revealing that "our sister units berthing area caught fire and burned to the ground. It spread so fast and with 120 temps here today, there was no way they could contain the fire in time. These Marines lost everything that they had, all of their military issued gear as well as personal gear."; while another explains that the loss is made harder due to the fact that the PX is a problem and includes this quote, "Yeah it is very hard to get stuff here, the shipments have really slowed down. We pretty much resort to people back in the states sending us shaving cream and s**t like that, or wait until someone goes to BIAP and they bring it back in bulk. You can't even buy skivee shirts and what not. It blows."
Turning to the US race for president. Alexander Mooney (CNN) reports on the latest CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll which finds Ralph Nader with 6% of the vote, Bob Barr with 3% (Adam Kokesh is supporting Bob Barr), John McCain with 43% and Barack Obama with 46% -- the poll does not include Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's presumed nominee. PBS' NewsHour has today added profiles of presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Bob Barr.
"We do need a more fundamental strategy here on giant corporate power," Ralph Nader declared in October of last year at the DC Green Festival. That is the central political issue of our time. It's corporate power and the takeover of our government and the spread of commercial values into every nook and cranny of our culture including the commercialization of childhood, the commercialization of universities, the commercialization of almost everything these large companies touch. . . . The other day there was a report saying that TORT lawyers were having trouble suing nursing home chains for severe mistreatment of elderly people and neglect. And the reason why is because these nursing home chains are owned by tiers of corporations -- some of them offshore. And the most immediate tier have very few assets so they can't be responsible for paying the verdicts. And so the TORT lawyers say, 'Well we just can't handle it.' And so more and more people can be mistreated or neglected in these nursing homes with impunity."
Ralph Nader's running mate is Matt Gonzalez and the Nader-Gonzalez ticket is on the ballot in Illinois and The Hartford Courant notes: "Campaign volunteer Peter Ellmer was able to solicit several pledges on Sunday from people who are willing to collect signatures to get Nader on the Connecticut ballot." Nader is working to be on the ballot and Team Nader notes that Monday saw $12,761.69 donated to the Nader-Gonzalez campaign. We'll close with Nader in a moment, but first, the Dems. Paul Bedard (US News & World Reports) notes that Barack's campaign is still suffering problems from Wesley Clark's remarks [see yesterday's snapshot or Deilah Boyd's (A Scriveners Lament) post here] and now also from Barack's efforts to distance himself from Clark and includes these observations by Suzi Parker, "Obama can kiss Arkansas goodbye. A lot of Dems are mad that Obama threw Clark under the bus and denounced his comments about McCain. If anything, they think the Obama should have just let the comments lie. A lot of Dems I am talking to are Clintonites but also supported Clark in 2004 [when he ran for president]. Also hearing from Clark supporters who were in the draft movement that the Obama folks must have forgotten Clark has a massive database of supporters that has only gotten bigger since 2004 because Clark has been out campaigning for Dems since then." Susan (Random Thoughts from Reno) blogs, "Now convince me, Obama supporters, your candidate is something other than a ringer for the GOP. This guy is NOT, repeat NOT, a Democrat. Now he wants to expand 'faight-based' programs . . . Yeah, give these outfits federal money and allow them to discriminate. That's REAL progress." Also noting the new support for 'faith-based' programs is Vasleftt (Corrente) who terms it part of "Obama's bottomless pit of capitulation" and withdraws the previous endorsement of Barack. This is on the heels of his cave-in on illegal spying, his broken promise over public financing and, as Klaus Marre (The Hill) points out, Barack's 'big speech' yesterday was a slap-down to MoveOn. If there is a spine in there, presumably, it is collapsible. Finally, Team Nader notes:
We're having a party!
A Nader/Gonzalez House Party!
And we're inviting you to be one of 100 Nader/Gonzalez supporters to host a House Party on Saturday night July 26, 2008. Sign up now.
With the help of modern technology, you can have Ralph Nader right there with you in your living room.
If you choose to be one of the 100 to host a house party, we will send you a remarkable documentary DVD about Ralph Nader - An Unreasonable Man and the Awake from Your Slumber DVD starring Ralph Nader and Patti Smith - both autographed by Ralph Nader.
Plus, we'll throw in a special collector's edition Nader/Gonzalez button.
The purpose of the National Nader/Gonzalez House Party Day?
Raise $100,000 to help put Nader/Gonzalez on at least 45 state ballots.
To reach our goal, we are asking that each house party host bring together 20 or more friends, family, and other party goers to donate $50 each.
Now, of course, you won't be doing this alone.
Ralph is really excited about our house party project. (Check out our House Party video here.)
He'll be available that night - either by phone or through the wonders of the Internet - to talk with you and answer your questions.
So, if you want to host a house party - click here. Our house party staff will answer any and all questions you may have.
If you can't host a house party, please donate now to help fund our ballot access drive - remember, you can give Nader/Gonzalez up to the legal limit of $4,600. And if you choose, your name will appear on our home page!
So, if you can, join with us on July 26.
While McCain and Obama continue to flip-flop toward November, Ralph Nader remains steadfast - standing firm on a platform to shift the power away from the corporations and back to the people.
On Sunday, Ralph told ABC's George Stephanapolous that we intend to get on at least 45 states.
And we can't let Ralph down.
Stand by the candidacy that will stand by you.