Thursday, July 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, war resistance in Puerto Rico (long going on) becomes more public, the White House continues to twist arms in Iraq, sexism watch and more.
Starting with war resistance. Corey Glass is a US war resister in Canada. Yesterday, Russell Goldman (ABC News) reported: "Unbeknownst to him and his legion of supporters, Glass, 25, was actually discharged from the U.S. Army shortly after he went AWOL in 2006. . . . According to U.S. Army documents and officials Glass was discharged from the California National Guard on Dec. 1, 2006, four months after he arrived in Canada and six months after he failed to show up to a required muster." Matthew Campbell (Globe & Mail) reports, "Like thousands of other discharged American soldiers, once back in the United States Mr. Glass coulld still be called up as part of the Indvidual Ready Reserve, a program in which former soldiers can be forced to re-enter service." War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky terms the announcement by the military "spin." David Wylie (Canwest News Service) notes that the announcement did not derail a planned event tonight in Toronto where supporters are to gather at the May Robinson Building. UPI notes the recent poll which found 64% of Canadians are in favor of allowing US war resisters safe harbor status. Workers World files "Iraq veteran faces deportation, wins support" observes, "The struggle to make Canada a sancurary for war resisters takes on greater importance as more soldiers refuse to return to Iraq. The increasing support for resisters demonstrates widespread opposition to the war and determination to stop it the simplest way: by helping the troops refuse to fight." They also note that IVAW chair Camilo Mejia wrote a letter of support for war resisters in Canada which noted that "it is because of what we saw and experienced [in Iraq] that we support our brothers and sisters seeking a new home in Canada. They are avoiding participation in a criminal, illegal and immoral occupation so that other families can live in peace in their own land. They are doing the right thing! . . . We call upon the Canadian government to implement the motion stopping all deportations of U.S. war resisters and allowing them to stay in Canada, not only because it is your duty to the people you represent to heed to their will, but also because it is a clear statement of support and solidarity for the people of Iraq."
As Camilo's letter makes clear, Corey Glass is not the only US war resister in Canada and he is also not necessarily in the clear. But all war resisters in Canada (and in the US) deserve support. 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 email@example.com -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org -- 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.
And in the US, AP's "Mothers of 2 US soldiers say their sons left bases to hide in Puerto Rico," addresses Maria Santiago and Luz Eneida Morales -- two women in San Juan, Puerto Rico who have stated their two sons are there, not going back to the US military and that the police need "to stop searching" for the men. Hiram Lozada is representing the two families. Santiago states she went to Fort Campbell ("last March) and she and her son returned to Puerto Rico while Morales went to her son's base in Colorado and returned to Puerto Rico with him.
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).
Friday is July 4th, in the US, the day of independence. Kelly Dougherty (IVAW) reflects, "Just a few days ago Independence Day came and went, and did anyone notice? June 28th was the day the US returned sovereignty to Iraq in 2004, and it should be a day of celebration, a day when Iraqis mark their equal status among nations, just as America did more than two centuries ago. But even when, finally, the Iraqi people are truly able to steer their own course and run their country as they see fit, I doubt that June 28th will be celebrated as a true Independence Day in Iraq. Would we be celebrating if our Declaration of Independence had been edited by King George III? What if Britain maintained troops and military bases inside our major cities? Would we mark the day this 'independence' began with fireworks and parades?"
As Dougherty explains, there is no independence in Iraq for Iraqis. Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reporting on the efforts by the White House to push through a treaty and notes that the complications include "political currents in both countries. Iraqi officials facing elections in the fall do not want to be seen as capitulating to the United States." The White House is pushing the notion that they want a "Status Of Forces Agreement" and not a treaty. By not calling it a "treaty," they hope to bypass the US Senate and the Constitutional provision that the Senate must ratify all treaties. In Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki already stated he would follow Iraq's Constitution and send the treaty to Parliament. (However, this is the same al-Maliki who pushed through last year's United Nations renewal of the authorization for the occupation -- after promising the Parliament that doing so in 2006 was a mistake he wouldn't make again.) With the White House timeline now 'iffy' (they want the treaty by the end of this month), Rubin reports that Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zerbari has began pushing the notion of a "memo." Doug Smith and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) report that (regardless of what is called) the Iraqi Parliament isn't too high on the agreement and quote MP Rashid Azzawi stating, "He was like an American negotiator and not an Iraqi one. He didn't specify many details" and MP Nassar Rubaie declaring, "It is an unequal convention between an occupier and an occupied country." Again, as Kelli Dougherty noted, the Iraqis have no independence today. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) quotes Mirembe Nantongo ("U.S. Embassy spokeswoman") stating that the White House and it's occupied, client-state of Iraq are speaking to one another with "a constructive spirit." Raghavan also notes Zebari's excitement over the possiblity that Iraq might maybe, fingers-crossed, deep breath, control their own airspace . . . if the White House lets them. Hiba Dawood (UPI) surveys the landscape and notes an Al-Basaer editorial entitled "Al-Maliki's dilemma between Tehran and Washington" which Dawood sums up as: "Maliki, the paper said, is in a state where he must choose between his old ally and main support, Iran, or his new ally that placed him at the premiership, the United States. The influential Sunni newspaper said that satisfying the United States means accepting the establishment of 50 permanent military bases, handing over Iraq's oil wealth to American companies, granting amnesty to thousands of U.S. troops and security contractors as well as granting the United States authority over Iraq's land and airspace. The paper said that among the various Iraqi political blocs opposing the status-of-forces agreement, only the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front supports it because it would deter Iranian influence in Iraq." While everyone pretends the White House is playing it above-board on this issue, James Glanz and Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Panel Questions State Dept. Role in Iraq Oil Deal" (New York Times) details Henry Waxman's House committee's findings that the US State Dept, despite denials to the contrary, actively assisted Hunt Oil in their contract with the Kurdish region of Iraq -- a contract called out by the central government in Baghdad and one that benefits Ray L. Hunt ("a close political ally of President Bush"). Meanwhile Reuters notes that the TSCs (technical support contracts) that were no bid, that the US State Department had a role in (despite denying) and which still have not been signed are in jeopardy with "payment terms" being one of the issues for the Iraqi Parliament.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
a Baghdad home bombing targeting Iraqi Parliamentarian Shatha al-Musawi (of the "majority Sunni bloc") which "destroyed the house" (the house was empty), "damaged two adgjacent houses and injured four civilians" and a Nineveh Province roadside bombing left two police officers injured. Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that left five convoy guards injured, and a cafe bombing outside of Hilla claimed 4 lives.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "late Wednesday" unknown assailants shot dead a police officer in Nineveh Province and left another person wounded. Reuters notes 2 people shot dead in a Mosul armed clash, another person shot dead in Mosul "inside a computer games arcade" and 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul as well.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that Diyala Province was the location for two kidnappings on Thursday, 1 cab driver and 1 truck driver.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes the US military says the bones of 2 corpses were discovered in Samarra but that local officials state it was "14 decaying corpses" and they note (with no conflicting accounts) 2 corpses were discovered in Suwayra.
On the sexism front, notice the new target? We don't highlight Maureen Dowd at this site. I'm not a Dowd fan. But, if you missed it, it's time for Bash the Bitch and it's Dowd's turn. Maybe you didn't notice that? Maybe you think David Brooks or Frank Rich just isn't deserving of calling out for their own problems -- which really do exceed Dowd's. (And for the record, leaving facts aside, Dowd can out-write either of them -- both of whom also leave facts aside.) It's brewing. You saw Judith Miller take the fall not just for her own bad work but for Michael Gordon and a hundred others. Now it's time to throw another woman on the fire and it appears it will be Maureen Dowd. Can ____ honestly say he's referred to a male journalist being "spanked" before? Can ____ pretend that they've focused on any male the way they're focusing on Dowd now? Watch them try to if anyone calls them out. More than likely, no one will. Dowd's not above criticism. But we're not talking about criticsm. We're talking about (nod to Blondie) "Rip Her To Shreds" and note the "her." Dowd's got a twice-weekly column. Are we honestly supposed to believe that anything she could do the MSNBC no-stars don't out do her on? There's a free floating rage over a number of issues and it appears it's about to glom on Dowd. As usual, the woman's male peers will remain exempt. And let's see when anyone will stand up and say: "That's about enough." I doubt they will. And this nonsense of you have to like Dowd to defend her is nonsense. All you have to support is fairness and equality. But that's never existed online and let's stop pretending it will by magic. In the meantime try to pretend that Dowd's actions are worse than Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews, et al. And try to pretend that sexual degredation that's aimed at her would be used to 'critique' a man. (That's not a tone argument. We came up with Todd S. Purdum 'cupping' the story here in response to all the 'knee pads' nonsense about Elisabeth Bumiller. It's noting that, regardless of the 'tone' you choose to use, you apply it fairly regardless of gender or you're a sexist pig.) If it's summer, it's Bash The Bitch.
Turning to the US race for president, Dominic Lawson (Independent of London) reflects on Primary Barack and the flip-flops that have ensued of late, "Those who actually supported Obama during this process now divide neatly, if unevenly, into two groups. The first, smaller, group is full of buyer's remorse. The blogosphere is hissling like a catherine wheel with their anger with Obama, obviously, but above all with themselves. The second, much bigger group, continues to buy Obama's story. They argue that everything and anything is justified if it helps to get a Democrat back in the White House; some of them add that 'of course' Obama doesn't believe any of the things he is now saying to woo the 'redneck states' and that once in the White House he will revert to his 'true beliefs'. To this group we must address a simple question. How do you know what Obama really believes in, other than his own destiny -- and, of course, his conscience?" As Brian Montoli (CBS News) observes today, "What a difference a presidential campaign makes." Yeterday, Montopoli was noting Time's report of the religious right coming together in Denver to support Senator John McCain (the presumptive GOP nominee).
Meanwhile Hillary Supporters Vote Nader lists four reasons why: "(1) Single Payer Health Care will be back on the table, (2) The Wasteful, Bloated and Secretive Military Budget will be brought back to the forefront of the American People's minds. (3) Renewable Energy and American Jobs back on the front burner. (4) Persecution Protection From Corporate and Political Criminals will be spotlighted. This includes: Net Neutrality, Telecom Spying and the outrageous lies that put the American and Iraqis People in harms way, destroyed the US economy and our children's future. McCain and Obama have taken all these issues off the table." This as Honolulu's KITV notes Ralph Nader will be at the University of Hawaii tonight while Barack "has no immediate plans to campaign here" and the McCain campaign says "Hawaii is not on his schedule."
Ralph Nader said on ABC's This Week that the Nader/Gonzalez campaign will be on at least 45 states in November.
Well, time to get it done.
Need a summer job?
We've got one for you.
Become a Roadtripper for Ralph.
Collect signatures to put the Nader/Gonzalez team on the ballot.
Optimum profile for a Roadtripper for Ralph - energetic, youthful spirit, personable, fun loving, adventure seeking, democracy warrior.
Interested? Contact email@example.com.
By the way, in case you didn't notice, on Saturday, we launched our campaign to raise $40,000 in ten days - by July 6.
You did it in six days.
Thanks to you, Nader/Gonzalez will be on the ballot in ten states, as promised, by July 6.
Our goal - 45 states by September 15.
We must now thank all of our roadtrippers. (Pictured above - our Illinois road trip crew turning in their signatures last week.)
You help fund them.
But they go out - day in and day out - and collect the necessary signatures to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot.
Our nationwide team has been busting it all around this country.
Today, our crew in Nevada will turn in 12,000 signatures - more than twice the 5,000 needed.
As they say - what was collected in Nevada, stays in Nevada.
And as a result, Nader/Gonzalez will be on the ballot in that key swing state.
Thank you and congratulations Nevada road trip crew.
Finally, why we are doing all of this?
We are doing this because we have no alternative.
McCain is the candidate of perpetual war.
Obama is the corporate Democrat and panderer in chief. (Still doubt it? Check out this article in the New York Times documenting his flip-flop on telecom immunity and the political fallout.)
Let's keep our eye on the ball.
And get it done.
By the way, Ralph is in Honolulu, Hawaii tonight for a campaign speech and rally. If you are in the area, please stop by.
TV notes. Bill Moyers Journal will reair the program revolving around Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran and a member of IVAW, including interviews with Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue who made the documentary Body of War which tells Young's story which is strong way to note the Fourth of July. NOW on PBS notes: A reminder: There is no NOW on PBS on July 4, 2008. However, on the website we do have an insightful interview with a North Korea expert commenting on the thawing of relations between our country and North Korea, including a look ahead and analysis of McCain's and Obama's reactions.
iraq veterans against the war