Thursday, August 28, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, August 28, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, so does ignorance (yeah, we'll get to it), the US military announces another death and that's probably all I'm in the mood for.
Starting with war resistance:
"The Harper government has shown a consistent pattern of placing its faith in the Bush administration over human rights issues such as this one and others including the refusal to push for clemency of Canadians on death row. Canada also extradited Robin Long, a U.S. war resister, who did not want to take part in possible war crimes. This is a very different role than Canada played during Vietnam," said Byers.
That's international law expert Michael Byers quoted in Am Johal's "CANADA: Gov't Slow to Defend Guantanamo's 'Child Soldier'" (IPS).  Judge Anne Mactavish -- and it is spelled with a small "t" -- extradited Long.  She did not deport him.  She called it deportation -- as covered here over and over -- because the only way a US service member deserting is extraditable is if the US service member was stationed in Canada.  Calling it extradition -- as noted over and over -- would have meant Mactavish's order would be reviewed by higher courts.  She didn't want that.  She called it deporation, it was extradition. 
Deportation is expelling someone from your country.  Extradition comes into the picture when you turn someone over to the government of another country.  Robin was handed over to US authorities.  That is how it is that Lond was extradited and not deported.  It is an illegal extradition.  Amazingly, those basics are beyond the grasp of some.  And, yeah, we'll get to it.  It needs to be noted that so was the fact that Robin was the father of a Canadian citizen.  Along with pre-existing laws and guidelines from the Vietnam era, Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should have applied in Robin's case.  That's before you get to the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which also echoes the provisions on the best interests of a child (although in a weaker manner but it does reinforce that interest -- already established in Canadian law).  It can certainly not be seen to be in the best interest of a Canadian child to deport the father.  Judge Mactavish (as we've pointed out before) ignored that as well.  She split up a family.  Her goal was to Robin out of the country and quickly.
Robin could have been dropped off at an airport or bus station while authorities made sure he departed the country.  That is "deportation."  When Roger Judge was expelled from Canada (not a war resister) a US Court  (United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit) ruled Canada didn't extradite Judge (Roger Judge v. Canada).  Canada did. It was in the US court's interest to say they did not.  With Judge being wanted in the US for two murders and a prison escapee -- as well as having committed armed robbery several times in Canada -- the issue of extradition was raised to the US courts after he was back.  It was argued he was extradited and the US court said no, he wasn't.  The US court does not make the decision for Canada.  But in Long's case, it's not?  That's beyond stupid.  Of course he was extradited.  Flight risk?  You don't imprison a flight risk.  Canada didn't imprison Bambi Bembenek.  They did, however extradite her and she faced trial in the US for murder (USA v. Bembenek). 
Robin Long was not deported, he was turned over to authorities at the border in an arragement over seen by Judge Mactavish.  Repeating, murderers have raised the issue that Canada extradited them to the US (due to turning them over to authorities).  But that's the difference between criminal attorneys and civil attorneys, the former know the law and they know how to make an argument. 
Robin long was extradited.  And that was the common consensus everywhere but in the Canadian press.  July 16th, The Australian: "A US soldier who deserted to Canada and sought refugee status for opposing the war in Iraq has been extradited to the United States, officials said, in Canada's first such case since the 2003 invasion of Iraq."  (The official then quoted is Shakila Manzoor of Canada Border Services Agency.)  MWC News: "On Monday, a federal court in Vancouver refused to suspend the extradition order. Judge Anne Mactavish said he had not convincingly proven that he would suffer irrepararable harm if he were extradited."  Those sentences?  From AFP: "On Monday, a federal court in Vancouver refused to suspend the extradition order. Judge Anne Mactavish said he had not convincingly proven that he would suffer irreperable harm if he were extradited." KPFA's The Morning Show, August 11th, "In the second hour a Report on Robin Long first U.S. War Resister Extradited from Canada."  We could go on and on.  But the point some in Canada don't want to.  One foolish person wonders what will happen to Robin.  He or she is so 'concerned' about Robin that he or she hasn't made time to listen to Robin's interview with Courage to Resist where he reveals he does not feel returning to Canada (after he's released) will be a problem.  But here is the problem: Jeremy Hinzmanm, scheduled to be expelled September 23rd if he (and his family) haven't already left by then.
Any attorney is supposed to know that you make your case, you build your case.  Any organization even semi-functioning knows you get publicity for your cause.  But hey, kiddos, be useless.  You know all about the law.  You know how to stop the expulsions, right? 
Possibly nothing's accomplished because the 'helpers' have so much more to do.  Like revealing people's health online.  Yeah, that's really sweet.  I'll address it later tonight.  Of course, the reality is I've been addressing it with my children most of the afternoon thanks to your little stunt.  Doing so by phone.  What better way to break that news, right?
But let's be really clear, people working for peace organizations aren't supposed to have the ethics of The National Enquirer.  But that's what we've seen, right? 
Any half-wit knows you never put anything about a person's health online. 
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed when terrorists attacked a patrol with an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad at approximately 11 a.m. Aug. 28."
Maybe in Canada, they can find a way to turn that into a joke as well?  Why not, after what they did today, why the hell not?
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left five people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack that left two people wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two police officers, a Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and a Kirkuk roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left seven people wounded.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports  Brig Gen Najam Abdullah and his wife were shot dead in front of their home in Baghdad.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Turning to the US presidential race.  Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and he held a Super Rally in Denver yesterday.  From Team Nader:
Last night in Denver was a wild party for democracy.
Four thousand people jammed into Magness Arena.
Sean Penn hit it out of the ballpark.
Tom Morello sang a glorious version of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land.
Cindy Sheehan ripped into the dastardly twins (Democrats and Republicans).
Two new supporters came out of the woodwork to support Nader/Gonzalez.
When we asked for donations, Brooke Smith, star of ABC's Grey's Anatomy, rose out of the crowd, took the stage, pledged her support -- and $4,600 -- to the Nader/Gonzalez campaign.
Then we had another convert.
A 21-year-old African American from Phoenix -- Rev. Jarrett Maupin -- gave an eloquent speech as to why he's breaking with the Democratic Party, and vowed to organize the Latino and African American communities for Nader/Gonzalez.
And off course, Ralph laid it on the line, as usual.
Free Speech TV was slammed.
So, few people were able to watch on line.
Our apologies.
 But highlights from the rally have now been posted on the internet. Click here to watch. Then click on the icon that says FSTV Coverage: Ralph Nader at the Open the Debates.
 So, take a peek at this amazing show, and then get the DVD (see below).
As you know, we're in the middle of a fundraising drive to raise $100,000 by September 4.
We're off to a great start, hovering around $25,000 in just four days.
But we have to crank it up to meet our goal (we haven't missed one yet -- good job troops).
Let's get it done.
Remember, if you give $100 or more now, we'll send you three DVDs -- the Denver rally, the Minneapolis rally, and a special debate DVD. (Three DVD offer ends September 4 at 11:59 p.m.)
Onward to November.
Froma Harrop ( spoke with PUMA's Darragh Murphy and explored where things are today, "The Democrats clearly have a hooligan problem. It was as though their left-wingers suffered a kind of Karl Rove envy. They wanted to go on the attack, demonize a Clinton and hurl abuse at the Clinton's friends. Only a year ago, Vanity Fair ran a cover story on how Clinton hatred had infected much of the right wing. The left seems to have grabbed the baton. And it apparently did not dawn on the Obama shock troops that they were offending the very people their man might someday need."  Meanwhile Deeky (Shakesville) notes that Maureen Dowd's cultural tutor (yes, Bob Somerby, the link you can never locate -- at last the mystery is solved -- and, no, I am not joking) Nora Ephron was displeased with Hillary's speech last night.  Deeky forgets to note that Nora's been issuing complaints about Hillary for some time now.  If Ephron can't direct a new movie (and she can't as every film since Sleepless In Seattle has demonstrated), why should we think she's any longer capable of new criticism? In the days of vinyl, we'd say her needle was stuck. That out of the way, Deeky makes a point that the DNC better get used to hearing because it is not going away: "I'm a gay man, and so refer Mrs. Ephron to one Donnie McClurkin. And when she's done making herself familiar with McClurkin, I'd like to point her toward James T. Meeks. You see, there are other things that are important to me; this isn't a one issue election. And I have a very big problem voting for a candidate that uses anti-gay bigots as part of their campaign, regardless of the threat McCain may pose to Roe v. Wade."  Equally true is Barack hasn't earned trust on Roe v. Wade -- in fact, allowing a screaming LIAR to cover for his "present" votes actually did more damage to him with women.  Blue Lyon writes at length of yesterday's suspension of democracy and notes, "During the campaign, you never heard Bill Clinton say about Obama that he would have to 'think about' supporting him and that his support would depend on his 'tone.' But Michelle Obama said that of Hillary. You never heard Hillary say that she would get Barack's supporters, but that she couldn't guarantee that he would get hers. But we heard Barack say that of Hillary's supporters. Frankly, I don't think she owes Barack another second of her time, but guess what? She'll give it. And gladly. She's a better person than I am. That's why I wanted to see her as President."  Blue Lyon has many wonderful observations but with Harper's deciding Toad Gitlin's tired (and overpomoted ass) was just the thing to feature this week as a blogger and with the notoriously woman hating Toad dissembling, that section has to go in.  Meanwhile, remember when Barack's Beggars in Panhandle Media were offended (The Nation couldn't stop hissing) when John McCain's campaign compared the Christ-child to Britney Spearsbostonboomer (The Confluence) explains who built Barack's mock Pagan temple he'll stand in front of tonight -- the people who did the stage design on Britney's most recent tour.  The John McCain campaign issued a fashion advisory for those attending: "Today, workers at Invesco Field are putting the final touches on the newest wonder of the modern political world -- The Temple of Obama ('The Barackopolis'). It is upon this pulpit that Barack Obama will tomorrow night address thousands of screaming, adoring fans. There may be some confusion among the press about the venue and appropriate dress code for Barack Obama's big speech. To help out, we wanted to provide the following tips on appropriate attire. The toga may have gone out of style centuries ago, but after Obama's temple speech tomorrow night, they're sure to be flying off the racks.  Suggested Toga Styles: The Nobleman -- This toga is recommended for men. For celebrities and lobbyists, please add the red over toga. One should expect to see such stars as Ben Affleck dress in red robes, along with the lobbyists who fill Invesco Field's skyboxes."
That's it.  I'm not in the mood for more and am suprised I pulled that together.  As of noon today, Robin Long was still in Colorado, by the way. He hasn't been transferred yet and no one knew when he would be at that point.