Friday, August 22, 2008

Robin Long's court-martial today

Nick Kyonka's "War resister to plead guilty" (Toronto Star) reports that US war resister Robin Long, extradited from Canada in July, will enter a guilty plea today in his court-martial as part of a plea bargain:

In his trial today at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., Long will plead guilty to charges of deserting the U.S. Army with the intent to stay away permanently. The plea is part of a pre-trial agreement with military prosecutors last week.
"In exchange for him pleading guilty, they've agreed to (lower) the three-year maximum sentence that usually comes with those charges," Long's Oklahoma-based lawyer, James M. Branum, said in an interview. He wouldn't specify the length of the new maximum.
The army also gave up its right to prosecute Long on other potential charges related to the outspoken stance he took against the Iraq war while living in Canada, Branum said. But, he said, prosecutors would likely use evidence from interviews Long did with Canadian media to try to convince the court his actions harmed army morale.
"I think they want to prosecute him for free-speech issues without actually charging him for them."

As Long prepares for his court-martial, US war resister Jeremy Hinzman waits to see what happens in Canada. August 13th, Hinzman was informed he would be expelled from Canada if he did not leave by September 23rd. The War Resisters Support Campaign is really working overtime to address this very recent development and stop the expulsion:


September 13th is a pan-Canadian Day of Action to support U.S. Iraq war resisters and to demand that the Harper government immediately stop the deportations. Actions, demonstrations, and pickets will take place in cities and towns all across Canada. Click here to see a list of actions and to download materials.

If your city is not listed, consider organizing a local action for September 13th. Whether it is petitioning in your local farmer's market, picketing a Conservative MP's office or rallying at a federal building, we need to go all out to stop the deportation of resisters like Jeremy Hinzman and Corey Glass!

… and on September 14th, organize local screenings of Breaking Ranks

Canada's Prime Minister is about to deport Jeremy Hinzman, American Conscientious Objector to the Iraq War, as well as his wife Nga and two children by September 23rd. Jeremy is featured in Michelle Mason's documentary BREAKING RANKS.

USE THE FILM: Check your local library or borrow a copy of BREAKING RANKS featuring Jeremy Hinzman, from the National Film Board Of Canada (contact Jane Gutteridge at and host a day of action and/or living room screening. Check for upcoming screenings of Breaking Ranks in Toronto this September, and in your community.

Coordinated screenings of Breaking Ranks on the eve of Parliament reconvening gives supporters the opportunity to organize letter writing parties afterwards, so that federal ministers' mailboxes are stuffed in the first days after MPs return to Ottawa.

And here's Diane Finley making an ass out of herself in public. (What's with the sun glasses? Is she hung over or has she mistaken herself for Simone Signoret?)

Independent Catholic News reports that demonstrations will take place in support of war resisters (10-hour vigil outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square) and "members of Pax Christi, the Oxford Catholic Worker and Fellowship of Reconciliation will join Voices in the Wilderness".

Spencer Spratley offers "In the Name of Decency, Compassion & Higher Justice: Allow American War Resisters to Remain in Canada, Open Letter to the Canadian Prime Minister" (Center for Research on Globalization):

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I believe, in general, that Canadians are very proud of some of their unique traditions. I believe that Canadians feel good about way we assisted Americans who did not wish to serve in the Vietnam War. There is a strong sense that it was the right thing to do and it has become a proud part of our national identity. For a moment in history, we stood up for a justice that transcends borders and nationalities. We stood up for humanity and decency.

Unfortunately, I am concerned that this Government is moving us farther away from some of the positions that made Canada the envy of the world. You are beginning to change the face of Canada in ways that many of us are uncomfortable with. I am beginning to feel like the Government of Canada is attempting to adopt an ideology as our national identity and I am very disturbed by that. I feel that some of your polices are beginning to depart from deeply held traditional Canadian values. And you are transforming the face of Canada with the mandate of a minority Government. You also have a majority in the House of Commons who voted, on behalf of Canadians, to support the request made by American War resisters to remain in Canada. I believe you are turning your back on a majority of Canadians on an issue that is very important to us. That is not the sign of a democratic Prime Minister. Somehow Canada has always been a little bit different and we have always been proud of that. We don't want to be more like anyone else.

Sir, I believe that the Iraq war lacked any justification whatsoever. The evidence now makes this painfully clear. America has lost its credibility at this time in our history. This war in Iraq is only a notch above the Vietnam War in terms of sheer brutality and the lack of any meaningful justification. The main difference is that the lies and the spin this time around have convinced some people otherwise. Others have just concluded, "Well, there is no justification for it that I can see. However, there must have been a good reason for it." Most people are now wising up and recognizing the truth about this war and we are all seeing and reading about the unbelievable toll it is taking on young American soldiers and their families. Many returning veterans, especially those had to undergo the psychological torture of the "stop loss program", are coming back completely destroyed. Many of them are beyond the reach of others who would like to help them. The number of suicides amongst returning vets of the Iraq War is so very high. This tragedy has to cause your heart to sink, as it does mine. Would you really want your own son to serve 2 or 3 tours of duty in Iraq sir? Wouldn't you worry terribly about his physical and mental health?

Sir, in the name of decency, compassion, and a higher justice, I request you to allow American War resisters to remain in Canada as conscientious objectors. Please don't send them off to have their lives and families desroyed by an unjust war. Your decision to begin deporting American war resisters lacks decency and compassion. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position.


Spencer Spratley

Mississauga, Ontario

Shows airing in most PBS markets (and most start airing tonight, but check your local listings),

Can a fast-food business model save lives in Africa? Next on NOWSNEAK PREVIEW FOR BLOGGERS: See the entire show RIGHT NOW at:
Show Description:Can the quality of healthcare in developing nations be transformed by the same principle that makes fast food such a success here? NOW travels to Kenya to continue ongoing coverage of an enterprising idea: franchising not burger and donut shops, but health services and drugs in rural Africa.
American businessmen have been teaming with African entrepreneurs to spread for-profit clinics around the country in the hopes of providing quality, affordable medical care to even Kenya's poorest people.
In this show, NOW chronicles how the Kenyan facilities weathered recent violent unrest, as well as the program's expansion into Rwanda.
Also on the show, a massive program to dispense medicine for people with HIV/AIDS in poor countries is changing lives and restoring hope. A small team of photographers is capturing those amazing transformations on film, hoping their compelling images will bring attention to the importance of drug access in the developing world.
The NOW on PBS website ( will feature personal stories and more photos from the front lines of the fight for global health, including amazing photographs of those suffering from HIV/AIDS and discovering hope.

Meanwhile both Bill Moyers Journal and Washington Week travel to Denver but not to cover Robin Long's court-martial. No to cover the same old and tease it out and tease it out. The DNC convention (barring a surprise shocker) is nothing but a pageant and shouldn't even be broadcast, let alone covered. It's garbage, it's trash and IT'S OLD AND OUT OF DATE. But let's all pretend there's something to be learned in Denver at a political convention. (And let's pretend like either show gave a damn when the Green Party had their convention last month.) (They didn't and they didn't provide coverage. So much for the 'diversity' of public television.)

Independent journalist and artist David Bacon continues to cover labor immigration when few others can. His latest book is released at the start of next month:

Available September 1

Illegal People
How Globalization Creates Migration
and Criminalizes Immigrants

For a schedule of coming book discussions and photography exhibitions, go to:

In Illegal People Bacon explores the human side of globalization, exposing the many ways it uproots people in Latin America and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Illegal People explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, more migration, more immigration raids, and a more divided, polarized society.

Through interviews and on-the-spot reporting from both impoverished communities abroad and American immigrant workplaces and neighborhoods, Bacon shows how the United States' trade and economic policy abroad, in seeking to create a favorable investment climate for large corporations, creates conditions to displace communities and set migration into motion. Trade policy and immigration are intimately linked, Bacon argues, and are, in fact, elements of a single economic system.

In particular, he analyzes NAFTA's corporate tilt as a cause of displacement and migration from Mexico and shows how criminalizing immigrant labor benefits employers.

Bacon powerfully traces the development of illegal status back to slavery and shows the human cost of treating the indispensable labor of millions of migrants-and the migrants themselves-as illegal. Illegal People argues for a sea change in the way we think, debate, and legislate around issues of migration and globalization, making a compelling case for why we need to consider immigration and migration from a globalized human rights perspective.

"[I]ncisive investigation . . . Bacon's timely analysis is as cool and competent as his labor advocacy is unapologetic. In mapping the political economy of migration, with an unwavering eye on the rights and dignity of working people, Bacon offers an invaluable corrective to America's hobbled discourse on immigration and a spur to genuine, creative action." - review, Publisher's Weekly,

"Bacon, an award-winning photojournalist, labor organizer, and immigrant-rights activist, follows the lives of undocumented workers at the Westin Suite Hotel in California and a Smithfield meatpacking plant in North Carolina, who travel back and forth from Mexico to the U.S. . . . He ties together interviews, personal histories, and political analysis to provide a vivid image of what life is like for workers with little rights or protections in an increasingly globalized economy." review, Vanessa Bush, Booklist
"David Bacon is the conscience of American journalism: an extraordinary social documentarist in the rugged humanist tradition of Dorothea Lange, Carey McWilliams, and Ernesto Galarza.." - Mike Davis

For more articles and images on immigration, see

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon, Photographs and Stories

That's September 1st. Let's turn to the US presidential race. First up, from independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader (Ralph's Daily Audio) this is "Forestalling More of the Same:"

This is Ralph Nader. This year two and a half to three million Americans will lose their homes to foreclosures. Next year another two and a half to three million Americans will probably lose their homes. Instead of helping these Americans keep their homes, both the Democrats and the Republicans are bailing out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Wall St. banks and their high paid executives -- the same executives who got us into this mess by betting the house on sub-prime mortgages. I call this "Socialism for Spectators."
Senator McCain takes a hands-off approach to the mortgage meltdown. Senator Obama talks about helping the home owners but is surrounding himself with the culprits: Wall St. bankers. Obama's economic director? Robert Rubin protege Jason Furman.
Rubin was the Clintons' Treasury Secretary. He engineered the disastrous deregulation of Wall St. including the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act. This Depression-era law separated investment banks from commercial banking. Had it been in effect, the current mortgage crisis would have been limited.
Rubin went on to be an overpaid executive at Citigroup which he helped tank. Rubin is now advising Senator Obama.
Nader-Gonzalez would bring back Glass Steagall.
Nader-Gonzalez would re-instate the usury laws that cap interest rates and we would regulate Wall St. instead of bailing it out on the backs of American tax payers.
This would include forcing mortgage companies to re-negotiate the mortgages of millions of home owners who are currently faced with being thrown out onto the street as a result of foreclosure.
Instead of punishing the home owners, Nader-Gonzalez would bring justice to the predatory lenders on Wall St. who deceived them and who got us into this mess in the first place.

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee. We'll note the following press release on her campaign:

Green Party of Michigan

** News Release/ **
** News Advisory **
** ------------- **
August 22, 2008

For More Information, Contact:
Fred Vitale, State Coordinator
McKinney/Clemente Campaign 313-580-4905 OR

John Anthony La Pietra, Media Committee

Cynthia McKinney, Green Party Candidate for President,
Will Spend Labor Day Weekend Visiting Michigan

(Detroit) --- Cynthia McKinney (,
Presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States
(GPUS; and head of the first nationwide ticket
putting two women of color on ballots across the US, will
visit Michigan for Labor Day weekend August 30 - September 1.

The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI; will
be hosting a press conference for Congresswoman McKinney at
7pm Saturday, August 30 at the International Institute (111
E. Kirby, Detroit). The press conference will be followed by
a rally with other GPMI Federal, state, and local candidates
at 7:30pm at the same location. The rally is open to the
public, and free.

The following evening -- Sunday, August 31 -- Congresswoman
McKinney will deliver a key policy speech on the elimination
of poverty at the National Welfare Rights Union (
Awards Dinner. The dinner, starting at 6:30pm, will be held
at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat House, 23333 Schoolcraft,

On Monday, Labor Day, Congresswoman McKinney will be joining
thousands of union members in Detroit celebrating Labor Day by
marching down Woodward Avenue.

Other campaign events during the visit will be announced
as the details are finalized.

The Green Party of Michigan welcomes Cynthia McKinney to
Michigan. She will lead GPMI's 2008 slate -- which includes

* Harley Mikkelson of Caro, retired after service with
the Army in Vietnam and for 26 years in Michigan state
government, for US Senate (;

* Rev. Edward Pinkney, a Benton Harbor community activist
currently unjustly imprisoned at Hiawatha Correctional
, running to represent his home 6th Congressional
District in the US House (see also;

* 30 other Michigan Greens running for Federal, state, and
local offices.

Cynthia McKinney is a six-term former Congresswoman from
Georgia who quit the Democratic Party on her birthday in 2007
because the Democratic Party no longer represented her values.
She joined the Green Party, campaigned for its Presidential
nomination, and was nominated in Chicago at the Green Party
National Convention on July 12 (

During her time in Congress, Cynthia McKinney

* consistently opposed funding for bloated military and
secret intelligence budgets;

* introduced Articles of Impeachment for George Bush,
Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice;

* introduced, championed, and passed in the U.S. House
the Arms Trade Code of Conduct, prohibiting the sale
of arms to known human-rights abusers; and

* passed legislation to extend health benefits for Vietnam
War veterans
still suffering the health effects of
exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange.

She currently serves on an International tribunal on
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and on the Brussels Tribunal on
Iraq. She is also participating in War Crimes prosecutions
in Spain, and working with the Malaysian Peace organization
to criminalize war.

Cynthia McKinney’s long-time advocacy for poor people
and her recent participation as a Commissioner in the Truth
Commission for Water Rights held in Detroit May 3 prompted
anti-poverty leaders to invite her as the guest speaker for
the Awards Dinner at the National Welfare Rights Union Retreat.

Currently on the ballot in 25 states that hold a majority
of electoral votes -- and with a good chance to make it on in
several more states -- the Green Party presidential ticket is
breaking new ground, and breaking down barriers, in American
politics with the Cynthia McKinney-Rosa Clemente campaign.

The campaign has also crossed the fundraising threshold
in 14 states (including Michigan) out of the 20 required to
qualify for matching Federal funds for the primary season.
The deadline to qualify in at least six more states, and
earn matching funds, is September 4.

The McKinney/Clemente campaign offers a profoundly pro-
people, anti-corporate program for this election. Congress-
woman McKinney will bring the troops home -- all the troops --
not only from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from every country
where US troops are stationed. She will reduce significantly
the bloated Pentagon budget, and spend the money here at home.
She supports an immediate moratorium on foreclosures. She
wants to convert the prisons for profit into money spent on
education. She supports universal, single-payer healthcare.

As her running mate, Congresswoman McKinney chose Rosa
( Ms. Clemente brings strong
credentials to this race. She is a founder of the Hip-Hop
Convention, a community activist, and a scholar.

For complete information on the Green Party's historic
Presidential ticket, please visit the candidates' Websites:


For the latest information on the candidates, issues, and
values of the Green Party of Michigan, please visit GPMI's
Web site:

# # #

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Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability

The e-mail address for this site is

 david bacon
 washington week
 now on pbs