Saturday, June 21, 2008

Matthis Chiroux, Corey Glass, James Burmeister

"It was tough for me to get up where the cameras could see me ...," the elder [Robert] Chiroux said Friday afternoon. "I don't agree (with him)."
But blood is thicker than a contract with the Army, so the father is standing by the son he hopes isn't "exploding" his future.
"If a man can't stand up for his son," the 49-year-old Chiroux said, "how can he stand up for his country?"
Matthis Chiroux joined the Army in 2002, before the Iraq war but after 9/11. The terrorist attacks were part of his motivation, his father said, but so was earning money for college.
Matthis' term of enlistment was the standard eight years with some on active duty and some as a member of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

The above is from the Huntsville Times' "Honeymoon match, then wedding joy for couple" and it's about Robert Chiroux' reaction to his son Matthis Chiroux' decision. In DC, Matthis announced May 15th that he would not deploy to Iraq. Chiroux had served in the army and been honorably discharged. Along comes a 'recall.' And he's informed he will be deploying to the illegal war. June 15th, the day he was due to report, he delivered a statement explaining why he would not:

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux: Good afternoon. We gather here this Father's Day on a very somber note. The American occupation of Iraq -- an illegal, immoral war which is ripping this nation apart as well causing an immeasurable harm to the Iraqi people and the people of the world alike. We gather in the remembrance of the sacrifice of many whose fathers weep on this joyous day for they know their own flesh and blood has been torn and siphoned from them for what we collectively hope will be this last blunder of American military might. We gather here and hope that our fathers will forgive us for the wrongs we have perpetrated on our bodies, hearts and minds alike in this cruel decade of disaster which stems from the very city in which we stand.
This father's day, we gather here to calm the vicious and vengeful alike. The first day I came to Washington, D.C. was less than one month before I shipped out to basic training. I was so moved by this country and its history that it reinvigorated my belief in the righteousness of what I was doing: Joining the army not only in search of personal progress but to participate in the efforts to bring justice to the individuals responsible for 9-11.
I remember standing at the base of the Washington Monument and watching the fireworks explode in the sky that Fourth of July and wondering how it was that we could have come under attack on American soil and believing firmly that I would be participatingin dealing justice for September 11th.
I remember standing before the Lincoln Memorial and feeling the presence of not just the former president and emancipator but of Martin Luther King and his dream for a brighter and more united future for the children of this nation.
That young me could not have known where he'd be standing almost six years later and what he would be saying this Father's Day. I am Sgt. Matthis Chiroux and tonight at midnight I may face further action from the army for refusing to reactive to participate in the Iraq occupation.
This fact hangs heavy on my heart as I look back at my five years of service in uniform. But I understand that what I am doing is in keeping with the values I shared with my friends-in-arms while we wondered if things could really get any worse?
Today I stand in resistance to the occupation of Iraq because I believe in our nation, its military and her people. I resist because I swore an oath to this nation that I would not allow it to fall into decay when I may be serving on the side of right. And my country is in decay and in these times of crisis Thomas Paine once said, "The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will flee from service to our country."
I stand here today as a Winter Soldier. To serve our nation, its military and its people in this dark time of confusion and corruption.
I stand here to make it known that my duty as a soldier is first to the higher ideals and guiding principles of this country which our leaders have failed to uphold.
I stand here today in defense of the US Constitution which has known no greater enemy, foreign or domestic, than those highest in this land who are sworn to be governed by its word.
I stand here today in defense of those who have been stripped of their voices in this occupation for the warriors of this nation have been silenced to the people who need to start listening.
We are here to honor the memory of our fathers who more than two centuries ago brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, as Abraham Lincoln once noted.
We are here to honor the struggle of our fathers and their fathers and their fathers before them to build this nation and bring it together -- through slavery and poverty, to sexism and racism, through materialism and imperialism. They built this nation and struggled to keep it alive as we've blundered and learned and blundered again. We owe it to our fathers to stand for this nation now when a dark cloud has descended upon it in the form of an administration who is stealing the lives of us all to wage an illegal war -- conceived in lies and birthed [born] of manipulation.
As a soldier I was told it was not my place to question the orders of those appointed above me. I had that lie trained into me from my first day of basic training to my last day of active duty. But I have learned the truth, the truth that the occupation of Iraq is inherently illegal and that it is my duty as a soldier to refuse illegal orders to reactivate and deploy in support of it.
I have learned that in these times of crisis one must look deep into their own values to know the path that they must walk. I have learned that feeling and thinking and speaking and acting and keeping with courage and honesty in preservation of a righteous cause is blessed and may give a person strength to utter truths that may calm the vicious and the vengeful alike.
I believe that this nation and this military may come to know the same truth: That the rule of law has been forsaken and we must return to it or be doomed to continue disaster. I believe in the goodness of the American people and I believe that justice is not dead because we as a people believe that it is our responsibility to resist the injustices done by our government in our names. We know this truth to be self-evident that our nation can unite to oppose an illegal occupation which is killing and scarring and shattering the lives of our youth and the Iraqi people.
On this Fathers Day, know, America, that your children need you. We need you to care for us and to care for our country which we will inherit when you are finished with her. We need you to end this occupation of Iraq which has destroyed a country and scattered its people to the wind like ashes in the tempest -- a tempest that has engulfed the nation of Iraq and scrubbed any sign of peace and prosperity from the surface of a civilization older than even history itself.
Fathers, we need you to care for your children and the children of Iraq for they know not why you fight and carry no fault in the conflict.
Fathers, your sons and daughters need you now to embrace peace for though we were attacked, we have dealt in retaliation that same suffering one-thousand times over to a people who never wronged us. The nation will know little healing until first we stem off the flow of blood and human life for justice and healing will never be done by a blade or a bullet or a bomb or a torture cell.
By continuing to participate in the unjust occupation of Iraq, we, as service members, are contributing to that flow of human life and we cannot now -- nor could we ever -- call the Iraqi people an enemy in the fight against the use of terror. But terror is all we now know. We are terrified of the prospect that we have been lied to. We are terrified by the idea that we have killed for nothing. We are terrified to break the silence. We are terrified to do what we know is right.
But never again will I allow terror to silence me. Nor will I allow it to govern my actions. I refuse terror as a tactic for uniting a people around an unjust cause. I refuse to allow terror to motivate me to do violence on my fellow man especially those who never wronged me in the first place. I refuse to be terrified to stand in defense of my Constitution. And I refuse to be terrified of doing so in great adversity.
As a resister to the Iraq Occupation, I refuse to be terrified by what may come for I know those who stand against me are in terror of the truth. But I will speak my truth, and I will stand by it firmly and forever will my soul know peace. Thank you.

Ellis Eskew (WHNT, CBS) explains:

Chiroux says his latest call to active duty has been unsettling to him. And it has caused him to lead war protests outside the White House.
The deadline for him to report for active duty was Sunday.
"I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the Iraq operation."

Matthis is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and they note:

IVAW members Matthis Chiroux and Kris Goldsmith have been pounding the pavement in Washington DC, with the help of IVAW's DC chapter, to get members of Congress to support Matthis in his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Matthis was honorably discharged from the Army in 2007 after five years of service, but he received orders in February 2008 to return to active duty from the IRR for deployment to Iraq.
On Sunday, June 15th, the day he was due to report for active duty, Matthis stood with his father and supporters in DC and reaffirmed that he is refusing his orders on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal and unconstitutional.
How you can help:
Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to publicly support Matthis.
Contribute to IVAW's legal defense fund to help Matthis and other resisters.
Send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux at
Find out more about Matthis Chiroux.

From a US war resister in the United States to the topic of US war resisters in Canada, here's the opening of Henry Aubin's "Canada is wrong not to give asylum to U.S. war resisters" (Montreal Gazette):

The federal government has ordered a deserter from the U.S. Army to return to the United States by July 10. If he doesn't leave voluntarily, the government will deport him.
Either way, Corey Glass, a former sergeant, would become the first Iraq war resister to be booted out of Canada - thereby setting a precedent for other U.S. war resisters who are seeking refuge in this country.
A majority of the House of Commons voted 137-110 two weeks ago in favour of a motion urging the government to refrain from ousting war resisters; about 100 of whom are believed to be in the Canada. All three opposition parties supported the measure, sponsored by the New Democrats' Olivia Chow. The Conservatives dissented.
Yet the motion seems futile. Nothing obliges Prime Minister Stephen Harper to respect it - it's non-binding. And while polls suggest that most Canadians support the resisters, as do such organizations as Amnesty International and the United Church of Canada, the issue is largely out of the public eye. This month's parliamentary motion, for example, received scant news coverage.

First off, the motion did receive VERY LITTLE attention. A historic vote but you'd never known that from the lack of coverage. Second, to keep the pressure on, 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 -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").

Aubin goes on to make a case for war resisters to stay in Canada and the only response to his argument is: Who knew the Canadian education system had failed so?

Truly, what do they teach in that country? In the United States, the time following US withdrawal from Vietnam led to a general silence on the topic. Couldn't tell the truth, couldn't hurt feelings. Any silence will soon be filled with something and the right-wing launched their revisionary tactics. Not surprising and, when the Iraq War finally ends, those opposed to it don't need to fall back on silence to be 'nice.' We should all have learned the lesson. But that's in the US. What's Canada's excuse? They weren't technically even involved in Vietnam.

What prevented them from including Vietnam in their history classes? They obviously didn't or didn't do a good job of it (or even an adequate one) if one columnist after another feels the need to argue that war resisters today should be allowed to stay but makes the argument based on the MISTAKEN belief that Canada previously weclomed "draft dodgers" while ignorant of the reality that Canada welcomed "deserters." How do you not know that basic fact? It's gone beyond one person in Canada (too young to have actual memories of the time) to the point that it goes straight to a huge problem with the education system.

Adults who lived through that period have no excuse for not knowing it. Those a bit younger have been BETRAYED by an education system that seems to have willfully expunged the historical record. We link -- on the left -- to CBC's folder of some of their coverage from that time period but you'll notice they repeatedly -- on the webpage -- use the term "draft dodger" and they have reports they're not providing in that folder -- although there is one very good "How to" report they filed on desertion that they do include.

US peace 'leaders' from that period trying to parade as such today have betrayed war resisters but most of them have betrayed their so-called desire to end the illegal war as well so that's not surprising. But war resisters in Canada are repeatedly put on the defensive with this talk of 'no draft.' The draft never mattered. Canada didn't have a draft, Pierre Trudeau didn't base his decision on the draft and "deserters" who went to Canada and were allowed to stay were not required to affirm that they had been drafted into service. Someone who willingly enlisted could be granted the same recognition as a "draft dodger" who had never been inducted into the service.

If that history was known, war resisters today would not have to repeatedly explain why they should be allowed to stay since there's no draft. If that history was known, Canadians would realize that today's war resisters are a continuation of the earlier wave and they'd know their country welcomed "deserters" during Vietnam. There would be no quibbling about 'no draft' because the draft was never an issue. Instead this faux 'issue' has been used to create an obstacle to today's war resisters when the reality is that no such obstacle existed during Vietnam. People need to educate themselves to their own history because, until they do, they are doing a lot of damage. Not just to the historical record, but to the struggle going on today.

James Burmeister was one of the ones damaged by these HISTORICAL LIES. He went to Canada seeking aslyum. He didn't get it. He's back in the US now, he's turned himself in. From Chris Kenning's "Deserter awaiting court-martial at Fort Knox" (Louisville Courier-Journal):

The 22-year-old is set to face a court-martial at the Kentucky post -- one of only two U.S. processing centers for Army deserters.
Now his mother, Helen Burmeister, is doing everything she can to keep her son out of jail. She will demonstrate outside the post today in hopes of persuading the military to let her take her son home.
"I'm hoping to take him back to Oregon with me," said Burmeister, who says her son struggles with post-traumatic stress, injuries from a roadside bomb and questions about U.S. tactics. "He needs to get all this behind him."
Burmeister is among the 4,698 U.S. Army soldiers who deserted in fiscal year 2007, a number that risen 92 percent since 2004.

[. . .]
"He was just a regular young guy who was shaken up, and didn't know what to do," Sonia Vani, a Canadian friend of Burmeister, said in a telephone interview from Ottawa. She said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had a seizure, possibly from a brain injury.
But he eventually decided to return, and since March, he's been at Fort Knox. Earlier this week, his mother came from Oregon in hopes of persuading the Army to grant him an administrative discharge with a loss of benefits, but so far the Army hasn't granted that request.
"He did go to war, did what he was asked, now it's time to let him go," Helen Burmeister said.
Anita Anderson of Lexington, an activist who helps deserters, said many young men who deserted have jobs and a new life and were apparently never reported as deserters.

Since yesterday morning, the following community websites have updated:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Korner;
Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mikey Likes It!;
Like Maria Said Paz;
The Daily Jot;
Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Report;
and Marcia's

The e-mail address for this site is

iraq veterans against the war
matthis chiroux


Adnan Selawi, who heads Sadr's office in Amarah, the capital of Maysan province, told the Reuters news agency that the cleric's followers in the city had hoped the crackdown would be professional. "But unfortunately we found many breaches and violations," he said, accusing security forces of harassing civilians, random shootings and beatings.
Another Sadr representative, however, told The Times that the cleric's populist movement would continue to cooperate with the security forces.
"There are orders from his eminence Muqtada Sadr to not react," said the official, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons. "No one will object to the authority of the state or the army."

The above is from Haydar al-Alak and Alexandra Zavis' "Iraq crackdown in Amarah continues; harassment alleged" (Los Angeles Times) and the Gulf Daily News reports on reactions to the treaty the White House is trying to press on the puppet government in Baghdad:

An Iraqi Shi'ite cleric yesterday denounced as "eternal slavery" a proposed security deal between Baghdad and Washington that outlines the long-term military presence of American forces in the country.
"The pact would be an eternal slavery for Iraq. It is against the constitution," said Shaikh Asad Al Nasri, a member of the movement led by radical anti-American cleric Moqtada Al Sadr.
"The government has no right to sign the pact which has been rejected by every political party," he told worshippers at prayer in the holy town of Kufa, adding that the no Iraqi would be able to agree to it.
US President George W Bush and Iraqi premier Nuri Al Maliki agreed in principle last November to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by the end of July.

From Mohammed A Salih's "'Breakthrough' in Iraq pact" (Asia Times):

But critics allege the agreement with Iraq is far broader than any SOFA deal ever signed and borders on a treaty, which under the US constitution requires congressional approval. The Republican-led White House is fiercely opposed to involving legislators in the process, fearing its Democratic rivals may not agree with the provisions of the pact favored by the Bush administration.
The two countries have also agreed to negotiate a "Strategic Framework", which will regulate bilateral relations in the areas of politics, economics and culture.
Faced with stiff domestic opposition, the Iraqi government has run into great difficulty trying to sell the deals to the public.
Opinions in Iraq on the SOFA pact are diverse and in some cases deeply divided. While some reject it on nationalistic or religious grounds or both, others support a deal but want a clear timetable for eventual withdrawal of US troops to avoid an "open-ended occupation".

AP reports on Ed Blacke who states "he lost his job after warning workers they were being exposed to a cancer-causing chemical there" -- sodium dichromate -- and quotes him telling Congress' Democratic Policy Committee, "In my mind, it was criminally negligent of [KBR] to make a decision to continue to expose personnel to sodium dichromate poisoning."

The e-mail address for this site is

the los angeles times
haydar al-alak
alexandra zavis
mohammed a salih

Friday, June 20, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 20, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, today is World Refugee Day, and more.


Starting with war resistance.  Matthew Chiroux was the subject of a broadcast CBS 23 News (WIFR, link has text and video) last night:


Mike Garrigan: 24-year-old Matthis Chiroux says he will not deploy to Iraq.  The young soldier was asked to report to duty June 15th but he refuses, calling the war in Iraq and illegal war.  Chiroux has been in the US army for five years and has completed a tour of Afghanistan; however, he says he has no intentions of returning.


Matthis Chiroux: My decision was entirely based on my desire to no longer continue to violate my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation.   


NBC's WAFF 48 also reported on Matthis last night (link has text and video)


Kimberly Essex: An army Sergeant is refusing to deploy from Iraq and his family is dealing with his decision to do so.  WAFF 48 reporter Eric Sollman joins us now and, Eric, you spoke with the soldier's father.


Eric Sollman: Yes, Kim, and being a military man himself, Robert Chiroux, he has mixed -- mixed reactions to the whole ordeal.  His son Matthis, a military photo journalist, is one of thousands of military ready reserve troops recalled to combat and now, according to army officials, he's one of about 700 called from this group that have failed to report in the last seven years. Last time Matthis Chiroux made local news was when [clip from December 2004 shown] was four years ago.  The story involved his girlfriend at the time and a car break-in.  Now this US army Sergeant is making national headlines for refusing to redeploy to Iraq.  He's not hiding his protest and his family isn't dodging questions either.


Robert Chiroux: My son made the decision not to report.  He feels that the war in Iraq is unconstitutional and unjust.


Eric Sollman: His father Robert is a navy veteran who lives in Huntsville [Alabama].  He said his son was to report to Fort Jackson Sunday for reactivation from the Individual Ready Reserve.  Matthis refused.


Robert Chiroux: My son has certainly indicated that if he had been called back from the Inactive Ready Reserve to active duty to serve in Afghanistan, he would not have hesitated to go.  So I know that my son -- inspite of things that I have heard said of him -- he's certainly not a coward.  He just has decided that he feels this war is illegal and he's taking a stand.


Eric Sollman: While Robert doesn't necessarily agree with his son's stand, he stands by him.


Robert Chiroux: My son asked me to come to Washington [DC] to be with him on Father's Day.  I had some reservations about standing behind my son while he made his statement but he's my son and, of course, I love him and I'm going to stand with him.


Eric Sollman: And Robert says he would gladly take his son's place and serve if he could and, Kim, of course there were a lot of issues that we talked about that we couldn't fit into the story so we put his interview in its entirity on our website at


Kimberly Essex: Well your heart just goes out to this father because he really is in a tough position.  He wants to support his son but it doesn't coincide with maybe what he really believes.


Eric Sollman: And he says it's something that only a parent could understand.


WAYYTV's Brett Haas notes, "The 24-year-old is in Washington lining up support from like-minded members of Congress."  AFP explains, "Chiroux served five years in the army, with tours in Afghanistan, Japan, Germany and the Philippines."


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).
Today is World Refugee Day.  The United Nations' IRIN notes that "Iraqi experts have been urging the government and international community to do more to help the large number of Iraqi refugees in the Middle East" and quote Iraqi Parliamentarian Abdul-Khaliq Zankana stating, "Day after day Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries are getting more frustrated by the harsh conditions in which they live.  Sooner or later they are going to have a negative impact on the stability of the whole region."  Amnesty International has released Iraq: Rhetoric and Reality: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis (here for HTML and here for PDF) this week.  Picking up with obligations: "Under international law a duty exists to not send or force a person to return to a situation where they would be at risk of serious human rights abuses.  This principle attaches to all states as a principle of customary international law, as well as to state parties to the ICCPR, Convention against Torture and Refugee Convention and Protocol."  But as the report points out the resposibility isn't just to host countries, the international community has an obligation to provide assistance as well.
The report repeatedly stresses that refugees cannot be returned to Iraq because the country is not stable.  On Northern Iraq, they note: "There have been acts of political violence between Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds and against members of the Yazidi religious minority in several areas along the border between Kurdistan and Nineweh (Mosul) governorate.  Tension and insecurity also increased when attacks by a Turkey-based armed group, the Kurdistand Workers Party (PKK), against Turkish troops stationed near the border with Iraq were followed in October 2007 by Turkish military operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq."  When even the highly touted 'safe' region of Iraq is not safe, there's no 'safe' area.  Despite that reality, many countries are attempting to send Iraqi refugees back to Iraq.
Norway was attempting to do that but, the report notes, it appears to have stopped.  Other countries continue attempting deportation.  Among the offenders are Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece and the Netherlands.


"Instead of avoiding the reality," the report notes, "the international community should be confronting a medium- to long-term displacement crisis, in view of the likelihood that Iraqi refugees will need sancturay for years to come.  Recognition of the on-going nature of the crisis must be grasped now if the suffering of the millions of displaced Iraqis is to be ameliorated.  Host nations need to be provided with on-going assistance and support from the international community through increased and sustained funding."


US senators Hillary Clinton and Ben Cardin and House Representatives Alcee Hastings and John Dingell sent a letter to the White House today on the refugee issue (Barack Obama refused to sign on).  Here's the letter sent to the White House:


As you know, the Iraq War and subsequent ethnic and sectarian conflict has caused the displacement of millions of Iraqis. While we have great concerns about the United States response to this humanitarian crisis, we write to you about a specific population of especially vulnerable Iraqis: those who have worked for our government and American organizations in Iraq and whose lives have been placed in grave danger because of that service.        

Recent statistics and reports have indicated that the current system of identifying and resettling our Iraqi allies has structural complications and procedural inefficiencies. Since March 2003, the United States has admitted fewer than 8,000 Iraqi refugees in total. Your Administration's goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees during this fiscal year seems an unlikely goal, given that less than 6,000 have been resettled to date. At a recent Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) briefing, one panelist, an attorney providing pro bono legal services to help resettle Iraqi refugees noted, "unresponsiveness and protracted delays in interviews and processing have themselves contributed to…individual emergencies…The cost in human lives and suffering due to institutional breakdowns in such aberrational instances speaks to the pressing need to ensure that our system is better equipped to respond to these challenges."      

The role our own government has played in prolonging the suffering of our courageous Iraqi allies who risked their lives to assist our country is troubling and simply unacceptable. To better understand why the Administration continues to delay processing our Iraqi allies for resettlement, we respectfully request that you provide us with the necessary information in response to the following:        

• While we are pleased that the United States has opened a processing center in Baghdad to assist Iraqis at risk in applying for resettlement to the United States, we remain concerned by reports that the office lacks the necessary personnel and resources at this time to quickly and efficiently process those Iraqis who are in imminent danger. It is most troubling that only Iraqis with sufficient connections to enter the Green Zone are able to receive help. What is the Administration's immediate and long-term strategy to improve and increase the efficiency of the current processing system?     

• At the Baghdad center, in particular, significant problems inhibit expeditious and efficient processing of our Iraqi allies. For example, logistical and security issues prevent access to the Green Zone for many applicants and contribute to complications with assisting applicants with medical conditions. In light of the inherent difficulties of in-country processing, what is the current status of a proposal by State Department officials to allow the Department of Defense to airlift Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants for expedited processing to a central processing center at the United States Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait?       

As you know, this past April, England's Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an airlift of British-affiliated Iraqis to a military airfield in Oxfordshire, England in order to expeditiously and safely process them there. Denmark also evacuated and resettled 370 Iraqi interpreters and other Iraqis who worked for Danish troops prior to the Danish contingent's departure from Iraq last year. We strongly urge your consideration of a proposal similar to those that are now being successfully implemented by our Coalition partners. 

• The appointment of Ambassador James Foley at the State Department and Lori Scialabba at the Department of Homeland Security as senior coordinators within those agencies with respect to Iraqi refugee issues was an important and useful step. However, it appears as if there are still problems with respect to interagency cooperation. One particular problem that has been identified is that FBI background checks, even for those Iraqis who have been working directly with the United States military in Iraq, are subject to inordinately lengthy delays. To address this ongoing issue, we strongly urge you to appoint a Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues in the White House.       

• When will the Department of Homeland Security issue its policy directive to implement the provisions of Sections 1241-1249 of Public Law 110-181, the "Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act," for which it is responsible?      

• What is your Administration's policy regarding medical parole for those Iraqis whose cases are of high priority due to serious medical conditions?      

Our government has a moral responsibility to provide aid and protection to those courageous Iraqi allies who have risked their lives and the lives of their families to assist American efforts to build a democratic and stable Iraq. We are deeply concerned that, to date, you have not acknowledged their sacrifice or effectively marshaled the assets of our government to help them. We urge you to speak out about the service of our brave Iraqi allies and direct the appropriate agencies in your Administration to take immediate steps to provide them with the attention and resources they desperately need and deserve. Each day, more Iraqi allies face increased danger or even murder for their service to the United States. To ensure that more do not suffer because they chose to help us, a prompt response to these concerns is appreciated and we believe appropriate. 


Alcee L. Hastings, M.C.    

Benjamin L. Cardin, U.S.S.      

John D. Dingell, M.C.

Russell D. Feingold, U.S.S. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S.S.        

Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S.S.    

John W. Olver, M.C.     

Janice D. Schakowsky, M.C.

G.K. Butterfield, M.C.

James P. McGovern, M.C.

Timothy H. Bishop, M.C.

Joseph Crowley, M.C.

Diane E. Watson, M.C.  

Earl Blumenauer, M.C.

Peter Welch, M.C. 

Hilda L. Solis, M.C. 

Ike Skelton, M.C. 


Repeating, Barack elected not to sign.  Consider it another skipped vote -- or, dropping back to the Illinois state legislature, a "present" one. William C. Mann (AP) observes, "A half-million Iraqis fled their embattled country in 2007, the third consecutive year more Iraqis were displaced than any other nationality, a survey of the world's refugees reported Thursday."  The organization is US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) and they also rank the ten worst countries.  For Iraq, they note: "Shia militias in Iraq have particularly singled out Palestinians for retribution since the fall of the Hussein regime in 2003.  From 2004 to 2007 more than 85,000 Palestinians fled targeted violence, leaving only 15,000 in Iraq.  Gunmen in Ministry of the Interior uniforms have killed Palestinians, firing on UN buildings in the process.  Insurgents have tortured Palestinians to death and fired mortars into Palestinian neighborhoods."  IRIN notes the UNHCR's findings that 50% of the 50,000 Iraqi refugees in Lebanon are children. Citing the International Organization for Migration, Kim Gamel (AP) explains, "But women and children who have been forced to flee their homes are particularly vulnerable because the men in the family have often been killed or abandoned them in a conservative Islamic society that generally doesn't value women in the workplace."  Adnkronos International notes the Spanish Commission of Refugee AID (CEAR) which found that "All 1600 refugees who sought asylum in Spain in 2007 were rejected by the government."



On refugees, the Times of London's Deborah Haynes won an award from Amnesty Interntaional for her coverage of Iraqi collaborators who face obstacles to safe harbor from the United Kingdom.  Haynes wrote multiple articles on the topic.  As noted before, we're not concerned with the plight of the collaborators.  They have their champions -- such as Haynes.


Meanwhile, the invasion of Amara continues with Iraqi troops and US troops taking part in the 'crackdown.' Hannah Allam and Ali al Basri (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Faiq Hanoun declaring yesterday, "The city is quiet even though the operation has started, and I haven't heard a gun-shot or the sound of a plane.  Life is going on in the normal fashion.  Markets are open and movement in and out of the city hasn't stopped."  Ernesto London and Aahad Ali (Washington Post) note the arrest of the vice governor which "angered followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr . . . Sadrist leaders in Maysan have vowed to cooperate with Iraqi troops but have suggested that the government is trying to expand its presence in Sadr strongholds to weaken the movement politically before provincial elections scheduled for the fall."  Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad Salhy (New York Times) discover, "There were reports of rough treatment and especially of arrests of eminent followers of Mr. Sadr. It was unclear whether the units making the arrests had warrants, as required under Iraqi law. If so, Mr. Sadr's followers said they would not protest the detentions. However, Mr. Sadr's supporters protested at least two cases in which Iraqi troops seized family members of wanted figures when they could not find the person they were seeking. Iraqi military leaders responded that they had arrested only one relative of a wanted man. The American military has used similar tactics, drawing criticism from Iraqis in and out of the government."  ANTARA NEWS and AFP explain that today saw the arrests of five more aides to al-Sadr.  Aref Mohammed (Reuters) quotes Adnan al-Selawi ("head of the Sadr movement's office in Amara) stating that "we found many breaches and violations" in the 'security sweep.'


Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .




Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left seven people wounded, a Nineveh roadside bombing left eleven Iraqi soldiers wounded, a Mosul car bombing left six police officers wounded and, dropping back to yesterday, Diyala Province home bombings left one person wounded.




Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad.  Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Iskandariya.


Meanwhile, in the US, Robert O'Harrow Jr. (Washington Post) reveals that the Democrats have set up a panel to investigate the contracts 'awarded' throughout the illegal war.  The press release at US Senator Jim Webb's online office notes, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have named a co-chair and three additional commissioners to the Commission on Wartime Contracting.  Established as the result of legislation introduced by Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) last spring and signed into law January 28, 2008, the Commission is charged with addressing the systemic problems associated with the federal government's wartime-support, reconstruction, and private security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan."




Today the US military announced: "One Soldier was killed and five wounded in three roadside bomb attacks on Coalition force patrols in Diyala province June 20.  All casualties were evacuated to a Coalition hospital."


Turning to US politics, Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing [see Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DNC OR GOP? WHO CAN TELL?," Cedric's "Extreme DNC Makeover!," Mike's "LAT and Barack -- liars liars pants on fire," Ruth's "Barack sells out, Matthis stands firm," Kat's "Glen Ford, Kevin Zeese" and Rebecca's "the liar barack" and  yesterday's snapshot] leads the New York Times to editorialize  "Public Funding on the Ropes" and Team Nader notes:

Ralph Nader stands for shifting the power from the big corporations back to the people.


Full stop. 

End of story. 

Contrast that with Senator Obama.

The old Obama said that he thought NAFTA was a "big mistake." 

The new Obama isn't so sure

The old Obama said he would abide by public spending limits in this election. 

The new Obama he says he won't.

The old Obama said he was for a change in foreign policy and surrounded himself with innovative thinkers with a chance to make a difference. 

The new Obama has surrounded himself with veterans of the military industrial complex status quo

The old Obama talked economic populism.

The new Obama talks corporate-speak and surrounds himself with economists from the Chicago School.

You know where Nader and Gonzalez stand on corporate power.

And that isn't changing.

We're at six percent nationwide in the most recent CNN poll.

We're going to be on ten state ballots by the end of June.

And we're shooting for 40 by the end of the summer.

Together, we are moving forward.

And together, we will make a difference in November.



Non-Iraq related, independent journalist David Bacon continues to explore the issue of immigration. And his latest is "HOW DO YOU SAY JUSTICE IN MIXTECO?" (TruthOut).  NOW on PBS (airs tonight in most markets) asks: "Will a booming worldwide middle class drive up consumer costs?" PBS' Washington Week will include AP's Charles Babington, Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus and CNBC and the New York Times' John Harwood.

 and already


 matthis chiroux

 mcclatchy newspapers
 hannah allem
 ali al basri
 the washington post
 ernesto londono
 aahad ali
 david bacon
 alissa j. rubin
 the new york times

 washington week
 charles babington
 doyle mcmanus
 now on pbs

Other Items

"My decision was entirely based on my desire to no longer continue violate my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation," Matthis Chiroux tells CBS' WIFR (link has text and video) explaining his decision not to deploy to Iraq.

Mark C. Seavy of the front group Vets for "Freedom" is very interested in Matthis, or at least in harassing anyone who mentions Matthis. No doubt Mark Seavy has too much time on his hands and is possibly very, very lonely. That would explain why he's wasting time in the public account spewing his crap. is Marky's e-mail and if you have nothing better to do with your time, drop him a line.

He appears to be very, very lonely. He's written twice already this morning. I'm not sure if he's attempting to be Matthis' stalker or my own.

Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DNC OR GOP? WHO CAN TELL?," Cedric's "Extreme DNC Makeover!," Mike's "LAT and Barack -- liars liars pants on fire," Ruth's "Barack sells out, Matthis stands firm," Kat's "Glen Ford, Kevin Zeese" and Rebecca's "the liar barack" all address Barack's latest broken 'promise.'

Here's Democracy 21's "Statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer on Decision by Senator Obama Not to Accept Public Financing for Presidential General Election:"

Democracy 21 is very disappointed that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has decided not to accept public financing for his presidential general election campaign.
We had hoped and expected that Senator Obama would stick with the public pledge he made to accept public financing and spending limits for the presidential general election, if he was nominated, and if his Republican opponent also agreed to accept public financing and spending limits for the general election. These conditions have been met.
We do not agree with Senator Obama's rationale for opting out of the system. Senator Obama knew the circumstances surrounding the presidential general election when he made his public pledge to use the system.
With his decision, Senator Obama will become the first major party presidential nominee to reject public financing for his general election campaign, since the public financing system was established in 1974.
Senator Obama's decision to opt out of the general election public financing system makes it all the more important for Senator Obama to personally make clear to the public in no uncertain terms that if he is elected, one of the early priorities for his Administration will be enacting legislation to repair the presidential public financing system.
In the current Congress, Senator Obama is one of the three lead Senate sponsors of the Presidential Funding Act of 2007 (S.2412), legislation to fix the presidential public financing system, particularly the system for presidential primaries. The other lead Senate sponsors of this bipartisan legislation are Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Revitalizing the presidential public financing system is essential to protecting the integrity and credibility of the presidency and the interests of citizens in fair government decisions.
Public Financing of Presidential Elections
The presidential public financing system has served the nation well for most of its thirty-four year existence. The system has been described by campaign finance scholar Tony Corrado as, "the most innovative change in federal campaign finance law in American history."
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has written about the system:
"Opponents of campaign finance reform love to claim that the money-in-politics problem is insoluble. But the public financing of presidential campaigns, instituted in response to the Watergate scandals of the early 1970s, was that rare reform that accomplished exactly what it was supposed to achieve."
"Reform Worth Rescuing"Columnist E.J. Dionne The Washington Post, August 18, 2006
In recent years, however, the public financing system for the presidential primaries has broken down, in good part because the overall spending limit for the presidential primaries has not kept pace with the costs of a modern presidential primary campaign.
The same problems, however, do not exist with the public financing system in the general election. In 2008, a major party nominee opting into the system would receive an $85 million grant and could control another $20 million in party spending, for a total of $105 million in expenditures for just a nine-week general election campaign.
In the 2008 presidential primaries, Senator Obama made an extraordinary and unprecedented breakthrough in raising small contributions on the Internet. The Obama Internet fundraising success, however, was the exception, not the rule, in the 2008 presidential primaries.
Larger contributions of $1,000 or more provided the major source of funding for most of the other major presidential primary candidates who ran in 2008, according to the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI).
During 2007, furthermore, when Senator Obama was raising the money critical to his ability to compete as a serious presidential candidate in 2008, he raised 54 percent, or $52 million, of his total individual contributions for the primaries in larger donations of $1,000 or more, according to CFI.
Bundlers, furthermore, played a key role in raising the larger donations for the 2008 presidential candidates in both parties.
The presidential public financing reform legislation pending in the Senate (S. 2412) and sponsored by Senators Feingold, Obama and Collins provides for a major innovation in the matching funds system for presidential primary candidates, which would recognize and encourage small donor fundraising on the Internet.
The legislation would make available public matching funds of $4 for every $1 raised by a presidential primary candidate, up to $200 of each individual contribution. The current presidential primary matching system provides $1 for every $1 raised, up to $250 of each individual contribution.
The new multiple $4 for $1 matching system would open the door to Internet small donors becoming the principal source of private funds for all future presidential primary candidates, not just for one or two candidates.
It would create enormous new incentives for presidential candidates to focus on raising smaller contributions on the Internet, since each contribution of $200 would provide a presidential candidate with a total of $1,000.
The $4 for $1 matching system would achieve core democracy goals: making the individual small donor the most important private funder of presidential primary races; greatly diminishing the role and influence of bundlers and larger donors; and increasing citizen participation in presidential elections.
The argument that the Obama campaign has created a parallel system of public financing through its Internet small donor fundraising does not hold up. As noted earlier, larger contributions and bundlers already have played an important role in financing the Obama presidential primary campaign and may well do so in the general election.
In any event, the success of one candidate in raising extraordinary amounts of small contributions does not provide a new system of "public financing" for all presidential candidates.

On Democracy Now!, Goody reduces it to a headline. All together now, "Liiiiiiie, just a little bit harder . . ." [nod to Janis' "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)"]. She also works like crazy to avoid using the term "Watergate." Must sell, must sell Barack as the dream, as the real deal, as . . . Oh, Goody, stop exhausting yourself. What a liar. We noted the public financing issue in yesterday's snapshot.


Liar Barack, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Pinocchio Obama" back in March. What Goody and the other liars can't tell, the New York Times' editorial "Public Funding on the Ropes" does and here's the conclusion of the editorial: "Between Mr. Obama's decision to rely on private money and Mr. McCain's cynical invitation to 527 mayhem, it would be a shame if it also goes down in history as the year public financing died." Not upsetting to those alleged 'independent' 'journalists' in Panhandle Media that refuse to ever call out Barack.

NOW on PBS (airs tonight in markets) asks: "Will a booming worldwide middle class drive up consumer costs?" Meanwhile Bill Moyers offers his 33,000th superficial look at race since January. As always, Moyers 'view' of race leaves out anyone not Black or White. It's a curious way to do public television and indicates his childhood coloring books were probably a nightmare. PBS' Washington Week will include AP's Charles Babington, Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus and CNBC and the New York Times' John Harwood. Marcia's "Pride and shame" went up last night and she continues to note Gay Pride Month. It's amazing how silent Moyers is on the topic. He does realize that PBS' diversity mandate does not translate as: "I will pimp for my candidate of choice and that's diversity!" -- doesn't he? Or is LGBT too 'icky' in Marshall, Texas?

That's presidential candidate Ralph Nader and, strangely, for all the time Moyers has wasted on superficial examinations of the election, he's never found time to sit down with Nader this cycle. Moyers prides himself on appearing unbiased. One would hate to think LBJ's go-to-boy was shutting Nader out of the process for partisan reasons.

Added: Eddie notes this from Ralph Nader's campaign site:

Old Obama, New Obama

Old Obama, New Obama .

Ralph Nader stands for shifting the power from the big corporations back to the people.


Full stop.

End of story.

Contrast that with Senator Obama.

The old Obama said that he thought NAFTA was a "big mistake."

The new Obama isn't so sure.

The old Obama said he would abide by public spending limits in this election.

The new Obama he says he won't.

The old Obama said he was for a change in foreign policy and surrounded himself with innovative thinkers with a chance to make a difference.

The new Obama has surrounded himself with veterans of the military industrial complex status quo.

The old Obama talked economic populism.

The new Obama talks corporate-speak and surrounds himself with economists from the Chicago School.

You know where Nader and Gonzalez stand on corporate power.

And that isn't changing.

We're at six percent nationwide in the most recent CNN poll.

We're going to be on ten state ballots by the end of June.

And we're shooting for 40 by the end of the summer.

Together, we are moving forward.

And together, we will make a difference in November.


The Nader Team

PS: We invite your comments to the blog.

Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.


The e-mail address for this site is


Iraqi security forces met little resistance Thursday on Day 1 of the government's crackdown in the southern city of Amarah as they sought to disarm gunmen loyal to the militant Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr.
Iraqi defense officials said there were no casualties or gun battles as military and national police units easily spread through northern Amarah, a mostly Shiite oil and agricultural city that borders Iran and for decades has served as a smuggling hub.
The Iraqi military announced the arrests Thursday of 17 suspected militants, including Rafia Abdul Jabbar, the region's acting deputy governor who is also the top city administrator in Amarah.
"The city is quiet even though the operation has started, and I haven't heard a gun-shot or the sound of a plane," said Faiq Hanoun, 55, an Amarah resident. "Life is going on in the normal fashion. Markets are open and movement in and out of the city hasn't stopped."

Hannah Allam and Ali al Basri's "New Iraqi operation against militants produces scant resistance" (McClatchy Newspapers) report a strange calm in Amara as does Ernesto Londono and Aahad Ali's "Iraq, U.S. Launch Crackdown" (Washington Post):

In a move that angered followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi troops detained the vice governor of Maysan province, who also serves as the mayor of Amarah, the provincial capital. Sadrist leaders in Maysan have vowed to cooperate with Iraqi troops but have suggested that the government is trying to expand its presence in Sadr strongholds to weaken the movement politically before provincial elections scheduled for the fall.

[. . .]

Adnan al-Silawi, director of the Sadr office in Amarah, said Iraqi troops had detained several of the movement's leaders without cause and that a Sadr office employee who was detained two days before the operation began was released Thursday with a broken arm.

Some more disturbing details emerge in Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad Salhy's "Iraqi Troops Move Into Militia-Held City of Amara" (New York Times):

There were reports of rough treatment and especially of arrests of eminent followers of Mr. Sadr. It was unclear whether the units making the arrests had warrants, as required under Iraqi law. If so, Mr. Sadr’s followers said they would not protest the detentions.
However, Mr. Sadr’s supporters protested at least two cases in which Iraqi troops seized family members of wanted figures when they could not find the person they were seeking. Iraqi military leaders responded that they had arrested only one relative of a wanted man. The American military has used similar tactics, drawing criticism from Iraqis in and out of the government.

So the transfer of 'democracy' includes 'teaching' that is okay to arrest family members for crimes they never committed. The White House has exported their mafia techniques to Iraq where it seems as normal and fine.

Independent journalist David Bacon continues to explore the issue of immigration. And his latest is "HOW DO YOU SAY JUSTICE IN MIXTECO?" (TruthOut):

Erasto Vasquez was surprised to see a forklift appear one morning outside his trailer near the corner of East and Springfield, two small rural roads deep in the grapevines ten miles southwest of Fresno. He and his neighbors pleaded with the driver, but to no avail. The machine uprooted the fence Vasquez had built around his home, and left it smashed in the dirt. Then the forklift's metal tines lifted the side of one trailer high into the air. It groaned and tipped over, with a family's possessions still inside.
"We were scared," Vasquez remembers. "I felt it shouldn't be happening, that it showed a complete lack of respect. But who was there to speak for us?"
Eight farm worker families lived in this tiny "colonia," or settlement, on the ranch of Marjorie Bowen. Their rented trailers weren't in great shape. Cracks around the windows let in rain and constant dust, which carried with it all the fertilizer and chemicals used to kill insects on the nearby vines. Some trailers had holes in the floors. None had heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

On Democracy Now! today, Amy Goodman provides multiple yucks. Probably her bit with Joseph Nevins is the most priceless. It's cute to hear the two 'chat' about Barack and NAFTA and never note that the truth about Barack and NAFTA was known in real time. Of course, in real time, Amy Goodman was LYING for Barack and bringing on John Nichols to spread whispers about Hillary. Remember that article? The one Nichols was promising? Never was published. Never was a story. But the point was to push back at the truth coming out on Barack and the two propagandists did just that. Today Goodman and Nevins pretend Barack's dialogue with the Canadian government never happened. They only hope you're as dumb as they are.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Hate The War

Re: your June 17 article, "Veterans set up local chapter for anti-war group":
It was marvelous reading The Star article on the arrival of the new local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Ventura County, with its many hundreds of thousands of residents, will now not be left in the darkness, as Los Angeles County already has a working chapter of IVAW, and in Santa Barbara County, Iraq War veteran spokespersons stand ready at the helm.
Fortuitously, I was at the Veterans for Peace annual conference in Boston in 2004 when IVAW established itself. The setting was in historic Faneuil Hall, where the framers of our Constitution once spoke.
These law-abiding Iraq war vets are going to bring the Iraq war stories into our homes, something that is so long overdue. Wisdom demands the resurfacing of their stories. Witness how even U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, is preparing himself to back war resister Sgt. Matthis Chiroux.
Veterans for Peace supports IVAW in many ways. From its inception, IVAW has called for: immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq; reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stopping the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and future; and full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.
Please, when you meet IVAW vets. Offer them your material and spiritual assistance. Welcome them home.
-- Michael Cervantes, Oxnard
(The writer, a Vietnam War veteran, is the president of Veterans for Peace, Ventura Chapter 112. -- Editor)

The above is a letter to the Ventura County Star. Matthis Chiroux is the veteran who was honorably discharged and then, months later, informed he was being recalled and deployed to Iraq. He announced May 15th that he would not deploy because the war is illegal and, Sunday, he made a public statement explaining why he was not reporting. We'll just review a few other topics tonight.

Congress caved on timetables and anything else. They gave Bully Boy everything he wanted to continue funding the illegal war. That would be the war they love to use as an election issue. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (like all members of the House) will be voted out or voted back into office in November. Cindy Sheehan is also running for the House seat in the 8th district of California. Pelosi has really given Cindy's campaign a gift and, today, Cindy for Congress released this statement:

We at Cindy for Congress wish to express our dismay that Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives once again approved money to continue the illegal, immoral, and destructive occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In January 2007, the newly gaveled Speaker promised that her House would not give George Bush any more blank checks for funding without "oversight, standards or conditions."
The Iraqi parliament has recently requested by a majority that the American occupation end and we have all recently learned the lurid details of torture and illegal detention (which Nancy Pelosi learned of herself in 2002) and since Nancy Pelosi uttered the lie "No blank checks" over 1100 of our troops have been killed and thousands wounded physically, mentally, or emotionally.
We at Cindy for Congress are also dismayed now that the Bush regime’s wars for profit are fully funded to the end of his term that he could launch another war for profit and empire against another innocent people and nation: Iran.
Please support Cindy Sheehan, an honest voice for peace and integrity in foreign and domestic policies.
Sign our petition to get Cindy on the ballot, request a window sign or
bumper sticker, or donate to show your opposition to continuous occupation.
Volunteer meetings are every Tuesday evening at 7:30 at
Attend our
Concert for Democracy with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello on Saturday, June 18th at Fat City.

In other election news, Elect-Me-And-Then-I'll-Decide-What-To-Do-About-Iraq Barack Obama has a lot of counter-insurgency gurus on board with him including, most infamously, Sarah Sewer (Sarah Sewall). Sarah Sewar steered the jazzed-upbeat counter-insurgency manual (praised by Sammy Power -- another Barack groupie and she's back in the circle though no one in the press appears to know -- or maybe they're just covering for her again). The preceding counter-insurgency manual (the official one) has been obtained by Wikieleaks. From Julian Assange's "How to train death squads and quash revolutions from San Salvador to Iraq" (Wikileaks):

Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as "what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.
The leaked manual, which has been verified with military sources, is the official US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense or FID.
FID operations are designed to prop up "friendly" governments facing popular revolution or guerilla insurgency. FID interventions are often covert or quasi-covert due to the unpopular nature of the governments being supported ("In formulating a realistic policy for the use of advisors, the commander must carefully gauge the psychological climate of the HN [Host Nation] and the United States.")
The manual directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and (under varying circumstances) the suspension of
habeas corpus. It directly advocates employing terrorists or prosecuting individuals for terrorism who are not terrorists, running false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it repeatedly advocates the use of subterfuge and "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures more palatable.
The content has been particularly informed by the long United States involvement in El Salvador.

With all Barack's counter-insurgency gurus on his campaign, you might think that certainly those old enough to not just remember counter-insurgency during Vietnam but to also have actively called it out in real time would be very vocal. But they aren't. Instead, it's "see how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they run" time. There are no peace 'leaders' among those presenting themselves as such to the media because not a damn one will call him out on this. They could act offended by Mark Penn's p.r. work. But Barack's got a number of counter-insurgency gurus and the 'leaders' never make a peep. They just play dumb. Sarah Sewer bragged to Charlie Rose about how she could her viewpoint into Barack's speeches. Not a word. No outcry. So let's just all admit that our 'leaders' on the 'left' are never going to say one damn word and they're never going to call out Barack. They have betrayed not only themselves but the very real peace movement in this country. They have betrayed the people of Iraq. It's more important to them to get Barack into the White House than it is to end the illegal war. And they make that clear every damn day.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4098. Tonight? 4101. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,225,898 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War up from 1,221,154 last week.

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