Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cynthia McKinney, Let her shine

Kimberly Wilder notes this video of presumed Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. As Austin Cassidy's Independet Political Report notes, "With Green Party delegates poised to select a presidential nominee this morning, NewsBlaze runs down the contenders and their standings, saying that 'with 419 votes needed to win the nomination, former George Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney leads the delegate race with 304.5 delegates'." In what should be a day that focuses some attention on the Green Party's convention (going on through tomorrow) and taking some civic pride in their nominee (whether it's McKinney or someone else), the reality of our non-democracy comes through best at, where else?, Aging Socialite's Cat Litter Box where Cynthia's presumed victory translates into "Can McKinney Really Hurt Obama?" Everything is not about the Christ-child.

Cynthia McKinney seems to be on the verge of receiving the nomination of a national political party. That is news. That is news all by itself. That is something to celebrate. Whether you plan to vote Green or not, that is something very big.

The honor is reduced when the immediate response is, "What does that mean to Barack!"

Cynthia McKinney is a politician with a history of experience and a history of results. She was crucified not once, but twice by the party 'leaders' in the Democratic Party and, both times, written off for dead. Her presumed victory speaks to her strength and her abilities.

As a woman, her anticipated victory later today is something all (women and men) should take pride in. That would be true if it were 2004 but it is especially true after the Democratic primary this year when women were dragged through the mud, were targeted with attacks and were slammed and lectured to.

As an African-American, what a statement she makes. She says you can be authentically yourself and not attempt to alter yourself to curry votes or favors. She says you can pick up the torch for racial equality and carry it further. Cynthia McKinney is not merely her race but neither does she run from her race. That's a very positive and needed statement in the country today.

For those who value the speaking of truth, it's a huge victory.

Her assumed nomination today translates into so many things including issues because she has run an issue based campaign.

What should be celebrated as embodying the best that country strives for does not need to be turned into, "How's she's going to hurt Obama!"

Can we not take the time, regardless of who we plan to vote for or if we plan to vote, to take pride in the accomplishments and gains that Cynthia makes and represents?

Or are we so divided as a country (and on the left) that we can only see it in terms of ourselves and our own self-interests?

The Green Party represents one more choice in a nation where choice continues to dwindle. You don't have to be a Green or planning to vote Green to celebrate the hard work Cynthia has put into her campaign and the huge obstacles she overcame for not toeing the line. Today is a strong day for democracy.

Presumably, Cynthia will be elected her party's nominee. In a year, it should be noted, when the DNC is attempting to prevent a floor vote at their own convention. Unless it's a drive-by, we're not read by John McCain supporters, but even McCain supporters should be able to see Cynthia's win as good for America. They might not agree with anything she stands for (since they would largely be Republicans), but just in terms of what democracy is supposed to stand for and the fact that we are supposed to root for and value democracy, they should be able to take a moment to take some pride in her accomplishment.

It's really funny, if you think about the end of the Democratic primaries, when some party 'healers' wanted to preach the line that it said something about the country but, strangely, none of them are trotting out the argument for Cynthia.

Regardless of whom you plan to vote for (or if you plan to vote), we should all be able to set aside our likes and dislikes to appreciate what Cynthia has accomplished.

A moment should be manageable for everyone to leave their own political opinions to the side and appreciate her victory.

The Greens are going to be excited (rightly) and some of that will be personal excitement for their party (as it should be) but it's also going to include what is being said about democracy. It'll be a real shame if members of the 'big' parties show off that they're actually smaller of heart and pride in democracy than third party members. (Though that might not be surprising, it will be a shame.)

I'm fully aware that any press -- especially for a third party -- can be seen as good press but I'm appalled that before Cynthia even has the nomination, it's already time to trot out the "what does this mean for ___" columns.

Before a single piece is written noting what it means for Cynthia, or what it means for America, or what it means for democracy, it's time to toss her up against a man and wonder if she'll hurt him?

That devalues her, that devalues America and it devalues democracy.

I don't care for sports, so I'll go to another form of analogy. It's as though today Cynthia was announcing her engagement and someone had to stand up right after and say, "Guess what? I'm pregnant!" Are the gas bags that small and petty that Cynthia (and the Green Party) can't even have a moment after months of hard work?

It is a Saturday. It is a slow news day. And it is appalling that the presumed nominee can't even shine for one day without fear of what it means to somebody else. Sometimes it just means that it's her turn to shine and it's hard to believe that if the "her" wasn't in there, everyone would rush so to ignore the candidate.

For gas bags who need guidance, the angles are Cynthia McKinney, democracy and America. There's no need to pit her against your hero to have an angle. That's not only insulting, it's rather aggressive. Not surprising when you consider the way attacks on women were publicly embraced this year. Did the gas bag set greet McCain's nomination with "What will this mean for the Democrats!" I don't think so, maybe they did. But they damn well took the time to also note McCain in his own right. When the primaries ended, the coverage took time to celebrate Barack's presumed victory. Is it only when the candidate's a woman that we deny her the right to be her own person? That we refuse to bask in the moment?

It's really starting to look that way and another 'angle' can be what the response to Cynthia's victory says about America (reality as opposed to dream). This is her day, let her shine.

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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

Correction, Wally's heard me griping as I wrote this and he and Cedric are going to post Saturday night. (This is written ahead of time and Mike is kind enough to post it after everyone's posted.) So look for Wally and Cedric tonight and they hope to somehow address the topic of the non-response to Cynthia.

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Bob Rae does what needs doing (and does it well)

Forty years ago, American conscription created a lottery that meant a generation -- my exact contemporaries -- did not have the luxury I had of expressing political opinions without having to disobey the law. Many were able to get their requirement of service deferred. Some enlisted and then deserted, others just came to Canada as visitors and never left.
It was a different time then. Immigrants were not legally barred from applying for landed immigrant status from within Canada, and immigration officials were given much discretion in allowing young men through without asking too many questions about draft status or military service. That is not to say that decisions were taken lightly.
At the time, those coming over as draft dodgers and deserters knew they would not be able to return home without facing arrest. It would be years before a general amnesty would allow that to happen, and it applied just to the draft dodgers; deserters are still arrested if they return.
There was a sense of a deep inner conflict in each decision. Families left behind, parents bewildered, loyalties and values divided, often in ways that proved impossible to resolve.
The Pearson and Trudeau governments kept the border open, despite U.S. objections, and refused to allow Canadian border officials to become agents of American military policy. It strained the relationship -- as did public statements by Canadian officials about the war itself -- but it did not break it.
The Vietnam generation has made an extraordinary contribution to the life of the country. In every walk of life, in every profession, in every community, Canada is a better place because we decided to become a place of refuge for those seeking a different political home, even those who were defying American military law to do so.

The above is from Bob Rae's "Why U.S. war resisters deserve refuge in Canada" (Toronto Star) proving that not everyone has forgotten what actually happened and that some can make an argument that is effective and factual. To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at ""). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.

On the front page of the New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin contributes "Iraqi Shiites Reclaim a Village Razed by Sunnis" about Al Etha in Diyala Province:

Now, after nearly two years, 60 of the families have returned, offering a glimpse both of the tentative new peace that is becoming visible in many places throughout Iraq and of the tremendous difficulties ahead. The displaced return not only to destroyed houses, but also destroyed lives.

Rubin sees peace emerging. (She's not stating "Peace has come!") I see a people who feel wronged returning and the resentment breeding all over again (on both sides, Shi'ites and Sunnis). She's a reporter and she's offering her visual observations in an article worth reading. [Revolutions (rebellions and resistance) was one of my areas of emphasis in poli sci and I see something completely different taking place. And you can add in the impact on the elections -- if they take place -- in October.] The article should be read with Campbell Robertson's "Iraqi Forces Raid Mosque With Links To Sadrists" and the thing to concentrate on there is how will that help 'peace'. (Answer: It won't. It will only give the illusion of peace and allow more resentments to fester.)

Alan Feuer's "With Final Word of Soldiers' Deaths, More Tears, More Sorrow, Some Relief" covers the reactions to the news that US soldiers Alex R. Jimenez and Byron Fouty are no longer missing, classified as MIA or POWs. We noted the news in yesterday's snapshot. We'll quote Byron's mother Hillary Meunier here: "They said we'd never find him, but I have a sense of relief that at least he's back on American soil. I've believed for quite some time that Byron had passed on, that they had killed him. I had a small shread of hope but, in my heart of hearts, I knew that he was gone." Others were noted yesterday. (Hillary Meunier was noted from an interview published yesterday but conducted before she knew her son's body had been discovered.)

Do not read this as an insult to Ralph Nader's campaign or to him but I've made the decision (and will take any flack for it -- complain to me not Beth) that we're not noting him today. That has nothing to do with him. It has to do with today being Cynthia McKinney's day. The Green Party is holding its convention this weekend (it ends on Sunday) and that's really not be noted by most outlets you'd assume you could count on for coverage. Ralph's not usually noted by them either. The community is for Ralph. There's no "the majority is for . . ." Giving Cynthia her due today takes nothing away from Ralph. But the Democratic outlets (that we once wrongly assumed were actually left outlets) can't make time for Cynthia. We're not going to repeat that error here. The next entry will note Cynthia in some form. It is her day.

It being her day does not detract or minimize anyone else. It is merely giving her the due she's earned. (Is expected to earn when she receives the nomination today.)

I had said yesterday that we'd note Jason Wallace today and I think we still can since he's a Green. It's his day today as well. Ava and I caught some of the 'public affairs' programs yesterday and no one seems to know that a political party in this country is holding their convention. Doesn't know or doesn't care?

Wallace is running for Illinois' 11th Congressional district's seat in the House of Represenatives and this is his campaign's "Veterans issues personal for Wallace:"

Contacts: Tanya Austin, Campaign Manager, 309-532-3446,
Brandon Punke, Media Relations Coordinator, 309-826-6605,
Normal, IL - Veterans issues are of key importance to 11th Congressional district Green Party candidate Jason Wallace. Wallace, the only veteran in the race, is calling for several key changes in the government's approach to caring for those who have served in the United States military. These include changes in funding and coverage as well as his support for the idea of replacing Silver Cross in Joliet with a VA hospital.
Jason Wallace personally recognizes the frustrations that can be encountered by veterans when trying to obtain benefits. As a member of the Air National Guard, Jason was activated twice to serve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a total of seventeen months. While serving in Kuwait, Jason volunteered for the base Honor Guard and earned the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Wallace feels that his personal experience in the military gives him an advantage over his opponents in understanding the problems veterans encounter. Wallace commented that "while I appreciate the service of Debbie Halvorson's stepson in the armed forces, my own military career of six years has allowed me to personally experience the realities of the VA."
Wallace calls for complete, mandatory funding for the VA. This is an idea that is supported by voters in the district. According to a question posed on the February 5th 2008 primary ballot in 23 counties, 1.14 million people voted yes when asked if the federal government should fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide care to those who were honorably discharged. Over ninety percent of voters in Lasalle and Grundy counties approved the referendum. Wallace added, "I will provide all of our veterans with free health care so that they can seek the medical care they need anywhere in the district, state, or country. Furthermore, while I support the idea of turning Silver Cross into a VA hospital, it would be useless if the system continues to be chronically under funded."
For more information on Jason Wallace, please visit

I assume it's obvious that I'm ticked off about the lack of coverage. If you 'consumed' 'news' yesterday -- especially from Panhandle Media -- think about how much coverage Barack or McCain got and ask yourself if you even heard that the Green Party was holding their convention?

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, July 11, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, 2 US soldiers classified MIA/POW are discovered dead, the Green Party convention kicked off yesterday and runs through Sunday and more.


Starting with war resistance.  Patrick Arden (Metro) reported earlier this week on the NYC demonstrations to show support for Canadian war resisters and noted Matthis Chiroux:


Wearing his dog tags and waving a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Matthis Chiroux is a sergeant in the Army's Individual Ready Reserve. Last summer he was honorably discharged after five years of active duty that included a stint in Afghanistan. In February he received a reactivation order.   
"I was supposed to report for deployment to Iraq on June 15," said Chiroux, 24, who intends to stay in Brooklyn. "They'll have to arrest me."        




On IVAW, Joy Wiltermuth (Downtown Express) profiles Fabian Bouthillette who "is the secretary and outreach coordinator for Iraq Veterans Against the War's New York chapter, which shares space with the War Resisters' League in Noho, at 339 Lafayette St." as he lays out his last night years (he enlisted at 18).  He explains, "I'm a guy who grew up ppor.  It was just that simple. . . I was quick to jump on it [leaving the Navy -- he did not self-checkout].  I was not going to work hard to support the war machine anymore.  Once I came to that realization, I could no longer do it."


Meanwhile in Canada, Judge Robert Barnes' decision in US war resister Joshua Key's case last week opens up a number of possibilities for war resisters. Dee Knight (Workers World) reports on the latest and also provides the background such as: "Joshua Key went to Canada with his wife Brandi and their four small children following 16 months living underground in the United States after he decided not to return to Iraq. He served as a combat engineer in Iraq for eight months in 2003. His book, 'The Deserter's Tale,' has been an international best seller. He said he and his family have felt support from 'about 95 percent of the Canadian people'." 


Last night we were noting continued failure of the war resistance 'movement' to get across the point (or even be aware of it) that Canada gave asylum to deserters during Vietnam (and didn't ask: "Were you drafted or did you enlist?") and reviewing real time press noting war resisters (who were deserters) like Jeff Enger, Jack Colhoun, Victor Schwarzmann who did make lives for themselves in Canada.  And it's all wiped away/ignored by today's 'movement' which continues to blater on about "draft dodgers" when there is no draft today so it's really not pertinent to the discussion but certainly does allow the right-wing to dismiss calls for asylumn by insisting, "Well that was draft dodgers.  There's no draft today!" Today, the the Wall St. Journal's offered the editorial "AWOL in Canada" which shows 'reason' and 'sympathy' by stating, "Vietnam-era draft dodgers were breaking the law, but at least they could claim to be avoiding conscription.  Today's U.S. soldiers and reserves are volunteers, who enlist knowing full well that they could be sent overseas and into combat."  Repeating: Five years the 'movement' has wasted. Five years of gas bagging about a draft -- when there is no draft today. Five years of insisting that Canada took in draft dodgers -- when there are no draft dodgers today. Five years of blathering on about crap that doesn't matter. The only point today's 'movement' should have made regarding Canada granting asylum to today's war resisters was: "They should because they welcomed deserters during Vietnam."
That's not a difficult sentence. And, unlike what the 'movement' offers today, it is factually correct. Until the basics are correct -- until they are stressed over and over -- the 'movement' will continue to muddle along.  "Almost 40 years ago we accepted deserters from an illegal war" is the talking point the movement in Canada should be using and the US side should be noting, "Hey, 40 years ago, they accepted deseters from an illegal war."  Canada is not being asked to do anything it hasn't done the past.


To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").  Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote.  Now they've started a new letter you can use online hereThe War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Early this morning, Patrick Donahue (Bloomberg News) reported AP was stating -- but the DoD has not confirmed -- that Alex Jimenez and Byron Fouty's corpses have been discovered while David Aguila (AP) cited Fouty's step-father as confirmation that the corpses of both were "found in the Iraqi village of Jurf as Sakhr."  Jeannie Nuss and Milton J. Valencia (Boston Globe) speak with Ramon "Andy" Jimenez (Alex's father) who states that, in his grief, "It comforts you when you accept something, and Alex did what he wanted to do."  Korie Wilkins (Detroit Free Press) quotes Byron's friend Ashley Tremble stating, "What was important [for him] was the here-and-now.  There is no bad to Byron" while his mother Hilary Meunier states, "A part of me believes he's already gone, but I still have hope."  And please note, there's no mention of his body being found in Wilkins' article. David Aguilar spoke with his step-father Gordon Dibler who said Byron's corpse was found on Thursday. Boston's NECN has video of the family of Alex Jimenez gathering and lighting candles. O'Ryan Johnson (Boston Herald) quotes Ramon Jimenez stating of his son, "He always had the hope that he would return back to the city.  But due to the nature of where he was, it was difficult for him to return alive."   Mark E. Vogler (Eagle Tribune) reports that, in Lawrence, "American flags fly at half staff on municipal buildings throughout the city today in honor of the late Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez."  This afternoon the US Dept of Defense released a statement: "The Department of Defense today announced the deaths of two soldiers previously listed as "Missing-Captured" while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. On July 10, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner positively identified human remains recovered in Iraq July 9 to be those of two soldiers who had been previously listed as 'Missing-Captured.' . . . Jimenez and Fouty were part of a patrol that was ambushed by enemy forces south of Baghdad on May 12, 2007. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. The Department of Defense previously announced the names of soldiers killed in the attack. They were Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack, Jr., 20, of Torrance, Calif.; Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell, Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tenn.; Pfc. Daniel W. Courneya, 19, of Nashville, Mich.; Cpl. Christopher E. Murphy, 21, of Lynchburg, Va.; and Sgt. Anthony J. Schober, 23, of Reno, Nev." 
On Saturday an attack took place outside Mahmudiya.  Damien Cave (New York Times) reported: "A cooridnated attack on seven American soldiers an Iraqi Army interpreter Saturday morning south of Baghdad left five of them dead and three missing".  Initial reports, based on what the US military was saying, included that five US service members were killed.  The US military corrected this on Sunday: 4 US soldiers died as did 1 Iraqi translator.  Three US soldiers are still missing. Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that approximately 4,000 US service members were searching for the 3 missing soldiers on Sunday. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that at least one of the five dead had "gunshot woundes, though it was unclear whether he was shot before or after blasts enveloped the soldiers' two vehicles in flames, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman."  Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes that the group was "parked in two Humvees in an area 12 miles west of Mahmudiyah" when the attack took place with "a roadside bomb . . . followed by gunfire, officials said.  The two vehicles went up in flames and were spotted 15 minutes later by a surveillance drone, after a nearby unit that heard explosions could not make contact with the Humvees. The extent of the damage made it difficult to identify the slain soldiers."  Stephen Farrell and Tom Baldwin (Times of London) note that the Islamic State in Iraq has claimed, via a website, responsibility for the raid and that they have the three missing US soldiers.  Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) noted that the grop has "offered no proof". CBS and AP report that the group claiming to have the three American soldiers issued a warning: "'If you want their safety do not look for them,' the Islamic State of Iraq said on a militant web site.  'You should remember what you have done to our sister Abeer in the same area,' the statement said, referring to five American soldiers who were charged in the rape and killing of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and the killings of her parents and her younger sister last year.  Three soldiers have pleaded guilty in the case."  AFP notes that, in June of last year, two US soldiers were captured and their "bodies . . . were later found outside a power station south of Baghdad, mutilated and bearing signs of torture."  That attack was also seen as resulting from the gang-rape and murder of Abeer in Mahmoudiyah on March 12, 2006 and, as Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported last September, Justin Watt came forward with what he was hearing about Abeer and her family when the June attack on US soldiers took place.  Though the statement put up by the group claiming to have the 3 missing US soldiers is cited often in part, most outlets have avoided noting the mention of Abeer.  (But then many avodied reporting on the Article 32 hearing last August or much that has happened since.  As CBS and AP noted, 3 US soldiers have confessed to their part.  Steven D. Green, who has been portrayed as the ringleader in press accounts as well as the testimonies of those who have pleaded guilty, maintains he is innocent.)  Julie Rawe and Aparisim Ghosh (Time) reported last June, "Abeer's brother Mohammed, 13, told TIME he once watched his sister, frozen in fear, as a U.S. soldier ran his index finger down her cheek.  Mohammed has since learned that soldier's name: Steven Green."


ICCC has moved the two over the total for deaths in Iraq since the start of the illegal war bringing that total to 4118.  The third missing soldier was Joseph Anzack who was later found dead (and it listed in the DoD announcement).  As for Steven D. Green? Green's scheduled trial was postpone for a quilting bee and, apparently, hasn't been rescheduled even though that was months ago.  (All other US soldiers involved in the incident entered pleas of guilty.)


On the subject of Iraqi women, Zaineb Naji tells her story at Baghdad Life (Wall St. Journal) and explains that the decrease in violence (that's how she judges it) means some tentative steps back towards the time before the start of the Iraq War, "After sectarian violence increased after the Samarra shrine bombing in February 2006, fundamentalist insurgents and Shiite militias started to forbid women to drive cars, saying it was unacceptable according to Islamic law. They threatened to kidnap women drivers or kill them and leave their bodies by the road. They also said women would have a similar fate if they didn't wear the traditional Islamic clothing -- an abaya and a hijab (head scarf).  So women, including me, stopped driving. I stopped driving even in my neighborhood, which made me feel depressed because I felt like I had lost one of my rights. I had always worn a hijab, but women who didn't started to wear one to protect themselves.  Not driving affected my work as a reporter and it was difficult to use other means of transportation, such as taxis or buses. I couldn't take my children to school or pick them up, or even go shopping alone.  In the early 1950s, Iraq was one of the first Arab countries that allowed women to drive cars. During the Hussein regime, women drivers were very common on the streets and women even drove public buses or tractors in the countryside."


From life on the ground in Iraq to in the air.  Iraq does not control their air space currently and the treaty being discussed by the White House and the puppet government in Baghdad had one puppet so excited that maybe Iraq could control its own air space!  So what's going on in the air in the meantime.  The Jerusalem Post reports the back and forth in Iraq as to whether Irsraeli Air Force has been utilizing Iraqi air space to prepare "for a possible attack against Iran in its airspace" (the article has the latest official statement from Iraq as "no" it is not happening).  UPI carries the denials from the US government and the Israeli government.  On claims, Ann Scott Tyson and Dan Eggan (Washington Post) report the latest claim of success just around the corner -- Lt Gen James Dubik Happy Talked Congress yesterday: "The ground forces will mostly be done by middle of next year; their divisions, brigades and battalions are on a good timeline." Can you die from a whopper?  I believe Bully Boy's false claims of yellow cake uranium demonstrate that many can. 


In some of today's reported violence . . .




Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that left six people wounded, a suspected bombing attempt outside Samarra that led to 4 suspects being shot dead by Iraqi police.




Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on a Baghdad checkpoint this afternoon "and casualties are still unknown." 




Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Iskandariya today and 1 in Hilla yesterday.


Turning to the race for US president, Drew Pritt denies masturbating in public.  Yesterday's snapshot note Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report article on Drew Pritt's attack on presumed Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.  Pritt only continued his attack after the article published by taking to the comments section repeatedly.  Insisting, "I do not stomp squirrels, or masturbate in public, or do the other things I am accuesd of," and blaming malicious gossip on any rumors to the contrary, he then goes on to repeat an obvious lie, that his hero Jesse Johnson will be "denied a nomination, by a woman who used the Green Party REPORTEDLY to pay off her debt, before she switched parties."  That is a lie.  It's an ugly lie.  And while whining about the meaness towards him, Drew Pritt wants to lie about McKinney. Democratic Party member Pritt (who's run for several state offices in Arkansas) maintains, "If the Green Party is to thrive it has to appeal to progressives like myself.  Cynthia McKinney does not appeal but repels."  Again, Democrats need to stay out of the selection of the Green Party's presidential nominee.  He does not know what he's talking about (McKinney's "HIGH WATER MARK" is not 3%, she's defined victory -- if she's the nominee -- as 5%). If any Greens are offended by Pritt's attempts to derail their own selection (and they should be), hopefully, they'll remember that in 2012 because a number of 'high profile' Greens damn sure didn't feel bad about butting into the Democratic primary.  Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) annouces the "hope to have video up sometime today" of the ongoing Green Party Convention taking place in Chicago through Sunday and notes, "There is a great feeling that Cynthia McKinney will be the next candidate."  Regardless of whom the nominee is, the acceptance speech will be made Saturday and a press conference with the presidential and vice-presidential nominee will be held after.  Yesterday, Kat Swift's questionnaire response was not mentioned.  It had not been posted.  It still hasn't. ("Questionnaire from Kat Swift will be posted shortly.")  Since she has publicly asked people to donate to Cynthia's campaign, it may not end up posted.  The convention isn't just about the national ticket.  On the charitable side, Green Party 2004 v.p. nominee Pat LaMarche is overseeing "donations for area shelters" and states, "I would like for folks with less agreeable resting places for their heads to know that Greens came to town and that we did not forget them."  A noble effort and one that the big-money RNC and DNC might consider emulating.  Green Party Congressional candidate Steve Alesch spoke yesterday at the start of the convention.  Patrick Ferrell (Suburban Chicago News) notes that was one of two "high-profile positions at the group's national convention" for 2 "local Green Party candidates" and explains the other, IVAW's Jason Wallace, was slotted for "a Friday morning speech" and "selected to serve as the convention's election administrator.  In that role he will oversee the casting of delegate votes for the presidential and vice presidential nominations as well as the approval of the national party platform."  Tuesday Jason Wallace's campaign announced: "Veterans issues are of key importance to 11th Congressional district Green Party candidate Jason Wallace.  Wallace, the only veteran in the race, is calling for several key changes in the government's approach to caring for those who have served in the United States military.  These include changes in funding and coverage as well as his support for the idea of replacing Silver Cross in Joliet with a VA hospital. . . . Wallace calls for complete, mandatory funding for the VA.  This is an idea that is supported by voters in the district."  [The press release will run in full tomorrow, there isn't room for it in the snapshot.] Ron (Green Party Watch) reports: "Jason Wallace, Illinois candidate for the 11th district CD, noted that he is running in one of the top five competitive races in America. Wallace noted that his campaign is committed to run for ten thousand dollars only, 10K in 08, versus the multimillion dollar campaigns his Republican and Democrat opponents are working with. Education is probably his number one issue, and he has seen first hand the impact of underfunded education on middle class families. Wallace is also a member of Veterans for Peace, attended Winter Soldier, Wallace was serving in the Iraq 'Occupation'. The war is obviously a big issue for Wallace. Wallace also wants to make his district in Illinois a leader in the production of "green manufacturing"."


Though the votes haven't been made (let alone counted) National Journal states: "Road to the White House features Bob Barr, and will cover Green Party WH candidate Cynthia McKinney's Green Party Convo speech (C-Span, SUN, 6:30 pm/9:30 pm)."  (The other Cynthia, the evil faux-gressive, will be on The Chris Matthews Show so she'll probably make time for a hate-out to McKinney.)  The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, "Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney's trek back from defeat takes her to Chicago this weekend and an improbable political rebirth. She is expected to be nominated as the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States and could appear on the ballot in as many as 36 states." Grist magazine picks up on McKinney's v.p. choice, "Yesterday hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente accepted McKinney's invitation to run as the VP candidate. More to come on the Green ticket soon."  NYC IMC offers, "Clemente, born in the South Bronx, is a graduate of SUNY Albany and Cornell Univeristy." What About Our Daughters? explains that, if McKinney is the nominee, this is the third time two women of color would be on the ticket with the first being Lenora Fulani and Maria Elizabeth Munoz in 1992 (New Alliance Party) and Monica Moorehead and Gloria La Riva (Workers World Party) in 1996.  Deanna Taylor (Dee's 'Dotes) observes, "It will be interesting to see how Cynthia McKinney's choice affects her chances for obtaining the GPUS Presidential nomination."  Wake Me Now advocates for Cynthia, "Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who seems poised to capture the Green Party presidential nomination, in Chicago, this month, 'is at this juncture in history the only vehicle through which progressives can both register their outrage at Barack Obama and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for real social change.' Meanwhile, the frequency of Obama's Right turns seem to increase in direct proportion to the nearness of the general election. 'Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal.' The question is, How many progressives will put their votes and resources to honorable use?"  Matt (The Underview) notes Cynthia McKinney will be among his guests on Shared Sacrifice Saturday which airs "from Noon to 2:00 PM mountain time" and is also downloadable.  Rick Pearson (Baltimore Sun) sums up Cynthia's positions on the issues: "In her presidential campaign, she has pushed for a quick end to the Iraq War and has promoted impeachment proceedings against the Bush administration. She also has advocated a 10-point human rights plan that includes integrity in the nation's voting system, full employment and reparations to African Americans over slavery--which has been a plank in the Green Party platform." Cynthia's campaign site has reposted an essay by Vivian Berryhill which asserts, "Securing the Green Party's 2008 standard-bearer position would bestow on McKinney the historic title of 'first' African American woman to be on the ballot as a viable candidate of a major party for President of the United States. That title alone will not only lessen the aura surrounding Barack Obama's position as the 'first' African American male presidential nominee, but she may also siphon off just-enough left-wing, African American, and women voters, to sink both their chances for victory in the Fall." The one and only Roseanne weighed in Wednesday at her site (Roseanne World) stating: "for president GREEN PARTY. . . .the party for feminists. Let's replace pelosi with sheehan as soon as possible, and then as fast as we can replace the entire woman hating democrat party with a green ecofeminist progressive socialist one that really works and is not afraid to make campaign finance reform a priority."  Pacifica Radio will broadcast a three hour special on Sunday "as the convention comes to a close) that will stream online at the Pacifica website (noon to 3:00 p.m. EST; 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central and 9:00 a.m. to noon PST). 


Barack Obama is the presumed Democratic Party nominee.  Susan (Random Thoughts) notes Tom Hayden's July 4th moment of "WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIS EYES!" (Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby -- the response is "He has his father's eyes.") and advises, "Well, Tom, maybe you SHOULD have critically looked at Obama's slipperiness on this and many other issues before making a fool out of yourself."  I have to disagree with Susan on this because if Tom Hayden couldn't make a fool out of himself, what would he have to offer at this point? Yes, I really agree with Susan (though Tom-Tom has nothing left to offer) and Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) also notes Hayden and Hayden's (drug induced?) belief that a 'movement' exists for Barack and it can and will (didn't happen with FISA) pressure him: "Nothing of that nature will occur, because Hayden and other progressives are not organizing to make it occur. They are too concerned with remaining 'for' Obama. Not only are Hayden's and Fletcher's peculiar 'movements' without political content - they emerge like magic, requiring none of the hard work of organizing.  And just how were those popular 'rising expectations' that Hayden speaks of supposed to express themselves? Progressives waited until it was far too late to bring these 'expectations' - to whatever extent they exist - to bear on the candidate. Obama coasted through the primaries with virtually no dissent from his loyal progressives, and now sees his way clear to publicly dismiss them, so as to never again be 'tagged as being on the Left'." Tom-Tom's probably hopping from foot to foot and straining to contain himself -- it's truly been years (decades) since he received so much attention.  Black Agenda Report -- Ford, Margaret Kimberly and Bruce Dixon -- are not 'waking up,' they always called it like it was and if Tom-Tom needs tuturing, he might try contacting them.  In the meantime, he can read Kimberley's latest: "All hell broke loose and tongues wagged endlessly and needlessly because of an accurate statement made by the candidate first husband and former president Bill Clinton. 'It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war. There's no difference in your (Obama's) voting record, and Hillary's, ever since. Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen'. The words fairy tale resonated in millions of ears, but the validity of Clinton's comments were lost on a public incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction, or trivia from substance."  Added note, the Green Party will be discussing impeachment at their convention.  "Calls for impeachment have become so common in the last few years that we forget how recently it has entered the political arsenal.  Once viewed as a blunderbuss, it is now used as a bludgeon."  That's from Jo Freeman's review of David E. Kyvig's The Age of Impeachment (link goes to her own site, it's also available at Senior Women Web here).  In terms of the current administration, you can refer to Jason Leopold's latest at The Public Record. While the Green Party convention goes on, Bill Moyers Journal explores the GOP and, no doubt, has Cynthia, Ralph and Bob Barr penciled in for an upcoming show in order to maintain the PBS diversity mandate. Tonight also provides a new feature "What's your vision for the future of the American Dream?"  It's a segment tonight (tonight in most markets) and will also be an online feature.  Click here for YouTube video.


Ralph Nader is running for president.  Check the transcript of  "Election 2008: Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader" (Washington Post) and Team Nader notes:


Here's is your task for today.

Drop a $20 bill on Nader/Gonzalez.

Why $20?

Because we want to get to $20,000 by the end of the day.

On our way to 15 states.

And $60,000.

By July 20.

We are now at over $15,000.

In just two days.

So, $20,000 by the end of the day shouldn't be a heavy lift.

(If we get there early, take us to $25,000. We're easy.)

On our way to 15 states.

And then 45 states.

By September 20.

Nader/Gonzalez is the positivo campaign.

Two rules here at Nader/Gonzalez headquarters:

Rule Number One: No whining.

And Rule Number Two: Get it done.

It's not that we don't take our world seriously.

We do.

But whining and negativo man attitude doesn't get us where we need to go.

Which is 45 states by September 20.

Take the telecom immunity/spying bill that Obama voted for, McCain dodged, and Bush signed into law.

It's an unconstitutional law.

Did we whine and cry about it?

No, we did not.

We spoke out against it.

We're running this campaign, in part, to defend the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution.

And we've produced an awesome video denouncing the new law.

Or take ballot access.

Our young roadtrippers are busting it all around the country to leap the ballot access hurdles the Democrats and Republicans have erected to make life miserable for us.

But we refuse to be miserable.

Check out this neat video about our roadtrippers in Nevada.

No whining there.

We tried to get on the ballot in 2004 but only made it on 34 states. (We're shooting for 45 this time around.)

Why only 34 states?

One reason: The Democrats organized an underground campaign to knock us off.

When we say this, people don't believe us.

But just yesterday, a grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted twelve Democratic political operatives for the illegal use of millions of dollars in taxpayers' funds, resources and state employees for political campaign purposes. (See Nader/Gonzalez press release here.)

The grand jury found that as many as 50 Democratic House Caucus staff members contributed "a staggering number of man-hours" to successfully knock Ralph Nader off the ballot in 2004.

A House Democratic employee testified before the grand jury that "everybody was working on this."

"A veritable Army" of Democratic staffers were enlisted in the effort to deny Nader ballot status, the grand jury found.

It was virtually a caucus-wide endeavor and many of the employees spent an entire week on the Nader petition challenge, the grand jury found.

This is a scandal of immense proportions.

And twelve Democrats in Pennsylvania now stand charged with crimes.

Attorneys General Oregon, Illinois and Ohio - three states where Democrats successfully knocked us off in 2004 - should launch similar investigations.

This year, we're not taking no for an answer.

We're building our funds to secure ballot access and to fight back if they come after us again.

So, please, drop a $20 bill now on Nader/Gonzalez.

We're fighting not just for 2008 - but for future generations of independent citizen activists, candidates and campaigners.

(In case you missed it, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals knocked out a requirement that only residents of Arizona be allowed to petition in the state. Ralph Nader challenged this requirement as unconstitutional We're hoping to carry this victory to other states that have similar requirements. See story here.)

We're a positivo locomotive.

We've got the Big Mo.

Nothing will stop us now.

Together, we are making a difference.




 tom squitieri
 joshua key

 the wall street journal
 dee knight
the new york times
damien cave

Facts do matter, war resistance should grasp that

Vietnam-era draft dodgers were breaking the law, but at least they could claim to be avoiding conscription. Today's U.S. soldiers and reserves are volunteers, who enlist knowing full well that they could be sent overseas and into combat. Military recruiters don't hide this detail. In return for their service, volunteers often get substantial education and other benefits. Fulfilling their service tour is part of the deal.
War is hell, and no doubt some of these deserters are responding to the trauma of their experience. But a military can't succeed in its mission if soldiers can decide on their own when and whether to obey orders. The Army officially describes desertion or going AWOL as "crimes that not only affect the soldier, but in a time of war, put other soldiers' lives at risk. Not only do these crimes go against Army values, they degrade unit readiness." This is why, in previous eras, deserters were simply shot.
The Harper government's decision to send the Yanks home shows respect for the U.S. military and our rule of law. It also honors those Canadians who are serving, and dying, as part of the NATO force in Afghanistan. American deserters need to return and face their responsibilities.

The above is the Wall St. Journal's editorial "AWOL in Canada." Is it correct? To listen to today's 'movement,' it is. Repeatedly we have noted that Canada welcomed war resisters. Over and over. Just last night, we were walking through it again. If the 'movement' would wake the hell up, then we could all laugh at the Wall St. Journal for getting it so wrong. Those of us who have TOLD THE TRUTH still can laugh. But a lot of people can't. Because they have LIED over and over. They have refused to tell the truth. Then there are people who feel they can be 'leaders' without ever bothering to learn what happened. That's the sort of 'leader' I want flying the plane home tomorrow, a 'leader' who decides to be a pilot and feels no need to study! (Yes, that was sarcasm.) The 'movement' has had five years to get their act together and they still can't. The Wall St. Journal is wrong. But not a lot of people can point that out because they've spent the last five years stamping their feet and insisting, "Well Canada welcomed draft dodgers!" Yes, little children (and old people who blew their brains on drugs), Canada did. And yes, it also welcomed deserters. And that last one, that's the one that applies to today. That's the one the 'movement' should have been stressing for five years instead of WASTING everyone's time with talk about the draft. A draft that is no more.

By repeatedly ignoring that Canada welcomed BOTH deserters and draft dodgers, the 'movement' has created this nonsense argument. Again, they've had FIVE YEARS to get their damn act together and still can't. They can't tell you what Ford did and what Carter did. They apparently love them some Jimmy so they give him credit for things HE DID NOT DO. Facts be damned.

In fact, if today's 'movement' has a slogan, that's probably it: "Facts be damned."

I'm really sorry that today's 'movement' thought they could get by without facts, thought there was no need to educate themselves or others.

This isn't the only editorial in the US that's been discussed. It's just the first to make it into print. More may follow.

Five years the 'movement' has wasted. Five years of gas bagging about a draft -- when there is no draft today. Five years of insisting that Canada took in draft dodgers -- when there are no draft dodgers today. Five years of blathering on about crap that doesn't matter.

The only point today's 'movement' should have made regarding Canada granting asylum to today's war resisters was: "They should because they welcomed deserters during Vietnam."

That's not a difficult sentence. And, unlike what the 'movement' offers today, it is factually correct.

Factually correct.

Facts are facts.

But prepare for the stupidity, here's "Most Canadians say: Let war resisters stay" (Northumberland Today):

As a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, Glass could still be recalled to active duty, possibly in Iraq, at any time until July 2010 and be forced to serve past that date, through the "stop loss" program.
Often described as the "back-door draft", stop-loss legislation allows the U. S. military to unilaterally extend soldiers' contracts for an indefinite period of time (in one case, for over 25 years), even after they have already completed their required tour of duty. Many other resisters in Canada also face a fate similar to Glass's if the Harper government continues to ignore Parliament and the majority of Canadians.

They are wrong. Corey Glass is wrong. From another article (the one noted last night that we're not linking to because it's one error after another), Glass is quoted stating, "My MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) typically gets stop-lossed because of the nature of the job that I was trained to do. And we get stop-lossed a lot." "We" may but there's no indication that Corey Glass was. What he thinks has happened is that he may be in the IRR. The IRR is not stop-loss.

By his own statements of what he thinks has happened to him, Corey Glass has not been stop-lossed. (He signed up in 2002 -- an 8-year contract presumably which would mean his contracts hasn't expired.) By his own statements, he appears to have been placed in the IRR.

Elaine was going to grab this topic but now 'editorial boards' are repeating this LIE so we have to address it here. (She'll still address it tonight.)

Someone should have taken him aside and explained the facts to him. If he's unable to grasp the facts, keep him away from the press.

Camilo Mejia was stop-lossed. Before his contract expired, right before, he was informed he had been stop-lossed and was being extended.

The IRR is not "stop-loss." The IRR has a long history. After you are discharged, you are in the IRR. The IRR is being abused for a number of reasons today -- including the fact that the Iraq War is not a national emergency. But Corey Glass was not stop-lossed and floating the possibility that he might be -- might be! -- is as much a waste of time as all the other nonsense. And some editorial board wants to make a case on he might be stop-lossed? Are the facts too much work? Is it just so much better to 'invent' and 'create'? Heaven forbid anyone deal with the actual facts and merits, right?

He deserted with time still on his contract. He signed up in 2002, he deserted in 2006. He may now be in the IRR (he may not be). He has not been stop-lossed.

Facts are facts.

Here's Tom Squitieri's "Army expanding 'stop loss' order to keep soldiers from leaving" (January 5, 2004, USA Today) reporting on stop-loss:

The Army will announce as early as Tuesday new orders that will forbid thousands of soldiers from leaving the service after they return this year from Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war against terrorism, defense officials said Monday.
The "stop loss" orders mean personnel who could otherwise leave the military when their volunteer commitments expire will be forced to remain to the end of their overseas deployments and up to another 90 days after they come home. "Stop movement" orders also bar soldiers from moving to new assignments during the restricted period. The orders do not extend any unit's stay overseas.
Although the orders cover all the approximately 160,000 returning troops, the Army said it estimates only about 7,000 of the returnees will have their time in the service involuntarily extended. Most deployed soldiers are not affected because they have service obligations that extend beyond their current deployments, Army Col. Elton Manske, chief of the Army's Enlisted Division, said Monday.
"This decision is really being driven by the readiness of units and the absolute intent to keep the units themselves intact down to as low as the squad and crew level, so we are assured of putting the best fighting force on the battlefield," Manske said.

That's stop-loss. Your contract is not up, you have not been discharged. Individual Ready Reserve is what Adam Kokesh, Cloy Richards and others were in when the military tried to crack down on them. They had been discharged. They were in the IRR. It's the same thing with Matthis Chiroux currently. The IRR and stop-loss are two different policies.

Corey Glass was in the National Guard, he falls under the army. You can click here for the army's policies re: IRR. In Canada and in the US, Corey Glass has been called a liar because the army says he is discharged and not a deserter. If Corey Glass' status changed, it changed without his knowledge. Glass did not lie on that. But when he then appears to not know the difference between stop-loss and IRR, he just invites laughter from the right-wing -- begs for it. And some 'leader' in the Canadian 'movement' should have sat him down and explained it to him. In the US especially, pro-war bloggers with military experience will pounce on his statements. They will go to town on him. He invited it. No one needs speculation about what might happen after 2010. Since Glass wasn't smart enough to take the army's claim (true or false) and build a case for staying in Canada with that, his whole story is speculation after the point he self-checks out. You don't need to pile on further speculation by saying "And, this one time, at IRR camp, they said that in two years, I might be stop-lossed."

And the 'movement' invites nonsense arguments. Wall St. Journal is unaware that deserters were welcomed in Canada during Vietnam, neither's the bulk of the 'movement' and neither is Courtney Whalen. From Whalen's "Orillians rally for U. S. war resisters: Group urges Ottawa to let ex-soldiers remain in Canada" (The Packet and Times):

While he said he empathizes with the war resisters, Stanton said the situation Canada is facing today is different than that of the Vietnam War, when individuals had no choice about joining the military. At that time, Canada welcomed so-called draft dodgers.
"There is a process there they can go through to become conscientious objectors," said Stanton.
He will present the Orillia and Midland petitions to the House of Commons when it resumes in the fall.
"I think it's a political issue that's worth spreading the news," said Vivien Abbott. "I think there are quite a number of us who don't feel it's worth sacrificing some principles for showing friendship to the Bush administration."

Do we need to repeat it? Canada welcomed deserters. The draft made no difference -- Canada didn't have a draft. During Vietnam -- draft dodger or deserter, you could get asylum in Canada (after 1969) and there was no, "You're a deserter? Well did you freely enlist or were you drafted?" questions. It didn't matter. How many times is the 'movement' going to play AND be stupid? This should have been established in 2003. It should have been established in 2004. It is 2008 and the 'movement' still hasn't provided the basic education required to fight that revisionary lie. History is on war resisters in Canada's side. The truth is on their side. It's too damn bad the 'movement' isn't on their side. All this time later and the lie continues.

Dee Knight's "Canadian court reopens door for U.S. war resisters" (Workers World):

A Canadian court on July 4 ordered Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board to review U.S. war resister Joshua Key’s claim for asylum. In a ruling that could affect many other U.S. war resisters, the court said, "Military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non-combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim."

The court concluded that the Immigration and Refugee Board imposed "a too restrictive legal standard" on Key. In a clear statement affecting other U.S. war resisters, the court also found that "similarly situated individuals" should have their refugee claims reviewed.

Key's lawyer, Jeffry House, said the ruling is "a huge victory for numerous soldiers who are here [in Canada] and maybe others who are thinking of coming here." House himself is a Vietnam-era war resister. A spokeswoman for Canadian Immigration Minister Diane Finley said her ministry was reviewing the court decision, which adds another layer of pressure to let the war resisters stay.

The decision could not come at a better time. A large-scale campaign is under way in both Canada and the U.S. to press the Canadian government to stop the deportation of Corey Glass, slated for July 10. Glass would be the first U.S. war resister to be deported from Canada. The Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign has led a massive effort in Canada to force the Canadian government to stop his deportation and respect a majority vote in Parliament on June 3 that called on the government to stop deportation of U.S. war resisters and let them stay permanently.

A national poll in June showed that 64 percent of Canadians favor letting the war resisters stay. Meanwhile, in the U.S., vigils and demonstrations are taking place at Canadian consulates in 14 cities, organized by Courage to Resist, Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Project Safe Haven.

Elliott Adams, the national president of Veterans For Peace, will visit the Canadian Embassy in Washington July 10 to deliver an "Open Letter to the Canadian People and their Government." The letter says, in part:

"U.S. soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who have refused to participate in this war have shown great moral courage. Unlike many governments around the world, these war resisters are respecting international law and following their own consciences. They witnessed war crimes with their own eyes. They were sickened by the racist attitudes that the U.S. military fostered toward the Iraqi people. Some are struggling with the psychological wounds of war, commonly known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

"So it is from the bottom of our hearts that we thank the many Canadians who have sheltered our war resisters," the letter says, and concludes with a strong demand that the Canadian government respect the Parliamentary vote and the will of the Canadian people, and let the war resisters stay.

Joshua Key went to Canada with his wife Brandi and their four small children following 16 months living underground in the United States after he decided not to return to Iraq. He served as a combat engineer in Iraq for eight months in 2003. His book, "The Deserter's Tale," has been an international best seller. He said he and his family have felt support from "about 95 percent of the Canadian people."

Key's lawyer, Jeffry House, said there are about 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada now. While that is "no comparison to the later period of the Vietnam War," he said, it does compare with the early Vietnam War period. "Early on during Vietnam there were only a small number, but later the doors opened more widely," he said. "By November 1969 [Canadian Prime Minister] Trudeau declared Canada 'should be a refuge from militarism,' and the doors opened and people flooded in." More than 50,000 U.S. war resisters found refuge--or a new home--in Canada during the Vietnam War.
According to Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven, making it possible for war resisters to stay in Canada is an integral part of building the GI resistance.
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I'm dictating this around links I put in earlier. And really want to be done with it. But it needs to be noted that Workers World has been one of the few outlets to get it right throughout. That's because they have a historical basis and background. And no need or desire for political closets. In a nation that treats Communism like a dirty word (now more than ever), Workers World has demonstrated the power in that political party and the knowledge in the party as well. It's that knowledge base -- and the efforts to share it -- that help explain why Workers World does not make the same repeated mistakes that so many other outlets do.

Lewis notes this from Team Nader:

We Welcome Disillusioned Obama Supporters

We Welcome Disillusioned Obama Supporters .

Were you drawn to the Nader website because Obama broke his word to you on FISA/Telecom? Or was it because his vote not only immunized and concealed blatantly criminal conduct, but helped lay the legal foundation for a future police state? Or perhaps it was simply his new fundraisers, where the price of admission exceeds $30,000?

No matter. You are here now. Seduced and abandoned. We all know the stages of grief, but we are also serious people, and we are not at a funeral, we are in a fight, a fight for justice in our country and our world.

For now -- at least -- stand with Ralph Nader. Our campaign has far more promise than you have been led to believe. With only a modest increase in our poll numbers, Obama and McCain will be debating Nader this fall. Google and YouTube are sponsoring a debate in New Orleans, and the bar is set at 10% support. Nader is at 6% and growing. Such an event could bring a seismic shift in our politics, because the public is far more progressive than the corporate media would have us believe.

Nader's platform is the real center.

There remains a more tantalizing possibility: Such a debate could create a genuine 3-way race. Today, 14% of voters say they would support Nader if he was competitive, and forcing open one debate could open them all.

You know that Nader is responsible for seatbelts and airbags, but did you also know that he led the campaign against nuclear power, an effort that has blocked the construction of new nuclear plants in America for more than 30 years? You may know that he is largely responsible for the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, but did you know that in recent years he secured cheap, generic AIDS drugs for India?

Nader became an American hero when be brought General Motors to its knees by exposing their campaign to intimidate and smear him for having written about auto safety. Since then, he has founded more than 100 public interest groups. His impact and accomplishments dwarf those of his opponents. His is a story worth repeating, and his campaign is worthy of your support.

Those most impressed with Nader are those who have known him the longest. He will never flatter you, never pander to you, never betray you.

Gregory Kafoury

The e-mail address for this site is