Friday, February 27, 2009

Cliff Cornell charged with desertion

AP reports that war resister Cliff Cornell, who turned himself in Feb. 10th at Fort Stewart, has been charged with desertion.  James Branum is his attorney.  PDF format warning, Branum recently wrote an article for On Watch (go through this link if PDF won't display) which Susan Basein has updated.  The article is entitled "AWOL from the Army" and explains in the introduction:
This article is intended to provide an overview of the process that a lawyer or a lay military counselor would use in assisting a soldier who is AWOL (absent without leave), or considering going AWOL, from the US Army.  While some of the ideas discussed here would be applicable to other branches of the military, it is imperative to understand that many of the procedures discussed below are unique to the Army and that anyone who is assisting a servicemember from another branch should get the latest information on AWOL/UA (unauthorized absence) policies from the sources listed in the addendum to this article.
We'll note another section, "VI. Mitigation and how to prepare it:"
In all AWOL cases, be it PCF or non-PCF eligible soldiers, mitigation is the key to getting your client the best outcome possible.  Mitigation is a very broad concept, including almost anything that would help to explain why an offense should not be punished or should be punished with less severity than might otherwise be justified.  Generally anything that would be grounds for a discharge (physical or mental health issues, family hardship, etc.) would be appropriate as mitigation, along with anything that would otherwise generate sympathy or understanding by the decision-makers in a case (e.g., command mistreatment of a soldier, failure of a command to stop mistreatment by fellow soldiers, etc.).
Cliff Cornell has explained in a PSA (see December 19, 2007 snapshot for more on the PSA), "My first sergeant who's my higher supervisor, he got up in front of a formation and basically told us there was like two guys who applied for [CO] status.  He got up there and told us those two guys who applied for it and that he didn't want anyone else to apply for it because we was going to Iraq whether we liked it or not."  Cornell hails from Arkansas and self checked-out of the military January 8, 2005.
With labor news, David Bacon offers "Strawberry Workers in Santa Maria" (Political Affairs Magazine -- photos and text) which follows Guillermina Arzola of San Sebastian del Monte in Oaxaca as he and other immigrant workers toil in Santa Maria, California in the berry fields.  As always, Bacon illuminates the realities in this 'hot-button' issue that tends to reduce the humanity at other outlets (intentionally or not -- but I'm not feeling very generous this morning so I'll say intentionally).  These are very moving photos.  David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).
Meanwhile, immigration related, Kimberly Wilder (On the Wilder Side) wonders if the US is a complete rogue state at this point:
A colleague noted that it sounded like we lived in a rogue nation. Recently, it seemed as if President Obama was saying that he, the elected "Commander in Chief", was having to negotiate with the military about when to leave Iraq. Now, through Janet Napolitano, Obama's Homeland Security Secretary, Obama and Napolitano are claiming that the federal immigration raid in Washington State was done without their knowledge.
I believe that if President Obama is telling the truth, it is a frightening time for Americans, when our military and our law enforcement are so powerful and out of control OR equally as disturbing, President Obama is lying and posturing in monstrous proportions.
First, excerpts from an article about Janet Napolitano's view of the raids.
If Barack is telling the truth?  If he's telling the truth than he should have immediately gotten to the bottom of it which, for the record, he hasn't.  Janet's attempts to play innocent?  Unconvincing with her past history -- a reason many turned their back on her at the DNC convention as she spoke.  Janet Napolitano's history aside, she doesn't make policy, she follows Barack's orders.  Barack's the one who needs to be ordering an investigation into what went on if he truly cares, he's the one who needs to be punishing alleged 'rogue' elements.  If he doesn't, he can save the whining.  No one cares that the job's 'hard' for him.  He wanted it (wanted it enough to lie throughout both primaries to the American people -- there is no withdrawal from Iraq) and he got it.  Now he has to do the job or not.  These days, his 'work' can be filed under "or not."