Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Iraq War continues

As the Iraq War continues, Jeanette De Forge (Republican) reports, "Air Force Reserve Staff Sgt. Janelle E. Wertman wiped away tears and kissed her 3-year-old daughter goodbye before leaving for Iraq for months." Westover Air Force Reserve Base deployed approximately "15 Air Force reservists" to Iraq for an unknown length of time. Meanwhile the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans has commissioned a poll which found a glaring lack of awareness regarding veterans issues and the wars themselves:

The Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (CIAV) commissioned the poll to measure American support for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and determine whether the public is aware of the important issues facing current service members and veterans –issues such as unemployment, homelessness, post traumatic stress disorder and suicide. The poll, conducted by Cohen Research Group this April, surveyed 1,000 adults who currently live in the U.S.
"There is a very real and disturbing disconnect among the majority of Americans in understanding how deployment contributes to economic, social, and familial stress through a dearth of services and support," said Amy Fairweather, program director of the CIAV. "All of which are factors which drive veterans and their families to poverty."
The poll found that while the psychological effects of the wars are widely known, a majority of Americans are not aware of the unique economic struggles that returning veterans face; including high rates of unemployment, access to healthcare issues, and risk factors for homelessness, poverty, and suicide.
Specifically, 58% of Americans know about the prevalence of post traumatic stress disorder among Iraq and Afghanistan troops and veterans, yet only 35% are aware that not all veterans are eligible for VA healthcare, and only 31% know that veterans can wait up to a year for disability benefits.
Regarding the economic impacts of war and poverty among veterans, fewer than three out of ten Americans know that 20% of male veterans ages 18-24 were unemployed last year and that there are approximately 200,000 homeless veterans in the U.S.
"What the poll tells us is that Americans have little knowledge of the true costs of war,” Fairweather said. “As advocates we understand the tremendous struggles service members face when they return from war, but collectively we have a lot of work ahead of us to educate the public about the sacrifices our warriors make and ensure that the system of care is sufficient and appropriate for military, veterans, their families and survivors."
The CIAV will address the gaps in services for our military community and discuss ways to foster improved communication with the American public about the issues our troops and veterans face this week at the 3rd annual conference in Washington, DC May 11-14. Service providers, veterans, families, survivors and advocates will share cutting edge expertise and meet with top officials from the VA, DoD, White House and Congress to improve the quality and quantity of support for the military and veteran community. The conference is open to the public and attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Register at coaltionforveterans.org

May 11-14, 2010
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave
Washington, DC 20036

About the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
The Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (CIAV) is a national non-partisan partnership of more than 50 organizations committed to working with and on behalf of all military, veterans, families, survivors and providers to strengthen the existing system of care and support for all those affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's not, "Ha-ha on the American people.'' If the people are under-informed of something or over-informed, it goes to the media. The media sold the never-existed link between Iraq and 9-11 through repetition. Don't offer the b.s. that the White House did it alone. The White House's remarks could have made the cutting room floor. Instead, they were broadcast, printed, etc. The media acted (and acts) as an echo chamber for the White House. Check out all the nonsense on the Elana Kagan nomination. Not a surprise and they don't have any news. But they gas bag and they gas bag and they never hit on important issues.

Yesterday, Free Speech Radio News wasted nearly five minutes -- of their roughly 28 minute broadcast -- on Kagan. On nothing. It was a headline at best. In the meantime, they didn't even make Iraq a headline -- the worst day of violence, the worst death toll of the year so far, and Iraq wasn't even a headline.

Free Speech Radio News has turned down six stories in eight weeks on Iraq or Iraq War veterans. The problem is the media. And it's All Things Media Big and Small.

Staying with Panhandle Media, remember when Pacifica was grandstanding on The War Comes Home? It was going to be regular radio reports by Aaron Glantz that various stations could pick up. And the website was going to have those reports and addition reports. It was going to be text and it was going to be audio. People could leave comments and have 'conversations' there. Remember.

That died real damn quick, didn't it. Go to www.warcomeshome today and you'll find "Santos Grill und die Gartenparty wird gelingen." They couldn't even keep the website. How damn pathetic.

Every day Bob Higgins and Veterans Today manage to find multiple stories. It probably has to do with how much you care about the issue and, as Pacifica is making very clear, they care very little. That's actually true of a number of outlets on the left. In fact, reading In These Times' ridiculous slam on The Hurt Locker recently, it became very clear that the problem with the film for a number of people is that they just don't like the service members. If the characters would have broke character, looked in the camera and screamed, "I committed war crimes!" -- that they would have loved. As the attacks on The Hurt Locker continue, it only exposes the attackers.

Law professor Francis A. Boyle's "Dean Elena Kagan: Harvard's Gitmo Kangaroo Law School--The School for Torturers" weighs in on the Kagan nomination and actual issues:

Not surprisingly, the January 2007 issue of the American Journal of Imperial
Law--otherwise known as the self-styled American Journal of International Law
but originally founded a century ago and still operated by U. S. War and State
Department legal apparatchiks and their law professorial fellow-travelers--
published an article by Harvard Law School's recently retired Bemis Professor of
International Law Detlev Vagts (who only taught me the required course on Legal
Accounting) arguing in favor of the Pentagon's Kangaroo Courts System on
Guantanamo despite the fact that they have been soundly condemned by every human
rights organization and every human rights official and leader in the entire
world as well as by the United States Supreme Court itself in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

I am not going to bother to recite here all the grievous deficiencies of the
Gitmo Kangaroo Courts under International Law and U.S. Constitutional Law. But
suffice it to say that the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts constitute war crimes under the
Laws of War, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and even the U. S. Army's own
Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare (1956). Field Manual 27-10 was
drafted for the Pentagon by my Laws of War teacher Richard R. Baxter, who was
generally recognized as the world's leading expert on that subject. That is
precisely why I voluntarily chose to study International Law with him and his
long-time collaborator Louis B. Sohn, and not with the bean-counter Vagts. For
the entire post-World War II generation of international law students at Harvard
Law School, Louis Sohn shall always be our real Bemis Professor of International
Law and never the False Pretender to that Throne known as Detlev Vagts.
Since those student days I have personally appeared pro bono publico in five
U.S. military courts-martial proceedings involving warfare that were organized
in accordance with the Congress's Uniform Code of Military Justice
(U.C.M.J.)--which still does not apply to the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts despite the
ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court in Hamdan that the U.C.M.J. should be applied
in Guantanamo--on behalf of five U. S. military personnel who each acted as
matters of courage, integrity, principle, conscience and at great risk to their
own freedom:

1. U. S. Marine Corporal Jeff Paterson, the first U.S. military resister to
President Bush Sr.'s genocidal war against Iraq;

2. Army Captain Doctor Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, the highest ranking U. S.

commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to participate in
President Bush Sr.'s genocidal war against Iraq;

3. Captain Lawrence Rockwood, who was court-martialed by the U. S. Army for
trying to stop torture in Haiti after the Clinton administration had illegally
invaded that country in 1994;

4. Army Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, the first U. S. military resister to be
court-martialed for refusing to participate in President Bush Jr.'s war of
aggression against Iraq; and

5. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the first U. S. commissioned officer to
be court-martialed for his refusal to participate in President Bush Jr.'s war of
aggression against Iraq.

As I can attest from my direct personal involvement, each and every one of
these five courts-martial under the U.C.M.J. were Stalinist show-trials produced
and directed by the Pentagon that predictably and readily degenerated into
travesties of justice. These five U.C.M.J. courts-martial involving U.S. warfare
each proved correct the old adage attributed to Groucho Marx that military
justice is to justice as military music is to music. By comparison, the Gitmo
Kangaroo Courts will not even be run in accordance with the U.C.M.J. despite the
fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan that they should be. The Marx
Brothers are running the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts.

Whenever they are up and fully operating the Gitmo Courts will constitute
Stalinist Show Trials as well as Kangaroo Courts, and their preliminary
proceedings have already proven them to be Travesties of Justice. Even worse
yet, fully-functioning Stalinist Gitmo Kangaroo Courts will quickly become
conveyor-belts of death for alleged and already tortured terrorist suspects
along the lines of the Texas execution chamber operated by George Bush Jr. when
he was the "governor" of that state and tortured to death 152 victims by means
of lethal injection. Gitmo and/or Gitmo-North in Illinois will become Americas
first-ever Nazi-style death camp.

But today under the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, executing persons detained
as a result of armed conflict without a fair trial before a regularly
constituted court constitutes a grave war crime. To be sure, under the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution Harvard Law Professor Vagts has the
freedom to advocate war crimes so long as he does not participate in their
commission, or incite them, or aid and abet them. But precisely where is that
line to be drawn for law professors?

In this regard, the Harvard Law School Faculty currently has at least five
professors who have advocated torture and war crimes:

1. Vagts himself, who supported abusing the then recently captured President of
Iraq Saddam Hussein despite his being publicly acknowledged to be a Prisoner of
War by the Bush Jr. administration itself and thus absolutely protected by the
Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Convention against Torture;

2. the infamous Alan Dershowitz, a self-incriminated war criminal in his own
right. Dersh publicly acknowledged being a member of a Mossad Committee for
approving the murder and assassination of Palestinians, which violates the
Geneva Conventions and is thus a grave war crime;

3. the Neo-Con Con Law non-entity known as Richard Parker;

4. Another one of my teachers, Waco Phil Heymann. Previously, Waco Phil had
been Deputy to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the Butcher of Waco. Reno
ordered the Waco Massacre, while Heymann ordered its cover-up and thus earned
his well-deserved sobriquet of Waco Phil as an Accessory After The Fact. All
those incinerated women and children!

5. The war criminal Jack Goldsmith who while working as a lawyer for the Bush
Jr. administration at both the Pentagon and later its Department of In-Justice
did much of the legal spade-work designing, justifying and approving the hideous
human rights atrocities that the Bush Jr. administration inflicted on everyone
after 9/11. Goldsmith and his co-felon accomplice and co-conspirator from the
Bush Jr. administration Professor John Yoo--now desecrating Berkeley's Law
School where my friend and colleague the late, great Dean Frank Newman had
taught Human Rights and International Law--are functionally analogous to Nazi
Law Professor Carl Schmitt, who justified every hideous atrocity that Hitler and
the Nazis inflicted on anyone, including the Jews.

Despite my best efforts to prevent it, the Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans
hired the war criminal Goldsmith right out of the Bush Jr. administration
knowing full well that he was up to his eyeballs in the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts,
torture, war crimes, enforced disappearances, murder, kidnapping, and crimes
against humanity, at a minimum. And when Goldsmith's proverbial "smoking-gun"
Department of In-Justice Memorandum was published by the Washington Post, then
Harvard Law School's Dean Elena Kagan contemptuously boasted in response about
how "proud" she was to have hired this notorious war criminal. Previously Kagan
had also publicly bragged that the future of International Legal Studies at
Harvard Law School would be in the "good hands" of their resident war criminal
Goldsmith. How perversely and tragically true! The Neo-Conservative Harvard Law
School Faculty and Deans deliberately hired this Neo-Nazi legal architect of the
Bush Jr. administration's bogus and nefarious "war against terrorism" because
they fully support it together with all its essential accouterments of torture,
kangaroo courts, war crimes, murder, kidnapping, enforced disappearances, crimes
against humanity, and Nuremburg crimes against peace.

By contrast, after the terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building by
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in alleged revenge for the Waco Massacre and
Cover-up by Janet Reno and Waco Phil Heymann, to the best of my recollection I
do not remember that the Neo-Conservative Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans
advocated kangaroo courts, torture, war crimes, and racist profiling for
America's population of White Judeo-Christian Males. Yet after 9/11 the
fundamentally White Racist Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans have no problem
with inflicting torture, kangaroo courts, war crimes, and racist profiling upon
Muslims/Arabs/Asians of Color, which is exactly why they hired the war criminal
Goldsmith to teach such criminal practices to their own law students and thus
someday turn them into racist U. S. governmental war criminals in their own
right. This is because for the most part the Harvard Law School Faculty and
Deans have always been viscerally bigoted and racist against
Muslims/Arabs/Asians and other People of Color since at least when I first
matriculated there in September of 1971.

The Harvard Law School (H.L.S.) Faculty and Deans are no longer fit to educate
Lawyers, Members of the Bar, and Officers of the Court. They are a sick joke and
a demented fraud. Groucho Marx would have had a field day with them: Harvard is
to Law School as Torture is to Law. The Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans
torture the Law. Do not send your children or students to Harvard Law School
where they will grow up to become racist war criminals! Harvard Law School is a
Neo-Con cesspool.

As for Harvard Laws Neo-Con Dean Kagan, Harvard Law Graduate President Barack
Obama appointed her Solicitor General in his Department of Justice as the third
highest ranking official in that department and thus as the proverbial oeTenth
Justice for the 9-Justice U.S. Supreme Court. In this capacity Kagan has
quarter-backed, supervised, and defended in all U.S. federal courts the Obama
administrations continuation of the Bush Jr. administrations hideous atrocities
perpetrated against human rights, international law, civil rights, civil
liberties, the U.S. Constitution, and Americas Bill of Rights. As payback for
her yeoman Neo-Con efforts, Kagan is now reportedly at the top of a very short
list for President Obama to nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court upon the expected
retirement of Mr. Justice Stevens, the reputed leader of the Courts oeliberal

Of course Stevens widespread denomination as a oeliberal just proves how far to
the reactionary right the Supreme Court has moved since Stevens was recommended
for the Supremes to President Gerald Ford by the arch-reactionary jurist Edward
Hirsh Levi, then U.S. Attorney General and previously Dean of the
arch-reactionary University of Chicago Law School where Antonin Scalia, Obama,
Kagan, and her pet war criminal Goldsmith would all teach. As President of the
entire arch-reactionary University of Chicago itself, Levi drove out about 30%
of my undergraduate class that in 1968 had unwittingly entered this Birthplace
and Warren for the Neo-Con Movement that was founded there by Chicago Professor
Leo Strauss, a protégé of Nazi Law Professor Carl Schmitt. Americas Neo-Cons are

In an interview she recently gave to National Public Radio, Obamas Neo-Con
Solicitor General Kagan went out of her way to proclaim: oeI love the Federalist
Society! (Emphasis in the original.) The Federalist Society is a gang of
lawyers, law professors, and judges who for the most part are right-wing,
racist, bigoted, reactionary, elitist, war-mongering, and totalitarian. For
example, almost all of the Bush Jr. administration lawyers responsible for its
war criminal torture scandal were and still are members of the Federalist

Likewise, five Justices on the current U.S. Supreme Court were/are members of
the Federalist Society: Harvard Law Graduate Roberts; Harvard Law Graduate
Scalia; Harvard Law Graduate Kennedy; Yale Law Graduate Thomas; and Yale Law
Graduate Alito. Thats what an oeelite legal education will do for you. In any
event, H.L.S. President Obamas elevation of the H.L.S. Neo-Con Kagan to the
Supremes would cement the Federalist Societys Neo-Con stranglehold over the U.S.
Supreme Court for the next generation. As for another publicly touted Supremes
candidate, the Neo-Con Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School and
Harvard Law School, who is currently working at the White House as Obamas
Disinformation and Infiltration Czar, would be just as lethal as Kagan to the
American Constitution and Republic if sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. Time
for the Ordinary People of America to get organized against these Neo-Con legal

You can also read that at The Christian Radical. And we'll note this from the Institute for Public Accuracy:

The Wall Street Journal reports: "The White House said Friday that Elena Kagan's membership on an advisory panel for the securities firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wouldn't disqualify her for a position on the Supreme Court. ... From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Kagan was a paid member of the Research Advisory Council of Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, according to financial-disclosure reports she filed after being appointed to her current job. The form shows she was paid $10,000 in 2008, when she was dean of Harvard Law School."

On April 9, Obama said he would nominate "someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

Professor of law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of "Tackling America's Toughest Questions." He was recently quoted on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release titled "Supreme Court Pick: Kagan 'Loves' the Federalist Society," in which Boyle stated: "Five currently on the U.S. Supreme Court were or are members of the Federalist Society: Harvard Law graduate Roberts; Harvard Law graduate Scalia; Harvard Law graduate Kennedy; Yale Law graduate Thomas; and Yale Law graduate Alito. A narrow elite is imposing itself through the legal system, and ordinary Americans need to start asserting themselves."

Cohn is immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She just wrote the piece "Kagan Will Move Supreme Court to the Right," which states: "Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has continued to assert many of Bush's executive policies in his 'war on terror.' ... During her confirmation hearing for solicitor general, Kagan agreed with Senator Lindsey Graham that the president can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely during wartime, and the entire world is a battlefield. While Bush was shredding the Constitution with his unprecedented assertions of executive power, law professors throughout the country voiced strong objections. Kagan remained silent."

Cohn's books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and the forthcoming The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. She is featured in a new documentary film called “Tortured Law." Cohn's writing and an excerpt from the documentary are at: MarjorieCohn.com.

Background: "The Latest on Elena Kagan" by Glenn Greenwald covers several issues and links to various pieces. He writes: "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos, who previously expressed shock at the paucity of Kagan's record and compared her to Harriet Miers, has a new piece in The New Republic entitled (appropriately): 'Blank Slate.'...

"Following up on the article published [Friday] in Salon by four minority law professors -- which condemned Kagan's record on diversity issues as 'shocking' and 'indefensible for the 21st Century' -- Law Professor Darren Hutchinson of American University School of Law today writes that Kagan's record is 'abysmal.'"

See also the recent piece in the New York Times by Charlie Savage: "New Justice to Confront Evolution in Powers," which states: "After Mr. Obama selected [Kagan] to be his solicitor general, she publicly embraced an expansive interpretation of the Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda. Ms. Kagan also took a leading role on a legal team that has sought to suppress lawsuits using the state secrets privilege and fought a ruling granting habeas corpus rights to some detainees in Afghanistan.

"All those cases could reach the Supreme Court. But it is not clear that appointing Ms. Kagan would give Mr. Obama an extra vote in the White House's favor, as she might feel pressure to recuse herself from participating."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

The following community sites (and Antiwar.com) updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends