Saturday, August 02, 2008


"KILL EVERYBODY" - US ARMY SPECIALIST DARRELL ANDERSON EXPOSES US POLICY "I joined in '03," 'cause I was broke, I needed money, but I was a young American kid, I wanted to fight in a war. I joined up. [A] month out of training I arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, January '04. Saddam's been captured. And I get there and the guys I'm serving with have been there for six months already; they were there in '03. And I go, "Well, you know what, I think it's come out that, you know, these people had nothing to do with 9/11, there was no Iraqi on those planes. We can see around here there's no Al Qaida, there's no terrorist syndicates in Baghdad, or Iraq. Saddam had stamped 'em out." And I asked my buddies, "Well, you know, we're here to find 'weapons of mass destruction'." And they laughed at me. And I said, "Well, you know, we're here to 'help the people.'" And they laughed at me. And I said, "What's our mission? What's our goal?"...They're like, "All we're trying to do is make it home alive..." Anderson describes the escalation of violence against unarmed civilians: "In April, they told us, "In a crowded area, if one person shoots at you, kill everybody." Anderson explains the rationale from the officers: "They [members of the crowd of people] are letting them [the person or persons firing at the U.S. military] attack you. They're no longer innocent if they're there at the time of the crime..." (9/11 conference, Chandler AZ Feb 23-25, 2007) / snowshoefilms post-production/ 9:46

The above is from "US Army Specialist Darrell Anderson Exposes US Policy" (Freeople) and was noted by Saul. As obvious from above, 26-year-old Darrell Anderson, of Lexinton, Kenutcky, is an Iraq War veteran -- and a decorated one. Due to serving in the illegal war, he decided to self-checkout. He went to Canada. He married in Canada. He went through process of attempting to receive refugee status. Then he decided to return to the US and turn himself in at Fort Knox. He stated that his work opposing the illegal war was a way to "make up for things I did in Iraq; I feel I made up for the sins I committed in this war." Due to the fact that the process largely followed what had been outlined ahead of time, other war resisters in Canada were considering it until Kyle Snyder attempted to return shortly after and found out he was yet again lied to. After being discharged, Anderson has continued to speak out and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. (He was present to show support for Lt. Ehren Watada in the court-martial that wasn't. Watada, all this time later, has still not been released from the service even though his service contract expired in December 2006, two months prior to his court-martial.) Anita Anderson, his mother, has also remained active and, most recently, was giving support to Helen Burmeister, mother of US war resister James Burmeister who exposed the kill-teams in Iraq. From the July 17th snapshot:

Chris Kenning (Courier-Journal) reported on Helen Burmeister's efforts and spoke with US war resister Darrell Anderson who also went to Canada. Anderson returned September 30, 2006 to turn himself in October 3rd. Like Burmeister, he suffers from PTSD and he also lost his benefits. He told Kenning, "It wasn't the easy choice, it was the hard choice. I lost my GI Bill, my veteran's benefits . . . but I did what's right, and I've still got my pride."

That snapshot contains details of James' court-martial. This is Courage to Resist's "Resister James Burmeister sentenced at Ft. Knox:"

James Burmeister was serving in Baghdad when his humvee was caught in an IED explosion and he was hit in the face with shrapnel. Suffering from the physical and emotional wounds resulting from his injury, and his experiences working with "bait and kill" teams in Iraq, James went to Canada and was AWOL until earlier this year when he decided to return to the U.S., turn himself in, and move on with his life.
James and supporters hoped that the military would offer him an "other than honorable discharge in lieu of court martial"--especially in consideration of his injuries suffered in Iraq. James believes that he is suffering from traumatic brain injury, which would explain his reoccurring seizures. However, he has found real medical treatment an impossible maze to navigate--the military instead offers him various anti-psychotic drug cocktails.
On June 21, Helen Burmeister (photo above) traveled from Oregon to lead local Veterans for Peace members and other supporters in a rally for the freedom on her son James at the gates of Fort Knox, Kentucky. However, hopes for a quick discharge--and real medical help--were dashed when the Army court martialed James yesterday for AWOL and desertion.
James was sentenced to six months at the
Fort Knox Regional Confinement Facility and a bad conduct discharge. The PFC James Burmeister Support Campaign can be reached at
Write to James in the stockade!
James Burmeister Box AFort Knox, KY 40121

Ned Parker and Saif Hameed's "Three Iraq soldiers killed in Kirkuk" (Los Angeles Times) explores the continued tension (and violence) in Kirkuk:

The government warned local factions that it would not allow any party to unilaterally decide the region's future, in reaction to a threat Thursday by Kurdish provincial council members to declare ethnically divided Kirkuk part of Iraqi Kurdistan.Kurdish officials are worried that the national parliament will approve legislation that will delay local elections in Kirkuk and impose a quota system for seats in the 40-seat provincial council. Parliament is scheduled to discuss the matter Sunday in an emergency session.

Such a move would force the Kurds, who dominate the current system, to split power with Arabs and Turkmens. The controversial version of the legislation also calls for the removal of the current Iraqi security force from Kirkuk, which Arabs and Turkmens say is controlled by Kurds.

"The Iraqi government is refusing any individual step to change the situation in Kirkuk and it is considering it illegal and unconstitutional," government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said in a statement Friday.

The Iraqi Parliament ended their session Wednesday to take their summer break (that's not an insult to them, the US Congress will be taking their summer break as well). Tomorrow they hold a special session in an attempt to salvage the planned October provincial elections that hit a roadblock when Kirkuk became an issue in the proposal. Kurdish lawmakers staged a walk-out. The bill passed Parliament without them; however, the presidential council (headed by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, a Kurd) refused to sign off on the bill.

At Inside Iraq, one of McClatchy's Iraqi journalists contributes "The International Zone:"

Before I went to bed I read a book that I found there which prompted this blog. It was a foreign reporter's account of what he had seen in Iraq after the invasion in 2003.
One of the important things he mentioned was that those who lived in the IZ don't know what was going on just a few miles from them. He said that he was in Khadimiyah neighborhood where four suicide bombers had killed dozens of people that morning. In the IZ no one was talking about it when the reporter dined with officials there.
It is still the same today. Iraqi officials live in luxury and don't know what is going on just a few miles from them and what is happening across the country they rule.
They don't care that Iraqi people lack power supply, drinking water, medical care, security, housing and a decent standards of living. We hear that millions of dollars have been spent on these problem in addition to education and transportation, but all in vain. Corruption and lack of planning are a great obstacle to progress but maybe just venturing out of the International Zone for a few nights could teach them what we suffer. Maybe then we'll see progress.

The Nader-Gonzalez '08 campaign (Matt Gonzalez is Ralph's running mate) has been keeping a very busy schedule and some of the upcoming events include:

Sat. August 2nd, 8:00pm Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt GonzalezDavis, CA Varsity Theater 616 Second St., Davis, CA 95616Contributions $10/ $5 studen t(530) 554-8250 or Map it

Sun. August 3rd, 1:30pm Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez Sebastopol, CA Sebastopol Community Center 390 Morris St., Sebastopol, CA 95472 Contribution $10/$5 student (415) 897-6989 or Map it

Sun Aug. 3rd, 4:30pm Ralph Nader Book Signing and Speech w/ Matt Gonzalez Healdsburg, CA Copperfield's books 104 Matheson St., Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 235-1026 or Map it

Sun Aug. 3rd, 7:30pm Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez Kentfield, CA (Marin) College of Marin- Olney Hall 835 College Ave., Kentfield, CA Contribution $10/$5 students (415) 897-6989 or Map it

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