Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bully Boy can't curb his urge to surge

Starting with war resister news. Leslie Ferenc (Toronto Star) reports that US war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are appealing the decision of Canada's Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada: "The deadline to file for a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is June 30. Unless they're successful, Hinzman and Hughey will be forced to return to the U.S. where they will be court-martialled and could face up to two years in jail for desertion." Up to two years? Ference is incorrect. (Ask Agustin Aguayo.) As in many countries, Canada's Supreme Court is the court of last appeals and only hears approximately 80 appeals each year (during its three sessions). 9 judges sit on the Court (which was created in 1875) with one designated in charge -- in the current Court that is Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Of the nine Justices, four are women which is three more than the US Supreme Court has. Hinzman and Hughey have been seeking refugee status from the Canadian government. The Federal Court of Appeal, in their ruling last week, decided that neither did enough to pursue c.o. status. Or that's the excuse the Court of Appeal gave for turning down the requests for refugee status.
In other war resister news, last week Camilo Meija's Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia was published and, as Courage to Resist reports, this week, he joins with Agustin Aguayo Pablo Paredes, and Robert Zabala for a speaking tour from May 9th through 17th in the San Francisco Bay Area. The announced dates include:
Wednesday May 9 - Marin
7pm at College of Marin, Student Services Center, 835 College Ave, Kentfield. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Pablo Paredes and David Solnit. Sponsored by Courage to Resist and Students for Social Responsibility.

Thursday May 10 - Sacramento
Details TBA

Friday May 11 - Stockton
6pm at the Mexican Community Center, 609 S Lincoln St, Stockton. Featuring Agustin Aguayo.

Saturday May 12 - Monterey
7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd, Carmel. Featuring Agustin Aguayo and Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chp. 69, Hartnell Students for Peace, Salinas Action League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Courage to Resist. More info: Kurt Brux 831-424-6447

Sunday May 13 - San Francisco
7pm at the Veterans War Memorial Bldg. (Room 223) , 401 Van Ness St, San Francisco. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes. Sponsored by Courage to Resist, Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69 and SF Codepink.

Monday May 14 - Watsonville
7pm at the United Presbyterian Church, 112 E. Beach, Watsonville. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala. Sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Watsonville Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Watsonville Brown Berets, Courage to Resist and Santa Cruz Veterans for Peace Chp. 11. More info: Bob Fitch 831-722-3311

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto
7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka
7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197

Thursday May 17 - Oakland
4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Aguayo wants to take part in that but may not be released in time. If the military is thinking they'll clamp down on war resistance by holding Aguayo, they obviously aren't factoring the passion this tour will create and the questions of, "Where's Augie?" All are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
In media news, on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq joining -- a small number of daily newspapers around the United States have already done so but the Los Angeles Times has the largest circulation of any paper to make the call thus far. Entitled "Bring them home" the editorial concludes: "Having invested so much in Iraq, Americans are likely to find disengagement almost as painful as war. But the longer we delay planning for the inveitable, the worse the outcome is likely to be. The time has come to leave." Editor & Publisher calls it "the strongest stand yet" of "major papers" and notes other papers that have also called for withdrawal: the Roanoke Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Baltimore Sun, and the Portland Press Herald. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called for withdrawal on September 15th of last year in ""Editorial: The Iraq mess / Harsh reality underscores the need to leave" which concluded: "A serious president would, instead, step up to the plate and take steps to get America out of Iraq." (Truthout has reposted the LA Times' editorial here.)
The LA Times call comes as the number of US troops in Iraq increase and as some pin their hopes that Congress is running out of patience. On the first, China's Xinhua reports that the Bryan Whitman, US Pentagon spokesperson, has announced that "10 more combat brigades with 35,000 troops" will be deployed to Iraq this year. On the former, Jonathan Weisman and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) report that, for the US Congress, September will now be the day of reckoning -- or so say Congress members such as US Senator Gordon Smith who declares, "Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised they will get a straight story on the surge by September. I won't be the only Republican, or one of two Republicans, demanding a change in our disposition of troops in Iraq at that point. That is very clear to me." Is it? Let's hope so; however, we've heard this song and dance before. For example, Paul Reynolds (BBC) reported last October on US Senator John Warner's bluster: "In two or three months if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it's a responsibility of our government internally to determine is there a change of course we should take. I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time." Again, those statements were made in October.
Cullen Couch (UVA Lawyer) interviews Warner for the Spring 2007 issue and Warner said that the illegal war "permeates everything on Capitol Hill today. It's all-consuming. I've seen World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and have served 29 years in the Armed Services Committee. Iraq is clearly the most complicated I have ever seen. And unfortunately, there's a very strong division n the Senate about what to do." Of Congress and the executive branch Warner states, "We're co-equal. I think checks and balances moves a little bit with the different presidencies and the different issues. But Congress
still has that power of the purse. And that's an awesome power." But will Congress use
it? And having boasted in October that no option is off the table, what has been
Warner's excuse for not already calling for Congress to stop funding the illegal war?

No comments: