BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
A NO RIBBON PANEL OF NON-EXPERTS APPOINTED BY THE BULLY BOY RELEASED THEIR NON-FINDINGS AND APPARENTLY THE PRESS CORPS IS SO RELIEVED THAT DONNA SHALALA ISN'T YET AGAIN ATTACKING CUSTODIANS IN FLORIDA, THAT THEY'LL PRAISE ANYTHING.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES HEADLINES THEIR SOP "PANEL CALLS FOR BETTER CARE FOR WAR VETS" AS IF THEY WOULD FLAT OUT STATE "SCREW VETERANS". BUT THAT IS WHAT THE PLAN IN EFFECT DOES BY TURNING OVER MORE MONIES TO A VETERANS ADMINISTRATION THAT HAS A PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF REFUSING TO GRANT FULL DISABILITY RIGHTS TO RETURNING VETS.
IN A NOD TO RUPERT MURDOCH'S HIGHLY POPULAR MYSPACE PAGES, THE PANEL SUGGESTS THE CREATION OF A WEB PAGE ENTITLED "MY EBENEFITS" THAT DEMONSTRATES LAST YEAR'S REPEATED COMPUTER NIGHTMARES FOR THE VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT -- AND FOR VETERANS WHOSE PRIVATE INFORMATION BECAME PUBLIC -- IS SOMETHING THE PANEL NEVER HEARD OF.
RUMORS ABOUND THAT THE PANEL WILL NEXT 'TACKLE' THE ISSUE OF STEROID USE IN SPORTS AND AVOID THE ISSUE OF THE OWNERS OF SPORTS TEAMS WHILE FOCUSING ON REPEATING RUMORS ABOUT INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resisters. The San Francisco Chapter of Veterans for Peace (Chapter 69) and Asian Pacific Islanders Resist have penned an op-ed (San Francisco Bay Guardian) noting that responsibilities don't fly out the window during an illegal war. In this section, they address the kanagroo courts that those who speak out face in the alleged name of military 'justice': "Many soldiers of conscience who dared to speak openly about the immorality and illegality of the war have been court-martialed and imprisoned. Their cases, dating back to 2004, raise serious doubts about the capacity of our soldiers to receive justice in our military courts. Five months prior to the Abu Ghraib scandal, a soft-spoken Army soldier named Camilo Mejía was visibly upset by the atrocities he observed during his tour of duty in Iraq. Repulsed by the slaughter of civilians and the needless deaths of American GIs -- all reported in his riveting combat memoir, Road from Ar Ramadi (New Press, 2007) -- Mejía gathered his courage and made formal complaints to his superiors. Commanders refused to listen and questioned his patriotism. Eventually Mejía was sentenced to a year in prison for speaking out, for telling the truth. His trial, like subsequent trials of war resisters, was a travesty of justice. The judge, Col. Gary Smith, ruled that evidence of the illegality of the war was inadmissible in court, that international law is irrelevant, and that a soldier's only duty is to follow orders, regardless of their legality. In essence, Mejía spent months in prison for upholding the rule of law in wartime. Had commanders listened to Mejía, had judges respected due process and the rule of law, the Abu Ghraib scandal that humiliated our troops might never have occurred."
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia is Mejia's story of becmoing the first Iraq veteran to publicly become a war resisters (Stephen Funk is the first known war resisters in this illegal war and his resistance began when he refused to take part in an illegal war). Along with detailing the court-martial, Mejia also explains how, as that was about to get underweigh, the US military suddenly needed him to refile his CO application. Why? Well he'd outlined abuses and the military had ignored them so refiling it would make it appear that he was just then, as the court-martial approached, for the first time, noting the abuses he'd witnessed. Another point in the Mejia case that is often overlooked is that the US military was in violation of their own rules. Non-US citizen Mejia's eight-year contract was coming to an end. From Iraq, he and superiors made a call during which Mejia learned that his mother had contacted their senator (US Senator Bill Nelson) who had already made an issue of this -- as a noncitizen, Mejia could not be extended. That was the rule and Mejia was informed of that on the phone, when he repeated that and handed the phone to his superior, the superior "lost" the call. The same military that refused to grant Mejia CO status was also in violation of their own rules and this was all before Mejia self-checked out. That's why mainstream (or alternative) media dubbing Mejia a "deserter" without ever exploring those facts is more than a little simplistic.
Mejia's book came out in May and is one of two books published by war resisters this year.
Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale is the other one and, in it, Key outlines his own experiences in Iraq and how he came to the decision to self-check out. Joshua and Brandi Key and their children went underground and then moved to Canada. The Deserter's Tale has repeatedly won positive reviews since its release including an unwritten 'rave' from the US military which so enjoyed it, they sent two members to Canada to pose as Canadian police officers and badger Winnie Ng as to Key's whereabouts. Though far less fanatical, Phil Shannon (Autralia's Green Left Weekly) recently reviewed the book and found it to be
"told with unadorned but compelling simplicity, follows the life-altering path of a US citizen who turned from super-patriot to war-resister."
Currently, war resister Agustin Aguayo is on a speaking tour telling his story and The Acorn reports that Aguayo will speak this Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Grant Brimhall, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. James Rd., that the event is "free and open to the public" and more information is available by calling (805) 375-9939. War resister Pablo Paredes will also be at the event.
This comes as Terry Lee Goodrich (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reports on yesterday's meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly during which they passed a resolution "opposing the war in Iraq as contrary to Jesus' teachings" and
supporting war resisters who refuse to serve in the illegal war based upon church teachings.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
Meanwhile, the White House has to deal with not one but two reports in September. On September 15th, General David Petraeus will present his report detailing the 'progress' resulting from Bully Boy's escalation of US troops in Iraq (approximately 160,000 are now on the ground). Robin Wright (Washington Post) reveals the General Accounting Office will also be presenting a report on September 1st: "The GAO's international affairs team has had far more experience in Iraq than the study group led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) or any of the other independent panels that have weighed in on Iraq. Indeed, the study group consulted the GAO team in preparing its report. Over the past four years, the GAO has issued 91 reports on Iraq, on topics including the mismanagement of Iraq's oil industry and problems in its new army.The GAO team is back in Iraq this week doing research to make its own assessment of the 18 benchmarks covered by the administration's reports." The 'benchmarks' were pushed by the White House and Congress mandated them. These are the same 'benchmarks' that the White House and the US military now attempts to play down as part of the push-back on the September deadline.
They aren't pushing back against the US Congress which still has no real desire to end the illegal war, instead they are pushing back against public opinion domestically which repeatedly finds approximately 70% of Americans are opposed to Bully Boy's illegal war of choice with 61% now wanting any futher funding of the illegal war to come with a timeline for withdrawal.
As Norman Solomon observes (at Common Dreams), "Despite all the talk about how members of Congress have been turning against the war, few are clearly advocating a genuine end to U.S. military intervention in Iraq" and that the media joins in prolonging the illegal war, "Media outlets will keep telling us that the U.S. government is developing serious plans to 'leave' Iraq. But we would be foolish to believe those tall tales. The antiwar movement has an enormous amount of grassroots work to do -- changing the political terrain of the United States from the bottom up -- before the calculus of political opportunism in Washington determines that it would be more expedient to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq than to keep it going under one guise or another." Solomon details the efforts by PBS' NewsHour and Time magazine to mitigate public outrage, " The game involves dangling illusionary references to 'withdrawal' in front of the public" while no real withdrawal is being proposed and Solomon cites IPS' Phylis Bennis on yesterday's House amendment regarding permanent bases in Iraq, "The bill states an important principle opposing the 'establishment' of new bases in Iraq and 'not to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.' But it is limited in several ways. It prohibits only those bases which are acknowledged to be for the purpose of permanently stationing U.S. troops in Iraq; therefore any base constructed for temporarily stationing troops, or rotating troops, or anything less than an officially permanent deployment, would still be accepted. Further, the bill says nothing about the need to decommission the existing U.S. bases already built in Iraq; it only prohibits 'establishing' military installations, implying only new ones would be prohibited."
[. . .]
Today the US military announced: "One MNC-I Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated during clearing operations in Baghdad July 24." That death took place two days ago and was announced today. And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 22 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." That death took place four days ago and was announced today. And they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during a small arms fire engagement in a southern section of the Iraqi capital July 25." That death took place one day ago. And they announced: "Three Marines and one Sailor assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 24 while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." Those deaths took place two days ago and were announced today. Before someone wants to harp on "time differences" all announcements are coming out of Baghdad. Also note that this is seven deaths and not, as so many in the press are reporting, five deaths. It's easy to be confused with the MNF's new pattern of delaying death announcements -- but the press isn't commenting on that either. The totals currently at ICCC are 3645 US service members killed in the illegal war since it started with 66 for the month thus far.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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"Dear Drama Queen"
"THIS JUST IN! TAKE THE QUIZ!"