BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
IN OCTOBER 2006, MIKE ROGERS REVEALED THAT U.S. SENATOR LARRY CRAIG, A REPUBLICAN WHO VOTES AGAINST SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, HAD SAME-SEX RELATIONS WITH OTHER MEN.
FEW BOTHERED TO REPORT IT,
NOW COMES NEWS THAT CRAIG WAS ARRESTED IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR IN THE MEN'S ROOM OF A MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIRPORT, THAT HE ENTERED A GUILTY PLEA, PAID FINES OF $500, RECEIVED A YEAR'S PROBATION.
THE 62-YEAR-OLD REPUBLICAN HAS REPEATEDLY DENIED PUBLICLY THAT HE IS GAY. THE ARRESTING OFFICER DESCRIBED THE INCIDENT IN A WRITTEN REPORT WHERE HE NOTED THAT HE AND CRAIG WERE EACH IN A STALL WHEN "CRAIG TAPPED HIS RIGHT FOOT. I RECOGNIZED THIS AS A SIGNAL USED BY PERSONS WISHING TO ENGAGE IN LEWD CONTACT. CRAIG TAPPED HIS TOES SEVERAL TIMES AND MOVES HIS FOOT CLOSER TO MY FOOT" DESPITE OTHER MEN BEING PRESENT IN THE MEN'S ROOM. POSSIBLY HE WAS HOPING FOR GROUP PARTICIPATION?
THE SENATOR INSISTED, AFTER HE FOUND OUT THE GUY HE WAS CRUISING WAS A COP, "THAT HE HAD A WIDE STANCE WHEN GOING TO THE BATHROOM". APPARENTLY ONLY "WIDE" WHEN GOING TO THE BATHROOM? SENATOR CRAIG INSISTED HE WAS REACHING FOR A PIECE OF PAPER ON THE DIRTY BATHROOM FLOOR BUT THE OFFICER WROTE: "IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THERE WAS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR, NOR DID CRAIG PICK UP A PIECE OF PAPER."
WHEN THESE REPORTERS APPROACHED THE SENATOR TODAY HE WINKED REPEATEDLY WHILE GRABBING HIS CROTCH. INFORMED THAT WE WERE REPORTERS, HE IMMEDIATELY EXPLAINED THAT HE HAD SOMETHING IN HIS EYE "AND I'VE GOT A WIDE STANCE. I MEAN CRABS! I'VE GOT CRABS!"
THE SCANDAL SERVES TO TAKE ATTENTION AWAY FROM THE FACT THAT THE ALBERTO GONZALES SHOW HAS BEEN CANCELLED THOUGH IT IS DOUBTFUL CABLE 'NEWS' WILL RUN WITH THIS STORY THE WAY THEY DID ANY OF THE DEMOCRATIC SEX SCANDALS -- REAL OR DRUMMED UP.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resisters. In most PBS markets, the latest episode of NOW with David Branccachio began airing Friday and the first segment was an examination of how
Agustin Aguayo and James Burmeister became war resisters. Both served in Iraq and checked out from the military in Germany.
Aguayo, who holds both US and Mexican citizenship checked out to demonstrate how serious he was about being recognized as a CO (as a medic serving in Iraq, he'd refused to load his weapon). He left Germany and returned to the US via Mexico. Aguayo has fought for over three years to be recognizaed as a CO, through both the military channels and civilian courts. The second check out lasted less than thirty days before Aguayo turned himself in; however, the US military elected to court-martial him as a deserter. Throughout the pre-trial imprisonment and the court-martial Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, refused to be silenced and repeatedly raised attention to what was happening to her husband. She explained to Gillian Russom (CounterPunch) that what changed her opinion of the war "was seeing what it does to military families. I'm a mother [of twin daughtters], and seeing how it affects the children and the people really got to me. That made me ask questions and do research. And this war is just completely unnecessary." March 6th Agustin Aguayo was convicted in his court-martial and then sentenced. Amnesty International issued this statement: "It is evident from the statements made by Agustin Augyo, and members of his family that he is a legitimate conscintious objector whose opposition to war developed over the course of time and evolved further in response to his experiences in Iraq. Amnesty International believes that he took reasonable steps to secure relase from the army through applying for conscientious objector status. Amnesty International is of the view that the right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is protected under international human rights law. As such we consider Agustin Aguayo to be a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release." Aguayo was credit for the time he was imprisoned before his court-martial (the end of September through the start of March) and was released after seven months. Earlier this month, Aguayo spoke in NYC (August 15th) at the Brecht Forum where he noted how medics in Iraq were told to treat the wounded US service members who might be able to recover to fight first. He is a member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War.
James Burmeister was a new face for American TV (he's been profiled by Canada's CBC before). Burmeister was in Germany following wounds received in Iraq after he experienced his third bombing. He had joined up when the talk was 'reconstruction' and 'rebuilding' and he believed the hype that humanitarian work was going to be done and the recruiter who told him he'd be doing just that. Instead, he found himself setting up traps for Iraqis -- leaving US property out in the open so that when Iraqis touched them that had 'violated US soveriegnty' and could be attacked. Burmeister, his wife and their young daughter set their sights on Canada where they now live in Ottawa and he attempts to be granted asylum by the Canadian government -- one that has refused to grant asylum to any war resisters (though they did during Vietnam). Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are expected to hear in the next few weeks whether or not Canada's Supreme Court will hear their cases for refugee status. Hinzman and Hugey were the first to go public about going to Canada and they have worked their way through the 'system' (such as it is). The Supreme Court refusing to hear their cases would mean that the lower court's verdict stands and no refugee status will be granted; however, that does not mean deportation from Canada and, should they be deported from Canada, there is no law that says they must be sent back to the US.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, 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.
Though Ronald R. Roach Jr. has not declared he's a war resister, his story does go to the way the US military attempts to track those who self-check out while denying to the press that they do. On Saturday, Mark Boshnack (The Daily Star) reported on Ronald R. Roach Jr. Friday morning arrest in New York and it contained an element common to many of the arrest stories (for those paying attention, "State police were looking for Roach for two days after receiving a request from the Army to locate him, [BCI Inv. Kevin] More said. . . . .More said he received assistance from troopers and Otsego deputies in searching the house, finding Roach hiding on a shelf near the ceiling. Roach's wife was home at the time, but she has not been charged, More said. Army spokeswoman Gini Sinclair said that Roach was with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Calvary, out of Fort Hood, Texas. He went AWOL on July 25, she said." The US military continues to pursue those who check out despite the lies that continue to tell the press and despite the fact that the press continues to repeat these lies.
Turning to Iraq, today Hannah Allem (McClatchy Newspapers) breaks the news that the US government is funding what they alternately call 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' in Al Anbar Province -- huge sums of reconstruction money have been handed over to those the US has labeled as enemies by Iraqi contractors in what amounts to little more than a security shakedown -- one that US and Iraqi officials have been aware of for some time. This has been going on since 2003 yet, surprisingly?, the US hasn't included that detail in their hype of the "Al Anbar model." Nor did Rear Adm. Mark Fox include it as he attempted to spin 'success' in yesterday's laughable press briefing (which avoided all mentions of deaths, FYI). The capital of the province is Ramadi and the city most well known to Westerners may be Falluja. So far this month, the US military has announced at least 10 deaths in Al Anbar Province, at least 17 last month. Allem notes: "Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province."
If Fox was laughable on Sunday, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch was bizarre in his Friday press briefing via video-link from Iraq. Lynch insisted that he's 'out and about' which would make him the only high ranking officer that is. He used "we" a lot when speaking of what he passes off as his interaction with Iraqi locals in Baghdad and said that they are asking him "How can we help?" If true, they would be the only ones doing so judging by polls which find a majority of Iraqis want US forces out of Iraq and a majority 'supports' attacks on US forces. So the question becomes what sort of drugs are they giving the generals?
They're giving them pretty much everything else. Sunday, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Damien Cave (New York Times) reported that Gen. David Petraeus serves US Congressional members in the Green Zone on a junket asparagus soup and lobster tortellini. Who knew Patterson's Restaurant in London catered to the Green Zone?
While Patraeus and visiting members of the US Congress live it high on the hog, the US service members exist on MRIs or really bad fast food while that malnutrition rate among Iraqi children continues to rise. Maybe Patreause will send them a doggy bag? Stolberg and Cave describe the trips as good p.r. for Congress members who can stand up in the US Congress and declare "When I was in Iraq . . ." and the equivalent of "how I spent my sumer vacation".
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