BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
"WE JUST WANT OUR RECESS!" WHINED HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI STOMPING HER FEET AS SHE EXPLAINED WHY THE HOUSE JOINED THE SENATE IN EXPANDING THE BULLY BOY OF THE UNITED STATES ABILITIES TO SPY ON AMERICAN CITIZENS.
WHEN ASKED BY THESE REPORTERS EXACTLY WHEN DEMOCRATS WERE GOING TO STAND UP, PELOSI SAT DOWN, STOOD, SAT DOWN AGAIN, STOOD AGAIN.
"SEE," SHE SAID, "I KNOW HOW TO STAND."
AS TO STANDING UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OR THE CONSTITUTION, PELOSI EXPLAINED SHE WAS TOO TIRED FOR THAT.
"YOU MIGHT SAY," SHE LAUGHED, "I'M TAKING DEMOCRACY OFF THE TABLE!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) reports on the creation of the War Resisters Support Campaign "launched shortly after an American deserter from the Iraq War named Jeremy Hinzman arrived in Canada seeking asylum that January" in 2004 and how it was quickly realized that both a legal and a political effort would be needed and that's certainly true with both war resisters Hinzman and Brandon Hughey's case now being appealed to Canada's Supreme Court following the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that "rights of conscience" could be applied to "a refugee claimant [who] is a high-level policy-maker or planner of the military conflict" but not "a mere foot soldier". So apparently Henry Kissinger, for instance, could get refugee status for his war crimes in Canada but Canada will not give asylum to war resisters. As Chan notes, that was not always the case. During Vietnam, the Canadian government stood up but that's when they had a prime minister who wasn't a lackey of the United States. Chan notes that Hughey and Hinzman are expected to hear this month or next whether the Supreme Court will hear their case.
Just as during Vietnam, war resistance is on the rise. "I think something similar is beginning to happen now because those same unities coming together to oppose the war say, 'No, we're not going to continue fighting in this war.' We have the organization I belong to, Iraq Veterans Against the War, we have up to 500 members, the majority of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are saying, 'No, we're not going to continue to fighting this war.' And you know by the Pentagon's own estimates we have since the war started 8 to 10,000 troops who have decided not to go back to the war. To put it in perspective, that's a division size element that's been wiped by desertion and AWOL," explains war resister and CO Camilo Mejia on this week's Progressive Radio, Matthew Rothschild interviewed Mejia who has told his story in the recently released Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press).
Matthew Rothschild: Did you get a lot of negative feedback from either people who saw you on the media or from soldiers or former soldiers?
Camilo Mejia: Definitely there was some negative feedback but by and large the feedback was very positive partiicularly when it came from the members of the military. People in the army, or in the armed services, don't really feel that they have the right to go public with their views and opinions . . . but secretly in a more private way a lot of people came up to me and said they agreed with me although they didn't feel they could do so publicy. The feedback was very positive.
Mejia described the things he saw at the POW camps for Iraqis and Rothschild asked if he realized then that the Geneva Conventions were being violated? Mejia replied that he didn't realize it at that point, "It just felt wrong." Mejia explained that the events "on a daily basis" in Iraq didn't allow him much time for reflection but he had that time while he was on leave back in the US. He and Rothschild discussed the bond (socialization) within the military and how that can effect choices made. Mejia stated the people need to "realize that there's a greater tragedy in Iraq . . . The people of Iraq, 90% of the people who are dying are civilians, you know children, unarmed men, women, the elderly, the entire life being destroyed, the infrastructure is being destroyed so we have got to step outside our own fears and our own interests and our own feelings to look at the bigger picture and realize that saying that we're fighting for one another is no reason enough for participating in this criminal war."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, 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 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. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.
Mejia was interviewed on Monday on WBAI's Law and Disorder as was Adam Kokesh spoke with hosts Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith (Heidi Boghosian, the fourth host was not part of this broadcast, but we'll cover Boghosian in a moment). Kokesh is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and he discussed the military brass' efforts to suppress his freedom of his speech. Kokesh wore his fatigues (without markings or name tags) in Operation First Casualty in DC (and elsewhere but DC was the one that led to retaliation) which is street theater meant to convey for Americans what life is like for Iraqis during the illegal war.
"The media stories that we've read haven't captured this accurately," Dalia Hashad noted. Kokesh explained that, after the DC action, he got an e-mail which he didn't know what to make of -- was it for real? -- and he discussed it with Tina Richards (Grassroots of America) who explained that her son Cloy Richards had received similar e-mails from people in (or claiming to be) the military and out of it. So Kokesh replied to the e-mail and the brass response was "which is completely unprecedented" because he had already been honorably discharged by the military and placed in the IRR Kokesh described it as a kick in the stomach and a surprise, "They can't do this, legally there's no grounds for this. You know it says Article II of the UCMJ it doesn't apply to the IRR it says in my enlistment contract". Dalia Hashad asked to explain about the IRR and Kokesh offered that "when you're in the IRR you're only responsibilites are to maintain a valid address and to show up if called back to active duty."
Michael Smith asked about wearing "a uniform" in street theater? Kokesh explained that a JAG attorney was activated from the reserves, Jeremy Sibert, for the prosecution team. Sibert is the Criminal Division Assistant US Attorney in the Del Rio Office [Texas} for the Department of Justice. Attorney Mike Lebowitz spoke on the program as well and (as requested by Eddie) we'll one more time go over that what Adam Kokesh and others do in street theater is not an issue the military has any say in. Daniel Jay Schacht took part in street theater during Vietnam. He and others staged it outside a military recruitment center. At that point in time, the military thought they had rights that they didn't. Schacht was arrested for wearing a military uniform in the production. The military's reasoning was that it gave the armed forces a bad name -- the play, the performance, whatever. At that point, the military would allow or disallow theater productions the 'right' to utilize uniforms or not. In 1970, Schacht v. United States was heard by the Supreme Court. The Court found in Schacht's favor noting that the military had been granting permission to some. By denying permission to others, this was now a free speech issue. The US military, the Court determined, had no say in theater productions -- if some could use the uniforms, all could. The military had no say over what Schacht or anyone said in a theater production when they wore a uniform and they had no say over whether the uniform could be worn. This was true of all productions, including street theater. Justice Hugo Black wrote:
Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world.
Kokesh is appealing and, due to the Supreme Court's 1970 verdict, it should be an easy win; however, Schacht v. United States should have ensured that the matter never went as far as did.
"The idea that citizens are free to dissent is ingrained in the American mythos, a concept even older than the Declaration of Independence itself. Equally important in this value system is the conviction that no nation state can survive as a democracy unless it safeguards political expression and activity," so writes Heidi Boghosian in Punishing Protest. And yet, Kevin Egler has a pre-trial date August 9th in the Portage County Municipal Court in Kent, Ohio. His crime, as David O'Brien (The Record Courier via Common Dreams) explains, placing an "IMPEACH" sign on public party. And yet, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) reported last month on the White House's policy of keeping people out of tax payer events -- something clearly taking place throughout the 2004 campaign but the White House put it in writing. In the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports a record $1 million settlement by the District of Columbia due to the police round ups of demonstrators against the illegal war in 2002. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes that the monies will go "to more than one hundred demonstrators" and that "D.C. previously agreed to pay more than $640,000 to fourteen other demonstrators. A larger class-action suit covering more than four hundred people awaits trial." The money involved in the DC payout may seem great but does it really cover the cost of violating people's First Amendment rights? And many other attacks on free speech and the right to assembly go under the radar. The National Lawyers Guild has just released Punishing Protest written by Heidi Boghosian (available online in PDF format for free and avaible in book format for $3 at the National Lawyers Guild website).
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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"Law & Disorder: Adam Kokesh, Camilo Mejia"
"THIS JUST IN! 'RECESS!' CRIES THE D.C. TODDLERS!"
"Remember, after recess comes nap time"