Monday, December 10, 2007

Not feeling the love






Starting with war resisters, Stuart Neatby (The Dominion) reports "The Canadian Supreme Court refused to even hear the case of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, the first two war resisters to have publicly travelled to Canada in order to refuse to fight the war in Iraq. They are expected to face deportation proceedings. The War Resisters support campaign held protests in eight Canadian cities and is appealing to supporters to bombard Canadian MP's with letters and faxes asking for a parliamentary provision allowing Hughey and Hinzman to remain in Canada." Tomorrow the Canadian Parliament will hold hearings on the issue of war resisters.

BBC Radio One's Newsbeat explained of the US military "more and more of their soldiers say they're so disgusted with how innocent civilians are treated out there they've got no choice but to quit. Even if it means they're thrown into jail." Noting that "more than 4,500 troops have deserted this year," Newsbeat spoke with US war resisters Phil McDowell and Dean Walcott who are now in Canada.

Phil McDowell: We were in convoys we were being instructed to run civilian cars off the road. I refused to do that because it didn't seem right to invade another country under false prestense and say that you're there to help them and start running their cars off the road.

Newsbeat: Since the US invaded Iraq in 2003, there's been an 80% increase in soldiers quitting in combat.

Phil: The invasion was never approved by the United Nations. In terms of that Iraq was never threating the United States. The whole weapons of mass destruction argument was, uh, ceased to exist.

Newsbeat: If they're AWOL for more than 30 days soldiers are issued with an arrest warrant but for some, like Phil McDowell, they'd rather do time behind bars than go back to Iraq and see the mistreatment of civilians.

Phil: They would have them tied up and hooded and they were laying on the ground. And their required to let them use the washrooms but they would take them into the washrooms but a soldier would refuse to untie their hands or take off their blindfold.

Newsbeat: Another of the deserters is Dean Walcott, a corporal in the Marine Corps. He saw US forces destroy a tent they had suspected of harboring terrorists but the fire spread rapidly to other tents burning innocent people.

Dean Walcott: There's no way for me to accurately describe what a human being looks like when he's been set on fire. It's horrible and there's screaming that I can only compare to some of the things you hear in movies.

Newsbeat: We put the soldiers' claims to the US Defense Department and the Pentagon. They told Newsbeat many deserters are on the run because of their shame about abandoning comrades. As a result they now face spending the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders wondering when they'll be discovered.

Phil McDowell: It's an internationally condemned war

Newsbeat: But isn't it your job as a soldier to obey orders even if you don't like them?

Phil McDowell: It is absolutely but there comes a point when what you're being asked to do if it breaks the law, you're not supposed to do it.

Cindy Sheehan (OpEdNews) urges people to utilize Courage to Resist's easy to mail or e-mail resources to allow the Canadian government to know you are watching and to support organizations supporting war resisters as well as supporting war resisters:

Support actual war resisters in Canada by sending them expense money. From my friend Ryan (I gave him and his wife money to get to Canada over two years ago):

In light of the recent Supreme Court denial in Canada, I (Ryan Johnson), My wife (Jen Johnson) and Brandon Hughey need help raising funds to travel to Ottawa to attend hearings before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, where War Resisters will be giving Testimony to the committee. At these hearings the committee will be deciding on whether or not to make a provision to allow war resisters to stay in Canada. This is one of our last chances to be able to continue living in Canada. We will be leaving December 7th because the hearings are December 11th, 2007 so we need to act fast. They may try to send guys back soon and we need to have a strong War Resister Presence. We appreciate all of the support and Want to thank all of you who can help.

Checks/money orders can be sent for Ryan, Jen and Brandon to: 312 Tower Rd Nelson, BC V1L3K6

Checks and money orders can continue to be sent. They obviously will not get their in time since the hearing is tomorrow but they will help with expenses. In addition, the links offered should continue to be used. Tomorrow is the hearing. No one expects the Parliament to listen to testimony and say, "Okay, then! Here's our decision."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, 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, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

The voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at Culture Project -- that's ten more days -- and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who recently appeared on Democracy Now! addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $41.. The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project.

Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 15th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

IVAW's Michael Blake will speak on the harassment of anti-war service members at Fort Drum at the "Witness to War: U.S. Out of Iraq" Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., the Unitarian Church Annex, 208 E. Buffalo St. Also speaking will be Beth Harris (professor at Ithaca College) on the Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria, The Catholic Worker's Peter DeMott about civil disobedience and Finger Lakes for Peace in Iraq's Ellen Grady. That's Tuesday, December 11th. More information here at The Ithaca Journal.

On Sunday, the New York Times' Stephen Farrell reported on the realities of Kirkuk -- an oil rich city which both the central (puppet) government in Baghdad and the northern Kurdish region of Iraq would like to claim. Currently, it is under the control of Baghdad. The Iraqi constitution is supposed to guarantee an election on the issue, by the residents of Kirkuk, but the central government has noted earlier this fall that it will not take place. In anticipation of an election, the northern region has forced Kurds to move to Kirkuk and Kurdish militias have targeted Sunni and Shi'ites already living in Kirkuk. Farrell quotes Iraqi president, and Kurd, Jalal Talabani absurdly claiming that the Kurdish region has not displaced Kurds and ordered them to Kirkuk and Farrell also interviews many of the displaced Kurds who are now homeless in Kirkuk and were told that they had to leave the northern region and threatened with loss of employment, loss of food rations and violence. He also speaks with non-Kurds who explain that they were forced out of their homes in Kirkuks by the Kurdish gangs. The Kurdish region -- which has a lot of money to toss around, none of which goes to those they've evicted -- has repeatedly been cited -- and not just in the business press -- as the 'model' region which required ignoring the ethnic cleansing that goes on there as well as the non-stop attacks on religious minorities. Money bought a lot of easy press and a lot of advocates for the region. It has been repeatedly floated throughout the illegal war that Kirkuk would become part of the northern region and then the northern region would break off and become their own nation-state. Those US academics offering the partitioning of Iraq as a solution are frequently on the payroll of the Kurdish region -- a fact that's rarely disclosed.

Sunday also provided more reasons to Free Bilal.. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes today, "In other Iraq news, a criminal hearing was held on Sunday in Baghdad in the case of imprisoned Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been held by the U.S. military without charge for nearly 20 months The hearing marked the first time that Hussein or his attorneys have seen any evidence in the case. No formal charges have been lodged yet against Hussein who was part of a team of AP photographers who won a Pulitzer Prize. Last week the Committee to Protect Journalists said Hussein is one of at least 127 journalists behind bars worldwide. China is currently jailing 29 journalists – more than any other country. The United States is jailing two journalists without charge – Bilal Hussein in Iraq and Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for the past five years." The US military is targeting journalists but to stay on Bilal specifically, there is already a gag order in place. Daryl Lang (Photo District News) reports that yesterday's proceedings, the first time Bilal has appeared before the judiciary, is under wraps by court order: "Bilal Hussein, the Iraqi Associated Press photographer who has been held as a security detainee for nearly 20 months, was present for most of a seven-hour hearing Sunday in a Baghdad court. Beyond those basic facts, nothing else about the hearing was made public. A judge ordered the proceedings be kept secret." And AP has released the following statement from Paul Colford (Director of Media Relations):Bilal Hussein and his lawyers have finally had a chance to learn about the allegations that the U.S. military has withheld from them since they imprisoned Bilal 20 months ago. But, they were not given a copy of the materials that were presented today, and which they need to prepare a defense for Bilal. We would hope that we have an opportunity to review the material. There is still no formal charge against Bilal, and The Associated Press continues to believe that Bilal Hussein was a photojournalist working in a war zone and that claims that he is involved with insurgent activities are false. Bilal continues to be detained by the U.S. military.Because the judge ordered that the proceedings today be kept secret, we are restricted from saying anything further.Bilal's attorneys were not provided with court documents. Reuters notes that "Iraqi journalists working for Reuters have also been detained by the U.S. military for months and later released without charges." Bilal's lead attorney is Paul Gardephe and Kim Gamel (AP) reports that he "strongly protested the refusal of the U.S. military to allow him to meet with Hussein privately. Since the U.S. decided Nov. 19 to send the case to the criminal court, a U.S. soldier and a military interpreter have been in the room whenever Gardephe has seen Hussein, allowing no privacy to plan a defense." Gamel quotes Gardephe explaining, "You cannot prepare a defendant for a criminal trial with the prosecutor in the room." Earlier, similar nonsense was attempted on CBS camera operator Abdul Ameer Younnis Hussein whose 'crime' was also doing his job filming the aftermath of a bombing led to his being shot by US forces in Mosul and imprisoned for over a year when he finally got a day what in passes for 'court' in Iraq, the 'terrorist' was released because he was not a terrorist, he was a reporter.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Bilal and Iraqi journalists"
"And the targeting of officials continues"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"The 'model' region? Not so model"
"Ruth's Report"
"Truest statement of the week"
"A Note to Our Readers"
"Editorial: It's not an issue to be 'dropped'"
"TV: 60 Wasted Minutes"
"Who's killing the peace movement?"
"Dope of the week (US division)"
"Dope of the week (British division)"
"Green Party"
"About those permalinks"
"Here come the revisonary tactics"
"KPFK ballots due by midnight December 11th"
"Celebrate bad times, come on?"

1 comment:

Gayle Hegland said...



Subject: Bilal: A Call to Action

Date: December 7, 2007 4:15:42 PM MST (CA)



Dear Colleagues,

Help free Bilal Hussein!

Take some time this weekend, on the eve of Bilal’s first hearing on Dec. 9, to e-mail members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, see below the list (courtesy of the Digital Journalist editorial,

Remember: after 20 months of detention without charges, Bilal will face a hearing this Sunday and an Iraqi judge will decide, if any, what charges should be brought against him. If charged with being a terrorist, Bilal is facing a penalty of life in prison or even death sentence.

Read about the poor state of the Iraqi justice system,4670,IraqDetaineeJustice,00.html

Feel free to copy/paste the petition from the Free Bilal site,, for sending the emails.

It takes a minute, it helps a lot.

Free Bilal Committee


E-mail addresses for members of the Senate Armed Services Committee


U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services:

Carl Levin (D-MI) [Chair]

Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)

Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)

Joseph I. Lieberman (ID-CT)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)

Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Ben Nelson (D-NE)

Evan Bayh (D-IN)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

Mark Pryor (D-AR)

James Webb (D-VA)

Claire McCaskill (D-MO)


U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services:

John McCain (R-AZ) [Ranking Member]

John W. Warner (R-VA)

James M. Inhofe (R-OK)

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)

John Cornyn (R-TX)

John R. Thune (R-SD)

Mel Martinez (R-FL)

Bob Corker (R-TN)


Newsletter mailing list



Bilal Hussein: Habeas Corpus and Due Process Denied

To the Honorable Senator __

Dear Member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee

Please help our colleague, Pulitzer Prize winning AP photojournalist Bilal Hussein, obtain habeas corpus and a fair, reasonable and timely Due Process. The U.S. Military will present official charges against him on Dec. 9 in an Iraqi court and they have refused to give Mr. hussein or his Defense timely notice of charges before this court date. This is denial of Habeas Corpus and Due Process and is against our Bill of Rights.

The US Military arrested Bilal on April of 2006, interrogated him in Abu Ghraib with no legal council present, and then held him in the Camp Crooper jail in Baghdad with no charges and without writ of habeas corpus for 20 months. Now our military is acting further in a non-Constitutional way in a foreign court and in, as of yet, a non-Democratic country with an overburdened and overcrowded court system. Also, since the Iraqi Court system is Shiite, we are very concerned for Bilal and that he receive fair treatment and a fair trial, since Bilal is Sunni.

Please assure me that this Iraqi photojournalist will obtain habeas corpus and/or due process immediately, be given the assurance of justice from a fair trial, and that if Bilal is ultimately found innocent he should be released and not be returned to the U.S. Military, as they have so stated, for continued and indefinite confinement.

If these basic human rights (habeas corpus and due process) cannot be assured Bilal, then please see to it that Bilal is safely released immediately.

Thank you for your support, your service and your prompt attention to this important matter.