Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama pleasures himself -- only himself

Starting with war resisters, Nisa Islam Muhammad (Final Call) reports on realities for war resisters in Canada:
In the '60s and '70s, Canada was a refuge for war resisters and conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. Iraq war resistors want the same reception and protested at Canadian consulates from coast to coast as part of Courage To Resist's "Dear Canada: Let Them Stay" campaign.
"We had actions in eight cities Jan. 25, at five Canadian consulates around the county on behalf of war resisters in Canada," Max Diorio of Courage to Resist told The Final Call.
"Thousands of soldiers are AWOL. The military doesn't know how many or where they are. Canada was a safe haven, but the climate now has Canada wanting to be on the good side of the United States."
Hundreds of U.S. military personnel are in Canada because of decisions not to participate in U.S. wars and the occupation in the Middle East. There is no legal or political provision in effect in Canada that affords U.S. war resisters the right to stay in the country.
Deportation looms as a real threat for many women and men seeking refuge from prosecution south of the border, even as widespread support for the rights of resisters to stay grows among Canadians.
With Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, 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, Clara 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).


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.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause.  Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.  The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies.  It won't be easy but it must be done.  Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."
Staying with reality, Iraq is off the media radar and FOOLS and LIARS don't get it back on the radar.  Debate whether Tom Engelhartdt is a a FOOL, a LIAR or a little bit of both when reading his latest pathetic piece at Common Dreams. Bully Boy says there's no problem -- says Tom -- and the media "miraculously" vanished Iraq.  "The mainstream media," he tells us.  Fool or liar or just a bit of both.  Little media didn't stand up during the Myth of the Great Return.  Amy Goodman devoted one full segment to Iraq last month when?  January 25th.  She waited until January 25th. [The 'we only have one minute!' garbage doesn't count.]  Engelhartdt needs to stop peddling those tired lies.  It may keep the checks coming in from The Nation but it's not reality.  Nor is this claim that "Juan Cole's Informed Comment website" is "perhaps the best daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem and disaster on the Web".  Really?  Well sure he was for the illegal occupation after he was against it (as Steve Rendall pointed out to his face on CounterSpin) but, hey, if he's providing a "daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem" -- best or otherwise -- we should certainly make a point to check in..  Wednesday's sole entry (thus far) -- John McCain, Bambi and Pakistan.    Monday's entry -- he did only one -- on Afghanistan. Tuesday's entry -- he did only one -- on Pakistan. Not a "daily round-up" but it's a nice way for someone to kiss ass with a shout-out, isn't it?  Stick to McClatchy Newspapers, Reuters and ICCC, they provide daily information.  Here's the reality Tom Engelhartdt isn't telling you because he's not willing to or he's too stupid to: Iraq's off the radar because we tolerate it being off the radar.
Because we renew our subscriptions to the garbage that is The Nation or buy it in stores, because Amy Goodman's begging on air for Pacific (for herself really) and we toss out a few bucks to shut the beggar up.  There is an illegal war going on that hits the fifth year mark next month.  There is nothing in independent media -- despite all the money we've forked over to them -- that reflects this reality.  Nothing.  And as long as we continue to accept that, as long as we're thrilled to death that Katrina vanden Heuvel can provide John Nichols, the Aris (Mebler and Berman) and assorted others covering the Democratic presidential primaries each damn day while providing NOTHING on the Iraq War, the illegal war is going to go on.  Engelhartdt may be too stupid to tell you that or he may just enjoy being on the dime of The Nation.  But that's reality and anyone telling you otherwise is a LIAR. 
Not misinformed, not disinformed, not misguided -- just a LIAR.  That's reality.  And lying to people is DISGUSTING.  Want Iraq covered?  Demand it.  Refuse to support media that doesn't cover it.  And let's get one damn thing real clear, it's not, despite Engelhardt's claim, the "MSM" that's dropped Iraq.  If the New York Times doesn't file a story for Iraq that's the headline of a morning entry here.  I know how often that's the case and how often it isn't.  (And not hear to spoonfeed lazy minds like Engelhardt).  The New York Times isn't dropping Iraq -- they may resell the illegal war most days, but they do cover it.  It's Little Media that's dropped Iraq.  And no one needs a lecture from Tom Englehardt to begin with but we certainly don't need him on his high horse when he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.  If you're talking corruption in Iraq, to provide one example, you're largely talking James Glanz of the New York Times.  Not that Glanz is corrupt but you are talking his beat.  He's covered it.  He's defined it.  When few have given a damn and the occassional moments when they have, he has covered that beat since the illegal war began.  I'll slam the New York Times every day of the week.  I'll slam Glanz if the article offends.  But I don't pretend for a minute that Little Media 'competes' with the Times or other MSM outlets.  Little Media doesn't compete because Little Media (broadcast and print) doesn't give a damn.  Engelhardt's offering up the kind of crap we got in 2004 and 2005 when it was time to open the checkbooks: "Look what we do!  No one else brings you the truth!  Judith Miller did not work for us!"  Independent media hasn't done a thing worthy of praise on Iraq -- or Iraq related topics -- in years.  Anyone telling you otherwise is a fool or a liar.   And you should be sick of it. 
Sick Of It Day is an action Veterans for Peace started on the 14th of this month and VFP's Mike Ferner offers, "I've seen the pain on the faces of the people of Iraq and the soldiers who come back from war.  It's something I can't get out of my mind and there are days when it really does make me sick" to explain the need for the action asking people to call in sick March 19th and then selecting "from a wide variety of other things to do that day -- from contacting Congress and going back to bed, to more ambitious ideas like helping quarantine military shipments in U.S. ports.  Campaigners are invited to come up with their own 'Sick Of It Day' activity and post it to the site."  Ferner (writing at Online Journal) speaks with IVAW co-chair Adam Kokesh ("campaign originator") who explains, "I'm sick of seeing America in denial about how much we have been lied to."
To return to the nonsense offered about the MSM, it was Sewell Chan (New York Times) who reported on a Friday NYC action where "20 antiwar activists gathered outside an Army recruiting office in East Harlem" -- it was not Democracy Now!, it was not The Nation, it was not Free Speech Radio NewsThe War Stops Here is a new website created to be "an online hub and journal of DIRECT ACTION."  The website features text and videos.  The creator of the site explained at Infoshop: "This is a project that I've long been thinking about, and unfortunately, nobody else has stepped up to help me out with it. So, here goes nothing. The basic premise is this: we're finally at a stage in the antiwar movement where there is something to report in terms of creative, militant direct actions against the occupation of Iraq happening right here in the US. It's happening on campuses, at ports, in the Capitol, in small towns and in big cities. Therefore, there ought to be a regularly-updated hub for those of us who take this work seriously, want to learn what other people are doing, and to let new people know that there are ways to tangibly grind this war to a halt."  The creator's a member of today's Students for a Democratic Society and SDS' Kati Ketz is interviewed by Ron Jacobs (Dissident Voice) addressing what's coming up next month with Ketz explaining, "SDS is again putting out a call for students to take action, this time a week of action between March 17th-21st in order to protest five years of war in Iraq.  We are focusing on March 20th as a student and youth specific day of action, where schools will be having walk-outs or rallies and protests on their campuses and in their cities." Ketz explains how her UNC-Asheville chapter of SDS is working with the local chapter of IVAW, "It seemed natural to our SDS group that when the IVAW-Asheville group started up in November of 2007 that we invite some of their members to speak on our campus.  From that, a couple of members of IVAW-Asheville started coming to SDS meetings and getting involved in our actions on campus, which led to the counter-recruitment action we did recently.  During this counter-recruitment action, we staged a mock Iraq raid based on what one member of IVAW-Asheville witnessed firsthand, with a family of Iraqi people being zip-tied and asked for information that they did not have before being carried away."  More information is available at this page of the SDS website.

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