Starting with war resistance. US war resister Jeremy Hinzman has been told he has until September 23rd to leave Canada. John Mackay (WSWS) explains, "Hinzman joined the US Army in early 2001, partly out of a sense of patriotism and adventure. However, he was primarily attracted by the promise of financial support for a university education. He says that more than a year after joining, he realized that he could not become a killer. He felt he could not dehumanize the people he was supposed to shoot. He applied for conscientious objector (CO) status in August 2002, but his command threw his application away. Hinzman subsequently reapplied while serving in Afghanistan, only to have his application turned down. In Afghanistan, while his CO application was being processed, Hinzman played a non-combatant role as an assistant to Haliburton employees serving meals to soldiers. Upon denial of his application for CO status, Hinzman was ordered to return to active duty. When his unit returned to the US with the understanding that they would soon be sent to Iraq, Hinzman deserted, crossing the Canadian border in January 2004 with his wife and young son and claiming refugee status." Nga Nguyen, Jeremy's wife, just gave birth to a daughter (Meghan) in July. We'll note again that the four are in a video at the War Resisters Support Campaign where Jeremy speaks to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada:
Jeremy Hinzman: Hello, Mr. Harper. This is my family Nga, Liam and Meghan. We've been in Canada for the last four and a 1/2 years. I was a specialist in the 82nd Air borne division of the United States Army and served honorably in Afghanistan. In 2004, my family and I came to Canada because we would not participate in the Iraqi War, a war which Canada also refused to participate in because it was condemned by the international community. One of your predecessors, Pierre Trudeau, once said that Canada should be have from militarism and we took him at this word. On June 3, 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion saying that United States war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. We're asking you to abide by this motion and allow us to stay in Canada. Thank you.
Title Card: On September 23rd, the Harper government plans to deport the Hinzman family back to the United States.
Title Card: Hinzman faces a court martial and up to 5 years in military prison for opposing the Iraq war and coming to Canada.
Courage to Resist alerts, "Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,"Iraq Veterans Against the War also encourages people to take action, "To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email: email@example.com." In addition to that, Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is staging an emergency meeting this week (August 20th, Wednesday, 7:00 pm, Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St.) and planning a day of action (September 13th) where
"[a]ctions, demonstrations and pickets will take place in cities and towns all across Canada."
A new documentary, The Path of Most Resistance, addresses war resistance. Directed by Gareth Keogh, the film traces two US service members attempts to receive CO status. One receives it, one doesn't. Susannah Tarbush (Saudi Gazette) reports on the film noting that Daniel Baker and Robert Weiss are the two CO applicants. Anyone paying attention knows who was successful and who wasn't:
Daniel Baker joined the US Navy in 2004, but soon after being deployed in Qatar as a communications officer in 2006 he made a successful application for CO status. He now works for the Catholic Peace Fellowship, one of the organizations that advise CO applicants. In contrast, soldier Robert Weiss's application for CO status was turned down in December 2007. He said: "I feel that at this point I have no legal avenue for pursuing recognition of my beliefs, so therefore I have no choice but to leave the military rather than do something I feel is immoral." On December 22 he was due to fly back to Iraq, but saw no alternative but to go absent without leave (AWOL) for 30 days, the minimum time necessary to be classified as a deserter. He would then turn himself in and face the inevitable court martial and imprisonment. During his period of being AWOL, he was given refuge by a family with pacifist sympathies. In February he turned himself in, and on May 13 was court martialled. He is serving a seven-month sentence in a military prison in Mannheim, Germany.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Yovany Rivero, William Shearer, Michael Thurman, Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, 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, Jose Vasquez, 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, Daniel Baker, 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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.
Turning to the US presidential race. The Democratic Party holds its convention in Denver shortly. AP notes, "Independent Ralph Nader planned to attend a rally at Denver University on Aug. 27, the night before Obama accepts his party's nomination. And Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney was scheduled to address supporters after an anti-war march through downtown Denver on Sunday, the day before the convention opens." Christopher Keating (Hartford Courant) notes that independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's campaign was set to turn in petitions today in New York and Alabama making them the 31st and 32nd states the Ralph Nader - Matt Gonzalez ticket will be on the ballots of. Foon Rhee (Boston Globe) adds that the Nader campaign is set to submit their signatures to be on the Massachusetts ballot. The Nader campaign states it has around 17,000 signatures gathered, that Massachusetts would be the 34th state they'd be on the ballot of and that "Michael Richardson, Massachusetts Nader/Gonzalez 2008 Coordinator, will hold a Weds. Aug. 20, 10 a.m. news conference at the Elections Division office, McCormack Bulding, Room 1705, One Ashburton Place, Boston, Mass. 02108"..
This is Ralph Nader. Just how different are the two major parties? Well I've often said that the towering similarities between the two parties are far greater than the dwindling differences they're really willing to fight over. It's clear that the Democrats are better than Republicans on Social Security, civil justice, the right to go to court if you're wrongfully injured, civil rights and a number of other issues. But consider the similarities. As I've said when it comes to the overriding issue of the corporate takeover of our federal government department by department, agency by agency, the two parties differ in the velocity with which their knees hit the floor when corporations pound on their door.
The two parties are pretty similar on foreign and military policy. In recent weeks the leading foreign affairs reporters for the Washington Post and the New York Times said that Obama would be similar in his foreign and military policy to the second term of George W. Bush. They're both pushing for more military budget. They haven't singled out a single weapons system that they think is obsolete, redundant or not needed.
They both are not doing anything about cracking down on corporate crimes commensurate with the violations of health and safety laws by the corporations in the looting and draining of trillions of dollars of mutual fund savings and pension funds they both are furthering the perforation of the tax code corporate loopholes and offshore havens. They both have put the regulatory agencies under anesthesia. They both are in a race to get more and more private special interest money into elections corrupting our election process. You ever hear them mention in any specifics what they're going to do about consumer protection or what they're going to do about repealing anti-worker, anti-union laws like Taft-Hartley? No way. Similarly silent.
The Democrats took over the Congress in January 2007, they haven't rolled back any of the legislation or even made a major college try to roll back the bad legislation that Bush and his Congressional Republicans have passed So we can go and on but just think about it, how necessary it is to have somewhere else on the ballot line to cast your vote. Nader-Gonzalez. Thank you.
Wednesday, August 20th McKinney will make 3 stops in Memphis. That evening she will be in Jackson, Tennessee for a fundraiser hosted by the Madison County Green Party. Thursday, August 21st McKinney's first stop is in Dickson to meet with representatives of the community who have been affected by the dumping of toxic waste in their community. Then to Nashville for an 11:00 AM Press Conference in Room 31, Legislative Plaza speaking to the press about her campaign. This event is open to the public. Following the press conference Ms McKinney will speak directly to the public and take questions. This will also be in Legislative Plaza, Room 31. That morning Greens will turn in their nominating petitions to secure her position on the general election ballot in Tennessee. "Due to Tennessee's oppressive election access laws Ms McKinney will be listed on the ballot as an independent candidate which we can achieve with 275 valid signatures. It would take over 45,000 valid signatures to get her listed with the "Green" affiliation. The Green Party is currently a litigant against the state seeking ballot access laws that are fair", said John Miglietta a delegate to the Green Party of the US and a Green Candidate for US House District 5. Following the Press Conference she is scheduled to visit Tennessee State University, Fisk University and Carver Food Park where Sizwe Herring of EarthMatters Tennessee teaches children and community members about the value of composting and principles of ecology.
Those appearances start tomorrow and the Geen Party website still has nothing up.