Tuesday, September 25, 2012

America's Top Model





Starting in Canada with The Hollow Man himself, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Heartless, heartless
Ya think he's gonna bare his empty soul?
He never realized, the way loves dies
When you crucify its soul
-- "Heartless," written by Ann and Nancy Wilson, first appears on Heart's Magazine and the Wilson sisters new album, Fanatic, comes out next Tuesday, October 2nd
Heartless Stephen Harper kicked US war resister Kim Rivera out of Canada last week.  She was immediately arrested, this mother of four.  Gordon Block (Watertown Daily Times) noted Saturday that she was being held at Fort Drum, "A post spokesman confirmed Friday morning that Kimberly Rivera was being held before being transferred to another military facility.  The spokesman did not have any details on how long she would be held on post, or where she would be transferred."  Tom Russert of the Public Affairs Liaison for Customs and Border Protection tells ABC Radio, "She was wanted for being a military desserter, there was a warrant for her arrest." Diana Mehta (Canadian Press) reports on the events:
"It doesn't get any clearer that this,"  Mr. Marciniec said. "The risk that we've pointed out, of Iraq War resisters being punished as prisoners of conscience, isn't just risk. It's fact. Kim's case today proves that."
Mr. Marciniec also pointed out that two other Iraq war resisters who were deported in the past -- Robin Long and Clifford Cornell -- faced year-long jail sentences for desertion upon their return.
Rivera, who lived in Toronto with her family, came to Canada in 2007 to avoid further U.S. military service.
She has said she grew to oppose the Iraq war while she was taking part in it, and even stopped carrying her rifle with her.

And despite the support of Canadians, despite worldwide appeals that Kim be granted asylum, Stephen Harper was more concerned with letting the world know just how heartless and uncaring he is.   In less than 12 days, 20,348 people signed on the War Resisters Support Campaign's petition to let Kim and her family stay in Canada.  Across Canada this week and on Labor Day, people demonstrated calling for Harper to let Kim stay.   Prominent Canadians released a joint-statement:
We the undersigned support conscientious objector Kimerly Rivera and her family who are threatened with imminent deportation from Canada on September 20.  Kim deployed to Iraq in 2006 and sought asylum in Canada in 2007.  She faces a court martial and up to 5 years in military prison for refusing to participate any longer in the Iraq War -- a war which had no legal sanction.  Kim would be separated from her four young children, two of whom were born in Canada.  A felony conviction would mean a lifetime of difficulty finding employment.  We call on the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kennedy to do the right thing and allow Kimberly Rivera and her family to stay in Canada.
Andy Barrie, broadcaster and Vietnam War resister
Dan Bar-El, award-winning children's author
Maude Barlow, author and activist
Maev Beaty, actor
Shirley Douglas, O.C., actor
Dennis Foon, award-winning writer
Richard Greenblatt, playwright/actor
Ron Hawkins, musician
Naomi Klein, author [child of a Vietnam War resister Michael who went from New Jersey to Montreal in 1967 with his wife Bonnie]
Ron Kovic, author, Born on the Fourth of July
Avi Lewis, filmmaker
Peter Showler, Director, the Refugee Forum, University of Ottawa; former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board
Jack Todd, journalist and Vietnam War resister
Alexandre Trudeau, filmmaker

Others calling for Kim to be allowed to remain in Canada included Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  the United Steelworkers of CanadaCanada's National Union of Public and General Employees and the United Church of Canada.
To all of this, Stephen Harper flipped the middle finger.
Who knew he  had goodwill to waste?  Turns out, he doesn't.  Eric Grenier (Huffington Post Canada) reports, "With one in two Canadians having an unfavourable opinion of Stephen Harper, the New Democrats and Conservatives are now tied in the latest national poll. But the leaderless Liberals have suffered the most, dropping to their lowest level of support since immediately after the May 2011 election debacle."  1 in 2?  That means fifty percent of Canadians surveyed disapprove of Harper.  (Margin of error?  It wasn't a random poll and has no margin of error.) 
Lorne Silcoff writes the editors of the Montreal Gazette to share his joy over the deportation. He's in the minority of those sounding off in letters to the editor.
Others sounding off?  In his letter to the Montreal Gazette, Vietnam war resister Lee Zaslofsky observes, "As a Canadian citizen who came to this country as a Vietnam War deserter in 1970, I am deeply distressed that our current government has broken with our best traditions and our noblest values by forcing Ms. Rivera to return to the United States to be punished for refusing to carry on fighting a war which she had found to be immoral." David C. Fox writes the Financial Post to wonder, "Why is it that 'mere foot soldiers' like Kimberly Rivera are going to jail for speaking out against a war based on non-existent weapons of mass destruction and false links to 9/11, when the leaders who took us to war are making millions on international book and speaking tours?"  Charlie Diamond writes the Montreal Gazette editors, "But the best part of Mr. [Jack] Todd's article and my third thank you is his last sentence. 'It should be noted, however, that while Rivera and [Rodney] Watson served in Iraq and Watson is a decorated combat veteran, neither Harper, [Immigration Minister Jason] Kenney nor Defence Minister Peter MacKay ever served in the military."  Lucia Kowaluk's letter notes, "Congratulations to Jack Todd for beaming yet another light on the failure of the Harper government to live up to the long-held traditions of a Canada respected in the world for positions taken precisely the opposite of the recent one: the deportation of Kimberly Rivera."  Jesse McLaren tells the editors of the Financial Post, "In 2008, Stephen Harper admitted the Iraq War was 'absolutely an error,' yet he refuses to support the troops who came to the same conclusion.  By deporting war resisters the government is deserting international law, Canadian tradition and democracy."
Jack Todd (Montreal Gazette) points out Harper's policies are a break with Canada's proud past, "It's a far cry from the precedent established under Liberal prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, who faced down the pressure exerted by U.S. presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard M. Nixon to allow an estimated 100,000 American war resisters (this writer among them) to come to Canada during the Vietnam War. "  To this day, the name Pierre Trudeau is known around the world -- as a good thing.  Stephen Harper's ensuring that he's remembered, but far less fondly.
Moving to the US,  Friday's snapshot noted the reports that the State Dept had made their (court-ordered) decision on the MEK and would be delisting it.  It also included Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, refusing to confirm that but noting that a decision would be announced prior to the (court-ordered) deadline.  It has rattled the unhinged.
John Glaser is among the many Little Crazies but he could have been one that got a link.  He ruined that by linking to Supreme Crazy Glenn Glenn Greenwald.  So no link to John Glaser and Antiwar.com and -- probably for the best.  I'm not sure they're using protection in their Circle Jerk. Patrick Brennan writing for The National Review offers that the move is "strange" and offers a joke.  Unlike his fellow right-winger, Brennan doesn't repeat the cult nonsense that John Glaser does. Owen Bennett-Jones uses the cult term as well at the center-right New Republic for "Our New Iran Plan Is to Help a Cult Gain Power. What Could Go Wrong?
But he gets a link -- for making me laugh louder than Glenn Glenn.  TNR identifies him as a Princeton professor.  He is that  . . .  right now, for the fall semester.  But he's mainly a British journalist, a subject of the crown.  So what the hell is this "our new Iran plan"?  Our?  Maybe TNR  should stop outsourcing and find some citizens of the US if they want to feature commentaries about "our" plans?  There is no "our" plans from the US State Dept for a British citizen to write about, the Revolutionary War kind of ensured that. 
It's really something to watch all these crazies suddenly re-discover Iraq.  They must feel like Chris Columbus -- watching old silent films and 'discovery' slapstick to 'homage' into 1990's Home Alone.  They apparently hope you haven't been paying attention. 
If you have been, you might call out a lot of them for their selective use of facts.  Since the 1970s blah blah blah.  The MEK wasn't on the terrorist list in the 1970s.  Not during the Nixon administration, not during the Ford administration and not during the Carter administration.  This is the period they were active against the US.  We all are aware of that, right?  That three different administrations had the opportunity to put them on the list and chose not to?
In the 80s, Reagan didn't put the MEK on the list.  Nor did America's only President Bush -- George H.W. Bush.   In fact, it's not until 1997 that the MEK makes the US terrorist list.  Then-President Bill Clinton put them on it in a gesture towards friendly relations with Iran.  Friendlier relations never came and maybe Bill was wrong to have done that to begin with?  They've remained on the list since.
Was it right?  Was it wrong?  I don't pretend to know.  But I do know the law so my concern is about the Camp Ashraf refugees getting safely out of Iraq.  That's a concern most US citizens should have because the US government granted the residents protected persons status.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed earlier this year that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  That's a legal obligation.  You can't shrug that off.  Well you can but that means you're unethical.  Changing the status means countries can take in the 3500 Camp Ashraf residents without fear of the US attacking them.  (Yes, other countries do worry that the same US government urging them to take in Camp Ashraf refugees will, in the current administration or a new one, use the same residents as reason to attack.  That's how low the US government's standing is in the world.)
But if you're going to talk MEK, speak honestly.  (The unethical can't do so, I forget.)  Should they be on the list or not? I don't really care but the frantic arguments from Glenn and his fellow padded cell cronies are dishonest.  They want to insist that there was a State Dept report!!!! Was there?  There were also multiple reports done by US commanders of the military.  They were the ones doing the interacting, doing the questioning, doing the searches -- the US military.  Not the US State Dept.  I don't know why one report by the State Dept (during the Bully Boy Bush Occupation) would mean a damn thing to anyone to begin with.  But when contrasted with multiple reports from the US military, I don't know why you'd cite that one State Dept report and ignore all the US military reports unless it was to deliberately misinform people?
The State Dept may or may not be making the change.  If they are, it has more to do with concern over the fact that a court is watching their decission.  (Quick, Conspiracy Guru Greenwald!  Announce that the entire American judiciary has been bought off!)  It has to do with the fact that the European Union took them off the terrorist list in January 2009.  (I'm sure they were bought off too -- right, Crazy Glenn -- every last one!)
I guess if I were fiercely opposed to the de-listing but couldn't make a valid case for keeping them on the list,  I'd stick to insinuations about pay offs as well. 
Is is the right decision? I don't know.  My concern is that the US government live up to their legal obligations with regards to Camp Ashraf residents.  If Glenn and the other Three Faces of Eve had advocated on behalf of the residents, on behalf of international law, then maybe things would be turning out differently?  Instead, they spent years ignoring international law and now they want to whine at the way things may be going down?  Impotent and inneffective, I believe that describes them all.


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