The program I want to recommend tonight is Bill Moyers Journal.
I watched with Ava and C.I. who'd watched a DVD of another PBS program right before, a really bad program. It repeated lies about Hugo Chavez, stressed the 'good' of nuclear power, and much, much worse. We were all at Trina's and I asked if they would mind if I turned on the TV to catch Mr. Moyers. They did not mind and we ended up watching together.
They hail it as the best program he has done in 2008. It really was a strong one and an incredible mix. I especially enjoyed the opening essay. If you are a fan of John Grisham's writing, you have another reason to catch the broadcast because he was on discussing how he will be taking part in a summit Jimmy Carter is organizing for Baptists and he also discusses his new book.
You really need to catch all of it, especially when Mr. Moyers discusses history of England specials. Remember that you can watch or listen or read Bill Moyers Journal online if it has already aired in your area or if you want to enjoy it again.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Friday, January 25, 2008. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, actions gear up in support of war resisters in Canada, the US military announces another death, Glen Ford offers a look at coded terms in the political races, the treaty that would tie the US and Iraq together (in combat) for years, and more.
Starting with war resistance. Candace Hechman (Seattle Post Intelligencer) notes that Project Safe Haven is staging a "vigil in front of the Canadian consulate in downtown Seattle to plead that AWOL Iraq veterans be allowed to remain in sanctuary in the Great White North" and quotes Gerry Condon explaining, "Canada has a rich tradition of providing sanctuary to those who conscientiously refused to fight in war. Now it is time for the Canadian government to do the right thing, before it's too late."
What's Condon referring to? On November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Parliament is the solution. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions. The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:
The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure : 1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada. For listings of local actions, see our Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.
Courage to Resist notes:
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter "Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!" and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
War resister Patrick Hart states, "It's great that people all across Canada and the US are coming out to show support for the war resisters. My family could be told we have to go back to the States anytime now. We just want to be able to live here in peace and raise our son, Rian. We hope that the politicians will let us do that." Among the actions taking place in Canada on Saturday the 26th:
* Toronto at the Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. West, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and will feature, among others, activist and actress Shirley Douglas, Lawrence Hill (co-author of The Deserter's Tale with Joshua Key) and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow who has led on the issue of war resisters from early on.
*Saskaton at Frances Morrison Library Theatre, 311 23rd Street East, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in which Joshua Key will be the featured speaker, Navdeep Sidhu and Friends will provide music and Michelle Mason's documentary on war resisters () will be shown.
*Vancouver at the main branch of Vancouver Public Library (Georgia and Homer), starting at 1:00 p.m., and featuring IVAW's Ash Woolson and Canadian MP Bill Siksay.
A full list of Canadian actions can be found here.
War resister Brad McCall will speak in Saturday at Fairfield United Church Hall in Victoria (1303 Fairfield Road) starting at 10:00 am, along with MP Denise Savoie. McCall explains his story in "From the U.S. Army to Canada: a resister's journey" (The Rabble) "One Sergeant explained how he shot a man in an alleyway just for being out after dark. He expressed how easy it was to kill "hajjis" once you did it for the first time. I listened as one soldier told how a specialist in my unit kept a human finger in his wall locker during his entire tour of duty. The laughing ensued as I heard the story of a soldier in another company eating the charred flesh of an Iraqi civilian, the unfortunate victim of an IED attack aimed at American forces. I thought about how callous these men had become, and how horrified I was at the idea of disrespecting human life in such a manner. This is when doubt began to flood my mind."
Laura Kaminker (writing at Common Dreams) observes, "In discussing this issue with supposedly progressive Americans, I was shocked - and frankly disgusted - to learn that some people who oppose the war in Iraq do not support the war resisters' cause. Their argument: 'If they didn't join in the first place, there wouldn't be a war!' This strikes me as both extremely naive and horribly selfish. Many of us were fortunate to grow up in homes where questioning authority was encouraged, where dissent and protest were a way of life - not to mention in families that could afford higher education and health care. If you cannot imagine what kind of background might lead someone to enlist in the US military, I again recommend The Deserter's Tale. But even if we never would have made such a choice, do we want to see people who have experienced such a radical change of mind punished for their beliefs? Isn't this the very change of heart that we wish to instill in others? And most importantly, should a person be imprisoned for refusing to kill?"
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, 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).
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 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'."
In the United States yesterday the Green Party issued a call "on Americans who oppose the Iraq War to rebuff an agreement among pro-Democratic 'antiwar' lobbies to scale back pressure to end the war." IVAW's Jason Wallace, running as a Green for the US House of Representatives from Illinois 11th District, is quoted stating, "MoveOn.org, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and other groups have decided that passing legislation in Congress that does nothing to end the war makes their favorite Democratic candidates look better than demanding action to end the war quickly. The big myth of the 2008 election is that Democrats are the antiwar candidates. In reality, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for a longer occupation in Iraq and possibly a war with Iran." Earlier this month PR Watch explained that "Ryan Grim reports that the biggest and best-funded organizations in the liberal peace movement, primarily MoveOn and the groups in its Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) coalition, are no longer advocating that Congress end the war. This year "the groups instead will lower their sights and push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could keep significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come. ... The groups believe this switch in strategy can draw contrasts with Republicans that will help Democrats gain ground in November." The Green Party also quotes Titus North who is running for the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 14th district stating, "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both said they'd maintain a permanent US military presence in Iraq with only a limited draw-down of combat troops that could then be redeployed 'just over the horizon.' This military misadventure is not in the best interests of Americans or Iraqis and only benefits the oil and weapons industries. Groups like MoveOn that divert the energies of peace activists towards Democrat candidates who fail to push for a prompt and total withdrawal only undermine the peace movement and advance the war agenda. Voters need genuine peace candidates like thos from the Green Party." Bob Kinsey, who is running for the US Senate out of Colorado, explains, "The position of Green candidates is that we are not willing to accept any more dying by violence -- American or otherwise. It has been the willingness of US military policy to accept collateral damage in the hundreds of thousands and forcing people to live under governments of our choosing, which drives hostility towards us and decreases our own security. The recent statement by NATO leaders urging maintenance of a first strike nuclear policy is one more example of a dangerous position that has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats." July tenth through thirteenth is when the Green Party will be holding their National Nominating Convention in Chicago. Click here for the Green Party News Center, here for a database of Green candidates, here for video of the Green presidential candidates and of course, if it's Green news, Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) is probably posting about it. The Green Party has scheduled another presidential candidate forum for February 2nd at Busboys & Poets in DC (14th and V Streets) at ten in the morning -- Jesse Johnson and Kent Mesplay are confirmed to appear others may or may not. More info click here. This will be their second presidential forum for the 2008 election. Meanwhile, Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) observes that the same exclusion practiced in the Democratic debates "will happen to the Green Party -- which, if they have any sense at all, will nominate former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney as their standard bearer. But only those who keep up with such things will be aware that the Greens have a candidate" as a result of the media blackout.
Having ignored a real issue all week, it's not pretty when people try to play catch up. Today, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) declared during headlines, "The New York Times is reporting the Bush administration plans to insist the Iraqi government agree to effectively extend the legal immunity enjoyed by foreign contractors operating inside Iraq. The demand is one of several expected from the White House as it negotiates an extension of its UN-backed occupation mandate set to expire at the end of the year."
NO! There are mistakes already but we're not going further after that one. This isn't "an extension of its UN-backed occupation." The United Nations is being written out of the picture. How you fail to grasp that, I don't know. But this isn't a new topic and we've covered and re-covered it for nearly two months now. There is no extension of the UN mandate. That's the whole point of what is going on, to escape the minor guidelines imposed by the United Nations. al-Maliki ignored the Iraqi Parliament and renewed the mandate for one last year -- he says it's the last year -- which would carry the illegal war through December 2008 (and the UN ignored that he didn't have the authority to renew it by himself). The White House and their Baghdad puppet are now attempting to sidestep the UN's 'oversight' and enter into a treaty which would bind the US to Iraq for many years to come. Back to Goodman, "Democrats are demanding congressional oversight over what it says amounts to a full-on treaty. The White House also wants to expand the immunity for all U.S. military and extend its authority to hold Iraqi prisoners." No, it's not just the Democrats. There are Republicans wanting Congressional oversight as well. Now, believe it or not, the big issue isn't the contractors. The biggest issue is that it's a treaty and the Congress is bypassed. So is the Iraqi parliament and, Goodman, they're objecting too. So are legal scholars. That headline was no help at all and just demonstrated that you can't rush in after ignoring an important topic and dispense with it in a few sentences. This wasn't even the lead headline. Bully Boy's attempting to circumvent the Constitution and, if he does, he will tie US forces to Iraq far beyond his departure from the White House.
Here's how Charlie Savage (Boston Globe) explains it today:
President Bush's plan to forge a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could commit the US military to defending Iraq's security would be the first time such a sweeping mutual defense compact has been enacted without congressional approval, according to legal specialists.After World War II, for example - when the United States gave security commitments to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and NATO members - Presidents Truman and Eisenhower designated the agreements as treaties requiring Senate ratification. In 1985, when President Ronald Reagan guaranteed that the US military would defend the Marshall Islands and Micronesia if they were attacked, the compacts were put to a vote by both chambers of Congress.By contrast, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki have already agreed that a coming compact will include the United States providing "security assurances and commitments" to Iraq to deter any foreign invasion or internal terrorism by "outlaw groups." But a top White House official has also said that Bush does not intend to submit the deal to Congress.
Goodman's mistake is in citing the New York Times which always supports the State Department (regardless of who is in the Oval Office) and sent the clean up crew of Thom Shanker and Steven Lee Myer to 'cover' the story today. They accept the premise that the treaty is fine but there's a sticky point -- those pesky contractors. That's like arguing the only problem with the illegal war is that white phosphorus is used. Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) do a little better job than Shanker and Myer and note US Senator Hillary Clinton spoke out against the treaty in Monday's Democratic presidential debate.
Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments. Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush. And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well. We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America. You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress." This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.
Charlie Savage notes, "The New York senator has filed legislation that would block the expenditure of funds to implement any agreement with Iraq that was not submitted to Congress for approval. Her rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, became a cosponsor to the bill on Tuesday." As the true dean of the DC press corps, Helen Thomas (Boston Channel), notes, "Congress should keep Bush from making commitments concerning Iraq that could tie the hands of his successor and trap the next president in his pointless war. In responde to my question, deputy White House press secreatry Tony Fratto said Bush had not signed any documents to keep the war going, but he added that work is under way on an agreement to cement the U.S. relationship with Iraq." Lane Lambert (Sandwich Broadsider) notes, "U.S. Rep. William Delahunt is sounding the alarm about a new U.S.-Iraq security agreement that he says could bind this country to an unprecedented, possibly unconstitutional, commitment of American military force" and quotes Delahunt declaring, "This is one of the most significant foreign policy decisions that will be made this year or next year. If this doesn't rise to the level of a treaty, I don't know what does."
As noted in yesterday's snapshot Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister) is already calling it a treaty. Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports on Zebari today and notes, "The Iraqi leaders are eager to sign by July a bilateral treaty with the US which would in effect determine who rules Iraq." Treaty. Ali Gharib (IPS) notes that Brookings Boy Mikey O'Hanlon thinks Congress has no say -- and we all know what a liar and war cheerleader O'Hanlon is. Brian Beutler (Mother Jones) notes the legal scholars that testified at Delahunt's subcommittee hearing Wednesday, "If covered within a treaty, Congress could block the president from making this sort of agreement with Maliki. But without one the president could provide similar assurances informally, leaving the future president -- Democrat or Republican -- in a tricky diplomatic position if he or she decides not to honor Bush's promise. Testifying on Wednesday, [conservative AEI's Michael] Rubin noted that any guarantee that U.S. troops would defend Iraqi territory would demand a treaty."
On US politics, Tom Hayden (writing at the San Francisco Chronicle) points out that the Democratic candidates for president (Clinton, Obama and John Edwards) have not been pinned down and that "combat troops" does not equal "all troops," "To sum up, if all American combat troops ever are withdrawn, there still will remain 50,000 to 100,000 Americans involved in a low-visibility, dirty war in Iraq, just like those that involved death squads in Central American in the '70s, or the earlier Phoenix program in South Vietnam, in which the Viet Cong infrastructure was decimated by assassinations and torture. Top American advisers in Baghdad today operated the El Salvador counter-insurgency and have praised the Phoenix program. This, in fact, already is happening. The Baghdad regime is described by a source in the Baker-Hamilton report as a Shiite dictatorship. The recent lessening of violence in Baghdad largely is due to the ethnic cleansing of its Sunni population. At least 50,000 detainees are imprisoned today without charges or trial dates. The United States is paying Sunnis to fight Sunnis, funding the Shiite-dominated security forces, and has increased its bombardment from the air by fivefold since last year."
Let's turn to some of today's violence and it's Friday which means very little gets reported.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded a police officer and a civilian and a Diyala Province roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left another person wounded.
Shootings?Reuters reports US collaborators in the 'Awakening' Council in Samarra shot two people while outside Falluja they teamed up with the Iraqi police to shoot one person and leave another injured.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Saidiyah.
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier died Jan. 25 of noncombat related causes." ICCC's total currently stands at 3932 US service members killed in Iraq while serving in the illegal war.
On this week's CounterSpin, Peter Hart spoke with Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford addressed the issue of candidate Barack Obama (Ford is not a Hillary supporter and notes the two are siamese twins).
Glen Ford: He has garnered White support at the expense of Black folks. Now he has done this in so many ways I've had to pare it down. But here are two. He said in Selma that Blacks have already come 90% of the way to equality with the inference of course that if he gets to be president we will have come all the way. Of course that's a signal to White people that this is almost over -- all this talk about race, all these 'complaints' from the likes of and they always fill in the blanks -- Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. 'But I'm with you, it's almost over, the progress has been almost completed.' That is so blatantly an appeal to White folks who just don't want to hear about race. If it had come out of White man's mouth, Barack Obama would have been excoriated by Black people. And now, most recently, in fact, effectively, he praised the Republicans for their ideas in the 90s and on Ronald Reagan. And he talks about all the excesses of the 60s and 70s. I have never heard a more blantant code phrase than that. Which, of course, again, if it had come out of a White Democrat's mouth, that candidate would be persona non grata in all progressive quarters of the Democratic Party. So Obama is in a very real sense -- and he's been doing this from the beginning -- running a campaign on race but one that's appealing to White people.
On the campaigns quickly, Taylor Marsh is covering everything but there's a problem for some with her site loading -- if you're checking out one post at her site, this one will give you the basics today including Matt Lauer's nonsense and it has a video clip.
iraq veterans against the war
charlie savagethom shankerthe new york timesjulian e. barnesthe los angeles times
walter pincusthe washington post
glen fordblack agenda report