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wmtc: military propaganda at sports events reaches new extremes: continuous recruitment ads at baseball games

I’ve recently returned from a lovely trip to Boston, filled with so many of my favourite things: friends, family, books, and baseball.

I love Fenway Park, and I’m always happy to be there. On this trip, we saw three great games, two of them wins, so I was thrilled. The games were marred by only one thing: nearly constant propaganda for the US military. This is not an exaggeration.

Throughout Fenway Park, as in many sports venues, there are monitors showing a TV feed of the action on the field. Right now, between innings, the Fenway Park monitors show (Read more…)

wmtc: march 19, 2003: don’t call it a failure. it was a huge success for so many.

Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.

This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a a Christian crusade against Muslims.

None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Ukraine Crisis: The Harper Conservatives Are NOT Canada

by: Obert Madondo

Last week’s “Canadian delegation” to Ukraine wasn’t a Canadian delegation. It was an all-Conservative outfit. The opposition was completely shut out.

The shut out reminds me of how Third World tyrants do politics. How they exploit global crises to score cheap domestic political points. The shut out makes a mockery of our multi-party liberal democracy. And the idea of by-partisanship that comes with it.

But shut-out is mostly part of the Conservatives’ campaign to retain power in 2015. It’s part of the effort to woo the ethnic vote, something the Conservatives would have to do on a (Read more…)

wmtc: support-the-troops hypocrisy continues; angry veterans call for fantino’s resignation

I am posting this article mainly so the commenter called “conservatives are lying scum” can repost his or her comments here. (You can currently read them on this old post: harper’s support for veterans: wear a poppy. do nothing else.) Veterans who were in Ottawa to lobby against the closing of their regional offices left a brief, emotional meeting Tuesday with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino visibly frustrated and saying they were disrespected.

The federal government has already closed one office in Prince George, B.C., and plans to close eight more on Jan. 31.

In a news (Read more…)

wmtc: "in the midst of madness, one soldier has refused to participate": let them stay week, revolutionary thought of the day, and other coincidences

Don’t you love it when everything comes together? It’s Let Them Stay Week 2014, I’m thinking about the US war resisters in Canada, and about war resistance in general. And I’m reading a terrific youth novel, Flight, by Sherman Alexie, both fast-paced and rich with insight and meaning. And I come upon this passage. And if this doesn’t qualify as a Revolutionary Thought of the Day, I don’t know what does. Without stopping, the white soldier reaches down and picks up Bow Boy. Cradles the child in one arm. And the white soldier keeps running. He’s running towards the (Read more…)

wmtc: let them stay week day 2: letter to the editor

Let Them Stay Week 2014 kicked off yesterday with a flutter on social media. Today we get underway in earnest by writing letters to the editors of local newspapers.

Three ideas for letters are here on the War Resisters Support Campaign website.

An excellent list of email address, along with some tips for writing effective letters, is here, thanks to the good folks fighting for our public health care system.

Your letter might reference one of three events: the 10th anniversary of the first Iraq War resister to arrive in Canada, the recent release from prison of war resister (Read more…)

wmtc: january 12-19: let them stay week 2014: stop the deportations!

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of Jeremy Hinzman, the first US Iraq War resister to seek asylum here after refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war. Yet 10 years on, Jeremy and his family, and many other U.S. war resisters, are still living in limbo – not certain if they will be forced to return to the US, where they face harsh punishment for their courageous decision.

From January 12 to 19, join Canadians across the country in Let Them Stay Week 2014, to send a message that U.S. (Read more…)

wmtc: government destruction of environmental archives: the harper govt’s war on facts marches on

At year’s end, The Tyee reported that a memo – marked “secret” and first reported on - cast grave doubts on the Harper Government’s claim that environmental archives were destroyed only after they had been preserved digitally. In other words, the memo proves what progressive and concerned Canadians have long known and suspected to be true. A federal document marked “secret” obtained by Postmedia News indicates the closure or destruction of more than half a dozen world famous science libraries has little if anything to do with digitizing books as claimed by the Harper government.

In fact, the (Read more…)

wmtc: today is chelsea manning’s fourth birthday behind bars

Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), who risked her freedom and her life so that people would see the truth about the US occupation of Iraq, is spending another birthday in prison. This is Manning’s fourth birthday behind bars. She was held in solitary confinement (a recognized form of torture) for 10 months, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing the video now known as Collateral Murder and other information to Wikileaks. Not one person was harmed as a result of the information becoming public.

On the other hand, the men who cooked up the highly profitable (Read more…)

wmtc: rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day: …something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences.

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

wmtc: war resister kimberly rivera released from prison in u.s.

At long last, Iraq War resister Kim Rivera is out of prison and reunited with her family. This is great news, the best news. I should be thrilled, but the whole situation makes me so sad that I can’t muster much joy.

wmtc: update on kimberly rivera and how you can help

Three days ago, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera gave birth to a son, Matthew Kaden, in a military hospital in San Diego. As soon as her hospital stay ends (which may have already happened), Kim will be taken back to prison. Her newborn baby will stay with his father and his siblings… but his mother will be forced to finish her prison term. Her release is scheduled for mid-December.

The US Army has rejected all appeals for clemency, and is insisting Kim serve the final weeks of her sentence, even though it means separating a mother and a newborn infant.

(Read more…)

wmtc: the war continues to kill: the wounded survivors, and those killed by their own conscience

Here are two excellent, heartbreaking stories about what happens to those who survive and don’t survive war.

The first, excerpted from Ann Jones’ book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars — the Untold Story: An older Army officer calls me over and gestures toward the empty seat by his side. He sits ramrod straight, wrapped in his blanket, and speaks through tight lips as if he fears what might come out of his mouth. “I’ve been in the Army twenty-six years,” he says, “and I can tell you it’s a con.”

He has been (Read more…)

wmtc: justin doolittle in salon: stop thanking the troops for your freedom. they didn’t give it to you.

Justin Doolittle, writing in Salon, takes down the military lovefest currently enveloping professional sports in North America: “Stop thanking the troops for me: No, they don’t “protect our freedoms!”“

Doolittle makes the point – extremely important and almost always overlooked – that we do not owe our present “freedom” (whatever that word is taken to mean) to “the troops”. (This is a point I recently quoted from Noah Richler‘s book What We Talk About When We Talk About War.) Doolittle writes: Freedom has become one of those politically charged terms that means whatever people (Read more…)

wmtc: 11.11: lest we forget, let’s not forget: there is no glory in war.

For Canadians who fear and distrust the steadily growing militarism suffusing the culture of our country, two recent books are indispensable: What We Talk About When We Talk About War, by Noah Richler, and Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay and Jamie Swift.

Richler’s book focuses on the re-writing and re-framing the distant past. And as the title (with its homage to Raymond Carver) suggests, Richler focuses on language. He analyzes how Canada’s image of itself, in relation to war-making and the military, has been radically altered, bit by incremental bit.

The book (Read more…)

wmtc: noah richler on the language of war propaganda, and the dishonesty of present ideology

From Noah Richler’s What We Talk About When We Talk About War: We have a duty to be honest and rigorous, with ourselves and with others, and to be able to brook contradiction and argument in our discussions of past wars and the present one in Afghanistan. But instead, in today’s Canada, we have arrived at a point where the use of any language that is not euphemistic is greeted as an assault on the work of soldiers, on a singular view of our past, and therefore on the character of the nation itself. Ideology thrives. History hardly comes into (Read more…)

wmtc: noah richler: canada was shaped by discussion and compromise, not through war

[The over-emphasis on Canadian military history] distorts and downplays the significant roles that Canadian politicians, diplomats, jurists and a variety of other civilians (such as artists) have had in shaping not just the domestic Canadian polity but abstract, universal ideas about statehood that have served as examples internationally – in Scottish constitutional development, for instance, and of course in the development of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948.

The nature of this contribution is significant specifically because the truth of Canadian history is that our military’s stake has not been inordinate. Resolution through discussion and compromise, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada must arrest Dick Cheney for torture, war crimes: Lawyers

A group of lawyers has asked Canada to arrest former US Vice President Dick Cheney for torture and war crimes when he visits Toronto later this week.

The post Canada must arrest Dick Cheney for torture, war crimes: Lawyers appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

wmtc: dirty wars: an important movie, marred by nationalism

Last night we watched “Dirty Wars,” investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s documentary film exposing the United States’ covert, lethal, extra-governmental operations around the globe. It’s an important film. Depending on your level of knowledge of the US, it may be eye-opening, or it may be shocking.

If you have not yet seen this film, I urge you to. It’s available on US Netflix and from many public library catalogs. (The website has a link to agitate for cinema screenings in your area.)

Please note I have called this film “important” and I have urged you all to see (Read more…)

wmtc: our tax dollars at work: a history of civilian casualties in afghanistan, 2001-2012

This is from the US, but it concerns every Canadian along with every USian. From The Nation, emphasis mine. The Nation’s interactive database of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is an attempt to compile as complete a list as possible of all known civilian deaths that have occurred in the country as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012.

See a summary of the database here, and the interactive database itself here.

wmtc: how canada supports it troops: by telling them to shut up

Thanks for your service, soldier. Now shut up, and that’s an order. Canada’s wounded soldiers are being required to sign a form agreeing not to criticize their superiors on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the Ottawa Citizen reported Friday.

The form reportedly also asks injured soldiers not to disclose “your views on any military subject” or post anything that could “discourage” others in the military.

The document, first obtained by the Citizen, was reportedly created in March and handed to military personnel who transfer to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, which was designed to help mentally and (Read more…)

wmtc: war resister rodney watson: four years in sanctuary

Today marks four years since Iraq War resister Rodney Watson requested sanctuary from the First United Church in Vancouver. Watson has been in sanctuary ever since.

We can honour Watson’s sacrifice and his commitment to peace by renewing our demand that the Canadian government allow Watson and all war resisters to live freely in Canada.

wmtc: dear war criminals: don’t lecture us about morals as you prepare to bomb civilians

Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.

- Secretary of State John Kerry

The slaughter of innocent civilians is a moral obscenity? I’m betting the people of Iraq and Afghanistan* agree.

Or is only the slaughter of civilians by chemical weapons obscene? Is slaughter by bombs – by house raids and checkpoints, by torture and endless imprisonment – merely ordinary and banal?

Does white phosphorous, the US’s chemical weapon of choice, constitute moral obscenity?

How about imprisoning for 35 years  (Read more…)

wmtc: the standard double-standard: prison for war resisters, immunity for war criminals

Abby Zimet reports on Common Dreams: Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted (Read more…)

wmtc: help fund "let them stay", the book

Some of you may remember when wmtc was obsessed with the War Resisters Support Campaign, a fact that was noticed in some very interesting places. (Hi CIC! Are you still reading?) I joined the Campaign in 2007, then in 2009, I began school for my Master of Information degree.

I managed to stay active in the Campaign during my first two years of school, but by fall of 2011, night classes plus my library page job on top of my regular paid employment forced me to take a back seat. I thought I’d reactivate immediately after (Read more…)