Jun 262011

Sheesh!  I wonder how many Canadians appreciate the extent of what’s happening on the war front, that our tax dollars are paying for?  that we are being dragged down into?

I watched this news video (not long) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hu2H5VhxI ).  It’s pretty compelling evidence that Canadians, because of our complete alignment with the Americans, will be participating in a ground war in Libya.   Elizabeth May, elected MP, Leader of the Green Party was the lone voice against extending the mission in Libya.  When the other MP’s were voting, I wonder whether they knew what Libya is escalating into?  (not to absolve them of responsibility, they should have known.)

THE PROBLEM:  if media coverage of the following development is any indication,  Canadians are not getting the information that would allow us to make informed decisions.   

The decisions are being made by Harper working with the American military-industrial complex.  Canada is becoming its own force for war. 

We have:

–      Harper’s signature on untendered contracts for F-35 stealth bombers. 

–      June 3:  Canada is setting up armed forces bases in six countries  (click on  2011-06-03  Canada to set up military bases abroad).  (If not for Le Devoir (French-language newspaper in Quebec) I am not certain that Canadians would know about this.)

–      June 15:  A legal challenge has been launched in the U.S. to the war on/in Libya.  It looks as though Canadians have received little news about the legal challenge?  . .    Parliament just voted to extend the mission, you’d think a legal challenge would be reported to us?

The video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hu2H5VhxI )  has footage about the legal action launched by the group of Democratic and Republican Congressmen in U.S. Federal Court:  the war on Libya is challenged as unconstitutional.  

Because of Canadian involvement in Libya  I was curious about reporting in mainstream Canadian media, compared with other places.

I googled “Libya Kucinich” (Congressman Kucinich is the Democrat under whose name the legal challenge is launched):    

 June 15th –  The Los Angeles Times reports “Kucinich files suit over U.S. involvement in Libya”.

June 17th –  The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports “Congressmen challenge Obama on Libya”.

 The on-line Globe & Mail contains: 

June 21 –  “Senators seek retroactive approval of Libya mission”.  

 I am not saying that the legal challenge was not reported in the G&M;  I am saying that when I went to the G&M website and searched on ““Libya Kucinich”  the legal challenge did not come up.   Nor did it come up under “court challenge U.S. Libya”, nor under “Libya lawsuit Kucinich” which on google news brings up reports in the Washington Times, an International Business report, etc. etc.    

 I don’t often watch television news.  Has anyone heard about the legal challenge to the war that our Parliamentarians (save one) just signed-up to continue?   (I recommend you watch:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hu2H5VhxI )

 I continue to be bothered by this related item: 

One night a couple of months ago I DID watch the late CBC TV News.  Continuing on the heels of the News was a documentary-style show:  it was entirely about Minister of Defence, Peter McKay, going through the training exercises for combat alongside armed forces recruits.  The commanding officer was putting him through the ropes with the same treatment as regular soldiers.  The show filled the full programme time-slot (an hour, I believe). 

 I was disturbed:  this is outside of what is acceptable in democratic governance.   Did CBC make the documentary?  …  I don’t think so.  From the credits at the end I had the impression that some private filmmaker had been hired to made the documentary. 

CBC aired the film.  It was announced as one in a series of “Meet the Minister”,  or  “Put the Minister to Work” (some such title).  It was a terrible piece of propaganda and free advertising, hour-long, for a Member-of-Parliament.  I have not looked to see which other ministers have been similarly promoted. 

 Here are the reports of the legal challenge to the war in Libya, as handled in:

1.  Australia, Sydney Herald

2.  U.S., L.A. Times

3.  Canada, Globe & Mail

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  1. http://www.smh.com.au/world/congressmen-challenge-obama-on-libya-20110616-1g5uo.html?from=smh_sb 

Congressmen challenge Obama on Libya

Simon Mann, Washington

June 17, 2011

WAR-WEARY members of Congress have challenged President Barack Obama on two fronts, asking a court to put an end to United States involvement in the attack on Libya, and calling for a big reduction in American troop numbers in Afghanistan.

The two actions, both with bipartisan support, came with the Libya campaign mired in its 13th week and just days ahead of Mr Obama laying out his plan for the much-anticipated drawdown of forces from Afghanistan.

Their agitation reflects growing disquiet in America over the breadth of US military commitments abroad, as well as the escalating financial burden.

Opinion polls suggest that seven out of 10 Americans want the US to start bringing troops home, with most unconvinced of the need for US involvement in Libya.

A group of 10 members of Congress said they were suing Mr Obama and Defence Secretary Robert Gates for having bypassed Capitol Hill under the cloak of UN and NATO authorisation for US military strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. They have asked a District Court judge in Washington to issue an order suspending the military action unless the administration seeks Congressional approval to continue.

The move came a day after the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, warned Mr Obama that a 90-day deadline for seeking approval, mandated by a Vietnam-era law, was due to expire, and demanded he explain the legal grounds for America’s continued involvement.

But even before the group launched its court action, the White House issued a 38-page defence of its Libya campaign in which it rejected the concerns of lawmakers. It said America’s strictly limited role meant it was not the type of escalating conflict that would require approval from Congress or an end to fighting under the War Powers Resolution, passed in 1973 in response to the Vietnam War.

Further, the ”US operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve US ground troops”.

The White House put the daily cost of its involvement at $US10 million ($A9.38 million).

Last week, with NATO canvassing the end of Colonel Gaddafi, Mr Gates talked of a renewed coalition commitment which hinted at intensified US involvement in a bid to help NATO finish the job.

Meanwhile, a letter signed by 27 senators that called for ”a sizeable and sustained” pull-back from Afghanistan appeared aimed at shaping the President’s thinking as he seeks to deliver on his promise to start scaling back operations there from July.

The senators said the exit strategy should include combat troops first, putting them at odds with Mr Gates, who has argued that initial withdrawals should be confined to support units.

Appearing before a Senate committee on Wednesday, Mr Gates reiterated: ”I know people are tired, but people also have to think in terms of stability.” He warned of a possible resurgence of Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.

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2.    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/15/news/la-pn-libya-court-challenge-20110615

 Kucinich files suit over U.S. involvement in Libya

June 15, 2011 |  By Lisa Mascaro

Antiwar Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) filed suit in federal court Wednesday seeking to halt the U.S. military action in Libya, saying it is unconstitutional.

Kucinich and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, another longtime war critic, led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the latest challenge to the White House’s authority to conduct the campaign without seeking congressional approval under the War Powers Act.

Photos: U.S., allies strike targets in Libya

“With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated,” Kucinich said. “We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies.”

Lawmakers have become increasingly uneasy over the administration’s interactions with Congress about the scope and duration of U.S. involvement in the NATO-led mission.

The House passed a resolution this month demanding a report from the White House on the military operation. House Speaker John Boehner sent the White House a letter this week saying the administration would be in violation of the act on Sunday, the 90th day of military engagement, and the limit allowed without congressional approval under the Vietnam War-era policy.

The White House has said it was preparing “extensive information” to present to Congress on a “whole host” of issues about the Libya campaign.

Lmascaro  AT  tribune.com

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3.    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/senators-seek-retroactive-approval-of-libya-mission/article2069487/ 

Senators seek retroactive approval of Libya mission

Donna Cassata

Washington— The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011 3:02PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011 3:15PM EDT

Two top senators on Tuesday unveiled a resolution giving President Barack Obama limited authority in the three-month-old war against Libya, warning that the drastic step of cutting off funds for the military operation would be a lifeline to a weakened Moammar Gadhafi.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and John McCain of Arizona, the leading Republican on the Armed Services Committee, introduced the bipartisan resolution that would allow the mission to continue but would impose a one-year limit on the NATO-led operation, a period Mr. McCain said is “more than enough time to finish the job.” It also would prohibit American ground forces in Libya.

More related to this story

The measure is a clear counter to efforts in the House to prohibit spending and effectively end the operation, a reflection of the growing Republican and Democratic anger toward Mr. Obama and his treatment of Congress. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said lawmakers will consider measures to cut off funds.

“Our members are very frustrated over the president’s actions, his lack of positing a clear mission and vision for our involvement in Libya,” Mr. Cantor told reporters. “Members have not seen the reasons why or why not the president thinks we’re involved in hostilities.”

The commander in chief did not seek congressional consent when he launched air strikes against Mr. Gadhafi’s forces on March 19. Lawmakers argue that Mr. Obama is in violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution that requires approval of the legislative branch within 60 days, with a 30-day extension. That deadline has passed.

The White House, in a report to Congress last week, said the limited U.S. role in the operation did not amount to hostilities, an argument that further inflamed lawmakers.

Seeking to quell the outrage, Mr. Kerry and Mr. McCain proposed their measure and urged lawmakers to consider the implications of abandoning the mission.

“Gadhafi is going to fall. It is just a matter of time,” Mr. McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor. “Is this the time for Congress to turn against this policy? Is this the time to ride to the rescue of a failing tyrant when the writing is on the wall that he will collapse?”

Said Mr. Kerry: “The last message any United States senator wants to send is that this mad man need only wait us out because we are divided at home.”

Mr. Kerry and Mr. McCain, their parties’ presidential nominees in 2004 and 2008, cautioned against allowing politics to dictate policy.

Mr. McCain said Republicans should think long and hard about challenging a Democratic president’s authority, saying it could haunt a future president who might be a Republican.

Mr. Kerry said a House vote to defund the mission would be “a moment of infamy because it would reinforce the all-too-common misperception on the Arab street that America says one thing and does another.”

In the House, Reps. Joe Heck and Dennis Kucinich are pushing measures to cut off funds for Libya. The House could consider that legislation this week, either as part of a defense spending bill or free-standing legislation.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said cutting off funds “would undermine the confidence of NATO in the ability of the president of the United States to participate in support of an effort that NATO had agreed to, the United Nations had agreed to and the Arab League had agreed to.”

In a letter to House members, leading conservatives warned against efforts to stop the mission, arguing against the United States becoming “one of those irresolute allies. The United States must see this effort in Libya through to its conclusion.” Among those signing the letter were Karl Rove, former adviser to President George W. Bush, and Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

But Sen. John Cornyn said Republicans remain “frustrated that the president has ignored the Congress.”

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