FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 04-10
GENDER & SPORTS
Bronner & IDF
Jane Anne Morris
Protesting School Cuts
Dolls & Drudges
Epic Recession III
Capitalizing on Disaster
NY For Sale
In Vitro, In Vivo!
Zaps - 04-10
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A Journalist's Responsibility
A talk with Dahr Jamail
As one of the first and only "unembedded" American journalists to report from Iraq, Dahr Jamail's work offers an unfiltered look at the lives of Iraqis affected by the occupation. A former mountain guide with no formal journalistic training, Jamail's dispatches have been published in the Guardian (UK), the Nation, and Le Monde Diplomatique, to name just a few.
KERSHNER: As you discuss in your book The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse To Fight In Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more American GIs have been openly opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could you talk about what military resisters are doing?
JAMAIL: I've found through interviewing dozens and dozens of soldiers that there have been many instances of overt resistance in Iraq. Soldiers have really low morale. They've become completely disgruntled by the situation and they're doing things called search and avoid missions. They've realized that their patrols are not serving any purpose, so they go out on fake patrols. They'll park in fields, radio in every hour at scheduled times telling their base that they're searching for weapons caches, etc., and then go back to base after their shift is done. I've talked with soldiers who've participated in this and it's been going on since the beginning of the occupation.
Other things that are happening—both in Iraq and back home—are instances of soldiers standing up against parts of the system that they don't agree with. There are many women now who are speaking out about being sexually assaulted in the military. It's really astounding.
While researching your book, was the Pentagon trying to clamp down on dissent? Or is it harder to see where the brass stands on the issue?
I think they take it on a case-by-case basis. Their overall objective, most of the time, is to sweep it under the carpet. In most instances, the U.S. military chooses to do things like they did with Ronn Cantu, a U.S. Army interrogator, who testified at the Winter Soldier hearings on Iraq and Afghanistan. They're either going to promote him so maybe that'll shut him up or ignore it and not do anything (probably the most common response). At the same time, there have been a few instances—like with Lt. Ehren Watada—where the military decides that it's a high profile case, that the guy has the potential of being a leader in a GI resistance movement, so they're going to throw the book at this guy.
However, I should point out that, currently, Watada is in legal limbo, pushing papers at a desk, still waiting for resolution. This is a situation where he is the highest-ranking person to refuse orders to go to Iraq. And, to this day, he hasn't yet done a day in jail or had to go back to Iraq.
Do you see military resisters playing a constructive role in discussions of U.S. foreign policy?
Absolutely. The problem is that they don't have a voice in the mainstream media or to elected officials. An exception to that would be the Winter Soldier hearings on the Hill that occurred last year. But that's the exception to the rule. If, at some point, they could be tapped for their information, then I think we could really see some fundamental change.
Would you ally yourself more with the European model of journalism, whereby reporters and their papers quite openly place themselves somewhere specific on the political spectrum?
I think that I would. I've been accused of being a populist. As a journalist, that's a compliment and that's how I'd like to be perceived. I feel it's my job to go where the silence is, to give people a voice who are outside the government or major media outlets. I think it's our job as journalists to monitor the centers of power and take them to task; to make them prove what they're saying and to make them give evidence. If we're not doing that, then we're not doing our jobs as journalists.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.