Monday, November 28, 2005

Al-Jazzera, Iraq contractors, recruiters

Good evening. Hope everyone had a great holiday break. We'll get things started with Democracy Now!

Al Jazeera Demands Answers from Bush Administration
The director-general of the Arabic tv network Al-Jazeera has demanded Washington respond to reports that President Bush wanted to bomb the network's headquarters in Doha. Last week the Daily Mirror cited a secret British memo revealing that Bush told Tony Blair last year of his desire to bomb the news outlet. The Bush administration has described the Daily Mirror's report as "outlandish." Officials at Al Jazeera are now questioning whether the U.S. might have been targeting the network when it bombed its bureaus in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Baghdad in April 2003. The attack in Iraq killed Al Jazeera's correspondent Tariq Ayub. Ayub's widow, Dina, said she is now considering suing the U.S. government for her husband's death. She said "America always claimed it was an accident. But I believe the new revelations prove that claim was false or at least not trustworthy." Meanwhile in Britain a ban remains in place on all media outlets from disclosing the contents of the secret memo. But a member of parliament - Boris Johnson - has vowed to publish the memo and risk jail time if anyone leaks him the document.

This is a big thing even if big media doesn't think so. Bully Boy wants to attack a network and you see how big media acts. Big cowards is more like it.

Where is the freedom of the press in this country? That's what you hear people complain but here's a perfect example of how big media doesn't support the press. If they were for a free press instead of saying silent or offering excuses of how Bully Boy was joking and nonsense like that, they'd be all over this story and trying to get as much information as possible.

By the way, C.I.'s given a head's up to Danny Schechter's "WAR ON THE MEDIA: 'Don't Bomb Us'" so I'll do the same.

UK investigates Shootings by Private Contractors in Iraq
The British Foreign Office is investigating allegations that private contractors with the defense company Aegis have randomly shot at Iraqi cars. According to the Telegraph newspaper, a video recently appeared on a site affiliated with Aegis that contained four clips of an unidentified gunman shooting at cars in Iraq. In one clip a Mercedes is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes in to a civilian taxi. One Iraqi Interior Ministry officials confirmed such shootings occur. He said: "When the security companies kill people they just drive away and nothing is done... I would say we have had about 50-60 incidents of this kind."

Here's another story big media's not interested in. How come? Maybe cause they never made a big deal when Paul Bremer was signing all those orders keeping contractors from being prosecuted.

Remember to check out Elaine's comments at Like Maria Said Paz.

And you've probably already seen it, but I want to make sure everyone knows about C.I.'s
"NYT: 'Even Supporters Doubt President As Issues Pile Up" (Kate Zernike)" which was done Saturday morning and takes the paper to task for never finding room in the paper for the voices who spoke out against the war. This is an essay and Ma says it's her favorite since C.I.'s "Reading Press Releases Live From The Green Zone (C.I.)." She said to put in that it's essays like this that really explain why The Common Ills is such a great site.

Dad wanted me to note something too, Elaine's "Too long on a variety of topics." Dad was wondering the same thing Beau wondered in his e-mail, if I'm feeling burned out? No. But I'm not even at six months for this site yet so check with me at the year mark. :D

Seriously though there are times when I wish I could do it later. Like so Nina and me or Tone and my other buds could hang out a bit. So if you check during the week and don't see something here at the usual time, check back later. Leigh Ann wondered if my oldest brother had set a date for his wedding. I don't think so. If he has, he's keeping all of us out of the loop. They're thinking of late spring or early summer but don't have a date planned. Or aren't telling if they do.

Be sure to check out "Recap of November 16th Counter Recuitment in Brooklyn" by in our hearts:

On Wednesday, November 16th, around 40 people flyered the armed forces recruitment station on 41 Flatbush Avenue near Downtown Brooklyn. We arrived to a recruitment center shut down completely by the police and almost all of the shutters pulled down on the large plate glass windows. There were cop cars, unmarked police vehicles, and a host of 'community affairs' cops lining the sidewalk at noon. Our goal was simple: to flyer potential recruits that might consider going in to the center, to be a public presence at a very busy intersection in downtown Brooklyn, and to make the recruiter's day uncomfortable.
During the day, we gave out over 500 flyers-- some presenting our position on fighting the government's bullshit wars, while others presented concrete reasons to not join the military (a flyer written by a black anarchist Vietnam war veteran, as well a newspaper directed toward people who have already enlisted with resources on what they can do now that they have signed up.) The response from passersby was very positive-- many people stopped to talk and thanked us for being there, and some recounted stories of people in their lives who are currently in the military. Lots of anti- Bush/war sentiment was displayed by people walking by and we had some great interactions with some high schoolers who were on break from school. Some kids expressed annoyance that the military is in their high schools and talked about the 'opt out' forms they had their parents sign to stop military recruiters from harassing them. Almost everyone who passed us took flyers and understood exactly why we were there-- The connection between the war and the presence of military recruitment stations in their neighborhood was simple for them, as many knew someone who was in the military or have had some kind of interaction with a recruiter.

And I saw that at CounterRecruiter so you should be checking that site out.