Monday, March 20, 2006

Protests, US accused of killing Iraqi civilians, Michael Gordon the war pornographer

Good evening. We'll get things kick started with Democracy Now!

Anti-War Protests Worldwide as Occupation Enters Fourth Year
As Iraq entered its fourth year under US occupation Sunday, anti-war protests were held around the world. Tens of thousands of people took the streets in cities across the US, Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia. In Iraq, protesters demonstrated in Basra and Baghdad to protest the ongoing U.S. occupation.

It's Groan Day -- when you wish the weekend had another day. But if you took part in the protests this weekend, you can feel like you accomplished something and be proud. I took part with Nina, my folks and my kid sister. And, right when we were getting ready to leave, my oldest sister Kelley shows up saying she wants to go too.

I think I made a mistake there. I didn't put out invites to my family. I did to my friends and Tone and a lot of them showed up. But I'm the second youngest in my family and I always assume my brothers and sisters are too busy or off living their lives. Kelley's the pushiest and so she heard us all talking, like they all did, and decided for herself, "I'm going too." Which was way cool. But if I'd taken the time to invite, I bet more would have come. On Sunday, we were talking about that and they were like, "Oh, well, I thought it was your thing." Like I didn't want them showing up. So next protest, I'll invite. That's my lesson learned.

Did you learn a lesson this weekend?

I know some people couldn't go or didn't have stuff in their area so they were doing stuff on their own, inviting friends over and having House Parties and stuff. I hope that went well too. I hope everybody did something.

One protest alone doesn't stop the war. But I think each one adds something and keeps the fight going and makes it more visible.

US Accused of Killing Iraqi Civilians Near Balad
Meanwhile, Iraqi police have accused US troops of murdering 11 civilians in a raid just last week. According to an Iraqi police report obtained by the Knight Ridder news agency, the villagers were killed after US troops herded them into one room of a house near the city of Balad. The dead included two young children, a 6-month-old infant and an elderly woman. The report says the troops burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house. A local police commander said all the victims were found handcuffed with gunshot wounds to the head.

If the accustations are true, that's really disgusting. It's not surprising though and that's kind of sad. But when you occupy something, you start seeing the people who were there before you as less than people. That's why we need to get out now because things aren't going to get better. They can't while we occupy Iraq.

A lot of e-mails came in on The Third Estate Sunday Review and most of you are wondering what I'm most proud of?

That's a hard question because there's a lot of good stuff. That includes "TV Review: Don't call her Elaine" by Ava and C.I. -- and I didn't write a word of that. They did their TV review early and kept going, "Well post it" because there was some trouble with posting and some stuff getting lost. But Jim was going, "Not with that opening." Jim thinks opening's are real important and he thinks "TV Review: Don't call her Elaine" had a real strong opening.

Dona wanted us to have shorter stuff this time and be more creative but then we heard the newsbreak during RadioNation with Laura Flanders and that really ticked us off because Flanders does a good show and she doesn't need some anchor coming on and getting stuff wrong in the newsbreaks. So we wrote "Miles Cameron can't figure out what news is" and the idea of short and creative went out the window. I like all the stuff but I'll pick one for today and it's going to be "Why We March." I just really like that one.

But you know what I was most proud of all weekend? "NYT: Can't own up to mistakes, be it the paper or Michael Gordon." C.I. wrote that and I just think it's really great. Not just because I know it was written quickly but because it was written so well. It's about how the war pornographer Michael Gordon thought he could lie and hide what he did or try to act like Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez didn't know what they were talking about. They knew what they were talking about. If you missed that Friday on Democracy Now! go to "New York Times Chief Military Correspondent Michael Gordon Defends Pre-War Reporting on WMDs."

Here's C.I. talking about Gordon:

Over 2300 dead American troops because an illegal war was sold on lies and the best Gordon (who had a hand in selling it) can do is say, "That's a policy judgment"? [Note that the link for that goes to the first half of the broadcast. We're focused on the second half for most of the comments comments but for those who see a link and think "Oh, it's going to the same thing and I already read it" -- his "policy judgement" comes from the first half of the program.]
If that's his idea of neutrality or objectivity, it's a funny sort of understanding. He wasn't neutral or objective on journalists being targeted with bombs (he was for it at the time, though now he tries to rewrite reality). He wasn't neutral or objective when false claims were made before the invasion by the administration (he was pimping them like there was no tomorrow). But on the war he helped sell, it's a "policy judgement." On the war that's cost an unkown number of Iraqi lives, he's neutral.
Too bad he had no neutrality when he and his profession needed it.
Now? Now the little boy who cried wolf (more than once) wants to pin it all on big sis Judy. He wants to act as though it wasn't him, it was that older sister Judith Miller. Why, he played with Jimmy Risen and lots of other boys! He wasn't just spending all day inside playing WMD dress up with Judy. He was a tough boy.
Whatever he is, whatever he was, it wasn't a reporter.

I just love it because C.I. totally demolishes Gordon and you read it and nod but you also laugh. If you saw Amy Goodman and Juan Gozalez interviewing Gordon, you know he said stuff about also writing pieces with James Risen. So it's just so funny when C.I. writes about Gordon and "big sis Judy." And how he "played with Jimmy Risen and lots of other boys. He wasn't just spending all day inside playing WMD dress up with Judy. He was a tough boy." He really did act like that on Democracy Now! so I just couldn't stop laughing when I read C.I. Saturday morning.

Maria did the rundown of headlines and you should check those out. But I'm going to do tags first because Kat tried and tried on Saturday to get Technorati to read C.I.'s tags for that first entry but couldn't get it to read. She thinks "NYT: Can't own up to mistakes, be it the paper or Michael Gordon" may have been too long and by the time the tags show, it's too late. That's too bad if that's the reason because it's great and my prof passed it out in class today. People were reading it and you could tell some were getting into the seriousness of it, cause it's a pretty heavy entry, and then there would come a joke and you'd hear people laughing.

So let me do my tags and Maria's thing is right after. Go check out Like Maria Said Paz to get Elaine's take on things.

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aereo desde invasion a Irak (Democracy Now!)
Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "Democracy Now!" diez cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aéreo desde invasión a Irak
Soldados estadounidenses e iraquíes lanzaron lo que las Fuerzas Armadas denominan el mayor ataque aéreo en los tres años desde que comenzó la invasión a Irak. En un comunicado de prensa, el ejército dijo que se desplegaron más de 1.500 soldados y 50 aviones en un "área donde se sospecha que opera la insurgencia" en el noreste de Samarra. Se espera que la operación "Enjambre" dure varios días. Hasta ahora no se han informado muertes.

Culpan a ataques estadounidenses de la muerte de integrantes de una familia iraquí
Mientras tanto, se responsabiliza a un ataque militar estadounidense a la localidad iraquí de Balad, de la muerte de por lo menos una docena de integrantes de una familia. Entre los muertos se encontraban cinco niños y seis mujeres. "Associated Press" informa que la casa de esta familia fue derribada por un ataque aéreo de un helicóptero estadounidense. Las víctimas fueron envueltas en mantas y llevadas al Hospital General de Tíkrit. Ahmed Khalaf, el hermano de una de las víctimas, dijo: "La familia asesinada no era parte de la resistencia, eran mujeres y niños. Los estadounidenses nos prometieron una vida mejor, pero sólo obtenemos muerte".

Nueva encuesta: 36 por ciento aprueba gestión de Bush, mientras que el 60 por ciento dice que la guerra va mal
Bush anunció durante un discurso que lanzó una nueva campaña de relaciones públicas para obtener más apoyo para la guerra en Irak y su presidencia. La última encuesta de "USA Today"/CNN indica que el índice de aprobación del presidente es de sólo el 36 por ciento. Y el 60 por ciento de la población del país dice que la guerra en Irak va mal.

Principal general estadounidense en Irak señala que bases militares podrían volverse permanentes
En otras noticias, el principal comandante militar estadounidense en Irak señaló que Estados Unidos podría tener intenciones de mantener varias bases militares que construyó en este país. El General John Abizaid, compareció el martes ante un subcomité del Congreso y dijo que Estados Unidos podría querer conservar su posición en Irak para apoyar a los "moderados" regionales y proteger los suministros de petróleo.

Informe: Ataques aéreos estadounidenses aumentan un 50 por ciento en Irak
En otras noticias sobre Irak, "Knight Ridder" informa que el gobierno estadounidense incrementó los ataques aéreos más de un 50 por ciento en los últimos cinco meses. Según las cifras militares, las fuerzas estadounidenses arrojaron al menos el doble de bombas en ciudades iraquíes que durante el mismo período el año pasado. Este año, los aviones de guerra estadounidenses atacaron por lo menos 18 ciudades distintas.

Nivel más bajo de generación eléctrica en Irak desde período posterior a la invasión
En otras noticias sobre Irak, "Associated Press" informa que la generación eléctrica alcanzó el nivel más bajo desde el período posterior a la invasión estadounidense a Irak, hace tres años. Algunos analistas creen que Irak podría tener que recurrir a su país vecino, Irán, para resolver la crisis energética, este mismo verano. El sistema eléctrico de Irak sufrió numerosos problemas desde que fue atacado en la invasión dirigida por Estados Unidos en 1991. Actualmente, es capaz de cubrir menos de la mitad de las necesidades de Irak. La preocupación de los iraquíes por la recuperación del sistema ha aumentando debido a la disminución de los fondos de reconstrucción provenientes de Estados Unidos. Según el inspector general para la reconstrucción de Irak, los fondos actuales son de 200 millones de dólares menos que los necesarios para cubrir las necesidades mínimas del sistema.

Soldado británico de élite se niega a luchar con Estados Unidos en Irak
En Gran Bretaña, un soldado de la élite SAS (Servicio Especial Aéreo) se niega a volver a luchar en Irak en lo que describe como una guerra de agresión moralmente incorrecta. Se cree que el soldado, Ben Griffin, es el primer soldado del SAS en negarse a luchar y en abandonar el ejército por motivos morales. Griffin dijo que se negaba a luchar junto con soldados estadounidenses porque veían a los iraquíes como "untermenschen", el término Nazi para denominar razas consideradas infrahumanas. También acusó a los soldados estadounidenses de cometer "docenas de actos ilegales" en Irak.

Más de 500 eventos planificados para conmemorar el tercer año de la guerra en Irak
Y mientras la invasión y ocupación de Irak cumplen su tercer año este domingo, los activistas están organizando eventos en contra de la guerra en todo el mundo. Tan sólo en Estados Unidos, se llevarán a cabo al menos 500 protestas durante el fin de semana. United for Peace and Justice (Unidos por la Paz y la Justicia) organizó actividades en los 50 estados. Algunas comenzaron a principios de esta semana. Una marcha de veteranos por la paz, que comenzó el martes en Alabama, terminará en Nueva Orleáns. Según "USA Today", una nueva encuesta indica que el 60 por ciento de los estadounidenses creen que la guerra no "valía la pena". En Londres, Stop the War Coalition llevará a cabo una protesta el sábado para exigir la retirada de los soldados estadounidenses y británicos de Irak. Manifestaciones similares se llevarán a cabo en ciudades de Irak, así como también en México, Japón, y en otras partes de Europa.

Estados Unidos criticado por juzgar a prisionero detenido desde que tenía 15 años de edad
Esta noticia es sobre la Bahía de Guantánamo. Los abogados de derechos humanos le pedirán hoy a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que suspenda el tribunal militar de un ciudadano canadiense que ha estado detenido en la prisión militar desde que tenía 15 años. Los abogados dijeron que Omar Khadr es la primer persona en la historia del mundo moderno en afrontar una comisión militar por presuntos delitos cometidos cuando era niño.

Sandra Day O'Connor advierte que Estados Unidos se está encaminando hacia la "dictadura"
La ex ministra de la Corte Suprema, Sandra Day O'Connor, advirtió la semana pasada que Estados Unidos corre peligro de encaminarse hacia una dictadura si los derechistas continúan atacando al Poder Judicial. En uno de sus primeros discursos públicos desde que abandonó su cargo, O'Connor, que fue postulada por Ronald Reagan, criticó severamente a los republicanos por utilizar tácticas para manipular al Poder Judicial. Según un informe de NPR, O'Connor dijo: "Un país debe degenerarse mucho antes de caer en la dictadura, pero para evitar terminar así, debemos evitar comenzar así".

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten news stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

US Launches Largest Air Assault Since Iraq Invasion
US and Iraqi troops have launched what the military is calling the largest air assault in the three years since the Iraq invasion. In a press release, the army said over fifteen hundred troops and fifty aircraft have been deployed in a "suspected insurgent operating area" northeast of Samarra. Operation "Swarmer" is expected to last for several days. No casualties have been reported so far.

US Strikes Blamed for Death of Iraqi Family Members
Meanwhile, a US military attack in the Iraqi town of Balad is being blamed for the deaths of at least a dozen members of the same family. The dead include five children and six women. The Associated Press is reporting the family's house was flattened by an airstrike from a US helicopter. The victims were wrapped in blankets and driven to the Tikrit General Hospital. Ahmed Khalaf, the brother of one of the victims, said: "The dead family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."

New Poll: 36% Approve Bush; 60% Say War is Going Badly
Bush made the announcement during a speech that launched a new public relations campaign to win greater support for the war in Iraq and his presidency. The latest USA Today/CNN poll shows the president's approval rating is at just 36 percent. And 60 percent of the country says the war in Iraq is going badly.

Top US General in Iraq Says Bases May Be Permanent
In other news, the top US military commander in Iraq has indicated the US may want to hold on to the several military bases it has built in the country. Appearing before a Congressional subcommittee Tuesday, General John Abizaid said the US may want to keep a foothold in Iraq to support regional "moderates" and protect oil supplies.

Report: US Airstrikes Up 50% in Iraq
In further Iraq news, Knight Ridder is reporting the US government has increased airstrikes by more than half in the last five months. According to military figures, US forces have dropped at least double the number of bombs on Iraqi cities than they did during the same period one year ago. This year, U.S. warplanes have struck at least 18 different cities.

Iraq Electricity Output At Lowest Point Since Invasion Aftermath
In other Iraq news, the Associated Press is reporting electricity output has reached its lowest point since the period right after the US invasion of Iraq three years ago. Some analysts believe Iraq may have to turn to neighboring Iran to solve its energy crisis -- as early as this summer. Iraq's electricity grid has suffered numerous problems since it was targeted in the US-led invasion in 1991. It is currently able to meet less than half of Iraq's needs. Iraqi concerns for the grid's recovery have been stoked by dwindling reconstruction funding from the US. According to the inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, current funding is over $200 million dollars short of meeting the grid's minimal needs.

Elite UK Soldier Refuses to Fight w/ U.S. in Iraq
In Britain, an elite SAS soldier is refusing to return to fight in Iraq in what he describes as a morally wrong war of aggression. The soldier, Ben Griffin, is believed to be the first SAS soldier to refuse to go into combat and to leave the army on moral grounds. Griffin said he refused to fight alongside U.S. troops because they viewed Iraqis as "untermenschen" -- the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. He also accused U.S. troops of committing "dozens of illegal acts" in Iraq.

Over 500 Events Planned For Events Marking Third Year of Iraq War
And as the invasion and occupation of Iraq reaches the three-year mark this Sunday, activists are staging anti-war events around the world. At least 500 protests are being held in the US this weekend alone. United for Peace and Justice has organized actions in all 50 states. Some began earlier this week. A veterans march for peace, which began in Alabama Tuesday, will end in New Orleans. According to USA Today, a new poll shows 60 percent of Americans believe the war was not "worth it." In London, the Stop the War Coalition will stage a protest Saturday to demand the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq. Similar demonstrations are to be held in cities in Iraq, as well as in Mexico, Japan, and other parts of Europe.

U.S. Criticized for Trying Detainee Held Since He Was 15
In news from Guantanamo Bay, human rights lawyers will be asking the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights today to suspend the military tribunal of a Canadian citizen who has been held at the military prison since he was 15 years old. Lawyers said Omar Khadr is the first person in modern world history to face a military commission for alleged crimes committed as a child

.Sandra Day O'Connor Warns About U.S. Edging Towards 'Dictatorship'
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor warned last week that the United States is in danger of edging towards a dictatorship if right-wingers continued to attack the judiciary. In one of her first public speeches since leaving the bench, O'Connor -- who was nominated by Ronald Reagan -- sharply criticized Republicans for strong-arming the judiciary. According to a report on NPR, O'Connor said "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."