Saturday, April 01, 2006

Good morning. We're going to dive right in with Democracy Now!

Pentagon Bars Non-Issued Body Armor
In military news, the Pentagon has announced it will no longer allow soldiers to wear body armor other than what is given to them as part of their army service. Thousands of soldiers and their families have turned to purchasing extra armor amid complaints they have not been equipped with adequate protection. A secret Pentagon study last year concluded that up to 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from upper-body wounds could have survived had they been given extra body armor. The Pentagon says it is banning outside armor because of concerns soldiers are purchasing untested or insufficient gear.

They won't provide "inside" armor, but they'll ban outside armor? Sounds like the whole "Canadian drugs might not be up to standard!" medical "cure" Bully Boy was pushing awhile back, doesn't it? They won't address the situation but they won't let individuals address it either. We have an incompetent administration or a non-caring one or maybe a combination of both. But there should be a huge outcry over this latest announcement of policy change.

And it should also be remembered that from the safety of DC Bully Boy issued his infamous "Bring It On!" boast -- putting a bullseye on the back of every man and woman in Iraq. Not just American troops but on other troops, other observers and Iraqis themselves. Did no one wonder about that? About the fact that he was then (and continues to) claiming that we were there to liberate and bring democracy while at the same time boasting that we would fight "terrorists" there to avoid having them in the United States?

Carroll Criticized For Saying Captors Treated Her Well
Meanwhile, Jill Carroll is already coming under attack for saying that she was treated well by her captors. Writing for the National Review, John Podhoretz wrote: "It's wonderful that she’s free, but after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn’t beaten or killed -- while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is -- I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days."

Elaine's covering that item this morning and C.I. noted the attack Friday morning in "Other Items (Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now! today)" so I'll just say that I think it's interesting who the press decides to put on the couch and who they decide not to.

My guess? They would have been happier if Carroll wouldn't have made it out alive. Then they could have spoken "for her" and used her death to justify that the illegal war go on. The same way they tried to use Jessica Lynch to sell their war. Since they can't hide Carroll away on a military base and prevent her from talking to the press, they get their flunkies to attack her. And if you read Friday's New York Times you weren't surprised by "Reporter Freed in Iraq, 3 Months After Abduction" because this war hasn't had a bigger cheerleader than Dexter Filkins.
Actually a bigger "liarist." :D

C.I. used that in "And the war drags on ...(Indymedia Roundup)" -- calling fluffers "liarists" instead of "journalists" and saying they practiced "liarism" instead of "journalism." I liked those word.

Yes, C.I. did do "And the war drags on ...(Indymedia Roundup)." When I went to bed Thursday night, it wasn't up and I was thinking, "Good, C.I. needed a night off." But C.I. was doing it it was just taking a lot of time.

"And the war drags on ...(Indymedia Roundup)" didn't get read by Technorati so I'm going to stick in C.I.'s tags for that entry. If you see something below that interests you, click on
"And the war drags on ...(Indymedia Roundup)" to read about it. Here are the tags:

All of that, and a lot more, is in "And the war drags on ...(Indymedia Roundup)" so check it out and be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take on the news. We both thought we'd have time to blog Friday evening and that didn't happen. We did have time to go out to eat and see a play with Rebecca and Fly Boy. That was a lot of fun. It was late when we were winding down so we dropped Nina off and came back home (they're staying over through Sunday). Elaine had packed some CDs and she and Dad were going through them and playing them and we were all just talking and the next thing I know, it's almost two o'clock.

It was a really fun evening and a great way to start the weekend. And I got to hear Etta James' new CD. It's called All The Way. Reading "Kat's Korner: Etta James Takes It All The Way," I thought, "That sounds interesting." But it's not one I was going to rush out and buy. I just got Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun and have been listening to that nonstop. But that's one of the CDs Dad and Elaine picked to play and it's really great. I probably won't buy it because I know Dad or Ma will and I can just be a cheapskate and listen to their copy. :D

But you should really check it out. Ma's planning to do her usual Saturday posting at Trina's Kitchen later today but I don't know if she will. It was a pretty late night. I think everyone's asleep except for me and maybe Elaine. She was going to blog and then go to bed and she types faster than me -- an elephant types faster then me. :D

But one good thing about waiting is that I get to note Maria's roundup of headlines from Democracy Now! which is how I'll end this post.

Before that, though, did you watch Democracy Now! today or listen? ""EXCLUSIVE...Noam Chomsky on Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy" was the interview for the hour. ("For the hour!" as me and Wally like to holler. :D) Here's some of that and hopefully you'll make time to check it out if you missed it:

AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Failed States, what do you mean?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, over the years there have been a series of concepts developed to justify the use of force in international affairs for a long period. It was possible to justify it on the pretext, which usually turned out to have very little substance, that the U.S. was defending itself against the communist menace. By the 1980s, that was wearing pretty thin. The Reagan administration concocted a new category: terrorist states. They declared a war on terror as soon as they entered office in the early 1980s, 1981. 'We have to defend ourselves from the plague of the modern age, return to barbarism, the evil scourge of terrorism,' and so on, and particularly state-directed international terrorism.
A few years later -- this is Clinton -- Clinton devised the concept of rogue states. 'It's 1994, we have to defend ourselves from rogue states.' Then, later on came the failed states, which either threaten our security, like Iraq, or require our intervention in order to save them, like Haiti, often devastating them in the process. In each case, the terms have been pretty hard to sustain, because it's been difficult to overlook the fact that under any, even the most conservative characterization of these notions -- let's say U.S. law -- the United States fits fairly well into the category, as has often been recognized. By now, for example, the category -- even in the Clinton years, leading scholars, Samuel Huntington and others, observed that -- in the major journals, Foreign Affairs -- that in most of the world, much of the world, the United States is regarded as the leading rogue state and the greatest threat to their existence.
By now, a couple of years later, Bush years, same journals' leading specialists don't even report international opinion. They just describe it as a fact that the United States has become a leading rogue state. Surely, it's a terrorist state under its own definition of international terrorism, not only carrying out violent terrorist acts and supporting them, but even radically violating the so-called "Bush Doctrine," that a state that harbors terrorists is a terrorist state. Undoubtedly, the U.S. harbors leading international terrorists, people described by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department as leading terrorists, like Orlando Bosch, now Posada Carriles, not to speak of those who actually implement state terrorism.
And I think the same is true of the category "failed states." The U.S. increasingly has taken on the characteristics of what we describe as failed states. In the respects that one mentioned, and also, another critical respect, namely the -- what is sometimes called a democratic deficit, that is, a substantial gap between public policy and public opinion. So those suggestions that you just read off, Amy, those are actually not mine. Those are pretty conservative suggestions. They are the opinion of the majority of the American population, in fact, an overwhelming majority. And to propose those suggestions is to simply take democracy seriously. It's interesting that on these examples that you've read and many others, there is an enormous gap between public policy and public opinion. The proposals, the general attitudes of the public, which are pretty well studied, are -- both political parties are, on most of these issues, well to the right of the population.

I'm going to do my tags and I'll only add ones that aren't already noted above. After that, you got Maria offering twelve items Amy Goodman covered this week. First up, Spanish, then English.

Soldado estadounidense declara en audiencia de asilo en Canada
Maria: Buenas noches. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Periodista secuestrada, Jill Carroll, liberada en Irak
Luego de estar cautiva durante casi tres meses, la periodista estadounidense secuestrada, Jill Carroll, fue liberada. Carroll es una periodista independiente que trabaja para el periódico "Christian Science Monitor" en Irak. Fue secuestrada en enero frente a las oficinas de un destacado político sunita en Bagdad. En una breve entrevista televisiva en Bagdad, Carroll dijo que se encuentra en buenas condiciones y que los secuestradores la trataron bien. Los secuestradores la liberaron dejándola en una calle cercana a las oficinas del Partido Islámico iraquí. Carroll entró a las oficinas y los empleados llamaron a los funcionarios estadounidenses. A pesar de que los secuestradores amenazaron dos veces con matarla en grabaciones, Carroll dijo que nunca la golpearon o amenazaron con hacerlo. Carroll dijo que la mantuvieron encerrada en una habitación con una ventana y una ducha, pero que no sabía donde estaba. Y agregó: "Simplemente estoy feliz de estar libre. Quiero estar con mi familia". El miércoles, la hermana de Jill Carroll, Katie Carroll, había leído una declaración en la televisión árabe suplicando que su hermana fuera liberada sana y salva. Hacía dos meses que no se tenía noticias de los secuestradores de Carroll. Los secuestradores habían exigido que liberaran a todas las mujeres detenidas en las prisiones iraquíes. Se calcula que cinco de cada nueve prisioneras fueron liberadas en enero.

Soldado estadounidense declara en audiencia de asilo en Canadá
Y en Canadá, el caso de asilo de un soldado estadounidense que huyó para evitar luchar en Irak, está siendo considerado por un tribunal de inmigración. Josh Key, que sirvió en Irak durante ocho meses, dijo que decidió desertar del servicio militar tras presenciar varias atrocidades cometidas por las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses. En una entrevista con la BBC, Key dijo: "A las únicas personas que estábamos dañando era a las inocentes; eran personas iraquíes inocentes y soldados inocentes".

Iraquí acusa a Estados Unidos de masacre en mezquita chiita
Funcionarios iraquíes acusan a las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses de masacrar a por lo menos 16 devotos chiitas durante el asalto a una mezquita chiíta el sábado por la noche. El periódico "Guardian" informa que los asesinatos han provocado la mayor ruptura hasta el momento entre Estados Unidos y los chiitas iraquíes. Los líderes chiitas suspendieron las conversaciones acerca de la formación de un nuevo gobierno iraquí. El ministro del interior iraquí calificó el ataque de Estados Unidos de injustificado y horrible. La alianza gobernante dirigida por los chiitas está exhortando a Estados Unidos a que le devuelva a los iraquíes el control absoluto de la seguridad. El gobernador provincial de Bagdad suspendió toda la cooperación con las fuerzas estadounidenses. El jeque Abdul Arman Al-Shwaili dijo: “Los ocupantes deben rendir cuentas de este crimen despreciable. Fue cometido por los ocupantes contra devotos desarmados y exhortamos al gobierno iraquí que adopte una postura honesta y positiva con respecto a este ataque despiadado contra el Islam y los devotos”. A pesar de la gran protesta política, las Fuerzas Armadas defendieron el asalto del lunes. Un funcionario lo describió como una operación “muy exitosa” contra un escondite insurgente. Estados Unidos negó que sus soldados hayan matado a iraquíes y dijo que la masacre fue planeada.

Ex jueces de FISA exhortan al Congreso a rechazar argumento de vigilancia
En Washington, cinco ex jueces del tribunal de Vigilancia de Inteligencia en el Extranjero (FISA, por sus siglas en inglés) exhortaron al Congreso a rechazar el argumento del gobierno de Bush de que tiene autoridad inherente para realizar espionaje sin ordenes judiciales. Los jueces expresaron en la audiencia del Comité Judicial del Senado el martes, su apoyo a una medida propuesta por el Senador Republicano Arlen Specter, para otorgarle al tribunal la participación formal en la supervisión de la vigilancia del gobierno.

Nueva York admite que filmó regularmente manifestaciones políticas
La ciudad de Nueva York reveló que oficiales de la policía encubiertos han filmando regularmente manifestaciones políticas durante los últimos dos años. La ciudad sostiene que la vigilancia era legal en virtud de las facultades de la policía que fueron ampliadas en 2003 para detener ataques terroristas. En una audiencia de un tribunal esta semana, un abogado de la ciudad dijo que era necesario filmar porque las manifestaciones podrían convertirse en blanco de ataques terroristas. Pero Jethro Eisenstein, un abogado de derechos civiles, cuestionó las filmaciones y dijo que la política era "orweliana", y acusó a la ciudad de adoptar "una postura intimidante sobre la amenaza del terrorismo para impedir el pensamiento crítico".

Figura independentista puertorriqueña arrestada en San Juan
Y una destacada figura del movimiento independentista de Puerto Rico fue arrestada en San Juan. El martes, agentes del FBI arrestaron a Antonio Camacho Negron por presuntamente violar los términos de su libertado condicional. El arresto se produjo sólo meses después de que el líder independentista, Filiberto Ojeda-Rios, fue asesinado en un allanamiento federal.

40.000 estudiantes se retiran de clase para protestar en Los Ángeles
La votación del Comité Judicial del Senado se produjo dos días después de que más de 1 millón de personas protestaran en Los Ángeles contra el proyecto de ley contra los inmigrantes de la Cámara de Representantes. El lunes, continuaron las protestas en todo el país. En Los Ángeles, 40.000 estudiantes se retiraron de clase. También se informó de este tipo de manifestaciones estudiantiles en Dallas y Phoenix. En Detroit, miles de manifestantes marcharon por la ciudad. Y en Washington, cientos de líderes religiosos y activistas llevaron a cabo sus propias protestas. Muchos se pusieron esposas para protestar contra una propuesta en el Proyecto de ley 4437 de la Cámara de Representantes que convertiría en delito que los grupos religiosos y de caridad ayuden a los trabajadores indocumentados.

Huelga nacional en Francia mientras más de 1 millón de personas protestan
En Francia, estudiantes y sindicatos llevaron a cabo una huelga masiva en todo el país que cerró las escuelas, negocios, paralizó los servicios públicos y provocó que más de 1 millón de manifestantes salieran a las calles. La huelga fue convocada en respuesta a una ley del gobierno que facilita que los empleadores despidan a los trabajadores jóvenes. En Francia, se efectuaron más de 800 arrestos. En París, la policía arrojó gas lacrimógeno al final de una manifestación luego que algunos oficiales fueron golpeados con proyectiles.

Trabajadores británicos protestan contra medida de jubilación del gobierno
En Gran Bretaña, más de 1,5 millones de funcionarios gubernamentales llevaron a cabo el martes una huelga en todo el país para protestar contra una medida del gobierno que dificulta que los trabajadores se jubilen a una edad temprana. Once sindicatos participaron en la huelga, una de las más grandes de Gran Bretaña en los últimos 80 años.

Universidad de Miami acepta exigencias de trabajadores tras protesta estudiantil
Y esta actualización es sobre una noticia que hemos estado cubriendo. Los estudiantes de la Universidad de Miami llevaron a cabo una sentada el martes para apoyar a los conserjes que están en huelga. La sentada terminó hoy temprano luego que funcionarios de la Universidad de Miami emitieron una declaración que aseguraba el derecho de sus trabajadores a formar parte de los sindicatos sin ser intimidados. Los conserjes que trabajan para la empresa contratista de la Universidad UNICO, dicen que la empresa ha intentado impedir que se unan al Sindicato Internacional de Empleados de Servicio.

Miles de personas conmemoran el 30 aniversario del golpe de estado en Argentina
En Argentina, miles de personas se congregaron este fin de semana para condenar el aniversario número 30 del golpe de estado apoyado por Estados Unidos, que provocó la muerte y desaparición de decenas de miles de personas.

Documentos: Kissinger ordenó apoyo estadounidense para junta militar argentina
Mientras tanto, documentos desclasificados recientemente revelan que el Secretario de Estado Henry Kissinger, ordenó apoyo inmediato de Estados Unidos para la junta militar poco después de que esta tomó el poder en Argentina, hace 30 años. Según las actas de una reunión, Kissinger dijo: "Quiero alentarlos. No quiero dar la impresión de que Estados Unidos los está hostigando". Kissinger dijo esto a pesar de que su principal delegado en América Latina predecía que Argentina afrontaría "bastante represión [y] probablemente mucha sangre" bajo el nuevo régimen. Además, los cablesgramas del Departamento de Estado indican que los funcionarios estadounidenses conocían de antemano los planes de dar el golpe de estado. Más de una semana antes del golpe, el comandante de la Armada argentina le pidió a la embajada de Estados Unidos que le recomendara empresas de relaciones públicas en Estados Unidos que trabajaran para la futura junta militar.

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

Kidnapped Reporter Jill Carroll Freed in Iraq
After nearly three months in captivity, kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll has been released. Carroll is a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor in Iraq. She was seized in January outside the offices of a prominent Sunni politician in Baghdad. In a brief television interview in Baghdad, Carroll said she is in good condition and had been treated well by her captors. Her captors freed her by leaving her in a street near the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party. She walked inside, and people there called US officials. Although her captors threatened twice in videotapes to kill her, Carroll said they never hit her or threatened to do so. Carroll said she was kept in a room with a window and a shower, but she did not know where she was. She went on to say: "I'm just happy to be free. I want to be with my family." On Wednesday, Jill Carroll's sister, Katie Carroll, had read a statement on Arab television pleading for her sister's safe release. There had been no word from Carroll's captors in nearly two months. They had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraqi prisons. Five out of an estimated nine women prisoners were released in January.

US Soldier Testifies at Asylum Hearing in Canada
And in Canada, a US soldier who fled to avoid serving in Iraq is having his asylum case heard in front of an immigration board. Josh Key, who served in Iraq for eight months, said he decided to desert military service after witnessing several atrocities commited by the US military. In an interview with the BBC, Key said: "The only people that were getting hurt was the innocent; that was innocent Iraqi people, as well as innocent soldiers."

Iraqi Accuses U.S. of Massacre At Shiite Mosque
Iraqi officials are accusing the U.S. military of massacring at least 16 Shiite worshippers during a raid on a Shiite mosque Sunday night. The Guardian newspaper reports the killings have opened the biggest rift yet between the United States and Iraqi Shiites. Shiite leaders have suspended talks over forming a new Iraqi government. Iraq's Interior Minister called the U.S. raid unjustified and horrible. The leading Shiite governing alliance is urging the U.S. to return full control of security to Iraqis. The Baghdad provincial governor has suspended all cooperation with U.S. forces. "The occupiers should be bought to account for this despicable crime,” said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Shwaili. “It is committed by the occupiers against unarmed worshippers and we urge the Iraqi government to take an honest and positive stand towards this vicious attack against Islam and the worshippers Despite the political outcry, the U.S. military defended the raid on Monday. One official described it as a "hugely successful" operation against an insurgent hideout. The U.S. has denied its troops killed any Iraqis and said the massacre was staged.

Ex-FISA Judges Urge Congress to Reject Surveillance Argument
In Washington, five former FISA court judges have urged Congress to reject the Bush administration’s argument it holds the inherent authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping. Appearing before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, the judges voiced support for a measure proposed by Repubican Senator Arlen Specter to grant the court a formal role in overseeing government surveillance.

New York Admits To Routine Videotaping of Political Rallies
The city of New York has revealed undercover police officers have been routinely videotaping political demonstrations over the last two years. The city maintains the surveillance was legal under police authority expanded in 2003 to stop terrorist attacks. At a court hearing this week, one city attorney said the taping was necessary because rallies could become targets of terrorist attacks. But Jethro Eisenstein, a civil rights lawyers challenging the videotaping, said the policy was "Orwellian," and accused the city of adopting "a bullying view of the terrorism threat to block critical thinking."

Puerto Rican Independence Figure Arrested in San Juan
And a major figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement has been arrested in San Juan. On Tuesday, FBI agents arrested Antonio Camacho Negron for allegedly violating the terms of his parole. The arrest comes just months after independence leader Filiberto Ojeda-Rios was killed in a federal raid.

40,000 Students Stage Walk-Out in LA to Protest
The Senate Judiciary committee vote came two days after upwards of one million people protested in Los Angeles against the anti-immigrant House bill. On Monday protests continued across the country. In Los Angeles, as many as 40,000 students walked out of classes. Student walk outs were also reported in Dallas and Phoenix. In Detroit, thousands of protesters marched through the city. And in Washington hundreds of religious leaders and activists held their own protest. Many wore handcuffs to protest a proposal in House Bill 4437 that would make it a crime for religious and charitable groups to aid undocumented workers.

France Hit With Nationwide Strike As Over 1 Million Demonstrate
In France, students and unions staged a massive country-wide strike that shut down schools, businesses and public services and brought more than a million demonstrators into the streets. The strike was called in response to a government law that makes it easier for employers to fire young workers. More than 800 arrests were made around France. In Paris, police fired tear gas at the end of a rally after some officers were hit with projectiles.

British Workers Demonstrate Against Government Pension Measure
In Britain, up to 1.5 million government workers went on strike across the country Tuesday over a government measure that would make it more difficult to retire at an earlier age. Eleven unions took part in the strike -- one of the biggest Britain has seen in 80 years.

U. of Miami Agrees to Worker Demands After Student Sit-Ins
And this update on a story we've been following -- students at the University of Miami held a sit-in Tuesday in support of striking janitor workers. The sit-in ended earlier today after University of Miami officials released a statement affirming the right of its workers to join unions free of intimidation. Janitors working for the university contractor UNICO say the company has tried to prevent them from joining the Service Employees' International Union.

Thousands Mark 30th Anniversary of Coup in Argentina
In Argentina, thousands gathered this weekend to condemn the 30th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup that resulted in the deaths and disappearances of tens of thousands. "The Mothers are here with you, the people, and we will continue to be with you in this fight until we know what happened to each and every one of our children," said Marta Vazquez of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. "What was their final destiny? Who gave the order? Who executed it? Because it's the least we could demand to know."

Papers: Kissinger Ordered U.S. Support for Argentine Military Junta
Meanwhile newly declassified documents reveal that then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ordered immediate U.S. support for the military junta shortly after it seized power in Argentina 30 years ago. According to the minutes of one meeting, Kissinger said "I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States." Kissinger said this even though his own top deputy in Latin America was predicting Argentina would face "a fair amount of repression [and] probably a good deal of blood" under the new regime. In addition State Department cables show that U.S. officials had prior knowledge of coup plotting. More than a week before the coup, the commander of the Argentine Navy requested the U.S. embassy recommend public relations firms inside the United States which would work for the future military junta.