Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Law and Disorder, Nepal, Guantanamo and more

Good evening. Let's get things kicked off with Democracy Now!

Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel To Run For President
In political news, former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel has become the first Democrat to officially announce he will seek the party's nomination for president in 2008. Gravel served in the Senate from 1969 to 1981. Gravel who was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and is vowing to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. He said "President Bush's mistake is not worth the life or maiming of one more American soldier."

That makes me happy. Want to know why? That's two in the race -- Mike Gravel and Russ Feingold -- who should be worth watching. If Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden want to play twin hawks, they'll look all the more freakish (and out of touch) with two people in the race. I wish Dennis Kucinich would run again as well. Could you imagine those debates? Hillary and Joe trying to go hard right and people seeing it in the debate with not one, not two but three candidates calling out their crappy "logic." C.I. highlighted an article by John Nichols so if you want to read more about Gravel you can click here for Nichols take on him.

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Chinese Men At Guantanamo
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from two Chinese Muslims who are being held at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay even though the government acknowledges they were mistakenly detained. The men have been held for more than four years. Lawyers for the men said they should be immediately released but the Bush administration has refused the request. Officials say they have been unable to find a country that will accept the men after their release. Both men are Uighurs and do not want to return to China out of fear that they would be imprisoned and tortured.

King George wins again. Not because he's right. Not because he plays fair. But because chicken asses refuse to call him on his crap. The two men, the two prisoners! Need to reinforce that because Elaine and C.I. are correct about Guantanamo. There are no "detainees" there, they are prisoners. And that word needs to be used because that's what it is. They are imprisoned. They are prisoners. The Guantanamo Prisoners. And there's no way out for most of them. Look at the two above who shouldn't have been 'rounded up' to begin with. Government admits it. But they remain imprisoned.

Let's used Leigh Ann because she's a cool lady. Okay, Leigh Ann gets stopped while traveling around the country. They toss her in a prison in Rhode Island. They don't give her a trial. They never give her a trial. She's held in prison for four years. After four years, it turns out that even the ones holding her, the government, says it was a case of mistaken identity. But they keep on holding Leigh Ann. Holding her in prison. Four years of her life they've already stolen. Instead of rushing to fix their huge injustice, they keep holding her. So Leigh Ann's lawyer files for her case to be heard by the Supreme Court. If they refused to hear her case, you better believe people would be howling. If people aren't howling about what's happened, it's because they think "Oh, they aren't like us." Don't be so sure. If they can get away with this and if they can get away with what they did to Jose Padilla, they can go after anyone. The Supreme Court failed justice and it failed democracy.

Nepalese Police Shot Dead One Protester
In Nepal, pro-democracy protests are continuing for a 13th day. On Monday police shot dead one protester. The BBC is reporting police in Nepal have arrested 25 government officials for demonstrating against King Gyanendra inside the Home Ministry. Among the detained are four high ranking officials. This marks the first time civil servants have been arrested for joining opposition protests against the king.

In your face, Somini Sengupta, the New York Times' in house poet! As C.I. noted on Monday, she worried that Nepal's politicians might not be able to "curtail" democracy. Civil servants have joined in. Sengupta must be frantically flipping through her rhyming dictionary in tears.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz to get Elaine's take on the news. You'll see this at both of our sites and we know this takes a lot of work, the thing we're both highlighting. We know C.I. will write this (type it) if nothing else. If the rest of the entry's dicated, C.I. will type up this. Now C.I. could type up an entry will quick and not have to dictate it at all but hunting down the stuff in the paragraph or paragraphs takes time. I'll talk about that in a second. But this is what's going on in Iraq and we're not trying to put pressure on C.I. and if one day there's not time for it, that's cool. But when it is up, we're going to highlight it.

Violence and chaos (planned) continues. In Baghdad, the Associated Press notes, a bomb went off resulting in the death of at least two (Iraqi police officers) and wounding at least six. A separate bombing incident would claim addition lives. Xinhua reports that four civilians were dead and twenty-two were wounded. Also in Baghdad, four workers at the Sunni Endowmen Authority were shot at -- Bahrain News Agency reports two dead and two wounded. Still in Baghdad, AFP and Reuters announce that twelve more corpses were found. In addition to those twelve bodies, Ireland's BreakingNews.ie notes that two more corpses were found in Iraq -- both had been shot in the head. Al Jazeera notes that a Shia cleric died in Baghdad -- the victim of a drive by shooting. In Basra, a drrive-by also claimed the life of an Iraqi "police officer walking near his home." Reuters informs that, in Baiji, "a police colonel" and "two policemen" were wounded by gunmen while, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed with two others wounded. A police officer was also killed in Irbil, KUNA notes, and at least six civilians were wounded. There is still no word on 3 kidnap victims: Salah Jali al-Gharrawi (AFP -- kidnapped April 4th) or Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal (Sumariya TV -- kidnapped February 1). And Tom Lasseter reports for Knight Ridder that despite warnings "more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods," the US ignored the warnings.

So I talked to C.I. because there's not a lot of news on Iraq popping up in The Boston Globe. I was wondering about that and we had talked about it last week. I'd seen the work that went into that and how it would be pull out the laptops and Ava and Jess would go through the e-mails and say, "Here's a highlight" and C.I. would say yea or nah and while they were doing that, C.I. would hunt down news for that paragraph on Iraq. C.I. felt like Iran was a point of focus, or concern, but that there was less attention being paid to Iraq. ("But they can still offer the usual fluff topics, on the fluff, there's never a shortage," C.I. had said.)

So C.I. and Rebecca both called last night to check on me because I was angry (and I'll talk about that in a bit) and I made a point to call C.I. today to ask about the Iraq coverage. C.I. said, "I never thought I'd say 'thank you for the Associated Press.'" The BBC wasn't even offering new coverage on Iraq today. The BBC. They had nothing. That's really not new or because of what happened in Israel and the occupied territories yesterday.

Right now, on the BBC's Middle East news page, I see the Iraq deaths story C.I. mentioned. C.I. didn't highlight it today. Why? It's a story that was done on Sunday. They have a story they filed Monday. There is now a story up that was filed today. And there's this story last updated March 20th. Those are the main stories on Iraq on their Middle East news page. If you go their UK version (and not international) you'll find three more stories (that aren't up yet on the international) one about the World Bank, one about a bomb and one about Saddam Hussein. C.I. said that the AP gets mentioned over and over in those paragraphs of what's going on in Iraq because the AP is the only one filing repeatedly each day. I have no idea why the BBC doesn't offer more coverage. But let me put it good for the Associated Press. And the BBC's not the only one.

C.I. also pointed out (on plus side) Dahr Jamail's Middle East Wire which translates Arabic coverage of the area. That's usually two days behind when C.I.'s doing the entry and a day behind when I'm doing mine. A day behind is not bad when you consider that it's independent media and that it has to be translated. (And probably just one guy doing that. C.I. mentioned a name but I forgot who.) So make a point to check out Dahr's Middle East Wire and I'll make a point to add it to my links tonight. You should follow what's going on Iraq because this 'pacification' program is probably a) going to be very violent (it already is) and b) not going to work no matter how the Bully Boy spins it. So make an effort to follow news on Iraq and if you don't see any, make an effort to track down some.

About the BBC, I may be misunderstanding, and Pru, Polly, Gareth or the other British community members can correct me if I am, but BBC has many channels, radio and TV, and at least one radio channel is straight news, 24/7. So how do they get away with having so little Iraq coverage?

Now, I'm going to talk briefly about my anger yesterday. I was real angry. That's why C.I. and Rebecca called. They could tell I was real angry. I probably would've been less angry if I'd talked about it with Elaine but I didn't want to. So I stored it up until I was writing and then it all came pouring out. But if you're ancestors are from some place, you don't need to hear an entire group of people trashed. By going after the IRA and then comparing them to Sinn Fein, the idiot was insulting. I'm still insulted. And on the advice of everyone, when I'm insulted, I will say so. Here and in conversations. He wanted to be heard about a story that mattered to him. Here's a clue for him, when you build your case by trashing another group of people, you're not making a solid case. You are making people want to tune you out. The Common Ills community has a number of Irish-Americans (like me) and a number of members in Ireland. I heard from fifty-two of them about my post yesterday. I want to thank them for the support. Some members have popped up since C.I. addressed their concerns in March through May of last year because eleven or twelve (from Ireland) said, "Yes, it was a bar fight!" over and over in their e-mails (about the sisters who came to this country and met with Bully Boy because their brother died). But we want to turn it into an international incident. You go to a bar and you're drinking and talking (shooting off your mouth or not), someone may get mad. Bar fights happen all the time in this country and people die in them. That's not to say I don't feel sorry for the sisters. That is to say, wait. Point on that was that C.I. actually made that point last year (repeatedly). So newer community members should know that and know I was building on that.
Now the sisters, I am sorry for them. Let's go with the official narrative which is that some members of the IRA were involved in the bar fight. (Some members does not constitute the IRA. And the IRA and Sinn Fein are two different bodies.) So there case becomes an Oprah moment in Ireland and then internationally as a lot of people use their pain to work out their own personal bias. And at some point the IRA either offered to execute those involved or did. (I think they offered.) Offered to the sisters. That wasn't right either but it was an international incident by that point. I really don't know what to say here except a bar fight between individuals is not reflective of a political party. That would be like me going, "Proof died in a gun battle last week and so did the other guy. Proof's a rapper. Puffy's a rapper. All rappers are criminals. Puffy (or P-Diddy) helped with the get out the vote efforts and was for John Kerry so that must mean that all Democrats are criminals!"

It's just insulting and tarring people. And when I hear that junk, it makes me angry. There is violence in Ireland and that's not surprising. (And C.I. has repeatedly noted how when it's those loyal to the British, the New York Times looks the other way. There were two parades within a few weeks and both had violence. The paper of misrecord chose to only cover the one that made the Irish Catholics look bad. There are reasons for the violence and acting like there's not is really silly. There are reasons for the violence in Iraq and in Israel and the occupied territories. And thank you to Elaine for what she wrote last night. I appreciated it and knew she was commenting on it because she thought I was going to let it slide. I appreciated that then and now.)

Now Law and Disorder (which is on WBAI on Mondays). Cedric and me talked aobut the show and I'm grabbing one part and he's grabbing another. I'm grabbing the part where Michael Smith talked about a candidate rushing off the campaign trail to return to his home state for an execution. Who was that candidate? Bill Clinton. Had to look "tough" on crime. That's what's so damn scary about both the Clintons. Whatever they personally believe, they always work over time to look "tough" and not like someone's idea of squishy liberals. You can probably goad either of them into doing anything just by going, "Chicken! You're chicken!" Michael Ratner talked about a story in The New Yorker on how Clinton's best friend was a lawyer for the guy and how he tried to get a call through to Clinton but Clinton wouldn't take it. The guy that was executed was mentally ill. Bill Clinton always says, "He wasn't when he committed the crime! That's the law!" He still makes that stupid statement. The "law" is what got him into hot water. Then Michael Smith told a story about Michael Ratner's daughter Ana (or Anna) and how when she was seven, she was at a Clinton fundraiser. She interviewed Hillary (Michael Smith said cornered) and then went back and wrote an article for her school newspaper about how she wasn't for Hillary because Hillary was for the death penalty.

I should have written about it yesterday but I was mad. Then today my oldest bro calls and goes, "Dude!" I was supposed to write about him. (Him who won't let me use his name!) He was listening at work in New Jersey Monday to Law and Disorder because he wanted to hear
Dalia Hashad to see if she really did sound like our sister like I wrote last Monday and the Monday before. She did. She sounds just like one of our sisters. He goes that if he had just caught a second or two of it and not heard her name, he would have called our sister and asked her why she didn't tell him she was going to be on the radio.

So see, you never know what will make someone listen. You just got to keep pitching and you'll get one over the home plate. So make sure you pitch the programs that matter to you. Think about how many times Ruth had to note it before I finally listened. You just keep pitching.

So that got him to listen. He liked the show. He says he'll catch the first half-hour each Monday (he can only promise that half because of his work schedule).