Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Amy Goodman interviews Brian Ross about NSA spying; Dave Zirin . . .

Tuesday, not even Hump Day. Friday's so far away, so what are you going to do?
Read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! NEDRA PICKLER SEES INSIDE PEOPLE!" for a needed laugh and then roll up your sleeves. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Report: Government Tracks Phone Calls of Journalists
In other news, a senior federal law enforcement official has admitted to ABC News that the government is now tracking phone calls made by journalists in an attempt to find out who is leaking information to the media. According to the report the government has focused on journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post and ABC News. The disclosure comes just days after USA Today reported that Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T have handed over the phone records of millions of customers to the National Security Agency. On Monday one of the companies -- BellSouth -- denied giving the NSA customer calling records.

For more on this, you can watch Amy Goodman's interview with Brian Ross, "Freedom of the Press Under Attack: Government Begins Tracking Phone Calls of Journalists."

Bully Boy's already denying it today, which is how you know it's true. Is he snorting with laughter, he's lying. You should read "Who exactly are the outlaws?" and you can listen to KPFA's broadcast of Michael Parenti's speech today.

By the way, I have an e-mail from someone who doesn't want their name used. They go that it's hard to listen to various Pacifica stations online because they don't have a lot of money to donate and they've already given to one station.

It's great to want to give because you know it will help but I wouldn't let that stop me from listening and I don't. I donated to one station but if I know something's on another that interests me, I'm going to listen. Or if someone tapes a show for me, I'm going to listen.

But I have a tip for you: since you have given to one station and feel like you should be giving more but don't have the money -- get a friend over and say, "Here, listen to this with me. This is something that speaks to me and it's why I donated to it."

I don't mean go grab a friend and twist their arm into pledging. But you can get the word out. Maybe one friend will end up giving in a few months or a year. I'll listen to four of the Pacifica stations and I wish I could give to all. But give what you can (and maybe you can't give anything, that's cool, everyone's got bills) and get the word out.

I heard someone say something like only 1 in 9 listeners donate.

That's gotta include a lot of people who wish they had something to give. I understand that. But maybe we can up the listeners. X=9 listeners and the formula is: X-8=1.
We can make that "2X" or "3X" or even more. (Which would mean more people able to contribute.) So if you already listen, tell someone why you listen and make sure they know Pacifica is out there.

Sunni Group Accuses U.S. of Killing 25 Civilians in Iraq
In Iraq, a leading Sunni religious group has accused U.S. forces of killing 25 civilians in a series of recent raids near Baghdad. The Muslim Clerics Association accused U.S. and Iraqi forces of carrying out air strikes against civilians in Latifiya. In addition the group said U.S. forces shot and killed people who ran from their houses during the bombing. In a statement the Muslim Clerics Association said "We hold the Iraqi government and the occupiers responsible for this brutal atrocity." The U.S. military admits it killed 41 people in the recent attacks but the military described all of the victims as either associates of al Qaeda or terrorists.

Elaine's leading with this and I would too but I wanted to put it with some counter-recruiting material. I feel like I've been dropping the ball there. So here's two of "Ten Reasons Why the U.S. Must Leave Iraq:"

1) The human cost of war is unacceptable.
The U.S. decision to invade and occupy Iraq comes with a horrific price tag: deaths of an estimated 100,000 Iraqis and more than 2,345 occupation troops, including 2,140 U.S. military personnel. The numbers rise daily. Hundreds of thousands have been physically wounded or traumatized by chronic violence and insecurity. This path will not lead to victory. There are no winners, and there is no military solution. In spite of this, the U.S. continues to embrace military rather than diplomatic approaches. An immediate end to hostilities is essential to stem the carnage and loss of human life.
2) The U.S. occupation is a catalyst for violence.

The longer the U.S. occupation continues, the more Iraqis will join the resistance, which primarily opposes the foreign presence. Conservative estimates say the number of resistance fighters in Iraq increased from 5,000 in November 2003 to 20,000 in November 2005. Violence is aggravated at all levels by the U.S. presence: in neighborhoods, among militant extremists, and between ethnic groups. When the brutality of occupation -- raiding homes and hospitals, detaining people without charge or due process, torturing detainees, imposing curfews on communities, using military force to suppress demonstrations -- ends, the majority of resisters will lay down their weapons.

There are ten reasons and those are two. That's from Counter-Recruitment and Alternatives to the Military Program which is a pretty cool site. I shared it with my kid sister tonight and she really liked it. If you've got a younger brother or sister, check it out with them so you can both see it. Now remember to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.

I'm doing another highlight and then stopping for the night. How come, we're all getting on the phone this evening to toss around some ideas for the upcoming edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. C.I. and Dona especially do not want a repeat of last weekend. So we all blocked time to try and get together to toss some ideas around.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue as
Reuters notes "Andrew Krepinevich, a retired army officer and professor at Washington's George Mason University, estimates that defeating the insurgency in Iraq would take at least a decade, hundreds of billions of dollars and longer casualty rolls."
And right now?
As Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "At least 18 are dead after an attack on a garge . . . dozes are wounded." This happened in Baghdad and, as the Associated Press notes, before the attack on the garage/parking lot, the assailants "first shot five guards." The deaths and the injuries resulted from exploding "a parked oil tanker." Reuters notes that the fatality count has now risen to 19. The BBC notes that this takes place as Nouri Maliki attempts to meet the Monday deadline regarding forming his cabinet (constitutional deadline). Sources tell KUNA that the cabinet will be "announced in 24 hours and that the Foreign Ministry portfolio would go to Hushyar Zibari and Ahmad Al-Jalabi would assume the Interior Ministry."
Also in Baghdad,
AFP reports that four corpses have turned up "including the body of a police officer reported kidnapped on Monday." CNN notes three (of the four) "shot in the head . . . tortured." CNN also notes an attack that killed 6 people "in the southern Hor Rijab Shi'ite district" of Baghdad. Reuters notes that the police's account and the account from the Interior Ministry differ on the attack. Reuters reports the death of four US military base workers who were killed when assailants "opened fire on their minibus." China's People's Daily Online reports the death of US soldier as a result of a roadside bomb.
Mark Oliver takes a look at the issue of the mental health of the British and American troops and notes a King's College London study which has found that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder effects many (4% of British and 20% American troops) and a finding "that 26% of reservists have mental health problems such as depression, compared to 19% of regular troops."
In Kirkuk, assailants attacked a police patrol killing two police officers. KUNA notes that police Captain Shuhab Ahmad Mohammad and his brother Envoy Qasin Ahmad Mohammad were assasinated when gunmen "opened fire" on his car. KUNA also notes that Dr. Adnan Abbas Hashimi was killed "in front of his clinic in Mosul." In Kerbala, Reuters notes a corpse was discovered "blindfolded and handcuffed," while an Egyptian who worked in a bakery was killed by unidentified assailants.
The Times of London reports that Christian Peace Teammakers have made the decision to discontinue their work on the ground in Iraq, "evacuated its volunteers and warned they might not return" and Kim Sengupta (in London's Independent) provides a look at Joseva Lewaicei and Adam Morris, two British soldiers who died in Iraq.
All of this as Ian Bruce reports ("
US Spells out plan to bomb Iran," Scotland's Herald):
THE US is updating contingency plans for a non-nuclear strike to cripple Iran's atomic weapon programme if international diplomacy fails, Pentagon sources have confirmed.
[. . .]
The main plan calls for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key targets in Iran, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters.

At least 75 targets in underground complexes would be attacked with waves of bunker-buster bombs.

You read that last item? Bombing Iran plans. Bully Boy's got the blood itch in his pants real bad. Oops, told Tony I'd note Dave Zirin's latest. This is from "Using Soccer to Kick Iran" by Dave Zirin and John Cox:

The World Cup--the monthlong competition taking place throughout Germany beginning June 9--is by sheer numbers the most important sporting event on earth. Football--or soccer, as Americans insist on calling it--is by far the world's most popular sport, and the World Cup creates a near-united global audience. Approximately one in four human beings will view this year's final game. That means basically anyone who has access to a television will be watching--though probably fewer in the United States, where "soccer" is still viewed in some quarters as a plot to create a one-world government.
Politics cannot be separated from the World Cup any more than it can be from the Olympics. Sometimes this is for the best: For example, Africans throughout the continent exulted in Senegal's shocking upset of its former colonizer, France, in the first game of the 2002 Cup.
This year, however, German and US politicians have seized on the tournament to intensify the saber rattling aimed at Tehran. Citing Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear program and the anti-Israel pronouncements of Iranian president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, several leading politicians in both countries have called for the Iranian team to be banned from the World Cup. In this spirit of tolerance and peace, Berlin's liberal daily Der Tagesspiegel ran a cartoon in February that depicted Iranian soccer players as suicide bombers.

And Nina says you "must read" Rebecca's "things that make you go 'what the f---!'"