Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not much tonight

I could have killed Tony today. We were hanging out before class and I was about to fall over (tired). He starts talking about how this is the roughest Friday (he had a test this morning in a class) and I'm nodding and not thinking. Nina comes up about ten minutes later and I go on about how glad I am it's Friday. Nina goes, "What are you talking about? It's Tuesday." It is Tuesday. Tony goes, "It feels like a Friday." I'd been half-awake/half-asleep just thinking about how it was Friday and thinking, "I may not blog tonight. I may go home and take a nap. Then go do something fun. I'll blog on Saturday when I wake up." I was picturing it and then I get told it's Tuesday. :( I was going, "Tony! You said it was Friday!" :D

So when I got home, I took an hour nap after dinner. It's been real busy school wise. After I finished blogging last night, I stayed up until two finishing a paper. So let's kick things off with Democracy Now! and before we do, I'm not writing about Dave Zirin's appearance tonight. I was reading through The Nation and saw a letter that pissed me off. If I write tonight, it will be about that stupid letter (which was "Oh, that's not important" about a column Dave Zirin wrote). So I'll save that for tomorrow.

Pentagon Admits To New Spying of Student Groups
The list of activist groups monitored under a secret Pentagon program is growing. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says the Defense Department has admitted to spying on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and anti-war protests at several universities: the State University of New York at Albany, William Paterson University in New Jersey, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of California at Berkeley. De-classified documents show the government intercepted the students' e-mails and planted undercover agents at at least one protest. The government also refused to confirm or deny whether it had spied on activists in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. The disclosure marks the latest case of known government spying under a secret domestic intelligence program, which has also targeted the Quaker movement and other anti-war groups.

The list is growing and this is the biggest bunch of b.s. I guess we'll be the crazy chapter in the history book, where we're the idiots who just went along with whatever the administration wanted to do. They'll have some term for us then and it will provide chuckles for readers who laugh at us dopes in the 'old days' who just sat on their asses and said, "No, I'm cool" while we just saw the Bully Boy break one law after another.

Report: Military Equipment Costs To Triple
Meanwhile the Associated Press is reporting the annual cost of maintaining military equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to triple next year to more than seventeen billion dollars. Some estimates now put war costs over the last five years at almost half a trillion dollars.

Does that make you feel good? Lockheed Martin probably feels good. (Read The Bush Plan. That's a great book and my kid sister's reading it right now so that will be my excuse for not noting the author -- I think I'd mispell her name. I'll note her tomorrow.) What do you do with all the money you rake in from profiting from the war? You must not have any guilt if you can spend it. "Let's go to Europe! Four weeks, we deserve it! We didn't provide all the weapons that killed all those people for nothing!"

Read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY CAUGHT SMELLING THE JONESES!" and I'm going to go study for a test and, fingers crossed, get into bed within an hour. Sorry to Elaine who ended up waiting for me to call. I thought I was closing my eyes for five minutes top. Be sure to check her site Like Maria Said Paz. She's going to talk about C.I.'s "NYT: Does that red light ever burn out, Dexy?" (read that, it's great).

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Happy talk continues.
In the land of reality, Medea Benjamin and Raed Jarrar examine the neutered "peace plan" put foward by occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki and the United States. Benjamin and Jarrar remind that a World Public Opinion poll this year "showed 87% of the general population [of Iraq] favoring a set timeline for U.S. withdrawal." This as USA Today reports on the USA Today/Gallup Poll which found that "[a] majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq" and that "[h]alf of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out withing 12 months."
In other reality news, Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, over 5% of Iraq's population is displaced with over 150,000 having fled their home (a figure that does not include those who have been taken in by extended family members). In addition, Reuters notes that the figures for children only: 40,000 displaced children since February 22nd of this year. UNICEF, in its 1996 study (the most recent) looking at the effects of war on children found, for the 1980s: "2 million killed; 4-5 million disabled; 12 million left homeless; more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents; [and] some 10 million psychologically traumatized." Using figures up through the 80s, UNICEF found that civilian victims of war "has been rising steadily".
Reuters notes that in Baghdad, one car bomb took the lives of three peopl at a market and wounded at least ten while a second bomb took the lives of three police officers with another three wounded.
Al Jazeera notes that a car bomb in Kirkuk which took the lives of three and wounded at least seventeen. The Irish Examiner notes that the car bomb attack "came three days after a roadside bomb killed the chief of intelligence in Kirkuk" (Associated Press). Also in Kirkuk, Reuters notes "an off duty soldier" was killed by assailants "while driving his car."
Updates on two items. First, we noted yesterday the 10 kidnapped males. Steven Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (Canadian Press) report that the ten were all Sunni and students who were kidnapped "from their dormitory rooms" at Iraqi Technology University. The AFP reports that the kidnappings took place in "broad daylight" and that the kidnappers used "five sports utility vehicles with tinted windows".
Emma Griffiths (Australia's ABC) reports that the four Russian diplomats -- Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev -- have been confirmed dead by the Foreign Ministry of Russia. The four were kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad when their car was attacked by unknown assailants. During the attack a fifth diplomat,Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov , was killed. On Sunday, a videotape was released which showed what appear to be some of the four being killed. While the press reports were circulating, the Russian government noted repeatedly that the murders had not been confirmed. The Mujahedeen Shura Council has asserted since last weekend that they had killed the four diplomats.
Meanwhile, as Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now! today, "former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he repeatedly warned administration over the discredited Iraqi source known as 'Curveball'." Ignoring the warnings and advise, Colin Powell used the information for his now infamous UN speech that Powell has described as a "blot" on his career/record. Yesterday in Washington, DC, Democrats in the Senate held a hearing on the intelligence issue where, among others, Larry Wilkerson and Paul Pillar testified. Speaking of the administration and the intelligence community, Pillar stated, "I would describe the relationship as broken."
Joshua Belile will not be punished for "an obscenity-laced song" performed "to a laughing and cheering crowd." The US military has found no reason to charge him and one unnamed Marine Corps. official tells Reuters that "poor taste, poor judgment and poor timing, not to mention offensive lyrics, do not necessarily amount to criminal conduct." Margaret Neighbor (Scotsman) described the song thusly: "In a four-minute video called Hadji Girl, a singer who appears to be a marine tells a cheering audience about gunning down members of an Iarqi woman's family after they confront him with authomatic weapons." As Sandra Lupien reported June 14th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the song included lyrics such as: "the blood sprayed from between her eyes." As Lupien noted June 15th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the apologetic Belile stated that "People need to laugh at it and let it go." Reuters notes that he has said it was "supposed to be funny" and that he based it on Team America: World Police. (The film that underwhelmed at the box office in 2004 and was put out by the South Park twins.)
Finally, in peace news. NPR actually covered the case of Suzanne Swift. The audio clips can be heard online and lasts 3:58 minutes. The reporting? The segment's over (except for some really bad bumper music) at 3:26 minutes in a report filed by Martin Kaste. The report starts at 0:16 and Swift's case is over by 1:30 minutes. A minute and fourteen seconds may not seem like much but it's more than they've given Ehren Watada.
Today is a day of action for those wanting to stand with war resister Ehren Watada. To sign a petition in support of Watada by clicking here. More information on today's national day of action can be found at ThankYouLt.org and Courage to Resist.