Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Go here and you'll find out about Ehren Watada and how you can help. If we're paying attention and being vocal, we can make a difference. He's standing up and saying, "The war is illegal and I won't serve." If you agree with him what are you doing to make sure people know you do? Are you even talking about him to your friends?
I saw the photo up at The Common Ills and clicked on and it took me to PDF. I thought, "Man, I wish I could do e-mail posts!" I called Ava to whine to her (she was doing tags for the entry C.I. posted) and she said, "Mike, Mike. Hold on. Call UK Computer Gurus, they can tell you how to put the photo up." I always feel like the biggest idiot and bother when I call them (though all three guys are always helpful). I told her that and she said hang up and call C.I.'s cell right then because everyone was leaving for the airport when C.I. phoned her. So I called and C.I. goes, "Can you get a jpeg address from the photo?" I looked and I could but if I clicked, I got that PDF document. C.I. goes, "Forget PDF. Listen now because I only have a few seconds." And then C.I. told me how I could put it up. Then I go to do it and want it huge as can be to get attention for it and you can't read the thing. Elaine's the one who suggested trying to make it small. She played with it this evening and by making it small, you can see it a lot more clearly.
So show your support for Watada. If you're like me and think Camilo Mejia is a cool dude and wish he'd gotten a better break than he did, well do something this time. In three years, let's not all be sitting around going, "Man, I wish I'd done something to show my support for Watada." Do it.
US Accused of Killing Iraqi Civilians in Baquba
The US military is being accused of committing a new massacre of Iraqi civilians. On Tuesday, witnesses, family members and a Sunni parliamentarian said US troops killed a group of civilians near the town of Baquba. An Iraqi human rights worker said two of the dead were young boys aged ten and twelve. In a statement, the US military claimed it killed 15 "terrorists" and had captured their weapons. But an Iraqi police officer told the Washington Post no weapons were found at the scene of the attack.
It's not ending, is it? Not the war this year and not the killing. People are responsible for their own actions and that means anyone killing civilians. But there's another responsibility and that's the one of those people who planned and continue the illegal war.
Disarmament Protesters Arrested After Infiltrating Silo Site
In North Dakota, a Catholic priest and two military veterans were arrested Tuesday for infiltrating a missile silo site. The men were able to break the locks on the site using sledgehammers and hammers. They painted the word "disarm" on a silo lid and poured some of their own blood. The men call themselves "Weapon of Mass Destruction Here Plowshares." In a statement posted on their website JonahHouse.org, then men said: "We have chosen to start the process of transformation and disarmament by hammering on and pouring our blood on components of the Minuteman Three nuclear missile system. We believe that the concrete that goes into making missile silos would be better used for building homes."
Me and Wally just discovered a song a few months back that probably everybody else in the world (our age) already knew and when I heard this on the radio today, I thought about the song. "Disarm you with a smile . . ." It's Smashing Pumpkins "Disarm." "Killer in me is the killer in you . . ." I love that song. Elaine said we should both listen to some of "Today" and if we like it the CD's called Siamese Dream. Elaine said it made her think of Melanie's "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and I told Dad that and he had to dig out his vinyl copy and start playing it. :D
I'm rushing because Nina and I have to hurry (we're going to a movie, just to go, don't even know what we'll see).
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
As chaos and violence continues on the ground in Iraq, posturing by those far from the daily violence.
Following yesterday's official statement that Japan would withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of this year, Australia's ABC reports that Brendan Nelson, Defense Minister in Australia, states that "he expects the Government will rethink Australia's troop commitment to Iraq at the end of the year." Australi currently has 460 troops in Iraq. As Amy Goodman noted yesterday on Democracy Now!, if announced departures take place, only England, South Korea and the United States will "have more than one thousand troops in Iraq." The AFP reports: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair has again insisted that his country's [7,200] troops will remain in Iraq depite widespread daily sectarian violence there."
Meanwhile Demetri Sevastopulo and Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) report that the US administration is attempting "to distance itself from remarks by the Iraqi national security adviser that he envisaged a significant reduction in US troops in the country this year with most leaving next year." Mowaffak al-Rubbaie, Iraq's national security adviser, remarks were that American troops stationed in Iraq would number less than 100,000 the end of the year and that "most of the remaining troops" would "return home by the end of the year". al-Rubbaie's remarks are in keeping with those of Iraq's president and vice-present. As Democracy Now! noted last week, while the Bully Boy was staging his photo-op in the Green Zone of Baghdad, Tariq al-Hashia "asked the US for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops." The AFP reports that Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has stated other foreign countries should echo Japan's decision and leave Iraq: "The withdrawal of Japanese troops is a good step and I hope that all countries with occupation forces in Iraq would follow suit in a quick and organised way that would not hurt the Iraqi people."
Meanwhile in the United States, the Senate continues to play with debating Iraq. The Associated Press notes Carl Levin saying of the plan (that he co-sponsored with Jack Reed), "It does not set a fixed timetable or an arbitrary deadline for the redeployment of our troops." No it doesn't. Nor is it in any way binding. It is posturing.
In the real world, Thom Shanker (New York Times) reports that the Pentagon will be shipping 21,000 American troops over to Iraq and that this will "keep the American presence at current levels into next year" with what's being seen as: "American troops in Iraq would be replaced on a one-for-one basis for now."
Meanwhile Julian E. Barnes and Tony Perry (Los Angelse Times) report that the investigation into the Haditha incident (where 24 Iraqis were slaughtered) argues that the various self-reports should have raised "red flags" beginning with "senior military officers in western Iraq". The reporters quote from the (unreleased) Bargewell report: "No follow-up actions regarding the civilian casualties were deemed necessary by the senior leadership of MNF-West. Initial reports of K Company and its subordinate units were untimely, inaccurate and incomplete. They were conflicted, poorly vetted and forgotten once transmitted." Noting this reporting on KPFA's The Morning Show , Brian Edwards-Tiekert summarized that there was no follow up by senior military personell.*
This as Hector Becerra and Scott Gold (Los Angeles Times) report on another investigation. In June 2004, US troops Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr. and Lt. Andre D. Tyson were killed near Balad. Becerra and Gold report that military spokesperson Paul Boyce "confirmed late Tuesday that a military investigation had found that the two California soldiers were killed by Iraqi security forces." The reporters quote Patrick's mother Nadia McCaffrey: "He was killed by the Iraqis that he was training. People in this country need to know that."
A follow up on another incident is expected to lead to charges being announced shortly. This is the investigation into the April 26th death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad (as identified by Nancy A Youssef, writing for Knight Ridder, in the first week of June). CBS and the AP are reporting that "seven Marines and one sailor" are expected to be charged "with murder in connection" with the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad. Youssef reported the family's version: "U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist."
Along with those investigations, Italian prosecutors in Rome are attempting to try US national guard Mario Lozana in the death of Nicola Calipari. As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "Calipari was escorting Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena after she had been released by kidnappers. U.S. troops opened fire on their car killing Calipari and injuring Sgrena. . . . Tune in to Democracy Now on Thursday when Giuliana Sgrena joins us in the Firehouse studio." Also remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reported on another incident in which three American troops had been charged with premeditated murder as well as threatening another American soldier. The BBC identifies the soldier threatened: "Army Pfc Bradley Mason [who was told] that they would kill him if he testified against them."
North of Baghdad, the BBC reports a that "at least 80 factory workers from a fleet of buses" have been kidnapped. AP goes with "about 85 workers."
In Baghdad, three "bodyguards of the Iraqi Trade Minister" were shot by "Australian security guards . . . mistakenly," Australia's ABC reports -- adding that: "The incident could potentially embarrass the Australian Government, which has been trying to improve trade ties with Iraq".
Kidnappings? Police tell Reuters that "three relatives of the deputy governor of Salaheddin province" were kidnapped Tuesday. CBS and the AP note that the Mujahedeen Shura Council, which has claimed to have four Russian diplomats who were kidnapped at the start of this month, has announced that they will kill the four.
CBS and the AP note a car bomb, in Baghdad, killed "at least three people" with eight wounded. Reuters notes another car bomb that killed two and wounded six.
*Thanks to Kat for passing on the Brian Edwards-Tiekert item.
Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Tomorrow, Cedric and I are grabbing DN! items and also both doing our segments of WBAI's Law and Disorder.
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