C.I. called and asked if I was posting? :D C.I.'s been waiting for me (and Elaine to post) so that we could be highlighted in this morning's entry. I had a long night. (In fact, the earlier post is what I posted when I finally got home.) So let's kick things off with Democracy Now!
31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
Meanwhile, at least 31 people were killed Thursday in three separate bombings across Iraq. In the day’s worst violence, 13 people were killed in an attack at a Baghdad fruit market. The Iraqi government has imposed a daytime vehicle ban in Baghdad in anticipation of violent retaliation for Zarqawi’s death.
The war drags on. But you know what? The study group that we have for a class? Two of the people in it who are against the war came up to Nina and me wondering if we could have a study group on Iraq? Where we just got together once a week to talk about what's going on and to figure out ways to get the word out, ways to protest and other stuff.
You know we were up for that and Tony said, "Count me in too!" So there were five of us and one more in the study group as well as three or four others that were supposed to be coming along. It ended up being thirty-six people. Dad had been interested when I told him about it and I'd told him he should come. He felt like he'd be the only person his age. He wouldn't have been. I was really amazed but it shows you how many people are interested in this issue, how much opposition there is to the war. Next week, it will meet here so Dad can hang around and see for himself that people his age are there and then he'll join in. But the thing is, people do want this war to end and they are looking for places where they can discuss it -- big media doesn't care.
Nina's so much more prepared than me. (On everything.) She printed up C.I.'s "NYT: Everybody wants to be a war pornographer" and "Other Items (Robert Jay Lifton on Democracy Now)". You want to talk conversation starters?
Next time, we'll just read stuff out loud. But we had to haul in chairs (we were at Tony's) and stuff because so many people showed up. So Nina passed out those two print outs and people read them while everyone was waiting. As soon as we got the discussion started, it never stopped.
What I had done was print up one copy of C.I.'s "Democracy Now: Michael Berg, Arun Gupta (Robert Parry/Ruth Conniff on KFPA's Living Room)" so I could read the Iraq snapshot. That led to a lot of talk as well because people felt like what they were getting was "He's Dead! Happy Talk! Everything's Perfect! Now!" and that's not reality.
It also let me plug Democracy Now! which you know I loved doing. Nina gets irritated when someone our age doesn't know about the program. I always get excited and think, "Okay, how can I interest them in this show?" :D
Senate, House Leaders Agree on $65B for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Meanwhile, lawmakers have finalized a budget agreement that will provide $65.8 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The budget agreement comes as a new poll shows a record 59 percent of Americans believe going to war against Iraq was a "mistake."
Always money for that. We don't have health care, we can't fund our schools, but there's always money to waste on war.
Elaine always beats me to posting. Not this morning! :D I'm calling to wake her up in a bit. She had a date last night and a really rought week so she wasn planning on sleeping in (hope with her date!). When we were talking yesterday, she asked me wake her if I didn't see a post by eleven in the morning. Unless she's still working on that post, she's sleeping. :D Check out Like Maria Said Paz later for Elaine's thoughts.
Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IRAQ PRIME MINISTER NOURI AL-MALIKI FLIES JETS!" (Bully Boy Press breaks another exclusive!) , Dahr Jamail and Jeff Pflueger's "Propaganda and Haditha," Danny Schechter's "Dissecting the Zargawi Spectacle" and Rebecca's "did you get the memo?".
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Guess what? Chaos and violence continue.
As Amy Goodman noted, Baghdad had a traffic curfew Friday. The AFP notes that traffic curfew applies "from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm local time" and that the curfew also applies to Baquba. China's People's Daily notes "[a] night curfew for traffic and people movement was also imposed in Diyala province from 8:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6:00 a.m.(0200 GMT) for three days".
Yesterday, on KPFA's Flashpoints, Robert Knight noted the "bruised but remarkably presevrved corpse" of what is alleged to be al-Zarqawi. (Those without audio options can read Rebecca's summary.) Did someone panic as people started noticing?
Who knows but today's spin is that al-Zarqawi lived through the bombing and died on the stretcher. That's the spin and it's all over. No one, apparently, can write of it without noting it. Here's what few are noting: Bully Boy was "smiling and joking with aides" before he put on his let-me-look-constipated-so-people-think-I'm-concerned face (Julian Borger, Guardian of London). KUNA reports it might not have been as fun today for Bully Boy's father -- Poppy Bush "arrived at the Yorkshire Events Centre, northern England" where he was greeted by peace activist Lindis Percy who "unfurled a United States flag and accused Bush Senior's son of doing terrible things in the world."
While Bully Boy got his chuckles on Thursday and Poppy got the "boo"s on Friday,Muthana al-Badri was kidnapped. Reuters notes of Badri that he is, "in his 60s, has always worked for SCOP." (SCOP is "Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects".) In other oil related news, the AFP reports that three oil engineers and two other people were killed "on the road between the refinery town of Baiji and the northern city of Tikrit," while in Kirkuk "gunmen attacked soldiers guarding a piepline" (one civilian dead, three soldiers wounded). This as the AFP reports: "World oil prices climbed as concerns resurfaced over tensions in crude-producing countries Iran and Iraq".
Australia's ABC reports the death of "34-year-old Australian" from a roadside bomb -- also dead were three people traveling with him all dead. The man has not been identified but, in a later ABC report, they identify him as a "security worker" and he hailed from Queenslander and Australia's prime minister John Howard states, "We do recommend that Australians stay away from Iraq for very obvious reason."
CBS and the AP note CBS journalist Elizabeth Palmer's report of a "firefight" in Ghalibiya that led to at least five civilian deaths and "five houses . . . demolished." Meanwhile Reuters reports that the Iraqi police announced today the Thursday death of Zuhair Muhammad Kshmola who was "the brother of the governor of Mosul province." The Associated Press provides the update: "Gunmen opened fire on Friday's funeral procession for the brother of the governor of the northern city of Mosul." Reuters notes that "two civilian trucks" headed "for the U.S. base in Ramadi" was attacked and the drivers kidnapped. And just as kidnappings are a regular event in Iraq now, so the discovery of corpses. The AFP reports that "five corpses, including one of a woman" were discovered in Baghdad.
So much for what, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show today, Iraq's brand-new interior minister (Jawad al-Bolani) termed, only yesterday, "a new beginning for Iraq."
Finally, CNN reports that the body of Hashim Ibrahim Awad's body is in the United States. Awad died in the April 26th incident that his family described to Knight Ridder's Nancy A. Youssef as: ""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." CNN reports that the body was exhumed, with the family's permission, "for forensic analysis."
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