Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Iraq and other stuff

Hump day. Get to humping! :D Elaine said Cedric had a wonderful idea about us using the snapshot as our headline and going through and noting but she said, "It's so much!" :D It is. It was a great idea. How we're doing it right now is we're noting it and then we're going to write on one thing in it. Whatever stands out to us. So let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Iraq today? Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) sums it up as follows: "A civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims is spreading rapidly through central Iraq, with each community seeking revenge for the latest massacre." That pretty much describes life on the ground. There's also more news in the inquiry to the death of Jake Kovco as well as news on Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan.
Outside Baghdad's Technology Institute, three bombs went off.
AFP notes that a "police patrol" had just passed by and that the interior ministry of Iraq is saying that police were the targets of the bombings. Reuters reports five dead and 22 wounded in the three bombs -- first came the car bomb, then two others went off "apparently targeting a crowd that gathered at the scene."
The other single event getting the most press attention at this time is the kidnapping of at least 19 people.
Al Jazeera explains that fourteen were kidnapped on Tuesday "by gunmen in civilian clothes" and that an additional five were traveling in a vehicle, forced off the road, and then kidnapped. The Associated Press reports that the twenty (they go with the figure of 20) were all employees of the Sunni Endowment and that the agency's response has been to announce they "would stop working effective immediately and that its chairman, Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie, would give more details later." (Reuters also goes with the figure of 19 kidnapped and it taking place yesterday and today.)
Reuters reports that mortar rounds have claimed the life of a two-month-old child and left another child and one adult wounded and that a bombing in Kirkuk has left at least four dead and at least 16 wounded. CBS and the AP note a roadside bombing in Kirkuk that took the lives of two.
AFP reports that Major General Fakhr Abdel Hussein was killed in Baghdad ("in front of his home"). AFP notes that he was "[t]he head of the interior ministry's justice office". In Najaf, Reuters covers the death of the owner of "a women's hair salon" and notes that 3 are dead and 11 wounded after a market was stormed by assailants. AFP also notes: "Gunmen in the eastern suburb of Baghdad Jadida opened fir on a store selling vegetables, killing four people inside. They then planted explosives inside the store and blew it to pieces." Also in Balad, AFP reports, a home invasion has left a child dead and a woman wounded.
Reuters notes a corpse ("gunshot wounds") discovered in Mosul as well as 18 corpses discovered in Mahmudiya ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture"). Meanwhile the AFP reports that six corpses were discovered in Baghdad and one in Karbala.
the UN report that found almost 6,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the months of May and June on The KPFA Evening News yesterday, Max Pringle noted that: "In the first six months of the year it said 14,338 people had been killed. The UN report also details the rise in kidnappings particularly of large groups of people. In addition women report that their rights have been rolled back by religious muslim groups both Shi and Sunni. They say that their social freedoms have decreased since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and they are now barred from going to the market alone, wearing pants and driving cars."
Brian Edwards-Tiekert also addressed the report today on
KPFA's The Morning Show , noting that it indicates that "violence is claiming more lives in Iraq now than at any time since the US invasion of that country. The UN estimates 100 Iraqis are dying a day"
Speaking of the report yesterday, UN Secretary-General spokesperson
Farhan Haq noted that "the report raises alarm at the growing number of casualities among the civilian population killed or wounded" and that's a thought echoing in today's press with some noting occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki's statement from last week that Iraq was getting it's "last chance" or Hoshiyar Zebari's assertion that "months" remain before "all-out civil war" breaks out.
Turning to Australia and the case of Jake Kovco who died in Iraq on April 21st, the inquiry into the events of his final moments continue.
Dan Box (The Australian) reports that: "HOMICIDE detectives will trave to Baghdad to take DNA samples from soldiers who served with Private Jake Kovco after tests revealed unidentified DNA samples on the trigger of the gun that killed him." Speaking on The World Today (Australia's ABC) with host Eleanor Hall, Conor Duffy reported that Detective Inspector Wayne Hayes found "what . . . [he] called a gross amount of someone else's DNA, and that DNA was on the trigger of the gun, the slide and on the grip." Australia's ABC reports that: "As many as 30 Australian soldiers in Baghdad could be DNA tested." Dan Box also reports that the two roommates of Jake Kovco will testify to the board next week "by videolink" from Baghdad. Judy and Martin Kovco, Jake's parents, have been fighting to have soldiers serving with their late son called to testify before the inquiry -- though the testimony will be by "videolink," the 'win' on this is due to their persistence.
And in peace news,
Matthew Cardinale (Atlanta Progressive News) reports on Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin's visit to Atlanta to show their support for Cynthia McKinney in her primary bid (McKinney won the most vote but now faces Hank Johnson in a primary runoff). Medea Benjamin states: "The peace movement is aat a very critical juncture because on one hand, we have managed to capture public opinion. Most people think the Invasion of Iraq was a mistake and want the troops home at the end of the year. 72% of troops themselves say this. You can't continue to have politicians voting for the war. What's new on this is the Iraqi said, not just Iraqi people, but the [Iraqi] President, Vice President, and National Security Advisor".
Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan continue their fast as part of the
Troops Home Fast protest. From CODEPINK:
TROOPS HOME FAST! On July 4, we launched an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans expressed their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we're fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. Please sign here to to support us and encourage your friends to do the same. Click here to view photos, and read our blogs!
The fast is ongoing, anyone can join at any time, for a single day or more.
Finally, the
BBC reports that four more people kidnapped from the "meeting of the Iraqi Olympic Committee last week" have been released and that the number of those released is now nine.

What stand out to me? The continued violence and how little coverage it's getting. Iraq as an after thought again. I can't believe how little the press cares about Iraq. They sold the war and now they disown it. Not by calling it out and demanding the troops come home, but by ignoring it. We've gone from bemoaning "strategy" to just ignoring reality. "Strategy" isn't the issue unless it's examing the "strategy" of lying a nation into war. But you hear all these guys in the press talking about how if we could have done this or done that, it would be different now. But the reality is that it would still be an illegal war.

I can't believe what's going on in the Jake Kovco case. I was sympathetic to the parents (and to his wife Shelley) but I never would have guessed that details like the stuff above would emerge. If you use the links, the investigation did a recreation of when Kovco died and where he was when he died doesn't match where his rommates say that he was. So what did happen? They're even saying, the roommates, that they don't remember seeing him with a gun. His family has never believed it was suicide and I don't think you kill yourself in front of two people without saying something like, "Goodbye, guys." If you're going to do it in front of people, seems like you would want them to see it. (But I don't think most people would do it in front of people.) So I don't think it was suicide. I figured he was just cleaning his gun but now I'm wondering about that to. Too many details aren't matching up. I hope his family gets the answers, they need them and they deserve them.

Okay, to answer a question Trisha had: Why is KPFA the only thing noted these days in the "snapshot." If Ruth calls (or Rachel or Micah e-mail) C.I. with something from WBAI, it would probably be included. But C.I.'s attitude is basically: "I'm only noting what I listen to. If someone has a problem with it, they can have a problem with me." Unlike the rest of us, C.I. really did (and probably does) think "the war and peace report" program should still be noted. We missed Laura Flanders Saturday when we were discussing the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review because four hours was spent arguing about that program and whether the issue of why it's not be noted anymore should be addressed. C.I. was against discussing it. Finally, after Ava and C.I. disappeared to write their TV review and came back about thirty minutes later, it was decided by Jim that the feature would be written but only by the six people who are part of that site (Jim, Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and C.I.). If you read that "The long and winding edition," I think you can tell C.I. is ticked off about it even being done. Jim didn't get that. We were on the phone Monday night and I mention that and he goes, "C.I. wasn't mad." I go, "Uh, yeah." Jim called today and goes I was right. So the point is, for Trisha's question, C.I. listens to KPFA and stands by KPFA so C.I. will note stuff from it. But the hassle from the other program has pretty much meant that if it's not a program produced by KPFA, C.I. probably won't note it because it's not worth the hassle.

Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava are all out there staying with C.I. and Jim said he couldn't believe that if it made C.I. angry, C.I. wouldn't have brought it up. I go, "But C.I. didn't want to write about it to begin with, why did you think it would be a topic for conversation after?" Jim laughed and said Dona had told him the same thing.

A guy wrote and said to call LW. He wanted to explain that WBAI's Evening News can't cover some stuff. He said that if they covered Israel's aggression right now (in Gaza, in Lebanon) because it would "upset" a lot of listeners? I don't know what he's talking about because Deepa and Mitch have been covering this on Wakeup Call (Deepa also played some parts of a really good documentary on Haiti this morning). LW said there were two stories on Congress, the New Orleans story, and local news. Yeah, there was that. Where was their coverage of Gaza? Of Lebanon? But I didn't even mention that yesterday, I asked where was their coverage of Iraq? If LW's right and covering wars would "upset" listeners of the Evening News, well maybe they need to be upset? Maybe they need to know what's going on.

But Mitch and Deepa aren't being silent so don't pin it on what WBAI listeners can handle. Maybe LW is right that the evening news crowd couldn't handle it? But too f-ing bad. The silence on what Israel's doing in Gaza is a war crime. Shoving your fingers in your ears and acting like it's not happening isn't reality.

It's cowardly, if LW is right, it's cowardly. But it's not reality. One of the Congress stories they covered was Alberto Gonzales' testimony and their expert (who seemed quite smart) said that we'd hear in a bit that Gonzales "mispoke." So why turn that into a main story? But whatever you make your main story, if you're not making room for the tragedies of Iraq, Israel and Gaza, you aren't doing a news report.

I was glad LW wrote and he seems to know a lot about WBAI so I bet he listens a lot. He may be calling it right on the evening news. I hope he's not. That's worse than anything I said or suggested yesterday. He asked me to listen to it "as a report about what's going on in NYC and DC" and that might be good advice but there's a whole world besides those two places and my time is pretty tight so thanks for the suggestion. If I ever do listen again, I'll take it under advisement.

Get your butts over to Truth Dig and read Tom Hayden's "Things Come Round." That's like brutally honest and real. It's worth reading and then some. If you don't read it, you're cheating yourself out of something really important.

Also read "Online, latter day Dylan hits another sour note and the Evan Blah lovers" because that's got stuff in there that needs to be said too. I'm sick of the website that said "You can't blame Israel this time!" on Sunday. How stupid are they? Then, Tuesday, they start applauding Evan Blah's b.s. -- what happened to "framing"? They pushed that crap and didn't even look at the speech in terms of what is being "framed" (Dems have sold out the middle class). It's all b.s. from a b.s. DLC-er. That website should be ashamed. I didn't get, until I read C.I.'s thing, that Evan Blah was also attacking John Edwards. That's exactly what Blah's doing when he's saying we don't need to focus on poverty. That's John Edwards' big issue. But I especially enjoyed C.I. taking on "the online, latter day Dylan." I love it when C.I. does that. C.I. knows that jerk's writing and can always point out where the guy's accusing others of doing what he did himself. Cedric's probably going to write about the jerk too because there was a thing he wrote that ticked off Cedric, where he was defending Obama and tsk-tsking over the Obama critics. The jerk's just an old puke who thinks he knows everything and when he was in a class room with a bunch of kids, they may have smooched his butt but there's no reason the rest of us have to.

Wally and me were on the phone going, "Yes!" C.I. gave us both shout outs today. :D I go, "Did you check your e-mails?" He did and his were up too. That always happens when C.I. gives us a shout out. But today, we got mega-shouts. :D

Now Beau's got a problem and it's natural, it's that time of year when it's too hot everywhere. So let me do my PSA here and say, "If you get crotch rot, it is treatable. Take a shower, soap up seriously, dry in that area seriously, then apply deodorant to your crotch once it's dry -- ONCE IT'S DRY. I use Old Spice High Endurance." Beau wrote he read about that last year and laughed. Then it happened to him this week (he's doing landscaping this summer) and he couldn't remember what to do if you get it. (Crotch rot is my name for when your groin gets an odor that won't go away after excessive sweat.) I also told him in the e-mail that you need to do this more than once. Do it at least two days in a row and then, based on whether the smell's gone, continue or cease until needed again. And you're working on the nicks and crannies here, guys. You're not brushing your pubes with the deodorant. (You can do that.) If the smell is coming from your pubes, trim 'em.

I'm laughing as I type this, but it happened to me a few summer's back and I know it's not funny. What's really awful is the time before you realize that smell is you and you're thinking, "What is that smell?" And maybe you're even saying that to your buds. When you realize it's you, that's pretty embarrassing. You won't laugh about it until after the smell's gone, but once it is, you will. So if it happens, just deal with it and don't worry too much about it. It happens. If you don't deal with it, you're going to have that smell forever. So be glad you realized it was you.

This has been Mike McKinnon speaking for the American Society Against Crotch Rot. :D