Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lot of things

Tuesday, Tuesday. Don't know what's going on with Blogger/Blogspot, they appear to have made some changes. If things look different online, that's why. Let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continues but the media's more interested in seeing if al-Maliki will give Bully Boy class and if Bully Boy will give al-Maliki . . .
Reuters reports a bomb ("car driven") in Mosul left eleven wounded, "rocket-propelled grenades" fired "on the main road between Kirkuk and Baghdad" at "two fuel trucks" killed two drivers -- a third was kidnapped; a roadside bomb in Mosul wounded three Iraqi soldiers; and, in Baghdad, a road side bomb took the life of one police officer and left three wounded. AFP reports three bombs going off in Baghdad "killing two civilians and a policeman wnd wounding many bystanders." Allowing for the police officer in Baghdad noted by AFP and Reuters to be the same person, that leaves five dead.
Reuters reports a shooting death in Ishaqi which took the life of a police officer, a drive-by that killed a police officer in Baghdad, four wounded in Daquq ("working for a private Iraqi company which deals with the U.S. military") and two dead ("gunned down inside their car") in Baghdad. The "inside their car" noted by Reuters appears to be "a family of Shiite civilians" who had been threatened and were attempting to flee but were killed with another family members wounded (AFP).
Reuters reports six corpses were discovered in Baghdad, seven in Suwayra ("shot dead . . . blindfolded), and two near Falluja ("gunshot wounds").
That's all the media has to spare for events in Iraq as the rush is to DC to note the new romantic comedy When Bully Met Puppet . . .
Here's the set up. An obnoxious, paunchy post-middle-age male decides to invade Iraq. He and his flunkies make a lot of false claims and assertions that are generally known to be false in real time. For example,
Michael Ratner, Jennie Green and Barbara Olshanksy will write in 2002: "Despite the pervasive use of the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction' in many of the Bush Administration's speeches discussing Saddam Hussein throughout 2002, there is no evidence of a developed nuclear weapon program in Iraq. Indeed, all reliable, detailed evidence from independent experts reveals that the current weapons capacity in Iraq is small -- smaller and far less advanced than that of other counries around the world that are actively threatening peace in their respective regions" (Against War With Iraq). But out of some desire to let the lifelong loser make yet another stab at 'success' in some form, in any forum, the mainstream media largely either stays silent or cheerleads.
The spoiled playboy gets his hobby (and many die). He toys with and discards Ibrahim al-Jaafari (the cad!) and along comes Nouri al-Maliki. Cue love theme on the soundtrack. Puppet is Bully Boy's favorite kind of Iraqi -- one that's spent over two decades out of the country.
Now after long distance exchanges and one brief (shining) moment, they're face to face and the question for the audience is: "Are their sparks?"
Don't expect sparks to fly but expect the Puppet to get a lesson in who pulls the strings.
The BBC offers this recap: "When the two leaders met in Baghdad last month . . . The mood then was unusually positive, reports the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington -- but this latest meeting comes on the back of a failed security operation in Baghdad." The AFP reminds: "Baghdad's descent into chaos has claimed more victims as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in Washington under pressure to restore order and pave the way for the departure of US forces. As gunshots and bomb blasts echoed around the capital, the Iraqi leader went into talks with US President George W. Bush knowing that both the Americans and his own supporters are disappointed with his handling of the situation."
A meeting of two leaders? Sounds more like a performance review.
Getting far less attention is
the reconciliation meetings going on Cairo with (AP): "Some 30 delegates representing Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and other smaller minorities are participating in the discussions sponsored by the Cario-based Arab League."
In peace news,
the Latin American News Agency reported Friday: "Costa Rican filmmaker Daniel Ross . . . won the prize of the screenplay contest called by the Program for the Promotion of Production and TV Coverage of the Ibero American Documentary (DOCTV-IB)." Ross will now have $100,000 for the budget of his film, Dear Camilo, which "will portray the story of [Camilo] Mejias, from the perspective of two Costa Rican friends, former classmates he meets after 10 years." On the subject of activist and war resister Camilo Mejia, he is not 24 years-old. Those who've noted coverage of an accident in Florida involving a 24 year-old Camilo Mejia and wondered, it's not the same Camilo Mejia (the activist Mejia was born in 1976).
After serving in Iraq, Mejia returned to the US and went AWOL, surfacing in March of 2004 at a news conference held at the Sherborn Peace Abbey
Alison O'Leary Murray (Boston Globe) reports that Sherborn Peace Abbey, "founded in 1988," is in need of funding. Along with being the setting for Meija's news conference, the abbey also "was involved in a protest by a group calling itself the Peace Chain 18, who chained themselves togeter at Natick's Army Labs to protest military intervention in Iraq."
Writing for The Huffington Post,
Michael Brune notes that he and others with the Rainforest Action Network "are joining Code Pink and thousands of others around the world who are fasting to end the war in Iraq and to bring our troops home now." Brune writes: "Each day we wake up, rush to work, get together with friends, get caught in traffic, get caught in office politics, get caught in emails . . . and each day so many time zones away, another family is terrorized at gunpoint, another young soldier is killed, a home is destroyed, a child is killed while her sister is raped. And if you live in America, it's being done in your name."
YubaNet notes: "hunger strikers who started fasting against the war on July 4 will set up 'Camp Al-Maliki' across from the Iraqi Embassy to await response to a letter sent by the group to Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki." Today is DAY 22 of the Troops Home Fast action -- at least 4,350 people from around the world are participating. The fast is ongoing and people wishing to grab a one-day fast to show their support can do so at any point. If you missed the July 4th start, you haven't missed out on the protest. Information can be found online at CODEPINK. Finally, in Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death in Baghdad of Jake Kovco continues with "Soldier Two" (Kovco's platoon sergeant by most accounts) testifying. Malcom Brown (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that Soldier Two testified that he "had heard the commotion in Private Kovco's room on the night of April 21 and found the private's room-mates, Soldiers 17 and 19, kneeling beside the body. He saw the nine-millimetre pistol on the floor and shifted it aside with his hands in case someone accidentally discharged it." Ben Doherty (The Age) reports that "Kovco's platoon sergeant did not want to look again" at Kovco's body. This is presented as the reason why the body of Bosnian Juso Sinanovic ended up arriving in Melbourne and not the body of Jake Kovco. Soldier Two is quoted saying: "I was devastated and am still upset by the mix-up." Australia's ABC notes that Soldier Two was flown in from Baghdad to testify and that he "said he was not given detailed instructions of his role as escort, and was not told that he had sole responsibility for identifying the body during the repatriation process." Doherty notes that Soldier Two's DNA was tested and "neither Soldier 2 nor three military police officers involved in the initial investigation" match the DNA found on the gun ("its slide, handgrip and trigger"). Doherty concludes with: "The two soldiers who were in barracks room eight with Private Kovco when he died will be DNA-tested when they arrive back in Australia later this week."
Note that this is the inquiry's stated goal/action today and that another turnaround wouldn't be surprising at this point considering its past history.

Someone sent that article on a Camilo Mejia being hit by a car to Wally and he asked me about it? I didn't know. So I'm glad C.I. covered that. I can't believe the continued mess that is the inquiry into Jake Kovco's death. I don't think I could sit through that the way Shelley Kovco (his wife) and Judy and Martin Kovco (his parents do). That takes a lot of guts and determination. I hope they get the answers.

I told C.I. I was looking for highlights and got passed a pretty good list I could pull from. I don't usually have to ask for help with highlights but I had a lot to do today and after class, I called C.I. and said, "All I want is to blog and get to bed so if you see anything that you think I might want to talk about, please pass it on." I was going to talk about Bill Clinton so C.I. noted Arianna and I'm using it below but first up, Marjorie Cohn's "Willful Blindness:"

On Friday morning, as I traveled north on Interstate 5, I passed two tractor-trailers heading south toward the 32nd Street Naval Station in downtown San Diego. Each vehicle carried about 10 unmarked bombs; each bomb was approximately 15 feet long. Two military helicopters hovered low above each tractor-trailer, providing overhead escort.
I wondered where these bombs were headed. They must have been in a big hurry because they usually ship their bombs more covertly.
Israel had just put out an S.O.S. to the United States government to rush over several more bombs. "The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration," according to the New York Times. Although always well-equipped with sophisticated US-made weapons, Israel was evidently running out of munitions to drop on the Lebanese people.
Washington loses no opportunity to scold Iran and Syria for providing weapons to Hezbollah.
Yet during the Bush administration, from 2001 to 2005, Israel received $10.5 billion in Foreign Military Financing - the Pentagon's biggest military aid program - and $6.3 billion in US arms deliveries. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign military assistance.
It is a violation of the US Arms Export Control Act to provide weapons to foreign countries that are not used for defensive purposes or to maintain internal security. During the last major Israeli incursion into Lebanon, in 1981, the Reagan administration cut off US military aid and arms deliveries for 10 weeks while it investigated whether Israel was using weapons for "defensive purposes."
Last week, both houses of Congress, mindful of the importance of retaining Jewish votes and campaign contributions, passed resolutions stating that Israel is acting in self-defense. The vote in the Senate was unanimous; the House vote was 410 to 8.
Walking in lockstep with Bush, neither resolution calls for a ceasefire. The Senate resolution praises Israel for its "restraint" and the House resolution "welcomes Israel's continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties."
US-provided Israeli bombs have killed nearly 400 Lebanese, the overwhelming majority innocent civilians. The bombing has displaced half a million people and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage.
After Israeli orders that people in southern Lebanon evacuate their homes, several vehicles filled with evacuating Lebanese civilians were bombed by the Israeli military.

Marjorie Cohn is with the National Lawyers Guild (she's actually the president-elect) and that's a really important organization so when I saw her on the list, I was going to grab it no matter what she was writing about. But she's writing about something really important (I lucked out) and I hope you're paying attention to this. It's hard to. We were talking about that in class today, how soldiers were "kidnapped" in the press. Soldiers aren't kidnapped. They're captured. Israel didn't "enter" Lebanon, it invaded. The point was that if you're following the mainstream coverage, you should do yourself a favor and stop. Immediately.

The coverage is tilted and this was a long (and loud) discussion in class today. If you're only outlet were the mainstream (which shouldn't be the case if you're reading this), you'd be better off not following it.

Moving on to a story in the Washington Post about Bill Clinton rushing to prop up Joe Lieberman, I say, "Go away, Bill Clinton." Really, just go away. Take your War Hawk wife, and go away. David Broder doesn't tell him that. So I will. Bully Boy's where he is because Bill Clinton gave him cover re: Iraq. That scheme was built over time and Clinton was in office. So he's never going to speak out against the war he helped start. So Hillary's never going to either. So both of them, leave the national stage. Really. Pretending to be the happy couple? I mean, get real. You cheated on her. If she's smart, she cheated on you. But America doesn't need any more of your psychodrama. Move it along. You're not president. You weren't a great president to begin with. Leave the stage. It's not like you've done anything since leaving. You've pal'd around with George Bush the first. You've done a tiny little bit re: prices for AIDS drugs. You did go to Ireland, I'll give you credit for that. But really, just leave the stage. Everytime you flap your gums, you give as much, if not more, cover for the Republicans than Lieberman. And when you told David Letterman that you didn't know about the Downing Street Memos, if that was true (yeah, sure) then it yet again proves you've got nothing to offer.

Jimmy Carter went with Habitat. That was his issue. You need to find an issue and work on it. Quit butting into politics to give cover for your fellow War Hawks. It's one thing to say you didn't deserve impeachment, it's another for you to walk around like you're a hero. You led a smutty life and hurt your party because you couldn't keep it in your pants. You and your wife both need to seriously consider leaving the public life. Every time you start trying to triangulate today, it just reminds everyone of how irritating you can be.

Now for the thing by Arianna Huffington, "Bill Clinton Endorses Joe Lieberman -- a HuffPost Preview! (Updated):"

So Bill Clinton made it to the big Lieberman rally in Waterbury today (albeit two hours late) and offered his endorsement. Among his observations was the rather baffling assertion that the war in Iraq is the "pink elephant in the living room." This expression traditionally refers to "a question or problem that very obviously stands but which is ignored for the convenience of one or other party." But just who exactly is ignoring the war?

I'm glad Arianna doesn't pull punches. I know she was anti-Clinton but I really don't think this is some grudge thing (the way the online, latter day Dylan appears to think). The truth is, he embarrassed the nation with his actions. It wasn't impeachable. It didn't destroy the country. But that nonsense was smutty and, my opinion, what saved him was Ken Starr was more smutty and overplayed his hand. But Bill Clinton needs to grasp that we're not all fans of his. Everytime he does or says something, I like him less and less.

Be sure to get your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. I'm going to bed. (It's 9:25 pm right now, before any jokers look at the time on this post -- when I started it -- and think I'm going to bed at six o'clock. Would have been nice too, though.)