Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Death and destruction continues in Iraq even if silly fools don't cover it

Tuesday. I had a funny post planned for this week and I'm holding it because I think enough people are being silly. I don't mean people like Wally and Betty who are trying to be funny. I mean people who are just silly -- you know the ones who forget that there is a war going on. Or "the show" that decided, "Hey, maybe I should talk about Iraq today but I really don't care too much about Iraqis, so how about I just cover the Lamont-Liebrman race and then I can say, 'Look, I cover Iraq!'" You know, the people who are silly because they're so damn useless. The type who, for instance, might go to a concert by the artist I'm listening right now and pass out fliers to try to stop a war that they now forget.

Who am I listening to? Me and Wally both got Ani DiFranco's Repreive today. It's pretty cool. But let me do C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" before anything else and pay attention, lots of important stuff:

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Tuesday, August 8, 2006. Bombings, a bank robery . . . all part of what the AFP term "Bloody Day in Baghdad." And while people continue to dicker in the United States with games of "Is it or isn't it a civil war," Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) reports on Iraqi politicians who "way that the country is in civil war already." This as the so-called 'crackdown' (in beefed up form) appears to . . . crack apart.
Strongest dose of
reality comes from Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch): "The vast city of seven million people, almost the size of London, is breaking up into a dozen cities, each one of which is becoming a heavily armed Shia or Sunni stronghold. Every morning brings its terrible harvest of bodies. Many lie in the streets for hours, bloating in the 120F heat, while others are found floating in the Tigris river."
In the captial,
ITV notes "three near-simulaneous bomb explosins near the Interior Ministry building." Police officer Bilal Ali Majid tells the AP that at least 10 are dead and at least 8 wounded from the three bombs. Al Jazeera puts the toll at nine and notes "[t]wo roadside bombs exploded in the main Shurja market in central Bagdad within minutes of each other, killing 10 civilians and injuring 50". CBS and AP place the death toll at 10 for each bombing (20 total). AFP notes that ths market blast "set fire to several shops."
This is the AP in case anyone's confused (some early reports lumped the two attacks together): "Three bombs exploded simultaneously near the Interior Ministry buildings in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said. A couple of hours later, two roadside bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said."
Reuters notes a police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "in the eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad"; in Iskandariya, two people were wounded by a roadside bomb; and, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed by a roadside bomb (eight people wounded "including a child").
Reuters notes two civilians were shot to death in Rashad, "a police lieutenant colonel" was shot dead in Falluja (his brother was wounded), and two were shot dead in Mosul.
CNN reports that, in Muqdadiya, three people were shot dead (including a teacher) and that drive-by shootings claimed two lives in Baquba. AP notes "two Sunni brothers . . . slain in their car repair shop in southwestern Baghdad:.
In addition to the above, the
BBC notes the death of "three security guards and two bank officials" during a bank robbery in Baghdad today. AFP notes that the robbery of the al-Rasheed Bank utilized three cars and that the interior ministry is saying it only netted "seven million dinars (less than $5,000)". The AP states it was two cars.
CBS and AP note the discovery of nine "bullet-riddled" corpses in Kut. AFP notes that at least seven were "Iraqi border guards." Reuters notes that seven corpses were found "south of Baghdad" and that they were "wearing military uniforms". And the AP notes two corpses found in Baghdad ("shot in the head").
In addition, the
BBC reports: "Also on Tuesday, a US soldier died of wounds sustained in fighting, the US military said"; while CBS and AP report: "Two Iraqi journalists were killed in separate incidents in Baghdad, police said Tuesday. Mohammed Abbas Hamad, 28, a journalist for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, was shot by gunmen at he left his home Monday in western Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said. Late Monday, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, about a half mile from where he was abducted two weeks ago in northeast Baghdad, Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The body showed sign of torture, he added." The AP reminds that the two are "among more than 100 Iraqi and foreign media workers slain here since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."
Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) notes that Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and puppet of the occupation) no longer pushes the "reconcilation project" and that Abdullah Aliawayi (Iraqi parliamentary member) describes it as "failed." Nouri al-Maliki's criticism of the "U.S.-Iraqi attack on Mahdi Army's stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City" continues. Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) writes of the attack: "Families sleeping on rooftops to escape the summer heat were startled early Monday by helicoprters and gunfire" and that the action "killed three people, destroyed three homes and sent families scurrying for cover." (For those who wonder about the heat, a friend says it is 110 degrees in Baghdad right now). As AFP noted yesterday: "An AFP journalist in Sadr City reported that the raid on the area, a stronghold of the firebrand cleric, was accompanied by air strikes." Today AFP notes: "Coalition aircraft were called into action after the Iraqi army snatch squad came under fire, and at least three civilians were killed." Coalition aircraft would most likely mean US military aircraft. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) notes Times' colleague James Hider's observation that "This security plan is basically the last chance to save the country from civil war. It seems like he [al-Maliki] is trying to distance himself. There is a very fine line between sending your troops out to attack militia that are linked to a government party." Hider himself writes that "a clear rift" has opened between puppet al-Maliki "and the American military" which leads to "doubts about whether the security forces would have the political backing required to tackle powerful militias beholden to parties in the governing coalition."
In Baghdad, the trial into the murder of
Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members continue (as well as into the alleged rape of Abeer). This is the case that yesterday, as Reuters notes: "A US military court heard graphic testimony about how US soldiers took turns to hold down and rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murderer her and her family." Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that the attornies for the four troops currently serving (James Barker, Paul E. Cortez, Jesse V. Spielman and Bryan L. Howard; Steven D. Green is no longer in the military) accused of rape, murder and arson are calling for "a new hearing, accusing Yrbie's counsel of deliberately asking incriminating questions. A ruling was expected later in the day." Anthony Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for alleged failure to report the incident, he is not accused of rape, murder or arson. Also, CNN reports that a witness testified of "colleagues who drank whiskey and cough syrup and swallowed painkillers to cope with their jobs." The witness, Justin Cross, was asked if Steven D. Green could have done the crimes by himself and Cross responded, "Green does nothing by himself."
In the United States, peace activist Cindy Sheehan and others continue their protests in Crawford, TX.
Sheehan is quoted as saying of the Bully Boy, "He can shorten his vacations or not show up at all, but he's not hiding from the truth." Camp Casey III is up and going again this summer. Writing of Sheehan and the first Camp Casey last year, Tom Hayden noted: "Cindy Sheehan inhabits an alternative world of meaning that more Americans need to experience before this war can end. She represents the survivors' need to define a meaning in her son's death -- and her life -- that is counter to the meaning offered by President Bush. That is why she refuses any condolences, and why she continues to ask the President what was the 'noble purpose' for which Casey Sheehan died."
an interview with Dan Bacher (Toward Freedom), Sheehan spoke of the Troops Home Fast action and noted, "We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home." Troops Home Fast continues with at least 4,549 people taking part today from around the world.
In other peace news,
Edwin Tanji (The Maui News) reports that Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is getting the word out on his son (first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq) and will appear at Maui Bookseller (Wailuku) today at four p.m. as well as on the TV program Crossroads tonight at 7:00 p.m. Maui Democratic Party leader Lance Holter says of Ehren Watada: "I'm awe-struck by this man's bravery. He has taken on the entire American military machine and standing up for principles of honor and justice and American patriotism. There is no more patriotic man than this person."
Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
In Australia,
AAP reports "Soldier 14" will be the next to testify into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad. In addition to Soldier 14 testifying in person, AAP reports: "The inquiry is also this week expected to hear more evidence about the bungled repatriation of Pte Kovco's body from witnesses appearing on a video link from the Middle East." Last week, one of Kovco's former roommates testified that the repatriation was contracted out and done on the cheap, tying that into the mix up that led to the body of Bosnian capenter Juso Sinanovic being sent to Australia instead of Jake Kovco. Those remembering how the scene of Jake Kovco's death was cleaned up before the investigation into what happened began won't be surprised by Ian McPhedran (Australia's Courier-Mail) report that it's happened again -- in this instance David Nary ("father-of-five SAS Warrant Officer") died in Kuwait last November and the military board's finding include "criticism for the lack of procedures to preserve an incident site."
In election news in the United States, as Ned Lamont challenges Joe Lieberman (polls close at 8:00 pm EST) for the Senate seat currently occupied by Lieberman, commentators sees the race as a sign post.
Stephen Schlesinger (Huffington Post) draws comparison to Eugene McCarthy and LBJ in 1968 and offers that: "A Lamont triumph or near success will make (and is already making) Democrats like Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shift progressively more in favor of withdrawal from Iraq and is certainly going to alter the entire spectrum of political views over the issue of Iraq, not only for Democrats, but for Republicans, too. In short, this is likely to be the turning point". Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) takes a look at Lieberman's "strategy" noting: "Anxious to move Iraq to the backburner, Lieberma dug deep into his long history in the Senate to find a reason why Connecticut voters shouldn't send him packing tomorrow. The biggest selling point he came up with? 'I don't hate Republicans,' he said while arguing that he wasn't President Bush's 'best friend and enabler.' Talking points for the ages."

Did you get all of that? That's 37 reported dead -- reported. Most deaths don't get reported. But how could they? All the reporters have rushed out of Iraq to cover Lebanon. Hope you caught Kat's "I love KPFA but I can't take any more of this 'THE ONLY STORY IS ISRAEL!'"
which really drives home point of how little the media -- big or small -- give a damn about the war that the US started, the war that continues. And give it up for Cedric and his "Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey" which is about how independent media can't even make time for Cindy Sheehan or Camp Casey. The coverage says: "Sorry, Cindy Sheehan, you just don't matter and neither does Iraq!"

Elaine, Cedric and me all talked about this yesterday and we're not highlighting things unless they have to do with Iraq this week. No links or shout outs. We're tired of all the nonsense of "Oh, there's no time to cover Iraq! Look what's going on in the world!" Iraq is always news. If you're broadcasting in the US, a war that the US declared, started and continues is always news. You have to be a dumb ass not to grasp that. When Israel's gone as far as the Bully Boy agreed it could go, that war will end. Iraq will still be raging. So this non-stop coverage of Israel is a nice little distraction.

No one's saying it shouldn't be covered, but it shouldn't be covered the way it is, crowding out Iraq. For instance, Free Speech Radio News today? Not covering it. 4:21 minutes to Iraq; 8:42 minutes to Israel, Lebanon, Gaza. We're not interested in tossing shout outs to programs that can't treat Iraq as being as important as what Israel's doing.

We're not interested in joining independent media and letting Bully Boy have a nice vacation where the nation begs him (the trash that started wars) to "save" the Middle East. He goes from the ogre who started an illegal war to the savior. I'm not feeding his ego, not letting him off. Not letting him pretend like no one cares about the costs of his illegal war.

That would be as stupid as me living in Australia and never taking on their defense secretary or John Howard because I was too busy covering the Bully Boy. What would an Australian be doing obsessing over the Bully Boy and a little over Tony Blair without ever calling his own leader (John Howard -- a War Hawk) out? I'd look like a ridiculous fool.

And that's how independent media looks these days.

They look like fools. They drop Iraq to rush over and cover (non-stop) what Israel's doing. Let me quote Kat because I love Dahr Jamail (so does Kat) but she made me laugh so hard with this:
"And Dahr Jamail, I though your site was called Iraq Dispatches, not Live from Lebanon." That is so true. Where's Dahr? In Lebanon. Covering Lebanon. Writing about Lebanon.

I've got to quote Kat one more time:

They've got a program director. Someone should be an adult and step in and say "Look, we've covered this topic. You need to find a new topic. Dennis will cover this later today. You need to focus on Iraq and other issues." You know where they could put an Iraq program, on the schedule in place of the second daily broadcast of Democracy Now! or, as I think of the show now, Look What Israel's Done Now!

I love Kat. She's dead on right about that show being "Look What Israel's Done Now!" -- it's just a daily waste of an hour. They're idiots. They're going to let lies take root about Iraq because they're fucking idiots. If that's harsh, well too fucking bad. Tony passes that stupid "digest" on to me and we look at it and see how little the show even bothers to cover Iraq in the headlines let alone in discussion segments.

I think people should follow her around at her speaking engagements and yell, "What about Iraq, Amy! What about Iraq!"

I bet there were high fives and back pats today: "We covered the Lamont and Lieberman race! We are so good!" No, you've been pretty lousy for awhile now. You were chicken shit when CODEPINK booed Hillary Clinton. Couldn't touch on that. Was it a Nation-sponsored event? Is that why you couldn't touch on it? Is that why that "ACT NOW" idiot Peter Rothberg gave CODEPINK the public scolding? Troops Home Fast has been going on since July 4th and it's barely been covered. There was a "story" on it that didn't talk about it. Then the next week, Medea came on and that's supposed to be it, I guess.

Did they ever air the interview with Suzanne Swift's grandfather that was promised "later this week"? It never came that week. Did it ever come? I just searched the site and didn't see it. Well they had to give all that time to the Mexico election, remember? Then they had to give all that time to Lebanon. So tough shit, Suzanne Swift and Swift's grandfather, you don't matter enough to Democracy Now!

"What About Iraq, Amy?" People really should start yelling that to her now.

I don't watch the show or listen to it anymore. My parents don't. We've all had it with the disposable nature of the illegal US war on Iraq. I was talking to Jim today about this and we were both wondering when the little inroads that had been made in the mainstream media collapse? We think it won't be too long from now because independent media has failed Iraq. Not for one day, not for one week, but week after week, after week. It really started happening in June if you were paying attention. By July, you couldn't miss it.

Here's a good article, Daniel Ellsberg's "Times Call for New Pentagon Papers:"

Today, there must be, at the very least, hundreds of civilian and military officials in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, National Security Agency and White House who have in their safes and computers comparable documentation of intense internal debates - so far carefully concealed from Congress and the public - about prospective or actual war crimes, reckless policies and domestic crimes: the Pentagon Papers of Iraq, Iran or the ongoing war on U.S. liberties. Some of those officials, I hope, will choose to accept the personal risks of revealing the truth - earlier than I did - before more lives are lost or a new war is launched.
Haditha holds a mirror up not just to American troops in the field, but to our whole society. Not just to the liars in government but to those who believe them too easily. And to all of us in the public, in the administration, in Congress and the media who dissent so far ineffectively or who stand by as murder is being done and do nothing to stop it or expose it.
Americans must summon the courage to face what is being done in their name and to refuse to be accomplices. The Voters' Pledge (
http://www.votersforpeace.us/) is one way to do this. This project comprises many of the major organizations in the antiwar movement - United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, and Democracy Rising - as well as groups such as the National Organization for Women, Progressive Democrats in America and AfterDowningStreet.com. The coalition's goal is to build a base of antiwar voters that cannot be ignored by anyone running for office in the United States.

I like Daniel Ellsberg but I got to say, as someone who respects him, "Mr. Ellsberg, I don't think it matters. I think someone could out with an audio tape of Bully Boy and Dick Cheney laughing about how they tricked the nation into war and no one would cover it. " That might not be fair. If there was a sentence in there about how Israel was going to attack Lebanon, I know Amy Goodman would spend forty minutes pondering that one sentence.

Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.