Monday, August 14, 2006

KPFA reported on the war resisters in Canada

Monday, Monday and as I sing that I'm in California. :D (Mamas and Papas reference.) I don't think I could live here but it is shaping up to be a great vacation. Some of us went to an amusement park Saturday and that was a lot of fun. Everything's been fun. There was this thing on Iraq today and one night this week, we're going to hear an early version of a paper a friend of C.I.'s writing on Iraq. And how bout that Third Estate Sunday Review edition, huh? Whole thing on Iraq. Pretty cool. If you missed it, here are the links, and I'll share a few thoughts:

"Truest Statement of the Week A" -- this is Molly Ivins saying it all in two sentences.

"Truest Statement of the Week B" -- this is the closing argument in the Article 32 hearing last week and you really need to check that out if you missed it.

"A Note to Our Readers" -- Jim explains the edition.

"Editorial: Forgetting Iraq when it can't afford to be forgotten" -- title says it all. If we're serious about ending the war, we've got to act like we are. I ain't seeing it in the media.

"TV: Psyche?" -- OMG! I couldn't believe it. Ava and C.I. wrote about the WB's Twins and finished that before I got out there. But then like at the last moment on Friday, everyone says, "Let's make the whole edition Iraq." Great idea but Ava and C.I. had to find something else to review. So they decide Psyche and start calling people they know to find out if anyone can get them copies of the show. That's on Saturday because it was too late on Friday. By Saturday evening, a guy comes by with tapes of the show. So they ended up having to watch several episodes and write a review and participate in the edition. It was wild. But they have a really cool commentary. They don't think so. But Ava and C.I. always hate their stuff. After a few weeks, they usually don't hate it as much but they never go back and read their stuff which is too bad because they're great writers. Everybody loves their TV commentaries.

"Abeer" -- Remember Abeer. I agree this should be the big story because what happened to her is what happens in an illegal occupation. People should know her story and, if they're still for the war after it, I'd love to hear them defend it.

"Bully Boy breaks pledges easily, Sheehan doesn't without doctor's orders" -- Bully Boy pleged to give up sweets while the war waged and lasted a few months. Just sweets. Cindy Sheehan went over thirty days without food and only started eating because of doctor's orders when she ended up in the emergency room. Who's the strong one? (Cindy Sheehan, if you didn't know.)

"C.I.'s Wanted In The Green Zone" -- C.I. really didn't want this done. Partly because there was another idea (we're grabbing it this weekend) but also because it was Quote: "self-referential." Too bad. We wanted it. A stupid ass mainstream reporter wrote a nasty little e-mail (I know who it was and saw it, but I'm sworn to secrecy). It went to the public e-mail account at The Common Ills so Ava and Jess saw it and worked on a reply but C.I. heard about it (they worked hours on this reply) and told them not to send it: "Just because he works for ___ doesn't make him anymore important. Lots of people write and never get a reply. There's not time for it. He certainly doesn't rate you two working hours on a reply." But since they couldn't send it, they took it to Third and everyone was like, "Oh, yeah, we've got to respond to this prick." So that's what it is. (It actually blends two fluffers who whine into one.) I think the reporter embarrassed himself big time. It's always funny to hearing about how they ranted and raved. Jess printed it up and begged C.I. to read it to a group of people over this weekend who included reporters and an editor. They were laughing so hard. What a stupid little prick. By the way, he thinks he can't be criticized because he's over there. So anyone who's over there can't be criticized? Is that it? He thinks he's got it so hard. A soldier who'd returned from Iraq last spring goes, "Stupid pansy has bodyguards, we didn't." :D

"DVD Must See: Sir! No! Sir!" -- this is a great film and you have to, have to see it. We worked real hard on this both to capture the movie and to apply it to today. This movie is history but it's also about today. So see Sir! No Sir!

"Damien Cave Plays the Fool so Perfectly" -- OMG! I want you to use your imagination here, okay? You're a woman in her fifties. You are the one in charge of your home. Iraqi soldiers and at least one American soldier barge in to search your home. You smile even when they take away your gun. Damien Cave writes it up like she has any choice but to say "Thank you" to armed men who barged into her home. Grow up, Cave, grow the hell up. What a fool.

"4 Songs worth checking out" -- this is just four song excerpts from recent CDs that you should know about and we've got a visual with it. :D That was decided right before it posted and we couldn't get it to work in Blogger so C.I. had to do programming code which is why the photos so big. But I like it that big. You can really enjoy it and see everything.

"Herbert Reed: Blood in his urine and stool, tumor removed, migraines, joint ache . . . D.U. exposure" -- short one. Important. We just had three or four lines that we added to it. A short piece so that everything's not an essay.

"Struggling for money, how did Iraq scrap together $35 million to pledge elsewhere?" another short one pairing up a point James Glanz (NYT) makes with something Arianna Huffington said (The Huffington Post).

So that's the edition. It's all about Iraq. Next week too.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, August 14, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq, we're three days away from the start of Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing, the US military tries to dispute the Iraqi government and eye witnesses -- and the press plays he said/she said, and the US military is also involved in arguing with itself. (Report card reads: "Does not play well with self or others.")
Some basic facts/dates to start with. On Saturday (though few apparently noticed it),
the AP announced their count put the death toll for American troops in Iraq at 2600. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) noted that the so-called crackdown in Baghdad has been going on, with no success, since June 14th. Kenneth Janda (Northwestern University) noted in The Chicago Tribune that today makred the 1,245th day that Americans have been in Iraq and contrasts that to the United States' "war against Germany [which] lasted 1,245 days, from Dec. 11, 1941, (when both nations declared war) until May 8, 1945."
And the war drags on.
Sunday's violence in Baghdad was
reported (yesterday) by CNN as: " Police said the attackers used a rocket, a car bomb, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle and two other devices to attack the neighborhood between 7:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. Saturday ET) and 8:30 a.m." Sudarsan Raghaven (Washington Post) reported it: "The attacks began when a volley of rockets bombarded a residential apartment building during a nighttime curfew, witnesses and police said. Then, a roadside bomb exploded, followed minutes later by another bomb strapped to a motorcycle." The Guardian of London: "The ministry said the rockets appeared to have been fired from Dora, one of the mostly Sunni Arab districts targeted by US troops in a recent security crackdown. Residents said the assault on Zafraniya lasted for more than an hour." The US is now disputing it was an attack and blaming it on a gas explosion. From AFP: "While the US military blamed an accident on a gas main for the disaster, Iraqi authorities insisted that insurgents had fired rockets into the largely Shiite district of Zafaraniyah and had detonated at least two bombs."
The violence on Sunday came a time when the so-called crackdown has produced no results, when the capital should be as 'secure' as the occupiers can make it and when Shi'ites are calling for neighborhoods to be turned over to militias and not the occupying armies.
CBS and AP note: "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office said in a statement that the attack started with a number of Katyusha rockets falling on a building followed by a car bomb, more rockets on a post office, a motorcycle bomb near a public library and mortar rounds near an Armenian church." They also report that "the al-Sahaba Soldiers" have claimed responsibility for the violence saying that they used "two booby trapped cars and fired mortal shells".
Gas explosion? Possibly, we'll learn that a gas explosion penetrated the Green Zone next?
Australia's ABC reports that the four Australian troops who were wounded in the Green Zone were "injured in an early morning rocket attack". (ABC also notes of the four: "Three have been released from hospital. The fourth, a female, remains in a hospital in a stable condition after suffering lacerations and bruisings.")
When not disputing Iraqi government officials, Iraqi police and eye witnesses, the US Iraq occupation force spent today disputing itself.
AFP reports that "the chief spokesman for US-led coalition forces, Major General William Caldwell" insisits at press conferences that Iran is aiding resistance fighters in Iraq by "training and providing weapons . . . in order to carry out violent attacks in the war-torn country." Caldwell uses terms like "we do know" and "verified" (though proof comes far less quickly than words). Despite these statements, Caldwell, in the same press conference that, "There is nothing that we definitively have found to say that there are any Iranians operating within the country of Iraq" which the AP headlines: "No evidence Iran active in Iraq: US general." Does it all seem like the inferences used to (falsely) link 9-11 and Iraq?
While the US military attempts to get a consistent talking point,
James Hider (Times of London) reports that British troops are being pulled from "the resitve Shia city of al-Amarah" to "instead patrol the Iranian border to prevent weapons-smuggling in one of the largest redeployments the Army has undertaken in Iraq" (Hider estimates this action will result in "freeing about 1,200 British troops").
And while British troops move to the Iraq-Iran border,
Solomon Moore (Los Angeles Times) reports that "[h]undreds of newly recruited police officers in Fallujah failed to show up for work Sunday after insurgents disseminated pamphlets threating officers who stayed on the job." Moore notes the estimate of 100 police officers killed in Falluja in "the last three months."
Reuters reports the following: two dead near Khalis from a roadside bomb (three wounded); eight dead in Tal Afar from a mortar round; two dead and four wounded in from two car bombs "in eastern Baghad"; while in the "central Karrada district of Baghdad," one person died and three were wounded from a car bomb; and "on the main road between Baghdad and Baquba" a roadside bomb killed one police recruit and injured ten more. (That's 14 reported dead.)
CBS and AP report that, in Mosul, "three blacksmiths" were shot dead. Reuters reports that "a tribal leader" was killed in Mosul and his son was wounded; "a tribal leader" was also shot dead in Baiji; and in Falluja "a civilian" was shot dead. (That would be six shot dead for a total of 20 reported dead today -- in addition to the rising death toll from Sunday's events in Baghdad.)
In peace news,
WBAI's Law & Disorder examined the efforts to surpress and prevent the 2004 peace rallies in NYC timed to coincide with the GOP convention held there.
Heidi Boghosian (host of the program along with Dalia Hashad, Michael Smith and Michael Ratner) noted the internal documents that are only now coming out,
"In one such e-mail, the Parks Department wrote, 'It's very important that we do not permit any big or political events between August 23rd and September 6th, 2004. It's really important for us to keep track of any large events -- over a thousand people -- and any rallies or events that seem sensitive or political in nature'." Those dates were "the period of the RNC" convention in NYC, as guest Mara Verheyden-Hillard, of the
National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee, noted. Michael Bloomberg denied involvement but documents released demonstrate "that Mayor Bloomberg was having meetings with the Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, specifically about denial of the permit to the National Council of Arab Americans and ANSWER coalition, that there were meetings taking place where they were talking about that their official position that there would be a ban on rallies at Central Park overall in advance of the RNC, that they were trying to get him in agreement with that position notably because the police department didn't share that position. The police department didn't have a problem with a rally on the Great Lawn of Central Park."
here to read the released internal documents. Important in terms of 2004, in terms of Bloomberg (whose denials in depositions are now called into question) and important with the upcoming events surrounding September 21st (International Day of Peace).
In Crawford Texas,
Camp Casey III continues. KWTX reports that the Bully Boy went back to DC Sunday but that the camp continues and that Cindy Sheehan ("released from the hospital Sunday") and over 100 people are taking part in today's actions. Deborah Mathews (Lonestar Iconoclast) reports that Sheehan required "a transfusion of four units of blood" while hospitalized this weekend and that chants of "We love you, Cindy!" greeted her return Sunday. As she continues her recovery, Mathews reports, Sheehan will "be at the camp for only an hour or two each day." The Associated Press reports that Sheehan said Sunday, "Even though George Bush isn't here, it's important still to get together and not just how him but show the world that there are Americans who want the violence in the Middle East to stop." In a separate report, the Associated Press notes that Camp Casey actions are to continue in Crawford "through Sept. 3" (at which point, it moves to DC).
Prior to the hospital stay, Sheehan had been taking part in the
Troops Home Fast action which is on it's 42nd day and currently has 4,549 participants. It's an ongoing action and people interested can fast for one day at any time, pick a day to fast each week or do a longer fast. (The action will last at least up to September 21st.)
In other peace news, it is three days until the Article 32 hearing begins (August 17th) for Ehren Watada -- the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Courage to Resist and are organizing and trying to get the word out for "a National Day of Education" on August 16th. Melissa Tanji (The Maui News) reports that Bob Watada said of his son's chances the "court of public opinion is going to weigh heavily in favor of Ehren . . . [which] could make a difference". Khurram Saeed (The Journal News) reported Sunday on some actions taking place in Rockland, New York to demonstrate support for Ehren Watada. In addition to that, Tanji reports that: "Ave Dias, of the Maui Peace Action group, said Watada supporters should send postcards, call or fax elected officials such as Rumsfeld to let them know the public's support for the soldier objecting to war in Iraq." Mailing address for Donald Rumsfeld: 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000 and the main number for the Defense Department is (703) 545-6700 -- say "Operator" (or press 3) to speak to an actual person.
For those wanting to demonstrate the need to for public action in support of Watada, organizations (such as are recommending showing films such as Sir! No Sir! (for more on the documentary, also see "DVD Must See: Sir! No! Sir!").
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad continues. The latest development revolves around Solider 21 (all soldiers testifying are identified by number, not name -- Soldier 21 is "the section commander") who,
AAP reports, now denies the statement he gave to investigators that he heard a cry of "Allah Akbar" (God is great) immediately before he heard the gun shot that killed Jake Kovco. Sydney 2GB reports: "He told the inquiry it had become unclear whether he'd in fact heard the comment."

Sunday on KPFA's The KPFA Evening News, they had a report on the war resisters in Canada and how Veterans for Peace met on the border with resisters who went to Canada. Gerry Condon (Safe Haven) estimated that there were about 300 veterans there to meet with the war resisters. Kyle Snyder was on talking about his decision to leave (C.I. noted Synder last week*) the military by going AWOL and heading to Canada.

Peace activists in Canada are trying to get Canada to offer "asylum" instead of "political refugee" which is the thing the government is making them apply for. They had Gene Marx talking and he said, "They signed up to defend the Constitution. The Constitution is pretty adament on the fact that we don't fight immoral, unnecssary wars and like every Vet, it was drilled into us to not follow an unlawful order and these kids, God bless them, are not following an unlawful order. . . . Until people realize that they have to stand up, they have to do something, and get out and stop this thing, and get out and be vocal, go to your Congress people, go to the local, the grassroots level, go in there everyday, bug them, shout at them, get out on the streets and do something. Stop this immoral, obscene war. We're tired of parents burying children on both sides. This is obscene."

See that "*"? First, thanks to C.I. who listened to my "Wah!" when the report was over last night (I was listening but stuffing my mouth with pizza and it ended before I was done chewing so I didn't have time to make any notes) and grabbed a pen and paper and quickly made notes after the fact. C.I. said, "If you use it, note it's a paraphrase!" I also got to note it first and C.I. said it'll go in Tuesday's snapshot. I said, "You can use it first." But C.I. had stuff already for Sunday evening and a transition already for Ehren Watada for Monday's snapshot (the protests in NY) and wasn't sure there would be one on Tuesday. (There's very little coverage of Iraq.) Second thing on "*" is that Wally pointed out something no one realized: if you link to news stories on Yahoo (AP or whatever), they're gone in a few weeks. So unless I know otherwise, I'll link to any excerpt the community provides and if the link they have in their entry still works, great, if not, you've got the excerpt they provided. Wally pointed that out and so if we know it's a Yahoo story or any story we're not sure if it will disappear in a few weeks, we're all going to try to remember to link to whoever has the excerpt because those will still be there.

On Saturday morning, C.I. was getting calls from friends mentioning a popular story. "You've got to take it on!" C.I. said, "You take it on." But as one pressy after another called, C.I. asked all of us, "Should I address this?" We sided with friends in the press. So C.I. did take it on (at 8:10 am PST). Leigh Ann said she searched in vain for anyone else who would point out that a Bully Boy Cheerleader who attacked Cindy Sheehan for wanting a second meeting with Bully got yet another meeting. She didn't find it. (If it's out there, let me know.) She did find this that notes the story (12:10 pm I'll assume PST) -- doesn't comment on it. That's what we figured, that everyone would be like, "Oh she insulted Cindy Sheehan repeatedly and she provides covers for the war so we won't point out that she issued her Who-does-she-think-she-is-to-get-another-meeting-with-Bully-Boy?" Which is why we were all going, "Write it! They're right, you are probably one of the few, if not only, that would tackle it." (Second sentence was Elaine's. But we were all going "Write it!")

Remember to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Read Ma's "Squash Soup in the Kitchen" and I'll talk about that this week. (There's a story behind it and "HI" to my great-uncle if he's reading this! :D)