Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Watch the Breaking Ranks trailer

Wednesday, two days until we hit the weekend! :D In the snapshot today, C.I. talks about a documentary Michelle Manson made. Use the link and watch the trailer for Breaking Ranks.

You won't regret it. You've got Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Kyle Snyder and more. They talk about why they went to Canada to resist the war. Kyle Snyder reads a poem he wrote about how the world he was born in no longer exists. You hear stories about things that happened in Iraq. It looks like a really powerful movie. You can watch the trailer online, so check it out.

I know I'm not the only one who's interested in their stories and the trailer's like six minutes or so. So make a point to watch it. And I just thought about the point C.I. always makes which is that no everyone can watch online. Some can't because they don't have speakers and some can't because they're on public computers at a library with a time limit and no speakers. So I'll watch it again and write a little more about it tomorrow. But if you're able to, watch it yourself.

C.I. also notes Danny Schechter's "America is losing Iraq: Is anybody watching?:"

Many Democrats are starting to hammer at the incompetence of those fighting the war without being willing to admit that the whole pre-emptive adventure is as flawed as the Vietnam War before it.
So here we are in the last week of the summer of ‘06. Much of America is on vacation along with the news media that seems to have withdrawn from Iraq before the government has the guts to.
Now is the time for all good news consumers to come to the aid or their media and demand coverage and courage to stop the blood letting and save what’s left of our national honor. We need to find the news which is there to be found and keep the Iraq war issue alive.

He's talking about mainstream media but it is just as true about independent media and everyone who reads my site knows it. I don't even listen to the stations that different members write about in the gina & kristen round-robin but it's true of the Pacifica stations. Iraq has fallen off the radar. I trace it to Nancy A. Youssef's article at the end of June when they ALL dropped the ball. There she was telling that US does keep a body count of Iraqi civilians and where was our indymedia? I was with Elaine when she was speaking, when C.I. made us all speak because the thing got two hours tacked onto it after it started, and we were talking to people who try real hard to follow Iraq and there were a lot of them going "Huh" and "What" when Elaine brought up that point. They'd never heard that.

Now that was before Israel started attacking Lebanon so indymedia can't use that as their excuse. (And, in Polly's Brew, I did a column on all the indy outlets that were contacted about that story and printed their responses. They didn't think it was news. They can kiss my Irish ass.) Iraq didn't take a long nap that they're about to wake up from. Every day there has been violence and we've gotten nothing on it from indymedia for the most part.

There's not an excuse for it. The US declared war and went to war and the war continued but the coverage vanished. Molly Ivins pointed it out, Jimmy Breslin pointed it out. And still nothing changed. It's insane and you better believe that after the elections in November, people in Congress will start going, "Oh we need to send more troops." And when people wonder how we got to the point when sending more Americans to die is a "plan," you can look at indymedia who blew it. The polls showed America was against the war and we could have had a serious dialogue about the war this summer but it didn't happen. Cindy Sheehan was back in Crawford but indymedia didn't care. Cindy Sheehan, Tom Hayden, Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, and others went to Jordan to talk with Iraqis about peace but indymedia didn't care. The Troops Home Fast started and goes on but indymedia didn't care. Ehren Watada had an Article 32 hearing but indymedia didn't care. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was rendered invisible in a hearing into her rape and murder and indymedia didn't care, didn't even care enough about her to cover her.

Indymedia didn't give a damn. All summer long. There's no excuse for it. There were the stories above to cover and there were many more. None of them got covered. Yeah, some websites covered them. That includes the community websites but I'm not talking about websites. If I was, I'd be going, "Thank God for C.I." In fact, I will say that. Thank God for C.I. who didn't just continue to focus but upped the focus as a result of the fact that everyone was dropping it. "The New York Times rendered Abeer invisible again" and "NYT: It takes a paper of Hazels to clean up the crimes against Abeer" and "Walking Through Watada (Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing)" are among the strongest coverage of Iraq at any time but especially when indymedia wanted to work on their tan and catch up on their junk reading.

No matter what, you knew you could count on The Common Ills each day. The programs? You knew you might go a whole week without them devoting time to Iraq. Over a five to six week period this summer, they might do one brief segment on Iraq. Five days a week for some shows. And one tiny sliver on one day was supposed to cut it? They really should be ashamed.

When America was finally getting real and ready to talk, indymedia was off on a break for six weeks, seven weeks. They betrayed journalism, they betrayed their listeners or viewers.

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2006. Violence and chaos continue with CBS and the AP calling the fatalities at 52 and the AFP going with 77. The blink-and-you-missed-it truce (with one militia, the Mahdi Army) is off less than 24 hours after it began reports AFP, South Korea's numbers in the so-called coalition drop, in Australia the Jake Kovco inquiry takes shooting lessons, and the Bully Boy has explained to Brian Williams for NBC Nightly News the key to his failure -- Reuters: "Let me, let me . . . look, the key for me is to keep expectations low."
At that, if nothing else, the Bully Boy has succeeded. Equally disappointing is the puppet of the occpuation, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent much of Sunday swearing there was and would be no civil war. Reality has a a way of slapping the Operation Happy Talkers in the face. Where have you gone
Spinmeister William Caldwell IV, an administration turns its frantic eyes to you?
In Baghdad, an explosion at a market has
killed at least 24 and left at least 35 wounded. CBS and AP report that the bomb went off at "one of Iraq's largest markets, where wholesalers sell food, clothing and house products to businessmen and shopper." AFP notes that "[b]ody parts and the remains of those killed and wounded were strewn across the area. Windows of nearby shops were shattered, two cars were ripped apart and popular restaurant blown open."
The bombing of the market wasn't the only Baghdad bombing today. The
BBC notes that three people are dead and 21 injured as a result of a a car bomb "near a petrol station". CBS and AP identify the three dead from that bombing as Iraqi police officers. Before the market blast in Baghdad, a bomb was hidden on a bicycle in Hilla, AFP reports, "that exploded outside the army recruitment centre" killing at least twelve people and leaving 38 wounded. Reuters notes that five members of a family were killed (three women, a man and a child) and two members wounded from a roadside bomb in Buhriz. Southeast of Baghdad, the AP notes: "An Iraqi army major was killed in Kut . . . by a roadside bomb." Reuters notes "two border guards" are dead in Badara from a roadside bomb. The Financial Times of London notes two dead from a bomb in Karrada. Sabah Jerges (Australia's Herald Sun) reports "a bombing in the oil city of Kirkuk" that took three lives.
Check the math, but that should be 52 killed by bombs today. Shootings?
CBS and AP note that Nadiya Mohammed Hassan and her bodyguard and driver were shot-dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes three brothers were shot dead in Numaniya. The BBC reports that, in Baghdad: "Gunmen shot dead three textile workers travelling to work in a taxi". And CBS and AP note: "a civilian driving in his car in northern Mosul was apparently shot and killed by American troops who opened fire when the man's vehicle came too close to them."
You read that right. Possibly, it's Shirley Jackson time.
AFP reports that one person is dead in Samawa and ten wounded after "hundreds of young men" seeking jobs "pelted stones at the building and burnt tyres when clashes broke out between them and the police." Reuters notes the police fired at the crowd. Bullets, stones? Someone is dead. AFP identifies the person as "a volunteer." The Finanical Times (with a Reuters report) notes a witness who says that the person was shot by the police.
Sabah Jerges (Herald Sun) estimates that today's violence resulted in "at least 77 Iraqis" dead. AFP goes with "at least 77" as well.
AFP notes: "five bodies washed up on the banks of the Tigris south of the capital . . . . blindfolded and shot in the head" while Reuters notes two corpses were found ("gunshot wounds . . . torture marks") in Qaim as well as, in Falluja, the corpse "of a civilian . . . found three days after he was kidnapped" and one in Numaniya "bearing signs of torture."
Of course, on Tuesday, a torture czar could be found in Baghdad. The
BBC reports that on the question of torture (which is illegal, though he and the administration appear to have forgotten), Gonzales stated "it is difficult to decide what is appropriate" and that it's "a difficult decision as to where to draw the line" but that "decision will be made by the Iraqi government". So exactly why did he waste US tax payer money going to Baghdad? To meet with "officials at the Iraqi High Tribunal . . . trying ex-leader Saddam Hussein and six others on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity." Possibly he wanted to try out the defense he'll mount in US courts should he ever be held accountable?
Danny Schechter ( notes, "One recent report placed the costs of the war at $1.75 billion per week. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is set to reach $318.5 billion September 30, 2006. With the skyrocketing costs of the war in Iraq, worldwide military spending soared. Wouldn't you think that that alone would have our news media all over the story? If you think that, think again."
Sadly, he is correct. It's been a summer of chasing after a lot of stories, giving wall to wall coverage, and letting a lot drop through the cracks -- mainly Iraq -- and that's true of all media, big and small.
Along with the dropping Iraq coverage, the numbers in the so-called coalition continue to drop as well. The
Korea Times reports that, on Tuesday, people gathered to see off the 1,179 (South) Korean troops headed to Iraq to replace the 1,8000 (South) Korean soldiers who will be returning home. That's 621 more soldiers leaving Iraq then are headed to it.
In peace news,
Sandip Roy (New America Media) spoke with Bob Watada. Bob Watada is the father of Ehren, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. On the issue of Ehren Watada's refusal to serve in the illegal war, his father stated: "It's in the code of military justice, it's in the field manuals that you have a dut to disobey an unlawful order. The Nuremberg Tribunal which we signed on to and probaly drafted parts of, clearly says any military official can be prosecuted if they are complicit in war crimes and clearly we have massive war crimes going on in Iraq today."
Last Thursday night, a military spokesperson noted the recommendation forthcoming re:
Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing: court-martial. That recommendation is now working its way through the chain of command. To weigh in with support for Ehren Watada, Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In other peace news Michelle Mason has made a documentary entitled
Breaking Ranks. The film premieres tonight at the Montreal World Film Festival. The festival notes: "Breaking Ranks examines the incidence of U.S. soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their objections to the war effort in Iraq. The film documents the experiences of several American army deserters who face one-to-five years prison time if they are deported and convicted of desertion. If however, Canada refuses to deport the soldiers, it faces considerable friction in its relations with the U.S. Filmed in cinema verite style, the film combines personal stories with political, cultural and historical analysis of the issues these soldiers' actions raise for Candada and for its current policies."
Breaking Ranks plays at 9:30 pm at the Cinema Quartier Latin 13 tonight and at 10:00 am at the same location on September 1st. Nelson Wyatt (Candian Press) spoke to filmmaker Mason as well as war resister Kyle Snyder. Mason noted that she had intended to focus on the Vietnam era but when Jeremy Hinzman sought refugee status that changed -- "I realized that was the story to pursue." Snyder tells Kyle Snyder tells Wyatt, "I would rather take jail than go back to Iraq and fight for something that I don't believe in. If I could avoid jail, that's what I'm going to do and I'm going to whatever it takes to do that."
CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues on its 58th day today with at least 4,833 people participating. The action continues through September 21st (International Peace Day) and those who would like to take part can grab a one-day only fast, a one-day a week fast or a mutli-day fast (seek health advice from your provider before embarking on any long term strike). More information at Troops Home Fast. If anyone's suddenly realizing summer is coming to an end and looking for something to do that you can point to with pride and say, "This summer I . . ." consider taking part in the action.
Indybay Media notes that the World Can't Wait has a full page ad in today's New York Times for the October 5Th action. The ad, on page A9, reads: "ENDLESS WARS! TORTURE! KATRINA! THEOCRACY! BRING THIS TO A HALT!" For more, visit World Can't Wait.
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco is on hold.
Belinda Tasker (The Age) reports that those sitting on the inquiry's board as well as the attorneys were busy today receiving gun lessons to attempt to increase their knowledge on some of the issues (such as silent cocking) that have been raised during the hearing. Tasker notes that Thursday, they will be at a shooting range and that the head of the inquiry is upset that images of Soldier 14 were shown on Australia's Nine Networks. For those wishing to see the video, this page has a link. (Soldier 14 is a witness. He's not a victim. We'll put the link up here.) On the issue of Australia's Nine Networks, in May the network conducted a poll and "found 83 percent believe there had been an intentional cover-up over the details of" Jake Kovco's death.

Be sure to go check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And read Rebecca's "the mood." Beau wondered if we were mad at each other? No. We've been covering the state of indymedia and just doing a dialogue back and forth. I love Rebecca. She's smart, she's funny. She's a really good friend. In my judgement of indymedia, I still do take it personally and that's partly because I was a complete idiot. She wasn't. So her position has more distance. I don't have that because I really believed in indymedia. I believed all the hype. We talk about this on the phone at least once a day. She reminded me yesterday about how when we were discussing a book at The Third Estate Sunday Review and C.I. was positive about a book but did have some minor disagreements. I really was pissed at the time. And I thought I hid it but I was wrong. C.I. called me after and was real nice about it and said that it was just an opinion and we'd both read the book so don't take it seriously. C.I. even made me laugh about it but, like I told Rebecca yesterday, that should have been my sign that I was a little too involved in the myth of Amy Goodman. C.I. wasn't even trashing the book, C.I. recommended it strongly but noted two areas of disagreement and I got so mad about that. That should have been a strong signal to me that I was up to my neck in the myth. (C.I. has never tossed that back at me, by the way. I kept waiting for that back in July but it never happened.) If I'm going to get caught up in someone's committment it should be people I know so I can really see they are trying to end the war and not just talking about themselves. C.I.'s really trying and has been for three years. There's no break. Everyone in this community with a site is doing it, everyone doing a newsletter is doing it and I believe most members are as well. So I'll put my faith in the community because it doesn't lose focus or drop Iraq to run after the 'hot' story of the moment and cover nothing else.