Thursday, October 26, 2006


Thursday and late starting this. Not in much mood after last night. F-ing Blogger/Blogspot went out. Elaine called me and I checked the bottom of my screen and it had a "can not connect" message so I waited for hours and nothing. Finally, I went to bed leaving the computer on and the screen with the post up so I wouldn't lose it. Leigh Ann wondered about the time on the post -- that's when I started it and around when I completed it. But it was published this morning around six a.m.

It also didn't help to read The Common Ills today. :D That's what all the talk of 'new media' should be bringing if you as me. "Bully Boy doesn't know the number of US fatalities but timid media can't tell you that" is just explosive. And I loved "Knickmeyer raised the issue (that Gen. Casey ignored)" too but let me stay on the first one. Who else is noting that Bully Boy, trying to look like he cares, can't get the figures right when he cites deaths in Iraq?

If you're going to say "93" deaths to get credit for 'caring,' you better have your damn figures right. He didn't. It was the usual 'can't be bothered' attitude from the Bully Boy. Or maybe, like his mother, his 'beautiful mind' can't be bothered.

How can that happen anyway? The people all decide to look the other way and keep their mouths shut when the figure was 91 and not 93?

Has anything changed since the illegal war started or are we all expected to cover for him and act like he's all his press once said he was?

He's a jerk and a joke and he exposed that yesterday but who was there to call him on it?

By the way, the toll's up to 97 now.

I was reading this at After Downing St.:

NEW YORK A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of "rape and murder" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were "blatantly sadistic."
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures in a 50-page decision that said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."
The ACLU has sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes taken at the prison as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture.

It's from a thing written by Greg Mitchell that David Swanson posted. I wonder how many people realize that we never saw all of the photos? As bad as what we saw was, it wasn't the worst there was. Now that's coming out. You have to wonder how Bully Boy & Friends will try to spin this. But he's got a lot of friends, like Norah O'Donnell. This is from Media Matters'
"MSNBC's O'Donnell cherry-picked poll to suggest public divided over likely outcomes of Democratic Congress:"

On the October 26 edition of MSNBC News Live, MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell cherry-picked a new USA Today/Gallup poll in order to baselessly suggest that the public is divided over the prospect of a Democratic Congress. O'Donnell noted that the poll showed that 82 percent of respondents believed that, if Democrats gained enough seats in the midterm elections to take control of the Congress, they would set a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq -- something, O'Donnell said, "two-thirds of people" support. O'Donnell then noted that 63 percent of respondents in the poll believed Democrats would raise taxes, adding, "[T]hree-quarters of the American people disapprove of that."
However, O'Donnell did not address the fact that a larger percentage of respondents identified increasing the minimum wage, investigating the Bush administration, and rejecting President Bush's judicial nominees as actions that a Democratic Congress would likely take than identified raising taxes. Of those potential actions, the vast majority of respondents favored an increase in the minimum wage, while respondents were split over whether they approved of "major investigations of the Bush administration" and the rejection of "most of President Bush's nominations for federal judges."
Overall, of the seven actions a majority of respondents believed a Democratic Congress would most likely take, four received strong support, two received split support, and only one -- an increase in federal taxes -- was opposed by most respondents. Therefore, by citing only the action least favored by respondents in addition to the issue of withdrawal from Iraq, O'Donnell baselessly suggested that the public has conflicting views about whether a Democratic takeover of Congress would be a good thing. O'Donnell used the cherry-picked poll results to advance the
argument that Bush and Republicans "want the message to be 'T and T' -- terrorism and taxes." She then asked Democratic strategist Michael Feldman, a former senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore, "And what about that optimism by the president? Are you guys dancing in the end zones before you've scored your touchdown?"

I read that one to C.I. over the phone and was asked, "What's this end zone dancing?" I thought, okay, I'm the sports guy, let me explain it.

Wrong. C.I. was talking about how Nora O'Donnell was parroting the Bully Boy. C.I. said it was in the dopey speech Bully Boy gave yesterday. This is from the NYT transcript:

But that's not what I see when I'm on the campaign trail. You know, we've got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, D.C., measuring their drapes.

Norah O'Donnell's a good little lapdoggie, she takes Bully Boy's words and uses them as if they're her own. Shes'a real piece of work and has been for years. We're lucky to have Media Matters calling her out.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the puppet's bark continues to resonate, the American troops toll continues to rise as October becomes the month with the highest number of US military fatalities for 2006, and John Howard, prime minister of Australia tries to spin a new excuse for Australia's continued involvement in the Iraq war.

"There are two options. One is everybody out by midnight tonight, and the second option is everybody out by midnight tomorrow. I don't think it's cutting and running, I think it's getting out,"
Seymour Hersh stated to Matthew Hays (Montreal Mirror) summarizing the realities of Iraq today.

From reality to joke, John Howard. As
Peter Hartcher (Sydney Morning Herald) observers of the coming parliament elections in Australia: "The war in Iraq, also unpopular, is another live risk for Howard. . . . beccause it is such an unpopular policy, Howard cannot win on Iraq." No, he cannot. So apparently he's going for the jokes. AAP reports: "Australian troops must stay in Iraq to maintain the country's friendship with the United States". Can someone get John Howard to a self-esteem class quickly? Somewhere a mother asks, "John Howard if everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?"

From Australian joke to American joke, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
AP reports that Rummy wants people to "just back off" on this talk of benchmarks or timelines or, probably, even stopping the violence. "Just back off!" hollers Rummy who actually did promise you a cakewalk if not rose garden. Meanwhile, Peter Pace (US Joint Chiefs of Staff chair) was reported by AFP to have stated yesterday that 'another war' would require "brute force" due to other options being "tied down in Iraq".
"Just back off!" hollers Rummy, "just back off!"

Writing of the reality on the ground in Iraq,
Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) observes: "The greatest American mistake was to turn what could have been presented as liberation into an occupation. The US effectively dissolved the Iraqi state. It has since been said by US generals -- many of whom now claim to have been opponents of the invasion all along -- that given a larger US army and a more competent occupation regime, all might still have been well. This is doubtful."

Cockburn also notes that "the Iraqi government has always been weak. For this, the US and Britain were largely responsible." Which brings us to the shock still greeting Wednesday's bark from the occupation puppet. James Hider and Tom Baldwin (Times of London) note: "Nouri al-Maliki anxious to prove he is not a US puppet, criticised a heavy-handed American raid on the Shia militia stronghold in Sadr City, made without his knowledge. He also repudiated the US assertion 24 hours earlier that his Government has 12 months to quell Iraq's nascent civil war. 'This government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it,'
he said." As
Nancy A. Yousseff (McClatchy Newspapers) noted: "U.S. officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are increasingly at odds over strategy and goals". As the AFP noted yesterday, "The joint force did not say whether they had captured their main target." Today Paul Holmes and Mariam Karouny (Reuters) report that the target "escaped" according to al-Maliki. The barking puppet has gotten a lot of press in the last two days. He may need to save the clippings for his scrapbook because,
Raed Jarrar and Robert Dreyfuss discussed with Amy Goodman on Monday's Democracy Now!, the puppet may be about to be replaced by the US government.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes that the US military death toll in Iraq has "reached the highest level in nearly two years on Thursday following the deaths of four U.S. Marines and one Navy sailor in volatile Anbar province." The US military announced: "One Sailor assigned to 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 and two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Wednesday from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The BBC notes that Bully Boy "on Wednesday admitted being seriously concerned about the scale of American casualties." Not 'seriously concerned' enough to get the number of American fatalities correct. Some people are seriously concerned such as Diana Unger who spoke to CBS' Byron Pitts about her son David Unger: "My son died in a country that I have no idea, really, why we're even there" and, of the Bully Boy, "Unless he puts his daughters over there and he has that real fear everyday of not wanting to turn on the television, that fear that gets into your heart and your head, he can't fathom what that means."


In Tal Afar a man with an "explosive-laden belt" killed himself and left two Iraqi soldiers wounded,
Reuters reports.


BBC reports at least eight police officers were killed by "gunmen" in one attack in Baquba with 25 more wounded and 20 missing while another "attack on a checkpoint" left an additional six police officers dead and ten wounded. Reuters puts the number of missing police officers from the first attack in the previous sentence at fifty and notes that "an Arab local official" was shot dead in Mosul. Update: Reuters raised the number killed in the attack listed first in the first sentence to 28 with the wounded staying the same (25) -- no mention of any change in the figures for the missing. The fighting in Baquba is ongoing and AP notes 30 killed and 42 wounded in their most recent update. KUNA reports that Saad Shalash, a journalist and professor, and his wife (name not supplied) were shot dead in Amiriyah.


Reuters reports seven corpses ("shot and bound") were discovered in Mosul yesterday. CNN reports that ten corpses ("bullet-riddled") were discovered in Baghdad Wednesday.

On Iraqi fatalities,
CBS and AP note "more than 961 Iraqis have been killed in war-related violence this month, the highest level since The Associated Press began tracking civilian deaths in April 2005. That amounts to an average of more than 41 each day, compared with a daily average of about 27 since April 2005, as more Iraqis fall prey to sectarian death squads affiliated with militias. The AP count includes civilians, government officials and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is likely higher, as many killings go unreported. The United Nations has said 100 Iraqis are being killed each day."

In legal news,
AP reports that John J. Jodka has entered a plea of guilty "to charges of assault and obstruction of justice in the [April] death of . . . Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the Iraq town of Hamdaniya." As CBS and AP note, Jodka's plea follows that of Melson J. Baco who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy: "The group approached a house where the insurgent was believed to be hiding, but when someone inside woke up, the Marines instead went to another home and grabbed 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, Bacos said. The squad took Awad to a roadside hole and shot him before planting a shovel and AK-47 to make it appear he was an insurgent placing a bomb, Bacos said. He was sentenced to a year's confinement; murder and other charges were dropped."

In other legal news,
CNN reports: "Five companies, including a subsidiary of military contract giant Halliburton, billed the U.S. government a total of $62.1 million for administrative operations, which is more than twice the amount those companise spent directly on the projects in Iraq that they had been contracted for, according to a report released Monday by the Office of the Special Inspecter General for Iraq Reconstruction." Earlier, James Glanz (New York Times) reported on the same government estimate noting: "Overhead costs have consumed more than half the budget of some reconstruction projects in Iraq . . . leaving far less money than expected to provide the oil, water and electricity needed to improve the lives of Iraqis."

In peace news,
Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin are among those who continue speaking out. Denny Boyles (Fresno Bee) reports that Sheehan spoke at Fresno State, Satellite Student Union, yesterday to a "near-capacity and supportive crowd for more than an hour, talking about not only the loss of her son, but what she said was the loss of rights suffered by everyone in America." Boyles quotes Sheehan: "Last summer I felt my role was to convince people that the war is a lie, based on lies. Now, I've seen polls that show most Americans believe that to be true. My job is to activiate those who disagree with Bush and get them to act for peace." Video of her speaking to press before her speech can be found here (KFSN). The day before Cindy Sheehan was speaking truth in Iowa City and O.Kay Henderson, of Radio Iowa, has an audio report here.

Medea Benjamin spoke at Ohil University yesterday. In a Q&A with The Post, Benjamin was asked about her thoughts on the importance of protesting with the interviewing noting that Benjamin was "removed from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2004, Pres. George W. Bush's second inauguration and a Congressional speech by Iraq's Prime Minister (Nouri al-Maliki) this past July, all for anti-war protesting." Benjamin's response: When governments realize they don't have the backing of their people, they start to find a way out . . . It's both the (continued violence) on the ground in Iraq coupled with loss of support for this war that is forcing even George Bush to start looking for alternatives. Many times, for activists, it feels like we're not effective. It feels like we're being ignored or ridiculed or marginalized, which we often are by the mainstream media, but in the end it's often times the protestors who end up convincing the general public of their opinions and changing history, and I think that's what we're saying now."

". . . truth is often denied at first, then grudgingly accepted until it becomes comventional wisdom,"
Danny Schechter News Dissector notes writing about the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq (at BuzzFlash): "There is a word missing in most of the coverage of Iraq. It's a ghost-laden word that conjures up distressing memories that Washington and most of our media prefer to keep in that proverbial 'lock box,' hidden away in dusty archives and footage libraries. The word is Vietnam. Its absence was never more noticeable than in the coverage this past weekend of the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, marked in Vietnam with celebrations, but largely ignored in America where CNN led with the story of a bride who went missing when she had second thoughts. Is this denial or is it deliberate?"

In sweat shop labor news,
David Phinney (IPS) takes a look at the construction of the US Embassy in Baghdad and quotes John Owen stating, "Every U.S. labour law was broken." And in other human rights news, Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) looks at what effect the illegal war in Iraq has had on Syria: "silence public demands for democratic reformers here."

Bob Watada beging his latest speaking tour today. He is the father of
Ehren Watada who is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Below are dates through Sunday:

Oct 26, 7PMPhoenix, AZ Location: TBASponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192,

Oct 27, 7PMAlbuquerque, NMLocation: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice202 Harvard Dr SESponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PMHouston, TX.Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic ClubLocation: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th StreetEntertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM

Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary. More information on Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Two notes: Those in need of the press brieifing in Baghdad on October 24th can
click here for the US military's transcript. [The briefing was quoted in yesterday's snapshot.]
Second note, community one. Blogger/Blogspot went down yesterday. Elaine's
"Daniel Ellsberg, the Mamas and the Papas, Iraq" went up (though she did not know that until she got up this morning -- she assumed when she got the error message that the post was lost). Mike's "Iraq and Tony picks 12 of his favorite Ava & C.I. TV reviews" went up this morning -- he left the computer on all night because he couldn't save or publish and didn't want to lost his post. Rebecca wasn't able to get in (she posts later) but plans to post tonight. Ruth wasn't able to log on (and guest blog at Kat's site). She hopes to do that tonight but it's iffy. Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IRAQ RESPONDS!" and Cedric's "Iraq hollers back to the Bully Boy (humor)" also went up yesterday to round that topic out.

cindy sheehangold star families for peace
danny schechter

medea benjamin