Monday, November 27, 2006

Law and Disorder, The Third Estate Sunday Review

Monday, Monday. Running late because Ruth taped WBAI's Law and Disorder and Tracey played it over the phone to me. Whole episode. C.I. just got to hear Anthony Arnove. So let me start off with Law and Disorder.

Anthony Arnove wrote Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal which we did a quick note on at The Third Estate Sunday Review. In fact, I can grab the scan of the cover from that. So I just added it.
The book's either out in soft cover or about to come out in soft cover. (And there's a link in the snapshot below to it so I'm rushing and I'll just steer you to that.)

This was part four of the series the program's been doing on the police state we're becoming and on this one they're looking at how not only are things lost here but overseas too.

The Michaels (Ratner and Smith) talked about the fact that the attacks on 9-11 were crimes but were treated like a war and how responding to it like war wasn't just a mistake in terms of responding but also handed over all these powers to Bully Boy and how you can't have a democracy here and be an empire overseas.
Which is where they're looking at things for this episode and that includes military resistance and an American citizen who's about to get the death penalty in Iraq and Anthony Arnove.

So these were the notes I made while Tracey was playing the tape over the phone. Arnove was talking about the strength we have today to stop the war because now "a majority wants to see the troops come home so we're starting from . . . a very strong place." He talked about the importance of organizing and he talked about the importance of resistance within the war and was drawing similarities to Vietnam too.

He doesn't have a lot of faith in the Democratic Party doing anything and I'd agree with that. They're going to have to be forced to. He also talked about John Murtha and that went too quick for me to take notes but listen to that. Murtha's not all we're supposed to believe. He's gotten more funds from the military than anyone else in the House. (That's probably why we didn't push him at our sites. I don't usually ask for details. :D Really, I'm in a hurry and don't have time. I usually just go like thumbs up or down.) But like C.I. wrote last week: "What was the point of building up John Murtha? Apparently nothing but gas baggery because last week we saw him taken out. I'm not fond of Murtha. We didn't offer him as a savior here. But it was really amazing to see some of the same sources that spent forever pushing him suddenly turn on him."
That's the sort of thing I had time for this year. Just taking C.I.'s word (I trust C.I.) but no time to go, "Okay, give me the dirt." Arnove gives the dirt. So you can check that out.

And Michael Ratner brought up how the time is never write. He's not saying that, he's saying that's the excuse he got when he was like begging Congress to do something, anything on Guantanamo. But they were worried about this and that, not issues, elections. And that's how it's going to be with Iraq too. They'll keep pushing it off, saying it's not time. So that's why they were all talking about how we needed to apply pressure to Congress to make them deal with the war. Which won't be easy because they've pretty much said no, the Democratic leaders, to stop funding on the war. Like Michael Ratner said, if they would have cut off the funding on Guantanamo and the other prisons (some secret) by cutting off the CIA funding.

Arnove said he didn't think the Democratic Party leaders would push for change and talked about Harry Reid in the Senate calling for more money for the war.

See that's what they do, strut instead of dealing with issues.

Arnove talked aoubt how the war's cost 1.6 trillion for the US and how that money could have been used on stuff we need and I think this is where he talked about the fact that the damage from Hurricane Katrina still hadn't been fixed. That was part of the discussion and part of the topic. You can't have a democracy here and an empire overseas. All that money going over there for the war means stuff here won't be fixed.

So what we need to keep doing, Arnove said, was "demanding a withdrawal, demanding an end to the war." And he said we needed to support groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War. He talked about how the resistance in the military helped end the war in Vietnam and about the link between the civil rights movement here and the war in Vietnam, how people serving in Vietnam were able to see the demonizing going on over there and relate it to the racism here. He talked about what happened to Abeer twice but I don't think the point got made because the conversation changed both times. I really wished that they had stayed on this so we could have heard a legal opinion. What does it mean when one turns over on the others? What's the usual punishments, stuff like that. (But none of the hosts may have a background in military law. They may, I don't know. I just know The New York Times pushed the alibi/excuse of her rapists and killers -- "based on James Barker's confessions," C.I. always says put that in -- and when one confessed, they had nothing to say and haven't written one damn word.) He quoted what Barker said to the judge and I've got it from the snapshot (I can't do the quick note taking that Ava and C.I. can) so this what Barker said to the judge when pleading guilty: "I hated Iraqis, your honor."

Arnove also said he doesn't believe the nonsense about how America's just tuned out on the war "I don't believe that I think millions of people have been effected by this war around the country."

Guess what? That's it. I'm tired. I'm not a fast typist like everyone else. Real quick, here's the
latest at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim's note.

Editorial: The Unknown War Resister -- I really like this one. It was a bit longer but we worked on editing it down because Dona said there was so much in terms of long articles already. But I really like the message.

TV Review: Confessing to no talent -- Hilarious! :D I am so glad they left the line in. I was begging them to. I don't know if this is in my Wednesday post last week. I don't have time to check. But I was begging them to leave in that line. Ava and C.I. are hilarious. Tony asked if people were getting how much is covered in it and starts talking about it and I'm all, "Tony, I got the jokes!" :D Seriously, I need to re-read it and planned on it tonight. But no time.

Magazine Parody: The Elector -- A lot of us were going to the weekend off. Then this feature was announced and we all wanted to be there for a piece of that! :D I think it's so funny. And so true. And I was thinking about it when I was listening to Arnove today because the stuff he's saying we should be paying attention to isn't getting covered. The fact that it's not getting covered is why the parody was done.

Iraq's civil war -- C.I. pulled this as a topic from The Common Ills. There was a concern about whether we'd have enough topics this week because we'd planned to write about Danny Schechter's book again but no one had it. Tony's got mine. C.I. ended up loaning to a friend Friday. Jess, Dona, Jim, Ty and Ava all loaned theirs out, passed them on, while they were in NYC. Rebecca's is in a box (most of her stuff is because of the remodeling) and Elaine was at my place. Wally was at his grandfather's house so he didn't have his. Betty's wasn't on her shelf and she didn't know who borrowed it so we were all like, "Okay, Cedric, it's up to you." Only Three Cool Old Guys had Cedric's copy and were passing it around the nursing home. We couldn't believe no one had a copy. We quote from it in the editorial and that's C.I. doing it from memory so it's noted that it's a paraphrase and not a quote.

TV Review: Burying the living -- Ava and C.I. review two TV specials. This is the other one.

MyTV's Fascist House -- I had nothing to do with the collage, but I did help with the text. :D Me and Wally were going, "You gotta mention Fall Out Boy again!" :D

Junior wasn't all that? You don't say -- Harold Ford Jr. The loser.

Taking care of the most pressing business first -- This was a bit longer than planned. With Ava and C.I.'s review of Madonna's special and the parody, this was supposed to be a brief one but ended up longer.

Highlights -- the highlights.

That's it for me. Go check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, November 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Nouri al-Maliki feels the "love" in Baghdad, outside of the Green Zone; a US military crashes in Falluja, the press dickers over the term "civil war" and US war resister Kyle Snyder remains underground and what's really going on between the US and Iraqi resistance?

Attending funerals of some of those killed in
the Thursday slaughter (which claimed over 200 lives) in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, the puppet of the occupation was feeling the "love" or something. Mussab Al-Khairalla and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) report that Nouri al-Maliki was "pelted with stones," jeered and greeted with shouts including: "It's all your fault!" Louise Roug (LA Times) reports that he was also greeted with "Coward!" and "Collaborator!"

The puppet has no clothes on. Which is why he's gearing up for this week's meet up with Bully Boy in Jordan (Wednesday and Thursday) despite, as
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported, the Sadr bloc will pull their backing: "'If the prime minister does not give up his intention to meet Bush the criminal in Amman, we will suspend our membership at the council of representatives and government,' Salih al-Ighaeli, head of Sadr's bloc in parliament, told a solemn crowd gathered on the street in front of Sadr's headquarters". As noted Friday, should the Sadr block withdraw their support, the United Iraqi Alliance (the coalition backing al-Maliki) would fall from a 128 member bloc to a 98 member. If others within the bloc followed the Sadr's bloc lead, the bloc could completely disintegrate (the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan currently has the second largest blog with 53 members).

Covering issues that could lead to the puppet of the occupation having his strings cut, is Tom Hayden. On Wednesday of last week, Hayden offered "
U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story" and followed that with "Documents Reveal Secret Talks Between U.S. and Iraqi Armed Resistance" tracing efforts of the US administration to test the waters with feelers regarding other 'solutions' but "[i]t must be emphasized that there is no reason to believe that these US gestures are anything more than probes, in the historic spirit of divide-and conquer, before escalating the Iraq war in a Baghdad offensive."

Appearing on Democracy Now! today, Tom Hayden addressed the meetings, noting, "Well it's very murky and we'll know enough in a few days, I suppose. Over the past several years but especially in the past month since the election there have been contacts at a deniable level, but definate contacts, between representatives of the armed Iraqi national resistance and the US over the possible conditions of a cease fire and a change of regime in Baghdad."
Hayden mentioned the "possibility" of the US ditching the puppet with a "strongman" and also stressed the importance of the peace movement in continuing to press the issue. The most recent meetings, the post-US elections ones, are seen by Hayden as being influenced by the election results and elected officials want to move the issue off the table, out of the public eye, before the 2008 elections. On the feelers impact on the illegal war, Hayden also stated, "I don't think this is a plan to get out, I think this is a plan to reduce American casualties dramatically in order to stay in."

Amy Gooodman also interviewed Nir Rosen who discussed the prospect (raised by King Abdullah II of Jordan on ABC's This Week Sunday) of civil wars in the Middle East and saw it unlikely that Lebanaon's on the verge of a civil war, the effects Syria and Iran could have on Iraq -- "naive" because Iraq has it's own civil war right now. Rosen: "There's no solution. We've destroyed Iraq and we've destroyed the region. The Americans need to know this. . . . We destroyed Iraq and there was no civil war in Iraq until we got there. And there was no civil war in Iraq until we took certain steps to pit Shia and Sunnis against each other."

And in Iraq . . .


CNN reports that mortar rounds claimed three lives in Iraq and left 15 wounded in Baghdad. Reuters reports: "A police major was killed while trying to dismantle a roadside bomb in the oil refinery city of Baiji" and that "Mortar bombs fired by U.S. forces at insurgents wounded four Iraqi civilians, three of them boys aged six, 13 and 16".


In Dora,
CBS and AP report that six police officers were wounded in an attack and, shortly after, "gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint, wounding four soldiers." CNN reports that, in Muqdadiya, the owner of a mobile phone store was shot dead and that, in two different areas, three police officers were shot dead in Baghdad with eleven more wounded..


Reuters reports that 39 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and five more "near Baghdad." AFP notes four corpses discovered in Haswa and four in Iskandiriyah.

CNN reports that three guards were kidnapped "outside a Baghdad municipal building" and four brothers were kidnapped (the fifth killed) in the eastern part of the capital. Reuters notes the kidnapping of Abdul-Qadir Abbas in Baghdad and, in Dujail, eight police officers have been kidnapped (originally nine, one escaped) and that another was shot dead.

In Falluja, a US fighter jet has crashed.
Reuters has the most information and that includes eye witnesses asserting that "they saw the pilot eject but that he was killed, and television footage filmed by a local journalist appeared to show the pilot dead near the crash." Earlier today the US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division- Baghdad Soldiers were killed during combat operations in the Iraqi capital at approximately 9 a.m. Nov. 26.Two other Soldiers were injured in the incident." The count at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count for US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 2880.

Today in England, Des Browne, the Defence Secretary delivered his promised speech.
Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports he announced that a reduction of British troops serving in Iraq would take place by year's end. No hard numbers were given and it apparently doesn't mean all troops. This as CBS and AP report that the president of Poland has announced they will put their 900 troops from Iraq "by the end of 2007".

Civil war. Iraq's been in the midst of a civil war for some time now. The mass killings on Thursday appear to be forcing the reality. Edward Wong (New York Times) posed the issue Sunday of what to do when the US administration asserts it's not a civil war but experts in the field of civil war say that it is? The piece (billed as a "new analysis") ended with no resolution. Solomon Moore (Los Angelse Times) made it clear what reporters could do -- report what they witness: "Iraq's civil war worsended Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks after coordinated car bombings that killed 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood the day before." Also calling what his own eyes saw was CNN's Michael Ware who declared Friday: ". . . for the people living on the streets, for Iraqis in their homes, if this is not civil war, or a form of it, then they do not want to see what one really looks like. . . . I don't want to see what a civil war looks like either if this isn't one." This morning on NBC's Today show, their news analyst (and retired general) made the call "civil war."

Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now!, the US administration is now refusing to use the terms "hunger" and "hungry" and instead, the US Agriculture Dept. is promoting the term "very low food security." If the use of "civil war" is any indication, don't be surprised to learn of "World Very Low Food Security" from the news outlets that can't figure out what's happening right in front of them.

This morning,
WBAI's Law and Disorder wrapped up their four-part series on the police state by exploring how a democracy could exist at home and an empire abroad. Hosts Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian, Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith spoke with Anthony Arnove on the topic of Iraq. (Arnove's Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal is now available in softcover.

Arnove offered strong critiques of the Democratic party and noted that US Senator Harry Reid is pushing for an additional 75 billion dollars going to the military bill and that the Democratic majority in the US Congress has little interest in using their power of the purse
to stop funding the illegal war. Arnove's opinion is that the peace movement is in a stronger position due to the fact that so many Americans are against the war and want the troops home. If you missed the broadcast you can visit the
Law and Disorder website or at the WBAI archives. Mike will be discussing the broadcast at Mikey Like It! tonight. Ruth will probably highlight in a report this week as well. (And thanks to Ruth for providing the 'streaming audio' via telephone line.) (Ruth called and put her phone up to the radio speaker if anyone's confused.)

Arnove also spoke of the importance of keeping the pressure on the government to end the war and of the importance of resisters within the military.

Turning to news of US war resisters.
Janet McConnaughey (AP) reports that Kyle Snyder "spent Thanksgiving week gutting houses flooded more than a year ago by Hurricane Katrina" and that he was part of "two dozen volunteers from Iraq Veterans Against the War".
on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Since then Snyder has been underground, surfacing to speaking out against the war. He is now underground and tells McConnaughey that, these days, "I just travel" while his "lawyer has tried to contact Fort Leonard Wood like 75 times -- it's documented, 75 times -- and tried to get in touch with the military. They've avoided this entire subject."

Carolyn Thompson (AP) reports that US war resister Patrick Hart has stated he has "no desire to go back." Back being the United States. Hart is among the thirty plus war resisters who are attempting to seek refugee status in Iraq. Hart tells Thompson, "Every day I wake up with my son [Rian], it just assures me I did the right thing."

Hart and Snyder are a part of war resistance within the military that also includes, among others,
Ehren Watada , Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Joshua Casteel, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. And those are only some of the names of those resisting who have gone public.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Soldier Say No!, the War Resisters Support Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress in January (on MLK day). (Jonathan Hutto was also interviewed on Law and Disorder today. Hutto is one of the organizers of Appel for Redress.)

Al Jazeera reports that Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is now in Tehran where he was supposed to be this weekend to meet with the presidents of Syria and Iran. Thursday's events led to the closing of Baghdad International and the airport in Basra. Basra's airport reopened Sunday, Baghdad's today.

Turning to Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco is back in the news. The inquriy lasted much of the summer, as
Conor Duffy reported to Eleanor Hall (The World Today, Australia's ABC), by September 18th, it had "been sitting for three months". On September 19th, the inquiry began wrapping up and issued a statement Eleanor Hall (ABC's The World Today) summarized as: "It wasn't suicide. In a surprise announcement this morning, the President of the Board inquiring into the death of Private Jake Kovco in Iraq interrupted an address from one of the Kovco lawyers to say that he had already ruled out that the young soldier deliberately took his own life."
Dan Box (The Australian) reported then that the results would be known within six weeks. He was off by about two weeks.

First up was a bit of news of the report.
As October drew to a close, it was reported the inquiry board had turned their report to Angus Houston (Air Chief Marshal of Australia's military). On November 1st, while refusing to discuss other aspects of the report, Houston stated that the board had included Jake Kovco wasn't rushed home (that would actually be Juso Sinaovic, the Bosnian carpenter whose body was mixed up with Kovco's, that got rushed to Australia). Today, as Peter Cave noted on AM (Australia's ABC), The Australian was reporting on a leaked copy of the report.

If that seems strangely familiar, you may be remembering the report by Australia's Defence Department into the mix up of Jake Kovco and Juso Sinavoic's bodies. That report showed up in the press in May when somene left a confidiential copy on a CD-ROM in a public computer at a public airport. If you remember that, you probably remember that no one was at fault. No one was at fault for the mix up in that text equivalent of a shrug.

No one is at fault again. That's what the report from the military board of inquiry appears to 'find.' And once again, Jake Kovco's survivors learn of the findings (in this case Angus Houston has had the report for some time, Brendan Nelso got his copy last week), not from the government, but from the press. The government appears to have made a habit of avoiding the family.

The report finds that Jake Kovco shot himself and that the shooting was accidental. No one is at fault. And if you think closely about
the statements made on September 19th, the board apparently knew that was their finding months ago. Conor Duffy (for AM) spoke with Judy Kovco, mother of Jake, and she responded, "Nothing surprises me with them, absolutely nothing. This was the army investigating the army. I would like to know how they came to that finding. There is no evidence that my son shot himself. There is a lot of evidence the other way but, you know, I would like to know how they came to that finding."

Interviewed by Kerry O'Brien for the 7:30 Report (ABC) in September, Judy Kovco shared her beliefs that her son did not kill himself and that she would not be surprised to find the military covering up "an accidental shooting by somebody else or a murder." Today, she told Conor Duffy that she had "applied for the Coroner's Court" and she intends to keep fighting for the truth. The Coroner's Court?

Dan Box (The Australian) reports that: "Earlier this month, staff from the military board of inquiry into Kovco's death told the NSW Coroner's Court that its policy was to dispose of evidence" but police are now requesting that this not occur. Box quotes Judy Kovco, "They (the army) want this to go away and I am not going to go away."

Box also notes that the roommates of Jake Kovco "suggested he may have placed the gun to his head as a joke, but said they did not see the fatal shot." They didn't see too damn much, did they? They offered speculation of what might have happened or what someone said probably happened or this or that but they really think the world believes that if you're in a small room with someone who is shot, you don't notice. You don't notice when the gun goes off, you don't turn around and think, "Where did that come from?"

Was the gun on the bed, on the computer, where? No one knows because apparently a gun goes off and you ignore it as you dig through the fridge thinking, "Hmm. Pepsi or Coke?" You do, however, meet up with the person whose DNA later turns up on Jake Kovco's gun (the gun that killed him) and discuss things, and when Steven Carr tells you Jake Kovco was a 'cowboy' with his gun, always playing with it, you testify to that as fact -- not that Carr told you. No, you refuse to tell where you heard it. But you slip that into your testimony.

Steven Carr is not just the one whose DNA was found on Kovco's gun, he's also a scientific genius. Or was for many days as he 'theorized' about how his DNA transferred to Jake Kovco's gun even though Carr maintains he never touched Kovco's gun. There was something really sad as that made it into print repeatedly when it was laughable on its very face. It would take expert testimony before the
DNA transfer was refuted by expert witness (Michelle Franco of the NSW Department of Health's Analytical Laboratories).

No questions were answered in the laughable inquiry ("Keystone Cops," Judy Kovco's term for one witness, applies to the entire proceedings).

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