Thursday, November 16, 2006

Danny Schechter, Stan Goff, 'anti-warrior' Mommy's Pantyhose

If you saw an early version of this, it's because I did the whole f-ing thing only to lose it. I could get some of it back through "recover post" (a feature in Blogger/Blogspot) but not all of it. So I posted what I could get back.

Thursday, almost the weekend! Starting late tonight because I know Tony probably feels like I blow him off. You shouldn't treat your best bud that way. So we grabbed a pizza tonight and just shot the shit. This semester has been insane and everything's suffered. With Elaine and me carving out some time tomorrow and Saturday, I wanted to make some time for my buddy tonight. We didn't do anything big. Just sat around eating and talking. Sports, the women we're seeing, school, stuff like that.

Tony knows better than anybody how hard this semester's been for me. (He's in two of my classes.) So I know he wasn't thinking, "Dude, you've bailed on me!" But just because somebody understands how pressed for time you are doesn't mean you should use that as your excuse for doing nothing.

I was asking what the deal was with al Jazeera because I've heard people talking about but have no idea what's going on. So C.I. sent me this, Danny Schechter's "Al Jazeera Takes on the World -- In English:"

As they say when the Olympics convene, "Let The Games Begin." A new Olympics gets underway today, the news Olympics, as the anglo-American hegemony of the big news cartels has for the first time a challenger in the form of well-packaged professional network. al Jazeera international goes on the air globally (but not yet in the USA) to offer another perspective.
The Arabic language news channel that revolutionized news in the Arab World has just marked its tenth anniversary and become once again the world's fifth top known Jazeera marks the occasion with the launch of channel in English (not just a translation of the original) with a sports channel, documentary channel and their own CSPAN type special events channel.
For now, the rest of the world will be watching but not the American people. Why, the heavily monopolized cable industry can't find any room in their multi-channel universe for the new kid on the block. Is it political? In part, but beyond that broadcasters know how critical so many Americans are of the news goo on the air and might leap to an attractive alternation. Is it any surprise than the industry that keeps blathering on about free choice denies it to a foreign-based competitor even as the US networks long ago went global. While they condemn others blocking their signals, they shamelessly block others.

So that's what's going on and you probably already knew that but I didn't. I think News Dissector Danny Schechter lays it out beautifully. We've got satellite and I can tell you that there's hardly ever anything on. "57 Channels," like Bruce Springsteen sings, "and there's nothing on." They always stress "choice" but it's never your choice. I mean, I'm not choosing to go channel to channel at two in the morning from one infomercial to another, are you? I really think there should be a limit on the infomercials. If they air an hour long informercial, they should have to air an hour of something that benefits the community.

They don't get their lic. from the FCC to just rake in the dough. They get it to represent a community. If they've got time, and some of them do, to pack three or four infomericals into one night, they've got time to offer up something for the community. It can be something they can do cheap, like a debate or discussion. A townhall. But they need to be giving something back and not just be taking.

Now I want to highlight something by Stan Goff, "Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America:"

There was nothing more inflammatory in my first book, about the 1994 invasion and occupation of Haiti, than my assertion that Special Operations was a hotbed of racism and reaction. "Hideous Dream - A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000) was my personal account of that operation, and I was explicit not only about the significant number of white supremacists in Special Operations but how the attitudes of these extremists connected with the less explicit white male supremacy of white patriarchal American society and defined, in some respects, the attitude taken by U.S. occupation forces in Haiti toward the Haitian population.
The resistance to this allegation was particularly fierce, and not merely from those inside the Special Operations "community," whose outrage was more public-relations stagecraft than anything else. There was outrage from people who hadn’t a moment of actual experience in the military at all. This is an affront to something sacred in the public imaginary of a thoroughly militarized United States: that we are an international beacon of civilized virtue, and that our military is the masculine epitome of that virtue standing between our suburban security and the dark chaos of the Outside. Questioning the mystique of the armed forces is tantamount to lunacy at best and treason at worst.
This is the reason
bad-apple-ism has been the predominant meme of the media and the Pentagon when they are compelled to discuss the stories of torture, rape and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. "A few bad apples" committed torture. "A few bad apples" raped prisoners, fellow female soldiers, and civilians in their homes. The massacre was not descriptive of the Marine Corps, but the work of "a few bad apples." Anyone who wants to be the skunk at this prevarication party need only ask, "How do these bad apples all seem to aggregate into the same units?"
One bad apple was dispensed with on June 11, 2001. That's when
Timothy McVeigh was given a lethal injection at 7 a.m. in the death chamber of the U.S. federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind.
Frugivorous analogies aside, McVeigh was not the product of a tree or poor storage, but of a culture. Raised in western New York by a devoutly Catholic father--an autoworker--after his parents divorced when he was 10, Tim McVeigh, like many other white youths who are socially awkward and living in times of economic insecurity, was already reading survivalist and white nationalist literature in his teens. The mythic-patriarchal absolutism of racial ideology mapped perfectly onto the consciousness of someone raised by a religiously devout male, and the fact that this ideology responded directly to the insecurities of economic and gender destabilization secured McVeigh as an early devotee.
Gore Vidal said that McVeigh "needed a self-consuming cause to define him[self]." Vidal's account,
"The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh," ominously printed in Vanity Fair just days before the 9/11 attacks expressed another "self-consuming cause," noted that McVeigh took his cues from the very government he had worked for as a soldier. Before McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma City, the most recent attack by Americans against Americans outside of warfare was the FBI-BATF massacre of an obscure religious commune that was demonized for destruction at Waco, Texas--which McVeigh memorialized by blowing up the Murrah Building on the Waco massacre’s second anniversary.
When McVeigh was interviewed about the "collateral damage" in Oklahoma, he was asked if he felt remorse. He replied that Truman had never apologized for Hiroshima or Nagasaki. And the formative moment in Iraq for Tim McVeigh was the order by Major General Barry McCaffrey—the sociopath appointed by Bill Clinton to be the nation's "drug czar"--to slaughter a seven-mile line of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians after the cease-fire in Iraq ... now called the
Turkey Shoot.
As the old military motto says, "Trained by the best, kill like the rest."

Now I lost all this part and had to put it back in. I had a lot to say here but it's late and I want to go to bed. I think the highlight is worth highlighting but I also wanted to highlight Stan Goff because of something he did.

C.I.'s taking on Mommy's Pantyhose today and did so in real time as well. Stan Goff's the only other person I remember calling out Mommy's Pantyhose when Mommy's Pantyhose went after CODEPINK. Mommy's Pantyhose is a War Hawk. Always was, always will be.

If you missed it Amy Goodman hardly got a word in last night on CNN. That's because Mommy's Pantyhose wouldn't let her talk. He needed the whole world to know he wasn't like Ehren Watada. No one was ever confused on that because Ehren Watada has bravery and courage. Mommy's Pantyhose is just a joke trying to act manly. (Reminds me of my friend from high school who came out after high school.) (Not saying Mommy's Pantyhose is gay, just saying he's real concerned that other people see him as 'manly.')

In "Iraq Snapshot," C.I. gets off a huge zinger. Tony caught me in the hall after class and was telling me about it and I was all, "No, you're shitting me!" He wasn't. C.I. really got in a good one. C.I. also addressed Mommy's Pantyhose in "Ehren Watada on CNN last night" and I want to note that. C.I. writes:

Zahn then goes to a panel made up of Casteel, Amy Goodman and the White man who needs to stop wearing Mommy's pantyhose on his head and also needs to stop attempting to pass as "anti-war" since he is nothing of the sort and again demonstrates it whenever he opens his uninformed mouth.

C.I. mentions "last month's book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review" and notes this:

In chapter fourteen, "Anti-Warriors," there's the inclusion on page 224 of someone who doesn't belong in any chapter entitled anti-warriors. The man has a new group but there's not anyone who remembers 2004 and much of 2005 and doesn't remember the former "I know, I was there," who was all over the media landscape, when voices of real war resistance couldn't get the time of day, maintaining that the US needed to 'stay the course' and offering that inspid -- and false -- Pottery Barn comparison. He was not, is not, an anti-warrior and doesn't belong in any chapter with that heading. As Elaine's noted, he also needs to take Mommy's pantyhose off his head but, my opinion, he thinks it makes him look like Silas in Platoon. Anyone who was against the war in 2004 knows damn well he not only shouted others down, not only trashed CODEPINK, but he and his organization were given a non-stop platform by Air America Radio and allowed to speak 'the truth, we were there' at a time when others weren't allowed on. He and his group, just him until Unfiltered listeners really turned on him -- at which point, he began bringing in others to speak for his group, were given a weekly segment called "Ask a Vet." And they all said, "Continue to the war." Over and over, week after week. There was no weekly "Ask an Activist" segment nor was there any attempt to provide a space for vets who were against the war. He doesn't belong in the book's chapter. I think he's had more than enough of a platform to offer his crackpot ideas. He didn't have answers in 2004, he didn't have answers in 2005. Now that the American people have turned against the war he wants to restyle himself. He can't. Not with the people who had to listen to his garbage on a weekly basis and he doesn't belong in a chapter called "Anti-warriors." He was a warrior, a proud warrior, advocating for further war. When on air with Larry Benksy to promote his book that didn't sell, he repeatedly referred to another guest on the panel -- one who was a vet against the war -- as "Your caller." He's a snide, little, hateful man and, to repeat, he doesn't belong in any chapter entitled "Anti-warriors." The fact that he was included in it will leave a bad taste in every community members' mouth. It's not a minor point and it's not a minor point to the anti-war movement of which he is not a part and has never been one. He was there to slam CODEPINK, in all his outlets, he wasn't there to kick start the movement. He is one of the reasons that protests were clamped down upon because, with his status as 'a vet' and with the status that Air America Radio elevated him to, with that lousy nonstop commercial, the 'continue the war' voices were given a platform, a weekly one in the case of Unfiltered, while the voices saying "Stop the war" were not given such a platform and usually found themselves, I'm speaking of the morning shows, cut off mid-sentence or apologized for after they were off the line or out of the studio.

C.I. doesn't grab credit, so let me hand out some. That quote is C.I. discussing a book. C.I. recommended it and I went out and got it. I'm reading it when I can and enjoying it. But no one should ever call Mommy's Pantyhose an "anti-warrior" or include him in a chapter called that. The book is Static by Amy and David Goodman. As Mommy's Pantyhose kept interrupting Amy Goodman over and over on CNN yesterday, as he trashed Ehren Watada, hopefully Amy Goodman now gets that Mommy's Pantyhose is not an "anti-warrior" and not anyone worthy of a shout out in a book. It's like giving a shout out to Judith Miller or Thomas Friedman.

He's not part of the peace movement, he sneers at and mocks the peace movement. Don't try to rehabilate the images of War Hawks. People against the war don't need to be confused into thinking people like Mommy's Pantyhose are against the war.

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

November 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Ehren Watada goes on CNN as his father wraps up a speaking to raise awareness on his son; justice for Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family?; confusion remains as to Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad as Baghdad appears to have been the site, today, of another mass kidnapping; and America speaks to Gallup who, unlike the Bully Boy, actually listens.

Starting with
Ehren Watada -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, the US military announced they would move to court-martial Watada. The court-martial is expected to take place early next year. Last night, Watada appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now program. Speaking to Zahn, Watada explained how, as late as September 2005, he was willing to go to Iraq (and had volunteered to deploy with any unit) but "then I began findout out some things about how possibly that our government could have misled, not only the Congress, but also the public, and the world as to the reasons why we were going to Iraq, and there were never any weapons of mass destruction, there were never any ties to al Qaeda or ties to 9/11. And I just -- at that point, I personally felt very betrayed as a soldier, willing to put my life on the line and willing to order soldiers to do the same, that we were sent to go and fight a war were the reasons were falsified."

After Watada's appearance, Zahn had a panel discussion.
Joshua Casteel noted "the Uniform Code of Military Justice tells us two things. One is that we have an obligation to obey all lawful orders, but we also have an obligation to disobey all unlawful orders, and -- which includes disobeying orders that are unlawful, even if they come from the President of the United States. Article Six, Paragraph Two of the United States Constitution dictates that treaties that the United States signs on to are to be considered the laws of the land, including among them, the Hague Convention on Land Warfare of 1899, the Neruember Principles, which in 1953, the Department of Defense declared to be official policy. And Justice Jackson, who's the chief . . ." Zahn interrupts to ask if Watada's stand is "justified." Castell replies, "He is one of the few examples of moral courage that we have in the midst of plenty of individuals who show physical courage to go to Iraq and sacrifice for their country. But what we need right now are moral leaders. And Lieutenant Watada is an example of the kind of leadership that reminds us of our better nature and the aspirations of the United States Constitution." Amy Goodman (co-host of Democracy Now!) noted that, "Thousand of soldiers are saying no. The Pentagon doesn't like to talk about this, but Lieutenant Ehren Watada being the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq is very significant." A third guest repeatedly interrupted Amy Goodman. For some stranger reason, he appeared to be wearing Mommy's Pantyhose on top of his head. He statements sounded as if they were indeed picked from the crack of his ass in his desperate attempt to unearth his brain. At present, his brain is still believed to be under many layers of s--t.

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reminds that Watada is facing up to six years if he is convicted in the court-martial to be held next year.

In Iraq today,
Reuters reports that "up to six Baghdad minibuses" were "stopped at a fake security checkpoint" in Baghdad and the passengers appear to have been kidnapped.

In other violence today . . .


Reuters notes car bombs, roadside bombs and bicylce bombs in Baghdad -- six bombings in all leaving at least 7 dead and 18 wounded -- while three are dead and one wounded in Mosul from a roadside bombing.


CBS and AP report the shooting deaths of nine during an attack on a Baghdad bakery. Reuters notes an attack in Baghdad that killed a guard of Mosul's governor and left four other guards wounded.


Reuters reports that twenty corpses were discovered in Baghdad, two in Baiji and four in Yusufiya.

Yesterday, the US military announced six deaths of US troops. Today, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Corps-Iraq Soldier was killed by small arms fire Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Baghdad"; and they announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Wednesday and two others were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle they were traveling in while conducting combat operations in Diyala province"; and they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action Wednesday by small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Diyala province." The total for the month to date is 44.

The total number of US troops in Iraq?
According to CBS' David Martin, not enough and never will be based upon John Abizaid's remarks to the Senate yesterday "But when you look at the overall American force poll that's available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps." Let that sink in. According to Abizaid, a War Hawk who never met a battlefield he didn't go weak-kneed over, there are not enough available foot soldiers in the US army or members of the Marines to do what Abizaid feels needs to be done in Iraq.

Turning to legal news, as
noted yesterday, James P. Barker entered a guilty plea for his involvement in the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of her parents (Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen) and her five-year old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza. Abeer, the war crimes took place March 12, 2006 in Mamoudiyah which is a town south of Baghdad. Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that Barker testified to Lt. Col. Richard Anderson that Steven D. Green came up with the plan and, of the rape of Abeer, that "[Paul] Cortez pushed her to the ground. I went towards the top of her and kind of held her hands down while Cortez proceeded to lift her dress up." Barker's attorney makes a strange statement about how the crime results in part from the fact that "The United States Army did not . . . put enough soldiers on the checkpoints." Not enough soldiers at checkpoints? Lenz: "Barker, 23, described changing clothes, then climbing through backyards as the five soldiers left the checkpoint they had been manning to carry out the attack." Well the army was certainly short five soldiers manning checkpoints when the decision was made to rape fourteen-year-old Abeer. In another report filed by Lenz, the issue doesn't appear to be 'staffing' so much as it appears to be oversight: "Barker said he and the others were drinking and playing cards while they manned a traffic checkpoint. Green brought up the idea of raping the girl and killing her family, he said." So, as the story is understood from Barker's confessions, they were on duty, they were stationed a traffic checkpoint, they were in violation for consuming alcohol while on duty, they left their checkpoint." What exactly does Barker's attorney think? That more soldiers would have prevented the five from leaving the checkpoint? Seems like an oversight issue.

The 'repentant' Barker showed 'remorse' by explaining his actions with, "I hated Iraqis, your honor. They can smile at you, then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it." Rape isn't mentioned in his statement; however
Abeer was raped and she was shot in the face (below the left eye). She was also smiled at or at least leered because she went to her parents concerned about the way the US soldiers at the checkpoints were looking at her. Her parents made plans for her to go elsewhere to live for her own protection but before that could happen, she was raped, murdered and her body set on fire in attempt to hide evidence.

Whether Cortez, Green, Spielman or Howard is involved, Barker's statements mean we are no longer talking "alleged" rape or "alleged" murder. It's rather sad that the coverage doesn't reflect that.

In other legal news, Australia's
ABC reports that John Jodka was sentenced to eighteen months for his role in the death of Iraqi Hashim Ibrahim Awad. Awad was taken from him home, killed and then, to cover up the crime, those involved attempted to pass him off as an 'insurgent.' The BBC notes that Hashim Ibrahim Awad had been a grandfather until he was beaten and killed and that Jodka apologized to Awad's family.

Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad continues to be a source of confusion. Regarding the number who have not turned out, BBC reports that Abd Dhiab, Iraq's minister of Higher Education, states 80 people are still being held and that "some of those who had since been released were badly beaten." In addition, it appears some of them have been killed. Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab "was told of the deaths by hostages who were freed on Wednesday, but he declined to say how many had died." CNN reports on the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, and his show visit to the fifty-year-old Baghdad University. The photo Al Jazeera runs reveals the lie of 'liberation' -- in Baghdad, Nouri al-Maliki steps out of his vehicle flanked by guards with guns at the ready. The kidnapping took place not at Baghdad University but at the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education (a four story building as opposed to a complex). Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab maintains the kidnapped on Tuesday included "at least 100 employees of two departments in the building, as well as about 50 visitors. Dozens remain unnaccounted for."

Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) speaks with Amir Hassan, a professor at Baghdad University, who states, "We are living in the killing stage. We know that our chances of dying is now greater than our chance of staying alive." Over 155 educators have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. Raghavan also reports that al-Maliki's speech to students included pro-censorship remarks of how "he would ban pictures, leaflets, placards or other politically inspired materials from campuses". Women's rights have vanished, he's attacked the free press (with his 'four-point plan'), he's now planning to ban political speech on campus and CNN reported this morning that he's now relying on warnings ("beware of God's punishment") to maintain whatever questionable power he still has. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports on the al-Maliki's facade of power crumbling as government officials (Abed Dhiab al-Ajeeli and Ali Dabbagh) quarrel publicly over how many were kidnapped on Tuesday and how many remain missing.

In peace news,
Pat Gerber (SF Bay Area IMC) reports on Tuesday's San Francisco Board of Education meeting at which school board members voted "to phase out its JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs over a two-tear period. It is believed that this is the first time any school district has eliminated an existing JROTC program." Tommi Avicolli Mecca (BeyondChron) notes the speakers in favor and against the resultion and notes: "Speaker after speaker on the pro-JROTC side said that while they didn't approve of DADT or even the war in Iraq, they supported the military program because it benefited kids. Of course, they forgot to mention the plight of queer kids who want to go beyond JROTC."

In other peace news,
AP reports that with the GOP 2008 convention being held in St. Paul, Minneapolis' the Anti-War Committee "has applied for marching and demonstrations permits from the city of St. Paul. . . . [Jess] Sundin said the Anti-War Committee filed for city permits now to provide plenty of time for legal challenges if they're turned down. It's the first group to file for permits, but many are expected to follow."

A day after
Ehren Watada, appears on CNN, his father Bob Watada and his step-mother Rosa Sakanishi wind down a speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren Watada. The tour winds down on Friday, a full schedule can be found here, and these are the remaining dates:

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717, , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

In addition, to Asheville and Atlanta,
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports this event on Sunday:

The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will hold a symposium surrounding the actions of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first military officer to face a court martial for refusing to fight in Iraq. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Hawaii's architecture auditorium. The featured speaker will be Watada's father, Bob; Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law and Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz.

Joseph Carroll (Gallup News Services) summarizes the most recent Gallup Poll that asked respondents in the United States (from November 9th through 12th) what is "the most important problem facing this country today"? The people respond? The war in Iraq was cited by 25% of Republicans, 32% of self-identified independents and by 48% of Democrats.