Saturday, June 10, 2006

Violence continues in Iraq

C.I. called and asked if I was posting? :D C.I.'s been waiting for me (and Elaine to post) so that we could be highlighted in this morning's entry. I had a long night. (In fact, the earlier post is what I posted when I finally got home.) So let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
Meanwhile, at least 31 people were killed Thursday in three separate bombings across Iraq. In the day’s worst violence, 13 people were killed in an attack at a Baghdad fruit market. The Iraqi government has imposed a daytime vehicle ban in Baghdad in anticipation of violent retaliation for Zarqawi’s death.

The war drags on. But you know what? The study group that we have for a class? Two of the people in it who are against the war came up to Nina and me wondering if we could have a study group on Iraq? Where we just got together once a week to talk about what's going on and to figure out ways to get the word out, ways to protest and other stuff.

You know we were up for that and Tony said, "Count me in too!" So there were five of us and one more in the study group as well as three or four others that were supposed to be coming along. It ended up being thirty-six people. Dad had been interested when I told him about it and I'd told him he should come. He felt like he'd be the only person his age. He wouldn't have been. I was really amazed but it shows you how many people are interested in this issue, how much opposition there is to the war. Next week, it will meet here so Dad can hang around and see for himself that people his age are there and then he'll join in. But the thing is, people do want this war to end and they are looking for places where they can discuss it -- big media doesn't care.

Nina's so much more prepared than me. (On everything.) She printed up C.I.'s "NYT: Everybody wants to be a war pornographer" and "Other Items (Robert Jay Lifton on Democracy Now)". You want to talk conversation starters?

Next time, we'll just read stuff out loud. But we had to haul in chairs (we were at Tony's) and stuff because so many people showed up. So Nina passed out those two print outs and people read them while everyone was waiting. As soon as we got the discussion started, it never stopped.

What I had done was print up one copy of C.I.'s "Democracy Now: Michael Berg, Arun Gupta (Robert Parry/Ruth Conniff on KFPA's Living Room)" so I could read the Iraq snapshot. That led to a lot of talk as well because people felt like what they were getting was "He's Dead! Happy Talk! Everything's Perfect! Now!" and that's not reality.

It also let me plug Democracy Now! which you know I loved doing. Nina gets irritated when someone our age doesn't know about the program. I always get excited and think, "Okay, how can I interest them in this show?" :D

Senate, House Leaders Agree on $65B for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Meanwhile, lawmakers have finalized a budget agreement that will provide $65.8 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The budget agreement comes as a new poll shows a record 59 percent of Americans believe going to war against Iraq was a "mistake."

Always money for that. We don't have health care, we can't fund our schools, but there's always money to waste on war.

Elaine always beats me to posting. Not this morning! :D I'm calling to wake her up in a bit. She had a date last night and a really rought week so she wasn planning on sleeping in (hope with her date!). When we were talking yesterday, she asked me wake her if I didn't see a post by eleven in the morning. Unless she's still working on that post, she's sleeping. :D Check out Like Maria Said Paz later for Elaine's thoughts.

Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IRAQ PRIME MINISTER NOURI AL-MALIKI FLIES JETS!" (Bully Boy Press breaks another exclusive!) , Dahr Jamail and Jeff Pflueger's "Propaganda and Haditha," Danny Schechter's "Dissecting the Zargawi Spectacle" and Rebecca's "did you get the memo?".

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Guess what? Chaos and violence continue.
Amy Goodman noted, Baghdad had a traffic curfew Friday. The AFP notes that traffic curfew applies "from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm local time" and that the curfew also applies to Baquba. China's People's Daily notes "[a] night curfew for traffic and people movement was also imposed in Diyala province from 8:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6:00 a.m.(0200 GMT) for three days".
Yesterday, on
KPFA's Flashpoints, Robert Knight noted the "bruised but remarkably presevrved corpse" of what is alleged to be al-Zarqawi. (Those without audio options can read Rebecca's summary.) Did someone panic as people started noticing?
Who knows but today's spin is that
al-Zarqawi lived through the bombing and died on the stretcher. That's the spin and it's all over. No one, apparently, can write of it without noting it. Here's what few are noting: Bully Boy was "smiling and joking with aides" before he put on his let-me-look-constipated-so-people-think-I'm-concerned face (Julian Borger, Guardian of London). KUNA reports it might not have been as fun today for Bully Boy's father -- Poppy Bush "arrived at the Yorkshire Events Centre, northern England" where he was greeted by peace activist Lindis Percy who "unfurled a United States flag and accused Bush Senior's son of doing terrible things in the world."
While Bully Boy got his chuckles on Thursday and Poppy got the "boo"s on Friday,
Muthana al-Badri was kidnapped. Reuters notes of Badri that he is, "in his 60s, has always worked for SCOP." (SCOP is "Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects".) In other oil related news, the AFP reports that three oil engineers and two other people were killed "on the road between the refinery town of Baiji and the northern city of Tikrit," while in Kirkuk "gunmen attacked soldiers guarding a piepline" (one civilian dead, three soldiers wounded). This as the AFP reports: "World oil prices climbed as concerns resurfaced over tensions in crude-producing countries Iran and Iraq".
Australia's ABC reports the death of "34-year-old Australian" from a roadside bomb -- also dead were three people traveling with him all dead. The man has not been identified but, in a later ABC report, they identify him as a "security worker" and he hailed from Queenslander and Australia's prime minister John Howard states, "We do recommend that Australians stay away from Iraq for very obvious reason."
CBS and the AP note CBS journalist Elizabeth Palmer's report of a "firefight" in Ghalibiya that led to at least five civilian deaths and "five houses . . . demolished." Meanwhile Reuters reports that the Iraqi police announced today the Thursday death of Zuhair Muhammad Kshmola who was "the brother of the governor of Mosul province." The Associated Press provides the update: "Gunmen opened fire on Friday's funeral procession for the brother of the governor of the northern city of Mosul." Reuters notes that "two civilian trucks" headed "for the U.S. base in Ramadi" was attacked and the drivers kidnapped. And just as kidnappings are a regular event in Iraq now, so the discovery of corpses. The AFP reports that "five corpses, including one of a woman" were discovered in Baghdad.
So much for what, as Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Iraq's brand-new interior minister (Jawad al-Bolani) termed, only yesterday, "a new beginning for Iraq."
CNN reports that the body of Hashim Ibrahim Awad's body is in the United States. Awad died in the April 26th incident that his family described to Knight Ridder's Nancy A. Youssef as: ""U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist." CNN reports that the body was exhumed, with the family's permission, "for forensic analysis."

Quiz time to see what you hear this week (or didn't)

Here's something you can do by yourself or with friends. Read the Spanish and English and see how many you got if you are not as fluent in Spanish or English. Make a game of it. (If you're bi-, tri, or multilingual, read it as you congratulate yourself on your greatness.)

Teniente del Ejército se niega a ser trasladado a Irak

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y amigas. Aqui estan 10 noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana.

Teniente del Ejército se niega a ser trasladado a Irak
Mientras tanto, un oficial del Ejército estadounidense anunció que se niega a ser trasladado a Irak, lo que estaba programado para fines de este mes. El oficial, primer teniente Ehren Watada, dice que primero pidió autorización para renunciar a su cargo en enero. En dicha ocasión, Watada escribió: "Me opongo por completo a la permanente guerra en Irak, al engaño utilizado para librar esta guerra, y a la ilegitimidad que ha invadido todos los aspectos de nuestro liderazgo civil". Se cree que el teniente Watada es el primer oficial en actividad en negarse a ser trasladado a Irak desde que comenzó la invasión. Se espera que quienes lo apoyan lleven a cabo hoy conferencias de prensa simultáneas en su estado de origen, Hawai, y en Olimpia, Washington. Funcionarios militares le dijeron a Watada que no puede asistir a la conferencia de prensa porque tiene prohibido hablar en público sobre su caso mientras esté cumpliendo servicio en la base.

Estados Unidos muestra fotos del cadáver de Zarqawi
Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses mostraron el jueves imágenes del cadáver de Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, el hombre más buscado de Irak, poco después de anunciar que había sido asesinado en una ataque aéreo. Las fotos mostraban a Zarqawi con cortes y moretones visibles en su cara. Los gobiernos iraquí y estadounidense dicen que fue asesinado cuando aviones de combate estadounidenses arrojaron un par de bombas de 227 kilogramos en un refugio en las afueras de la localidad de Baquba. Para muchas personas, Zarqawi era la cara de la resistencia iraquí; fue acusado de llevar a cabo innumerables bombardeos, asesinatos y otros actos de violencia, incluyendo la decapitación de rehenes en Irak.

Mueren 31 personas por violencia; se prohíbe el tránsito de vehículos en Bagdad
Mientras tanto, al menos 31 personas murieron el jueves en tres atentados con bombas en Irak. En el peor ataque del día, trece personas murieron en un ataque contra un mercado de frutas de Bagdad. El gobierno iraquí impuso una prohibición de vehículos de un día en Bagdad, para prevenir represalias violentas por la muerte de Zarqawi.

Líderes del Senado y de la Cámara de Representantes acuerdan destinar 65.800 millones de dólares a las guerras en Irak y Afganistán
Mientras tanto, los legisladores culminaron un acuerdo presupuestario que destinará 65.800 millones de dólares para las operaciones militares en Irak y Afganistán. El acuerdo presupuestario surge mientras una nueva encuesta muestra que el 59% de los ciudadanos estadounidenses creen que comenzar la guerra contra Irak fue "un error".

Soldados estadounidenses acusados de nuevas matanzas de civiles
Mientras tanto en Irak, soldados estadounidenses son acusados de un nueva serie de asesinatos a civiles iraquíes. El miércoles, el Partido Islámico Iraquí -el principal grupo sunita de Irak- dijo que tenía pruebas de que soldados estadounidenses mataron a más de dos docenas de iraquíes en incidentes ocurridos el mes pasado. Según el grupo, el ataque en el que se registraron más muertes ocurrió en una casa en Yusifiyah, al sur de Bagdad, y dejó un saldo de trece muertos, hombres y mujeres.

Investigación indica que catorce países europeos están involucrados en operaciones de la CIA
El principal organismo de vigilancia de los derechos humanos de Europa determinó que catorce países europeos estuvieron implicados o fueron cómplices en las operaciones secretas que realizó la CIA desde los atentados del 11 de septiembre. Dick Marty, presidente del Comité de Asuntos Legales y Derechos Humanos del Consejo de Europa, acusó al gobierno de Bush de adoptar un enfoque jurídico que es "completamente ajeno a la tradición europea". La investigación de Marty se centró en la práctica de Estados Unidos de rendiciones extraordinarias en la que funcionarios de la CIA secuestran a individuos y luego los trasladan a otros países para interrogarlos. Según el informe, España, Turquía, Alemania y Chipre proporcionaron lugares para las operaciones de traslado. Italia, Suecia, Bosnia y Macedonia permitieron el traslado de residentes desde su territorio. Gran Bretaña, Irlanda, Portugal y Grecia, proporcionaron aeropuertos utilizados por la CIA, mientras que Rumania y Polonia permitieron que la CIA operara prisiones secretas dentro de su territorio.

Activistas por la paz de Vermont interrumpen discurso de Negroponte
En Vermont, dos activistas por la paz fueron arrestados el lunes por interrumpir el discurso inaugural del Director Nacional de Inteligencia, John Negroponte, en la Academia St Johnsbury. Momentos después de que Negroponte comenzara su discurso, un manifestante se puso de pie y exclamó: "En nombre de la democracia me opongo a que hable este hombre. Tiene las manos manchadas con sangre por su trabajo en América Central e Irak. No debería estar en el estrado, debería estar en prisión. Es un criminal de guerra". Mientras el manifestante era escoltado hacia la salida, Negroponte dijo: "Ahora es mi turno". Pero antes de que pudiera continuar, otro manifestante se puso de pie y lo acusó de supervisar la tortura, los asesinatos y las violaciones en Honduras.

Estados Unidos se niega a ayudar a víctimas vietnamitas del Agente Naranja
El Secretario de Defensa, Donald Rumsfeld, está viajando por Asia esta semana. Durante su visita a Vietnam, oficiales militares estadounidenses reconocieron que Washington no indemnizará a millones de vietnamitas que sufren los efectos del Agente Naranja, utilizado por las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses durante la Guerra de Vietnam. Mientras tanto, Rumsfeld viajó a Indonesia para conmemorar el reestablecimiento de los vínculos de Washington con el gobierno de ese país.

Censo en Nueva Orleáns indica que población negra disminuyó 15%
En Nueva Orleáns, un nuevo censo de los cuatro meses siguientes al huracán Katrina concluyó que la población de la ciudad se volvió mayoritariamente blanca, envejeció y se empobreció. La población del área metropolitana de Nueva Orleáns disminuyó en más de la mitad. La población negra se redujo de 37 a 22 por ciento, mientras que el porcentaje de personas blancas aumentó de 60 a 73 por ciento.

Billy Preston murió a los 59 añosBilly Preston, el prolífico tecladista conocido como el "quinto Beatle", murió el martes a los 59 años. Preston tocó en varios éxitos número uno para los Beatles y los Rolling Stones, y tenía tres simples número uno de su autoría. Tocó en lo que terminó siendo el último recital de los Beatles, la famosa actuación en el techo de un edificio en 1969.

Francisco: Hello friends. Here are ten headlines from this week's Democracy Now!

Army Lt. Refuses Iraq Deployment
Meanwhile, a US army officer has announced he's refusing his deployment to Iraq slated for later this month. The officer, First Lt. Ehren Watada, says he first asked for permission to resign his position in January. He says he wrote: "I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership." Lt. Watada is believed to be the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq since the invasion. Simultaneous news conferences by his supporters are expected to be held today in his home state of Hawaii and in Olympia, Washington. Military officials told Watada he cannot attend the news conference because he is barred from speaking publicly about his case while on duty at the base.

US Shows Images of Zarqawi's Body
Shortly after announcing he had been killed in an air strike, the US military displayed images Thursday of the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- Iraq's most wanted man. The pictures showed Zarqawi with visible cuts and bruises to his face. The Iraqi and U.S. governments say Zarqawi was killed when U.S. fighter planes dropped a pair of 500 pound bombs on a safehouse outside of the town of Baquba. To many Zarqawi was the face of the Iraqi resistance. He was accused of carrying out countless bombings, murders and other acts of violence including the beheading of hostages in Iraq.

31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
Meanwhile, at least 31 people were killed Thursday in three separate bombings across Iraq. In the day’s worst violence, 13 people were killed in an attack at a Baghdad fruit market. The Iraqi government has imposed a daytime vehicle ban in Baghdad in anticipation of violent retaliation for Zarqawi's death.

Senate, House Leaders Agree on $65B for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Meanwhile, lawmakers have finalized a budget agreement that will provide $65.8 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The budget agreement comes as a new poll shows a record 59 percent of Americans believe going to war against Iraq was a "mistake."

US Troops Accused of New Civilian Killings
Meanwhile in Iraq, US troops are being accused of a new round of killings of Iraqi civilians. On Wednesday, the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq’s main Sunni group, said it had evidence US troops killed more than two dozen Iraqis in incidents last month. According to the group, the most deadly attack occurred in a house in Yusifiyah south of Baghdad -- killing 13 people, including women and children.

Probe Says 14 European Countries Involved in CIA Operations
Europe's leading human rights watchdog has determined that 14 European countries have been involved in or complicit in secret CIA operations since the Sept. 11th attacks. Dick Marty, chairman of the Council of Europe's committee on legal affairs and human rights, accused the Bush administration of adopting a legal approach which is "utterly alien to the European tradition." Marty's investigation focused on the U.S. practice of extraordinary rendition where CIA officials kidnap individuals and then transport them to other countries for interrogation. According to the report, Spain, Turkey, Germany and Cyprus provided staging posts for rendition operations. Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, and Macedonia all allowed the rendition of residents from their soil. Britain, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece all provided airports used by the CIA. And Romania and Poland allowed the CIA to operate secret prisons on their soil.

Vermont Peace Activists Disrupt Negroponte Speech
In Vermont, two peace activists were arrested on Monday for disrupting a commencement address given by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte at St Johnsbury Academy. Moments after Negroponte began his address, a protester stood up and yelled: "In the name of democracy I object to this man speaking. He has blood on his hands from his work in Central America and Iraq. He shouldn't be at the podium, he should be in jail. He is a war criminal." As the protester was being escorted away, Negroponte said "Now it's my turn." But before he could continue, another protester stood up and accused Negroponte of overseeing torture, killings and rape in Honduras, where he served as ambassador in the 1980s.

U.S. Refuses to Help Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is traveling to Asia this week. During his stop in Vietnam, U.S. military officials admitted that Washington will not compensate the millions of Vietnamese suffering from the affects of Agent Orange, used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile Rumsfeld traveled to Indonesia to mark the restoration of Washington’s military ties to the Indonesian government.

New Orleans Census Shows 15% Drop in Black Residents
In New Orleans, a new census covering the fourth months following Hurricane Katrina has found the city has become considerably whiter, older and less poor. New Orleans' metropolitan area has shrunk to more than half its size. The black population has dropped from 37 from 22 percent, while the percentage of whites has increased from 60 to 73 percent.

Billy Preston Dies at 59
And Billy Preston, the prolific keyboardist known as the "Fifth Beatle", died Tuesday at the age of 59. Preston played on several number one hits for the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and had three number one pop singles of his own. He played at what turned out to be the Beatles' last concert, the famous rooftop performance in 1969.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ehren Watada & violence continues in Iraq

First, thank you to Nina. Isn't she the best? I didn't even ask her to cross post my post from last night. She didn't even toot her own horn and tell me that she'd done it. I heard about it from Tony. So thank you to my girlfriend who actually spoke to you enough to say "Hi." :D I thought that was so cute. (She wrote: "'Hi'" to everybody.) She's really not shy face to face. She's outspoken and will speak her mind in class, anywhere. She even put things in italics for the snapshot. I don't bother with that. :D

So it's Thursday and I'm typing this outside of Blogger to copy and paste (hopefully).

Blogger/Blogspot is still screwy. It has been for most of the day. Kat called and said she tried to post at noon because she wanted to weigh in on a few things. It took forever for her to log into her site. Then when she clicked on "create entry," she got taken to "Page cannot be displayed." Then she tried again every hour on the hour.

I had just gotten out of class when she called and she said she was thinking I was already out of class so she was glad she waited. But she wanted to give me a heads up that Blogger still hadn't fixed their problem so I didn't lose a post. She'd already called Rebecca and said I was supposed to call.

I did and Rebecca said if Blogger's not working by nine p.m. (our time, hers and mine, we're in the same time zone) then she wasn't posting tonight. I'm posting. It may only go up at the mirror site for The Common Ills, but I'll post. Hopefully, no one will give me any grief if I'm only able to post there. (Thanks to C.I. for letting me post there. But, as was pointed out to me, we were all given the code so we could cross post anytime we wanted.) I got some e-mails from European members who really do prefer the mirror site and were glad to have "new content." (They were also glad C.I.'s carried the Iraq snapshot over there each day.)

So let's do Democracy Now!

US Troops Accused of New Civilian Killings
Meanwhile in Iraq, US troops are being accused of a new round of killings of Iraqi civilians. On Wednesday, the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's main Sunni group, said it had evidence US troops killed more than two dozen Iraqis in incidents last month. According to the group, the most deadly attack occurred in a house in Yusifiyah south of Baghdad -- killing 13 people, including women and children.

Will anyone pay attention to this now? Probably not cause we got to stay with Operation Happy Talk. It's nonsense and C.I. called it at the start of today.

Instead of a second headline, I want to note a story.

Army Lieutenant Becomes First Commissioned Officer to Refuse Deployment to Iraq
For the first time since the start of the war, a commissioned officer is refusing deployment to fight in Iraq. On Wednesday U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada announced his intention to disobey what he says are illegal orders to deploy to Iraq. We speak with 1st Lieutenant Watada and his lawyer, Legrand Jones.

This is an important story and we discussed it in my study group this afternoon. Everybody felt it should be big news like C.I.'s wrote this morning. Nina printed it up and brought it for discussion. There are two people who are for the war, everyone else is against it.

But everyone agreed this is news. The two for the war felt it was something Watada should be ashamed of and that it was news. The rest of us felt it was news because someone was saying no.

But we don't get that in the paper and we don't really get the news at a lot of websites.

We get a lot of junk, a lot of gossip and really very little that matters.

When Amy Goodman interviewed him, he said, "Probably the maximum penalty I face, when I refuse orders to board the plane to go to Iraq, would be anywhere from two to five years, maybe more, in a military stockade. Dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances. There could be other punishment."

This is news, even if a lot of people want to waste their time and your's by focusing on nonsense.

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

al-Zarqawi is dead. Maybe. As **Sandra Lupien noted**, this is the second "death" of al-Zarqawi, according to the US government ("Earlier this year the military thought it had killed Zarqawi in another operation but later announced it had been mistaken."). Also noted by Goodman was Thomas E. Ricks "Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi: Jordian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability" (Washington Post). In that article, Ricks wrote of "a propaganda campaign" run by the US military "to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." Andrew Marshall (Reuters) notes that "the Zarqawi myth" was fed by "U.S. forces" despite the fact that "[m]ost experts believe his foreign fighters make up only a fraction of the insurgency". The Financial Times of London is calling it "one of the biggest propaganda coup's for the US since the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003."Brian Whitaker (Guardian of London) notes the build up "by the US and sections of the media . . . [to turn al-Zarqawi] into the main bogeyman, but the war, or civil war as it is increaingly regarded, has a momentum of its own." Whitaker goes on to note the daily deaths of "[d]ozens of ordinary people" in Iraq including the targeting of ice vendors. Jonathan Wright (Reuters) reports that news of the death has resulted "in deep splits on Thursday" among Arabs outside of Iraq and quotes Arab analysts including Diaa Rashwan ("expert on Islamist groups at the al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo") saying, "Zarqawi in recent times did not represent an important element in violent operations on the ground in Iraq. Other groups which are not extreme, resistance groups not terrorist groups, have grown in strength."
The military strike which may or may not have killed al-Zarqawi involved "[
t]wo F-16 warplanes [which] dropped two 500-pound bombs" on the area (China's People Daily). Reuters' Hilmy Kamal reports from that area and is told by a teenager there, "The Americans have a habit of bombing places and then claiming Zarqawi or others were there." Kamal notes that residents are "sceptical" of the claim that al-Zarqawi was there. On KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien noted that the US military "called the operation a precision airstrike," that a woman and child died in the attack and that among the rubble/ruins of the attack were "a child's sandal" and "a backpack with a teddy bear on it." The Financial Times notes that "Television pictures of the site of the raid on the village of Hibhib showed an extensive area of destruction and a US Centcom official confirmed to al-Jazeera television that not all the casualties inflicted during the raid were inside the house targetted." KUNA reports that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked about the reported killing in terms of whether or not it would be a violation of the Geneva Convention and he responded he didn't think so, "if indeed he is the one who has been killed, has been at war, in a fight. I don't think you can equate it to targeted assassinations of the kind we have seen elsewhere."
Brian Conley notes that Al Jazeera was attempting to interview Zarqawi's brother in law Abu Qudama but the interview was stopped, Abu Qudama "was arrested by Jordanian police. Just before he was arrested he was denouncing members of the press for not always speaking truth about his brother-in-law, making him into an evil man, and not just a fighter for god." Conley notes that "at least one Al-Jazeera correspondent" was arrested as well.
the BBC reports that two posts have been filled in occupation puppet and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Actually, three posts were (finally) filled as the Guardian reports: "General Abdul-Qadre Mohammed Jassim, a Sunni Arab, . . . named as the new defence minister . . . Jawad al-Bolani named as the interior minister and Sherwan al-Waili as national security minister" (both al-Bolani and al-Waili are "Shia Muslims"). This comes after many missed deadlines that al-Maliki set for himself as well as seventeen days after the constitutional deadline of May 22nd.
Associated Press reports on the bombs in the Baghadad that killed "at least 19 people . . . wounding more than 40." The bombs went off at in a section known as New Baghdad. Ignoring this and other realities allows Sally Buzbee (Associated Press) to declare Thursday "good news Thursday" indicating that possibly she's auditioning for a TV chat gig since such a statement has little resemblance to reporting. (In one of her most non-reporting remarks, she concludes of al-Maliki: "Thursday's events just made clear he's bound and determined to jump in and try." Well Yippee-ki-yay, Cowgirl!)
What Iraq was she speaking of? Along with the bombing noted already,
Reuters reports thirteen were wounded from a bomb "planted inside a building" in Baghdad, that four corpses were discovered, that police announced today that (yesterday) Ahmed Kurdi ("judge of Dujail court") had been kidnapped . . . Fredrik Dahl (Reuters) reports that: "Gunmen shot and seriously wounded a senior Defence Ministry official . . . General Khalil al-Ibadi, in charge of food supplies for the armed forces, and his driver . . ."
This as the
BBC reports that the British Ministry of Defence is investigating the death of a thirteen-year-old boy. As noted yesterday, "The Associated Press reports that British soldiers fired on civilians and did so because 100 people (presumably adults) were stoning them, Iraqi police say that the "people" were children and that a thirteen-year-old boy was killed and a twelve-year-old girl was wounded." A spokesman acknowledges to the BBC that they "are aware of reports that a 13-year-old has been killed" and states that British troops "reported that two teenage boys had been hit."
Terri Judd reports on the continued deterioration for women in Iraq. Noting that Iraq was "once the envy of women across the Middle East," Judd offers a look at the new realities which include women's heads being forcibly shaved after they refuse to "refuse to wear a scarf," being "stoned in the street for wearing make-up," being nothing but tokens who make up "25 per cent of Iraq's Provincial Council" . . . On the last item, Judd notes that women's faces are "blacked out" with the slogan "No women in politics" on "[p]osters around the city" and that women serving on the council have been told "you don't know anything" so "they just agreed to sign whatever they were told."


Nina putting this up for Mike. The computer program or server (whatever) wasn't working last night. Mike ended up e-mailing this post to The Common Ills website. Mike will be posting this evening. "Hi" to everybody.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.

That's the piece of __ message I got when I tried to save a post in progress. I got it when I was almost done with a post this evening. After an hour and ten minutes of work. Since the message is now coming up again, I'm not posting at my site. This is Mike by the way. I called C.I. and asked if I could post at The Common Ills? C.I. said sure but to do two things.

1) Don't post it by going in because the problem might happen there too. Post it by e-mailing it (C.I. gave me the e-mail address, thanks to C.I.).

2) After I e-mail it, check to see if it's up. If it's not, copy and paste my sent e-mail into the backup site.

I'm pretty disgusted with Blogger/Blogspot and all it's nonsense right now.

Elaine lost her first post as well. On her second try, she was putting stuff in, posting, going back in, adding, posting again, etc. But she's done for the night. Her post isn't done but when she got the message AGAIN, she said her time is too important to her to put up with Blogger/Blogspot's nonsense. You can read her post in progress (which she's not finishing) by clicking here. It has no title because she can't get back into Blogger/Blogspot right now. You can read her thoughts on tonight's latest nonsense by reading "Stupid Blogger/Blogspot." Rebecca shares her thoughts in "stupid blogger/blogspot."

Betty's "Thomas Friedman, the Jayne Mansfield of the New York Times" went up early so read it. Kat also managed to get a post up. Wally thought he had a post up until I called him tonight and asked him if he took the night off? He said, "I e-mailed it."
It never hit. It's up now "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY'S THE ONE GETTING TURNED DOWN!" Cedric was planning on posting so that we could all have new content tonight but I bet that's out thanks to Blogger/Blogspot.

This is not a problem that happened today. It happened on Monday and it happened yesterday. Then it went out this afternoon. They said they'd fixed it. Obviously they don't know what they're talking about. They have (or had) a scheduled outage for tomorrow that's when C.I.'s DN! post usually goes up so that's your FYI. If you can't find anything here (at The Common Ills) tomorrow, go to the mirror site. It had the post for today before the main site did.

Let's get to Democracy Now! because I'm really not in the mood to spend too much more time on this due to Blogger/Blogspot's nonsense. (If I were at my site, I'd be using stronger words than "nonsense." I'm keeping it clean for C.I. who tries to keep this "work place safe."

Army Lt. Refuses Iraq Deployment
Meanwhile, a US army officer has announced he’s refusing his deployment to Iraq slated for later this month. The officer, First Lt. Ehren Watada, says he first asked for permission to resign his position in January. He says he wrote: "I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership." Lt. Watada is believed to be the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq since the invasion. Simultaneous news conferences by his supporters are expected to be held today in his home state of Hawaii and in Olympia, Washington. Military officials told Watada he cannot attend the news conference because he is barred from speaking publicly about his case while on duty at the base.

WBAI's Wakeup Call had an interview with him this morning. He signed up right before the illegal war on Iraq started. He said that he realized he'd signed a contract but there are two parties to a contract and he talked about how Bully Boy's lied us into war (he used kinder words). He said he can't go because the nature of the war. The military will not allow him to speak during 'duty hours.' So the interview WBAI's Wakeup Call had was okay because it airs so early. He talked about the funerals of the troops and this photo of a little boy who was walking out the funeral for his father and the kid couldn't face the cameras. He feels his duty is to the Constitution. You should check it out if you missed it. You can use the archives at WBAI or at Wakeup Call.

Vermont Peace Activists Disrupt Negroponte Speech
In Vermont, two peace activists were arrested on Monday for disrupting a commencement address given by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte at St Johnsbury Academy. Moments after Negroponte began his address, a protester stood up and yelled: "In the name of democracy I object to this man speaking. He has blood on his hands from his work in Central America and Iraq. He shouldn't be at the podium, he should be in jail. He is a war criminal." As the protester was being escorted away, Negroponte said "Now it's my turn." But before he could continue, another protester stood up and accused Negroponte of overseeing torture, killings and rape in Honduras, where he served as ambassador in the 1980s.

If you don't already, start reading Robert Parry. He's got a website and lots of books. Working for the Associated Press, he broke some of the early stories on Iran-Contra. Then he moved to Newsweek and tried to break more. Most of the time he ended up not being able to break them because Newsweek wasn't in the news business. It was in the business of having fun in DC and one of the higher ups at Newsweek got all bent out of shape because someone questioned him, someone in the administration then, about how dare Robert Parry write the truth. So now he's got his own news outlet, Consortium News and he writes there and so do others. I think Sam Parry is his son. But if, like me, you weren't old enough to follow or even know about Iran-Contra when it was going down, check out his site because it explains it really clearly. You can follow it (if I did, you can) and Parry's got a cool way of writing that makes it seems like he's in the room talking to you.

If you follow up on this, you'll discover that a lot of the people who show up now in this administration and a lot of the policies were around before. They should all be in prison.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" (which is already up here, yes, but I always note this because it needs to be noted, this gives you a good look at the day in Baghdad):

Chaos and violence continue.
Though most press reports lead with "
nearly 600" reporting on the prison release program or note that 13 kidnapped victims have been found alive (out of the over fifty kindapped), it's not all the Operation Limited Happy Talk some reports might convince you of.
AFP reports on one of the released prisoners, Raed Jamil, who says of the amount of people released, "It's nothing, because on an average they are arresting 1,000 people daily." The same AFP report also breaks from the pack regardding the kidnapping news. The kidnappers released seventeen hostages. The police found eight "wandering aimlessly together late at night on Canal street" and then began searching for others (a group of seven and a group of three were found).
CNN reports that "Iraq's Interior Ministry . . . launched an investigation into whether Iraqi police, or insurgents posing as police, were responsible for the kidnappings." CNN notes that Sunni politicians have accused "the government of involvement in the abduction" and noted that along with the 'commando uniforms' the kidnappers drove "at least 13 vehicles with Iraqi police markings." The Associated Press notes: "Suspicion has fallen on militias, which are believed to have infiltrated police forces and have killed hundreds in sectarian violence, personal vendettas and kidnappings for ransom."
That's reality.
Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) explores possibilities regarding what is being seen as occupation puppet and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki "tougher stance" towards the United States. Former State Department analyst Henri Barkey tells LaFranchi, "The trick for the US is to boost this guy, because there may not be another one after him."
KUNA reports that Tony Blair has "welcomed news of the innocence of three UK servicemen suspected of killing an Iraqi young man." Less welcoming may be the ongoing talks in the British House of Commons regarding the situation in Basra? Especially considering the dueling reports on a shooting in Basra today. The Associated Press reports that British soldiers fired on civilians and did so because 100 people (presumably adults) were stoning them, Iraqi police say that the "people" were children and that a thirteen-year-old boy was killed and a twelve-year-old girl was wounded.
Certainly less welcoming news for Tony Blair (and the Bully Boy as well) is the confirmation by the "
new Italian administration .. . [that] all Italian troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year" (Guardian of London).
In the United States,
Dan Whitcomb (Reuters) reports that the defense of marines accused of murdering 24 Iraqis will be "chaotic battle conditions . . . if they are charged with murder." Reuters' source states that the coverage has been limited with no one pointing out that the slaughter could have been "an accident or collateral damage." Certainly 24 Iraqis can't point that out -- they're dead.
BBC reports that, in Hawija, a "Sunni mosque preacher" was shot to death. The AFP notes that he was first dragged from his home. The Associated Press reports "three rockets landed on a house" killing a man inside and "wounding his two brothers." China's People's Daily notes the death of six police officers -- four were killed when they were attacked in Baghdad, two more died from a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Reuters notes that two police officers were also wounded in that roadside bombing. In Mosul, the AFP notes three college students were killed (gunfire) as they waited at a bus stop. Also in Mosul, Reuters reports that a police officer and two other people were killed in a drive by shooting. The AFP esitmates that "at least 20 people" died today from violence in Iraq.
Two other events that seem to mark life in Iraq also took place. Kidnappings?
Reuters reports that "[f]our Iraqi oil employees" were kidnapped yesterday and the police acknowledged the kidnappings today. The other regular event? The discovery of corpses. CNN notes that five were found on Wednesday, the AFP identifies the gender of the corpses, three male, two female ("all of them were shot to death").
Ferry Biedermann (Financial Times of London) interviews Ali Baban (Iraq's minister of planning) who feels that foreign donors "spend too much of their aid to Iraq outside the country and ordinary Iraqis do not feel they are behing helped by the international community." And the Associated Press reports that the US army's 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division is being readied for deployment to Iraq "leaving unclear when and if a sizable reduction in U.S. troops levels will begin this year."
CBS and the AP report that CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier is returning to the United States "where she will be admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dave Zirin on reilgious Rockies, Iraq and more

In "My interview with Kat," we discussed Isaiah's art and Kat mentioned this one but I forgot to provide a link:

Mike: You cover music and Isaiah's the illustrator for the community. I was wondering what you think of his work?
Kat: I love it. He's actually working through several different techniques. If he's doing, for instance, a children's send up, he does it so that it looks like a coloring book and I always wonder if that's ever noted so I'm really glad you asked that question. "A Bug's Lie" was one example of that. Sometimes, he's going for more of a realistic mood and sometimes it's more of a sketch. I could talk about his work for days. He's really talented. When we were all in DC for the September protests, I got to talk to him about this. He was surprised that I had noticed so many things. I also love his bravery. Condi Rice in the blood fur, Bully Boy in the blood box. Those are accurate and funny. But I don't know a lot of places that you could find comics like that. Or what about his comic capturing the year 2005? Bully Boy, bare assed, without a care in the world, the bones of the fallen all around him. That perfectly captured 2005. I loved that.And I printed up "Celibacy in the City," took it to a photo shop and had it enlarged. It's a poster in my living room. I felt it perfectly captured the Conservative, Republican Woman's idea of being single in DC. The work wives Harrie and Condi with 'single gal' Mary. I love his work. I don't tell him that anymore because that actually creates a ton of pressure for him. If someone loves, loves a comic, his first thought is "There's no way I can live up to that" and it becomes really hard for him to follow up. He also got slammed, as we all know. I don't know that going to a website where you 'create' your own illustration gives you any idea of the work that those comics take or doing them every Sunday. It is a lot of pressure. I think he's very talented. His Michael Hayden comic was perfect. The face was realistic and Michael Hayden as a turtle worked perfectly.
Mike: You're a big fan of his.
Kat: I really am. Drawing wasn't really my thing. I can do it. But my interests lay elsewhere. studying it. Photography, sculpture, murals and crafts were things I was better at.

I've been meaning to note but always forget. So that's taken care of, not let's get to Democracy Now!

Bush Pushes Same Sex Marriage Ban Again
In Washington, President Bush called on Monday for Congress to ban same sex marriage.
President Bush: "An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our nation with no other choice. When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution, the only law a court cannot overturn."
President Bush spoke before lawmakers and members of several groups from the religious right, including Exodus International which promotes what it calls "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." The group claims it has helped hundreds of thousands of ex-gay men and lesbians become straight.

I wish had something really to the point and funny to say here but, as usual, my buddy Wally beats me to it. You gotta read his "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY CONTINUES TO SAY A BIG LOUD "NO" TO GAY MARRIAGE." Read it. You will laugh. :D

Hundreds Flee Ramadi Fearing U.S. Attack
In Iraq concern is growing that U.S.-backed forces may soon launch a major offensive in the Sunni city of Ramadi. On Monday, U.S. forces fired artillery at the city’s train station. Hospital officials said five civilians died and 15 others were wounded. The Red Crescent reports over 100 families have recently fled the city fearing that a large-scale military operation is imminent. Last week U.S. military officials announced it was moving 1,500 soldiers from Kuwait into the region surrounding the city. One Pentagon spokesperson declared Ramadi had become the most contentious city in Iraq. On Monday the influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars warned the Iraqi government not to support any U.S. attacks on the city.

Will Ramadi be the next Falluja? Bad news, it looks like it's already started. (More on that in a bit.)

Jose Padilla Attorneys Ask Court to Throw Out Evidence
There is an update on the case of Jose Padilla -- the U.S. born man who was held in solitary confinement for three years before being charged with a crime. His layers are now alleging that the government's case against their client relied in part on statements made by a government witness who was tortured. Padilla's defense team has a filed a motion to suppress evidence and statements connected to a man who says that while in detention he was whipped, hung from the ceiling of his cell with leather straps and tortured with razors.

Did they ever have a case against Jose Padilla? If they did, they should have put it to a court immediately. But they didn't even arrest him at the start, they held him as a 'material witness.'
Then there were all these terrorism charges and accusations and then when it was time to do more than talk but to actually charge, they really didn't have much. In the meantime, he's lost four years of his life. Three of those years, he spent them in solitary confinement. Sounding like Wen Ho Lee?

On Wakeup Call today, one of the guests was George Christian, one of four librarians in CT who spoke out when he received a national security letter for patrons' records. Christian explained it like this: "a letter that can be issued by the FBI and can request that the recipients help the FBI secure information, to help the FBI in whatever investigation . . . [but] unlike a warrant, there's no judicial review." Christian said that they were issuing 30,000 a year. The ACLU are the attornies for the four librarians. Bully Boy has denied that national security letters were being used to get libarary patrons' records. He lied. (Again.) These letters don't make the FBI prove any reason to

In the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, they provided an exception for libraries . . . as long as they didn't have internet services. Christian made a comment about how he didn't know how long it had been since Congress has visited a library but that basically every library offers the internet now. So there's no real exception. That reminds me of what Dad was talking about, how Congress is so out of touch.

Deepa asked a question and he used as one example a woman who's concerned about breast cancer, concerned she might have it, and she goes to the library thinking that this was something private. It may not be. Melinda Tuhus talked about how this would effect people doing research. Christian said that it shouldn't but that was another example. He also said: "Libraries exist for the public to inform themselves."

There was a lot more on the show (and I only heard the first hour and a half) but that's what stood out to me. (Also a good montage of their New Orleans coverage.) Wakeup Call airs Mondays through Friday on WBAI from six to nine am.

Remember more on Ramadi in a bit? You'll get it in C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Does the lack of accountability as well?
Two weeks ago,
May 25th, we noted: "Meanwhile the BBC reports that, James Cook has been determined to be not guilty ("by a jury panel of seven senior officers in Cochester") in the death of Ahmed Jabber Kareem [Ali] -- three remain on trial." Today, the BBC reports that those three have now "been found not guilty of the manslaughter of an Iraqi boy, at a Colchester court martial." Ahmed Jabber Kareen Ali died, at the age of 15, in May 2003. The prosecution described the Basra drowning as resulting from the efforts of British troops to "teach him a lesson." Carle Selman, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing have been found not guilty.
AFP is reporting that the Iraqi Islamic Party (the party of Iraq's vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi) has "acused US forces of murdering more than two dozen Iraqis in a series of incidents across the country in May." Omar al-Juburi, party spokesperson, alleged that 29 were murdered and cited two events on May 13: "US forces launched an air assualt on a civilian car in Latifiyah and killed six people inside the car" and "US forces attacked with aircraft the house of a civilian, Saadun Mohsen Hassan, and killed seven of his family members."
This after
Sunday's admission that in Hibhib on Friday, an "accident" resulted in the death of three, the wounding of three and six damaged homes from a "US artillery round" and the death of two women, Naibha Nisaif Jassim and Saliha Mohammad Hassan, at an American checkpoint last week. (Jassim was pregnant and the women, along with Jassim's brother, were headed to the hospital.) Free Speech Radio News covered the issue of accidental deaths yesterday with Aaron Glantz and Salam Talib taking a look at the culture of the illegal occupation. Reporting for CNN, Jamie McIntyre follows the Hamdaniya incident and notes a source who states that "some of the Marines in pretrial confinement have admitted the circumstances of the man's death was staged." This is the April 26th incident that David S. Cloud (NYT) reported last week "[m]ilitary prosecutors are preparing murder, kidnapping and conspiracy chargs against seven marines and a Navy corpsman." McIntyre's report notes the unidentified officer stating, "They went after someone, not necessarily this person, but they set out to get someone."
Writing for Knight Ridder,
Nancy A. Youssef notes that the family's account of what happened to Hashim Ibrahim Awad is that "U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist."
CBS and AP note that "Pentagon officials tell CBS News that several Marines under investigation" in this incident "have made statements admitting they set out that night to kill an Iraqi."
noted by Amy Goodman today, concerns abound over Ramadi. Brian Conley reports for IPS that there are allegations "of civilians killed by snipers, and homes occupied with American snipers on their roof, while families were detained downstairs." One resident of Ramadi is quoted saying: "On the side of the main street you will find destroyed buildings, and military tents on the buildings for snipers. Be careful, if you hear any sound of fighting, hide in the side roads, park your car there and get in any house and hide, because snipers will kill anyone moves, even if the fighting is in another area." While another echoes that "American snipers don't make any distinction between civilians or fighters, anything that moves, he shoots immediately. This is a very dirty thing, they are killing lots of civilians who are not fighters."
As noted by Sandra Lupien on
KPFA's The Morning Show and by the AP, Nouri al-Maliki (Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation) has announced the release of 2,500 Iraqis imprisoned in US and Iraqi-run jails with the first 500 to be released tomorrow. Today, al-Maliki also vowed to 'curb' the violence. This as "nine severed heads" were found "in fruit boxes by the side of a road" (Telegraph of London). The AFP reports that "some of the heads are blindfolded and already decomposing, indicating the killings took place a few days ago." CNN notes Saturday's discovery of eight severed heads, in Hadid, which "also had been stuffed into fruit boxes." The Associated Press reports that, in Aziziyah today, a "decapitated body" was discovered. AFP reports the discovery of a corpse in Baghdad: "25-year-old woman, wearing an Islamic headscarf, who had been shot in the head."
AFP reports that Shaaban Abdel Kadhim was murdered in Baghdad "along with his two bodyguards." No word on the fifty-plus people kidnapped in Baghdad yesterday at bus stations; however, bus stations continued to be a key location for violence. In Nadha, CNN notes at least two civilians were killed and seven more wounded at an attack on a "bus facility." This as the AP notes that a woman died and three more people were wounded when a roadside bomb went off "near a busy bus station" in Baghdad. Also in Baghad, Reuters notes, that a woman and her husband were shot dead as was Thoaban Abdul Kathim, his aide and driver. Reuters also notes five people were killed at a funeral with twelve more wounded when a car bomb exploded.
In refugee news,
Brian Conley reports on Ruweishid, a camp between Jordan and Iraq where "[p]oisonous insects are rampant, while water and electricity are a scarce commodity."
Lastly, as
noted in the New York Times, Deidre Fitzsimons, sister of the late Margaret Hassan, spoke to the BBC on Monday. Not noted is the fact that Fitzsimons told the BBC that she "begged" Great Britain's Foreign Office for UK officials to interview the three men who were apprehended in her sister's death. Fitzsimons believes the men know where the body of her sister is: "These men know where my sister is buried and all we have left, all we want to do now, is to bring her home."

And we'll wind things up with Dave Zirin's "The Rockies Pitch Religion:"

In Colorado, there stands a holy shrine called Coors Field. On this site, named for the holiest of beers, a team plays that has been chosen by Jesus Christ himself to play .500 baseball in the National League West. And if you don't believe me, just ask the manager, the general manager and the team's owner.
In a remarkable article from Wednesday's USA Today, the Colorado Rockies
went public with the news that the organization has been explicitly looking for players with "character." And according to the Tribe of Coors, "character" means accepting Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior. "We're nervous, to be honest with you," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "It's the first time we ever talked about these issues publicly. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs." When people are nervous that they will offend you with their beliefs, it's usually because their beliefs are offensive.
As Rockies chairman and CEO Charlie Monfort said, "We had to go to hell and back to know where the Holy Grail is. We went through a tough time and took a lot of arrows."
Club president Keli McGregor chimed in, "Who knows where we go from here? The ability to handle success will be a big part of the story, too. [Note to McGregor: You're in fourth place.] There will be distractions. There will be things that can change people. But we truly do have something going on here. And [God's] using us in a powerful way."
Well, someone is using somebody, but it ain't God. San Francisco Giants first baseman-outfielder Mark Sweeney, who spent 2003 and 2004 with the Rockies, said, "You wonder if some people are going along with it just to keep their jobs. Look, I pray every day. I have faith. It's always been part of my life. But I don't want something forced on me. Do they really have to check to see whether I have a Playboy in my locker?"

Be sure and check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and she's got two entries today.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Law and Disorder and more

Good evening. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now! and get this "Monday, Monday" (can't trust that day) over with.

U.S. Clears Troops in Ishaqi Killings
The Pentagon's decision to officially ignore parts of the Geneva Conventions comes at a time that the military’s actions in Iraq are coming under increasing scrutiny. Over the weekend, top officials in Iraq demanded the U.S. do more to investigate two different alleged massacres at the hands of U.S. troops: the killing of 24 civilians in Haditha last November and the killing of 13 in the town of Ishaqi outside of Balad in March. On Saturday Major General William Caldwell announced that the Pentagon had cleared U.S. troops of any wrongdoing in the killings in Ishaqi.
Major General William Caldwell: "In response to claims that as many as 13 civilians were killed in a March 15 air strike in the vicinity of Ishaqi, an investigation was launched into that incident the very next day. The investigation revealed the ground force commander while capturing and killing terrorists at that location operated in accordance with the rules of engagement governing our combat forces in Iraq."

Military gave themselves a clean bill of health in a kind of "Physician, heal thy self" way. Guess it all comes out white in the wash? (The "investigation" is a white wash.)

Iraqi Government to Conduct Own Probe of Ishaki Killings
However the Iraqi government has rejected the Pentagon’s findings. On Saturday an aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said that the Iraqi government would open its own investigation into the deaths of Iraq civilians in Ishaqi. The Iraqi Human Rights Minister said a commission would be sent to the town to investigate the deaths in the next few days. Relatives of the Iraqi family killed in Ishaqi accused the U.S. of slaughtering innocent civilians.
Ibrahim A'Rad Khalaf: "The US forces raided my brother's house in March 15. They started shooting into the air before entering the house, this process lasted for about 20 minutes and after that they entered the house and started shooting inside it. They gathered all the family members inside one room and executed all of them."

I'd like to be excited by that, but how deeply can a puppet government investigate the government that pulls their strings? Not only did we put Maliki in as prime minister, we also "flexed" our muscle on the cabinet appointments.

Report: Record Number Killed in Baghdad in May
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that government records show that more Baghdad residents died in shootings, stabbings and other violence in May than in any other month since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Just under 1,400 bodies were brought to the city’s central morgue during the month The actual number of people killed in Baghdad was even higher because the count doesn't include soldiers or civilian victims of explosions.

As the illegal war drags on, the illegal occupation just gets worse and worse for Iraqis. We're not supposed to notice though and a lot of people don't. They just look the other way. You think most people even bother to notice how many Iraqis are dying day after day or wonder why that is?

If you haven't already, read "TV: TESR Investigates" which Tony's father called me Sunday evening to say "captures that show to the nose." It's funny. They're deconstructing the show (Ava and C.I.) the way the show deconstructs the crime scene. Tony's father said he liked best the part where Ava and C.I. are "kind of talking about the case, kind of talking about a personal moment because the show always has that every episode." He loves it. (I do too.)

Now let's talk WBAI's Law and Disorder which airs every Monday (and if you missed it you can hear it at the archives at WBAI or at the Law and Disorder home page). Anthony Arnove was on and he was a great guest (and I liked his pick from Neil Young's CD to play at the end of the show, "Let's Impeach the President). I'll talk about Neil McGaraghan who is an attorney representing two Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay even though they were innocent.
After they were cleared by a military tribunal, they were not released. They were kept and kept and kept. Their attornies filed a lawsuit to force their release and a federal court decided that yes, they should be released but a federal court has no power over the White House. (You read that right.) So the case was being appealed and in a move that renders the appeal null and void (or that the administration hopes does that), the two men were rushed to Albania.

Are they Albanian? No, they are not. And Albania has economic problems (that's a mild version). They're in a country where it's not known if anyone else even speaks their native language. They don't move around freely because they're detained. As soon as they landed, they were presented with papers to sign to be granted asylum. Their families remain in China (and they each have a child they've never seen because it was born while they were being held at Guantanamo). China wants them back and would probably punish them as dissidents if they get their hands on them. Their attorney noted that he wasn't sure how strong Albania would be in rejecting China's requests for extradition.

Why rush them out of the country? Because Rumsfeld continues to lie that Guantanamo holds the "worst of the worst." But these two men were held there and they were innocent -- even a military tribunal found that. Could they have been granted asylum in this country? Possibly, but to do so would mean the American people might have to rethink the idea that Guantanamo holds the "worst of the worst."

It was really disgusting. Not the attorney or the hosts. I remember Dalia Hashad and Michael Ratner participating in this interview, I'm sure Heidi Boghosian did as well; I don't think Michael Smith participated in the first two segments, but he was there for the interview with Anthony Arnove. I always note Dalia because she sounds just like one of my sisters. (And I've learned to tell the two Michaels apart. Want to know what the world needs? More Michaels. Take it from me, a Michael. :D) The hosts and the attorney did a great job discussing the case but the facts of the case are just so disgusting. A really strong example of just how far Bully Boy will go to avoid admitting he was wrong and to avoid letting Americans know what's really going on in the shadows. I think it was the first segment, where a sister spoke of the torture of her brother that resulted in a false confession, where Dalia noted that this is all the reality that Bully Boy hides. She had a really good point that I'll condense down to "America needs to wake up." (She's better at making points than me, so she was more elequent.) And we do need to wake up and get real about what has happened and what continues to happen.

We need to get our heads out of the sand (or out of our asses) and get real. People are suffering huge abuse and, guess what, we can't just blame it on other governments. (The first segment, where the guy was repeatedly tortured, he was tortured in Saudi Arabia, which the American government damn well knew.) Cedric's blogging tomorrow night and we talked on the phone today. He's going to grab the first segment, so I grabbed the second. Ruth's going to write about the third segment, Anthony Arnove's interview, when she does her Ruth's Public Radio Report. Ruth can write about any of the first two segments, in length or just in brief, and that's cool.
But Cedric and me are covering Law and Disorder so that when she does her report, she's not left covering everything. It's a great show and you should listen to it if you aren't already.

By the way, like I said, Michael Smith wasn't in the first two segments. (I don't think he was, maybe I missed him.) That made me think about how Dalia had to travel in one morning to do the show. I hope everyone who listens realizes that not only are all four lawyers, they're working lawyers. What I mean is, they're busy. This isn't like some gasbag that just shows up at the CNN studio to spout their opinions and that's their gig. They have busy professional lives (and probably personal ones as well -- I know Michael Ratner has at least two kids, a son who turned 18 and is starting college named Jake and a daughter whose name I forget, Michael Smith has mentioned both on the show). They're doing this show (and making time for it) because it's important to them. They really care about these issues and they could just address them in court and go on about their lives. Instead, they're doing a weekly show so if they're making time for this, you should too. It's a really good show. Probably my favorite after Democracy Now!

We all care about stuff in this community too and that's why we all work on The Third Estate Sunday Review. That doesn't mean it always is fun or that it goes well. Elaine's writing about putting together the latest edition so be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz. And check out Ma's "Potatoes Anna in the Kitchen." Is Bully Boy pushing a ban on gay marriage because he wants to get a big turnout for the 2006 elections? Think again! Bully Boy Press has the scoop in
"THIS JUST IN! MTV SNUB LEADS TO PROPOSED BAN!" (That's Wally's site and it's this is a humor entry. You need to laugh, especially the uptight guy who keeps whining to me about his prof that he thinks I was so mean to, so go read it.) Correction. Elaine just lost her entire post. She says if she can't recover it, nothing tonight. She's not in the mood and I don't blame her. Hope she can recover it but if not, that's life and not her fault.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

As Amy Goodman noted, more than 85 people died from violence in Iraq over the weekend. In Baghdad today, 'commandos' raided bus stations kidnapping "at least 50 people," the Associated Press reports. The AFP notes that Major General Rashid Fulayah "contradicted earlier reports that the operation was officially sanctioned." The assailants wore "commando uniforms" and were originally thought to be part of the police commandos (militias) -- Rashid Fulayah is the "commander of the police commandos in Baghdad." Both Sandra Lupien (on KPFA's The Morning Show) and Reuters noted that 'commando' initiated kidnappings were seen as coordinated.
Also in Baghdad, the AFP reports that eleven students were killed by assailants who stopped their bus and "riddled it with bullets." Two brothers traveling to college were also gunned down in a separate attack reports CBS and AP. In a separate report, AP notes the two Sunni brothers' names were Ahmed and Arkan Sarhan and that they "were in their early 20s." Reuters reports that "the head of the local municipal council" Ghalib Ali Abdullah and his driver were killed by assailants in Baghdad. And the Associated Press notes that assailants "in two cars" killed Kadim Falhi Hussein al-Saedi "near his home in western Baghdad."
In Ramadi, CBS and the AP report, artillery was fired by "U.S.-led forces" and the "the U.S.-Iraqi Joint Operations Center" states the targets were "four military-aged males unloading a weapons cache" while Dr. Omar al-Duleimi notes that "five civilians were killed and 15 wounded."
Speaking to the hosts of Law and Disorder on WBAI this morning, Anthony Arnove (author of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) noted of the illegal occupation, "The longer the US stays the worse things will get . . . The United States has no right to be in Iraq. They used a series of lie [to wage an illegal war]. . . All those lies have now been exposed. . . . Every day the occupation is engaging in collective punishment of the Iraqi people."*
Throughout Iraq, corpses were found. In Suwayra, Reuters reports, four corpses ("stab wounds") were discovered "in the Tigris River." The AFP notes that seven corpses were discovered in Baghdad. The AP notes two of the corpses and that one "had been shot in the head" and the other was also shot in the head as well as the chest and was blindfolded.
Margaret Hassan was kidnapped in October of 2004 and assumed dead in November of 2004 (her body was never found -- her husband remains in Iraq until her body is found). Today, the BBC reports, Mustafa Salman al-Jubouri "has been jailed for life for his role in the abudction and murder of aid worker Margaret Hassan." Reuters notes that "[t]wo other defendents in the case were freed" and that "[m]ore than 200 foreigners and thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped since U.S.-led forces invaded in 2003" and that "[m]ore than 40" of tose kidnapped were killed. Hassan, who had "British, Iraqi and Irish nationality," had been the "head of the Iraqi operation of the CARE International charity." In January of 2003, Hassan went to the United Nations and spoke with a number of people including UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette -- a visit she summarized on CNN as, "My message to the United Nations was . . . this is an impoverished nation over 12 years. They have not got what it takes to withstand a further crisis." Margaret Hassan met her husband Tahseen Ali Hassan in England and then moved to Iraq in 1972.
Though CARE played down her political stance, as her family notes, she "was vocally opposed to the war in Iraq." Speaking to Daniel McGrory (Times of London), her family blames the British government for Hassan's death noting "the refusal by the British Government to open a dialogue with the kidnappers." Her brother and three sisters revealed that the kidnappers had contacted Tahseen Ali Hassan repeatedly using his wife's cell phone, each time demanding a dialogue with the British Embassy for her relase; however, the British Embassy, according to Tahseen Ali Hassan, refused to contact the kidnappers (repeatedly refused, there were at least four calls and each one was passed on the British Embassy according to Hassan, the Times confirms the first call was passed on).
In the United States, CNN notes that Joe Biden called for Donald Rumsfeld (sec. of Defense, US) to step down as a rsult of the incidents in Haditha and the cover up. The senator appeared on NBC's Meet the Press and stated: "When you make serious mistakes, you step forward and you acknowledge them and you walk away. . . . [Rumsfeld] should be gone; he shouldn't be in his office tomorrow morning."
And Rumsfeld wasn't in his office Monday morning. Rumsfeld is in Vietnam. Sunday began a three day visit where he's meeting with "his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Van Tra."
CBS and the AP report that CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier will not be returning to the United States on Tuesday as had been expected. On May 29th, a roadside bomb in Baghdad injured Dozier and took the lives of Paul Douglas and James Brolan. In their joint story, CBS and the AP note: "Scores of journalists -- nearly 75 percent of them Iraqis -- have been injured, killed or kidnapped in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion." Many are also missing including French cameraman Frederic Nerac who has been missing since March 22, 2003 and German cameraman Isam Hadi Muhsin Al-Shumary who has been missince August 15, 2004. Reporters Without Borders' places the figure for journalists and media assistants killed since the illegal 2003 invasion at 97. In addition Iraqi reporter Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal, who were kidnapped Feb. 1, 2006 remain missing as does Agence France-Presse's accountant Salah Jali al-Gharrawi who was kidnapped April 4, 2006. (All three kidnappings took place in Baghdad.) Reporters Without Borders has an online petition that they intend to deliver "to Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki to encourage him to do everything necessary to find them."
*Ruth read the Arnove quote used over the phone and will be covering Arnove's appearance in her next Ruth's Public Radio Report. (Thank you, Ruth.)