Friday, October 06, 2006

Scooter, John Blair, Darrell Anderson, Iraq

Friday at last!!!! :D I'm always excited on Fridays but even more now that we have the discussion group. We've had to do the planned break offs because the group was just too big. So now there are five groups and each group can bring in whomever they want to add to the people that have already been meeting all this time to talk about Iraq.

This really has been the cure for a media that doesn't really focus on Iraq. There's always someone who'll hear a story that the rest might have missed and we've probably got several of those each meeting. And it's just great to get together with people who care that a war is going on.

Elaine's already posted! She just came through and said she's going to get ice for Ma (for tonight's meet up). Well check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. I know I type slow, but still. :D

Okay, remember that Scooter Libby is the only one indicted for his actions in Plamegate so far (the outing of Valerie Plame)? That was almost a year ago. But that story isn't over yet. This is something by who Elizabeth de la Vega who I heard giving commentary on KPFA a couple of times and she really knows her stuff. So this is de la Vegan's "Pardon Me? Scooter Libby's Trial Strategy:"

Maybe you are thinking that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's case against Scooter Libby is yesterday's news, or, worse, in its last throes. Think again.
It has recently come to my attention that the title of the Ukrainian national anthem is "Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet." (Seriously, it is.) The same could be said of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's ongoing prosecution of Vice President Cheney's former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby: The case - involving charges of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice in connection with Fitzgerald's investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of the identity of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative - is not dead yet, nor is it even ailing.
US v. Libby Is Alive and Well
U.S. v. Libby is not only alive and well; it is also set to begin on January 16, 2007, just three and a half months from now. In June, the defense requested a one-month continuance, but U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton responded by granting a mere one-week extension and reiterating that pretrial filings had to be submitted by both parties in mid-November 2006.
Indeed, a review of court documents makes it abundantly clear that Judge Reggie Walton has no intention of letting this matter laze around on his docket. Filings in the case make it no less clear that Lewis Libby's opportunities to make the charges go away by exercising his rights within the judicial system are dwindling rapidly. Early on, Walton ruled that any motions to dismiss that the defendant wished to bring should be filed by February 24, 2006. Libby's attorneys filed one such motion and it was denied.
In that motion, Libby's defense team argued that the case should be dismissed because it was "obtained, approved and signed by an official - Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald - who was appointed and exercised his powers" in violation of the Constitution. Without getting too technical, the defense argument was that Fitzgerald was taking actions that could only be taken by a presidential appointee. This was essentially a more lawyerly version of accusations the Republican National Committee (directly tied into the Bush administration's political arm, the Office of Strategic Initatives) had begun hurling even before Libby's indictment. In various veiled - and sometimes not so veiled -
attacks, they argued that Patrick Fitzgerald was "overzealous" and had exceeded his authority by bringing perjury and false-statements charges when he was, according to the Libby defense team and the RNC, only authorized to investigate the possible unauthorized disclosure of a CIA officer.
Not surprisingly, Judge Walton was unimpressed with Libby's motion. He ruled that it was perfectly appropriate and prudent for the Department of Justice to appoint someone outside the hierarchy of the Executive Branch when its highest officials were under investigation. He also said that Fitzgerald's letters of authority "unambiguously" authorized him to investigate and prosecute not only the disclosure of a CIA employee's identity, but also "any violations of federal law that arise during the course of that investigation."

Scooter's not out of the woods yet (even if Bully Boy pardons him, in fact pardoning him would really be saying to America that he was okay with Scooter and others working to out Valerie Plame). So there's a lot of stuff going on. Like remember on Wednesday when we talked about Steve Howard and how he was walking his son to piano practice, passed a mall where Cheney was talking to people, walked up and said he didn't like Cheney's Iraq policy and then walked off? On his way back after his son's piano lesson, Secret Service stops him and he gets arrested?
Stuff like that happens more often than you know and probably a lot more than even gets reported if you had days and days to search for it. They treat our country like it just belongs to them and refuse to recognize free speech. Well Bill Johnson's "Protester Prevailed, but the 'Chill' Lingers" notes what happened to Steve Howard and then tells you a story about someone else it happened to too:

John Blair began laughing when I telephoned and started to tell him the story of Steve Howards. Only last June, John Blair settled a lawsuit he brought against the Evansville, Ind., police, who'd arrested him in February 2002 for holding a protest sign outside of a political fundraiser headlined by Dick Cheney.
"Oh, I won big-time," said John Blair, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer in 1978. He refused to reveal the amount of the settlement, which remains confidential.
A self-professed rebel and gadfly, John Blair, 60, is a man who devotes most of his time now to environmental issues. He'd like to shut down the proliferating coal-fired power plants in and around Evansville, for example.
A group of college kids and other activists had called to ask if he'd join them in a protest that night in 2002. He said sure and drew up a sign reading "Dick Cheney, 19th-Century Energy Man."
He got there before the others, so he stood across the street and waited, more than 100 yards from the entrance to the fundraiser.
What he didn't know was that the Secret Service had set up a "protest zone," which was a block away. Evansville police officers immediately intercepted him.
He complied with their directive to move. As he walked away, he stopped to ask another question, something like, "Where?" He was immediately arrested.
"I'd thought we were having a conversation," John Blair said. "Obviously, we were not."
He did a night in jail for "disorderly conduct." As with Steve Howards' case, saner minds prevailed and the charge was dismissed.
He sued.
U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney bought none of the arguments proffered by the city, which then complained that it was only following a request by the Secret Service. The Secret Service disavowed knowing anything about it.
"They completely left the city hanging - wouldn't take a deposition. Nothing," John Blair recalled.

The bad news is that the whole thing left a bad taste in John Blair's mouth and now he doesn't protest anymore. That's too bad because when Bully Boy and Cheney try to decide who can use free speech and who can't, we should all be protesting and letting them know that they will not override the Constitution. (Of course, it would help if Congress would stand up to them, but don't expect that any time soon.)

Started with Iraq and we'll end with it. There's good news in the snapshot so I won't spoil it. It comes early on, so read it and grin. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, October 6, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, war resister Darrell Anderson is headed home (he returned to the United States, turned himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday, now he's headed home), World Can't Wait staged protests across the United States on Thursday, the Danish military suffers a fatality in Iraq, the US military notes a death toll on Iraqi police officers but continues to look the other way with regards to violence toward Iraqi women, and Bob Watada, father of war resisterer Ehren Watada, continues his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son.
Starting with war resister Darrell Anderson. In April of 2004, Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq and awarded a Purple Heart. Returning to the US and learning he would be redeployed to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the military in January 2005 and move to Canada. Anderson spoke out publicly against the war while in Canada, attempted to win refugee status (something the Canadian government has refused all war resisters), met Gail Greer, married her in February 2006 but decided to return to the United States. On Saturday, he crossed the Peace Bridge back into the US and, on Tuesday, he turned himself in at Fort Knox.
Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) reports that Jim Fennerty, Anderson's attorney, states Darrell Anderson "was released from Fort Knox this morning and is on his way home". AP reports that Anderson "is expected to be discharged without a court-martial".
While some resist war, US Secretary of State Condi Rice incites it. Rice was in Baghdad on Thursday where -- as
Robin Wright (Washington Post), Philp Shenon (New York Times) and CBS and AP reported -- her plane had to circle the airport for approximately forty minutes due to mortar and rocket attacks. Not aimed at her, mind you, such is the state of Baghdad that Rice's unnannounced visit didn't effect what's become life as usual. From there, on Friday, Condi headed to the Kurdish region, which is oil rich, and, as AFP reports, made noises about sharing the wealth with Massud Barzani (regional president). She was so busy that the meeting in London among "world powers" had to be delayed two hours, Thomas Wagner (AP) reports which left "leaders little time to reach a consensus and making it unlikely." If the decision on sanctions has been delayed, a detour's been created in Bully Boy's march to war on Iran meaning, possibly, citizens around the world should pray that Condi has many more unexpected layovers. (Update on this by Sophie Walker of Reuters.)
Wright (Washington Post) noted, Rice's visit began as the Kurdish parliamentarian Mohammed Ridah Sinkawi was assassinated. As Shenon (New York Times) noted, the visit with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani took place "in the dark" after "the lights went out . . . It was a reminder of the city's erratic -- and sometimes nonexistant -- electrical service." Along with electrical problems, Rice visit occurred as Xinhua reported that: "Toxic water in the Tigris river killed thousands of fish and birds in Iraq's Salahudin province . . . The provincial water directorate, which produces drinking water for people in this area, ordered all its projects to suspend working and wait for the tests' results". Three years after the illegal war began and they can't even keep the lights on the fortified Green Zone of Baghdad, nor can they address the issue of the Tigris which provides "drinking water supplies for millions of Iraqis."
CNN reports Joseph Paterson ("commander in charge of police training in Iraq") announced that "Since September 2004 . . . about 4,000 [police] officers have been killed and 8,000 injured". And of course, as AFP reported earlier, between 800 and 1,200 police officers are being retrained after they were thought to be complicit in the mass kindappings from earlier this week. What the US military refuses to talk about is women in Iraq. Nabeel Ziriqi (Al Jazeera) reported earlier this week: "A recent spike in attacks on women has forced many in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul to retreat into their homes or resort to armed escort by relatives and tribal guards. In recent weeks, Mosul residents have witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of female corpses found throughout the city. Alaa al-Badrani said her friend, a school principal, was kidnapped from her home in the Bakr district of the city by an armed gang."
Bahrain News Agency reports that a roadside bomb targeted "a US military patrol . . . passing by in Husaiba to the est of the Iraqi city of Ramadhi." No word on any casualities or fatalities. AFP reports mortar rounds wounded seven in Baghdad. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports a "double bombing" that first "set the generator ablaze, then when firefighters and others rushed in, the second went off" resulting in one death and four injured.
KUNA reports that Denmark's 500 troops serving in Iraq are now 499 as a soldier, injured in an "armed confrontation" in southern Iraq, died as he was being transported to a hospital.
Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports seven corpses discovered "floating in the area of Suwayrah". AFP reports that Baghdad police discovered 35 corpses in the capital in the last 24 hours.
This comes as the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Malki's little examined 4-part 'peace' plan continues to be hailed by an unquestioning press. One not hailing it is
Firas Al-Atraqchi (Al-Ahram Weekly) who notes of the first plank -- 'security committees': "The committees would monitor whether police and the Iraqi army effectively pursue militia fighters after an attack. But the plan falls far short of any significant effort to curb violence because it does not address the disarming of militias, which Maliki had promised in late May, and focuses entirely on Baghdad. The rest of the country, it seems, can go to hell."
IRIN reports a slight improvement for the life of prisoners in Iraqi prisons just as AP reports that: "Guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as common practice, a U.S. Marine sergeant said in a sworn statement". (If you're confused as to the connection between Guantanamo and Iraq, on today's KPFA's Living Room, Kris Welch presented some recorded footage of Janis Karpinski explaining the efforts to "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib.)
In legal news,
AP reports that the trial of Pendleton Eight, accused of shooting an unarmed Iraqi dead after dragging from his Hamdaniya home, included testimony today from one of the eight, Melson J. Bacos, who testified "he saw two Marines fire at least 10 rounds into 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad". AP reports that Bacos, a medic, "pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy charges" in the death of Awad.
Reuters reports that Bacos tetified Lawrence Hutchins III had devised a plan for another Iraqi (one who had been in and out of Abu Ghraib) but, when unable to locate that man, they went after Hashim Ibrahim Awad who happened to live next door to the Iraqi Hutchins had intended they kidnap and kill.
Meanwhile, in London,
AFP reports that an inquest into the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd heard testimony from Nicholas Walshe who stated Lloyd "was shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight". As the BBC noted, March 23, 2003, Terry Lloyd "has not been seen since he and three colleagues came under fire as [they] were on the road to the city of Basra." The Guardian of London reports that, in addition, a British solider testified "he saw a US tank open fire on the ITN team's vehicles" and that this was "the first public acknowledgement that British forces witnessed the events of March 22, 2003, in which Mr. Lloyd and his interpreter Huseein Osman died and his French cameraman Fred Nerac went missing near Basra in southern Iraq."
Frederic Nerac remains missing and
Reporters Without Borders notes that "British defence ministry opened an investigation in June 2003 into their [Nerac and Hussein Osman] disappearance at the insistence of Nerac's wife Fabienne and press freedom organisations including Reporters Without Borders."
Will Dunham (Reuters) reports that "signs of wear and tear on the U.S. military" has resulted from Iraq and Afghanistan and that "Many troops are facing second and third long combat tours and less time between overseas deployments." Or none at all. A point Laurie Loving makes very clear on page 2 of The Nation's October 16, 2006 issue. Loving, a member of Military Families Speak Out, opens her letter with the following: "My son is in the 172nd Stryker Brigade (Army). It recently had its one-year deployment to Iraq extended while in the midst of deploying back to the United States. He is one of the 400 soldiers who had made it back to Fairbanks, Alaska. A few days later he was informed that he was going to be sent back to Iraq. His brigade has been sent to Baghdad to save the occupation."
In US congressional news,
John Nolen (CBS) covers Republican Senator John Warner's reaction to this week's visit to Iraq: "In two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control . . . I think it's the responsibility of our government, internally to determine: Is there a change in course that we should take? And I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time." This as AFP reports on Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's trip to Vietnam which found him drawing some comparisons to Iraq and Vietnam and declaring "War should always be a last resort." Reporting on the other side of the aisle, Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) notes that Democratic "U.S. House Reps. Neil Abercrombie and John Murtha say President Bush will have to mobilize all members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve -- including 3,000 Hawaii citizen soldiers -- for an indefinite period. There are not enough active-duty military to handle the current level of violence in Iraq, the two Democrats said yesterday. That would affect Army National Guard units like Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team, which currently is not supposed to be mobilized for six years since returning from Iraq this year."
In peace news, across the United States people participated in demonstrations, rallies and marches as part of the
World Can't Wait actions. Whethere the turnout was ten people or in the hundreds, all demonstrations made a difference, had an impact and was made up of people willing to stand up. We're going to note some of the events, not all. Over 200 locations took part and what follows is a sample of some events reported by the press.
Reno Gazette-Journal reports that an estimated 40 people turned out in Reno, carrying signs that read "Vote for change," "I believe in our Constitution, why doesn't Bush?," "Where is the plan?" and U.S. Out of Iraq." Adam Leech (Portsmouth Herald) reports that at least fifty turned out in Portsmouth, Maine and he quotes Vietnam vet Brian Vawter saying, "I think we're all pretty fed up with what's going on iwth the decline of our rights and the direction this country is going. People have a need to express themselves directly because their view isn't being expressed by either partly in Washington right now." Sam Shawver (Marietta Times) reports that ten people turned out in Marietta, Ohio and quotes two: James Gawthrop stating, "I just learned about a few days ago, but my hands were shaking over the 'torture bill' Congress passed last Thursday. Now the Bush administration can detain anybody suspected of being a terrorist indefinitely. They can use secret evidence to hold you. They can even use torture"; and Janie Poe who wore a CODEPINK t-shirt to the demonstration stating, "I've been talking with many young people, and I'm impressed. Listen to young people. They're very concerned about their future, and they're very informed." [Poe urged people to support Amnesty USA and speak out against torture.] In the previous, that's a hundred people who stood up (more if press estimates are off).
In Florida,
John Simpson (Bradenton Herald) reports that 150 people turned out in Sarasota to demonstrate and quotes Naomi Nye: "People are fed up. The tide is definitely turning." Simpson also notes 82-year-old Sara Dick who stated, "We're in even more danger (now). In some areas, there are more rights, but we're always slipping and sliding backwards." Christian Hill (The Olympian) reports that an estimated 300 people gathered in Olympia, Washington and quotes college student Brandon Franz stating, "The people of America are supposed to have the voice in what's done, not the ruling elite" and Kirsten Anderson who states, "I'm doing this for my grandchildren. I'm a little old to have it be for me, and it's the ones comping up that I care about. It's their country, too, especially now." Summer Banks (Yale Daily News) reports that an estimated 60 people participated near campus and notes one was "[l]ocal resident and self-proclaimed Republican housewife Monica McGovern" who stated, "I am calling for Bush to step down or for Congress to impeach him. I would like to see him indicted for war crimes." Beth Freed (Dallas Morning News) reports that an estimated forty people participated in Lewisville, Texas resulting in "slowed southbound traffic on Interstate 35E . . . . Many commuters honked in support of the peace demonstrators outside the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, while others slowed to express their disagreement" and quotes Nikki Henderson stating, "We as Americans should not tolerate decisions like last week's legislation. It allows Bush to interpret the Geneva Conventions on his own."
Big or small turnouts, people stood up. They stopped their normal day to speak out.
Louis Medina (The Bakersfield California) reports an estimated seventy-five activists were particiapting by the end of the events and quotes college student Araceli Aguilar stating, "I came here to protest the Bush administration. I don't agree with what they're doing. I don't agree with the war, which they said is over, yet we still have our troops there and they're dying." Melissa Nix (The Free Lance Star) reports that, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, an estimated two dozen students of the University of Mary Washington participated and quotes college student Jason Walsh who held 268 pages listing the names of American troops who had died in Iraq, "That's a small book. It's a waste, because no one's going to read it. No one cares about these soldiers except their families." OregonLive reports that a little less than 400 people participated in Portland's march. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lubna Takruri (AP) reports that "dozens" turned out and the mayor, David Coss, spoke to the group.
A mayor, students, retired people, those who work in the home, those who work outside it (and those working outside frequently also work inside), a wide range of people took part.
Patrick Flanigan (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) reports that an estimated "150 people gathered in downtown Rochester [New York] on Thursday to protest President Bush's handling of the war on terror and the mounting death toll in Iraq" and quotes Donna Mummery: "Our country is about to embark on a very dangerous course. By taking to the streets on a work day, you are saying enough is enough." Also in New York, Alice Hunt (Poughkeepsie Journal) reports that activists gathered in New Paltz and quotes Josh Schulman stating, "Our first step is to initiate that dialogue and permeat the mass media with the message Bush does not speak for many Americans." While in NYC, Chelsea Cooley (Washington Square News) reports: "Hundreds of protesters packed the streets yesterday, marching 33 blocks from the United Nations building at First Avenue and 47th Street to Union Square, chanting their message: 'Drive out the Bush regime!'"
In one of the largest reported turnouts,
Emma Graves Fitzsimmons, Brendan McCarthy and Rudy Bush (Chicago Tribune) report that an estimated 1,500 people turned out in Chicago and quotes college student Rebecca Miller on skipping class to attend, "It's just one class. I can always make up the homework. This is more important." and Thyandrea Adams who shut down her business to be present, "I told them not to come into work today. This is a day that's important. It was worth it to show support from our community." In Seattle, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports "several hundreds" turned out and Barber quotes Patricia Thompson who brought "her 82-year-old father" because, "He is horrified at the mess they made of Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction was a snow job. We never finished in Afghanistan. It's an absolute shambles of incompetency and profiteering."
In San Francisco, Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows Friedman covered the event for
KPFA's Flashpoints on Thursday (broadcast archived -- if you can listen online, you can hear it for free), Charles Slay (San Francisco Indybay Media) has created a photo essay, and John Koopman, Patrick Hoge and Marisa Lagos (San Francisco Chronicle) report on the "hundres" (it was well over a thousand) and notes 17-year-old Jessica Cussins, among the many who left campuses to attend, stating, "I felt that this was more useful. I wanted to be part of it. I think what we're doing (in Iraq) is wrong." Alice Walker is quoted stating: "I just want the children to know that some of the elders are with them, and that we're very happy they are speaking out and saving their own lives by resisting the Bush regime." [You can also check out Mike's "Blue Angels buzzing rally and power cut (San Francisco)" which relays Jess reporting via cellphone.]
Ehren Watada was not in Salem, Oregon yesterday but he was remembered. Tim King (Salem-News) reports that among those participating in their local World Can't Wait demonstrations ("between 75 and 100") was Reed Elder who urged that everyone check out Ehren Watada's website and that other "soldiers who also don't agree withe the direction of the nation" should be speaking out.
Bob Watada, Ehren's father, is now on his second speaking tour to raise awareness of his son who is the first US officer to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war. Some of the upcoming events include:
Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blue Angels buzzing rally and power cut (San Francisco)

What in the world is going on in San Francisco? Elaine, Rebecca, Fly Boy, Ma, my sister and I went to our World Can't Wait rally which went great. In San Francisco, they've been buzzed by military jets repeatedly. The electricity has been turned off. I'm on the phone with Jess and at first I thought they had the sound back but no. They've got sound from the power system they've brought in. The rally ("permitted" Jess says) had the power cut off. I was planning to just post the snapshot today but I'm on the phone with Jess getting a report from San Francisco (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.) Buzzed with fly overs by military jets???? In the United States?????

This is insane. Hold on. Jess is asking me to hear something and I can't hear it. He'll tell me what it is when it's over (someone's speaking and I can't hear them). Okay, he's telling me a woman just announced that the sound permit is pulled until 7:00 pm. If you're out there in the Bay Area get out there to Justin Herman Plaza . Jess says this is being broadcast on KPFA's Flashpoints (which I can't get to play right now, maybe too many listening) and that you can hear an archived broadcast if you miss the live broadcast going on right now.

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

Thursday, October 5, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; American fatalities for the month of October already reach the double digits; Condi makes "Janie's Got a Gun" her personal theme song; World Can't Wait mobilizes (if you're not taking part you can hear reporting on some actions on KPFA's Flashpoints today at 5:00 pm Pacific, 7:00 pm Central, 8:00 pm EST); a "self-made" begs the question of what do you do after you've blazed a trail begun with the sounds of Motor City? Cave to Bully Boy appeasers?; and the economic and human costs of the illegal war continue."
Janie's Got a Gun" (Aerosmith), but US Secretary of State Condi Rice appears to use the club. Though bullying is a characteristic of the US administration, diplomacy is required when you're in the State Department. But the AP reports that: "Britain says top U-N allies will meet tomorrow in London to decide a next step in the nuclear stand-off with Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Britain's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, will join high-level envoys from France, Germany, Russia and China." The so-called "nuclear stand-off" has been and remains a US led one. Gearing up for her Friday meeting, Condi first stopped off in Baghdad where, CBS and AP report, she bragged to reporters about instructing the 'leaders' of Iraq that they had "limited time" and that "They don't have time for endless debate about these issues [political differences]. They have really got to move forward." That is the US Secretary of State giving orders to the supposedly independent government of Iraq. A far cry from, as AFP notes, her previous visit April 26th when she congratulated the newly installed puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.
Rice's blatant exposure of who pulls the puppet government's strings come at a time when the US administration unveils a 'new' 'military' plan for the war. Outsourced to 'private groups,' the supposed military 'strategy' attempts to put a kinder, gentler face on illegal war. Michael Gordon (New York Times) salivated over the 'plan' in a manner that in many areas would land him with a public obscenity charge. The 'plan' can be boiled down to a "new face for illegal war will come when US troops act like store greeters at Wal-Mart" and decries the fact that they have been holed up on bases without ever grasping the whys of that decision. Those "private groups" thinking up the 'plan' should be encouraged to enlist and and carry out their 'plan' throughout Iraq for however many days they manage to remain alive as they stand around like sitting ducks and wait for the Iraqi police forces to do anything. The plan won't address anything because, despite Andy Card's beliefs, you can't market war. It certainly doesn't address CBS and AP's report that Rice's plane was prevented from landing in Baghdad for 35 minutes due to "mortar rounds or rockets."
The amount paid to "private groups" for their 'input' is unknown; however, Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation) reports that, according to the NPP, "$378 billion has already been spent or allocated for the Iraq war. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the economic costs of war, occupation, and related expenditures may reach $2 trillion -- despite the Bush administration's promise that this conflict would cost $50 billion and its firing of its economic advisor for daring to estimate the cost between $100 to $200 billion." Meanwhile the Pentagon has earmarked $20 million of its budget for a 'victory' monument to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anne Plummer Flaherty (AP) reports a "$20 million victory party" has been earmarked out of the Pentagon's $532 billion budget for the fiscal year of 2007. This would make Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the ultimate "party girl."
The economic realities come at a time when China's Xinhua reports that thirty corpses were discovered today in Baghad while the US military announces two US troops dead in Al-Anbar Province follwoing the US military announcment of four US troops dead -- shot dead in Baghdad. This comes as the number of American troop fatalities for the month of October (this is the fifth day) reach 22. Last Thursday, the total number of US troop fatalities stood at 2710. Right now? 2738.
AFP reports a bomb in Baghdad's Tayyaran Square that wounded 20. Reuters identifies it as a roadside bomb and notes a car bomb in Baghdad also left eight wounded and two dead. Reuters also notes two police officers were wounded in Mahmudiya by a roadside bomb and that mortar rounds killed one man in Mahmudiya and injured five members of his family while mortar rounds "near Balaz Ruz" took two lives and left five wounded.
In Samawa, AFP notes that "two women and a girl from the same Shiite family" were shot dead. Reuters reports that it was a home invasion which resulted in the "shooting dead [of] three women and slitting the throat of a baby girl". In addition, Reuters notes two people shot dead in Falluja, a police officer shot dead in Baquba and four people shot dead in Ramadi.
As already noted, Xinhua reports thirty corpses found in Baghdad. Reuters reports that five corpses were discovered in Ukashat, two in Mahmudiya, one near Kirkuk.
In the United States, Jerome L. Sherman (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reports on a poll of people serving in the US military which "found that 63 percent of veterans of both conflicts describe the Army and Marine Corps as 'overextended,' while many soldiers also complained about encountering emotional and physical problems when they came back from active duty."
In peace news, World Can't Wait is ongoing (this is a dictated entry). In addition, war resistance gains attention. Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson (who turned himself in Tuesday), Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, and others serving have said no to war. Zeroing in on Agustin Aguayo and Anderson, Andrew Gumbel (LA City Beat) takes a look at war resistance, notes the risks ("going to prison, losing contact with their families, being forced back to Iraq at gunpoint") and concludes " the rumblings of discontent are unmistakable, and growing louder. Next month, the Iraq resistance movement is planning a national demonstration -- time and place still to be decided. There may be objections to the form of their protest, because of the belief that military personnel are there to serve, not ask questions. But the content is becoming ever more compelling."
Meanwhile, Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) takes an in depth look at Darrell Anderson who self-checked out of the US military in January 2005 and went to Canada. Last Saturday, Anderson returned to the United States and Tuesday he turned himself in at Fort Knox. Anderson was wounded while serving in Iraq and has suffered from PTS since. Glantz notes that the American Journal of Psychiatry has "found that large numbers of returning soldiers suffer from PTSD. Those like Anderson, who suffered severe physical injuries, often developed PTSD within seven months of being hurt. Among injured soldiers, researches found that after one month, 4.2 percent had probable PTSD and 4.4 percent had depression; at 4 months, 12.2 percent had PTSD and 8.9 percent suffered from depression; at 7 months, 12 percent had PTSD and 9.3 had depression."
Turning to war resister Ehren Watada, Mary Adamski (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports: "The Interfaith Alliance of Hawaii will honor Army Lt. Ehren Watada for taking a stand against the war in Iraq by refusing to serve there with his Stryker combat unit. The organization chose the Honolulu-born artillery officer for its Flame of Hope Award to be presented Oct. 21 at its 2006 Community Awards Dinner." In June, Watada became the first US officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. As the Ventura County Star notes, Bob Watada, Ehren Watada, will be speaking "7 p.m. Monday meeting of Ventura County Veterans for Peace and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. Admission is free. The meeting will be in the Topping Room at E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., Ventura. On June 22, 2005, Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the Iraq War and occupation. He has been formally charged with contempt toward President Bush, conduct unbecoming an officer and missing movement. On Aug. 24, the Army recommended a general court-martial on all charges. Last week, an additional charge was added because Watada made an August speech to the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Seattle, stating, 'To stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.' For the first time since 1965, the military is prosecuting an objector for his opinions. He faces more than eight years in prison. . . . For information on Veterans for Peace call 486-2884; on Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, 850-5849."
Other speaking dates for Bob Watada include:
Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:
Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:
Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email
Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:
Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502
Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

For a complete schedule, click here (PDF) and for more information on war resisters, visit Courage to Resist.
In news of cowardice/caving, Suzanne de Passe rose from upper-middle class African-American to become one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Early on she realized the importance of image which was among the reasons she traveled by limo even before she "made it" (the other reason -- cab drivers wouldn't stop for African-Americans at night in the sixties). Becoming Berry Gordy's girl-Friday quickly resulted into a powerful position, overseeing Diana Ross & the Supremes and grooming the Jackson Five. Throughout her tenure, she continued to rise (Academy Award nomination for co-writing the screenplay to Lady Sings the Blues, etc.) at Motown -- until Motown founder Berry Gordy sold her the company's TV and features division which she renamed de Passe Entertainment. The accomplishments and accolades continue to mount (Lonesome Dove, et al). Now Jeff Bercovici (Radar) reports that the power player takes a dive when Paul Mooney's comedy routine offends Bully Boy loyalists. The comedy routine was being taped to air on Showtime at the Apollo which de Passe Entertainment produces. The routine included jokes of Gin and Tonic (a staple of any Mooney routine, the Bully Boy's alleged heavy drinking daughters) and Mooney tells Bercovici "They wanted me out of there, the Republicans, the Time Warner people, They said I was Bush bashing, and it was hatred. I felt like I was in Iran or Cuba or somewhere." Since Showtime at the Apollo is largely geared to an audience where Bully Boy has never, over six years, managed to reach even 20% in approval ratings, the act might seem a natural for the program; however, Mooney states that power player de Passe stopped his act in the middle of taping and blamed it on "unnamed officials from Time Warner" which appears to include Richard Parsons, Time Warner chair and on the Apollo Theater Foundation's board of directors. Power player? Or the woman still best remembered for running around with a steno pad and asking (repeatedly), "What did Miss Ross want?" Mooney's routine was nothing surprising or out of charcter to anyone who knows his standup but when a power player plays lackey, censorship can occur.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Under Cheney, democracy's done

Hump day, hump day, can't trust that day. Hump day, hump day, sometimes it just turns out that way. :D (Mamas & the Papas "Monday, Monday" adapted for Wednesday.) So did you hear that Americans can not tell Cheney they don't like his policies? It's true. Tell him you disagree and you'll be arrested for "assault." You can read it all in an article by Charlie Brennan
and the real assault is on Americans' freedoms and on our democracy. Cheney should be tried for assaulting a private citizen.

You should be outraged by this and, if you don't think so, look at what I'm pairing it with. This is from Heather Wokusch's "Now That You Could be Labeled an Enemy Combatant...:"

Put it all together, and last week's passage of the Military Commissions Act is ominous for those in the US. As Bruce Ackerman noted recently in The Los Angeles Times, the legislation "authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any protections of the Bill of Rights." The vague criteria for being labeled an enemy combatant (taking part in "hostilities against the United States") don't help either. Would that include anti-war protestors? People who criticize Bush? Unclear.
In 2002, wacko former Attorney General John Ashcroft called for the indefinite detainment of US citizens he considered to be "enemy combatants," and while widely criticized at the time, Congress went ahead and fulfilled Ashcroft's nefarious vision last week. Ashcroft had also called for stateside internment camps, and accordingly, in January 2006 the US government awarded a Halliburton subsidiary $385 million to build detention centers to be used for, "an unexpected influx of immigrants or to house people after a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space."
New programs that require additional detention space. Hmm.
The disgraceful Military Commissions Act and the building of domestic internment camps are yet more examples of blowback from the administration's so-called war on terror, and we ignore these increasing assaults on our civil liberties at our own peril.
Action Ideas:
1. Read the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for yourself
here. Find out how your congressmembers voted on this legislation, and raise the topic when they ask for your vote this November.
2. For more information on US prisoner abuse, check out BBC's report from 2005 entitled "Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons." Text and video versions are archived
here. You can learn more about US prisoner's rights from the American Civil Liberties Union.
3. To take action regarding "the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror," visit

I wanted to include her action advice because it's good stuff but that meant leaving out a lot of good stuff at the top. So if you like the article, please use the link. And take a moment to to think about how you can be arrested for "assault" just for telling Cheney you don't like his policies on Iraq. It's past time that Bully Boy learned that Americans are in charge of this country, not him. Not just because he's now a "lame duck" but also because he works for us, not the other way around. That's the reality. We're the managers of a Taco Bell or Burger King or whatever and Bully Boy wants to work for us, he says. But he doesn't want to work when he grabs/steals the job. He wants to vacation and he wants to serve up toxic sludge on the burgers and we say, "Hey, Bully Boy, you work for us, cut that crap out." And he ignores us. And he expects to keep his job. He blows us off. He's working for us. He needs firing.

So get your butts out tomorrow for the World Can't Wait. Find something around you and make yourself heard.

Elaine just called to say she posted but just realized she forgot to do links. :D Sometimes, you just want to get done with what you're trying to say, you don't have the time. Be sure to check her out tonight because she's writing about Fleetwood Mac. Like Maria Said Paz, if you didn't know that. By the way, she's also going to be testing the new "beta" thing for Blogger/Blogspot for the rest of us. They're trying to get everyone who uses Blogger/Blogspot to switch their sites over to "beta" mode and we're all wondering about the bugs and stuff. So Elaine's going to switch over to start testing it out so we can all find out what it's like. (Because right now, it's "try" and shortly it will probably be "You will use beta.") Scratch that, she just called back and it says once you switch, you can't switch back so, after she read over all the "known bugs," she's going to hold off.

Leigh Ann e-mailed cause she wondered if I saw who Drunk Uncle was interviewing? Yeah but Drunk Uncle's a joke. He's a stupid dumb ass. I really hate that prick. We were doing a thing mentioning him at The Third Estate Sunday Review and Jim had the best joke but C.I. goes, "You do know he's not a believer in God?" (C.I. said what he was but I'm forgetting the exact term.) We didn't. So we pulled the joke because, knowing that, the joke could have been seen as making fun of him for his beliefs. But it was a funny joke. That's the last time I spent any time thinking about Drunk Uncle or his efforts to 'stir a hornet's nest.' I think most of his rag is crap. Where are the young people?

There are a few writers (I count four) who are worth reading but the rest of it is nonsense in this HUGE TEXT with this nonsense like "look at us, we're a little to the left of the New York Times." So it didn't surprise me that Drunk Uncle was now joining the Bully Boy in pushing for war. He's a fucking joke. He made himself one. And now he's the War Mongering Drunk Uncle. It must be really sad to hit middle age and realize you've spent your whole life playing 'safe' and trying to be 'respected' by people who will always hate you. But he's one of those lefties who thinks he can win the right over and that's why he can't speak for the left. I'd missed his slam of Ward Churchill until Cedric pointed it out. But Drunk Uncle always has to play it safe because he's not speaking to or for the left. He's striving for the middle and leaning right as he tries real hard to achieve 'success' on their standards. So he's useless. And boring. Too much of his magazine, remember that it's sold to the left, reads like journals of Nicholas Kristof.

I'm sick of the weak ass phonies. That's all Drunk Uncle is, a weak ass phoney.

In the real world, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, October 4, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the spin on the 'peace' plan of the puppet continues; 'Who's killing Iraqi educators?" is the question no one's asking; World Can't Wait calls for mass resistance on Thursday; Willie Caldwell continues to state the obvious; and an occupation riddle: When you think you've found killers and those who aid them, what do you do? Retrain them apparently, retrain them.
Those reading this morning's New York Times were greeted by
Michael Luo's report on the increased violence in Iraq and the new that, on Monday alone, eight US troops died (highest single day number since July 2005). The AP noted 52 Iraqis reported dead on Tuesday. CNN notes that the US military announced two more deaths this morning (announced this morning, both died on Tuesday) and noted the two deaths bring "the number of U.S. troop fatalities in the first three days of October to 15." Iraq Coalition Casualties, the count we follow, states that 17 US troops have died since the month began (the total since the start of the illegal war: 2733 US troops killed).
That's the reality. Someone tell the United Nations' IRIN News, "Don't fluff so, don't fluff so, don't fluff so close to me. Please, don't fluff so, don't fluff so . . ." In part one of an intended series of articles examing Nouri al-Maliki's so-called 'peace' plan,
IRIN ignores not only plank 3 but also seems unaware that the 'security councils' the puppet of the occupation is recommending already exist. Don't fluff so, don't fluff so . . . AFP gets closer to the truth referring to it as "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's last plan to stop the country sliding into chaos." Rest assured, it probably is his "last" (not "latest") plan. He's lost all US support and a puppet with no one pulling the strings is just a doll that no one wants to play with.
And why would they?
AFP reports a mass suspect in the mass kidnappings: the Eighth Brigade of the Second Division of the Iraqi National Police. Willie Caldwell IV, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, happy to finger point, states: "There was clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely, when in fact they were supposed to be impeding their movment. It was realized that removing them from Baghdad would, in fact, enhance security." Now take the 'news' with a grain of salt. It's an allegation. But considering the severity of the allegation, it's interesting that, AP reports, only the police commander in charge was "discharged and arrested for investigation in the kidnapping." And the rest? CNN reports that it's time for retraining. As though deciding to let 'death squads' pass your security check point is akin to not knowing how to use the office copier. AFP reports they're on a US military base being retrained. BBC reports: "A programme has been under way for more than a month for comprehensive assessment and re-training of all national police unites -- a process called by the Americans 'transofrmational training.'" James Hider (Times of London) reports that since 2004, "US forces have been re-training the Iraqi police, but the programme has had little impact" and that a "survivor of Monday's mass kidnapping . . . described how half a dozen vehicles, with official security forces markings on them, pulled up and men in military fatigues rounded up all the Sunnis in the shops."
Mussab Al-Khairalla and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) report the US military announcement that "Bomb attacks in Baghdad have hit an all-time high." In reply, insert Goldie Hawn's two-word reply when, in Private Benjamin, she's told she's not fit for the uniform.
A 'series' of bombs went off in Baghdad.
Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that "a car bomb and two roadise bombs blew up in the span of 10 minutes in a shopping district of the Camp Sara neighborhood . . . left 15 dead and injured 87". Devika Bhat, James Hider and wires (Times of London) report: "Corpses were seen scattered in the streets next to the smoking wreckage as people frantically placed the wounded in their cars to take them to hospital before ambulances arrived at the scene. A woman sat weeping over the crumpled body of her son, refusing to allow police or rescue workers to take him away, while officials warned residents to leave the area for fear that more bombs were planned." Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports another bomb, close by, that was part of an attack on "a convoy carrying the Iraqi industry minister" which killed three guards and left nine more injured. There has been back and forth reporting all day on whether or not Fawzi al-Hariri (Industry Minister) was in the convoy or not. AFP notes the denial by the ministry and the confirmation by the police before reporting: "Security sources say that such denials are standard whenever there is an attack on an official convoy."
In addition,
Reuters reports that, in Baghdad, another car bomb left one dead and four more wounded while, outside Baghdad -- three police officers, "two soldiers and nine civilians" were injured in Tal Afar in a bombing; and mortar rounds targeting an army recruiting center left four dead and eight wounded in Mosul.
Devika Bhat, James Hider and wires (Times of London) report the shooting death of two police officers in Baquba.Reuters notes a translator for the US military was shot dead in Siniya.
AFP reports that seven corpses were discovered in Baghdad and four in Kut. Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul, three in Tuz Khurmatu and one in Tikrit.
Reporting for Tuesday's
Free Speech News, Aaron Glantz and Salam Talib explored the issue of the deaths of Iraqi professors. 161 professors, minimum, have died in Iraq since the beginning of the illegal invasion. In addition, an estimated 3,250 have fled the country as part of the continue 'brain drain.' Interviewing a variety of people, Glantz and Talib explored this topic with one man interviewed noting that the killings are not accidental, they are targeted and another explaining that he and other professors had suggested living on or near unviersities only to have that idea shot down as well. (This report also aired on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.)
As you read the above, you may be wondering, "What can I do about any of the above?"
World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass resistance tomorrow (Thursday). Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that: "Activists in San Francisco have been working late into the night this week, building a 40-foot statue of President Bush. It's not idolatry. They plan to jail his likeness for war crimes Thursday at Justin Herman Plaza as part of nationwide round of protests calling on Bush to step down. Anti-Bush demonstrations are planned in more than 150 cities across the nation, as well as in Canada and Switzerland, as part of a movement that has been coalescing on the Internet for the past year." Gary Leupp (Dissident Voice) reports that "World Can't Wait has done some excellent work in uniting a wide range of war opponents in numerous actions and events. Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ralph Nader, Gore Vidal, Ed Asner, Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte, Tom Morello, Martin Sheen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gloria Steinem, Viggo Mortensen, Margaret Cho, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Bianca Jagger, Kurt Vonnegut, Rev. Jess Jackson, Gen. Janis Karpinski, Ron Kovic, U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney and thousands of others have endorsed the group's call to 'drive out the Bush regime' and to 'stop the attack on Iraq.'"
Sean Penn (at CounterPunch) states: "We the people of the United States have a unique opportunity. We can show each other and the world that what the Bush administration claims is their mission is not ours. And, by leading our country as a citizenry and demanding of our government an immediate end to our own military and profit investments in Iraq, display for the entire world that democracy is a government of people. What more powerful message to send the world than that we ourselves can choose in policy, in peace, and in humanitarian support." For more information, including events in your area, visit World Can't Wait.
Staying with peace news. War resister Darrell Anderson turned himself in at Fort Knox Tuesday afternoon after self-checking out in January 2005 and moving to Canada.
Peter Smith (Kentcky's The Courier-Journal) reports that Anderson told people who'd turned out to show their support, "I am proud to be a resister of this war . . . I believe the tide is turning in America." Armina Ligaya (Canada's Globe & Mail) reports Anderson stating, "They broke their contract before I broke mine.". AP reports Anderson declared, "I feel that by resisting, I made up for the things I did in Iraq. I feel I made up for the sins I committed in this war." Among those present when Darrell Anderson turned himself in were his wife Gail Greer, his mother Anita Anderson, his step-father Stephen Dennis and his attorney Jim Fennerty. Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) reports that Fennerty believes Anderson "could be released by Friday if things go as they Army says." Fennerty's referring to what an officer involved in the case stated last week, "that the Army had decided not to court-martial Anderson, and plans to release him within three to five days. Fennerty said the officer told him that a discharge would be mailed to Anderson a few days after that."
Darrell Anderson is one of many in and from the military resisting the Iraq war -- those resisting publicly include Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Hinzman, Carl Webb, Brandon Hughey, Pablo Paredes, Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart,
Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing and Aidan Delgado. September 2nd saw another war resister take action. That's when Augustin Aguayo self-checked out the Army. Last week, Aguayo turned himself in at Fort Irwin. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports that Helga Aguayo (Augustin's wife) is attempting to "raise enough money to fly to Germany to testify at her husband's trial." As noted at Augustin Aguayo's home page, the military refused to let Helga or their two daughters have any contact with Augustin prior to his being deported to Germany to stand trial. Those wishing/able to donate can do say at
Ehren Watada is another war resister and the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. He has stated that the war is illegal and, were he to participate, he'd be guilty of war crimes. His father, Bob Watada, has begun a second speaking tour to raise awareness about his son.

Wed. 10/4 7:00 pm Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

For a complete schedule, click
here. If you're unable to atten, Bob Morris (Politics in the Zeros) provides an MP3 file of Bob Watada speaking yesterday in Los Angeles.
And those wishing to donate to Ehren Watada's defense fund can make out checks to "ECCOR"; P.O. Box 235511, Honolulu, HI, 96823 or (for a tax deduction on your donation), "Hawaii People's Fund"; 810 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817 *write "Lt. Watada legal defense" on the memo of the check. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Darrell Anderson takes a back seat to the sex report

Tuesday and you know I've got a ton to say if you read the snapshot. But before that, I want to note something Beau e-mailed me. The Australian Olympic winner Peter Norman is dead. He was photographed with Tommie Smith and John Carlos when the two gave their clenched fist, Black Power salute at the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico:

Norman won the silver medal in the 200 meters at the Mexico City Games. Smith set a world record in winning the gold medal and Carlos took the bronze, and their civil rights protest became a flash point of the Olympics.
Smith and Carlos stood shoeless, each wearing a black glove on his raised, clenched fist. They bowed their heads while the national anthem played.
Norman, a physical education teacher, stood on the front podium during the ceremony. He wore a human rights badge on his shirt in support of the two Americans and their statement against racial discrimination in the United States.
"It was like a pebble into the middle of a pond, and the ripples are still traveling," Norman said last year.
Smith, Carlos and Norman drew criticism and threats for their actions, gestures that came in the aftermath that year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy."I was happy to identify with (Smith) and the principles he believed in," Norman was later quoted as saying.

The "human rights badge" was, and this is from Dave Zirin's What's My Name Fool?, the Olympic Project for Human Rights and Zirin describes it as a button. Zirin writes:

OPHR had three central demands: resotre Muhammad Ali's title, remove Avery Brundage as head of the United States Olympic Committee, and disinvite South Africa and Rhodesia from the Olympics. Ali's title had been stripped earlier that year for his resistance to the Vietnam draft. By standing with Ali, OPHR also expressed opposition to the war. Olympic Committee head Avery Brundage was a notorious white supremacist, best remembered today for sealing the deal on Hitler's hosting the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The demand to disinvite South Africa and Rhodesia conveyed internationalism and solidarity with the Black Freedom struggles against apartheid in Africa.
. . .
It was on the second day of the Games that Smith and Carlos took their stand. Smith set a world record, winning the 200 meter gold, and Carlos captured the bronze. Smith then took out the black gloves. When the silver medalist, a runner from Australia named Peter Norman, saw what was happening, he ran into the stands to grab an OPHR patch off a supporter's chest to show his solidarity on the medal stand.

Smith and Carlos were stripped of their medals for their brave stand. You can order Dave Zirin's book at Haymarket Books (and other places, but that's the publisher). It's a great book and I wouldn't have known about Smith and Carlos if it weren't for Zirin's book. You can learn a lot of great sports history in that book so check it out.

This morning, C.I. was working on an entry ("Darrell Anderson's back in the US, where's independent media?") and got a call that Democracy Now! would be interviewing Darrell Anderson. So C.I. noted it (and should). Jess told me that the big back and forth was over (a) was the community (which is still angry that the program ignored the revelations about the US military keeping track of Iraqi dead despite the oficial lie and with the their treatment of the Iraq war as an after thought) and (b) if it was included in the snapshot (as was planned), some of us would pull it out.

On (a), C.I. didn't see how you could criticize the lack of coverage when there was a program about to do coverage. I agree with that. And C.I. likes the show. That's no secret. Everyone in the community knows that were it up to C.I., the show would be noted every day. On (b), C.I. knows I regularly will pull out something from the snapshot that I don't care for (a source I don't care for) and C.I.'s fine with that and told Jess and Jim that we already have an agreement that anything I don't like, pull it. (I've never pulled C.I.'s commentary. I agree with that. I am not as generous to some sources cited because I don't think they take the program serious enough.)

But the truth is, I would've left that in. When I saw that entry ("Darrell Anderson's back in the US, where's independent media?") I knew it was going to be one-day only coverage, but I was so glad something was being done that I started thinking, "Gee, maybe it's time to go back to watching the show?" More than that, I was planning on grabbing the new book after class today. There are very few grudges I have the energy to really work at and, as I've written here, my emotions this summer about the show (depression, outrage, etc.) were because I thought it was more than it was. I thought it actually stood for what it the p.r. said it stood for.

So I was planning on including any link in the snapshot and was really feeling grateful. Too grateful. The fact that KPFA airs Democracy Now! twice a day and that KPFA listeners never heard Darrell Anderson's story today (but got to go to town with Mark Foley coverage via ABC) destroyed all the goodwill and gratitude I was feeling. It demonstrated, again, that the war just doesn't matter. Amy Goodman couldn't bother to inform KPFA listeners about Anderson.

Yeah, you can say, "You can listen online to whatever you missed." You can say that. But don't pretend that you're putting any weight behind the story if you pull it twice -- two airings and it was pulled both times. That is bullshit. Twice today, the message was sent that Darrell Anderson was worth the cutting room floor. That's bullshit.

You got to hear all about ABC. You didn't quite hear the truth because either Amy Goodman didn't know it or didn't care. But a blog published the original reporting on Foley. I don't know which one. But they did it before ABC and that's what originally interested ABC. You didn't hear that. You heard about the 'power' of big broadcast. That's not the truth about what got the story going or where the word first (and finally) got out.

But it was a nice plug for ABC. And the decision was made to run the plug twice and not Darrell Anderson. That's bullshit.

Darrell Anderson is news. It's Democracy Now!'s job to cover him. Especially when they toss out that crap about how they are the "war and peace report." But today, they were "the sex report." There was nothing about that (long) report that was on par with what Robert Parry did in "Why Capitol Pages Fear Retaliation" yesterday. It was a great advertisement for big media, it was a great ass smooch. It wasn't reporting but like Elaine said yesterday, Monday was a PBS informercial. So Amy Goodman 'covered' the most talked about story today and it was aired twice on KPFA. The least covered story? Didn't get broadcast.

As Amy Goodman might say, when criticizing the New York Times, it's "a matter of emphasis." And today the emphasis wasn't on peace. Well maybe it will get Goodman booked on ABC's This Week, right? That's what it's all about, right? Not going where the silences are but doing what everyone else does. That's all the Sudan coverage has been -- putting on the op-ed writers published in the Times and elsewhere, presenting just one opinion. Jonathan Steele does an op-ed in The Guardian of London explaining why military intervention is not an answer and Goodman, who has booked him frequently, can't find his number. Keith Harmon Snow speaks out and he's not booked. It's one note coverage. And you have to wonder, Democracy When?
There's nothing brave in repeating the conventional wisdom. Nothing brave in joining the Sammy Powers movement and screaming: "Bring the troops home! And send them to Darfur!"
But that's the only voice that Democracy Now! books. Talk about "Manufactored Consent."

Now today's snapshot has something I disagree with in the commentary. C.I. takes the blame for promoting Democracy Now! today when, for KPFA listeners, they didn't even get to hear the story. (C.I. listens to KPFA over the airwaves and doesn't care to listen to things on the computer.) Jess said the e-mails had started coming in after the first airing of the show. C.I. was sure that the second broadcast would include Darrell Anderson. It didn't. And the e-mails continued to come in. I'm leaving it in, even though I disagree because I don't think it's C.I.'s fault to believe that an important story will air, because C.I. can and will (all the time) say, "I was wrong."

The phrase C.I. doesn't use (that I wish would be used) is "I told you so." Body counts? "I told you so." Go down the list. It's a long list. "I told you so." But, and we've all seen it and talked about, those words don't pop out. Even when we're all arguing about a line at The Third Estate Sunday Review and have to get it to something C.I. can live with (C.I. will not go with anything that the community would disagree with or be insulted by). When we finally get it to something liveable, C.I. will say, "There will be complaints, but I can live with it." Then there will be complaints and Ty will usually shove those over to Jim to deal with. And C.I. doesn't say, "I told you so." Or, the next time C.I.'s objecting to something, doesn't say, "Okay, remember last week when I was right . . ."

But if C.I.'s going to slice up the blame pie, let me grab a slice because when I saw that this morning, I immediately went to the "Oh good" place and started feeling better about the show. Getting sucked in because it was about to do what it should be doing. I'm tired of that. You do your damn job or you don't. And I'm really tired of hearing what's on PBS and what's on ABC and blah blah with Iraq and the peace movement taking the back seat (when they even get offered a ride) week after week.

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2006. Violence and chaos continues in Iraq; war resister Darrell Anderson has turned himself in today at Fort Knox, the puppet of the occupation has a 'plan' which (US) domestics fluff and Andrew North (BBC) notes is greeted in Baghdad with "desperation"; Dahr Jamail writes of 'tribal' leaders with, apparently, summer homes in the Green Zone; and indpendent media continues to hone the method with which they covered Iraq all through the summer: War as an After Thought. (Credit to Mike for that phrase.) Or possibly it's just a case of "going to where the sex is"?
In Iraq, the American fatality toll continues to rise. Opening papers today, one might have been greeted with
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher (New York Times) reporting that: "the military reported the deaths of 10 more American and British servicemen since Saturday. At least 13 troops have been killed in the past three days." The count has continued to rise and you can drop "three past days" (and therefore Saturday). Since Sunday, October 1st, thirteen US troops have died, and one British soldier, and it's only the third day of the month. The total American military fatality count since the start of the illegal war is 2729. To date, 19910 Americans have been wounded in the illegal war.
The month with the most known number of American wounded soldiers was April 2004 which had a total of
1213. Among those wounded in April 2004 was war resister Darrell Anderson who has turned himself in today at Fort Knox after self-checking out of the military in January 2005 when Anderson drove with his parents to Canada, through a snowstorm.
There, Anderson attempted to seek refugee status (which Canada has refused to grant any war resister thus far), worked odd jobs, met Gail Greer (who was working on a film about war resisters), dated her for a year, and then in February of 2006, Anderson and Greer married. This should have increased his chances for Anderson to remain in Canada (Greer is a Canadian citizen). A missed filing date by his attorney led to the refugee status claim going out the window.
Anderson was already floating the possibility of returning to the United States early this summer.
Confirming this to Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader), Anita Anderson (Darrell Anderson's mother) stated that she hoped he would remaing in Canada "because he's probably going to get sponsorship in Canada now that he is married to a Canadian girl. But he's constantly stressed out and worried, and he feels like he can't live out the rest of his life this way."
That feeling, the lack of medical help available to him as an immigrant (Anderson suffers from PST due to the roadside bombing), the lack of income (Anderson had no work-permit) and a desire to draw attention to the realities of the illegal war, led to Anderson deciding to return to the United States. Before turning himself in today, Anderson spoke with reporters.
Brett Barrouquere (AP) reports that Darell Anderson stated, "I feel that by resisting I made up for the things I did in Iraq. I feel I made up for the sins committed in this war."
More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist and you can even find information on Suzanne Swift, who is not a war resister, but someone who suffered many tragic experiences while serving and should now be released from the military with an honorable discharge as a result of the abuse she suffered while serving.
Darrell Anderson is news. For those who may wonder
why something else isn't noted, I can't note what I don't hear. So, despite listening to a radio station which airs Democracy Now! twice each morning, I can't note what Darrell Anderson said -- I didn't hear it because they didn't air it. Apparently when the show needs to be boiled down to a little under forty minutes (due to fundraising), "going to where the silence is" means twice airing a lengthy segment on Mark Foley (whom no one is covering, apparently) and ditching Darrell Anderson (whom apparently is the saturation topic of all the networks and cable).
That's treating war, AGAIN, as an afterthought and the shame is on me for being foolish enough to think it might be different today. To repeat, when you broadcast a 60 minute show twice in four hours, you can find a way to include Darrell Anderson if you think his actions are news. Obviously some didn't feel it was. We may not have gone "where the silence is" but we did get to "go where the sex is" and to "go where big media is and has been since last week." Well
Monday was an infomercial for PBS so "fairness" must have dictated that Tuesday be an informercial for ABC. Tomorrow? Maybe the Pax Network.
In Iraq, the violence continues, whether it or anything Iraq related is covered or not.
CBS and AP report a bombing at "a fish market in Baghdad" left three dead and nineteen wounded. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the bomber wore "a belt rigged with explosives in the outdoor market". AFP reports that one person died and nine were wounded by a bomb which "exploded near a well-known Shiite mosque" and that mortar rounds killed one person in Baghdad and ten in Mussayib.
Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Rashad while AFP reports seven corpses were discovered in Baquba and three in Kirkuk.
Reuters reports fourteen people were shot dead in Baquba today (including "four members of the same family" who were in the midst of "moving to another house"); in Haditha one civilian was shot dead; in Mosul one civilian was shot dead; and in Ramadi: "Clashes between gunmen and U.S. forces killed a man and wounded three others, including a child".
Ramadi is the locale
Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on that so-called
"tribal agreement" was never really that noting "Some Sunni leaders," not all, and the criticism they are under from residents in Ramdia such as Sheikh Sa-adoon ("chief of a large Sunni tribe"): "They are a group of thieves who are arming thieves, and this is something dangerous and nasty. This only means we will have more disturbances here, and it could create a local civil war." A lot is also made of the fact that the small "some" aren't in Al-Anbar, they're in the Green Zone. So the much lauded "tribal agreement" was never composed of as many as the press said it was and now it turns out that the "tribal leaders" are living it up in the Green Zone.
Need more reality?
Operation Happy Talkers are on the move and telling you that Nouri al-Maliki offers a 'four-point' peace plan. You may have trouble reading of the 'four-point' plan because the third point isn't about "peace" or "democracy" so reports tend to ignore it. The first step has already been (rightly)
dismissed by Andrew North (BBC) of the "local security committees": "In fact, most neighourhoods of Baghdad set up their own local security bodies some time ago to protect themselves -- because they do not trust the authorities to look after them." AP reports that the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of the 'peace' plan (reality title: "continued carnage plan"). Step three? Let's drop back to the September 7th snapshot:
Switching to the issue of broadcasting, were they showing episodes of Barney Miller or NYPD Blue? Who knows but police pulled the plug on the satellite network al-Arabiya in Baghdad.
CNN was told by a company official (Najib Ben Cherif) that the offices "is being shut for a month." AP is iffy on who gave the order but notes that Nouri al-Malike started making warnings/threats to television stations back in July. CNN reports: "A news alert on Iraqi State TV said the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the office closed for a month."
Ah, yes, the puppet's war with the press. The so-called peace plan is more of the same. The third 'plank' is about the media. Which is why the "brave" US media repeatedly cites the first two and stays silent while a free media (something a democracy is dependent upon) walks the plank.
It's disgusting and shameful, the third 'plank.' The whole 'plan' is a joke.
Reuters is one of the few to go beyond the first two 'steps' but even it does a really poor job and those over coverage of Iraq in the mainstream (producers to suits) are very concerned about this. (So why don't they report it?) The "plan" isn't a plan for peace, it's a plan for the puppet to attempt to save his own ass for a few more months. Lee Keath (AP) is only one of many ignoring the third step (possibly AP thinks readers are unable to count to four?) but does note that al-Maliki took office last May with a 24-point plan that, to this day, "has done little to stem the daily killings." Nor will this so-called 'peace plan.' The US military and the American "ambassador" have announced that Nouri al-Maliki better show some results ('after all we've paid' going unspoken).
So al-Maliki pulls a page from Paul Bremer's book and decides to go after the media. For those who've forgotten, on March 28, 2004, al-Hawza was closed down as a result of running a cartoon of Bremer leading to the violence in Falluja in April 2004.
It's not just that there's no new plan (by the Bully Boy or by the puppet), it's that they never learn from their mistakes. (First mistake for the US administration was plotting an illegal invasion.)
But this failure goes across the board to War Hawks of all nations.
Terri Judd and Kim Sengupta (Independent of London) report: "A coroner has severely criticised British army officers, saying their failure to plan was partly to blame for the capture and execution of two of their men in the early days of the Iraq war. Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36 and a father of two, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, were murdered by Iraqi intelligence after being captured in an ambush when they strayed into dangerous territory. . . . Instead of being told to skirt around the town of Az-Subayr, in southern Iraq, they were ordered to go through the outskirts. When they took a wrong turn, it led them straight through the town where they were hit by a hail of bullets and a rocket-propelled grenade before being dragged from their vehicle."
In peace news, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, is gearing up to go back out on the road in October. Remember Ehren Watada? If not, Watada, as David Krieger (National Catholic Reporter) writes, "is taking a stand by refusing to follow such orders. He is exercising his rights as an American citizen, an officer of the U.S. Army and a human being with the capacity for thought and reflection. He is making it clear that he did not check his conscience at the door when he joined the military three years ago and is unwilling to be placed in a situation where he will have no choice but to commit war crimes."
Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an
Article 32 hearing in August, he awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings and his father Bob Watada is on his second series of speaking engagements. Here are some of the events he will be speaking at starting with tonight's event:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:

Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

A full schedule (PDF format) can be found