Friday, October 13, 2006

Ricky Clousing (covered by NYT if not much more)

Friday at last! :D The best day of the week! When you think anything can happen and that Monday will never come.

Like C.I. pointed out today, NYT showed up for work today even if others didn't. This is from
Laurie Goodstein's "A Soldier Hoped to Do Good, but Was Changed by War:"

Sgt. Ricky Clousing went to war in Iraq because, he said, he believed he would simultaneously be serving his nation and serving God.
But after more than four months on the streets of Baghdad and Mosul interrogating Iraqis rounded up by American troops, Sergeant Clousing said, he began to believe that he was serving neither.
He said he saw American soldiers shoot and kill an unarmed Iraqi teenager, and rode in an Army Humvee that sideswiped Iraqi cars and shot an old man’s sheep for fun -- both incidents Sergeant Clousing reported to superiors. He said his work as an interrogator led him to conclude that the occupation was creating a cycle of anti-American resentment and violence. After months of soul-searching on his return to Fort Bragg, Sergeant Clousing, 24, failed to report for duty one day.

I'm not a fan, big or small, of NYT, check out the left side of my blog where I say they can "kiss my Irish-American ass." But they did show up ready to work and that's a bit more than you can say about a lot today. And they wrote a serious story about Ricky Clousing. He's going to have serve three months in confinement and get a dishonorable discharge. He stood up to the military and we need to see more of that. We also need to see more coverage of it.

But we didn't, did we?

What's the point of interviewing someone when they take a stand if you don't follow it through with coverage? Nothing. The point is nothing. Just empty talk. In fact go read the thing we did at The Third Estate Sunday Review called "Talk."

Now did you hear about the British general who made some strong remarks about the war and now appears to be backing off? If you didn't, it's in the snapshot below. But if you did hear about it, this is a thing on who covered the issue and who didn't. From Media Matters' "ABC, USA Today ignored British army commander's call for troop withdrawal:"

The October 12 broadcast of ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and the October 13 edition of USA Today made no mention of British army commander Lt. Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt's October 12 claim that the presence of British troops in Iraq is fueling violence, and that British military forces should be withdrawn from the country.
In an
interview with the Daily Mail (UK), Dannatt, the chief of the general staff of the British army, said that the British should "get ourselves out" of Iraq "sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems." Dannatt's remarks were reported on the October 12 broadcasts of NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, as well as in The New York Times and The Washington Post. The Los Angeles Times printed an October 12 Associated Press report.
The October 13 edition of USA Today featured two articles on Iraq:
one on the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the war began, and another about two soldiers who were friends in high school and who were killed two days apart in Iraq. The October 12 broadcast of ABC's World News featured no reporting on Iraq.

That's pretty useful work, if you ask me. They've tracked who is reporting and who isn't.

We're going to be talking about that tonight in the discussion group. I also got permission to read __'s thing on her brother being sent to Iraq at the end of the month from the gina & krista round-robin (permission from Gina, Krista and the member who wrote it). If you're a community member and you get the round-robin, you know that was pretty damn powerful and pretty important. C.I.'s "And the war drags on" started talking about it from the member's mother's perspective last night and that was pretty powerful as well.

I hope people get that the war dragging on means that new men and women are sent to it all the time. It didn't just start in March of 2003 and no one get sent after.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take on things. Kyle e-mailed wondering if we had broken up because "you don't write about her like she's her girlfriend." She's a very private person. Weekends are always my favorite but even more these days because she drives in and stays here the whole weekend. :D

Let me close with C.I.'s snapshot because I want to practice reading it again (I'm reading the whole thing in our discussion group). Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, October 13, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a coroner finds US forces guilty in the death of a reporter; war resister Ricky Clousing was court-martialed and sentenced yesterday; a British general grabs the headlines with his thoughts on Iraq; southern states in the US are polled on the war; Iraqi police continue to be an issue; and is that friendly person marching in the protest 'cool' or military intelligence?
Starting with
Ricky Clousing who faced a court-martial yesterday and was charged with desertion but pleaded to AWOL. As the AP noted last night, Clousing will be confined for three months and "receive a reduction in rank before getting a bad conduct discharge." April Johnston (Fayetteville Observer) notes that the location Clousing will be defined has yet to be determined and charts the awakening of Clousing faced with realities in Iraq and his own spiritual beliefs which led him to self-check out "for nearly 14 months" before he turned himself in. Laurie Goodstein (New York Times) covers the awakening as well and notes that the military took the case seriously: "Yet the military prosecutors made it clear on Thursday that the stakes were high. Although they did not challenge his motives, they said if one young soldier disilluioned by the reality of war could give up the uniform punishment, what of others?"
Of course the military saw that the stakes were high. Clousing is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that only continues to grow. The US military grasps that. Does independent media?
Goodstein interviews Chuck Fager of the Quaker House who took Clousing's call: "This call was unusual. . . . I don't have these kinds of probing discussions about moral and religious issues very often. . . . I said to him, you're not crazy or a heretic for having difficulty reconciling Jesus' teachings with what's going on in Iraq."
Last Friday, war resister Darrell Anderson was released by the US military and informed that he would face a dishonorable discharge.
Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo and Ehren Watada are war resisters currently awaiting word from the US military.Courage to Resist covers all public war resisters. Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and Corey Glass are among the war resisters who are attempting to be granted asylum by the Canadian government.
War resistance and other efforts to end the war come at a time when the American public has turned against the war and polls have tracked this trend for too long and it's too firm for for it to be shaken.
CounterPunch News Services reports on a new poll from the Institute for Southern Studies and the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina which finds: "56% of Southerners believe the U.S. 'should have stayed out of Iraq'"; "Southerners are skeptical about the goals of the Iraq mission"; and "62% of respondents in the South said they were 'very sad' about the course of the war". CounterPunch reports: "The results signal a shift in Southern attitudes towards Iraq. As recently as July 2005, a Pew Center poll found 53% of Southerners believed using military force against Iraq was 'the right decision,' the highest level of support in the country."
Next week, October 19th, Vietnam war resister
Dave Dellinger will speak about "Resistance to War in a Volunteer Army" at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan from seven pm to nine pm.
As the resistance grows, more voices speak out from all places and all areas.
Richard Norton-Taylor and Tania Branigan (Guardian of London) report on the surprising statements of British General Richard Dannatt who "dropped a political bombshell last night by saying that Britain must withdraw from Iraq 'soon' or risk serious consequences for Iraqi and British society. In a blistering attack on Tony Blair's foreign policy, Gen Dannatt said the continuing military presence in Iraq was jeopardising British security and interests around the world." The BBC reports: "Tony Blair has said he agrees with "every word" the new head of the British Army said on the Iraq war. But the agreement depends upon a watered-down interpretation of the remarks. Regardless of how the remarks are interpreted, Australia's ABC reports that Chatty Cathy Brendan Nelson, who holds the title of Defence Minister in Australia, doesn't care: "So long as I remain Minister, we are there to see the job through." Of course, should the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco do its job and apportion accountability (don't hold your breath), Nelson might not "remain Minister" for very long.
Last Friday, Nicholas Walshe testified at an inquest in London that he'd seen ITN reporter Terry Lloyd "shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight." Lloyd was killed March 22, 2003 as was Huseein Osman who was acting as interpreter. Fred Nerac, the camera operator, has never been found. CNN reports that Andrew Alker, the coroner, has ruled: "Terry Lloyd died following a gunshot wound to the head. The evidence this bullet was fired by the Americans is overwhelming."
Lynn Lloyd, wife of the late Terry Lloyd, is
quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald stating that the US military "allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger happy cowboys in an area in which there were civilians travelling." The Pentagon denies any wrongdoing took place. CNN reports that Chelsey Lloyd wants justice in the death of her father and has stated of the US military: "They did not come to this inquist to explain their actions. Let them now do so in our criminal courts where they are guaranteed to get a fair trial." The BBC reports that the killing has been called a war crime by the National Union of Journalists and notes a statement by David Mannion ("editor in chief" ITN): "I have no doubt it was the fact that the vehicle stopped to pick up survivors that prompted the Americans to fire on that vehicle. I would also like to say something that I know Terry would have wished me to say. Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists but to the role we play in a free and democratic society."
Terry Lloyd died in March 2003 -- one of the early fatalities. And the chaos and violence continues.
Reuters reports that a bombing of police station in Hilla resulted in six deaths and 12 wounded. A later Reuters story reports the number wounded dropped to ten -- because two more moved over to the death column for a total of eight dead. CBS and AP note that the bomb was placed "under his [police commander] desk or chair, apparently by someone who evaded security". And the US military announced today that soldier died in Iraq on Thursday from "an improvised explosive device." [The death brought the US military fatality count to 46 for the month and 2759 since the start of the illegal war.]
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that two girls and six women were shot dead in Suwayrah (while two more were kidnapped), "a father and his two sons" were shot dead by in Baquba while another two people were shot dead elsewhere in Baquba.
CNN reports that, in Dhuluiya, the corpses of 14 people kidnapped on Thursday were discovered "dumped in an orchard". Reuters notes that seven corpses ("riddled with bullets") were discovered in Balad and another two were discovered "near Garma, near Falluja".
As the violence and chaos continue in Iraq,
James Gordon Meek (New York Daily News) reports: "The Bush administration plans to shut down a highly successful Iraqi police academy in Jordan even as security in Iraq worsens, the Daily News has learned. The Jordan International Police Training Center near Amman will stop training Iraqi police recruits this year, having already graduated 40,000 cops from its eight-week course since 2004, U.S. officials confirmed." Meek notes that the Baghdad Police College "has to be rebuilt because of bungled construction." Confused? This follows Griff Witte's September reporting (Washington Post) on the issue of Parsons' "botched construction of a $75 million police academy in Baghdad so badly that human waste dripped from the ceilings" and, therefore, "posed a health risk".
This also follows
the news from last week that the Eighth Brigade of the Second Division of the Iraqi National Police was the primary suspect in a mass kidnapping leading even the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, to declare: "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." The 'answer' then was 'retraining.' Retraining where may be the question to ask today. Of course, as James Hider (Times of London) noted last week, "US forces have been re-training the Iraqi police, but the programme has had little impact". Most recently, reporting on the mass slaying of the employees of the Baghdad TV station, both Kirk Semple and Qais Mizher (New York Times) and Ellen Knickmeyer and Naseer Nouri (Washington Post) noted that witnesses described the assailants as being clad in police uniforms and driving vehicles bearing the markings of the Iraqi police.
But not to worry.
Gerald Burke (the American "National Security Adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior") tells AFP that the ministry he advises/controls 'budgets' for deaths of police officers and, currently, they're 'budgeting' for the death of 25 Iraqis each day. Sounds like just the thing to stress at the next Jobs Fair.
In peace news,
the ACLU has released some documents. Are you now or have you ever been a peace activist? Chances are you've been spied upon during the illegal war in Iraq. The ACLU finds: "The documents show that the Pentagon was keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database" and quotes attorney Ben Wizner stating: "When information about non-violent protest activity is included in a military anti-terrorism database, all Americans should be concerned about the unchecked authority this administration has seized in the name of fighting terrorism." Those with longer memories will recall the days of spying on peace activists, feminists, civil rights workers and basically anyone else 'guilty' of 'thought crimes.' (If your memory is short, click here.)
Meanwhile, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, is nearing the end of the second speaking tour to raise awareness about his son -- Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. The upcoming dates include:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

To see the schedule in full, PDF, click
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ricky Clousing, TV raid in Baghdad kills 11 and we pick "Idiot of the Week"

Thursday and a lot to do tonight. Ricky Clousing. Did you hear about him? Read about him? Probably not. And six of us team up to select "idiot of the week." But I want to start off with
Elsa McLaren and agencies's "Gunmen storm Iraqi TV station killing seven"

Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a new Iraqi satellite channel in Baghdad today killing seven guards and employees in one of the biggest single attacks on Iraqi journalists.
Hassan Kamil, the executive manager of Shaabiya satellite channel, said the gunmen stormed the station's office in eastern Zayouna district at 7am local time, and shot two guards and five other members of staff.
The employees had been staying overnight in the station, which has not yet started regular broadcasts. They were shot in the head and chest while they lay sleeping in their beds, while one was shot in the bathroom.
Mr Kamil, who was not there at the time of the attack, told Reuters that the gunmen had arrived at the station in five or six vehicles. "Some of them were wearing police uniforms and other civilian clothing. All were masked," he said.

The figures rose to eleven early in the day but I wanted to note that because I wanted everyone to try to picture that. And to get that it's not a rare thing to happen in Iraq. And it's not a rare thing for indymedia to ignore an important story (but when you're so busy posting Village Voice stories to your 'big' indy site, you don't have time for much more, do you?). From C.I.'s "And the war drags on:"

So Ricky Clousing had a court-martial today and did you even hear about it or read about in the media? Did your day start with a heads up to it and a note that there would be a rally today, that he would speak to the press? Where was independent media?Clousing? He was on his own. He was at the mercy of the big media which has not demonstrated a great deal of interest in the subject.The AP was there. From the AP's "Paratrooper gets three months confinement for going AWOL:"
A Fort Bragg paratrooper who says he left his military base because he disagreed with the U.S. mission in Iraq was sentenced to three months of confinement after pleading guilty Thursday to going absent without leave.
Sgt. Ricky Clousing, 24, of Sumner, Wash., also will receive a reduction in rank before getting a bad conduct discharge. His plea allowed him to avoid a more severe sentence for desertion.
Where was independent media?
David Miner, Clousing's attorney, is quoted as saying that Ricky Clousing doesn't regret his decision (by the AP). Good for him. He shouldn't. He should be proud of himself, he's demonstrated true bravery. But any war resister who wants to complain about the lack of coverage has every right to do so. Bob Watada is on his second speaking tour and who's interviewing him and who isn't?
Mark Wilkerson is in a state of limbo, awaiting to hear what charges will be brought against him. He was a one day news cycle and, if he's charged, after his hearing he might get another one-day cycle. It doesn't cut it.

It sure as hell doesn't.

Now, Cedric, Wally, Dona, Ty, Betty and I are teaming up for a special feature this week, Idiot of the Week non-governmental division. If there's time and other idiots, we may do this feature again. But it's apparently time for another (White) person to trash Kanye West and others.

And the idiot of the week? Missy Kurzweil! Writing in The Cornell Daily Sun, Kurzweil, a senior, demonstrated that Cornell has serious problems and there's something stinky in the "College of Agriculture and Life Sciences" as well as with the school paper itself. For instance:

a) Tom Cruise is not "someone who has played Maverick". Tom Cruise wasn't even in the film "Maverick". Mel Gibson played that role.

b) Kurzweil writes: "If Streisand absolutely must rally for the Democrats or deface President Bush, she should follow the example of Bono, lead singer of U2, who helped organize the Live 8 concert in July of 2005 with the specific (and publicized) purpose of making a political stand." Since Bono refuses to criticize Bully Boy publicly, how can Streisand "follow the example" Bono set and criticize him? And since when is "criticize" and "deface" the same term? Bono's a good little monkey for his organ grinder. Streisand showed some bravery.

c) When you're writing for a newspaper, you should get your words correct. This isn't a blog, it's a school newspaper. But Kurzweil writes for a paper and writes: "ardent democrat". That's Big-D, Missy, Big-D: "Democrat." Don't they teach politics in the college of Ag?

d) The idiot writes: "I dislike Bush as much as the next gal, maybe more. But my political views are totally irrelevant, as were Streisand’s on Monday night." Sounds like all of the idiot's "views" are irrelevant. Streisand isn't handing out an order of fries. She's an artist. Art comments on the world around it. We will agree with the idiot; however, when she writes "my own political views are totally irrelevant" -- and so is she.

e) The idiot also writes: "Kanye West’s infamous outburst at the televised Hurricane Katrina relief concert -- 'George Bush doesn't care about black people!' -- was no different. Sure, Kanye has a right to free speech and he certainly exercised it that day. He also got viewers to laugh mockingly at him for months to follow."

Little Whitey and her friends apparently mocked and laughed at West. Well it's a White-White World for Missy. But maybe the laughter she's hearing is that she's again gotten her facts wrong. She can't even quote West correctly. "Doesn't like," Missy, "doesn't like." Not, "doesn't care." She really tired herself out writing this one.

Missy Kurzweil: Idiot of the Week -- and not afraid to show it to the world.

But, good news for the Miss-ter, she can count on a career as a 'liberal pundit' for the mainstream rags -- she's proven she has no respect for facts, no respect for research and, note, she slams the ones who speak out against Bully Boy but never the Bully Boy or those who favor him. Missy Kurzweil, A Pundit Whore in waiting.

Because we worked on the above together, I need to note the links they're noting when you see it at the other sites:

Recommended: "Iraq Snapshot"
Ricky Clousing stands trial today (and will the media cover it?)"
"Iraq moves further closer to dividing into three separate regions"
"Q&A (C.I.)"
"Call on Me"
"Is the media going to cover Ricky Clousing or not?"
"Bully Boy adds it up"
"Kat & Blogging (Betty)"
"Thomas Friedman's Bad Ideas & Blurry Boundaries"
"Wayne Madsen and Dr. William Pepper (Ruth)"
"Brownies and school party tips in the Kitchen"
"Editorial: Going to where big media is and ignoring war resisters"
"TV Review: Men in Trees, Water Cooler Critics swinging from them"
"Thoughts on Mark Foley"
"Mutha Cokie and the Blind"
"Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?"

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

Thursday, October 12, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Judy Collins once sang "Hard Times for Lovers" but Bully Boy whimpers "Tough Times for Bullies"; war resister Ricky Clousing faces down the military and now faces sentencing, John Howard suffers from a grossly inflated sense of self, a study published in a medical journal continues to attract attention (as it should), and George McGovern weighs in on the 'cut & run' reality.
As the
AFP notes, Bully Boy "has acknowledged that 'these are tough times in Iraq'."
Possibly he's considering another pledge to go off sweets while the war in Iraq wages? He wasn't able to keep the first pledge, but considering what passes for a "plan" with his administration, who knows?
Bully Boy's facing questions about Iraq due to several issues including
a study published in The Lancet which estimated that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war as well as the facts on the ground in Iraq that he can't hide from such as the American troop fatality count which now stands at 44 for the month and 2757 since the beginning of the illegal war.
Criticism is even growing within his own party. As Sandra Lupien noted on Tuesday and Wednesdays
The KPFA Evening News, Olympia Snowe has become the latest Republican US Senator to break with the Bully Boy's Deaf-Dumb-Blind Iraq policy. AP notes Snowe's Tuesday statements including "that staying the course is neither an option or plan." As Lupien noted, Snowe has joined the company of John Warner, Susan Collins and Chuck Hagel in questioning the 'validity' of the 'stay the course' nonsense.
Speaking on
KPFA's The Morning Show, George McGovern noted that the real 'cut & run' was "when we cut & run from reality and common sense" and the US administration began the illegal war with Iraq. McGovern is a former US Representative, Senator and the 1972 Democratic Party nominee for president.
Also in US election news,
Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation) notes CODEPINK's Give Peace a Vote and "is the same pledge signed by aproximately 80,000 voters as part of the Voters for Peace campaign which includes Gold Star Families for Peace, Peace Action, Global Exchange, United for Peace and Justice (a coalition of 1,400 local groups in itself), CodePink and others." The pledge also has it roots in the November 28, 2005 Nation editorial entitled "Democrats and the War." And CODEPINK is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month.
CBS and AP report "a synchronized bomb attack [in Baghdad, which] killed five and wounded 11 others" that began with a car bomb and was followed with a roadside bomb. CNN notes a motorcycle bomb in Baghdad which killed three and wounded 15 more as well as "a bomb . . . near a fuel station" which left four injured.
Aseel Kami (Reuters) reported eleven dead in Baghdad when "[g]unmen stormed the officers of a new Iraqi satellite channel in Baghdad". The BBC reports that two people managed to escape and quotes a witness who states: "Some of the attackers were wearing police uniforms and other civilianc lothing. All were masked." Thursday's raid, Al Jazeera notes, followed one "at 8:30pm Wednesday" in Diwaniya on "the city's Hamza police station, killing one policeman and freeing 10 prisoners who were being held on various criminal charges, police Lieutenant Raid Jabir said."
Al Jazeera notes four corpses were discovered in Suwayrah ("signs of torture"). CNN notes that 40 corpses ("bullet-riddled") were discovered by police in Iraq and that
"[m]ore than 400 bodies have been found in similar condition in Baghdad this month alone." And, on Wednesday,
Al Jazeera reports that the corpse of an Iraqi priest who had been kidnapped, Amer Iskender, was discovered in Mosul.
As the violence and chaos continue the study published in the Lancet continues to get headlines, no matter how Bully Boy, his poodle Tony Blair and John Howard (to dopey to rate a nickname) dismiss it.
Sarah Boseley (Guardian of London) reports that "the US researches [of the study] have the backing of four separate independent experts who reviewed the new paper for the Lancet. All urged publication. One spoke of the 'powerful strength' of the research methods, which involved house-to-house surveys by teams of doctors across Iraq." Andrew Buncombe and Ben Russell (Independent of London) note that the study breaks down as follows: "Fifty-six per cent of violent deaths were caused by gunshots, 13 per cent by car bombs, 14 percent by other explosions and 13 per cent by air strikes." Paul Craig Roberts (CounterPunch) wonders: "What is America's reward for Bush's illegal wars that have killed 655,000 Iraiqs, an uncounted number of Afghanis, and disabled as many as 400,000 US troops?"
Speaking about the study on
The KPFA Evening News yesterday, Dahr Jamail noted that the study follows an earlier one -- published in the Lancet) ". . . October 29, 2004, since that time we've had the second siege of Falluja, countless other major US military operations and the even more importantly is the massive widespread abuse of the death squads in Iraq by the various militias and various political groups in that country and the criminal element which now is generating even much more deaths than the US military which is quite a staggering thing to say."
Dahr Jamail (Truthout) writes: "In the context of the horror stories that have reached us over the three-plus years of the occupation, this latest figure is not nearly as shocking as when the first Lancet report was published in October of 2004. It has been abundantly clear since then that the number of Iraqis being killed by and because of the occupation has continued to increase exponentially."
While the study and the numbers are discussed, John Howard, prime minister of Australia, appears to think the Iraq war is all about him. That might be a good thing since no WMDs have been found and that claim, and all the others, have been revealed as lies. However,
Ian McPhedran (The Daily Telegraph) reports Howard is stating that if Australia leaves Iraq "then it is good enough for the Americans and the British to do the same. . . . The present reality is if we pull out and the Americans pull out and the British pull out . . ." The answer to that long winded sentence to nowhere is, as George McGovern noted on The Morning Show today, no one knows for sure. But Howard seems convinced that he is the last glue holding Blair and Bully Boy together.
Returning to reality, in Fayetteville, North Carolina,
Ricky Clousing's court-martial began and ended (and the world wonders: WHERE THE HELL WAS INDEPENDENT MEDIA?). April Johnston (Fayetteville Observer) reports that Clousing "pleaded guilty to being absent without leave" and that was the end of the hearing: "The Army originally charged Clousing with desertion, but allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge." AP reports: "Sgt. Ricky Clousing, 24, of Sumner, Wash., was expected to be sentenced Thursday afternoon. His attorney, David Miner of Seattle, has said he would argue against sending Clousing to prison."
War resister
Ricky Clousing is part of a larger story of resistance within the military as well as the story of one person's brave stand. In June 2005, he self-checked out of the military after returning from Iraq. On August 11th of this year, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) broke the news that 24-year-old Ricky Clousing had decided to turn himself in and noted that Clousing went AWOL from "Fort Bragg in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division." Clousing spoke publicly about his decision to return at the Veterans for Peace conference that was being held in Seattle. Clousing turned himself in at Fort Lewis (Washington) and was instructed that Fort Bragg handled the issue. On August 18th, Clousing turned himself to Fort Bragg. September 1st, the military announced, to Clousing's attorney David Miner, that Clousing had been charged with desertion the day before. Again, Miner states he will argue against sending Clousing to prison.
What if they gave a war and no one showed up? What if they gave a resistance and indymedia was too busy partying? (And promoting the party.) The "coverage" isn't cutting it.
Instead, the peace movement depends upon word of mouth, peer-to-peer, to get the word out. Which is why
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

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:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

All of that can be found online but, WARNING, PDF format. For those who can view PDF, click
here. Again, the speaking tour, Bob Watada's second, began in October.
More information on Ehren Watada can be found at
Courage to Resist and
As the resistance grows, as the fatalities grow, as the wounded grow, it's worth remembering not only the lies that led to war but the reality of Iraq today. As
Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported: "Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial law that will allow Iraq to be carved into a federation of autonomous regions, after Sunni Arabs and some Shiite Muslims stormed out of the session in protest."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is the media going to cover Ricky Clousing or not?

Hump day, hump day. I've got a test tomorrow and am kind of focused on that. If you're following the death toll in Iraq, you know the new estimate is approximately 655,000 Iraqis have died because of the illegal war and you probably know that it's very likely the 2800 mark for Americans who have died while serving in Iraq will be crossed in about six weeks. Meanwhile, Ricky Clousing has his court-martial tomorrow and are you hearing about it? I know C.I.'s noting it, but are you seeing it anywhere else because I'm not.

I find that really disgusting. Ricky Clousing decide to resist the war and that was brave. Then in August, he turned himself in and that took bravery too. Now he's going to be court-martialed and I'm not seeing media bravery or even interest.

Are you? Am I just missing it? I don't think so. I'm pretty damn tired of all this nonsense. When's the media, especially independent media, going to get serious about the war? Each year that they can't, the war drags on. I've had it with all the nonsense.

Ricky Clousing needs attention right now. But he's not going to get it if tomorrow plays out like today did. Or yesterday.

Tomorrow FAIR does their big anniversary bash and a lot of indymedia is going to be there. Where are the ones on Ricky Clousing?

I think they talk a good game, I think they talk it so well, they leave their game in the locker room. Which is why you end up with them finger pointing at The Newshour and missing their own sad reality on CounterSpin (read "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?").

This is from Media Matters' "O'Reilly and Hannity cropped Ted Turner quote to falsely accuse Turner of having 'a hard time choosing sides in the war on terror':"

On the October 10 editions of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes, hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, and their conservative guests, misrepresented a remark Ted Turner made during an October 9 appearance at a National Press Club luncheon to falsely accuse Turner, as Hannity stated, of "admitting that he had a hard time choosing sides in the war on terror." On The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly seized on Turner's remarks to ask, "Why do you hate America, Ted." On Hannity & Colmes, despite being informed otherwise, Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell III twice falsely claimed that Turner "specifically referenced the war on terror" in his remarks. In fact, Turner was referring to whether he supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 when he stated "I really hadn't made my mind up yet" and made no mention of the "war on terror" in the comments highlighted by O'Reilly and Hannity.
spoke before the National Press Club on October 9. During the luncheon's question-and-answer portion, Turner was asked: "What do you think of the fact that -- well, not you, but other people have been, when they've criticized the Iraq war, criticized the U.S. government conduct ...their patriotism has been questioned." Turner replied:
TURNER: Well, I don't like to see -- you know, there are a lot of things about this war that disturb me. And one of them is the attitude that was well-expressed by our president. He said it very clearly. He said, "Either you're with us or you're against us."
And I had a problem with that, because I really hadn't made my mind up yet.
You know, what if you haven't made your mind up? You know, what if you're thinking about it, doing some studying, and doing some reading? Because it's an important decision to go to war, whether or not to go to war.
I mean, "You're either with us or against us" -- that's pretty black and white. And just because you disagree with me about it doesn't mean you're not a patriot, as far as I'm concerned.
In his response, Turner also mentioned his family's military background, his father's service in World War II, and how the Vietnam War affected how he evaluated the government's arguments for going to war.
But O'Reilly and Hannity cropped Turner's remarks to assert that Turner could not make up his mind whether to support America in the "war on terror." For instance, on Hannity & Colmes, Hannity aired only the beginning of Turner's response and omitted the question to which Turner was responding. O'Reilly aired a nearly identical video clip, cropping the quote in the same manner as Hannity, and also omitting the question posed to Turner.

And now let's look at more lies from big liar New York Times. Labor and big business are in conflict. Guess who NYT sticks up for? Guess who they go to bat for and guess who gets screwed? This is from David Bacon's " Farmworkers’ Plight: No Fruits for Their Labor:"

Julia Preston, a New York Times reporter writing from Washington, D.C., describes pears rotting on trees in Lake County, Calif., owing to a lack of farmworkers to pick them. Growers tell her 70,000 of the state's 450,000 farmworkers are missing. America's newspaper of record is being spun by agribusiness, which wants a new bracero program, and complains of a labor shortage to get it.
Two weeks ago, in the olive groves of neighboring Tehama County, I saw hardly any fruit on the trees. Rain and cold weather this spring hurt the crop, and workers were leaving to find work elsewhere.
There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers needed to pick them. But the Times is painting a false picture. I've spent eight months traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see rotting fruit. I have seen some pretty miserable living and working conditions for workers, though.
Californians need a reality check about farm labor.
Today, more and more agricultural workers migrate from small towns in southern Mexico and even Central America. In the grape rows and citrus orchards, you're as likely to hear Mixtec or Purepecha or Triqui -- indigenous languages that predate Columbus -- as you are to hear Spanish.
They are making California a richer place, in wealth and culture. For those who love spicy mole sauce, that's reason to celebrate. The Guelagetza festival showcases Oaxacan dances in Fresno, Santa Maria and San Diego. Families of Triqui weavers create brilliant rebozos (shawls), in the off-season winter months when there is not much work in the fields.
But the wages these families earn are barely enough to survive. As Abraham Lincoln said, "labor creates all wealth," but farmworkers get precious little of it. Twenty-five years ago, at the height of the influence of the United Farm Workers, union contracts guaranteed almost twice the minimum wage of the time. Today, the hourly wage in almost every farm job is the minimum wage -- $6.75 an hour. And taking inflation into account, the minimum wage is lower today than it was then.

No surprise right?

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and I gotta tell you, if independent media can't find Ricky Clousing pretty quick, I'm going to be pissed off:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Shi'ites in Parliament push to split the nation of Iraq, a new study published by the British medical journal The Lancet concludes that an estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died since the illegal war, those disputing the study will have plenty of time to gasbag since the illegal war is 'ready' to continue through 2010, but in the meantime they can dicker over the figures released by the Iraqi Health Ministry for September (2,660 Iraqis dead), and war resister Ricky Clousing stands trial in North Caroline tomorrow.
Tomorrow, at Fort Bragg, war resister
Ricky Clousing faces a military trial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June of 2005. In August, Clousing held a press conference to announce his decision to turn himself in. At the August 11, 2006 press conference, Clousing stated:

In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality?

Clousing was charged with desertion and tomorrow, October 12th, he will face a military trial.
As Clousing's website notes: "After returning to military custody, the 82nd Airborne opened an investigation into Sgt. Clousing's allegations of systemic abuse and the misuse of power by US troops in Iraq. The Army has yet to announce the results of this investigation." Also noted is the press conference tomorrow at 10 am, the Quaker House, 223 Hillside Ave, Fayetteville, NC at which Ricky Clousing will speak. At noon, in downtown Fayetteville, there will be a rally to show support for Clousing.
While Ricky Clousing stands up, jaw boners get all nervous over
a study published in The Lancet which estimates Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the illegal war to have reached 655,000. The study, funded by MIT and the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, follows up an earlier one published in the fall of 2004 which, as Patricia Reaney (Reuters) reports, estimated 100,000 Iraqi deaths as a result of the war during the time frame of March 2003 and September 2004. The study comes a little over three full months after the US military finally admitted that they were keeping a body count of Iraqis dying from violence throughout the country. [See Nancy A. Youssef's "U.S.: Civilian deaths feeding insurgency," Aaron Glantz' "Pentagon: Tell Us How Many Civilians You've Killed" and Juliana Lara Resende's "50,000 Dead, But Who's Counting?".] [The study published in The Lancet notes: "The US Department of Defence keeps some records of Iraqi deaths, despite initially denying that they did" and credits Sabrina Tavernise, Dexter Filkins and Eric Schmitt's "U.S. Quietly Issues Estimate Of Iraqi Civilian Casualties" from October 30, 2005 in the New York Times. Youssef's article exposed the fact that the actual figures are kept and sent out to high ranking officers in Iraq for, as a general put it to Youssef, a measurement.]
Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) observe that the latest study "breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month". The study's publication comes as another estimate, from Iraq's Health Ministry, makes the news. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lee Keath (AP) report: "More than 2,660 Iraqi civilians were killed in the capital in September amid a wave of sectarian killings and insurgent attacks, and increase of 400 over the month before". They also note that Bully Boy disputes the number in the latest study published in The Lancet.
As sillys and fools dicker, Salam Talib and Eliana Kaya (
Free Speech News, The KPFA Evening News) took a look at life on the ground in a report that aired (on both programs) yesterday and, unlike so much of the reporting from Iraq, they were actually able to speak with Iraqi women. Life on the ground in Baghdad includes outrageous prices and travel delays. One Iraqi women explained that you either wait or you take "unpaved roads". Wait? For the US military. "Today," she stated, "we've waited about 2 hours for the military to pass." In terms of prices, a woman spoke of how she has seen the prices for food rise, rise and rise. Unlike a chicken, you can get a cell phone for less than ten bucks. The price of a chicken has gone from the US equivalent of one dollar to fifteen dollars. As the report makes clear, more time is spent waiting for US military processions to move through than in the market, which, one woman explained, many tend to dart in and out of quickly due to fears of violence.
Fears of violence?
CBS and AP report that three car bombs in Baghdad wounded a total of 30 people and killed at least five. Reuters notes that a roadside bomb in Inskandariya, apparently targeting the Babil police chief, left his driver and two bodyguards wounded while a "peasant woman" was killed by a bomb on "a farm just 10 km (6 miles) southest of Kut". CNN notes a bomb "in southwestern Bagdad's Amil neighborhood" which took the lives of five and left six more wounded.
Reuters reports that, in Rasheed, three died (including two police officers) during armed "clashes"; while, in Suwayra, Raad al-Uthmani was shot dead following a home invasion by assailants; and, in Falluja, a police officer was shot dead. CBS and AP note that a police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk. CNN notes a home invasion in Baghdad ("Dora area") which killed four and wounded two more.
Reuters reports that five corpses were discoverd in Kut ("bound and blindfolded with multiple gunshot wounds, gearing signs of torture").
Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a fire in an ammunition dump that started last night was the result of mortar rounds and not an accident. Though the US military originally practiced denial,
they admitted the cause of the fire and explosions this morning. AFP reports that it "lit up the night sky and spread panic in the already shell-shocked Iraqi capital," that it continued to burn through Wednesday and noted US military flack Jonathan Withington stating that it's believed to have been the work of "civilians aligned with a militia organisation". Al Jazeera reports: "While there were no reports of US casualties, the explosions marked a rare success for mortar teams working for militia and insurgent groups, which rarely cause much damage to well-protected US facilities." CNN reports: "Militia forces fired an 82 mm mortar round on a small U.S. base in southwestern Baghdad. . . The ammunition supply center that was struck held tank, artillery and small-arms rounds. A U.S. soldier and an interpreter were wounded but later returned to duty, a military spokesman said." As Aileen Alfandary noted today (KPFA's The Morning Show) this attack in Baghad "despite an increased sweep by Iraqi and American forces" -- the 'crackdown' -- juiced up and jucied up again, ongoing since June.
The continue violence and chaos comes as
Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that US Army General Peter J. Schoomaker has stated that the military can maintain the present US troop levels in Iraq through 2010 but states he's not prediciting, "It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot." Sitting ducks, commas, the troops have been called many things. Schoomaker calls them "ammo." This as, in England, Mark Oliver (Guardian of London) discusses Tony Edwards appearance at Tuesday's Jane's defence conference and stated "that governments would either have to find more money or scale back their ambitions for what their reduced military capabilities could do." Edwards was speaking of the British military.
In Iraq, the puppet governments continue to raise eye brows.
Al Jazeera reports on Ayham al-Samarraie who was arrested "on charges of finanical and managerial corruption in August" for his actions while serving as a minister in Ayham al-Samarraie's government (the first post-invasion puppet government) but he was taken from the court and is now protected by US forces. al-Samarraie's "protection" raises serious questions about whether even the appearance of independence will be allowed for the puppet government. It also raises a serious issue of what was a US citizen doing holding government office in the supposedly independent Iraq.
In other Iraqi parliamentary news,
Reuters reports that they have just "approved a law that sets out the mechanics of forming federal regions" with the backing of "some Shi'ite majority leaders" and that the vote was "boycotted by the Accordance Front, the largest political bloc of the Sunni minority."
To "save" the country, it had to be "divided" -- after being turned to chaos by outside forces.
In peace news,
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

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:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

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.
War resister, Ricky Clousing faces a court-martial tomorrow. We'll close with
his statement at the August 11th press conference:

First to my Family, Friends, Brothers and Sisters of the Religious Community, Members of the Press, and fellow citizens of this nation we are grateful to call home -- thank you for your support here today before I turn myself over to military custody.
My name is Ricky Clousing. I am a Sergeant in the United States Army and I have served for three years and have been absent from my unit since June 2005. Like many in uniform today, I enlisted after the events of September 11th wanting to defend the freedoms and privileges we enjoy here. After 18 months of instruction I completed my necessary training as an interrogator and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. As the invasion of Iraq unfolded I felt confused about the premise behind such an attack. But in November 2004 I deployed to Iraq in support of the first stage of elections to be held. In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Being attached to a tactical infantry unit and being exposed to the brutalities of war, I began to doubt and reconsider my beliefs. I thought about these experiences and what they meant each day I was deployed and until I was back in garrison at Fort Bragg in April of 2005. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality? If those orders come unquestioned down my Chain of Command, does this exempt me from reevaluating them? My convictions, spiritually and politically, began to make me call into question my ability to perform day to day functions as a soldier. I finally concluded after much consideration that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom. At the recommendation of my unit, I sought counsel from military chaplains and counselors, and as my feelings crystallized, I realized that I could not fulfill the duties expected of me. After months of questioning, I began considering the possibility of leaving. Each day I felt haunted by my conscience which told me that my association in uniform at this time was wrong, and my involvement directly or indirectly in this organization at this time was a contradiction to my personal, moral and spiritual beliefs. I stand here before you today about to surrender myself, which was always my intention. I do not know what to expect, or the course of my future. We Americans have found ourselves in a pivotal era where we have traded humanity for patriotism. Where we have traded our civil liberties for a sense of security. I stand here before you sharing the same idea as Henry David Thoreau: as a Soldier, as an American, and as a Human Being, we mustn't lend ourselves to that same evil which we condemn. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Tuesday. I got some sleep and I needed it. I was so tired last night. I can't remember a time when I've felt so tired. I think it was because last week I had a paper due Wednesday and there was the World Can't Wait Thursday, the Iraq discussion group Friday and then the long, long edition. I know that's like one day in the life of C.I. but it was enough to wipe me out. :ast week really kicked my butt.

Monday, it was like I was a zombie. I just kept waiting for the day to be over. When I finally got into bed to go to sleep, I couldn't fall asleep for the longest. I'd be thinking, "Okay, sleep." But I'd end up thinking about something else and stuff and it was probably 30 minutes before I finally fell asleep. Then today, I was spazzing with the snooze button.

But, like Tony said, better to be tired because you were doing stuff then to be one of those people sitting on their butts and staying silent about Iraq. That's true. I really can't believe how many are happy staying silent. And that was one of the many reasons I loved C.I.'s "And the war drags on" Sunday night. That wasn't about "those kids today." It was pointing out that there are a lot of adults doing nothing. A lot of women, in fact, with columns who will write about everything except Iraq. Even if they're supposedly 'political columnists.' They'll write their little dumb ass Meet-the-Press type columns but they can't say a word about Iraq. And when they go on radio programs, they can talk about how the war hasn't 'touched' them and feel no shame. People need to quite picking on students today. We're doing a lot. What are people older doing? Not the ones in their late fifties and sixties, but like the 30 and 40 year olds? What are they doing?

Some are doing stuff but some just 'put in their day' and never have a word to say about Iraq.

Charlie Gibson is a tool. And a joke. This is from Media Matters' "Searching for the GOP's silver lining, ABC's Gibson misrepresented his own network's poll:"

In discussing an October 5-8 Washington Post/ABC News poll with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos on the October 9 broadcast of ABC's World News, anchor Charles Gibson claimed that the poll's finding that the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley "is dwarfed by other concerns," such as the Iraq war, terrorism, and the economy, "would seem to be good news for Republicans." In fact, the poll also found that, by significant margins, more Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the Iraq war, terrorism, and the economy. Neither Gibson nor Stephanopoulos explained how greater concern over Iraq, terror, and the economy, compared to the Foley scandal, "would seem to be good news for Republicans" when their own poll shows that Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle those issues.

Gibson's a tool so that doesn't surprise me. (But I'm glad Media Matters pointed it out.) What surprises me is how little people want to question James Baker's involvement in 'rescuing' Iraq.
If Naomi Klein were writing right now (she's finishing her book), you know she'd have something to say. But I guess Klein was carrying her own weight and others because she takes time to write a book (which I'll be reading) and no one comes along to fill in the vacuum.

C.I.'s tackled that nonsense of "Thank God for Baker" and so has someone else. This is from
Missy Comley Beattie's "The Return of James Baker, III:"

The task to clean up after Bush is tremendous. Baker is a Bush family loyalist with years of experience. In other words, he is your typical politico, reluctant to rock any boats before the vote. If he were a statesman, he'd say "troops out now." He knows that polls taken in Iraq show that most Iraqis want us out of their country and believe that violence will abate once the occupiers have left. Baker is also aware that al-Qaeda leaders regard U.S. presence in Iraq as their greatest recruitment tool. Further, Baker certainly has examined the National Intelligence Estimate report that terrorism has increased because of the invasion of Iraq. But most importantly, he sees the mounting casualties in Iraq. During the first nine days of October, the U.S. lost 33 troops. Two other coalition soldiers were killed. Hundreds of Iraqis have died this month. And there is this staggering truth: for every soldier killed, eight are wounded.
Is Baker losing sleep, asking himself as he tosses and turns, "What to do...what to do?" After all, if we continue to lose two or three young men and women a day while he protects Republicans who are on the ballot, a lot of doorbells will be ringing, followed by the military messengers' words, "We regret to inform you."

The second he came in to tidy up Bully Boy's mess, people should have been addressing that it's James Baker. They should have been talking about how Bully Boy always needs someone to rescue him and it's usually been one of Daddy's friends. And they should have talked about Baker's client lists (9-11 families talked about that for a reason) and how his statements about Iraq were nothing but cover for the Bully Boy.

But most people stay silent. Missy Comley Beattie didn't. Elaine steered me to that and be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz.

You know what else people are staying silent on? Ricky Clousing. Today's Tuesday. Thursday, Ricky Clousing has a military hearing. Where's the news on that?

"Iraq snapshot"
Tuesday, October 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military tries to spin again, at least 33 deaths are reported in Iraq (44 counting corpses discovered Tuesday), Bob Watada continues speaking out to raise awareness on his son and what does 'meeting the goal' mean when the qualifications continue to be gutted and ignored?

As noted
yesterday, war resister Ricky Clousing will face a military trial Thursday. Prior to that, at ten a.m., he will speak at a press conference (223 Hillside Avenue, Fayettevill, North Carolina) and there will also be a noon rally in downtown Fayetteville to show support for Clousing.

As Clousing stands up against an illegal war, the US military spins.
Thom Shanker (New York Times) noted what the US Pentagon was about to announce -- all divisions of the military allegedly "reached their targets for recruits in 2006." Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports: "The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties. . . . According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels" and "About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving." Not quite the rosy picture we're all supposed to believe.

But then, as
Michael Bronner (Vanity Fair) reported in 2005, the story of Tim Queen wasn't a rosy picture either. Queen suffered from "twitches" in his left arm and wanted to be a Marine: "Tim told me he talked to recruiters about all of his medical issues that first day. They told him not to worry, he said, that they'd seen this kind of thing before; no problem, he'd get in." And he did, he got waived through two physicals, he got put on a bus to go to basic and there, he got humilitated by drill instructors asking questions like: "Was the doctor drunk or stoned when he gave you the test?" Queen wasn't qualified but a quota had to be made so a 19-year-old with health problems gets lied to in order to "get those numbers" and he's the one humiliated and embarrassed . . . for believing his recruiter. As the sherrif of the county Tim Queen grew up in told Bronner, "I'm slow to anger, but I was very upset. . . I mean, Tim cannot stand still. If they're missing things like this, what other kinds of emotional or psychological things are they missing?" That's Tim Queen. He just wanted to enlist. Not to get out of jail or sentencing or because his urine came up "hot." Just a young person who got used by someone so they could make their quota. The case of Steven D. Green demonstrates the dangers to others that arise from the lowered standards that have been at play since the beginning of the illegal war.

In other spin news, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, held another press conference. You'd do well, if you intend to read about it, to do so
here at the US military's site. That'll put you wise to how little reporting is coming out of the Green Zone when you see it pop up in tomorrow's papers. Little Willie talks up the 4-point 'peace' plan. Will anyone ever insist that the "four points" be addressed? Or will everyone pretend the 'security councils' are all four points? Probably the latter since the 'peace plan' didn't think up the 'security councils' (they were already in existance).

Leaving the world of spin for reality,
AP reports that over 300,000 Iraqis are displaced within Iraq. This is not a figure on those who have left the country, this is the number of those who have left one part of Iraq to go to another for safety. AP notes: "The flight is solidifying the sectarian divide in this country of around 30 million people." (The CIA's most current estimate is a little over 26 million.)


CNN reports that a car bomb and a roadside bomb killed eleven people in Baghdad today. That was in the Doura district of Baghdad and Reuters notes another bombing in western Baghdad that wounded three and a bombing in northern Baghdad that left two police officers wounded -- as well as roadside bombs in near Hilla (one dead), in Mahaweel (wounded one person), and Mosul (wounded five). AFP reports two police officers "were killed in an explosion . . . between Mussayab and Jurf al-Sakhr" and a bus driver died in a roadside bombing that "targeted two buses carrying coffings through Latifyah". That's 15 dead from bombings reported thus far.


AFP notes a police officer was killed in Amara. A police captain was shot dead in Mosul, Reuters reports and also quotes an Iraqi police source who states that
"[t]welve people were killed in different districts of Baquba." In a later update,
Reuters noted that a bodyguard was killed in Balad in an an attack on "a senior Iraqi army officer" and three people were shot dead in Ishaqi. That's 18 for a total of 33 reported thus far.


BBC notes that through Tuesday morning in Baghdad, sixty corpses were discovered. CNN notes: "In the first 10 days of October, Iraqi police have discovered 250 bodies in the capital." Reuters reports that four copses were discovered "near Falluja." In an update, Reuters noted four corpses were discovered in Tal Afar and three in Mosul. Adding the eleven discovered after sun up to the 33 above, that's 44 deaths reported thus far today.


Yesterday we noted a mass kidnapping of eleven soldiers in Baghdad (Sadr City section). Today, Reuters notes that this wasn't the only mass kidnapping on Monday:
"Gunmen in several cars kidnapped at least 11 worshippers on Monday as they were leaving a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, police said. The Sunni Muslim Scholars Association put the figure at six." For more on the Iraqi soldiers kidnapped, see
Amit R. Paley's (Washington Post) report.

In peace news, yesterday,
KPFA's Flashpoints took a look at the World Can't Wait demonstrations and featured speeches by Alice Walker and others. Meanwhile, Historians Against the War are calling for a nationwide teach in from October 17th to November 7th. The group notes: "The tragedies now unfolding in Iraq and across the Middle East underscore our responsibility as educators and citizens to enhance public knowledge, to stimulate thoughtful inquiry, and to end the American occupation of Iraq" and ask that: "If you are interested in/can help organize a teach-in at your school, please send us an email ASAP to"

Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

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:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

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.

Be sure to check out Betty's "Kat & Blogging (Betty)" (she's subbing every Monday).