Friday, December 01, 2006

Dave Zirin, Iraq

Friday, Friday, best day of the week! :D

Dad and my favorite prof both asked me to be sure to note C.I.'s "NYT: 'Having Pinned Little Hopes on Talks, Many Iraqis Appear to Be Beyond Disappointment' (Kirk Semple)." Prof said it was one of things for a classroom discussion. :D It really is something strong so be sure to check it out. Also check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.

I was building up a head of steam when my kid sister came in. The folks asked her to do something all week and she put it off. She's taking music lessons and has twice lost the check. Dad wrote her another check and told her "Do not lose it." The good news is she didn't. The bad news is that's because she left it in her bedroom all week. So I stopped to run her over to her teacher's house so she could drop off the check and now I don't know where I was. She tried to get me to hand her my keys but she's not allowed to drive the folks' car right now due to 'forgetfulness' and when they say no on their car, it means she's not supposed to be driving. I told her I thought she forgot on purpose to use my car. The fact that I wouldn't run her to another place makes me think I'm right.

She'll be mad I put this in but I'm mad that she waited until the study group was about to start, while I'm trying to blog, to come in and say, "Woops, guess what I forgot to do." We'll both get over it.

Okay, here's a piece of Dave Zirin's latest, "Organizing the Jocks for Justice:"

IIt started out like your typical pro football player puff piece. But then, tucked away drowsily in the last paragraph, Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Adalius Thomas, emerged with something to say. As Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote,
"[Thomas] is politically alert, and not afraid to express his views, which makes him a rarity in the NFL. 'What's the Iraq war all about?' he said, his voice rising. 'If it's about oil, just say that. Don't give us this Weapons of Mass Destruction crap when all you find is three firecrackers.'
'You get a little fired up about that,' he was told.
'We all have brains,' he said. 'We should use them.'"
The message was clear: Whether you're an offensive tackle, a trash talking quarterback, or Dick Cheney: don't mess with Big Adalius.
Thomas is only the latest in a stellar cast of pro players chafing against silence, and sounding off against the war and occupation of Iraq. Steve Nash, Etan Thomas, Josh Howard, Adam Morrison, Carlos Delgado, Martina Navratilova, Adonal Foyle, and even Ultimate Fighting Champion Jeff Monson, among others, have all raised their voice. They are also just the beginning. Stories circulate of teammates and coaches who share their views but don't want to go public. Even some referees whisper covert statements of support.
Three years ago, The Nation Magazine writers Peter Dreier & Kelly Candaele asked the question "Where are the Jocks for Justice?" My experience in the Sportsworld is that the "Jocks for Justice" are both everywhere and nowhere. Progressive athletes strain to be heard, but they act as individuals and the media responds with a smothering silence. This does not have to be.

Which, staying with sports, brings up something C.I. passed on. This is from the US military:

Joint Statement by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey on Iraq's Participation in the 15th Asian Games in Doha, QatarDecember 1, 2006. BAGHDAD -- On behalf of the United States Embassy in Iraq and Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) we send our best wishes for success to the men and women of the Iraqi teams participating in the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Working together, these athletes have trained amidst extreme difficulty as Iraq works to develop a country that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself. The athletes' commitment and dedication to their training shows Iraqis are proud and determined teammates who will work together regardless of sect, religion or ethnicity. Iraq will compete against 44 Asian countries during the next 15 days. Just like the brave Iraqi citizens struggle to advance freedom against the tyranny of terrorism, the weeks ahead will require commitment to excellence and selfless service in order to triumph. The athletes' dedication and willingness to represent their country is an inspiration to us all. We share the pride of the Iraqi people in the accomplishments of these athletes and look forward to celebrating their victories.

What is that? Are Zalmay and Casey trying to claim credit? Are they trying to wrap their illegal war in sports. Iraq's been in the Asian Games before. They were last in them in 1986. What's happened since is two wars and sanctions.

But there are Casey and Zalmay acting like they're the proud parents. (Who's the Mommy?) They have nothing to do with this event. And with all the kidnappings and murders of atheletes and coaches in Iraq since the illegal war started, they should both be embarrassed to try to piggyback onto this event with their self-serving announcement.

If you remember the Olympics, you probably remember the Iraqi Soccer team's response when Bully Boy tried to piggyback on them. If you don't, this is from Dave Zirin's "Iraq Soccer Team Give Bush the Boot:"

Sometimes we are reminded that the Olympics can serve as an international platform not only for nationalism and truck commercials, but also resistance.
In an incredible piece by Grant Wahl on Sports, the Iraqi Olympic Soccer team has issued a stinging rebuke to George W. Bush's attempt to use them as election year symbols.
Iraq's soccer squad is perhaps the surprise of the entire Olympics, advancing to this weekend's quarterfinals despite the war and occupation that has gripped their country for the last 17 months. Yet amidst cheers and triumph, they were infuriated to learn that Bush's brain, Karl Rove, had launched campaign ads featuring their Olympic glory as a brilliant by-product of the war on terror.
The commercial, subtle as a blowtorch, begins with an image of the Afghani and Iraqi flags with a voice over saying, "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."
Bush has also been exploiting their exploits in stump speeches. Much more comfortable talking sports than foreign policy or stem-cell research, Bush brayed with bravado in Oregon, "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it? It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."
This has compelled the Iraqi soccer team, at great personal risk, to respond. Mid-fielder and team leader Salih Sadir told Sports Illustrated, "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to advertise himself."
Sadir has reason to be upset. He was the star player for the professional soccer team in Najaf. Najaf has in recent weeks been swamped by US troops and the new Iraqi army in an attempt to uproot rebel cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. Thousands have died, each death close to Sadir's heart.
"I want the violence and the war to go away from the city," said Sadir, "We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."
Sadir's teammates were less diplomatic.

And now Casey and Zalmay try to piggyback. Sorry this isn't longer but I'm late and the meeting's already started. Blame my sister! :D

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

December 1, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, early numbers for November indicate a dramatic rise (another dramatic rise) in the number of civilian deaths, does the puppet of the occupation feel the EARTH . . . MOVE . .. under his feet (nod to Carole King "I Feel The Earth Move"), and the James Baker Circle Jerk continues to raise eyebrows.

Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) reports that the Iraq Interior Ministry has released their statistics for November's death toll in Iraq, 1,850 -- and increase of 44% from their count of 1,289 for October. Macdonald reminds, "Although it does not appear to encompass all violent deaths in Iraq, the Interior Ministry's statistical series has reflected trends".

And for the living? Not much better as
Dahr Jamail discussed with Nora Barrows-Friedman on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday. Dahr explained how the violence was so common, the attacks so rampant, that for fear of their safety, many Iraqis no longer sent their children off to school (approximately 30% was the number given). On the topic of the daily violence and the people effected, Isam Rasheed (Alive in Baghdad) provides a video report from a clinic in Adhamiya where Ahmed Hameed (cigarette vendor) explains how a car bombing resulted in his hand and leg being lost, "I was working and someone left a car bomb. It blew up shortly after they had left. I woke up and found myself thrown against a wall beside my friend Shukri."; Shukri Abdul (owner of the Al-Areesh restaurant) then explains being outside his restaurant speking with an ice vendor when the car bomb went off "And I can remember landing on the ground. I was blown into the air, and when I landed, everything piled on top of me, the pots & corrugated metals." Shurki Abdul also lost his arm and foot and experienced severe damage to his back. This is the daily reality and, as Dahr pointed out, the only area under US control was the Green Zone section of Baghdad but now even the Bremer walls that wall off the section do not translate as 'safe.' Dahr spoke of speaking with a US marine stationed in Ramadi where he was part of 200 US forces expected to provide order to a city of 400,000.

Dahr noted that move to pull forces out of Ramadi and the rest of the Al-Anbar Province in order to send them to Baghdad to secure the capital. Earlier this week,
Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on a Marine Corps intelligence report entitled "State of Insurgency in Al-Anbar" which tagged the area "a failed province," one that was beyond US control. Also earlier this week, Jonathan Karl (ABC News) reported that, in an effort to 'secure' the capital -- 'crackdown' in any version didn't, the Pentagon is weighing pulling the 30,000 US troops out of the province and redeploying them to Baghdad.

Also addressed by Dahr was the issue of the realignmment on the ground in Iraq's parliament where new alliances are being formed with Muqtada al-Sadr's group and Dahr wondered exactly how much longer the puppet, Nouri al-Maliki, would be in place?
CBS and AP report that Tariq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's two vice-presidents, has stated "he wanted to see al-Maliki's government gone and another 'understanding' for a new coalition put in place with guarantees that ensure collective decision making" while Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie (handmaiden to the puppet) has said the fault lies with the presidency (a ceremonial position) and not with the prime minister he (al-Zuabaie) serves under. If the memo Stephen Hadley penned November 8th is taken at all seriously don't be surprised to discover US monies are being tossed around right now in an attempt to ensure that new coalitions will be to the US administration's liking. Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) examines the events and notes "the sudden move by al-Sadr's Shiite bloc, which pulled out of the Baghdad government over al-Maliki's meeting with Bush, provides the anti-occupation coalition with significant, perhaps decisive, power, if they choose to bring down al-Maliki's shaky coalition." [Hayden's earlier reports on the al-Maliki upset are: "U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story" and followed that with "Documents Reveal Secret Talks Between U.S. and Iraqi Armed Resistance."]

Did someone say shaky?

Thomas Wagner and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report a double car bombing claimed one life and left six family members wounded in the Sadiyah section of Baghdad; while mortar rounds "near Muqdadiya" killed three and left 14 wounded; and, in Kirkuk, a car bomb took two lives and left three wounded. CBS and AP note a car bomb in Baghdad ("near a fruit and vegetable market") that killed two and left 16 more wounded. AFP notes, "A bomb exploded in the centre of Baghdad on the east side of the Tigris river, killing three people and wouding 16, while another car bomb killed three people on the outskirts of the capital."


Alastair Macdonald and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) report: "Machinegun fire rained from U.S. helicopters in central Baghdad . . . the Interior Ministry said one soldier had been killed and nine people wounded, including five soldiers." Reuters reports three people were killed by gunfire (two police officers, one civilian) in Samawa.


Reuters reports that 20 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and fourteen in Mosul while noting the fourteen had been kidnapped on Thursday.

Thomas Wagner and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report that, Thursday, "Hadib Majhoul, chairman of the popular Talaba soccer club" was kidnapped.

In addition, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed during combatoperations here Nov. 30." The death brings to 2,888 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war according to ICCC's count and CNN's as well. Twelve away from the 2900 mark.

This as
Antonella Cinelli (Reuters) reports that "Italy pulled its last remaining troops out of Iraq on Friday, lowering the tricolour flag at its base in the south of a country where 32 of its soldiers have died since the contingent arrived in June 2003."

Meanwhile, although the
Iraq Study Group has released its findings, people continue to ponder the James Baker Circle Jerk. As noted by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today, the James Baker Circle Jerk is rumored to call for a 2008 'withdrawal' that is not, in fact, a withdrawal. It's a continuation of the air war that Norman Solomon has been describing for months now. It's also the James Baker Circle Jerk stroking themselves on the public dollar. The onanistic nonsense not only revolves around the air war, it also pushes embedding US forces with Iraqi police squads and forces.

For those who've forgotten how Patrick McCaffrey died and the battle his mother Nadia McCaffrey has had to fight to force the US government to get honest could see the 'suggestion' as worthy of suggesting. (Patrick McCaffrey and Andre Tyson, with the US National Guard, were killed in Iraq. The US government told the families that the two men were killed by 'insurgents.' In reality, they were killed, June 22, 2004, by Iraqi security forces they were training.)

Addressing the James Baker Circle Jerk on this week's CounterSpin,
Gary Younge (Guardian of London; The Nation) observed to Steve Rendall,, "The fact that this study group was necessary itself highlights a flaw in American politics. Democracy should have been able to deal with this, not an appointed study group." As Younge explained the responsibility the group was tasked with was Congress' own responsibility . . . until they outsourced it.

In peace news,
Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports that the revelations of the US government spying on peace activists is not slowly plans for the march in Washington, DC January 27th. Among the groups spied on were CODEPINK, United For Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, the War Resisters League and the American Friends Service Committee.

War Resisters League will be presenting Sir! No Sir! tomorrow (Saturday, December 2nd) at both seven pm and nine-thirty pm. This kicks off the War Resisters League and the Brecht Forum's Screenpeace: An Antiwar Film Festival that will hold screenings of other films on Fridays during January.

In other activism news,
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) are asking for a National "Mandate for Peace" Call-in Day, Monday, December 4th. To sign the petition click here. To phone your rep and senators, you can dial 202-224-3121. PDA notes: "On Election Day, voters said enough is enough -- we want a new direction. Let's make sure Congress hears it again by jamming the switchboards on Dec. 4 with our pleas to bring our troops home immediately."

mikey likes it

the washington post
dafna linzer
thomas e. ricks

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iraq Study Group, Law and Disorder, A. Alexander

Thursday, one day till the weekend starts. Yes, I did have a post earlier. C.I. called and asked if I'd have any time to post on campus before or after class? I go sure because I assumed it was something important (it was) and C.I. goes, "I have to speak, I'm passing the phone to Kat."

So Kat fills me in. All the press is yapping about is the fact that James Baker's dumb ass group is saying maybe someday, no rush, maybe they can maybe think about moving some troops around. Maybe they can't get 'em back to the US, but maybe they can get 'em onto some bases in Iraq or maybe some bases in neighboring countries. And maybe people are stupid enough that they'll think that's actually a plan!


Kat goes C.I. wants to include the cool Iraq Study Group that Tony, Nina and me started in the snapshot. I go, "Cool." But Kat goes that maybe I could write something quick? I see Tony and waive him over and go, "Go get Nina." While he's doing that I check to make sure recommendations are what C.I.'s looking for? Kat goes that would be great but anything is fine.

So there were like fifteen minutes before class and we go running to the library to grab a computer and there's a wait. So we write it up while we're waiting and it's still not our turn for a computer. Tony is totally macking on this woman from one of our classes last year and she goes she's already been waiting ten minutes. As the clock keeps ticking, there's no time. I tell Tony and Nina to go on so they won't end up late but the woman, Lisa, goes, "Oh you were going to blog at your site?" I go yeah and explain we were putting up something from our Iraq Study Group. She goes James Baker is an idiot and she'll post it for me. So she reads over it to make sure she can read what we wrote and I gave her my password and we went on to class.

Well, Tony got her digits and then we went on to class. The e-mails I've read so far can't stop talking about the fifth point, about Dexy Filkins. I have to give credit where it's due, that was all Nina. We thought we were through and Nina grabbed the paper and added that all by herself. She even put in the titles of C.I.'s pieces to link to.

Tony, Nina and I started the group and now it's groups because it's so big. Nina and I nod to each other stuff but this was the first time we really talked in months. We were mainly working on the recommendations but she also talked a little about (and she said I could mention this) the guy she's been dating. He sounds really cool and she deserves someone really cool. I'm really happy for her.

We also talked about the Iraq Study Group she heads now because, after we broke up, she really wanted to start her group right then. The plan had been to wait until the fall and start splitting the big group up into smaller ones. But it made sense and so she grabbed some and started holding meetings at her folks' place.

But those were the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and we are the ones who started it, Tony, Nina and me.

This is by A. Alexander and Lisa e-mailed me about it. Same Lisa that's going out with Tony Saturday and who typed up the post for us today. She wrote, "See this is why C.I. says the peace movement doesn't need to hide behind generals." This is from A. Alexander's "The Generals Join in to Support Bush's Iraq Lies:"

There is always a new excuse and a new rationalization either as to why we invaded Iraq, or why we cannot possibly leave. Now that the Democrats have been elected and the Bush administration might actually have to answer for their past and present Iraq decisions, we are forced to endure two new propaganda pitches. The first being that Iraq isn't in the midst of a civil war and the second is that something called "al-Qaeda in Iraq" has suddenly overrun the country. Both claims are nothing more than violent lies.
Every post-war intelligence estimate has shown that foreign fighters make up only about 5 percent of Iraq's insurgency. Yet, the lie that Iraq is being overrun by al-Qaeda-like operatives is the latest Bush administration rationalization for why we cannot leave Iraq. In the run up to the elections "cut and run" failed to do the trick. Iraq's military and police have become infested with sectarian militia members, so they'll never be able to "stand-up" and allow the U.S. military to "stand-down." How then to ensure Democrats won't muster the political courage to pull the plug on Bush's Iraq disaster? Convince the American people that leaving Iraq, no matter how bloody it becomes, would result in a million-billion al-Qaeda operatives taking over Iraq's oil and then coming to invade America.
How to know this latest administration push is nothing more than spin and lies? Easy! When the hand-picked, "yes-men" Generals in Iraq are repeating, verbatim, what Bush and his people like Stephen Hadley are saying - you know it is typical coordinated Bush administration spin and lies. It is what Republicans like to call "staying on message."

Now I'm going to get back to WBAI's Law and Disorder. I'd wanted to talk about Jonathan Hutto's appearance. He was the second guest. (Do I care about the third guest? Not really. I think the law group he represents has screwed up their client's case from the start. C.I. pointed that out when it was first in the news and also noted when Amy Goodman asked a question, not a trick question, and it was like, "Uh, we, uh, never thought about that.") So Jonathan Hutto is one of the people behind Appeal for Redress which is a petition to Congress that people serving in the military can sign. The plan is to deliver it on MLK day because Dr. King was one of the inspirations for this, his strength in using his voice to speak out (and that includes speaking out against the Vietnam war). Heidi Boghosian asked him if there was any pressure on him to stop or attempts to get back at him for the petition. He explained some of the conditions on him, like he has to be off duty and using his own time. He said he was sure there were people who wished he wouldn't pursue it but no one's made an issue out of it. Appeal for Redress is where to go if you want to sign the petition. If you're not in the military and you want to help you can (a) get the word out and (b) if you have money to give, you can e-mail Hutto (his e-mail address is on the page) about where to send donations.

The third segment was on an important issue. If I say "the American citizen who's going to be executed in Iraq," every community member knows what I'm talking about. But we also know that the legal team hasn't been on top of their game and there's enough things to cover that I'll focus on something else. (I'm not saying the interview is a waste to listen to. I'm saying the legal strategy has been off from the start. To just use the Amy Goodman segment, she wasn't trying to trip the guest up. It was a good question. And the guest was like, "Uh, uh, I don't know.")

This was the fourth part of their four part series on the police state we're living under. If you missed any of it, Law and Disorder has those and other broadcast archived.

That's it for me tonight. I'm tired and cold. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

November 30, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Baker-Hamiliton Love-Fest sucks up more headlines than the addled-brain panel deserves, shifts on the political ground occur but the media's too busy being whimpering little dogs chasing after their master to note reality, and peace organizations call for a show of support for war resisters and for some action.

Starting with yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News where Sandra Lupien spoke with Global Exchange's Raed Jarrar who explained that some members of Iraq's parliament were under the impression that they would be discussing the possibility of renewing the UN mandate for US forces next week and were unaware that the puppet of the occupation had already 'addressed' that (on Tuesday). Jarrar discussed how what support there was for the puppet had faded as it had been apparent how ineffectual Nouri al-Maliki was, how he's now seen as a failure and how hope is pretty much destroyed.

Raed Jarrar: Let me add one thing, during the last three days some major developments are happening. Yesterday one of the secular groups pulled out of the government -- a group called Reconciliation and Liberation Front, they pulled out from the government. And today a southern group pulled out from the government. And tommorow it's a big possiblity that a number of secular and Sunni and Shia are planning to pull out from the government as well and form this newly, form a front under the name Iraq Salvation Government or the National Iraqi Salvation Front or something.

So all of these things are happening now, at the same time that Maliki is meeting with Bush, so it seems the Iraqi political map is going to change radically within the next few days or

Staying with that topic (the one the New York Times may trip over and discover tomorrow),
CNN reports that Muqtada al-Sadr announced a possible new political alliance with Sunnis and Christians. Calling the group" you know this is coming "'a national front,' the head of al-Sadr's bloc in Parliament -- Falah Hassan Shanshel -- said the groups would target the U.N. Security Council's decision to extend the mandate of 160,000 multinational force in Iraq for another year."

Meanwhile, the
Iraq Study Group has issued their findings: (1) All US troops should be brought home immediately; (2) Reparations shall be paid by the US government to Iraq through the United Nations; (3) The US Congress should immediately begin impeachments hearings; (4) A War Crimes Tribunal should hear testimony into the destruction of Falluja; (5) Dexter Filkins shall be charged with crimes against humanity for his 'reporting' on Falluja and, in fact, all of his reporting on or from Iraq.

The findings were published today by the original Iraq Study Group, not the lame Lee Hamilton-James Baker Circle Jerk. The findings are signed by the original chairs: Nina, Tony and
Mike. And if the findings seem more democratic than those of the James Baker Circle Jerk, well one was of the people, the other was created to provide cover for the US administration.

Turning to news of the James Baker Circle Jerk. They did not recommend withdrawal.
David E. Sanger and David S. Cloud (New York Times) reported in this morning's paper that the James Baker Circle Jerk would recommend that 15 combat brigades be stationed at bases in Iraq or neighboring countries and the James Baker Circle Jerk would not endorse withdrawal of US troops. The James Baker Circle Jerk hopefully checked with "neighboring countries" because, as many will remember, Turkey got aid from the US while hemming and hawwing and, woops, what do you know, their air space would not be used for Bully Boy's illegal war. The James Baker Circle Jerk was a way for him to tap into the Saudi monies he's always tapped into and greed merchants like Lee Hamilton got to go along for the ride. At 75-years-old, there may be nothing left for him to do but stand around open mouthed. But then the James Baker Circle Jerk was never about the "best and brightest." It was, instead, the tired, the corrupt and the cronies.

The Davids are back with their update to say, "Our sources were right." Yes, in what passes for bravery at the Times, all that sucking up allows them their exclusives about reports that will be released. So they've twice wasted everyone's time stroking their sources off on in print while real issues went uncovered and critical abilities (which are supposed to be in a journalist's bag of tricks) again get shoved to the curb. They've chased after Bully Boy, they've chased after the James Baker Circle Jerk.

They just can't find Iraq with a seeing eye dog and an escort. (Should that read a heavily armed escorts? It should.) As
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) noted Tuesday, on potential findings of the cover group, "It only postpones the inevitable, the need to exit Iraq before the blood of war sills over into the national presidential election."

Let's leave the James Baker Circle Jerk to the boys (and Sandy Day O'Connor) and instead focus on reality. The
BBC reports that two Iraqi women were killed in Baquba on Wednesday by US forces which follows by one day the killing of "five girls . . . by US tank fire in Ramadi." This comes at a time when the ICRC issues a statement ending with: "The ICRC calls again upon all parties to the conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to spare civilians and civilian property. In addition, it urges all those who can make use of their moral and political influence on the ground to call for respect of human life and dignity." "All parties." Yes, the Red Cross/Red Crescent would be referring to "all parties" which does include foreign fighters such as the US.

Al Jazeera reports Bully Boy has stated no troops are leaving, that they'll remain till his "job is complete" which apparently means his Blood Lust has yet to be satisfied, after three years, and more will need to die as a result.

A lot is being made of the brief meeting (Brief Encounter?) between Bully Boy and Nouri al-Maliki that finally took place on Thursday.
'A 'speedy handover' (of Iraq forces) to the puppet!' pants CBS and AP. Did no one read the memo yesterday? The memo was published (online) by the New York Times. Did anyone bother to read it? What did Stephen Hadley write about ways that the puppet could look strong? Handing him "additional control over Iraq forces, although we must recognize that in the immediate time frame, we would likely be able to give him more authority over existing forces, not more forces."

Apparently there was no point in the Times publishing that memo, even those who read it appear to act as though they hadn't.

AFP notes Bully Boy wanted to put an end to the "speculation" that the US might attempt "some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq." No word on whether Bully Boy belched after that remark but the lack of grace hardly needs underscoring after three years of an illegal war.

While Bully Boy demonstrates his lack of grace, common sense, et al,
AFP reports that South Korea is pulling their 2,300 troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007. KUNA reports that: "The government also accepted the ruling party's proposal to draw up an action plan for the all-out withdrwal by June 2007, according to Yonhap News Agency." The so-called 'coalition' gets increasingly smaller. Meanwhile, Nouri al-Maliki announces, according to Reuters, that Iraqi troops can take over control in June 2007. Predictions from the Puppet who couldn't meet the Constitutionally mandated deadline for selecting his cabinet? The man who went on to miss the 'bonus' time he gave himself to select the cabinet?

As the press rushes to cover the circle jerk or the Bully Boy,
Dave Clark (AFP) reports: "Baghdad's overlowing morgues have welcomed another grim daily harvest of bullet-riddled coprses".


DPA reports three Iraq police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in al-Mosayyab and three more were left wounded. Dave Clark (AFP) reports that mortar attacks wounded 13 in Samawa.


Thomas Wagner and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) report that, in Basra, Nasir Gatami ("deputy of the local chapter of a group called Sunni Endowment) and three of his bodyguards were shot dead. The BBC raises the number of bodyguards killed to six. Dave Clark (AFP) reports six shot dead in sectarian conflict in Baquba while a police officer was shot dead in Falluja.


BBC reports that "At least 80 bodies" were discovered in Iraq "in the past 24 hours." The Daily Telegraph notes that 58 of those corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

That's the reality of Iraq -- some of it. What managed to get reported by the ones not confusing the James Baker Circle Jerk or the Bully Boy's travel itineray with the Beatles landing at JFK. Worshipful fans don't generally make for solid reporters and, for those noticing how Iraq has been sidelined by "Follow The Officials!", that's tragically clear.

Not tomorrow, but the Friday after next, December 8th,
Courage to Resist will beging three days of public action:

Military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned community members call for public action Dec. 8-10th!
It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI's who have in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and stood up for their rights. Widespread public support and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We call for the following:1) Support for War Objectors 2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection 3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's 4) Sanctuary for War Objectors. We urge you to join us December 8-10th for a weekend of action in supportof GI Resistance and GI Rights!
Participating Groups and Individuals
Downloadable Organizing Kit

United for Peace and Justice notes:

It takes courage to say that you will not fight -- especially if you are a soldier. As more members of the U.S. military step forward for peace, the peace movement must step forward to support them.
Large numbers are now refusing to serve: The Department of Defense estimates that there are about 8,000 AWOL service members. The
GI Rights Hotline (800-394-9544) is currently receiving about 3,000 calls a month.
Most importantly, a growing number of soldiers are speaking out, against the illegality and immorality of the Iraq war and the orders they are being told to carry out. These brave men and women are risking jail time and their futures to stand up against the war.
Click here to find out how you can support them.

On Monday,
WBAI's Law and Disorder interviewed Jonathan Hutto with Appeal for Redress which is gathering signatures calling for Congress to bring the troops. Signatures of those currently serving in the military. Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian, Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith spoke about the historical importance of this and how the rights for those serving were won, not given and Hutto stated that currently they have "a little over 1200" signatures.

War resisters also include Kyle Snyder,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Joshua Casteel, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Patrick Hart, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are only some of the names of those resisting who have gone public.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Soldier Say No!, the War Resisters Support Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Iraq Study Group calls for all US troops to leave Iraq Immediately

The Iraq Study Group has issued the following recommendations:

1) All US troops should be brought home immediately.
*a) "Brought home immediately" does not mean "pull back" or "redeploy." It means all US troops serving in Iraq shall be returned to the US.
*b) This can be read as an endorsement of the the July 2006 editorial "Time to Head On Home."

2) Reparations shall be paid by the US government to Iraq through the United Nations.

3) The US Congress should immediately begin impeachments hearings.

4) A War Crimes Tribunal should hear testimony into the destruction of Falluja.

5) Dexter Filkins shall be charged with crimes against humanity for his 'reporting' on Falluja and, in fact, all of his reporting on or from Iraq.

These are the recommendations of and from the Iraq Study Group, the original one, the people's Iraq Study Group.

Chairs: Mike, Nina and Tony

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Impeachment, Iraq

So Wednesday. I got a lot of kidding for not knowing Pacific time zone, by the way. :D It's cool. I don't know

What I was going to say. My sister was hollering for me. The folks are out tonight and I go into the kitchen and it's like there's a fire.

She was trying to make fudge. How do you end up with all that smoke from fudge?

She was melting chocolate pieces in the microwave. That's where the smoke was coming from and she hadn't opened it because she knew it was on fire.

It wasn't on fire. That smoke was from "crisp" pieces. :D

She's making that for a friend at school and I told her I would run her to the store but there's apparently not time for that. Just time to whine and moan.

So I get a spoon and pull out the burnt piece, right in the center and I scoop it out and say add sugar and double the vanilla. :D

It worked too but I'm laughing because Ma would be so surprised and happy. It's one thing to learn how to cook, she always says, it's another to learn how to fix problems. So we've got all the windows in the front of the house open to get the smoke out. That part I scooped out didn't even fill up a little spoon, I can't believe it made so much smoke.

Okay, now somehow I was going to try to tie my first paragraph in with impeachment. I think we need to impeach or we don't have even a slimmer of a working democracy. I don't care what Nancy Pelosi says. If Bully Boy walks away from all he's done, that means anyone else can. If we don't stand up and say "What you did was illegal" then we better be ready to go through this again and worse. The people want impeachment and it's the Congress' job to represent the people and to hold the executive branch in check.

So this is from Elizabeth de la Vega's "A Fraud Worse than Enron:"

Elizabeth de la Vega, appearing on behalf of the United States. That is a phrase I've uttered hundreds of times in twenty years as a federal prosecutor. I retired two years ago. So, obviously, I do not now speak for any U.S. Attorney's Office, nor do I represent the federal government. This should be apparent from the fact that I am proposing a hypothetical indictment of the President and his senior advisers -- not a smart move for any federal employee who wishes to remain employed. Lest anyone miss the import of this paragraph, let me emphasize that it is a DISCLAIMER: I am writing as a private citizen.
Obviously, as a private citizen, I cannot simply draft and file an indictment. Nor can I convene a grand jury. Instead, in the following pages I intend to present a hypothetical indictment to a hypothetical grand jury. The defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The crime is tricking the nation into war--in legal terms, conspiracy to defraud the United States. And all of you are invited to join the grand jury.
We will meet for seven days. On day one, I'll present the indictment in the morning and in the afternoon I will explain the applicable law. On days two through seven, we'll have witness testimony, presented in transcript form, with exhibits.
As is the practice in most grand jury presentations, the evidence will be presented in summary form, by federal agents -- except that these agents are hypothetical. (Any relationship to actual federal agents, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.)
On day seven, when the testimony is complete, I'll leave the room to allow the grand jury to vote.
If the indictment and grand jury are hypothetical, the evidence is not. I've prepared for this case, just as I would have done for any other case in my years as a prosecutor, by reviewing all of the available relevant information. In this case, such information consists of witness accounts, the defendants' speeches, public remarks, White House press briefings, interviews, congressional testimony, official documents, all public intelligence reports, and various summaries of intelligence, such as in the reports of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the 9/11 Commission. I've discarded any evidence, however compelling, that is uncorroborated.
Then, using a sophisticated system of documents piled on every surface in my dining room, I've organized and analyzed the reliable information chronologically, by topic, and by defendant. I've compared what the President and his advisers have said publicly to what they knew and said behind the scenes. Finally, I've presented the case through testimony that will, I hope, make sense and keep everybody awake.
After analyzing this evidence in light of the applicable law, I've determined that we already have more than enough information to allow a reasonable person to conclude that the President conducted a wide-ranging effort to deceive the American people and Congress into supporting a war against Iraq. In other words, in legal terms, there is probable cause to believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. Probable cause is the standard of proof required for a grand jury to return an indictment. Consequently, we have more than sufficient evidence to warrant indictment of the President and his advisers.
Do I expect someone to promptly indict the President and his aides? No. I am aware of the political impediments and constitutional issues relating to the indictment of a sitting president. Do those impediments make this merely an empty exercise? Absolutely not.
I believe this presentation adds a singular perspective to the debate about the President's use of prewar intelligence: that of an experienced federal prosecutor. Certainly, scholars and experts such as Barbara Olshansky, David Lindorff, Michael Ratner, John Dean, and Elizabeth Holtzman have written brilliantly about the legal grounds for impeachment that arise from the President's misrepresentations about the grounds for an unprovoked invasion of Iraq. But for most Americans, the debate about White House officials' responsibility for false preinvasion statements remains fixed on, and polarized around, the wrong question: Did the President and his team lie about the grounds for war? For many, the suggestion that the President lied is heresy, more shocking than a Baptist minister announcing during vespers that he's a cross-dresser. For many others -- indeed, now the majority of Americans -- that the President lied to get his war is a given, although no less shocking.
So my goals are threefold. First, I want to explain that under the law that governs charges of conspiracy to defraud, the legal question is not whether the President lied. The question is not whether the President subjectively believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The legal question that must be answered is far more comprehensive: Did the President and his team defraud the country? After swearing to uphold the law of the land, did our highest government officials employ the universal techniques of fraudsters -- deliberate concealment, misrepresentations, false pretenses, half-truths -- to deceive Congress and the American people?

I think that alone is more than enough but if you need more check out Elizabeth Holtzman's "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" for The Nation, Lewis Lapham's "The Case for Impeachment" (Harper's Magazine) would quickly follow, as would the Center for Constitutional Rights's Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush (I really love this book), David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky's The Case for Impeachment and Holtzman's book The Impeachment of George W. Bush. Holtzman worked on the impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon when she was in Congress. Polls show people want Bully Boy impeached. de Vega, Holtzman, CCR, Dave Lindorff, Barbara Olshansky and Lewis Lapham demonstrate why it needs to be done and what grounds. This should be "do-able," but will it happen?

If it doesn't, we don't just see how weak the Democratic Party is, we also see that we don't have even a sliver of democracy these days.

Okay, I'm short tonight. I can smell the smoke so I'm going to have to spray and probably find some of Ma's sceneted candles. They're not going to care about my sister's cooking incident but they're not going to want to come home to house that smells like smoke. Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.

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

Wedensday, November 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a classified US assessment, jotted down in memo form by Stephen Hadley, finds the puppet of the occupation untrustworthy; whack-a-mole continues to be the game of choice for US military heads, and the big meet up in Jordan hits a snag right out of the box.

Starting with
the memo:

We returned from Iraq convinced we need to determine if Prime Minister Maliki is both willing and able to rise above the sectarian agendas being promoted by others. Do we and Prime Minister Maliki share the same vision for Iraq? If so, is he able to curb those who seek Shia hegemony or the reassertion of Sunni power? The answers to these questions are key in determining whether we have the right strategy in Iraq.

Maliki reiterated a vision of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish partnership, and in my one-on-one meeting with him, he impressed me as a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so. Maliki pointed to incidents, such as the use of Iraqi forces in Shia Karbala, to demonstrate his even hand. Perhaps because he is frustrated over his limited ability to command Iraqi forces against terrorists and insurgents, Maliki has been trying to show strength by standing up to the coalition. Hence the public spats with us over benchmarks and the Sadr City roadblocks.
Despite Maliki's reassuring words, repeated reports from our commanders on the ground contributed to our concerns about Maliki's government. Reports of nondelivery of services to Sunni areas, intervention by the prime minister's office to stop military action against Shia targets and to encourage them against Sunni ones, removal of Iraq's most effective commanders on a sectarian basis and efforts to ensure Shia majorities in all ministries -- when combined with the escalation of Jaish al-Mahdi's (JAM) [the Arabic name for the Mahdi Army] killings -- all suggest a campaign to consolidate Shia power in Baghdad.

Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) reports that author of the memo is National Securtiy Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and that Hadley wrote the memo November 8, 2006. The memo was based on conclusions Hadley drew while visiting the Green Zone on October 30th, a visit John F. Burns and David E. Sanger (New York Times) noted was spoken of "only in the vaguest of terms". The memo's distrust of Nouri al-Maliki and its suggestions fly in the face of what Geroge W. Casey Jr. was publicly pushing immediately prior to Hadley's visit. As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported the US' military commander's claims of Iraqi security forces 'success' was doubted by American troops on the ground.

The memo covers a number of topics. Mainly it attempts to chart how the puppet can be propped up if he agrees to continue to following orders from the US administration (such as "support the renewal of the UN mandate for multinational forces" -- done yesterday -- through the end of 2007 as Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News). If that is the case, US tax dollars can be used to prop up political parties that do not support Moktada al-Sadr and thereby sideline al-Sadr from the process. ("This bloc would not require a new election, but would rather involve a realignment of political actors within the Parliament.") Mainly the memo's concerned with appearances, ways to make it appear the puppet is independent and strong. Such as: "Encourage Zal [Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador] to move into the background and let Maliki take more credit for positive developments." As noted in previous snapshots, Zalmay-Take-Me-Away is on his way out. His supposed 'success' in Afghanistan began to implode in front of the world shortly after he was shipped to Iraq to create more 'success.' Reality didn't wait and Zalmay is on the way out.

The memo offers that al-Maliki can appear 'strong' if the US administration will: "Seek ways to strengthen Maliki immediately by giving him additional control over Iraq forces, although we musr tecognize that in the immediate time frame, we would likely be able to give him more authority over existing forces, not more forces" While pushing appearances, Hadley makes it very clear that al-Maliki is extremely out of touchand that he has one self-presentation "when he talks with Americans" and another at other times. Hadley writes: "But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggest Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action."

The memo reveals the doubts, all the times after, that the US administration still has of their puppet.
Mark Silva (Chicago Tribune) reports that Tony Snow Job issued a statement of Bully Boy's confidence in al-Maliki which should make the puppet shudder if he's aware of "Heck of a job, Brownie." [Or of November 1st, when Bully Boy was singing Rummy's praises. As Ron Hutcheson (McClatchy Newspapers) reported: "Rumsfeld's ouster came a week after Bush told a small group of reporters that he wanted the defense secretary to stay on the job until end of his presidency."]

Silva also speaks with a nameless administration official who states that the memo is about raising questions and it "doesn't mean you're casting judgment" which is either cover up or the nameless hasn't read the memo. The third step Hadley outlines that al-Maliki "should take" is to "Shake up his cabinet by appointing nonsectarian, capable technocrats in key service (and security) ministries."

For those paying attention months ago, al-Maliki's claimed that was happening. He began saying it was happening after he finally got a cabinet semi together. He missed the Constitutional deadline as well as his own appointed deadline. When he finally had a 'cabinet' it was short three positions. As soon as those were filled, al-Maliki began making repeated noises about a 'shake up' that has still not taken place. That was telling when Hadley visited in October, it was telling when Hadley wrote the memo on November 8th and, as November draws to a close, it's even more telling.

As Tony Snow Job tries to spin the memo, the US administration still attempts to deny the reality of the civil war that has been raging in Iraq.
Shatha al-Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) registers quite clearly what she has seen in the last year in the neighborhood she lived, the neighbors who left as strangers began showing up, the talk of impending attacks, the need to build a secret passage way between her home and her parents, the night when violence was only streets away, her baby crying from the mortar rounds falling and her promise to herself to leave if they made it through tomorrow.

In the face of such reality,
the US administration continues to deny Iraq is in a civil war. James Coomarasamy (BBC) reports that Stephen Hadley, of all people, "has said the Iraqi government does not see it in those terms, while the president himself described the latest attacks as part of an ongoing campaign by al-Qaeda militants." The same Hadley who wrote "the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on"? Meanwhile, Diala Saadeh (Reuters) reports Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, has stated, "I would call it a civil war. . . I have been using it (civil war) because I like to face the reality." (Like your blot?) On CBS' The Early Show, Bob Schieffer (host of Face the Nation) offered, "This is not a memo that was leaked by some Democrat in Congress. This is something that obviously came from someone within the administration itself. It shows that the situation in Iraq is the kind of chaos that has been described by others at every level, political and military. It paints a picture that is unlike what we have been hearing from the administration. We've been hearing that things are getting better and so on and so forth, that al-Maliki is doing his best. Now this memo raises questions about those statements."

CNN reports, ahead of the Jordan meeting with Bully Boy, Nouri al-Maliki has seen "his support erode on two fronts Wednesday as a White House memo questioned his leadership and a powerful political bloc suspended participation in Iraq's government." The suspension of participation was made quite clear Friday when al-Sadr's bloc stated that if al-Maliki went to Jordan to meet with the puppet, they would be pulling their support for al-Maliki.

Thomas Wagner and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) report that "the 30 lawmakers and six Cabinet members" in the Sadr bloc "said their boycott was necessary because the meeting" between Bully Boy and al-Maliki "constituted a 'provocation to the feelings of the Iraqi people and a violation of their constitutional rights'." As Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now! today, the bloc announced they were boycotting because "Bush is a criminal who killed a lot of Iraqis and we do not want him to interfere in Iraq's affairs" but prefer that the puppet instead do business with the U.N. Security Council. Deb Riechmann (AP) reports that the meet up in Amman, Jordan that was due to start today (Bully Boy & puppet) has now been put off with the US administration declaring it would take place "on Thuresday."

Meanwhile the city of Baquba is "
shutdown" by violence. "Shutdown"? The sequel to 'crackdown'? (Which Baghdad is still under.) AP reports bombing raids by US aircraft while "the univeristy, public schools and many stores remained closed" and the deaths of five Iraqi police officers.


AP reports a roadside bomb in Bahgdad left three Iraqis dead and 11 more wounded and
"[t]wo mortar rounds also exploded near the Health Ministry, wounding two soliders" in the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Reuters notes: two car bombs in Iraq (one in central Baghdad, the other in southwestern Baghdad) that left two police officers dead and five Iraqis wounded;
a car bomb in Samarra that killed six police officers; a car bomb in Mosul that left one civilian dead and 23 more injured; On the car bomb in Samarra,
AP notes that it was a coordinated attack using the car bomb and guns and reports that four police officers were killed and four more wounded.


AP reports that the Green Zone in Baghdad was ringed with gunfire "for most of the morning." AFP reports that four guards of the Pensions Department in central Baghdad were shot dead while on duty.


Reuters notes that the corpse "of a teacher with gunshot wounds" was discovered in Diwaniya today.

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was killed when an improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province Tuesday. A second Soldier from this unit was wounded and transported to a CoalitionForces' medical treatment facility."; and they also announced: "One Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Al-Anbar Province? Before we move on, let's note that the count for US troops who have died in Iraq this month thus far is 65. (Which doesn't include Major Troy L. Gilbert whose plane crashed this week and who is classified as missing by the US military while other press reports report he died in the crash or following the crash.)

We're going to
flash back to the August 3rd United States Senate Armed Services Committee hearing when the following exchange took place:

Senator John McCain: So, General Abizaid, we're moving 7,500 troops into Baghdad, is that correct?

General John Abizaid: The number is closer to 3,500.[. . .]
McCain: And where are these troops coming from?
Abizaid: Uh, the troops, the Styker Brigade, is coming down from Mosul.
McCain: From Mosul? Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: Uh, the situation in Ramadi, is better than it was two months ago.
McCain: Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: I think the situation in Ramadi is workable.
McCain: And the troops from Ramadi came from Falluja, isn't that correct?
Abizaid: I can't say senator, I know that --
McCain: Well that's my information. What I worry about is we're playing a game of whack-a-mole here. We move troops from -- It flares up, we move troops there. Everybody knows we've got big problems in Ramadi and I said, "Where you gonna get the troops?" 'Well we're going to have to move them from Falluja.' Now we're going to have to move troops into Baghdad from someplace else. It's very disturbing.

Is the situation in Ramadi under control, McCain repeatedly asked?

Ramadi is in Al-Anbar and the entire province is not "under control" (nor could it be).

Edward Wong (New York Times) reported, "American troops killed five girls, including at least one baby" on Tuesday in Al-Anbar Province. Andrew Buncombe and Nick Paton Walsh (Independent of London) report that in addition to the five dead, "Fighting broke out in the city of Ramadi, considered a stronghold of the anti-US insurgency, after a US patrol discovered a roadside bomb in the Hamaniyah section of the city."

This comes as
Jonathan Karl (ABC News) reports that the "Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad." Has Al-Anbar Province been 'pacified'? No (and it won't be). As the four year anniversary of the illegal war comes ever closer, the US military is still attempting to impose order on Baghdad -- the only area that's ever been 'safe,' the area that's now been under a 'crackdown' (in all its variations) since June. And nothing's stopped the chaos and violence.

So the 'answer,' for the US government, is the same 'answer' they always have, what John McCain labeled "whack-a-mole." Writing in the Guardian of London,
Dilip Hiro proposes another answer: "Now, a revived proposal should have the American and British troops withdraw in stages from Iraq and hand over the stabilization task to a combined force of Muslim countries under UN command. Stationing a Muslim stabilization force in Iraq would dispel the intense alienation that exists now between Iraqis and the Anglo-American troops. The brown-skinned Muslim troops would be seen praying in the same mosques as Iraqis, and they would have an innate understanding of the social and cultural mores of the local people since they come from societies similar to that in Iraq. Unlike the Anglo-American troops, they would not be advancing an agenda like planting a Jeffersonian model of democracy or seeking preference in exploiting Iraqi oil."

Reuters reports, the 'answer' remains to 'shift' "a couple of battalions" here and there. It hasn't worked, it won't work. But the US adminstration refuses to face reality. Which is why CNN reports that "the U.S. military plans to move at least three more battalions of American soldiers into the Iraqi captial". And which is why the illegal war continues to drag on.

Remember, the
Pacifica's Archives is on day two of a two-day special: Pacifica Radio Archives Presents Voices For Peace And Non-Violence. It is airing on all Pacifica stations (KPFA, KFCF, KPFT, WBAI, KPFK, WPFW), many affiliates and online. The special started today and pulls from the fifty plus years of archives. (Donations made during this two day period go to preserve the archives.) Among the voices heard since yesterday MLK, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Camilo Mejia, Medea Benjamin, Lena Horne, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gloria Steinem, Flo Kennedy, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Fonda, Bette Davis, Ruth Gordon, Malcolm X, Angela Y. Davis, and many others.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tom Hayden, Michael Ratner, Iraq

Tuesday and I'm not good with PST time. Blogger/Blogspot has a message about an outage tonight. Since they know my time zone (Eastern), seems like they could save me the trouble of the math. But I'm going to rush for this post, don't expect a whole lot.

C.I. mentions this in the snapshot but I wanted to give a bigger taste of it, this is from Tom Hayden's "Anti-war movement deserves some credit Some call it marginal, but organized push swayed world opinion:"

Although rarely credited, the anti-war movement has been a major factor in mobilizing a majority of the American public to oppose the occupation and killing in Iraq.
To many observers, the movement seems feckless and marginal, its rallies an incoherent bazaar of radical sloganeering. Yet according to Gallup surveys, a majority of Americans came to view Iraq as a mistake more rapidly than they came to oppose the Vietnam War more than three decades ago. So how could there be a peace majority without a peace movement?
Foreign Affairs, the journal of the foreign policy establishment, wondered about this riddle in a 2005 essay by John Mueller reporting a precipitous decline in public support for the war even though "there has not been much" of a peace movement.
In January, when congressional opinion was shifting against the war, a Washington Post analysis made eight references to "public opinion," as if it were a magical floating balloon, without any mention of organized lobbying, petitioning, protests or marches. That was consistent with a pattern beginning before the invasion, when both the New York Times and National Public Radio reported that few people attended an October 2002 rally in Washington, only to admit a week later that 100,000 had been in the streets.

It's not credited and it's not covered. He's right that the shift didn't happen on its own. It really didn't happen with reporting. This came from all of us doing the work in our cities and towns.
We can do that with the war resisters in the military too. That's why it's important to be your own media in your circle.

Calvin e-mailed about John Murtha being mentioned yesterday. He wondered why I wouldn't be all, "Well what's wrong with him?" Who cares? Seriously. I have a limited amount of time. I can get all bogged down with this Congress member or that one, or I can focus on the stuff that I think matters. For all I know, Murtha's been in Congress longer than I've been alive. I wasn't interested in covering him. He came up once and C.I. made comments that told me there was no point in getting on the bandwagon others were creating for him. So I used my time to focus on more important stuff.

When time's limited, you have to go with what you care about. I'm trying to focus on the war. And I know it makes a difference not just with Friday's study group but also with people on campus. For over a year now, one guy's been listening when we're having conversations about Iraq on campus. He never had anything much to say. Now he's usually got some news of something that just happened in Iraq. So it's important to get the word out but while you're doing that, you're also helping to create interest.

I have no idea what stuff Tony, Chad and me were talking about (it's usually us three getting together on campus) that caught this other guy's attention but I know it wasn't me giving a history lesson on John Murtha.

So we all do what we can. If Calvin's interested in John Murtha, like I said yesterday, listen to Law and Disorder because Anthony Arnove breaks it down real clear. I'll probably talk about the episode more this week but not tonight. There may not be enough time and I've also got something by one of the show's co-hosts that I want put up here. This is from "The War Crimes Case Against Rumsfeld" and it's an interview with Michael Ratner about the lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld and others in the administration:

Question: Let's begin with the nature of this complaint and what it's designed to accomplish. Rumsfeld is a major focus, but the lawsuit seems to go well beyond him in its scope and intentions.
Michael Ratner: Well, European countries have a way of going after people in criminal cases that we're not familiar with in the U.S. They have a procedure where human rights groups and others, as well as the victims themselves, can go and ask a prosecutor to investigate someone for criminal liability. In the U.S., of course, you can knock on a prosecutor's door but then he shuts it in your face and it's all over. In Germany and other European countries, if the prosecutor shuts the door in your face you can go to court and the prosecutor must have a valid reason for not investigating. So that's a big difference. Germany also has a law, like some other European countries are beginning to have, that says certain crimes are subject to prosecution no matter where in the world they're committed, and even if there's no connection between that particular country and the alleged crime. And certain crimes are considered so serious and so heinous that every country is considered to have an interest in prosecuting them. One of those crimes involves violation of the Geneva Conventions. And these countries have universal jurisdiction, which means they can prosecute the person no matter where he or she committed the war crimes. Germany has very good law on that, and that's why we decided to go there to try to get an investigation of the key U.S. government officials who were involved in setting up and implementing what I call the torture program in the U.S. post-9/11.
Normally, you would stay in the U.S. to do that if you could, but of course there's now a complete block here. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is on one side as the person who would have to prosecute people criminally, but he's deeply involved himself in the torture program. And on the other side there's Rumsfeld, who has resigned but is still in office at this time and is also deeply involved in the torture program. And Congress has done nothing, with neither Republicans nor Democrats issuing a complaint about this. There's also Bush, who's insisting he wants to continue to have the right to use torture. And my view, and the view of the others who have filed this complaint, is that you must have accountability on the part of those in this country who have supported torture. We still have a torture program in place and we have to do something about it.
Question: Who, exactly, are the plaintiffs and defendants in this case?
Michael Ratner: We decided to go after people high up in the chain of command, led by Donald Rumsfeld. In regard to Rumsfeld himself, we're alleging that he committed war crimes by approving various interrogation techniques. That's what he and the others call them, interrogation techniques, but they're really torture techniques--everything from stress positions, stripping, sexual humiliation, dogs, hypothermia, sleep deprivation, etc. And we have Rumsfeld approving, essentially, using these techniques, in his own handwriting. Rumsfeld has been involved, clearly, with Guantánamo and Iraq, as well as Baghram prison in Afghanistan.
And among the other named defendants we also have General Ricardo Sanchez, who was in charge of the Iraq war at the outset and authorized these torture techniques. There's also George Tenet, who was head of the CIA, and that of course involves the CIA's secret detention sites around the world, where waterboarding and other kinds of torture went on. Those are three of the people at the top who we've named as defendants. Then we have the lawyers, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo in particular, who basically set up the legal framework. There was a case during the Nuremburg trials in Germany after World War 2 in which German lawyers were gone after because they implemented the Nazi program of murder. People like Bybee and Yoo argue they're just lawyers giving their legal opinions, but when you look at the context that's not what happened. What happened is that some people resisted using torture, both in the CIA and the military. They said we're not going to do this because we might get prosecuted, and therefore we want legal protection, so write us something that allows us to do this. So that's where the lawyers like Bybee and Yoo come in.
Those are the main defendants, plus a few others further down the chain who were in Iraq and responsible for carrying out the orders, like Colonel Thomas Pappas. And we have a couple of people from Rumsfeld's office, like Stephen Cambone, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, and a couple of Cheney people. There are 12 defendants in all. As plaintiffs, we have 11 Iraqi prisoners and one from Guantánamo. The Iraqis were in Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi prisons, and they tell devastating stories. For example, there was an insurgency in one village and the U.S. troops came in and targeted this particular guy's house and bombed it and went in and killed his 80-year-old father and tortured him for a week and then let him go and basically said they had the wrong guy. They never said they were sorry, just that they had the wrong guy.
With the Guantánamo prisoner, we have the most direct link to Rumsfeld, although all of the plaintiffs and what happened to them represent pretty direct links to him. But for the Guantánamo prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani, we have an interrogation log which, while it reads with a certain banality, describes a two-month period of 48 days in which he endured sleep deprivation, was chained to a chair, had intravenous water retention so that he was forced to urinate on himself, and was stripped and had a female straddle him and abuse him sexually. And there were things done to him that are probably even much worse that we don't yet know about for sure. For example, a fake rendition, we think, where he was put on a plane and flown around and taken back to Guantánamo, but he didn't know that and thought he was in some other country, like Egypt, where he would be tortured even further. And with this Al-Qahtani interrogation, we actually have Rumsfeld essentially approving and/or supervising it in some way. And that came out not from our papers, but from the government's own report, saying that Rumsfeld was involved in that interrogation. So Rumsfeld had very, very direct links with these people in the torture program. People in Germany, when we filed our complaint on November 14, and including the press, were no longer even disputing that the U.S. has been involved in war crimes, including torture.
The plaintiffs also include various human rights groups, and other organizations like the CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights), as well as a couple of Nobel Prize winners. And the other important factor is that we had Janis Karpinski as a witness on November 14. [Karpinski was commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq at the point that the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was revealed.] The first time we brought the case, in 2004, we had Janis as a defendant. But this time, she actually came to Germany and spoke about the need for people to go up the chain of command, and she said she actually saw a set of interrogation procedures taped up in Abu Ghraib, and Rumsfeld had signed off on this.

That was long but it's important. Like Kat wrote last night about Rumfled the war criminal:

May that hang on his name the way it hangs on Henry Kissinger's. He'll probably walk, they usually do. But, if nothing else, he can live the rest of his days with every knowing what he did (how he degraded the country with his war crimes that destroyed people) and knowing that everyone knows it.

I hope they win the case but this is something that should follow him around and Kissinger's not in jail but he can't travel wherever he wants these days. That's a point Michael Ratner made on Monday's Law and Disorder. Hopefully, he'll be prosecuted and found guilty but he needs to be guilty, regardless, in the court of public opinion. We don't want him popping back up in a year or two as an 'expert' on TV doing more damage. Haul your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And that's it for me. It takes me forever to type and I don't know exactly when Blogger/Blogspot goes out tonight. Oh, Rebecca's grabbing Robert Parry tonight. We both like him and I just called her to tell her Blogger/Blogspot was going down. She wasn't sure what she had to write about and I told her I wanted to note Parry but didn't have time, so she's going to grab him.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy plays petulant and ignorant (well . . . maybe he's not playing), freedom of speech takes another blow in Iraq, the US Air Force asks for more money, Tony Blair takes a leak in public, and who gave what orders?

Starting with children's games, the US administration remains in denial about the civil war raging in Iraq.
Peter Walker (Guardian of London) reports Bully Boy says Iraq is not in a civil war. It's not, it's not, it's not, and if you don't stop saying it is, he's going to run to Big Babs and you'll be sorry. Bully Boy pins the blame on al Qaeda. He's 'assisted' by the likes of Michael R. Gordon and Dexy-Dexy "Pads a Million" Filkins (New York Times) who take dictation very well in this morning's paper as they single-source the 'news' with an anonymous source who just happens to pin the blame on "the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah." Congratulations to Gordo and Dexy for proving that the male secretary is far from a thing of the past.

While the stenogs provide cover for the Bully Boy,
Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London via CounterPunch) reports: "Iraq is rending itself apart. The signs of collapse are everywhere. In Baghdad the police often pick up over 100 tortured and mutiliated bodies in a single day. Government ministries make war on each other. A new and ominoous stage in the disingration of the Iraqi state came earlier this month when police commandos from the Shia-controlled Interior Ministry kidnapped 150 people from the Sunni-run Higher Education Ministry in the hear of Baghdad. Iraq may be getting close to what Americans call 'the Saigon moment, the time when it becomes evident to all that the government is expiring." All but the stenogs.

Sunday's stoning of and jeeering and shouting at the puppet of the occupation in the Sadr City section of Baghdad demonstrates the risks of reality intruding when Nouri al-Maliki leaves the heavily fortified Green Zone. And outside of Baghdad, Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) report, things are as bad if not worse. Linzer and Ricks report on a Marine Corps intelligence report, "State of Insurgency in Al-Anbar," which finds that Al-Anbar Province is beyond US control, that it's become "a failed province" and that the Sunnis in the region are fleeing.

On the subject of fleeing,
The Arizona Daily Star reports that the lifting of the cufew in Baghdad on Monday resulted in "[h]undreds of Iraqi families . . . [making] a beeline for the airport, where they handed over their savings for one-way tickets to anyplace safe. Others ran for the border, with suitcases strapped to cars bound for Syria and Jordan. Families that stayed stocked up on food, kept their children home from school and waited for another round of sectarian bloodshed." IRIN reports that Human Rights Watch is calling "on Jordan to provide a Temporary Protection Regime (TPR) for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees living in its territory."

In the face of reality, Bully Boy turns a blind eye.
CBS and AP quote him stating, "There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." Ask him what the mission is and prepare for vague statements with no concrete markers. As Bully Boy gets pouty, Tony Blair takes a leak on Des Browne and the British public. Yesterday, England's Defense Secretary Des Browne stated, "I can tell you that by the end of next year I expect numbers of British forces in Iraq to be significantly lower -- by a matter of thousands”. Reuters reports today that Blair has declared, "We will remain there (in Iraq) in significant numbers even if there is . . . an adjustment to our role, there will still be a requirement." The promised handover of Basra will apparently change nothing. Meanwhile, AFP reports that South Korea has decided "to extend the mission for another year" in Iraq but will be cutting it's troops from 2,3000 "to around 1,200".

Andy Sullivan (Reuters) reports Bill Keller has issued a statement stating that the New York Times will call Iraq what it is, a civil war. Keller is quoted: "It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war." The article notes LA Times has been doing so since October and that McClatchy Newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Sacremento Bee have called it a civil war. Yesterday, NBC became the first network to officially call it what it was.]

Meanwhile, in Australia, Peter Tinley, former Australian soldier who served in Iraq and declared the illegal war "morally bankrupt,"
tells ABC's Lateline that Australian forces are maxed out: "I'm not talking about the number of troops on the ground . . . I'm talking about the span of command, the span by which the Defence Force can operate and manage the number of operations."

Can Baghdad be 'managed'?
Ned Parker and Ali Hamdani (Times of London) report that
"In the war for Baghdad, mosques serve as garrisons. Sunnis use religious sanctuaries as strongholds to fight for mixed neighbourhoods. Shia extremists covert their mosques and prayer rooms, called husseiniyas, into execution chambers. As Iraq falls apart, people like [Hassan] Mahmoud are now terrified by Baghdad's places of worship, which they regard as potential gulags and gallows in the Sunni-Shiar war."

But the problem? The media. Apparently. As Sandra Lupien reported onn yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News, "Iraq's parliament speaker implemented new rules banning reporters from the legislative building and imposed a thirty minute delay on broadcast of sessions This in an apparent bid to hide from the public what are increasingly bitter debates between Shi'ite and Sunni lawmakers." "Freedom" still doesn't include a free press in Iraq.


BBC reports the deaths of at least four in Baghdad with at least seven wounded as a results of car bombs outside Yarmouk hospital. Reuters raises the wounded from those bombings to 40 and notes a home in Tal Afar which had been "booby-trapped with explosives" and left two police officers wounded while another two police officers were wounded in Mosul from a roadside bomb. Peter Walker (Guardian of London) reports that Kirkuk was the site of an assassination attempt on the governor of the province -- "The attacker, wearing a hidden explosives belt, tried to get inside the governor's car, but when he found the door locked he detonated his explosives, killing one civilian and wounding 17 other people, police said." AP notes three dead from a roadside bomb in Baladrooz (four more were reported wounded). And Reuters reports mortars injured 23 people in Baghdad.


AFP notes the shooting deaths of five in Mahmudiyah and seven people shot dead in Baquba.


Reuters reports thirty-six corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

US military announced today, "One Marine assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Nov. 27 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The announcement comes as Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on "a new study by the Caresey Institute" which finds that "[t]he mortality rate for soldiers from rural America is about 60 percent higher than the mortality rate for soliders from metropolitan areas." Glantz notes that the study finds that those "from rural Vermont have the highest death rate in the nation followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona."

Andrea Shalal-Esa (Reuters) reports that the United States Air Force says it needs "$33.4 billion in extra funding for fiscal 2007 to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and costs related to the 'longer war on terror'."

Current cost of the illegal war,
via counter on Tom Hayden's website, $346,000,000,000.

And all the money going to support the illegal war couldn't be used in a better way, right?
New Orleans?

Kyle Snyder: There are over 20 engineering units, there's more than 20 engineering units in the U.S. military. I was part of an engineering unit. And to see places that look worse than Iraq in my own country makes me sick, it makes me disgusted, that they're not doing any rebuilding effort for the poor, for the African-American community. It's like they just left it there. They're not even cleaning it up. It's a disaster area. It's, logistically, it's the most horrible thing I've seen because we have engineering units in Iraq when they should be here. . . . This should be first priority. . . . Start pulling troops from Iraq and rebuilding in New Orleans.

US war resister Kyle Snyder spent Thanksgiving week by joining with
Iraq Veterans Against the War, Col. Ann Wright, war resister Darrell Anderson and others to protest the School of Americas in Georgia and then going to New Orleans with Iraq Veterans Against the War to work on the rebuilding. Video clips are available at Soldier Say No! and the one quoted from is also available at Google Video. Snyder self-checked out of the US military in April of 2005, moved to Canada and then returned to the US and turned himself in at Fort Knox on October 31st, only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Snyder is now underground and on the road.

Also traveling is
CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin who was recently in South Korea and spoke with Christopher Brown (OhmyNews International): ". . . the job of the peace movement is going to be not [to] put down its guard, to really be forcing the Congress to carry out what is a mandate for radical change, and the radical change is to bring the troops home, to stop allocating money for this war and to have no permanent bases in Iraq. And I think the issue of more money for the war will come up very soon in January when the new Congress reconvenes because they are going to be asked for over a hundred billion dollars more for this war."

Benjamin and others were in South Korea to support the people objecting to US base being expanded and asking that South Korea's troops be brought home from Iraq. Other activists on the trip included Cindy Sheehan who was interviewed about it by Jennifer Veale (Time magazine). In her latest column (BuzzFlash), Sheehan considers the proposal of returning to the draft and is "100% categorically opposed to forced conscription" and outlines her reasons which include that the draft didn't stop earlier wars, the "draft will never be fair and balanced," and that "a draft will only give the war maching more of our children to consume to generate its wealth."

The peace movement includes Cindy Sheehan (who sparked it back to life), Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Diane Wilson, Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Camilo Mejia,
Alice Walker, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Parades, Missy Comley-Beattie, Agustin Aguayo, Stephen Funk, Carl Webb, Stan Goff, David Swanson (who examines war resistance here), . . . and many more (hopefully including you).

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Tom Hayden notes that "the anti-war movement has been a major factor in mobilizing a majority of the American public to oppose the occupation and killing in Iraq" and, noting the failure of media to cover the movement: "the only recourse is to prepare widespread demonstrations and ground organizing in the key presidential primary states, to make it impossible for any candidate to become president in 2008 without pledging to end the war and occupation. If there is no peace movement, there will be no peace."

What would there be instead? More abuses, probably done more openly. On Saturday,
Reuters reported Janis Karpinski's statement about the letter "signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation." (Karpinski wrote about that in her book, spoke about it with Amy Goodman and Dennis Bernstein.) We can pair that with The Socialist Worker's report on British major Antony Royce's statements in the court-martial for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners where he testified that he was instructed "by Major Mark Robinson, a brigade intelligence adviser, to 'condition' prisoners. Royce said that he then checked with Major Russel Clifton, the brigade's legal adviser, and was again told that 'conditioning' and hooding were acceptable."
[Pru highlighted the article on Royce.]

Lastly, the
Pacifica's Archives is presenting a two-day special: Pacifica Radio Archives Presents Voices For Peace And Non-Violence. It is airing on all Pacifica stations (KPFA, KFCF, KPFT, WBAI, KPFK, WPFW), many affiliates and online. The special started today and pulls from the fifty plus years of archives. (Donations made during this two day period go to preserve the archives.) Among the voices heard today were MLK, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Camilo Mejia, Lena Horne, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Fonda, and many others.

tom hayden
kyle snyder
the new york times
dexter filkins
the washington post
dafna linzer
thomas e. ricksdavid swanson
aaron glantz
the kpfa evening news
sandra lupien
cindy sheehan
medea benjamin
the socialist worker