Friday, January 05, 2007

Matthew Rothschild, Iraq

Friday at last! :D Elaine and I are doing weekends with Rebecca (and Flyboy) for two more weekends. Things went really well on her Tuesday checkup but the doctor wanted to know if she was up to two more weeks of basically hanging around her house? We checked with Flyboy to make sure we weren't getting on his nerves and he said we weren't so we're doing this. (And will extend it if this continues. Rebecca's probably not going to be flying during her pregnancy but the doctor said coming into Boston on the ferry in a few weeks wouldn't be a problem.)

Jim called me and said there was something C.I. really wanted to note but didn't have time for. I said, "Sure pass it on." I liked it so much, I shared it with Elaine and we're both noting it tonight. This is from Matthew Rothschild's "A Journalistic Bias Toward Acquiescence:"

There's a sick collusion going on in Washington.
And I'm not talking about the corporate lobbyists and the elected officials who represent them.
No, I’m talking about centrist Democrats and the hack journalists who cover them.
You could see this collusion in a so-called "News Analysis" piece by Carl Hulse of The New York Times of January 5.
The headline was a big clue: "For Democrats, a Choice: Forward or Reverse?"
Let's see now. What's got a more positive connotation?
It's not reverse.
But reverse in this case means the Democrats "can spend their energy trying to reverse what they see as the flaws of the Bush Administration and a dozen years in which conservative philosophy dominated Congress."
And forward means "they can accept the rightward tilt of that period and grudgingly concede that big tax cuts, deregulation, restrictions on abortion, and other Republican-inspired changes are now a permanent part of the legislative framework."
The Times has its directions mixed up. Capitulating is not going forward. Fighting on principle is not going backward.

I'll even note something else, Rothschild's book comes out soon. (C.I. told me about that.) The New York Times is always full of advice, isn't it? And none of it helpful.

So I see Eason Jordan joined in the right wing attack on an AP source. That's the sort of thing that happens when you try to run a "bipartisan" website instead of a partisan or nonpartisan one, I guess. He should be embarrassed at the very least.

That's the source for the TRUE story of the shooting and burning at the Sunni mosque. The AP person speaking to E&P (in link before) just notes the right wing bloggers but I remember C.I. being very pissed off that the New York Times also questioned the events in print (and the paper denied that they happened). That's not to defend the right wing bloggers but it is to note that they weren't the only ones saying it didn't happen. (C.I. included it in the snapshot. When it was 'controversial' and I got some e-mails on it C.I. said, "Mike, you can say 'well that's what the AP reported if you want, but don't issue a retraction because it did happen." I didn't bring up the e-mails because I was thinking about issuing a retraction, I was just passing on what some lunkheads were saying and didn't realize that it was such a 'controversy.' )

Eason Jordan left CNN after the right wing bloggers went to town on him and I guess he's now instilled cowardice. (I'm speaking only for me. C.I. knows Jordan but decided against linking to his site when he made that stupid "bi-partisan" statement. And I believe "stupid" was the word C.I. publicly used to describe Jordan's statement at The Common Ills.) So now the source may get arrested for telling the truth to the AP. That's what happens to people who try to tell the truth. The whole Iraqi government is in crackdown mode, trying to minimize the violence that's been going on. (Of course with a press eager to run after the show execution all week, it's not hard to minimize the violence. They're like dogs chasing after a ball -- at the New York Times especially!)

The 3,000 mark didn't really seem to register, did it? I went to a demonstration, my whole family did, and I'm guessing a lot of you did too. I know it registered with people who follow Iraq. But I'm talking about the press which didn't seem to give a damn. (In this instance, I do need to note that the New York Times did make it a front page story and headline. Broken clock gets the time right twice a day. :D)

When the 2700 mark and the 2800 mark and the 2900 mark was basically ignored, I really was thinking, "Okay, media (independent) is saving it up to focus on the 3,000 mark." Then it happened and we all saw that wasn't the case.

Has indepedent media ever seen as out of touch with the people? I think it was an embarrassing week for them and a real case of The Emperor Has No Clothes On. It was embarrassing, disappointing and shameful. I've never grasped before how little independent media truly cared about Iraq. But they really don't seem to, do they?

And I loved "Other Items" today, where C.I. noted that the guest on Democracy Now! should have been corrected when he was off on his 'George McGovern wanted to end the war and he lost and the Democrats looked weak on national security as a result' b.s. Nixon was pretending to be a peace candidate as well but I guess it's not important to point that out, to note his 'secret plan' to end the war? Better to just go along as a guest repeats falsehoods.

We're listening to Carly Simon's Into White and if I'd known Elaine would be so wild about the CD, I would've brought the copy in the box C.I. dropped off this week. :D I like the CD but the folks heard it. :D Dad was walking past my room last night and does a double take. "Is that Carly?" I haven't seen it since. :D I'm sure he and Ma will get 'romantic' Saturday with Carly in the background. My sister's staying at a friends so they'll have the place to themselves Saturday. (Provided my other brothers and sisters who don't live at home stay away. I should probably get on the cell phone and do an alert, "Don't drop by!")

Now, I always love the snapshot but I really love this one. I think it hits really hard on the whole issue behind Watada's case. So pay attention as you read C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, January 5, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US war resister Ehren Watada's pretrial hearing began yesterday, Bully Boy shuffles the deck while an "I told you so" travels across the Atlantic from France, and Ahmed Hadi Naji, who worked for AP, is discovered dead.

Monday, February 5th, the US military attempts to court-martial
Ehren Watada. Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Yesterday, at Fort Lewis in Washington, a pretrial hearing began that will determine what arguments are allowed in the court-martial and what arguments will be disallowed. The hearing was presided over by Lt. Col. John Head, the court-martial would have a jury made up of *a panel of* officers, and the AP reports that he will make his decision on "the parameters of the case" next week. Melanthia Mitchell (AP) reports that on Thursday: "Watada's parents sat in the back of the courtroom during the hearing, his father at times leaning forward on the bench with his hands clasped in front of him." As Linton Weeks (Washington Post) noted, Carolyn Ho, Ehren's mother, is a high school counselor who went on leave to raise awareness about her son and is on leave for the pretrial and the court-martial. Bob Watada, Ehren's father, has also been engaged in speaking tours around the country to raise awareness about Ehren and, for any wondering, Bob Watada recently retired (and recently remarried, Rosa Sakanishi, Ehren's step-mother, has accompanied Bob Watada on his speaking tours).

The US military wants to reduce the court-martial to a "yes" or "no" -- Did you refuse to deploy to Iraq? They wish to prevent
Ehren Watada from explaining his decision -- in effect that are hoping to prevent him from making the best defense possible when he is facing six years in prison.

Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported: "At a hearing Thursday at Fort Lewis, there was little dispute about the action taken by 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who last June refused to deploy with his brigade to Iraq. But defense and prosecutors sparred much of the afternoon about whether Watada's motives for opting out of the war should affect the outcome of a February court-martial trial that could result in a six-year prison term." If the military was interested in justice (and sure of their case), they wouldn't be attempting to shut down Watada's defense.

The prosucetor, Captain Dan Kuecker has stated, "
There is no rational doubt in this situation; . . . it's a lawful order." Were he as sure of himself as he pretends to the press, there would be no attempts to prevent Watada from explaining both his actions and the reasons behind them.

Watada explained the reasons most recently to Kevin Sites (Kevin Sites in The Hotzone): "I think that in March of 2003 when I joined up, I, like many Americans, believed the administration when they said the threat from Iraq was imminent -- that there were weapons of mass destruction all throughout Iraq; that there were stockpiles of it; and because of Saddam Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 terrorist acts, the threat was imminent and we needed to invade that country immediately in order to neutralize that threat. Since then I think I, as many, many Americans are realizing, that those justifications were intentionally falsified in order to fit a policy established long before 9/11 of just toppling the Saddam Hussein regime and setting up an American presence in Iraq. . . . I think the facts are out there, they're not difficult to find, they just take a little bit of willingness and interest on behalf of anyone who is willing to seek out the truth and find the facts. All of it is in the mainstream media. But it is quickly buried and it is quickly hidden by other events that come and go. And all it takes is a little bit of logical reasoning. The Iraq Survey Group came out and said there were no weapons of mass destruction after 1991 and during 2003. The 9/11 Commission came out and said there were no ties with Iraq to 9/11 or al-Qaeda. The president himself came out and said nobody in his administration ever suggested that there was a link. And yet those ties to al-Qaeda and the weapons of mass destruction were strongly suggested. They said there was no doubt here were weapons of mass destruction all throughout 2002, 2003 and even 2004. So, they came out and they say this, and yet they say it was bad intelligence, not manipulated intelligence, that was the problem. And then you have veteran members of the CIA that come out and say, 'No. It was manipulated intelligence. We told them there was no WMD. We told them there were no tides to al-Qaeda. And they said that that's not what they wanted to hear'."

In essence,
Ehren Watada is on trial for the media -- the media that sold the illegal war and the media that told the truth (eventually for some) about it. So it has been surprising to see nothing on Watada in the leading independent magazines in 2006. In 2007, The Nation discovered Watada on page 14 of the January 8 and 15th double issue in an article written by Marc Cooper (click here for Yahoo version -- subscribers only at The Nation website). Like many Americans, Watada believe the spin/lies from the US administration (repeated near word for word by most media outlets with little skepticism). Like many Americans, he's since come to see that reality and spin were two different things.

This new awareness is reflected not only in the civilian population but also, as
Rachel Ensign (Citizen Soldier) reminds us, within the military as well: "A new poll conducted by the Army Times newspaper at the end of 2006 found that a majority of soldiers polled now disapprove of how Bush has conducted the Iraq war to date. . . . Only 41% of soldiers polled today think that we should have invaded Iraq -- down from 65% in 2003. This closely mirrors sentiment among civilians; only 45% of whom now believe that the war was a good idea."

Michael Gilbert (The News Tribune) reports that, based on comments and questions during the pretrial hearing, Lt. Col John Head "likely won't allow Lt. Ehren Watada to defend himself" by making the case for his actions and why he acted as he did and that Head declared, "At this point I'm not inclined to grant a hearing on the Nuremburg defense." The Nuremburg defense is in reference to the Nuremberg trials during which soldiers stating that they were only following orders were told that was not a legal excuse for their actions. As Ruth noted, following the August Article 32 hearing of Watada, "The message that Lieutenant Colonel Mark Keith appears to be endorsing is follow all orders but, if it later turns out that they were illegal, you are on your own and will take full responsibility. At best, like with Lieutenant Calley, the War Monger in the oval office may pardon you after you are convicted. What is the message? Why teach the obligation to follow only legal orders, why refute 'I was only following orders' as a defense and then punish Lieutenant Ehren Watada for doing just that while advising him that it is not his place to make such a determination when, in fact, the invididual who obeys the unlawful order is the one who will be held responsible by the military justice system?"

Why teach? Refer to
Ruth's Report where she goes over retired Col. Ann Wright's testimony at the Article 32 hearing on what she taught soldiers at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg while teaching the Law of Land Warfare. Taught is FM 27-10 (Law of Land Warfare):

509. Defense of Superior Orders
a. The fact that the law of war has been violated pursuant to an order of a superior authority, whether military or civil, does not deprive the act in question of its character of a war crime, nor does it constitute a defense in the trial of an accused individual, unless he did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know that the act ordered was unlawful. In all cases where the order is held not to constitute a defense to an allegation of war crime, the fact that the individual was acting pursuant to orders may be considered in mitigation of punishment.

Ehren Watada could be prosecuted for actions committed during war by the above; however, the US military does not want to allow him to use the same law to defend himself. Only a fool would call that "justice." This is what Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, is noting when he told Linton Weeks, "The United States talks out of both sides of its mouth. We've prosecuted soldiers in other countries for following orders to commit war crimes. But God forbid you should use that refusal as a defense in this country."

Christian Hill (The Olympian) reports, however, that the military prosecution may have outfoxed itself: "The judge, Lt. Col. John Head, told prosectors that he was not inclined to grant the evidentiary hearing, but 'they opened the door for him allowing it by prosecuting his statements'" thereby making it "relevant. Some of those statements have become relevant by the sheer nature of how the government has charged this case."

Head was not referring to the charge of missing deployment but the charge ("conduct unbecoming") based upon remarks Watada made about the war such as ""
The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of Iraqis is not only a terrible and moral injustice, but it's a contradiction to the Army's own law of land warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes." Remember: A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College.

Ehren Watada's awakening mirrors that of many Americans. It also has echoes
in the growing resistance within the military to the illegal war as many resisters vocalize sentiments similar to Watada's (usually noting the works of Howard Zinn). Others that a part of this growing resistance within the military include
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress this month.

While Watada faces court-martial for questioning the illegal war, France's president earns headlines for doing the same.
AFP reports that Jacques Chirac speech today revolved largely around the illegal war: "As France had forseen and feared, the war in Iraq has sparked upheavals that have yet to show their full effects . . . exacerbated the divisions between communities and threatened the very integrity of Iraq. . . . It undermined the stability of the entire region, where every country now fears for its security and independence." (Chirac's also getting attention for, in the same speech, calling for slashing corporate taxes.)

Before noting some of the violence today in Iraq, let's note December again.
Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes that the Iraq Interior Ministry's figure of 1,930 Iraqis dead for the month of December (an undercount) remains "a new high" for any month. Meanwhile, the count for US troop fatalities in Iraq for the month of December reached 115.


Reuters reports: "A roadside bomb struck a U.S. marine tank in the western city of Falluja on Friday", while a roadside bomb wounded four Iraqi soldiers and killed anohter in Baiji, and a roadside bomb in Kirkuk left two police officers wounded. Christopher Torchia (AP) reports
four Iraqis killed on the "outskirts" of Baghdad from mortar attacks.


Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in the Diyala Province. Reuters reports that "a former colonel" was shot dead in Mosul, as were a father and son in Iskandariya.


Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 12 corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("2 sadr city, 2 dora, 2 amil, 2 jihad, 2 hurriyah, 1 kadhemiyah, 1 abu atsheer"). Reuters notes that three corpses were discovered in Iskandariya. And AP reports that Ahmed Hadi Naji, 28-years-old, "was found shot in the back of the head Friday, six days after he was last seen by his family leaving work". AP notes that he is "the second AP employee killed in less than a month" and that he is the fourth "to die violently" in the illegal war. They note that Ahmed Hadi Naji is survived by his wife, Sahba'a Mudhar Khalil, and his four-month-old twins, Zaid (male) and Rand (female). Christopher Torchia (AP) reports that Ahmed Hadi Naji had worked "for the AP for 2 1/2 years".

Aref Mohmmed (Reuters) reports that one "American civilian contractor and two Iraqi translators" were kidnapped in Basra today.

Changing focus . . .

So let's be really clear, torture in Iraq is rampant and that's because it's policy even though we have had a replacement of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld who infamously told . . . general, retired, now retired, but at the time general, [Janis] Karpinski '
make sure this happens' regarding specific torture techniques that he wanted to begin using inside places like Abu Ghraib well that policy hasn't changed as I said, these people are still being tortured, they're just not letting people bring in their video cameras and their digital cameras so that the images can find themselves splashed across the screens of 60 Minutes II program, for example.

What is that?
Dahr Jamail speaking with Nora Barrows-Friedman on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints (use either to listen to an archived broadcast -- Rebecca's "nora barrows-friedman interviewed dahr jamail on flashpoints" offers an overview of the interview).
For an hour, Nora Barrows-Friedman and
Dahr Jamail reviewed the year 2006 in Iraq, focusing on the death squads, women, children, attacks on civilians and much more.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: Dahr, can you talk now about the permanent US military base structures this was being talked about openly and publicly in the spring of 2006. But how has that discussion progressed and what does a permananet US military base structure look like on the ground? How many are we talking here?

Dahr Jamail: We started out with over a hundred bases in Iraq and they are slowly consolidating this number down to, right now it's around, it was 53 last time I checked. So they're slowly consolidating them down and if people want an idea of what Iraq might look like in the next couple of years, well we just have to look at Afghanistan because that's where, kind of, this model started and there's a couple of years jump there. And if you look at Afghanistan, we've got, I believe, four major bases right around the area of where I believe the proposed pipeline's going to go. So we should expect something similar but more bases in Iraq. There's going to be, right now it looks like, between six and twelve, we're not real sure on the number, but between six and twelve of these permanent bases. The military and the corporate media won't call them permanent because they don't have to, because they just made sure that they would have permanent access into particular areas in Iraq and so there was nothing in the so-called constitutional referendum that took place on October 15 a year ago that banned access from a foreign country, that's why there was a lot of wrangling along that constitutional referendum and why even someone in the UN that I spoke with, I quoted him as saying there was 'undue, inappropriate, US influence on this constitution' and it was around Iraq's oil and it was also around permanent access. So as a result we have between six and twelves of these bases. Just to give you an example of what these bases look like there's one called Camp Anaconda which is actually an air field in Balad, just north of Baghdad, and Camp Anaconda is a base that has 250 of its own aircraft. Air Force officials there claim that it was the second busiest runway on earth. There are 20,000 soldiers on this base less than a thousand of whom ever leave whatsoever. There's a base exchange there where they sell televisions, iPods, CDs, DVDs, TVs, there's a first run movie theater, . . . very elaborate meals served by Kellog Brown & Root employing third country nationals which is kind of the way these people are referred to in Iraq by the contractors but really if we're going to call them what they are, they're slaves. They're people from places like India and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh working for slave wages serving these very elaborate meals because with the cost plus fix fee contract that means that when Halliburton is serving these very elaborate meals the more money they spend in Iraq, the more money they make. So that's what's being served in a huge base like that. Soldiers actually gain weight and if they don't of course want any of that food or if they get burnt out on it like say you would at a college, for example, at a college dorm, well then they can go to the 24 hour Burger King, they can go to the Popeye's Fried Chicken, they can go to the Subway sandwich shop, and then wash it down with a latte from Starbucks. So that's just one of these bases to give you an idea, there's also AT&T phone home centers, there's also a Hertz rental car which I find kind of amusing because it's not like they're going to leave the base and go for a little drive in Al-Anbar Province but there it is, Hertz-Rent-A-Car, . . . I like to specifically name these companies so people can take note of that. So that's what these bases look like in Iraq and to contextualize that a little bit, it sounds a lot like some of these bases we have in Germany now, doesn't it, which have been there, what are we talking now, a little over sixty years, so just to give people an idea of what the situation is on the ground regarding the bases, we talk about the US' so-called embassy in Baghdad that's being built as we speak. This was a $572 million contract that was awarded to a very corrupt . . . Kuwaiti construction firm with very direct ties to the Bush administration and this is an embassy that's going to have room for between 3 and 8,000 government employees, it has its own school . . . so I don't think we should expect any Iraqi kids at this school, it has the largest swimming pool in the country, yoga studios, barbershops, beauty shops, its own water plant, it's own electricity plant, it has apartment buildings. And when it's complete, it will be, it's 21 buildings and the area will be the size of the Vatican City. So that's the so-called embassy that's being built in Iraq so if we talk about when are we going to withdraw troops and why aren't the Democrats talking about withdrawal, this sort of thing, instead why is there talk of a 'surge'? It's because we . . . just need look no further than the physical evidence on the ground, augmented by the US policy like the National Security Strategy and the Quadrennial Defense Review Report -- all of these signs point towards permanent occupation of Iraq just like we have in Germany.

But never fear, Democrats are in power in the US Congress which translates as . . . a strongly worded letter.
CNN reports that "leaders of the new Democratic Congress" sent an open letter to the Bully Boy which "said increasing troop levels in Iraq would be a 'serious mistake'." That's telling him! (And shades of the letter Carolyn Ho got from Congress.) AFP reports that the letter states "it is time to bring the war to a close." And no doubt, this wouldn't have even happened were it not for the activists on Wednesday (sse Thursday's snapshot). Cindy Sheehan, who handled the press conference Yawn Emmanuel and other Congress members fled from, today on Democracy Now!, addressed the realities too many elected Democrats want to avoid: that the war is costing the US 10 million dollars every hour, that plans and programs will cost money and defunding the war needs to be placed 'back on the table,' that the people want the war ended and the Democratic Party was voted into office not to wait around for another laughable 'plan' from the Bully Boy, to get the United States out of the illegal war.

Meanwhile, in shuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic,
AFP reports that Bully Boy nominated the now former US director of national intelligence John Negroponte to be the Deputy Secretary of State -- second to Condi -- while he "announced that he had chosen vice adminiral Michael McConnell, a former head of the National Security Agency, to replace Negroponte at the head of all 16 US spy agencies". And as Christopher Torchia (AP) notes,
generals John P. Abizaid and George Casey will be replaced shortly.

Returning to news of war resisters, earlier this week,
Mary Ambrose (New American Media) took a look at war resisters who seek asylum in Canada and noted the stories of Chris and Stephanie Teske -- Chris decided to self-checkout while stationed in Germany but US troops do not "have access to their passports" so, after deciding on Canada, Stephanie: "I cried a lot and told them we'd spent $3,000 on these tickets and my parents were waiting for us and frankly, we just got lucky."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Snooping, Monica Benderman, Jane Fonda, Iraq

Thursday! One day until the weekend! :D

So, as Wally's "THIS JUST IN! NEGROPONTE GOES BAILING! BULLY BOY GOES SNOOPING!" and Cedric's "Naughty Negroponte, Nosy Bully Boy" note, Bully Boy now claims he has the right to open anyone's mail without a search warrant. I missed that part of the Constitution. Anyone else remember that? Get the feeling Bully Boy has never read (or had read to him) the Constitution?

What rights are we supposedly giving Iraqis because, looking around, doesn't seem like we got too many left laying around. Seems like Bully Boy's spent six years trying to strip Americans of every right we have.

He's "The Destroyer."

So let's move over to something I saw today and Elaine usually highlights Monica and/or Kevin Benderman but she's got the group she does on Thursdays so I'll grab it. Kevin Benderman is a war resister the military railroaded in a sham of a trial that they called "justice." It wasn't justice. Kevin's been out for a while now. This is from Monica Benderman's "Let There Be Peace:"

Three thousand soldiers have died in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands have died in the two hundred years of this country's heritage. Every soldier served believing in the stand they freely chose to take. Every soldier died believing their action would make a difference. Every soldier served expecting our country to support their stand with a commitment to life as strong as the commitment they have given to defend life and the laws that govern it.
How many soldiers have become conscientious objectors in the same time that hundreds of thousands have died? Why is there not a number for them? Why is it that conscientious objectors are criticized, ridiculed and expected to hide? Why is it that a discussion of conscientious objection is forced on the back pages away from public view?
When I visit a bookstore and ask for the location of books addressing conscientious objection, the staff doesn't even know what the phrase means. Why?
When I visit the offices of members of Congress and present my husband's position and ask for their assistance, they haven't the first clue how to respond. Why not?
When I talk to citizens about my husband's case, and explain his reasons and mine for supporting him, they respond with a lack of understanding, disbelief that conscientious objection is even possible in a volunteer military.
Have we lost sight of our conscience?
Could this be why we continue to struggle to achieve peace?
In September in our nation's capital, my husband and I walked past the war memorials and the monuments to leaders from the past two hundred years of this country's history, reading the tributes engraved in marble. The pervading theme was Peace, not war. Every quote read told of a vision - that this great country would one day stand on conscience and live for life, giving others the opportunity to live in peace.
The pain of war is a heartache that will not go away until war is no more. As painful as the year of my husband's imprisonment seemed at times to be, there was always the knowledge that no matter what the Army commanders tried, together Kevin and I were taking steps to live in peace.
Where is your conscience, America?
Why do your people continue to divide for vengeance rather than unite in hope?
When will we let there be Peace?

I don't know Monica Benderman so I can't give the answers she would but I'll offer mine. Where is America's conscience? A lot of people who know do care but how many people know? I'll get back to that. Why do your people continue to divide for vengeance rather than unite in hope? I think Bully Boy set that tone most recently with all his "with us or against us" talk.

I think her questions are important ones. But I guess what I'd keep coming back to, if I was talking to her face to face, would be: Monica, who had you on as a guest after Kevin was sent to military prison? I can't think of anyone. I'd ask her, Monica, who published or posted your writing? I can only think of CounterPunch.

My point here is that people can't know about what no one tells them and Kevin Benderman either got a tiny bit of attention from independent media or none at all. I think people do care . . . when they know but I don't think most of the time they ever know. I don't think war resisters get the attention they deserve. Iraq doesn't get the attention it deserves. Look at this week when The Nation ignored the 3,000 mark and then, days later, finally "noted" it by including it in one sentence. Iraq doesn't "come home" for some people because it's not "brought home" by the media.

I think Sir! No Sir! was the best movie of 2006 and yet I don't ever get to watch it because it's always loaned out. I'm always being surprised when a friend or a friend's friend hasn't seen it and I'll say, "You've got to see it!" Then I'll loan it out.

I'm glad to loan it out but I'm amazed at how many people don't know about it. And I'm talking about people who are following Iraq and stuff. But that's how bad the media is today -- especially independent media -- that a movie about war resisters during Vietnam, a great movie, most people still don't know about it. If you haven't seen Sir! No Sir! you need to.

Now let me talk a bit about a book. This is Jane Fonda's Words of Politics and Passion. Eve Ensler does the foreword and Mary Hershberger is the editor. It's put ou by The New Press. (Which C.I. says will be putting out Matthew Rothschild's book shortly as well as Camilo Mejia telling his own story in his own words -- so that's two books to look forward to shortly.) So I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't planning on reading today but I picked it up just to browse and ended up reading the whole thing. A lot of it from Vietnam really can be applied today. I should probably put in here that this is speeches and interviews. I'm putting in this that starts on page 126 and carries on over to page 127 and she's talking about when was visiting Vietnam for the first time:

One day I had been taken several hours south of Hanoi to visit what had been the textile capital of North Vietnam that was razed to the ground and we were in the car and suddenly the driver and my interpreter said, "Quick, get out!" All along the road there are these manholes that hold one person and you jump in them and you pull kind of a straw lid over to protect you from the shrapnel if there's a raid. I was running down the street to get into one of these holes and suddenly I was grabbed from behind by a young girl. She was clearly a schoolgirl because she had a bunch of books tied with a rubber belt hanging over her shoulder and she grabbed me by the hand and ran with me in front of this peasant hut. And she pulled the straw thatch off the top of the hole and jumped in and pulled me in afterward. These are small holes. These are meant for one small Vietnamese person. She and I got in the hole and she pulled the lid over and the bombs started dropping and causing the ground to shake and I'm thinking, "This is not happening. I'm going to wake up. I'm not in a bomb hole with a Vietnamese girl whom I don't know." I could feel her breath on my cheek. I could feel her eyelash on my cheek. It was so small that we were crammed together.
Pretty soon the bombing stopped. It turned out it was not that close. She crawled out and I got out and I started to cry and I just said to her, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." And she started to talk to me in Vietnamese. And the translator came over.
She must have been fourteen or fifteen. And she looked me straight in the eye and she said, "Don't be sorry for us. We know why we're fighting. It's you who don't know . . ."

Iraqis probably know what they're fighting for too -- their country, getting foreign troops out. What's the US fighting for? WMD? Nope. None, never were any. "Freedom"? Ha! Things are worse for Iraqis today than when Saddam Hussein was in power. So what lie is left? 9-11? That lie was false from the start and only the most uninformed or stupid still buy that.

What's a "win" in Iraq? There is no win and there is no plan. There's nothing but people dying. It's time to bring the troops home. Congress better find the guts to do it because Bully Boy won't. The only way Congress will do anything is if we demand it. So we need to start demanding.

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

Thursday, Januray 4, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US war resister Ehren Watada's pretrial hearing begins, hide it behind 'surge' or 'bump' but it's still an escalation, and activists in DC interrupt a standard issue press conference to press for answers on Iraq,

Starting with
Ehren Watada. In June, Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In August, the US military held an Article 32 hearing. Now the court-martial is set for February 5th and the pre-trial hearing began today at Fort Lewis is Washington. The pre-trial hearing will determine the framework in which arguments can be made. As noted yesterday, Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, has stated that the military is attempting to prevent Watada from making his case for why he refused to deploy.

During the Article 32 hearing, Watada's defense called three witnesses,
Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois' College of Law, Champagne; Denis Halliday, the former Assistant Secretary General of the UN; and retired Colonel Ann Wright. These three witnesses addressed the issue of the war, it's legality, and the responsibilities of a service member to disobey any order that they believed was unlawful. The testimony was necessary because Watada's refusing to participate in the illegal war due to the fact that he feels it is (a) illegal and (b) immoral.

What the military would like to do in today's pre-trial hearing is reduce everything to whether or not Watada deployed with his unit? The answer, of course, is that he did not. The military does not want the issue of the legality of the war addressed. By closing off this discussion, they not only would destroy Watada's right to defend himself, they would be able, as the Bully Boy long has been able to, set the terms of the discussion and control what is and is not discussed.

Robbing Watada of his ability to present a full defense is a very serious issue and much more serious than fretting over whether a journalist might have to decide "Do I testify or not?" (No journalists will be testifying at the pre-trial.) But the most serious issue today is whether or not Watada will be allowed to present the best defense or if he will only be allowed to say "yes" and "no" in answer to the prosecution's questions or if, as Aileen Alfandary noted on
KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), he will be able to argue that
the war is illegal? This stance, putting the war on trial, is one that worries the US military.

On the December 9th
RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho (Ehren Watada's mother) noted that her son felt the decision was "the best thing he could do for his men .. . remain behind and speak truth" and that he feels his duty is to the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land in the United States.

Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports: "Peace activists, international law experts and war resisters past and present are girding themselves for events designed to drum up support for Lt Watada, recently described by Rolling Stone as 'one of this year's greatest mavericks'. Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that both sides "are expected to file several motions in preparation for his court-martial. Depending upon the motions, the judge could rule immediately or take several days to decide". Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) observes that this "opening round . . . could be key to defense hopes of putting the Iraq war on trial". As Sir! No Sir! noted in an e-mailing yesterday (click here), "The military's intention IS to SILENCE VOICES OF RESISTANCE and make an example out of Lt. Watada."

While much has been made of the press being asked to testify, Jeff Paterson, reporting for
Courage to Resist, notes that activists have also received military subpoenas including Phan Nguyen (Olympian Movement for Justice and Peace) and Gerri Haynes (Veterans for Peace). If found guilty of all charges, Watada could be sentenced to six years.

A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College will take place in Tacoma, Washington later this month.

Ehren Watada is part of a growing resistance within the military that includes Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress this month.

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, House Rep. Yawn Emanuel (Democrat, Illionis) was among those Democrats attempting to stage a blah press conference when approximately sixty peace activists began chanting. Leigh Ann Caldwell reported on
The KPFA Evening News yesterday that Cindy Sheehan stated there were no 'free passes' and featured the activists chanting "De-escalate, investigate, troops out now!"

David Swason noted today on KPFA's The Morning Show, the Democrats should be saying thank you because it gave the press conference meat that it wouldn't otherwise have in today's press (Iraq was added as a topic in today's reports), he also noted that Yawn "scurried off and left" allowing Cindy Sheehan to take over the press conference and she "did a better press conference, for about 45 minutes, than the Democrats could" have.
[Swanson writes about how poorly the press conference had been going and offers video links

On Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House in Congress (and the first woman to hold that post), Swanson stated that she was ignoring "what put her into power" which "was public opposition to this war and to the criminal nature of this administration."

Swanson feels that "people seem to understand we have to do a lot more than hope and cross our fingers" and that it's a "very different situation from when Clinton took office [1992] and everyone went home and assumed it would go well".

Though activists grasp the importance of ending the war, it's not that clear that elected officials do. One exception is US Rep. Lynn Woolsey who told Leigh Ann Caldwell, "If the Democrats don't end this war by 2008, we'll have lost our standing with the American public"
The KPFA Evening News). Another is US Rep. John Murtha who writes at The Huffington Post that he "will be recommending to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that we begin extensive hearings starting on January 17, 2007 that will address accountability, military readiness, intelligence oversight and the activities of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan." A third is US Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick who states, "We won in November because the people said bring the troops home" (KPFA's The Morning Show today).

Meanwhile, in DC, White House anonymice try to sell escalation as a "bump" and not a "surge" since the escalation numbers are expected to be lower than originally hinted at.
CBS and AP report that "military commanders" have told the Bully Boy's they can handle an escalation of "about 9,000 soldiers and Marines into Iraq with another 11,000 on alert outside the country". Early reports have noted that the Bully Boy would prefer to send 20,000 to 30,000 to Iraq. 20,000 isn't 'splitting the difference' or a 'bump.' It is an escalation. As Molly Ivins (Truthdig) observes: "This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will. Polls consistently show that less than 30 percent of the people want to maintain current troop levels. It is obscene and wrong for the president to go against the people in this fashion. And it's doubly wrong for him to send 20,000 more soldiers into this hellhole, as he reportedly will announce next week. . . . We need to cut through all the smoke and mirrors and come up with an exit strategy, forthwith."

And in Iraq today?


Steven R. Hurst (AP) reports two car bombs in Baghdad took 13 lives and left 25 wounded, resulted in "six smoldering cars," set a fuel station ablaze, and that "[a] woman in a black Muslim veil sat weeping on a curb outside Yarmouk hospital". The Latin American News Agency notes that the "two car bombs exploded at the same time" as "hundreds of people were in line at" the fuel station. Al Jazeera notes that Iraq's Interior Ministry states it was two car bombs but reports the first was a roadside bomb and the second was a car bomb. Reuters notes that a roadside bombing in Iskandariya killed one Iraq soldier and left four more wounded.


Reuters notes that a "police colonel" was shot dead in Mosul while, in Kerbala, city council member Akrem al-Zubaidi and three of his body guards were shot dead. DPA notes that the murders took place at a fake checkpoint and that "Al-Zobaydi was a close follower of the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Muhammad al-Sistani."


AFP notes that five corpses were found in Baghdad ("two of them headless"). Reuters notes that four corpses were discovered in Hilla.

Meanwhile, as the show execution has led to a feeding frenzy in all media, big and small, besides giving little attention to the tragic fact that
the 3,000 mark for number of US troops who have died in Iraq was passed on Sunday, it's also allowed the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell, to make laughable statements (which the press has run with) that things have gotten peaceful in Iraq. Peace doesn't include the murders that took place when the US military attacked the Iraqi National Dialogue Front (see Tuesday's snapshot).
Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) noted the attack and that Saleh al-Mutlaq, head of the NDF, advocates that all foreign troops (including US troops) leave Iraq. Today, Raed Jarrar (CounterPunch) notes that the "attack against the National Dialogue Front (NDF) led by Al-Mutlaq does not seem to be accidental. The Bush administration's attempts to create a pro-occupation coalition in the Iraqi government failed last week after Al-Sistani, the grand Shia Ayatollah, refused to support the U.S. plan. The bush administration's plan seems to have changed from simply excluding anti-occupation political parties (like Sadrists, Al-Fadila party, NDF, and others) from the Iraqi government to actively bombing them. The attack on NDF's headquarters in Baghdad is nothing more than the first step in the administration's plan B. The Al-Sadr movement and its militia, Al-Mahdi Army, seem to be next, and others will follow."

The feeding frenzy on the show execution silences many stories such as Watada, war resisters, the slaughter at NDF headquarters, the daily violence and chaos. The "silences" aren't that dissimilar from the ones that
Tillie Olsen wrote about in her groundbreaking book Silences. Olsen passed away Monday. Today, Dahr Jamail will be addressing Iraq tonight on KPFA's Flashpoints.

Finally, as Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News, Suzanne Swift left the military brig yesterday after serving 30 days for going AWOL. Swift will now complete the five years remaining on her Army contract.


the kpfa evening news

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I get e-mails :D

Hump day! Got a lot of e-mails and would be surprised by that but I saw the snapshot too. :D I always get a bump when C.I. quotes me in the snapshot. :D

Tara e-mailed, "Well I guess that's all we can expect from The Nation, one f**king sentence on the 3,000 mark and the sentence comes two days after. No one owns The Nation because who the f**k would want to?"

:D I loved that e-mail.

Sam wrote that the magazine "can't find Iraq with a map, a globe and a LoJack." There were 32 e-mails from people who'd never written before (and 64 in all) but everyone was disgusted with The Nation. I think we're all seeing the same thing, they talk a good game but they don't really give a damn about Iraq. They aren't really interested in ending the war anymore than (like Bonnie pointed out) impeaching Bully Boy. They float these ideas every now and then but they don't follow up. They're just yack-yack-yack Democratic Party, yack-yack-yack.

I'm tired of people pretending they care. I think they really act to derail the peace movement because they come on like they do and then they're off on all these other topics, just sort of implying that the war isn't important (unless it's time to vote, then they want to act like the war's important). They're really pretty lame.

So is Democracy Now! but I think Rebecca's writing about that so I'll just wait to see what she has to say.

I got to see the gang this morning because they were speaking in my area! :D That was pretty cool and C.I. had a ton of books for me. The two I want to get to first are Jane Fonda's War and Jane Fonda's Words of Politics and Passion. One's a biography and the other is speeches and stuff. The whole gang went on this trip because they were also stopping in on Rebecca (they did that yesterday) and they were hoping to be in DC later today.

Which reminds me, I talked about a Christmas gift but said I'd have to wait until after to note it. That's because it was a surprise. Betty had a really old computer and we all chipped in to get her a new one. That got delivered the Friday before Christmas and Betty was surprised. She said she loves it and that she's was so far behind in Windows and Explorer that it's taking her time to figure out all the new features. (She had like Windows 97. That's why she had a real problem when she tried to stream and stuff.) So now she's all set up and ready to race the internet highway. :D By the way, make sure you check out her latest chapter "The truth emerges from his fat mouth."

That was my favorite gift this year. Wally and Cedric came up with the idea and we all loved it.

Now not everyone's a weakling like The Nation, worshipping at the feet of the Democratic Party. Here's Jonathan Weisman's "Activists Seek Bolder Approach to War, Spying:"

Democratic leaders set to take control of Congress tomorrow are facing mounting pressure from liberal activists to chart a more confrontational course on Iraq and the issues of human rights and civil liberties, with some even calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
The carefully calibrated legislative blitz that Democrats have devised for the first 100 hours of power has left some activists worried the passion that swept the party to power in November is already dissipating. A cluster of protesters will greet the new congressional leaders at the Capitol tomorrow. They will not be disgruntled conservatives wary of Democratic control, but liberals demanding a ban on torture, an end to warrantless domestic spying and a restoration of curbed civil liberties.
The protest will be followed by an evening forum calling for the president's impeachment, led by the
Center for Constitutional Rights, antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and a pro-impeachment group called World Can't Wait.
Those priorities will not be in evidence inside the Capitol, where the newly sworn-in Democratic Congress will immediately begin work on new ethics rules, the reinstitution of federal deficit controls and new policies designed to increase civility in House proceedings. In the coming weeks, Democrats plan to pass bills designed to raise the minimum wage, lower prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients and interest rates for student borrowers, bolster homeland security and boost alternative energy research.
Nowhere in the Democrats' consensus-driven agenda is legislation revisiting last year's establishment of military tribunals and suspending legal rights for suspected terrorists. Nor is there a revision of the civil liberties provisions of the USA Patriot Act, a measure curbing warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency or an aggressive confrontation of the president on his Iraq war policies.
To Democratic activists and some lawmakers, the agenda skirts the larger issues that damaged the president's approval ratings and torpedoed Republican control of Congress.
"We've been told for many years, 12 years now, 'Wait until we get in power. Then you'll see things change,'" said Debra Sweet, national director of
World Can't Wait, a pro-impeachment group helping to organize the protest. "We'll give them a couple of months or a few weeks to see what they come up with, but if they don't do something very decisive around the war and these other issues, I think there will be trouble."
"If the first 100 hours is going to be characterized by an increase in the minimum wage and improved health and education benefits for Americans, that's fine," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a liberal firebrand who ran for president in 2004 and has announced for 2008. "But then let's talk about the second hundred hours, because we cannot let this war be lost. We cannot abandon the troops in the field to temporizing."

And here's the thing from World Can't Wait:

Voices for Impeachment:
Jan. 4, 7pm, National Press Club, Washington DC

Speakers to include Daniel Ellsberg; Cindy Sheehan; John Nichols; Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights*; Debra Sweet; & a special message from Gore Vidal

Can't go wrong with Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

That's going to be it because I haven't gone through all the books in the box C.I. dropped off. I'm way behind in reading but it's always fun to see what's in there. :D Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, January 3, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq but it's hard for it to be reported as the useless media (especially independent media) goes after the circus that still is the aftermath of the show death.

Starting with news of
Ehren Watada. In June, Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In August, the US military held an Article 32 hearing. This week, Thursday, a pre-trial hearing begins leading up to his February 5th court-martial. The AP reports that Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, has been informed that his client's reasons for refusing to deploy will be exlcuded which would rob Watada of the ability to defend his own actions.

Leila Fujimori (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) observes these decisions could "decide the trial's outcome before it even gets under way, his supporters fear." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes that "Seitz has filed motions that include declaring the intent to defend Watada based on the claim that under international law the war in Iraq is a 'war of aggression' in which he has the right to refuse to participate." Seitz explains to Rod Ohira (Honolulu Advertiser) that
"The Army is way out on a limb on this case. If they are successful (at the hearing), the trial will be a farce. . . . Missing movement is like not going to work; it's not criminal, but this is a miliatry court. They're singling him out as a deterrent for others speaking out."

The pre-trial hearing takes place tomorrow at Fort Lewis, Washington. Also tomorrow, there will be at least two rallies in support of Watada. One rally will be held at Fort Lewis, off Interstate Five, exit 119. Among those scheduled to participate are Bob Watada (father of Ehren), Sara Rich (mother of Suzanne Swift), US war resister Darrell Anderson, Chanan Suarez Diaz, Michael Cuzzort, Pia Rivera and Carrie Hathorn. The actions begin at eight a.m. and the speakers' program begins at at ten a.m. Another rally will be held in San Francisco and begin at 11:15 a.m. (Thursday, January 4th) at Japantown Peace Plaza (corner of Post and Buchanan) which will then move to the San Francisco Federal Building at noon and culminate in a Die-in at the front enterance of the Federal Building (one p.m.). More information can be found at

Ann Wright (Op-Ed News) observes: "GI resistance to the war is increasing. AWOLS are increasing. War resisters are speaking out and are willing to go to prison rather than participate in an illegal war of aggression. Over 1500 active duty soldiers have signed an 'appeal for redress' to the Congress asking for the 'prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq.' They will go to Washington and deliver the appeal to individual Congressmen and women on January 15."

That resistance includes
Ehren Watada and many others such as Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress this month.

Ann Wright, retired Army Colonel and retired from the State Department, wrote about the attempts she and other activists with CODEPINK had on Monday when they attempted to observe the 3,000 mark (Sunday, the number of US troops who have died in Iraq reached the 3,000 mark). Actions took place around the country on Monday and Tuesday. [Click here for photos from Pittsburgh's actions.] And did you hear or read about them? Probably not. CODEPINK noted: "We're worried that with the media focusing on Saddam's death, our 3,000th soldier death will be unduly glossed over." You think?

Yesterday (and today) Democracy Now! was all about the show death. Ironically, as Rachel pointed out, many of their viewers/listeners were probably confused in the other segment Tuesday, supposedly on Ehren Watada, when the speech Watada gave was brought up -- one used in his Article 32 hearing and one at the heart of attempts to get journalists to testify in the court-martial (NO reporters are being asked to testify in the pre-trial). Rather important speech, but one Democracy Now! never aired. Today, they brought you a vintage interview with Saddam Hussein. Where the "peace" in the so-called "war and peace" report is remains a mystery.

But Amy Goodman & co. are far from alone. As
Mike (Mikey Likes It!) noted, late yesterday evening The Nation finally got around to noting the 3,000 mark. Mike: "Richard Kim's 'Gays: Uncle Sam Wants You' went up at The Notion after 6:00 pm. C.I. addresses The Notion in the snapshot. But let me note that they've finally noted the 3,000 mark. In fact, let me quote them in full on the 3,000 mark: 'Though the US death toll in Iraq just hit 3,000, President Bush remains adamant about sending a "surge" of up to 20,000 new troops to the region.' That's it. The 3,000 mark is worth exactly one sentence to The Nation. I think you know their priorities." I think Mike's correct, we do know their priorities.

Addressing local news priorities,
Missy Comley Beattie (Truthout) notes: "The local news anchor said that the Pentagon had announced the 3,000th US troop death in Iraq. She continued with: 'And closer to home, it's a good time to be a Jets fan.' Closer to home? The war is very close to home for all who have lost someone they love, for the many whose child, spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, sibling, or friend has been maimed, or for those who have someone deployed or about to deploy to war. Iraq is closer to home than any sports, social event, or movie, showing at the local theater. It is especially close to home when the doorbell rings and military personnel are present to deliver the news that changes lives forever."

"A plain car pulled up. My mom knew right away what it was" is
how Jeremy Blohm describes to the AP learning that his 21-year-old brother Alan Blohm (Kawkawlin, Michigan) died on New Year's Eve.

Today, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 31." This brought to 114 the number of US troops who died in the month of December.

As Aar
on Glantz (IPS) reports, "the number of injured has far outstripped the dead, with the Veterans Administration reporting that more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq war are receiving disability benefits. Advances in military technology are keeping the death rate much lower than during the Vietnam War and World War Two, Dr. Col. Vito Imbascini, an urologist and state surgeon with the California Army National Guard, told IPS, but soldiers who survive attacks are often severly disabled for life. . . . Dr. Imbascini just returned from a four-month deployment to Germany, where he treated the worst of the U.S. war wounded. He said that an extremely high number of wounded soldiers are coming home with their arms or legs amputated. Imbascini said he amputated the genitals of one or two men every day." Those who would prefer audio for Glantz' report can refer to yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.


Reuters notes a car bomb in Baghdad that left one person wounded. Reuters also reported a mortar attack in Baghdad the left nine wounded and a Tuesday mortar attack in Ramadi that wounded a woman and five children.


Retuers reports, in Hilla, two men were shot dead.


Reuters notes one corpse discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters also reported 27 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Now do you really think that's all that happened in today? No. But when you turn a show death into a feeding frenzy, even the wire services get pulled off covering reality. Don't think the Bully Boy doesn't love it. As long as the topic is the show death, no one's following the violence. But by all means, let the Amy Goodmans and Ari Bermans (
he just posted on the show death -- he's not written one word about the 3,000 deaths) continue to be useless. Just don't let them make you useless as well. The topic will be addressed at length Sunday at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Christopher Torchia (AP) reports on the videotape that was delivered to the AP today which appears to have been shot on or around December 21st and 22nd and contains footage of Paul Johnson Ruben (Buffalo, Minn), John R. Young (Kansas City, Missouri), Jon Cote (Buffalo, NY), Josh Munz (Redding, Calif), and Bert Nussbaumer (Austria) who were kidnapped November 16th of last year in Safwan -- Cote states: "I can't be released until the prisoners from the American jails and the British jails are released" and there's nothing else noted of a demand from the kidnappers.

AP also notes that puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, is feeling the weight of the strings and has stated that he wishes he could leave his office right now. The BBC notes that the interview was given to the Wall St. Journal and that al-Maliki complained about "US-led forces and the Iraqi army" stating that their response is too slow and "gives the terrorists a chance to hit and run." After calling them 'terrorists,' al-Maliki then calls them "gangs," suggesting the puppet is in his Mariah melt-down period.

One person not crying for al-Maliki is Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) notes that al-Mutlaq joined with Muktada al-Sadr's bloc in withdrawing support from al-Maliki's government and Hayden calls the claim by US and Iraqi forces that they attacked his offices due to "a rumor that the house was an al-Qaeda front, a preposterous notion that was disproven by the results of the raid." Hayden also notes that Saleh al-Mutlaq was one of the Iraqi parliamentarians who mets with the peace delegates in Jordan last August.

Edward Luce (Financial Times) notes that Bully Boy is expected to make his announcement regarding Iraq "before his annual State of the Union address to Congress in late January" and that there is "mounting opposition" to an escalation of US troops in Iraq. Not cited by Luce, but the opposition includes the US military. Military Times' polling has found that "[o]nly 35 percent of the military members polled this year said they approave of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disproved" and "only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003."

ehren watada
the kpfa evening news

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Notion/The Nation & Amy Goodman don't care

Tuesday and we passed the 3,000 mark. Who noted it? (C.I.'s snapshot is explosive today! :D)
Speaking of C.I., Elaine and I are both noting something passed on (it came out after the snapshot went up), Ann Wright's "Arrested on the Golden Gate Bridge for the 3,000 US Dead:"

On New Year’s Day, sixty peace activists organized by Codepink Women for Peace gathered on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge to walk across one of America’s great landmarks in vigil for the 3,000 US servicemen and women killed in Iraq and for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died since the US invasion and occupation.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers blocked the pedestrian walkway on the San Francisco side of the bridge saying that we did not have a permit for a demonstration. We responded that we were not demonstrating but only wanted to walk peacefully across the bridge to commemorate the 3,000 deaths. Initially the CHP allowed tourists to pass through our group and begin their walk on the bridge. We complained that this was our bridge and we could not be denied access. The CHP then stopped all walkers.
After an hour, a group of ten walkers in pink came into sight. They had come from the Marin County side of the bridge walking peacefully and respectfully to honor those who have died. Finally after two hours CHP announced that the bridge was closed to pedestrians and we had to leave, which we did not do. Ten of us were then arrested for trespass.
In October 2005, several of us were arrested in front of the White House when the US death toll hit 2,000. Now on January 1, 2006, we were arrested to commemorate 3,000 US deaths.
It was ironic that I, as a retired US Army Colonel, was arrested on the Golden Gate Bridge in sight of the Presidio of San Francisco, a former US Army base. The Presidio was my first assignment in the Army almost forty years ago. I served at the Presidio during the Vietnam War when anti-war protesters rocked the city of San Francisco and the nation when hundreds of thousands marched from the Bay to the Ocean. Thousands of GIs went AWOL from the Vietnam War and lived in the Haight Asbury area of San Francisco. When they were picked up by military police in the city, they were taken to the notorious Presidio Stockade. In 1968, twenty seven of these imprisoned soldiers protested the shotgun killing of a mentally disturbed prisoner by a guard. They sat in the prison courtyard, sang “We Shall Overcome,” and were charged and tried for “mutiny” which carried a possible death sentence. The image of GIs facing the electric chair for singing "We Shall Overcome" caused a national uproar and after the first several mutineers to be tried got 14, 15, and 16 years each, disillusionment about the military and the war grew in the civilian community and especially within the ranks of the military. Many historians consider the Presidio 27 incident as one of the first major GI resistance actions of the Vietnam War.

Now let me note the new content that went up Sunday at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

The 3,000 mark has been reached -- Ava, C.I., Jess, Ty, Jim and Dona wrote this Sunday night, when the 3,000 mark was reached. And note, we all did that. We all noted it on our sites because it is important. But independent media couldn't be bothered it with it on Sunday. It was a "holiday." And Amy Goodman couldn't bother with seriously addressing it today. That's stupid.

Truest statement of the week -- Jim's dad picked this out. I love it! :D

Editorial: The 3,000 mark looms -- C.I. was on the phone with a friend in the military asking, "Are there announcements about to go out?" We waited and waited but couldn't wait anymore. So after the last call (when no known announcements were due out), we wrote that the 3,000 mark was looming.

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim's note where he talks about the edition.

TV: Fall 2006 -- like so much bad sex -- Ava and C.I. look back on the fall season. This is funny, be sure to read it.

Life With Elmo . . . and Warren Bell -- I love this illustration! :D It was done by Kat, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and Isaiah helped with some of it too. I think he came up with the dialogue in the ballons. I'm not sure though. I'll check and note it tomorrow.

Let's Make Bad Film: Destroying Marilyn -- one of their readers wanted a piece on Marilyn so they wrote this. I really love the illustration too. (They includes me. I helped on everything but the Sunday evening thing on the 3,000 mark, the note to the readers and the TV review.)

Joke of 2007 -- A Hillary Clinton bio is coming out from a guy who always rips her apart (and another guy). They call it 'reporting.'

10 2006 Songs That Made It For Us in 2006 -- This was one of the most fun of all the things we wrote. We had so many songs and it was hard to get it down to just ten. Check it out.

10 Songs We Made Our Own In 2006 -- this may have been even harder to narrow down to 10. Both the song things took forever to select but it was a lot of fun.

Highlights -- Rebecca, Kat, Cedric, Betty, Wally and me picked the best of last week.

Joan Mellen lecture on JFK assasination 1-28-07 -- If you're in NYC, you need to attend this.
I'll be noting it later in the week (and again before the 28th). You may remember The Nation magazine chose to trash her. That's even more reason to go see her. She's written a great book about Jim Garrison and JFK.

The Nation Stats -- Instead of trashing Joan Mellen, maybe The Nation should figure out why they publish so little writing that's written by women?

That's it for me tonight. Wait! Want to check something. Hold on.

Richard Kim's "Gays: Uncle Sam Wants You" went up at The Notion after 6:00 pm. C.I. addresses The Notion in the snapshot. But let me note that they've finally noted the 3,000 mark. In fact, let me quote them in full on the 3,000 mark: "Though the US death toll in Iraq just hit 3,000, President Bush remains adamant about sending a "surge" of up to 20,000 new troops to the region." That's it. The 3,000 mark is worth exactly one sentence to The Nation. I think you know their priorities. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, January 2, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; independent media continues to do a lousy job of covering the war and, in fact, helps cement the US administration's 'big picture' today; Ehren Watada has a pre-trial hearing Thursday so why does a supposed journalist think Thursday is all about her?; Tony Blair plans to stick around a few months more; and the answer to who loved ham and pineapple pizza.
Starting with the lousy performance of independent media. Today, on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Antonia Juhasz rightly stated that of the two markers -- reaching the 3,000 mark for US troops who have died in the illegal war (Sunday) and Saddam Hussein's execution (Saturday), "the Bush administration wanted the latter to be the one that got the attention" because it could be promoted as "a victory for the Bush administration."
Intentionally or not, independent media was there to do the administration's bidding. On Democracy Now! today, the bulk of the show was a discussion on Saturday's execution. The 3,000 mark? Reduced to headlines.
Did it even
lead the headlines? No, it was the fifth listed item.
Did it get equal attention to the show execution? No.
Not only that, but it also got less time than the funeral of a wife beater -- but then 'friend' to children Michael Jackson didn't speak at any ceremony for the 3,000 US troops who had died.
In this morning's Washington Post,
Ann Scott Tyson and Josh White stated that "the majority of Americans, have been largely unaffected". Point the finger at the media, not the people.
To stay on
Democracy Now!, the program could have presented highlights of the various gatherings from yesterday -- though that might have required realizing that news was a 24 cycle which means you work on a 'holiday' and go to "midtown Manhattan" where "60 anti-war grandmothers" read the names of the dead -- or they could have presented a discussion featuring family members, friends, ect. whose loved ones make up the 3,000 dead. Instead, it was blah-blah-blah Saddam. At one point, on KPFA, the feed was lost and listeners instead heard the lead up to the service for Gerald Ford which made perfect sense since both that service and Democracy Now! were absorbed with covering dead officials and ignoring the realities of the people. (Micah, Rachel and Jonah e-mailed that WBAI also lost the signal in the midst of the pomp & circumstance of the show death.)
If "the majority of Americans" are removed from the war -- if -- start blaming independent media for
the shoddy performance they gave in 2006 and for the shoddy performance they're already starting 2007 off with.
3,000 mark is either an aside or ignored.
Currently, at
The Progressive's website the top story is Saddam's execution. And the 3,000 mark? Nothing. At The Notion? (The blog for The Nation.) Currently (it's past 2:00 pm EST) the last item is from 12/31 and the topic is . . . Saddam Hussein. On all the website? Not a damn thing about the 3,000 mark.
Ann Scott Tyson and Josh White postulate that "the majority of Americans, have been largely unaffected" -- well, if true, why should they feel effected when the 3,000 mark is thus far ignored by the two leading magazines of the left (in terms of sales) and when Democracy Now! thinks the funeral of James Brown -- and quoting Michael Jackson -- is more important than 3,000 Americans killed in an illegal war?
It matters. What you choose to emphasize matters. To repeat, of the two milestones, the US administration wants one emphasized, the show-death. As Antonia Juhasz noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "the Bush administration's intent to have that be the last image of 2006 rather than the 3,000 who have died."
In news of war resistance,
Dahr Jamail, speaking on Democracy Now! today, attempted to address Ehren Watada's remarks in August . . . however, there was no time for that. Time ran out or was wasted as Sarah Olson repeatedly asked for sympathy because she might have to decide whether she's a journalist or not.
A journalist refuses to testify. Olson has gotten a tremendous amount of publicity for someone who refuses to say what she will do (or as she put it on Democracy Now! -- what legal strategy she will "employ"). When journalists, real ones, get support, it's because they take a stand.
As we've noted in several snapshots (most recently on
Thursday of last week), Olson's being asked to tesitfy this week (Thursday) in Ehren Watada's pretrail hearing. If you want editorials and colums of support, you need to commit to something. No paper in the world is going to come out ahead of you and take a stand for you. Olson backed out of a scheduled and announced appearance on KPFA's The Morning Show with the statement that her attorney had advised her not to comment on the case. That doesn't get editorial boards rushing to defend you over what you might or might not do.
If hearing her try to press the world to stand for her when she won't stand for herself (on Democracy Now!) didn't bore you enough, you can check out her similar non-stance in
text form at ZNet. For those who are missing how ridiculous her dance is, Ehren Watada is on trial for taking a stand. Sarah Olson wants people to rush to her defense for . . . not taking a stand. Make a decision. If you testify, you're not a journalist. If you're a journalist, you say "No." It's that simple.
In the real world,
Courage to Resist reports that Lisa Brobeck is asking people write to her husband, war resister Ivan Brobeck, "so he is constantly reminded that he is not alone during this time in the brig and that he is supported in his brave and courages stand." The mail does not run (in the US) today (apparently Gerald Ford is honored by the government stopping its business) but the way to address your postcards or envelopes is:

LCPL Ivan S. Brobeck
MCB Quantico Brig
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, Virginia 22134

Ivan Brobeck self-checked out of the US military after serving seven months in Iraq. He went to Canada in April 2005 and remained there until he returned to the US in November to
turn himself in on election day with an open letter to the Bully Boy. The day before he turned himself in, November 6, 2006, he was interviewed by Nora Barrows-Friedman on Flashpoints which remains one of the few media outlets to note his decision to return then or since. "The Full Brobeck" is the term coined for a brave stand that media outlets bend over backwards to avoid noting.
As noted earlier,
Ehren Watada faces a pre-trial hearing on Thursday. On Thursday, there will be at least two rallies in support of Watada. One rally will be held at Fort Lewis, off Interstate Five, exit 119. Among those scheduled to participate are Bob Watada (father of Ehren), Sara Rich (mother of Suzanne Swift), US war resister Darrell Anderson, Chanan Suarez Diaz, Michael Cuzzort, Pia Rivera and Carrie Hathorn. The rally will begin at ten a.m. January 4th (this Thursday). Another rally will be held in San Francisco and begin at 11:15 a.m. (Thursday, January 4th) at Japantown Peace Plaza (corner of Post and Buchanan) which will then move to the San Francisco Federal Building at noon and culminate in a Die-in at the front enterance of the Federal Building (one p.m.). More information can be found at
Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that the pre-trial hearing "comes on the same day the new Democratic-controlled Congess returns to work and begins to investigate one of the lingering questions surrounding the nearly four-year-old war. It's the same question that Watada said led to his decision to publicly challenge the legality of the war and refuse deployment -- whether the intelligence that led to the US-led invasion was cooked by Bush administration officials."
Ivan Brobeck and
Ehren Watada are part a movment of resistance within the military that includes Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress this month.
In fatality news, the
US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Jan. 1." And they also announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Dec. 31 as a result of an explosion while conducting operations in Diyala Province." The announcements brought the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 3,003.
Lauren Frayer (AP) reports a mortar attack the left four wounded in Iraq. CBS and AP report a roadside bomb in Baghdad that took three lives and left seven more Iraqis wounded. Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Tribune Newspapers) reports a mini-bus in eastern Baghdad hit a roadside bomb and at least one person was killed. Reuters notes that the mortar attack (first sentence of paragraph) in Baghdad killed four in addition to the four wounded.
Reuters reports that Ali Majeed Salbokh ("member of the Diyala provincial council) and three of his aides were shot dead in Baquba yesterday. Today, Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Tribune Newspapers) reports Mohammed Younis Hasan ("Iraqi employee of the Algerian Embassy in Baghdad") was shot dead.
Reuters reports five corpses were discovered in Nahrawan. CBS and AP report that 15 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today. Reuters updates the body count of corpses discovered in Baghdad today to 45.
In addition,
AFP notes that "six members of a family were kidnapped" today. Reuters notes that the kidnapping took place in Madaen.
Other violence? Oh, please, like the independent media, the mainstream serves the administration by making it non-stop Saddam.
Despite that, the
Guardian of London reported today that the Iraq Interior Ministry released numbers that found "12,320 Iraqi civilians had died" in 2006. BBC notes that the figure, given out by the ministry, for last month is 1,930.
Meanwhile a US attack is leading to questions and accusations.
Nancy Trejos (Washington Post) reported that the US military is referring to the action as a raid targeted at al-Qaeda while Saleh al-Mutlak ("head of the Sunni-led Iraqi National Dialogue Front") is stating that he lost two bodyguards and two buildings in the action. CNN adds that in addition to the two bodyguards killed, the dead also included "a family of four that lived next door" to the offices of the National Dialogue Front.
In political news,
Al Jazeera notes that the Baath Party in Iraq has named Izzat al-Douri "its deputy secretary-general, as secretary general" and quotes Baath party spokesperson Abu Muhammad replying to Nouri al-Maliki's offer that the Baath Party rejoin the political process with: "We would like to tell Mr al-Maliki that our only mission is to continue armed struggle until we get him and his masters [US] out of our country." Also in political news, KUNA reports that the talk in England is Tony Blair will stay on as prime minister "until this July". This as Robert Barr (AP) reports that Tony Blair's non-new New Year's message was that British troops must remain in Iraq (and Afghanistan).
Who loved ham and pineapple pizza? Dustin Donica of Spring, Texas. The 22 year-old was the 3,000th American service member killed in Iraq and news of him comes not from the US independent media or the US mainstream media.
James Bone (Times of London) reports that in addition to the pizza, Dustin also loved trance music and soccer and hoped to return to college (UT at Austin) after his service.
From Alice Walker's
We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Light In A Time Of Darkness (pp. 12-14):

An enlightened rage is building in the peoples of the world and it is antiwar. Never before have we seen war so clearly; its horror and stupidity and waste. We watch, those of us in the West, mostly on television, unimaginable blunders of planning and strategy; we walk past our rapidly deteriorating hospitals and schools while reading about the ten billion dollars a day, or is it a month, or is it a minute, spent on war in what is obviously the wrong country, in newspapers that report this news, it seems to us, casually. We feel helpless in that moment, but we do not feel ignorant. That is a great gain.

It is bad enough, we feel, that our young, often poor, badly educated and frequently desperate young men are forced into war; they have few alternatives. But to see our young women, likewise disadvantaged, leaving their babies behind in order to fight -- and sometimes facing harassment, assault and rape from their own male compatriots, in addition to the dangers and malevolence of war, feels like more than we can bear.

What does it mean to love one's child and not be able to protect him or her? Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in the war in Iraq, demonstrates the power of grief. Holding vigils outside the president's ranch and elsewhere, demanding that he sit with her; speaking everywhere, telling the truth of her sadness and exhibiting her fury, she lends us courage by her presistence. We have slumbered a long time believing the lies of those in power. Sending our children to fight those who might have been their playmates. And we know that those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us. Take a moment to think how gullible, how innocent, we must seem to them. Moved about the world to do their bidding, like pieces on a chessboard. But in this time we are beginning to see and hear from mothers and fathers who assume the role of Those Who Also Know. The world is getting its Elders back.

Turning to
Cindy Sheehan, writing at BuzzFlash, Sheehan concludes: "3000 dead. I can virtually guarantee who is not counting: Bloody George who readily admits that he gets a good night's sleep every night while he has condemned millions of people all over the world to agonizing nights of intensely worried or anguished insomnia. Why should Bloody George lose sleep? War business is booming and his own children are safely surrounded by Secret Service. I can never remember a time when peace has been so absent, yet so urgent. Won't you do one thing everyday to help prevent the next thousand Americans and next one-hundred thousand Iraqis? Please?"

dahr jamail

ehren watada