Friday, January 26, 2007


Friday! Barely! :D Almost Saturday. C.I. read my post and said, "Mike . . ." and I was already to go, "People know I'm joking about you hitting me with the laptop." But that wasn't it. C.I. just called Rebecca to pass it on to her as well. We can use Explorer to blog in. But first! When we all took Windows Explorer 7 off, we thought that was the end of it. C.I. goes what I wrote in my post seems to be a security issue. So we pulled up the tools thing and sure enough I was on "custom level." Custom level? I've never had a custom level. But when we you uninstall Exp 7, you get put on that. So Elaine's fixed, I'm fixed and Rebecca's fixed.

I go, "THANK YOU! YOU ARE A GENUIS!" And I wasn't being sarcastic. C.I. always acts like, "Oh, I don't know anything technical" and blah, blah, blah. But Jim and I were talking and C.I. will figure out stuff that is very technical sometimes. (Jim goes even the UK Computer Gurus were surprised when C.I. figured out the problem with Flickr Sunday night. They were on the phone trying to walk C.I. through and they were all working on that and couldn't figure it out and C.I. did it.)

Now let's get to the heart of the matter (humming Don Henley), Ehren Watada. This is from Robert Fantina's "Military Justice: A World unto its Own:"

Military circuit judge Lt. Col. John M. Head, in his ruling, said the following:
"A hearing on the 'Nuremberg defense' would consist of witnesses who would testify that the war in Iraq was a crime against peace, a war of aggression, and a violation of the United Nations Charter, other international law, and U.S. law. The accused would testify that his refusal to go to Iraq was based upon the belief that he would be committing war crimes because the United States was involved in a war of aggression and a crime against peace."
The issue, Lt. Col. Head further stated, is not Lt. Watada's motivation, but his action.
It is difficult to imagine a civil trial being considered valid if the motivation for the alleged crime were not considered. If a man kills another man, and the issue of motive is not allowed, the superficial facts may be clear. However, on closer scrutiny, if it is determined that the motive for the killing was that the victim first attacked the alleged killer, and in the ensuing fight in which the alleged killer struggled to defend himself, the victim fell to the ground, hit his head and died, a verdict of 'not guilty' would likely be rendered.

That's what Watada's facing, no justice. And I really don't care about all the big names weighing in about poor, pitiful Sarah Olson's free speech ("THEY'RE FORCING HER TO TESTIFY . . . THAT HER REPORT IS ACCURATE!") when the big names have ignored Watada and are still ignoring his right to free speech. They have embarrassed themselves.

There is a great documentary called Sir! No Sir! that chronicles military resistance during Vietnam. I mean, it is incredible, Sir! No Sir! See it if you haven't already. And when I watched it (I got to see it on the big screen), I was just on the edge of my seat. This isn't a boring movie. Don't see "documentary" and think, "Boring." It just amazed me and made me feel so alive, you know that rush you get right after you see a really good movie? So we're seeing resistance, in the film, during Vietnam and seeing that it was chronicled in real time but that got forgotten.

And here's the depressing point about the last few months, what's media doing today? What's independent media doing today? Say forty years from now someone wants to make a movie about war resistance during this illegal war. Where are they going to go? They may as well skip leafing through pages of The Nation magazine. What is the point of having an independent media when they can't even cover Watada, Ricky Clousing, Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Agustin Aguayo, Mark Wilkerson, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey . . .

I mean, do we have to count on, forty years from now, a documentary to tell their stories? Seems to me like we should be able to count on independent media in real time. But we can't, can we? You can pick up The Nation or The Progressive and search in vain for articles. If you want to know why people are getting sick of independent media, that's why. AP isn't independent media. So how come they can cover war resisters and the peace movement and The Nation can't? How come Ryan Lenz (an AP writer) can cover Abeer and The Nation can't?

So here's some advice for you. If you think you might end up with a son or daughter someday who'll make documentaries (or have a son or daughter already you think might), print this up and put it in a time capsule for them. Now I'll speak to that son or daughter: "When you start researching for your film on the resistance within the military to the illegal Iraq war, skip the independent media archives. You can go to Democracy Now! because Amy Goodman interviewed most of them. And there are a few other programs that air on Pacifica Radio that you can check out. But don't even bother with the 'leading' magazines of that time period because they didn't give a damn. They didn't think it was worth covering or important enough to cover. You'll find plenty on Sarah Olson. And you can include this statement in your documentary: "Mike McKinnon, a blogger during that period, wrote: 'Sarah Olson is not the story. Independent media stays silent on Watada but can't shut up about Sarah Olson. Independent media has screwed up priorities when a reporter who covered the story is more important than the subject of her story. Watada faces six years in prison, Olson faces six months. But independent media would rather blather on about Olson than write about Watada.'" You can include that and you can note that people were calling it out on real time. Get a really old Katrina vanden Heuvel on camera for an interview. And when she claims that the magazine she edits and publishes (The Nation) covered it, correct her. When she then claims, "Oh it was an oversight and no one noticed," correct her. It's been pointed out to the magazine repeatedly. A decision has been made to ignore the war resisters. So ask her about that. Hammer away on that. Don't feel sorry because she's an old woman. She had power, she could have tossed any war resister on the cover. She didn't. She even had a blog, Editor's Cut, and if she thought war resisters mattered, she could have done posts on them there. She didn't. Ask her why she thought iPods in Iraq were more important, more in need of coverage than war resisters? Ask her: "Do you think your cowardly silence prolonged the war?"

So print that up, put it in a time capsule and it will give your son or daughter a good starting point for their documentary. And let me say it again, they have been called out for their silence. All of them. They've been called out by their own staff, they've been called out by readers, they've been called out online at websites. At this point, it's obvious that The Nation has no interest in covering war resisters. So hammer home on old lady vanden Heuvel in the year 2047. Don't give her a break because she didn't give war resisters a break. Don't feel sorry for her. She made her decision and she should have to answer for it.

If you want another tip for your son or daughter, you could advise them to look for Isaiah's comic. It'll go up Sunday at The Common Ills. Katrina vanden Heuvel's the topic. You can use that when she claims no one noticed that the magazine wasn't covering war resisters and, if anyone had pointed it out, they would have covered them.

Someone who isn't a coward is Medea Benjamin. And you know with the rally, she's got something to say and that it is worth hearing. From her "The Peace Movement to Congress on Eve of Mobilization:"

The January 27 anti-war rally in Washington DC could have become yet another symbolic peace march in the freezing cold through a city where no one was listening. But then two things happened: On November 7, the voters gave Congress an unmistakable mandate to end the war. And George Bush, ignoring the will of the voters, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, and the advice of his own generals, announced an escalation of the war.
People who had planned to watch this protest on C-Span from the comfort of their homes are now cramming onto buses, planes and trains to converge on the nation's capitol. Thanks to George Bush's latest blunder, we're now expecting the biggest march in Washington DC since the war began.
It was easy for politicians to ignore us when we represented a small, but all-too-prescient minority trying to stop this war before it started. Now that we represent the majority of Americans, politicians of all stripes best take heed. Here's our message to Congress:
To the Democrats, remember who put you into office on November 7. It's thanks to growing anti-war sentiment among voters that you now control the House and the Senate. We’re delighted you're introducing resolutions to oppose President Bush's call to send more troops to Iraq. Certainly this repudiation of the Bush administration's "surge" will send a strong message to the administration. But those resolutions are mostly symbolic and would still leave us back at square one with 132,000 of our sons and daughters fighting a senseless war.
Opposing Bush's escalation of the war is a good first step, but it's not enough. We want you to bring our troops home.
We know--and you know--that the only real power Congress has to end war is the power of the purse. George Bush will soon be requesting another $100 billion of our tax dollars for this disastrous war. Democratic Party leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have said that ending the war is a priority, but cutting money for the war is "off the table" because they don't want to endanger the troops. But what could endanger the troops more than keeping them in Iraq? The money that has already been appropriated is more than enough to provide for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops. More money will be funding the continuing occupation and carnage.

That's it for me. Jess was working the public account while Ava and C.I. were hitting the private ones (e-mail accounts for The Common Ills) and there six e-mails from whiners in independent media. I ended up stopping to listen and then we got into a long discussion about the whiners. (I should note that I also laughed at the whiners' e-mails.) (C.I. reminded, "E-mails to The Common Ills are private unless the e-mailer says otherwise so I don't want to see any hints of who wrote at any sites.")

Now it's time for C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, January 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, ten days to go until Ehren Watada's February 5th court-martial begins, groups mobolize to end the war in the United States, Bully Boy issues death threats to Iranians in Iraq and a death threat to American democracy, the privatization of Iraq's assets is boldly expressed but we're all supposed to look the other way and the US military gets caught in a lie.

Starting with
Ehren Watada, he, his father (Bob Watada) and his mother (Carolyn Ho) will be out in full force tomorrow. Susan Paynter (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports will be taking part in Seattle's events to end the war: "1 p.m. at the Center for Social Justice, 2111 E. Union St., moving to the Military Recruitment Center at 2301 S. Jackson St., then to the Langston Hughes Center at 104 17th Ave. S. at 3, where speakers will include Lt. Ehren Watada." Watada, who will be part of a panel discussion, is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and he is facing a Februarty 5th court-martial in which he will not be able to present any real defense because 'Judge' Head has a really sick sense of what "justice" is.
Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post) reports that Bob Watada will be speaking at the DC rally tomorrow and Bob Watada tells Ruane: "There is no doubt in my mind that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is wholly unwarranted. The Iraqi people have done absolutely nothing to the United States. They've done nothing to deserve the massacre and the pummeling they're getting . . . the plunder, the torture, the rape, the murder of innocent people. It's got to stop." Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that, in San Francisco, things kick off with "a noon rally at Powell and Market streets. Carolyn Ho, the mother of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii, who is refusing orders to deploy to Iraq, will speak to the crowd."

Three different cities tomorrow where they will be attempting to get the message that the illegal war needs to end and that what will take place in the February 5th court-martial won't be justice because the 'judge' has refused to allow
Ehren Watada to present his reasons for refusing to deploy, the studies he did as part of his command that led him to the conclusion that the war was illegal and immoral. Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) spoke with Marti Hiken (National Lawyers Guild) who noted that "people do not surrender all their constional rights when they enter the military" and that "Regardless of whether the military wins this court martial, they lose for silencing an individual who has so much integrity that is evident to people across the country."

Saying "no" to an illegal war is hard. It takes courage. (Note the Cowards Silence plauging the left if you doubt that, but I'm actually talking about those in the military who have said "no.") Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, 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.

In the United States, tomorrow sees protests, rallies and marches around the country. As
CODEPINK notes: "Join us on January 27 to say No More Funding for War! Bring Our Troops Home Now! We will use our feet and our lungs and our signs and our outrage to let Bush and our new Congress know that we are serious about ending this war.If you can't make it to DC, see if there is a solidarity event being planned in your area. If not, create your own, even if that means standing alone on a street corner with a sign! In lieu of lobbying, you can call your Congressperson to demand they cut the funding for George Bush's War. Our voices are powerful, wherever we may be geographically. We know peace is the only real path to hope and opportunity for this country. Together we will make it happen."

If you can't make it to DC, you can still be heard. If there's not an event in your area, start one. (formely Ceasefire Campaign Team) is attempting to get the word out on a way you can be heard in DC if you're not able to attend:

Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today! This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!

Events will be covered by some media. Known coverage will include:
KPFA which will broadcast live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) and Laura Flanders who will cover the days demonstration Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST) on her program RadioNation with Laura Flanders (heard on Air America Radio and other outlets). (Both KPFA and Air America Radio offer online streaming.) (KPFA also offers their achived broadcasts for free, so if you miss the live coverage and would like to hear it later, check out the KPFA Archives). Rachel notes that WBAI will broadcast live coverage of the demonstrations from
11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. In addition, she notes that tonight (Friday) on
WBAI, David Occhiuto will host a special which will feature anti-war films, interviews and will include coverage of Ehren Watada including sections of the speech he gave in Seattle that the the Article 32 hearing in August included and the court-martial next month plans to include in their prosecution of him. Tune in to hear the message that so frightened the military brass that 'Judge' Head has gagged Watada's defense from presenting. That's tonight, WBAI,
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm EST (over the airwaves in NYC and surrounding areas as well as online).

As people mobilize to get the truth out, the US military finds some cover-ups implode faster than others. New details emerge regarding Saturday's reported violence. Saturday, five US troops were killed in Karbala when resistance fighters reportedly wearing US uniforms were waived through checkpoints and made it to a meeting in Karbala. Five US troops were reported as dying during the attack that followed. The
AP is reporting (based on US and Iraqi military sources) that four of the five were kidnapped and the four were then killed with bodies being discovered as far away as 25 miles. There was a lot of Happy Talk this week. There was the lie that corpses discovered in Baghdad were tapering off (42 discovered yesterday), there was the lie that what's happening on Haifa Street is normal and not an attack that's killing civilians, there were showy moments in the US Congress and there were the lies of Bully Boy's State of the Union address. When we're neck-deep in lies, it's really easy for the US military to lie (that is what happened) and misinform the public.

Without the lies, the escalation couldn't be sold and a lot of people are vested in selling the escalation. And note that when the AP asked about it, the US military played dumb. As
Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reported later, the US military has now confirmed that four were kidnapped and killed later (1 of the 4 was apparently discovered "mortally wounded").


CBS and AP report a bombing of a pet market utilizing a bomb hidden among pigeons that has resulted in the death of at least 14 people in Baghdad. Stephen Farrell (Times of London) reports: "Police said insurgents concealed the explosives inside a cardboard box punched with holes to make it appear a container for pigeons, parrots or other birds which are prime attractions at the market. The blast, which also wounded 55, hit the Ghazel market on the eastern banks of the Tigris just before the weekly curfew intended to protect crowds attending mosques during noon prayers on the Islamic day of prayer." Farrell notes that the explosion allowed some caged pets to be let loose but many died. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in Milhaniya, a part of Amil neighborhood at 1 pm." Reuters notes: "On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing seven and wounding 17 more after prayers, a police source said."


Reuters notes: "Gunmen opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad's Bayaa district, killing one person and wounding two, a police source said."


CBS and AP report: "Seven tortured bodies of people who had been blindfolded and had their hands and legs bound before they were shot in the head were found in the capital Friday, according to police." Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Baghdad today has risen to 27 while one corpse was discovered in Kirkuk and a headless corpse was discovered in Hawija. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The body of the Iraqi boxer Hussein Hadi was found in Haifa street. Police said that Hadi was kidnapped three days ago and he found hanged today."

Also today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

CNN reports that the Iranian government is calling "terrorism" on Bully Boy's recent order (backed up by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) for US troops to kill (on the spot) Iranians they suspect of plotting terrorism. These execution orders by the Bully Boy come with no jury or defense, just an instant passing of judgement.

In financial news,
AFP reports that one of Iraq's two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi, has called the illegal occupation of Iraq "idiotic" but is pushing the 'we will be safe if we have to raid and terrorize school children, residents of homes, etc' that was so popular with the puppet of the occupation yesterday. Those confused by the both-sides-talking Mahdi can refer to a commentary by Antonia Juhasz (Huffington Post) last May: "The re-appointment of Mahdi may yet provide the Bush Administration with its most important victory in the Iraq war since Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a rabbit hole in Tikrit. However, Mahdi's Vice Presidency may also ultimately generate at least as much hostility towards the United States as the invasion itself. Over the course of the war, Mahdi emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of the Bush administration's economic agenda for Iraq, including the implementation of controversial corporate globalization rules and greater U.S. corporate access to Iraq's oil." Mahdi earlier served in the Bremer 'government' and will probably serve in a great many other puppet governments to follow.

MarketWatch reports: "Over the next several years, the minister [Mahdi] said Iraq would look to privatize all of state-owned industry, which number around 60 companies. He also said Asian companies were keen to enter discussions with the Iraqi government over industrial contracts. Hariri said Iraq was also in discussions with San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp over engineering contracts, without elaborating."

The privatization. Antonia Juhasz (author of
The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) attempted to address the realities of the oil law on KPFA's Living Room
January 11th. But a (male) guest, of course, new better and felt that whatever laws were passed, Iraqis could undue the damage many years on down the line. That's confronting the problem! For those who didn't grasp the importance of what Juhasz was addressing,
The San Jose Mercury News reports "Iraq is in negotiations with San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to build a new $3 billion petrochemical facility, and is in talks with several other Western companies over industrial projects. In an interview Thursday, Iraq's minister for industry and minerals Fowzi Hariri said the discussions with Chevron and Exxon began this week in Washington and are at an early stage." The New York Times fluffed their coverage of the law last Saturday. Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend it doesn't matter or take the attitude of, "Hey, they can fix in 20 years!"

For those who've forgotten, in polling where Iraqis side with the resistance on the topic of attacking foreign fighters (including American troops), they also note the belief that the continued war is nothing but an attempt for foreigners to get their hands on Iraqi assets. Prvatization laws and multi-billion dollar deals by outsiders tend to convey that impression.

In political news,
CNN reports that that the Democratic leadership in the US Congress may push for a revamping of the 2002 act that the Bully Boy cited as his authorization for starting a pre-emptive, illegal war of agression on Iraq. Of course, with Democrat leadership, "maybe" means basically what "We'll see" means when said by a parent.

In news of dictators,
CNN reports on Bully Boy of the United States latest string of I statements: "I am the decider . . . I've picked the plan . . . I know . . ." Though his love affair with self continues unabated, as the recent poll by CBS News found on Bully Boy's desired escalation: "More than 70 percent of Americans think he should have to get congressional approval before he commits those troops." (68% of poll respondents stated they were "uneasy" with Bully Boy's ability to make decisions regarding Iraq.) Though Bully Boy appears to have forgotten this basic fact, in a democracy, the people are "the deciders."

Reminder: Those in DC Saturday should check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.

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