Thursday, January 18, 2007

Stimson, Guantanamo

Thursday and Blogger/Blogspot is a pain in the ass. I couldn't log in most of the night. I called Rebecca and Ruth to warn them. Rebecca was lucky because she was in. It went down after she got in. She just couldn't publish what she wrote and had to wait until Blogger/Blogspot was back up (two hours). Ruth's already asleep probably so she's not going to be able to do her report. That happened on Monday as well when she'd planned to do her report.

Due to all the waiting around tonight, this will be a real short post. I see the National Lawyers Guild's link is working so let me note the thing I couldn't read yesterday (and I think this is a press release, so I'm putting the whole thing up), "Civil Rights Groups Call for the Censure of Charles 'Cully' Stimson:"

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2007
Civil Rights Groups Call for the Censure of Charles "Cully" Stimson
Contact: Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild,
Tayyab Mahmud, and Eileen Kaufman, Co-Presidents, Society of American Law Teachers
Jitendra Sharma, President, IADL,
George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
The undersigned organizations call for the censure of Mr. Charles "Cully" Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, for statements attacking the lawyers who are defending the Guantánamo detainees. Mr. Stimson’s remarks are aimed at chilling the willingness of lawyers to represent those persons imprisoned at Guantánamo, and are contrary to bedrock principles of the right to counsel and the presumption of innocence.
The threats by Mr. Stimson are not subtle. They imply these pro bono lawyers are terrorists. They exhort corporations to pull business from the firms where these lawyers are employed. These remarks are slanderous, and violate the free association rights of these lawyers and their firms.
We are confident that the corporate world will understand that Mr. Stimson's remarks are contrary to fundamental American values and that lawyers who provide representation to Guantánamo detainees, are acting in the best tradition of their profession. The legal profession and the corporate community should speak with one voice and tell Mr. Stimson he has no right to interfere with the relationships these law firms have with their clients.
The Administration should heed the words of Federal Judge Green, who has handled the many habeas petitions, when she said: "I do want to say we are very grateful for those attorneys who have accepted pro bono appointments. That is a service to the country, a service to the parties. No matter what position you take on this, it is a grand service."
The administration must not only disavow these remarks, but Mr. Stimson should be publicly admonished and relieved of his duties for making these allegations and threats.
American Association of Jurists
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
National Lawyers Guild
Society of American Law Teachers
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
Defense Secretary of Robert Gates

Yesterday, because of seeing the title with "censure" in it but the link not working, I thought the National Lawyers Guild was recommending "censure" like when the Congress censured Bill Clinton. I was wrong. They are calling for him to be removed from his position. Apolies to them for misunderstanding. Like I said yesterday, if he keeps his position, it sends a message to the next person that they can get away with it too and they'll only get a warning if that. He needs to be removed because he is advocating non-democratic positions while holding a government post. He was speaking in his government role and all the "he was just speaking for himself" nonsense that the administration keeps putting out. He doesn't get to do that. He's not a private citizen. His remarks are undemocratic and against everything his position is supposed to represent so he is not fit for his role. He needs to be fired immediately.

Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights, was on The KPFA Evening News tonight and C.I. called while it was on so I could hear it. He was talking about the nonsense that the Pentagon's calling fair trials and that will include allowing 'evidence' from confessions. How barbaric are we? In addition, he was talking about how the attorneys for their clients couldn't present evidence or talk about it unless the government says it's not 'national security.' They can use that however they want. If they're going to lose on something and know it, they'll just cry 'national security!' And the person accused doesn't even get to see the evidence against him (I think all the prisoners are male) but instead the government can offer up summaries. This is all a joke and the government is trying to pass this off as 'justice.' It's a slap in the face to what we consider justice. Michael Ratner pointed out that there's no need for new guidelines, there are guidelines for court-martials and other military court things. So, to me, this just shows how scared the government is of a fair case and being exposed as torturers and liars who've imprisoned people wrongly for 5 years.

That's it. Blogger/Blogspot gives you the message if you're connected or not and I keep getting the "not connected" message which means it is still going in and out and they haven't fixed their problem so let me post this before it goes out again. Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, Janurary 18, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, accuses Bully Boy and Condi Rice of helping "terrorists"; new developments in the gang rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza and the murder of three members of her family by members of the US military emege; and support for Ehren Watada continues -- even as the 'judge' in the military 'justice' system does his part to railroad Watada.

Starting with war resister
Ehren Watada who, in June of last year, became the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, the 'judge' of the pre-trial has issued a ruling on what is and isn't acceptable in the February 5th court-martial. As Courage to Resist notes "ALL POLITICAL SPEECH CHARGES GO TO TRIAL."
Teresa Watanabe (LA Times) reports that Watada has called for everyon to "stop the war so the death and sacrifices of American soldiers will not be in vain" and "I firmly stand by my belief that this war is illegal and immoral."

"Judge" Head issued his rulings on Tuesday and since Watada will not be allowed to present a defense, why even waste time and money on a court-martial? "Judge" Head has refused Watada's right to present a defense and, in his ruling, "Judge" Head is quite clear about "
a preponderance of evidence" and is disallowing any evidence that could counter it so the kangaroo court-martial will go foward but the ruling is already pre-determined and contained in "Judge" Head's ruling. That's the only 'value' in the ruling (well, that and the revelation that, by his signature, John Head apparently thinks he's a young starlet).

AP reports that "Army officials said in a statement that they had full confidence in the military justice system". Of course they're gloating -- JUDGE TOOL handed them a win before the first argument is made in the court-martial. Now if they had any self-respect, they'd realize that this isn't justice and that obviously there's no faith in their abilities to fairly prosecute Watada.

Earlier this month,
Watada spoke with Lance Holter and Ave Diaz (Haleakala Times) and shared his expectations of the trial: "I certainly expect the army to make an example out of my stand and what I'm speaking against." He was correct. Holter and Diaz also note US war resister Pablo Parades who was allowed, in his court-martial, to argue his case. From Parades' statement at his court-martial (via Democracy Now!): "I am convinced that the current war in Iraq is illegal. I am also convinced that the true causality for it lacked any high ground in the topography of morality. I believe as a member of the Armed Forces, beyond having duty to my Chain of Command and my President, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the surpreme law of the land. Both of these higher duties dictate that I must not participate in any way, hands-on or indirect, in the current aggression that has been unleased on Iraq. In the past few months I have been continually asked if I regret my decision to refuse to board my ship and to do so publicly. I have spent hour upon hour reflecting on my decision, and I can tell you with every fiber of certitude that I possess that I feel in my heart I did the right thing."

Ehren Watada will not be allowed to present a similar defense. What is the military afraid and what sort of 'judge' acts in such a cowardly craven manner?

Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that what Watada will not be able to present in 'court' of 'judge' Head, he will be able to present "this weekend, a 'Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq' will convene in Tacoma to address that issue in support of Watada." The hearing will take place at the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus on January 20th and 21st from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. Among the participants will be Antonia Juhasz, Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg, Enis Halliday (who was on yesterday's Flashpoints speaking with Dennis Bernstein about the deaths caused by sanctions against Iraq), Bejmain G. Davis, Richard Falk, Francis Boyle, Dennis Kyne, and US war resister Darrell Anderson. In addition, Karen Hucks (The News Tribune) reports that Daniel Ellsberg ("who started a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Penatagon Papers") will speak in Tacoma Friday "from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Washington State History Museeum, 1911 Pacific Ave. The University of Washington Tacoma is sponsoring the free event." In addition
Iraq Veterans Against the War have set up Camp Resistance on the edge of Fort Lewis to show their support for Watada.

Ehren Watada spoke in Seattle on Monday (MLK day) and Kay Suzat (PSL) reports: "A tremendous standing ovation greeted Watada and concluded his remarks. The crowd demonstrated its solidarity and support for his refusal to deploy to Iraq and be part of the imperilist occupation."

Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, 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.

And, good news!, you can find information about a war resister at The Nation . . . provided he's a resister of the Vietnam war, a professional athlete and a household name.
Dave Zirin
covers sports and he's always managed to cover the war (unlike The Nation). To read his column "
Muhammad Ali: The Brand and the Man" use the link freely, it takes you to Yahoo and not to The Nation which still can't manage to show interest in war resisters.

Turning to the topic of 14-year-old
Abeer Qasim Hamza who was gang raped and murdered on March 12, 2006 by what was spun as 'insurgents.' The reality is that it was by American soldiers who also murdered her five-year-old sisters and both of her parents. The soldiers watched the 14-year-old, making her uncomfortable with their inappropriate attention to the point that she complained to her parents who immediately began making arrangements to get their daughter the hell away from perverts supposedly stationed in their area to protect the Iraq people. Abeer was due to move but, before she could, Paul Cortez, James P. Barker, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and Steven D. Green wanted to have a little 'fun' and, boozed up to the gills in a war zone, they decided the most 'fun' they could have would be in murdering a family after gang raping the 14-year-old daughter. So they changed into civies, approached the home via a hole in a fence they'd already created, and the 'fun' began -- adult males holding down a 14-year-old girl to take turns gang raping her while her parents and sister were shot dead and then, after the gang rape, murdering Abeer.

At the Article 32 hearing in August, Captain Alex Pickands declared: "
They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

In November, James P. Barker confessed to his role in the planning of the war crimes and to his raping Abeer. He also named Steven D. Green as the one who shot and killed Abeer, her parents and her sister. He identified Green as taking part in the gang rape and also identified Paul Cortez as taking part in the gang rape. Green has denied any involvement and will be tried in a civilian court because the US military had discharged him before the crimes were uncovered. Last week, Ryan Lenz (AP) reported that Green had been diagnosed by the Army Combat Stress Team with "homicidal ideations" on December 21, 2005, three months prior to the rape and murders. Today, Ryan Lenz reports that William Cassara, attorney for Paul Cortez, has stated, "Sgt. Cortez is going to go in and accept the responsibilities for his part in what occurred" which would be WAR CRIMES and that "Our version of events is that he knew what was going to take place and participated as an observer." According to Barker's confession, Paul Cortez took part in the gang rape -- that's a bit more than 'observing.'

AFP is now reporting that Cortez "has pleaded guilty in the rape and murder" of Abeer

Silence has largely greeted the story of Abeer in many media outlets (big and small). The same sort of silence that leads many to wrongly hail the 'symbolic' bi-partisan nonsense in the Senate.
Cedric and Wally addressed that yesterday. The Senate resolution championed by US senators Joe Biden, Carl Levin, Chuck Hagel and others is a joke. Reporting on what proposals are in the US Congress currently, Leigh Ann Caldwell (aired on Free Speech Radio News, The KPFA Evening News) termed the Jo-Jo proposal "the tamest of them all" noting US Senator Christopher Dodd's proposal calls for Congressional approval before any more troops are sent to Iraq and caps the total number of US troops at the number in Iraq on Tuesday, noting US Senator Ted Kennedy's proposed legislation "would not fund any troops increase" and noting that US Senator Hillary Clinton ("I do support cutting funds for Iraqi forces if the Iraqi government does not meet set conditions") has spoken of a cap on the level of US troops and cutting off funds for the Iraqi military. Caldwell's report quoted US Rep. Lynn Woolsey on the Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act which she, US Rep. Barbara Lee and US Rep. Maxine Waters have proposed: "It will save lives, bodies and minds and it will give Iraq back to the Iraqis. It is an important step in regaining our credibility in the region and our credibility throughout the world."

Caldwell noted that the proposed legislation would lead to withdrawal of US troops in six months, fully funded health care for veterans and two years of funding for the training of Iraqi forces.
Woolsey's speech can be read, heard or watched at Democracy Now!

While Waters, Lee and Woolsey propose legislation that, get this, actually does something, Levin, Biden and Hagal propose legislation that does nothing. It provides politicians with cover to hide behind in the 2008 elections (a point I believe Robert Knight made on yesterday's
Flashpoints) but it has no teeth and is non-binding. Consider it a poll of the pulse in the Senate and nothing more.

What may be most offensive is the way Joe Biden speaks when he attempts to sell it (listen to Caldwell's report): "The president ignored the advice of every major voice, every major voice! In the government, outside the government, military personell in the government, military personell outside the government, former secretaries of state, former secretaries of defense, and leading foreign policy scholars! He has to listen!"

Every major voice, Jo-Jo? Who did you leave you out? The most obvious major voice: THE PEOPLE. Considering that Jo-Jo's job depends upon public support (votes) and that he intends to run for 2008 president, someone might want to tell him that the advice from the people is "major" and possibly the most important anyone occupying the Oval Office should heed. Reporting on what the people are saying,
Ronald Brownstein (LA Times) covers the results of the latest LA Times & Bloomberg poll which found three-fifths of respondents stating that they opposed Bully Boy's planned escalation (21,500 more troops in Iraq), "more than three-fifhts of those surveyed said the war was not worth fighting" and "half said they believed he deliberately misled the U.S. in making his case for invading Iraq."


In Iraq today.


Salam Faraj (AFP) reports five car bombs went off in Baghdad with three going off "almost simultaneously in the southern district of Dora, leaving 10 people dead and 30 wounded" in an attack on "the Rasheed vegetable market, the main market in southern Baghdad that is often crammed with residents shopping for food." Reuters notes, in Baghdad, a car bomb attack on police that killed 4, a car bomb in the eastern area of the capital that took 3 lives and left seven more wounded, and, in the New Baghdad district, a car bomb kille 2 and left four wounded; while in Mosul a car bomber killed 1 civilian wounded six people and a bomb tossed "at a police checkpoint" took the life of 1 police officer and left another wounded. That's a total of 21 killed by bombs in Iraq that were reported.


Reuters notes an attack on "a wedding convoy in Mosul" that left 2 people shot dead and four more wounded.Corpses?

Reuters reports a corpse discovered in Iskandariya.

And the
US military announced: "A Sailor assigned to 16th Military Police Brigade, Camp Bucca, Iraq, died Jan. 17 in a non-combat related incident."

Lara Logan (CBS) reports on the corpse of a young Iraqi: "He was young, possibly in his early twenties, and he'd been shot three times. It was hard to tell at first, because of his clothes, but I could see the small bullet hole next to his nose. Funny how the entry wound often doesn't look like much, it's the exit wound that tells the real story of how much damage that bullet has done. That's where it gets really messy. [. . .] Here was somebody's son, probably someone's brother, possibly someone's husband or lover. I didn't know anything about him or why he'd been killed or who may have done it. That's part of the strategy here with these murders — remove all identification, obscure the facts and make it that much harder to find the truth. If you're lucky — and most of the killers usually are — then that will be enough to make sure no one even looks for you, let alone finds you and holds you accountable."

CNN reports that the US military has explained their violations of the Sudanese Embassy in Baghdad with this pithy statement: "The compound was searched as part of an operation aimed at denying insurgents safe haven to carry out attacks against Iraqi security forces and Iraqi citizens." Having already shown no respect for diplomatic areas with their raid on the Iranian consulate, the US military does not, this time, attempt to wiggle out of whether or not the facility was a recognized diplomatic site -- instead, they simply say, "We don't give a damn." An attitude that will have historic consequences in the future.

Meanwhile, as US Senator Hillary Clinton states she approves of cutting off funding the Iraqi army (if they can't meet set goals), suddenly the puppet of the occupation springs to life.
No, not the laughable claims that Nouri al-Maliki is finally addressing the issue of Shi'ite militias. The puppet of the occupation is whining,
reports Stephen Farrell (Times of London), that the US won't give Iraq "sufficient guns" -- since US guns abound in Iraq, possibly al-Maliki could just buy them off the black market the way other Iraqis do? (Or is he still attempting to play Big Spender -- on the US dime -- by continuing to dole out millions to neighboring countries?) Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that al-Maliki says the comments by the Bully Boy and Condi Rice "probably helped the 'terrorists'" because they "give moral boosts to the terrorists and push them towards making an extra effort" and yada, yada, yada.

Remember how Bully Boy trots out the lie that anyone who questions him undermines his illegal war and the so-called war on terrorism, apple pie and who knows what else? Well al-Maliki also takes time to criticize the Bully Boy's administration -- naming US Secretary of State Condi Rice specifically and claiming that Iraq's government is
undermined by the US administration's talk of "borrowed time." Realities must be ignored, argue both the Bully Boy and al-Maliki, or 'freedom' is undermined. Today, that laughable argument gets tossed back in Bully Boy's face.

center for constitutional rights

democracy now
ronald brownstein