Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Marjoie Cohn, Ralph Nader, Derrick Z. Jackson

Tuesday! And Monday's an off day! I just learned that. I had agreed to grab two hours last week for a guy at work and he goes, "I'll work for you" on this coming Monday. I was all, "It's just two hours." He had a thing he had to do and I understood and didn't mind covering. But he insisted and I was all, "Cool." I didn't realize I had the whole day off until today. I was talking to my grandfather on the phone and he mentioned it. So now I'm really happy! (Watch, we will have classes Monday -- too bad, so sad if we do, I'm cutting.) The other thing my grandfather brought up was if I was adding ISR-International Socialist Review to my blog roll?

Yep, I told him it was on the things to do that Elaine and I were both doing doing it and we already have. He was really glad C.I. had added it last week. I go, "Did you e-mail C.I.?" He goes no. I told him it would have been added and that if was some hang up about e-mailing, if there was something he wanted added some time to just pass it on through me if he didn't want to e-mail.

My grandfather's really cool and, like I said before, he's a socialist from way back. I wish I'd thought to add the link before. But C.I. was going through a stack of magazines (C.I. always packs magazines and books) while we were in Tacoma and we both ended up reading from ISR while we were in Tacoma. And I just realized that Pru had asked for England's socialist magazine to be linked to a long time ago. It's up at The Common Ills but I'll add it to my site too. I probably won't go back in the template until the end of the week but I will add it this week. Pru's really cool and you know that from the stuff she highlights but, if you're lucky, you also read her column in the gina & krista round-robin and you get how really cool she is.

Okay, C.I. passed something on to me (C.I. was speaking today and didn't think there would even be a snapshot -- there was, don't panic) and it's by Marjorie Cohn who is president of the National Lawyers Guild (not the National Lawyer's Guild -- :D I had a typo last week). This is a sample of her "From Iraq to Iran:"

It's deja vu. This time the Bush gang wants war with Iran. Following a carefully orchestrated strategy, they have ratcheted up the "threat" from Iran, designed to mislead us into a new war four years after they misled us into Iraq.
Like its insistence that Iraq had WMD, the Bush administration has been hyping claims that Iran seeks nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, has found no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says there is plenty of time for negotiation with Iran.
Bush has sent two battle carrier groups, replete with nukes, to the Persian Gulf and a third is reportedly preparing to follow. In support of Bush's case that Iran poses a danger to the U.S., three unnamed American officials ceremoniously trotted out metal parts found in Iraq and claimed Iran supplied them to kill our soldiers in Iraq.
This "evidence" - or "packaging," as the Associated Press calls it - doesn't pass the straight face test with most reputable observers. "The officials offered no evidence to substantiate allegations that the 'highest levels' of the Iranian government had sanctioned support for attacks against U.S. troops," according to Monday's Washington Post.
Saturday's New York Times cited information gleaned from "interrogation reports" from Iranians and Iraqis captured in the recent U.S. raid on the Iranian embassy in northern Iraq. They allegedly indicated money and weapons components are brought into Iraq over the Iranian border at night. If those people indeed provided such information, query what kind of pressure, i.e. torture, might have been applied to encourage their cooperation. Recall the centerpiece of Colin Powell's 2003 lies to the Security Council about ties between Iraq and al Qaeda came from false information tortured out of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi.
Any Iranian weapons in Iraq may belong to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shiite resistance group the U.S. used to support. There could be old Iranian munitions lying around which are left over from the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s. A former high level U.S. military officer told me it was not uncommon to find large caches of weapons around Iraq. He cited the 2004 discovery of 37,000 American Colt 45 handguns in a warehouse near the Iranian border on the Iraq side, likely procured "when Saddam was our friend." The United States armed both sides in the Iran-Iraq conflict.

If you missed the Saturday article that she's talking about, you can read C.I.'s thing on it from Saturday, "Gordo's war-on, still dripping" -- Michael R. Gordon's still lying for the administration. He didn't start back up, he never stopped. Elaine's going to be addressing that tonight but I'll add to that this: C.I. has called Gordo on his shit. While everyone else was acting like, "Judy's gone! Things are great!" C.I. has followed the war pornographer and there are tons of entries up about what he's done at the paper since Miller left. He's been selling the illegal war since before it started and he's kept selling it.

Now this is from Ralph Nader's "When Wall Street Whines (You Know They're Making a Killing):"

Wall Street leaders have established a series of self-empowered commissions -- among them the Commission on Capital Markets Regulation (the "Paulson Commission"), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Commission on the Regulation of the U.S. Capital Markets -- to peddle a fantasy story to the public and policymakers. This is their fantasy: U.S. competitiveness in financial services is now in grave doubt. Regulation, litigation and prosecution are driving companies to float their IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) on foreign markets. If something isn't done soon, U.S. economic performance is in jeopardy. Give me a break.
In the real world, things look quite different.
First, a disinterested observer might comment that securities regulations exist to protect investors, not to enhance the interests of Wall Street. Wall Street is supposed to serve business and investors, not the other way around.
Second, the much-touted decline in U.S. IPOs is deeply misleading. The regulatory and litigation climate is a small and insignificant factor in the rising percentage of IPOs undertaken outside the United States. The real issue is that other countries' stock markets are strengthening, and most recent IPOs were done by companies outside theUnited States.

I like highlighting Nader because it pisses people off. :D It does piss people off but I really think they need to stop blaming him for 2000. He didn't 'steal' any votes. Like I pointed out before, there was a time when I thought he did. Of course, I was a high school kid! What's the excuse for all the grown ups? I laughed my ass off when AlterPunk was doing all his "thank you"s to Nader. If AlterPunk had worked hard himself, instead of sobbing "We are the New York Times!" (C.I. said AlterPunk sounded like "a starlet desperate to be cast." :D) then maybe some of the things on AlterPunk's list wouldn't have happened. Nader's not a scapegoat. He was a candidate. He had every right to run and any vote he got, he won. That's reality. People vote for who they want to (unless a voting machine switches their vote) and Nader's votes were votes he earned.

Now this is something that C.I. passed over from Cindy. She was e-mailing C.I. with some highlights and had several for Sunday so she offered that some of them might fit better for others. I saw this Sunday when I got home. Dad had clipped it out of the paper for me. So Cindy was right that I'd be interested in it. This is from Derrick Z. Jackson's "This is When the War Hits Home:"

A new pentagon investigation found that the use of prewar Iraq intelligence by former undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith was "inappropriate," "dubious," and "inconsistent." Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this news was "devastating."
The worst devastation continues to visit family upon family across the United States. This week Massachusetts lost its first female soldier in Iraq, Marine helicopter pilot Captain Jennifer Harris, 28, of Swampscott. She died in a crash two weeks before the end of her third and final tour of duty in Iraq.
The tributes to her have been classically tragic: She was the best this country had to offer. She was proud to serve her country.
This is no different from March 2003, when the Pentagon announced the first fatalities in the invasion of Iraq.
"Excellent role model," someone said of the late Therrel Childress 30, of Harrison County, Miss.
"This is when the war hits home," someone said about the late Ryan Beaupre, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., "when an all-American family loses someone like Ryan."
A relative said of the late Jay Aubin, 36, of Waterville, Maine, "He believed in what he was doing. He believed that Saddam had to be taken out."

All-American men and women believed in a government that was inappropriately using intelligence. The Defense Department inspector general said in an executive summary released yesterday to the public that Feith, the top policy official under former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, "developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and Al Qaeda relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the intelligence community, to senior decision-makers."

So is the war hitting home with you yet? If you're a regular reader, I bet it hit home long ago. So I hope your doing your part (and bet you are) and making sure that you talk about it. That's the only reason that we can today, because people said, "I won't be bullied into silence." That's another difference between Vietnam and Iraq. And I credit a student in Tacoma for pointing that out to me last week. When we were all taking turns speaking, his point was that the peace movment has come along way because the better comparison is WWII. He says that the attack on Pearl Harbor probably silenced a lot of people the same way that the attacks on 9-11 did. It took time to get a sizeable opposition going against Vietnam and I think we've seen the peace movement move more quickly. But even though there is no link between 9-11 and Iraq, they used that to bully people into silence. (They still try to.) So it is true that we had that to go up against. The space has been carved out now and everyone should be using it to discuss Iraq.

And here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

February 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; will it expand into Iran?; a new poll finds most Americans aren't please with Bully Boy but Congress shouldn't breathe easy, and a war resister prepares for a court-martial next week.

Starting with news of war resistance,
on August 31st of last year, at Camp Casey III, Mark Wilkerson turned himself in. Wilkerson had served in Iraq, applied for conscientious objector status, had the status denied and told that he could not appeal the decision until after he had served his second deployment in Iraq. While on leave before his second deployment, Wilkerson decided to self-check out of the military. He was gone for approximately a year and a half and then, on August 31st, held a press conference with Cindy Sheehan and others standing with him to announce he was turning himself in. Ryan (Indybay IMC) reports that Wilkerson will be court-martialed at Fort Hood (Texas) on February 22nd. Dick Foster (Rocky Mountain News) reports: "As part of his plea agreement with the Army, Wilkerson will serve not more than 10 months in prison. But he also faces a possible dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and a felony conviction on his record." Reflecting on his time serving in Iraq, Wilkerson wrote (last October): "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.' And in this reagard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planeted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why this has happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as that the American soliders, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors. Civil was has erupted in the streets, and Americans are caught in the crossfire."

Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada whose court-martial at Fort Lewis last week ended with a mistrial, Ann Wright (retired col., retired State Dept., writing at Truthout) notes: "The US Army prosecution called only three witnesses to meet its burden of providing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Lieutenant Watada had failed to deploy to Iraq and had committed conduct 'unbecoming an officer' for public statements about the war on Iraq he made in June and August 2006. Ironically, in my opinion, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses underscored Lieutenant Watada's professionalism, dedication to duty and respect for the chain of command as he attempted to resolve his ethical and moral concerns about the war. In effect, prosecution witnesses undercut the prosecution's own case against Watada before the jury panel of seven US Army officers." The prosecution bungled their case. Instead of allowing it to continue and risk the military losing, Judge Toilet (Lt. Col. John Head) declared a mistrial. Wright concludes: "As an old soldier with nearly three decades of service, I suggest that the 'good order and discipline' of the Army has not been negatively affected by Lieutenant Watada's actions. Until his unit deployed to Iraq on June 22, Watada had not disobeyed an order from his command. He did not go AWOL. After he was charged, he worked professionally and diligently everyday while awaiting his court-martial. I urge the Army to let the lieutenant, who has acted in good faith, with courtesy and respect for the military and responsibility for his oath to the military and to the country, resign." The Journal News reports that Vietnam war resister David Mitchell (Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice) will speak Tuesday night at 7:00 pm about what he observed while attending Watada's court-martial last week. The location for the speech is the Fellowship of Reconciliation at 521 North Broadway in Upper Nyack.

Watada and Wilkerson are 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 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, 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, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.


CBS and AP report: "A suicide truck bomber blew himself up near a college and a ration office in a mainly Shiite area of the capital Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, officials said, a day after car bombs devastated a Baghdad marketplace." Reuters reports the count of those dead rose to 18 and that 40 are wounded. CNN reports a car bombinb ("outside a bakery in southereatern Baghdad") that left four dead.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that 28 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that three corpses were found in Mahmudiya.

And today, the
US military announced: "A soldier assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Sunday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

Meanwhile the crackdown gets a curfew -- another curfew. David Chazan, reporting for
BBC News, noted the latest curfew announcement from Iraqi Lt. Gen Abboud Gambar: "A curfew on people and vehicles will be imposed at a day to be announced soon around Baghdad security zone. This curfew will be effective from 20:00 to 06:00 local time." Chazan: "The curfews have been tried before and they haven't freed the capital from sectarian violence. This time the borders with Iran and Syria will be closed for at least three days."

Turning to the subject of Iran,
Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported that "Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directly the supply of lethat weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq" -- Pace: "We know that the explosively formed projecticles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows abou this. It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

Various people in the administration and
war pornographer Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times are pushing a link that has not been established as existing. Dennis Bernstein discussed this with Robert Parry and Larry Everest on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday. Parry: "One has to remember some of the ludicrous stories that Judy Miller of the New York Times published -- including some on the front page of the New York Times which were, in retrospect, laughable. But they're not laughable because they led to the death of so many people." Parry also noted some of the phoney claims used to market the illegal war on Iraq such as: "remember he was going to spray us, he was supposed to have these model planes that were going to fly over the United States spraying us with poisonous gasses." Everest and Parry discussed the likelihood that Bully Boy will attempt to strike Iran, possibly in April, possibly by forcing them to make the first move or possibly after Israel initiates an attack.

John R. MacArthur (Harper's magazine) spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! today noting the 'repoting' on Iran: "And the most damning ommission in the story, if you want to talk about overall perspective, is complete lack of perspective on who's fighting whom, who's shooting at whom in Iraq? Does the Iranian government really have an interest in destabilizing what's now a Shi'ite dominated government? Doesn't make any sense -- if it does make sense to the administration, that the Iranians want to destabilize a Shi'ite-dominated government, when they're a Shi'ite rule nation, then they should explain it. But there's no logic to it, and there's just this massive ommission."

Susan Page (USA Today) reports on the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll which found "six in 10 oppose President Bush's plan to use more troops" in Iraq and that "Seven of 10 say their representative's vote on the war will affect their vote in the next congressional election; more than four in 10 call it a major factor." Where is the New York Times poll on this topic? While other outlets have been providing their polling results for over two months now, the paper of record has been strangely silent.