Thursday, June 07, 2007

Liam Madden, Law & Disorder, Joel Kovel

Thursday! Almost Friday! I got Wally, Ty and C.I. with me tonight! :D They came into town to speak and to attend Liam Madden's press conference/demonstration (which I did too -- attended, I didn't have to fly here!). C.I.'s writing about it in the weekly column for the gina & krista round-robin. I'll note that I was glad the turnout was a healthy one. The US military is going after Liam Madden and Cloy Richards like they are Adam Kokesh.

They can't handle it, people speaking the truth, so they try to shut them up. I cut classes for this and also to speak to two groups of high school students with Wally, Ty and C.I. (I told my prof). (Oh, I got an A on my test Monday!!!!) That was a lot of fun and I grabbed Liam and Cloy for my time speaking because I knew C.I. would grab Adam. Ty talked about the 3500 mark being passed (total number of US service members killed in the Iraq war -- and it's 3504 unless it's gone up since this afternoon) and about over 655,000 Iraqis and Wally talked about . . . I had to stop and ask Wally, "What did you talk about?" :D He made a joke about how memorable he must be but I'm just tired and having fun. Wally talked about the Iraqi refugees and the lack of electricity, potable water, etc.

I had told Ma there would be three overnight guests but was going to tell her who in person then ended up rushing out. She's fine with guests but she did think we'd have eaten (she and Dad had gone out to eat with friends). She came in and C.I. and Ty were making pigs in the blanket and she started saying, "No, no, no, I'll cook something!" :D C.I. goes, "Wally, pigs in the blanket?" Wally goes, "Love 'em." :D Ma insisted on making a salad which was really good and she and Dad ate some salad with us. Well, Dad didn't. :D C.I. had brought CDs and wanted me to especially hear one. Dad was ripping through that plastic and getting the CDs up and playing. Then Dad was mainly talking music and not so much eating anything. :D

They're all speaking tomorrow (I won't be able to join them) and spending at least four hours with Rebecca (and Flyboy and the new baby and probably Ruth). Then Ty and C.I. head back to the West Coast but I get to have Wally for the weekend and on through next week. He's not taking any classes right now. Ma didn't realize he was coming today but she did know he was staying this month because she's friends with Wally's mom and they're on the phone to each other several times a week.

So it was a really good day. We got to hear Liam. We got to speak to some high schools and we got to have a lot of fun this evening. And still will! Though C.I.'s got to do "And the war drags on" tonight. And isn't too sure on what to write about in that. I know it's a lot of work to do The Common Ills and help with The Third Estate Sunday Review (that probably shouldn't be "help with" since C.I. and Ava are the only two who have never missed a week out of all the people who work each Sunday) and do the columns for the four community newsletters. That's four columns a week. I usually have some idea of a topic I'll be writing about later, like by mid-day, I'll usually know what I'll be writing about that evening. I don't think I could play it by ear like C.I. Not knowing that I had all that to do. I think I'd freak out! :D Seriously.

Ari Hest was the guy C.I. wanted me to listen to and I really love the CD. Dad loves the first song and kept getting up from the table to start it over. Ma finally had to tell him "I think there are other songs on the CD." :D It's called The Break In. And we're going to Chicago Saturday (I think Saturday) to see him in concert. So that will be real cool. (And thanks to C.I. for the CD and the tickets.) Ma says she'll watch Rebecca's baby if Rebecca and Flyboy want to go. I should call them tonight to see if they want to. I know I'll see them tomorrow but this way they can think about it and talk about it.

Wally just asked if we could chill in the living room listening to tunes and Ty's up for it (you know Dad is going to love that!) so I guess we're staying in. (Which is cool. I just always feel like when people visit you should take them somewhere. But I forget that Wally, Ty and C.I. flew in today and were speaking before I was able to join them. They probably are tired and they were doing this with C.I. all week. They are probably about to fall over and drop! C.I. moves fast and you really do have to say, "I'm hungry" or C.I. will be too focused on what's going on and forget.)

Let me talk about Law and Disorder which aired Monday on WBAI and airs on other radio stations too. The first section was on the Guantamo prisoner's death and this was a section featuring Dalia Hashad and the Michaels (Ratner and Smith). The prisoner was Saudi Arabian and he didn't have an attorney. Michael Ratner made the point that we don't know what happens in Guantanamo (there's no checks and balance and no openess) so we shouldn't be so quick to accept the official version because "it's conceivable he was murdered." This was a really strong section and we talked about that death last week but I did accept the official explanation so let me be clear that the only 'proof' of suicide was that government said it was suicide. Who knows what goes on there? They talked about the efforts to shut down Guantanamo and restore the rights of law and Michael Ratner said you could go to the Center for Constitutional Rights for more on that.

The second segment was about the so-called war on terror and how Congress has just rolled over and continues to roll over on this. They just refuse to stand up to the administration, even after all this time. No one's asking them to create brand new laws, just to make sure the Constitution and rule of law is followed. But that's too much for these people who took an oath to uphold the Constitution.

The next segment was on torture as well and it was on torture in Chicago. They had Flint Taylor back on and I was glad Dalia pointed out that they get lots of new listeners all the time so Flint should back up to explain a little for anyone that was new. Flint talked about how torture was used regularly by the police (and it reminded me a lot of the speech last week, how the Black Panthers were tortured in New Orleans). They would torture people to force them to confess (to anything, because that's what torture does) and they might use electric shocks or try to cut off their breathing or whatever. Jon Burge was the guy giving orders for the police during this time (seventies and eighties) and they just kept at it because no one (including the current mayor Richard Daley who was already in government back when this was going on) forced them to stop. So you can call this not just torture but government condoned torture.

The last segment was with Joel Kovel and they had a speech of his not long ago. He wrote Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine. He talked about how he made a decision (Overcoming Zionism) to look at the situation beyond his own religion (Jewish) and he talked about how there was this feeling (after the very real tragedies of the Holocaust) that 'the people' deserved a place of their own meaning a nation-state because that was the big thing then. But how that overlooked two things. (1) They weren't moving into vacant land. (2) 'The people' were not uniform but Jewish people from various countries with various outlooks. Dalia asked him about why some on the left had such a hard time even discussing this topic? Want the answer? Listen to the show! Seriously, I can't point fingers. I knew nothing really about this. We aren't taught it in school (or I wasn't) and the press always plays like anything Israel does is for defense and they really, really hated doing it but there was no other choice. I understand what Dalia's talking about (or think I do) and that's people who know it's wrong but avoid speaking out. But I also think it needs to be pointed out that a lot of us have gone through an educational system and never heard a word about it. If it's mentioned in high school, it's current events and not in the text book and then, in my classes anyway, no teacher says, "Let's talk about the history here." It's just read the clipping or watch the segment (if they've brought a TV into the room to play the night before's evening news). My point here is that you have to learn this on your own because it's not something any teacher I ever had rushed to teach. ( Joel said it has to do with the relationship of the US and Israel and has to do with guilt and deep fears. "They don't realize that you shouldn't have any kind of an ethnic state.")

Billie e-mailed asking what the last song on the show was. I had no idea and Ruth didn't either. I asked C.I. and was told it's from Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair ("I think") and it's "Gun Shy" ("I think. I'm tired."). Oh, one more thing quickly. Awhile back, Dalia interviewed Suzanne Vega for the show (as part of Amnesty's thing to draw attention to human rights around the world) and I did get the greatest hits CD and enjoyed it but the one I really love is 99.9 Degrees which is really a cool CD and I think my favorite song on Vega's CD is "When Heroes Go Down."

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

Thursday, June 7, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the 3500 mark is passed, what is Turkey doing, and more.

The 3500 mark for US service members who have died in the Iraq war was passed yesterday but it takes AP (and others) a little longer to count. ICCC lists the current total as 3504. Don't expect to hear much about it or for it to lead to many pieces (or air time) exploring Iraq -- it's summer so it's time for All Things Media Big and Small to begin their summer breaks.
As with last summer -- or the 'coverage' of the 3,000 mark -- don't expect a great deal. There's an election! A cruise! A summer rental! And about fifty other 'fun' topics that will yet again grab all the attention.

As media tries to covering their mouths while yawning, the illegal war drags on and it's up to the people to stop it.
Adam Kokesh did and is doing his part and maybe someday someone in little media other than Matthew Rothschild can provide some serious coverage? That is it, for the record. The Nation -- when you've got a cruise to pack for, you've got a cruise to pack for! They can't do everything! They can't even do one damn thing. But Adam Kokesh has been standing up. On Monday, he faced a hearing for engaging in street theater with other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War while he wore fatigues. The recommendation was to recommend he be issued a general discharge. Yesterday, his attorney Michael Lebowitz attempted to file an appeal but KMBC reports that the appeal was denied by Brig. Gen. and shrinking violet Darrell L. Moore who also has the "power" to decide whether the recommendation of general discharge goes forward or not. Dave Helling (Kansas City Star) notes that "Moore can't increase Kokesh's punishment by issuing an other-than-honorable discharge." Writing to Editor & Publisher, Tom Wieliczka points out that while Kokesh is punished for street theater, General Petey Pace is able to write a letter of support for convicted liar Scooter Libby and no one questions that "the hypocrisy of the military when it comes to the 'grunts' vs the 'generals' when both of them use their first amendment rights."

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to the issue of Turkey? Did they or didn't they?
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Khalid W. Hassan (New York Times) obeserved that the Turkish military was reported to state yesterday that "thousands of soldiers crossed the border [into Iraq] in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Worker's Party, or P.K.K." but that "American and Turkish officials quickly denied those reports". Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports that Turkish troops did enter "northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas" causing the US concern "that its entanglement in Iraq is about to become even more complicated if American troops and aircraf are asked to counter even a limited Turkish assault." China's Xinhua reports US State Department's flack Sean McCormak declaring, "Bottom line it for you, (I) don't think there's any substance to it. Our ambassador in Ankara, Ross Wilson, went in and talked to the Turkish General Staff, they said the reports weren't accurate." Turkish Daily News states the PKK killed 7 Turkish soldiers on Monday and wounded 6 yesterday. The Turkish Daily News also notes that the country's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Levent Bilman, declared yesterday that "the Turkish Republic is ready for anything any time." Lebanon's Daily Star reports that the border crossing happened, quotes a Turkish military official characterizing it as "a hot pursuit, not an incursion," and quotes their third Turkish official stating that "600 commandos entered Iraq and were backed up by several thousand troops along the border. He said the commandos raided Iraqi territory across from the Turkish border town of Cukurca before dawn after rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] opened fire from Iraqi soil on Turkish patrols." Audio on this topic can be found on Thursday's Flashpoints (KPFA) where Robert Knight covered it in his "Knight Report" at the start of the program noting that Jabar Yawir declared, "This afternoon ten Turkish helicopters landed in a village in Mazouri, which is 2 miles inside the Iraqi border. They landed with around 150 Turkish special forces." Scott Peterson (Christian Sciene Monitor) notes the "hot pursuit" reports as well as: "Analysts say news of the raid is a warning to both the US and Iraqi Kurds, nominally in control in northern Iraq, to clamp down on the PKK, which has waged a fight for a homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984. Peterson also notes that ill will is building and cites Metehan Demi ("Ankara bureau chief of Turkey's Sabah newspaper and a military speciailist") noting, "The Americans are not doing things deliberately. But the Americans are not acting as much as they can [to control the PKK in northern Iraq], according to Turkey. . . . When any Turkish soldier dies, immediate focus [lands] on the US -- this is the public view, that the US is not acting sincerely for Turkey as an ally." Patrick Seale (Agence Global via Pacific Free Press) maintains, "Turkey is dangerously close to launching a full-scale war across its eastern border into northern Iraq. The aim would be to wipe out the bases of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), destroy once and for all the party's separatist ambitions, and put an end to cross-border terrorist attacks and hit-and-run raids by the PKK, which have inflamed nationalist opinion in Turkey." The BBC notes the establishment of "temporary security zones" by Turkey "near its border with Iraq, where it has already deployed extra forces." Vincent Boland (Financial Times of London via MSNBC) notes that troop build up will result in "special security measures in three provinces close to the border with Iraq" and that the approximately "100,000 Turkish troops" have led to "intense speculation that they are preparing for a large-scale incursion." Suzan Fraser (AP) observes that "temporary security zones" has not been clarified; however, it may mean that "the areas would be off limits to civilian flights. Others said the zones meant that additional security would be implemented, and entry into the regions would be restricted and tightly controlled" presumably through September 9th which the Turkish military has announced as the projected end date. As the details are discussed and debated, only Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) notes the upcoming "referendrum . . . to be held on the future of the oil province of Kirkuk before the end of this year."

Meanwhile, tensions rise in Iraq as the
BBC reports that Iraqi's Islamic Party (Sunni) states that two Sunni Baghdad mosques were attacked by Shi'ite "militiamen, backed by commando troops, [who] raised their banners over the Rahman and Fataah Basha mosques."


AFP reports 9 dead and twenty-two injured from a truck bombing in Rabiaa. AFP also reports a bombing in Ramadi that killed 2 people and wounded six and a Baghdad car bombing ("northwestern Shiite district of Talbiyah") that left 4 dead and fourteen injured. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an east Bagdhad car bombing that killed 5 people (fifteen wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack that left 1 person dead and nine more wounded and notes the Baghdad car bombing's death toll had risen to 5 and that it involved two car bombs. Reuters notes that a roadside bombing outside Tikrit wounded two bodyguards of "a senior pollice officer".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Iraqi soldiers wounded from gunfire in Baghdad, Reuters reports 8 "suspected insurgents" were shot dead by Iraqi soldiers. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that journalist Sahar al-Haidari was shot dead as she was "waiting for a taxi" in Mosul today: "She was attacked by gunment who pulled up in a car and opened fire" and had worked for Voice of Iraq. China's Xinhua reports that Sahar al-Haidari used fake names to avoid attacks and that she was mother of three children.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 32 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 5 corpses discovered in Falluja and 2 in Mahmudiya.

United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence announced today: "It is with much sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British soldier from 4th Battalion The Rifles, in southern Iraq today, Thursday 7 June 2007. The soldiers was part of a patrol conducting a search and detention opertaion in the Al Atiyah district, north west of Basra City at about 0220 local time when he was shot by small arms fire."

US military announced today: "A Multi-National Divison - Baghdad Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations in a southwestern section of Baghdad June 6."

Turning to political news, rotund talk show host Ed Schultz got a lot of mileage out of trashing Hillary Clinton (something he no doubt did very often before his recent conversion to the 'left') back in January of this year, whining her staff was rude and immediately putting a photo of himself with Barack Obama up at his website -- then going on to trash Hillary regularly. Call it karama, but
BuzzFlash has posted an explanation of why their recent wide ranging interview with Randi Rhodes (The Randi Rhodes Show) will not be followed by an interview Schultz: " arranged two interview times with Ed Schultz's producers. Schultz stood us up for both appointments. The producer then asked if we would call back next week and he 'might' be able to arrange something. We responded that, considering the blow offs by Ed and our shortage of time, it was up to Ed to call us on our BuzzFlash interview phone line at his convenience."

Meanwhile, Obama's gotten a ton of attention -- none of it serious -- for a (bad) speech given earlier this week. Speaking Tuesday at Hampton University (Hampton, Virginia), Obama delivered a speech billed by some as being on the Iraq war, poverty and race. Strangely, in the long winded speech,
Iraq gets three mentions (four if you count "Iraqi") while God and Jesus are mentioned at least 19 times. On Iraq and US senators and 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, Bob Geary (Raleigh Durham Independent) observes the antics of "those two brave presidential candidates who say they want the war to end" by noting:

But Sunday night, Edwards called them out for their lack of leadership on the issue, and he was right. Clinton and Obama finally did cast the "correct" vote, but not until the last possible minute, each apparently waiting for the other to take a stand before finally, with the vote clock running down, Obama entered the chamber and voted no, after which Clinton, rushing in, also voted no.Until that moment, however, neither Clinton nor Obama had said a word about the bill, what was wrong with it, or that anything was wrong with it or with the Democratic leadership. They are the two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Think they might've had some influence over what the Senate bill said if, that is, they'd wanted any influence?

In the new issue of
The Progressive (June 2007), Ruth Conniff looks at Obama mania, the empty suit behind it (pp. 14-15, "Obama's Kenney Bid") and notes of his highly hyped latest book: "Less inspring, in his best-selling book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama stakes out the middle ground between political poles he describes as right and left 'extremes.' He associates Rush Limbaugh with one and NPR with the other. This 'truth is in the middle' canard, designed to appeal to apological swing voters, is depressing for progressives." And depressing for reality because who but the most Fox-ified right-winger would put out the b.s. that NPR is extreme liberal? As Conniff observes, he owes a huge debt to "Third Way" and triangulation. In the Sunday debate, John Edwards (rightly) pointed out that though Clinton and Obama voted "no" to the supplemental, they didn't canvas for it or attempt to build support. He stated that was not leadership to which Obama whimpered that Edwards was "about four and a half years late on leadership on this issue" as if that would excuse the cowardly behavior by Obama or Clinton. If Edwards is late to the party, he was present this year. Where has Obama been? Ducking outside to have a smoke? The way he's spent the bullk of his public life after allowing his campaign to unearth trash on his only serious opponent in 2004? Obama can bore everyone with his double-speak and his 'inspirational' sermonettes, but he's yet to offer the American people anything they couldn't find inside a Hallmark card. And those giving him a pass on his nonsense aren't helping the Democratic Party. (Though Katrina's former coffee fetcher's work for the campaign does provide unintentionally hilarious laughs.)

In news of contractors, Editor & Publisher's "
Documents Emerge Two Years After Col. Westhusing's Controversial Suicide in Iraq" explores the suicide from two years ago of Col. Ted Westhusing whose suicide note ends:

I didn't volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more.

More on Westhusing's suicide can be found at

In media news, as independent media continues to be under attack, News Dissector Danny Schechter's "
Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"

Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). Today, June 7th, he will discuss his book with Amy Goodman at The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:15). Admission is $5 per person and students (with ID) can attend for free. Pilger will sign copies of his book afterwards and Amy Goodman will sign copies of her latest book (written with her brother David Goodman) Static. "For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, click here or e-mail" He will also be interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Thursday June 7th.June 11th, Pilger will be in Los Angeles at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (244 S. San Pedro St.) and will discuss his book and show his documentary beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). The price of admission to the even is five dollars. "Directions, maps, and parking info at: by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office: 213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"June 13th finds him in San Francisco showing his film and discussing his book at Yerba Beuna Center for Arts (beginning at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm) and the price of admission is $15 general and $5 for students. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at In person tickets at YBCA Box office located inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third. (Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.) For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"From San Francisco, he moves on to Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists. To attend the conference, the fee is $85. For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker, International Socialist Review, and Haymarket Books. For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.