Friday!!!!! :D I've finished one book and have to try to get done with another if we're doing a book discussion for Sunday. :( Okay, I need to get started. First up, this is from Democracy Now! today:
Jury Deliberations Begin Iraq Rape, Murder Case
Jury deliberations begin today in the military trial of a U.S. soldier accused in the rape and murder of the fourteen-year old Iraqi teenager Abeer Qasim Hamza and the killing of her parents and younger sister in the town of Mahmoudiya last year. The soldier, Private First Class Jesse Spielman, is accused of conspiracy to commit rape and murder. Three servicemembers have already been convicted in the case. The alleged ringleader, former soldier Steven Green, awaits trial as a civilian in federal court.
I don't see that a decision's been reached yet so it may come over the weekend or Monday.
I'm going to be really lazy and swipe this from Third so I don't have to do a ton of links. These are the people I mention in this post and their websites:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz
Second. Elaine does her site and I do mine. I support what she does. She supports what I do. Please do not e-mail either of us to complain about the other. We are involved so it's even worse than if you'd e-mail me about another community member.
You won't get on my good side dogging on Elaine.
I saw two such e-mails tonight.
Paul Craig Roberts is a Republican. I've mentioned him here (though I don't think the e-mailer knew that) when Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Dalia Hashad and Heidi Boghosian interviewed him. If they interview him again, I'll mention him again.
Elaine does sometimes link to him when something of his appears on CounterPunch. Elaine has never said "He's a God!" She has noted he's a Republican.
If you don't like Paul Craig Roberts, I really don't need to hear about it. If you think Elaine makes a mistake linking to him, I really don't care what you think. She supports CounterPunch and links to them regularly. (I support them too but they are like the main outlet Elaine links to.)
Here's another tidbit for those whining. Elaine didn't want to do a blog (still doesn't). When her guest blogging (for Rebecca) was dying down in the summer of 2005, I started a petition within the community to get her to continue blogging. So if you're unhappy with the site, you're really complaining to the person who egged it on.
I don't care for a certain Fat, Rotund, Media Voice who got all giddy like a school girl over Harold Ford Jr. It's a little insulting to read an e-mail praising that FAT ASS that also wants to talk about neo-civil war or whatever. Ford Jr. posed in front of a Confederate Flag during his failed attempt to get into the Senate. I also don't care for Fat, Rotund because he set himself up pretty (or fatty) by trashing a really important group (that he was once part of) when the heat was on. He's a sell out and a fat ass in my book. If he's something different in your book, well there are a lot of books that don't interest me. And to be really blunt, Fat, Rotund is not African-American so maybe he shouldn't try to be the public face of an organization that very often deals with African-American issues. Maybe he should step aside and allow African-Americans to grab that face time? Maybe there's something really insulting about a White man thinking he should be speaking for an organization over and over when it's a largely African-American organization? Ponder that.
One of the people who wrote doesn't like Dave Lindorff. I do. But I would've included his thing until I saw Fat Rotund's name. I would have done that to be nice because that guy seemed nice (except for what appeared to be a slam at Elaine). Then I saw Fat Rotund's name and that was that.
Fat Rotund doesn't do a thing to end the war. Dave Lindorff does. Fat Rotund is not my idea of a 'source.' I think Fat Rotund sees Neo-Nazi everywhere he doesn't see Mountains of Chocolate, Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream. I am highly skeptical of his I'm The White Man Who Will Save The Black Race routine for a number of reasons. But if he wants to help African-Americans, try letting the ones at the organization get the face (and mike) time he keeps grabbing.
Now let's move on to WBAI's Law and Disorder which aired Monday (and a new episode airs again this Monday). It airs at 10:00 am EST every Monday on WBAI and on other stations throughout the week. It's a weekly, hour long program hosted by four attorneys: Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Dalia Hashad and Heidi Boghosian.
Heidi wasn't on this week. The three interviewed Adam Kokesh but I think that was an older interview that just got aired because of some of the things they were talking about. WBAI just got done with pledge drive and they might have held that during the pledge drive. Someone (guess who) knows the jerk off that was prosecuting Adam. (Knows should have been your clue. I was told, "You can hint, but don't say.") So here's what happened, in 1998 on a West Virginina campus, someone who knows everyone (you know who I'm talking about) was on the phone with a woman whose parents were friend of the unnamed. The woman had a presentation to do for a class and was speaking to ____ about it because her parents said, "Call ___." So there's a knock at the door and the woman puts the phone down and it's little Jeremy.
He stays for an hour and ____ thinks either the woman is coming back to the phone or that it's meant to be listened in on. So ___ hears the whole thing. Little Jeremy's interested in this woman and "It was like Rainman II: Dustin Dates!" (Didn't that give you your last hint, hint! :D)
An hour later, after he leaves, ___ is waiting and waiting and then starts making noise so the woman comes to the phone and says, "I forgot you were on the phone." They then talk about Jeremy and how weird that was. It was like Rainman trying to date. That's the short version.
I heard about it from Dona today on the phone. She goes when Adam said Jeremy's name, it clicked with ___ and ___ goes, "I think I know of Jeremy." Dona goes ___ knows everyone but even she was doubtful on this because __ was saying "I think" and not "I know." So ____ calls a law firm and asks for a friend and says, "Hey, remember when you were an undergrad and I was on the phone when that creep came to your door? Uh-huh. I'm going to pass the phone to a friend. Tell her the creep's name." It was little Jeremy (who not only could complete a pass, he was soaked in sweat by the time he finally hemmed and hawwed and left). Dona got the whole low down from ___'s friend. Little Jeremy was an odd one and had trouble communicating with women. The friend said everyone thought he would turn out to be a serial killer because he was so weird. She said she had no idea why he was coming over to her place to begin with. But it was so creepy and she was just thinking, "Oh, let him go, please let him leave now." So that's Little Jeremy. No ladies' man and also really creepy when he's trying (badly) to come on to a woman.
I also heard he was always losing arguments in classes and would insist, even after he was proven wrong, that he was right.
So there's a little story I thought I'd share. (____ didn't recognize the name in print. It was only when Adam said the name on the broadcast and "sneered it" that ___ was reminded of the way the woman sneered the name over the phone.)
So Adam discussed the kanagroo hearing against him and how the military tried to shut him up from speaking. They went after him, remember, for wearing his camos, not his dress uniform.
This was during street theater and C.I.'s covering it in the snapshot later on so I'll assume if you don't already know the story, you can read about it then.
I agree with C.I.'s thing about Dalia, she did make the obvious point. That's not an insult. I'm not going, "Oh, she's so obvious." I'm talking about when she brought up the way the press has told his story and how badly they've done it. She's right. But most people won't say it. I really think that's what Dalia does best, says what others might think but won't say. That's true when she's talking about Israeli aggression or anything else. She just comes off really straightfoward and doesn't try to pretty it up. If I ever needed a lawyer and had my pick of anyone in the world, I'd go with her because she's probably that way with her clients too. If I was thrown into Guantanmo tomorrow for not loving the Bully Boy of the United States, she'd level with me (if she could get in!) and say, "Here's what I'm going to try but here's the way this has gone in the past." She's not afraid to say she's fed up too which is another reason I always wish she'd talk more.
By the way, as C.I. noted Tuesday, Dalia was right about Camilo Mejia in that interview awhile back. I noted where she read that in his book to point out she was right awhile back. (C.I. linked to it in the Tuesday snapshot and gave me credit but let's give credit back because, like I say in the snapshot, I was reading and re-reading Camilo's book over and over and couldn't find it. Then I finally ask C.I. and get told, "It's in the afterword, page ___." :D
Camilo was a guest on Monday's show too. I was glad he made the point about how his 8 year contract was up. He didn't get to make, he may have been cut off, the point about how the US military couldn't extend his contract because he was a US resident and not a citizen and they aren't allowed to extend the contracts of non-citizens. I'm always surprised when I hear him on a show because he did this HUGELY BRAVE THING in standing up to the illegal war and he's always got the softest voice. Sometimes it's almost a whisper. I bet when he gets mad, he's loud but when he's talking he's almost a whisper. Oh, and point, he brought up the fact that he was stopped-lost and that he was extended 28 or so years. In fact, one of the Michaels (I think Ratner) made a joke about that. And Michael Smith shared about how his grandparents left Romania and came to the US and one of the reasons was because of stuff like that because males there were drafted and expected to serve something like 55 years.
Camilo was a good interview. I don't know that Adam got to really tell his story or not. Eddie's mentioned in the snapshot so I'm guessing he e-mailed C.I. what he e-mailed me about which was he wished they had discussed the Supreme Court case more. I don't think the second guest, Adam's lawyer, really could. He didn't even mention the title or quote from the majority opinion. At one point he was talking about how it was pretty much the same as Adam's case (and it pretty much is) and I wish Dalia or the Michaels had asked how so? I'm not sure he could have answered. But that might have just been him being more reserved. I don't know. If he's not reserved, I'm not sure he knows the case.
I should be on the show! I know that case forwards and backwards! :D I would have said, "Okay, Dalia, Michaels, let me break it down for you . . ." :D That's because we were working on that thing back in June at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (I've told this story here before, it deserves retelling.) C.I. goes f-word that we're writing this and accepting the mainstream narrative. C.I. goes there's a case that applies here. C.I. can't think of it. Elaine and C.I. get on a separate line (we were all on a conference call writing up the edition) and are gone forever! :D
They're going back over that time period and Elaine's tossing out things to try to jog C.I.'s memory and finally C.I. remembers and they discuss the case. And then they're supposed to come back and join us but C.I.'s afraid that they're remembering wrong. So C.I. calls the attorney on retainer (after Elaine points out, forget the hour, you pay them a monthly retainer and never use them for anything) and Elaine calls Jess' mother (a good and radical lawyer -- who is not at all bothered to be awakened by a call on a matter like this). They go over the case and then they compare notes. Then they come back and give us a tutorial on the Supreme Court Case.
(I'm not really asking to be on the show, by the way.)
As far as C.I. knows, no one in the press mentioned that case during the 'trial' and only Radar magazine mentioned it in any coverage after. That's a Supreme Court case. (By the way, the dude at the Kansas City Star was informed of the case but chose to ignore it. I'm spilling all the beans tonight! :D) It goes to war resistance so we should know about it and we should talk about it. That was why I really didn't care too much for the second segment (that was Adam's attorney). Michael Smith made a good point about GI rights in Vietnam and all but I really felt like the Supreme Court case was the thing to cover there. But maybe that case is one of those things that it takes a Howard Zinn to talk about because it's one of those things that just drops out of our collective memory? That shouldn't be the case because this was a huge win for war resistance.
Adam explained about how the military was also trying to shut up Cloy Richards and Liam Madden. Liam's now fine, the military wrote that weak ass e-mail to him saying, basically, the matter was dropped. I don't think they liked Liam's replies to them. He was telling them they better stop saying he was a disgrace or dishonor or whatever it was. Because he hadn't made any disloyal statements. And after they'd already attacked Adam and seen he couldn't be shut up and that he got all this support from all over, I think they looked at Liam and thought, "Oh God, another one of them!" :D Adam really made a difference fighting back and he needs to be applauded for that. He's not done fighting this but I think he really scared the military. They thought they could send their nasty little e-mails to him and he'd say, "Okay, okay, I'll stop." Then when he not only said he wouldn't but told them to f--k off, they thought they could stand up to him. But that didn't really turn out too good for them either.
So I think he's scared them. And when they saw Liam was going to be another Adam, they were probably like, "I can't take another!" :D
Adam's attorney did make a point I didn't know about which was that the investigating officer wrote some note where he basically defined Adam as "the enemy." Good to know the investigation was conducted by someone impartial!
So that was the program and, like C.I. notes in the snapshot, Heidi Boghosian's just done a book with The National Lawyers Guild "Punishing Protest written by Heidi Boghosian (available online in PDF format for free and avaible in book format for $3 at the National Lawyers Guild website)." I started reading that tonight thinking I could pull something from it here. I thought "$3? This may be really brief." It's like 80 pages or something (with some illustrations -- like newspaper headlines and photos of this guy at the 2004 RNC convention with this big old bruise/wound on his forehead after he'd been shot with a rubber bullet) and I was thinking, before I looked at it, "I can do a quick read on this." Nope. But I really like what I've read so far and urge, URGE, you to read it too. All four of the hosts are attorneys and they're busy and all but this book may be why Heidi wasn't on so much before the break. It looks like this took a lot to write (there are researchers and editors with the NLG credited for their contributions). It flows really well. And you aren't bored. I was tempted to just read it all the way through and not blog but I know if I don't blog now, I won't tomorrow. (I also know I've got to finish Aidan Delgado's book. I've got to start it! I just finished the other book we're going to put it with for a book discussion.) C.I. gave me that book when we were all at C.I.'s on vacation and I should have started it then but I was just in fun mode. Ava's got to read Army of None tonight (after they get back to California) and I've got to read Aidan's book but I think everyone else has read both of them already.
Okay I had to stop to get to the Iraq Study Group (the real one, not the James Baker Circle Jerk) but we're on a break and I'm going to post this now.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, August 3, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, the puppet tries not to notice the government collapsing around him, the National Lawyers Guild issues a report by Heidi Boghosian on the state of rights in the United States, and more.
Starting with war resistance. Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) reports on the creation of the War Resisters Support Campaign "launched shortly after an American deserter from the Iraq War named Jeremy Hinzman arrived in Canada seeking asylum that January" in 2004 and how it was quickly realized that both a legal and a political effort would be needed and that's certainly true with both war resisters Hinzman and Brandon Hughey's case now being appealed to Canada's Supreme Court following the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that "rights of conscience" could be applied to "a refugee claimant [who] is a high-level policy-maker or planner of the military conflict" but not "a mere foot soldier". So apparently Henry Kissinger, for instance, could get refugee status for his war crimes in Canada but Canada will not give asylum to war resisters. As Chan notes, that was not always the case. During Vietnam, the Canadian government stood up but that's when they had a prime minister who wasn't a lackey of the United States. Chan notes that Hughey and Hinzman are expected to hear this month or next whether the Supreme Court will hear their case.
Just as during Vietnam, war resistance is on the rise. "I think something similar is beginning to happen now because those same unities coming together to oppose the war say, 'No, we're not going to continue fighting in this war.' We have the organization I belong to, Iraq Veterans Against the War, we have up to 500 members, the majority of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are saying, 'No, we're not going to continue to fighting this war.' And you know by the Pentagon's own estimates we have since the war started 8 to 10,000 troops who have decided not to go back to the war. To put it in perspective, that's a division size element that's been wiped by desertion and AWOL," explains war resister and CO Camilo Mejia on this week's Progressive Radio, Matthew Rothschild interviewed Mejia who has told his story in the recently released Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press).
Matthew Rothschild: Did you get a lot of negative feedback from either people who saw you on the media or from soldiers or former soldiers?
Camilo Mejia: Definitely there was some negative feedback but by and large the feedback was very positive partiicularly when it came from the members of the military. People in the army, or in the armed services, don't really feel that they have the right to go public with their views and opinions . . . but secretly in a more private way a lot of people came up to me and said they agreed with me although they didn't feel they could do so publicy. The feedback was very positive.
Mejia described the things he saw at the POW camps for Iraqis and Rothschild asked if he realized then that the Geneva Conventions were being violated? Mejia replied that he didn't realize it at that point, "It just felt wrong." Mejia explained that the events "on a daily basis" in Iraq didn't allow him much time for reflection but he had that time while he was on leave back in the US. He and Rothschild discussed the bond (socialization) within the military and how that can effect choices made. Mejia stated the people need to "realize that there's a greater tragedy in Iraq . . . The people of Iraq, 90% of the people who are dying are civilians, you know children, unarmed men, women, the elderly, the entire life being destroyed, the infrastructure is being destroyed so we have got to step outside our own fears and our own interests and our own feelings to look at the bigger picture and realize that saying that we're fighting for one another is no reason enough for participating in this criminal war."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.
Mejia was interviewed on Monday on WBAI's Law and Disorder as was Adam Kokesh spoke with hosts Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith (Heidi Boghosian, the fourth host was not part of this broadcast, but we'll cover Boghosian in a moment). Kokesh is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and he discussed the military brass' efforts to suppress his freedom of his speech. Kokesh wore his fatigues (without markings or name tags) in Operation First Casualty in DC (and elsewhere but DC was the one that led to retaliation) which is street theater meant to convey for Americans what life is like for Iraqis during the illegal war.
"The media stories that we've read haven't captured this accurately," Dalia Hashad noted. Kokesh explained that, after the DC action, he got an e-mail which he didn't know what to make of -- was it for real? -- and he discussed it with Tina Richards (Grassroots of America) who explained that her son Cloy Richards had received similar e-mails from people in (or claiming to be) the military and out of it. So Kokesh replied to the e-mail and the brass response was "which is completely unprecedented" because he had already been honorably discharged by the military and placed in the IRR Kokesh described it as a kick in the stomach and a surprise, "They can't do this, legally there's no grounds for this. You know it says Article II of the UCMJ it doesn't apply to the IRR it says in my enlistment contract". Dalia Hashad asked to explain about the IRR and Kokesh offered that "when you're in the IRR you're only responsibilites are to maintain a valid address and to show up if called back to active duty."
Michael Smith asked about wearing "a uniform" in street theater? Kokesh explained that a JAG attorney was activated from the reserves, Jeremy Sibert, for the prosecution team. Sibert is the Criminal Division Assistant US Attorney in the Del Rio Office [Texas} for the Department of Justice. Attorney Mike Lebowitz spoke on the program as well and (as requested by Eddie) we'll one more time go over that what Adam Kokesh and others do in street theater is not an issue the military has any say in. Daniel Jay Schacht took part in street theater during Vietnam. He and others staged it outside a military recruitment center. At that point in time, the military thought they had rights that they didn't. Schacht was arrested for wearing a military uniform in the production. The military's reasoning was that it gave the armed forces a bad name -- the play, the performance, whatever. At that point, the military would allow or disallow theater productions the 'right' to utilize uniforms or not. In 1970, Schacht v. United States was heard by the Supreme Court. The Court found in Schacht's favor noting that the military had been granting permission to some. By denying permission to others, this was now a free speech issue. The US military, the Court determined, had no say in theater productions -- if some could use the uniforms, all could. The military had no say over what Schacht or anyone said in a theater production when they wore a uniform and they had no say over whether the uniform could be worn. This was true of all productions, including street theater. Justice Hugo Black wrote:
Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world.
Kokesh is appealing and, due to the Supreme Court's 1970 verdict, it should be an easy win; however, Schacht v. United States should have ensured that the matter never went as far as did.
"The idea that citizens are free to dissent is ingrained in the American mythos, a concept even older than the Declaration of Independence itself. Equally important in this value system is the conviction that no nation state can survive as a democracy unless it safeguards political expression and activity," so writes Heidi Boghosian in Punishing Protest. And yet, Kevin Egler has a pre-trial date August 9th in the Portage County Municipal Court in Kent, Ohio. His crime, as David O'Brien (The Record Courier via Common Dreams) explains, placing an "IMPEACH" sign on public party. And yet, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) reported last month on the White House's policy of keeping people out of tax payer events -- something clearly taking place throughout the 2004 campaign but the White House put it in writing. In the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports a record $1 million settlement by the District of Columbia due to the police round ups of demonstrators against the illegal war in 2002. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes that the monies will go "to more than one hundred demonstrators" and that "D.C. previously agreed to pay more than $640,000 to fourteen other demonstrators. A larger class-action suit covering more than four hundred people awaits trial." The money involved in the DC payout may seem great but does it really cover the cost of violating people's First Amendment rights? And many other attacks on free speech and the right to assembly go under the radar. The National Lawyers Guild has just released Punishing Protest written by Heidi Boghosian (available online in PDF format for free and avaible in book format for $3 at the National Lawyers Guild website).
We're going to zoom in on one section (from page six) and just to provide background (by me, take it up with me, not Boghosian) 2004 was a presidential election. Though some voices, such as Naomi Klein, sounded alarms about the peace movement allowing itself to be subverted into a get-out-the-vote drive for a candidate who was not calling for an end to the illegal war (Democratic nominee John Kerry), most went along with it. One of the biggest peace demonstrations took place in NYC during the GOP convention. In the lead up to the rally and march, the Bloomberg administration denied (wrongly) Central Park access and along with attempting to fight that ban, the peace movement also had to deal with the middle age panice so many (such as Toad) were in the grip of -- alleged lefties who were saying that protesters shouldn't come to NYC or swearing they were leaving NYC for the entire convention. With that background in mind, on page six Boghosian addresses the importance of the media in providing a light and in demonizing and silencing:
For example, the New York print media engaged in hyperbolic coverage months before the 2004 Republican National Convention. The cover of the May 17, 2004 issue of New York magazine promoted companion articles, accompanied by a photograph of a protester wrapped in a U.S. flag. One headline taunted: "Cops to Protesters: Bring It On." The other read: "The Circus is Coming to Town: A Bush-hating nation of freaks, flash-mobbers, and civil-disobedients is gathering to spoil the GOP's party." Nearly the entire front page of the July 12, 2004 edition of the New York Daily News contained an exaggerated proclamation: "ANARCHY THREAT TO CITY Cops fear hard-core lunatics plotting convention chaos." Inside the paper, a two-page headline announced: "FURY AT ANARCHIST CONVENTION THREAT. 'These hard-core groups are looking to take us on. They have increased their level of violence.' -- Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly." The Daily News reported how "Kelly and company have to combat a shadowy, loose-knit band of traveling troublemakers who spread their guides to disruption ovre the Internet." Although the New York Daily News is a tabloid, and prone to sensational headlines, it has the largest circulation and readership in the New York market.
Boghosian then quotes Mara Verheyden-Hillard (NLG's co-chair of Mass Defense Committee) explaining, "Such misleading news coverage is part of an effort to get the activists and the legal community to buy into the police line that there are 'good protestors' and 'bad protestors' and therefore agree that there is a real threat that then necessitates police response to protest. Take action against the fictional bad protestors but don't trample on the rights of the 'good' kind of response, which diverts from those who are the real violent actors over and over -- the police." Also on the press coverage, Boghosian notes a study that found "college newspapers are generally doing a better job reporting on local antiwar events than other local newspapers" while the corporate (alleged grown up) press "fail to research accurate attendance numbers, or fail to mention estimates entirely". Boghosian covers the varying fees applied to some groups but not to others, police pre-demonstration raids on the premises where activists are staying (that harrassment also takes place in Canada, as Naomi Klein explains in Fences & Windows) and may 'find' or invent "a housing violation as a pretext to close down the premises." On page 27, Boghosian addresses the appalling "free speech zones" in Boston during the DNC convention, the containment pens endorsed by the Bloomberg administration which are a saftey hazard for demonstrators as well as a violation of free speech, the issues of bail, illegal spying, infiltration, court room shenanigans and more. The report, to be clear, is not focused on the peace movement. The report is about the erosion of rights in a democracy (or possibly, in an alleged democracy the way things are currently going) and also addresses the war on environmentalists, on Critical Mass and other cyclists. Among the points Boghosian sums up in her conclusion is this:
Decades ago, government spying, infiltration and disruption tactics of the FBI and CIA against domestic political groups (Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO) led to the establishment of guidelines limited federal investigative power. Under the Bush Administration many of those guidelines are being loosened or abandoned altogether as the government engages in the same surveillance and infiltration activities through advancing a policy of preemptive "warfare." And once again, the executive office, working in close coordination with all levels of federal and local law enforcement, is engaging in what Justice Powell called "dragnet techniques" to both intimidate and silence its critics, the very practice that led to the Fourth Amendment and its protections against overreaching government searches and seizures.
By characterizing those who speak out as 'enemies' or 'terrorists,' as the government is increasingly doing, those charged with upholding the constitution are defying it in a cowardly fashion.
Again, the PDF format of the report is available online -- 89 pages -- and it can be purchased for $3.00 at the National Lawyers Guild.
In Iraq realities are captured at Inside Iraq where an Iraqi journalist working for McClatchy Newspapers offers a post that really needs to be read in full but will excerpt from the end:
All these good-doers, thousands of them, in four years, what have they presented to the poor Iraqi Man that they all wish to serve?
Thousands of reconstruction contracts have been awarded -- and the projects said to be implemented.
What are they?
Where are they? Where are they?
Wouldn't a sinking government jump at the chance to show such accomplishments -- had there been any?
Wouldn't an accused occupier jump at the chance to show some
succesful, truly fundamental infrastructure developments and shout them from the roof tops?
Do we have sanitary drinking water?
Do we have electricity?
Do we have medical services or basic neighbourhood services?
Thank you, but no thank you.
But you see . . . no one asked me.
Great Britain's Socialist Worker notes Oxfam's report and judges it "a daming report on the state of Iraq four years into the occupation" while also noting that Iraqi children "are the biggest losers in the occupation, with 28 percent malnourished, compared to 19 percent before the invasion, while nine out of ten children suffer learning difficulties." The Oxfam report also found that 70% of Iraqis do not have "access to adequate water supplies." This as CBS and AP report: "Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer. Residents and city officials said Thursday large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations. Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but this one is described by residents as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory. The problem highlights the larger difficulties in a capital beset by violence, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime and too little electricity to keep cool in the sweltering weather more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion." They note 52-year-old Jamil Hussein who has two children with "severe diarrhea" due to the water and that he and they will have to continue drinking it. That's criminal, the potable water is still a longed for dream all this time after the illegal war began is criminal.
In some of the rare reporting on today's violence (the soccer team returned -- or parts of it -- so it's time for everyone in the press to don a jock strap and go into fluff mode) . . .
KUNA reports 3 prisoners killed in "Badoush detention camp" by "the Multi-National Force" (US forces) who used "tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets to put down the riots." Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports: "A spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, said an aide to the cleric was shot and killed Thursday by gunmen in Najaf. Less than two weeks before, another Sistani aide was stabbed and killed near the cleric's office in Najaf, and another aide was killed a month before in a drive-by shooting."
Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 13 corpses discovered in Baghdad today.
Today the US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital August 2. Four of the injured were treated for minor injuries and were returned to duty." This brings the August total to 5 US service members killed in Iraq and the total since the start of the illegal war to 3665.
In news of the attempts by the US administration (and elements in the US Congress) to steal Iraqi oil for the benefit of corporations, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today, "Support is growing in the U.S. for Iraqi oil workers striking against the U.S.-backed oil law under debate in Iraq. The main union representing American oil workers is calling on Congress to stop pressuring Iraq to pass the law and to shift support to the Iraqi oil workers' demands. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says: 'The oil privatization law now under consideration by Iraq's government is designed to benefit the multinational oil companies; not the Iraqi people'." And the Iraqi parliament, like the US Congress, is now off on a month long vacation. Jonathan Steel (Guardian of London) observes, "Glad tidings from Baghdad at last. The Iraqi parliament has gone into summer recess without passing the oil law that Washington was pressing it to adopt. For the Bush administration this is irritating, since passage of the law was billed as a 'benchmark' in its battle to get Congress not to set a timetable for US troop withdrawal. . . . Just as General David Petraues, the current US commander, is due to give his report on military progress next month, George Bush is supposed to tell Congress in mid-September how the Maliki government is moving forward on reform."
Earlier this week the Iraqi Accordance Front withdrew from the puppet government. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports that "Iraqi and Western observers say Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his inner circle appear increasingly unable to pull the government out of its paralysis. At times consumed by conspiracy theories, Maliki and his Dawa party elite operate much as they did when they plotted to overthrow Saddam Hussein -- covertly and concerned more about their community's survival than with building consensus among Iraq's warring groups, say Iraqi politicians and analysts and Western diplomats." Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports, "Withdrawals from the government by individual ministers and by political groups was the first sign of the end of al-Maliki's political life, but the U.S. government has remained insistent on keeping al-Maliki at the top of Iraq's leadership" and notes, "Security, basic services, and all measurable levels of Iraq's infrastructure are worse now than under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, the U.S., Britain and Iran all continue to support this government."
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