Monday. Monday. Not such a bad day. I've been pestering C.I. for gift ideas for Elaine. I thought I had a good Christmas gift even though it would take place before Thanksgiving. C.I. thought so to. Then I thought I didn't. C.I. said, "Tell her you about your gift."
At Culture Project in NYC, they're doing Rebel Voices (through December 16th) which is based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. Elaine is a huge, huge admirer of Zinn. So I got tickets. Turns out she got tickets for Friday because she figured that would be the easy one for us to go to. I got tickets for the 18th because that's when Zinn's going to be there to say a little something -- it's previews until the 18th, that's the opening night. So I told her today and she really did want to go on the 18th but didn't want to get tickets for that due to my schedule with work and classes. But I'm top of stuff this semester and all. So she's giving her tickets for Friday to Sunny. So we'll go into NYC the 18th and probably get there around the afternoon. It'll be a lot of fun. If you're able to go, remember to think about people you know because it might make a good gift.
Okay, Danny Schechter has a good article but before I link to it, the f-word is in it. I don't care about cursing. But I do get how it is an issue with some community members -- not because they have virgin ears but because they can get written up if they're at a work computer and the content is 'objectionable'. So I've warned you. I won't quote it because I might miss a word in a copy and paste. But if you're able to read it without getting into trouble, click here.
Now quickly, NBC's Chuck. Watch this show. I was working on the stuff below during the show and watching the show. It's really a good show. They had me when Sara and Chuck were on this poison that made them tell the truth, had me for a few seconds. But Ava and C.I. have talked about how strong the actress playing Sara is and how she's not just one of those stand there and say her lines type actors or actresses. She's acting with her body too. So when Sara goes that there will never be anything between her and Chuck, I believed for a few seconds but then thought about how she stiffened her body and how if she was really under the drug, she wouldn't have needed to stiffen up. She would have just told the truth.
It's a funny show and it's got a lot of action but I think they're right, Ava and C.I., that the hook is the relationship between Sara and Chuck. NBC started promoting that last Monday but they still have the ads that make it look like it's A-Team or something. They really need to get more of Sara and Chuck's relationship into the ads because I think that would pull more people in.
Chuck? I'm identifying. :D But I'll respect my relationship and not explain how. But, yeah, haven't we all wanted someone and thought they wouldn't respond the same way? And when you lay it on the line, it's a really big moment. The ads for this episode just ignored that and tried to make it a ha-ha about how another woman was interested in Chuck and yuck-yuck-yuck-ha-ha-ha. The show is funny. You'll laugh when you watch it. But really the thing that hooks you is what's going to happen?
Chuck laid it on the line and Sara lied. Now he's told her they have to pretend to break up -- they're pretending to be a couple, they're working for the government -- and so Chuck's asking another woman out and trying to move on. That's really the hook and this is a really good show. I like the relationship between Chuck and his sister and I like the action and the comedy and the Buy More (like Best Buy) that Chuck's working at. So if you haven't seen the show, make a point to watch. It's on Mondays on NBC and most of the time they repeat it on Saturdays.
Let's talk The Third Estate Sunday Review:
"Truest statement of the week" -- This is Naomi Klein and it was the obvious pick, like I said here last week.
"Truest statement of the week II" -- This is C.I. Now along with Jim's note, C.I. also commented at The Common Ills ("NYT summarzies US government case"). But C.I. was tired and isn't talking about this weekend when me almost getting truest happened. That was two Sundays ago. C.I. never votes for anything with a mention. That's a given. I wanted C.I. in the quote if it was used. So I knew C.I. would vote against it. Even so, C.I. told me, "Mike, if you'll drop the line mentioning me, I'll vote for it. It's wonderful." I knew that. It was a split in the end with 2 not voting and I said, "Let's just go with one statement." So that's what we did. Now this one we went with by C.I. yesterday was for several reasons. (A) One it was a truest. (B) It's also true that what was said needed to be said. (C) We meant to do something on that but there wasn't time. On two things in the quote. (D) It's up there to remind us next week. But it's a truest. (All but C.I. voted for it and C.I. was too tired to care, saying, "Fine, I don't care let's just move on.")
"Editorial: Victories for Watada and the Constitution" -- C.I.'s statement covers Iraq. I want to note that because so does the editorial and some whiney ass e-mailed C.I. yesterday (go to the link I mentioned) complaining that Iraq wasn't in the edition except in this editorial. That's not true. The same whiner said it was silly to do TV pieces. I'll get to that section in a second. But we had several other features and Rebecca said if we really believed this was huge -- and we did -- then we needed to make sure we weren't distracting from it with other features whose focus was similar topics. So that's what we did (it also allowed us to finish sooner since we were way behind and had an excuse to put off some pieces we hadn't worked on). But we're up to two things that do cover Iraq.
"A Note to Our Readers" -- Jim breaks down the edition. I was already snoozing when this got written and I know they were tired. Ty went back in and did the link to Kimberly Wilder after this went up.
"TV: The drip-drip of Carpoolers" -- Silly? Ava and C.I. are talking about the portrayals of women and race. They're noting an embarrassing 'joke' isn't funny and isn't true and backing it up with statistics on how many women in the military have died in Iraq. The show may be worthless; however, their commentary is very worthwhile. And who else would point out that a sexist joke about women and war aired the day after another US female service member died in Iraq? This isn't useless and it's popular because they tell the truth and because they do so in a way that no one else does. I don't know what "Get bent" means (Pru uses it in her columns for the gina & krista round-robin when talking about "wankers") but that's my reply to the whiney Dumb Ass who wrote C.I., "Get bent." :D
"Saint Bam-Bam" -- I love this and Jim asked me not to mention the ha-ha from C.I. because they're seeing which long term readers can pick it out. I'll note we were all really tired and at some point the focus was lost. C.I. sighed and said the line and we all laughed, got our second wind and figured out where to put it in.
"The kind-of left embarrasses with age" -- Old Yeller! :D That makes me laugh still. And it's true! Now we've got three things that do address Iraq and I believe pointing out the truth regarding someone's Feb. 2002 speech on Iraq is also dealing with Iraq. That's four.
"Dumb ass found online by reader Lou" -- This was one of the regular readers highlighting a Dumb Ass on a blog's comment thread.
"Cassie's got a beef" -- And this is a piece we wrote on a dumb ass who doesn't know his history.
"To non-members and non-regular readers" -- We were at a block and Jim said, "Let's write about what Elaine was talking about." So we did. It got us back on track.
"M.E. Moses" -- I interviewed Billie and that was a lot of fun. C.I. interviewed Ramona. Dallas was helping us so we all (except Ava and C.I. who were doing the TV piece). A five and dime is kind of like a dollar story but not really. I enjoyed this because I got to learn about them. (That's before my time.) I thought it was a really cool article and C.I. and I did not talk about what we'd ask before hand so when we were working on this and looking at C.I.'s notes and found that Ramona went to toys too that was pretty cool. If we were picking a variety of the top 50 or so pieces we'd done at Third, I'd nominate this one. But I like hearing about stuff like this. I mean people talking about their childhood and how they realized stuff. And also hearing about stores I never even knew about.
"November 17th, Robert, Nat and Sam Parry in Arlington" -- I never went into a Parry's but we saw a lot of those closed when we were in East Texas that week we spent in Texas last March. We didn't know how we were going to do this short feature and Ava and C.I. came back from their TV piece when we were starting this. Their first question was how did the M.E. Moses thing go? And that made Jim ask, "What was that store we saw closes all over? Was that a five and dime." So we tied that in because what's replacing the independent stores? Big chains. And what could replace an independent outlet like Constortium? A big chain. And just like Wal-Mart, it wouldn't have any personal touches or distinct character and it would also not give you anything but the standard junk you could get everywhere else already.
"Something to Remember" -- C.I. found this in the e-mails after we finished the Scheer piece. Jim said, "No!" Not because Jim didn't want it noted. Jim just thought if we started reworking the piece, it would get weaker. C.I. and Dona said, "Fine, then we put it up as it's own entry."
"From the Illinois Green Party" -- We were going to do something with this besides just posting it but that's one of those things that time runs out on. It happens.
"Excluding Gravel" -- This was a heads up Laura Flanders' interview with Gravel and about how he's now being told he's excluded from the CNN debate.
"Mailer" -- This is my post from Saturday with a funny intro from them.
"Highlights" -- This was Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Elaine, Wally, Cedric and me picking out the highlights and writing about them.
Here's who worked on this edition plus Dallas:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, November 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Di-Fi steps up for the ones who brought her to the dance, another mercenary organization shoots and kills another Iraqi civilian, and more.
Starting with war resisters. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explained the latest about US Senator Dianne Feinstein ("Miss Dianne: Girl Senator -- the non-action figure"). Di-Fi's a war resister? No, she's a War Hawk with blood on her filthy hands. But as Goodman explained, Di-Fi is concerned that the illegal spying issue needs some "legal immunity for telecomunications companies . . . because the companies are unable to defend themselves in court since the governments insist their activities be kept secret." [Click here for Bob Egelko's San Francisco Chronicle report from Friday.] How very interesting. Ehren Watada, like Camilo Mejia before him, was subject to a military court-martial in which a military 'judge' refused to allow him to defend himself, ruled that his reasons for refusing to deploy were immaterial. Di-Fi didn't raise an objection. But then war resisters haven't been the big donors to Di-Fi; however, the telecommunications industry has deep pockets and certainly Pacific Telesis has reached deeper than most. The San Francisco located company (don't forget that the chief witness against AT&T is talking about a switching station located in San Francisco) was merged with/folded into SBC in 1997 and SBC folded in with AT&T Corporation to form AT&T Inc. in 2005. So Di-Fi has no interest in whether or not a defendant can present their best defense, she's only (yet again) protecting her big donors -- the hallmark of her shameful Senate career. The mergers and foldings meant all her big telecommunications donors were "bundled" allowing her to "reach out and touch someone" much easier while giving the public the finger.
Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006). In February 2006, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) presided over a rigged court-martial -- that Di-Fi never raised an objection to -- and, when the prosecution was losing, Judge Toilet ruled a mistrial over defense objection. Despite the Constition's provision against double-jeopardy, the US military has repeatedly attempted to force another court-martial -- again, Di-Fi never raised an objection. US District Judge Benjamin Settle heard and appeal, issued two stays while weighing the briefs from both the prosecution and the defense and ruled last week that the US military could not proceed with any court-martial until Watada's double-jeopardy claim was addressed. He futher stated in his ruling that his judgement was the Constitutional provision against double-jeopardy would prevail. The Honolulu Advertiser reported Friday that Bob Watada, Ehren's father, explaining, "We talked for a few minutes and he said he's happy" and that Eric Seitz "believes the latest federal court decisions means the case against Watada essentially is dead." Seitz was Watada's civilian attorney prior to and throughout the February court-martial. Watada is currently represented (on the civilian side) by Kenneth Kagan and Jim Lobsenz. AP notes, "Watada contends the war is illegal and that he would be party to war crimes if he served in Iraq. The Army refused his request to be posted in Afghanistan or elsewhere." That's . . . some of the story. Watada researched the Iraq War when he got his orders -- researched as his superiors recommended -- not only did he feel he could be party to war crimes, as an officer he felt those serving under him could also be party to war crimes. In addition to offering to go to "Afghanistan or elsewhere," Watada offered other things including resigning his commission. The US military only offered him a desk job in Iraq where he would be 'safe' which was not what his objections to the illegal war were about. Jeff Paterson (at Indybay Media and Courage to Resist) explains, "No court martial can now take place unless Judge Settle reverses himself, or the military successfully appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, or the U.S. Supreme Court -- all of which are unlikely."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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.
The voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at Culture Project and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Zinn will take part in the November 18th presentation (the official opening night -- but performances are already taking place) and musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who appeared on Democracy Now! Friday addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $21 for previews and $41 for regular performances (beginning with the Nov. 18th opening night). The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project. Stacyann Chinn will take part this weekend, Anthony Arnove stated today on WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe where he discussed the project and how the rotating, non-permanent cast members allowed them to mix it up from performance to performance. With Janet Coleman (co-host with David Dozer), Arnove discussed how so much of the history -- the hidden history -- resonates today and specifically cited an editorial, from Frederick Douglass' newspaper the North Star, entitled "The War With Mexico" has a great deal to say today about the Iraq War. From the editorial, "No politician of any considerable distinction or eminence, seems willing to hazard his popularity with his party, or stem the fierce current of executive influence, by an open and unqualified disapprobation of the war. None seem willing to take their stand for peace at all risks; and all seem willing that the war should be carried on, in some form or other. . . . We have no preference for parties, regarding this slaveholding crusade. The one is as bad as the other. The friends of peace have nothing to hope from either." True then, true today.
Turning to Iraq, Jessica Pupovac (In These Times) highlights the Iraqi collaborators with the foreign military in the illegal occupation which the US military is calling "grassroots" and, like any grassroots group?, they "have signed contracts with the U.S. military" and "earn about $300 per month for their services -- more than three times Iraq's average monthly per capita income. They also receive $50 to $100 bonuses for 'actionable intelligence'." Pupovac informs that by October 20th, 67,000 Iraqis had 'enslisted' and that "[t]he vast majority of Concerned Citizens (79 percent) are Sunni, while 9 percent are Shiite and the remaining 12 percent are 'mixed'." Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) report on this topic that the collaborators are known as "volunteers" and that "more than 80 percent of whom are Sunni" leading to a panic on the part "Of Iraqi's Shiite-dominated government" who worry they "could eventually mount an armed opposition".
Turning to the topic of Blackwater. On Thursday, Steve Fainaru's "How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards" (Washington Post) covered the latest revelations of the mercenary company's past actions in Iraq, specifically a February 7, 2007 incident where the mercenaries "opened fir from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry" killing 3 Iraqi Media Network guards with 8 witnesses stating Blackwater's actions were not responding to anything. On Friday's Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with Fainaru about his report :
JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, Steve, in your investigation, obviously, you went at it many months later, but you found that virtually none of the witnesses had actually been interviewed by any American investigators about what actually happened?
STEVE FAINARU: Yeah, I think that was the thing that was most striking. You know, it's still very unclear sort of what precipitated the shooting. You know, the Iraqi guards -- I mean, we interviewed, you know, probably two dozen people inside that compound, and no one said that the Iraqi guards had fired first. Blackwater, of course, reported to the embassy that they had come under fire and responded with targeted rounds.
But what I think was most striking is that there was no real investigation that occurred on behalf of the US embassy's Regional Security Office, which is responsible for overseeing Blackwater. And, you know, their position was that they had conducted extensive interviews with the Blackwater team. They didn't really explain why they had never returned to the scene where it had taken place to try to interview witnesses, but that had not happened. There wasn't any real investigation that occurred. Now, the embassy claimed that there were other people who were interviewed, in terms of their own inquiry or review, but it was never entirely clear who those people were.
[. . .]
AMY GOODMAN: And now, what is happening now, after the September 16th incident, attack by the Blackwater forces in Baghdad have opened up this whole question of responsibility and culpability?
STEVE FAINARU: Well, with regard to this specific incident or more generally?
AMY GOODMAN: In regard to this specific attack, is it being re-looked at?
STEVE FAINARU: Well, as in before yesterday, no, not really. I mean, we had looked into it because -- really, we were interested in it -- but we've been covering the private security issue all year -- and we were interested in it because we wanted to try to find out -- we were aware that an incident had taken place, but only sort of generally, that it was one of the incidents that the Iraqi Ministry of Interior had brought to the embassy to try to figure out what had happened and see if the Americans would respond. So the goal was to find out what happened and what, if any, response there was on behalf of the Americans.
So, you know, in terms of what's going on with it now, it's not totally clear. You know, there is a joint Iraqi commission that has been set up that's addressing private security matters in the wake of the September 16th Nisoor Square incident. And so, that commission is supposed to, among other things, look into previous incidents, presumably this one, although it was -- it's not clear to us that this specific incident is on the agenda of that commission. So I think it's the hope of the Iraqi Media Network that some resolution will occur, whether it's, you know, compensation or clarification for why the shooting took place, you know, an actual investigation. But up to now, nothing has really happened.
Friday, David Martin (CBS News) reported on "Removing the legal immunity" -- a letter the Iraqi Interior Ministry sent to 'security' contractors advising them that "all immunities . . . shall be cancelled." Blackwater is far from the only mercenary guns in Iraq. Today Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports on another Iraqi civilian killed by mercenaries in Iraq, this time by DynCorp who shot dead an Iraqi cab driver in Baghdad Saturday. James Glanz (New York Times) reports 3 "witnesses said the taxi had posed no threat to the convoy, and one of them, an Iraqi Army sergeant who inspected the car afterward, said it contained no weapons or explosive devices" and quotes the Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul-Karim Khalaf declaring, "They just killed a man and drove away." Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) reports that the US State Department's Baghdad embassy spokesperson Philip Reeker says (apparently with a straight face) that they are "closely" examining the shooting.
CBS has [PDF format warning] posted the letter David Martin was reporting on the text of which reads: "According to the directions of the Minister Council regarding moving the legal immunity from all the foreign private security companies and deal with it according to Iraqi law. Please notify that in all your future missions and give the direction to all your staff. For your information all the Iraqi security departments were informed about it. The MNF confirming taking the legal actions against any violator in the future. Including signing your passports from the traveling and Jinsseya directorate to make your residence in Iraq legal. And the violator will face legal punishment from the Iraqi law." Only the Iraq Parliament has the power to pass laws so [PDF format warning] what CBS has posted is proposal from al-Maliki's cabinet at present and nothing more:
Non-Iraqi security companies and its non-Iraqi employees and contractors shall be subject to the Iraqi legislation and the jurisdiction of the Iraqi judiciary in all civil and criminal cases. All immunities granted to them in accordance with any valid legislation shall be canceled.
The categories mentioned in Article 1 of this law shall be subject to the Iraqi legislations including those related to the residency, granting visas, possessing and carrying weapons, paying taxes, fees and customs, registering companies and granting them license to work in the Iraqi territories.
The vehicles, ships, airplanes belonging to the categories mentioned in Article 1 of this law shall be subject to the procedures of registration, licensing, checking and inspection stipulated in the Iraqi legislations.
This law shall be deemed as an amendment for the Dissolved CPA Order No17 of 2004.
This Law shall enter in force on the date of its publishing in the Official Gazette.
At issue as well is whether Order 17 can be overturned? Before fleeing Iraq like a thief in the night, Bwana Paul Bremer signed Coalition Provisional Autority Order 17:
Contractors shall not be subject to Iraqi laws or regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their Congrats, including licensing and registering employees, businesses and corporations; provided, however, that Contractors shall comply with such applicable licensing and registration laws and regulations if engaging in business or transactions in Iraq other than Contracts. Notwithstanding any provisions in this order, Private Security Companies and their employees operating in Iraq must comply with all CPA Orders, Regulations, Memoranda, and any implementing instructions or regulations governing the existence and activities of Private Security Companies in Iraq, including registration and licensing of weapons and firearms.
Elizabeth Schulte (US Socialist Worker) explains, "Order 17 effectively barred the Iraqi government -- to which the U.S. was preparing to 'hand over' power -- from prosecuting contractors in Iraqi courts. Moreover, as private contractors, Blackwaters' goons aren't bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as regular U.S. soldiers are. [The US} Congress is debating rescinding the immunity of security firms like Blackwater and giving U.S. civilian courts the right to prosecute contractors."
Over the weekend, the attacks on officials continued. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported two Sunday attacks: police Gen Brig. Wathiq al-Hamadni and the Mosul governor Dureed Kashmoola were targeted with roadside bombings (both survived) while Wajihiyah village's deputy governor was targeted and two bodyguards were wounded, also five people wounded by a grenade in Baghdad. McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported a Friday bombing claimed the life of Sheikh Lafta Al Obeidi.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three civilians were wounded in a Baghdad roadside bombing, a mortar attack on a military base, a Tirkit roadside bombing left one police officer wounded and "Iraqi army officer LC Salam Ismaeel" car was bombed -- from inside -- while he was driving it in Baghdad -- Reuters reports the bomb was under the car -- demonstrating that not only are officials being targeted but that the methods are being fine tuned (Ismaeel was wounded) also evidenced by a roadside bomb targeting "Al Rashad town police chief in Al Rashad". Al Dulaimy also notes that on Sunday a 10-year-old girl was killed in a Baghdad bombing while a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1police officer Sunday. Reuters notes that today's Tikrit roadside bombing's count has gone with three injured and 1 dead.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Iraqi police said an American military convoy killed Khalaf Hussein and his wife Safra Ibraheem as he was approaching the convoy on a main road west of Kirkuk yesterday. The US military said the shooting was related to convoy operation adding that the Iraqi police fired from an outpost on a truck was coming against the traffic." Reuters notes 2 police officers were shot dead in Baghdad.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.
Meanwhile Cara Buckley (New York Times) reports on the al-Malikik government's claims of a mass return due to 'improved security conditions' with Buckley noting that "it was not clear how he tallied the number of returning families, which officials say have been exceedingly difficult to locate. The significance of the returns is also a subject of debate." IRIN does not provide any of their own numbers (IRIN is part of the United Nations) but looks at one family that has returned from Syria and notes that those moving back do so "not because they are confident of Iraq's future but because they have run out of money." (Yes, we did cover that point last week.)
Turning to peace news. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, "In Olympia, Washington, 15 anti-war deomnstrators were arrested over the weekend while attempting to block a military convoy carrying Stryker vehicles. The protests were organizaed by the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance which aims to stop the US military from using the Port of Olympia to ship equipment to Iraq. Protest organizers also accused police of brutalizing dozens of peaceful demonstrators and journalists. On Saturday police dressed in riot gear repeatedly used pepper spray and batons to break up the protest." Goodman also noted today that Bethesda Maryland, one of the children winning cash prized from Lego, has garnered a great deal of attention because her winning essay explains, "I don't want kids to lose any parents in the war" and because her father filmed a video [portions of the video are included the report] of her singing "Happy Springtime" which reworks John Lennon and Yoko Ono's classic peace anthem "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" into "Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)."
Sunday was Veterans' Day. New Brunswick's Home News Tribune editorialized today, "The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported Thursday that, although one in 10 Americans is a veteran, they account for 25 percent of the homeless population. Already veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been found living on the streets." The Boston Globe's editorial highlights this statistic, "On any given night in 2006, an estimated 196,000 veterans were homeless in America, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a Washington nonprofit. Over the course of the year, nearly a half-million veterans were homeless." Megan Ingerson (Indianapolis Star) reports that those supplying care and/or assistance to the homeless "say the actual numbers may be triple what's reported in the new study. . . . Veterans working with the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation say the study's estimates could be low because many veterans don't want to admit they're in trouble." Nashville's WKRN offers text and video as they highlight Vietnam veteran Frederick Keys who is hopeful that things will improve via the Matthew 25 Shelter's assistance in contrast to John who suffers from crippling medical bills and declares, "I'm not proud to be a veteran. I'm sorry to be a veteran." Meanwhile, the Bully Boy of the United States declared in his radio address Saturday, "Veterans Day also reminds us of our solemn responsibility to care for those who have fought our Nation's wars. Under my Adminstration, Federal spending for our veterans has increased by more than two-thirds. We have extended medical treatment to a million additional veterans, including hundreds of thousands returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. And we have expanded grants to help homeless veterans across the country." Lies. Lies. And more lies. From the liar Non-FactCheck.org decided to carry water for in 2004 and claim that the White House had a wonderful program. They accused Senator John Kerry of lying in his presidential campaign when the reality Non-FactCheck.org failed to grasp was that programs such as Veterans Affairs need increases each year in peace time. When two wars are going on (Iraq and Afghanistan), they need huge increases. That was the point Kerry made repeatedly in his 2004 presidential campaign that the 'non-partisan' Non-FactCheck.org chose to ignore. Meanwhile Matthew Cardinale (Atlanta Progressive News) reports that Veterans for Peace Chapter 125 and American Veterans for Equal Rights Georgia were informed they weren't allowed to participate in Sunday's Veterans Day parade for "FAILURE TO FOLLOW GUIDELINES IN PREVIOUS YEAR!" as was written on their applications this year and President of the Parade Association, Melvin Myers, when not asking if Cardinale was "a communist or something," insisted that the parade "doesn't allow anyone out there to promote ideas." No ideas? A parade without a message? Only in the United States under Bully Boy. On KPFK's Uprising today, Aura Bogado (filling in for Sonali Kolhatkar who is on maternity leave) noted a Denver parade was barring Military Families Speak Out from participating today (yesterday was Veterans' Day, today ) while speaking with MFSO's Larry Syverson "what we want Congress to do is step up to the plate and defund the war. Our campaign is: 'Funding the war is killing our troops'."
Syverson also spoke of the first year of the illegal war and the toil it took on his wife and himself as they worried about the phone call, the sound of a car bearing bad news about their son as the tires rolled over the gravel
Meanwhile journalist Robert Parry does battle that all of his previous investigative work may have prepared him for but it's a monumental task: wading through the many, many lies of the Bully Boy. Parry (Consortium News) notes, "But my personal favorite Bush lie is when he insists that the United States invaded Iraq to enforce a United Nations resolution and that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein 'chose war' by barring U.N. weapons inspectors. Bush dusted off that old canard on Nov. 7 while standing next to French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a press conference at George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon in Virginia. Responding to a question from a French journalist about Bush's dispute with France over the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. president said: 'We had a difference of opinion with your great country over whether or not I should have used military force to enforce U.N. demands. . . . I just want to remind you that [U.N. Resolution] 1441 was supported by France and the United States, which clearly said to the dictator, you will disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. Now I'm the kind of person that when somebody says something, I take them for their word.' Bush has made this same false argument scores of times dating back to July 2003, several months after the invasion when it was becoming clear that Saddam Hussein had told the truth when his government reported to the U.N. in 2002 that Iraq's WMD stockpiles had been eliminated." Robert Parry and sons Nat and Sam will be speaking at Busboys and Poets in Arlingtion, Virginia Saturday Nov. 17th from four p.m. to six p.m. discussing their new book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. Sam and Nat Parry have established their own journalist skills at Consortium News and they and Robert Parry can discuss any of the topics pertaining to the current administration but remember that Robert Parry has been doing investigative journalism for years and, if you're in that area or are visting it on the 19th, you'll have access to one of the most straighforward and determined journalists in this country.
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